Our First Adventure In 2 1/2 Years – Part 2

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Before we took this trip, my husband and I agreed to continue wearing a mask while around other people. It didn’t matter to us what the test results would be. However, we received the results approximately 2 1/2 hours after being tested. Thankfully, the results came back negative, but I was still nervous about catching the virus. So we continued wearing masks when we were around my family. We even sat separate from them when eating dinner.

We were very happy to see them after not seeing them for so long. However, the fact that we had to wear masks was annoying, but we didn’t see what else we could do. The entire trip was surreal because we were almost the only people wearing a mask wherever we went. Sometimes there were a few people wearing them, but their masks were usually sitting on their chins and not covering their mouths and noses.

The two weeks went by extremely quickly. As soon as we started getting used to the place, we had to leave. The Covid regulations also changed in my native country by the time we were leaving to return to Canada. The regulations in place when we arrived stated that everyone entering or leaving the country had to wear a mask at the airport. But when we were leaving, this requirement was dropped.

The airport was crowded as usual on the day of our departure. In addition, our flight was delayed for approximately 45 minutes. Once we sat down in our seats, we noticed that the plane was only about 80% full. We were happy about that because we had an empty seat next to us. It’s always nice to have a little extra room 🙂 I should add that the conditions in the bathrooms were bad on this flight. In fact, the bathrooms were filthy. It was much worse than on the one leaving Canada, which really disappointed us.

We finally landed in Canada after a 12 hour flight. I was happy to be able to stretch my legs and looked forward to coming home to our apartment. But as we were taxiing to the terminal, we heard an announcement that we had to stay on the plane and couldn’t leave until we received permission. The reason given was that it was too crowded inside the terminal to process all of the arrivals. This meant we had to sit in our seats for another 45 minutes until they let us leave the plane.

We were shocked by how crowded it was when we finally got off the plane. Although there were a lot of check in kiosks, we still had to wait for an available one to make our customs declaration. In addition, there weren’t enough staff to assist travelers who needed help using them, which made everything slower. Up until about 2 years ago, the cabin crews on airplanes would hand out small forms that everyone arriving in Canada had to fill out and hand to a customs officer. We were told this was canceled some time ago because it was taking too long for travelers to clear customs.

It took us close to 25 minutes once we left the plane to arrive at the customs area. It took another 30 minutes to get in line, enter our information, and then finally see an officer. Before we left the area, I noticed an officer put colored stickers on our passports. My husband’s sticker was green and mine was pink.

We didn’t know what this meant at the time but found out a short time later. By that time all we wanted to do was go home, take a shower and have something to eat. Before we could do that, we needed to get our luggage. But there was a problem here too. An airport employee took pieces of luggage off of the carrousel and explained that the luggage from two flights was unloaded on one carrousel by mistake. We had never seen this before.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to search long to find our luggage as we could see them slowly making their way toward us on the conveyor belt. We quickly grabbed them and left the area which was getting crowded with other passengers eagerly waiting to get theirs too.

As we made our way towards the last exit, one of the airport security staff standing there asked that those travelers who had pink stickers on their passports move to a line on the right, while the others can continue towards the exit. And “moi” was one of the “lucky” ones who had a pink sticker. Those of us with the pink stickers didn’t know why we were asked to move off to the right side. A few minutes later we were told we have been randomly chosen to take a PCR test.

Well, at that point my frustration level went through the roof. I felt I needed to take a shower urgently before things started growing on my skin……. Although the procedure didn’t take that long, it had been a very long travel day for us, with delays at every step in the process. Even ordering a taxi to take us home took much longer than it should have as there was a shortage at the airport.

It took us an extra 3 hours but we finally arrived home. Despite all the lengthy delays, we considered ourselves lucky. The situation at Pearson airport went from bad to much worse a week after we landed………..

 

 

Our First Adventure In 2 1/2 Years – Part 1

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I haven’t seen my family for 2 1/2 years since the outbreak of Covid. At first, it was because there were no flights. Then it was because we weren’t vaccinated, and then every few months there was another variant and the number of infected people suddenly jumped much higher. All of this made it impossible for us to travel.

