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DOPERS Meeting Langley May 16 2018

May 23, 2018 Leave a comment

DOPERS – Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services welcoming new members in Langley, BC speaking about Homelessness, Shelter Conditions, Hot Weather temperatures, Bylaws, CPR training, Harm Reduction, Rig Riders and more

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DOPERS Meeting in Surrey May 15 2018

May 23, 2018 Leave a comment

DOPERS – Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services welcoming new members in Surrey, BC speaking about Homelessness, Hot Weather temperatures, Shelter, Trauma Counseling, Harm Reduction, Poverty and more.

 

DOPERS Women Langley May 16 2018

May 22, 2018 Leave a comment

DOPERS – Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services Women’s Meeting in Langley, BC speaking about Health, Health Literacy, Self Defense, Fitness, Street Outreach, No Payphones, Public Bathrooms, Women Empowerment, Showers, Laundry, Safe Injection,  Homelessness,  Shelter, Bylaw, Harm Reduction, Poverty and more.

DOPERS Women Surrey May 15 2018

May 22, 2018 Leave a comment

DOPERS – Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services Women’s Meeting in Surrey, BC speaking about Health, Health Literacy, Swimming, Street Outreach, Safe Spaces, Feminine Hygiene Products, Menstrual Cramps, No Public Bathrooms, Trauma Counseling,  Women Empowerment, Yoga, Meditation, Foot Care, Safe Injection, Homelessness, Shelter, Bylaw, Harm Reduction, Poverty and more.

Stephen and Grace on Hep C May 2018

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment
In response to an invitation to contribute to a blog post for Pacific Hepatitis C Network, a member of Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) in Surrey was interviewed regarding experiences within the health care system.

Grace, STÓ:LŌ First Nations from Chilliwack who was diagnosed 30 years ago, is unable to receive treatment due to complications with HIV. She is under housed, and despite generally positive experiences with health care providers, she knows that her housing situation and lack of consistent meals does have an impact on her ability to receive care and achieve the health outcomes that she prefers.

Stephen interviewed his favourite friend Grace on her Hep C infection.

Please scroll down to read full transcript of the video!

 


Stephen – Hello! My name is Stephen. I’m with Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services here in Surrey. Today we are talking about experiences access health care, specifically health care with Hepatitis C.

We are here with Grace, this lovely lady and she will be sharing her story with us.

Grace – My name is Grace. I’m First Nations. Stó:lō Nation. And I’m 57 years old. I’m Hep B, Hep C,  and HIV positive. I live in Surrey, BC

Stephen – What is it like to live with Hep C?

Grace – Sigh… Tiresome…tiresome…you get really tired, weak, withdrawn.. Mind you, at the same time..I don’t know if it’s the Hep C or if it’s HIV. It could be both…it could be all of them

Stephen – So what are some of the issues you are facing?

Grace – Health, Food…right now my body is failing…parts are…Liver, Kidneys

Stephen – So what services could you use but aren’t receiving?

Grace – I usually go to most services. I don’t use a lot of the food services now because I can’t walk to them and that is because of my health being down. Its very hard for me to stand for long periods of time so I miss out meals.

Stephen – How long ago were you diagnosed? What prompted you to go get checked out?

Grace – I was diagnosed with HIV 30 years ago. I lived in Grace Mansion in Vancouver Downtown Eastside where an Ex Boyfriend of mine came to me and told me he was Hep C. And he had given it to me. At the time, I didn’t expect…I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting to be told this and it was really hard on me.  I didn’t really do anything because the file he gave me was so thick…that I’m like..it would take me forever to find out and get diagnosed..I didn’t want to die…so I honestly didn’t do anything about it.

Stephen – Are you receiving any treatment for it?

Grace – I’m not receiving any treatment. I’m not able to get treatment because of my HIV  because my count is so low…they have to wait until I get healthier which sucks…it sucks. And its getting worse.

Stephen – Describe some of the best of worse interactions related to your Hep C search for treatment?

Grace – I actually got to an awesome, awesome centre…its actually HIV, Jimmy Pattison hospital..they have super doctors there. And they will be getting me on the treatment when I am ready…when my body is up enough…they will be helping me, which is something I am hoping for because of my liver and stuff is so bad.

