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Tag: pandemic

This is fucking bullshit already

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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.

It’s not even Halloween and I am already so tired of all the things

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We are less than two months into the school year, and I gotta tell you, I am already over everything.

I’m over the 50-60 hours work weeks. I am over managing that with the needs of the kids and their activities. I am over packing lunches and early mornings and running for the school bus and arguing about bedtime. Especially bedtime. Bedtime can go fuck itself. The End.

Mostly, I am over feeling like I am stretched so thin that I suck at everything I do. Maybe it is leftover trauma from all the lockdowns and a feeling of being so permanently overwhelmed that doesn’t want to let up.

Or MAYBE the last 18 months have enlightened us to the fact that we (in particular working mothers) have lost sense of a life balance that is even remotely reasonable and sustainable. I can’t help but feel like this was something we always knew was a problem but didn’t want to admit to ourselves, to our employers, to our spouses or to each other.

Seriously, who the fuck decided that working full time, plus commuting while raising children was really going to be good for us? Who decided that starting every day at 6am, rushing around to get everyone ready for the day, sending off the kids, working our asses off all day, rushing home to do pick ups, feed the people, rush to get to the next thing, rush home to bathe and go to bed -was a good idea? God forbid you don’t work a regular schedule either, because who really does anymore anyway?

I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I mean, obviously as a fairly *successful* working mom, I fully advocate for women to have meaningful and fulfilling careers WHILE being able to raise a family. So why does it feel like these issues of balancing family and career are so heavily skewed towards women? I don’t want to discount all the dads and their efforts, but it certainly feels like the assumption to this day is that the mother is the primary caregiver and it is us that make the bulk of the sacrifices and carry the heaviest part of the emotional load.

At the risk of sounding like I just want to bitch because I am tired and burnt the fuck out ( I am) I am also truly wondering how to better support families and working parents.

Can work days be tailored to accommodate school hours? Can employers be mandated to offer on site childcare options for employees? Can we job share more commonly? In light of what we learned during the pandemic can we offer a hybrid model of working remotely and on site to reduce commute times?

What about restructuring societal norms? How do we normalize fathers taking paternity leave? How do we normalize it being ok for women to ask for help and admitting that they are struggling? Multigenerational homes? Cooperative living communities where childcare duties are shared?

I certainly can’t wave a magic wand and solve all of my own problems, so I won’t pretend like I have all the answers about this most challenging season in life. All I know is that I am tired, so I will share what I think might help in the meantime:

Bitches, give yourselves a fucking break. Stop making the gold standard so fucking hard. Give yourself permission to heat a store bought, frozen lasagna for dinner. Feed them hotdogs and pre-made subs from the deli. Hire a house cleaner. Skip the gym without guilt when you feel like you can’t add another thing to your plate. Build a village and take turns with the kids. Have your groceries delivered. Do the things that make all the bullshit easier however that looks like for you, and focus on spending time on the things that matter more.

And don’t forget to do a shot of tequila. Wash, rinse, repeat.

True gratitude includes being thankful for the stuff that sucks too.

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We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.

True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.

Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.

I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.

I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.

I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.

I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.

I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.

Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Vaccine Mandates for the Win

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This past week has been swirling with news and discussions about mask and vaccine mandates and the ever evolving situation with this pandemic from hell which feels like it will never ever, ever end.

I was asked yesterday in an interview with cbc radio where I stood on vaccine mandates. The answer is, right in front, leading the charge of YES PLEASE.

I’ve been sucking up my opinion about this the past few months because I work with a lot of different folks with different beliefs and I thought it would be cool to try to be respectful of that. I will also say that there are a lot of people who are choosing not to get vaccinated, but are also respectful of the hesitation of others to have contact with them due to that decision, and even others who are basically preferring to continue to isolate themselves rather than get vaccinated. This is not about them, because they are making choices based on their personal situations and willing to accept the limitations of those choices.

