Tag Archives: health

Mental Wellness

Tonight I went to a talk about schizophrenia and bipolar disorder hosted by Chinese Mental Wellness Association of Canada. The association invited a UBC psychology professor to give some general information about the two mental problem. The speaker talked about the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and corresponding treatment options. The speaker talked in English and a volunteer translate the talk to Cantonese and Mandarin in real time.

The information in the talk is very general, probably less than what is in the Wiki. But the information sinks in much better from a live presentation than reading dry text. Let alone that I probably won’t read the information on my own. Today I learned that mental problem is partly genetic and partly environmental. Mental problem can not be cured, it can only be controlled or maintained. The treatment always begins with the psychiatrist, get some pills to stabilize the problem, then consult with psychologist to work on mental therapy. The hardest part is to get the patient aware of the problem and willing to accept treatment. Many audiences asked questions relate to how to treatment the problem in the Q&A session. Too bad that I forgot to ask the speaker whether smoking will make schizophrenia worse.

In addition to the content of the talk, I have some inspiration about volunteer works. It is the first time I have first hand experience about grass root charity organization. Unlike the big volunteer program, like the Red Cross or charity run by churches, the CMWAC has a total different aura. It is more like a support group for Chinese families with mental problem. The founder and chair person also acted as the translator for the talk. Juxtaposing her side by side with the psychology professor, I can see two difference kind of volunteers. The professor is the technical expert and gives credibility to the talk. The chair person knows a lot about hands on knowledge and very enthusiastic in her volunteer work. It is not that one is better than another, but rather the kinds of two volunteers make a good complement to each other. It is like scientists and research assistants, engineers and technicians, doctor and nurses, it takes two to get the job done.

Health service in Vancouver

Canada is famous for its medicare system. It is expensive, that’s why our tax rate is so high. I never understand why it cost so much until my father in law has a surgery in the Vancouver General Hospital. The surgery is a success, the treatment is fairly good. When I visit him in the hospital, my first impression is I am in a business hotel. The decoration and finishing of the lobby does not look like the hospitals I had in mind. He got a private room for his recovery and there are more than enough nurses in the ward. He is recovering pretty fast, it is able to sit up, walk and eat within a few days. Originally, the nurse told us he can be discharged on Monday. But the hospital don’t have psychotherapist on weekend, so we have to wait until psychotherapist session on Monday. Then the nurse told us he can be discharge on Tuesday afternoon. It turns out they are still waiting for one of his lab report from a test in Tuesday morning. The report won’t come back for another day, so my father in law will have to stay in the hospital until Thursday if the nurses did not forget anything else. If the hospital could stream line the work, take the test on Sunday and arrange the psychotherapist over the weekend, then we can take him home on Monday as planned. Oh! Did I mention he got a private room? Our health system is so inefficient, no wonder it cost so much to the tax payers.

I drove all the way to VGH to pick up my father-in-law without know he can’t be discharged today. It is a total waste of my time. Maybe the hospital should learn from the airport, setup a website for the family of patients to check discharge status. Like the arrival information in the airport, you can see whether the discharge is delayed or not. Then my friend, Chris, hear my idea and joke about this idea, maybe they should add the canceled status like a flight. If the patient is canceled, you don’t have to pick him up anymore, because he is already dead. Pat said it is cruel and suggested the cancel status change to the departure gate to Heaven.