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Better than winning the Lotto!


3 minute read

Better than winning the Lotto!

After being rescued and evacuated from the High River flood, I had PTSD. I was relocated to Lethbridge and while living there the stress and my overall mental unwellness played a role in diverticulitis attacks that landed me in emergency several times.

I have had diabetes for some time but at this time of my life looking after it was not a major focus. I couldn’t make myself get off the couch to save my sole. I gained weight and had also had little interest socializing. This summer I moved to Red Deer to be closer to my daughter and son in law.

I read about Diabetes Discussions in the newspaper and decided to go, thinking it couldn’t hurt. I am a very educated person and had taken some education on diabetes over the years. However, I found Diabetes Discussions to be phenomenal!! It gave the nitty gritty on all aspects of diabetes in a way that engaged me. I knew some of this info before but it never engaged me.

Whoever put this program together really knew what they were doing. They put the information together in a really amazing way. In these classes I noted that I had a lot of excuses but they always had an alternative for me to try. I know 2 people who had amputations this year due to poor diabetic control. I decided that I am way more afraid of amputations than I am of getting off the couch. I ended up connecting with the RDPCN Recreation Therapist to help me get off the couch and do some activity that would help my health.

Winning the lottery would not be as good as working with the Rec Therapist. He helped me realize that I needed some socialization to want to come out for activity. These things are linked. He introduced me to the Gary Harris Centre and OMG- amazing. He pushed and challenged me while remaining supportive. Now I can find inspiration in many places, for example, the 80 year old who walks the track every day with his cane. If he can do it, so can I.

I also get energy from the many young people working out at the Gary Harris gym. I want to go the gym; I plan to walk the track the rest of my life! It is all so much better than lying on the couch. Between these two programs and the family nurse that also gave me inspiration and direction, I feel like they have hit me over the head with a sledge hammer in such a beautiful way. Now I get it! And I am back in the driver’s seat of my life. Thank you big time!!!

Read more success stories from the Primary Care Network.

How to Impress your Doctor

Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) is a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists work in clinics alongside family doctors. In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care. RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

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Red Deer Recovery Community will offer hope for residents from Central Alberta and around the world

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Central Albertans won’t be the only ones paying close attention to the official opening of the Red Deer Recovery Community next month. According to Marshall Smith, Chief of Staff to Premier Danielle Smith, jurisdictions from across North America will be looking to the Red Deer Recovery Community for potential answers to their own issues. Red Deer Recovery Community will be the first of 11 the province is opening over the coming months.

Cities across North America and beyond have been battling an addictions crisis, and losing. As the number of homeless people and the number of fatal overdoses continues to rise, cities are looking for new solutions. After years of slipping further behind, Alberta has decided on a new approach to recovery and Marshall Smith has been leading the charge.

Smith is a recovering addict himself.  A political organizer from BC, he once worked for former Premier Gordon Campbell.  His own crisis started with alcohol, then moved to cocaine dependency before he eventually succumbed to methamphetamine use.  The successful political operative found himself without work and living on the street for over four years. Eventually he benefited from a 35 day stay in a publicly funded recovery centre in BC.

Former Alberta Premier Jason Kenney brought Smith to Alberta to head up the UCP’s addictions and recovery file.  His personal experiences and incredible comeback story are at the heart of Alberta’s new approach.

While the success of recovery programs vary, Marshall Smith and Dr. Christina Basedow of the Edgewood Health Network (operators of Red Deer Recovery Community) say with the right treatment and the right amount of time, they expect a very high rate of successful recoveries.  Smith says the province won’t give up on patients, even if some have to go through more than once.

The Recovery Community is central to this new approach, but patients who will be able to stay for up to a year, will need somewhere to go when they leave. This week the province also announced the Bridge Healing Transitional Accommodation Program in Edmonton.  This “second stage” housing will ensure former addicts have a place to stay upon leaving addiction treatment centres. This will be their home in the critical days following treatment when they need to reestablish their lives by finding work or educational opportunities.

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston feels the 75 bed Recovery Community will be transformation for Central Alberta. Mayor Johnston says all Central Albertans will play an important role in helping former addicts when they leave the Recovery Community.

Construction of the Red Deer Recovery Community is all but complete.

Thursday, municipal and provincial politicians toured the facility and were introduced to the operators of the new facility. Dr Christina Basedow, Western VP of Edgewood Health Network teamed up with Nicholas Milliken, Alberta’s Mental Health and Addiction Minister, to take questions about operations.

Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan, Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston, Dr. Christina Basedow, Minister Nicholas Milliken, Red Deer North MLA Adriana LaGrange

Premier Danielle Smith made the trip to Central Alberta to offer support for the project and see the facility first hand.

Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Premier Danielle Smith listen to Chief of Staff Marshall Smith 

Marshall Smith explains aspects of the Recovery Community to Premier Danielle Smith, Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston and Red Deer MLA’s Adriana LaGrange and Jason Stephan

In the days leading up to an official opening expected in February, Edgewood Health Network is finalizing the admission process which will see the first batch of up to 75 people suffering addictions moving into single and double occupied rooms.

Typical double occupancy room at Red Deer Recovery Community

The new 75-bed facility, will begin accepting residents battling addictions in February.  Those residents will stay for up to a full year accessing medications, programming and developing life skills.

In the meantime the province expects a recovery industry will be developing in Red Deer including second stage housing opportunities and counselling.

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Central Alberta

I Can Get Through Anything

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Kristy was addicted to living on the streets of Vancouver when she started the methadone clinic there. She suffered from pain due to degenerative disc disease, diabetes and neuropathy of her feet. She decided to move to Red Deer and was able to transfer to the methadone clinic here to continue her treatment. When the clinic closed in December 2020 she became a patient at the RDPCN Street Clinic.

Kristy says “They hit it out of the park” referring to the care she receives there. “They have linked me with the diabetes centre and I am just starting Hep C treatments. I get very good care for all of my health concerns. The staff listens to me, is down to earth, doesn’t judge and actually builds me up. Between the Methadone Clinic and the Street Clinic, they have changed my life immensely. It is 1000% different. I now have family in my life, my mom, my kids, and my grandkids. I own a car, have a place to live and work some. I have had my dog for 10 years now and he is my therapy and keeps me grounded. My self-esteem is so much better. I know I will be OK and that I can get through anything.”

Click here to learn more about the Red Deer PCN.

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