About twenty years ago my great aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was in her early seventies. Up to that diagnoses, she was a very active senior. She was still driving her own car, picking up my grandmother almost every day so they could go to afternoon bingo, a favourite activity of theirs. The cancer diagnoses was not good. My aunt soon started treatment, but it took a toll on her and with no one at home to help her, it became obvious to her immediate family that she could no longer care for herself. It wasn’t long before she ended up in hospital.
My aunt was admitted to the Henderson General Hospital now the Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton. As time went by, it became obvious that my aunt was not getting better. On one of my visits to see her, my grandmother, and uncle were already there when I entered the room. I knew things were not right, my grandmother, as gently as she could, told me, my aunt, her sister had had a stroke, and lost her ability to speak and eat.
I continued with my daily visits, but her condition worsened. She had difficulties swallowing, so I would give her mouth moisture using one of the sponges meant for brushing teeth. Then one day, I noticed her i.v. was gone, her children along with doctors had decided a course of action. It was a course that many of us did not approve of, the i.v. was back but was not doing anything, it was there for appearances only. My aunt was soon moved to a room by herself, it seemed some thought she would only last a few days without nourishment. That didn’t happen, and she was moved back to a ward. It took over a week for my great aunt to die.
Now I cannot say whether or not my great aunt would have chosen assisted suicide, but it should be a choice. It’s time for our government to talk about it. What do you think?
I don’t often write about my own pain, I guess because it is such a part of my everyday life, I try not to dwell on it. I also don’t remember the last pain-free day that I have had, but it has been years. So for me to cope with each day, I take a variety of medications but even then it is still difficult, the pain is never completely gone. As I sit here typing my neck muscles and the muscles between my shoulder blades are in spasm. I have taken my breakthrough meds and have had heat on my neck and back all night to no avail. The worst thing though, is I only have a few pills left to control the muscles spasms that are a constant problem throughout my body.
Drug shortages became a problem in Canada a few years ago for various different reasons. To try to inform the public of this problem the Canadian government set up a website listing the various shortages but this is a voluntary list. Since it is voluntary, some companies do not list the shortage, thus both doctors and pharmacies have no idea if the prescription they are writing/filling is in stock. So when I went to renew my muscle relaxant, the pharmacy was only able to fill a quarter of the prescription. The pharmacist was great, literally phoning all the pharmacies in Hamilton and the actual manufacturer of my medicine, but alas, none were to be found. As a result, my family doctor had to write a different prescription for me. This is a problem because for me to change medicine’s I have to be weaned off one before I start the other, so my body doesn’t have a complete freak out and when you find out at the last-minute that your meds are not available, well you’re screwed.
Is there a solution for the drug shortages in Canada? Should the government make it mandatory for drug companies to list a shortage?
Update: Here are two articles in regards to drugs shortages in Canada: