Monday 24 December 2018

Let's make Canada sane again!

Let's make Canada sane again!

Jordan Peterson and Canadian sanity.
   Canada is a very different country today than the country  I emigrated to fifty five years ago.  I didn't make the decision to emigrate to  Canada lightly.  I was already a physician and although penniless, I knew I would be able to make a living anywhere, even in my native Ireland.  Although I was born there, as was my father and although I had some very close Irish friends, there was really no doubt that they really didn't consider me one of "them".  My brother, who always was predisposed to Ireland and Irish ways in a  manner I could not understand, once told me how shocked he was when his closest friend, a nice Catholic lad commented to him, when they were both about ten years old,
   "Well, you're not really Irish"
   My brother was astounded.  "Yes I  am, I was born here and so were my parents.  How could you say that?"
   "It's not in your blood,  You're Jewish, not Irish."
   It was a message that stuck with him all of his life.
   I myself felt that Irish antisemitism was a by product of Catholicism.  I was wrong.  Now, many years after the Irish have largely cast Catholicism aside, antisemitism is stronger than ever in Ireland.  Alas, it seems it was a vital component in their mother's milk.  Now, it  seems, they take the leadership in  propagating antisemitism and the only reason I would visit that bigoted little country would be to visit the  family graves of those I  loved.
   My alma mater, Trinity College Dublin, seems to have taken  the lead in the anti-semitic thrust, describing a professor, a distant relative of mine as a 'fucking Jew'.
   I emigrated to Canada for many reasons, it seemed as near to an  ideal choice as possible, for reasons I will discuss elsewhere.

   When  I first heard of Jordan  Peterson and the pronoun fiasco, I thought here's an academic that I can sympathize with.   As a Professor in the department of Family Medicine in the University of Saskatchewan and an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Western Ontario, I recognized that this man had  the considerable courage to stand up for  something he believed in, despite the fact that he had little to gain and much to lose.  The vultures of academe can devour their victims more effectively than most predators.  Peterson stood strong against their attacks.   Then I started listening Peterson's podcasts and 'Lo and Behold' this man was saying things I had been thinking for years!  He talks about de-masculinized men (pathetic weasels)who are afraid to be men and hyper masculinized women. He talks about parental incompetence and inability to control their children and to teach them independence and responsibility.  He talks about parents afraid and unable to discipline their children, afraid to apply the most minimal measures of restraint and punishment, who wonder why their off -spring behave as they do, certain that the acts that they commit as adults will be as free of consequences as those of their childhood.  He explains how the attempt to ameliorate the responsibilities that they should bear must ultimately result in disaster.  The well intentioned parents who attempt to remove all stress from the life of their children deprive them of one of life's most important skills - the ability to provide for themselves and their family.  He talks about and emphasizes the differences between men and women, something that terrifies most men today.
   I started listening to his book, "Twelve Rules to Live By." as one of the books/podcasts that lull me to sleep nightly.  ( I may not have told you that I am  a chronic insomniac).   Well, instead of lulling me to sleep, it woke me up!!  This man whom I regarded, as some sort of over-rated guru, really turns out to talk common-sense!   Instead of sending me off to sleep, his audio-book keeps me awake but it is worth it! 
     I'll keep you posted!

Thursday 20 December 2018

A Wonderful Friend.

   The friend of my geriatric years, John Dell, shuffled off his mortal coil last night. It was not a surprise, though it's always a surprise when someone you care about no longer exists. We were very close friends and I was honored when his son included me with the immediate family in what in Ireland we would have called a Wake. It was an informal, heartfelt gathering, that was more the celebration of a creative well-spent life, than a mourning. As was appropriate to this man who loved music, 'Johnny' as I always called him (I never found out whether he liked that appellation or not, that's what I always called him and he never complained) went to meet his maker surrounded by music and by those who loved him. I was one of those people.
   Johnny and I had discussed our long-term outlook. He was a God -fearing man and I an agnostic. Johnny used to kid me.
   "If I'm wrong, I'll never know it. If you are, you're going to have a lot to answer for!! But I'll do what I can for you." he laughed.
   We first became friends in 2004, soon after my coronary by-pass surgery, when I started frequenting the Aquatic Centre to develop an exercise program as advised by my physicians. Johnny and I, both of us talkers, struck up a friendship almost immediately and when he suggested coffee at the next door Tim Hortons, it was the beginning of a long culinary relationship as well as a unique friendship. There weren't many eateries within a reasonable distance that Johnny and I hadn't tried and given some (pardon the pun!) feedback. For a while we actually kept a notebook commenting on the quality of the eats. When a waitress once asked us about it, Johnny had no difficulty in assuring her we were developing a food column to be published as soon as we could find a paper interested. We even convinced ourselves that it might come about! Soon it became a regular date and two or three times a week we went swimming and scoured the local eating establishments that were a little different.