Until April 1st of this year, the Canadian government required every traveler to produce a negative Covid test before getting on a plane. In addition, there were many other restrictions that I wrote about in previous posts. Not only were all those requirements time consuming, but they also added significant costs as well. Another complication was that the country we wanted to visit ordered each visitor to be tested for Covid once they get off the plane. If they tested positive, they were required to go into isolation for 2 weeks.

Anyway, after the Canadian authorities decided to cancel the testing requirement and the number of infected people started to moderate, my husband and I recently decided to go visit my family. We needed a vacation and we felt it was a good time to do it. We bought our airline tickets about 3 weeks before our departure date. We also booked a hotel and a rental car.

 I started to feel anxious and uncomfortable about taking the trip as soon as we made the arrangements. At first, I didn’t know the anxiety was related to the trip. But then I realized this was the trigger. I started to think about how I was going to manage while I was on the plane. Although masks are required to be worn on flights except when eating or drinking, I was still worried sick.

I thought about canceling the entire trip many times but my husband,” etc. To calm myself, I decided to buy straws that I could slip under the mask and drink water while on the plane. This way I could limit my exposure to others. On the day of our departure, I made sandwiches for us to take on the plane, as I always do. But this time it gave us the flexibility to eat when the others had masks on.

Anyway, things looked very disorganized at the check-in area when we arrived at Pearson airport. I couldn’t tell if they were making repairs but there were wooden dividers everywhere and some areas were blocked from entry. However, most people were checking in using self serve kiosks. But sometimes it isn’t clear on the screen what the next steps are. As a result, many people were stuck not knowing what to do next. The airline was short on staff and they had only 2 employees running around like headless chickens from one kiosk to another. They did their best to help the massive number of people using the kiosks but couldn’t keep up.

We finally boarded the plane. Everyone was wearing a mask, which made me more relaxed. Before we even sat down, I cleaned the armrest, the food tray, and the entertainment screen so that God forbid no germs would even think of touching us ……… 🙂 I even offered the lady sitting next to us some wipes to clean her area too and she gladly accepted.

A few minutes after we sat in our seats, the stewardess announced that we are required by law to keep the mask on for the entire flight except when we are eating or drinking. She added that we can be fined if we don’t comply. That was very reassuring to hear.

The flight wasn’t easy for us as we wore the N95 mask which was very tight fitting and quite uncomfortable to wear. Despite all the plans I made before, I was afraid to eat because I had the idea I’d get infected if I took the mask off while eating. Therefore, I briefly lowered my mask, took a bite of food and as I started chewing I’d quickly pull up the mask to cover my face again. My husband did the same.

There were so many people on board who took their masks off most of the flight. Especially the young guy who sat across the aisle from me. None of them were fined…….. I can’t imagine the cabin crew didn’t notice people sitting without masks. But I think they decided not to bother enforcing the mask rule. This was a big disappointment. In addition, the bathrooms weren’t clean. It was clear that the crew didn’t clean them at all during the flight, which was quite surprising to me.

After a flight of 11 hours, we finally arrived at our destination. Once we collected our luggage, we were led to a large room to have a PCR test done. The test took a few minutes and we were told we would receive the results by text and by email………..

Nevertheless, we usually go directly to a hotel when we come to visit the family. But this time as we were tested for Covid at the airport we thought it would be appropriate to wait for the results before going to the hotel. We were told it could take up to 24 hours to get them and we didn’t want to take any risks.

I arranged to stay the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law until we received the test results. My brother came to pick us up at the airport and it was great to see him. We always hug and kiss when we see each other but this time it was different as we didn’t know if we were infected or not………

To Be Continued…………

Eating Disorders – Part – 6 Fiction

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Scotty was furious when he heard that Shawn was willing to pay for Romi’s treatment. He said that under no circumstances would he accept Shawn paying anything. Scotty had always loved Romi as if she were his own biological daughter. And he wouldn’t tolerate anyone interfering with his family. He called Shawn an arrogant ass and told Renee that if Shawn dared to make an offer like that again, Scotty would find him at the hospital and punch him in the face.

