Best Winter Humour

Humour never fails to keep me going during winter! There are lots of things that one can do to stay physically and mentally healthy during winter. This winter, I haven’t been able to do a lot of those things. One thing I know I can always rely on is humour. I did a previous post about humour, but this one is more about winter humour that I have found in Canada.

Since moving to Canada, I have discovered the joy of Canadian comedians. In this movie “Being Canadian”, one of the guests had this line (and I’m paraphrasing), “Sweden has long winters and they come up with Death Metal. In Canada, we came up with comedy.” Another line is, “heat kills comedy”. Although, I am not sure about other northern countries and their humour (except maybe Russia). Russia is not on the same level as Canada when it comes to comedy. Here’s my list of countries and what I believe their Arctic-like winters have created. Please feel free to add to any of this.

Canada: Comedy.

Russia: Literature.

Finland: Saunas.

Norway: Death Metal.

Sweden: Tomten.

Iceland: Bathing in hot springs.

Scotland: Bagpipes, especially if you combine winter with the highlands.

I have noticed that these countries have a lot in common when it comes to winter activities, but I particularly chose things with a cultural element.

Without further ado, here are my favourite videos of winter humour from Canadian comedians. Please enjoy!

This Hour Has 22 Minutes:

For those of you outside of Canada, This Hour Has 22 Minutes is the political and news satire show here. It’s like Saturday Night Live (US) and Have I Got News For You (UK) had a baby.

In honour of the Winter Olympics, here is some curling humour.

A former 22 Minutes presenter, Shaun Majumder would make fun of a racist stereotype with his character Raj Binder. Here he is talking about ice fishing.

You can find more of his Raj Binder skits on YouTube.

Additionally, here is why the Vikings left Canada

Comedy Routines:

Here are my favourite comedy routines about winter.

And of course, combining winter humour with cultural humour is gold!

Thank goodness I have a VPN, so I will be able to access the funniest CBC shows no matter where I am in the world! It’s not like it was before where I would leave a country and miss their humour. I would love to shake hands with the person who invented VPNs because I can access BBC comedy shows from the UK as well! Okay, I’m spoiled. Lol. But I admit, it’s better than missing your favourite things about a country.

Still to come, more posts I want to do about Canada before I leave!

My 2022 Goals

The reason why I say 2022 Goals, is because there is too much hype around New Year’s Resolutions. As I said in my post, Third Culture Christmas, I do believe there is a lot of truth to the Russian saying that you spend the New Year just the way you meet it (Как Новый год встретишь, так его и проведешь).

I feel like with COVID-19 disrupting so many things, it’s often harder to hold yourself to goals, so I decided to set goals that I know I can achieve. Although, if I am not sure about a goal, I am okay with putting a question mark beside it. So, here are my goals!

Plan for Getting COVID-19:

I don’t mean to sound negative right off the bat, but because of Omicron, it’s becoming even more necessary to plan for COVID-19. It just recently occurred to me that I don’t have a plan for getting COVID-19. After almost two years, I have not got COVID-19, and neither has anyone in my family. It’s only been some friends of mine who have got it or had family members get it. There is an element of luck to not getting sick, even if you do everything right. I was certain when my Mum got sick that we were going to get COVID-19, and I was amazed we didn’t, even with Mum having a nasogastric tube and Dad flying in to help us!

The best advice I ever got was if you have a health problem, throw everything you possibly can at it until something sticks. It doesn’t matter if it’s something weird, but if it works for you, use it! Lately, I have been doing a massive Google Search on what to do to relieve COVID-19 symptoms, so I just need to compile all that data on it and be ready. And, of course, recovering is not the full story. I need to see if I will get long COVID-19. Anyway, thank you next!

Start Journey to Financial Independence:

I am not going to say what exactly I will be doing to start this. I will say this though, I can’t start with my original business idea because there is a 1.5-year backlog at immigration for permanent residence. The good news is I have an idea to tide me over. I may end up sticking to that idea permanently. Who knows?

Start Writing A Book:

I have been talking with some of my TCK friends about collaborating on a book! Originally, I thought of writing a book about my stories and insights, but I feel like I’m happy with my blog. Watch this space!

