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I generally do not discuss my maladies. I find it counter productive and makes me sound like I’m seeking sympathy. I am not. I do, however, want to make people aware of the debilitating aspect of arthritis. I am a youth of 52 yet I am unable to move well, I have trouble putting my socks on, getting into my truck, walking more than 30 feet, playing with my grandchildren, I cannot dance with my wife, stairs are a daunting prospect, getting a good nights sleep free of the constant pain is only a fuzzy memory of a different time.

Pain is constant but id one seems to find a position where the pain is minimal, we stay there until we need to extract ourselves from it. That process is as painful to watch as it is to endure.

I am a relatively positive person and generally grateful for all that I have but even with those virtues my mind slips to the dark side of resenting the fact that I did not die in my sleep so I did n’t have to face another day of pain, or even worse, ending it by my own hand.  This is not a cry for help. I am not suicidal. I still believe I have too much left to offer the world. I am telling you this not to embellish but to emphasize the effects of this illness. I always thought it was a disease of old people that complained about the cold and rain or whines too much. I never thought it could be this bad. I see people with a slight limp and want to grab them and tell them to GO now start the process of seeing the specialist NOW. I waited a bit too long and now I suffer for it. Although I live in a wonderful city in a beautiful province in the greatest country on earth, I still need to wait 12-14 mos before I get my new hip. That is 6-8 mos longer than the provincially mandated wait time of 6 mos.

My surgeon suggested I join one other person and picket the hospital. Not out of sarcasm but because he felt he was not being heard and that patients might have a stronger voice. I would picket but I can barely walk. Oh the irony!

So, there you have it. A classic example of how our health care system has failed. And yet, I think it is close to one of the best in the world. I would not switch it for a two tier system or anything like the private system in the US. I would, however trim the administrative fat, give incentives to keep specialists where they can be useful and pay for the equipment and people to operate it.

One thing I learned is that I had taken so much for granted. that has changed. You never realize how nice it is to sit on the can in the morning until it becomes a painful chore. Who’d have thought I’d ever be grateful to take a pain free crap?

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