   We always celebrated the beginning of summer by taking a drive in his old seventies convertible, a Chrysler New Yorker I think, to  Port Stanley, where we sat on the patio of an old lakefront hotel, now gone and ordered a large plate of fresh perch and a jug of beer.  We would overlook the drawbridge going up and down every half hour or so.  John loved that car and when two 'girls' (at least in  their seventies) came over to our table and commented, "nice car you boys are driving!" John glowed with pleasure.  On our way home we always stopped at Shaw's Ice Cream for a spectacular ice cream cone.  It was the first place that I ever tasted a 'Cinnamon Bun' Ice Cream cone!  I loved it- and like so  many of the things I loved, it isn't available anymore. 
   He had some amazing stories to tell of an era when men were men and women were women. He was WW2 come alive. He joined the Canadian Navy when he was sixteen, below the age when it was permissible to serve in the armed services. When he was found out, he was transferred to the Norwegian Merchant Navy, where his adventures extended from being locked in the Freezer of a food conveying ship, to falling overboard.
"That must have been terrifying, John," I had said to him.
"Yes, I thought I was finished and I could imagine what my mother would say! I was lucky, because the ship was anchored. Otherwise I would have been a dead man!"
   He had been a cop in Niagara Falls for a number of years and had a rich cornucopia of stories. A big man, both literally and metaphorically, I wouldn't have like to be on the wrong side, when Johnny gave the bad guys the "eye".
   I managed to match his stories much of the time, regaling him with tales of my years in Regina, as physician to and a Special Constable in the RCMP.
   He and I particularly enjoyed the summers, when we took over my son's swimming pool and lolled around the pool before checking out the restaurants in Lambeth.
   In the past year, he wasn't able to swim and so we played a different sort of pool - eightball!   He complained about being almost blind in one eye, particularly when he missed a shot. When he played a difficult shot brilliantly, as he sometimes did,he would say,
   "Not bad for a blind man, Eh??"

   A wonderful friend to have made in this stage of both of our lives. I will miss him sorely.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

A Kid shit/puked in my Pool today!

    I schlepped out of my bed this morning against all my better instincts.  I was warm, cosy and had been having pleasant dreams.  For some reason, quite incomprehensible to me most of my dreams are pleasant, to the extent that waking up is a disappointment!  Still,  knew that I had to go swimming, lest the muse of eternal youth desert me.  So, reluctantly I dragged myself out of my warm, comfortable slumber, to go about my self-imposed task of swimming quite actively, for an hour.  My OCD requires that it be an hour, no less and my innate laziness requires that it be no more!  I usually start at eleven and I swim quite actively until all three hands of the clock are at twelve!   
   This morning, I hit the pool a little early, ten fifty to be precise and felt quite self-satisfied at my accomplishment.  This was going to be quite a morning  for life prolongation, especially after that little extra shot of a very fine single-malt that I took before going to bed.   
   I started off well.  Guy, a relatively new friend and I, managed to share a swimming lane to ourselves, no easy task on a busy Monday morning!  We were well into our exercise program, well at least ten minutes into it, when our favorite lifeguard, an animated young woman, with four young daughters who sometimes accompanied her to the pool, came racing over.
  "Okay guys," she said to us,"You've got to get put of the pool right now"
   We laughed at her.  "That sounds pretty urgent.  Got a bomb threat or something?"
   "Yep," she said.  "Some kid shit in the pool!  We've got to shock it.  You'll be able to swim this afternoon.  And by the way, they think she threw up as well!"
   We got out without further ado.  

   So, Guy and I got a chance to know each other a little better.  He had been an police officer in Ontario for a number of years and had a number of stories to recount and I had a few to tell him about when I was a Special Constable in the RCMP.  
   Funny how my late friendships seem to be Cops and Docs!
   Go figger!  

Saturday 8 December 2018

A Christmas Story, or Baby It's Cold Outside!

   Last night, I watched "A Christmas Story".  I had always regarded it as a fun filled family film, that emphasized the family closeness of Christmases past and made the point that  when the past was reviewed through the lens of family closeness all  the little conflicts and  exasperations of family life were as nothing compared to the richness of the close life-long relationships within the nuclear family.  
   Following the  furore regarding "Baby it's Cold Outside", I thought I ought to look at some some of  the racist prejudices behind the much beloved "A Christmas Story", and lo and behold, I found it to  be as innocent as anything that a Straight White Racist could pen!  Imagine, I used to find the whole story a hilarious recounting of the minor trials and tribulations that every family dealt with as it matured, leading to the magnificent bonding that develops in some, but not all families.  Alas, that is not the way the humorless society of the troglodytes of the Left see it at all.  I am assuming that you have seen the movie.   Perhaps, this is the way they see it. 
   Early in the movie it becomes apparent that the father in this family is some sort of weirdo!   He wins a prize of a lampstand and lampshade in  the shape of a womxn's high-heeled net stocking clad leg topped by a little bit of frilly lampshade.  In addition, he insists in placing the monstrosity in the living room window, to be admired by all his Straight White Racist neighbours, presumably to humiliate his poor wife, who does not seem at all humiliated! 
   Meanwhile, said poor wife, does not hesitate to punish the poor, inveterate lying Ralphie, by sticking a block of soap in his mouth every time he is caught lying.  Such a toxic practice would surely have landed her in jail today.
   Ralphie himself is no angel.  He lies, without remorse and is potentially violent.  His life's ambition is to  have a Red Ryder Rifle, with which, as everybody knows, (even Santa Claus) an eye can easily be taken out!  When he finally rebels against a bully whose bullying he seemed to acquiesce to, he looked as though he would pound him into oblivion, had not his own mother been called to  intervene.  
   Finally, Santa Claus himself, seemed a little suspect.  Admittedly, it was near closing time in the store, but the way he talked and bumped the kids off his knee and down a chute, to get rid of them as quickly as possible, seemed to rankle of capitalistic greed.  Perhaps his time has come.
   No, I don't think this movie meets the requirements of todays empathetic, LWL,whining snowflakes!
                IT HAS TO BE BANNED !!

