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thoughts on life, parenting, news, and crazy shit

Month: December, 2021

No, I don’t think I will be sending my kids back to school in January.

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Let’s be honest. I personally don’t know of any parent (especially working parents) who enjoyed or felt successful at remote learning. I’m not talking about parents who chose to homeschool their children as a means of regular education and have the time, energy and will to take on this enormous task. I’m talking about being thrown into a poorly supported (by the government) situation where the amount of hours in a day don’t ever feel enough nor do the limitations of our patience.

But let’s also be honest about something else.

I personally can’t envision a situation where sending our children and educators back into the classroom for 7 hours a day, without the resources- both material and human- to make it a safe environment for the students or the staff.

Our provincial government is once again busily dropping the ball and keeping parents and school staff in the dark about what the actual situation is and how they plan to address the challenges before them. In fact, it feels like they have been very blatantly gaslighting us all into believing that everything is just fine, and that they have it all under control. Just be honest for once. Please. It is so painfully obvious that we are making public health decisions based on political outcomes and I am absolutely so fucking sick of it.

I don’t know about you, but being repeatedly and consistently bullshitted by what is probably the worst political leadership in the history of ever in Manitoba feels like a slap in the balls already.

Around the country and around the world, we are seeing staffing crises in multiple sectors. New York City has an emergency workers shortage of 30%. WestJet just announced a reduction in services as they struggle to staff flights. London has reduced tube services as they also face a large number of train conductors and staff off sick.

As usual, the tits in charge of Manitoba have set up a scenario where they will try and tell us that they aren’t seeing transmission in schools, they are safe, blah blah blah. They have instructed those under 40 to not get tested, opening up a door where they don’t have transmission and case data for school aged kids, so how will we know? We still don’t know how and when rapid antigen tests will be used, the schools are scrambling to implement the distribution of them, N95 masks are difficult to find and certainly not handed out in an equitable manner, and the schools have a whole extra TWO FUCKING DAYS to figure it all out.

So what is the government assessing in those two days? Are they figuring out how to help the schools split all the classrooms in two? How to use the limited staff and resources they have to try and distance and manage classrooms using EA’s to supervise as teachers run back and forth from room to room? What about how they will manage the inevitable staffing shortages that will occur as the adults get sick? Are they getting ready to keep the essential workers’ kids in person and organize remote learning packages for others? Or are they going to just pretend that they don’t have to worry about children getting sick anymore despite the alarming increase in severe illness in children in other jurisdictions – or continue to not report the outbreaks currently underway in our Children’s hospital here?

We are 10 days from the start of the winter term. Educators need better communication. Parents need better communication. This province deserves better communication than a Premier who shows up once her tan has faded enough to not be so obvious, a health minister who only shows up to deflect every single question ever asked of her once her nails are fucking dry, and an education minister who seems to feel like his role is purely ceremonial.

Personally, I don’t have any trust left in the system. Our educators are worn out. They are getting sick. Two staff members DIED at the same school this week. Parents are worried. I AM WORRIED.

I don’t actually give a shit if Omicron is mostly less severe. Less severe than what? Than dying? Than needing hospitalization in the acute phase? A lesson in proportionality: a smaller percentage of an exponentially bigger number is still a whole fucking lot. More than Manitoba can handle, and more than is fucking reasonable to risk.

So no. I don’t think I will be sending my kids to school in January. I fucking hate that this is where I am at again, but it is what it is. I actually feel safer sending my kids to extra curricular activities that provide shorter exposure, better ventilation, smaller numbers and business owners who hare able to control some variables in the name of keeping everyone safe and keeping their doors open.

And once again, those of us privileged enough to be able to say “NOPE” will have a better chance of escaping this wave that those that rely on schools to not only educate their kids, but care for them. There is no equity given to those already underserved in terms of resources, care, funding or options. I can’t find all the answers for everyone, and I wish to God I could. All I can do is be part of the solution by trying to keep our little family safe.

And PS, I will participate in “remote learning” as it it provided or not provided on my own terms. I am not killing myself or my relationship with my kids to meet some made up standard of what they need to know about the history of Egypt when they are 9 years old. I don’t give a fuck right now. My priorities will be happiness, survival, coping, health, inquiry based learning and fun. I will try to facilitate work sent home as we can tolerate and that is IT. If that makes me a bad parent then there is a place reserved in my mind for you to go fuck yourself.

I hope this is the last time I have to vent this type of frustration, but I suspect our leaders will continue to suck ass. So until we get new leaders, I’m gonna take matter in my own hands and do the best I can.

Solidarity to all the educators, staff, parents and kiddos out there. I hope you all stay well and we see the actual beginning of the end after this.