Stephen – What is your current living situation? Are you homeless? Are you in Social Housing? Do you have any problems with Housing?

Grace – At the moment…if you were to ask me this…a month ago. I would have told you my housing is shitty. But at the moment, I got a new landlord…my housing is not great..but its not being homeless. I have a new fridge. With the help I’m able to get..my landlord is doing her best to help me which is something that I never had for six years while living in this place. It was the worst place that I lived.Rent is close to $1000 between that and my hydro. I pay way too much money…I’m out of groceries. I have problems with having to get food and because like I said before….because of my health, it’s not easy for me to walk to these places. I need to get more Ensure and protein foods. At the monent, my nurse is actually talking to me in trying to get me Loving Spoonful which is frozen meals being delivered to me because of my health, and because I am down now to 77 lbs. I have lost weight because of my illnesses and so now that I get to have a breather…I can get food put in which is a first in the past 6 years.

Stephen – Do you think your living situation negatively impacts your ability to receive effective treatment?

Grace – It’s hard enough as it is but knowing that I have all these other things, is even harder. And living where I live isn’t really too bad at the moment because I get picked up to go to doctors and clinics. And now finally, I’m going to getting housing…I’m on the waiting list which will make it even easier for me. I’m so grateful for that.

Stephen – Describe something that might help you that you can not find where you live or can not access?

Grace – I have Nurses, people to come pick me up, take me to my appointments to wherever I need to go…I do actually have someone to help me with some Food Bank.

Stephen – What public resources are you currently accessing?

Grace – Right at the moment, I go to Night Shift which is a really awesome place…they help me get my Status,  help get ID. I also come to Lookout when I can make my way down here for dinner. I actually just got my ID today, which is great to get my Status. Also go to SUMS, Jim Pattison hospital

Stephen – How does Hep C affect your life?

Grace – Like I said earlier, it’s tiresome. It’s hard on your liver, hard on your body, it makes you weak. Like I said, he could be between that and HIV.

Stephen – If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about your condition, what would it be?

Grace – Everything! I want to change. I would like to be healthy. I would want my total life reborn.

Don – Describe a usual day? What’s it like to cook? What’s it like to use the stairs?

Grace – A day in the life is like very hard for me at times. Sometimes I don’t even want to.gdt out of bed because of my health. I can’t do stairs, because I have a very, very hard time…because I have a walker. My nurse is trying to get me into new housing where I get complete support, elevators, everything…where they will hopefully be getting me a scooter to help me with my health. Food wise, cleaning my home…they are trying to get me support workers right now because of my health. I have missed so many appointments, so much food lineups,  because I can’t do it. Cooking in my own house isn’t probably the best but it’s having the money to cook, that’s the problem.

Don – But you can cook, you can chop onions?

Grace – I can cook, I’m a very good cook. I’m a very good cook actually. I went to HAVE cooking school. I graduated. Cooking that I can do, is having the money to get the food. And the propwr food, not just cheap, crap stuff, to the get proper nutritional foods is where you need the money desperately. Desperately need the money.

Don – So your life would be a lot better if you were in supportive housing, where you are paying $375 in rent

Grace – I just got told a month ago, I am next…Yes! I am next on the list for housing in the West End, Vancouver…supportive HIV housing, doctors, hospital just down the street..everything. I am so grateful. Sorry I’m going to cry because I am so happy. Because that’s what I need. For me to live where I am, is tough.

Don – So when you wake up in the morning, do you feel sick? Do you feel ill? Do you have any kind of stomach problems? Do you lack energy?

Grace – When I get up in the morning, it’s like almost like a drag sometimes. I don’t want to get up. I just want to lay there and sleep and stay in bed. To get into my tub, to get a bath, it’s a struggle. Some days, I just want to give up. But I know its not the way to do it. But that’s how I feel some days.I feel like saying.”Ok, that’s it! I quit! I give up!” Then there’s the good days…there’s actually some good days…I want to go “Hey! Let’s go do something! Let’s go to the park. Let’s go swimming! Let’s go do something fun!” But unfortunately at this moment, those are far and in between at the moment. Come down here…today…because of the weather,  because of the heat, and because my body is in so much pain, I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to come down. But I know I have to do this for other people as well. Not only for me but it needs to be out there to let people know.

