As we have a familiar discourse over the phone, I can still remember our last conversation about 6 months ago. (Rosa) seemed ill at ease, pacing around the room. At first, I thought she was looking for better cellular reception. But her transition from place to place is not apparent as I can hear her fine. Her voice would seesaw but mostly pursuing a lower tone. At some point, I found myself murmuring to harmonize her own pitch. So, I had to ask. “Why are you whispering?” After a long break in her rhythm, she finally tells me while stressing a pattern of silence. “ ’There are people coming in and out of my apartment. They don’t know.“  

(Rosa) lives in a retirement home. She seemed earnest about having dominion over her “secret”. On that day, she had maintenance workers attending her floor and an orderly was due to help her get dressed. She withholds her cannabis bottles from prying eyes, only to be laid open to view behind an old Brillo soap box.  

She says she would be represented dramatically by other dwellers as ‘’a habitual user of drugs ” if they knew. Her peers are still very observant of the common perceptions and other existing states. She has learned the intimacy of the daily in-and-out of caregivers and so, she dispenses her CBD oil in due course.   

Half a year later, I sensed she became more defiant, a contemporary moving ahead against the waves of the current stream. She explained. She made a definitive undertaking, testing the water so to speak. During an afternoon tea, she quoted to her fellow guests a news coverage about the benefits of medical cannabis. The feedback hit a schism, as expected. Personal opinions and so-called ‘’common sense “ dinged off each other like kids to broccoli. But amidst all that dissonance, (Rosa) was reassured that those who were in goodwill were assertive about appealing for medical cannabis. She felt not alone. Although encouraged, she isn’t ready to display her CBD bottles openly just yet.  

Little steps toward changing public perception. One (Rosa) at a time. 

Author: Pheng Lim, LPN 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.