Monday, March 01, 2004

ER: The Ottawa Chronicles

So what did you do on your Sunday afternoon? Some cleaning? Some relaxing? Maybe watched a movie? Or nursed a hangover, thanks to Saturday's evening of debauchery? We spent the afternoon at the emergency ward of the Queensway Carleton Hospital. And I'd be sarcastic if I told you that it isn't quite possibly the BEST place to spend three hours of your precious weekend time.

The reason for the visit was at the hands of a fairly inconspicuous agent: A blueberry muffin, baked by my mother. But before you judge, my mom is an AWESOME cook and baker, so it wasn't really her fault. It was the ingredients. More specifically it was whatever mysterious ingredient had a disagreement with Stacey's throat.

Only moments after finishing one of my mother's delicious muffins, Stacey's throat started to close up. Fortunately, it didn't close all the way. She could still breathe and speak, but after a hasty call to TeleHealth Ontario (great service, check it out sometime), we decided that the best thing to do was head to the hospital. So we did. And honestly, a three hour wait on a Sunday afternoon wasn't that bad. They hooked Stace up to an IV and pumped her full of some heavy anti-allergy meds and she started to feel better. We still don't know what caused it, but we're gonna get to the bottom of it soon so we won't have a repeat.

What really got to me, though, was how far medical services in Ontario have slipped. I mean, really slipped. Let's take a look at the cafeteria, for example. Most people would assume that at 6:30 on a Sunday night, the cafeteria would be a pretty busy place. So there I went, stomach grumbling as my only soundtrack, to find that it was closed. And here I thought that cafeterias at hospitals are ALWAYS open. Not that I spend very much time at hospitals, mind you. And then there's parking. Apparently, there's no free parking anymore for anyone, no matter whether you're a patient or a visitor. I had to pay almost $14 to park at a parking lot in the middle of the west end in Ottawa. I have NEVER paid to park in the west end of Ottawa until last night. Seems like gouging a captive audience, if you ask me.

But hey, I guess in the long run, we're very lucky to live in Canada, where medical attention comes without a price tag. It's fantastic to have OHIP paying our doctor's bills and really, paying a couple of bucks to park in the hospital lot doesn't seem like that big a deal. But when they're starving their visitors? Visitors who are quite willing and ready to shell out a few bucks for a greasy Salisbury steak? Sounds like lunacy to me. Anywhere else and any less hungry, and you'd have to pay ME to eat that junk.

The silver lining of it all is that we made it home in time for the Oscars. And MY GOD, the vindication. Rings is the newly-crowned King of Hollywood, and DAMN, it feels nice. Full, heartfelt feelings of joy over Big Petey's win. I wonder if he's at all jealous that his wife Fran got one more Oscar than he did, though? Hmmmm. All in all, it was a very uneventful show, with very few surprises. Most people called the winners with some confidence a month before the envelopes were opened. There were some that made up for past snubbery (Renee and Mr. Penn) and some that were carefully-crafted Oscar-shoe-ins (Charlize, I'm lookin' at you honey), but really, the show was all Hobbit.

Highlights! Bill Murray doing his very best Michael Caine "boo hoo hoo" impression (TM) after seeing his best chance at the gold slip through his fingers. Liv Tyler and her "I'm wearing I'm not wearing glasses....I'm wearing glasses...." routine and a hairdo that looked like it was sculpted by a hurricane. Adrian Brody obviously has bad-smelling breath. Jim Carrey in his biggest comedic bellyflop since Batman Forever. And guest presenters that made no sense whatsoever.

Anyway, treading on the movies/TV thing (wow! It's both) a bit much here, so I'll leave it at that. Oh, and of course,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom! Love you tons!


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