Monday, 30 September 2013


Imagine the following.

A wonderful woman in her eighties, who has had very full life is lying on her bed, she is
suffering from a particularly painful form of bone cancer. She is alert and articulate.
She has loved ones scattered far and wide. She believes in her God. She is not afraid to die.

Her doctor says " Mable, as you know you do not have much time left on this earth, in fact
with the latest technology, we can tell you will die within twenty days".

Mable Says, " Doctor I am in great pain, my family from all over the world are here to be
with me, some must leave soon. I am finished with this world, I would love to leave
peacefully with my loved ones present when I depart".

Doctor, "No, I'm sorry Mable, that is not possible, you must suffer to the end, what you or
your loved ones wish is not important, the State has decided you must suffer."


The above may be a little over dramatic - however day in and day out a form of this scenario
is being played out throughout Canada.

There has been a rash of 'talking heads' on TV lately discussing 'assisted suicide'. or the right
to a personalized death, meaning the patient deciding how long she must suffer, before being
"allowed" to die.

I has for many years amazed me that individuals, governments, and their many agencies, have
for hundreds of years had the audacity to believe they should have some right to decide how
much pain, or humiliation a person MUST go thorough before being allowed to finally
                                                   rest in peace.

 Many people, (or probably most) believe that a person who is at the end of their particular life
 span is afraid of dying.

 I for instance was one.

Having reached a relatively advanced age myself, and having been close to loved ones in their last days, I now feel convinced in the vast majority of cases, that is just not true.

As one gets closer to that time to leave this life, the less the threat of death has a hold on one.

As a so called advance society, to insist a loved one, and their family, who knows death is close
must suffer unnecessarily, often for days or weeks is barbaric.

We as a society must grow up and recognize that death is inevitable, indeed it is just the natural
resolution to our wonderful, relatively short, time on this special planet.

After you or your loved on one has passed away, whether you died on the tenth of the month, or the twentieth, really makes no difference, all is over. Why should we as a society insist the time of death
must always be the one that inevitably comes with the most pain and lose of dignity?

Sunday, 29 September 2013


This post is a continuation of the thought process of the last post re the brain.

I did not mean to imply in the brain post that I was at the present time in the
 midst of a crisis.

However one can never know what the future may bring, and if whether by a
slow progressive nature or a sudden stroke, the loss of ones mental and verbal
abilities usually leaves important thoughts unspoken, particularly to loved ones.

So I thought, since I do have the majority of my marbles at this time, it was
 important to express my feelings on the subject now.

I still read a couple of books a month - mostly non-fiction, I think a bit, I discuss
at times a little heated various subjects, religion, etc. and I write a bit, not as much
as my talented wife, but a bit.

So friends, although I am seeing signs of the aging process, I think I have a few
 more productive ( a relative term) years ahead.

Monday, 23 September 2013


               This little note is for my family. Hopefully it will be of some use, and I hope may  be
                     some comfort to them, for the present,and into the foreseeable future

I have for at least the past year or so, noticed a distinct deterioration in the workings of my brain. Actually now that I give it some thought I believe I started to notice little things about a year before I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in Oct. 2007.

Where at one time as an air traffic controller I could keep track of several things at once, and did have
virtually total recall, I now at times have great difficulty remembering what is right in front of me.

 A perfect example of this was the other day, Beth and I were at the store when I found a cute picture frame and called to her to tell her we should buy this ????? - I could not for the life of me remember the word 'picture frame'. So since I did not say another word, we of course did not buy the frame.

This is very disturbing.

I know you may say, "we all have examples of not being able to remember little things from time to time", and I agree, but this I believe is much more serious.

We went to visit an old friend today who is suffering from a rather advanced form of dementia, it was a very sobering, and yes in fact scary experience. Our friend has lost his strength, and his memory for  many experiences is poor, he does not know where the washroom  is in his home, etc etc.

However he is very aware of his situation, knows he is going downhill rapidly, yes and he still can make jokes about his condition.

I believe the above sentence is extremely important for friends and love ones to remember. That person locked inside hers or his prison is still that same person. At times they can, and will make it very clear indeed, that they are still there, but always remember even when they cannot make it clear
                                       THEY ARE STILL THERE

As for me, I have no idea of how fast or indeed how severe my brain is going to degenerate.
However if it becomes a severe problem for Beth and the family, I just want you all to know, even if at the time I may not be able to express the words, I will always trust you to do the proper thing for all concerned, which I know would include me. 
                   Great Grampa
                                           And Friend

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Emergency Departments

Over the past month or so I have had the opportunity to experience the
workings, and efficiencies (or lack) of three of the Lower Mainland's
 Emergency Departments. These included, Surrey Memorial, Delta, and
Peace Arch, in White Rock.

It is interesting to note - since these visits I have talked to several people who
have all had visits to one of these hospitals, their experiences run
from wonderful to a nightmare. All the emergency departments had instances of both.

I would like make it very clear, the staff at all these Hospitals,
without exception were, professional, kind, hardworking and dedicated.

However for my wife and I (Both in our mid-seventies),  the experience
in these departments,  was tiring, frustrating, and dehumanizing.

a wife in pain with (what turned out to be) a broken collarbone having to
sit in a major emergency ward for seven hours waiting to get an x-ray -
then being told it might be more than an hour to have the results, is just
not acceptable. Even more so when an a frail elderly woman next to you
advises she has been waiting over two hours - for the x-ray results, and had
been there over nine hours!

It amazed us when the senior nurse on duty at one department, in a very
 stern tone, scolded us for leaving after only one hour and forty-five minutes.
She indicated to us that was a very reasonable time to wait. What she didn't seem
to take into consideration was one of us was in real pain. We had been told the wait
 would be at the very,  least,  another  two hours. Went home to bed.

The next morning, at my doctors suggestion, we went to another
 emergency department  - told them I had no pain at the time, but described
the pain from the previous morning. Within minutes I was in a bed, had heart
monitors plugged in all over my body - had an x- ray and a CT Scan, all
 within two hours.

Having had such wildly varying experiences, it makes one wonder why
 one department  gives excellent care while another appears to
be slightly less than perfect.  Maybe more to the point - is there an answer
to this very serious health problem?

Certainly I am no health care expert, however I do have a few observations.

The most important factor is, The Luck of The Draw.  How busy it is. The number
of staff on duty. Who are on duty. Yes some staff are better than others.

When any of the above Emergency Departments are busy there appears to me there
are never enough Doctors or Nurses on duty. There are never enough beds. The wait
to receive an x Ray usually takes hours, and than often takes hours to get it read. I
assume this means there is a lack of professional staff to perform these tasks in
a reasonable time.
At some of these hospitals the quality and comfort of the chairs, for those who often
 must wait many hours, in real discomfort, is substandard to say the least. Believe it
or not - a little comfort when sick or injured is IMPORTANT.

The pay parking at the Emergency Departments, in my opinion, is a disgrace. And the
enthusiasm of the ticket givers is poetry in action. At Peace Arch Hospital I received a
$80 ticket because I had by mistake put an out of date handicap sign on window. These
vultures from a multinational company preying upon people worried about loved ones
is to my mind disgusting, unacceptable, and must be removed from BC hospitals!

It appears to me that the obvious solution to the situation is money.  Be it a small user pay
amount or whatever, it boils down to money. I understand we have the MRI's, CT Scans,
Ultra Sound machines, etc., we just do not fund the personnel  to run them full time, thus
the ridiculous length of the wait times.