Scotty felt very uncomfortable that Shawn was back in the picture. He was worried that Romi would develop a close relationship with him, but at his expense. He was also afraid that Shawn would reveal that he was her biological father and not Scotty.

Scotty didn’t say anything about it but Renee knew him very well and guessed exactly what her husband was thinking. She assured him that Romi loved and adored him and would never choose Shawn over him. Besides, she said that Shawn was a coward back when she told him she was pregnant, and he is a coward now. He wouldn’t say anything to Romi.

Nevertheless, when Romi was hospitalized, Elizabeth’s condition deteriorated and she died. The death of her friend shook her to her core and she could not stop crying for days. This was the moment she understood that if she wanted to stay alive, she needed to cooperate with the professionals trying to help her.

So when her parents told her about the hospital in LA, she immediately agreed to get help there. At first, she actually said she would do whatever she was asked to by the staff. Her parents were delighted with her new attitude and decided that Scotty would escort her to LA. He has a sister there who invited him to stay with her for as long as he needed.

Renee and Scotty agreed that when Romi’s condition improves, they would tell her the truth about her biological father. They felt they had hidden the truth from her for too long and it was time for her to be told.

Romi went to LA with her father and was admitted to the eating disorders hospital the same day. She stayed there for approximately 2 months and received intensive treatments from psychologists along with anti-depressant medication as well as group therapy sessions.

She was extremely motivated to succeed. Her stay in the hospital was extremely expensive but she was lucky as her grandparents on both sides of her family contributed to help pay the bills. Romi made excellent progress during the treatment process, which was mainly due to her change of attitude and her strong desire to be healthy again.

As a result, after 7 weeks her doctor felt she could return to Toronto and continue her therapy there. The doctors believed that she didn’t need to be hospitalized but she needed to continue taking the anti-depressants and persevere with the psychological treatment program as an outpatient.

Before Romi and her father returned to Toronto, he took her on a trip just the two of them, which was something they had never done before. They really enjoyed themselves and God knows they really needed this vacation. With his wife’s encouragement, Scotty told Romi that he wasn’t her biological father. He apologized that he and her mother didn’t tell her long before. He said that Renee thought she should have been told when she was a young child. But he was afraid of losing her and decided to avoid having this conversation whenever the topic came up.

Scotty said to Romi that he loved her from the minute she was born. It didn’t matter to him that she wasn’t his flesh and blood. He added he never stopped loving her even though she caused them a lot of pain. He told her about the romance her mother had with Shawn. He blamed himself for neglecting Renee as he spent too much time at work and not enough with her.

He admitted that Renee needed love and attention and he simply wasn’t there for her. Thus she looked for it elsewhere and eventually found what she was looking for. Romi sat silently and listened intently to everything Scotty said. She surprised him with her response when he finished speaking. She jumped out of her chair, gave him a big hug and covered him in kisses, and wouldn’t let go. She said she couldn’t have asked for a better father.

Romi said that she wanted to focus on her recovery now and would like to return to university too. She added that maybe one day she would decide to contact her biological father but this wasn’t her priority right now. Romi returned to university while still undergoing treatment.

She started cooking and baking in her spare time which were things she had never done before. And to her surprise, she found them both to be quite enjoyable, particularly baking. This was like a form of therapy for her. Therefore, she decided that after she finished her Bachelor’s degree, she would study the culinary arts.

Romi wished to work with her father who had a local restaurant. It didn’t matter how much he tried to talk her out of this by telling her it was very hard work, spending countless hours on one’s feet. However, she wouldn’t be deterred from her goal and went for it as she felt an intense passion for it. Fortunately, Romi completely recovered from her illness and began to work with her father. In addition, she attended group therapy sessions twice a week to make sure she stayed on the path of good health…………

Eating Disorders – Part – 5 Fiction

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Romi agreed to go see a doctor because the other alternatives were worse. She was afraid Chloe would call her parents who would show up in Paris in no time.

