Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Week of Worry in the Cloud of Unknowing

If one has to whine, worry and kafetch one should be a master of it. To demonstrate professional capacity in this regard I have chosen to review the week for those who are mere amateurs at complaining and moaning and doom saying.
1) We are all going to die.  This temporal physical slow energy moving mass life is terminal.  No matter what vegetarian gluten free probiotic diet you ascribe to you will still die.  It will be like falling asleep and if you believe you will most likely wake up in a new life. If you don’t believe then this may be all you get.  If you are guilty then the laws of karma may well apply to those believers in after life who by their thoughts and actions want a personal hell.  I don’t think anyone can tell you what you’re going to get.  There’s no religion that has certain vision of the future.  I loved the book, “Cloud of Unknowing’.  It’s a mystery.  But I believe.  I also believe that it will be good, this afterlife journey.  I know it’s easy to see the negatives and that all children know when things are crap and cry and whine and whimper and sometimes take the fetal position. While this is happening the adults in the immediate vicinity are addressing the crap and trying to make the best of a bad lot.  This has been going on for 80,000 plus years from when our worst fear were large cats and thugs to today when it’s still environmental dangers including occasional large cats escaped from zoos and thugs.  That said most cats are small and most people are fairly good.  Otherwise we wouldn’t have survived on this planet en mass and risen to be the prime protagonist.
2) Aliens have landed. They may be controlling the minds of our politicians.  They may be the ultra rich people no one sees. They may be Saudi, Chinese or American.  They no doubt have stealth technology to conceal their vampire like features or their second heads. They may be nanodes in our intestinal tracks.  They may be cats.  Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson were likely aliens.  Miley Cyrus is definitely an alien and Justin Beiber is a wannabe alien.  They may or may not be friendly. They may indeed be computer keyboards that take their energy from our fingertips.  They are not going to do what Hollywood says.  Hollywood is a disinformation centre.
3) Vaccines cured the world of smallpox.  Small pox killed a half million annually going back to 10,000 BC.  Probably killed more people than all the wars put together.  Medical science has reduced suffering and extended life.  Science has contributed to allowing 8 billion people to live on a planet that was thought to be over crowded when Columbus left Europe in 1692.  I am a scientist. I’m also an artist. I’m also a minister of divinity.  You can believe in God and Science and Art and that’s okay because it just makes you trinitarian.
4) Feminists are sexist.
5)  Racism is an attack on white people. White people are dominant. When Blacks are dominant we get to call them racist.  You can only call other people racists. Racists never admit to being racists.  Except me, I’m freckled. I’m racist against white, and brown and black and yellow and red. Spotted people united. Throw off your chains.  Fight for your fellow spotted folk!!  Our first instinct is survival and our next is to form a group of ‘us’.  This is family then it’s a trash euro american biker gang in the west or an eastern militarist junta gang in the east.  Guns and sex and drugs are the principal money makers in the world.  Food and commodity transfers are basic and rather boring in general compared to the sexiness and excitement in the sale of guns, sex slave and mood altering drugs.  There is white collar crime and blue collar crime.  There are white collar gangs and blue collar gangs.  Much of the confusion in the world is comparing apples to oranges.
6) Last week the Chinese market crashed.  I believe that it didn’t founder as much as the Western world’s did a few years back because the bankers are learning how to manage the mass amounts of money that have surpassed any previous time in history. As an analogy when the world had TNT it was initially surprised but could handle it in time but then the Atom Bomb came and there was a stiff learning curve to management of nuclear weapons. We’re learning how to handle biological weapons of mass destruction, gene manipulation, and all manner of skyrocketing hyper accelerated learning. The bankers were never the brightest in the group. Most people who go into money management are pedestrian. Salesman, like those on commodity floors, they’re the nutbars. I’ve seen salesman selling family members overseas. They’re sell anything. Salesman and gamblers are two sides of the same coin. They’re the rabbits.  They're pushing the edge everywhere.  By contrast bankers and accountants are the tortoises.  I think it’s simply possible that the whole bank thing got a head of them like nuclear weapons got ahead of the equal slow witted generals.
Now it’s also possible that diabolical demon infested bankers, people with the mentality of the media ascribed to Bush and Clinton equally , the way the media describes these otherwise mediocre entertainers in the political circuit, that these kind of folks, learned how to steal obscene amounts of money from the world collectively with truly ugly evil devices for which God and Murphy will castrate the sons of bitches and all their putrid insectoid spawn because they think they got away with it. Evil loses, goodness wins.  In the long run.  That’s why psychopaths like to deny the afterlife.  Sprinters always want to win the race in the short run.  The life expectancy of assholes is decades less than the life expectancy of the mediocre.   The assholes in the east are the Fanny Mae and Goldman Sachs groups.  Better still, the unnamed folk jealous.  Sjealoo having done this and almost got away with it but got sort of caught by excessive gouging, they made the the imitative Chinese Totalitarian dictators jealous. Known for their collective stupidity and lack of innovation as communists the world over are, however having great chameleon lizards skills ,and the brain of a thieving squirrel they stole the ideas from the west.  Their slut girlfriends wanted more cocaine and jewelry. And paranoid they want bigger guns and better security systems.  So they are trying to steal mass amounts of money by manipulating their stock exchange  for personal benefit without getting caught.
It’s really matter of perception.
7) I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.  The Vancouver Stock Exchange lost it’s license because the Vancouver businessmen were worse than Goldman Sacks and the Chinese military put together. . Their low level of scummyness is unprecedented in the world. I just mention that because I wouldn’t want to point fingers without admitting that my city and province and country are the greatest of all scoundrels when it comes to white collar crime.
8) The Chinese market stabilized but again we were collectively threatened by the government controlled mainstream media with economic poverty.  This threat is pre election here in Canada and Greece remains our object lesson. The ’System” requires there to be a lot of really ugly losers and a very few very beautiful winners.  The losers can’t afford augmentation mammoplasty, penile reconstruction and liposuction and face lifts.  That’s all that makes the rich look good.  Lots of expensive medicine. And Betty Ford clinics.  By contrast the poor are given places to shoot up heroin, drug pubs, that don’t interfere in the profit of the blue collar gangs, like the Hells Angels.