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Swimming Pool Tales.

    As I was dressing in the men's 'Locker Room' after my work-out at the Y swimming-pool and squeezing for some room to change, the man next to me struck up a conversation.
     "Looks like winter is here." A common enough opening gambit in Canada.
     He was a  fit- looking man, of about seventy-five.
     I answered, "Are you going to get away this winter?"  A common enough retort to his comment.
     "I'd love to, but my wife and I just got back from an extended holiday."
     I asked. "Where did you go?"
     " Israel," he responded, "ever been there?"
     "Yes," I replied.
     "I went as part of a tour.  As a matter of fact, our pastor  is of Jewish lineage and was a wonderful guide.  Only one month ago I was standing on the Golan heights overlooking the Galilee.  A magnificent sight!"
     "And you know who are the happiest people in Israel?"  he asked.
     I waited for  the answer.
     "The Palestinians," he answered.  "They are happy they live in Israel, not on the other side of the line.   To tell the truth, I would never have known there was a war going on.   I  felt safer than I do in Toronto.   When we went into a restaurant or a coffee-shop and saw the boys and girls with their machine-guns hanging over the back of their chairs, it was  re-assuring, not threatening!  It's an amazing country."
      He had volunteered all this before I had told him I was Jewish.  
     "Ever been there?" he asked.
     I told him I had spent several  months in  Beer Sheva at Ben Gurion University on sabbatical as a visiting professor and of my journeys in the Negev Desert with a Bedouin family medicine resident assessing outpost medicine in the desert.
      He said, "I couldn't believe it.  The whole country is a Silicon Valley.  Microsoft here, Google there, Alcatel-Lucent, BMC, Intel.  There was no end to them!  The whole nation is abuzz with industry and creativity.  An amazing country!"
      And it is!  I often ponder the sickness that leads so many who benefit from their creativity and inventiveness consistently malign the State of Israel.
     But then I really do know and understand it; and so do you.

    Recently, while swimming my laps at the Y,  I ran into an almost middle-aged man, who used to be one of my residents soon after I moved to London, a mere twenty or so years.   I recall being at a resident party when he and his wife and young baby were guests a few years later.
   Although I hadn't seen him for a long time when I asked him how old the baby was now and he told me fifteen I was taken aback.  He also proudly told me she was a upwardly bound competitive swimmer.   I learned about the ridiculously early morning swimming meets that he was committed to driving her to.
   "How old are you now?" I asked him.
   "Forty - five." he answered.
    I couldn't resist telling him that my parents, loving as they were, sent me out to play in the street, where I almost became a cricket star, until I hit the ball through someone's glass window!  Anyway, I got more exercise than I needed bicycling to and from school each day, about 45 minutes each way.
    He understood and smiled.

     I'd hardly parted company with my ex resident when I saw an  old surgeon acquaintance who I hadn't seen for quite a while.  He was one of the  'fit' geriatric group and I  knew he was a lot younger than me.
     "Still doing eighty laps each  time you come out?" I asked cheerily."That must be about five km, "
     "Actually it's two," he  said, smiling.
     "I haven't seen you for quite a while," I said.  "Finally giving up the ghost ?"
     "No," he answered, " my wife is seriously ill, and not doing very well after cancer surgery.  I don't like to  leave her alone for long, but I just have to keep swimming or I'd be no  use to her or to anyone else."
     "That's terrible," I said, he had shared the diagnosis with me and there really wasn't much hope. "I hope she'll do better after the surgery," What else could I say?.
      He smiled sadly, "Thanks, I better keep swimming and try to complete forty laps today before I go home."

      I kept swimming, hoping I  would finish off my exercise program, such as it is, on a more happy note, when I ran into my Dutch lady.  Once folks know you were once a doctor, you have access to their innermost secrets (including what they think of their own current doctor).   Nevertheless, this delightful lady was born during WW2 in Holland and has some stories she tells in her upbeat animated and humerous way that would make your hair stand on end.  She swims energetically and when I remarked on it, she said she has to because she is booked for knee replacement surgery, first one next month and the second in a few months time.
     "I have to do at least forty lengths (a kilometer!) several times a week. I've got to keep really fit, so they don't cancel my surgery," she said and added,"and to maintain my sanity!"   
     She lives out in the countryside, won't be able to drive for a while and her aging elderly husband seems on the brink of losing his driving license due to increasing cognitive impairment.    
     Getting old ain't for sissies!

