Grackles and Mice

Grackles and Mice

Thursday we had an ice storm. Luckily there was no loss of power where we live, so we were cozily tucked up at Mist Cottage for the duration. With one small exception. I wasn’t feeling at all well. What to do, no doctor here. So I took myself off to the Emergency Room at the hospital. The car was coated with about a half inch of ice, which Attila chipped away for me. It was a little slippery, so I crawled along the road, through the parking lot, to park as close as I could to the entrance. Most of the walkways were salted, but there were a few ice patches to contend with on the walk from the car to the Emergency Room, which I navigated without instance.

They checked out my heart, no problems there thank goodness. What I wasn’t expecting was the news that I have Chronic Kidney Disease. Who knew! I have had no specific symptoms, but in hindsight it makes sense. I am to follow up with my family doctor, which isn’t going to happen since his office is a five to six hour drive away. I have been researching the disease ever since, and now realize I needed more details to have any idea how to proceed with diet and lifestyle changes. I have come to the conclusion that I need a doctor to do more tests and clarify exactly what course of action needs to be taken with this. I hope we reach the top of the waiting list for a family doctor soon, I need a doctor.

There is a government provincial service that will place individuals with doctors, but the stipulation is that you must be completely without a doctor to qualify to put your name on that list, and there is no time line on placement. I do not qualify, as this agency specifically told me I cannot be on that list because I am still listed under the care of the doctor near the country house, so very far away. But I need that doctor to prescribe the medications I must take, and the Emergency Room at the hospital will not prescribe or renew medications of any kind. I must keep my distant doctor if I am to survive. But I am hobbled in finding a local doctor near Mist Cottage because I must keep my distant doctor to survive. Bureaucracy at its worst, in my opinion. It is insanity. I am hoping my GP near the country house will agree to consult with me from a distance, fingers crossed.

When I walked out to my car from the Emergency Room visit, the car was covered with a thick sheet of ice. Feeling in no condition to get out of the car and chip away at it, I sat with the heating fans blasting away at the windows until it melted, which took about fifteen minutes.

When I arrived home Attila was glad to see me. I was glad to be home.

Yesterday, Good Friday, began with freezing rain, which changed to rain for part of the day, then it began to snow. Again, we remained warm and dry and safe at home. The weather was doubly disappointing because Sister-the-youngest invited us to Easter Dinner with the family, and we missed it.

We are disappointed that we have a mouse in the house!

We heard a noise in the basement last week, something falling. We investigated and found nothing. Yesterday Attila discovered a bag of mung beans on the shelf in the basement that had escaped being stored in a glass jar. The bag had been chewed through, and there were mouse droppings all around. The presence of a mouse was confirmed.

We put out a glue trap, but no luck so far. We removed the bag of mung beans, and perused our food stores in the basement to ensure there were no other chewable containers available to the mouse/mice. Today we will be visiting the local hardware store to buy more glue traps. I want to put one in Iris as well, just in case some enterprising mouse has setup a household in there.

The Grackles continue to peck away at the wood covering the hole in the roof facia. So far Attila’s repair is holding fast against them. I don’t remember having to fight so hard to evict wildlife in a house before!

Attila has some ideas on sealing up some of the entry points that mice might be using. I think that will be one of our priority projects this summer.

As I sit here writing Attila sleeps soundly in the bedroom. The light of dawn is beginning to reveal the tree branches just outside the window, where birds are beginning to call. A thick frost coats every horizontal surface in sight. The enshrouded field and trees in the distance lie peacefully in icy silence. I love early morning.

Easter Monday

Yesterday, Sunday, was warm and sunny. Attila and I decided to go out to the Rideau Camp to have a look around. Technically we do not own it yet, but we will in a few days after the last of the legal work is done.

We had a nice walk around the bush, and even saw a magnificent Blue Heron in the nearby wetland. When I first saw the Heron I thought is was a piece of art plunked in the water, when it moved I was mesmerized. It slowly rose above the water on its great wings, and glided silently to the other side of the water, where is stood once again, silent and unmoving in the shallows.

We visit the Rideau Camp and plan and dream. It is very private, and when it is quiet it is very quiet. However, there are nearby cottages, and they are occupied by people with ATVs. The ATVs make a hell of racket. I hate them as much as I hate snowmobiles, because of the noise pollution. Thankfully the noisy machines were only used intermittently.

Our Rideau Camp is vacant land, almost. We have inherited a few items. One is a bag of garbage, mostly plastic items, that has been scattered all along the drainage area. I picked out four large empty vinegar bottles yesterday, flattened them, then bagged them for the recycling bin at Mist Cottage. There is more work to do on that score.