9) Anyone can be cynical.  Nihilism is simply weak thinking.  It takes genius and adulthood to remain happy in face of dying daily.
10) We are on a planet spinning around a sun in the armpit of a distant galaxy and don’t even know where we are except by some kind of relative consideration. There are no absolutes. Except maybe God.  But most peoples God is too small. So it’s a mini me God and not the absolute God.
11) My job is to maximize my pleasure and joy in life without directly harming others.  I’m not concerned about all the urban activists getting on about big things like Climate Change  and Montsanto or oil spills or highways or television.  These are adolescent considerations. Adolescents know as well as mainstream media how to solve all the world’s problems but they have hemorrhoids and because of their hemorrhoids makes the world around them seem shitty.  They can’t wipe their butts clean.  Consequently they have a skewed outlook on the world and are always looking for someone else to blame.  Preferably a corporation or another country or an ideology.  They carry a stinky smell about them.
12) I don’t like abortions.  I don’t like radical feminists because most of those I’ve known have been monsters of the likes of Eva Brawn. I believe radical feminists hate men and lack a sense of humour and are the cause of so much of the world’s political problems these last decades. By contrast I love women and I have even admired Hilliary Clinton at times despite her man aping ways. Warren by contrast is one smart lady. But then I loved my mother and my mother and father together were an economic unit.  Individualism is a ‘construct’ that allows ‘corporations’ before the horrendously incestuous pedophilic laws to maintain me and a multi million company are equal except I can’t afford a lawyer.  And as the judges are only there to ensure that the people in power remain in power I at most can hope for crumbs.  The rich are above sexism and racism and only interested in money and power. These ‘divisiions’ of “political correctness’ better called ‘social communism’ have ensured that the courts can at any time arrest someone if they are at any time a real threat to the status quo.  All the activists who whine and complain are the ‘paid government critics’.  If a person is telling the truth in our society they will have been in jail or a psychiatric asylum or bankrupt unless they are Warren Buffet or Soros and they can ‘make whatever truth they want’ because the media is the spoke engine for the powerful.
Ultimately I have to ask my self the question am I really talking about this plane of existence or arguing with God.  Is God , the all powerful, to be loved  or feared.  Is religion the opiate of the masses or is politics the true opiate and spirituality the salvation that stupid wrong Marx simply couldn’t see because he hated Isaiah and Moses so much.  Identification with the Aggressor has always been a real bitch for the Jews. Thanks to Freud we know about identification with the aggressor and I may well worship God because She’s been such a bitch putting me in this ‘life of suffering’.
Anxiety is a measure of my distance from God. And if I see God as evil then I will see the biggest government and biggest corporation and the wealthiest as evil.  But I’m not at the bottom of the food chain. There are those below me and as I see those above me so those below me will likely see me because "as above so below".  So the paranoid fears those above and below.  The activist believes naively that they are representing the proletariat as they fight the czar or warlords or modern corporations. The rebels have been worse than those they deposed.  I’m just trying to get through this day.  No bombs have fallen on my head but I’ve heard about bombs falling on peoples heads all my life. I have been bullied and extorted by the media with news that is chosen to create the maximum fear and subservience in me and those around me.
Meanwhile I’m living in the world at one of the greatest times of innovation and progress with people living, the billions more on the planet in relative wealth and for decades longer than their forebears, with really neat love stories and incredible science fiction type toys. We’ve motorized wheel chairs which no one had for 99% of the life of man on this planet. Last week they developed a bionic eye for those who suffer from macular degeneration.  We’re living in  a sacred and amazing world.   But I must take my head out of my ass to celebrate the wonder of my fellow man and creation. I am so thankful for this moment being here, witness to this all.
Now that is how a professional whines, moans and kafetches after a week of worry.    

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gratitude Thursday Journal

Yes, I'm grateful.  I slept well.  It's a bit like being an underwater diver when I'm using the CPAP machine.  The air is bad though.  Forest fires smoke still blowing into the valley.  I've got a summer cold on top of that.  Without "Advil Cold and Sinus" and CPAP I'd not sleep through the night.  So I'm really grateful for sleep and breath.
When I put on the CPAP my first breath starts the machine. There's a pause though. I'm momentarily without air.  It causes me to feel the suffering that asthmatics and others with lung disease know. It's also the greatest fear in dying.  I've bagged dozens back to life and know the terror in their eyes up close.  Scuba diving first hand I've felt the panic of not being able to get air, the faulty system, struggling with panic, fixing the problem or once buddy breathing to the surface.
I'm really thankful for breath.  The breath of life and mostly we take it for granted. Smokers even shit on God with their tobacco and marijuana, blaspheming the Holy Spirit in the most ignorant suicidal way.  Like eating poop.  The psychotic stupidity of smoking isn't beyond me. When I was as schizophrenic as any average cigarette and marijuana smoker I didn't care for God or spirit or breath or life.  I actually took pride in 'learning to inhale' the smoke.  Like a little girl priding herself on cutting her wrists and making the blood flow.  I smoked.  Just thankful it wasn't longer.
Last night I dreamed of sailing. I love those dreams.  Like the dreams of my parents or the dreams of old lovers or the dreams of my former dogs.  I miss the flying dreams.  Haven't had those for a while. Remember Freud called flying dreams, dreams of sex.  A female psychiatrist countered him saying that sex was dreams of flying. Can't remember what her name was.  Maybe Karen Horney, when Freud said women had penis envy, she responded by saying men have womb envy.
I'm certainly thankful for my little dog.  Yesterday was National Dog Day.  I posted a picture of Gilbert the cockapoo.  There's a huge extended network of us who only know each other by the name of our pets.  It was the same with sailboats cruising.  We didn't remember each other's names, just the name of the sailboat.
China's market crash flattened out yesterday. I'm thankful for that.  There was a rebound too. Don't know how much money I made or lost. My accountant says I should keep track of these things.  I look back and realize that studying psychiatry was silly. Maybe reading the books to get the exams and have a job but all that other study. It's never made me any money.  I made more money as a general practitioners.  4 years of study and countless evenings and weekends reading the literature. Yesterday I "looked up" a dozen things and read a couple of articles. It's almost daily.
Smart people, don't read science and literature but follow stocks and bonds.  I wish I could do both.
But these days I'm not doing much.  9 am to 930 pm Monday at the office, no lunch, no breaks, coffee maker in my office. A half dozen emergencies.  Not suicide.  Bureaucrats, insurance agents and police 'needing' a letter from me or my patient would be denied work, income, or freedom.
It wasn't like this.  I treated individual illness when I began.  Today I'm always treating systemic failures with the patients more and more just evidence of the deconstruction of society.  I'm still ashamed at all the gouging of students for their education.  It must have been a half dozen or so last year I helped through their bankruptcies.  I don't know how anyone survives in Vancouver.  The young women admit to prostitution. There's a host of names for it but it's just prostitution.  Having roommates makes it's difficult.  Everyone is juggling housing space.  It's a national election issue.
Smart people made 'medicine' a government issue and contractors gouged and became billionaires doing incredibly shoddy work with their leaky condo scandals, all the while benefitting from 'free' physicians.  In another world I'd 'nationalized' housing like "they" nationalized medicine.  Then everyone would have a house or condo.  I'd write ads saying "People shouldn't go bankrupt to have a roof over their heads".  A third of my patients are living in 'shelters' .  And everyone knows if you want to get rich you get into construction, real estate or estates.  Donald Trump wasn't stupid enough to become a doctor.  I feel like I should stand in solidarity with my Ontario doctor brethren. They're facing 'claw backs'.  What an interesting term for government 'theft'!  Steal a little and they put you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.
It's all too far about my pay grade. I'm thankful for this trailer. I'm thankful for the new tools I've learned about from research, a new medication, and some new ideas of how to address my patients addictions.  I really have to focus my energies though.  I was taught early that when you're doing more work than the patient you should back off yet that's when the patients complain. I live in constant daily fear of patient complaints. Medicine is totally a 'popularity' contest with everyone struggling to be mediocre because any originality and any enthusiasm is destroyed by complaints - judges, bureaucrats, human rights commissions, advocates.  Some patients come with a huge gang.  The room fills with their 'allies' and dozens of unemployed 'critics' desperate for a cause.  I'm bent over double in abeyance praying I do as I"m told.  The patients tell me what they've read on social media, the arched eyebrow and threatening tone let me know what they think of my opinion about whatever it is is this weeks fashion.  I'm supposed to do what Gabor Mate does or the Kardashian twins.  Only with celebrity medicine am I going to please some.  They've got the complaints line on speed dial.
Now I'v missed the physician assisted suicide discussion. The majority were concerned about it.  I loved that most were concerned about the real practicalities.  I just wanted to know how the College was going to prepare for the complaint from the patient who I refused to shoot between the eyes until they paid for the bullet. Naturally people wanting physician assisted suicide will want it 'for free' and then how will I get the body out of the office. If I had two offices it would be a bit more practical but with only one office what will the patients in the waiting room feel as the last patient is wheeled out. The supreme court is always so high and mighty in Canada that they never dirty themselves with cost or details that the real world has to deal with. Certainly killing people will transfer a whole lot of health care resources to the death column.  Same happened when the incredibly lucrative industry of abortion caused cut backs in obstetrical care and delivery resources.  It's always a choice. I choose life but the system more and more chooses death. Death is cheaper.  I wonder when we're finally have a referendum of Article 21 and Death Care versus Health Care. But just the same as with abortion the spin doctors will call Death 'health care'.  Personally I'd rather the killing came out of the city sanitation budget. My patients don't have enough money for their medications as it is and can't afford housing so maybe a crypt is an advancement.
I'm thankful I don't have to lead this country. It's election time and Harper, Mulcair and Trudow are all vying for leadership again.  Given the Canadian superior know it all media those three men must be masochists.  I think they're all brilliant and incredible individuals but the policies they're offering though all fairly centrist or left of centre may or may not help us old people in the coming decade of aging baby boomer decline.
I've got to get dressed for work. I'm grateful I have a job to go to. I'm certainly grateful for my teachers, and all the learning that helps me be helpful.  I'm really grateful for the experience, 30 years and tens of thousands of patients.  Everything that used to scare me and seemed so difficult today rarely concerns me.  I remember when I worried about a patient with one disease.  Hilarious. Today my patients have a dozen diseases and I'm working with a half dozen other doctors who are amazing and we're somehow helping these aging jalopies get another lap.  So many though tell me that they're so thankful for their time because they can be longer with their grandchildren.
Time to shower. Thank you God for running water and heat and the car that will get me to the new office and staff and books and computers and the whole vast organization called civilization.  Thank you God.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Drug Induced Paranoia

