Description 52 - Covered By OHIP

Breasts! Refrigerator noise! Gowns with three sleeves! Baskets of knitting! And me actually talking to people! It's all to celebrate our fine health-care system just slightly less than Michael Moore has. Also with great music by Colleen Brown...and by the pesky neighbours downstairs.

Click here to subscribe
Click here to download directly

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
"The Birth of Medicare" @ CBC Digital Archives
Health Care in Canada @ wikipedia
St. Michael's Hospital
CIBC Breast Clinic
Rethink Breast Cancer
Colleen Brown: official site, myspace, New Music Canada, CD Baby and... publicbroadcasting.ca!
Second Cup
CP24 (They don't have it on a stream anymore? Crap!)
Stand Up Tragedy X, totally explaining the TTC Strike (Thanks, Todd!)

Until this experience, I'd never been in a waiting room where so many people were talking with each other. To me, waiting rooms have always been places where you come in, (present your health card if you live here), sit down and read something, or in my case listen to an iPod. But when I donned the three-sleeved pink gown and entered, about four other women in similar gowns were chatting. Three of them had finished and were waiting for the okay to go, and they were trying to comfort the other woman, who was waiting to get her mammogram and was very nervous about it, having had a bad experience last time. My rationale was 1) my mom said it's never been too bad, and 2) compared to other exams we have to endure, how bad can it be? Another said it was nothing compared to being in a full MRI machine closed in around you like a smooth white coffin for a half hour. Totally soothing, weren't we? But if nothing else, we emphasized that however bad it would be, stressing about it would make it much worse. True enough. So that nervous woman is the one I'm talking to in the episode after we'd both done our thing; she'd survived, and was a bit calmer.

The waiting room chat was an odd thing for me not just because of the waiting room, but in being some sort of female bonding experience. As you might have figured, I've never been part of many dishy, soul-baring little coffee klatches you might find on any number of tv shows; or identified myself with a kind of sisterhood. But there we were - people with the same pink gowns and the same body parts being tested for cancer. No avoiding that. So somehow talking happened, and it was okay.

Now that I think of it, that idea of strangers connected by a medical procedure reminds me of a more trivial but stranger circumstance. I briefly mention in the episode that I had (and still do to an extent) scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. I put it down to slumping and always cocking the same hip when I stood. I was diagnosed when most kids are, at about 12 or 13 years old, and it mainly involved skipping school once every couple months to get x-rays (for which I waited all day at my local hospital) and then an examination by some doctor who'd come in from Cleveland to check a bunch of us to see if we were getting worse. When he found I was, I was assigned exercises and later a brace (not for the neck, but more like a big thick corset) for a lovely couple years in 8th and 9th grade. Eventually, things solidified, they didn't have to run a steel bar up my back, and I went on with my life with the odd back complaint. Hardly a rare story...and by the way, Dad had excellent health insurance from his work up until a few years after his retirement.

Shortly after Kurt Cobain died, I read a report of his myriad ailments both natural and man-made. Among his natural ones: scoliosis. Suddenly, I could picture the poor kid going through those screenings, the x-rays, the exams, one of the few boys. Still, I concluded that for all the suffering Kurt Cobain endured, I was very thankful scoliosis was the only one to which I could truly relate.


Jane's Walk, and what happens when I talk too much

A couple notes here before I eventually get to the next episode (first there's a Movies For the Blind episode, then taxes as our deadline is the end of April, then I swear I'm all yours!).

Remember last year when I did a show about "Jane's Walk", following Angus Skene around while he said lots of interesting things about my neighbourhood of The Annex? If not, that's what links are for. But regardless, Jane's Walk is back, with a bunch of neat guided walks on the weekend of May 3rd. Angus will be doing his thing again around here, so if you want to finally catch everything he says and watch him do his wicked chalk drawings, you can. I'll be taking my iRiver somewhere yet to be determined, and hopefully that will make for another show. But don't wait for me if you're in the city - go pick out a great walk for yourself!

Also, this Jane's Walk thing isn't even limited to Toronto! (Hard to believe, I know, that there are things not limited to Toronto...) There will be Jane's Walks in Halifax, Charlottetown, Ottawa, Guelph (I personally love that there's one in Guelph, because it's the smallest town among these and it's so fun to say), Winnipeg and Vancouver. And for some reason, there's one in Salt Lake City, Utah, bless their hearts. So get a little exercise and look at your own city from a new (or old) perspective. I guess you can do that without a Jane's Walk, really, so no excuses for anyone.

In other news, I went to a Toronto Podcasters' Meetup a couple weeks ago, had a pint and talked too much with terrific people. Since it was a podcasters' meetup, some of my talking too much has gotten on some podcasts. First, some of the blathering made it to the Audio Dessert portion of episode 99 of the Canadian Podcast Buffet, then a huge slab of it was on episode 137 of Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters (and there might be more). So if for some reason you actually want to hear me talk too much and too loud about podcasting, zoom in on those lovely shows.

(Note: the rest of this post might be self-indulgent crap bloggers do.)

One of the several funny things about that meetup started a series of events where I've learned (again) how perception and momentum can trump truth. I was talking with one of the newbies who had really energized the meetup, when I heard out of the corner of my ear a word I hadn't heard before: "communitize". I turned to Katherine Matthews, of the fine podcasts Purl Diving and Cinéfolle, who despite being sick with some cold-like thing, came from Guelph (see? fun to say!) with her partner Rob to be her intelligent and charming self.

"Did you just use the word...COMMUNITIZE?" I said in the most dramatically amazed fashion possible.

She had, and somehow this blew. my. mind. I told her that was absolutely freaking brilliant. And we went on with our lives, though occasionally I would blurt out the word "communitize" like a Doug Henning impersonator with Tourette's. Sometimes I would even include magician-like hand gestures, as if using my special powers to transform someone across the room to suddenly become embued with the light and wonder of comments and camps and forums and groups, skipping tra-la into the street making K17 calls. Hi-lar-ee-uss.

When I got home, I of course twittered about it, and of course included the thought that "communitize" is going to become a beeeg geek word, like "bacn" and "rickroll". I might have said something about it on Facebook too. A couple days later, the very esteemed and awesome (which has nothing to do with him buying me a beer at the previous Toronto meetup) Mark Blevis of said CPB, Just One More Book and Electric Sky (and other things - I ain't got all day) twittered something about me saying "communitize" and how wicked-cool that word was. I replied that, yeah, wicked-cool, but it's not my word - I got it from Katherine. Then episode 100 of CPB comes out, and Mark says the meetup host John Meadows (of On the Log) said I'd coined that term, then Mark couched it by saying he has since learned I hadn't (yes, like from me), but "I will always remember her when I think of this word".

Sigh. Alrighty.

More twittering, blog-commenting and Facebook wall-writing and statusing would follow. John graciously gave his mea culpas (I believe he had been entranced by the Doug Henning/Tourette's thing, and frankly, who could blame him?), others gave their clarifications, Mark actually found some origin for the word a couple years prior, scoobily doobily doo. So at least in writing terms, it's straight that Katherine brought up the word...well, you know...at the Toronto meetup.

If this story sounds a bit silly, excellent. As the great Newfoundland seperatist Jerry Boyle would say, you're my kind of people.

Does that make you a community? It's not my job to say. It's not anyone's job to say. Unless someone's job is (wait for it...) communitization. In which case, that person better stay away from me until he can grow a super mustache, wear a jumpsuit and learn to levitate.