September 21-23, 2021
Austin Convention Center | Austin, TX
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The Leaflet Article

Featured Article:

I Need to Write

Sari Raber, MD CCFP, Kilala Lelum Health Centre

I need to write 
I need to write but I don't know what to say
To explain what has been building within me 
Building inside
Since I was encouraged to just re-apply, to medical school, and then I got in, off the waiting list
Since the start of clinical rotations, when I was reading Gabor Mate's in The Realm of Hungry Ghosts
But then had to stop, because it became too much
Too real 
Too real, after I had my first experience inside of someone’s home in an SRO 
Flash backs to travel experiences of being in a poor country. Not a country like Canada, or so I thought.
How can we even call Canada a first world country when such disparity exists?
How is it that just one street separates east Hastings from Gas Town? 
The rich from the poor, so close together yet so far apart?
How do we not see, the fact this disparity exists, as a problem?
Is it because we turn away?
Is it because it’s too hard to see?
Is it because it hurts too much?
That’s not even a taste of the suffering that people are living and surviving and overcoming in the neighbourhood 
I’ve been hurting since I realized the life I was born into was not the same as every other person that I grew up beside on this land
On the traditional unceded homelands of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Musqueam, and Selilweta/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) People
I am an uninvited guest here
And the least I can do is try my best to keep learning
To honour the earth
To hold up my neighbours
To have a positive impact 
To leave the world a little better than it was
I’ve been hurting as I try to fight off this “burnout” as they call it
But I am grateful for my tears that come and the anger that follows 
I am grateful
And as these stories, I witness, relive in my mind and spill over into my dreams and nightmares
I am grateful 
As I am starting to see more clearly
Starting to see how the stories all align 
Starting to see, how really we are all one
What we all want is the same
To feel loved
To have a safe home
To not feel hunger
To not suffer
And to not get covid-19
And despite what you might think it is like being a doctor during a pandemic
I’m actually feeling less burnout now than I did 6 months ago
I’m actually feeling more hopeful
And I am trying to see the positives each day 
Naming them as “pandemic pleasures”
Because grief and joy are often side by side
As my dear friend reminds me, as she had a stroke and a newborn in the same week
And I hope that now the world is ready to listen more than ever before 
And take action to create positive, lasting change
To make our world a better place, for everyon
Because we ALL deserve that
Especially for those struggling with addiction, without enough money to buy food, without a safe place to sleep at night 
Especially for those who have already survived residential school or the 60s scoop
Who have already proven their resiliency more than once in their lives and yet again will have to prove it now
This pandemic is real. 
And for many people it is still not their greatest health challenge, it is just an additional one.

 

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