Monday, August 21, 2017

Adventures in Ukraine: Part 3 -- Wherein we learned to ask for help

In my family, we are not good at asking for help.

Surprisingly enough, we are not very good at being exposed to other people. (Unless it's like, "Surprise! Here's my butt!")

I, especially, suffer from the belief that I should be able to be all things for all people and, as a child, my catch phrase (unintentionally, but never forgotten) was, "Fine. I'll do it myself."

That phrase has served me dysfunctionally well over the years.

My therapist worked very hard with me to combat the feeling that I am responsible for everyone I've ever met and that I am the only one who can fix any problem  In fact, most of the time, she would stare at me with one eyebrow raised and ask questions to remind me this is not true.
Q: "Who are you in charge of?"
A: Myself (and sometimes the dog 
Q: "Who are you responsible for and to?"
A: Myself, the dog, and Wade. (I'm sure he was thrilled that he's third on that list!)
These boundaries that I took months to set up disintegrated the moment I got the call from Tanya. My Dad was in trouble and I took on the job of fixing it. I started making lists the second I got off the phone.
Best hospital? Check 
Respected doctor? Check 
Me present to enforce healing and effect change? Check 
Acknowledgement that I'm not in charge of whole world? *crickets chirping*  
I relate a little too hard to Lucy.

My Dad and I have a complicated relationship. It was complicated before Mom died and even more so after. I think even he will admit I have often been in the parental role more than he.

It is easy for me to take over and fix things for Dad.

It is even easier for him to let me.
We interrupt this airing of family laundry to distract you to a different topic.  
*Thank you*
Where was I?

Tanya is also a take charge woman, so we delegated our areas of control to things we could excel in. She took over hospital directing, medical management, making sure everything was going smoothly, and all food preparation.

She did even more, but I cannot fit it all into one clever sentence.

I took over keeping Dad from getting evicted from the hospital for being rude, organizing shifts for Dad maintenance, and figuring out how to find the money to pay for everything.

I had reached out to a relative to borrow a few thousand to pay for all the medical expenses.  I assured them that it would certainly cover everything and I could pay it back once I transferred money out of my Dad's savings.

We ran out of that money after the first week.

For as inexpensive as things are in Ukraine, it costs a hell of a lot to have someone in hospital.  The family was responsible for all medical supplies.  Sterile gloves, syringes, medications, bandages, ostomy bags, tape, cleaning wipes for wound management, etc. Every day, supplies cost us between $200-500 USD.

We also had to rent a flat (look how European I am!) and buy enough groceries to live.

My sisters and I sat around a computer and Skyped with our brother to talk about our options.  There was no money. If we all pooled our resources, we could come up with $17 and a piece of lint. We could try and get a bank loan, but it seemed so insurmountable.

I mean, we come from the land of free health care.  We had never thought this would happen.

We had to ask for help.


We went to the internet and told our friends the situation.  We were mortified and embarrassed and downtrodden.  I mentioned to one person how much I felt like a Nigerian prince asking for money to help get my father out of prison.

But we asked.

While we originally asked for a few thousand (once again we were hopelessly naive) and the generosity overwhelmed us.  Donations came in with positive messages of love and support and prayers.

It was humbling and amazing and uplifting.  We cannot say thank you enough.

I mean, really, we had no idea how many people liked Dad.

1 comment:

  1. Well, after reading your account of the Ukraine adventure, I'm very happy that your dad is back in Canada getting the medical assistance he needs. You describe the goings-on beautifully with a grand touch of humour, but I'm sure there were many really horrible moments. Great reading.... and breathing a sigh of relief that all seems to be well now.


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