The Galiano Health Care Society extends an invitation to Galiano residents to attend our Annual General Meeting on Saturday April 27th from 1-3pm at the South Community Hall. Join us to hear the latest news on doctor recruitment, island services, and plans for the coming year. Following the business meeting we will open the floor for discussion about a possible referendum later in 2013 that will allow us to seek support for a new funding strategy. Contact Linda at the Clinic if you have questions. Hope to see you there!
Date: Saturday October 13th
Venue: Page Drive Lounge (276 Georgeson Bay Rd)
Cost: By Donation
No RSVP. For information phone Wendy at 250 539 3768
Come to the South Hall on July 28th to dance to the music of Diona Davies and her local band. This is a licenced event with BBQ. You will get a chance to go on stage and sing a song with the band and you can make your special request for a few dollars. Diona will entertain us with music from around the world and there will be local singers performing their own songs. Come to swing with us to a different beat!
New liquor regulations are in effect in BC that require:
1) The Wine Festival is an adult only event; no minors can be on site
2) Fines of $230 for any liquor taken off site and for being intoxicated in a public place
3) Intoxicated patrons cannot be on roadways nor on site. Free shuttle will be available
4) Information booth on site to assist you in having a safe and enjoyable festival experience
5) We are working with the RCMP to ensure we are in compliance, but the Festival’s flavour remains the same
Also note that animals/pets are not permitted onsite at the festival.
Don’t miss our second annual fundraiser “Galiano’s Got Talent- Keep The Health Care Ship Afloat”.
Saturday April 14th Doors at 6 PM Show time at 7:30 PM. Come have a pre-show drink and food. License event. PG 14
Sunday April 15th Doors at 12 noon, show time at 1 PM. Refreshment (non-alcoholic) and food. Families welcome. Free childcare both days.
A rendez-vous with laughter and community support.
The GHCS kindly thanks Shelley Gruendler for her wonderful artwork.
Our own Andy Turner has agreed to take it all off for the Health Care, and we are asking you to make this come true by pledge your dollars to make it happen. We can all watch the happy event at the Country Dance fundraiser on July 16th and our island barber Cindy Crawford has agreed to divest Andy of every hair on his head and face (even his famous mustache). So PLEDGE, PLEDGE, PLEDGE and help Andy take it all off for a new floor at the Health Care Center.
Dear Fellow Galiano Resident,
RE: Public Meeting on Finding a Doctor for Galiano Island
As you are no doubt aware, since Dr. David Beaver left Galiano over a year ago we here on Galiano have been without a full-time physician. I am writing on behalf of the Galiano Health Care Society to provide you with a brief update and invite you to a public meeting where we will be providing a lot more information about the current state of affairs, what the future holds and what you can do to help us again get a physician on Galiano and restore our former levels of health care.
As a bit of a preview to that meeting, let me briefly share with you what has happened. The GHCS this last year has faced a three-pronged challenge. The first has been to assure that everything is being done to find a new doctor for Galiano. The second has been to assure that we have adequate medical coverage for islanders in the meantime. The third has been to maintain some sort of financial viability in the face of greatly increased costs and loss of income for the GHCS.
As to finding a new physician, let me give you a very brief history. Some years ago, the entire province was divided into five regions, each of which has a “Health Authority” to oversee all medical/health care in that region. We are under the Vancouver Island Health Authority or VIHA. The family doctor on Galiano is actually a contract employee of VIHA, not the GHCS, and it is VIHA’s job to recruit candidates for that position. VIHA has actively worked to find such candidates through a number of channels but to date has been unsuccessful.
Providing medical coverage until a full-time physician can be found is also the responsibility of VIHA, through the Ministry of Health’s locum program. Coverage consists of two components. The first is provision of medical services during regular clinic hours. The second is provision of emergency medical services during non-clinic hours (that is, week nights and weekends) We have received consistent funding for the clinic coverage, although VIHA has not always been successful in finding someone to fill those locum positions. This is why there are some weeks when we don’t have a doctor on Galiano. The money is there and attempts have been made to recruit one each week, but sometimes there simply isn’t an applicant for the position so it remains unfilled. The issue of night and weekend emergency coverage has been much more problematic. This is a very complex situation which will be discussed in detail at the meeting, but what it boils down to is that for many week nights and virtually all weekends we have no medical coverage, something we did have when Dr. Beaver was here. We do have on-call nursing coverage on two weekends each month but have nothing beyond the level of first responders and/or ambulance attendants on the other two weekends each month. This situation is, in the view of the GHCS board, completely unacceptable. We have expressed our concerns to the Ministry of Health and VIHA but to date the situation remains unresolved.
Our third problem has been sustaining the financial viability of the GHCS. The loss of the doctor has meant loss of income (in the form of rent) and increased costs (in the form of office staff salaries etc.) which have come on top of numerous other costs we face with a steadily aging facility (e.g., the need to replace the flooring, to earthquake-proof the treatment areas, etc.) Through the efforts and support of many board members and residents we have raised more money this year than ever, but the gap still remains.
This brings us to the point of this letter, which is, what can we do, working together, to correct this situation? We would ask you to do three things.
- First, please continue to use the clinic for your health care needs. We have a variety of health services available in addition to the locum, including a dentist, dental hygienist, nurse practitioner and many others. The more you use the services at the clinic the easier it is for us to assure that our health care needs on Galiano are recognized and met.
- Second, please attend our meeting at the Lion’s Hall on Sunday July 24th at 2:00 pm to learn more about the situation and what we can do about it. The goal of the GHCS is to assure that accessible medical care is available for all residents of and visitors to Galiano and with your help we believe that we can restore our previous levels of health care.
