Sunday, April 24, 2005

in absentia

I’m unconvinced that doctors have an incredible workload. Actually, I’m very much convinced that they do little to no work at all—except, of course, for some analyses of symptoms, the determination of particular aliments, and the dispensation of the appropriate medication. Otherwise, if you’re not a surgeon or perform some-type of operation or procedure at least three times weekly, you’re not doing much.

I should state this clearly: nurses, personal care assistants, therapists, orderlies, and administrative support workers do all the heavy lifting. Doctors, on the whole, do very little.

Here’s an example. Imagine you spend a twenty-four hour stay at your area hospital—the particular injury or aliment, in this case, is inconsequential since the condition has been judge severe enough to admit you into care. Your diet, relatively minimal but of the requisite daily nutrition, consists of three meals on a sliding scale of digestion capacity; liquids only, soft foods, normal and hard foods, ect.

Let’s say you’ve been admitted for an aliment that has caused you to lose a considerable amount of blood. You’re blood pressure is low, you’re hemoglobin is low, and, likewise, you’re energy is low. One would imagine that such a physical state requires either more nutrition or supplements directly aimed at re-establishing a healthy stasis—effectively increasing you’re energy levels. This isn’t the case.

The diet, at least in my experience, stays the same irrespective of particular nutrition deficiencies caused by the aliment. If you’re in there for an excess of fluids in your lungs, clotting of blood flow in particular vascular areas, or internal bleeding as a result of a ruptured vessel, don’t expect a varied and flexible diet—one that targets and alleviates you’re particular deficiency.

But I guess this seems somewhat sensible. The preponderance of organizing a complex and individualistic nutrition regime would, doubtless, be irrationally burdensome for the hospital. Moreover, the economy of scale offers a far more expansive nutrition coverage than an individualistic regime would—even if barely sufficient.

This is where private clinics find there niche. Individuals with the economic wherewithal to purchase services like individualistic nutrition regimes and on-call professional medical assistances will. And they’ll find these services at private clinics.

Aside from diet, what other considerations must be accounted during your hospital stay?

One, the most vital in my opinion, is the face time registered by the personal care assistants, nurses, and orderlies; you will see these people all the time. Nurses will be checking your vitals on the hour every hour during the daylight hours, and every three hours while you lie sleepless in the dark, bleak corner of a hospital room. Personal care assistants will fill-in the gaps where nurses aren’t able to, given time constraints and numbers of patients; though, they do this with less authority and usually defer to the nurses. And at the bottom of this hierarchy are the orderlies—who do everything else; everything else that is important, like red blood cells carrying oxygen throughout the body. They serve the food, clean the floors, move the patients, bathe the immobile and pained, and perform any and all necessary errands that keep the hospital smoothly operating—or operating at all.

I would be remiss not to comment on hospital administration. They are, quiet simply, the hospitals nerve center, the brain, where all these movable pieces are synthesized into a coherent whole.

Oh yeah, wasn’t I intending to speak on what doctors do? In the length of the piece you’d be led to believe that I neglected to mention the duties performed by doctors; but I did not. This is what they do: every morning at around eight, it is said, doctors make their rounds, informing patients as to the status of their conditions. The reality is that they show up around ten, if not later, mumble a few indelicate bromides, and then tell you whether you’re staying for another night, or will be free to go. You will see you’re doctor, or a doctor, for about five minutes a day. Seriously. But maybe I’m being unfair; I suppose they have a large number of patients to talk to. They probably do. For now, I will remain unconvinced that doctors are assiduous workers. I have good sources.

Addendum: (Surely they perform surgeries and procedures, but these are the few who actually do considerable work.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Crisis

Despite a few awkward glances at his que cards, the standard vocal stutter step, Paul Martin gave a solid speech this evening; an apologia for the current contretemps brought about by the Gomery inquiry (GI). Martin’s message was clear: Don’t defeat this tenuous minority government—let Judge Gomery do his work. This is a strong yet simple message, but whether it gains traction is an open question. If it should, the Liberals will be given a reprieve until the inquiry tables its final report sometime in December. If it doesn’t, however, a May election looks imminent.

The Conservatives, the NDP, and the Bloc all have their fingers on the proverbial trigger, and if the right polling data convinces them— they’ll pull it. Some polls have the Conservatives at 34%, and the Liberals and NDP at 24%. But their likely electoral fortunes face conflicting data. A number of surveys have suggested that around %53 Canadians aren’t keen on the prospect of another election. (The last one being less than a year ago) Call it political fatigue. So, if a vote were forced by any other party than the Liberals, 5 out of those 10 Canadians would, it should follow, punish the opportunistic party. Yet, I’m not so sure. People have legitimate reasons to be more than mad at the Liberals.

Even though I voted for the Green Party in the last federal election—for reasons dealing with electoral parity through the public financing of fringe parties (a monetary vote)—I consider myself a Liberal partisan. As the evidence trickled out from the GI, I found myself blasé by much of the opposition’s criticism. I thought, naturally: why wouldn’t they clamor so affectedly? That’s what opposition parties do. I also assumed that what happened with the sponsorship scandal, or Ad scam, was dirty politics as usual. I was wrong—if only partially.

