Category Archives: Health

Medical Associations and COVID

It’s evident that there is a problem in supporting health care workers during this pandemic as reflected in the slow vaccination rate and stress reported by doctors and nurses. Quebec doctor Karine Dion has committed suicide. It’s hard to fathom that the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is reporting that five to eight per cent of doctors have contemplated suicide in the last year alone.

I’ve always contended that professional associations have been protectionist in the way they administer their power. In Canada, it’s very challenging to obtain credentials as a doctor. When living in residence at University, I recall two pre-med students on my floor studying excessively in order to score the grades they needed in order to fulfill entry requirements. I recall a story by one of these two students lobbying a professor strenuously for the most infinitesimal amount fearful that one missed mark could break the threshold required.

Naturally, having a limited supply of doctors and refusing to acknowledge credentials from new Canadians arriving from abroad, the profession on behalf of their members casts increased negotiating power with governments. The calamity of a pandemic exposes associations to a particular shortcoming of their inward posture of protectionism.

One might reasonably ask…”how difficult can it be to administer a vaccine shot”? What kind of credentials do you think are necessary? In the very rare event of something going wrong with a vaccination, would it not be reasonable to assign a back up resource who is a professional association member?

You have a tremendous number of Canadian who have studied in the health sciences but are at home cocooning when they could be contributing toward the resolution of this big problem. I suggest that the lack of mobility of deploying more manpower quickly rests with a lack of resolve by governments and potential push back from associations.     

Ideal X Country Skiing in Calgary

While churning out the loops today within the city limits, my thoughts were on those bound by C19 protocols up on the mountains and the inevitable line ups. Today I came upon a skier thankful that I had done the heavy lifting nine days ago in order to set the track. If you had the right wax on today – you were flying with plus 3 degrees and old snow. I think the party of snow shoers I stumbled upon today were thinking today that they had taken up the wrong sport. Their snow shoes of course are nicely suited to nature’s wonders in the outback.

In our pursuits, there’s no denying the effectiveness of good planning. My bases stripped and replaced with good glide wax prior to the onset of snow. Youtube instructional videos of course work perfect for getting in tune for the season.

My first X country ski season was 1975 in a place called “Cantung”. You wouldn’t have heard of it. I fact, it’s now a ghost town in the North West Territories. I had attended school with about 25 total students all in the grades one to seven and believe it or not there were X country skis a plenty for all of us. We all went out together in colder conditions than you are used to. Big kids buddied with the smaller kids and the technology wasn’t what we have today. There was excitement as we clamoured for our gear.

Fast forward to today and it appears that motivation is lacking for affordable sport. Oh sure….on New Year’s day…people are out skating in masses in the C19 context but what about on a weekday evening where there’s good light and good weather when our day to day responsibilities are in force? Folks are too troubled or too addicted to their X box with spare time unfortunately.  It could prove costly iwth respect to longevity.   

X Country Skiing within Calgary’s City Limits

Cardiopulmonary Physiology and The Year 2020

We’ve all heard the stats. It’s the old people dying of COVID-19 and not the young ones. In particular it’s old people with underlying health conditions which make them more susceptible.

The medical profession has been mute with respect to prevention other than recommending measures to prevent contact with the virus. In fairness, the WHO has come out and said inexactly “keep exercising”. Given the statistics which indicate young and healthy individual do better, I ask myself…in the context of COVID-19 attacking the lungs mostly….what is it that a person can do to improve their pulmonary health? You guessed it – exercise.

Edward L. Fox and Donald K. Mathews have written on the subject of exercise physiology in their book “The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletics”. The 2020 question becomes, will physically trained individuals handle the COVID-19  virus better than sedentary individuals. Relevant topics covered by Fox and Mathews are “anatomical dead space and alveolar ventilation”, and “lung volume”. The authors proclaim that trained individuals possess higher lung volumes. We are left in 2020 to derive a correlation between increased lung volumes and better oxygenation upon viral threat. The alveoli becomes a key term in the context of oxygenation given that this anatomical structure has been described as an exchange port for transmitting oxygen to capillaries. Authors stop short of proclaiming an increase in oxygen transport efficiency from expanded alveolar capacity due to any training effect in spite of showcasing positively correlated statistics. This has been the question which has “plagued” me since the onset of COVID-19 harkening back to my coursework in exercising physiology as a university student.