Ron – You were saying that housing situation is overtaking your rent but the subisdy was helping you.

Grace – The subsidy was helping me…my worker said “Don’t come back for another cheque”. I haven’t been able to talk to her. I apologize for saying this but I feel like grabbing her and shaking her “Hey, do you know what its like? Do you want to know what it’s like?” Now I am right down to where I was before that. I’m back down to having nothing.

Stephen – Bet she doesn’t.

Grace – Yeah, she doesn’t know what its like. She doesn’t understand that people who are sick,  who have health problems need money to survive. I’m so grateful. The first time in six years I finally got a feeezer. I got a fridge. I finally got Ice Cream that doesn’t melt in a day.  I need my subsidy back. I desperately need it back until I get moved into my housing in the West End which we are hoping will be this year.

Stephen – If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about your present condition, what would that be?

Grace – I would go snap! I would change everything!  Complete circle back. I want my health. I want money. I want it all. I want it to be clean, healthy ..healthy

Stephen – What are some of your frustrations in accessing proper treatment? Cost factor? Time factor?

Grace – I can’t get proper treatment because of my health. Unfortunately because my body is failing. They won’t do no treatment for me which puts me in even a worse predicament. Its really hard to not have any kind of treatment right now. Because of my health, it makes me get sicker and sicker and sicker. For me to get any kind of help right now, would mean, everything is so screwed up.with my help inside and if I can find out from the hospital of what’s going on. I will be so much happier. If they can tell me what exactly is going on. I was just at the hospital last week having another EKG and my spleen, liver and kidneys diagnosis. So we will find out in the next couple of weeks. I’m hoping.

Don – Was this a reaction from your medication?

Grace – Its hard to take. Number one, it’s hard to take.  It’s hard to take medication. I don’t like pills. I just despise pills. I watched my sister die from taking pills. So I don’t like pills. Even though I know, they are good for me. I don’t like them. But I do what I can. I take my meds. My HIV meds. I don’t know what else I can do until they tell me that I can have Hep C (treatment) I’m sorry.

Don – When you wake up in the morning, how many pills do you have to take during the day?

Grace – Right now, four…which is everyday for the rest of my life. I just got off some other pills because of my lungs are going through a really hard time. My spleen is weak. It just sucks sometimes.

Don – Do you get support from friends and family to help to through the day?

Grace – I have great friends, really good friends. I do! I don’t have family. They’re all passed on. But I have really good friends, good help. If I go to Night Shift, my nurse comes to me. I have friends like him. If I didn’t have friends like them, I would be lost completely.

Stephen – Tell us about an everyday day?

Grace – Everyday is different for me.

Stephen – So you dont have any routines?

Grace – I used to have routines when I was healthy. I used to be able to get up and go. Go to coffee. Go to breakfast. Go to lunch. But just to even walk some days, is too much. So my daily thing is going from my home to the library and getting on Facebook.

Stephen – Pretty much mine too!

Grace – Facebook is my number one. I have friends and World out there. I have my family in Africa. I have kids and I have friends all over. My daughter, my children, grandchildren. I’m blessed in that way. I’m grateful to Facebook.

Stephen – Do you have access to good, healthy food and drink?

Grace – Oh My God! No!! No!!!! I don’t. If you give money every month, fill my fridge. I was blessed this last winter..actually filled my fridge and filled my cupboards. I was like Woah!!! I never had my fridge full…or my cupboards. When you get food from the food bank, it lasts you two days if you’re lucky. What I have to do to eat..is that I make rice and mushroom soup. That’s my biggest thing.

Stephen – How has your life changed since your Hep C diagnosis?

Grace – Depressing. It gets depressing. Actually I see the guy who gave it to me quite a bit. And him and I are still very close friends. I have to be honest ..I feel really sad because he is so ..he is so skinny. Bones, so sick looking. Oh my gosh. I feel for him. Even though he went through the treatment, he’s now…I don’t know what happened to him but he’s skin and bones. Oh! I feel like I don’t want to be like him. I’m scared I am going to look like that. I don’t want to. That’s one of my fears.

Stephen – If you had one question to ask BC Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Hep C treatment, what would that be?

