Thursday, September 30, 2010

Waking on Vacation

There is no routine in wakening
No automatic pilot
No rolling out of bed
To well timed schedules of bathing and coffee.
I've stumbled out to pee
And returned, smug.
I'm on vacation!
There's excitement in anticipation of travel
But the bed is warm.
I can actually take time time to rough up the cat,
Who purrs then squeals and stalks haughtily away
Only to return for more 'attention'.
And I have time to rough her up some more.
Time seems to stretch out ahead of me,
Like rolling meadows for strolling upon.
Rather than the normal motorized mechanized uphill escalators
That as often as not plunge down
In the roller coaster of work life,
This day seems easy.
No phones, no demands, no impossibles,
No blazing hoops, no whips, no high wire acts.
Just those meadows to stroll across.
A plane in the afternoon waits.
Friendly people are all ahead with smiles and hands upturned to take the hard earned, hard saved tourist dollar.
A reprieve from saving and care
Lovely suites in another land with different architecture and art.
And all I have to do is watch
And comment, ooh, ah
And nary a person will want me to know the meaning of life
To fix the world, or cure cancer, or explain why bad things happen to good people,
Or give a pep talk, smile, or control my temper and act civilized
In the most uncivilized of circumstances,
Or help them get a job, a spouse or a life.
The money has been set aside, at great personal cost and loss.
There's no scurrying and digging and finding and struggling.
We won't be tearing bills apart in a fight to hold all.
No knives in backs and cutthroat deals and plunges into insanity.
No chasing after the all might dollar this week.
No arguing with taxmen, banks, no bosses bullying or threats of being put out on The streets, no getting the mail and looking at bills, no reading shocking emails between pornographic spam , no phone calls at dinner from telemarketters, no ever fearing you'll miss the important things like eviction notices, or spots that harbinger deadly disease.
I'll read newspapers in foreign lands translated kindly to English
So I can be amused at their scoundrels and heathens of politics and media
So far away.
I am on my first day of vacation and already feel my life slipping
Along that umbilical astro travel golden gossamer thread of long held dreams,
The fruition of promises, the light at the end of the dark daily tunnels
The reprieve, the cherry on the cake of suffering.
Oooooh. Ahhhhh. Ooooooh. Ahhhhhh.
Roll over and go back to sleep. Perhaps more breakie today.
Mmmmmmmm, I could have toast with my coffee.
Maybe sit down for tea. I'll linger in the heat of the shower.
That's for sure. Sit for a moment longer on the toilet, even.
Mmmmmmmmmm. Pleasure. Hedonism.
You've 'earned' it as if Thoreau ever thought that life must be earned.
The debts paid. The Christian Work Ethic so well honored. I feel I am the last Boy Scout in a world of sweet deals and cut corners and sly scams. I actually work for a living and what an unusual statement that is today in the mad rush for government jobs, union jobs, CEO jobs, pensions, disabilities, anything but income from labour.
(What a sad man you are, he told me from above, you actually work for a living. We don't you know. Never have. Not at all the thing to do where we come from. We collect rents, you see. Watch our investments and the tellie.)
Ah but he'd never know the value of an honest day's work or the experience of what it was to know the sweat of the brow
And neither will I for some days to come.
I'd rather have a Sommerset Maugham Steamer ride to India
In days when grand tours took months and years.
But I'm a modern man and have a week away from the Vancouver factory
Where we are all hustling and bustling as the fattest fanciest rats
On the turntables of capitalism and consumerism thankful for jobs
While fewer ultra elites get the latest shade in rocket ships, or the latest vaginal remodelling or penile enlargements or must argue with the upholsterer about what matching colour the back of the couch should have.
And the streets are clogged with junkies threatening our middle class pretension
Mmmmmm. Oooooh. Ahhhhhh. I stopped taking the morning paper years ago.
I remember when we had the time to read the Times.
Maybe a bath instead of a shower, this morning.
Toast and a boiled egg.
Here comes the cat.
I think I'll rough her up again.
Mmmmmmm. Ah......The first day of vacation.
It really is unfair that I planned a flight so I must get out of bed
Sometime before the afternoon.
Yes, a very long shower. Maybe tea instead of coffee.
Read a bit of Bible. Have a moment of gratitude. Pray with thanks
Instead of the normal foxhole prayers of 21st century living in Vancouver urban slums
And ...oh! negative thinking.....not allowed. Vacation. Gratitude. You've earned it.
Happy thoughts. Think spa. Think rejuvenation. Think luxury and relaxation.
Aethestics and celebration. Mmmmmm. Don't get out of bed yet. Not yet. Not just yet. No rush!
No rush! My God it's like the railway train running all day beneath the house
got shut down. It's like the sledgehammer working next door stopped.
I'm lying here in the silence of peace. Peace. Space. Time.
Oh my God. I'd better get busy. Get back to work. Human doing doing doing.
Ahhhhhh. First day of vacation. Relax. Take a deep breath. This too will pass.

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Location:W 13 Ave,Vancouver,Canada

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome

I woke up wondering if Peter ever made it to Rome. St. Paul did for sure but Peter was the Rock upon which the Catholic Church supposedly was built.
He is regarded as the first Pope and yes Peter after establishing the church at Antioch indeed went to Rome in the second year of Claudius. Wikipedia goes on to say that it is claimed he overthrew Simon Magus, and held the Sacerdotal Chair for 25 years. He was said to be put to death by Nero.
When Jesus first met Peter, Peter ran a fishing business in Bethsaida. As Jesus healed his mother in law, this depicts Peter as married or a widower. His brother, Andrew, was another of the first disciples of Jesus. Peter was said to be at the Transfiguration of Jesus. Paul affirmed that Peter had the special charge of being apostle to the Jews as Paul was apostle to the Gentiles. Peter participated in the walking on water and washing of feet in the Last Supper. At the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemaine, Peter was said to be the swordsman who lopped off the ear of Malchus only to have Jesus heal the ear. Most important Peter, 'denied Jesus three times' as Jesus had prophesied. When Jesus was resurrected Peter is first to enter the empty tomb and later Paul says that resurrected Jesus first appeared to Peter. Peter three times affirms his love of Jesus balancing the three denials. Subsequently Peter taught the sermon at Pentecost. He was arraigned before the Sanhedrin twice and arrested by King Herod only to be rescued from prison. Peter embraced Gentile converts and opposed the circumcision of these, though it is James, brother of Jesus who really was most outspoken against genital mutilation.
Epistle first and second Peter are ascribed to Peter and the reference to Babylon is considered code for Rome. According to Catholic tradition Peter is said to have founded the church in Rome with Paul, served as bishop there, authored two epistles and been martyred there. Origen says that Peter was crucified with his head downwards. Apparently Nero wished to blame the disastrous fire of Rome at this time on the Christians. The Basilica of St. Peter is said to be built with the burial place of St. Peter directly beneath it's high altar. Quo vadis, Domine? is a phrase attributed to Peter speaking to a vision of Jesus before St. Peter is martyred.

Mathew 16: 17-20
"I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you lose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

The Pope wears a 'fisherman's ring', bearing an image of the saint casting a net from a fishing boat. The keys used as a symbol of the Pope's authority refer to the 'keys to the kingdom of Heaven."

It was Emperor Constantine who decided to honor Peter with a large basilica.

In the division between Protestants and Catholics regarding Peter, Lutheran theologians note:

"We honor Peter and in fact some of our churches are named after him. But he was not the first pope, nor was he Roman Catholic. If you read his first letter, you will see that he did not teach a Roman hierarchy, but that all Christians are royal priests. The same keys given to Peter in Mathew 16 are given to the whole church in Mathew 18" Protestant theologian Cullman concluded that while Peter was the original head of the apostles, Peter was not the founder of any visible church succession. The Eastern Orthodox Church regarded Apostle Peter together with Apostle Paul, as "Preeminent Apostles."

"Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church." This statement of Jesus is the center of controversy with the question being whether 'rock' referred to the person of Peter or Peter's expression of faith.

"You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church."

