Not Enough On The Inside

Sometimes I find that my spirit is occupied too much on the outside, and not enough on the inside. This is one of those times. It crept up slowly. There are several circumstances in my world that lead my inner being to ponder the greater world around me. One is very close to my heart, my Mom’s challenge in dealing with a health condition, and a tortuous treatment to remedy the condition. The condition has nothing to do with Mom’s age. The other is volunteer work that requires my mind to think in depth about aging on a global scale.

Thoughts on Aging

Aging is not an easy experience for most people. It can be challenging in any number of ways, some of them shared by most people, and others idiosyncratic to an individuals life path and genetic inheritance.

Quite a few people attempt to remain “young”, in various ways.

Youth is a phase, like spring is a season.

We are who we are for the whole of our lives, evolving as time passes. We experience changes from the outset, in the womb. We need assistance through some phases of our existence, such as during infancy, or at any phase in the life span due to circumstance. Some changes are not pleasant, particularly when they involve pain, loss of social or physical functioning, or loss of loved ones. Some changes are welcome, as when the first tooth finally and painfully emerges from an infant’s gum. Through it all, we are who we are.

We live in a broad social culture where aging is feared, and therefore denied, ignored, or even reviled. This is, in my opinion, not so much because aging has some unpleasant side effects, or that it brings with it the reminder that life is finite, but rather that aging brings clarity, if not wisdom. Clarity is not good for business, and poorly serves the purposes of the economic machines that humans have created for themselves here on the blue planet. Age brings into focus what is important, and what is not. Experience makes all the difference.

Attila has just found out that we are now covered by the health care benefits at his job. Thank goodness! Not that we need to use them right now, but it is a comfort to me to know that if the need arises, we have a safety net.

There is one last puzzle piece to put into place in our health care strategy. Our family doctor is a five to six hour drive away from where we live, and impossible for us to visit during office hours. We moved, but we are unable to find a doctor where we now live at Mist Cottage. For now we are visiting the emergency department at the local hospital, when health issues arise, and having the records sent to our family doctor in the country, who kindly continues to monitor our health care. If we have not found a doctor closer to where we live by summer, we are considering spending our one week holiday in the area where our current doctor’s office is located, so that we can attend appointments with him. This is less than ideal in so many ways. There is danger that the continuity of care will fail for us, as the records of what goes on at the hospital are not always travelling the distance to our family doctor near the country house. The expense of administering primary health care in an emergency setting is outrageous, costing the taxpayers a great deal of money. In my case the stress of not having consistent dependable access to a health care professional who understands the ins and outs of my anaphylaxis can be extreme.

I phoned every doctor’s office within 20 km of the house, only one, a public clinic running as a social service, agreed to add us to a waiting list, which was done last October. The last I heard we might reach the top of the list sometime in late spring. Unless of course, I miss the ONE telephone call they make to tell you are at the top of the list. If you miss that call the next person is offered the spot. More tension. I carry my cell phone everywhere, even when I go out the bathroom, or out the door to check the mailbox, or into the back yard to empty the compost bin. It would be disastrous to miss that one call, and there is no way to know when it might come.

After settling securely in with my new and wonderful pharmacy, I felt confident enough to attempt to give feedback to Shopper’s Drug Mart about my bad experiences at their pharmacy. I decided against approaching the manager of the pharmacy, because there was no contact information available, and I was totally unwilling to deal with the pharmacist again, in order to get the information about the manager. This turned out to be a wise decision. Attila and I were in the store last week, not visiting the pharmacy, but seeking other items in the store. When I walked by the pharmacy, the woman who works with the pharmacist suddenly and jarringly launched into very friendly comments to the pharmacist, in an extremely loud voice. The volume, and the fact that at no other time in past had these two even spoken to one another in my presence, had no other purpose but to make a point with me. I was so glad I did not seek any further contact with the employees at that pharmacy! I will continue to shop in the store at any time I feel the urge, and will ignore the pharmacy staff there.

What I decided to do with my complaint was to call Shopper’s Drug Mart customer service. The call was answered by a machine telling me that the number I was calling was not available. I called Shopper’s Drug Mart head office, she tried the number and said that yes, the number was indeed not available, that she could not register my complaint, nor could she put me in touch with anyone who could register my complaint. Then I called Loblaws’ head office, as Shopper’s Drug Mart is a subsidiary of Loblaws. The woman who spoke with me was totally unaware that Shoppers Drug Mart was a subsidiary of Loblaws, and suggested I call Shoppers Drug Mart. Hmmm… I did that already. I got a bit assertive and she finally gave me the number of a Loblaws person, a Pauline Spence, who did not answer the telephone, but a machine offered to take a message and return my call. I left a message on February 9th, there has been no response thus far.

I am dropping this fruitless and stressful attempt to give this company feedback.

The next person to receive dangerous misinformation at Shoppers Drug Mart might just be someone important, to someone important. Then there will be consequences. I hope karma catches up with these employees sooner rather than later, and in a harmless-to-others form. It is the end of the matter for me, unless I read that they have harmed someone, then I will come forward.

Hopefully we will put our health care provision concerns to rest soon.

It was such a lovely sunny day today that I headed out for walk. It was a crisp -5C, the air sharp and clear, the sky blue overhead, the pavement dry beneath my feet. Oh how I love to walk!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 22 February 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.2°C
Dewpoint: -17.0°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: NE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -17


“If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority.”
Yugoslav Proverb

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Bex Crowell

I know you’ve put the matter to rest for now, but what about a call or note to the local newspaper about your story with the pharmacy… might be a good little story they’d want. Since you could get no satisfaction otherwise… or a local TV station… we have reporters who do stories for consumers when they have a beef about something and they get results!

Still the Lucky Few

So glad you went for a walk to clear your head after that experience! It seems we are powerless when we have a complaint against a large corporation. Unless, of course, we are prepared to go the distance, even to the point at which we hire a lawyer. Sorry you had to go through all that!