Grace – Can I have a shot? Can I have just one shot for the rest of my life? That would be it.

Stephen – Just like One Bam cure?!

Grace – Yeah! I don’t want pills. I don’t want all that. I don’t want to have to go in for shots every week or every month. Could I please just have one? And be over with it.  That would be the biggest thing. Dammit..get people healthy.

Stephen – Do you have any final thoughts on Hep C? Any words of Advice for those who also might be struggling with Hepatitis C?

Grace – Get treated right away! Take your medication if you have to have meds. Do your best to stay healthy. Stay in touch with good people. Healthy people. Do your best to stay and keep food in your body. I have to thank the Lord because that’s who I go to…that’s my savior. My friends and neighbours, nice people like that are also everything to me. If I didn’t have all them, I would have nothing. Life sucks somedays. And I’m really getting tired of being tired. I just want a better life. I want to get healthy.

Stephen – Thanks Grace! You are a wonderful woman.

Grace – Thank You!

Stephen – You just heard a lot from Grace. As you can see, she is a very strong woman and has been through a lot and I think she has a lot of insight for…I especially like her advice st the end there. Thanks for doing this Grace!!!

Danny and Cherie on Hep C May 8 2018

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment
In response to an invitation to contribute to a blog post for Pacific Hepatitis C Network, a member of Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) in Surrey was interviewed regarding experiences within the health care system.

Cherie of Surrey, who found out she had Hep C 15 years ago, has a lot of questions about what services are available for her. She is in a relationship with an non-infected person, and knows how hard it is on a relationship when one person receives a Hep-C diagnosis. In fact, this is how she originally contracted the disease. Although she has stable housing for the past 4 months, she still finds it very difficult to stabilize her life and find the time to get the treatment she needs.

Danny, Vice President of  Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) interviewed his good friend Cherie on her Hep C infection.

Please scroll down to read full transcript of the video!

 


Danny – Hi! I’m Danny. I’m with Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services here in Surrey. And today we are talking about experiences accessing health care and specifically accessing health care for Hepatitis C. We are sitting with Cherie who will be sharing her story with us today. Cherie, how are you?

Cherie – I’m good.

Danny – Please tell us something about you and what city you live in?

Cherie – I’m from Surrey. I’ve had Hep C now for 15 years. 10-15 years. I work at a job, trying to better my life.

Danny – What is it like living with Hep C?

Cherie – It’s hard…I don’t think most of my friends know that I have it but just for the simple fact that I found out that a lot of people are judgmental. They say that it doesn’t bother them but in all actuality they don’t invite you over as much, they just act different around you. I choose not to tell people.

Danny – What are some of the issues you are facing?

Cherie – My current relationship, my partner doesn’t have Hep C…a lot of times it gets to be really tough in our relationship because he brings it up a lot. And he is always bugging me about going to get treatment. And that is another issue, I just got into a place…I’ve been there three and a half months now. So now my doctors are finally talking to me again doing the treatment.

Danny – So your partner doesn’t have Hep C, that is something you are always aware of.

Cherie – Yeah he…

Danny – Conflict plays on your mind?

Cherie – Yeah, he throws it in my face…we fight

Danny – Yes, goes to question self worth

Cherie – Yeah

Danny – What are services you could use but aren’t receiving?

Cherie – Oh God…I actually don’t know what a lot of the services are available?  I’m still finding out things that I can access. I’m on Methadone…the clinic that I got to…my doctor has set it up so a liver specialist comes in to get the process going for treatment. So she has kind of incorporated it into one clini

Danny – Sounds like your doctor is very pro services, pro patient

Cherie – Yeah, she cares about her patients

Danny – You said at the very beginning, how long ago you were diagnosed, like 10-15 years

Cherie – Between 10-15 years

Danny – What prompted you to get diagnosis?

Cherie – I had a feeling in my gut. I had a feeling in my gut that I had it. Because my partner at the time, told me he had Hep C. I used needles back then. I was someone who waa very very careful when I used needles. I only used needles one time. I tried to dispose of them properly where my partner he wasn’t so careful. I was actually in a recovery house. And I hadnt got my methadone for a long period of time…finally the director..on day 7 of no methadone…I was having seizures. It was really hard. So the director with trying to get my methadone back on track.

