Friday, 11 August 2017

Medical Breakdown

So I wasted a few hours this morning by trying to visit our local CLSC.

For those outside of Quebec: In order to reduce the pressure on hospital emergency rooms, the government instituted the CLSC system, which is a series of medical clinics staffed with doctors, nurses, psychologists, and other specialists.  Its purpose is to treat non-urgent cases more locally so that people won't have to go to the hospital.  Each CLSC serves a particular area; ours happens to be located just around the corner.

However due to recent "restructuring" the local CSLC is no longer running the daily walk-in clinic that they used to have on weekday mornings.  Now, only people who actually have a file with a doctor there will be admitted by appointment.  So they are referring people to another walk-in clinic called Azur which is 3 km away.

I went to Azur which informed me that I have to call ahead for an appointment for a consultation.  I immediately made said call on my cellphone only for an automated system to tell me that there were no more openings for the day (this was at 10:30 AM) and to call back at 4 PM for an appointment that evening (which I couldn't do, having already had plans).  The receptionist said ruefully that the CLSC is still sending people there even though Azur asked them to stop.  So I'll have to get up before 7 AM on Monday to call Azur for an appointment.

Where are those without a GP supposed to go if they have a problem?  I haven't had a GP for almost a year; my previous one retired and I only found out after not receiving an expected follow-up of some tests.  Although I am registered on the government web site for people who have no GP, I am still waiting to hear back from them.

I have several issues that will eventually require professional intervention, but with no GP to follow up with, how will I know what I need to do?  Going to an emergency room will solve nothing as being a non-urgent case I would probably wait for 16-24 hours or longer, only to be told to see a GP that I do not have.

The current Quebec government is in serious denial about how bad things really are.  The health minister is supposedly a doctor himself, but all he has done is institute a series of draconian cutbacks that have caused hospitals to close beds and prevent facilities from being used to their fullest.  Even at the best of times, there are wait lists for months to get such things as MRI scans and biopsies.

There will come a point where people will die before needed treatment becomes available.  In fact, it's already happening. In January of 2016 a man died because a surgeon was prevented from operating on him due to a cost-cutting administrative decision a few months prior.

Perhaps that's the government's plan, to have the oldest and/or sickest die prematurely so that money will be saved that would otherwise be spent in treating them.

I've said it before: If you live in Quebec, don't get sick.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What is Love, Really?

Many philosophers and scientists over the centuries have tried to determine what love really is.  Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice, "Tell me, where is fancy bred; or in the heart, or in the head? How begot, how nourished?"

The ongoing debate over LBGT people and whether their relationships are a threat to heterosexuals has me shaking my head in disgust.  It should be no business of anyone's to worry about what goes on in a private home between two consenting adults.  And yet LBGT people have been marginalized, threatened, and worse.

I am reminded of the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, "The Host" in which Dr. Crusher has a romance with a male Trill - a humanoid who has a symbiotic relationship with a worm-like creature inside the belly.  When the Trill is badly injured, the symbiont is forced to transfer to Cmdr. Riker temporarily, and then to a new Trill host which happens to be female.  Dr. Crusher balks at continuing their affair, saying: "Perhaps it is a human failing, but we are not accustomed to these kinds of changes.  I can't keep up.  How long will you have this host?  What would the next one be?  I can't live with that kind of uncertainty.  Perhaps, someday, our ability to love won't be so limited."

It seems that, indeed, some people are limited in their ability to love and understand others.  Homosexuality, divorce, adultery - all these "sins" have broken friendships, torn apart families, and embittered too many people to count.

It has been postulated that love is not an emotion but a state of mind.  "Because love, it's not an emotion.  Love is a promise," states The Doctor in the episode "Death in Heaven".  Blogger Karla McLaren wrote:  "Those things we've learned to equate with love – the longing, the physical attraction, the shared hobbies, the desire, the yearning, the lust, the projections, the addictive cycles, the passions – those things move and change and fluctuate in the way emotions do, but they're not love, because love is utterly stable and utterly unaffected by any emotion."

How else can people stay together long-term?  Without the stability of true love, the relationship can't last.  The emotional high of infatuation and lust is short-lived, addictive, and ultimately unsatisfying.  It's little wonder that some get bored with their relationships and seek another high elsewhere, leaving bewildered ex-partners in their wake - they couldn't stay long enough to allow love to cement.

I once overheard someone tell their relative who had cheated on his wife, "Have your fling but go back to your spouse!"  Cheating is easy but going back isn't, because it involves a great deal of work in rebuilding the broken trust and love, if there was any there to begin with.

Of course there is the other side of the coin where couples stay together "for the sake of the kids" or for other reasons, despite their unhappiness with the situation.  In such cases they need to take a close look at themselves and determine what is really keeping them together.  If there is no love, what's the point of maintaining a farce?

Here's hoping that someday we will all have a better understanding of what love is, and its relevance in our world and to each other.