As I made a big fuss about earlier this week, I had a meeting with my MLA to discuss my case, and chronic pain in Alberta. The meeting was on Wednesday, August 17th with Calgary-Glenmore MLA Anam Kazim. I was allotted an hour, and ended up staying and discussing my case for an additional 20 or so minutes. My legendary mom Tobe transported me and joined in. Tobe also really helped me edit everything before! ❤
I am still really recovering from this meeting, as it took a lot out of me. I may add more to this, and re-share the edits at a later date. Read more to hear about my meeting summary and impressions…
The meeting went very well. As I walked in, one assistant mentioned he had seen my article from Kendra Fowler at 660 News, shared on Facebook! That was pretty neat. I had a Powerpoint set up to outline issues and have fact support, but I basically just spoke and answered questions for the hour-long meeting. Everyone was great, and I really felt as though I was being not only heard, but listened to, for the whole presentation. As expected, both MLA Ms. Kazim and her assistant had many questions throughout the presentation. I LOVE questions. Questions show you are engaged, making an effort to learn, get it right, and trying to fully consider the breadth of the topic. I was very impressed with how many questions I received.
I used my crutches, even though I can usually manage my outings with my recent level-up to a cane. I knew the office was on the second floor, and the parking lot sucks there. I never realized how rough it is to find disabled parking sometimes. There used to be a time when I looked at a full parking lot and saw some empty disabled spots and thought, wow, glad there is ample parking here. Not really like that, I have learned! The City of Calgary only requires around 4 disabled parking spots for a small plaza, even if that small plaza has more than one medical clinic in it. I learned this when I politely pointed out at a recent medical appointment that their parking lot was severely lacking. They replied that due to the City only requiring ‘x’ spots by law, their property owner only has to provide ‘x’ spots, although they can choose to provide more. Anyway, I used my crutches and thank dog I did because the parking lot was very full, and we did get a disabled spot but not in front of the right building! So, another lesson learned for me. Leveling up (as I like call it in my context) to less walking devices doesn’t always mean you won’t need them sometimes, or in certain situations. So it was definitely more walking than I am used to, and far beyond the 50 metres indicated by Alberta disabled parking permits. However, the walking was not the really big thing for me.
So why is it taking me so long to recover from an hour/ hour and a half meeting?
-> I sat for that length of time. Sitting with knees at 90 degrees, is the least comfortable position for me. Their chairs were amazingly comfortable though, which helped.
-> Pretending I am not in pain for that time. I really wanted the focus to be on the message- that 2011 statistics suggest nearly 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from chronic pain (Schopflocher, Taenzer, and Jovey), and Alberta has already fallen behind in this epidemic. So, I really needed to focus on articulating that.
-> Emotional output for this! Not only was this physically exhausting for me, it also had a touch of emotional tiredness to it. In some ways, this was a representative culmination of my fight so far. (I know the fight continues daily as someone with CRPS, and certainly with someone as stubborn as myself.) The next culmination is a multidisciplinary program accepting me on a long-term basis.
-> The nature of how I feel pain. A lot of pain responses for me are delayed, and I find out after an activity what my body “really” felt about it. I had quite a bit of adrenaline from presenting as well, so when that wore off and I came home and relaxed- shitty. Super duper shitty. The day after was also rough. I was hoping to go out to an old family friend’s dinner party on Friday but had to cancel. So, still feeling the delayed effects from this one. It was also compounded by not being fully recovered from my Monday appointment. I had a full neuro, and some type of a physical. I think a full recovery from that would have been three down days rather than one.
I have to say that I did have anxiety about finishing my presentation. I was pretty flared up from a Monday appointment, and did not finish until an hour before we left. I am happy to say, with the way it was received, I had no anxiety leaving that meeting! I really felt as though I was heard. All in all, a big “YAY”!!!
Thank you so much to everyone who shared the 660 News article, everyone who commented, those who sent messages of encouragement, and anybody continuing to read the stuff I put out. Thank you so much. Without all your support, the uphill battle of chronic pain and CRPS awareness would be an exponentially steeper grade. *Thank You*
[Study mentioned: Schopflocher, D., Taenzer, P., Jovey, R. (2011) The prevalence of chronic pain in Canada. Pain Research and Management, 16(6). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3298051/ *Please check out this study, as I think it is one of the most recent and comprehensive stats we have on chronic pain in Canada. I sent Dr. Schopflocher an e-mail inquiring about the study, and he responded! Dr. Schopflocher is now retired, but I think it is absolutely wonderful he took the time to write out a long and thorough response to me. He also wished me luck in my fight for awareness, as I mentioned the MLA meeting. Yeah, I fan-girl for science and scientists! Science is awesome.]
I really want to mention that I was feeling very blah before this meeting. For a few weeks prior, I was feeling really left out of the normal summer shenanigans I indulge in. The music festivals, mostly. The Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) was very heavy, even though I have been very lucky to be attending festivals for over ten consecutive summers, and I have many memories to reflect on. Thankfully, the warm reception I received from the meeting with my MLA boosted me out of the blah a bit. I am still working on it, but aren’t we all?