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Newsletter Vol. # 12 That's how I see it!

Hello and welcome to Vol. # 12

What you'll find in this weeks newsletter: kudos to West Side Story; an article on our healthcare system entitled Wait Times; what Sir William Laurier has to say about being Canadian; a follow-up article on how too much sitting may be killing us; and what a Reader has to say. 


Rainbow Stage: West Side Story

We very much enjoyed the production last Thursday evening!
The story never gets old-boy meets girl under impossible odds.
Boy gets killed but brings people together.

I was tremendously impressed by the orchestra-Rainbow has brought together some of Winnipeg's top musicians (like 10 or 12of them). The singer/actors were great as were the energetic dancers. The goal of the production staff was a first rate production and they succeeded.

I can hardly wait for Les Miserables and Sister Act.

Wait Times

An editorial from Maclean's magazine points out some really interesting facts about our healthcare system and the wait time to access that system.

Within the strictures of Medicare, we endure lengthy waits for family doctors, specialists, tests, therapy, beds and on and on. Canadians, in fact,    wait longer and more often for healthcare than citizens in other developed countries. Why do we consider this acceptable?

The organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a major survey on international healthcare waiting lists and policies. Canada is at the bottom of the pack in almost every category. One example among many: 25% of Canadian patients waited more than four months for non-emergency, elective surgery, the highest proportion of any country reported. The figure is 18% in Australia and 7% in France, Switzerland and the United States.

OECD also reveals Canada be one of five countries (out of a survey of 22) that report major wait time problems in all six possible healthcare category-emergency room long care.

Finally, and perhaps most depressing, we're included in an unhappy group of countries that spend above the OECD per capita average on healthcare but nonetheless reported significant wait times. We pay more but the system still under-performs.

It seems ironic that we pay a great deal more for health care services than most other countries in the world and yet our wait time for these services is significantly longer. I believe to the majority of Canadians, wait times at the ER, Cancer Care, cataract surgery, hip or knee replacement, is not really seen as a problem! That is until that Canadian actually has need for those services and comes to realize the frustration in waiting and the danger in waiting for those necessary healthcare services. In other words, it's not a concern until there is a need.

I did find out recently how to get through the emergency line-up in a hurry-faint (they though I was having a heart attack-wasn't, just pain). Six hours later when I left the hospital, people who were ahead of me in line were still there waiting.

Have you had to wait for necessary healthcare services, or have you had great service? Drop me an email and will compile our own survey and stories on our healthcare system.

That's how we (McLean's and I) see it! 

Sir Wilfred Laurier: ideas on Immigrants and being a Canadian in 1907.
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes a Canadian and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet a Canadian, and nothing but a Canadian... There can be no divided allegiance here.
Any man who says he is a Canadian, but something else also, isn't a Canadian at all. We have room for but one flag, the Canadian flag... And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the Canadian people. 

A few weeks ago I printed an article on the dangers of sitting too much and too long. I just came across this article, which further supports the danger of too much sitting.

Sitting still might be killing you. In the short run, it may be slowing your metabolism so you burn less fat when you finally get up and exercise. That is the concern of Dr. Marc T. Hamilton in a paper published in the Journal of Diabetes.

How Sitting Hurts Us

Dr. Hamilton contends that our lifestyles have led to longer and longer bouts of sitting. We sit at work in front of the computer, then sit at home watching TV or surfing the Internet or gaming.

The average hours of sitting are increasing even as waistlines are expanding. He believes the research supports his theory that these are linked. The longer you sit, the slower your metabolism remains even when you later exercise. He points to a study that shows that fat burning is slowed by prolonged sitting. Beyond that, he speculates that sitting turns off protective mechanisms that keep us from developing some chronic disease. "Sitting time and non-exercise activity have been linked in epidemiological studies to rates of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease," Hamilton concludes.

10 Tips to Stop Sitting Still

If you find yourself sitting for hours a day, try these ways to add more activity.
Wear a Pedometer: Pedometers are great motivators to add more steps to your day. First wear it a few days to see what your average step total is. Then aim to increase it by 2000 steps each day. Each week, try to increase the total of each day by another 1000-2000 steps. Once you reach the goal of 10,000 steps per day, you will have achieved the recommended amount of activity.
Track Your Sitting Time: Some activity monitors and apps help you monitor your sitting time and some alert you when you've been sitting too long.
Set a Get-Up Break Each 30 Minutes: Set a timer to get up and move every 30 minutes for 2 to 5 minutes. This can be as simple as getting a glass of water, doing a few stretches, or straightening up your desk
Use an Exercise Ball as a Chair: For a portion of your sitting time, sit on an exercise ball. This will help activate your core and leg muscles even while sitting. It is best to use the ball for short periods of time at first and to alternate it with a good ergonomically designed desk chair. The ball will also come in handy for doing a few exercises during your get-up breaks.
Pace While On the Phone: Stand up to take and make phone calls. The phone can be a good cue that it is time to stop sitting. Even a couple of minutes of pacing will help break up the sitting time.
Don't Make Things Too Convenient: Don't surround your desk with everything you will need in easy grabbing distance. Place items further away so you will need to get out of your chair to get them.
Get a Treadmill Desk or a DeskCycle: Walking slowly on a treadmill while working on the computer is becoming a real option as more and more people are using laptops and wireless Internet. A pace of 1 mile per hour or less allows you to continue working while getting away from sitting. You may prefer a DeskCycle to pedal as you work, which will also reduce your inactive time.
Take Meetings Outside Your Office: Rather than having people come to you, get up and go to their office or invite them to meet while strolling.
Get Up and Talk Rather than Emailing or Messaging: Do you email people who are just a short walk away? Go see them face to face once in awhile.
Sitting on a Long Commute: Find ways to add in walking before or after a long commute ride sitting in a car, train, or bus -park further from your office, get on or off a stop early and walk the final stretch to or from your destination.
Switch to a Wii: Gamers should consider getting hooked on active Wii gaming rather than sitting. Wii is being effectively used in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. It can help those of us don't have physical challenges but who are still too inactive to get into the action as well.


