Thursday, August 28, 2014

Health Care Rights and Socialized Medicine

Let me just premise this for anyone who does not regularly read, that I live in Canada.  I have no knowledge working or otherwise of other socialized healthcare systems.  So if you live in say the UK some of what I say may not be applicable.

I recently read a conservative US blog in which the bloggers asserted that healthcare is not a right.  First of all, as a moderate I was dismayed.  And secondly as a Catholic I was appalled.  The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has repeatedly said basic healthcare is in fact a right.

Some of the most common arguments against healthcare is that 1)it's forcing the physician to perform a service and 2) healthcare is a good or service. 

Let's address the second first.  Healthcare, housing, education, and religious freedom are spoken as rights by the USCCB.  When they say rights, they are talking about access.  If for example a person is stabbed multiple times, regardless of the person's ability to pay, they have the right to have access to life-saving medical care that any wealthy person also has.  To deny that person access is to essentially allow for their murder.  This sort of thing rarely happens in the United States because people, regardless of ability to pay, usually are given life-saving care.  Doctors usually don't rifle through wallets to look for money or insurance cards.  So to say things like healthcare is not a right (but rather it's a good or service that is not guaranteed access to) falls a little short.  In a way, the US already has standards of medical care that require access.  At least for immediate life-saving care. 

For basic medical care that is not immediate life-threatening, that is where the USCCB and conservative bloggers disagree.  Which brings up the first point.

Education is the United States is both compulsory and in that vein having access to basic education is a right.  It is provided for by the individual states.  I was a teacher.  It was a career I chose knowing full well that regardless of gender and race and ability to pay, I would educate children.  I also knew that if I wanted to teach a Catholic-based morality I was safer teaching in a private school setting, which is usually to some extent regulated by the state.  Certainly what I would teach them would also be dictated.  To an extent, I can object to what I teach.  As a music teacher, if I find myself suddenly thrust into teaching P.E.  I could object since that's not what I signed up for.  If I find my working environment not very good (for whatever reason), I'm not a slave.  I'm free to quit and pursue a different career.  And since I know longer work as a teacher, I did quit and pursue other interests, namely staying home with my children.

Likewise being in the medical field has some inherent restrictions.  Doctors and nurses understand this when they sign on for employment.  If a Jehovah's witness wants to be a family doctor, they know that 1) they can't exactly refuse life-saving care to the stabbing victim if they cross paths but 2) they can refuse blood transfusions during surgery since they are trained family doctors, not surgeons.  They also aren't slaves.  They can quit. 

It seems a bit disingenuous to claim doctors are being forced when they know exactly what it is they are getting into and can opt out.  Unfortunately for the stabbing victim, they can't opt out.  They'd die.

This leaves one in a quandary when the medical field is largely privatized and education (which is equally a right) is largely public.  To combat this in Canada, they make basic healthcare something the government takes care of.  This has a number of problems:  1) what is basic and who decides this and 2) loss of freedom of choice.

In Canada what is considered basic has not been strictly defined by the government.  Rather it's the voters of the individual provinces who dictate what is basic or not.  In Ontario, for example abortions are considered basic healthcare even if people object because of religious reasons.  Oddly, things like prescription drug coverage (even for life saving drugs), dental care, and vision care for adults is not considered basic.  In other words, you have to have supplemental insurance that you pay for or pay for it out of your pocket. 

All of this is paid for by taxes.  You cannot opt out.  And what is basic healthcare coverage is the same for all persons (exception made for children who have vision coverage).  This means you loose the freedom of choice.  Someone did tell me that not to long ago Alberta allowed people to opt out of healthcare coverage and instead have their own privatized insurance.  But that loophole has since been closed.

How is that applicable to the US as it moves closer and closer to socialized medicine?

