Snap of the fingers

If only life were that easy – a quick snap and problem solved. Unfortunately, life in the real world doesn’t work that way. Never has, never will.

Premier Jason Kenney found that out months back when he declared Alberta was destined for the “best summer ever.” That claim to fame bore different results causing the province to take a nose-dive in its handling of the pandemic. Record case counts pummeled its health care system.

Last week Premier Doug Ford offered up a number of policy changes for Ontario residents. Like much of what has transpired in the past 19 months, it was another case of having to read and read again, to gain an understanding of the direction. Some of it sounded great and other parts sounded more like cheap politics with the knowledge an election is soon due.

For months now Canadians have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. For the vast majority of citizens that was the wisest course of action to dim the effects of a virus we still don’t entirely understand. Mutations and variants add to the issue, while we watch other nations like England deal with strains that are driving their cases upward.

We wholeheartedly agree with the push to get back to normal, but that effort must be pursued in a safe way without compromising the gains that have been made. Without a cautious approach we will be no different than other jurisdictions that opened too quickly and were forced to curtail the return to normal.

Assigning dates and suggesting March 28 as the occasion when Ontario could reopen without restrictions may in the end be wishful thinking. It does suggest to the those who chose not to get vaccinated that they just have to wait until March for current consequences to subside. Waiting out the clock – if only life were that easy.

May is too far away

It never hurts to say thank you. Probably, people should do more of that. But we all get busy and put it off. In my line of work, it is easy to side-line an idea until it shows up on the calendar next year as say “newspaper week” or “fire safety week.” There always seems to be a week or day to lavish praise on a group or someone.

For me, right now, May is just too far off. This thank-you must not wait. Typically, we do a section in the newspaper that month to celebrate Nurses Week. Within that feature we also honour personal support workers. Their work is a calling I have always admired but in recent weeks that longstanding admiration blossomed into something larger and more meaningful.

This past Easter it became clear that caring for dad at the farm was no longer an option. I half-joked with him he was heading to a fancy hotel up near Arthur. Once settled in at Caressant Care he would talk about the nice ladies at the concierge desk, keeping up the ruse of living in a hotel.

He was speaking of the nursing staff and personal support workers of course. Whether a matter of training or just tremendously good people at heart, they would listen intently to his stories and laugh at his jokes.

It is hard to shake one conversation long ago when dad and I talked about dignity and how important it was to him. The staff there ensured that.

The activities personnel always had a smile and treated him kindly. When some of the COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed, music was re-introduced and there was joy once more. These talented people lift the hearts of so many, residents and family included.

The nurses and providers of the most personal of care were very professional and nurturing. We managed to see more of that late summer and early fall as the rules changed. It is a job few could do, let alone want to do, but shift after shift, the staff show up to care for others. Thanks hardly seems enough for these essential workers.

In the final hours, we came a bit early and found a room full of nurses and workers paying their final respects. It was a case of dignity until the very end – a last wish fulfilled by very special people.

Our family remains grateful.