June 29 is the assigned feast day for both St. Paul and St. Peter.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

London Remembering

London remembering

A place of escape
After sex, drugs, youth, rock and roll
The university with Bibles, Chekov and DNA
I asked you to come and you had nothing else to do
"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,"
Playing on a round table long before stereos and CD

We made the fair waiting on tables and worried our parents distraught
So young, young and beautiful and idealistic
New world going old world
Old world dubious and worn
We laughed a lot so young, making love any time of day
Robust dancer bodies, young friends, dreams and memories

The plane over is forgotten while arriving is a myriad of images
Castles and cobblestone, so many young people then
The baby boom and fashion, Beatles and Donovan
Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, Ocean all around a rainy island
Buckingham Palace, red coats and tall black hats, Guards changing
Picadilly, I asked you to pose for pictures and we travelled soon to Amsterdam

After bicycling Europe, Octoberfesting, Barcelona, Algeciras and Morocco
We stumbled and staggered home to the known spoken word
Soft green rolling hills and English. Everyone was so friendly
"Colonials," they called us, letting us stay because we were kids.
And artists. We were so creative then. Our bodies young and noble
Minds inventive, reading history like drinking wines. Oh the British Museum
The Tate Gallery, dancing all night to jazz, drinking shanties, light and tans
There was wonder in the rain. Fish and chips in newspaper South Putney
Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park. Little golden plagues on every house famous names
Look, she said, Shakespeare. Plays and back row seats. The Theatre, dear!
Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's, organ music, choral music and Moody Blues

We worked in offices and danced the nights we didn't feed the meter for heat.
Christmas hampers from Harrods, letters to family back home,
You didn't want to go and I made you. Unforgiveably taking you home
To the New World where I could go to university and you could have a family
And our parents could rest easy knowing that you'd not be bombed again by IRA
And I'd not be attacked in subways by gangs intent on raping single girls
I hardly could defend myself let alone you but we had been abroad
And returned dressed in layers of modern clothes, bags full
And minds broadened by the endless wonders of London.

It was years again I'd visit alone. Walking on streets we'd strolled alone as couples
Now wall to wall masses of pressing humanity and double decker buses full
I was a professional then, John Lennon dead and Mick Jagger still alive
Sir Christopher Wren all in vogue and Market Gardens pretty on a sunny day.
I revel led in the city and believed I'd not return for sometime
Eating a steak and kidney pie sitting near a Roman wall. Heathrow so busy.

Then again and again I keep coming back to this mystical city upon the Thames.
Remembering Oxford and Cambridge rowing teams competing.
Soccer and cricket and Princess Margaret jumping horses outside the city
Where Churchill lived a long time ago. One would never know there was a War
Or a Battle of Britain, the industry of this people. Majestic Empire
This great ocean empire. God save the queen.

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Acting Out

Acting out is a much used term in the social services. It's not a positive designation.  The child is considered to lack the capacity for introspection which was valued highly in the 19th and 20th century pre Hollywood.  Introspection was considered 'adult' and 'adult' behaviour was seriously considered 'superior' to child behaviour. This has been in doubt with the observations that many adults do not appear to be able to return their toys to the toy box, clean up after themselves or know not to go toilet where they eat.  The division between adult and child was more distinct when the language of psychoanalysis was developed.

That said, acting out was defined as expressing an unconscious wish or impulse through action thereby avoiding having that wish or impulse have to be addressed in the conscious realm.  Acting out was an avoidance technique whereby an individual could avoid 'getting real'.

Acting out has great popularity.  It's popular with individuals.  It's popular with countries and politicians.  It's considered an "immature' defence or coping strategy but it's fairly ubiquitous.

An example today might well be  the terrorist who destroys a country that he might 'desire', thereby not having to address his own unconscious wishes and impulses.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gilbert's Vacation

While Laura and Bill are sitting in planes and conferences and walking about the old world, Gilbert will be visiting his aunts and frolicking on beaches. He will also be attending art classes with one of Canada's finest painters. We hope that with this experience he will develop more refinement and cultural sensitivity. We're not expecting much from only a week but do hope he will piss with a little more discrimination. We'll leaving him with toys and bedding so hope he'll not be too lonely at summer camp. He'll have good times with his cousin boy dog so expect to hear of great sniffing adventures when we're reunited.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pro Life: A Physician's Perspective

I am thankful that my mother bore me. Having children is as frightening for all women as it is exciting. It's similarly life changing for the father's who take this journey with the women from beginning to end. I have no children. I have cared for hundreds of pregnant mothers, thousands of children and lived with mothers and their children. Today I'm of an age where I am mostly with grandmothers sharing in their fear and elation surrounding the announcement of grandchildren to be.

When I was an intern I thought I should learn how to do an abortion. I was in surgery then and keen to develop 'skills'. I was already doing dilatation and curettage but had not done an abortion. I asked a gynecologist I admired if he would teach me this and he agreed to have me join him one morning when he'd be doing therapeutic abortions.

There is a lot I remember about that day, perhaps a book of writing. An older woman draped and lying on a cold steel table. My senior colleague and I masked and walking in surgical greens and booties. He shows me the suction instrument, demonstrates the process. Then a new patient comes in. I do the same as he. It's the "see one, do one, teach one" days of residency. My world for this day is reduced to what I see in the speculum and what my hands and body do in this process.

When I performed this procedure I felt nauseated. I've done countless surgical procedures by this time, delivered babies, done hysterectomies with colleagues, surgically removed cancer under supervision. I've done as much as one could be expected to do with a supervisor present and am just beginning to do surgical procedures solo. I have a modicum of experience in medicine and surgery. Yet here I experienced pain at the pit of my being. It occurred after I put the suction instrument through the cervical os and heard the horrible sound of that suction machine, to me much worse than a dentist's drill. I do the curettage then ensuring that nothing is left in the uterus to cause subsequent bleeding. Another woman is brought in and I repeat the procedure. Again there is that pain at the centre of my being and the nausea as I start the suction machine and a headache comes on as I scrape the inside of the uterus to ensure that no placenta remains attached to the uterus.

After my mentor and I look at the remains. It's not recognizable as fetal even but he's careful to make sure that all of what should be present is and that the remains look normal. It's strange looking at this bit of blood and placental material by the side of the sink. The sink is a cold thing.

This wise and kind gynecologist looked at me then and in a most un surgical way asked:

"How do you feel?"

"Not good." I said.

"You look green," he said.

"I feel nauseated."

"That's good," he said. "You're a doctor and you took an oath to do no harm. If you felt good doing this you wouldn't be the man I thought you were when I offered to teach you how to do abortions."

He'd only had three women slated for the morning. In the surgeons lounge we got coffee and sat down to talk.

"I'd like to tell you a story. Those women you did abortions on weren't the average run of the mill patients. One had been raped and was pregnant as a result of it whereas the other was pregnant from adultery. Her husband is an executive, they've been married 20 years and have three children. She didn't believe he would handle it as he's had a vasectomy and she had the abortion for the sake of their other children. She wanted to keep the family together. That's the kind of story that goes with the abortions I do today. I don't do many but I have to really think about whether I'm willing to do them and I take time to know the context of the whole story. When you hear about doctors doing abortion it's mostly a factory setting. Doing abortions is one of the simplest and most lucrative procedures a doctor can do. Abortion doctors are among the richest in our profession. The money is what is so attractive."

In medicine and surgery senior doctors rarely talked like this. I hung on his every word, knowing that I was being given a rare priviledge.

"Can you tell me what you felt and thought doing those procedures?" he asked me.

I paused and said, "It wasn't what I thought I'd feel. I thought it would be like doing just another dilatation and curettage. But this time I felt this pain in my gut and I felt nauseated as I started the suction. I guess...." here I was searching for words to describe the experience, " I felt like I was killing was the same experience I felt when I kill a fish with a fish bonger when I'm fishing or the feeling I get when I shoot a partridge. I didn't expect to feel I was taking a life but that's what it felt like and that shocked me. I was surprised. I'm pro abortion and believe in women's rights but I didn't feel like I'd feel like I was killing something. I felt nauseous. I still have a headache." I looked down at my coffee cup feeling I'd blurted out too much, run on about feelings ,talked about things doctors aren't supposed to talk about. My face was probably red at the time. I know I felt shame."

