Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

22

Dec

2021

We are more than our masks

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday December 9, 2021

 

The woman standing in line looked vaguely familiar. But because she was wearing a Covid mask, I could see only her eyes and forehead. 

            “Holly?” I asked, tentatively. 

            Her eyebrows shot up. Her eyes crinkled. “Jim!” she exclaimed, flinging her arms around me. (Take that, Covid!)

            I find it hard to recognize people with half their face hidden. 

            In the old days, people used masks to cover other parts of their faces. The Lone Ranger and Batman wore masks over the upper half. 

            Now it’s the opposite. 

 

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16

Oct

2021

Isolating those who are different

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday October 17, 2021

 

We who live in the enlightened western nations tend to heap scorn on the Hindu caste system. We don’t recognize that we have our own caste systems. 

            Indigenous communities scattered across the boreal north are our Dalits, the outcastes, the untouchables. “At any given time,” writes the Council of Canadians, “there are drinking water advisories in dozens of First Nations communities across Canada.”

           Most recently, Iqaluit residents were assured their water was safe, even though it smelled of diesel. Then this week that assurance was reversed – it was now unsafe even when boiled. 

            Can you imagine an entire city, like, say, Regina, being told its tap water was unsafe for drinking, for cooking, for washing, even for washing your hands in? There’d be hell to pay.

            But this is Iqaluit, not Regina.


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20

Jul

2021

If I were a coronavirus…

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday July 18, 2021

 

COVID-19 cases have started surging again, in places like Brazil, India, Indonesia, and the U.S.. Reports blame the rise on anti-vaccine movements, distrust of authorities, misinformation, and government incompetence. 

            If I were a coronavirus, I’d be celebrating all of those.

            As a virus, I have only one goal – to get inside the cells of as many humans as possible, so that I can take over their cell mechanisms to make more copies of me, so that I can get inside more cells of more humans. 

            We viruses run the ultimate assembly line. All we need is victims. 


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13

Jun

2021

The Covid Quarantine Blues

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday June 10,2021

 

Only 14 days to go. This shouldn’t be difficult. I don’t expect quarantine will be much different from daily life in these Covid-restricted times.

            I live alone. Covid rules won’t let me invite people in for dinner or coffee. The only germs I have to deal with are my own. So keeping the house spotless doesn’t need to be a high priority.

            I have a freezer full of frozen food. I’ve got more books than I can possibly read. The cable is working, and Google awaits.

            This could be almost like a mini-vacation.

            I can see the routines shaping up.


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31

May

2021

When worldwide becomes personal

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 30, 2021

 

The big picture only hits home when it becomes the small picture. That’s why movie makers show you the big picture--of thousands of foot soldiers surging up a hill, for example--and then zoom in to show the tension visible on a single face.

            After 14 months of daily pandemic statistics, the big picture of daily COVID-19 statistics goes over my head like distant thunder.

            Until Wednesday of this week.

            When my daughter tested positive.

            Suddenly, COVID-19 has stopped being a big picture and has become intensely personal.


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18

Apr

2021

What if we never return to normal?

Author: Jim Taylor

Let’s imagine the unthinkable. Suppose life never goes back to “normal.”

            Increasingly, I hear people expressing frustration about pandemic restrictions. They want to visit their grandchildren; travel to exotic places; hug their friends. 

            I share those desires.

          I long for a time when I can associate with my friends directly – not virtually.

            But maybe things won’t go back to what they used to be. 

 


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8

Apr

2021

Who gets protection last?

Author: Jim Taylor

I got my Covid-19 vaccination a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that my age puts me near the head of the line. 

            But then Jack Knox, a Victoria columnist, asked who should be at the end of the line?

            Because somebody has to be last. Don’t they? 

            Most of us would agree about those who should get preference. 

  • The residents of long-term care facilities, whose health is fragile already.
  • The front-line medical workers, who spend all day, every day, in close contact with the infected people the rest of us want to avoid. 
  • The essential workers, the ones who keep supplying groceries, hardware, and emergency services. Even if only one in every hundred people they encounter is a Covid carrier, that’s still way more than the rest of us.
  • Teachers and child-care workers, who deal daily with little germ factories. 

           But who’s not on the list?

            The question implies a deserving factor. Which is rooted, I would argue, in a belief that the universe is supposed to be fair. Those who are good get rewarded; those who aren’t, get punished. 


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7

Feb

2021

Professional silos risk patients’ lives

Author: Jim Taylor

            It’s hard to realize that the first COVID-19 case showed up in Canada barely more than a year ago. A patient came to Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital after returning from Wuhan, China, where the disease apparently originated.

            COVID-19 was a brand new disease. We didn’t know how it started, how it was transmitted, or how to treat it.

            We learned as we went.

            Initially, too, we saw ICU patients propped up in beds. Now I sometimes see then lying face down. It looks awkward, but apparently it helps to drain the fluid building up in their lungs.

            At that point, I wondered if anyone in the COVID-19 camp had contacted the cystic fibrosis community about postural drainage.

            Because nobody, but nobody, knows more about getting fluid out of lungs than the people who treat cystic fibrosis.


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4

Oct

2020

Shift focus onto Covid transmitters

Author: Jim Taylor

           I pulled some figures from the BC Ministry of Health webpage. I correlated them with B.C. population figures from the last census..

            Surprise, surprise! The elderly are NOT the most at risk for infection.

            Certainly they’re most at risk for death. As of a month ago, three-quarters of all deaths were among those over 70.

            That shouldn’t be a surprise. They’re already on their last legs. I suspect the same would hold true if I took statistics for almost any disease, illness, or disability.

            But not for infection. The infection rate among those over 60 is significantly lower than for younger adults. Among those over 60, the infection rate is about 1.4 per 1000. Among the 20-29 age group, the infection rate is more than twice as high -- 3.5 per 1000.



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2

Aug

2020

Making statistics more real

Author: Jim Taylor

Dying is never fun. I think I can safely say that, although I suppose there may be people who gather together for some kind of final bacchanalia as they expire. 

            As Peggy Lee sang, long ago, “If that’s all there is, my friend, then let’s keep dancing. Let’s break out the booze, and have a ball…”

            But such a party would, I imagine, be only a way of suppressing their fear of dying.

            Those who have been close to a dying person know what it’s like. Pain, even with constant medication. Helplessness. Loss of independence. Loss of control. Loss of memory. Bewilderment. Confusion. Sometimes calm resignation, sometimes anger and bitterness. 


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