Read At Least 50 Pages Per Day:

I was in a funk with reading in 2021. Lately, I have been hanging out at my local library, and I realized how much I have missed reading! Plus, as an entrepreneur, it’s even more important to read. And I love it too, so I’m excited! Now, I have a great set of books lined up. I maxed out my library card!

Speaking of libraries, I revisited this episode of this British show I love. Watch the part before the intro because anyone who has worked at a library will tell you this is true. Glad they made fun of it!

Blogging Goals:

Here’s an overview of what to expect next year. I am going to be catching up on posts I planned to do. I have a backlog. I’m also going to be doing Bloganuary. You can read more about it here: https://wordpress.com/blog/2021/12/16/new-year-new-success-with-bloganuary/ I don’t think I will post every day though. I am going to do a cultural theme to this as well, so if I get a prompt and I’m not inspired by it, I’m not going to do it. I’m thinking at the end of the year, I am going to do Blogmas, but again, do culturally themed posts. We’ll see though. I’m already feeling inspired for posts I can do this year. I am also going to be doing at least THREE guest/collab posts! Looks like it will be a great year for blogging!

One last thing: If you have any questions you want me to answer, or give me any feedback, please do!

Continue What I am Doing for Mental Health:

COVID-19 has helped me a lot in terms of learning more about what I can do for mental health. It was tested to the LIMIT when my Mum got sick! You get more insight into your mental health when times are challenging. There’s no silver bullet, but I am more than willing to do the work I need to do to improve whatever needs to be done. I would say I’m somewhat okay now.

Additionally, I have been doing everything I can possibly do to help my Mum mentally while she recovers. I don’t know what it is about appendicitis that messes with you mentally, but it does. I’m not a mental health professional though, and if my Mum needs more help, I will encourage her to get it!

Continue Calgary Parks Challenge:

After Omicron burns itself out, I intend to continue with my Parks Challenge. I have four parks to write about, that I put off for a while. That’s a good thing to do while waiting for Omicron cases to drop.

So far, I have seen 11 parks, written about 6 parks, and I have 62 parks left to see!

Continue Physical Health Habits:

I’ve been working on my physical health as well. It’s been tough to do so because it’s easy to be a couch potato in lockdown. Even so, I found a solution and I’m happy to continue to improve on them.

Question Marks:

I’ll mention a couple of goals that I have question marks with. I really want to learn how to drive in the winter in Canada, but so far, that’s not been possible. Will it happen this year? Hard to say.

Additionally, I have got signs that I am aching to travel. I was jealous of my Dad when he came here because he got to fly and I didn’t. I was like, “I’m the person who meets him at the airport. Meh.” A friend of mine sent me a photo of a mall lately, and I kid you not, I thought it was LAX! I’m really hoping I can travel at least once in 2022.

One thing I am already thinking about is travelling over the Christmas season. I have had a string of tough Christmases since 2017, which was the year I got appendicitis. The only Christmas where I was truly happy was in 2018 when I travelled to Yosemite. I feel it’s time to experience the Christmas season elsewhere. I have already thought of a few local places to visit if COVID-19 is still a problem, but also some international ones, just in case. Here’s my list:

  • Banff: Want to see what it’s like at Christmas.
  • Jasper: Ditto
  • Yellowknife: Okay, pretty hardcore climate, but I would like to try it.
  • Jamaica: Those close to me know why.
  • Germany: If you have seen how they do Christmas, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Will I go to one of those places, or will I go someplace else? Watch this space!

I wish you all the best for 2022! What are your 2022 goals?

Best Photos of 2021

This is my last post of the year, and I wanted to showcase the best photos of 2021!

January:

From this post: Third Month Theme: Rest, Reflect and Observe New Things

February:

From this post: Fourth Month Theme: Okay, It’s Cold! Wake Me Up in Spring!

March:

From this post: Fifth Month Theme: Spring? What? Confusion All Around!

April:

From this post: Sixth Month Theme: Slow Spring and Time for Health

May:

Painting of A Canada Goose that I see frequently
I took this photo in May but used it for a post in June

From this post: My Most Canadian Story (So Far)

June:

I started my Parks Challenge this month!