She allowed me to go get a point of heroin but I didn’t have any new rigs. Then I thought the ones I had in my bag were only mine. I didn’t know that my partner had put some of his in there.

Danny – So a simple mistake

Cherie – And it was the one and only time where I used a rig more than once. But I didn’t know his were in there. And I went to the doctor right away. I told him what had happened. So they tested me and I came back positive.

Danny – So are you working with your doctor receiving treatment currently?

Cherie – I’m not currently on the treatment. i’ve started the process with the liver specialist. I have to go for an echo of your liver. They do it with sound. They map out your liver. It is supposed to show how much damage in the liver…what stage you are at.

Danny – What is the main reason you started to access treatment?

Cherie – Originally when I first got Hep C, I was under the false impression that people…it starts doing damage right away…so I was showing symptoms right away…it was affecting me pretty badly. So I was eligible for treatment 6 months after I was diagnosed but because of my living situation at the time plus I was eligble for a Pegatron…I had friends who were on it. I saw how horrible it was and the hell they went through with it. I was kind of scared to do the treatment…I was told I would have to do it for a year.

Danny- So you were actually eligible for treatment long time ago but you were scared because you had friends that you’ve seen what they went through…they went through with negative results?

Cherie – They got really sick..that’s what got me  back into treatment because of the new cures, new treatments and the success rates that come with them

Danny – If you could describe some reason of the best or worst interactions with the health care system that you have had related to your search for Hep C treatment?

Cherie – I get shut out of a lot…when I first started looking…I shut out of a lot of places…they wouldn’t even talk to me about it …”Oh…we have to get back to you”. Not having a phone…it’s hard having somebody contact you about things when you don’t have any way for them to get a hold of you.

Danny – What is your current living situation?

Cherie – I just got into a place. I’ve been there for 3.5 months and it seems to be stable.

Danny – Do you think your living situation impacts your ability to receive services or effective treatment?

Cherie – Yeah…when you don’t have a place to live to be stable for anything

Danny – Right

Cherie – I had a hard time keeping appointments…that’s one thing that’s a definite must ..you got to keep your appointments

Danny – Exactly

Danny – Describe something that might help you that you can not find where you live, or can not access?

Cherie – Better services…I know that there is Positive Haven which has the Hep C food bank but if they had something like that but on a bigger scale maybe or more services available. Counseling because it is hard and I have depression. I have depression for a lot of reasons but that is one of them. It does affect me a great deal.

Danny – So you having trouble finding public resources to access? Are you accessing some of those resources now?

Cherie – I’m a member of Positive Haven. I do access their Food Bank. In terms of counseling…I don’t know a lot of..

Danny – You don’t know where to go? So maybe you work with your doctor to get..

Cherie – zyep

Danny – Starting up

Danny – How about describing some of the ways Hep C affects your life?

Cherie – I’m a lot more careful. I think things through a lot  . .just for the simple fact I don’t want someone else to get infected…even just cooking…cooking meals for other people… I have to be really careful I don’t cut myself because I could contaminate the food with my blood. I’m really, really careful with that..I had training to become a chef years ago. I quit because of my Hep C but now that there’s treatment for it, I might be able to do that once again.

Danny – If you could snap your fingers what would you change about your present condition?

Cherie – I would back and think twice before using that rig again

Danny – good honest answer, I think I would too.

Danny – What is missing in your treatment? What are missing support services?

Cherie – Welfare…I am on level one disability ..multiple barriers…and you don’t get a whole lot. I’m supposed to be getting a high protein diet allowance. It’s $40 which really doesn’t amount to much at the end of the day. My rent is $480 and then I got to buy my food and stuff on too of that. So I mean it’s not a whole lot of money. My diet is lacking. The Hep C food bank is great but you don’t get a whole lot. You get enough for a few days and that’s it. So many if there were more resources, that would be awesome.

Danny – So some of the frustrations in accessing treatment, what would they be?

Cherie – Just what’s available…knowing what’s available. I don’t even know if there is a list out there of what is available.

Danny – The time it takes to access services maybe?

Cherie – That too. Just limited. There are more services for guys than there are for girls.

Danny – Really? That’s interesting

Cherie – That’s the thing I noticed. Usually more for the guys than there is for the girls. The girls are more kept to themselves so..