In summary, I encourage readers to exercise. If you are a swimmer in Calgary right now you may not be aware that you are treated to your own lap lane at the Respol Centre with an advanced booking even in the context of the new November 23rd regulations. Cross country skiing season is right around the corner and I’ve prepped my skis in anticipation. 

If you work at your health, you’re most likely to be rewarded. If you are not among the risk groups and you regress into a protective cocoon through COVID-19 fear…..instead of being a “sitting duck” you could become a “sitting couch potato”.    

COVID Conundrum

There are all these opinions, some credible action but then a lack of leadership. The puzzle pieces aren’t quite connecting. Governments have more power than they are really willing to deploy in the context of the problem. The underlying premise is not to overwhelm the health care system with patients who may come to need a respirator and hospital bed for survival. This seems like a worthy goal to me. New York experienced acute stress on their system in the early going and Governor Cuomo reacted with strong leadership with his lockdown. He sought federal help and did receive it. The matter was overt, vivid, and humbling for New Yorkers.  

In the state of Ohio today, there are 541 seriously ill patients from COVID-19 in intensive care as reported by the New York Times. The population of Alberta is about 37% that of Ohio. If you are in intensive care it means that you are poised to die without the intervention of continual care. People are dying of the virus and deaths are preventable in absence of transmission. It’s difficult to be argumentative with these facts. 

The economy needs to function and governments have power. Governments communicate with you and they are doing so regularly on the topic of COVID-19. Medical officers speaking on behalf of governments may not offer a powerful voice when communicating facts and therefore not drive a message with force. Medical people have intellect but not necessarily a powerful communication style to help reinforce words. This is certainly the case in Alberta.

If resources become very thin, doctors will make decisions with respect to who gets a ventilator. It will be their ethical duty. You may not be one of the lucky ones if you are gasping for a breath because of COVID-19. Therefore, you should do what’s asked of you. It’s not difficult and it will be temporary if we all comply. There is no conspiracy to strip you of your livelihood. There is no socialist agenda  – but there will be if the political pendulum keeps moving leftward (Canada).

What if things get really bad? You could lose your autonomy. The government could conclude that you lack the moral authority to make good decisions with your behaviour and consequently if you are tested positive for the virus be extracted from your family and warehoused with other COVID-19 positive people until you become symptom free. Your government actually does have this kind of power over you but has never during your lifetime needed to proclaim it.

Responsible citizens are quietly complying with ordinances and going about their business with a duty to their fellow man in the context of being part of a large solution.  I bet you are one of these people and I acknowledge you.      

Pandemic Reveals Canada’s Health Care Cracks

While Canadians turn to twitter and laude the public relations campaign by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Deena Hinshaw, let me remind fellow Canadian regarding the disparity of pay between her, and care aides tending to the elderly.

You see, The Canadian Medical Association for decades has ensured that Canadian doctors hit the gravy train right out of school with automatic jobs because of ridiculously tight spots in medical schools. Entrance standards at medical school have been set artificially high in order to serve a market demand favouring doctors.  Having come to grips with the problem, the importation of doctors from abroad became necessary.

The Edmonton Journal reports that Canadian doctors earn $349,655 per year. Many care workers tending to the elderly have been earning minimum wage. Do you see a problem here? Okay. Who do you think has the bigger voice when negotiating pay? You guessed it. Doctors. Mostly, front line care aides don’t actually have representation.

The health care budget in Alberta is near the 45 per cent range. Think about that for a minute. You as the taxpayer are so interested in your public health care system that you are willing to spend $0.45 of your provincial tax dollar to fund public medicare – yet today your Prime Minister has announced that the salaries of these aides for the elderly are going to be need to be topped up and you guessed it….there will be not mention of where this new money will come from. 