From this post: Park #1: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

July:

From these posts: Park #3: Sandy Beach Park

Park #4: South Glenmore Park

August:

From this post: Park #5: Bowmont Park

September:

From this post: Preparing for Winter 2021

October:

From this post: Medical Emergencies While Abroad Part I: My Story

November:

From this post: Not included in any posts

December:

To summarize, there have been unusually cold temps this month and I experienced my first blizzard in Calgary!

From this post: Not included in any posts because this just happened!

What do you think of my selection?

Finally:

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. Get your booster as soon as possible! I got mine because my pharmacy had spares at the end of the day that they were literally giving away. This new Omicron variant isn’t easy, but we have to do what we must for this pandemic to end someday.

Here’s what I have planned for my posts next year. I am behind on posts I wanted to do about the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 and the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation because of my Mum’s emergency in October. Additionally, I have suspended my Parks Challenge until further notice, but I do have some posts to write on that. Look out for more guest and collab posts as well as more stuff about expat and TCK life! Here’s to more adventure in 2022 that does not include COVID-19!

Happy Holidays and enjoy the Winter Solstice!

Third Culture Christmas

Third Culture Christmas is a guest post I sent to Tall Blonde Tales for Blogmas! Here it is in all its glory!

I am a Third Culture Kid, which means that before I was 18, I lived in countries other than one of my parents’ nationalities. I have lived in France, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, and now I’m currently in Canada. People ask me what Christmas traditions have I picked up from my life of diverse cultural exposure? Read on to find out!

French Traditions:

I was too young to remember living in France, but my parents still taught me French culture after we moved to the USA. One of my early memories was being confused about how Santa arrived with presents. In France, when Santa brings presents on Christmas Eve, he arrives on a donkey, not a sleigh. As I got older, there are three French foods that we have had at Christmas, depending on availability and quality expected. 

Bûche de Noël or Yule log, is one of our favourites! France is one of those cultures that observes the Feast of the Kings on Twelfth Night. A common dessert is the Galette de Rois. There is no proper English translation for the galette, but you can look it up here: Galette des Rois: A Sweet French Tradition – FAYLI

I sometimes have the galette for my birthday cake because my birthday falls within the twelve days of Christmas! When I moved to Canada, I was ecstatic to find authentic Bûche de Noël and Galette de Rois at a French patisserie! Another food that my family enjoys is foie gras, but availability depends on where you live. The last time I had foie gras at Christmas was when I lived in England! 

English Traditions:

On that note, I have had some memorable food while living in London, England! My family attempted a Christmas pudding a few times. I loved lighting it and watching the alcohol burn off! I found it hard to eat though since it’s soaked in so much booze. One year, my family had a goose for Christmas. It was incredible! Goose fat adds a certain special flavour to food, and it reminded me of French food. I haven’t had a goose since leaving England, but I will never forget how incredible it is!

One story that is always told in England around Christmas is the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914. When World War I started in 1914, the soldiers were all told they would be home by Christmas. When that didn’t happen, British, French and German soldiers laid down their weapons and had fun together. This happened all along the Western Front. The saddest part was all the men who engaged in the truce were censured severely and the generals tried to cover it up. I personally think it was a beautiful act of fraternity, peace, love and cultural sensitivity.

I have seen cartoons, advertisements and other things that commemorate the Christmas Truce. One of the movies I see during the Christmas season is Joyeux Noël, which is the story of the Christmas Truce. You can read more about the movie here: Joyeux Noel (2005) – Plot Summary. Even though I don’t live in England anymore, I still have a little remembrance of the Christmas Truce.

The Christmas Pantomime:

I wanted to give an extra special shoutout to an English Christmas tradition: The Christmas Pantomime. If you are ever in the UK in December or January, see if you can go to a Christmas panto! I personally recommend the ones at the small theatres rather than the large ones. The small theatres feel more personal and there is a lot of audience participation in the Christmas panto. I was part of a community theatre and I did two Christmas pantos. I played Dick Whittington’s cat when I was 12, which was the best role I ever had! Makes me feel like Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet! 

A bit of history. The panto originated out of the Commedia dell’Arte, which was a popular theatre tradition in Europe for 200 years. It really is worth learning about, and pantos have classic scenes that are right out of the Commedia dell’Arte. For instance, there is the cooking scene and the school scene. Also, the principal boy is played by a woman and the dame is played by a man. 

