Sunday, November 30, 2008

Truly, Deeply, Sadly


Truly, Deeply, Sadly, Tired.

And although I would like to say that 'At least it's finally over', I have a feeling that in many ways, it has only just begun. At least for me.

But at least it is over for her.
As of 7:15 A.M. on Saturday, November 29, 2008.

I think I am mostly still numb at the moment. Relieved, in many ways. That she is no longer suffering, no longer literally trapped immobile in that body.

But I felt my own pain start to awaken today. It will be a huge loss in my life, that I know. One that I can't imagine ever being filled. Yet, at the same time, I feel very lucky. Lucky to have had such a wonderful Mom. Lucky that my children have had such a wonderful grandmother living literally next door for so many years.

And so, we will grieve her. And miss her. For we have no other choice. For our loss.

But I am truly deeply happy to know that when Mom opens her eyes again, she will be with my Dad. Free of that hospital bed. And he, free of his wheelchair. Both of them together again. Where they belong.

Rest peacefully, Mom. You deserve it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spinning The Wheel With Our Health

Two recent stories personify what, for me, is a big problem with our Canadian health care system.

Now before we go there, let me just reiterate that, yes, I am a proponent of our health care system. Call it socialist, hell, call it communist, if you must. I really don't care what you call it. I call it a good system. **

Good, but not perfect.

First, we have the case of the Cape Breton woman who has spent the last 16 months in Toronto awaiting a double lung transplant. Although the provincial health care system pays for her medical costs, they don't pay for her non-trivial non-medical expenses.

The family has sold off their car, four-wheeler and boat to help pay for her travel and living expenses, but money is quickly running out. Although the community has held fundraisers and the Lung Association has also pitched in, the family estimates that they have now spent $35,000, a bill which would have been even higher except that Marilyn MacKay has been able to stay with a nephew in Toronto. The fear is that unless something is done Mrs. MacKay will have to return home by the end of January and lose her spot on the transplant list.

Liberal MLA Michel Samson tabled a private member’s bill on Friday that would require the province to pick up the non-medical expenses of people who have to leave Nova Scotia for medical procedures that aren’t performed in the province. Apparently Newfoundland and Labrador already cover such expenses for patients who have to go out of province for treatment. The bill says the patient would have to be outside Nova Scotia for three or more months before the program would kick in.

Will it pass?

The second story involves catastrophic drug coverage. Or more accurately, the lack of such coverage. A Prince Edward Island Man has cashed in a small pension and now has his home here up for sale to cover the cost of a drug required to shrink a large cancerous tumour in his kidney before doctors can operate. A 28-day supply of this drug costs $7,532 and the full course of drug treatment prior to surgery could cost $45,000.

Although the community has held benefits for Mr. MacMurdo, which are greatly appreciated by the family, such benefits alone won’t solve the problem. Ultimately it’s going to have to be covered by the government. The family has an online petition requesting the province add the drug to its formulary. The province meanwhile, the only one other than New Brunswick without a catastrophic drug program, is pressing the federal government to create a national program.

Sadly, neither of these stories are unique or one-of-a-kind.

Consider this, about 600,000 people in Atlantic Canada have no drug coverage. One in nine Canadians are not protected against high drug costs and this proportion increases each year. And many new targeted therapies for severe illnesses are not automatically covered by the public health system because they are taken outside the hospital.

The way I see it, the responsibility for remedying these situations lies firmly in the court of both the federal and provincial governments.

Each province must have, at a minimum, catastrophic drug coverage and must cover at least some of the, so-called, non-medical costs of patients who are forced to travel elsewhere for treatment. Although there are, admittedly, problems with catastrophic drug coverage, at least it would be better than nothing.

And at least a portion of the funding for such programs is going to have to come from the federal government. Heaven knows they collect of our tax dollars. Heaven knows we've listened to enough promises for long enough. Heaven knows this has gotten to the point of ridiculousness and Canadians are fed up with it.

I suppose the only thing heaven may not know is how much longer Canadians will put up with this. And what will happen next.

** Yeah, I might just have a small chip on my shoulder when it comes to that particular subject.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Legal Question

Me being me, my friends tend to turn to me a lot for legal advice. Which, usually, is okay.

