Friday, September 23, 2022

Acceptance During a Bad Time

The disgustingly handsome men who felled my front yard trees last Spring were back yesterday. They came to give David, next door, an estimate for felling several trees on his property where he’ll be building his yurt. I went over to ask them about downing a huge tree on the land, newly revealed to belong to me. It’s going to allow much, much more sunlight into my yard—especially in Winter and Spring. And the trees David is taking down is going to allow much more sunlight into my edible garden. I’m very excited about all this work to lighten up my backyard. The tree I have felled will become firewood.

Two weeks ago, Nancy called a meeting of doctor search committee for 5:00 PM yesterday. We were to be twelve people meeting. At 2:00, I got a call from Nancy saying that veryone had cancelled except me, so she and I met at 3:00 and worked until 5:15. As a result of our meeting, there is an enormous amount of work to do. I must change our website, adding a lot of text material, and making three short films. I must write all the many ads we’re going to run, write a letter for the board to send to our members, plus I’ve to do even more research on advertising opportunities. 

Also, I’m going to the board meeting on Wednesday, representing our committee and seeking the board’s permission to offer a signing bonus. I’ve also many other meetings to attend, and lots of emails to write to other board members. The board president has called our committee’s work the Foundation’s primary concern. Getting a doctor is the most important thing that the Foundation is doing. So, we have a healthy budget.

At one point, I suggested to Nancy that we charge other absent committee members to do some of the research, but they seem to act more as consultants. They don’t actually do things. I think that I’m Nancy’s only worker bee. Asking me to represent us at the board meeting has had one mighty impact on me. I feel trusted and valued.  

I’ve gone from being someone who answered an ad for volunteers, a blank slate, to co-pilot of the committee charged with the #1 objective of the Foundation. And I didn’t fuck anybody to get here. It’s particularly meaningful coming from the two most outstanding board members I met at the orientation meeting for new volunteers. I had no idea that they would become my way in. 

Dyan was a deputy minister for three different provincial ministries. Her last position was as Deputy Minister of Health. I cannot remember what Nancy’s title was, but she oversaw the rural practices division of the Alberta health ministry. That’s why they stood out in the meeting. Between them, they are the Foundation’s executive director. I was gob-smacked by the luck of the Foundation to to have these people as leaders of the Foundation.

In me, they are getting a new voice. I am part of the incoming president’s new team. But more than writing, I am providing strategy. I think that I’m going to the meeting because Nancy knows that I am partial to the idea of a bonus. I suggested it, and now I’m getting a chance to advocate for it. All this impresses me. I have a growing list of reasons for deeply respecting the Foundation.

When Nancy said that our job was to get us doctors, I corrected her. I said that our job was to do the smartest things we could, within budget, to secure doctors. We were to do a job that we’re proud of. Securing doctors is one way, a marvellous way, for our campaign to be successful.  But to execute a thoughtful strategic campaign with excellent copy is another way to make our campaign successful. I don’t want to feel like a failure if we don’t get a doctor. 

We’re going to do a lot of advertising. It can’t go on forever. Or can it? I don’t know. But logic tells me if all we do provokes no doctor, we must change strategy. I’m going to document all we do so that, at any time, we can answer the question: What have you done so far? What we’re doing, is an advertising campaign in medical trade journals across Canada and in some foreign countries. And we’re taking over the website developed by the consultant who precedes my becoming part of this committee. We’re going to make considerable changes to it. All the advertising drives people to our Be Our Doctor website.

The response, so far, to the idea of a signing bonus, as part of our campaign, has been wonderful! Seeing it as an agenda item for the upcoming board meeting on Wednesday makes me proud to know that I have a voice here. Yes or no, my question has been welcomed.

I wrote a while back that I didn’t know if I’d choose to be a board member or not. I truly had reservations. My speech, right now, is the worst it’s been in a long, long time. I become a grotesque and feel inside like I’m the elephant man. I grimace, my arms and hands loc; my symptoms are flaring. But my new colleagues like how I write, and my ideas. They like my brain.

My speech is not something I want to impose on anyone. I talked on Skype with Dianne last night. Life doesn’t make me cry much; movies make me cry. The death of a pet eviscerates me. But to see how happy Dianne was for the plans we have for her visit made me cry.

The theme here, is acceptance. I cannot remember ever feeling so grateful for it in my life. My symptoms, right now, limit my contribution significantly. But having friends who stick with me is real friendship. And my welcome into the Foundation means a great deal to me too!

My current poor speech, this phase, will pass. I know that. I can say that, but I don’t believe it. I hope it will pass, and it usually does. But I can’t know, and so I worry.  I’m making a list of telephone calls I hope someone will come over and make with me. I need help with Telus, my bank, and a speech therapist. I’m going to write out my problem for each of the three, for a friend to read. Then my friend can speak for me, the written answers that I give to their questions. 

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