Sick and tired of our health system

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Today was the first day of spring and up north we are happy that the end of very cold weather has finally arrived. It has been a strange winter with very cold spells and temperatures of -30º Celsius while also have been experiencing periods of warm weather and rain. Our weather in northern Ontario has been all over the place.

I have seen a lot of sickness this winter also. I had a really bad cold for a couple of weeks and then managed to get a Norovirus. Neither one of these maladies was welcome, but the most terrible one was the Norovirus. It really knocked the heck out of me. It comes on like gangbusters as one minute I was feeling good then suddenly I got a pain in my stomach, which rapidly grew to extreme vomiting and diarrhea. It lasted for a few days and I had to really pay attention to make sure to replenish the water and electrolytes I had lost. Dehydration can become very dangerous. So if you do get this type of stomach virus make sure to buy some electrolyte powder at the drugstore and drink it with water so you do not get dangerously dehydrated.

Many members of my family and friends have been sick this winter and I have always noticed that people in isolated First Nations like Attawapiskat tend to pick up contagious sickness very quickly as remote communities are social and disease travels quickly. I noticed that with the changing weather patterns and such up-and-down temperatures, people may be getting sick more often. Most people I know up north do not have access to a regular family doctor so they end up in emergency rooms and see a temporary doctor. The emergency rooms are often very busy and full of people with all kinds of sickness and injury. The truth is that if you weren’t very sick before you got to the emergency room you just might end up with some malady contracted while you visited the hospital.

Although our Canadian health system is still in place and for the most part servicing most of us well, it has a lot to be desired. Governments have been starving the system for many years and private healthcare is threatening the public system more and more every year. I don’t understand why we can’t take our healthcare system more seriously and dedicate as much money as we need to and make sure the system is working as it should. As a social democracy I would like to see Canada devote more money to healthcare, public education, including college and university, and senior citizens.

We have spent billions fighting wars in faraway counties for more than a decade and causing a lot of death and destruction. Most of this was because of big business interest in oil and other natural resources in those countries and nothing positive came out of any of these conflicts. In fact, our actions have galvanized people to become terrorists and the world has become a more dangerous place. The money we have spent on needless wars would have been much better served with expenditures on health, education and our senior citizens.

We should all take stock of our local hospitals and medical facilities and services and work to lobby the government to increase funding to return the system to something closer to its original ideal. We need to train more doctors and nurses and to make their work environments easier to deal with. We need to take the strain off the system and expand it where the needs are.

Medical care in many remote First Nations is often poor and in some almost non-existent as there are no doctors in place on a full-time basis. Under the current Liberal government things are supposedly getting better, but they could improve a lot more. Too many people are left aside, resulting in death and poor quality of life simply because our healthcare system is not working as well as it should be. Money is not the only answer but it is the most obvious at this point. We need less lobbying and services from the private sector and more reliable and enhanced coverage from our once well-respected public system. Canadians are getting sick waiting for real action in this area as we continue to slip into a private system like the one in the United States. None of us really wants to end up with a mess like that.

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