The strongest oak of the forest is not protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.                                                        
                                                                            Napoleon Hill 1883 - 1970.                                                                                              
Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I appreciate persistence.
                                                                                                  Hal Borland

The Cost Of Stress To The Economy 

(Ken MacQueen)

The cost of stress to the Canadian economy is estimated at $33 billion a year in lost productivity as well as billions more in medical costs. With almost 1,000,000 Canadians suffering from a mental health disorder, it's now the fastest growing category of disability insurance claims in Canada. Some blame the hectic pace of modern life, the trend to smaller and fragmented families, often separated by great distances, or the mass migration from the small stable communities to huge, impersonal cities.

Stress is probably the most overused and misused word in the English language--with the possible exception of love. It means everything and nothing, states workplace counsellor Scott Shepherd.

Another perspective: Did the world get harder, or did people get softer? Or are employers stuck with an age-old labour force of their own creation? It's not as if today's children will be sent to work in the mines. Women aren't struggling to raise six kids, while mourning several more that died in infancy. Men aren't spending 12 hours a day ploughing fields behind a mule, or sweating over some mechanical monster of the Industrial Revolution, waiting for an arm or leg to be dragged into its innards. No, odds are you've got indoor work, no heavy lifting, a 40-hour week (in theory), holiday time, and a big-screen TV waiting at home. How hard can life be?

Did you know that stress and mental health issues are now the leading reason for long-term disability claims, a head of cancer? Nationally it is estimated that 35 million working days are lost to mental conditions among our 10 million workers. The annual cost of just depression and distress is 8.1 billion in lost productivity. The silent scourge of productivity--stressed-out workers who show up to work and accomplish little. It has been shown that a generous benefit plan will actually increase the likelihood of workers booking off. A study on sick leave published by Statistics Canada found that unionized workers with disability insurance are far more likely to take extended leaves. Are these workers sick or just feel entitled?

So what is the real story about stress? Is it as Angela Patmore, a former Fulbright Scholar states in her book The Truth about Stress. The concept of mitigating stress is bullocks. Everywhere in the West we see this message, you will drop dead, you will go bad, avoid negative emotions, avoid emotional situations. None of our ancestors would have understood a word of this. Or as Bob Briner, and occupational psychologist states, stress is a meaningless concept, one that is creating a generation of "emotional hypochondriacs." One of the main explanations for the popularity of stress is that people like simple catchall ways of explaining why bad things happen, particularly illness.

Is it because people are working longer and harder, are working various shifts (hard enough on the system) that also often conflict with their partners work schedule (very hard on a relationship)? That both parents are working, are living away from support systems in big, impersonal cities (loss of community)-in essence living lives totally out of balance, is this what is causing people to feel more distressed?

You decide-- are we wimps preying on the poor insurance companies (LTD) or legitimate victims of a way of life that is unbalanced through no/some/all fault of our own? What are your thoughts?

Illness is the result of the combination of stress and a vulnerable individual. 


How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.

Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.

Reader Response

Here's a reply for you. What is stress? In some cases stress can be attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffered by people in war zones or football fields. In the reverse stress causes physical ailments. But what is stress? Why does one person have stress and the next person, relative or friend, not experience those demons? Stress is argued in court as a defence for a person who has committed various horrific crimes. Is stress already inside us waiting for the opportunity to be utilized? If you break your leg you fix it and give it ample time to heal. But if you are stressed you can't entirely fix it and you know that stress will come back. You are already primed for the return of the blackness. You already know that feeling when stress starts marching through your body and you can't do anything about it. Now we know that Stress is an emotional disease but do we just manage it until it comes back and destructively manifests itself in a person, destroying all hope for the future and certainly the present.

"He's just stressed out". "She's been under a lot of pressure lately".  These excuses leave the impression that "it" will get better. That all people have to do is change their environment then the depression will lift. It's not enough to change your lifestyle, or diet, or take a pill and that will solve the emotional crisis that has taken over one's body. Doctors can only managed the problem, not cured it. Even love cannot conquer all the anguish and fears built up in some individuals.
Anyway, food for thought.                                                        Frank

Have you been to any good concerts, visited an interesting place-do a short review.

Have a great week!