Umbrellas and Parasols

images_3_8

As we slide into the hottest months of the year I notice more and more people are taking precautions when it comes to the sun’s dangerous rays. If marketing is any gauge, sunscreen products appear to be replacing sun tanning oils and creams. When I was a kid we would never have considered blocking out those precious rare browning rays, in fact, many of us applied various concoctions to increase the sun’s effect.

hires-rapitan-sun-reflector-montreal-vintage1

These days I notice many people using parasols. (The majority seem to be Asian. I’ve been told this is due to the fair nature of their complexion and a cultural dislike of freckles.) But some folks are living in a Fool’s Paradise if they think an umbrella is a suitable tool for blocking rays. An umbrella, or in French a parapluie – against rain, does not provide sufficient protection. A parasol – against the sun, is what you need. Preferably with a black interior.

In the 1980s in Australia, they used to promote a Slip, Slop, Slap approach to skin protection. Slip on a shirt, Slop on the 50+ sunscreen, Slap on a hat.

Enjoy the sun, but be careful.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

ERs: Hurry Up and Wait

Waiting

Dario Ayala / Montreal Gazette

When I think of hospital emergency rooms I imagine a hive of activity, doctors, nurses, orderlies rushing about in orchestrated madness. Ambulances pulling up with patients requiring immediate medical attention. The triage process assigns a level of urgency to patients as they arrive. This will dictate when you are seen by a doctor.

Last Thursday the homecare doctor came to visit my eighty-nine-year-old mother. She wanted her to have some tests and x-rays done. She filled out the appropriate forms, gave them to me and told me to take my mother to the emergency room the next day.

“Is this a dire situation?” I asked her.

She said it was not, but that we really should get these things done.

So we arrived at the Montreal General Hospital emergency room on Friday morning at about ten o’clock. The room was already a going concern with broken bones, chest pains, and numerous other afflictions. After triage during which the nurse told my mother she was “…going to be with us for a while” we took our place in the waiting room.

And wait we did.

news_of_day_17__480w

At about three-thirty Friday afternoon my mother was seen by the doctor who arranged for the tests and imaging to be done. By 5:15 we were done and the waiting for results process began. It had been a long day, and it was only made longer when the emergency area was placed on lockdown pending the arrival of two shooting victims via ambulance. Police and masked medical staff were everywhere.

Finally, around six-thirty we were on our way with a prescription in hand.  The experience having been a drain on my mother, to say nothing of myself.

What got me annoyed was that people often complain about emergency services; they are understaffed and overworked, there are not enough resources, and too many people clog up the system with non-emergencies. With this last point, I am in total agreement.

I felt we were seeking advice and diagnoses that were more suitable to a clinic than a hospital emergency room. I understand the lengthy wait; the neediest cases get priority, that is the essence of an emergency room. I don’t think ERs should be used as clinics.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

Booties, Hospital and Otherwise

7da448b9-76b7-4caf-b45d-b2114ca0dcd3_1-49cb2167bad733b47302de15213395a9

Recently I have had several medical appointments. Some in hospital clinics, some in private offices. Regardless of where the doctor is located, there is one thing they all have in common: those ubiquitous blue booties.

But the galosh has gone the way of the dial-up modem in favour of boots that provide better traction on ice and snow.

In places with winter weather going out is a tiresome experience with many layers of clothes and footwear required for comfort. Arriving at an appointment involves not only the removal of coats and hats and scarves but outdoor footwear.

In the days when many people, primarily men, wore galoshes over their shoes this was less of an issue. Simply kick off the heavy overshoes and Voila you’re aptly clad in your own shes. But the galosh has gone the way of the dial-up modem in favour of boots that provide better traction on ice and snow. These boots are more comfortable than galoshes and certainly more fashionable. But they must be removed when entering a house or office. Enter the blue booty conundrum.

In some offices the procedure is to remove one’s wet, snowy, slushy shoes, place them on a boot tray and don the little Smurf-like plastic bags. This way the booty remains dry and can be reused. In other offices the rule is to place the booty over the offending wet boot, thereby placing a sheath between slop and floor surface. Booties used in this manner are either turfed out or inverted and left to dry.

In some offices, the procedure is to remove one’s wet, snowy, slushy shoes, place them on a boot tray and don the little Smurf-like plastic bags.

All fine and dandy until someone screws up and goes against the grain. Nothing quite as annoying as slipping your stockinged foot into a cold wet bag. Can we not simplify this situation? Why can’t we have one method and stick to it? Pass a law, enact a statute, whatever it takes to alleviate this nuisance. My personal choice is for the boot-off-booty-on technique, but I am open to the other. Just as long as we can all get on the same page!

