Hélène was eventually reimbursed for travelling for medical care after writing to her members of parliament.
Because if you travel to get medical care not available in the area, it has to be 150 k—or whatever for example—and we’re 10 km below. And I remember I wrote—like, you know how the CSSS for the region? […] So, I have written them and I said, “Well, this is pretty ridiculous,” that when he had the operation for the tumour, I had to pay to stay at the cancer house because I had to be near there and I had to eat and we had to park, had to take a train actually because I don’t drive in. All sorts of expenses that were our own. And […] my sister actually is a nurse and said, “Well, maybe you can get reimbursement for the train. Inform yourself.” I didn’t even know I could have that. So, I write them they say no. So, I write back again and then I write—I start, I went crazy—I wrote the MP, provincial, federal, the lot, everybody. I was like outraged. This is ridiculous. 10 km? I’m going to move to [town in ON] and that’s going to give me my 10 km. Come on, be reasonable people. And in the end, they reimbursed me for that.
So persistence pays off a little bit?
Yeah, but then I have been writing. I spent a long time the other—not this last election, the one before—I wrote every person in the federal that was party leader, “What are you going to do for me?”/
Some replied. Some never did. Some, I will write 10 times, they will never reply.
And the ones that did reply was there anything useful in their reply?
Yeah. Actually, it brought on that they are changing some of the compassionate care so that it can be—but that too I got help from the lady at the Canadian Cancer Society. We prepared a lot of material, we prepared a lot of interviews. Actually, the Liberal party had come up with a caregiver plan, and they were quite receptive to it. But well, they didn’t get there. But still, I had somewhere in there halfway through with the London story and with all that, I decided “This is crazy. I’m lucky. What is it when you’re not?”
More from: Hélène
- Interaction with professionals – HélèneHélène’s husband asked the doctor to treat him not as a number but as a person, and since then they get along really well.
- Health system issues – HélèneHélène was eventually reimbursed for travelling for medical care after writing to her members of parliament.
- Caring for yourself – HélèneTaking care of yourself doesn’t have to cost much. To Hélène, little things can be a big help.
- Impact on professional life and career – HélèneHélène used up all her vacation days to care for her husband; she ended up taking 5 years worth in advance.
- Financial impact – HélèneHélène discovered that drug companies sometimes help patients pay for medication.
- The future and caregiving – HélèneHélène wishes that dying was easier to talk about. She worries about being ready for the future.
- When care changes over time – HélèneHélène would like more information about how to deal with the final stage of her husband’s disease.
- Advice for other caregivers – Hélène“The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And you don’t have to squeak annoyingly but you can squeak nicely.” It took Hélène a long time to figure that out.