"That's okay," he said. "When abortions were made legal almost all of the Obgyn's started doing them. You won't understand this till later but it was for the money mostly. It was such easy money. Most of the gynecological work we do is terribly demanding and underpaid. Delivering babies is the worst obscenity in economic terms. The amount of time and risk and effort that we put into that is not at all recompensed. It's a charity service imposed on doctors by the state and on top of that we're at greatest risk for being sued when we deliver high risk babies. That's why so many gynecologists have got right out of the obstetrics side of things. Delivering babies is the quickest route to high risk punishment a doctor can take because eventually something goes wrong for even the best of us and there's all hell to pay. But with abortion there's literally no risk in comparison. It was extraordinarily high paid for what it was and took no time at all. If you'd not been with me I'd have gone through those three women in less than half an hour. On a good day I can do dozen or more abortions in a morning and be ready for the golf course in the afternoon. I don't have to do rounds either. Mostly abortions are done in specialized offices too so there's hardly any follow up. Just money money money. Ker ching, ker ching" he laughed, making the sound of a cash machine drawer .

"But by the end of the first year we'd all stopped except a very few. The reason was it didn't feel good. We all felt like you did today. It's presented like you're just taking off a wart but none of us doctors felt that way about taking off warts or cutting out cancer. It literally makes you feel sick like you do. The ones who kept doing it had something wrong with themselves. Something that hardened them to those feelings. Maybe they liked the money more too. I just wanted you to know you're not alone. If you choose to do abortions again that feeling you gets is part of what makes you a good doctor. As gynecologists we've talked about this together. I only do them now when I agree with the cause but I assure you I understand better those that don't do them at all more than those who do them all the time, the so called abortion factory docs. I couldn't do that."

And that was my first and last encounter with abortion. I couldn't do it again after that. I hunt and fish and can justify taking a life there for myself but I just couldn't justify killing myself after that first experience. As a family physician I continued to refer people for abortion. It was like sending a person to the Market for an already killed piece of meat. Alot of people eat meat but couldn't be farmers or go hunting for their own roasts and chicken. I could do the latter but when it came to the abortions all I could do was send people off to the abortion store.

I didn't think of myself as "pro life" then either. I wasn't "anti abortion". I was somewhere in the safe middle, sitting on the fence and generally not caring to hear about either side. I'd once written a national article with a friend on abortion and proposed a middle of the road approach only to be subsequently battered and harassed by radical feminists who said a doctor should just do as women said and shouldn't have to consider their conscience or judge whether an abortion was 'ethical'. They were adament that this was 'solely' the woman's decision. They didn't care that I as the doctor or in fact any doctor was a necessary participant and literally didn't care that I as a man or citizen might have 'thoughts' on the matter.

Their salvation was the 'morning after pill' that put the whole matter into the woman and the pharmacists hands. It's a reflection on the cold business nature of the pharmacist that they're not routinely called forward for stocking or not stocking morning after pills. Doctors take the brunt of abuse while others profit the most from medicine. Frankly I was thankful to be outside of this area not liking at all dealing with the aggressive fanaticism of the pro abortionists. In the news you would see them demanding that 'pro life' folk be denied freedom of speech. In my practice I had one sad sap fellow who had been jailed for carrying a placard outside of an abortion clinic. As a male not doing abortions and only having to write prescriptions I was glad to be out of it. Mostly I'm like everyone else, just trying to make an honest living and just doing medicine is increasingly difficult. The doers in our society get the most abuse while the critics have the greatest gain.

But then I trained and studied to be a psychiatrist, psychopharmacologist and psychotherapist. During these years increasingly I was referred "intractable' 'unresponsive' depressions. All the very best medications had been used. Many times the patients had been given ECT. Still they remained depressed. I would see these people, mostly women, and go through their lives with a fine toothed comb looking for areas of loss and conflicts about loss. I would ask a whole list of loss questions and watch their reactions. Sometimes a patient had not got over the death of a parent and we'd do grief therapy around this and with medications not uncommonly already tried by colleagues before, the patients depression would 'lift' quite miraculously. People who had been bed ridden returned to work and took up active social lives again.

I enjoyed this time of my psychiatric practice given the high success that this in-depth detailed work followed by psychopharmacology and grief therapy brought. What I found though was commonly in women the questions which brought out torrential tears and sob wracked bodies were "Have you ever had a miscarriage or abortion?" It was the therapeutic abortions that they had had which were sitting like pus in their psyches causing these horrendous melancholic depressions. Once they talked about it and we did grief therapy these women would return to work and relationships quite miraculously. In all the cases the women had had no 'pre abortion" preparation. They'd just been put on the lucrative abortion factory line spewed out at the end and were rather ashamed that they didn't have a good feelings about the whole thing and once it was done there was no undoing it. They felt guilt and shame and couldn't even talk about it or when they had tried were dismissed.

At the time all the surgical procedures were being done with 'pre surgical' counselling. It was part of 'preventative medicine' and the literature was clear in showing that people who are most informed about their medical and surgical procedures had the best outcomes. It had been standard practice to show women ultrasounds of their babies and pictures of deliveries just as cardiac surgeons show videos of cardiac surgical procedures to their patients before the actual operations. It was counter intuitive in some ways to think that showing a person the removal of a kidney would help that person have less post operative infection but that was quite simply what was the case.

I consulted to the cosmetic surgeons around then and this practice was even more adamently followed in this area of 'elective' surgery. The patients had the benefits of seeing pictures of the whole procedure and knowing exactly every step of the way what was going on becuase that resulted in the best outcomes.

Yet when I asked patients if they had had an ultrasound or seen an ultrasound before they had the abortion they were told 'no', 'they said it would harm us if we knew what we were doing." This was strangely at variance with what was happening in the rest of medicine. I phoned the local abortion clinic I referred to and asked if this was the case and they frankly said, "Yes, we discourage women considering abortions from having ultrasound because it mostly causes them not to go through with the abortion."

So here was the old "we know best" what is good for you and "if the patient remains in the dark it's best" raising it's ugly head again. How can a person have 'informed' consent even if they are directly advised against being informed.

I'd worked in an early Street Clinic where we referred women for abortion however at the time we provided clear instructions about the alternatives, advising women that they could have the baby, give the baby up for adoption, have financial and educational support throughout the pregnancy, keep the baby if they chose and have financial support or whatever or alternatively have an abortion. In these latter days I'd ask the women who had an abortion if they'd been apprised of their alternatives, or if any discussion had followed into the pros and cons and repeatedly was told that no, "I told the doctor I thought I should have an abortion and before I knew it I'd had an abortion." None of the women were told of the alternatives. So here was a swing from the days when a women wasn't told about abortion to the exact opposite fanatical side where the woman wasn't told about the countless men and women who were paying tens to a hundred thousand dollars for 'surrogates' and 'adoptions'.

Meanwhile the same people who argued that a women's body was her own were denying her the right to having a child and given the child up for adoption and being paid to go through the pregnancy. The whole arena had become a snake nest of profit motivation and out worn ideologies and slogans that were really harming the very women who were supposedly the beneficiaries of these same ideologies.

I was at a meeting once where the fetus of street women had been kept without consent by the abortionists and they were actually asking for the right to sell this material for 'stem cell research' , the new billion dollar area. I said that it was a great idea but believed that the consent of the East side women,the street prostitutes and such should be in place first and that these very same women or their representatives should be paid for the fetal material. Well, talk about daggers! The women wanting to profit from the receipt of this material supposedly only for 'research' in an age where researchers are routinely patenting university and government associated research for their own personal profit were royally incensed that I should speak on behalf of the women who had had abortions and now not only suffered that inequity were going to have the 'profit' from the abortus taken by others. It seemed further victimization of women but I was most haughtily condemned and later villified.

That probably was the day I became 'pro life'. I wish I could be as passionately 'pro life' as my colleague Dr. Phillip Ney. I lack his back bone. I've watched him year after year stand up for life and fight the pro abortion camp only to be harrassed, threatened and demeaned. I've treated so many people who have taken a pro life stance and they have experienced all manner of abuse and harrassment that simply never appears in the media. The pro abortion idealogues dominate this field and the pro life contingent are really the side show. Yet the fact is that they are the ones most hassled, attacked and condemned. All the pro life doctors I know have had their licenses to practice medicine threatened and have been subjected time and again to radical and sometimes bizarre political investigation.