Danny – You would think that women are more on top of their own treatment…or on top of their own physical well being

Cherie – I don’t know if that’s it or if it’s just…

Danny – Or is it geared towards guys?

Cherie – There’s more guys that have it I think. Women don’t really talk much about it because they get pushed down.

Danny – Ostracized?

Cherie – They get shut out…They get cut out all the time when they are in groups. And that happens in a lot of things with women.

Danny – Do you have friends and family you can talk to?

Cherie – I’m not really talking to my mom. Both my kids know that I have it. I’m very open with my kids…its for their safety too. They have the education that they need. Both my kids are negative so I’m lucky in that sense.

Danny – Do they encourage you to go find treatment?

Cherie – yep

Danny – Awesome…that’s great

Danny – So describe a day in your life Cherie?

Cherie – Pretty much… I get up everyday. I try to eat…I don’t have three meals a day…I eat six smaller meals a day. Just because it spreads my energy out better. Because I know my energy level is way down

Danny – Are you currently taking any medicine for Hepatitis C?

Cherie – Right now, no..I am just starting the process again so

Danny – So the doctor haven’t prescribed actually anything …your liver function’s low?

Cherie – Yeah no….she gives me iron supplements for my iron intake because my iron intake isn’t really that great. She gives me some other vitamins and stuff like that.That’s pretty much all she can do right now.

Danny – Out of the six meals you eat a day, are you eating healthy food and healthy drinks? Di you have access to good healthy foods?

Cherie – My partner tries to bring home as much as he can too…he’s good that way. I mean if it was just me, it would be difficult.

Danny – so you are a potato chip kind of girl?

Cherie – I love my junk food. Heehee!

Danny – heeheehee

Cherie – I think the last time I went to.the grocery store, I ended up buying a bucket of ice cream and cake! Haha! I brought that home because he has brought home fruits, vegetables and meat the day before. So I thought I’d bring home dessert!

Danny – It’s good to have somebody take care of the good parts

Danny – How has your life changed since your Hep C diagnosis?

Cherie – I’m a lot more careful around other people. I’m more courteous, more cautious. It’s hard.

Danny – If you had one question to ask BC Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau about Hep C Treatment, what would it be?

Cherie – Why isn’t everybody eligible for it?

Danny – Bingo! Good Question!

Danny – Do you have any final thoughts on Hep C? Any words of advice?

Cherie – Just be really careful with the people around you. Being aware of they have it. Being aware of the choices that you make.

Danny – Cherie, Thank you very much. That’s a lot of thoughtful insight on the answers that you gave us today. Very happy you shared with us all the stuff you shared with us today. Thanks for coming.

Danny – I’m the Vice President of Diverse Organization Providing Education and  Regional Services and I would like to say that are listening or watching this. Hepatitis C is a very real debilitating disease and it really needs to be addressed both at Provincial level and the lowest level, so that everybody that needs access to these services and the resources need to be provided to every individual that is living with Hepatitis C. Thank you very much!

 

Lorretta and Doug on Hep C May 8 2018

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment
In response to an invitation to contribute to a blog post for Pacific Hepatitis C Network, a member of Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services (DOPERS) in Langley was interviewed regarding experiences within the health care system.

Doug of Langley is Hepatitis C positive for 23 years and is no longer able to work. A single father with heart problems, he has sought Hep C treatment and does not know why he is ineligible. He regrets some behavior in his youth that led to his infection and has a strong plea to others to be careful and be mindful of the risks that can have such serious consequences.

Lorretta interviewed her best friend Doug on his Hep C infection.

Please scroll down to read full transcript of the video!

 


Lorretta – Hi! My name is Lorretta. I’m with Diverse Organization Providing Education and Regional Services here in Langley.  Today we are talking about experiences in accessing health care specifically accessing health care for Hep C. We are sitting here with Doug who will be sharing his story with us today. Doug, how are you?

Doug – Pretty Good.

Lorretta – Please tell us something about you and what city you live in?

Doug – I’m an ex construction worker for now. I’m living in Aldegrove BC and single dad.

Lorretta – What is it like living with Hep C?

