Today I find myself sitting in a coffee shop across the street from St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada waiting for my mother to have a procedure on her heart. I just admitted her through the emergency room that has the insurmountable challenge of helping the people of our downtown Eastside caught in the epidemic of our opioid crisis. It was an eye opening experience that inspired me to write this post and think further on the topic that I know is plaguing my city. I am a healthcare professional that deals with people in various levels of pain all day. I am also a person that due to a freak accident has found himself in the emergency room, in the operating room, given OxyContin, morphine and other drugs to try and help my immediate pain on a cycle of over three months. My experience talking to Lance today in the St Paul’s ER has made me reflect on my experience and realize how slippery of a slope it can be for a person to go from a normal life, to an injury, to being a homeless drug addict living among throngs of others living out their own journeys on the street.
We arrived at the ER at 8:45am on a Saturday morning to a relatively quiet waiting room for downtown Vancouver’s only hospital. There was one very talkative man being processed by the nurse. He was seemingly a drug addict in withdraw and his father was quietly waiting in the chair looking like he had been through this before. The dad was about my mother’s age and the talkative man was about my age. I made sure my mom was taken care of at the admitting desk and then I was told to wait for about twenty minutes while the nurses processed her. Read More