Throwback Thursday: Hands On Pathology

In grade 11, my school gave top students a chance to participate in an enrichment program hosted by Queens University. We would be living for one week on the campus, sleeping in dorms, eating in the cafeteria, and taking a course that would give us some idea of the university environment.

Around this time I was still enthralled with the idea of being a doctor. Almost everything I did was with that specific goal in mind, so when I was offered the opportunity, I signed up for the “Hands-On Pathology” course. It was, or so I had heard, one of the most popular programs on offer, but I was lucky enough to get in.

Our week at Queens was amazing! My first view of the campus coincided with the sun coming out of the clouds and making the waters of the lake dance and sparkle. There were an assortment of after-class events you could sign up for, including astronomy or even just hanging out in the common room and watching a movie.

The class itself was incredible. We had experts come in and teach us about different aspects of pathology, including forensics, diagnosis, different aspects of medicine. The highlight of the class though had to be when we were brought over to the medical school and introduced to the teaching cadavers.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday: Hands On Pathology”

Throwback Thursday: Hands On Pathology
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Guest Post: Suffering Stream of Consciousness

The following is a stream of consciousness poem by a friend of mine who has been dealing with overwhelming medical negligence for several years, most recently blinded by a doctor ignoring medical protocol for a medication they put her on. These are her thoughts in the midst of trying to process her most recent medical traumas and yet another severe pain flare that has had no help from doctors. 

TW: Discussions of Death, Abuse, Suffering, Suicidal Ideation, Medical Neglect, Troll Brain thoughts. These are unedited troll brain thoughts as well and so not controlled for slurs and internalized prejudices.

written by friend Sophie; after spending 9 hours in an endless sob session and panic attack before being given a clonazepam and sitting down to write this as the clonazepam started to calm her down.

I am dying.
Continue reading “Guest Post: Suffering Stream of Consciousness”

Guest Post: Suffering Stream of Consciousness

Save a Life: Turn off the Flash

Spring seems to come earlier and earlier each year, and with it comes the increase in bike traffic. There is a lot of good that comes from bike riding. People get more exercise, less fossil fuels get used, there are good reasons to ride a bike. Bikers also deal with a lot of dangers. Most cities have insufficient bike lanes, and drivers are not taught how to handle bikers on the road. As such, there is a need for security measures to prevent fatalities and accidents. One of these methods is the use of a light to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Most of these lights have two settings – solid and flash.

In most cases people only consider their own personal safety, but there is one major problem with that. You see, those flashing light settings can be a trigger for photosensitive seizures.

Continue reading “Save a Life: Turn off the Flash”

Save a Life: Turn off the Flash

Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide

[My dear readers, I come to you with a request. The following letter has been emailed and sent by mail to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities, as well as my MP. 

IF YOU ARE CANADIAN: Please post your support of what I’m asking here. That disabled Americans be allowed to immigrate into Canada and receive access to Healthcare as well as become a part of this great nation. 

IF YOU ARE AMERICAN: Please post in the comments about how President Trumps and the Republican Congress and Senates actions have put you or your loved ones at risk in the last few days. I will be including a link to this post in my email. 

ALL READERS: Tweet this to the Prime Minister @CanadianPM] 

January 28, 2017

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

CC: The Honourable Ahmed D Hussen, The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Anita Vandenbeld

To the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

I’m writing to you as a proud citizen of this country to beg and plead for the lives of my loved ones. Since Mr. Trump’s election many of those closest to me have been scared of what the future holds for them. They belong to various vulnerable communities: trans people, gay people, people of colour, people who belong to non-Christians faiths or no faith at all, and especially disabled people.

In the days since President Trumps inauguration, that fear has turned into outright panic. In just his first week, Mr. Trump has enacted and encouraged policies that will lead to the deaths of millions. His policies show a clear movement towards eliminating the social and physical protections granted to those most at risk for abuse. Continue reading “Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide”

Make Canada Proud: Disable Genocide

Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder

Every day seems to bring a new terrifying development in the Orange PEOTUS’ Cabinet of Horrors. Between white supremacists being appointed to important positions by a man calling for the registration of minority religions, climate change deniers being appointed to oversee the environment, and anti-vaxxers being put in positions to determine the safety and implementation of vaccine regiments it can be overwhelming in trying to decide which problem to address first.

Meanwhile different factions are calling for the Cheeto-in-chief’s detractors to tone down their opposition in the interest of cooperation.

I’m scared, and I’m not the only one. Even as I do my best to draw attention to the terrifying rhetoric and the distressing similarities between the events leading up to the holocaust and the current events, I hope that I’m wrong. I spend much of my time wishing for me to turn out wrong. But even as I desperately hold on to the idea that maybe it won’t be as bad as we fear, there is one area in which I am already being proven right.

The next four years are already showing themselves to be potentially fatal for one specific vulnerable population: the disabled.

Continue reading “Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder”

Hey Abled Shits: This Is How We Get State-Sanctioned Mass Murder

Rant: Let’s Talk About the BLACKLIVESMATTER Protest at PRIDE (Part 1)

This past weekend, July 3rd, was the Toronto Pride Parade, one of the biggest if not the biggest pride events in Canada. This year’s parade was a historic one for a variety of reasons. The weekend included the largest trans march in the world and the first time that a sitting Prime Minister joined the parade. Another major historic event was the protest staged by Black Lives Matter.