Well I don't think socialized medicine is necessarily a bad thing.  I think that having the voters dictate the type of covered benefits is crucial since I don't think abortion is a basic healthcare right.  I, however, believe that people should have the right to opt out.  The Amish, for example, are allowed to opt out of Medicare and Social Security.  It can just as easily be anyone who has an objection to the type of socialized care to opt out.  Currently we have a system where insurance is privatized and only those who are too poor or above a certain age have the ability to opt into a public healthcare insurance.  Why not open that option to all persons?  Why do we continue to try and run our healthcare as largely private instead of the other way around?  Cannot the two systems work together in a large population that the US has?  A number of countries have done a number of different things to help their healthcare including making insurance private but non-profit based.  Would that also help people gain more access and lower premiums? 

At any rate, basic healthcare is a right according to the USCCB, and Catholics need to be figuring out better ways to open up access to more people.  Obama thinks he knows how, but I disagree with his course of action.  Forcing people to have insurance is a restriction of freedom.  How about the government loosening it's reigns on healthcare instead?  At any rate, having a physician deny seeing you because of an ear infection and lack of funds is silly and potentially dangerous.  We shouldn't be forcing people to wait to the point that they clog emergency rooms.  Something needs to change.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sola-Skirt and Perpetuating the Lies

Let me begin by saying I've been debating this topic for a while.  I have an ear infection that I've been battling for a number of weeks, which leaves me feeling tired not to mention uncomfortable.  So I'm not much in a mood to contend with the crazies who come out of the woodwork over modesty standards.  But then Cam bravely wrote a post and so I said, oh what the heck.

I wear skirts.  I've written a couple of posts on the topic.

Before I got sick, I was at a play group with the kiddos.  And my friend R, bravely mentioned that she noticed I wear skirts.  She said I looked nice and asked me if it was part of my religion.  To soften the blow, she said her church growing up also promoted conservative dressing.  "No,"  I replied.  "I'm Catholic.  We don't have to wear skirts.  I just choose to."  And then I indicated that I wore skirts in part to look nicer especially since having children often leaves you covered in spit up and food.  It's one of the many reasons, but I didn't figure she needed the whole list.  She isn't the first to ask me if it was my religion.  My boss back in the day care asked the same thing.  Back then I wore skirts because it was required of me as a teacher to dress nicely.  My boss ended up encouraging us to wear scrubs so naturally I wore scrubs (including pants) for a while.

Some conservative Catholic circles would have you believe that wearing pants or sleeve-less shirts in public is against Church policy.  But that's not true.  Outside of the Vatican posting what is appropriate to wear inside St. Peter's, there is no official dress code for Catholics.  None.  If anyone tells you different they have been seriously misled or lying.  The only mention of modest dressing in the Catechism says it's a matter of conscience based on the cultural standards of where you live.  In other words, what I wear is probably not modest for someone living in Afghanistan. 

The two most common "guidelines" people promote are those on Mary-like modesty and those attributions which make it sound like the Church has some official dress code.  The first one was promoted by an American priest as a return to modesty.  It is extreme with shirts coming down to the wrists and skirts to the ankles, and it is not official.  It's his personal convictions.  As for the second one....  Modesty is talked about by various Popes, but no Pope has ever officially specified a type of dress.  The closest is a Bishop wrote a document to Catholic nuns in Italy about the type of dress in their schools.  The document says something to the affect that skirts should be worn to the knees and shirt sleeves to the elbows.  This was from the 1930s and later in the 1950s someone said that Pope Pius XI agreed.  However, there's no official Church teaching about such a dress code from Pope Pius XI.  In other words, it's not universally applicable.  There is equally an undocumented attribution to St. Padre Pio.  It's said that he would turn away women from the confessional whose skirts were shorter than 8 inches above the ankle.  As I said, there's no reason to believe that's true either.  In other words, the Church doesn't have such guidelines.  To add insult to injury...St. Gianna Molla is depicted wearing short-sleeve shirts and pants.

And it's because people believe this that I've had to give up some facebook groups.  I was part of one for a while, in part, because I enjoyed the modest fashion ideas.  Remember we are called to discern modesty, but there is no official dress code.  I eventually decided after much turmoil that it's periodic promotion of these false ideals as being Church "guidelines" was too much.  I watched horrified as several women including a published author ignored a fellow facebook user explaining that there are no "guidelines."  I mentally threw my hands up in the air and just unjoined the group.  "If this is what modesty is, devolving into pride and lies, then I want no part of it.  It isn't helping me in my discerning any longer,"  I thought.  Maybe I should start my own modesty discernment group.  But that's a big maybe.


