Friday, September 17, 2021

Caught in the Crossfire

 I posted several notices on Facebook asking you to sign in support of the optometrist's job action. 

 After three decades of being underpaid by the government, the optometrists felt it was time to take a stand. Over the past thirty years, the increase in the payment they receive has only gone up by a total of $5 while the number of seniors needing their services has increased by 70 percent. The average cost for an optometrist to see a patient is $80 and they are getting less than $50 of that from the government for seniors and children. To see all those patients who are covered by OHIP every year at such a loss is just not sustainable. They want that gap filled, and who can blame them. Right now that money is coming out of their own pockets

When I posted those requests to sign in support of the optometrists, I thought that if I did need to go see one I would just have to pay like all the other adults who have not become seniors yet. Well, it turns out that the government has made it illegal for those who are eligible for OHIP services to pay out of pocket for an eye exam.  That means that if we need to see our eye doctor, we simply cannot. As of the beginning of September, the optometrists taking part in this job action are not allowed to see us.  That means that all those patients that use over four million services on an annual basis no longer have access to optometry services. 

I recently had cataract surgery and needed new glasses to read with afterward. I got them but I find that they don't work well for me. I took them back to where I got them and the prescription was checked and was correct. I was told to go back to my eye doctor.  I did that yesterday. Or tried to.  A technician there also checked my glasses against the prescription and once again no problem was found.  I explained that when I try to read I keep finding myself closing one eye. She tried to get the optometrist to see me, and was told the doctor was not allowed because I was covered by OHIP.  While I totally support her position, I find myself caught in the crossfire. I have read a few stories in the news of others with even worse problems so the sooner this job action is settled, the better.  

I have been put on a list......a very long list, I'm be called when an appointment can legally be made.  But just think of how many people who would normally have regular appointments, let alone ones for problems, will be on this ever-growing list. It's bad enough things have slowed down due to the pandemic, but this is going to create a real bottleneck once the offices are open once again to seniors. 

Please contact your MPP and help get this problem solved.  Even if you are not personally affected, I'm sure there is someone in your life who will be. Here's the link you need.  Home - Save Eye Care

Thank you.

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Day I Became "The Karen"

My name is Karen, but really, it's not pronounced the way you are reading it. This is a good thing lately because people are making rather derogatory remarks about Karens.

I recently had my cataracts done, both on the same day. Two days before the surgery I was to start taking two of the three kinds of drops I needed to keep my eyes healthy and heal well after this procedure. The antibiotics drops were fine but another one meant to reduce inflamation made my face itch, my nose bleed, and gave me diarrhea. Worse than that, it made me dizzy. That didn't go away even when I tried to lie down.

I was actually afraid to take any more of the drop that was causing the problem so first thing in the morning I called the ophthalmologist's office. As expected, I just got an answering machine. This was very worrisome since I had left a question several days before and had still not gotten an answer and my surgery was to be the very next day. My hubby decided to go talk to the pharmacist. They are very helpful at our local drug store and offered to try faxing the ophthalmologist's office as that might get through sooner. The pharmacist also said that of the three drops I would be taking, the one that was causing the problem was the least important.  

Meanwhile, the hospital phoned with the time for me to show up for my surgery and I explained the problem to them too. The lady said she would also try to reach the doctor but that she would be calling the same line as me so suggested I just keep trying.  

I don't know which message the office eventually got but someone finally phoned and told me it was okay to discontinue that particular drop and repeated what the pharmacist said. It was the least important of them all. That was a relief!

The day after the surgery I had to go for a follow-up appointment at the ophthalmologist's office.  I presented my health card, and the receptionist looked at it and said, "Oh, The Karen!"  I told her I was sorry if I was coming at her from all directions but timing was of the essence and not knowing what to do was the most nerve-wracking thing about this surgery. 

I have never been so glad that my dad named me after a Norwegian lady he knew.  I will definitely be correcting people's pronunciation of my name until all this blows over.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

I'm Rusting Away!

In the past few weeks, I've basically been told I'm getting old three times by three different doctors. 

