Showing posts from July, 2009

Book Review: Shiver

I've been banging about for a while, very much wanting to find a book to get lost in. The kind of book that sweeps you up, brings you on an adventure and leaves you satisfied, yet kind of sad that it's over. I've tried a bunch and they haven't been bad, some have even been very good, but there has been no real sweeping off my feet. Until last week, when I was poking through the latest releases on Audible and found a little YA book named Shiver . Looked interesting, so I got it and started reading. And was swept off my feet. Written by Maggie Stiefvater , Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam. Grace lives in Minnesota with her parents and it's the kind of fall that promises an early and cold winter. Her backyard comes up against the woods and in those woods, there are wolves. Grace has a thing about the wolves, an inexplicable connection and longing and a strange relationship with a wolf with yellow eyes who often watches her from the edge of the woods. One day, s

Health Care Reform: The Arrogance of the Healthy

Time for a wee rant over at HealthCentral: "Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, believes putting a dollar value on human lives is the key to health care reform. Placing a value on human life will enable us to ration health care to get the "most bang for your buck" by denying life-extending medication to someone who's terminal because that money is better spent treating someone who is not terminal. It will be more efficient" You can read the rest here .

Random July

We start with a link sent to me by mor. The world-o-meter - if you want to blow your mind by just how quickly changes happening in on this planet. I love finding people who agree with me . Aside from that, it's a good blog. What would I do without my friends? Three of whom have been diligent in providing me with thought-provoking and entertaining links this month. First, LynnM. She started with a real look at Disney princesses (which tickled me to no end, as I find Disney princesses just a little too cheerful). Then she continued with a somewhat related segue of some rather disturbing and unbelievably sexist ads, one for Burger King and the other one from Sprite . Don't click on those at work. Lynn also sent me an intriguing article responding to the FDA panel’s recommendations about opiates and lastly, a dolphin stampede . What I wouldn't give to have been in that boat. Trevor forward a couple of interesting articles that will qualify as your disabili

Customer Care

A while back, I read an article - somewhere on HealthCentral? I forget - about doctors in the US requiring their patients to sign an agreement not to rate them on e.g., RateMD before they would treat them and it's been rattling around in my mind for a couple of months. Aside from the blackmail aspect, I couldn't quite figure out what bugs me so much about it, but I think the lightbulb’s finally gone off. It's the hypocrisy. In the US , medical care is treated as a commodity, a product to be marketed and sold to those who can pay for the service. If you offer your services as medical professional as a product, patients become consumers of that service, become customers and as such, are entitled to treat your product the way they would any other product bought on the open market. Other products out there have websites dedicated to review and rating of the product, the customer service involved in acquiring the product, etc., so why not healthcare? You can&

Sex and the City: A Rant

Like many other women, I've been a rabid Sex and the City fan. Years ago, it was shown here in Canada on one of the specialty channels Friday night and rerun Saturday night and I would often watch both. I have most of the series on DVD (except for the two-part 6 th season and I'm working on that) and have watched them again… well, you get the point. I’ve watched each episode more than once. The series makes me happy. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me think about love, relationships, girlfriends, our place in the world, great clothes and back to laughing. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are aspects of women personified in four terrific characters and at different points in our lives, we can relate more or less to each of the four and sometimes to all of them at the same time. The actors portraying these characters are wonderful, playing incredibly well off each other and I'll stop gushing now and get to the rant. Which concerns the movie . In the pa

Family Visits

Remember AB? She's been by again and this time, she brought her family - her husband Bjarke and their kids Camilla and Chris. As usual, being with AB felt like home and despite not having seen the kids since 2005 and Bjarke for at least as long, it was like we hadn't been apart for more than a few weeks. They're on their annual vacation, which this year started in the state of New York , then Ontario and us and Saturday, they flew to Vancouver where they'll spend a couple weeks in BC and Alberta . They hadn't been gone for more than a few hours before we missed them terribly again. Camilla pondering (no doubt to take over the world) Chris immersed in a book Morgan Smiley Girl having icecream and flying upside down Liam’s hard to catch in a photograph, but this time, I managed to get a couple of good ones when he was sitting with Janne. And afterwards, Liam bestickered everyone AB and Camilla doing cooperative Sudoko The whole family



A Beginners Guide to RA: Alternative Medicine

This week's HealthCentral post is about alternative medicine: "Have you ever tried acupuncture? Massage therapy? Do you take supplements? Chances are you're not relying exclusively on allopathic - i.e., Western-based - medicine, but are supplementing the care and prescriptions you receive from the medical system with other techniques and treatments. And if you aren't, you've probably thought about it." The rest is here .

