Observations and Assessments

Notions too small for a blog post, all in one place.

Stormy weather. Some of you probably noticed a slight lack of presence here the last couple of days. The wind storm which swept over Ontario last Thursday left us without electricity, telephone and internet service, as well as blowing out an upstairs window and knocking over a fence. The power (or hydro as we say in Ontario) came back the same day; the telephone and internet returned only last night — there was some damage to the local wireless tower as well. The really bad news is that not only are Canadians voting in a federal election today, but that it’s also tax deadline day here in Canada. Because of the lack of internet access, filing was impossible* — and I have, as of writing thirteen hours and ten minutes to find my T4 slip and load up TurboTax.

The Good News. You were all spared — and I am pretty sure my American readers are especially grateful — a blog post about the various parties’ positions on health care. Believe it or not, I did wade through all the platforms, and they essentially ranged from generally sucky with bright spots  to really awful and/or nonexistent. (Hello, Conservatives?) Given the demographic wave which is about to wash over and possibly overwhelm the health care system, and the high priority Canadians place health care as an issue, some sort of debate around this issue might have been useful. Yet we heard nothing at all.

Oh, no, not again. Just so you know, for reasons previously stated, I am ignoring Nurses Week.

New meat. Some shout outs to some new (to me, anyway) nurse bloggers: RNnnnrGrl and Frazzled_razzleRN, The Adventures of a Nursing Student, and in particular Dreaming of Call Bells, who blogs from Moose Factory, Ontario.

Death over the airwaves. A new British television show will show will show footage a terminally ill man dying:

The death of a terminally ill 84-year-old man will be broadcast on British television in May, as part of a series documenting the life cycle of the human body.

A man suffering from cancer and identified only as Gerald will be shown taking his final breath — at home, surrounded by his family — on the second episode of the BBC One series Inside the Human Body.

Speaking to BBC listings magazine Radio Times, host Michael Mosley defended the footage, saying producers did not want to “shy away from talking about death, and when it’s warranted, showing it.”

He acknowledged that the decision to include the footage would inevitably draw criticism.

“I know that there are those who feel that showing a human death on television is wrong, whatever the circumstances. Although I respect this point of view, I think there is a case to be made for filming a peaceful, natural death — a view shared by many who work closely with the dying,” Mosley said.

Similarly, a new documentary shows a terminally ill cancer patient in Oregon taking a lethal (and legal) dose of euthanasia:

I’m not squeamish about death, and theoretically, anyway, I would support physician-assisted suicide. But when confronted with an actual person planning her death, I start having a hard time with it. It seems, well, too cold-blooded. Am I wrong?

Hospital food is awful and bad for you. This seems to be as true in Australia as it is in Canada. Inadequate nutrition is a serious issue in the deconditioning of elderly patients (see here, for example).

Doctors have called for a hospital food review, because patients are being discharged malnourished.

Australian Medical Association state president Andrew Lavender said the below-par quality of hospital food, set serving times for three meals a day, and a one-size-fits-all approach could lead to patients checking out malnourished.

“A lot of patients do become malnourished in hospitals,” he said. “They are trying to improve nutrition, but when you’re cooking for 700 or 800 people the quality is often not up to scratch.”

“Generally, the elderly and those who are sick don’t have an appetite and there isn’t much of a follow-up in terms of what someone doesn’t eat. People having major operations are in a state where their body requires extra nutrients to recover and they often they don’t get that. People do depart hospital down in weight.”

And yet, when looking for increased efficiencies in hospital budgets, the kitchen is often the first place to get the axe.


*I mean, who does paper returns anymore?

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  1. #1 by Maha on Monday 02 May 2011 - 2242

    I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that can’t be cured by gravol because the conservatives look like they’re leading… I’m afraid for health care among other things…

  2. #2 by Nightingale is my Homegirl on Tuesday 03 May 2011 - 2244

    S: Thanks for the mention. :)
    O: I’m getting lots of love from your shout out!
    A: You rock.
    P: I’ll be sure to keep reading your blog. <3

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