He had just walked into the room. Big guy.  Lots of chains and tattoos. Unwashed hair.  Poor eye contact.  Slouched down in the chair across from me.

Lifted his head.  Stared at me.  Real hard.

I waited.

"I don't want you writing anything down." he said.  Low voice, Controlled. Ordering.

"I take notes. It's what a doctor does.  It's the law." I replied, softly.

When you have worked here long enough, you've heard it all.   You feel the insaniety  though.  Maybe it's in the tone.   It feels  palpable.

"I don't want you to write anything down. I know you doctors give your records to them.  That's how they know everything. I don't want you writing anything down."

"What do you want from me, then?"  I didn't ask about them.  Them is them.  If you have to ask you probably don't know.  He walks out and you don't see him again.  So much for caring.  That kind of stupidity is 'selecting'.

"I want my drugs."

"Your methadone?"


"Are you doing any street drugs."

"I'm not going to answer any of your questions.  You're just going to tell them."

"Who are you worried I'm going to tell?" Now it's right to ask about them.  Things are moving along now.

"Everybody.  The only way people know I do drugs is someone tells them. I don't want you telling anyone else.  I know it's in my record but that's because doctors won't shut up and just give me the drugs I need."

I'm old. I'm afraid.  I didn't want to tip him over the edge. I was just seeing him in passing.  I've never seen him before, might not see him again.  I'm just covering for a colleague.  I peruse the chart, peripheral vision keeping track of his torso.  The chart shows  hes been doing crack and crystal meth. He'd actually been doing well.   Not using heroin like before. My colleagues a good doctor.  Maybe the guy was just pissed to see me.

I wasn't well.  Feeling fairly irritable myself.  The air was bad here.  Smoke and pollution blowing up from the forest fires in the south.  The lighting was already bad in this building.  Hazy. Eerie.  Besides a garbage truck had spilled out back.  The bad air now stank.  Couldn't get worse.

He was probably having a bad day.  Something must have happened before he came in.  He wouldn't leave a urine.

"It's going to be positive for crack".  he said.

I thought that was progress.  I didn't want to push him.   I could have followed the rules strictly, goose stepped, clicked my heals, shouted Heil Hitler.  There's real advancement in that approach. On the other hand, people who do that,  usually have 'burn out' and 'compassion fatigue".  Sometimes they're just new and afraid.   The system doesn't want anyone to know about the Jews and Auschwitz. You're supposed to crayon inside the lines.   I took an Oath "Do no harm".  Days like this I think it's a curse.      It wouldn't  help him, my being hard.  I wanted to keep an open mind.  But not so open the marbles fell out.   Only people far from the front survive being pollyanna.  They're the critics.

I gave him the medication.  He'll be back in a few days to see his own doctor.  After he left I wrote a brief note. No harm done. Gave my colleague a heads up.  Somedays, we bend a bit. Sometimes we don't.  Maybe it's was just the air. Maybe it was them.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

B.F. Skinner developed the 'behavioural therapy', essentially programming animals with reward mechanisms.  It wasn't original but he systematized it and popularized it and made this ancient 'training' and 'educating' mechanism scientific so that it could be 'programmed'.  Rats and maizes and all that sort of stuff was shown to be made up of little building blocks.  Many clinical applications followed.
Pavlov's dogs, 'conditioned' by being giving meat on the sound of a bell, salivated thereafter when they heard the bell.  
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy followed showing that 'cognitions' programed behaviour.  No surprise. If I think I'm going to fail at a task and say to myself, "you're a failure, you're a failure", I'm more likely to fail.  Like the 'little engine who can'  subjects in experiments were told to change their 'self talk' and surprise surprise the outcome was scientifically significantly altered.
Insight therapy for example, psychoanalysis, delved into the past to see what was causing present day limitations, whereas Cognitive Behavioural Therapy focussed principally on the present.
It is in fact an "educational" form of therapy and lends itself to group instruction, reproduction and work book materials.
Feeling Good was the 1980 classic in the new "Mood Therapy" written by Burns who was a student of the greatest Cognitive Behaviour Therapist of the day, Dr. Beck. His "Beck Depression Scale" remains today as a standard Cognitive Behavioural Therapy tool.
Patients, or clients, like students, are encouraged to record their 'thinking', what are they 'actively thinking about a problem .
eg.  "No one likes me."
Then the person is encouraged to write the 'cognitive error'  ie this is a Generalization.  Whenever a person thinks "no one likes me" they are indeed encouraged to respond to their inner Cognitive errors 'that is a 'Generalization", some people don't like me, some people do."
Psychology , a relative new kid on the block, tends to forever 'rename' things and claim them.  It's a very 'plagiaristic pseudoscience' at this level.
The original "cognitive errors' or 'cognitive disonance'  or 'negative programming' was best described years ago in philosophy under the heading, "Fallacies".
Most of the cognitive errors which are popularly called with 'neat memorable psychology labels' were rigorously defined and given the proper labels of 'illogical' thinking.  Indeed Cognitive Behavoural Therapy in it's own way attempts to encourage 'logical thinking'.
Much of the understanding and communications used in teaching Cognitive Behavioural Therapy were originally developped in Theology and Philosophy and now are renamed and over taken by psychology.

