Free between four walls

Hello Madame Coutu! How are you? “I am very well thank you!” You are not too bored? “Not at all!”
I here must be mistaken identity. I call Colette Coutu to cheer her up, and now our conversation doesn’t start as planned. Everything is for the best in the best of all worlds.

Are you sure? “Yes Yes!”

Faced with this COVID-19 crisis and to soften the impacts of confinement, particularly the effects of the isolation imposed on the over 70s, organizations in Trois-Rivières had the good idea to set up a chain of friendship.

It’s simple. At least once a week, volunteers call seniors who want to. Together, they plot everything and nothing with the sole mission of changing the wrong place.

Watching TV, reading a novel, doing puzzles and crosswords is great, but this routine can be redundant in the long run. Hearing a human voice in the handset makes a big difference in a day like yesterday and tomorrow.

This is how I joined the group mobilized to offer a little comfort to the elderly. Colette Coutu’s details were sent to me in writing without giving further details. I didn’t know her age, 77, that she lives alone in her apartment and that she moves around using a white cane.

I was also far from imagining that my new friend is a free woman, even relegated between four walls.

It must be said that this single childless child knows a bit about isolation and its challenges.

A graduate of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Ms. Colette worked as a nurse practitioner, community health and as a midwife. She is a pioneer.

This super nurse, 1960s version, began her career in remote regions, such as La Tabatière, a small fishing village in the Lower North Shore, or in Port-Menier, on the island of Anticosti.

The young Colette was alone in her dispensary, to see everything, 24 hours a day.

“I didn’t have a TV or a phone. I worked with a radio transmitter. I had to manage with the resources I had or with what I could receive by mail. If I ordered documents, it is certain that I did not have them the next day. When I went outside, I took the opportunity to bring back books and records. ”

Ms. Colette then moved to Outaouais where she lived for many years. She was notably a drug addiction and mental health nurse in addition to teaching, at the college level, in continuing education.

“I have had the career I loved.”

Reading and listening to music are once again among his favorite pastimes while everything is on hold, starting with his social activities.

This former health worker fully agrees with the government guidelines in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the guidelines that apply to people over the age of 70.

“The virus will not be forgotten. He stays there. As long as I am confined and respect what we are asked to do, I need not be afraid. But when will it stop? This question remains. ”

A year and a half ago, Mrs. Colette came to settle in Trois-Rivières to get closer to her family members who live in Center-du-Québec and in Lanaudière, her region of origin.

With glaucoma, she has gradually lost vision over the past decade. Mourning was difficult, but the septuagenarian adapts to her new reality.

“I can still see, but it’s not crystal clear. I see in front of me, not on the outskirts. I can manage in my apartment. When I go for a walk, I use my white cane. ”

La Trifluvienne likes to wander the streets of her neighborhood where, due to a pandemic, she keeps a good distance from the people she meets.

“I lost my eyes, but not my legs,” recalls the one who needs this walk to better get through this crisis in which we are plunged.

“It’s the perfect time to review what I have in my pantry and in my freezer. I make small recipes. I’m cleaning up. I’m growing from inside! ”

And send her grocery list over the Internet to an acquaintance under the age of 70 who is shopping for her.

Ms. Colette is a trendy woman, who takes advantage of this period of confinement to also familiarize herself with technological tools designed for people with visual impairments.

In short, the lady has something to take care of. She even gave her name to participate in this friendship phone chain. Not to receive a call, but to contact whoever finds the time long these days.

To them as to me, this new friend imbued with wisdom will cite to them this proverb which, she maintains, has never been contradicted … “When a door closes, there is always a window that opens.”

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