I'm thankful for birth control and am sorry when people don't use it and an "unplanned pregancy' occurrs. If the truth be known most of the greatest of world leaders, artists, doctors and lawyers and judges and hooligans were 'unplanned'. "Planned pregnancy is a concept that's merely decades old at most." And there is no evidence that says a child does better if 'planned' or 'unplanned'. Certainly a child born does better than a child aborted and perhaps there is value in the legal profession arguing in favour of the 'child' getting legal representation.

Abortting America, by Dr. Bernard Nathanson was a particularly significant book for me. I'd followed his arguments when I was younger and he was a major proponent of abortion. When I read his book not long ago but long after it was published and saw the change of heart that had come with experience I felt great kinship with this remarkable doctor because I'd seen my own heart change with experience.

I'd seen that when we first were in favour of abortion women were having back alley abortions and I felt good that I was apart of the mainstream that thought this horrible and took action to stop it. Today though I see that women who want to have babies can't afford to. I see that women don't 'own' their bodies and that others are even profitting from the fetus of abortion. I see the obstetricians still underpaid compared to the rich abortionists. I see the pro life people threatened and abused while the pro abortionist claim 'victimship' when mostly they actively victimize.

In my practice I see women who have no apparent harm from abortion and have adjusted well to the experience thanks to the fine counselling they received from family physicians before the abortions. These women are doing well so there clearly are those for whom abortion has no apparent negative experience. Some would say they are 'harder' and that there is a definite change in their attitude to the sanctity of life and this has strong ideological basis. I've just not seen it possibly because the instruments of assessment I use don't pick this up. In contrast the women I've seen who have been harmed by their abortions are being further harmed because they are 'politically incorrect'. They are alienated and marginalized from their fellows when they express this opinion. In contrast to other areas of medicine abortion doesn't seem to be held to the same standards in regards to complaints and patients who have had abortions and felt wronged in the process have not been compensated as other are. The abortionists continue to have far 'safer' practices than those who deliver babies creating an unfair playing ground where death is more richly rewarded than life.

I'm pro life today. Not a very good pro life person, wishy washy and middle of the road, and rather liberal in my conservative old age. But I can't personally bring myself to do an abortion unless perhaps to save the life of a mother. I still will refer a patient to an abortion doctor. In contrast to the abortion doctor I tell patients wanting to have an abortion to get an ultrasound first. I don't think the fish I kill is without life. I don't have nightmares about fishing. I've treated patients who have had years of nightmares about abortions just as I've treated patients who were ill prepared for other surgeries and had nightmares after that. I had nightmares after doing those two abortions too.

I believe patients should have access to all the information about themselves and their conditions , including ultrasounds, so that they can truly make informed decisions and provide informed consent. I think women in this country who are pregnant and don't want to have an abortion or keep the baby should have the fullest financial support allowed them so that the countless women wanting to raise children but unable to do so themselves can reward women willing to go through pregnancy and have deliveries on their behalf. I further believe that the abortus is the property of the women that had the abortion and that they should be apart of any decision as to what happens to that material.

I know in writing these views I will be punished as my colleagues have been punished for sharing any such views which may be construed in any way as 'politically incorrect'. Say that a woman should have choice and should be informed and should control what happens to her body and should be rewarded for pregnancy and delivery is politically in correct. Now isn't that ironic?

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Divine Intelligence

When I consider divine intelligence it seems to me it's really a question of 'to be or not to be'.  Intelligences is a word to define some kind of intentional self reflective capacity.  Mollusks have some intelligence.  The Amoeba might well be defined as intelligent. My dog is certainly intelligent.  Indeed my dog and mollusks are more intelligent, in my opinion, than some of the people I've known over the years. The question then resides with the word 'divine'.  Theoretically if 'intelligent' is a good thing then it would be an attribute of the 'divine'.  Divine is the idealization of man or man is the devaluation of the divine. It's a give and take situation.  The question remains if the two can be coupled.

Personally this may call for an act of faith.  I believe there is divine intelligence.  It's an interesting 'take' on my life experience today to consider that I'm an extension of this 'divine intelligence' and that divine intelligence is working through me. In this sense I and others are the fingers of God per se.  When I look back on my life I see God's fingerprints. There are meanings and associations that I didn't know at the time.  I feel even that I'm 'evolving' as a spiritual being while sadly my materiality is waning.  My hearing is less and my sense of smell is reduced and certainly my strength and power aren't what they once were.  I'm internally caught up in a variety of pains and aches which I suspect I simply ignored in the past.  Also I'm more aware of the beauty of rainbows.

I'm alive today and that alone seems a miracle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chinatown Xray and Ultrasound, 180 Keefer Street, Vancouver,BC

I've been sending patients to the Chinatown Xray and Ultrasound on the second floor of the Chinatown Mall on Keefer Street for over a year now. The results have always been excellent and patients have always appreciated the services. There's a lab at the same location.
When I went to my doctor in North Vancouver, unable to convince myself that my post accident pain and suffering was wholly psychosomatic and due to insufficient breast feeding as a child, he actually recommended Chinatown Ultrasound. "I often have to wait weeks more at other locations whereas they often have the best service."
As a doctor I should be immortal and indeed even now am seeking out the kryptonite that has no doubt has been placed somewhere in my proximity. I really am the worst patient I know. Lots of isolation and solo whimpering. Nonetheless limping and sore I staggered over to have the x-rays and ultrasounds. The service was superb. Delightfully pleasant and upbeat staff.
The laughing xray lady must have been a chiropractor in his last incarnation as she forced my neck into all manner of contortions that confirmed that it couldn't possibly be broken and indeed it felt better after she ordered it to 'assume the position'. The ultrasound lady had just finished with a pregnant girl who came out with radiant smile and the 'glow'. I hobbled in and was treated kindly and professionally. The ultrasound specialist was even called in because I had calcification in the tendons of the knee and the technician wanted him to take a peek. He asked me a number of clinical questions and insisted psychotherapy was not the solution for such a traumatized knee. "Looks like it's actually trying to heal itself, though. Might have been a hematoma or some fibers that tore at the insertion." He was really a caring and nice man. I was impressed that he didn't recommend amputation but would never have let on that I thought it was anything 'serious'.
It was reassuring that there wasn't a microscopic alien invasion. Indeed I walked out reassured and felt well cared for. They're 'diagnosticians' but therapeutically I was very impressed. Something about the attitudes and tempo of the place. Lots of healing fen shui probably.
I went down stairs and had some Chinese fish and chow mien in the market buffet, After that I saw the barbershop and got a haircut. "You look a whole lot better, " Al the barber said. I don't think he was just praising his own work. I really did look scruffy and after his ministrations I looked 'cleaned up'. If I'm going to live I might as well look better, I thought.
I actually saw some patients and didn't snap at them. I actually swapped tales of braking as cars came at me when I didn't need to brake and imagining myself going over cliffs when I was driving just normally. She'd had an accident a year ago and despite driving is still traffic shy at times involuntarily drawing back when she sees a big car coming at her.
What amazes me is that I actually feel better having sought help from a family physician, done what he recommended, went to Chinatown Ultrasound and Xray, and actually found out that I'm not going to die yet. Normally I'd just review my will, moan a lot alone, talk to the mirror and tell myself it's all in my head, and say that I deserve this because of my sins and know God is punishing me. I'd suck on my suffering. But then I'm a physician and physicians make the worst patient.
And that's what the kind psychiatrist masquerading as a radiologist and ultrasound doctor said to me, "We all know doctors make the worst patients, don't we". Yea, and that was good psychotherapy. I think the family physician poet said the same thing.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Talisman Inn, Quesnel, BC

Coming into Quesnel at midnight after a week camping in the bush north of Fort St. James, Laura and I were delighted to find the Talisman Inn. The front desk woman was pleasant and helpful. The talisman is pet friendly. The king sized bed room with the $10 Gilbert charge came with taxes to $90. Our van was parked outside in a well lighted parking area while we entered through the locked lobby. Gilbert sniffed the room over before he passed out at the end of the bed. I put our perishables in the fridge and then headed into the bathroom for a long over due shower. Thankfully the dirt didn't clog the drain. When I was finished Laura entered the bathroom and was there till search and rescue found her weeks later.

