📣 Lambton County Doctor Shortage: Our Stories Matter! 🌍

📣 Lambton County Doctor Shortage: Our Stories Matter! 🌍

Hello, fellow residents of Lambton County! I want to take a moment to share my personal journey and shed light on the pressing issue of the doctor shortage in our community. This post is dedicated to the Lambton County Doctor Shortage Facebook group, a safe space for all of us to share our experiences and discuss how this shortage impacts our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

I became a mother at a young age and faced reproductive health issues by the time I turned 26. Multiple surgeries and a partial hysterectomy followed, and the strain took a toll on my marriage, leading to a breakdown. At that vulnerable moment, I experienced a life-altering event that landed me at Saint Joseph Hospital in Sarnia, Ontario. During my six-week stay, I found solace in helping others, running activities, and imparting life skills. It felt like home, but not as a patient – I embraced a sense of purpose and connection.

Amidst the turmoil, a family member suggested I might be bipolar, which led me to seek professional help. With a diagnosis in hand, I trusted the guidance of  the psychiatrist who originated from his residency at the Sarnia Jail. However, the journey was anything but smooth. I endured almost 20 surgeries, most of them related to my reproductive rights, all performed by male doctors. Looking back, I realize that my illnesses might not have been as severe as I initially believed. The lack of accessible information and education within our community left me feeling lost and without proper guidance.

As I battled my mental health and the stigma associated with bipolar disorder, I found myself caught in the grips of addiction. Fentanyl became a part of my life, prescribed to me at 100 MCGs for endometriosis. The struggle to find effective medications for my mental health “condition” was disheartening, leading to a spiral of addiction. However, I made a decision to change my life, sought treatment, and have been fentanyl-free for 11 years.

Taking control of my medical journey, I have discovered a new path. Recent insights on autism in women in their 40s have led me to question my bipolar diagnosis. Armed with self-advocacy and education, I sought other opinions from more up-to-date psychiatrists. Approximately 12 years ago, they shared their belief that I am “on the spectrum”, not the "bipolar spectrum." It took me a decade to fully understand and embrace the implications of this diagnosis, further validating my belief that I have autism and that I have endured years of taking hundreds of medications and having unnecessary surgeries. I was a victim of abuse who was blaming themself for their trauma and looking for reasons. I was simply a vocal individual about morals, in a demographic that was only doing harm, so I was defeated

In this process of self-discovery, I have come to recognize the vast reliance our community places on doctors due to the lack of accessible education and resources. It is crucial that we address these shortcomings. We need 24-hour on-call psychiatric care, with doctors available to provide immediate assistance. Additionally, having doctors available around the clock to prescribe methadone is essential for those seeking treatment for addiction, due to help only being successful when it is time sensitive for opiate addiction, which our streets are grappled with. Currently, there is no system in place to support this crucial aspect of recovery. Furthermore, we must prioritize the establishment of a safe consumption site to address the unregistered cases of Syphilis within the homeless community. The lack of healthcare access for this vulnerable population is a pressing concern that demands our attention. 

During my own journey, I have witnessed the challenges faced by my homeless sister, as well as my mother, father, and grandfather during their palliative care. It is evident that burnout and time constraints often hinder the quality of care provided. We must strive for improvements, whether through expanding our healthcare facilities or implementing measures to alleviate the strain on our healthcare professionals.

I invite you all to join me in sharing your stories and experiences on the Lambton County Doctor Shortage Facebook group. Together, let us shed light on the urgent need for comprehensive healthcare resources, advocate for change, and work towards creating a community where everyone has access to quality care.

Please sign Marilyn's petition to bring more doctors to Sarnia Lambton. Marilyn has been working tirelessly to bring her wonderful idea to life, and I am extremely proud to call her my new friend, knowing how much work it takes to care about a community like this. Together, let's make a difference and ensure that everyone in our community has access to the quality healthcare they deserve. Sign the petition today and show your support for bringing more doctors to Sarnia Lambton!

#SarniaLambtonDoctors #PetitionForChange #LambtonCountyDoctorShortage #OurStoriesMatter #AdvocatingForChange
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