Our Fractured Health Care System

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Good Health is not free!

I have severe arthritis and was put on the list for a surgical hip replacement. I recently was called to the Bone and Joint clinic here in Lethbridge to see when the doctors there would be able to perform the operation. Although the doctors, nurses and general staff were very friendly, efficient and professional, I couldn’t help but feel that I was in a modern-day assembly line. I simply went from here, to there, answered those questions, then shuffled off to the next room to fill out forms, then another room to answer more questions. Very efficient, but there simply was no time allotted anywhere in the procedures to ask the professionals any personal questions!

At the time of this writing, I’m subscribed to a four-day Mindful Health Summit whose aim is to introduce the practice of conscious Mindfulness to healthcare providers in order to help ease the stress load that they experience. Although the summit is primarily directed towards doctors, nurses and the administrative staff in hospitals and clinics, it was interesting and enlightening for me, personally, as a present and future patient, to listen to the speakers and become aware of just how intense our modern-day health providers work under frustrating conditions where they are constantly overworked and understaffed and where burn-out seems a way of life. I have to ask, why? What’s wrong with our health care system, that’s touted to be among the best in the world, yet so inefficient in many ways when dealing with society’s sick?

It can’t be a shortage of qualified people, because I often read articles where highly qualified medical people immigrate to Canada from other countries, but can’t get a job in the medical field, so end up driving taxis. It can’t be a lack of money that’s causing this problem, because, according to a recent CTV News article, health costs Canadians about eleven thousand dollars each, per year! … and here you thought our health care system was free!

On the other hand, in 2011, the total Canadian pharmaceutical market was the world’s eighth largest, representing about 2.6 per cent of global pharmaceutical sales. The Canadian prescription pharmaceutical market was worth an estimated $29 billion in 2013.

That got me thinking. Maybe it’s Big Business that’s very sneakily behind our health care problem. With its well organized, well structured system and extremely well-paid CEOs, it pays them handsomely to keep our health care system in the frustrated state that it is in today. A shortage of health providers creates long waiting lists so people stay sick longer, thus needing more drugs for that longer period of time before they can get real medical help. Burnout of doctors and nurses too often means mistakes are made, leading to law suites (another lucrative source of income for lawyers) thus, because, as a result of these errors, patients often end up on a lifetime need of drugs.

Manufacturers who supply our clinics and hospitals with needed medical supplies—who, by the way, charge quite handsomely for their products—also benefit from people staying sick longer.

Is there a solution?

This prompts me to ask a burning question: considering that it could—and probably is—true what I said above, that Big Pharma/Big Business is behind all this, could this be a good time to ween ourselves from the profiteering drug industry and take the responsibility for our health into our own hands?

It takes effort, I know, because it means taking your health in my own hands, but it’s absolutely worth the benefits: more energy, greater happiness, and a huge decrease in pain and freedom to do many of the things that I couldn’t do before.

In my research for this article I’ve uncovered hundreds of web sites and blogs of specialists who have done just that: become alternative medicine practitioners and have placed your health and welfare—you, the human being—as first priority over profit. Of course, as anyone knows who’s done searches on the Net, there’s a lot of mis-information out there, also, some ideas being even dangerous, so caution is advised. Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! One of my favorite search sites for health topics is Healthline at http://www.healthline.com. The articles there are well researched, not skimping on quoting all their information source references, and the articles are written in ‘layman’s English,’ making the information easy to understand. At the end of each topic, they also offer a host of additional sites that you can visit for more, or related information and, a feature I really like, it has only a small, reasonable number of ads on its web pages to distract you.

That’s why I repeat the caution about advertisements on the Net: be careful of what you believe or even bother to read on the Internet. Some sites will cleverly hide their supporter’s ads so well that, unless you’re really ‘wide awake,’ you can easily mistake one of their ads for a medical fact. That’s why I suggest you start with Healthline and work forward from there. It’s a very reliable, fact-based site.

All major religions emphasize that our body is our Temple, and the important role our body plays in our spiritual evolution. In fact, one of my favorite Bible quotes, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, shows that Jesus really stressed the importance of our bodies in our evolution process in Matthew 25, verses 14 to 29, with especial emphasis on verse 29. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” If you read this verse superficially, it doesn’t make much sense. However, if you add just one thought in the right place, the verse makes a lot of sense. “For unto every one that hath [the ability to reason] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hat not [the ability to reason] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” … in other words, the person, through his own laziness, becomes a slave to whomever he turns his reasoning ability over to: in this discussion, to the drug industry.