HOWEVER, if you are working with the public, or any vulnerable population which includes but is not limited to children, medically fragile, elderly, or impoverished folks I believe it should absolutely be mandated that you are vaccinated. By not doing so, you are putting those who have limited choices in receiving the services they require and have a right to (such as education or healthcare) at risk. Let’s put it this way: all children have a right to a public education and all people have a right to healthcare in this country, but we are not entitled to work in any given field. That puts the onus on the employees, the teachers, the doctors and the therapists to fulfill their mandate of providing a safe environment and making the well being of those they care for a priority.

In short: It is your right to decide what goes into your body, but you do not have a right to inflict that choice on others.

Employers create and implement policies for their staff ALL the time. The restaurant I worked at once upon a time had a strict policy about how many piercings you could have, how big they could be, no visible tattoos, and what colour your hair could be. It was based on the clients’ comfort level and response to said body modifications. To put that in terms of Covid vaccines, the “clients” have a right to feel safe in their environment and I think that gives employers the right to determine that their staff needs to accommodate the protection of their “clients” in order to be employed in that sector. While the vaccines are not perfect, especially with new variants in play, they remain one of our best tools to reduce transmission and the risk of severe illness. It will help us begin to focus on care for things other than Covid and emergencies in our health care system. It will help our kids stay in school and our economies to thrive again. Isn’t that what we all want? When we have cancer do we refuse treatment because we don’t know what’s in it? When you have a headache do you spend hours on the internet “researching” the ingredients and looking for adverse reactions of Tylenol? NO. Because many believe in the science when it is convenient for them. I can guarantee when someone refuse to take a vaccine due to lack of trust in the doctors recommending it, they will have an expectation that all of a sudden the same doctor will have enough skill and knowledge to help them get well. It’s all so fucking maddening if you ask me.

We are starting to see post secondary educational institutions mandate masks and vaccines with some school divisions following suit. Which leads me to congratulate the insight and leadership some institutions are showing, but ALSO begets the questions: Where the fuck is the leadership from our provincial government on this? Why is this being passed on to superintendents and university boards? We haven’t we seen hide nor hair of our “Health Minister” for months until all of a sudden she wants to be the Premier, holds a press conference and refuses to address or even acknowledge the crisis in our health care system. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

People get confused about rights and freedoms all the time. We tend to forget that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should, and also doesn’t mean we are entitled to. The only thing we seem to be experts at these days is finding arguments to confirm our own biases about anything. We are so focused on the ME, that we have no tolerance for the WE.

As members of society and communities, we have a moral obligation to care for others. How our selfishness has grown so deep that minor inconveniences have ballooned into heated political divide and such a severe lack of empathy that we are more willing to risk our children’s well being than implement the easiest of safety measures weighs heavily on me. How an unwillingness to protect our most valuable and vulnerable has evolved into an acceptable “opinion” is unfathomable.

So yes. I truly believe that vaccine mandates should be implemented in many sectors. It’s not even a new thing.Health care professionals when applying to study and children entering the public school system have historically been required to show proof of up to date immunizations, so this should be an easy transition.

I am grateful that my children’s school division has blazed the trail to mandate both masks and vaccines. I am relieved the campus I teach on has done the same. I am hoping our leaders will see what is occurring in other parts of the country and world and will act proactively this time around. There’s still time to prevent the disaster that is waiting for us this fall, so here’s hoping our government will listen a little harder this time around and do the job they promised to do.

Are People Shitty, Or Just Afraid? Does It Even Matter?

man doing dab position near beach

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I’ve been sitting here for several days, between trying to get work accomplished, continuing to educate my beautiful students, and being the parent that my children need.  Notice that I didn’t say “homeschool” my children, because I am not.  I do plenty of activities with them, play music and read and try to continue to enrich their lives as if we are just on an extended school break.  They are young, they will come out of this with fond memories of a time we slowed down enough to focus on each other, at least I hope so.

In between all of that, I have been purposefully changing my social media presence to simply include a brief account of what our lives are looking like during this piece of historical significance. I have also started purposefully avoiding getting into any more conversations about this pandemic, or the measures being taken, or the possible cures or anything politically related.