First I saw a dermatologist about a spot on my face and while I was there I showed her some other spots that have arrived in recent years. She reassured me that they were just something that came with age.  I'm not sure that made me feel any better but at least I knew the blemishes were nothing to worry about.

Then I called my eye doctor for my annual check-up and when I was told they were currently booking appointments in July I mentioned a problem that had just come up a couple of weeks ago and asked if it might be related to my cataracts. I have an appointment with the eye specialist about those before July. The receptionist kindly said she would pull my file and consult the doctor who phoned me back a little while later to ask more questions. She said it may be related to cataracts or it might just be a thing that happens to older people. If she gets an opening sooner than July she will have me come in so she can evaluate the situation.

Then today I had a little phone consultation with my general practitioner. I have been having trouble with a shoulder for a while now and it was long past time for it to heal on its own. He listened to me explain the problem, asked a few more questions, and then told me he thought it was one of two things, but the underlying theme seemed to be degeneration due to age.  At least he didn't come right out and tell me I was just getting old and to get used to it.  He prescribed pills to try to help me sleep through the night and if that doesn't work, I can go for physiotherapy. In the meantime, now that I've heard what the conditions may be I can look them up online and find the exercises there.  At least I'm not too old to do that!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

A New Ketchup Label for Heinz

 The Heinz company anonymously asked people worldwide to draw ketchup. What most people drew was a bottle of Heinz ketchup. Then Kraft Heinz Canada decided to make a contest out of it with everyone openly knowing that Heinz was the sponsor. They promised to supply a bottle of ketchup to the winners with a personalized label made from their own drawing. This sounded like fun to me.

The instructions were not detailed in any way. They just said to draw ketchup and told us how to post the results.  Well, I had a ketchup bottle in the fridge and had drawn a hamburger for Inktober, so I decided to add a little ketchup to the burger and redraw it beside my bottle. Unfortunately, I started with the burger and ran out of room at the top of the page so my bottle got a little squished. I sent it in anyway.

My little painting was quite popular on my social media channels. Apparently, Heinz liked it too as I became one of the 250 lucky people to be honoured with a bottle of ketchup bearing my own personally drawn label. 

 At first, I thought they had sent me the wrong bottle as they had removed the burger from my painting. They just needed the label I drew to put on my bottle. Then I recognized my screwy lettering and knew it was mine after all.  Removing the burger also meant that the measurement of the bottle contents disappeared because only part of it was visible. Or maybe they would have removed it anyway as the bottle I drew contained much more than the bottle they sent me.

My bottle arrived this week in its own special Draw Ketchup box with my name and town printed right under the bottle in the box. This is a keepsake for sure. The question remains, do I use the ketchup and just save the bottle, or do I keep the whole thing intact?  What would you do?

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

It's Time to Revamp the Postal System

Our postal system is broken.  I suppose you could blame that on Covid-19 as a lot more people are ordering things online and the Post Office has failed to keep up with the demand.  But come on, already. They have had almost an entire year to get their act together.

Parcels now routinely take an entire month to get here, and then we have to wait in line out in the Canadian winter weather, to fetch them because our tiny Post Office only has room for two people in the office at one time.  The main problem is not here though.  For the third time now, I have tracked a parcel that almost gets here and then goes on an adventure to somewhere else.  

My most recent shipment was sent from Stratford and then got stalled at Mississauga due to the Covid-19 outbreak there.  Then somehow it went to Lanark by mistake. It made it back to within 12 miles of me yesterday. I went to the Post Office today thinking it might actually be there.  But no.  For some unknown reason, it is now in Ottawa again.  It usually takes two days to get out of there so I may get it by the end of this week if it doesn't go traveling again.  

Traveling parcels seem to be a thing this past year.  One went by here on the highway twice without stopping while I watched the tracking notices.  It was little, like the current one, and I thought it had just dropped between the others and been forgotten when other things were dropped off. Another package got as far as Ottawa twice but then went to both Winnipeg and Montreal before it got to me. What I'm being told is there is a shortage of shipping containers, so things get stalled. I figure things get so busy in Ottawa they don't even have room to take them off the truck and just send them on to some other location to deal with. That's highly inefficient!