The doctor was very nice and approachable. He asked Romi about her eating habits and he also asked if she was pleased with her appearance. Her answer didn’t surprise him as she said she would be happier if she could lose a little weight. Once he heard this, the doctor knew exactly who he was dealing with. He then checked her height and weight and sent her for blood tests.

The doctor told Chloe that Romi is suffering from an eating disorder. He said it is treatable but she needs to do something about it right now. He added that Romi needs to be referred to a psychologist who specializes in treating people who have eating disorders.

He told Romi there is no time to waste as if she continues losing weight, she could die. Romi was in shock after hearing what the doctor had to say. She was unwilling to acknowledge that she had an eating problem or any problem at all. Chloe said she had no choice but to contact her parents in Toronto as she can’t take responsibility if something was to happen to her.

Romi begged her not to say anything to her parents. She promised to eat properly and take the vitamins the doctor gave her. But deep inside she knew she wouldn’t gain any weight. However, she would try to maintain her current weight in a different way. Romi stopped vomiting but kept taking laxatives and skipped meals when Chloe wasn’t around.

In addition, she would walk outside for hours until one day her strength gave out and she collapsed in the street. Romi was immediately rushed to the hospital. Her parents came from Canada and were shocked by how skinny she was and what the doctors in the hospital told them. Scotty was furious with Chloe as she didn’t look after his daughter. And was upset with Renee because he didn’t want Romi to be a model in the first place.

For the 1st time in her life, Renee was told that an eating disorder can be genetic. One of the doctors told them that Romi needed specialized treatment. He said that their daughter is suffering from a variety of disorders and needed help right away. It goes without saying that Romi couldn’t complete her contract with the clothing company. She returned to Toronto and was hospitalized in a local eating disorder treatment center.

At first, she was placed on anti depressant medication which didn’t work. So the doctor had to change her medication a few times. Romi was in and out of the treatment center several times. In between, she went to an eating disorder clinic for nutritional advice and counseling. She also had one on one sessions with a psychiatrist along with group therapy sessions. It didn’t matter how much weight she lost, Romi always thought she was fat and would weigh herself every day.

Her eating disorder consumed her life. She isolated herself and stopped attending university. At some point, her periods stopped and due to the fact that she vomited so much, she was also diagnosed with a ruptured esophagus.

By this point in her life, Romi had no friends left except Elizabeth, who she met during one of her hospitalizations in the eating disorder center. Elizabeth was an only child and meant the world to her parents. Her condition was very serious and she couldn’t even walk. Thus, she needed a wheelchair to get around.

Elizabeth suffered from anorexia since she was 12 years old. She starved herself for years, which caused irreversible damage to her body. Romi and Elizabeth had a lot in common and became good friends. They were both miserable. But while Elizabeth completely gave up on life, Romi was in denial most of the time. She did not think she could die from her actions.

However, when Romi was 20 years old, she suffered a heart attack. She was rushed to Mt. Sinai hospital. The doctor who took care of her was none other than her biological father Shawn…. Renee was surprised to see him after not seeing him for so long.

Apparently, he returned to Canada a few years before. Shawn had two sons. The oldest was 2 years older than Romi and the youngest was 15. His heart went out to Romi the second he saw her and decided to put in his maximum effort to help her. He told Renee there is an excellent eating disorder hospital in LA, which has a high rate of success in treating particularly difficult cases.

He added that it was a very expensive hospital and that he was willing to pay for her treatment……but he told Renee that Romi must want to get better and therefore must cooperate with the health care professionals who would be treating her. If not, the treatments will not work and it will be a colossal waste of time and money………..

To Be Continued…………

Eating Disorders – Part – 4 Fiction

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Romi was caught off guard and wasn’t prepared to hear that. Her agent and her mother were also surprised as they both thought she looked perfect. Renee didn’t think her daughter needed to lose any weight. She was also certain Romi would have another opportunity with a different company. Renee believed that anyone who wanted her to represent their company would accept her the way she is.

However, Romi really wanted to accept this job because the client was one of the top fashion designers in the world. In addition, she was fascinated by the opportunity of living in Paris for four months during her summer break. Thus, she was willing to do whatever it took to get this job. Besides, she thought it would be a piece of cake for her to lose a few pounds. But it wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be. She couldn’t cut back on eating the foods she liked and she also didn’t like exercising.

