Please note: If you don't want your name appearing in full here, please let me know and I'll edit right away.(to be continued)
The previous post was about my support system in France. I suppose you all guessed that it was only the first part and that I was going to write about the help I get in Seattle. But first I have to provide some cultural background for my french readers.
In France, with such a grave illness, everything linked to my treatment would be free. I would have a nurse, coming for free at home changing my dressing. I would have a free ride using the paramedic to go to the clinic or the hospital whenever I needed one. In the US, a whole lot less is covered by the private insurance system and as a result there is a bit of a different culture. A lot of the help that in France would be provided by the state is not in the US, and therefore comes from somewhere else: primarily the patient's social circle.
And we have been truly amazed at how much people cared, and how much people where willing to help. I mean, in France I'm sure some help would be offered by friends but I don't think it would compare to the total dedication that people show here... Again, maybe because in France we leave a lot of responsibility to the state whereas here, people have to take responsibility. Which is better? I have no idea... Somewhere in between probably. Anyways, on to saying thank you. And the list is freaking long.
One of the first things I have to stress out is how my manager, my company, and Celia's boss have been supportive and helpful through this whole thing. In France, it's easy: as a worker, you are super protected by the law. This is not the case here, and having a company that supports you through such an illness is a thing to be truly thankful for. If you happen to know which company I work for, know that they truly take care of their own. I know that I can come back whenever I want, on the terms I want (full or part time, telecommuting or not) and it really is an awesome thing. One less thing to worry about.
Which brings me to my two teammates, Doug & Simon. We already had a special relationship, a true team identity that I was really proud of. And then Doug showed up at the hospital, showered me with stuff so I would not get bored. And Simon (and his wife Liko) have always been there for us, whether it was to answer paperwork related questions or just to talk. And Sasan showed up with his usual bright smile and cheered me up.
People really got organized around giving me rides to the clinic and I got my whole team of dedicated drivers : Matt, Genn, Megan, Anna, Lea... Not only did these guys drive me to the clinic, they most often than not stayed and waited with me for hours, sometimes only to be sent home because I had to stay another four hours to get an infusion. I remember Matt driving me for what was supposed to be a one hour appointment, but the team was backed up so we ended up waiting three hours and then I had to stay for another five hours to get two infusions back to back, so I just sent him back home...
Talking about driving, this reminds me that we also got a ton of help when Celia was working on getting her driver's license: Marina's husband drove her to the appointment, DougF trained her, Frankie and Sarah drove and coached her to get the written test. And she got it with flying colors (with an even better score than I which kinda bruised my ego, but I was proud :)!
Help also sometimes means the most basic thing: food. Lots of people cooked things for us and believe it or not, it is one of the most amazing things. Some days, you're just too tired to even think about what you want to cook and having somebody bringing you over a nice dinner is just awesome. Same thing goes when you're in the hospital... You wonder what you're going to get and suddenly a familiar head appears with a bag full of goodies and wine hidden at the bottom (which I never got to taste because I'm not allowed alcohol, btw)! So thanks to Lea and Megan the smugglers, Gina, Anna, Emily, Soledad.
samedi 27 août 2011
Aujourd'hui les américains sont à l'honneur... Pour une fois, c'est vous les français qui allez avoir à traduire! Bon courage :)