Michael LaBoisiere, (42 Fallacies)  a French philosopher has, to my mind, made the Fallacies most understandable.  Listening to patients for decades I've noted the 'illogical' thinking and the 'emotionally reasoning' and simply ticked off the 'fallacies' the patients use much as Laboissiere describes.  Burns has in his classic popularizing book Feeling Good listed a few of these cognitive errors like 'catastrophising' , "the world is going to end".
The fallacie of catastrophising is taking a single event and assuming that one event represents the whole and because it's a negative event assuming that the future will be negative.
Affirmations are 'thought blocking' techniques that go back thousands of years in pastoral care and theological literature.
Patients are advised to say "All shall be well" rather than "I"m going to die, I'm going to die."  Since the panic thought leads the body to accelerated heart rate hyperventialiation and blacking out it's fairly maladaptive.  So by 'blocking' the negative thought with the affirmation 'all shall be well' one breaks up the negative behavioural program by changing cognition. 

The term 'emotional reasoning' can be understood by considering the statement 'It feels good so it is good."  Translate this to "it looks good so it is good" and you have a person who would pick up a 'red' coloured insect without realizing that 'red' is often the symbol for deadly.

Ad hominen means 'against the man'.  The cognitive distortion would be to say, "I can't believe what John told me about physics because John isn't married".  Commonly people have this kind of bizarre thinking.

Generalizations are fallacious and cognitive distortions can occur.  Eg.  My mother told me I could  trust her brother but he sexually abused me, therefore everything my mother says is false."  This isn't true and therefore based on this one 'event' patient generalizes that what their mother told them about the existence of gravity is also false.  Not true.

Alot of the problems with distorted thinking can be found in the media presentation of stories, marketting and advertising.  Clinton was not a poor president because he had sex with Monica.  However, since he had a contractual relationship with his wife called marriage and a duty to his children as father and as a president he had a responsibility to follow contracts and a duty to the country. When questioned by Star as to whether or not he had sexual relations with Monica he could reasonably have answered "I didn't commit adultery".  Biblically, technically, oral sex is not mentioned and adultery laws most clearly are related to knowing who the father is in patriarchal societies.  However when he answered he 'did not have sexual relationships with Monica", he either 'lied under oath' thereby forfeiting his responsibility to the american people or he didn't know that what he was doing was deemed 'sexual' whereby he'd be a complete idiot and not worthy or safe to be President.  The media coverage of this pivotal moment in history was however mostly at the level of a lot of rather stupid media coverage, crass and sexual.  We can't have good media with so many perverted mental midgets being allowed to speak on tv. However the vast majority who watch mainstream media aren't themselves that swift. Most media is marketed to the majority who are under the college level.  Hence the stupidity of mainstream media and the continuation of the insaniety for which CBT is needed to address.

Eg.  I loved him so I killed myself.

Love does not beget suicide, only narcissism begets this kind of adolescent suicidal behaviour.  Yet Hollywood continues to celebrate it's suicides and continues to support the cognitive disorder that love is destructive when theoretically at least love is considered love because it's life enhancing.

Schizophrenia per se is often associated with flipping the pronowns which we call 'projection'.  In cognitive behaviour therapy we encourage people to use "I " statement.  "I don't like you" rather than "You don't like me".