Romi lacked self discipline when it came to exercising. Even though she had an excellent personal trainer, she was unable to stick to a regular exercise schedule. Just when she thought she would give up on the modeling job in Paris, one of her model friends told her she had a suggestion for her.

Brandy said there was a way she could eat and then go to the bathroom, put her finger down her throat, and throw up. Another method would be to take a pill for constipation. She assured Romi that all of the other models are using either one method or the other.

Romi was terrified by what Brandy told her. She had never done anything like this before. But Brandy told her this was only temporary and she could always go back to her old routine. Romi tried to throw up a few times but it didn’t go well. Then one day it was her father’s birthday, and the family went to a restaurant to celebrate.

There were so many tempting dishes on the menu and Romi overdid it and ate too much. Her stomach was full to the brim and Romi didn’t feel well. Suddenly a light went off in her head and she remembered what Brandy suggested. She excused herself and went to the bathroom. Once inside she leaned over a sink, put her finger down her throat, and threw up immediately.

Romi succeeded in losing weight faster than she thought she would. She was very pleased she got the job in Paris. As she was a minor, her mother did not want to send her to Paris by herself. She asked her niece Chloe to go to Paris with her daughter. Chloe had just finished university and was ready for a break. She was happy to get the opportunity to travel for free and immediately agreed.

When they arrived in Paris and Romi started working, Chloe didn’t have much to do. However, she was a very outgoing person, who met a lot of people and developed a large group of friends. She quickly had a very busy social life and didn’t pay much attention to what her cousin Romi was doing.

She would go out almost every night and wouldn’t return until the sun came up the next morning. Romi was sleeping when Chloe came home and when Romi came home, Chloe was out partying. One day Chloe took Romi with her to introduce her to her friends. One of them pulled Chloe aside and whispered in her ear that her cousin was too thin and looked anorexic. Chloe dismissed him and said all the models looked this way.

Anyway, even though Romi was underweight, she used laxatives and diet aids to help keep her weight down. Because she lost a significant amount of weight, she suffered from dizziness, mood disorders, and was always tired. Over time Chloe noticed that Romi also experienced mood swings. Some days she was personable and outgoing, while on others she was unapproachable and had a bad temper.

In addition, Chloe also heard her throw up in the bathroom on two separate occasions. The first time this happened, she asked Romi what was going on, and she told her she ate some food that was spoiled. But the second time she heard her vomiting, Chloe knew that something was wrong. She thought that maybe her younger cousin was pregnant. But then she remembered she never saw Romi going out on dates with any men. In fact, Romi only socialized with her model girlfriends.

Chloe wanted to take Romi to see a doctor. But Romi didn’t think she had a problem and was against the idea. Then Chloe told Romi she booked a doctor’s appointment for her. She added that if she didn’t agree to keep the appointment, she would call her parents and tell them they needed to come to Paris and look after their daughter. The last thing Romi wanted was for her parents to be in the picture. If her parents came to Paris, they would force her to stop modelling, leave Paris and return to Toronto with them immediately.

Romi went to a pharmacy and bought a pregnancy test. She showed Chloe the results of the test, which were negative. Romi assured her cousin she never had a sexual relationship with anyone. But this didn’t change anything for Chloe and she insisted Romi see a doctor as she was sure she had a problem………….

To Be Continued……….

Eating Disorders – Part – 3 Fiction

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Scotty was hurt by Renee. He felt miserable after the separation from who he thought was his best friend. He had difficulty concentrating at work in the days following their split. Therefore, he asked to take two weeks vacation to think about what his next steps would be.

Scotty’s parents have a summer home near Georgian Bay. He decided to spend some time there alone and clear his mind. All day long he sat next to the water and reflected on the times he and Renee had together. He remembered the support she gave him when he worked those countless hours at the restaurant, even though his long hours at work took him away from their quality time together.

Renee knew how much he loved what he was doing and never complained. He thought that maybe he is partly to blame for her looking for love elsewhere. He called her when he returned to Toronto and told her they needed to meet. He said he missed her and wanted them to get back together. He added that after being together for so many years, they needed to give their relationship another try.

