Letter to the Editor

A special place Open letter to Whitehorse residents: My wife and I came for the second week of competition for the Canada Winter Games.

A special place

Open letter to Whitehorse residents:

My wife and I came for the second week of competition for the Canada Winter Games.

We came to watch our son compete in Wheelchair Basketball for Team BC.

Prior to arriving in Whitehorse, for the first time, that was the only thing on our minds: supporting our son and the team in a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The quality of the Games was fantastic but what really left an impression was the outgoing and truly friendly nature of every northerner we met.

While the Games were singularly important and will be remembered for a long time, the people we met will also be in us for a long time.

In just a few days we met new and endearing friends.

The city had already had a week of us southerners descending on your piece of heaven in drastically cold weather.

No one would have blamed a soul had we encountered even one less-than-tolerant person … but none could be found.

The interest in our well-being, and the care and pride of the North were everywhere.

Whitehorse, you can be proud of your Games, but more importantly you can be proud of yourselves, your values and genuine nature — without airs.

You left a very positive mark on each of us. Thank you for more than just the best Games ever.

Thank you for sharing your spirit. May the rest of Canada benefit from it as a result of these games and the young (and not so young) lives you influenced.

Peter and Jane Morris

Mill Bay, BC

Great sports!

To the cross-country skiers who competed fiercely and finished in front of all but three provinces in the final medal count.

To the coaches, Sara Nielsen, David Gendron, Tina Sutherland and Alain Masson, for their leadership, positive energy and dedication to our sport.

To team Yukon’s chef de mission Trevor Twardochleb and assistant chef de mission Moira Lassen for their world-class passion, wisdom, humour and calmness.

And, finally, to the volunteers who set the tone for our athletes to reach their peak performances when it mattered most.

You really knocked it out of the park!

Bill Parry, mission staff, cross-country skiing, team Yukon, Whitehorse

Notice to polio survivors

On March 7th a notice for polio survivors appeared in the Yukon News.

It urged people who were having a range of symptoms to inform their doctor and health-care providers of their polio history, and to contact the Post Polio Awareness and Support Society of BC.

What needed to be added is the probable difficulty you will face in having your condition and symptoms accepted.

This has been a major problem across Canada, but success has been achieved; in the Yukon we seem to have missed the boat as survivors have been labelled and diagnosed unprofessionally.

Why?

How many doctors in the territory were practicing during the epidemics of the early ‘50s? Probably none.

Polio is generally non-existent in Canada, although avoidance of vaccination by younger generations and the influx of immigrants may be changing this.

So it is important that you ensure that you and your children are protected; check your vaccination records, ask your surviving parents if you were seriously ill during the late ‘40s and early ‘50s.

Now, why will you probably face barriers in having your condition accepted by your doctor?

For a few reasons, most importantly starting with yourself.

If you are like me, well past 50 and counting, you experience the usual “getting old” stuff which is a pain in the … well, let’s say neck, even if the pains are in other parts of your anatomy.

How many of you polio survivors have been to the doctor over the years with this and that ailment and been told: “You’re not getting any younger,” and to just ‘live with it.’

Did you even tell them that you are a polio survivor? Do you know?

How many have left feeling, after maybe even being told flat-out that it’s just in your “head,” that you’re probably just depressed, just take a couple of wonder pills and go home.

So you end up feeling what? Guilty for complaining needlessly? Depressed because you really do have symptoms of something and yet those whom you have to trust insist that it’s all in your head?

How about being told that your condition is “somatic” (or something like that)?

And have it explained as: “OK your symptoms are real, but you are really just creating them in your mind”?

That certainly is going to make you feel better, isn’t it?

So what’s going on here anyway? Why is your doctor, of perhaps many years or decades, acting in this manner to you?

Why is the doctor minimalizing your problems and urging you to blame yourself and your age?

These are educated and skilled people and should not be making these generalizations and unprofessional assumptions.

But there are reasons they are making these errors in judgment, the main being the current ‘fast-food service’ approach to most medical practices.

You know: “Hi, can I help you, your concern? Oh, just do this. Goodbye, next.” All in 15 minutes or less.

Whew, the wonders of modern medicine, eh?

So, OK, it works for specific ailments, that is: solve the immediate problem and you’re done. Great, I love it.

But what if your problems span a period of years, at first glance appear unconnected, yet are becoming an increasing problem that affects your ability to do all those regular things like work, sports, enjoyment of normal activities?

With your doctor mostly focusing on the presenting problems of today’s visit and pressed to come up with a cheap and quick solution, they are virtually set-up to not think in terms that span years, analyzing a set of problems that, when viewed collectively, like in one basket, may mean an entirely different diagnosis.

You just have to look at the very real medical conditions that are accepted today, but were ignored and minimalized when they first came to light as more and more people started showing the same symptoms: problems such as AIDS, bi-polar disorders, FASD, lupus, some cancers, tumours in the brain, chemical sensitivities, impotence, problematic menopause, etc.

So what I am saying is do not blame your self, don’t also blame your doctor for missing the bigger picture, and please, please, get in touch with Polio Canada (poliocanada.com) for more information for you and your doctor.

Also, read some of the stories and realize that you are not going crazy and that you are not alone.

There are tens of thousands of polio survivors in the country and most, yes most of them are going to have real and potentially serious problems as a result.

Get informed. Get assertive. Get validated. Take care of yourself; the polio virus may have destroyed any and all backup nerve systems after your initial illness, leaving nothing or little for old age.

You will have the nerve damage to prove it to the skeptics if need be, so no beating up on yourself. You are a survivor. So keep going, eh?

I will be pleased to assist you with information sources and clarification of issues, so feel free to call (660-4308) or e-mail me at: anarchymarshlake@northwestel.net

Scott Snider

Marsh Lake