Category Archives: Health

Nurses Quebec Example

Did you know that Quebec reported 50,000 health care workers now on “leave” from work due to “burn out”? Just when your country needed them most….those nurses in Quebec are now collecting a disability cheque. That’s right – short term and long term disability claims are enormous right now. The actual number not on the job is actually 70,000 with the other 20,000 associated with those in current isolation. It’s staggering and you can look to see an increase in insurance costs for whichever policy for which you apply because you are not immune from the effect of claims paid in sectors unrelated to your policies. There is some correlation between sector related claims pertaining to generating premiums but that correlation is not 100 per cent. Insurance companies spread risk through a process called “reinsurance” thereby indirectly affecting you. 

You know when Canadian soldiers lined the trenches while securing our freedom, there was no 1-800 number to call for applying for mental health leave. Of course, there are the “professional associations” and “unions” which provide complicating variables in restricting governments from casting a broader net for acquiring human resources necessary during this critical time. It should be no surprise that doctors are sparse and unavailable to assist due to our system of education and influence of the professional association in limiting access to the profession.    

 Here we are in a health care crisis whereby those associations so adamant at protecting their professions are now desperate. Nurses in Quebec and across Canada are needed now. Help them help us.  

You Think You Have It Tough?

Yes…it’s a provocative title. Poverty and hardship comes in many different forms. There are those who choose not to pursue success. There are others who blame others for their circumstances. There are the addicted and the depressed. There are the swindlers and the slovenly. There are those without a conscience. There’s the combination of variables aforementioned. Then there are also those who have had every bit of bad luck hoisted upon them. It’s true. There are those in difficult circumstances because they never had a chance. It is these people whom I think of when I awake at 3AM and their plight in the context of the socio-political climate.   

The “Chosen Won” at youtube has been profiling the downtrodden from Detroit.  I think of him today and his interviewees as I read today’s headline grappling with the emergence of a potential Roe v Wade challenge. Unfortunately, first world democracies deal with the complexity of homelessness. Administrators will be the first to admit that it’s difficult. One would think that an advanced civilization should be able to extract someone from utter despair and provide meaningful support to aid an individual in becoming self sufficient. In lieu of failure in this regard, I propose that such a variable deserves consideration within the abortion debate among the most obvious variables well known.

I bring your attention to Penny. The youtuber “Chosen Won” in his video entitled “Penny. The Women That Started An Interest”. I won’t give it a link since it’s graphic and for adult audiences only. You can find it if you want. It is the most compelling evidence that I’ve ever seen which showcases that there are those who deserve help from society. It would be very difficult in good conscience to derive an opinion that this woman deserved her fate.

As we go into the Christmas season in 2021 having witnessed more recent evidence that there are some more impacted by the pandemic and weather events than others, there’s cause for reflection on individual circumstance in which some people find themselves.  They are under the radar. Not all of them are panhandling with a sign. Many will need encouragement. Others may need a tougher form of love. I propose that there are some which require absolute intervention not well served here in Canada by our enshrined “Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.       

Brain Function and Exercise

Not only does the heart need to often pump blood against gravity to the brain, but it does to so with the goal of extending supply to vast regions of the brain. Strong brain function requires exercise. In the event of arteriosclerosis due to a sedentary lifestyle, the carotid and vertebral arteries may be forced to work less efficiently thereby impacting oxygenation at receptor sites. Exercise increases heart rate and circulation speed thereby increasing the probability that distant receptor sites receive nourishment potentially starved during the sedentary state. Athletes have reported states of euphoria upon hitting the Max V02 threholds. Others have collapsed not being able to endure heightened levels of physiology having not trained sufficiently to reach such states.

As we grow older, there is an increased probability of plaque deposits building on the arteries in absence of exercise. COVID-19 has become an added variable leading to exercise reduction arising from the supposition that facilities’ access have been restricted.

Now it’s going to be winter in Canada and you can increase your “screen time” or get out into the great outdoors with some heavy breathing and fun. Nakiska’s opening date is scheduled for November 11th due to the best snow making capability in Western Canada.    

The New Mental Health Mantra

It’s all getting a bit ridiculous wouldn’t your say – this new mental health mantra. Suddenly there’s this new excuse for failing or missing the show. When nothing else sticks…just pull this one out of the hat because the whole internet universe has gravitated toward it and you know how politically incorrect it would be to call it out as “bull”.

You see few of us are ever faced with perfect circumstances when delivering the goods. There’s always something in the context of the playing field not to mention haunts from the past. That is what makes the show adrenaline filled and exciting. One is faced with the task at hand along with the context in which we present ourselves albeit the training and obstacles overcome. We may not meet a standard we expect of ourselves but a measure is taken at a point in time. It’s not a matter of win or go home. It’s a matter of doing our best.

If you put your name forward as a contestant, you have a duty to meet the obligation unless obvious unforeseen circumstances present themselves practically. If you don’t feel up to the task…then don’t put your name forward.

At Wimbledon, Naomi Osaka took an entry spot from an embattled tennis player who would have scrambled to qualify likely indebted using scarce resources to travel amidst COVID concerns. In the world of professional tennis there is much disparity in pay between players who consistently make it through to later rounds and players who qualify to make the draw.  Osaka is wealthy. Many of her tennis compatriots are not. She should have thought of them before deciding to contest the event if she was stricken with mental anxiety.

The Simone Biles situation is unfathomable in the context of my aforementioned. If she had thought that her mind was in such a state that she could not pull off the difficult dangerous manoeuvres, with the support of her coach she should have simply adjusted her routine accordingly in order to honor her commitments to her team, and her country. In my opinion, government funding should be withheld from athletes who fail to appear in the Olympic Arena having qualified citing a “mental health” concern. As far as I’m concerned, any individual who has demonstrated the characteristics and training necessary to qualify for international competition also possesses the mental acuity to perform.     

Kenney on COVID

I listen to Jason Kenny from time to time on the COVID updates. Most of the time I find him balanced, reasonable, and thoughtful. The one noticeable verbal slip was couple of weeks ago when he suggested that Alberta was going to have the best summer in its history. I just don’t have the problem with Kenney that  so many others do. He’s a good orator and his convictions are supported by his policy. He has not infused (yet anyway) any of his social policy biases into legislative proposals which was frankly my biggest concern when he became the Premier of Alberta. I ‘m insufficiently versed on alleged shenanigans during his rise to the leadership of the UCP.   

He handles media questions quite well in the context of COVID. Every province has been at the mercy of poor federal handling of COVID from the outset. It’s become apparent from his comments today that dozens of municipalities in Alberta have flagrantly disavowed restrictive measures and it is in this context that Alberta faces infractions by its citizenry. It’s become obvious that our legal system with all its intricacies and high power prosecutors have much to account for right now with the lack of enforcement and conviction around laws which have been ignored by hordes of people across the province. In lieu of the Bowden rodeo on the weekend, I had expected more on the topic of justice and COVID from the premier today. He has referenced another announcement upcoming tomorrow.    

I have witnessed indifference from law enforcement in Alberta pre-pandemic. I’m sensing that fellow Albertans are now also asking the question as to why people can flagrantly break the law with no consequences. I predict that there was no police officer nor Alberta Health Services marshal recording license plate numbers at the Bowden Rodeo over the weekend.  

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.