Doug – The first few years, you don’t really notice it. I’ve had it for probably going on close to 15 – 20 years now. I didn’t seek treatment but nowadays getting tired, fatigued, hard to get up in the morning. For the most part it’s alright…it has its downswings where you don’t want to move and you have no energy. Then you be right back up again.

Lorretta – What are some of the issues you are facing?

Doug – Not being able to work. I’m being told now that my heart ..got heart problems…that I might need heart surgery. I went to go see an infections specialist doctor about the Hep C medication. But I was turned down and given no reason at all why. Except they were sending me to a specialist in Vancouver and that was in January. I haven’t heard nothing since.

Lorretta – What services could you use but aren’t receiving?

Doug – Well services to get my Hep C medication would be a start. Trying to stick around as long as I can for my daughter. Outside of that, pretty well clean now. I haven’t been using for years. Being a good dad has been my main objective. I figure the Hep C, get that taken care of before my heart gets even worse.

Lorretta – How long ago were you diagnosed and what promoted you to get a diagnosis?

Doug – I think it was 1995ish…somewhere between 95-98 back in Surrey Pre Trial. It was just a medical thing. In jail you get everything checked out.

Lorretta – Have you received or receiving any treatment currently?

Doug – No, I am trying to get treatment for my Hep C.

Lorretta – What is the main reason you stopped, started, delayed treatment?

Doug – I never did stop since I’ve been trying from one doctor to another doctor to infection disease specialist who told me the first time I apply should be no problem..I promised I’d take every pill …90 days it should be taken care of. And then I got a phone call, they turned down your application for the Hep C medication. We’re sending you to a Vancouver doctor and never called back.

Lorretta – Describe some of the best or worst interactions with the health care system that you have had related to your search for Hep C treatment?

Doug – This is the first time, I have gone for Hep C treatment. My daughter’s got me changing a lot of things in my life so…

Lorretta – What is your current living situation? Are you homeless?  Are you in Social Housing? Do you have problems?

Doug – Nope besides having a couple of annoying roommates. I have a pretty good place. I’ve been there for two years. They got their issues they’re working on. They’re trying to follow suit…where I live is not an issue.

Lorretta – Do you think your living situation negatively impacts your ability to receive effective treatment?

Doug – No, what they do is what they do.That’s their thing. Me and my daughter…they respect. Nope they don’t impact me at all. They do their own thing.

Lorretta – Describe something that might help you that you can not find where you live, or can not access? Treatment?

Doug – Well Treatment for the Hep C.

Lorretta – Doctors?

Doug – I’ve gone to doctors, tried that. Gone to three.

Lorretta – What public resources are you currently accessing?

Doug – I’m not…I used to back when I was coming off the streets…Stepping Stones…there is another over here which is a derivative of Stepping Stones … Fraser Holland was the first guy when I first started getting my act together was through him. He was the one who got through to me. And he’s still involved in the community but no, now I’m on disability and because of the heart problems and health problems…I haven’t been able to leave the house very much at all.

Lorretta – Describe some of the ways Hep C affects your life?

Doug – Well I never used to have to take naps all the time. My liver is swelling. I get pain underneath my right rib. The doctors are telling me to back for a blood test, go back for a blood test. I’m getting a rash from itching…because when your liver starts to fail…you get a …that’s going away. I’ve been living like a bunk with the food, the nutrients, no fat, no salt. I’m barely keeping up with it. I can’t play with my doctor for more than an hour. She wants to go do things…I wear right out. It’s just frustrating. I’m trying to be a better dad, the health aspect taking a lot out of that.

Lorretta – If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about your present condition what would it be?

Doug – My Health. I want to be back at work. I want to be out there and socialize. Being a good dad…doing stuff with my daughter that doesn’t involve a TV screen or computer screen.

Lorretta – What is missing in your treatment? What are missing support services?

Doug – I don’t know, that’s why I am here. Hopefully we can figure that out. I need treatment for my Hep C. There has to be some organization. I don’t see Pharmacare being able to say No and not give you a reason and shut down your file. It doesn’t make sense to me. There’s got to be something out there.

Lorretta – What are some of your frustrations in accessing proper treatment? Cost factor? Time Factor? Lack of Medical Supports?

