I was kind of avoiding writing about this week's clinic because it was kind of nuts, and I need to get my head around it. But a lot of the time I think my writing is kind of boring (no I am not fishing for compliments, I just wouldn't read my stuff if I wasn't me), so it's stupid to avoid writing when something actually interesting happens.
I don't know what it was about yesterday. A combination of things happened and it was just an atmosphere kind of thing as well. When I got home and told my partner about it, he wanted to check and see if it was a full moon (it wasn't). Ok, so now I've built this up, here comes the anticlimatic tale.
The protesters were late coming out. When they did finally show up, they had reinforcements (most likely from Saint John), some of whom we had never seen before. One of them, an elderly woman, came up to one of the escorts and said, in a nice-little-old-lady voice, "You know what I wish you people would do? I wish you would provide these women with all the options. They suffer, I know you see them suffering." Poor HB (the volunteer in question) could hardly keep in all the clever comebacks, but she did an admirable job.
And then there were three kind of weird patient incidents. The first (in ascending order of strangeness) was that while a patient was in the clinic, her father left and went next door to the "Women's Care Centre". Of course the protesters got super excited and all swarmed in to greet him. He returned some time later with a handful of pamphlets and sat back in the waiting room with the patient's mother. The patient herself had already gone in to have the procedure, so as volunteer AL pointed out, that had the potential to be an awkward ride home. At least he didn't get one of the little plastic fetuses they hand out next door; I don't feel that would have gone over too well in the waiting room.
The next was a patient who, about half an hour before she was supposed to show up, called to tell us that she had been in an accident. Her car had been clipped by a truck, slid across the highway and flipped. THAT IS A CRAZY ACCIDENT. She and her partner were quite literally lucky to be alive. However, she still wanted to come for her appointment. The police ended up driving her here, and they weren't quite sure where to go; she almost ended up at the Women's Care Centre too! Wouldn't that have been the cherry on top of her day?
Car Accident Patient was quite cheery when she arrived. When I gave her the forms to fill out, she apologized for not having a bathrobe and t-shirt, as they had been in the car which was now totalled. Obviously I let her know that there was no need to worry about it, but then the whole story came pouring out of her and even though she was still smiling, she was also shaking. She was totally in shock. Poor lady. I made her sit down and drink some water, and by the time she went in for her ultrasound she was feeling a lot better. I think her plan for afterwards was to take a cab back home (over an hour's drive away), so that pretty much sucks. What a trouper!
And the worst incident was a young woman whose mother had dragged her here. The patient clearly did not want to have an abortion; while in to have her ultrasound she freaked out about the finger prick test, and then told the nurse, her mother and anyone who would listen that it was a blessing to be pregnant, a beautiful gift from God. Incidents like this are never as amusing as you think they are going to be, at least not at the time. While back in the waiting room, she was talking to her parents, trying to get them to leave. Another patient came up to me in tears and told me that either Gift-from-God patient had to go, or she would. Apparently GfG was blabbing on in the middle of the waiting room about how she wasn't going to "kill [her] baby" and all that. In the end, we had to ask her to either leave or stop upsetting the other patients. She left.
Outside, GfG and her parents were approached by Pink Hat, in her rosary-counting, Jesus-totin' glory. GfG's mother was already SUPER PISSED, and ended up giving Pink Hat a nice little shove (she wasn't hurt). While I don't condone the violence, I feel that the protesters have to assume that their presence is going to provoke that kind of reaction sometimes. Anyway, they are a litigious bunch over there so they must be pretty mad that there's no way for them to find out the woman's name or where she is from.
So...it's been pretty nuts.
Here is an article I like, that expresses some things I wish I could put into words.