I learned something distressing before the MS Walk began this year.
The MS Clinic at the General Hospital could close in five days due to lack of funding.
This can’t be allowed to happen.
I can stress how amazing the MS Clinic has been to me since I was diagnosed with Relapse and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis six years ago.
When I first started seeing them, I could barely walk and was doing so with the aid of a cane. I was weak and tired all the time and had no energy and lived with vertigo and nausea, bladder problems, difficulty speaking and shaping words, bone crushing fatigue along with a healthy dose of brain fog. I didn’t know where I ended and the MS began. To say that I was lost is an understatement.
The Ottawa MS Clinic changed all that.
I remember my first visit with a neurologist. He was kind and gentle as he took me through a series of exercises that would set a baseline to measure my progress against. The entire time, he didn’t look at me like I was something to be frightened of. He actually listened to me and treated me with respect.
What’s more: he heard me.
He listened to me and everything that I have been through. He paid attention to my experiences with MS and then he told me that with care, we could learn to fight against the disease that raged inside my body.
This was the first time seeing a doctor that I was actually heard, that I was treated as if I knew what was wrong with my own body. I have been going to the Ottawa MS Clinic for six years now. The care I receive has only improved.
I am overjoyed every time I get to go in and see my current neurologist. I love her that much. Seeing her is a joy and a privilege. It’s as if I’m going in to meet a cherished friend every six months…because that’s exactly what I’m doing.
My neurologist has been with me through the highs and the lows of living with my disease. She has been a guiding force in how well I’m doing today.
Case in point, when I walked the MS Walk last year, it took me an hour and a half; this year I did it in an hour and ten minutes. I am stronger because of the clinics care and it can’t be allowed to close.
It’s not only me though. There are 3,500 patients (myself included) that receive the care and help they need from the Ottawa MS Clinic. If it closes, the closest MS Clinics are in Toronto and Kingston and there is an eighteen month wait to see a neurologist.
I would not get the kind of care that I do now if I had to travel to Toronto and Kingston. They wouldn’t know me and I would become just one in many, reduced from being a person with a heart and mind to just one amongst a crowd.
The Ottawa MS Clinic is looking at closure due to cuts in budgets and staffing made by the Ontario PC Government, led by Doug Ford. This cannot be allowed to happen. Too many people depended on it for the care that they give.
I, and the 3,499 other patrons of the Ottawa MS Clinic, need your help
There are a few things you can do.
There is a petition that you can sign and share to your social media to make sure that other see it and sign it. You can find that petition here:
You can also email the people that hold the Ottawa MS Clinic in their hands:
President and CEO of Ottawa hospital at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Staff of the Ottawa Hospital at email@example.com
President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister of Health at email@example.com
You can also tweet your MP and your MPP like I did (see picture). In short, we all have a voice. It’s time we used it and spoke loudly and clearly so that we don’t lose the vital services that the Ottawa MS Clinic provides.
This really is about quality of life. Use your voice, speak up.