This is why people are mad at you for not getting vaccinated

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The past two years have felt very, very long. Living in a state of constant uncertainty, trying to manage the unknowns both personally and professionally, and coping with the rollercoaster of rules and restrictions has not been easy for anyone. Most of us have made constant sacrifices to try and protect ourselves and others often at the expense of our own well being or mental health and in some cases our careers or businesses.

And yet, there was hope.

The best, smartest and most dedicated scientists in the world worked tirelessly to try and find either preventatives or treatments for Covid so that we could start to put this whole thing behind us. Using decades old technologies and combining them with new knowledge they were able to develop vaccines that had good efficacy and safety.

And we hoped some more.

In the meantime, a small pocket of people were determined to shatter that hope. They were loud, and abusive, and just plain wrong.

And while this post is not about the science behind the vaccines, I will acknowledge that vaccinating against coronaviruses is a difficult thing in terms of efficacy and long term immunity- I myself believe that vaccines alone won’t fix things. First, because vaccinating against diseases in the upper respiratory tract is problematic, second because coronavirsuses mutate quickly and often, and third because the resulting immune response wanes relatively quickly. I think that research should also continue to focus on therapeutics and “cures”, and understanding long term effects of the disease while ALSO knowing vaccination remains one of the most important tools we have in this fight to get back to a normal life.

Having said all of that, I think those opposed to immunization don’t understand (or don’t care) why those of us in support of it are frustrated, disappointed, or in some cases really angry at them.

It’s frustrating when someone you care about shows a lack of concern for you. Having someone in your life who appears to put their own fears, investment into conspiracy theories or self indulgent Dunning-Kruger behaviours ahead of the care of others is disheartening. Watching someone be willing to increase the risk of others around them is disappointing. Having a loved one willing to put themselves at risk in the name of being *right* makes us sad and worried.

Having to make a choice that you can live with in terms of your risk tolerance for a novel disease with so many unknowns and being accused repeatedly of being divisive is shit. Having uncomfortable conversations with friends or family or clients explaining why you can’t have them in your home not because you are mad but because you aren’t willing to put your children at risk- or them for that matter is SHIT. Being made out to be the bad guy when all you are trying to do is mitigate risk and keep your family from harm is fucking shit.

It’s worrisome to think about losing someone you care about when it is something that you can improve your odds on. We have grieved the loss of so many things these past two years and do not want to watch loved ones get sick, die and suffer. It is avoidable.

Listening to the absolute arrogance of ignorant people who should have stayed int their lane way back at the starting line is fucking irritating. Watching health care professionals be harassed while they care for people who refuse to get vaccinated is an abomination and the stupidest thing ever. Being threatened online by strangers for choosing to get your child vaccinated is horrifying.

Watching our medical system (which albeit was already a mess before) sag and almost collapse as the added strain of unvaccinated Covid patients exploited every weakness it had is scary. Knowing that it will probably be a decade before we catch up with non-Covid related illness and conditions and the weight of treating those who are now sicker and will require more care is daunting. Knowing that Covid maybe could have been “just a cold” for most of those people is hindsight nobody wants to think about.

If you’ve chosen not to get vaccinated not because it was a decision your physician made with you but because you’ve decided you know better-you still deserve love and compassion and care. But if you wanted to understand how your decisions have affected others, not just in terms of their health or access to healthcare now you know. It feels like a betrayal on a lot of levels- in terms of who we thought you were, your character, your willingness to protect the things that need protecting. It feels like the hugest disrespect to all of us who have made every efforts to protect ourselves and YOU.

Back before there was an internet, before the Chris Skys and Maxime Berniers we listened to the experts because they were the experts. We took care of one another. We listened to reason and tried our best.

A big part of me wishes we could go back to that. Everything is so toxic now.

But let’s go back to trying our best, and remembering that just because you are mad at someone you can still love them.

This is fucking bullshit already

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

Jesus Christ.

That’s not a swear. It’s a heartfelt plea that we get some guidance and salvation from the absolute fucking idiocy that we are plagued with in terms of leadership in Manitoba.

You would THINK that by now, in the fourth round of this pandemic spawned in the pits of the darkest corners of Hell, punishing humanity for its arrogance and entitlement that we would have the sense to do things a little differently.

You would THINK that by now, instead of letting these absolute fuckpastries of politicians make the decisions that we would start to think hey, maybe, just maybe, it would be a good idea to listen to the people working in hospitals, laboratories, and otherwise highly specialized areas of lifetime study instead?

That maybe instead of blowing billions of dollars on knee jerk reactions we could clue in to the fuckery of donkey ass that is about to happen because of Omicron and invest our efforts in prevention, testing, ENFORCEMENT, infrastructure (a little ventilation, anyone?) and capacity.

That maybe the last thing we need is another goddamn task force with a million dollar pricetag and a new pants suit for our minister of health?

I.Don’t.Want.To.Spend.Another.Year. Locked.In.MyHouse.With.My.Children.