Tuesday 27 November 2018

A Modern Medical Hero!

   If you have followed my blog even occasionally, you will be aware of my admiration for Dr. Brian Day, an Orthopedic Surgeon from Manchester, England, who spent most of his professional life enriching Canadian Medicine.  Dr. Day, practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia, established a clinic, the Cambie Clinic, that made available to Canadians, procedures that they would have had to wait years for, sometimes dying in the interim, or go to the United states or elsewhere to have that procedure carried out in a timely manner.   Despite delivering care to thousands of Canadians, who would have waited years to receive treatment or never have received treatment at all (we all die sometime!) the BC Government (perhaps embarrassed by their own inability to do the job), decided to put into force new financial  penalties, that would have put the Clinic out of business.  Dr. Day, after years of  costly litigation, so costly that most would  have been beaten into submission, finally won a significant victory.   The BC Supreme Court, sided with doctors, patients and private clinics that make available to patients treatment, at their own expense, that the government can't or won't provide in a timely fashion.  For now, the clinics will stay open and will continue to provide services to patients who otherwise would have to leave Canada to get treatment.  Unfortunately, the victory is temporary for the moment, but I do hope it indicates some perception of what is necessary to  prevent Canada from becoming a third class health care system.

  The Court's decision speaks for itself:
"In summary, for the purposes of the Injunction Application, I have determined the following:

a) Taking into account the circumstances of this constitutional litigation and a preliminary assessment of the evidence, the Plaintiffs have established that injunctive relief is appropriate in this case. I make that determination based on a preliminary assessment of the evidence and finding that the Plaintiffs have established that there is a serious question to be tried in that:

i. Some patients will suffer serious physical and/or psychological harm while waiting for health services;

ii. Some physicians will not provide private-pay medically necessary health services after the MPA Amendments take effect;

iii. Some patients would have accessed private-pay medically necessary health services but for the MPA Amendments;

iv. Some patients will have to wait longer for those medically necessary health services that could have been available but for the MPA Amendments and impugned provisions;

v. A sufficient causal connection between increased waiting times for private-pay medically necessary health services and physical and/or psychological harm caused to some patients.

b) The Plaintiffs have established irreparable harm in the context of a constitutional case that has proceeded in a manner that is consistent with public interest litigation in that some patients, but for the prohibitions, could have obtained private-pay medically necessary health services much sooner at a private clinic (such as Cambie) and the subsequent delay in receiving treatment causes some patients to endure serious physical and psychological suffering. The nature of this constitutional case complicates the assessment of damages at the interlocutory stage.

c) The Plaintiffs have established that the balance of convenience tips in their favour. This is so despite the Court’s conclusion that the MPA Amendments are directed to the public good and serve a valid public purpose. The Plaintiffs have tilted the balance by establishing that restraint of the enforcement provisions will also serve the public interest in that private-pay medically necessary health services will be accessible [throughout the course of the case]."

The decision can be downloaded and viewed here.

Thursday 22 November 2018

A minor medical inconvenience.

A minor medical inconvenience.

A couple of days ago I noticed I was low in a couple of the many medications I take. I phoned the pharmacy and they informed me that one of the medications that I have been on for eons was expired and they would have to contact the doctor for a renewal. They would let me know when to come in and pick it up. Two or three days later, I got the call. They had called the Doctor's office and the nurse (who knows me well) told them they hadn't seen me for a year and I had to see the doctor first. As I was out of my pills and my very own doc is out of the office more than she's in it these days, I knew I might be dead before I got the appointment. Since I attend the Family Medicine Unit at St. Joe's hospital, a teaching unit I always feel obliged to let students and residents have a learning look at me before taking over my own care! I can always get an appointment with a resident because they are always in need of bodies to inspect, palpate, percuss, auscultate etc.
I phone the unit. "My prescription has run out, I need to see the Doctor to get a refill. I need the appointment today. I will see anyone."
I had said the magic words.
"We can fit you in with one of the residents. Two 'clock or three?"
It was already one thirty, so I opted for two. "Who should I ask for?
"Oh it doesn't matter, just check in at reception and they will tell you."
That actually meant that they didn't know yet and that they would grab one of the residents who didn't look too busy.
I arrived at a few minutes to two o'clock and barely had time to open my tablet and start typing when the nurse came in.
"Hello, Stan, we haven't seen you for a long time so I thought this was a good way to drag you in. It's over a year you know and you need some updates in your shots and I wanted to talk to you about the new pneumonia shot." She checked my blood pressure. "Uncross your legs!"she barked.
She did it again. "There, that's better."

