Category - Health

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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer
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Three Nurses Whose Secret Medicine Makes Them Exceptional
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The Truth About Our Drinking Water and The Urgent State of Our Environment
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Epilepsy
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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Social media, cell phones, texting — we have instant access to each other 24 hours a day. We tend to log in and tune out. Canadians spend more time online than any other country. This can mean that every member of a family is online on their own device, even in the same room. I just emailed this shocking fact to my husband sitting across from me on the couch. Many parents have expressed concern about technology’s intrusion into their family time. I feel it. Do you? I grew up pre-internet, so I learned how to maintain a conversation and can easily make human contact without being digitally connected. But can I say the same about my children?  Even if we limit our kids’ screen time, their learning and social skills are still impacted by OUR screen time. Have you ever shushed your child so you could finish composing an email? Have you looked away during your child’s soccer game to post an Instagram photo? Have you texted from the dinner table in the middle of your son telling you about his French test? Not proud of it, but I’ve done all of these[…]

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Three Nurses Whose Secret Medicine Makes Them Exceptional

When I was in University, the nursing students were cool AF. As I rotated between sociology and anthropology lectures (not cool as anything) I admired them. They were good at science and not afraid of blood, needles or germs. Other than nursing a few hangovers, and “Nightingaling” my kids over the years, a career in nursing wasn’t in the cards for me. Though nurturing by nature, blood, needles, and hospital smells have been known to make me faint. Plus science is like, really hard.  So thank god for nurses—qualified, kind-hearted, non-fainting souls—who have taken great care of my family over the years. As the parent of a child with a disability, I’ve had my share of interactions with nurses—mostly positive. There were a few Nurse Ratchets, but I get why they’d be bitchy at the end of a long shift dealing with needy sick people.  There are three nurses in particular who have made a lasting impression on me. They are all skilled professionally, but their secret medicine, humour, makes them next level exceptional.  Maternity Mayhem Nurse No disrespect to doctors, doulas and midwives—you folks know your way around a dilated cervix. But huge props go out to the amazing nurse[…]

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The Truth About Our Drinking Water and The Urgent State of Our Environment

Some people idolize musicians and movie stars. And there are those whose hearts beat for environmental crusaders, like David Suzuki. I was invited to listen to Dr. Suzuki speak on World Water Day. I RSVPd yes faster than you can say, “The Nature of Things,” and asked if I could bring along my son who we (half) jokingly refer to as “The Next David Suzuki.” Inspired by the presentation, my son delivered an impassioned speech of his own this week at school on the topic of the urgent need for environmental rehabilitation. His words echoed that of his hero as he explained that the days of merely preserving nature are over. Alarmingly, many scientists believe that 90% of humans will be gone by the year 2100. This horrifying revelation is not science fiction, but based on scientific data related to overpopulation, environmental destruction, and climate change. Suzuki’s concern and underlying frustration was apparent, “Who needs nature in a city? We have Netflix,” he said. His tongue-in-cheek statement refers to our obsession with technology which has created a dangerous state of isolation. Shut off from the world around us, we’re too distracted to comprehend or even notice the gravity of our[…]

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Epilepsy

Sometimes I forget our daughter has Epilepsy. But only for a second. We’re incredibly lucky her seizures are suppressed by medications, but it’s impossible to forget the traumatic years when they were not.  Avery’s first major seizure happened when she was three and a half. I shared the story of what happened in every painful detail. I’m sharing the link again HERE. Even after all this time, I find it difficult to read. Even though it was nearly eight years ago now, those seizures just before Avery turned five were brutal.  Every year since she has an EEG to assess the seizure activity in her brain. And every year while we wait for the results we hope for the news that there is no seizure activity or that the electrical abnormalities remain unchanged, in equal measure.  It may sound odd to hope for no improvement, but if her brain activity appears normal the neurologist will take her off anticonvulsants. And this could mean more horrifying seizures.  When neurons discharge inappropriately they cause abnormal electrical impulses in the brain. This results in seizure activity which can lead to abnormal motor activity or convulsions, and loss of consciousness, and if not controlled as soon[…]

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Are You Happy? If Not, Why?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. What, no clapping? Aren’t you happy?!  Well, don’t let that make you sad because not many of us are consistently happy. According to the studies anyway. Science has us pegged as a sad sack of SOBs just trying to make it until cocktail hour.  My daughter however, she’s perpetually happy. She gleefully claps her hands all the time for no apparent reason. It’s like a happiness explosion where her joy just can’t be contained and the sudden burst of happy claps is a way to let it out.  I consider myself a very happy person, but I can’t say I feel “happiness explosion happiness” in adulthood very often. But alas, nobody is as happy as Avery. She doesn’t fit the typical mould. She doesn’t worry. She doesn’t know fear. And there’s zero hate in this kid’s world. It just doesn’t exist for her. I’d say she’s 90 per cent happy—9 per cent ‘meh’, when she’s tired or told, “No, you can’t host a play date right now.” And 1 per cent legitimate sorrow, usually when she’s missing a loved one. The rest of the time, bliss.  I get the sense[…]

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