One thing that my parents and I realized is that colonization of the Americas was happening at the same time as the Commedia dell’Arte. The Puritans, who were against the arts for religious reasons, were among the first settlers in what is now the USA. So, the panto tradition never crossed the Atlantic. My parents and I have had discussions about whether the panto can become an accepted theatre tradition in the USA. We have certainly found distinct cultural differences between American and English humour. I could write an entire post about the panto tradition and this particular historical significance, but I will stop right here.

American Traditions:

I moved to the USA when I was two years old. At the time, my parents didn’t know if we would ever live in another country again. But what my Mum did was collect Christmas stories from wherever we travelled and lived and put them in a binder that we would read every Christmas. We continue to read those stories, even though we have now lived in five countries. The stories include classics like The Gift of the Magi, to more current stories.

A few years after we repatriated to the USA after living in London, we decided to go to Yosemite National Park for Christmas. We arrived there at the Winter Solstice, and there happened to be a full moon then! That doesn’t happen often. Ansel Adams photographed a full moon at Yosemite at the Winter Solstice, right when it was over Half Dome (which is an iconic feature of Yosemite). We had to stay pretty late to see the full moon over Half Dome. I tried to take a photo, but I didn’t do it justice. The park was abuzz with people trying to see what Ansel Adams saw when he took his iconic photos.

photo of snow capped mountain under blue night sky

Photo by Ian Beckley on Pexels.com

Canadian Traditions:

I was in for a couple of Christmas surprises when I moved to Canada. I became a huge fan of Canadian comedy, and their holiday comedy is cathartic when dealing with holiday stress. Our political and new satire show This Hour Has 22 Minutes has some incredible holiday sketches on YouTube. Since Canada has long winters, we have to have something to keep us entertained. Canadian Christmas comedy is a great way to decompress. Here’s one of my favourite videos to laugh at Christmas stress:

Christmas Light displays are hugely popular in Canada as well. I am already getting notifications about light displays at the zoo, and malls! My city has a river walk that you can do to see all these light displays. Additionally, they have a site where they list houses that have light displays that you can walk or drive by to see. Even if it’s not Christmas, I have noticed there is a real love of light, especially in the winter.

person walks outdoor during night

Photo by David Guerrero on Pexels.com

Other Traditions:

I got to know a lot of Russians while I was living in London. I learned that Russian Christmas is generally celebrated on January 6th or 7th, depending on the Orthodox calendar. New Year is more popular in Russia than Christmas though. It used to be on a different date from January 1st, but then it changed to meet more Western standards. So, I have heard things about Old New Year, versus New New Year. Additionally, one Russian saying is that you will spend the New Year the way you meet it (Как Новый год встретишь, так его и проведешь). Yes, I speak Russian, but that’s not the point. Because of that saying, Russians have some cultural practices to help them meet the New Year ready for a fresh start. 

You can find this movie called The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! on YouTube. It’s a Russian New Year comedy made in 1975, and it showcases traditions for Russian New Year. It has English subtitles, so don’t worry about not understanding it. Although to be fair, I started watching it when I was first learning Russian, and I was still able to pick up the story by watching what the actors were doing. Whenever I remember watching the comedy for New Year, I do so. Plus, I still believe that you do spend the New Year the way you meet it, although some things you have to take with a grain of salt.

No matter where I am in the world, nothing makes me happier than a white Christmas! I have always loved snow as a kid and that has never gone away! That’s a Christmas tradition that is universal for me!

Merry Christmas/Joyeux Noël/с Рождеством! Happy New Year/Bonne Année/с Новым Годом!

Dos and Don’ts At Hospitals During COVID-19

After my recent family emergency, I felt it was important to say some things about how hospital etiquette has changed during COVID-19. So, I decided to do a post about dos and don’ts for hospital patients and family members during this pandemic. I will also say some more things that I didn’t say in my previous post. Again, I will be talking about medical issues that people may find disturbing.

Additionally, if you want to share my post with credit, please do! It’s important information. Please note, my post is kind of location-centric though.

Dos:

Be Familiar with the Current Hospital Situation:

I can’t emphasize this enough. When we were in the Bay Area between March and October last year, we knew that some of the hospitals had COVID-19 under control and some didn’t. We kept an eye on whether or not that changed.