If there is one thing I enjoy under normal circumstances, it is a good debate or impassioned conversation with opposing viewpoints or opinions where two people can look at an issue from two very different sides and learn from one another and grow as humans.  I think that difficult conversations are important to be able to understand that there is not one thing in this world that is entirely black or white, and that almost always we all deserve a seat at the table.

These are not normal circumstances.  And I am no longer enjoying the debate.  In fact, at best some of these conversations are making me really sad, and at worst I am absolutely horrified and disappointed in some of the people that I know and love dearly and the things they are either saying or virtually applauding.

Look, I get it. This whole situation blows. Try being a fucking musician in times like these and see how worried you are about your employment prospects for the near future.  Other industries are on hold right now.  Everyone is anxious and exhausted and 100% not in control and that produces a fear response that a lot of times makes people do and say hurtful things.

For the record, COVID 19 is a super shit thing that the entire world is having to go through headfirst, blind, and pretty much with flailing arms.  We don’t have a radar screen to navigate by here, so most reasonable leaders are trying to use lessons from history to determine how best to sail through this storm.   It’s going to be messy, and imperfect, and expensive.  There will be much economic fall out from this and we are all going to have sacrifices to make.  

Ironically, people who have less are the ones who seem to be the most understanding of this.  The ones who have the most are so used to getting their own way and having access to all of their entitlements that they can’t fathom sacrificing one thing from their hoard of capitalistic treasures in order to create widespread benefit for the health and welfare of everyone else.  And really, this is what this pandemic is showing me.  That many of us are so selfish and tied to material things that we are willing to “sacrifice one old granny” rather than sit tight and ride out this storm with grace.

I’ve read the conspiracy theories and they are annoying, not fact based, and scientifically inaccurate.  People want to push through experimental treatments with total disregard for human safety.  They think it’s fine to just let hundreds of thousands of people die and allow millions suffer because it’s “less than 1% of the population” so far. They keep talking  about how the numbers are so low and we are all fools hell bent on their economic ruin.  Talking about how our children will have to pay the price for this.

I don’t know for sure, but I feel quite strongly that these are merely excuses because they are tired of being inconvenienced. They are worried about their current lifestyles being permanently affected. And in response to that fear,  some people have a put a price tag on the lives of the vulnerable and the elderly and poor. There is a line drawn in the sand about what has value and what does not, and there are so many people that I thought I knew who are on the wrong side of that line.

COVID 19 is not a socialist plot to fuck you over.  The financial aid being given out is not an irresponsible and frivolous act that will be the downfall of the country or world.  It is a much needed rainfall in an out of control blaze of fuckery and flame.

By the way, in 1918, communities that completely shut down in response to the pandemic social distancing recommendations had better economic outcomes and faster, steeper recoveries than the communities who ignored them.

I could go on and on in order to rebuke every ignorant and cruel comment I have seen lately but am I exhausted by the seemingly never ending dialogue of selfish, misinformed people who are slaves too busy worshiping their green paper gods to have any sense of what is right and good.  I am sure I will have to continue to bite my tongue and ignore this continued dickery once I post this article as I get bombarded with more hate messages and hurtful comments.

When this lockdown first started, I had a lot of hope.  Not hope that it would be quickly resolved, but hope that we would all be able to value this “Grand Pause” in our lives and see the meaningful things we are blessed with and for the first time in a long time, really appreciate them.  I thought that parents would see this as an opportunity to reconnect with their kids, and families to actually eat dinner together again and realize that the hamster wheel we’ve all been on for so long maybe was spinning beyond our control. I hoped that we would once again start to be able to distinguish the difference between want and need and realize that simpler lives may, well, simplify our existence.  Love, connection, health, peace….I thought those things might re-emerge.

And don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of beautiful people out there doing beautiful things,  among them the artists and young people and communities working together to support one another and brighten our days and reach out to help where needed.

But for many others…..there is an ugliness that is probably being inspired by fear and lack of control that is making them search for someone to be angry at, or an enemy to fight, or some other reason why none of this can be really happening. And I just don’t personally know what to do about that.  Probably nothing but just feel sad about it.

Anyway, Bitches, Stay well, stay safe.  Hold the fucking line.  See you all on the other side.

 

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