There are a lot of things I don’t understand. I keep quiet about them here, because this isn’t my home province. Things are different then Ontario and I get that. It’s to be expected. Just like someone moving to my home province, I would expect them to realize things are not the same there. However, the sidekick just regaled to me a conversation he had with a mental health professional here.
He called the office to see where he was on the list in getting assistance. The following is not verbatim, but it’s the essence of what was said.
She: We sent you a letter with the information and you should be getting it within the week.
Him: How come you didn’t call me? I’m visually impaired.
She: Well that’s not how we do things.
He: That’s stupid.
She: This is how we do things.
He: That’s dumb. It’s a waste of time. I’m visually impaired.
She: Well, (tone of voice he stated was like she was talking to a child), there’s people here who can read it to you.
He: Why would I bring a letter in that I don’t know what it is to you, so someone can read it for me, which it might not be the letter cuz I’m visually impaired and don’t know which letter it is.
…He’s waiting for a letter…
This isn’t the first conversation he’s had like this. It’s been a long process. He’s down to saying lines like that’s stupid because he’s tired of fighting and asking questions.
Okay, here’s my beef. I worked front line in the social services field in Ontario. If I had answered a client like that, I would have been talked to. In all my work, knowing you have a client that lives with a physical and/or mental health issue, you as a caseworker need to be make the accommodations in order to have that client treated as a capable adult with the capacity to make decisions, judge for themselves, etc…. In other words they are like everyone else.
As my cousin just reminded me, this would be the concept of substantive equality.
I only have a college diploma though, not a degree, so I can’t get a job in this capacity here. This is where the real world makes me sad, because sometimes people – just because you have a degree means squat. It’s experience, education of course (I went to college and always took advantage of conferences and seminars to continue life long learning), empathy, common sense for gosh sake, that enables you to work front-line in a field where people so desperately want to be treated just the way we all are.
(While grammatically that paragraph sucks – you do get the meaning of the dialogue right?)
My brother and his girl friend lived in Regina for a year before they moved back to Ontario. My brother is 100 percent blind as a bat. Born that way. One of the comments they heard was “Oh you don’t see blind people here. We pay them so they stay at home away from the public”. This was from a nurse. They lived in apartment on the top floor. Management didn’t tell them that balcony work was being done. My brother walked out to no walls on a balcony floor. He could have fallen. When he told management they weren’t concerned that they never gave notice to a blind person.
Some people here have stated if you don’t like it go home. I find it sad that a populous find it okay that we treat those that are vulnerable with such aloofness. We came to Saskatchewan because we couldn’t financially make it in Ontario. My parents are here, so we hoped it would be an easier transition. It really hasn’t been. I met a a lady who told me, “This is a hard town. People aren’t interested in new ways, new friends. They are happy to live in the life they have. It might take you awhile to meet friends”. I’m trying though to have a good attitude. There are good things about Saskatchewan. If you’ve followed this blog, you can see our amazing adventures. I’m grateful to be able to see more of this gorgeous country we call home – Canada. I’m grateful that I have a home here in Saskatchewan. One that I can afford.
I digress…alot …. The sidekick felt he wasn’t being treated as capable, able to make his own decisions – an adult. Before he lost his sight he worked in a high stress, high responsibility job in social services. He was used to making snap decisions that would affect many people. He finds it irreproachable that others in the field are treating him the opposite of how he tried to treat others. Being on this side of the desk we’re finding it’s more common then even those in the field would think. And it makes me so very sad to know that there are those out there who are working in the field that aren’t able to give to their clients the way he did….the way I did.
I’m grateful to be here. Please know I am. But honest truth – if the lotto fairy waved her wand at me, I’d move back home.