    She gave me a lecture about having a colonoscopy and staying up to date with my immunizations.   She told me I  should come more than once a year.  I nodded my head queisciently. 
She put me in the examining room. "The Doctor will be in in just a moment."
Again, I barely had time to fiddle with my digital toys when the door opened and a little girl came into the room. She looked about fifteen, a trifle over five foot tall and about 95lbs soaking wet! However, I had been in the game far too long to let anyone's appearance of youth fool me.
"Good afternoon Doctor, pleased to meet you," I said, shaking hands.
"Pleased to meet you, Dr. Smith," Ah, so she had been briefed.
"Are you a local grad," I asked her.
"No," she said, "I'm an Ottawa graduate, but my partner has a job here in London so I moved here."
The world has changed a lot since I was young!!
She gave me my prescriptions which was the reason for my visit and so that the appointment would really be worthwhile I got her to look at a little warty thing on my back, which she did willingly. It was nothing.
I guess she hasn't got to the stage yet of "only one complaint per visit!!!

    Oh, by the way, the pharmacy informed me that if I couldn't get a timely appointment with  my doctor a pharmacist could sign an interim prescription for only fifteen dollars!!

Saturday 17 November 2018

Smoke it, eat it, you can even...............

Cured Nutrition Cured Dough

  Even if you don't smoke or perhaps especially if you don't smoke, the 'Key opinion leaders' and your government are determined to make marijuana intoxication as available as possible.  You can smoke it, eat it or drink it, the elites who rule you don't really care as long as you are 'happy', top up THEIR treasury and remain sufficiently stoned to give them as little trouble as possible.  They don't even care if your kids get stoned, as long as they don't get blamed for it.  They want to outpush the pushers and usurp their millions and think they can do that because they have the law on their side - because they make the law!  They are well aware of the damage they are doing to the citizens and to the country, but they really don't care.  After all, they have only the next election to worry about.  If they win that there is nothing to worry about.  Their pensions are secure.  I will be supporting them for the rest of MY life.  You too, unfortunately, most of the folks don't seem to get that yet!!
  If you have any opinion make a comment!

Tuesday 13 November 2018

The Old quack Reminisces. Pt 4.

   The Medical Arts Clinic, where his Canadian medical career began, far exceeded his expectations.    Situated in a clean new medical building, it housed about sixty physicians representing general practice and most of the major specialties of the day.  About fifteen general practitioners worked shoulder to shoulder with general surgeons, thoracic surgeons, internists,pediatricians, radiologists, pathologists working together in an atmosphere of collegiality that, I am sorry to say, no longer exists.  Many of the doctors who founded the clinic, were WW2 veterans from the prairies, whose goals were to come back to Canada and establish a clinic comparable to the renowned Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota.
   They were motivated primarily by idealism, not money and were largely successful in their endevours.  I was impressed, not only by their standard of medical practice, but by their decency as human beings.  As a new doctor in the clinic, I was assigned to a mentor, to whom I could turn when I had questions or problems and whose mission included 'keeping an eye on the new man'.   His name was Jamie MacIntosh and to me he was the quintessential Canadian.  Tough, no-nonsense, kind and compassionate, I can still hear his clipped Canadian accent - at least that's how it sounded to  this recent immigrant from the Emerald Isle.  A fighter pilot in WW2, he stayed lean and mean, smoked like a trooper and when  in  later years he sustained a heart attack, he got into his car and drove down  to  the emergency room and told them they better see him quickly because he was having a 'coronary'.  They did, and shortly after he had a cardiac arrest, was resuscitated, went back to work and practiced medicine for several more years.
   The young docs at the bottom of the totem pole in the Medical Arts Clinic got the house calls.  

He awoke a moment before the phone rang knowing it was going to scream at him if he didn't get it immediately. He got it at the first ring before it woke anyone in the house. She moved, turned and resumed her quiet snoring. He looked at the bedside clock. It was 2.55 am. He slid out of bed as he put the phone to his ear. It was the answering service "we have a call for you, doctor"  the operator said. 
"Take a number and tell them I’ll call back immediately" he said. He didn't want to wake the baby; he’d call back from the spare room.  Two minutes later he was wide awake and calling the number back. 
A female voice said "I have terrible stomach pains, doctor, can you send me something out?" 
 "I can’t send you something without seeing you" he said knowing he had just committed himself to a house call. "What's your address?" 
She gave him an address on the seamy side of town. He sighed "I’ll be right over. "