He said to Renee that it doesn’t matter who the father is, he would raise the child as his own. Renee couldn’t believe her ears, as he was being such a gentleman. However, Scotty had one request. He wanted her to keep the issue of paternity just between the two of them. Obviously, she agreed as this was the least she could do for him.

A few months later, Renee gave birth to a baby girl and named her Romi. The baby was beautiful with big dimples. Renee didn’t need to do a paternity test on her daughter as she was certain who the father was. However, she had Scotty tested anyway and the results clearly indicated that he wasn’t the father.

Scotty treated Romi as if she was his own daughter. He loved her and spoiled her. Later on, Renee and Scotty had 2 boys together, but they never got married. From a beautiful baby, Romi grew up to be a beautiful young girl. People would stare at her in the street and modelling agencies would speak with Renee and offer modelling contracts to her daughter.

Nevertheless, Renee wouldn’t allow her daughter to become a model under any circumstances. She wouldn’t accept any of the offers presented to her. Romi was an excellent student who always set very high goals for herself. Her mother had a plan for her and she wanted her to be a doctor. Renee was afraid if she accepted one of the modelling offers modeling it would interfere with her studies.

At first, Romi agreed with her mother. She didn’t think that modelling was for her. But then one day when she was 15, she got an offer from one of the larger companies in Toronto. She was offered a lot of money even though she had no experience. Romi decided to accept the offer. She felt she could become a model and also continue with her studies. The thought of being famous greatly appealed to her.

It wasn’t easy to convince her mother but Renee knew that her daughter was very smart as well as a good student and was certain she could handle both roles. In addition, the amount of money Romi was offered was very difficult for her to turn down.

Renee also thought this was an opportunity for Romi to save some money and set it aside for medical school tuition.  She would be able to pay for her tuition from her work as a model in a very short period of time. The one person who really didn’t like the idea was her father. He felt that this type of work was very difficult.

He worked in one of the top restaurants in Toronto and met many famous entertainers. He met several models as well, who would ask him to cater their private parties. They would talk with him about their work and the business they were in. As a result, he knew about all the challenges his daughter would face once she would start working as a model.

Scotty didn’t want her to deal with the shady characters, the relentless pressure, and the temptations of drugs and alcohol. But, in the end, his wife and daughter managed to convince him everything would be OK. Romi told him that she’d quit if she felt she couldn’t handle the work. She signed a contract with the company and became its face. She received dozens of offers overnight and so Renee decided Romi needed an agent to handle the business part of her career.

Romi became a very popular model. She travelled all over the world to do photoshoots. She was able to successfully combine her school work with modelling. When she was almost 17, she received an invitation to audition for one of the largest clothing designers in Paris. She was told that if she was accepted, she would have to move to Paris for several months.

Romi was extremely excited about the audition. She flew to Paris accompanied by her mother and her agent as this could become a very big client who was offering a multi-year contract. The client was very impressed by Romi, as she was not only extremely beautiful but was also very smart and a pleasure to work with.

The client told her he definitely wanted her to be their representative but he had one condition before he formally offered her the job. She needed to lose a little weight……..

Eating Disorders – Part – 2 Fiction

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Renee worked as a nurse at Mt. Sinai hospital for 6 years when Shawn started working there as a young doctor. Shawn was married and had a baby boy. Renee was in a stable relationship  for a few years with Scotty who was a chef in a well known restaurant in Toronto.

Renee and Scotty were quite dedicated to their jobs and worked very hard. Although they were living together, they did not see each other as much as they wanted, because of their demanding jobs. Renee often worked the night shift at the hospital and Scotty typically worked at the restaurant from noon until the early hours of the morning.

As a result, both of them were exhausted when they came home from work and all they wanted to do was get some rest. They really enjoyed what they did for a living but Renee sometimes felt lonely especially when she had a hard day at the hospital and needed to release some steam. Scotty worked many hours at the restaurant and she did not feel it was right to impose on him when he was relaxing at home. So Renee found comfort in food.