I love my kids, god help me I would fall on a thousand swords for them and throw a verbal assault that would sink a sailor’s ship if you messed with them, but I can’t be all things for all people and continue to keep my shit together. I finally just felt like I was getting my groove back. Like Stella. If you know, you know.

So many of us did the right things. We tried SO HARD to do the right things, despite the whining and stupidity of the right wing cousin humpers and the inadequacies of our governments. And still the barn orgies churches were allowed to go on, nobody got shut down, the test positivity soared, and the politicians gave zero fucks because the VOTES.

Now we have less nurses and doctors thatn we did the last time, the doubling time of the virus is 3 days instead of 34 and even if you aren’t good at math you must be able to understand how utterly jacked in the ass we are going to be.

In the meantime our Premier went to football games and opened hospitals that can’t be staffed, and complained about the lack of an omnipotent crystal ball and told us not to see family while she planned a party at the stadium with 30, 000 friends.

The health minister got her nails done, baked cookies and refused to answer questions. She gave a beautiful performance of getting her booster shot and fucked off to the flower shop to kiss the ass of her potential voters while she passively signed the death warrants of others.

There’s only one thing left to do. I can’t even read the news anymore because DUMB PEOPLE.

I’m going to the LC.

An irritated rant about the flaming dumpster fire of a health care system in Manitoba

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First education, now health care. Manitoba is a complete administrative and political nightmare of fuckery and disaster. I’m no doctor, I am certainly not a politician, but holy shit there has to be a way to make this better.

Surgery backlogs that will take years to clear. Lack of access to diagnostic services. Reduced amount of in person appointments. Limited admission for family members to support their loved ones while in care or at end of life. Exhausted health care workers. Mandated overtime. Forcing nurses to work in highly specialized areas they aren’t sufficiently trained for.

And what do we have? A Health Minister who passes the buck in the name of the optically termed “TASK FORCE” so that she can continue to pre-campaign in her constituency; baking cookies, delivering flowers and taking a bunch of photos in her cheerleader pose that does nothing but negatively affect her credibility in my opinion. I mean, go Bombers go, but I’d rather see Audrey put her pom-poms down and pick up her fucking portfolio.

We have a bunch of problems that need addressing, and I personally believe that governments ( all of them really, but especially our current bunch of twits) love to throw bandaids at things that sound really good but never accomplish a goddamn thing.

A task force? REALLY? So you can justify centralizing more services that look streamlined on the outside but in reality just continue to reduce accessibility of care to those who need it the most and create more bottlenecks down the road?

We have a critical shortage of resources, especially staff in this province. We have a system where family doctors and local medical clinics can basically do nothing for you besides take your temperature and write a prescription or a referral. For pretty much everything else, you have to go to a hospital which is beyond stupid and astronomically expensive.

Need stitches? Hospital. Need to be rehydrated? Hospital. Having a baby, need an ultrasound? Hospital. After 4pm? You guessed it-hospital.

Oh, and just for fun, we only have 3 hospitals with emergency rooms, and none of them are in local neighbourhoods.

On top of all that, our critical care wards were already running at or very near capacity during normal times. There were months or years long waiting lists for scans and scopes. Need a knee replacement? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

There was absolutely no wiggle room in the system to begin with and then Covid happened. Now, you might have sacrificed all the things, gotten vaccinated, followed the rules, but now you get to die of cancer because the scope you should have had for that pain or lump took two years to get, so now they found your cancer at stage 4 instead of stage 1.

THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT.

And so we put an arrogant, inexperienced, unequipped, fool of a first term back-bencher MLA in charge of fixing this? Dear God we are so fucked.

I think we need localized health care systems that are truly equitable and accessible to everyone. We need more after hours clinics that can handle 3 am baby fevers and 9 pm broken arms. A family practitioner should be able to give someone stitches in their fucking office and if you are in the business of delivering babies, wouldn’t the ability to perform ultrasounds in the office make a whole lot of sense? Midwifery should be the standard of care for expecting mothers, perhaps even (GASP!) tapping in to the multi million dollar birth centre that almost nobody currently uses.

And we certainly need to be meaningfully addressing the levels of poverty, mental health and addictions in Manitoba. Status of one’s physical health is directly correlated to socio-economic situation and mental health status. If people are well fed and housed, and their mental health is truly cared for (meaning that everyone has access to therapy without years long waiting lists) their overall well being will be better and they will require less other services. It is an investment that no government has ever seemed willing to make.

We need to increase the size of training programs for medical professionals to acquire and retain more nurses, doctors and technologists. That takes money. At some point the uber rich are gonna have to cough it up one way or the other, and governments have to stop running platforms of reduced taxes because it ISN’T WORKING.

This mess has been years, decades and generations in the the making. If we are going to actually fix it, we need to elect someone who gives the right fucks, has the right vision, and is ready to take time out of Simon Says with their political party and do what’s right for the people they are serving.

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