But a friend just asked me this really important question. And I must admit that this time, I am really stumped. So I was kind of hoping maybe one of my readers could help.

Is this statutory rape???

Or is it just a moosedemeanor.....

H/T to Tera

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moments of Clarity

Ever have one of those rare (for me, at least) moments of clarity? Where it suddenly becomes oh-so-very-clear what you absolutely must do?

As I said, they are rare for me. But every once in a while, the stars do align. And I just seem to know.

I had one of those moments today. Things have been rough with Mom lately. Very. Very. Rough. In fact, a week ago last Sunday, we thought we were going to lose her. She has hung in there since (barely) but it's clear it won't be much longer now. In fact, I think even the doctors and the nurses are pretty well confused and perplexed ... every time you think this is it, well, let's just say she has a track record of coming back. Which, at some points, has been wonderful. Truly miraculous. And now. Now we just shake our heads. And look on in amazement.

Anyway, I had a chiropractic appointment today. I generally see both the chiropractor and the massage therapist on a monthly basis. About 6 years ago I fell off a couch and managed to crack a hole in the wall with my head after crashing through an end table with my shoulder (Yeah, I know, please, just. don't. ask.) and three years ago I was in a car accident. Add to that the fact that I tend to carry a large majority of my stress in my neck and shoulders and ... yeah, chiropractor and massage. Monthly.

I had a massage appointment about two weeks ago. And when I walked into the chiropractor today, I knew that as much, or more, as anything, what I really needed was a massage. Which he kindly confirmed for me. In fact, he suggested that I might want to make a massage appointment on my way out. Although they are two separate businesses, they share office space. Which is convenient.

And as I was walking out of his office into the reception area, it struck me. I knew what I needed to do.

My monthly massages needed to be weekly massages. Just for now. To get through this. And although that could be an expensive proposition, it also struck me that if Mom was okay and was aware of what my life was like at the moment, the stress I am under, she would offer to pay for my next massage. She's a big believer in massage, in fact, it was her that put me on to this particular therapist. And convinced me to go. And offered to pay for my first treatment those many years ago.

So that was what I did. Booked a massage for next week. And in my mind, I thanked my Mom. As well as whatever inside that had suddenly woken up and given me a smack up the side of the head. Because I also realized that at these times, what we (or at least I) need most is what my body seems to most quickly give up. Regular trips to the gym. Enough sleep. A few extra massages. In other words, some tender loving care.

Thanks, Mom. I love you.

Global Warming Has Left The Province

After a few weeks of on-again/off-again 20 degree Celsius weather (that's close enough to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for my American friends), winter officially arrived last night.

I left home yesterday morning in a sweatshirt and jeans and by the afternoon was wondering why on earth I hadn't thought to bring a rain coat.

I had rectified that by late afternoon when I went to take the Blue Jay to her riding lessons and it was raining pretty good. But after my respite break which consisted of reading my current Tom Clancy novel in my favourite Just Us Cafe, I walked outside to snow.

I mean Snow. Did I mention The Snow?

That's about the time when I started to wonder why on earth I wasn't wearing a heavier jacket. And maybe some boots to go with. I was glad when we finally made it home because by that point there was a real little blizzard going.

And while I can't really understand how, in 2008, motorists could be stranded - some for upwards of 15 hours - along a 10 kilometre stretch of highway known as the Cobequid Pass, I think it is safe to officially state that 'Global Warming Has Left The Province'.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What Happens in Winterpeg Shouldn't Stay In Winterpeg

Believe it or not, this is an amendment I could really support ... which is highly unusual for me when it comes to Canada's Conservative Party.

But one of the resolutions passed (and reportedly approved by 99% of the nearly 2,000 party members) at the party's first national policy convention since 2003 [held in Winnipeg, hence the post title] called on the party to get behind legislation that would "remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act."

That's right, they're talking about getting rid of that nasty Sec. 13 in the Human Rights Act, which makes it an offence for a person to communicate telephonically or by internet "any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination".

Yeah, that one.

And, honestly, I wouldn't shed any tears over it's removal. It should be interesting to see what [if anything] happens next.