For those who haven’t heard, during the pride parade, after a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando Shooting at Pulse Club, Black Lives Matter Toronto staged a sit in halting the parade. Their protest had the following list of demands:

Continue reading “Rant: Let’s Talk About the BLACKLIVESMATTER Protest at PRIDE (Part 1)”

Rant: Let’s Talk About the BLACKLIVESMATTER Protest at PRIDE (Part 1)

Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?

I denied being bisexual for a long time. There was always an excuse.

  • I didn’t like women that way, I just appreciated their aesthetic beauty.
  • I wasn’t sexually attracted to boobs, they were just fun. Bouncy and Jiggly all at once.
  • I dismissed the crushes I had on certain friends as just being a particular kind of closeness between two female friends. I appreciated the intimacy we shared, that was all.
  • I made up excuses that the reason reading sex scenes between two women turned me on was because they focused more on the type of pleasure I wanted to experience.

When I finally accepted that there was something more to my attractions and yearnings, I identified as hetero-flexible: still straight, just occasionally intrigued by certain women. I made the cis-sexist observation that for me, it just wasn’t fun without also having a penis involved.

All of these messed up ideas finally dripped away over time and I accepted that I really was bi and that I was attracted to all sorts of genders and bodies and people. It wasn’t about specific genitals, it was about the person, and I was just as likely to love women as I was men.

Looking back, I think even then I saw women as more romantic partners and men as sex partners. My pursuit of men had more to do with what was socially expected of me, but my interest in, my connection with women and non-binary people seemed deeper somehow. Continue reading “Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?”

Am I Queer Enough to Grieve?

Shaming Med Use Kills

In the last several weeks, there have been several news articles relating to opiate use and changing definitions regarding drug classification and how doctors can prescribe. As usual this has brought a lot of the stigma surrounding medicine use to the limelight. Whenever these conversations get sparked again, a lot of people start talking about over-prescription, abuse of narcotics, and how big bad pharma creates fake conditions in order to sell drugs. People start talking about patients who abuse the system and end up addicted. These conversations are usually had by people who have no personal experience with chronic pain or the type of conditions being discussed. These same arguments then get used to discredit conditions like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and ADHD.

The shaming inherent in a lot of these arguments not only make life more difficult for patients, but they are actually an example of how “a little” knowledge is a dangerous thing. Take, for example, the frequent argument that ADHD is often over-diagnosed and an excuse to medicate children. Some people have gone so far as to claim that ADHD meds are the shut up and sit still drug and that ADHD itself doesn’t exist.

The first half of the argument is based on two problematic ideas: the lie of more-diagnoses which I discussed in a previous article, and a tendency by certain studies to limit their focus on white males. While there is some indication that ADHD may be over-diagnosed in white boys, in every other category girls, people of colour, and so forth, the opposite appears to be the case.

In white children misbehaviour is believed to be pathological, whereas in the case of children of colour, it is believed to be genetic and inherent. When behaviours that are believed to be disruptive appear in class, white children are often send to counselors and psychiatrists, while black children in particular are punished. We’ve seen this discussed when activists and studies discuss the school to prison pipeline. In many cases the behaviours being punished are the same that are said to be caused by ADHD in white children. Continue reading “Shaming Med Use Kills”

Shaming Med Use Kills

Living with Dignity too!

In the wake of elbowgate, the attention surrounding what has been going on in parliament has been displaced and an important bill ignored.

The bill being discussed right now is in response to a Supreme Court ruling that states that patients have a chartered guaranteed right to end their lives with dignity. In the coming month the laws regarding doctor assisted suicide will become void, and so parliament is in a rush to pass a bill that would more specifically outline what that would mean.

The discussion around the right to die with dignity is one fraught with emotion on both sides. I would like to admit from the outset that I am not as familiar with the contents of the bill as I should be. I plan to change that, but I wanted to offer my own opinion on this issue.

Continue reading “Living with Dignity too!”

Living with Dignity too!

I almost died last week.

CN: Descriptions of withdrawal, hospital admission, medical symptoms and needles.

It wasn’t an accident, or even a sudden onset of something like appendicitis. No, my brush with death came about as a result of fear. Specifically, other people’s fear. Fear of addiction, fear of being wrong, and fear of being fooled.

You see, the week before I was admitted with Crohn’s. I went to an appointment with my Gastroenterologist and he sent me straight to the ER. I was admitted, and put on high doses of Dilaudid, after the usual adjusting games where they started me on 1mg every 6 hours, before finally conceding that 2 mg every 4 was what was needed. In addition to that, I had Gravol and Benadryl to control the various side effects of the opiate.

I spent the week essentially zonked out after several weeks of increasing pain and nausea, and a trip to the ER every 2 weeks since Christmas. My admission came on the heels of two weeks of being sick with a sore throat, which kept me not just from being able to take my Remicade, but my medical marijuana as well. My throat hurt too much to handle the irritation from the smoke.

My crohn’s had gone into overdrive. I wasn’t digesting, I was in pain, and I needed help.

The reason the doctors agreed to finally treat my pain properly is that I told them, that once I got home I wouldn’t be taking dilaudid anymore.

Not one doctor stopped thinking about their fear of addiction long enough to hear what I was saying and remember their training. Continue reading “I almost died last week.”

I almost died last week.