Another inheritance at the Rideau Camp, a high pile of old logs and brush. We will burn the brush and haven’t decided what to do with the old logs, which are partially rotted.
Pile of brush rideau
And another inheritance at the Rideau Camp. This is a septic tank. It is unused because it is cracked. We are thinking about what we can do with a cracked septic tank, it doesn’t seem that there are too many viable uses for it, but we will keep trying to think of something. Maybe a tree house for the grandkids, with a ladder. I don’t know!
Cracked septic tank

We returned home early in the afternoon so that Attila could get some sleep before heading out for the night shift.

This morning the weather is still mild, 10C, with rain and winds gusting to 80 kmh. My walk this morning was lovely, as I was warm in my parka, protected from wind and rain. The birds are in full spring celebration, and quite undaunted by the rain and wind.

We caught a mouse yesterday and reset the trap. Another mouse “bothered” the trap but did not get caught. We now know that there is more than one mouse in the house, so we need to keep baiting traps until we catch them all. Attila thinks they are coming down the outside of the chimney through the wall, which he is going to seal completely.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 AM EDT Saturday 26 March 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dewpoint: -5.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: calm

Date: 1:28 PM EDT Monday 28 March 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 7.2°C
Dewpoint: 4.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: SW 33 gust 45 km/h


“Humor is also a way of saying something serious.”
T. S. Eliot
1888 – 1965


  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    When I was first looking for a doctor it was possible to get a list of those accepting new patients from the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons. I don’t see the ability to search that way on their website anymore, unfortunately. 🙁 Perhaps this will help?

    I also saw a listing saying that some company health groups work with Best Doctors in Ontario. Attila might check with his insurance to see if you can get help from there.

    Seems like there use to be a way to bump you up the list based on an emergency but I can’t find information on it anymore.

    Wishing good luck in speedily finding a local doctor!

  2. Thanks Wendy! The news sure threw me for a loop, it was totally unexpected. The test results will take a week or more to make their way to the country GP, after waiting for him to get the results I will call to see if some sort of assistance can be arranged for me. I will have to keep plugging away at this, because I need blood work and an assessment, then an appointment with a dietitian. The internet is a good source of info, but for this issue the reliable sites are offering contradictory info about diet, so I need the dietitian to work with a doctor to find what is best for me, based on blood tests. I don’t have the info on the blood tests, so I can’t even attempt to assess my condition at this point.

  3. Teri

    I asked DH about how we got our doctor quickly when we moved here. Not being use to the system I didn’t remember what happened. What we did was call the local hospital and explain the problem to them, including that our doctor was more than a 45 minute drive from our new home. (That seemed to be a key.) They were able to pull up a list of doctors that were looking for patients and suggest several doctors to us. HTH

  4. Unfortunately Teri, the health care system has deteriorated to the point where the hospital just says goodbye and good luck. The last two times I was in at Emergency, the hospital doctor’s I saw told me there was nothing they could do to help me, they just advised me to “see my family doctor”, something they repeat even after I have told them that is a five hour drive away and not possible, and send me on my way, on my own, to figure things out without a family doctor. No one is responsible, no one at all. I’ll try calling the main hospital number and see what they have to say, but I pretty much know that they are just going to tell me the same thing… it isn’t our responsibility, there is nothing we can do for you, good luck deary!

  5. This whole situation reminds me of the Little Britain skits, where the “computer says no”…

    There was no one at the local hospital near Mist Cottage that has ever been rude in any way, everyone is quite friendly and approachable, it is a lovely hospital. The answers are the same though, “the system says no” on the issue of getting a family doctor, delivered as kindly as possible by hospital staff (not so for doctor’s receptionists).

    At the hospital near the country house there were several health care people who were this rude, I was too sick at the time to consider complaining, I just wanted out alive.

  6. Teri

    Hi, Maggie. I agree that it doesn’t work to ask about a doctor at Emerg. But for some reason phoning the hospital worked for us. Maybe it’s at a point where it wouldn’t work, but then again it might work.

    Not sure you saw my post 2 above Steve Paul’s post, as you didn’t say anything about it. There are a few suggestions there, too.

    Hope you find someone soon. It’s not fun to be without a doctor, especially when you’re not at your best.

  7. Teri, I did write a reply to you first comment, and darned if I know what I did to it, but it didn’t make it to the blog!

