“A Caregiver Speaks Out” by Peter Farag (1T7)

Author’s Note: It was to be a straightforward client visit as part of the CCAC field activity in DOCH 1. Arrive at 2pm, ask the questions outlined on page 101 , and return to MAM by 5pm. What we did not expect is how the client’s caregiver would turn this visit into an opportunity to passionately advocate for change in senior care by sharing some shocking experiences. This piece reflects on that encounter while raising questions around consent, resource allocation, and the predicament that we’ll face in reconciling the two.

Her message throughout our meeting could not have been better told,
and twice she stated bluntly: “Treat me nicely when I’m old.”
She was a middle-aged woman caring for her ailing mom
in a distant rural region, seemingly quiet and calm.
Yet the storm raging within from a woeful ordeal
quickly emerged as standard questions broke the fragile seal.
The many hurdles in the path of her mother’s care
were striking to say the least, and for some may cause a scare.
She perceived senior care as but a hollow bubble,
with doctors judging that elders were not worth the trouble.
“Your mom’s had a good run, time’s winding down on her clock.”
Even the routine pacemaker check-up was denied by her doc.
Interest to help the old just appeared to be drained.
“My mom wouldn’t be alive if I had not complained.”
At the hospital, urgency to help was so rare;
her mom was labelled NO CODE and they were not made aware.
She understands her mom is old and may soon die,
but she resents the team that cares not to try.
On and on she went expressing gross discontent.
She felt obliged to vent, hoping that she could prevent
a repeat of this ordeal, which in her eyes was guaranteed
once she hits old age and visits us to meet her need.
Her message throughout our meeting could not have been better told,
and twice she stated bluntly, “Treat me nicely when I’m old.”

One thought on “This Month’s Student Submission: “The Choice” (Annie Wang, 1T8)”

  1. This was really a wonderful read – from your descriptions, I felt I could picture the caregiver and her frustrations in my head and I really liked how you told her story in her own words.

    I was also struck by the repetition of the opening two lines at the end of the poem! The words are the same, yet they carry a powerful message when we come back to them after having read the rest of the poem. I also like how this circular form ties back to the caregiver’s own comment about the cyclical nature of time, about herself reaching old age and coming to see the future generation of doctors.

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