      A few minutes later he was in his car, braced by the cold Canadian winter. He hadn't a garage in those days, and after he had scraped the icy night from his windscreen, the frozen the base of his tires thudded him awake. The car thumped along the street, the bright moon throwing it's bluish white light against the snow, reflected back towards the sky. The car traveled across the city quickly, despite the icy roads as Stan piloted the car with the confidence of someone used to driving in these conditions, which he now was.  Not bad for a guy from the Emerald isle! As he approached South Railway and the CN station where he had first set foot in Regina the neighbourhood became perceptibly seedier, until he found himself outside a run down hotel. He checked the address.  There was no mistaking it, he thought gloomily, this was it. He pulled his car into the parking lot, left the engine running (he wanted it to be warm when he came out: if someone stole it, too bad), threw his cigarette away, picked up his medical bag and walked through the door into the dimly lit hall. There was no sign of any sort of caretaker or watchman around. He did have a room number, 23a, and he guessed that might be on the second floor. As he walked up the creaky staircase it seemed to get darker. He got a sour smell, a combination of beer, urine and tobacco. He walked along a stark landing and looked at the numbers. 23a somehow seemed to look worse than the adjoining rooms. The smell of urine seemed  overwhelming and the whole building seemed unbearably hot. He loosened his down parka and he felt the body heat it had captured waft past his face. He hoped it would be cooler in the apartment.  He decided to try one more time then he was going home. He banged on the door loudly this time, hopeful that it would not be answered. It was.

      The man who opened the door was a dirty and disheveled  and smelled of booze.
   ” Come in, Doc" he slurred. 
   Stan hesitated, and then walked into the sparsely furnished, dimly-lit room. He looked around. The room was shabby and untidy with a torn, shapeless sofa, on which a woman of about 35 reclined. She was clad in a black slip and not much else, held a smoking cigarette in her hand and took a deep drag on it before she spoke.
"Am I ever glad to see you, doc" she said.

"Good evening” said Stan,” I’m Dr.Smith. What seems to be the trouble" He wondered whether he should have framed his word differently, in the circumstances.

“I was to see one of the doctors in the clinic the other day and he said I have gall-stones, and if I get the pain again I am to call up the doctor on call for a shot of Demerol.  I've been in terrible pain all night" she said.   

      "Why did you wait until three o'clock in the morning to call me?” he asked.

"Oh, I didn't want to bother you, doctor," she said.

Stan sighed, "okay, step into the bed-room and I’ll examine you." 
 "oh,I don't think I need an examination right now, just give me the shot and I’ll come into the office tomorrow for a check-up."

Stan looked at the woman, apart from looking tired and dissipated, it was obvious that this woman was in no distress.

Stan, young, but not inexperienced, assessed the situation and now decided the time had come to be firm. This woman was obviously looking for drugs. He hadn't decided exactly what her relationship was with the shabby looking man.

He was now sitting in the room's solitary armchair chatting incoherently either with himself, or to Stan.  Stan caught "Party in Seattle and then this guy pulled out a gun." He decided it was time to be firm, deal with the situation and get out of the apartment as soon as he could.

"You either let me examine you or I'm leaving without prescribing anything. You don’t seem to be in any pain right now"

She looked as though she was about to tell him to fuck off but then seemed to think better of it.

"Well, if you could just leave me a few Demerol or Talwin pills in case the pain comes back during the night, then I’ll come into the office tomorrow for an examination" 
Stan was about to tell her that he was leaving nothing and if the pain came back she could go to the emergency room, when there was a loud knock at the door. All three occupants of the room froze. Stan clutched his medical bag with its considerable variety of drugs, tightly in his hands. No one attempted to open the door. Again a loud knocking, this time more insistent, demanding an answer. Stan was just on the point of quickly opening the door, walking down the corridor and getting into his still running car, when with a loud crack, the door flew open. Two men stood in the doorway. Stan sized them up quickly. One tall, fairly well dressed, tough looking, the other fat and rather shabby. Stan noticed that as the short, fat one burst into the room, his jacket swung open revealing a holstered gun. (Tomorrow's Leader Post headlines flashed in front of his eyes. "Young Physician shot in Drug Shootout") He clutched his house call bag firmly in his hands. If they got that it was going to be over his dead body! He decided that it was now or never. He pushed past the two men, hoping they would be so busy with the occupants of the rooms they wouldn't bother with him. He walked briskly down the corridor, head down making for the car, engine still running to keep it warm. He knew once he got there he would have no problem. He glanced over his shoulder - my God, they were after him. He broke into a trot, and so did they! He felt a heavy hand laid upon his arm as he was spun around. The small shabby man's hand went to his holster. Stan wondered whether to run for it.

"Sgt. Sam O'Hanlon, Regina City Police Dept." he said. ”Afraid you got caught up in a drug bust, doc." He shoved his police department badge under Stan's nose. "I just have to establish for the record that yo teve's nose. "I just have to establish for the record that you u didn't leave any narcotics at the address, so that when we lay charges they can’t say that it was just stuff the doc left."

Stan said, "no, I didn't leave anything"

"We may have to call you for evidence, doc."

Stan nodded "Okay, will that be all?"

"Yeah, that's all, doc".

       Stan walked out to his car. It was warm and cozy, as he drove himself home. He parked his car in his carport and plugged in the block heater so the car would start in the morning. He crept up the stairs so as not to waken the baby. On the landing he removed his clothes, slipped into the bedroom and felt the cozy warmth. As he snuggled up beside her she stirred.
       "Have you got to go out? " she asked.
       "No” said he.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Good-bye Canada.,hello Cannabis!!

