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
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Quale’s Privilege

Sociological concepts are controversial in the skeptic/atheist community. Many of its members don’t think of sociology as a “real” science, or otherwise dismiss the claims such a peculiar field makes as not holding up to the scrutiny expected in biology, geology, or physics. Criticisms of important sociological concepts like privilege tend to rely either on argument from personal incredulity or on hazy readings of introductory philosophy texts.

The funny thing is, philosobros who think they can undo sociological privilege with binary logic or harsh skepticism about the motives of other humans have only a few pages to flip before their own sources turn against them. Equally basic philosophical concepts and discussions underpin major sociological findings, and remind us to be aware of the limits of our own knowledge in other ways.

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Quale’s Privilege

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

Ask Ania Anything: Part 2

During the Facebook AMA, I received more questions than I could reasonably answer in one blog post. So here is the continuation.

Vworp vworp! You’ve just met the Doctor. You have the choice of any time and place in the entire lifetime of the universe. Where do you want to go, and when?

That’s a tough question, in part because I don’t know enough about the history of potential places to visit. So that would make it difficult to really be able to make a decision. I might ask to see the place that has the most beautiful music. I would have asked to see the largest library in the world if not for that darkness episode. Getting to read the most amazing book in the world might be nice. I would love the just go and explore new worlds.

If I limited it to the history of the earth, I don’t know. Meeting Cleopatra could be interesting. I hear she was a brilliant conversationalist and an amazing leader. I would love to meet George Sand and Chopin.

Honestly the hardest thing would be just choosing one thing. I would love to just be able to explore and see knew things. In particular speak to the people. That’s one of the things I love to do when travelling. Going to a great relaxation resort would be nice too. I could use a vacation, somewhere near a beach.

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Ask Ania Anything: Part 2

Ask Alyssa Anything

This week, I expanded my blogging horizons by giving my readers the option to ask me questions they’ve been curious about. The result was a mix of questions about me and things they hope I write about at greater length in the future, and it’s been fun to read and to contemplate.

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Ask Alyssa Anything

Immigrant Gems

It is not possible to run out of reasons to love Steven Universe. This show’s explicitly queer representation is staggeringly high for a show as mainstream as it is; its psychological depth is impressive; it tells us forthrightly and aggressively that our genders should not constrain our possibilities; most of the characters are women or people of color (and largely voiced by people of color); there is a plot arc that is unambiguously about consent and another about being willing to seek comfort from one’s friends in crisis; onward and onward.

It’s also an impressively diverse treatment of immigrants’ and refugees’ feelings about the place they used to call home.

Spoilers out to episode 83 follow.

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Immigrant Gems

Ask Ania Anything

I asked Facebook if there was anything they wanted to know about me, my medicines, or any other aspect of my life. The answers, I told them, would appear in a blog post. I also posted the same to twitter. Below are the questions I received and my answers. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer.

What do you do to stay positive in the face of constant barrages from your body?

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Ask Ania Anything

That Doggy in the Window

Over the last week, I’ve been taking my girls Tsuki, my 11 year old Schnoodle, and CJ, my 8 month of Chihuahua to the dog park on a daily basis. They love it, they get great exercise, and CJ gets to work on being well socialized with other dogs. Today’s trip was planned to coincide around a tutoring appointment Alyssa had. I would drive her to her appointment, go pick up a free drink from Starbucks, hang out for a bit, before picking her back up again and heading to the park.

CJ the Chihuahua

Grey Schnoodle Looking skeptical
Everything was going as planned until Crohn’s once again got in the way. I had to go to the bathroom, but had both my dogs in the car. Stuck and desperate, I blasted the air conditioning until I parked, then wrote out a quick note for any worried passersby: “Bathroom Emergency. Dogs have fan. Back in < 2 min”. I cracked the two front windows about an inch, enough to let some air flow, but not enough to let my small dogs escape into traffic. In addition, I left the doors unlocked, just in case.

I ran for the bathroom and did my business. From where I was, I could hear it when Tsuki, and then CJ started barking loudly. I finished up as quick as I could, all told about a minute, maybe a minute and a half. As soon as I got out of the bathroom I was accosted by an older woman, who asks me if those are my dogs.

I could already sense that this was about to be trouble, but I answered yes.

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That Doggy in the Window

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.

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Living with Dignity too!

Sizing or Bust

Bra sizes are a notorious quagmire. Like everything else in feminine clothing, it relies on a close match between specific items and specific wearers but isn’t priced or made available in a way that actually enables that kind of tailoring, and the end result is that different regions, times of day, brands, weather patterns, and Pokémon swarms all seem to influence how well a particular bra fits. Getting one’s bust sized is as much art as science, and that gets messy for bra wearers whose proportions are at all unusual and/or who have reason to be wary of or insecure around common sources of this information.

I’ve been on estrogen for seven months. I have experienced breast growth since before that, during the month I was on spironolactone alone. My bust is currently substantial enough that I’d need a binder or similar tool to hide it, or a heavy coat in whose fluff it could vanish. It even clearly looks like something in a (padded) bikini, when most bathing suits reduce one’s apparent heft fairly dramatically.

Getting a handle on my bust size has been a long-term challenge. One problem is fairly obvious: I’m still growing, and very well might be for a year or two to come. Another is that, between being a two-puberty transgender woman and having mild kyphosis, my upper back’s shape and proportions are somewhat confusing for me, let alone for erstwhile sizers. But growth is an incremental process past the literally-overnight that got me started, and even my curious posture isn’t that much of a mess for standard bra patterns.

So I’ve gotten sized. A bunch of times.

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Sizing or Bust