Thanks To BC’s Great Medical Folks

October 12, 2017

Regular readers may have noticed that I have not been writing much original material in the last few weeks. I apologize for that for anyone who may have missed my usual bon mots.  The fact is I have been really rather unwell since the beginning of September and have had neither the energy nor the inclination to write.

Without going into the unpleasant details (definitely unpleasant for me to remember!), suffice it to say that I was suffering severe pain for the entire month of September and the beginning of October, and required the assistance of EMS once plus three other trips to Emergency. As I went through it all, I had used the services of my GP, Respiratory Therapists, endocrinologists, urologists, Kidney Specialists, emergency doctors and nurses, and all their  ancillary staff.  At the end, I was still undergoing my experimental COPD treatments and so also engaged the services of surgeons, IV specialists, anaesthesiologists, cardiologists, and all the rest.  It was, perhaps, the worst five weeks of my life, medically speaking.

But the point of me writing this is to say that without exception, I was treated with enormous skill and devotion, with humour and courtesy wherever possible, by every single member of the BC medical fraternity that I dealt with. I tried my best to be a good patient but the level of pain sometimes made that difficult but never was I scolded or given anything but the greatest respect. In the end, they figured out what needed to be done and they did it.

And because this is the civilised world and not the USA, no-one ever asked me for money.

I also have to thank the ever-loving who was there every day for me, keeping me going, and some good friends who were willing to whisk me off to emergency when I needed it.

Now, I hope, normal service will be resumed!


60 Years Ago — “Beep Beep Beep”

October 4, 2017

I was just a few weeks away from my 8th birthday when my father sat me on his knee specifically to listen to our old radio spit out some strange sounds — “Beep.  Beep.  Beep.”  Even through the static we knew we had never heard the like of it before.

On October 4th, 1957 — just sixty years ago — the space age began with the launch by the Soviet Union of Sputnik, the first man-made satellite.  I’m sure the surprise in the US was far greater than we felt in Europe.  We Europeans were already terrified of the power of the grey beasts just a few hundred miles to the east of our cozy nest in West London.  It seemed to many that Russian tanks could overrun Europe at any moment, and the technological genius of Sputnik simply confirmed our anxiety.

But again, there was always that secret spot inside that reveled in the fact that a European power had beaten the Americans into space.  And for my socialist grandfather and his cadre of friends, it was yet another sign that the Workers’ Paradise was superior in every respect to the Mickey Mouse- and Doris Day-loving capitalists.

In the end, I’m sure this had little to do with the ultimate end of the Cold War.  The costs of the space race were minuscule compared to the economy-shuddering trillions spent on the arms race by both sides.  But without Sputnik and all that followed, we would be a very different and more distanced world today.

Brief Review: Dixie’s BBQ

August 27, 2017

I don’t do reviews for restaurants outside the Drive, but this one was worth the exception.

For some while now, the ever-loving has been complaining about the fact that she cannot get genuine southern hot links in Vancouver, and she misses them. I hate seeing her go without and so my fingers did the Google walk and I found out that Dixie’s BBQ serves the beasts. We went there today for brunch.

It is definitely odd to find a Texas bar on East Hastings slap in the middle of DTES. But there it is, all decked out like a Pecos diner-ranchhouse. Barbecue is in their name and Texas barbecue is what they serve, along with their own mighty fine BBQ sauce and, of course, as much hot sauce as you can manage. Water is served in mason jars and paper towels are mandatory.

My gal had a hot link with potato salad and corn bread, along with generous portions off my plate of Texas Breakfast — spicy sausage, eggs, brisket baked beans, tater tots, toast and peach marmalade — served up in tin plates. It was all remarkably fine and we waddled home as full as ticks. Service was great and the price was about normal for brunch.

They have been open about a year and a half and I hope they last a lot longer because I will surely be returning for more.


Fun With “Windows Security”

August 24, 2017

I don’t know how many times someone claiming to be from “Windows Security Department” has called me but it has to be scores of times. I guess they keep selling my telephone number to the next bunch of scam artists. I used to get annoyed, but these days I treat it as cabaret, a break from the day.

The scam is to get you to log on to a url which, I assume, downloads malware onto your system that will steal your identity or do something equally dastardly.  I have great fun wasting as much of their time as I can.

I usually start by asking them for their phone number; I tell them I will have Microsoft security give them a call to sort out their problem. That used to be enough to make them run away but they are better organized now: they will usually be able to give you a number, often local.  However, today’s chap didn’t know how to parse the number properly. He told me it was “604 – 26 – 30 – 651.”

I then follow up by asking where it is they are calling from.  Today, that was enough for the guy to cancel the call. But often they will be ready with “Vancouver” or “Portland” or whatever.  That leads me to ask whether the hurricane caused as much damage as I’d heard. They know by then that they have been caught and they usually give up.

On a few occasions, I have allowed them to supposedly talk me through what they expect me to do — log on and sign on to the url (which I would never do, of course). At some point I get bored and tell them I am not going through with it, and they usually then threaten to terminate my internet service. I tell them to go ahead, and then say nothing more as I supposedly wait for them to destroy my system.  Usually there is pleading from the other end, begging me to log on, but this nearly always collapses quickly into a torrent of unimaginative abuse before they slam the phone down.

I sip my tea and get on with the day, waiting for the next time.


In Praise of Paramedics

August 22, 2017

Yesterday afternoon I suffered a medical situation that brought the BC Emergency Health Services to my door.

It has been several years since I needed emergency assistance but, as always, two teams of paramedics were here within minutes of being called. Again, as always, they were kind and courteous, humorous and completely efficient, dealing promptly with my immediate needs and then arranging for me to get to hospital for further checks.

I have no idea what we pay these folks, but it is surely not nearly enough.

Thirty-One Years And Counting

August 18, 2017

Thirty-one years ago today, I spent what I remember as a muggy afternoon wearing a collar and tie and a jacket. I sang “O Canada“, swore pledges to the Queen, and in return I was given the extraordinary privilege of Canadian citizenship.

It remains one of the most moving and important events of my life.

Thank you Canada!

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

August 12, 2017

Seventeen years ago today, at just about this time in the afternoon, the everloving and I stood on the dock of the lake at Trout Lake and plighted our troth. We then decamped and took over most of Waazubee’s for our reception that night.

Happy anniversary, angel!