Sunday Journal, Aug. 23, 2015

There’s still smoke in the air.  Fires are burning in the interior.  Campfire restrictions.  Concerns this summer about tourism. Firefighters from all over.  Many out of their houses. Whole communities destroyed.  In addition to the smoke, I can smell  Fall  in the air.  The nights are cool.
Wednesday my throat became raw.  Poor sleep that night.  Thursday my voice going by noon. Afternoon work cancelled.  I didn’t feel particularly infectious.  More like environment.  My patient has TB. I was in the radiology department getting X-ray.  Everyone snivelling. Laura said she’d had three days of headache and sore ear. Her waiting room was sore throats galore. Maybe it was viral.  I’m just seeing all the asthmatics having difficulty breathing. I’m tired too. Fatigued.  Run down.  Getting older. Don’t seem to rebound.  Whine a lot.
Seeing my chiropracterDr. Richard Cho these last two weeks the neck and back pain eased with more strength in right arm.  I was having difficulty lifting a cup.  Trying to ignore it.  Denial my first go to defence.  Using my right hand to drink coffee in public to conceal the tremor.  Thanks to my doctor friends in Virginia got the message of self care again. Phoned Richard.  Sure enough all the tension has taken it’s toll.  Running helps.  Getting to the hot tub.  Wading through the immense increase in work that follows and precedes a week off.
Dr. Smokey Bear. Stamping out forest fires.  All the beaurocratic demands for paper from doctors, exponentially increased a thousand fold.  Everyone now thinks the physician can be used as an extension of their organization. I was glad to hear the Ontario doctors refused. I wish the BC doctors would set minimum standards and stop demanding patients pay.  Despite the signs up to discuss with staff they bring work into the office and feign not seeing the signs. I learn they are trying to get a better deal than the gp offered.  Horrendous waste of health care resources.  Waitlists and double doctoring.
I spent 2 hours with a patient last week, it was a 20 minute paid visit, but I was concerned.  Concluded they needed an emergency Neurology and MRI visit and was beginning to pull favours when the patient told me the MRI they had last month was norma. They then complained the previous doctor hadn’t been any good. Pulled out some disability forms.   He wanted disability.  I’d asked him every which way about seeing other doctors about his problem.  He’d insisted no one had done anything and that no one took him seriously.  Even told me he had tried to sue one of his doctors but the lawyers wouldn’t take the case.  In the end he was just "Double doctoring".  Wanted disability.  Patients daily complain about waitlists but no one holds people like this accountable.  Yet the doctor police are multiplying exponentially as well. More and more doctors are afraid to see patients because of the threats to their licenses so become doctor police instead.  Of course no one polices the doctor police.  The last bastion of professional security.
I am tired today.  Another difficult night sleep. But great run yesterday.  5 k or more.  Along the river.  Furthest I’ve run without walking.  Walked a lot on the way back with Gilbert. He enjoys this all though fears that when running,  the territory isn’t being marked as often as canine standards demand.
Laura and I began watching Sons of Anarchy season finale.  I bought it at London Drugs when I was getting a set of AudioEngine 2+ speakers for the computer.  These plug in the wall and are awesome. Laura and I  watched an iTunes rented Rob the Mob movie which was terrific too. Loved the theatre quality surround sound. Then we got out the Sons of Anarchy DVD.  Of course we had heard he killed his mother.  It wasn’t something that the world could keep from getting out.  It wasn’t a ’spoiler’. In fact I wanted to watch the season to see how Sutter the writer killed off his wife Katey Sagal.  We’d heard Katey Sagal talk at the Turning Point gala so loved her.  “What’s going on between her and Sutter?” everyone was asking.  Okay, I bought the series to be in the loop. It really is  good.  Laura and I watched the first three seasons when we were up north at the first Sturges North Motorcycle Rally in Salmon Arm.  I’d driven up in the truck pulling the RV with my Honda 250 CRF strapped down  in the truck bed.  The whole weekend was so memorable with Steppenwolf and the Animals.  Laura and I rode in from the campground at night on the 250.  Then I joined the Veterans Ride with the smallest bike there and somehow kept up going Full Open Throttle without burning out the engine.  In those next months we watched all three seasons.
Then synchronistically, after I’d just told Laura I had to ride my bike this morning, Dave shows up to tell me the East Vancouver Show and Shine was going on Saturday at the Waldorf.  It couldn’t be better.
Dave usually rides with Emory his little dog.  I ride with Gilbert.   Today we left the dogs at home.  Gilbert would rather hang out with Laura. She spoils him.  Body rubs massages, treats.
Dave’s Harley is a red Heritage Softail. I’ve got a black Electraglide.  “They’re supposed to have a bikini contest,”  he told me on the way. “Even better”, I said.
Great sunny hot day.  Not too much traffic.  Good to ride in tandem.  Dave rides in shorts and t shirt.  I’ve got to have jeans and jacket armour.  At least my jacket is webbing. Too hot for leather.  When we got to the Waldorf there was a hundred or more bikes around.  It’s not like Gastown though where the bikes are congregated.  Here they were ranged around the block and in parking lots nearby.  Only weakness of the show. Half the fun is looking at everyone’s bikes.  In the actual venue there were only a few dozen, albeit some really fine choppers. Hot rods were in the venue.  Beer gardens.  Leather sale booths.  T shirts. Entrance by donation.  Dave gave them $5 for each of us.  I certainly didn’t complain.  All around fabulous young women showing a lot of skin.  Something about leather bras that speak to the inner animal too.  Lots of tattoos.  Great bikes.  One especially had silver skulls everywhere.  A couple of the cars and one of the bikes could have been right off the set of Mad Max.  Dave and I just walked about talking engines.  There was a souped up mustang.  Both Dave and I reminisced about our Mustang days. He’d had his in the 70’s and I”d had mine in the 80’s   One of the chevy “classics’ was a car my friends father owned when we were 12.  The ford truck on display looked a close proximity to my uncles truck from the Manitoba farm.  Dave told me his grand daughter was 20. He’s younger than I am.  “She says her friends like to tell the old guys they don’t have ‘daddy issues’.”  We’re laughing about that sad as it might seem.
We ride back to Burnaby taking Knight to Marine Drive.  There’s not much traffic this time of day on a Saturday.  I realize I’m normally only driving during the Vancouver rush hour so my view is skewed.
“I’ve been catching my limit up by Squamish,” Dave says. "The salmon are pooling in the ocean because the rivers are too dry to go up yet.”  It’s the salmon run time of the year.   After we get back he comes by bringing a lovely salmon.  Laura and I and Dave chat awhile while Emory and Gilbert play ‘he who pisses on something last wins”.  They’re dehydrating fast.  Dave’s got fish on his barbecue so can’t stay.  I use salmon rub on this and pack the centre with garlic butter before wrapping it in aluminum foil.  15 minutes on the barbecue and it’s perfect.  Incredibly tasty and melt in your mouth moist. So fresh.  Unbelievable good salmon.  Thank you Dave!
Laura and I had it with potatoes we boiled up and served with sour cream and salads.  We watched more episodes of Sons of Anarchy.  So many people getting shot in the show I’m sure it’s what affected Whalley Surrey this year. Gangland shootings galore.  Monkey see, monkey do.  So many young people smoking dope they lose connection between what is real and what is fantasy.
This morning Laura tells me she’s had dreams of being chased by motorcycles on her little bike.  My sinuses have been stuffy.  I had the couldn’t find a clean toilet dreams. Shit everywhere.  Sons of Anarchy doesn’t wake up the best part of the brain.   I remember the second last season when I found myself almost nihilistic after watching an episode but then counteracted it with watching an episode of Blue Blood.  Gives new meaning to the “Feed your Brain”.  Katey Sagal playing Gemma is an incredible actress. After years of fake feminist unidimensional ‘victim’ women with the ‘activist feminist’ saving the little girl, Gemna is playing a multidimensional sociopath with Oscar award winning complexity.  Unfortunately no Hollywood would award this Eva Braun performance. Lies that kill a nation.  And as usual no one is ‘pure’ in sons of anarchy. Everyone in Charming is corrupted somehow.  But that’s this slice of reality.  Even the ministers they know are into the sex trade.  In the methadone clinic I meet people who were raised in gangster families and this is their reality.  Not the sanitized CBC yuppie think.  Real ugly.  Maybe it’s why I dream of being unable to find a toilet which isn’t covered in shit with nowhere to stand and nowhere to sit.
Thankfully the Show and Shine Bikers are the norm. Good guys who like to ride. More and more people going two wheeled to enjoy the wind and freedom and save on gas.  When I was in europe and asia there were 10 times the scooters and motorbikes so there’s a long way to go here before the field is saturated.  Cars will always have a place like trucks but the motorcycle has a special place of it’s own. The ultimate commuter.  And there’s nothing that beats it for two people getting away with a tent.  Laura and I have had some wonderful times with the two of us on my bike and the tent and sleeping bags and cooking gear in the saddlebags.  Modern cowboys.  We stopped this since Gilbert and I got Laura a bike so the three of us could continue this only she’s anxious on her own.  That leaves the Miata which is almost as good but seems to suit staying in motels more than tenting.  The truck and RV are certainly the way to go. I can put the Harley in my toy hauler garage but I don’t want to do this for a weekend.  It’s perfect for a month or more vacation though. I’m the same with the big boat. I don’t want to take these out for a weekend anymore. Too much trouble whereas the motorcycle is perfect for the simple quick getaway and overnight camping.  We loved our rides down to the US too.  Maybe I need to get Gilbert his own trailer.  I just don’t like towing.  Defeats the purpose.
All of these are ‘cadillac problems’ and nothing that needs solving for today.  I’m still trying to figure how to mount the speakers in the RV but keep them portable so I could take them elsewhere.
I’ve been having fun with FITBIT - I do more exercise than I thought. My diet is still excessive, really good food but too much night snacking. That second portion of ice cream is the waist full  event.   I sleep better with 9 restless night events versus 30 when I use my CPAP machine.  I have to get the fittings fixed. Laura says I snore and shallow breath when I’m not using it.  It’s a bother but I see the benefit. When I first got it I really noticed the difference in my energy and alertness.
I finished Wilbur Smith’s Dessert God, a great historical fiction novel about Egypt during the time when the Hyksos took over northern Egypt, Nimrod was king in Sumeria and Crete was ascendent on the waters. I really enjoyed reading it.  This summer, partly because of the plane flights, I’ve been reading a lot and enjoying it.  Mostly fiction, though I was reading the Nady el Guebaly and Gallanter Textbook of International Addiction Medicine and the Teenage Brain, by the neuroscientist mother.   I read inspirational literature every day but haven’t been reading as many textbooks as I have other years.  I would love to get back into the study of Biblical Hebrew. I was astounded at how dynamic the language was compared to English translations.
It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August.  Hunting season opens for bow in 2 days on Vancouver Island. I’ve taken a couple of days off for a long weekend when rifle season opens here on the mainland.  Next weekend I might get the ATV out for the long weekend since it’s bow season.  I’ve got the bow but for bow hunting you really ought to sit along a trail where theres fresh spore since you need to be close for a kill.  Dave’s fish got me thinking of hunting. I don’t have the patience for BC fishing but I am so looking forward to having venison for the pot this fall.  I love venison stew.
All the reports I have to do are burdensome but somehow I find the time. Unfortunately they’ve interfered with summer and are likely to mess up the fall. I don’t mind extra work in winter and spring but I’d like less work in summer and fall.  My colleagues all share that this summer there’s been no slack.  The shortages of services are backing up with aging population meaning more patients and increasingly the ‘workhorses’ like me retiring and no one replacing us.
There’s an election year with each party claiming to be better able to spend our tax money and me increasingly disappointed by government giveaways.  30 years and more of working and taxes and more and more I see people not working and being paid by government and under the table.  But my mind is such it can always come up with the negatives. I have to actively focus on the positives, give my head a shake, show the right gratitude. I’m blessed with today. Outside the weather is lovely. I walked Gilbert this morning and it’s truly beautiful.  The luscious green of Burnaby is something I still remember finding so attractive when Baiba and I came here 1971 and stayed with her family friend. Coming from Winnipeg I couldn’t believe how luscious and green the trees and shrubs were.  Now I’m looking out of my RV at the green forrest. It’s truly a blessing.
I’ve this lovely mobile home with a great dog and girlfriend and full fridge. I’ve had spectacular coffee and porridge. I’ll not make it to church today.  I’m taking it easy.  A winter christian.  Hope to make a meeting later.  But the weekend like so many is a recuperation time for getting ready for work.  I think of work as the ‘front’.  So many angry people.  I was only verbally abused a few times last week.  But I’m tired of it.  It wears on me.  I find myself thinking death is better.  Then I listen to the media and it’s all skewed and merry with no grasp of the reality of drug addiction.  I’m the only lucid moment is some peoples days.  Meanwhile the authorities are into Chamberlain appeasement without the realization that’s there’s never enough and everyone demands more until they turn to violence.  I know. I’m on the front lines. The ‘authorities’ are so far removed they may as well live on the space station.
But its Sunday.  Day of rest.  Sabbath.  Time for prayer and thanksgiving.
Thank you God for all your blessings. Thank you for the sunshine and greenery. Thank you for the wealth and wellness, family,  friends and pets. Thank you for this day of rest.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sailing Vessel "GIRI" Dimensions