"This is my kind of place," she said. We had a delicious sleep. I woke at 6:30 out of habit and had to actually get Gilbert up for his morning walk. He stretched and dragged his paws but finally came along. It was raining but not cold like the north had been. He quickly did his business so we could both go back to the room. He was asleep before I was. Laura never woke.

At 9:45 I darted to the lobby for the continental breakfast, hard boiled eggs, bagels, cream cheese, jams, oatmeal etc. I got coffees and eggs and bagels and returned to the room where Gilbert was suddenly fully awake. I offered him part of an egg. After a week in the woods eating rotten things he sniffed at it till I added salt. Well, the yolk might be worth a lick at that, he said.

Laura and I loved the immediacy of coffee. No waiting for the campstove to percolate while making a fire for warmth. I loved the spacious room. Nothing like a week in the woods to make the gloriously mundane heavenly. There's this great tv we didn't even get into. I saw a tv in the lobby for the first time in a week. Civilization is creeping up on us.

Now it's time for check out. Laura looks different. I know what it is. It's her hair. It's lost that helmut look. It's all fluffy and sweet smelling. Now that we're washed we're considering what to do about Gilbert. One idea was to approach a fire department for the use of their hose while another equally appealing one was to go to the nearest evangelical church and insist he's told us he really wants to be baptized.

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Lynx, Fort St. James

I am grateful that I have been fortunate to see so big cats in the wild. I've seen bobcats and cougar but only twice now have I seen lynx. They're amazingly beautiful creatures whose gaze is other worldly. Their faces are ancient. I took pictures with my Nikon Coolpix with the 10 zoom telephoto but would gladly have had the cameras my brother and nephew carry for this moment. The Nikon Coolpix however is so small and light that I can carry it in a pocket when I'm hunting and carrying rifles, ammo, binoculars and all manner of gear associated with the primary endeavor. Still I like the pictures. They don't do justice to the moment though.

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Cripple Lake Camp Clean Up

At the end of a week in the woods we were all eager to get to baths and beds. That is, all except Gilbert. From a dog's point of view, this week could go on forever. Meanwhile we had to clean up camp. It was like putting the toys away in the toy box. Everyone pitched in and after several hours we'd everything packed and secure while leaving the camp cleaner than when we'd found it. All of us want to return to Fort St. James again next year. The people in the town were all so helpful. It had started with Dale at Komar Towing and Kit Loveseth. Then there was Andre and Don and a dozen more people we'd talk to during the course of our hunting in the area. The region was spectacular. We visited Izana Lodge. It's one of many in the area and I thought it would be a good idea to try staying at a lodge if we came hunting any later. Tenting in the cold is losing it's appeal the older I get.

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Grouse Hunting with Luke, Sonny and Gilbert

The hunt was intended as a big game hunt. We hoped to shoot moose, deer and bear. I only saw the hind end of one deer. The bear I saw were moving too fast and the moose I saw was a female. I did see a beautiful lynx and got some amazing pictures. Luke and Sonny saw several moose with young and bear with cubs. The weather was just too sunny for more game to be out during the day. When it did rain it was thoroughly miserable. The morning cold and frost everywhere was trying. Getting out of the sleeping bag in the dark and cold was unnerving. But by 10 am it was glorious with warmth and sunshine. By the afternoon we were walking about in flannel shirts and jeans with rifles over our shoulders. The last couple of days Luke or Sonny was out on the Honda 230. I was driving in the truck with one or the other and Gilbert. Our days had turned into the most amazing grouse hunts with whole coveys of 5 to 10 birds flying up into the trees where we shot them with 22 or Sonny using my side by side 12 gauge took them on the fly. Time and time again Gilbert found fallen birds we might well have lost. We all got out limit in grouse and frankly it was the best bird hunt I've ever been on save the days I hunted prairie chicken with my Dad and brother back in Manitoba. Laura stayed at the camp while we were out and was a delight to return to.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Laura, Wild Woman

All of what follows is hearsay and likely the lunatic imaginations of a woman pushed to the limits of raw life in a hunting camp. Daily she has alone protected the gear of her men. Strangers have driven into the recreational site wearing camouflage and flannel with 4x4's and guns. They stop, say hello, to this nubile young woman protected solely by her wits and her manly cockatoo dog Gilbert. These men then go on to another camp. She has been caught trying to bathe in the open out of a bucket by the tent with water boiled on a camp stove by forest where bears are daily sought by the men of her camp who claim to have actually seen them but not been able to shoot them because they move so fast. She carries a bear banger in her pocket at all times with her. Her only complaint, "I haven't washed my hair in a week." She reads her beauty magazine and woman's literature while Gilbert barks at strange noises. She has been left with a 12 gauge shot gun in case of bears.
Strangers in forestry uniforms have appeared out of nowhere, set up hoses and pumped water to put out a forest fire blazing in the hills above the camp. She isn't certain if she'll be burnt out and has no vehicle to escape with as all the vehicles are taken by the boys hunting. Now Gilbert, her security dog, has been moved over to hunting dog status and all the testosterone has left the camp. There is some peace as a result but at what cost.
Today we found her smiling to herself, dressed in pink as usual, pretty as a picture, in the pristine nature site. Dale, from Komar Towing has just come by and loaded Sonny's dead truck onto his flatbed. We've arrived as big bearded Dale is hauling aways the truck. There's been no time to apprise Laura of developments. Fortunately she hasn't opened up on Dale with the 12 gauge left for her protection. Gilbert hasn't torn off any legs despite all his training with squeaky toys.
Sonny and I having arranged for his truck to be towed to Don's Repair have returned. It's her idea that she stays at camp while I return with Sonny in case his truck can be fixed quickly and we can both drive vehicles back.
Luke had taken the honda and gone off in search of moose, bear, deer and grouse. He'd come back and told her there were two grouse in the tree at the entrance to the clearing.

"He showed me how to hold the 22 and shoot it. I shot one of the grouse. Gilbert thought it was just great and ran to get it. Luke said it was a clean shot. He shot the other and cleaned them." She then showed us the grouse in the cooler. Gilbert stood beside her clearing making it known they were 'his' grouse as well.

She looked so pretty in pink as she demurely told her tale. We'll be getting a motel tomorrow night. I think she'll do well with a nights sleep without Gilbert barking at the forest or me doing perimeter checks with the flashlight and 12 gauge and the forestry guys coming by to get more water to put out the nearby forest fire.

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Cripple Lake, British Columbia

I wonder if the lake was called Cripple Lake after some fat out of shape desk jockey old fart like me came up here for a hunting trip. I'm still walking bent from the accident and having a hard time finding anyway I can get to sleep without the neck pain. Combine that with the fact that I'm driving, motorcycling, and walking about albeit slowly. Fortunately hunting requires stalking and driving slowly so you can scan open areas as you pass.

Meanwhile I'm with a couple of young men who have almost as much energy as my puppy Gilbert. It takes all Laura's energy just to keep Gilbert out of trouble. I picked up a splitting axe for Luke when I was in town. With my regular axe he'd split a pile of hardwood he'd found and chainsawed in the bush. He and Sonny had been hiking around the marsh and seen another moose but not been able to get a clear shot. For the second day Luke's taken the canoe out , yesterday to hunt ducks and today to fish.
Sonny drove into town to keep his business going. We both commiserated about the long hours businessmen have to put in. It's like private practice.

"I wasn't sure I'd be able to get away but my wife said I just had to. 'you never take time for yourself, she said.....she's just awesome, loves to come pheasant hunting with me, we'd taken up clay pigeon shooting together and it just progressed....she's an incredible cook, says if I clean it she'll cook it ... She has something like 36 ways she cooks pheasant and they're all fabulous!"

I cooked up bacon and eggs easy over this morning. No one would call them fabulous but everything tastes good out in the woods. The clouds had passed and we had a sunny day. I didn't see anything when I was out this morning. A chipmunk took offense to me sitting under his favorite tree. I had a coffee from my thermos all the while he complained about intrusions in chipmunk world. It was a beautiful clearing I was watching with lots of slash and new growth forest.