We’ve incarnated into a wonderful life here on earth, with oodles of chances to enjoy ourselves and at the same time grow in compassion and love. Don’t screw it up!

My Body, My Temple

My Body, My Temple

I had an interesting—well, maybe I should call it an unusual experience last Friday when I visited my doctor at our local medical clinic. Now, remember, I said Friday! The waiting room was nearly empty of patients! By itself, the near-empty clinic wouldn’t be so unusual, except that, on the other hand, Mondays the clinic attendance is just the opposite: it’s packed with patients waiting to see their doctor. This is not an isolated incident, either: it happens almost every weekend! Now, consider that the rest of the week attendance at our clinic is quite normal, so why is the clinic near-empty on Fridays? Could it be that more people get sick on Monday than they do on Friday? Mph! (shrug) Maybe to a small degree—could be an activity change on the weekend, compared to the week days that may influence how sick or healthy a person is on Monday, but surely not to this degree … and so common!

That got me thinking. Could it be that some people, who normally do get sick on Friday, hold off seeing the doctor until Monday so as not to take a chance on ruining their weekend? If that should be the case, how sick are they in the first place? Another question: if our health system would cost us every time we went to see a doctor, how many visits would we skip?

I suspect that far too many of us take advantage of the “free” part of our health care, and forget, or just don’t care, that many of these less serious health problems just clog up our health services and hinder access to patients with more serious health issues.

I think we fail to understand that our so-called “free” health care system isn’t all that free. It may be free at the moment, for the patient seeking help in the doctor’s office, but, in reality, the taxpayer—that includes you—end up footing that bill. An article in the National Post states, “The Canadian Institute for Health Information believes Canada spent approximately $228 billion on health care in 2016. That’s 11.1 percent of Canada’s entire GDP and $6,299 for every Canadian resident.”[i] You see, our health care is not free! Just think of all the consumer goods and services that that money could be better spent on it were not earmarked for taxes.

I sometimes feel that some public attitude seems to be, who cares? It’s not my responsibilityI just want whatever is free. But, now that I have that issue off my mind, I think that this problem of social unconcern for how much we cost the medical system has a deeper root: lack of concern for ourselves! And this should be a bigger worry for us.

Unless you’re one of those people who believe our origin was in sea slime, that we live for an x-number of years, then return to the earth to become worm food, you have to accept that we are very much a part of eternity, and our bodies were “given” to us for a reason: we are here for a reason other than material self-gratification.

Everyone has serious moments in their life and has asked, “who am I?” and why am I here?” And if you are at all serious about what happens in your life, decency and morals have to be part of that concern. Without standards of responsibleness to both ourselves and to society, how long would we exist? And, even more important, what do we owe to ourselves to take care of our bodies? The Buddha is reported to have said, “Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.[ii] Just like any craftsman knows, upon graduation from Tech (born into this world from a previous existence), he’s given a precious tool box (body) and commanded to “Go boldly forth” and become a god unto his own right.

Yes, by all means, listen to the advice of others—especially experts in their field—but the final decision must by yours!

Your self-consciousness is you: it is eternal, and it’s that which evolves. Your body is your tool box and the tools contained within your tool box are your five senses.

Yes, there is abundant evidence out there that, in the final analysis, the welfare of your body—this would include your health and other material goods—and morally—is your responsibility. Your opinion or conclusions may differ from that of the advice you’ve been given by others, but remember, in the final analysis, place your opinion above others, and act upon your opinion!

Of course, the big kicker here, that many fail accepting responsibility for, is, if it turns out to be an opinion in error, then be mature enough to accept the lesson that experience has taught you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is yours!

A final addendum: if there is such a thing as a hell in the ‘After-life”—or even in one’s latter part of this life—it will be that dreadful self-judging moment when we realize what we could have done, and been, while on earth, but stubbornly refused the challenge a loving God offered!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—”Our Passion to become Zombies”

“Marijuana is a much bigger part of the American addiction problem than most people – teens or adults – realize.” —John Walters

The Canadian government will be legalizing the recreational use of marihuana on Oct. 17 of this year, making Canada the first of the Group of Seven countries to do so. The government, in its great compassion and foresight, has placed some restrictions on who can use the stuff, but we know how well our youth follow adult advice! Right? I mean, we were youth once, and remember what we did when our elders told us not to do something? The news media isn’t throwing much common sense on the topic, either.

Dr. Robert Schwartz of the University of Toronto has some concerns. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Schwartz said, “One of the biggest accomplishments of tobacco control was to de-normalize the act of smoking, so there’s a fear that as smoking marijuana becomes more accepted, the act of smoking on a whole will [again] become more accepted.”