Looks like the Future of Canada is in the hands of Big Pharma.  This is what I  received in my mail today:

Medical Cannabis: The Future is Now
Realities and Practicalities for Prescribers

Dear Doctor,

We are pleased to invite you to join Shoppers Drug Mart for an exciting educational event, Medical Cannabis: The Future is Now; Realities and Practicalities for Prescribers.
Shoppers Drug Mart will be hosting evening events in the following cities:
  • Calgary on November 6th
  • Vancouver on November 8th
  • Toronto on November 12th
  • Ottawa on November 15th
Each city will offer a unique, educational, and engaging experience. You will walk away with a better understanding of the science behind medical cannabis, including practical tips and clinical tools to capably and confidently authorize medical cannabis for your patients. You will also gain a solid understanding of the authorization process and of the next steps in treating your patients.
Shoppers Drug Mart is dedicated to providing the highest level of care to patients and wants to include you in this effort.
Please click the link below for more information and to register to attend.
Anyone who scans through my blogs knows I am no supporter of legal weed. It is a gateway drug that predisposes to addiction, psychosis, lung damage and probably brain damage. That the Canadian Prime Minister who was probably born with a high THC level and who witnessed the devastating effect the drug had on his own mother has so aggressively pushed this program forward must be more than a coincidence. Turning Canada, a nation with a devastating record of drug addiction into a major purveyor of marijuana is a great mistake. The hurried manner in which this was introduced assures us there will be no adequate technology to measure impairment in the automobile or the workplace. The combined effect of pot and alcohol will surely increase traffic fatalities and injuries as it did in Colorado. The health system spent millions of taxpayers dollars in guiding smokers to give up the habit, only to replace it now with a more dangerous one. Last week an alert mother picked up a weed impregnated candy that was given to her seven year old.
There are only two reasons for this unconscionable action. One is money and the other is votes. Some might suggest a third, to make segments of the population more easily manipulated.
The decline continues.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

The Old Quack Reminisces. Pt.3

     He stopped and thought for a while before proceeding.  After all, when you are an Octogenarian surely you are entitled to settle into obscurity?   He and a colleague once felt inspired to write a book that they thought was significant, but when he had sent it to an old friend from  the long past in the old country for a preliminary review the reply said, "unless you are prepared to strip yourself naked to the world , body and soul you can't write a real book.  Your manuscript is an account of all you are prepared to make public and that's okay, but it is not enough!"   He knew that was true..  Nowadays,his scribbles were mainly to entertain himself and to leave a trail, if anyone cared..  

     Mac Chase picked him up at precisely 9 am. as promised.   As he climbed into the car, Mac said,       " You know I forgot to take you out to pick up a few groceries when I dropped you off yesterday,  I hope you got by okay.."
    "Oh yes, no problem." he lied.
     It was about a fifteen minute drive to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on 11th Avenue in Regina.  It was directly across the street from the Medical Arts Clinic in Regina.  They parked the car and walked into the bank.
     " We have an appointment to see Jack," said Mac.
     They were shown into the  manager's office, which looked to Stan like a Hollywood "executive office".
     "Hi Jack" Mac said, "Stan just arrived from the old country yesterday.  He's on the clinic payroll as of the first of last month.  He has no money, so he'll need something to live on, a car, an apartment and some cash."
   "Stan, this is Jack Ink, the bank manager!"  
     Jack Ink, yes, that really was the manager's name.  In retrospect, maybe it was that name that turned Stan into a lifelong Fountain Pen and Ink aficionado!
     After shaking hands and settling Stan across from his desk Jack said, "Stan, how much do you think you will need?".
     Stan thought for a moment.  In London, England, when he needed to borrow twenty pounds (about $60 in those days), for a kerosene oil heater, the bank manager frowned at him and said, "You're just a newly graduated man, we'll have to have some security for a loan of this amount.  Do you have any life insurance?"
     "Yes, I  have one thousand pounds of life insurance. (3000$) "
     "Well, you'll have to turn it over to us until the debt is paid off."
      His baby daughter was turning blue-ish on those cold London nights and he thought he had detected a slight mitral systolic murmur when he  listened to her heart, so he was prepared to hand over his life insurance and anything else he owned.   He still thought that was the crucial moment when he decided he really didn't want to spend his life in England.  Perhaps that was good, because, shortly after he had settled in Canada, he had a letter from the practice he had worked in, in London England, asking him to come back and be  partner in the practice.  He had no doubts when  he  refused the offer.
      "Er, I really don't know," Stan said.
     Jack thought for a moment. "How about $5000?"
     Stan felt the room starting to swim a little.  Five thousand dollars!  How could he handle  loan  like that?   He almost fell off the chair.
    "Five thousand dollars," he stammered,"I don't think......"
     Jack Ink cut him off.  Don't worry, if you don't think  that's enough we can increase it to whatever you need to get started.."
     "Thanks, thanks very much," was all he could say.  It would have been too complicated to say more.
      They left the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, an institution that Stan dealt with for the rest of his life.  Just shows what a Bank Manager can do!!
     "Now that you have a bank account, we have to get you a car, "said Mac, as they climbed into the car and took off for Regina Motor Products. He bought a used huge Chevrolet Biscayne, no power steering or brakes (He didn't know of such things) without even a radio.  Even now he recalled listening to reports of the Kennedy assassination on a tiny portable radio that slid around his dash!
    The next day he started work.