Anyway, Shawn was a very good looking guy. He was tall, well built and had dimples. Both men and women were attracted to him when he started working at the hospital. However, he was not a very sociable person and most of the time he had a very serious look on his face. Renee worked many night shifts with him. At first she thought he was a snob, and a very boring person. But over time, she understood that he was a shy. This is the reason why he didn’t socialize with the other staff.

One overnight shift was particularly quiet and the two of them sat and talked. At the end of the shift, Shawn offered Renee a ride home. Over time they became close friends and would open up to each other. Shawn told her about his family and his personal life and Renee did the same.

Their friendship slowly changed to a romantic relationship. Shawn would come to her apartment after Scotty went to work. Renee fell in love with him and it seemed like the feelings were mutual. They had a relationship for approximately 10 months and then one day Shawn came to her apartment and told her he got an offer from one of the largest hospitals in New York. He was excited and said he would be leaving Toronto shortly.

Shawn looked like he won the lottery. He said this was what he wanted for a long time and felt that his dream came true. He was talking nonstop without paying attention to Renee. However, she felt as though someone slapped her across the face. At some point she stopped listening to him and was daydreaming. On the one hand, Renee couldn’t imagine her life without him. But on the other hand, she finally realized he did not love her the way she loved him.

Shawn promised he would be in touch with her when he came to say goodbye before he left town. Renee acted as though she was very happy for him and wished him good luck. But deep inside she was crushed. As difficult as it was for her, she tried to pull herself together and go back to her regular routine.

She thought that after all, she had a good life. She had her job, close friends, and still had Scotty who loved her. Anyway two weeks after Shawn left, Renee found out she was pregnant. It was like an earthquake for her. She had a relationship with two men at the same time and the baby could be from either one of them.

She made a decision that there is no way she is keeping this pregnancy. Renee made an appointment with a gynocologist who told her she was four months pregnant. He added that he doesn’t recommend she have an abortion at this stage. Renee was surprised when she heard how advanced her pregnancy was.

She was unable to find a doctor who would agree to do the procedure. Each doctor she spoke with tried to talk her out of it. As time went on she understood she had no choice but to continue with her pregnancy. She also knew very well she had to face Scotty and could not postpone it any longer.

Scotty was furious with Renee when she told him she was having an affair with one of the doctors at the hospital. He could not bare it when she told him she was pregnant. Scotty picked up all of his belongings and left their apartment on the same day.

A couple of weeks later Shawn called Renee to update her on his new location. He was focused on himself and his new adventure and barely asked how she was doing. Renee thought that he should know about the pregnancy so she interrupted him and gave him the news.

At the beginning he just kept talking, and then the words finally sunk in. All of the sudden he was silent. After a few minutes Shawn told Renee how much he loved his wife and that he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. He said he knew a doctor who would agree to perform the abortion and he was willing to pay for it.

The fact that she was already in a stage where abortions were not recommended didn’t seem to bother him. At that moment, Renee decided to hang up on him and forget he even existed………..

To Be Continued………….

Eating Disorders – Part – 1 Fiction

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Renee was always chubby and was comfortable with her weight until she was approximately 14 years old. Her mother, who was a nutritionist, didn’t like her daughter’s diet. She and her husband would gently try to talk to her about her eating habits. They would mention she was eating too much junk food but she couldn’t care less. Renee loved sweet stuff and would hide it in her room and secretly eat when no one could see it.

However, the change began when she fell in love with a boy in her class who didn’t really pay attention to her. Then Renee decided to lose weight and stopped eating junk food. She started exercising and asked her mother to suggest a menu for her, which she gladly did. And it worked, the results were not long in coming.

Regardless, the boy still didn’t pay attention to her. So Renee decided to work harder to lose even more weight. She became obsessive about working out and how she looked. She would skip meals and could speak nonstop about her diet and exercising. At some point she didn’t have many friends because they were sick and tired of hearing about her obsessions.

Renee lost a significant amount of weight and this drew her parent’s attention to the possibility that she may have an eating problem. As a result, they took her to a local eating disorders clinic. The therapist who was called Martha, told them that Renee has a problem but it can be resolved at this stage.

