Saturday, November 13, 2010

To thank a veteren

Looking for at least 101 ways to thank a veteren? Then check out this post:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dolphin rescues

In the spring of 2005, I joined the ranks of some of the world's few and was able to swim with a dolphin. It happened in Cozumel, Mexico, which was one of our cruise ship's ports of call. As you can see, I loved it and rate it among one of the coolest things I've been fortunate enough to try.

Since seeing The Cove, I'm now more aware of what actually happens to dolphins that are brought into captivity, though, and it really is a sad, sad tale.

This little one was rescued just a few days ago from a beach in Europe, where it's believed to have been injured in some fishing nets.

The accompanying articles on this photo offered little by way of details, so I'm left to wonder about the fate of this little one. Will it be rehabilitated and then kept to live in captivity? Or will it be released into the wild once more?

And what of its mother? Will it survive in the wild without her, even if introduced to another pod of dolphins?

Given that I attained my wildlife biology degree in land-locked Alberta, dolphins clearly aren't my area of expertise. But regardless of where this little one ends up, I hope that it goes on to live a long, happy life.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Even Oprah camps

In late September, my husband and I sat in on a seminar put on by a self-made millionaire. He was highly charismatic, keeping us entertained with anecdotes about why his wife is so happy and carefree (because she's rich, duh).

And he also helped us to put our lives into perspective by asking the question: Why do we live to work? We go around and around, working 9-5 jobs day in and day out, only looking forward to a two-week vacation each year.... and then we do it all over again.


An interesting question for sure, and it's caused much reflection in our household.

There was one statement he made, however, that didn't sit well with us at all. He took the stance that, "Only poor people go camping."

Sure, the financially strapped are more likely to camp for a weekend vs. staying at an all-inclusive resort, but to suggest that camping is a past-time of only the poor is being more than a little arrogant.

My husband and I are neither rich nor poor, yet we manage to "rough it" just as often as we spoil ourselves in the Caribbean each year.

Heck, even Oprah and her best friend Gayle King spent a weekend camping in Yosemite this year!

Hopefully their adventure served to inspire others (including the rich!) to take the plunge and rough it for at least a weekend each year. But the one thing Oprah warned viewers of is that camping really is A LOT of work.

Maybe that's why a certain someone is adamant about staying away.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ode to Pap

An estimated 500,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide each year, with nearly half of them actually succumbing to their illness. In August 2009, my friend Angie was one of those women.

Prior to her diagnosis, Angie was in the best shape of her life. She'd quit smoking in recent years and was finally down to a healthy weight. She also always made a point of having a Pap test done each year at her annual physical, so her diagnosis of advanced cervical cancer was a definite shock.

Specialists told her that the cancer cells may have developed shortly after her last test was done, or maybe they were present but so small during the exam that they went undetected. So despite her annual Pap test, Angie was essentially the victim of some bad luck.

Regardless of the unfortunate timing of Angie's exam, I still believe that annual Pap testing should be necessary during physical exams. And this is exactly why I was shocked to hear from my doctor today that the new recommendation is to only test once every three years.

Three years!

It took Angie less than a year to die from cervical cancer, but the new norm is to only test for it once every three years!

I expressed my concern about this to my doctor this morning, and, to her credit, she was more than willing to abide by my request to continue with the annual testing.

Granted, I come from the school of thought that preventive exams and testing should be mandatory, including full-body xrays and full-panel bloodwork, but still. Given that these tests are inclusive with my Canadian health care, why wouldn't I take full advantage and dabble in some preventive medicine?

After all, I assure you that the alternative -- chemotherapy, drugs, repeated testing, hospital stays, and, eventually, death -- would be far more costly.