Wednesday 24 October 2018

The Old Quack Reminisces. Pt 2.

It's just about twenty years since the old quack moved to Ontario after thirty five years in Saskatchewan. He had come to Regina from the old country in January 1963, arriving at four in the morning at the CPR station with a wife, a little girl and forty dollars Canadian. They were supposed to be able to sleep in the Regina sleeper until eight in the morning when they were to be picked up by the manager of the Medical Arts Clinic where he was to work. It was so cold that they were unable to uncouple the Regina sleeper so they were evicted into the huge empty CP station that was totally deserted. It was four a.m. and still four hours until they were going to be picked up by the clinic manager.
"I'm hungry, daddy" the little girl said..
He looked around the huge Hall. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a bloody dispensing machine. He walked over to the door and looked across South Railway St. Everything looked white and frosty. He could almost hear the cold. Across the street, which in more temperate weather conditions served as "Hooker Row" he could see a neon light. A little restaurant, perhaps? He pulled open the heavy door and stepped outside to get a better look. The cold air hit him like a sledge hammer! He'd never felt anything like it before. Still, there it was! A dancing florescent light advertising a restaurant.
"There's a little restaurant right across the road, let's make a dash for it," he said. wrapping the little girl inside his coat and taking his wife's hand. He wished them across the road to what turned out to be the ubiquitous little Chinese convenience store restaurant that exists everywhere in Canada.
"Come in, warm up,. You just got off the train? Where you come from?"
I told him we had just arrived in Saskatchewan from England.
"Welcome to Canada," said the little old Chinese gentleman.
His wife came over and hugged our daughter. "Little girl must be hungry." And without further ado brought a bowl of cereal. "She can start with this then we'll see what she wants to eat.".
They danced around us, fed us well and didn't want to give us a bill. Of course I insisted. I've always loved Chinese people ever since.

About 8 am, Mac Chase, the clinic manager picked us up. He was horrified that we had been there for several hours.
"Why didn't you phone me?" He asked.
"I wouldn't phone anyone at 4am."
He bundled us into his car to drive us to the house the clinic had rented from someone who has gone South for the winter. The drive along Albert Street in Regina was spectacular. The leafless trees that bridged that regal Street were encrusted with jewel like bracelets that were magnificent. He drove us to a nice house on Angus Crescent, that still looked nice when I drove by when I visited my sister a couple of years ago.
"I'll pick you up in the morning," Mac Chase said when he dropped us off. "Have you any money?'
"Oh yes," I said, "about forty dollars".
"Well, we'll have to do something about that," he said, "Our first stop will be at the bank, then we'll have to get you a car and see about setting you up with an account so you can buy some furniture when you find an apartment."
As he walked out the door he said, "Pick you up about 9 am."
All of a sudden everything was quiet. The baby was asleep. Irene was unpacking her hand baggage. The rest of their baggage would arrive in a couple of days. Stan opened the fridge to check on the supplies for the next day or so. There we precious few.
"Hey, I have to go and get some basic provisions," he said. "We need some stuff to carry us over until we can do a proper grocery shop tomorrow. Right now the only things in the fridge are some bread, milk, butter and some Old Port cigarillos! There has to be some sort of convenience store I can walk to and pick up some essentials. I'll be back soon."
He put on his coat, scarf and gloves and walked out into the brilliant white sunlight. The sun glistened on the snow and the cold was so refreshing after the overheated house that he felt invigorated. But not for long,. He walked around Angus Crescent and onto College Avenue looking out for any sort of convenience store but saw nothing. He kept walking and was starting to feel a little cold now. He'd never experienced anything quite like this before and in addition, his ears were starting to hurt. He stepped up the pace. His ears were getting so painful that he was actually considering knocking at the door of one of the houses and asking if he could phone for a taxi,, but if he did that sort of thing his forty dollars wasn't going to last long. Then, saved! Right on the corner he saw a little convenience store. The Chinese woman behind the counter greeted him with, "You look so cold, better warm up!"
Saved by the Chinese twice in a twenty four hour period, he thought gratefully.
Soon after he staggered back into the house with his groceries he noticed some sensation returning to his ears. Two minutes later he was writhing in agony as his frozen ears thawed out. For years after his ears remained excessively sensitive to the cold. When the pain settled a little he took one of the Old Port cigarillos from the fridge and wished he had a rum and coke to sip on while he smoked it.
At precisely nine in the morning Mac Chase picked him up.
After the usual greetings Mac said, "Okay Stan, first thing we have to do is get you some money. We're going to the bank!".