When I returned to the motorcycle the clutch didn't work so I headed back to camp in first. It was terrific having it run so well after Andre fixed it at his Robert's Road Small Engine Repair Shop.

Now I've the generator running with a light bulb in the tent and one over the camp stove. We're waiting for the guys to get back to cook something. I'd already have cooked up some grouse but they have them in the cooler in the back of their truck. Laura had been sitting reading in this truck with Gilbert sleeping beside her.

I've stopped in for a moment of warmth and truck cozy. "I'm not afraid of bears in here either!" Laura said. So we're splurging on gasoline and living it up at Cripple Lake.


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Grouse Hunting with Gilbert

The continuing saga. This morning at430 am Sonny's truck didn't start so we all went back to bed. Sonny and I are in town getting Dale at Komar to tow it into Don's for repairs. Gilbert found his first grouse yesterday earning great praise. He spent the day with Luke, Sonny and me and found 2 grouse we would have lost!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grouse Hunting

I shot 10 grouse today with my Ruger semi auto 22rifle. I can't recall the last time I got my limit. Maybe 20 years ago north vancouver island. Here north of Fort St James they've all been in coveys. I shoot one on the ground by the trail and several others fly up to perch on tree limbs overhead. I usually shoot a couple more from the original group. I come across them either walking or riding my enduro motorcycle.

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Cripple Lake Hunting

The guys got in late last night so couldn't be woken for morning hunt . I'd slept in till light so wasn't judging. Serious hunters have left camp and positioned themselves for dawn. I've done that a lot. But today was miserable, wet and cold. I was glad I ' d found the coffee.

Gearing up in a small tent is always a challenge. Once dressed for hunting things progressed fairly quickly despite the assistance of a wet small dog.

The best hunting is nearest dawn. My friend Bill Mewhort always got us up in the dark so we'd be out on the trail taking a spot to sit and ambush game for the break of dawn. Following his advice I've spent many a morning watching the sun come up looking out over some pristine valley waiting for deer to leave the low lands.

The guys have seen a bull moose and a female moose with a couple of young. Quite the sighting. They also saw a large waddling animal with short tale that sounded just like a wolverine. We've all seen bear.

Next day - sunny and warm - not as good for hunting but great for spirits:

Laura is not impressed by sighting of bear. She stays in the camp with her great defender, Gilbert, the 6 month old cockapoo. She has the Budget Rent a Truck to hide in since I'm off on the Honda 230 motorcycle. The guys ATV transmission died the first day so they've been going out with the 1500 truck. Laura has a bear banger with her at all times. I've left her with a loaded 12 guage defender and shown her several times how to crank a buckshot shell into the chamber and fire. I've left her the 3030 too since with one lever action she can put a shell up the spot and shoot that. She has a fire and the generator going but despite all this she suspiciously thinks we brought her and Gilbert along for bait.

At night we sleep with big flashlights and 12 guages loaded with buckshot and slugs.

Before I left I got a 30 below rate top of the line sleeping bag from Mountain Coop. I'm still using the arctic down filled inferno sleeping bag I bought 30 years ago when I was flying up to Churchill medicine to do medicine. That said we're also using coleman catalytic heaters with propane to take the chill off especially in the morning.

When I got my day limit of 10 grouse I told the guys, Luke and Sunny it was there turn now to get a species limit, either a single moose,2 mule dear or a black bear. They're both keen to do that. They've been shooting grouse too and we've all been target practicing on empty cans so it's clear everyone is a fine shot. The problem is finding the big game to shoot at.

I got the canoe out paddling for evening hunt, looking for moose to come down to the lake. In the day time Luke had it out duck hunting. Neither of us was lucky.

We all keep saying though that we love doing all these activities, canoeing, hiking, motorcycling, 4x4ing, target shooting, bird hunting, camping and added to that is big game hunting. Laura is being a trooper providing camp security. Made fabulous steak and potatoes with sour cream one night too.

I ahd to come into Fort St. James because the clutch on my Honda 230 wasn't working. I called up Kit Loveseth the great guy I'd met and gone hunting with the last time I was up here in winter, giving Kumar Towing all the business getting stuck in the heavy snow. Kit's been working but we keep hoping to make contact. I told him his big dog would probably eat Little Gilbertt and he told me has three dogs now. He spoils his dogs just like I do Gilbert. Members of the family.

Kit recommended I contact Andre at his Small Engine Repair place on Robert Road. Andre was there at his place surrounded by ATV and outboards. I got the motorcycle out of the truck. He asked me what had happened, hopped on the motorcycle, road up and down his lane. Made some adjustments. Rode up and down his lane again, made some more adjustments and said. "The cable was loose and slipping but also the clutch itsefl was hitting the bottom of the engine stopping it going up. " 10 minutes and I'm back on the hunt.

Stopped here at Red Fox coffeeshop after stocking up on more propane bottles at the Tru Value Hardware. People at Tru Value were just great, so helpful, and now I'm drinking mocha coffee. It's a really friendly town. Met some fine First Nations folk swapping hunting stories at the gas station and everyone has just been so welcoming.

I love Fort St. James but it's time to get back to Cripple Lake Recreational site and see if the guys have got a moose or Laura has bagged the bear she keeps worrying about. Gilbert had a grouse wing and was in heaven but then he's ecstatic if he can chomp on a discarded plastic water bottle.

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Cripple Lake Campsite

The guys didn't make it back tonight. I figure they most likely got stuck. I've spent several nights in my truck waiting for morning to make my way out. Their ATV had a malfunction already. They had to hike miles to get a lift back to camp. I thought maybe they'd shot a moose and were having to hike it back. I trust they're well.

It was a rough night arriving here at 130 am and setting up camp. I couldn't get the cot up or the heater working. Laura was beat as was I.Gilbert woke me as usual at 7. So I was first up. I couldn't find coffee and it turned out we didn't have mugs. Luke eventually had coffee brewed because it turned out my stove didn't work. Gilbert got in z dirty puddle and came into the tent to lie on laura's face. Not a good start to the day.

I finally got on my Honda 230 motorcycle and headed out with my 30:06. It's awesome terrain around here. I immediately spooked a big black bear bu it had gone into deep brush by the time I was off the bike and loading the rifle. I put out a target and got bullseye a out 100 yards. That's when I began coming across grouse shooting off the heads with my rifle. When I headed back to camp it was noon and I had 8 grouse.

Gilbert was most intrigued as I was cleaning the on the makeshift dock by the lake. Laura was feeling better. I drove back into town and got the things web were missing. It was duck when I completed the hour drive back.

Laura said the guys had shot some grouse taken food and gone out for the night hunt. The fire has been warm. Luke chopped a lot of wood.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse Oblige was the doctrine that the nobility owed an equal duty to their underlings as those owed to them. It was recently well portrayed in the film of Tolstoy. The theology of medieval days intrinsically interconnected leadership and followers in earth metaphors. One of the oldest of these was Sun and Moon with the eclipse representing a variety of interactions. Metaphors of family and reproduction dominated hunting gatherer societies and agricultural societies.

Today we're said to be in post modern times. The modern world was dominated by the machine with the metaphor of the 'clock' and it's various interconnected but obviously loveless parts. Today the question is what metaphor explains to us our relationship to others.

For many it would seem the entertainment industry has dominated their psyche. The idea is to be a 'star' probably because the 'worker paradise' of today has to such a large extent killed the mother. Without mothers the young seeks adulation of the stranger. Institutions dominate a child's life from 'cradle to grave'. The saddest children more often are those most deprived of family by repeated foster homes, jails and asylums. So often the constant of all children today is the television. The television dramas are superheros and villains mostly. PBS barely exists. Reality television has brought with it just a slight variation with it's orchestrated 'survival' shows based on Hollywood ideas of social organization that derive solely from the imagination of Hollywood.