Trip To Calgary Dance Stampede

Professional social dancers tutor and exhibit their talent once a year in what’s called the “Calgary Dance Stampede”. It’s an opportunity for dancers at any skill level to get acquainted with social dancing and improve their moves. Workshops are hosted throughout the weekend and are very well run. You need not have a partner because rotations are made frequently throughout the one hour workshop sessions.

Yesterday, I attended “nightclub two step”, “cha cha”, and a new innovative line dance called “Music To My Eyes”. After dinner at Bank and Baron, a few doors down from host venue – The Hyatt, I sauntered back and took in the “Jack and Jill” competition. It was a fun filled version of the normally competitive format of the contest whereby partners are paired through a draw thereby testing their aptitudes for adapting to random partners.  Imagine waltzing to a record played backwards. Well, not for the faint of heart for sure.

Over the course of the weekend, there will be 110 workshops with most at the advanced beginner level.  I was impressed by the organization and strength of the instructors. The MC last night at the “Gala” was entertaining while introducing the challenges for the Jack and Jill contestants. Ample time in the evenings are scheduled for practicing those new steps. A Pro-Am, a show case, and a “Rising Star” competition round out the performance element of the event. It’s all sold out for today and tomorrow but do consider the event for next year in the spirit of your good health and the support of keeping social dancing alive.       

Zombie State Accentuated in Canada October 17th

I’m highly suspect that the legalization of cannabis will become a net positive for Canada. In fact, I believe it will accentuate the zombie state. You see, already there are vast numbers of people in our society who have difficulty functioning at a high level because of a poor education system, a poor work ethic, poorly engrained values, an entitlement mentality, a daily hangover, and sleep deprivation.

In recent times, you don’t have to travel far to identify an indifferent customer service representative, a dispassionate reservation clerk, a vacant politician, a selfish tailgater, a stupefied crosswalk texter, or an ambivalent professional. Have these lower functioning souls been aberrated by mind altering substances, lesser cognitive acuity, or are they simply subjects of traits akin to the aforementioned? Could they be tempted away from ambition by the neural effects of cannabis ingestion? Could their ingestion of cannabis improve their productivity? I’m guessing you’re thinking, no.

You’ve seen the new urban train platforms with the big wide yellow bubble strips at the cusp of the train’s alley. You may think they’re there to aid the disabled, but perhaps they’re there in anticipation of the new cannabis legislation? Although I kid, not about the degree of smarts that your government awards you credit. Perhaps, your government would actually like to see you become more docile as a citizen through the cannabis habit so that you’ll become less abrasive in your opposition to their liberal agenda?

Your country, Canada, is a first world nation largely in part because of a value system which included the purity of a cerebral mind implemented in order to build and industrialize. In fact, the Canadian government prohibited alcohol when the seriousness of World War I became apparent. Times though have changed. A new industry has blossomed (pun obviously intended) and capitalists can now take pride in selling a product which has not historically been aligned with the freshness of mind synonymous with the capitalist ideal.

There will be those who will genuinely benefit from taking marijuana in order to alleviate symptoms of physiology. Unfortunately, there will be many who will wrongly look to it instead of within for answers pertinent to their homeostatic well being.

Polysaccharides Polypeptides and Diet

Most people’s carbohydrate intake is imbalanced with too many simple sugars and too few complex ones so let’s take a look at Polysaccharides polypeptides and diet.  It is the simple sugars that boost cell size and add to body girth.  Although the research is somewhat incomplete regarding the effect of simple sugar ingestion and the production of free radicals in the blood, one is inclined to think with information currently available that our cell’s health is negatively affected by consuming too many simple sugars.  Complex carbohydrates facilitate the effective processing of metabolic functions and can actually increase the motility of the cellular engine by boosting the production a critical enzyme called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).  Dr. Peiper in his book Polysaccharides Polypeptides speaks at length of the importance of replacing simple sugars with complex ones.  A daily supplementation can effectively move the consumption ratio of complex sugars to simple sugars in our favour.

Contact me to learn more.