Apparently, some issues can actually unite, at least some, groups "from the left, right and moderate centre". Who knew?

Cross-posted on The Flight Deck

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Word Play For Lexophiles

  • The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

  • I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

  • She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.

  • A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

  • The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

  • No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

  • A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

  • Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  • A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

  • Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

  • Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'

  • A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

  • A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, 'No change yet.'

  • A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

  • It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.

  • The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

  • In democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

  • When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

  • Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

H/T to Tera

Respite Woes

Wondering about my weekend?

Well, gee, thanks for asking. Actually I spent it at a respite conference.
The Nova Scotia Coalition on Respite and Family Health and Wellness include representatives from families, community and health organizations, government, and researchers...

Researchers at the IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University will carefully evaluate the process and outcomes of this endeavor. Our shared goal is to better understand the support pathways by which outcomes are optimized in these parents and caregivers. This proposed program of education and research is important for all of us who struggle to help these sons, daughters, and families. It is critical to educate parents and caregivers to develop meaningful respite solutions, supported by community- based evidence.
[Written by Paula Hutchinson, just to give credit where it's due.]
Which turned out to be good respite.

There are five workshops to be held throughout the province. This one was in Yarmouth (about a 3 hr drive away) and there will be one more local to me in two weeks. But I was asked to speak on a parent panel at both sessions. So off I went.

A good friend has family in Yarmouth so we went together. Ate well at the workshop, met a lot of new people, made new contacts and heard reiterated what so many of us with children with high needs are only too aware. But hopefully something good will come out of it.

But I discovered the best part was the actual respite I enjoyed on the weekend. After the workshop we went my friend's sister. The sister and her husband were on their way out to supper so we crashed. Read, took a nap, read some more, made some tea and chatted some more. Later, another sister brought us over some supper (since we were much too lazy to consider going out to get some) and after that a group of us played Scramble. Talked. Ate popcorn. Had a beer.

Pretty tame, no?

But, boy, it felt good.

Up until 2:00, slept in until 11:00, then asked our hosts if they would care to join us for brunch. It seemed the least I could do considering we had planned on staying with a different sister (which hadn't worked out) and had literally crashed on their doorstep. So off we went to a nice brunch buffet. Where we lingered and talked some more.

All in all, it was a nice weekend. And great respite.

Oh yeah, the 'Woes' part ... I had to come home again. Which somehow the thought of managed to induce a headache on the drive home.


The welcome was nice. The major computer glitch where it appeared that everything (and I mean everything including all 600 saved emails, all my documents, my internet preferences and half of my programs) had been wiped off the computer. Finally got that straightened out. They won't admit it but I am pretty sure an error which occurred when Windows Live One attempted to install an update was the culprit. Thank God for system restore!

Went up to see Mom last night. It has been a real rough couple of weeks for her. We actually thought we were going to lose her last Sunday. But she is a tough lady. Sometimes I have to wonder if she is a little too tough.

Apparently she had been better on Saturday when HWWLTBO and the kids had went to see her, actually talking, communicating. Yesterday she was totally unresponsive. Eyes open, but no real eye contact unless you placed yourself squarely in the middle of her field of vision. She couldn't move her head. Couldn't talk. Although it did seem a few times that she was trying to say something but couldn't. The nurses told me she had been like that all day. Which meant that they couldn't even try to feed her or give her anything to drink because in that condition, she could aspirate.

It was heart-breaking. And there's not a damn thing I can do about it. That was the woes part.

But the weekend was had been good. So we got that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Missed It!

Just another blog anniversary.

Well, okay, maybe not just just another blog anniversary. It is my first one, after all. But apparently I missed it. Just realized that it passed on November 5th.

Oh, well. So be it.

It's been a fun year. Laughed a lot, cried a lot, researched a bit, posted a fair bit, made some lots of new friends. And got hooked on blogging. Really, really hooked on blogging.

And, oh yeah, 6590 unique visitors. Not so bad, I suppose.

So thanks for sticking around. Or even just dropping by once or twice. It's been fun. Hopefully there will be a lot more yet to follow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I must confess that I just don't get it.