Doug – Cost factor’s not, Time factor’s not…I never had to have Medical Support…getting to the doctor three, four, five times a week is like climbing Mount Everest with the breathing problems. I got to stop a block at a time to catch my breath, walk another block, stop.. That’s the only frustration I have.. Always failing, fainting again…I don’t want to do that anymore.  So I can’t hurry to my appointment so I have to leave an hour beforehand just to make sure I’m there on time.

Lorretta – Do you have friends, family you can talk to while going through this?

Doug – Oh they know. They’ve had problems with Pharmacare and Doctors before. They accept it as a general norm.

Lorretta – Describe a day in your life? Does it include taking your medicine?

Doug – Everyday I take my heart medicine. One pill a day until they figure out what’s going on.

Lorretta – Do you have access to good healthy food and drink?

Doug -Yes definitely

Lorretta – How has your life changed since your Hep C diagnosis?

Doug – I was reckless when I was younger. Until I figure out I want to do something about it. It just surprised me that some people that are still using on the streets doing crime are getting the Hep C medication and here I’m trying to be a dad…my mom is hearing impaired. I’m interpreting for half my family. And I’m clean. I haven’t been in jail for like nine years and they turn me down. Just don’t get it.

Lorretta – If you had one question to ask BC Premier Horgan or Prime Minister Trudeau about Hep C treatment, what would it be?

Doug – Something along the lines…I don’t have anything against people because their situation in getting the medication but if medication are being handed out, then why are people like Fathers, people who are getting their lives together being disapproved while other people who are wrecking their lives and choose to do so are getting the medication. I don’t get it. People are ODing. I know of a couple of people…I’m not at liberty to say names but it’s just really frustrating…for the first time I go to get treatment…I get shot down. I looked it up online. For the amount of cost by not giving people their Hep C medication…the after effects when you get Liver Cirrhois costs the health care system way more in Liver transplants…it just seems to be something that by putting it off another time. A lot of people who should be getting their Hep C medication don’t have to go to right to the point of liver failure before they are accepted for medication. Which apparently is the case today. That’s got to be cleared up if possible.

Lorretta – Do you have any final thoughts on Hep C? Any words of advice?

Doug – It sucks…don’t get it. It tires you right out and then trying to get treatment. I would have moved to Alberta right now, just because if I stayed there for a year, I could get them to cover it…I don’t want to have to leave my daughter to do that. It’s really been tough. I don’t want to have to move to another Province.

Don – What were they saying to you to not give your medication?

Doug – They wouldn’t give me one. They said it was denied. They’ll be sending you to a specialist in Vancouver. I called two months later to try to follow up and this guy hasn’t called me. And they say they don’t know what to tell me. Just sit and wait.

Don – So you’re just on a waiting list then

Doug – Supposedly…it’s been about 6 months now. At least a phone call of who the doctor might be? Or maybe why they turned it down, would be nice?  I was on Methadone years ago…it keeps popping up on my medication list. The doctors still ask me if I am on Methadone, I have to correct them. So maybe if you are still on Methadone, they don’t give it to you. Maybe…I don’t know. Just like to.figure it out. It’d be nice if they have me an answer. Straightforward answers work out a lot better.

Don – Have you tried emailing the Health Authority or anything like that?

Doug – I didn’t want to cause a stir without having someone actually behind me knowing what they are doing?  Because I don’t want to screw it up a second time…I really want to get that. I like the time with my daughter. I have two older kids that I wasn’t there for. It’s catching up with me.  I’m realizing that the time with your kids is priceless…so I’m trying to do the best that I can for my 9 year old girl…the rewards ..I’d like to continue….get as many years as I can with her. She’s my little Angel. That’s why I am here…msybe seek a little direction. Maybe get a phone call in a couple of weeks or something. Go from there.

Lorretta –  Well here are our questions about Hep C. Thank you Doug for being with us.

Doug – Thank you! This is stuff I wanted to get off my chest anyways. I still keep my hopes high.

Lorretta – Exactly…got to keep trying.

Doug – I think of her and I can’t help it.

Lorretta – Thanks Doug for this.

Doug – No problem

Lorretta – I really appreciate this.

Doug – It’s been a while

Lorretta – You are my best friend…of course I am going to do everything I can to help you.