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13 tons
39.9 feet deck bow to stern length
31 feet length from forepart of stem to foreside of head of rudder stock
11 foot beam (width)
8 feet 5 inches depth from top of deck at midships to bottom of keel
Windshield is 5 feet height from deck
Boom holder is 69 inches from deck
Mast 40 feet
Radar and Wind Generator Post 6 feet from deck
Engine - New Volvo Penta D2-40 Marine Diesel installed June 2014
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday Journal

I had pleasant dreams.  I awoke with the iphone alarm. I took Gilbert for his morning walk and constitutional.  It really was a lovely morning.  Sunny day, blue sky, sweet breeze.  I even had breakfast, coffee, oatmeal and yogurt. I had a multi vitamin.  I did some dishes and took out the garbage.

I was actually in a pretty good mood for going to work.  I've had some cumulative anxiety about getting in the car and going to work.  Too many negative experiences seem to come over me as I'm making my way out the door. Memories of patients hitting me, pulling out guns, threatening me, lying, bullying.  Ironically, I've not had much of that for a while and yet it's been recently that I'm having this anxiety.  A variation on social anxiety.
Then too today I had to drive to the DTES and I'm really finding myself anxious about driving through that area with all the people walking on the streets, the chaos, the gauntlet of insaniety and the flagrant evidence of financial mismanagement by all levels of government.  It's right in your face there.  I'm reacting to the time I was there always and became immune for a while to the shouting and crime and sirens.

I had thought to ride the motorcycle.  I took my sportscar instead.  I love the Miata.  Gilbert loves his seat.  It was a mistake to not take the motorcycle.  Traffic was backed up on the freeway. Instead of the 30 to 40 minute drive it was an hour and a half before I got to work.  My mood was changing.  I was already allowing the environment to affect my equanamity.

I got a coffee.  It tasted of grease and soap.  Disappointing.  I had to address paperwork which was onerous.  I saw a few patients.  One went missing. I liked seeing them. They're progressing and growing forward.

The staff here are great. I really like my colleagues.  In the background there's a vague negativity. That John Mayer feeling, "I want to run through the halls of the school" kind of feeling.  I realize that there's already a touch of fall in the air.  I feel that summer is going and I've been travelling and working and not taking advantage of the good weather. I work all winter hoping and praying for summer to go sailing and camping and then it's come and gone this year.  I'm already planning hunting but there's a background of disease.  I'm weighted down with concern.  I pray each day for the health of my loved one.  There seems to be a ceiling on my own happiness.  I do what I can to go forward.  I've the feeling of moving in molasses.

I look forward to watching tv.  I've download Extant and Dark Matter and Rookie Blue. I reading Wilbur Smith's latest book. I want to cocoon. It's summer and I really should be out in the woods or out on the water and instead all I've been doing is weekending in the RV. I'm regenerating. I'm cozy. I 'm recouperating.

The weekend was good.  Laura and I cleaned the freezer on the boat.  The fear of old food rotting is now gone. I took out the liveaboard clothing and left a cupboard with just the boating wear that needs to be there. I'm making slow progress each trip to returning the boat to a travelling vehicle from a water side apartment. I ve not been sailing since April.  The boats packed together on the dock made my solo departing and returning seem just too risky. I'd like to go out and come back evenings and weekends but don't want to face the return with so little room and fear of damaging neighbours.  It seems to much at this time.  I love being out in the boat especially expeditioning and especially being at anchor but I'm just not doing it. Instead I'm more interested in clean up.  I'm planning on putting up on the hard for fall in preparation for another passage. It's offshore ready except for the cockpit drain. I did run the new engine for an hour.

Now I've got to return to work.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Gratitude, Thursday

Thank you Lord for the sunshine this morning. Thank you for last nights CAA social. Thank you for friends and books and writers and readers. Thank you for Leonard Cohen and the speech of his I just heard. Thank you for the years of life and memory. Thank you for that very first poem and all the poems that have followed. Thank you for the songs and prose.  Thank you most for the laughter and love.  Thank you for the work and all the stories. Thank you for the truth and experience. Please Lord bring health and wellness to my family. Watch over those in need and guide them.  Help me to be the best I can be. Thank you for the pinnacles and peaks but also the valleys Lord. Thank you for the streams and oceans.  Thank you for the grass and all the walks and journeys. Thank you for nudity and naked bodies entwined. Thank you for dance.  Thank you for studies and libraries and coffee shops. Thank you for paper and pens and keyboards. Thank you for pets and friends. Thank you for medicine and surgery.  Thank you for talking cures and relationships.  Thank you for neuroplasticity. Thank you for biofeedback, meditation and prayer. Thank you for church and synagogue and temple. Thank you for Jesus, all the saints and all the artists and all the great works of celebration of spirit. Thank you the engineers. Thank you for the bridges. Thank you for the priests. Thank you for Bach. Thank you for lavender. Thank you for the rain. Thank you for pear trees and heather. Thank you for sails.  Thank you for boats and canoes.  Thank you for Gilbert. Thank you for Eva.  Thank you for friends once again. Thank you for our relationships and please please let me know you more and be with you more and walk with you forever growing closer and closer. God blessings on all.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The 5K Fun Run, IDAA, Norfolk, Virginia