Like Glass

Hold out your hand. Now tighten the muscles in your forearm – not a lot, just enough to be aware that it's tensed. Hold it. Permanently. This is fibromyalgia pain. Well, one of them anyway. The bloody thing is forever surprising me with new and “interesting” qualities of pain it can invent. You don't notice it for a while and then, it becomes just an ache. After a couple of days, it's sore and after a week or two, it's not a light tensing anymore, it's a clench and it lets you know all the time how much it hurts. If you have an injury on top of that – like say, your neck and shoulder - double the clench and even if you sit still and meditate and relax things, the minute you start moving again, the injured muscle clenches up as if you’d never had the relief. And it travels. You can have a couple of days with the main problem being isolated in the affected muscle, but then it starts to ripple to the rest of you, giving you jolts of

Precariously Perched Potty


Things That Make You Go 'Huh?'

The week’s only half over and already, I've encountered three things that made my wee brain feel like I’d sprained it. Thing the first. I was watching a commercial the other day and it's enough of rare occasion that it warrants mentioning, as I usually tape - yes, I still use a VCR - programs to watch later so I can fast-forward through commercials as they drive me batty and the odd time when I do watch something live, I usually go do something else in commercials - where was I? Oh yes. It was a commercial about food of some sort and one of the selling points was that it was "fun to eat!" Why must everything always be fun in commercials? Whether it's cleaning, eating or wiping your arse, everything is funfunfun! and really, it's exhausting. Other than that weird candy that bubbles and pops in your mouth, most food really isn't necessarily fun to eat. It may be tasty, yummy, satisfying or delicious (etc.), but fun? Huh? Thing the second. Earl

Suspicion and Control

An FDA panel recently recommended lowering the maximum recommended daily dose of acetaminophen, a measure intended to decrease the number of accidental overdose related liver failure. They also recommended other things, among them to withdraw acetaminophen combination narcotics like Vicodin and Percocet from the market, as one study indicated that most such overdoses involved these types of drugs. Despite an estimated 10% of accidental overdoses leading to death being caused by over-the-counter medications, such as cold and flu meds, the panel did not recommend that these be removed from the market. So let me get this straight… according to the article, approximately 56,000 people are seen in emergency rooms with acute liver damage related to accidental overdose. That's a lot of people. On the other hand, as a percentage of the entire US population of approximately 350 million - and please correct me if my math is wrong, because it's entirely likely it is, as math makes my b

Habits, Tics and Verbal Twitches

People have habits, both in behaviour and in speech (yes, more about words today). Adolescents – and an unfortunate amount of young adults – say like way more often than necessary. Overhearing conversations on the street or in foodcourts where a third of the words is like can drive a person to distraction and dangerously close to performing a language intervention. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about grabbing the girl – because it’s almost always a girl – giving her a good shake and a gift certificate to a dictionary . When I first moved to Toronto , it took me a long time to learn that when people of the North American persuasion said “hi, how are you?” they didn’t actually want to know how I was, causing me to overshare the details of my health and well-being for longer that I'm comfortable remembering. Only if the exchange goes like this X: Hi, how are you? Me: I’m fine thanks, how are you? X: Doing well. How are you? do they really w


This week's HealthCentral post ponders philosophically: " To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you - Lewis B. Smedes I used to think of myself as a brain in a jar, my body some other being that I had nothing to do with. Who I was could be found in my personality and my intellect, but not in my physical being. It was how I had learned to cope with a body that from childhood had been highly committed to sending me messages of pain, a body that couldn't more often than it could. So I made it irrelevant to how I defined myself, separated me from it and although I did my best to ignore my body altogether, the truth is, I hated it." The rest is here .

Happy Canada Day!