There's a unreality intrinsic in this 'canned' and 'pampered' urban motif. Medicine and law provide other metaphors as does politics to some extent. Of these only medicine, to my mind, biased as it is, remains 'grounded' in nature. The rest seem to be the stuff of Berkeley whose very existence was but an idea. Philosophy and theologies abound disconnected from any inherent experience. Everything is a theory and one person says his theory is the best theory because more often than not it is merely the latest retelling of a more ancient truth lost in the layers upon layers of theory. The ideas of beaurocracies rival the fashion industry, all vying to convince the emperor or in this case, the people, that they really are 'new clothes.'

M-theory, 'model dependent theories' and pluralisms and amorality arise in the ethics free vacuums. What really is proven? Society compared to a clock was made to work as such. Winning wars of mass destructions the leadership imposed the metaphor of military on the society at large without apparently that glue of the 'noblesse oblige' of yesteryear.

Indeed, the metaphor of the individual as 'consumer' is a weak one as such and yet it's used to fuel all manner of seller dominated production of poison. Missiles, tobacco, crack and opiates all are equal to diapers, wheat, clothing and houses in the market analogy of modern valueless economics. Bean counters distinguished by their relative heartlessness are setting standards for society when their very methodologies are those of technicians not savants.

What is the relationship that governs the obligations of the rich to the poor, the powerful to the powerless. Post Christianity as some would celebrate, what is the relationship that will protect us all from the equal ideologies of big 'C' Communism under Stalin and big "F" fascism under Hitler.

The leadership are indeed more educated perhaps than ever before. They've had privilege and lives protected and indeed pampered. Seeing Prince Harry in the military like his father before him was certainly a blast from the past as far as 'noblesse oblige' was concerned. Here was the future King learning that a man must feed the men and lead the men not just send them out like one would 'mercenaries'. It hearkened to the likes of Henry Ford on the assembly line.

But what of the Rockerfellers and Roschilds. Would the 'banking' families have a concept of 'noblesse oblige' or ever actually 'mix' with the people. Would they not remain 'effete' in their protected worlds using the 'emperor's' of China 'gated community' analogies for their relationships. Is this necessarily intrinsic in the television metaphors of the Divas surrounded by sycophants and protected from their 'fans'. Princess Di was killed apparently by paparazzi.

Without 'noblesse oblige' what really protects us from another World War since we're just 'toys', perhaps in the schemes of men, women and monsters. Science would say we are interconnected but not in the way of God, not in the way of the nature of Newton. It's necessarily a frightening thought as one goes into old age and adage. To the banker, old money is just discarded. To the marketing ad man, the old images are discarded until time makes them all new again. To the Chinese Emperor or Stalin or Hitler, what were a thousand deaths compared to a million in the grand scheme of their designs for world domination.

I would rather a society see me in a way that protects me in old age and protects it's young. Television is too dominated with the healthy and the beautiful. Feeling ugly and old I trust the farmer's respect for the 'old grey mare' and the king who cared for his elders, especially those who served his father.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Humans and Animal after Crash

Coming back from Hope on Labour Day weekend my truck and trailer ended in the ditch facing the direction from whence we came. Quite possibly Laura, Gilbert and I and the truck and trailer had had such a good time our first weekend as Good Sam RV people that the truck and trailer were refusing to return to Vancouver. It would have been a sweet idea if the Hal moment hadn't ended in Laura screaming and the truck and trailer being wrenched apart by the forces, the trailer landing on it's side, while the truck rebounded with an awesome jerk.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police came to our rescue, not mounted on horses or wearing red serge but being really terrific caring people. The highly competent Jamie Davis towing group arrived and literally got the truck and trailer out of the ditch and back to their compound. Laura's daughter Shannon and son in law Ryan with their kids Paris and Kingsley arrived with hugs and assurances.

The consequence was that in relatively no time we were back in Vancouver. The trouble was that by then my neck and back had seized up. Both Laura and I were forgetful, having problems concentrating, making mistakes and taking endless time to do the simplest thing. I simply couldn't see myself going to work worried I'd make a terrible mistake and literally unable to sit for an hour.

Laura was more of a trooper. I hobbled about moaning and acting typically macho. Laura drove me to George. George was a brick. He reassured me. He's a healer. Something about his humorous manner just lightens the load. I was feeling better immediately after he touched me. Healing touch. He wants me to get x-rays. I'm not sure x-rays are good for psychiatrists. My psychiatrist friend kindly pointed out that trauma does things to the psyche. Friends were generally solicitous and the staff were terrific. Self pity doesn't work when people are so caring.

The insurance company was weird. A strange zebra of people. One drone with that heartless how can I make a buck attitude thinking their zomboid tones of voice are utterly loud and transparent.. I was immediately reminded of the hospital administrator who wanted me to stop a life saving medication because it wasn't 'approved'. Naturally these are the shadow folk. They talk on telephones or tell you behind things closed doors. "I remember saying, "The patient will die. Will you tell the family." "That's not my concern. We can't waste valuable resources." they'd said. I didn't tell the patient in the morning when they came alive. I often think I should of. These desk jockey sociopaths only know money and want gold stars from corporate managers who haven't apparently read "Snakes in Suits".

That said, there's these other folk in the insurance company who aren't hustling you. Maybe it's a good guy bad guy routine. I try not to be paranoid. Or maybe it's just maturity. There are these real people who are actually are just being honest and helpful. There's no deceit in their voices. I suspect they're more senior and feel deeply sorry for the people who only encounter the lying hustlers intent on making a buck. I remember asking such an insurance man to stop harassing my patient who was delirious when this fellow in Manitoba was trying to get this farmer to sign off on $500. The eventual claim was $50,000 or more but here was this agent "just trying to make a buck", "just doing my job", "just feeding the kids." They're the sort of people who make tobacco salesmen look saintly.

When I worked overseas there were dozen insurance companies involved in health care. We felt sorry for the families who had made the mistake of getting the bad apple company. Their kids routinely died because that insurance company would not authorize evacuation to the main centre, doing that covert aggression poison dance of delay and subterfuge till the babies were dead, over and over again. All the other companies had the same policies and did their best to keep the babies and children alive, all except that one.

And then there are all the good insurance companies and all the good insurance stories. And without insurance we'd all experience tremendous loss. I sailed solo across the ocean, around the islands and along the northern coasts all along without insurance but I don't want to live that way all the time. I like insurance. I always have as much as I can. Insurance companies collectively have made a fortune off of my patronage.

In the end I always find that there's an amazing education to be had going through these experiences. It a lesson in humility and increases empathy at the very least.

Right now, I've no patience, though. I'm irritable and frustrated. I felt incredible rage when I talked to this fellow who was paid to do something and didn't do it because he was lazy, incompetent or just a sociopath. I figure he lied about what he didn't do either. He tried blame and shame and appeared the sort to read 'negotiation through intimidation' books. I figured he was an addict too. Maybe a cannibal. Probably a child molester. Certainly alien. Never learned to wash his armpits or his genitals. Probably has sex with goldfish.

It's a good thing I'm not working. I did a clinic. It's addiction medicine predominantly and not psychiatry alone. Psychiatry alone requires a special kind of sensitivity I don't have to today. I didn't even think the person who was talking to me had a mother. I've worked with murderers, pedophiles, gang members, psychopaths and I don't forget they have mothers.

That said, my dog is just fine. Laura is in pain and unhappy but bearing up well. Gilbert is staying close to her. We're supposed to be on holidays. It's more of a sick leave right now but I'm grateful I'm not working.

I was just walking Gilbert along a stream enjoying the night breeze and rippling water. The stars are so bright here in the country. I'm going to focus on the day.

Luke and Sunny are two really funny guys. They're joining us tomorrow. Every day since the accident we're getting better and better.

There's definitely life after a truck and trailer crash. I'm even hoping to sleep through the night. Gilbert likes his new squeaky toy.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Death of a Trailer

I woke Labour day after a lovely sleep. Gilbert and I walked for miles and returned to have coffee while Laura bathed. Next I showered while Laura stowed. Then together, as a team, I backed up the truck and she guided me to where it was aligned with the hitch. I'd raised the hitch just the right amount that with a kick the ball fit snugly into the cup. I put on the tension bars and chains and locked the whole thing down while Laura wound up the struts. I'd disconnected power and water, turned off the propane and locked all the doors. We pulled out of No. 20 and turned the corner. A family asked if we could give them a battery boost and we did.

