lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)

Garter snakes and Flemish Beauties. Also, some health stuff, so: warning for mention of bodily fluids. )

lolaraincoat: (snowshoe hare)
The Canadian health care system is a bit like our car, which is beat-up and leaks onto the driver a bit when it rains, and also is noisier than it used to be, but gets us where we're going safely and conveniently. Whereas the US health care system is like a shiny new truck that's on fire. Shiny! but not going to get you anywhere, and not safe for anyone.

People from the US are writing down their healthcare stories (what the Maoists used to call Speaking Bitterness, I think) over on one post at [personal profile] liz_marcs LJ, and people not from the US are recounting their experiences, good and bad, and responding to questions over on another post at the same journal. All this is well worth reading, but can be horribly upsetting. Still, go! talk! and spread the word! One way to counteract the lies is just to say our piece, over and over, until we're heard.

lolaraincoat: (feminist)
So of course I am greatly enjoying the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court. But I was also, unkindly, entertained by the NY Times retraction of the wording of a May 19 article about her: they had called her Puerto Rican parents "immigrants." Although it is true that PR remains a colony, not a state, Puerto Ricans are still US citizens (duh.) So calling people who were born there but live in the Bronx "immigrants" makes just precisely as much sense as referring to my Connecticut-dwelling parents as "immigrants" from Michigan, in case you didn't know. I am kind of shocked it took the Times a full week to print the retraction - unless they did it earlier and I missed it?

Well, anyhow, it was entertaining until I noticed that the 6:00 newscast on CBC radio also referred to Sotomayor as the "daughter of immigrant Puerto Ricans." Argh! CBC people, I know they just fired like 800 of you, but could the rest of you please buy a map? It wouldn't have to be a map of the whole world, mind you. Just North America would do.
lolaraincoat: drawing, two leaves (green)
So having just posted about the tragic unavailability of fresh tomatillos in Ontario, I went off to the garden centre -- well, actually the big tent in the parking lot of the No Frills supermarket, but whatever -- to buy all the vegetables we'll grow this summer, and what did I find there? Tomatillos. I bought two flats of them. So I guess we'll be okay for salsa verde after all.

Now if only naproxyn grew on trees ...
lolaraincoat: (where you'll find me)
You've heard me say this a time or two already but I'd better say it again, to start: I love Canada and I love living in Canada and it's much better to live here than to live in the U.S.

But Canada has a flaw, and that flaw is that it is just not that great as a place to consume. Some of these failures of consumer culture actually spring from Canada's many virtues. Having all that access to health care and education and unions and all has empowered workers to the point that service in restaurants is frequently crappy. So this is a great thing, though I have to struggle to remember that while waiting half an hour for the damn check to arrive. Similarly, though sales taxes here are very high and that's got to be the least just way to redistribute income, sales taxes are balanced by high-ish income taxes and taxes on land, so that's good, and the government spends our taxes mostly on things we approve of, like health care and education, and not so much on missiles or invading Iraq or supporting Halliburton.

But it saddens and puzzles me, the list of What You Can't Buy In Canada. Aside from strictly illegal things, like handguns and armor-piercing bullets, Ontario stores at least don't seem to sell quite a number of items I have missed: cortisone cream, for instance. Nonoxynol-9 suppositories and a few other forms of birth control. Grits. Good barbeque and country ham. Many, many types of beer. Certain Body Shop products (what? [ profile] fishwhistle loves that crap.) Tomatillas. And -- this is what I'm missing right this very minute - naproxyn. You know, Aleve(tm). Just not available here.

And yes, okay, the border is less than two hours away so we could just pop ourselves into the car and go get some grits and naproxyn sodium. But since the reason I want the Aleve is that my back is paining me today, two hours in the car seems like a bad idea, and I'm cranky. But now that I've explained to you all how much I am suffering, oddly, I feel better. Either that, or the ibuprofen is kicking in.
lolaraincoat: (where you'll find me)
So I have to have my head examined sometime soon, and this is inspiring a little rant about healthcare in Canada. Here's my story:

I went to the neurologist a few weeks ago, because although my migraines are totally controllable through medication -- yay meds! -- they are much more frequent than they once were, and are also preceded by spells of aphasia, which is a bit unusual. The neurologist told me, bracingly, that it was unlikely that this indicated anything seriously amiss, because if it did, I would have started having grand mal seizures or something a few months after the aphasiac spells kicked in. But because unlikely doesn't mean impossible, she wanted me to go for a MRI all the same.

Now, here in the Worker's Paradise, we have this (I mean this quite seriously) amazing nationalized health care system that provided me with the glum but well-trained primary care doctor who referred me to the apparently quite competent (if a little rough with the reflex hammer) neurologist who referred me to the medical imaging office of Princess Margaret Hospital, all for free and all relatively quickly -- I mean, it will be six months from when I began complaining to my primary-care doctor about about the migraines to when the neurologist will see the MRI results, but presumably if I'd had a stroke or something everything would move a lot quicker. Well, I wouldn't, I'd move a lot slower, because of the stroke. But the health care system would move more quickly if it were urgent.

(By the way, thanks to the supplementary insurance my union negotiated with my employer, my migraine meds -- which are going to end up costing something like $2000 Canadian per year -- also are free to me. The union can negotiate for this kind of thing because they don't have to negotiate for our basic health care coverage, because we all get that just because we're here.)

The drawback is, a health care system that does not have to respond to marketplace discipline is a healthcare system that is ... can you guess? )

Sometimes I love Canada as much as I love ice cream.


lolaraincoat: (Default)

August 2014

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