As the weather’s been warming up, my thoughts have turned to my garden. One of the hard parts about leaving Ottawa was also leaving behind the wonderful community garden and oven and all the amazing people involved with it. I have found gardening helpful in helping me to relax, which may seem trivial but is actually essential to managing my health, and actually surprisingly difficult for me. My parent’s garden is something they have been working on for some time. There are several elements put together painstakingly and so I worried about the possibility of getting a space in it. But luck was on my side and with a little persuasion, I was granted a section to do with as I pleased, provided the end result was also attractive and fit with the overall garden aesthetic.
With the federal elections of both Canada and the US approaching, not to mention the constant political maneuvering happening across provinces and states, a lot of things are happening at once. It can feel like a whirlwind, just getting your bearings about one issue before the next one suddenly crops up demanding your attention. The breakneck pace of the news cycle means that a lot of the resolution or lack thereof of one issue often gets missed.
It’s the perfect setting to employ several tricks of social psychology that make it possible for politicians (and salespeople and so on) to change the conversation without ever having to convince the electorate of the issue. I’ve talked about at least one of these social psychology manipulation techniques before.
Additionally, it allows them to employ several public relations tricks to encourage several extreme side groups, while also counting on the majority of the population to forget about it before it’s time to vote.
It’s called a Test Balloon.
Ford’s government recently proposed a series of cuts to what is covered by OHIP in the provincial budget. As justification for him depriving the population of Ontario of adequate healthcare, in particular those who happen to be poor, on social assistance including disability, or underage, were the claims that a significant portion of tests are unnecessary. He went on to claim that less than 4% of family doctors are responsible for ordering over 40% said tests, in a demonstration of how statistics and a lack of understanding can be used to obfuscate the truth.
Let’s start with the latter claim. While it may seem strange that such a small percentage of family doctors may be responsible for so many tests, it’s less surprising to those of us who deal with chronic illnesses.
Not All Family Doctors
I understand. Marijuana, for all that it has been legalized, is still a controversial topic when it comes to its uses in medicine. It wasn’t that long ago that medical professionals feared reprisal for prescribing it, either from government bodies, law enforcement, or insurance companies. Despite all the mounting evidence suggesting its benefit in treating various conditions and its relative safety, it’s hard to overcome the conditioning of several years that viewed it as an illicit substance.
Even if you disagree with the use of marijuana, however, it is important that you educate yourself about it from reliable sources, and not just about the negatives either.
Because regardless of how you feel about it, I guarantee that you have patients who either use it or are exposed to it regularly. Ignoring for the moment the problems surrounding making your disapproval obvious making it more difficult for your patients to discuss their health, use, symptoms of concern, and so on; not being educated about marijuana on a medical level puts your patients at risk. Continue reading “Dear Doctors: Even if you Disapprove, You Need to Educate Yourself”
Some of you might remember me talking previously about some pet quail I had started out with from the wild bird sanctuary in Ottawa. They were two hens, both friendly and lovely, who couldn’t be released to the wild since they were tame domesticated birds.
I built them a lovely coop in my apartment. This coop was destroyed when I moved though so I had to build a second one when I moved to the Niagara Region. Continue reading “Incubators, and Eggs, and Chicks, Oh MY!”
Have you ever woken up wondering how your government was going to put your life at risk today? Have you had your government propose torturing you on a regular basis as a reasonable way to save money? Have you had your government put your life at risk for daring to need to be admitted to the hospital because of a genetic condition? Have you been told that you are a burden on society and that you are too expensive to be worth keeping alive?
This has been my reality for at least the last month.
(Truth be told it’s been my reality a lot longer than that, but it’s been a lot more obvious the last year.) Continue reading “Dear Ontario: I’m Begging For my Life”
It started even a bit before April.
After publishing my last article about Ganjahnista’s, shit really started to hit the fan.
I went to visit my medical dispensary and found out that despite a COURT ORDER ordering that medical dispensaries be allowed to stay open until the court could rule on whether they provided a necessary service to patients in accessing their medication, Police had started raiding and shutting them down. They claim, contrary to the truth, that in light of legalization that it meant the court order no longer applied. This is patently false since the court order was specifically in anticipation of the court case, and stands as long as the court case stands.
The fact the police are outright lying or so completely unaware of the law, that one wonders how they expect to enforce it, is done at the behest of conservative pressure. Have to make sure the government pot shops don’t have any competition, especially when they’re trying to get away with charging $500 an Ounce. Their illegal crackdown jeopardizes the H.O.P.E project previously mentioned, and even in just the 24 hours since it started happening, there were reports of a rise in overdoses and ambulances responding to calls all over the city.