Perhaps the problem is me. But I just don't get this strong wave of emotion following the American election. The wailing and gnashing of the teeth on the part of some of those who feel their entire country has lost. Then again, neither do I get the unmitigated joy, the rapture, on the part of many following the election of the Obamessiah.

One way or another, I just can't get that excited. That involved. That emotional. Although I can say that I'm glad it's over.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I didn't care about the American election or its result. In fact, I spent a restless night on November 4th, often waking up as soon as I fell asleep with the name of Joe Biden or Obama immediately spring to mind. Weird, that.

But I am uncomfortable, I think, with personality cults. And while I don't really have anything that much against Obama, I do find myself getting turned off by what I perceive as the reaction of many around the world.

Yeah, I get it. Or, at least, I 'm trying to. The historic part. Then again maybe I don't really get it. Because I would never consider voting for or against someone based on the colour of their skin, perhaps I simply can't get how big this is in that regard.

But what I equally don't get is Americans who would say that they hope Obama will fail at everything he attempts to do over the next four years. Even trying my best to understand where that person might be coming from, their *certain* knowledge that they will vehemently disagree with every single thing Obama will do over the next four years, do they realize they are wishing, hoping, praying... for their own country to fail? The one so near and dear to them?

Talk about cutting off your nose to cut to spite your face.

Nope, I just don't get it. Can't get it. Rather doubt that I ever will. So I bite my tongue rather than say what I am thinking ...

Why bother? Quite simply, they won't. Won't let themselves. Not for quite a while. If ever.

Perhaps it comes from my inherent left-leaning tendencies. It's funny though, lefty that I am, were I an American, I would have voted for McCain in this particular election. And I can say in all honesty that I have never voted for a conservative.

But it was issue-based in part (even though I don't think that the US should have invaded Iraq, now that they are there, neither do I think they can, in all good conscience, simply pull out and leave the country to sink or swim on its own) and partly based on the fact that for the longest time I couldn't seem to get a grip on what, exactly, Obama was campaigning for. Other than hope. And change. I just couldn't find his specific position on the issues for quite a while, it was just "Let us save the world" and "Kumbaya". Which rather turned me off.

And then there was is his lack of experience. I had a tough time with that, too. And a bit of a general uncomfortable feeling about some things in his background. So yeah, taken altogether, not too likely to get my vote.

But be that as it may, life will go on.

The United States has its first black President.

Many years ago, Canada had its first female Prime Minister. That one didn't work out so well. And we haven't had, or even really considered, another woman at the helm since. So let's hope the U.S.' bold move into making history works out better than ours in that regard.

And, bottom line, although I know this may well anger many, He is your President.

Might I suggest you don't start heading down that road. Don't become a caricature of one of those things you most despise about the left. At least not until the man actually, you know, screws up.

Update: It's been brought to my attention that those two links above, both to the same post at Lex's, could be somewhat misleading. I was actually intending to link to some of the comments on that particular post and not Lex's post itself. Mea culpa.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why The Chicken [Re]Crossed The Road

Partly in honour of the American election and partly because many more people seem to feel the need to weigh in on the issue.
SARAH PALIN: Before it got to the other side, I shot the chicken, cleaned and dressed it, and had chicken burgers for lunch.

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken 2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of Chicken 2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never crash or need to be rebooted.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?
H/T to Punky D

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stupidest Comment Ever

So here I sit, moseying through the Sunday paper, much of it proclaiming Obama's win [to be], when I come across this column entitled "Long to-do list awaits Obama".

Which, after going on about Obama being sure to *win* the Presidency although he might just not because you can never really know for sure due to the "Bradley factor" and the inaccuracies inherent in polls ... comes to this conclusion:

If McCain wins the vote Tuesday, then, there are more closet bigots in the U.S. than we would want to imagine.
Which makes oh so perfect sense, seeing as how the only reason someone would possibly vote for McCain was because they were actually, at-heart, a bigot. You know. A racist.

Just sitting here wondering how someone like Jim Meek actually makes it through each and every day, how he actually manages to function in the world. It must be hard with that kind of burning intellect. But, then again, I suppose we each have our cross to bear.