Marihuana has a known 33 carcinogens in it, so my question this Sunday is, “Why is our world suddenly become so fascinated with this drug that obviously has dangerous side effects?” Are we becoming a suicidal nation and, like lemmings, following each other to our eventual demise?

While giving a reason for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, our Prime Minister first had to admit that the present regulations on the non-medical use of the drug have not worked! So, is legalizing marihuana a better choice? Instead of financing expensive G7 summits and globetrotting on other “charitable” and business ventures, might it not be more financially sound to spend that money educating, especially the young, on the dangers of recreational use of marihuana?

Just imagine how great Canada could be if more of us spent time pursuing ventures that would benefit us and our neighbors, instead of selfishly indulging in harmful activities that just thoughtlessly lead to destruction!

I have a saying: Education, not Legislation!

Our society professes an absolute “free to choose” attitude. We’re “liberated!” That’s true, and it’s a good thing, but limiting ourselves with a need for only half truths can also be dangerous! The First Commandment our God—our Creator—has blessed us with is freedom of choice, but the Second Commandment, following very close on the heels of the First Commandment, states that we are responsible for our choices and no number of bailouts is going to prevent this! In other words, reaction to action—Karma—usually leads the unthinking person into a situation they hadn’t anticipated!

I have a saying that I love: “Education, not Legislation!”

In an article in the summer, 2018 edition of Apple, published by Alberta Health Services titled, “Clarity on Cannabis,” the magazine states, “Canadians use cannabis at some of the highest rates in the world. In 2015, one in five youths and nearly one-third of young adults said they used cannabis within the last year.”

Furthermore, in my view, to add insult to injury, financial investors are making huge profits on investing in companies that sell this stuff to the public. Money Morning, an investors email magazine, states: “Last year in 2017 the North American market for legal weed was just under $9 billion.” That’s a lot of money that could have been spent by the public on more healthy form of recreation!

And we all know that the financial market, as long as they’re getting good returns on their investments, aren’t going to concern themselves much about whether marihuana is safe to use or not! This is no different than our multi-billion dollar drug corporations concern about making us healthy by selling us their way-overpriced drugs; there’s just too much money involved for that to ever happen, and too many politicians in the pockets of these drug companies to ever hope for wisdom in legislative change—unless, by some freak of circumstance, the public unites and demands change!

Yes, there are some medical benefits to the use of prescription marihuana, like end-of life care; severe pain or persistent muscle spasms and spinal cord disease, where marijuana has been proven to be of benefit in lieu of equally(?) as harmful drugs. However, this doesn’t excuse the uncontrolled use of recreational marijuana.

Science Museum, London, explains it this way: “When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs [like marihuana] interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself.” It’s the effect that this drug has on the brain that is of great concern to me. There is overwhelming data out there to prove that indiscriminate use of marihuana can make us into a nation of zombies, and there will be those who will recklessly venture that far! Are horror movies about our streets filled with zombies a portend of our future?

I’d like to close this ‘conversation’ on a positive note. in our Homo Sapiens’ 6,000 years on this earth, we’ve weathered equally as great, if not greater, disasters than the marihuana threat. During those brief 6,000 years we’ve been nearly wiped out as a species several times. So, instead of fear, let’s concentrate on the millions of us who are sensible enough to find our recreational needs through safer alternatives, so that Homo Sapiens can, again, live to tell our grandchildren about the stupid things some of us did when we were their age!

It’s just so unfortunate and sad that in this recreational marihuana craze we’re going to lose so many close friends, and even relatives, simply because many believed in liberated ‘half-truths,’ and not valued their lives more than they did!

“I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”  —Ronald Reagan

A Sunday Chat with Myself—responsibility

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” — Winston S. Churchill

On the 22nd of March, 2018, I watched a Dr. Oz TV show where he and his guests were discussing the problem of so many doctors committing suicide due to being overstressed by trying to keep healthy an increasing sick society. Of course, Dr. Oz is an American show, was dealing with American issues. However, I doubt that it’s much different here in Canada.

Our health clinic where you go to see your doctor is located next to the post office. When I go to pick up our mail, I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office, because most of the stalls are taken up by overflow parking at the health clinic. I drive around to the back of the post office to our Town’s public parking area, searching  for a parking stall in the public parking lot—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are occupied by clinic patients. Frustrated, I often feel that the worst thing our Canadian federal government ever offered its citizens was free health care. Hear me out before you start sending me hate mail.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” —Herophilus

On occasion when I need to go to a drug store, usually to buy my health supplements, I often have to stand in line. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, we have four drug stores! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that we’re not taking proper care of our health?

