My throw away comment, ‘as society we need to think outside of the box’ was rapidly updated with, ‘perhaps all we need to is to connect within the circle.’ This simple paradigm shift was voiced by a calm American woman, who was volunteering at the local Bunbury SolarisCare community resource, on the afternoon that I had booked a massage. Her reflection of the ‘gaps’ in the Australian health care system mirrored my own. I was curious to discover where our shared perspective and spirit connection resonated. Two women, from separate generational sub-groups ( Gen. X and Baby Boomer) and who had similar though not homogenous cultural contexts ( Caucasian North America, Washington State and Caucasian, Australia, Queensland.) One with a cancer diagnosis, one whom had shared the cancer journey with lost family members, perfect strangers aligned in conscious thought.
I did not view it appropriate to venture further to determine what other strands of genetic resistance lay in her DNA. She generously offered her birth status as clarity to her separateness from her birth mother, and perhaps this shared state, revealed more our similarities and why challenging the status quo is not unfamiliar or consecrated ground. ( There was an inaudible tingle of a glass bell in our generosity of self in how we engaged, that can only be referred to as kindred.)
Our consensus was the urgent need to address these gaps and the importance of assertive self advocacy, despite the fear of being classified as anxious, neurotic, or non-compliant. (Feel free to substitute any of the following descriptors, organic, elitist bitch, Lesbian, Bolshevik, smart arse know-it-all’s, control-freaks, etc) For an American women assertiveness was a constitutional right not a personality disorder. As an Australian women ( being intelligent, professional and intuitive), I should have known my place and not expected consultation.
Welcome to Australia, land of the bogan gold and green, thong, sun and sea, footy mates, cold piss and street fighting, where childcare is expensive, sole parent social support is reduced for active participation in work, women have less in super, investments and wages, and greater health expenses but we are sunburnt, ironic, clever convicts who lead the world in science innovation and make ripper art house and star in blockbuster films! ( I digress, or do I ?) We agreed that there was an urgent need for multiple avenues in a regional setting for the dissemination of shared knowledge and guidance to support the allopathic model in providing pastoral care and support services to health service consumers.
The Australian allopathic disconnect appears to the result of the procedural herding of patients into defined practices for the pragmatic management of a health sector pushed past breaking point. For this to occur as smoothly as possible, health consumers must be maintained as behaviourally compliant and submissive in response to diagnosis and treatment plans. There isn’t time to address individual needs or to challenge thinking.
There is an expected deference to the elevation of all medical practitioners to Demi God status and annoyance at reflective questioning and due diligence. We must all relinquish locus if control to external parties and some of us will have greater or lesser challenges in doing so, depending on our initial human emotional interaction with general practitioners, anaesthetists, surgeons, doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, patient carers and administrative staff) You get the point, trust is essential and after all, it is only the most precious of gifts, your life. Failure at the point, brings great distress and makes clear decision making close to impossible. We are after all, all infallible as humans and mostly those individuals working in the health care sector are driven by humanist principles.
There have been too many landfills (more recently recycled bins) sprouting the remnants of Parliamentary white and green papers, longitudinal studies, systematic reviews, etc. Thousands of hours by public servants and independent consultants representing the right and left of politics and those parties and independent candidates meekly bleating distain between the extremes, since democracy took its fledging steps in 1830. In 2013 these branding tools are espousing what all health consumers experience on the journey, that the system is inadequate and unprepared for the scourge of cancer, diabetes and obesity.
Who can possibly take up the fight? Who has the energy to make real and lasting change? Would we all be more vocal if we knew the journey of cancer in reality? Would we demand better services, better legislation for pharmaceuticals and in the treatment of our food sources, the protection of our environment, of our children and grand children’s future. Perhaps. ( Are we mostly just trying to survive on a daily basis, experience love, simple joys and to cover the increasing costs of basic living?)
There is always the allure of disconnect, which Foxtel has premium capacity and which if unaffordable can be found through smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs, or pursuits that remove one’s consciousness of thought provoking traffic. After all isn’t that what Governments are designed to do? To translated our collective conscience into constructive and solution focused policies and practices to enrich out human experience. ( A tsunami of laughter ripples across the globe.)