The Herd
The Herd

I spent the whole week at home, sick with what is most likely H1N1. The virus sucks, seriously sucks. I have been so fatigued that staying awake at times has been a real struggle. I have no appetite so having to eat in order to take medication has been a challenge facilitated by much generic gravol. I have had the fever (100.6 – doesn’t seem that high but when you consider that I usually run 1-2 degrees below normal it was bad), the sore throat, a little coughing and the headache. Then there is the sleep. I have slept the better part of the clock for the last 4 days. Twelve to fourteen hours at night and still waking up tired. The virus did not make it into my lungs and this morning when I woke up I had a glimpse of feeling better. I think Tamiflu helped but I cannot be sure.

So I have had a long time to ruminate about H1N1. I have other serious medical conditions like ulcerative colitis and asthma. My asthma is controlled, my colitis not so much. For all intents and purposes I seem to have survived this bout with the flu and I didn’t even get dehydrated or need a ventilator as the scare-mongers seem to think some of us will. I know people have died as a result of getting this virus but that happens every year with the seasonal flu.

This week has also seen the introduction of the H1N1 vaccine. Talk about confusion! Do you get adjuvanted vaccine or not? What should pregnant women have? Oh wait, they haven’t tested the vaccine on pregnant women. They haven’t even run clinical trials of the vaccine approved for use in Canada, by Health Canada, on Canadians! In a normal year, the seasonal flu vaccine would be tested on Canadians before approval goes out. The Canadian government has purchased millions upon millions of doses of vaccine to be put in the arms of every Canadian who wants it. Except no one bothered to check – only 1/3 of Canadians say they are going to get the vaccine according to a Maclean’s article this week.

Entitled “Swine Flu Fiasco,” Macleans tries to make sense of the virus, the risks and the vaccine. They try to make us all understand that for a virus to be called a ‘pandemic virus’ it does not have to be more lethal than regular flu virus. All of this is good except for the ending which you would have thought was written by Health Canada. They go on to explain why it is necessary for at least 70% of the population to get the vaccine – apparently it creates something called ‘herd immunity.’ At least they were finally being truthful. Our government bureaucrats sees us sheep, who can be herded together to take this concoction that we are not even sure we need. As I was reading this article I was reveling in the fact that I would not have to have the vaccine as I likely have had the flu already. Apparently I was wrong. They are recommending that people who have already had the flu get vaccinated too! Seriously? On what planet does this make sense? We are talking about the H1N1 virus, which has not mutated as of yet, vaccine. Why would anyone want to introduce more of it into their bodies along with all the other chemicals and adjuvants etc?

I think the truth is more along the lines that the government (and all Western countries and the WHO) have over-reacted to this virus. They have been waiting for a pandemic and when H1N1 appeared they all could not have been happier because now they can try out all their plans, manufacture a bunch of vaccine and hope that the little sheep will all take it. I think they are going to find that they are wrong this time. I only know one person who is going to get this vaccine and for him it makes sense. Clearly they are going to have to study ‘herd immunity’ somewhere else as normally complacent Canadians do not seem to be willing to be sheep and roll up our sleeves this year.


I ask questions…

I posted this on Facebook too but I thought I might get different answers here:

Question of the day: Why is it that some dogs think that walking in front of you is a good thing? Seriously folks – I need to figure this one out. Routinely Keifer (130 lbs) and Tucker (70 pounds) stand up as soon as I do, they stand in front of me and then we all try to get down the hall together. Massive fail!

Disturbing Mail

We have done a little bit more investigating about the religious mail we had in our mailbox about 2 weeks. It seems that we were visited by some ‘religious’ types about a week before the tracts showed up. They were promptly dismissed by A when she answered the door. Deb’s friend, E, suggested that perhaps it was them as they could google the address and get our names. Sure enough, when I plugged our address into google our names came up, the same they were written on the envelope. I think it is likely that this was the source of the religious propaganda.

Zoe and Gemma Joy’s First Thanksgiving!

