Time to build each other up


Due to an impending storm a few weeks ago, I had to cancel an appointment at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus. When talking to a staff member there, I was informed that my staples had to be removed as soon as possible, and I was either to contact my own doctor, or go to the Kemptville Hospital emergency to have them removed.

Okay, that sounded good in theory. Closer to home, each only a five minute drive away from me. So I called my doctor’s office in the morning, only to be told by a recording that due to technical updates no one was available to answer my call. Phones would be back up by the afternoon and to call after one. So I called later, only to be placed on hold for an hour and a half before anyone answered. I put my speaker phone on and went about my tasks while on hold. Once ‘a real person answered’, there was no apology for having kept me on hold for so long. I could hear the tension in the person’s voice at the other end of the line. I was informed that the nurse was off sick and she had no clue when she would be back, so try and call again the following day. I wasn’t happy but what could I do, other than go spend hours at the emergency.

I thanked her and called back the next day. One thing I did notice, that on the recorded message at the clinic, it asks people to be patient, and to be courteous, due to the long delays they are experiencing due to staff shortages. Yes, we are hearing that a lot. This had been my second surgery for a hip  replacement, and this time around, I noticed a huge difference in pre-op and post-op in recovery. The staff were over burdened. It was so clear. But even with this to deal with, they treated me with kindness and compassion.

It got me thinking how we have taken so much for granted for so long. When was the last time you thanked someone for a service they provided. At the fast food take out, a restaurant, or whatever? To my mind, the staff at the hospital deserved more from me. I did thank them, as I left, and told them how appreciative I was of the care I received.

When I finally got to see my own doctor, which was the next day, I mentioned to him the hour and a half I was on hold, and the recorded message. He said it is unbelievable how rude people have become and how angry people are since Covid.

Why has Covid changed us so much? Is it because the service we had before is now in the past? I am aware now that every time I go out for a meal, I am grateful that the establishment is able to be open, and that there are staff to serve me, maybe not as soon as I would like but I do get served. But I am not sure where all the anger is coming from? And what gives you the right to yell and scream at someone over the phone or think it right to post nasty comments about someone on social media. What does it accomplish? That person you just screamed at or posted about, perhaps lives in your community, has feelings just like you, and surely deserves to be treated kindly and with compassion? In the end, what does it achieve to debase someone? Does it ease your anger and frustrations?

I, for one, am so grateful for the service we still have. I no longer take it for granted. Yes, we may have to wait longer and have more patience. I am just so grateful to be able to go out after the years of self–isolation many of us experienced.

So rather than voice your anger at the other human being, take the time to think how lucky we are to live in such an amazing area. I am not sure where your anger is coming from, but please take the time to think about the other person you are directing it at. Perhaps they are also having a bad day and coping as best they can, given the circumstances. Let’s build people up, not tear them down. Surely we are better than that!


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