The system is overloaded and cannot handle the traffic as it stands. When workers are sick matters get even worse. It's time the government realized that this pandemic will not end soon and that many people will now continue to buy online even once it's over. The Post Office seems to have done nothing to prepare for the ongoing work overload.  

Locally there is a little truck that in less busy times sometimes actually tried to deliver the odd parcel. These days when that really would help the situation downtown, that's not happening. And since there is always a need for someone at the counter now, dealing with people shipping or picking up parcels, that must slow down the sorting behind the scenes too. 

It's time for Canada Post to hire more workers, buy more shipping containers and perhaps enlarge their shipping and receiving areas. Right now, the old American Pony Express system seems more efficient.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Five Star Reviews

 As most of my friends on social media know, I frequently do reviews on new products supplied to me by the manufacturers or through agencies such as Topbox, Shopper Army or Chickadvisor.   I always give my honest opinion.  While I have been introduced to many products that I have happily continued to purchase there have been others that I didn't like for one reason or another and said so in my reviews.

I also so surveys, not just for the mad money it brings in (I have collected $90 this month) but also because I am rather opinionated (cough, cough) and like having an outlet for that.  I have noticed one question has been popping up frequently in recent months about reviews.  They ask if I trust the reviews posted on Amazon or Walmart, etc.  Well, of course I do because I am one of the reviewers.  I always figured if I was provided with a product and told that a negative review would not affect my chance at getting others to test then anyone who bothers to review something they didn't get for free would also be truthful.  So yes  I trust the reviews but always read several because personal tastes and options vary.

The items I receive for free are often posted on my Instagram page.  This week I got a message on Instagram offering me more free stuff if I gave 5 Star reviews on Amazon. 

What? They want me to jeopardize my integrity?  No way!  I looked into this further and found that small companies and knock-off artists wanted good ratings to help boost their sales. I want no part of that.  I will continue to give my honest opinion in my reviews but now I will be suspicious of any actual 5 Star ratings.  Personally, I seldom go higher than 4 Stars as I believe there is almost always room for improvement. Now I will be very wary of 5 Star reviews!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Good Food From Leftover Scraps

These days, with more and more people being at home and maybe not wanting to venture out to the grocery store, there is a lot more home cooking going on.  People are learning to bake, make their own bread and soups, and finding out that cooking can actually be fun.  I have been at home for almost 47 years and have always cooked the family meals anyway, but I still tend to use recipes for most of what I cook.

A few years ago a lady at the Drop-In Centre I like to hang out at came up with the idea of making Stone Soup once a month. I had never heard of stone soup before so she explained it to us all.  It seems a traveler came to a village where he found the people unwilling to share their food. He filled his pot with water and a stone and set it on the fire. When asked what he was doing he told the people that he was making stone soup and that it was really good. He said he would share it with them but it needed something extra before it would be ready. Each villager contributed a little something to the pot and in the end, the whole village was able to enjoy a delicious soup without denting their precious food supplies.

I have made many soups over the years but I had never heard of this, and I always used a recipe.  The soups we had at the Drop-In Center were marvelous and never the same. Suddenly I was feeling much braver. Throw stuff in a pot and eat.  What a concept! 

I have an Instant Pot. To cook anything in there you have to add liquid first. Juices off the meats fall into the liquid and make such marvelous juices and I began saving them in the freezer.  Now I combine a couple and maybe add some bouillon or store-bought broth to it to make more, and throw in whatever happens to be in my fridge....leftover corn, bits of meat, maybe some cooked pasta or doesn't matter.  The combinations are endless and I doubt that I could ever duplicate anything. I do remember that the juices from a country chicken dinner and those from barbequed flavoured spare ribs together were totally amazing.  Who knew?  And just like the villagers, I feel that I'm getting a good, hardy meal (a few actually) out of free bits that might otherwise have ended up in the garbage or down the drain.  

A bit of homemade bread just adds to the enjoyment.

Or, since we are using leftovers from the fridge, how about some potato buns?  Enjoy.