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Awoke this morning after a very short night (didn’t get to bed until 4:00 AM). A raven called out. There were no other birds announcing their presence. I looked out over the pastures – brown and dry, dust rising up from the horses’ slow walk to find grass. Mendocino is in the midst of the dry season and our fall-winter-spring visitors, killdeer, robins, redwing black birds, are gone. There are plenty of human visitors escaping inland’s heat, exploring the California Coast, and/or just getting away from home, here, now.

Our vacation was wonderful: North America is magnificent – whether the plains relieved only by rivers cutting through the otherwise flat land; grain silos and trees; rolling prairies; mountains; or the coast. We discovered incredible restaurants in unexpected places. For example, a couple of Thai restaurants one in a remodeled KFC in Winnipeg’s Osborne district and another in a storefront in a small mall in Billings, Montana were exceptional not only making our list of good restaurants, they are first and second of all Thai restaurants we have experienced from coast to coast.

We kept-up on the news – particularly the debate over health care. Canada’s healthcare system is not perfect, but it is being misrepresented. We asked about our friends’ experiences and no one had a horror-story – all were appreciative of the care they have received.

For example, in Manitoba, we spent time with a great family – a couple in their mid- thirties with a one year old girl. The father is still recovering from major brain surgery and before that radiation. In 2007 he was diagnosed with a small cell cancer. He almost immediately began radiation treatments at a specialty institution in Toronto, where he doesn’t live. He and his family live in Winnipeg. Later he had surgery in Winnipeg and is now going through rehab there. His experience is in stark contrast to the experience claimed by the Ontario woman who had a non-malignant cyst near or perhaps on her optic nerve.

By the way, our friend (and relative) has been out of work for over a year because of the severity of the disease. His wife does work and he is now re-entering the workplace working part time for the company where he was working when he was diagnosed. The point is that the system in Canada provided for his treatment and recovery without bankrupting him and/or his family (his parents who would have helped financially if it had been necessary).

On the other side of the debate, Joan’s mom had cataracts. She was not able to arrange to have surgery before her eyesight deteriorated to the point where, first, she didn’t believe she saw well enough to drive and, second, she lost confidence that she could see traffic well enough to cross a busy street. We urged her to get the surgery as soon as possible, however there were not enough practitioners in Winnipeg and appointments were granted to the “worst first.” The quality of her life deteriorated and even after surgery, she did not fully return.

This article was written by stanford

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