As an aside I must admit this post has taken me much longer to research and write than I had anticipated. Evidently, there is another kind of booty that is much more popular on Internet search sites.

womens_cartel_ink_bless_this_booty_black_white_zpslgadwrp4__86613-1457645036-400-600
You learn something new every day.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Tardiness Is Stealing My Time

Ticket

Appointment: A fixed mutual agreement for a meeting set for a specific time or place.

The definition above, from http://www.dictionary.com, sums up nicely the concept of an appointment. If only the medical profession could get a grip on this. Yesterday I dropped by a local medical imaging place to see about making an appointment for my mother. At 89 and with mobility issues just showing up and taking her chances on getting in quickly is not an option. I could have phoned, but as I was passing right by I thought I’d throw a little human touch into my quest.

The idea behind making an appointment is to eradicate the need to wait. Make a reservation at a popular restaurant and you stroll right past the line. 

Upon entering the place I immediately noticed two things. The first was a large waiting room full of people hacking, wheezing, and sneezing all over each other (if they were not sick when they went for their x-ray, they sure as hell will be when they leave). The second thing that caught my eye was one of those ticket dispensers like they have in pastry shops and delicatessens.  I applied some simple logic and concluded that those folks waiting were there without an appointment, and had taken a ticket and awaited their number.

As I looked at the dispenser I saw three different kinds of tickets: 1) for those with an appointment, 2) for those without an appointment, and, 3) for those wanting to make an appointment. This had me more than just a bit confused. If you have an appointment, why would you need a ticket? The idea behind making an appointment is to eradicate the need to wait. Make a reservation at a popular restaurant and you stroll right past the line. Make an appointment for an x-ray and you still have to wait. something is wrong with this system.

While making an effort to avoid waiting, option three would have you wait twice; once to make the appointment and again when you arrive for the appointment.

But it gets even more idiotic The third option is to take a ticket so you can wait until called, then make an appointment, then when you arrive for the arranged appointment you will sit and wait again as per option one. While making an effort to avoid waiting, option three would have you wait twice; once to make the appointment and again when you arrive for the appointment.

If nothing else I am a punctual person, never tardy. When I make an appointment or reservation I am always early out of respect for the other party. Why does the medical profession seem to think appointments only work one-way? When I agree to an appointment and I have to wait, I always feel my time is being stolen.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Hiccups as Torture

Shoulder

The topic of waterboarding was in the news a few years ago. This method of extracting information from suspected terrorists – otherwise known as torture – has its critics. Many see it as cruel and unusual punishment, while others consider it an effective means of saving lives. It is a form of water torture in which water is poured over a cloth covering the face and breathing passages of an immobilized captive, causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning. Ain’t that a joy. Who thinks of these things?

As I see it, should I ever be tortured I figure about 0.0067 seconds into the process I would start spouting classified information …

While I tend to stay on the right side of the law for the most part, and therefore do not fear being tortured to divulge state secrets, I often wonder who long I would be able to hold out. As I see it, should I ever be tortured I figure about 0.0067 seconds into the process I would start spouting classified information, and if I did not know any, I would start making up information.

But what would be just as effective on me as the infamous waterboarding would be – if such a thing exists –  the introduction of hiccups. Yes indeed those diaphragm jarring, ultra infuriating, spasms that, once they set in, make life a misery for their duration. For some folks hiccups or hiccoughs if you prefer, are nothing more than a mere annoyance. For this agent they are exasperating. Many a pleasant evening has been interrupted by the onset of this curse.

… sipping ice water, a bit of sugar or vinegar, and even a quick Google search to see who the patron saint of hiccups is …

Fortunately, I have, over the years, discovered that a yoga shoulder stand with breath held gets rid of them nine out of ten times. I only turn to this as a last resort, not just because it is a bit risky given the possibility of passing-out, but does tend to draw a crowd of onlookers when performed in the men’s room! Like most I go through the steps of holding my breath, (someone told me to apply pressure to the trigeminal nerve under the jawline at the same time), sipping ice water, a bit of sugar or vinegar, and even a quick Google search to see who the patron saint of hiccups is – alas they have not yet deemed the problem needs a saint.

Once all these socially acceptable attempts have been exhausted and I am still convulsing like a fool every seven or eight seconds, and starting to hurt, I hightail it off to the nearest men’s room or bedroom should I be at someone’s home. Down on the floor I get, up go my legs and before you know it I’m breathing naturally once again.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+