I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

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When your life feels like a Country song

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Normally, I am an upbeat happy person.

Not today.

Sometimes I get the blues.  Maybe you do too.

Today, my life feels like a Country song.  It goes something like this …

My beloved dog of 11 years died a few days ago.

My house was broken into on Sunday. I discovered that this morning when I went to get my work bag and found it missing. Now gone, my laptop. On it, the only copy of my book I have been writing for 2 years saved on the hard drive. Now gone, my sense of safety in my own home as I was home at the time it happened and heard the back door open.

My lovely, dear sister died unexpectedly early this year.

Members of my family have had serious health concerns to manage this year. I myself had major surgery a few months ago.

I mean how many “growth opportunities” can one person handle?    What lesson have I not yet learned?  That’s it – I don’t want to learn anything more.

What to do?

Given that I teach resilience classes to lawyers and health teams – I thought I would share today what raw times feel and sound like.

This morning I thought to myself – I can’t do this. It’s too much.

Then I took a deep breath.

Then I thought – I surrender.

Then I took another deep breath. And I cried.

Then I told someone how I was feeling. In fact, it happened during a business call with a client whom I deeply respect.

Then I took another deep breath.

Then I lost myself in a little bit of work.

And cried.

Then I thought about a few good things in my life.

Then I started writing this blog.

Here’s what I know about steps of resilience.

  1. Breathe first.  That’s step one.
  2. Gratitude is the next step – and every step after that.  When deep in the darkness of how unfair everything is and how I can’t go on and how it’s all too much and how I don’t want to have to deal with one more thing – there is a spark of hope in gratitude.  So I thought about my marriage and my kids and my work team and my clients and my creative work and my family. I thought of all the things that were not in my bag and that I do not have to replace.
  3. Take practical steps to address urgent matters. Practical steps provide a small feeling of control. I have made arrangements to change locks and I have made reports. I didn’t want to.  I did it anyway.
  4. Share. I shared my grief and sadness and fear.  I will have to do that repeatedly for the next little while. In many ways, I won’t want to share. Then there will be times today and in the next while where I will overshare – sometimes with strangers.  I will not bottle this up.  I will not isolate myself.   Social connection is one of the most important aspects of resilience.

My life is amazing.  But, it has not felt that way for much of this year.

You might be feeling like you are being stretched beyond what you can handle.

Here are some additional resources I use:

Be gentle with yourself.  This too shall pass.


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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Speaking event October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training
December 10, 2019

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here...

Privacy Officer training
January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies. More details...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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