Blossoming Joy
EWTN:  On Padre Pio's dress standards
EWTN:  No Official Dress Code
FishEaters Forum: Discussion about Modesty pamphlets

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Living in Canada

Things you may not realize while living in Canada...

1) Some of the provinces have milk in jugs- I know such a shocker.  Here in Ontario its in bags.  People rave about how wonderful it is.  Having lived here a year, I like the jug.  Spilling milk getting it out of the fridge.  Having to tuck it so that it's "closed."  All very annoying.  Currently there's a huge debate about giving us a 3L jug and I'm all for it.  Some people think it's going to create price gouging.  Ah well.  I like options.

2) Canadians work a shorter work week- In the US you have to work 35 hours plus to be considered full time.  The typical work week is 40.  30 hours is considered full time in Canada.  They typically work about 34-35 on average.  No wonder my husband and I are so confused by the seemingly laisez-faire, anything goes to working here.  He's used to having to knock himself out as academics often work up to 60 hour work weeks.  Contrast this to the people he sees at works and often says "I have no idea when they work.  I never see them."

3) Split attitudes when it comes to healthcare- Right now some government agency that regulates doctors is asking the public if they should change the regulations pertaining to private practicing doctors.  Apparently there were three doctors in Ottawa, who for religious reasons, don't prescribe birth control.  And this has people upset.  Granted there are 1) less doctors in Canada and 2) its socialized medicine.  But this whole attitude that 1) doctors can't practice if they have any kind of faith and 2) the patient can simply make demands from their doctor is totally mind boggling.  If this was an addictive pain pill they were getting upset over not being prescribed, would this even be an issue?  Being a doctor is a science but its not perfect.  That's why patients can go and seek outside opinions if they feel their health is at stake.  But that's not even at issue.  As a Huffpost piece explains, these are over pills that manufacturers are being sued about.  If the doctor believes it's unhealthy and the body of literature supports that belief, isn't it okay to not prescribe it?  Apparently not. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Answer me this: Ponyo and Butterflies

1) When you are driving you are most likely listening to....?

Small children chattering in the back or silence.  I rarely turn on the radio.  I don't like the Canadian stations (or at least the ones in London).  My children also don't like the music either.  They don't like it when I sing, but they sing.  Just the other day my four year old was singing the theme song from Ponyo.  But that was while traveling by wagon.  As in little red.

*cue my four year old asking me to hit replay a dozen times.  He likes to memorize stuff like this

You're welcome.

2) Do you prefer window or aisle?

Depends on the state of life I am in.  When I was single, it was window.  Than preggo definitely aisle.  And now with kids strapped into car seats, they get the window. We fly with seats.

3) What position to you sleep in and find yourself awake?

On my stomach.  Unless preggo than side.

4) Do you have fav inspirational quote or saying?

Patience is a virtue.  I need lots of patience.

5) When was the last time you attended...?
It's been a while since we took the kids to the zoo.  We've never been to a fair or circus or parade.  They travel to a lot of places.  We took the kids to several different parks and different places.  We've been a pioneer village.  We've been to several children's museums.  We've been to Niagra Falls.  We visited a botanical gardens and saw their butterfly exhibit.   The last place we went to was Mississippi to visit family.  Sometimes you don't need to go to far to have experiences.

Butterfly that landed on my arm.  Botanical Gardens of Niagra

6)  What's the best thing about summer?
Lack of snow.  I can throw my kids outdoors.  They just discovered a caterpillar is feasting on our tomato plant.  *sigh*  I hate being cooped up and having to struggle layers onto them.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Answer Me This- Touching, Cooking, and Driving

1) What's your favorite thing on Youtube?
Probably Father Barron.  He is both logical and wise.  He's also fairly moderate but faithful.  I cannot stand Michael Voris.  I'm sorry.  I just cannot.  The pencil gets to me like nails on a chalkboard.