I know there is a need for hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores in a modern society, and Canada should be very grateful for these fine institutions. For example, one can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control, and we are so blessed to have these medical facilities nearby. But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general good health?

Unless we have some other serious health issue, pain is generally a sign our body is telling us something is wrong. Wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, we talked to her or him to find out what could possibly be causing that pain in our body, rather than demanding a pill to just mask the pain?

Smoking, excess drinking, unwarranted drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” your bad health practices with a pill—nor should it be the taxpayer’s responsibility to fund such a wrong mindset!

Society has turned teaching moral values to their children over to the school system. I’m not for religion being taught in school, nor moral values. That’s a parent’s responsibility, and if there is a diverse opinion as a result, all the better. It makes for a rich, colorful community, and that’s good! In fact, it’s healthy! Schools are for teaching students the so-called “Three Rs”—reading, writing, and arithmetic, plus social skills to prepare them for adult life.

To further our abandonment of responsibility, we’ve now left it up to law enforcement  to manage our behavioral patterns that make us a safe society. What’s next? … Oh yes, now we’re totally turning over our responsibility for our health to the medical profession and drug companies.

“Doc, gimme a pill. I need a fix!—Oh, and send the bill it to the taxpayer, eh?” We’re so wrapped up in our own self-gratification and irresponsibility we can’t see our possible annihilation as a species that we’re heading for.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” —Hippocrates

 

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Responsible Health

Parts of this story were included in an article on this topic that I wrote for our town newspaper on 24 May, 2018.

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In Canada we enjoy a healthcare system that guarantees free health and sickness care for every citizen. It’s a pretty good deal—the envy of many countries whose politicians aren’t as concerned about the welfare of their citizens as (some) of ours are. However, it does have drawbacks, because there are times when  free health care is the worst thing our politicians could have done for us.

“Everyone should have health insurance? I say everyone should have health care. I’m not selling insurance.”  —Dennis Kucinich

When I go to pick up our mail I often can’t find a parking spot in front of the post office because most of the stalls are taken up by people visiting the health clinic which is located next to the post office. I go to the back of the post office and look for a parking stall in the public parking lot located there—same thing: most of the “up close” stalls are taken up by clinic patients.

On occasion, when I do have to use a drug store—usually for health supplements, but I have used their dispensary, and often had to stand in line waiting to be served. This wouldn’t be a significant point to ponder, except that, in a town of not much over 3,000 people, plus the Blood Reserve next door, we have four drug stores that serve us! Doesn’t that raise an alarm bell that, maybe, we’re not living as healthily as we should be?

I know that in an advanced society it’s a given—almost a right to have good hospitals, doctors, nurses and drug stores, and we should appreciate, and be very grateful for these fine institutes that we’re blessed with. In war torn countries, to even have a doctor come through on occasion is considered a God-send!

Coming back to our town, I don’t know of a person, including myself, who hasn’t, at one time or another, used all four of these health facilities. One can fall and break a limb, come down with a contagious virus, be in a traffic accident, or have some other physical health issue that is beyond one’s control. That’s pretty well a given as we go through life. And, of course, at such times it is so nice to know with confidence, that our ailment will be professionally taken care of.

But shouldn’t we be taking at least some responsibility for our general, non emergency good health? Many of our ailments can can be prevented, if we but use some common sense in both our behavioral and eating habits.

“The road to health is paved with good intestines!” —Sherry A. Rogers

Pain is usually the first indicator telling our body that there is something wrong. When we experience pain, wouldn’t we be better off if, when visiting a doctor, to inquire of him first, if there is something in our daily life—food, drink, bad habits, lifestyle—that we’re doing that could be causing our pain, rather than immediately demanding a pill to just mask the pain? Our doctors and health workers are well trained in helping us live a healthier life—God bless them for their caring professionalism!, If we but ask, they are quite willing to show us a better, healthier way to live without having to resort to medication.

Our health clinic has a Healthy Living unit, but I have yet to see a lineup at that Nurse’s Station as I do at our drug stores!

It’s up to us to utilize this professional knowledge that our health system provides us, and educate ourselves with all this information that’s so freely available—in fact, speaking of free, it is often said that, what is free is seldom appreciated. Maybe it’s time, again, that we placed a levy on our health services so that we appreciate good health!