When we moved to Calgary, we learned that right before the pandemic, our newly elected Premier was starting to cut public health spending. Obviously, Alberta Health Services (AHS) knew that our Premier was hoping the pandemic would be the death of public healthcare. So, they clearly had to gird their loins! This scene from the Devil Wears Prada sums the situation up perfectly. Think of Anne Hathaway’s character as the provincial doctor who does whatever our Premier says.

Jason Kenney gets elected, then the Pandemic hits

At the end of September, when the hospital situation was dire, Mum and I promised each other we wouldn’t do anything stupid that would have us end up in the ER. Of course, my Mum’s emergency was different. You have no control over when your appendix decides to quit on you. Fortunately, it happened when things were starting to calm down just a little bit. That didn’t mean the defunding of healthcare stopped though.

Within this past week, it’s been found during this fourth wave that 15,000 elective surgeries have been cancelled in Alberta. There is no timeline for resuming the surgeries. The province only allows surgeries that must be done within a 3 day period (aka emergency surgeries). Even though I was super happy that this situation didn’t affect my Mum’s care, my heart goes out to those 15,000 people needing surgery in Alberta.

Talk to A Trusted Healthcare Provider:

If you want to make sure you need to go to the ER or need to take someone to the ER, talk to a healthcare provider that you trust. Get a recommendation from them on a hospital that has their COVID-19 situation under control. I said in my previous post that under normal circumstances if my Mum said she had abdominal pain, I wouldn’t have consulted the nurse at our family practice. I was glad I did talk to the nurse though because she told me that all the hospitals in Calgary have a super strict triage protocol. She had been to the ER right when the pandemic started and she assured me the hospitals aren’t letting COVID-19 run amok in their wards. All I had heard was how the hospitals have been stretched to breaking point. I hadn’t heard much about which ones had it under control.

A week later, when my Mum wasn’t getting better, she had further questions. We called our practice nurse again and our doctor called us back. There are 24-hour health lines in Alberta that you can call and speak to a nurse, but you might have to wait a while. The lines are busier because of people calling in with COVID-19 symptoms. We did call one of those health lines when we had a question about what was going on, but we did it too soon. Plus, sometimes there is a certain inaccuracy calling a nurse that doesn’t know your case. That’s why we prefer to speak to the nurse at our family practice. She and our doctor were very helpful and told us to call if we have any further questions or updates. I could tell when we visited the office for Mum’s follow-up that they were sincere.

Find out about Hospital COVID-19 Policy:

Some things you find out as you go. For instance, I couldn’t be with my Mum when she was in the ER, or right before she had surgery. Mum noticed in the ER, they automatically separated COVID-19 patients from regular patients. Our hospital kept the COVID-19 patients in an entirely separate building. Mum said the only reminder that there were COVID-19 patients was that sometimes the PA system would call nurses to the COVID-19 building. I’m glad the hospital did its best to limit the reminders of the pandemic. No patient or their families want to be constantly bombarded with that.

The second time my Mum was in the hospital, she was allowed two visitors, maximum, and they had to be on a pre-approved list. I was only allowed to see her for an hour a day. I never enquired about this, but I noticed none of the patients had flowers. That might have been banned because of COVID-19. I did something better for my Mum though. I brought her some essential oils and rubbed them on her before my time was up.

Find out about Hospital Practices during COVID-19:

I’m pretty sure that hospitals are improvising when it comes to regular patients needing intensive care. After my Mum had emergency hernia surgery, two nurses worked all night to keep her stable, but she was on the ward. She was not moved to an ICU. No one explicitly said that she required intensive care, but I pieced it together. After all, no one just has emergency surgery for the fun of it, and you don’t just end up on 100% oxygen all night. The ICUs really are all occupied with COVID-19 patients, but there was nothing to worry about. They did some good improvisations in that regard.

There was another thing the hospital did that was different because of COVID-19. If patients exhibit any symptoms that are the same as COVID-19, they are put in isolation. Further COVID-19 symptoms mean being moved to the COVID-19 ward. A common symptom of appendicitis is vomiting. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has the same symptom. Mum was in isolation until her diagnosis of appendicitis was confirmed. She said that someone said to her, “We know why you threw up, but we’re making sure it’s not COVID-19.” Strangely enough, when she went back to the ER because of the complication, they didn’t put her in isolation, even though she had thrown up a few times. I guess they knew for sure that she was exhibiting classic signs of a blockage in her bowel.