2) Who taught you to drive?
My dad and one of the coaches (whose name escapes me) at my highschool driver's ed class.  We didn't exactly have a classroom so we met in a conference room, an old shower, and the weight room.  Then I got to hang out at the band hall while I waited my turn to drive the car.  I figured it was better than sitting in study hall.  This is what tax dollars go to people, watching driver's ed videos about drunk driving in an old shower room.

3) What's your fav thing to cook?
Nothing.  I cook because my husband doesn't like cooking and he works outside the house.  If anything I like baking to an extent.  But if I had my way I wouldn't cook a darn thing ever again and I would be just fine with that.

4) Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?
I'm a total non-hugger.  You are lucky to get a handshake out of me because I am so not a touchy-feely person at all.  The first time my parish priest hugged me it was...weird.  He's Indian (as in the country of India) and it's normal for him so I go with it.  We're friends so technically it's not really all that weird.  But touching from adults weirds me out.  Kids, I get, I was a teacher.  I am a mom.  Adults giving me hugs I have to seriously stop myself from saying "What in the heck are you doing?"  Oddly kissing on the cheek isn't so bad.  Maybe it's because I get that's a cultural thing.  Physically pressing oneself onto another person....that's a bit too much particularly if you are male.

5) Where do you pray best?
Somewhere where I am all alone and it's quiet.  Naturally this hardly ever happens.  It was a small blessing that when I went to visit my family nobody wanted to go to Mass with me.  Usually my Mass buddy is my four year old, but he declined (8am is a bit early).  I was able to pray an entire rosary before the start of Mass.  I consider this to be huge particularly since my prayers are something like "Prayers for the responders and the people in need" when I hear sirens.

6)  When was the last time you saw/spoke to your grandparents?
My paternal grandmother died a month before my 10th birthday.  I don't recall the last time I saw her. My maternal grandfather died when I was about 16/17.  The last time I saw him he was in the hospital.  My paternal grandfather died when I was 18 shortly before Christmas.  I was in college so I'm not sure but I think I saw him in a nursing home.  And my maternal grandmother I saw last week at a McDonald's.  As far as I know she's still alive and bothering my mother.  It's a generational thing I guess.  My grandmother doesn't get along with my mother and my mother and I don't get along well either.  Perhaps that's why I have no daughters.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014


1) So we had a lovely 4th of July weekend.  Our Canada Day weekend was not fun.  Hubby was sick until I convinced him to go to the doctor and get antibiotics.  And HB woke up, came into my room, and declared that he vomited on his bed.  Then we went through a bout at the other end and more vomiting until afternoon.  Not fun.

In contrast Hubby was peppy and nobody else caught the stomach bug.  We went to a birthday party on Saturday which was lovely.  The birthday boy's mom thought of us and bought my kids foam swords, which thrilled the swash buckling boy to bits.  He used some balloons that went home with us as practice for his skills.

I think we may have to look into fencing classes.

2) Sunday, we were supposed to bring up the gifts and take home the statue of the Holy Family.  A miscommunication and some KofCs brought them up.  After Mass I was able to procure the Holy Family.  We get to pray with the statue each night (or day) for a week in order to consecrate ourselves.  :)

Yesterday my two year old was looking at the Holy Family and somehow popped off St. Joseph's head!  He wasn't being rough with it so I have no idea how that happened.  We spent sometime frantically searching all of the kid-inaccessible places for the super glue.  He's back together.  shhhhh...Don't tell Father. 

3) Monday (yesterday) was our anniversary.  Hubby came home with some red carnations and a card.  I had wanted to do something, but with all the illness thing I didn't bother the babysitter.

And that's when I discovered that my sewing machine which had been acting finicky lately was skipping stitches.  So I'm sorry I won't be able to post all the dress pictures/instructions until that's fixed.  I did all the trouble shooting things in the manual, but I think it just needs to be serviced.  I would do that soonish but we're leaving in a little over a week out of country for a week.  So I'm just going to deal with that when we get back.

4) In the meantime I will just have to make do with all my other crafting, homemaking skills.  Like maybe getting around to working on my Sacred Heart cross stitch or framing something for Knee or tackling my bane.