Smoking, excess drinking, illegal drug use, improper eating habits are lifestyles well within our personal control. We can do something about those issues. It shouldn’t be up to the doctor to “cure” our bad health habits with a pill—or the taxpayer to fund such a wrong mindset, just because we feel we have a right to live as we please without considering the consequences!

“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”  —Tricia Cunningham

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Water!

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water” —Genesis 2:1

There is much argument in the Christian world about the above Biblical passage from the Bible. We are told that God created everything, but yet, if we take a closer look at this passage, it would appear as though water had already existed before God created the universe. Vladimir Voeikov, Director of Science, Professor of Biology, in an interview during a documentary on Gaia TV stated, “Water was not created, and herein is the mystery to which science will not give an answer.”

Regardless of what one believes—whether you believe that this is just another, of many, oversights and/or misprints in the Scriptures, or whether water did already exist prior to creation, one thing is certain: water is an important element not only on earth, but in the entire universe!

Alois Gruber, in the same Gaia TV documentary, explained water in a slightly different light. He said, “how a person handles water, if he approaches the water with good thoughts or blesses it, and says Thank You to it, the quality of water will improve and have a positive effect on a person and his body.” He went on to explain that water absorbs information and if misused, can in time, become quite toxic to creatures who depend on water for nourishment. Fortunately, water is self-cleansing. Frozen water—ice—or in  its steam element, has the ability to clean itself. That’s why water that trickles down from ice shelves, high in the mountains, is sought after as being pure of any  contaminants.

“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” —Slovakian Proverb

The healing qualities of water can be easily demonstrated. Pour yourself a glass of water—of course, make sure that it’s filtered, pure water with as many of the contaminants as possible removed. Hold the glass of water in both hands in front of you, then concentrate on it, sending it some positive thoughts. Think of the person you love. Feel that love, then transfer it to the water.

Think of a happy moment: the time that you said “Thank You” to the person that held the door open for you at the supermarket. Feel that gratitude, then transfer it to the glass of water.

Think of a time you paid the cost of lunch for a Street Person. Do you remember how good you felt in your heart that you had helped someone less fortunate than you? Transfer that charitable feeling to the glass of water.

Now, offer a prayer of gratitude to the water: be thankful for the water’s ability to quench your thirst, to rejuvenate you, to heal your ailments. Drink the water. Do this for at least a week and notice the natural difference in your health and in your countenance.

“Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world.” —Charles Mackay

 

Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Humans as Animals, that is!

The healing power in one’s hands  has been used by mystics and healers for centuries.

Earlier today I bumped my left elbow, and immediately, in an unconscious act, covered the painful spot with my right hand, massaging it gently. It was such an automatic move that got me thinking.  This is a common action for most people: when we hurt ourselves we instinctively over the area with our hand, or hands, and begin a gentle massage. Is this just a habit, or is there some healing comfort in our hands most of us don’t immediately recognize? Other animals don’t seem to have this ability—oh, they have healing and comforting abilities, but not in their hands, paws, fins, or whatever, as we have.

Sacred Science says, “Our hands are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. Whether you are a Siberian shaman, Reiki Healer, or QiGong master, awareness in your palms and fingertips is an unspoken job requirement.” From my observation, unconscious acts of using our hands for soothing and healing must work to a degree, otherwise it wouldn’t be such a universal common reaction that, whenever I hurt myself, I cover the area with my hand.

I have an eye exercise that I do that has demonstrated the power in my fingertips to me. When my eyes get tired from sitting too long in front of the computer, or if I’m reading for too long a time without taking a break, I bring the tips of my first three fingers together and gently rub them in a circular manner.

The placebo principle plays a role here. Remember, the body has the ability to heal itself, and denial or belief plays a big part in whether an attempted “self-cure” works or not.

I do this for about 30 seconds, then place the tips of my fingers on my closed eyelids and gently hold them there for a few seconds, imagining the energy from my fingertips flowing into, and soothing my tired eyes. How I feel, in general, at the time also has an effect on the outcome of this exercise. If I’m tired and really out-of-sorts,  I often end up with poor results. On the other hand, if I feel “energetic,” I only need repeat this fingertip exercise three or four times to get excellent results.

Our bodies are electrical, that behaves much like a large magnet. Energy flows in through our feet, and out through our fingertips and head. Therefore, from a scientific view, there is no reason why we can’t harness the energy flow out of the tips of our fingers to benefit tired eyes, mild hearing loss, or even give a little extra “spark” to our thinking capacity.

All created species, including plants and insects, have been granted unique intelligence, advantages or abilities according to their needs by our Creator. Humans, also, have been given a unique ability: to love and to heal.