Transport to the Outer Rim

I got out.

I don’t know how long I can stay. Canada has refused to employ me despite (because of?) my advanced degree, and if anything goes awry in my immigration process, they might yet force me back.

But I got out.

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Transport to the Outer Rim
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World Toilet Day

Today is World Toilet Day: A fact that seems to amuse a lot of people. Living in North American, it can be pretty easy to take toilets and running water for granted. Bathrooms have become such an integrated part of our daily lives and routines, it can be hard to imagine not having regular access to a toilet. Perhaps on a camping trip, or in a particularly deserted area of town one might be inconvenienced temporarily, but on the whole most of us have a reasonable expectation of having access. As such, it might come as a shock to learn that 1 in 3 people in the world, do not have safe and adequate access to toilets or running water.

Running water and the flushable toilet were not just breakthroughs in convenience and comfort. The development of the toilet meant serious progress in overall public health.

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World Toilet Day

Dear Doctors: We need to talk

Dear Doctors,

We really need to talk. Enough is enough. As much as we make jokes about doctors and their god-complex, the truth of the matter is that you are only human. You are as much a victim of internalized bias and prejudice as any other person who is a product of this biased society we live in. It’s unreasonable to expect otherwise given how those same biases influence how we teach doctors. But I am going to expect it, nay I’m going to demand it. Because for all that you are only human, you often have the power of life, death, and suffering over people and right now your biases are killing my friends and me.

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Dear Doctors: We need to talk

Flamboyán Al Fin

He hoarded his Christmas gifts. We would get him cologne, ties, shirts, tchotchkes from our travels, treatments to soften his overworked hands, and they would all find their ways into drawers and cabinets, untouched for years. His clothing had to wear to nothing before he would discard it and start the next one’s slow disintegration. New, untouched things are a treasure to save for when they are needed, not an indulgence for in between. Scarcity is behind every shadow and over every hill, and a good hoard is insurance against doing without. It’s a habit my father, my grandfather, and I all share, to each other’s bemused frustration. They tangled with Communists, I grew up autistic, and we all hoard.

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Flamboyán Al Fin

Crohn’s cause by Evil Eye; Cured by Unicorn Tears

One of the most annoying things we face as people with chronic illnesses is people who decide they know how to cure us, while having no idea what we are going through. People who don’t realize how condescending their advice ends up being, and frequently how wrong or even dangerous it is. The constant need to give advice or to become the recipient of every single article on the subject of our conditions is something a lot of us put up with, if not actively struggle against.

Most of the time, the urge is spurred on by good intentions. So it gets me particularly angry when it is the failure of science reporting that is the cause of the most recent flood of misinformation being pushed my way.

In the last two months, Crohn’s Disease has trended on Facebook twice: once to brag that a vaccine against Crohn’s has been discovered (it hadn’t) and once to let everyone that they’ve discovered what causes Crohn’s (they haven’t).

In both cases, the articles were written in a way that suggests that the authors (or their editors) had no real understanding of science. That or they willingly inflated a story knowing it was fraudulent, and supported their claims with information that appears significant when it isn’t.

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Crohn’s cause by Evil Eye; Cured by Unicorn Tears

How to Talk to your Doctor about Digestive Issues

I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask how to bring up digestive symptoms with their doctor. It’s easy to have problems dismissed when talking to doctors, especially for those people who are perceived as being female or are female presenting.

I don’t have all the answers. I still have trouble getting taken seriously by some doctors, despite everything that is on record as being wrong with me physically. I do have some suggestions, that I have learned from my own experiences.

Please note, I will make mention of bowel movements and bodily fluids, so please keep that in mind while reading.

  1. Keep track of your symptoms

Questions you are likely to be asked regarding pain:

What type of pain? Where is it? Does it get worse after eating? How long does it last?

Questions you are likely to be asked regarding blood or stool:

What is the consistency (Bristol Stool Chart)? How much blood? Was it dark red? Clotted? Pink and watery? Does your stool contain what looks like coffee grinds?

By having answers ready for these questions, you can move the process along more quickly since the doctors will have a better idea of what they are looking for.

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How to Talk to your Doctor about Digestive Issues

Understanding the Canadian Healthcare System

In Canada, residents and citizens are recipients of a socialized provincial insurance plan. Although the specific terms of what is covered might differ slightly by province, most of the major aspects remain the same. Trips to the doctor are free and do not include any type of co-pay. The cost for the healthcare is covered through our taxes.

In Ontario, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or OHIP, covers the cost of every doctor visit, visits with specialists, admissions to the hospital, any necessary surgeries, and so on. Certain treatments are limited by their needed frequency. For example, OHIP will cover the cost of a Pap smear once every three years as that is the standard frequency recommended by Health Canada. In the event however that you test positive for HPV or have an abnormal reading, or have a family history that requires more frequent screenings, OHIP will cover the cost of those as well as they are deemed medically necessary to occur more frequently.

Similarly as someone with Crohn’s, I require frequent colonoscopies, more than might be otherwise covered, but don’t ever have to worry about paying for the procedure.

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Understanding the Canadian Healthcare System