See of all the crafty, homemaking skills I have, I have yet to conquer knots.  I shake my fist at them and say "Why, Knots, why?"  I've gone to knitting groups.  I've even taking a knitting class.  And finally I just gave up.  Maybe I'm not meant to do stuff with yarn.  Until I saw a facebook post of a lady who made a prayer shawl after crocheting for a month.  She said she learned from youtube posts.  And that reminded me of my friend S who said she took up crochet instead of knitting because she thought it would be easier.  So I mustered up my courage, shook my fists, and said, "Knots, I will conquer you!" in all my homemaker ferociousness.  I figured I could give crochet a chance especially since it's handy to have for knitting too.

Then I went and checked out from the library kids' books on crochet.  Kids' books?  Yes, kids' books.  I'm dumb.  Really dumb.  I figured the kids' version would be easy enough for me to figure out.  I already had a couple of skeins of yarn for kiddy projects (that don't involve knots).  I then went and bought some kiddie crochet hooks. 

For the first few days I spent time making slip knots and chains.  Repeatedly.  I did say I was dumb.  Now I'm up to making a dish rag with single crochet.  It looks awful (in my opinion), but I'm still practicing.  Next I'll tackle double crochet.  One of the kiddie books has a basic pattern for making fingerless gloves using double crochet.  If I can knit another dish rag in double crochet, I'll then be able to make a hideous version of fingerless gloves.

Knots, you will be conquered.

5) Today we walked to the library for the playgroup.  They had to cram us all into the small room because the other room was being painted.  And since the rooms are connected, we normally are in both.  One for toys.  The other for crafts.  After that I braved walking back in the drizzle.  We barely made it back home before it started picking up. 

And now I must stop procrastinating and tackle my laundry monster.  My kids slay imaginary stuff with swords.  I slay my own mommy things too.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Answer Me This

1) Have you ever walked out on a movie?
Not that I recall.  I did some pretty silly things in movie theatres like duck into one while waiting for my movie to start, but I don't recall hating one so badly that I left.

2) Do you abstain from meat on Fridays?
Sometimes.  It really all depends.  Last Friday (being on the 4th) was particularly hard.  But sometimes I forget and offer something else instead.  My kids are little and picky.  My husband is not Catholic.  This makes it difficult.  It will probably be something I enforce when the kids are old enough to understand.  In the meantime, there's plenty for me to give up or pray more about.

3) What do you use the most for blogging (in terms of laptop, desktop, etc)?
I use my laptop.  My phone is a flip phone.  I don't have a desktop.  And my kindle doesn't interface well with others.

4) Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
Yes, yes I have.  Nothing involving a break-in, but mostly in school with other children.  I've had markers, jackets, and the one time at the pool I left my sandals behind.  By the time I got back down from the hotel room they had been pinched.  Very very sad.  If you can't afford shoes, for heaven sakes just ask.  Don't steal them.

5) Do you identify as a member of an ethnic group?
Sure.  I'm American.  Technically that's a nationality.  How about a white chick?  My familial background is so muddled I can't exactly pick a particular ethnic group.  So I don't.  And I don't like checking Caucasian boxes either.  Hence saying I'm American.  That tells you enough about what languages I speak and what food I eat.

6) Seen anything weird lately?
You mean those pictures of those people with signs saying "Get my boss out of my bedroom." or something like that.  That's not really weird but totally non-sensical considering they want their boss to pay for their contraception.  So doesn't that invite your boss in?

I so did not take this picture.  I have no idea who to credit.

Or how about a priest saying Mass in sandals?  Wait that's not really weird either.  He's a discalced Carmelite.  Totally normal.

Nope.  Can't think of anything I've seen up close and personal that is weird.  Maybe it's the mom-dar.  Since I have kids nothing strikes me as bizarre anymore. 

Update:  I just thought of something.  Couple of weeks ago we went to the public beach and a couple had their two littles with them.  At first they had on clothing, but later they were roaming around stark naked.  It wouldn't bother me so much, but this is a public beach.  And I'm kinda a stickler about respecting children including keeping them clothed as much as parenting-ly possible.  So that was definitely odd.  The parents weren't trying to get them back into clothes or hurd them into a more private area either.

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