Birds of a Feather


Yesterday, as the snow melted, I sensed the undercurrent.

Yesterday, I knew that tomorrow would be hard for me.

I was going to see the dentist. I have not seen the dentist in a few years, and that is my fault.

I was going to get bad news.

I have actually been to the Nile River but I don’t want to live in denial. Self-care is the foundation of health. Easier said than done.

The last few months, my teeth have been splintering, my molars look like stalagmites. There’s not much left to them and dental coverage, in general is poor, and for those of us on social assistance, it humiliates us.

Dentists, however, are amazing and my experience with my last dentist, was truly caring. He would not charge me because the coverage provided to his more “established” patients was enough for him. The greater good!

When health care providers rise to their profession, the experience transcends reimbursement and displays itself as healing. Because it is.

I do believe that the mouth is the window to one’s health and this was my first visit to a new dentist and I feared if he looked into my mouth, he would see beyond my health; my soul, my self-hatred, my self-medicating.

In nature, species evolve and camouflage themselves to survive. Things may not be what they appear. It’s not hatred, it is loneliness, it’s a sense of purpose in dormancy. It’s feeling worthless because to some, I am worth less.

Lemons to lemonade. The appointment would be tough but we get through the small stuff. I trust that I will move forward and the fear would go away and I will be cared for.

Seven years in market access in healthcare is more than an itch. It’s fractured trust. I do not trust that someone will care anymore.

After recalculating, I took the offramp to fun and went out with someone I love, my ornithologist friend, my one of two Michelles.

We migrated and perched at the Hen House, of all places. We mingled in a flock of the creative and artistic who embrace all at an open mike event called T.M.I. where we share the funny and poignant stories of our sexual foibles.

I forgot my troubles, I was me, I was not in pain. I felt the embrace. Comforted, like I feel when a nurse gently rests his or her hand on me.

The night was mild, like winter may be over, I walked through the west part of Toronto where the men are very handsome, and the moon that night was the colour of pink lemonade.

Social determinants of health aside, I will be OK.

Something happened between the then and the now.

It is my responsibility in health care to be present, to demonstrate due diligence. I fucked up royally.

I woke up, I was afraid. I aborted.

I didn’t know how I would feel when I was told that I need to get this done and that done and reconcile that with I do not have the resources for this or for that.

I went back to bed. I didn’t even call to cancel. Ignorance feels like bliss sometimes.

People like me, who sometimes make things difficult for themselves will say to themselves that we are like the phoenix and we rise from the ashes.

That’s birdshit.

I spiralled downwards as the day went on. All that I fear would at least be behind me.

We all have a role to play in the system of healthcare. For the patient it is adherence and honesty.

I promise to do that if, in return, you give me choice and you allow for hope and never judge me because you don’t know what it’s like to walk in my shoes.

Maybe not. Maybe the universal truth is, as my mother would say, better lucky than good.

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