Every time a new dog enters our lives we celebrate their ‘firsts.’ Their first roast beef dinner, their first chicken dinner etc. Holidays are no exceptions. We generally fast the dogs on turkey days so they do not get sick. This year was no different.

Zoe and Gemma waiting for turkey dinner
Zoe and Gemma waiting for turkey dinner

In this pic you can see the bandage on Zoe’s abcessed paw. We also found out why one of her eyes is smaller than the other. Apparently she is blind in her right eye and it is quite noticeably smaller than her other eye.

Notice how her right eye is smaller than the left.
Notice how her right eye is smaller than the left.

The vet thinks that she was injured and it was never treated which is why she is now blind in that eye and it is significantly smaller. I hate hearing this kind of thing. I can’t stand to see her in pain because of her foot. Even though we were doing a big Thanksgiving dinner and had a guest coming I ran her into Vancouver to the vet so she could get some relief. The thought of our precious Gemma and Zoe living outside, having litter after litter of puppies, being injured and not getting proper vet care is horrifying. We can’t do anything about their pasts but we can sure as hell make sure that they have a great life! I think I will adopt an idea that my friend Heather had – we will make Thanksgiving Zoe’s birthday. The vet said she was 9 or 10, so today is Zoe’s 9th birthday. Zoe will go in for a dental on Wednesday, she will have her foot drained and an ear flushed. She will be good as new! The best news was that her heart and lungs were good and she does not have mammary tumors – always a worry with former puppy mill dogs, actually in any dog that has not been spayed.

So, back to the topic of this post. This is what they were waiting for:

Thanksgiving turkey 2009
Thanksgiving turkey 2009

We had our usual turkey from Hopcott Premium Meats – who also donated 50 pounds of ground beef to the not for profit where I work. Their beef is awesome and all their meat is high quality without all the hormones and antibiotics. If you are ever out in Pitt Meadows drop in and see them. They also have great, in season, local vegetables, preserves and other things in the store.

Thanksgiving 2009 was a great success! Deb made every kind of vegetable possible: squash, candied yams, carrots, green beans, brussel sprouts, turnip, parsnips, mashed potatoes and we had homemade stuffing too! We had our friend ME over and enjoyed lively, informative conversation. Oh and the dogs? Well the dogs ate their body weight in turkey and vegetables. None of them went to bed hungry!

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. It is one of the few without religious overtones. I love the idea of taking time to be thankful for what you have in your life. Telling people how much you value them is a cathartic act as it makes us grateful for what we have rather than always looking for what we don’t. I think we are all richer when we take a moment, appreciate it and value it. I know that I have done that this weekend and I feel refreshed and rejuvenated for the week ahead with a better attitude.


In our mail today.
In our mail today.

I picked up the mail today as I usually do on my way home. We live in the country and we do not have mail delivery to our door. In amongst the usual detritus from Canada Post was a hand-written envelope that did not have a return address on it or our postal code. I did not think much of it when I picked it up. I actually thought it was probably a thank you card and a tax receipt from a rescue we had donated to recently. Boy was I wrong.

Deb opened the envelope and inside were a bunch of religious tracts. At first we thought whoever sent them was a Jehovah’s Witness because of the one on blood. However, after further reading and investigation it appears that it is some wing nut evangelical christian who has sent this to us. Most of the tracts come from Moments with the Book. This appears to be an evangelical site selling tracts to other believers. The others come from Evangelical Tracts – which is based in Canada. The front page of their website describes how happy the youth are who have just received their tracts as they get ready to spread the word in Hong Kong. Very disturbing indeed!

We both feel like we have been violated. The fact that there is someone out there who knows us and who has chosen to send us this crap is, well, disturbing. There is a feeling of being violated as we would never allow this stuff into our house. Now, we are trying to figure out who sent it. We had some religious people at the door a couple of weeks ago – did they do it? We are going through everyone we know trying to figure out if they could have sent it. We really have no idea who sent it. We can’t glean much from the envelope except that whoever wrote knows cursive writing quite well. We believe it was mailed very close to our house as it is stamped with our postal code. Other than that we are stymied.