- Third, please support our fund-raising activities as much as possible. If you’re not already a member, please join the society. Consider making donations or bequests. And last but not least buy tickets for the quilt raffle and attend our upcoming dance and the annual wine festival.
Thank you in advance for your help,
WE ALL KNOW WHAT DANCING LEADS TO…A NEW FLOOR FOR THE GALIANO HEALTH CARE CENTER
SATURDAY JULY 16TH AT THE SOUTH HALL
Get that cowboy or cowgirl outfit out of your wardrobe and compete in a contest for the best country western costumes at the GHCS dance benefit on July 16th. There will also be prizes for the best cross dressers. You may win a fancy restaurant meal or another beautiful prize offered by the members of the Chamber of Commerce.
The musicians of Good Company : Claudette Bejtovic, Thijs Vermeulen and Phil Buller promise music to warm our heart, delight our ears and seduce our dancing feet. Dirk and Johanna, Sylvie and Linda, Heather McRae and Jenny Brooklin will perform each of song with the band.
The Galiano Health Care Society owes many thanks to the Galiano Chamber of Commerce which has donated $1000 towards the replacement of the floor of the Health Care Center. We also wish to express our gratitude to the many merchants, restaurant and other business owners for their generous donations of prizes for our upcoming July 16th dance benefit.
On March 16 Jan Adler and I shared some experiences of grief. I told the story of my son Joshua, his tragic death, and mostly I focused on the ways I experienced grief in the years that followed his death.
Joshua’s father called me from Portland to tell me our son Josh had died by suicide. Suicide attempts were not uncommon for Josh, as he had multiple mental diagnoses. His first attempt was when he was in 5th grade, and throughout his 26 years attempts were frequent. He would call me or another friend to be rescued after overdoses. One week before his death, he was hospitalized for an attempt with pills. He left the hospital against Dr.’s orders, disappeared for a few days, came back to his family, and then he told his brother by telephone he was going to hitch-hike to San Francisco to get away from things for a while. He left, and the next day the coroner was at his Dad’s door that cold, December morning.
If you had met him, even for a brief time, you would remember his kindness, creativity, commitment to social justice, his limitless curiosity, loyalty to his friends and how much he loved his mum. He faced a life of almost continuous turmoil within himself and in his life. Early drug treatment was somewhat effective, and when he turned 18 he chose not to take medication very often. Despite his illness, he found some satisfaction in some of his jobs. He wrote stories and poetry. We loved to watch birds, and we enjoyed the Portland Trailblazers as often as we could. He is missed, and if I could have taken his place so he could have lived, I would have done so without hesitation.
Living past my son’s death became a place of isolation and pain unlike any other I had ever experienced. I couldn’t stand that the world was still rotating on its axis, that the sun would rise, that in mornings all over the world millions of people were opening their eyes. But not Josh. I wanted to crawl back to the past to where he last breathed so I could bring him along with me into the future. I searched for him from my most primitive and maternal subconscious, testing for his scent everywhere I went. I didn’t make up my mind to do this: it is how my body reacted to his death.
I was pulled between living life alive and moving through life deeply shrouded. My experience of grief encompasses both my love for Josh and the pain of his death, side-by-side, sometimes consuming me, other times the pain lessened by the strength of a memory. The earliness and manner of his death was foreshadowed in his childhood. However this knowledge did nothing to lessen the impact of his death or the grief that followed.
Thinking, reasoning, straight research did not help me. I read every book I could find on bereavement. Nothing resonated with me. My head did not find the new way. I decided to start doing something physical. In February several months after Joshua’s death, I came alone to our newly purchased-unimproved lot on Galiano where we had parked a small trailer. Mission: pull broom until collapse. Then at night write in a journal until sleep forces itself upon me. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I cleared broom. The piles were taller than me, the broom itself often of tree-status. I found undiscovered trees, mainly arbutus that were being out-competed by the broom. Already Spring was near, and certain bushes were beginning to leaf out. Each day I cleared, I could see the success—broom removed and a more natural habitat revealed. Each day I could see slightly incremental increases in the greening for spring. I cleared in the rain, the wind, the cold. I had only one goal—to find physical exhaustion. In that state, I could write without inhibitions. The words came unbidden. The most essential, the most vulnerable parts of me surfaced and beheld the grief. Cautiously I explored this new geography of my life, usually a small step at a time. Not always forward progress, but side-to-side, backwards, to and fro.
This experience was the first time I put the whole of me into the grief that now is part of me. Since then, I have initiated survivor support groups in Vancouver to talk to others who have lost a loved one to suicide. I have thoroughly investigated the details of his death, examined erroneous processes and held those systems up to scrutiny. I have worked on ways to commemorate his life—like burning the 24-hour candle, the Jahrzeit candle, on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death. Some of his friends found me—some even through Google and Facebook— and shared great gifts—new stories of him. I have written journals that describe and document the pain and also the breakthroughs back to life. I have figured out what to do with his things through action. I learned to live (by living, by doing) on this new planet without him. I like to bird-watch with his eyes sometimes. I listen to music he loved with his brand of joy. As I go through my days, I often observe that Josh would have loved this or that. And, of course, I continue to pull broom.
I was changed by his death and am transformed by the grief. The process will probably not end. Grief and I will continually and infinitely transform each other, keening in the pleasure and pain of memories, and discovering today and tomorrow, sometimes with tears, sometimes with joy, and, now, always with life.
Nothing was simple or obvious. Most every step was risky—and I was scared. Yet with each step, I move with life. Sensitivity to the smallest of things—like the color of the sky, the leaf that falls, the human voice—are the things that guide my map to life and living. This is not the person I would have chosen to be—the mother of a dead son. Yet here I am, hardly alone in this situation. Each day the grief is transformed yet again, life is full, the sun comes up, and I see stars at night. Everything changed and continues to change. He would like it that way.