Wear A Mask:

This is the point where I am going to whip a few dead horses and this is one of them. If you are a family member visiting the hospital PLEASE KEEP YOUR MASK ON! If you happen to be a patient if you can keep your mask on, do so! The first time my Mum was in the hospital, she kept her mask on all the time, except when she was in surgery and post-op. The second time she was in the hospital, she couldn’t wear a mask because she needed a nasogastric tube. I was a little worried, but then I saw that the nurses on the ward were careful, and some of the patients were able to wear masks, so that was okay.

One thing I hope to see after the pandemic ends is visitors continuing to wear masks while in the hospital. I was in the hospital before the pandemic, and as happy as I was for visitors, I did feel a little concerned about germs. I think it’s a sign of respect to wear a mask in a hospital, even if there isn’t a pandemic. My hope is that it continues, even when the pandemic ends.

Show A Little Respect:

I can’t believe I have to whip this horse. Manners cost you nothing! Even when she was feeling her worst, my Mum made a point of being respectful to her healthcare providers, so being sick is not an excuse for being a jerk! Mum could barely talk with the nasogastric tube in, but when the nurses did simple things like their health checks, she always said, “Thank you”. Whenever she felt a little better, she would interact with the nurses and doctors more, and continue to praise them and thank them for being the heroes that they are! She also wasn’t openly obnoxious to other patients. She has always been like that. I followed her lead when I was hospitalized too. People don’t call me my mother’s daughter for nothing!

Additionally, the nurses were happy to answer whatever questions I had about Mum’s care. They and the surgical team were supremely grateful when I brought some quality goodies to thank them. I know it’s their job to save lives, but a little appreciation makes their day!

Mum knows as well as I do that if we have to say that we are US citizens here that people might be suspicious of us (thanks Trump!). She had to reveal her nationality at one point, but she talked about the five countries we have lived in and compared their healthcare systems. That, combined with the respect we all showed to the staff assured them that we aren’t “like that”. Her nationality didn’t affect her care in any way though, for which I am very thankful. I am aware not a lot of people are as lucky though. Watch John Oliver’s show on bias in medicine if you don’t believe me.

If You See Something, Say Something:

Yep, whipping another dead horse. This point is especially true these days with Covidiots around, and also applies more if you are visiting a patient. If you’re a patient and too sick to deal with it, this doesn’t apply to you.

If you see people behaving badly, whether it’s yelling, physical violence, or another type of violence, report it! Remember how I said in my previous post how my Dad noticed an empty room on the ward where someone had defaced a patient whiteboard with Covidiot slogans? If my Dad had told me he had seen that while we were at the hospital, I would have asked at the nurse’s station if they knew about it and gone from there. Seriously though, I hope they caught the person!

Hearing stories about healthcare workers experiencing violence from Covidiots made me a little warier about visiting a hospital. Seeing peace officers at the hospital affirmed with me that the Covidiot situation is serious! Mum did tell me a story from the ER that affirmed with me that even though the nurses are kind and caring, they don’t take any crap.

Don’ts:

Shame Anyone Who Needs Emergency Care:

For the people who need emergency care during this pandemic, don’t shame yourself either! It’s not the people who need non-COVID-19 related emergency care that are tying up the hospitals. The Covidiots are the real problem. It’s completely normal to feel guilty for adding to an already stressed healthcare system though. Mum and I initially felt guilty too. This is why we called the nurse at our family practice. I knew I had to take my Mum to the ER for abdominal pain, but it was great to get confirmation and reassurance.

Thousands of people are waiting for non-urgent surgery and procedures. It can potentially cause resentment and concern among those people while non-COVID-19 emergency patients get priority. In this case, mutual empathy is critical. Whenever someone tells me they are waiting, I let them know I am really sorry to hear that and that I hope they don’t end up needing emergency care because of delayed surgery. Thankfully, those people have extended the same courtesy to my family by saying they are happy that my Mum could still get the emergency care she needed. That’s the way to do it! I know empathy probably won’t take away resentment or concern, but I hope it helps a little.

