Hello,My name is Steve Long. My family and I suffered through an awful event at the Gatineau hospital this weekend past and I believe there is a story within that needs to be told.My father-in-law, John Gervais, is 77 years old. He has been married to Iris, the love of his life, for over 50 years.He has raised four children, one of whom has passed away, and has lived in Aylmer Quebec for over 35 years. He isa twenty year veteran of the Royal Canadian navy and has been living in active retirement for over ten years.About two months ago he began to feel ill. His appetite waned, his strength flagged. He lost weight and his back began to scream at him constantly, making it impossible to get comfortable while trying to sleep. He found himself spending more and more time in his easy chair, twisting and turning in an effort to find positions that allowed him afew moments of pain-free comfort. He lost weight at an alarming rate. His local doctor sent him for batteries of tests, exams, scans, x-rays...eventually a spot was discovered on his lung. More tests were called for but his strengthwas fading fast and last Wednesday, the 9th, Iris decided that he needed to go to the emergency. An ambulance wascalled and we quickly found ourselves in the Gatineau hospital, emergency ward.More tests, more doctors.On Thursday night we got the news that all indicators pointed to lung cancer. A biopsy was scheduled. Still, hisvitals were strong, oxygen saturation levels high. His pain and weakness and disorientation confused the lungspecialist who called in a neurologist. A new diagnosis was presented that explained his failing strength. Evidently,the antibodies that his body was producing to fight the cancer were playing absolute havoc with his nervous systemand all of the side effects that we were seeing were likely caused by the strain on his nervous system. Still heweakened.On Saturday night John was still in the emergency ward, being tended to by his frightened wife and two daughters. Not only had they all just been given the terrible news of cancer, they were now witness to a once strong and proudman slipping into a state of total dependence. Mr. Gervais could barely speak, he couldn't stand on his own and hecouldn't swallow without having his throat close up. His back still roared with pain whenever the prescribedmorphine wore off, about every three hours.At around 20:00 hrs he told his wife that he needed to use the washroom. He was too weak to stand on his own. Iriswent over to find an orderly willing to help out. She found Martin, a young man tidily dressed in bright whitescrubs and even brighter running shoes. She asked if he could come help her husband. He said he would. Tenminutes passed and, knowing that hospitals are very busy, Mrs. Gervais and her daughters waited as patiently asthey could. Mr Gervais was holding on but he was struggling. They found Martin again and he agreed to comeright away. If only he hadn't.
When he got to Mr. Gervais he asked in a loud enquiring voice "PEE?", "Poo?”.
Mr. Gervais was unable to voicehis needs fast enough, it seems. Louder and more insistent..."PEE?! or POO?!". No tact, no compassion, just louddemands of a proud man. His wife, sensing his embarrassment told the orderly, "He just needs the commode.Please help him to the commode." Martin, not interested in listening, reached over to my father-in-law to lift himfrom the bed and while doing so he jostled a bedside tray and he spilled either a small amount of water or apple juiceon to his shoe, his bright white runners. He was furious. Shaking his head back and forth he angrily and loudly toldmy mother-in-law "This is NOT a hotel!" before he pulled the curtain back and stormed away leaving John on theedge of his bed, unattended. My wife, seeing this orderly's anger said "Why are you shaking your head like that?"He didn't like that question at all and told her in an even more loud voice "I said that this isn't a hotel!!" My wife,feeling her anger rise, told him in a firm controlled voice "Cool down. Just cool down." She received an angry andhateful glare for her troubles as Martin stormed away. Mrs. Gervais, at 75 years old and all of 4'10" called after himas he stormed off. "That is a horrible way treat a sick person. You shouldn't treat people that way!" It seemed thatwas the final straw for poor Martin. He spun on her and flashed the hateful weapon of language bigotry.His voice was loud, just under a scream. "Je suis un Quebecois. Parles pas dans anglais. Ici nous parlonsfrancais!" Please understand, I'm para-phrasing. Although Mr. Gervais is French Canadian and is fluently bilingual,