It was politics as usual a la Sir John a Macdonald Canadian Pacific Railways. Funneling public monies to friends and political supporters and tendering ridiculous federal contracts without follow up auditing and accountancy seems somewhat understandable; I can imagine this sort of thing happening in the yesteryears and golden years of Canadian politics—and it did. But doing this with very little paper trail of large sums of cash dispensed to people, with optics alone, that appear to be close friends is sloppy and incredibly unsophisticated.

The thing that disappoints me—I understand that political direction in bureaucracies creates patronage, inevitably—is how blatant and unthinking the Liberals were, most particularly Jean Chrétien. Maybe I was hoping that the corruption would have at least been more elaborate, convoluted, or slightly legal. The sponsorship program was not. It was dreadfully obvious and incredibly illegal.

Ironically, Paul Martin was all too eager to push Chrétien out, which may be some evidence to Martin’s actual knowledge of the sponsorship cash-grab. Who’d want to inherit that? And now, minority governments as far as the eye can see. A May election augers a Conservative minority not likely to last any longer than this current minority. How will the Liberals hold off a May election? The dynamic in Quebec appears to be the strongest appeal to fear the Liberals can make to voters. If the Bloc sweeps 75 seats in Quebec, they’ll call for another referendum and Au revoir Canada. I don’t think the referendum will be successful, but it will be called, putting pressure on Charest’s already smarting provincial Liberals. So, it seems fairly underhanded, though this is what generally happens, but the Liberals have to eqaute a vote for the Conservatives as a vote for the dissloution of the federation. Who knows, it may work.

Addendum (Opposition response): Stephen Harper’s eyes are creepy; this man should not be Prime Minister. Jack Layton makes me feel like buying a hybrid. Gilles Duceppe was less scary than usual—which isn’t saying much. The overall opposition response to the Martin speech: It’s not a Canadian crisis, it’s a Liberal crisis.

Random notes. a) Death Cab For Cutie has just been obsolesced, tonight at around 8:14, with their appearance on the second season shark jumping show, The O.C. b) A German Pope? Huh? c) Surprise, surprise, the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t make the playoffs. d) The blog turned 1 on April 16; more on this later.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Bloc Party is dope. The world honors (says goodbye to) John Paul II tomorrow; let's hope the ceremonies proceed without incident. On April 2, ironically the day of the Pope's death, my older sister gave birth to a 7 lbs 8 ounce wonder kid named Jacob.

At this point, sleep is very necessary. But, I should make some passing comments on the week that was Canadian politics. First, and definitely center, was the not so inaccessible testimony of a one Mr. Brault during the ‘closed to the public’ public inquiry. A publication ban on his earth-moving testimony about a decade of Liberal corruption didn't stop shadowy political cadres -- the Conservative party of Canada being one of them, I suspect -- from disseminating the testimony to reputable American bloggers, Captains Quarters.... think Swift Boat Vets for Truth advocacy.

To say the very least, Mr. Brault's testimony, though sensational, was equally underwhelming. Far from revealing the venal underbelly of political machinations, the testimony, and the Gomery commission generally, is the natural histrionics of ossified, interminable political leadership devouring itself -- the Liberals. The hysteria and malign displayed by the Conservatives are not unnatural for a desperate excuse of a political party attempting to reacquire a sense of semblance.

More later on the Conservative moves to moderation.

Quebec isn't without some blame, also. Acting as though such corruption is in the pale to politics as usual, unworthy of electoral probity, is laughable. Allan Gregg said it best: "This is how politics in Quebec works. The federal government pays for their unity." (Not an actual quote; it's reconstructed from memory) So, on this front, nothing appears to be so intriguing as to portend the demise of the minority government.

Second in the week of political Canadiana is the Liberal strategy of acting like the victim. It seems, as they have suggested, that some shadowy political miscreants my have perpetrated fraud in guise as card carrying Liberals -- sure, and Michael Jackson is innocent. (Cochran wouldn't even rise from his eternal slumber to take on this lost cause:God rest his soul) The Liberals chose the worst week to 'introduce' this theory. Ten months too late, to be sure.

Third, Harper's been offering some suggestions to beleaguered Premier Dalton McGuinty, undoubtedly with the effect of coming across as a moderate and helpful federal leader, something Paul Martin is still managing to figure out. Harper hopes, I think, this tactical position appeals to Ontarians searching for principled leadership, trying to poach some disaffected Ontario Liberals. He is devastatingly wrong. Underestimating Ontarian animus toward Dalton McGuinty while similarly allying yourself, your political party, and your political aspirations to ire inducing Dalton McGuinty is political suicide layered in Potemkin garb, underneath which is electoral genocide.

Again, Bloc Party is dope. It is very necessary that I sleep now.