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Nov 10, 2010
by: Martha Jette

I am sitting here in tears as I recall my own mother's battle with cancer. Even more than 40 years later, it still hurts to the core.
As I read your article, the tears continued to flow as I know what a horribly difficult time it is when a loved one is suffering so much. I was happy, however, to read that lots of people came to see your mother in hopes of brightening her day even just a little. God bless you for being so good to your mom. I was only 19 when my adopted mother passed on and as such, could not do much.
About your father's behavior - men have add ways of dealing with their fears and grief. While women are much more open about how they feel, men keep things inside for fear of seeming weak. My father was the same way. In all the years I spent at home, I only saw him break down once - when mom had to be put in a mental hospital for a few months. The cancer was affecting her brain.
While your dad may have said he did not want her back home, I believe it is likely that he could not stand to see her suffer. The 'shrine' he built is a big sign that he loved her very much.

Sep 09, 2010
The Need For Change
by: Jessie Gogan

When reading this article, I felt like I was in that room at the end of the hall. It was moving, and it was also sad. Unfortunately, it is also the reality of healthcare today. The one thing I would like to add is that I am hoping for change through the genuine empathy and heart of Dr. Jeffery Turnbull, the new president of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Turnbull was the doctor who followed my father, with compassion and respect, in the last few years of his life. My father was homeless and an incurable alcoholic. He stayed at the Managed Alcohol Program in the Shepherds of Good Hope downtown. Dr. Turnbull always referred to my father as "Mr. Gogan", unlike so many others who had the inability to see that human suffering takes many forms. When my father need to be in palliative care, but still required some alcohol, Dr. Turnbull moved him to that unit at The Ottawa Mission. Dr. Turnbull, although an extremely busy professional with numerous demands from the Ottawa Hospital, devotes much of his time to individuals who have become homeless and lacking in hope. He knows the majority of the downtown homeless population by name and treats them as any human should be treated. He does not judge. When I read recently of his new appointment, I was filled with emotion. He stated that although his new position will keep him busy, he will never stop treating and working with Ottawa's most chronic homeless individuals. He cares. I thanked him for his compassion with my father and I thank him now for continuing to be what so many others have either forgotten or turned away from. Cheryl, I wish your mother could have received this kind of respect and care from the doctors who were "treating" her. I am glad she had the loving care of the many nurses and visitors that were in the hospital. I pray that Dr. Turnbull will be an agent of change in a system that is not only not working, it is unkind, unfair and mean.

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