I’ve since found out that despite being open for years with city approval, the Police have also shut down Ganjahnista’s. Not only is this another patient safe space gone, but I had also JUST arranged to have some of my artwork on display there on consignment so that’s all gone now possibly.
As I’m discovering the areas around me, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to write about and meet interesting people and discover interesting places. One of these places also gives me the opportunity to write something I don’t often get to do: Write a positive story about a cannabis related business.
Introducing Ganjahnista’s. (Warning: Their website sometimes has music) Continue reading “Hamilton Cannabis Vape Lounge Helping Fight Addiction”
One of the interesting side effects of living with a first-year university student in what is essentially pre-med, is that occasionally I get asked input on issues related to the medical system. One such topic that came up was digital technology in medicine and it’s impacts on patient health and care.
Hey, wait, I’ve got something for this.
Immediately my mind went to the MyChart system that the Ottawa Hospital used back when I lived there.
The MyChart system is basically an online portal that allows patients who register for it to access their chart online. It’s not complete, but it contains notes on any tests run in the hospital network. The part that was most useful for me however, was the fact that it let me access up-to-date blood test results when I was in the hospital.
One of the realities of being a neurodivergent woman with a chronic illness, is that I have to navigate a prejudiced medical system. It’s not uncommon for certain symptoms to be taken less seriously when they present in women, a part of the medical systems pathologizing of either having a uterus or being a woman. These symptoms can include among them, abdominal pain and iron deficiency, two major aspects of Crohn’s Disease.
In addition, frequent hospitalizations that result in being given pain medication means there is always a risk of being mistakenly perceived as a drug seeker.
All these things put together make hospital visits not only very stressful but inconsistent with regards to quality of care and treatment. The worry of course is for something serious like a blockage, fistula, or abscess being missed because the doctor assumes you have a low pain tolerance or thinks you’re trying to score. Not to mention being in severe pain is both unpleasant and also not good for your health. Continue reading “Medical Records, Digital Technology, and Empowering Patients”
The saga seems to begin with a post written by Sunflower punk, after her child was harassed by men while walking home frm school. Her child is nine years old, and yet was deemed an appropriate target by adults. They scared her, and took away from her some of her freedom.
The post auto-posted on the page like all our posts, and there was no problem. We weren’t notified of any issue. People who shared the post, however, suddenly found themselves having the post removed from their walls.
Still, we were not notified on the page that there were any issues with the community standards. The only reason we even knew about the post having been removed elsewhere is because friends of ours let us know.
Then one morning, suddenly, the page was unpublished.
I went to the page, and saw a bar announcement over-top of the back-end of the page saying that the page had been unpublished for violating page terms and conditions. There was no explanation of what the specific violation was, nor did the actual terms page provided yield any insight. We had not even had a post removed from the wall, the page was just completely unpublished.
We suspected it was because of this previously mentioned post.
The pop-up offered the option of filing an appeal, so I clicked on it. I was offered no space in which to ask questions or offer any sort of rebuttal or anything. Only a button saying filed appeal. Click. Appeal filed. Still, no actual idea of what exactly we had done to violate the community standards.
Then one morning, both of us are logged out of Facebook and upon re-login there is a notice saying that this picture violated community standards.
There was no specification of how it violated the standards, or what those standards were. The picture is one I made myself, I am the artist and so have complete license over the picture. The picture is directly related to the blog, it’s right there on the logo. The picture is not showing nudity, it’s not showing anything offensive, so what exactly was wrong with the picture.
This time, there is no option to appeal.
I go to try to find the page and it’s gone. I can’t even access the unpublished back end. There is no record of complaint, or appeal, nothing in any support inbox, no indication of what the bloody hell happened. Pictures we had on the page are gone. Comments, messages, reviews, and otherwise, gone. With no explanation as to why.
Since when is one post or picture enough to get a whole page unpublished? What about this picture violates standards? If I did violate standards because of some misunderstanding regarding the standards, or by accident, why am I not allowed to know how or what it was that did so, so that I can avoid triggering the same problem on future pages.
Why is my, and other writers for this blog’s, livelihood being threatened and why are we not allowed to know the reason? Why is there no record of any of this on our profiles? Why is there no notification or record of the decision on the appeal, or any record of the page even existing.
What exactly is going on?