Thoughts from the Medical Arts Building

Being chronically ill on the South Shore when there are near-daily headlines about our healthcare system in crisis is, well, interesting.

When I moved here two years ago I knew I was sick, I just didn’t know why.

In a year when we were in and out of lockdowns, it was hard to find the answers. And honestly, I wasn’t eager to spend hours in the hospital surrounded by other sick folks to find out.

I was 23 at the time. Young. No prior experience with the healthcare system beyond routine checkups and a set of stitches after a rowdy game of capture the flag.

I had barely found a job, let alone a stable place to live and a solid group of friends when I got my diagnosis.

I was spending a lot of weeks doing new and scary things – specialist appointments, bloodwork, procedures at the hospital.

All the while, getting treatment, people were telling me that rural Nova Scotia might not be the best place to be sick.

But that’s where they are wrong.

Living in Lunenburg means sometimes I can walk to appointments at Fishermen’s.

Living in a caring community means I always have someone to drive me to appointments, advocate for my care and help me when I am too tired to function.

Living rurally means the pace of life is compatible with healing.

Living by the ocean keeps me grounded and connected.

Living in Canada means I access free healthcare and have incredible healthcare professionals to take care of me.

When I first realised I was sick, I was scared at the state of the healthcare system – scared the pandemic would harm my level of care and scared to be alone.

Now all my fears have been put to rest. I don’t get a choice in being chronically ill, but I do get a choice in where I am chronically ill.

Over the last two years I have come to see that I wouldn’t choose to be sick anywhere else.

I now spend an hour every few weeks hooked up to an IV at the Medical Art Building on Glen Allan. I sit by the window and watch the hustle and bustle of Bridgewater and think about how grateful I am for being chronically ill on the South Shore.


3 responses to “Thoughts from the Medical Arts Building”

  1. Adele Bourget

    I’m very touched by your story and will immediately look at the other side of the coin. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you!

  2. Tara

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had two surgeries at the Bridgewater hospital – both which were not delayed due to the pandemic but could have been – and my experience with staff was beyond exceptional. Being able to drop in for bloodwork etc at Fisherman’s is a dream. We are so lucky to live here.

  3. Anne

    Thank you for this perspective, Sal. My husband has many medical issues, and he has received better care here than he did at 2 of the best medical campuses in the US. Yes, we sometimes have to advocate, but we had to do that there as well, and the costs there were untenable. Lunenburg rocks.

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