I won’t say I came in first.  Others took the prizes for that.  I’d just like to say that my run/walk/grimace/curse was a miracle. I’ve had a few injuries these last couple of years.  Running that 5K Fun Run was something personally special.  A miracle really. Albeit a little one by global standards.
I blew my knee bicycling.  My painful limp occasioned my good friend physician, George, to corral me at church one morning. He did a brief examination on the pew and insisted I get an ultrasound and X-ray.  I didn’t even think of the ultrasound. Since things weren’t broken, I didn’t think the X-ray was needed. I certainly didn’t think I needed to take time off from work to look after myself.  But the ultrasound and X-ray did show that I’d had a partial medial ligament tear with significant calcification.  I could feel an unsightly lump on my knee that was decidedly different from the other knee.  Anti-inflamatories and some physio instruction surprisingly decreased the pain and hurried the healing.
The left and ankle and foot  took a bad twist on a motorcycle. It swelled up so badly I was sure it was fractured.  I didn’t want to know that denied it.  My denial capacity is a well honed defence.   I guess I mentioned it to George because he again  intervened and insisted I take care of myself. This time I knew the radiologist.  She was understanding and loving like a sister. I think my fear must have shown. Probably the fetal position on the slab with my thumb in my mouth gave it away.  I was joking but inside I was catastrophising big time.
I’d been a professional dancer, trained with the world champion, Doreen Key, in London, danced on tv, taught dancing, been called ‘disco doc’ when I went astray into medicine.  Laying on that slab waiting for the news that something serious was broken and torn and might not likely heal seemed to take an eternity of time. I never thought I should give up riding motorcycles again. But the idea that I’d not be able to dance again was frightening.
I was supremely grateful nothing was broken. I was on crutches with a partial cast for a while.  But a soft tissue injury can sometimes be worse.  This was.  It became a ‘trick’ ankle.  Despite all physio I couldn’t rely on it.  Mostly it was excruciatingly painful.  I’ve been an egomaniac with an inferiority complex at times so now with chronic pain I was kind of a stoic in public and a crybaby alone.
I actually  got a barbwire tattoo as “protection’.  I was ready to go to any lengths to walk pain free.  I  believe my physical self is an extension of my mental emotional and spiritual condition.  Maybe demons really were sticking red hot barbed forks into my ankle.  For whatever reason Ironically the tattoo worked.  I looked a bit like a pole dancer but the pain stopped.
But the left large metatarsal got injured when I missed kicking the ball for my dog, Gilbert.  I was on my sailboat and not paying attention I missed the ball and  kicked a wall cupboard instead. It was a cumulative thing.  Dancing and soccer had caught up with me.   So again I was struggling with this left sided pain and suffering.  I concluded my right brain must be unhappy..  Our body is cross wried.
The right brain is the creative brain. I figured I wasn’t listening to it, always working, always in fear, playing the hero, rescuing my patients,  always fighting the drunken drug addicted authorities and their insanity. With all the pain it didn’t seem that my struggle to save lives at the loss of myself was going the way it should. I felt I was getting too old for this shit and that my creativity, all that guitar playing, song writing, painting and wood work I wanted to do was being sucked into the miasma of beaurocratic wars.
As a doctor I ‘d decided on my own what that joint needed was mobility.  It didn’t matter that that just kept making it worse till again  my friend, George picked up on my wincing.  I think he has a stake in the X-ray company because  again he insisted I get a damn X-ray.  Not just any X-ray either. A weight bearing X-ray. I didn’t even know these existed.    With the X-ray in hand, George decided I needed orthotics. Apparently the doctor, I was listening to, myself, was quack.  Months after I was using the orthotics I was walking pain free.
I’d flipped my ATV hunting elk a few years before injuring my low back again so with all the compensation with the left sided injuries, and the ice cream, I’d gained weight and wasn’t keen on exercising, especially as it caused pain.
My friend Derrick, a  physiotherapy personal trainer, Derrick, came by weekly after that and showed me how to walk properly overcoming the maladaptation and doing some exercises to improve mobility.
I work with an Ironman,  Garry. I ride  my Harley Electraglide a hundred miles to go camping on the weekend.   Gary rides his nearly as expensive bicycle a hundred miles in the evening for fun. He’s lean to my pear shape.  Even if he is a decade younger, his example was hard to miss. With George, and Derrick and Garry I kept plugging away.
And this  spring, walking the dog, with new running shoes,  I tried running. I could walk all day by then running was another thing. I gave it a go.  Even when my joints with all the traumatic arthritis weren’t limiting me, I found that I was soon breathing heavy and my heart was pounding.  I was cursing smoking younger years smoking,  Knowing that smoking marijuana might not cause cancer like tobacco did it sure was the cause of this old man wheeze.
I'd signed up for the 5 k Fun Run, only to support the event last year. I didn’t expect I’d actually run it. However,  one of my favourite times in IDAA  had been walking with Carole and Bobbi talking up a storm. Julie had been there too. It was sunny and fun.   Cheryl had gone by like greased lightning. Some of the guys and I were just ambling along with these glorious women. We were talking about books we ‘d read. And laughing.  It could have been the Bloomsbury Circle on the English moors.   I was happy to be alive and that wasn’t something I’d felt much around that time.   I cherish those memories. Can’t remember what we were laughing about but I just felt like a happy young teen ager with the very best mates.
This year I was cursing getting up so early but  I did.  I told myself I  going to walk with Julie and discuss books. I wasn’t going to run. .   I was just going to walk with Julie and her New York friends..  Bobbie wasn’t there this year. Her and Tom were probably flying off in his plane somewhere like Tofino.  Carole hadn’t signed up for the run either.. Art had had his whole new knee replaced and was  walking erect again but not up to running yet.  Air Force, he’d given me a gung ho “First in All In” US Marine t shirt the previous evening.  I’d put it on that morning telling myself if I did decide to run  I’d run for the shirt.  I certainly couldn't shame a US Marines shirt.    But watching that first group of runners take off , wearing that US Marine shirt, I had a sort of manic psychotic break. I began to run too.
I lost sight of John immediately. He was running like a wild stallion. John’s a young psychiatrist.  He’d told me he was doing an Ironman next month.  This 5 k was a break for him from his more arduous training.  I caught sight of Cheryl up ahead. I was running and running I was feeling like a god. Something about chasing a beautiful woman does that to a bloke.
But pretty soon my mind was naturally telling me I was going to die. This was definitely a stupid idea  People must hear me wheezing that old man ex marijuana smoker wheeze.  My mind began saying I could run through the pain but maybe I should just walk.  But  there was beautiful woman up ahead in short shorts and I should catch up at least just to say hello.  I thought I’d like to say hello and maybe wave at Cheryl to show I’d tried before I keeled over and died.  But catching up to Cheryl   took up a good part of the run.  Next thing I was  running beside a  battle ship thinking I could use some big guns like that had on my sailboat.  I passed some Oriental gardens and by now had figured I could stop as long as I made it look like I was doing it to take a picture.  The further along the more pictures I took.  I was finally walking because I was sure my blood pressure was high enough to cause a stroke and at my age I need all the brain I have left.
I walked for a bit till the blood stopped pounding in my head.   Then I had to run again because these young  volunteers were watching.  Vanity made me run. Especially past the beautiful psychiatrist I’d just met with her husband the night before.  With the battleship as back drop I kind of imagined I might look just a bit like Tom Cruise or maybe  Clint Eastwood.  I just hoped she didn’t hear the old man wheeze.  I  sucking up my gut too because it was swaying a bit  and might cause me a torsion injury.
When I came to the finish line ready for the brass band I found I had another third to go.  I was dying by then.  Walking more than running. Fuck the shirt.  I’d given up thinking of glory and begun praying for grace.   John passed me going the other way  that last leg.  The fast folk were finishing as I was beginning.  It was definitely the longest loop.  I was  slouching towards Bethlehem when the young military psychiatrist volunteer cheered me on. I thought of Art and the shirt and began to stagger run again.   Somehow I got to the end.  I was covered in sweat and took a swig of offered cold holy water.  I sat beside Cheryl.  She’s a chaplain.  Sucking air,  I appreciated that she’d waited  in case I needed last rites.
In stead I  was doing this annual IDAA Lazarus thing happening.   I couldn’t speak for a bit. My heart was demanding all the oxygen my  lungs could supply.  Eventually I babbled out to Cheryl that completing that 5K was a  personal miracle.    Cheryl laughed. “You did good Bill, You did good." She's always encouraging.  It's the soul of IDAA.
I took a selfie after that.  Just for the shirt.
The 5 K Fun Run this year will probably be the most important event for me.  Sometimes its the inspirational speakers.  Sometimes it's the banquet camaraderie.  Usually it’s talking in a small group discussion with other psychiatrists, Nathan, Adam, Art, Darryl, John.   Sometimes it’s cyberdocs, Dave, Paul, Dick.  Often it’s making a new friend.