Think Post-Op Instructions are the Gospel:

I have had appendicitis myself and I found Mum’s post-op instructions confusing! We called a 24-hour nursing line because we didn’t know if Mum had to go back to the ER. People’s bodies don’t work according to post-op instructions, and the added pressure to the question, “Do you go back to the ER?” doesn’t help. In this case, it is good to speak to a nurse about any grey areas you find between the instructions and what’s actually happening. Although, we realized later we called the 24-hour line too soon for any definitive answers. We ended up talking to the nurse at our family practice again. Because Mum ended up with a rare complication, it felt more difficult for me to pin down what was happening. I needed help from a medical professional with that.

Hide Information from COVID-19 Screening:

Poor horses, but it has to be done. I was in a bit of a situation though. My Dad arrived from California two days before I brought Mum home from the hospital. I did want to have the option of bringing Dad to the hospital to visit. Plus, I didn’t know if I needed his help collecting Mum when she was released. It worked, so here’s what I did.

I told the ward Dad was flying in from California to help me take care of Mum. They asked me questions about his vaccination status and told me he would have to bring his documents. I also mentioned that he was flying in from the Bay Area and said that in terms of COVID-19, things were pretty good. We kind of had a laugh about, “at least he’s not flying in from Texas or Florida!” Additionally, I assured them that we have lived in a few other countries, so we know to respect the laws of our host country. After all that, they put him on Mum’s visitor list! They also told me to double-check with the screening area at the entrance.

The screening area reiterated what the ward said. The day after my Dad arrived, the COVID-19 screening went smoothly and he was able to see Mum! I think the ward and screening were happy that I checked with them before Dad arrived if it was possible for him to visit. What they don’t like is people acting shady and pulling a fast one on them. Be transparent, and have the necessary documentation. Plus, I could see that they were nervous initially when I said we were US citizens, but they relaxed over the fact I was honest with them.

Be Racist, Sexist, Rude or Immature:

The horses don’t like me now, but this is the last dead one I’m whipping. I promise. Besides, I live in Alberta. I don’t want to get on the wrong side of our ranchers.

We all have biases, but PLEASE don’t act entitled! If you do, you’re not only hurting whoever it’s directed at, but you disturb other patients who are too sick to deal with your crap. Even if other patients don’t call you on your crap, it doesn’t mean you aren’t bothering them. On the other hand, patients may cry out because they’re in pain, or frightened, or something. As long as they aren’t being jerks, don’t shame them for it. I have cried while in the hospital because I wanted to go home, but I didn’t say anything inappropriate.

I will be sharing personal stories on this subject, but I wanted to say this first. A while ago, I learned that it’s normal when you need hospital care, that you’re frightened and your biases surface. Regardless, I didn’t try to hurt anyone and I learned a valuable lesson. The point is to recognize them and don’t lash out because of them. I felt guilty about my biases, but I know now that shame isn’t the point unless I had caused harm.

My Own Personal Stories on This Point:

I wanted to share two different personal stories I have had in the hospital. The first one was when I was in London and had my lower wisdom teeth out. That meant day surgery in the hospital over there.

I was put on the day surgery recovery ward with several other people. There was this woman who was talking too loudly and being generally disruptive. At one point, I was coughing and she called the nurse to help me (even though I didn’t need it). She said, “Sorry, I thought you was going to throw up!” Yes, she said was. Even though I still needed to cough, I held it in. She was also yelling on her cellphone at her deadbeat boyfriend to come and get her. No one called her on her crap, not even the nurses. Later on, I realized no one would put up with that crap in the USA. It speaks a lot about cultural differences.

The next story has to do with realizing my own unconscious bias. I was in the emergency room for a ruptured appendix back when I was in California. I was terrified, had 8/10 pain, and the infection was advanced. Because of all that, I kept thinking that the men were doctors and the women were nurses. I slipped a few times before I realized my mistake and apologized. Once I had more presence of mind, I told myself to look at their uniform. I joked about it later, like, “Damn! That was one nasty infection!” I haven’t slipped up since.

So, here are my hospital dos and don’ts during COVID-19. What do you think? Anything you would add?