At the sani station a fellow was already there emptying his tanks. I watched and asked questions. He was extremely helpful. Like Ryan he said, "Empty the black water with toilet paper and such, then empty the grey water from dish washing and showering. It works best that way." My turn came and Laura got out and helped me allign the outlet and sani disposal hole. The hose is stored in the back bumper. I got it out and twisted it on the outlet. Then I pulled the easily marked levers and sure enough gravity brought the black water out. When the hose had stopped moving and the sound of flow had finished I switched to the grey water. We waited a while longer for this to finish. Then it was done. I closed off the grey water and unhooked the hose, rinsed it all down with the handy water hose by the sani station and put everything away. I was ecstatic. "We did it."

We drove down Flood Hope Road and entered the Freeway. Everything was going well. I was going 80 km to 85 km with cars passing and getting some wind buffeting in the open. We'd entered the more wooded section and I remember I took my right hand off the wheel to adjust my glasses and suddenly the rig began to fish tail. Both hands on the wheel I tried to compensate, driving like Winnipeg black ice driving, while slowing with foot gently on the brake, but the trailer fish knifed passed me. Laura was screaming. I was perplexed because I couldn't figure why we weren't stopping but being carried in circle. I was in the next lane and worried most about on coming traffic having forgotten completely we were in the two lane same direction freeway. We'd slowed considerably but were just being carried into the ditch with Laura crying out, "We're going over."

I braced to roll but we just slid into the ditch with the trailer now behind us and us facing the on coming traffic. The trailer went over. That's for sure. It lifted us up before the tongue broke and the truck fell back to the ground. We were shook up.
Laura and Gilbert were fine. "Are you okay," I asked. "Yes, and Gilbert's fine. I held onto him the whole way." Gilbert looked confused and Laura looked a little in shock. I got out of the truck and told all the cars that stopped that we were okay. I dialed 911 and let the police know that we'd gone off the road and asked them to call a tow truck.

At that point a RCMP car arrived and really big guy got out and surveyed the damage, asking if everyone was okay. I told him, yes and then he asked for license and registration and the whole endless paperwork thing transpired while a fellow from the second car came to take pictures and block the lane for the big Davis Rescue tow truck to get in and do it's work. A woman had talked with Laura. The police man made sure she was alright. I checked in and she seemed fine.

I'd rolled a vehicle before when I was coming onto the freeway and someone had strewn the turn with anti vehicle military tacks that punctured my tires and caused me to just flip over and lie on my side like a dead cow. The plane crash I'd been in when the DC3 on landing skid into that ditch crumpling the wing big time and we'd all had to climb upwards out the side of the ship. Each time there'd been that sense of being in the hands of God. That's what Laura said, "I felt like there was nothing I could do but I knew I was in the hands of God. " She later said, "I thought we were going over a precipice and we were going to die." I'd never thought that we were going to die. Probably because I'd been through this in worst cases at higher speeds and this all just seemed in slow motion. The seat belts really did save us though.

I climbed into the trailer to get the papers and the whole insides looked like they'd been in a washing machine. It was a mess. The Stove and Refridgerator had torn out of the wall and were on their fronts. The coffee maker which had been in a bottom cupboard was in the top cupboard having flown kitty corner across the trailer. I understand now why people are not supposed to ride in the back. The plexiglass dishes were shattered in little pieces. Later, Laura, showing her daughter the mess inside would say, "We had a trailer trash party last night and I just haven't had time to clean up."

The RCMP were wonderful. Cst. Duane Hillier was courteous, kind, and helpful. The guys from Jamie Davis Towing and Recovery from Hope arrived and really knew their business. Everything seemed mangled to me. The hitch was twisted and the trailer tongue was collapsed and this big house was lying on it's side. Using a bolt cutter and a hammer they separated the twisted mangled hitch from the trailer then efficiently had the trailer righted with their hoist. They told me to try driving slowly out of the ditch in 4x4. I did this but on the flat it was obvious it wasn't drivable. The one tire was blown but the both tires were splayed outward and the exhaust and back frame was torsioned. Trailer and truck had been thoroughly mauled.

Laura had called her daughter Shannon. And now Ryan arrived in his big ford with his wife Shannon, and Laura's grandchildren, Paris, and the baby Kingston. Ryan has been driving big machines all his life and has a homungus motor home. Going out to help his mother in law in the ditch was just another family outing for him. He was getting Kingston started early in the family legacy of big vehicles. We jumped in with him and followed the mortally wounded trailer back to the compound. There Laura and Shannon got inside and unloaded the clothes and new sheets and comforter. Ryan and I cleared out the box of the mangled truck. I had my chain saw in there and found the portable winch behind the seat under the tarps and dog bed. It's amazing all the little useful things that get stuffed inside trucks, flash lights, knives, safety gear. We piled it all in the back of Ryan's truck.

He drove the family back to his place. Laura and Shannon had the ice cream bars out of the fridge and looking behind me here they all were eating ice cream bars looking like any old family outing. Paris was really happy to be with her grandmother and Kingston was really pleased to be with his daddy in daddy's big truck. Shannon was really glad her mom was a live and well. I felt stupid but really thankful Ryan was there. I realized I was kind of dazed. There was a surreal quality about the accident. I think it mostly had to do with a close brush with death. Even after I realized there was no on coming traffic I still couldn't shake that idea as it harkened back to other near misses. I noticed i was a bit jumpy and traffic seemed more intense. Laura was ecstatic to be with the little ones. She was all lit up and aglow with just being with Shannon. Mother love and family. And I was glad for Ryan. He's got a great sense of humor and it helped as I was quite distracted and increasingly aware I wasn't wholly present. A part of me was already reflecting on the Grace of God and another reminder it wasn't my time yet.

I also felt responsible but knew hindsight is a proctoscope. Still I was going over and over how quickly the whole thing had gone south.

While we were driving back to his place I phoned the ICBC 'dial a claim' and had a very pleasant person take all my details. Laura and Ryan helped answer questions she put to me which I couldn't answer. Laura had kept all the paperwork togther from the police and towing, the two insurance papers and I just read off numbers upon numbers till finally she gave me two claim numbers. I was getting stiff and sore by this time too wondering why my neck and back were feeling so much tension and yet I didn't remember any particular strain.

Though I have a top notch insurance record and had all the insurance possible, there wasn't apparently a rental car available on the labour day holiday. Ryan however phoned around and sure enough Budget had a truck I could use. So off we went leaving Laura with the girls and Kingston. They were having a grand visit with Paris showing Laura all her new back to school clothes and things. Kingston barely toddling was happy to hang out with the girls. Gage, the great dane, was entertaining Gilbert who is hugely impressed with Gage, whose greatest attraction is that he hardly notices Gilbert. Gage is the size of a horse and Gilbert despite jumping up and down and running circles around Gage is well below Gage's dog radar.

In a jiffy I was back at Ryan's picking up Laura, Gilbert and the new pillows and bedding we'd rescued along with our clothing. Good byes, thanks and hugs all round. Gage drooled on Gilbert who took this as big time praise and affection.

Then we were off. Traffic was surprisingly not backed up. "I guess no one else has rolled a trailer ahead of us." I said. We were both a little stunned on the way back.

I'd uploaded pictures to face book while I'd waited and Laura now looked at these delighted with the picture of her and the kids all eating ice cream. Everyone was glad we were okay.

"I really felt like I was in the hands of God and it would all be okay," she said. I felt the same. Faith is such a comfort.

Parking the rental truck, I trudged inside to a hot shower. Next I cancelled work. I was stiff and sore and dazed. "I'm afraid I'm no good to anyone else right now."
Laura laughed. "What do you expect. We've just been in a major car crash and I thought we were going to die."

I was going to live in that trailer along with the boat and now felt sort of 'homeless'.

Gilbert chased the cats and showed no evidence whatsoever of being 'traumatized'.

I loved Ryan saying, "You guys loved the trailer. When you were knocked down in a storm in your boat you didn't give up boating, did you." On the way back Laura and I decided we didn't want to give up trailer camping either.

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