I’d not have been able to do this run without the group.  John, Julie, Cheryl and all the volunteers and organizers.  All the other participants made it possible for me. That first IDAA in Toronto, the banner message had been “We are not alone.”  Now it sure felt good to accomplish something I thought I’d never be able to do again.  Now I'm ready to dance again.  That will be another miracle.  
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Friday, August 7, 2015

Family Life, Hay Bay, Ontario

It was good to visit family at Hay Bay, near Napannee, Ontario.  My brother Ron and his darling wife, Adell, bought a lovely lakeside house and acreage at Hay Bay last year.  They still own another house in Ottawa where the kids grew up.  But now this house is as much a lodge and summer cottage as much as year round home.
With the lawn mower tractor for cutting grass, trees being chopped up for wood for the fireplace, canoes, sailboats and dock and beach it’s a really active place.  When I was last there Ron had just planted his large garden. Now the stalks of tomato plants were full of green tomatoes. The apple trees were bearing fruit as well. .  All the flowers he’d planted seemed in bloom. A real pretty yet quaint place with all the modern amenities.  Wifi comes in off a dish lakeside.  The house is well insulated and has an excellent water supply.
"It’s milder than in Ottawa.  Winter snow only lasts  three months though last year was unusual,” Ron told me. .
Velma and Melvine, Adell’s relatives were visiting.  We keep meeting on visits. I remember their names because they’re like a clean fun Thelma and Louise!.   Velma was a librarian cartographer archivist.  We've talked maps and navigation. She’s keenly interested in history and ancestry.  A deeply religious Christian she reminds me in many way of my much loved Baptist Aunt Sally.  They both live their love of Jesus. The grace of God is reflected in their lives.   Melvine is the older sister and worked for years with the child protection services. We share a lot of the battle weariness that comes with front line work with people and bureaucracy.  Their education, experience and character makes for  lively discussions at time.  Sometimes I just enjoy listening to Adell, a phd retired school principal and these two ladies.  It’s even more entertaining when one or all of my nephews gets involved in a discussion.  Politics, with the coming election, made some interesting fodder for the grist mill.
I was glad that Velma and Melvine were there. We all made our way to the Napannee Baptist church on Sunday.  I had a wonderful nostalgic moment remembering church services with my Mom and Aunt Sally.  Adell is a lovely soloist soprano. Singing hymns with her, Thelma and Melvine was a joy. Great Baptist classics with blood on the cross for this eucharist Sunday.
Another time Adell walked with me up to the local church on Hay Bay which their neighbour Reg and his wife attend.  I’m hoping to get to that church one day.   I met the minister with Allan.  On that walk Adell pointed out a very impressive pear tree.  I was also introduced to their neighbour, an engineer in winter,  who  market gardens in the summer. He hunts so we discussed the Ontario hunting regulations for a while while Adell got fresh eggs his chickens had just laid. While there we ate delicious corn.
Adell is a also great chef. I don’t know how she does it.  She, mostly, with help from Velma and Melvin, had some excellent meals made.  Grand breakfasts sausages,  eggs and waffles with Canadian Maple Syrup to  steak and goulash creations for dinner. I confess I didn’t do any of the preparation and was never ‘allowed’ to do more than clean my plate and put it in the dish washer.  Smoothly, like a stealth military kitchen, Adell had the whole extended family well fed.
Allan the youngest son is doing his masters in child psychology at University Ottawa.  He was working on a presentation over the weekend while visiting.  Andrew, the middle son, is married to Tanya. Tanya was with her family that weekend so I missed seeing her. My cockapoo Gilbert absolutely loves Tanya.
Mike, Andrew’s really terrific best friend from childhood was visiting with his girlfriend Tonya.  I met Mike at Andrew’s wedding.  Right from the get go Mike is a great guy. Andrew, having worked as a geologist, is now doing a master’s program in robotics and industrial applications.  He showed me an amazing magnetic scanning robot he’d developed adapting various technologies for searching for metals and other uses underground.  The ideas have been used for searching for IED’s in warzones but he’s adapting this to civil uses..  Mike and Andrew were the intrepid sailors this weekend providing lots of entertainment for their cheering fans as they got out in the Albacore’s on the lake.  They also had the quad helicopter camera out zooming about without losing it in the trees as had previously happened.
Mike’s girlfriend is Tonya and Andrew’s wife is Tanya.  What is the coincidence factor for two best friends to meet two great girls called Tanya and Tonya. Tonya absolutely made Eva’s weekend by bringing along a little fluff mutt which became Eva’s BFF.  Allan’s girlfriend is Megan but she wasn’t there this weekend. I met her on my last visit.
Graeme, Ron and Adell’s, oldest son, a chemical engineer, previously working with the waste fusion project, translating garbage into fuel with the aid of focused sun rays is now starting a new position with a nuclear plant in the north.  He visited with his girlfriend Eyse, the two heading off Florida for a two week vacation with Elyse relatives.  Graeme hadn’t seen the Kennedy Missile Centre.  Having been there I sang the sites praises and encouraged them to read Carl Hiiansens’ Sick Puppy or Bad Monkey while they were in Florida. Also to avoid walking near any ponds where there were no ducks on the water.
At some point there was 11 of us but mostly there were 9.
Mike, Allan and Andrew had me playing board games.  I didn’t win.  I don’t think the object of board games is winning. A lot of laughter and camaraderie occurs instead.  There was a croquet game too. I think I missed out on that because Ron went for a nap and I thought that an even better after lunch idea. I really am coming to appreciate the simple afternoon nap as one of life’s great pleasures.
With Ron I did minor home repairs and with Adell and him began the assembly of a weed catcher.
In the evening we all read novels in the living room or watched Murdoch Mysteries on the tv. We had various outings to town. Allan and I had a shopping trip to Canadian Tire and Walmart so I could get a fishing and hunting license and buy some walkie talkies for the boats.  Then Ron and I visited the Loyalist Cove Marina in Bath to see the yachts that ply the local lakes.  Outings naturally involved stops at Macdonald’s for burgers and fries.
Adell took Velma and Melveen on a tour of local antique shops.  Meanwhile Ron and I were buying pear trees which we later planted with Adell’s last minute adjustments.  I loved this.
Throughout the visit, Eva the Cockapoo was forever nearby ready to roll on her back to get her chest rubbed. She was precious.
The big event though was a trip to the Napannee Fair with the mini tractor races and demolition derby.
I find when I visit Ron and Adell there is a whole lot going on.  This property reminds me of their Fort Garry house by the University. The lawns there came down onto the red river.  Andrew and Graeme were rug rats and they had the dogs Tartan and Rainy. That had been a pretty busy household with Mom and Dad visiting and me staying over after my time in India.  With the kids all grown and with girlfriends this is a whole other level of complexity.  Grand central station in the country.
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