Friday, February 10, 2017

How I got my Tooth Pulled and Other Adventures

There are have been so many parts to today that I am really not sure where I want to start my concluding blog for day 1.

I think it might be best to start with sharing how I managed my first challenge card. My challenge card today read: Your tooth broke. It's very painful. Take Action. 
The challenge of navigating this card took me in a few different directions, all of which lead to amazing opportunities for discussions with some wonderful people.
The solution to this problem is actually quite simple, because lucky I live in downtown Kenora. As a member of the Ontario Works program you are given a dental card, bringing this card to any dentist office will allow you access to dental services billed directly to the province. Should I have lived in a community that did not have a dentist, or did not have a dentist office that accepted the OW Dental Card this would not have been so simple.
What made this challenge much more difficult was some of the suggestions I was given, leading me in several different directions. I was advised to call the Northwestern Health Unit by a few different people, I there learned that their program serves children and youth up to 18 only. During another call advised that I would require 2 estimates from 2 different dentists before I would be able to access funding to have my tooth fixed. Just imagining trying to walk from one dental office to the next with a broken tooth, having two different exams, paying for 2 sets of x-rays (30.00 minimum) and then waiting for funding approval nearly put me in tears, and gave me the impression I would definitely need to buy some Advil. In the end it was relieving to learn that in an emergency situation where a person was in pain, access to help was not too difficult.
Reflecting on this challenge, there is no way I could have completed it without my cellphone. So I broke down my monthly cellphone payment into days it looks like I will be adding $2.33 to my daily spending.

I will not spend much time today focusing on my nutrition and meals, this was all fine, although most definitely not filled with much fresh foods. Instead I will focus on dinner. Tonight myself and Megan (check out her blog too!) attended the St. Alban's 'Shelter from the Cold' hot meal. As a social worker I am often taught to lean into discomfort, so as I walked up to the doors of the building I took a deep breath and leaned in. What I found when I entered was surprising, although I truly didn't know what to expect, it was a clean, calm quiet environment. Patrons said hello to one another as they found a place to sit, volunteers met us with smiling faces as they filled our plates with homemade Mac and Cheese, salad and a buttered bun. Like I had said, I was completely unsure what this environment would be like, what I found was a safe warm place for people to get out of the cold and fill their stomachs.

Today wasn't all positive, and there were some significant events today that are beginning to shape this challenge for me, I think I may just need the night to sleep and reflect before sharing so stay tuned!

In concluding the first day of this years challenge I would like to speak to a topic that has came up several times while preparing for this week. Privilege, I would like to note that I am acutely aware of the privilege and position I hold within my work, my community and our country. I am a white middle class women with graduate level education, I do not take this for granted.
I chose to participate in this challenge because I choose to use my privilege as a platform to share information, challenge others to think differently and build capacity for those who are marginalized and oppressed in ways I hope do no harm. I do this with humility, respect and kindness. I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes along the way but I am honoured to be asked to take on this challenge and I am honoured that you have choose to follow along - thank you!

Tonights wonderful volunteers at St. Alban's -

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