    Thank you for the suggestions, I have been calling the doctors in the area, all except those who I know would not handle my allergy well, word of mouth can be a good tool if used with a grain of salt. The link is very interesting, but not all the doctors on the list are accepting new patients. For instance, the Department Of Family Medicine, where a lot of the listed doctors work, can be contacted only through the receptionist, she screens all calls to the doctor, and she her very self told me that there were no openings and that there was either no room on the waiting list for me, or that there was no waiting list, I can’t really remember which. Any of the doctors working through the clinics are contacted through a gatekeeping receptionist, I talked to quite a few of them, and they all told me the same thing, not taking patients, no waiting list, or no room on the waiting list if there is one.

    The Best Doctors thing is interesting, Attila used to have that with the benefit package at his job near the country house, I will have to check the new benefit package. We aren’t sure I will be covered by Attila’s plan because I am legally a senior, we have yet to explore this.

    We are on a waiting list at a community clinic, and have been on the list since last October. I will call them again this week to see how we stand on that. They are the only entity taking people on a waiting list, so I imagine it is quite overwhelming for them, because this issue seems to be province wide, if the dozens of receptionists I’ve been talking to know anything about it.

  8. What a situation you are in! Diagnosed with a serious disease (?) and no way of attending to it there! This is a case for an investigative news reporter. Around here with have consumer advocates on the news stations and if you go to one, they will do a whole series on your situation and publicize the serious faults in the system, so that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, in the end. So many situations have been fixed that way, I would think your local newspapers or TV stations would be happy to entertain the possibility of making your individual case into a show or series, because you can’t be the ONLY one to have this problem! If you try to work within the system, you may never get help. You need to shine the spotlight of the press on it and maybe something will happen! At least that’s the way it works in the Boston area!

    Sorry about the mice. Mice are never alone in a house! Where there’s one, there’s always the whole family somewhere. I can remember long ago I had Halloween candy bars stored in a kitchen drawer inside a thick Tupperware container with a firmly locking lid. I opened the drawer one day to find a giant hole chewed right thru that container and a big mess all around it… those critters have teeth of steel!

  9. Bex, as of yesterday the only Doctor’s office in town that would take people on a waiting list had 300 people waiting for a doctor. I am near the top of that list, and I managed to get our names on that list last October. That means that in the last six months there have been 300 more people who have tried to get a family doctor. From what I am reading, there are people in a lot more serious trouble than I am that cannot get a family doctor; children with health issues, seniors, all kinds of people. And the figures I have are for a town. The nearby cities have similar issues, where we moved from, according to the staff at my doctor’s office there, are having to turn people away too. This is a systemic problem in Ontario, the deterioration taking place over the last decade, and just now being felt by the population. Of course, people who already have doctors don’t really notice it, their health care support system is in place. We didn’t really notice when we were living in the country because we had a family doctor, who continues to monitor things for us until we find a GP within driving distance.

    The upshot is that, as I found out yesterday, because I am close to the top of the waiting list at the clinic near Mist Cottage, I will hopefully have a doctor by the summer.

    So it isn’t just me facing this issue, there are at least 300 other people living near me that have this problem, which doesn’t even account for all the people who were ahead of me on the waiting list for the last six months.

    I did notice that the local government here put a notice in the newspaper asking people who couldn’t find a family doctor to send them an email message with a count of how many people in the household did not have a family doctor. It seems the municipal government is taking an interest in improving this situation.

    What I plan to do next week is contact my distant family doctor to ask if immediate action needs to be taken on the Chronic Kidney Disease issue. I have my fingers crossed that he will let me know if I need to find a walk in clinic immediately, or if I can safely wait until my name comes to the top of the waiting list.

    In the meantime, I discussed the issue with a friend here who is a nurse and midwife, and we came up with a few strategies that are benign and may take the pressure off my kidneys in the short term.

    The media idea is excellent, but since I am hoping to be at the top of the waiting list within a matter of months, I will leave it for now. I hate being the center of attention in the media, I have had experiences of this nature, in a positive way, and know that for me it involves a huge amount of stress. I do not thrive as a “poster girl”, even when it is good attention.

    I intend to keep an eye on how the municipal data, on those without family doctors, is collected and used. I sent them an email, with the info they needed, and lots and lots of comments, details, and suggestions.

    Mice! I hate them. The traps we put out on Monday are still empty, so perhaps we got them all, but it is too early to tell. I am keeping my eyes open, and spending a bit more time in the basement where they leave their little black calling cards.

  10. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Sorry to hear you don’t have that coverage, Maggie. Thank goodness you’re at the top of the list!

    When we moved to this area, it took us 3 years to find a doctor.

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