Who Counts?

This blog is part of "Monitoring Matters", a special series of guest blogs by VPS Advisors.

By Rhonda Wiebe, VPS Advisor

No one counts the times
you cannot go out for a walk
because your eyes don’t see the ripples in treacherous ice
And you cannot move more than twenty steps
before your body collapses in breathless fatigue
But you have to keep walking or you won’t walk at all
there is no funding for someone to put on your socks
or tie your boots
And take you for a walk   
no counting for that

No counting
For the hours you wait to use the toilet
‘til your partner comes home
Because it hurts too much to reach around and clean yourself
Because pain can’t be counted and bodies are not clockwork

And nobody counts the times
you ask for large print font in advance
And they don’t have it
And nobody counts the looks on the nurses’ faces
when you ask them to read the tiny words out loud so you know what
you’re signing, the pills you’re taking, the instructions you’re given

Nobody counts when you need someone to
sign to you, communicate to you in a way you will know
what’s happened to you after you’ve been hurt

Nobody counts the falls that happen, the hips that are broken
when your home is a facility - facile for whom?

No one counts the exclusions, the isolations,
the days when the only choice is to stay under the covers

No one counts the dollars deferred from good science, good practice
while you wait to see someone, to feel better, to sense hope

They say when you die when you ask to die
that they’ll scan your existing pathology
and fill in the blank with a disease
so no one will know
if you reached your limits

And no one will count
what those limits are.

Rhonda Wiebe has been active in the disability rights movement over two decades and has focused much of her energy on the devaluing of disabled persons’ lives and ending of life issues. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.