Martha had a successful treatment plan. She gave her patients speeches and pep talks. She also showed them videos of people struggling with severe cases of anorexia or bulemia. The videos were graphic and did not pull any punches.

In addition, she would take the teenagers whose conditions were not too severe to the clinic specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and would give them a tour. This way they would be exposed to the suffering and misery of those young people who were hospitalized. They would typically leave the clinic at the end of the tour in a state of shock.

Without painting a rosy picture, Martha would tell them exactly what would happen if they didn’t change their ways. She described her approach as shock therapy. She hoped that her patients would be so profoundly shaken by what they saw that they would do whatever was necessary to change their behavior and get better.

Martha’s treatment methods resulted in 70% of her patients returning to good health. She would do whatever it took to help them go back to a normal life. Although Martha’s collegues didn’t like her methods and considered them too cruel, she showed them that her results spoke for themselves.

Renee was lucky to be enrolled in Martha’s program as she had a 2nd chance to change her eating habits before it was too late. Renee had to struggle to keep her weight down, still she managed to do so with her mother’s support without having to take any drastic steps. Over the years Renee gained and lost weight all the time. Whenever she had a social event like a wedding or a party to go to, she would lose weight to fit into the smallest dress size possible. In short, her weight was always an issue.

Nevertheless, after she finished high school, she studied nursing at university. She was quite popular at school and dated a lot of guys. But somehow, she felt that most of them were interested in her because she had a full figure and not because of the person she was. Sometimes the men she dated would tell her she needed to lose a little weight. She would end the relationship the minute her weigh became an issue.

Anyway, Renee finished her studies with very high grades. The first interview she went on was at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto. She started working there a few days later. Renee was a hard worker and her supervisors liked her a lot. While working at the hospital, she found a few other people who struggled with their weight, just as she did. They would attend Weight Watchers meetings together and would also go for long walks outdoors. Renee finally found other people she could relate to.

She was without a boyfriend for a long time when she met Scotty. Scotty was divorced without any children. And right from the start he made it clear he would not get married again. He never wanted to speak about his ex-wife, but he acknowledged that their divorce was very traumatic for him. Anyway, Scotty loved Renee as she was. He never brought up the topic of her weight, which was a refreshing change.

Scotty was a sous chef when they met and was a great cook. He was very talented and Renee couldn’t resist any of his dishes. Therefore, she stopped attending Weight Watchers meetings as she couldn’t be bothered……..

To Be Continued……………….

The Consequences Of Cannabis

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Most people start smoking marijuana while they are in high school and some while in junior high. There are at least two types of users that I am aware of. The first one is a person who is dependent on the drug and becomes addicted over time. The other type, despite being a frequent user, does not lose control and is able to stop using it without much difficulty.

When you start using marijuana, you have no way of knowing if you will become addicted to it or not. And this can make your life very complicated. Many people think that marijuana is a “soft” drug. They feel it is not addictive and it can’t harm you. Obviously this is not true.

A friend of mine told me that most of his friends were smoking marijuana when he was in high school. And some of them were admitted to professional schools such as medicine and law school later on. They were able to stop using it in time and move forward with their lives. On the other hand, some of his friends are still smoking marijuana even today and can’t kick the habit.

Sandy started smoking grass in her late 20’s. This is something that wasn’t very common at the time (people generally start at a younger age). She would only smoke when she was on vacation with her friends, which was fairly often…… Her friends would tease her that she was away on vacation more often than she was working at her job…….

When I asked her if she enjoyed smoking marijuana, Sandy said she didn’t like it at all. So I asked her then why the hell are you smoking it? Her answer was that she wanted to be part of the group. She felt she had to participate and do what everyone else was doing. She added that not only did she not enjoy using it, it also made her feel sick 😦 😦

However, for over 20 years, Jessica was smoking grass. It helped her deal with life’s challenges. It made her feel good when she smoked. Jessica suffered from low self esteem and suffered from bullying as well. Unfortunately, children can be nasty and she was ostracized by her classmates when she was a child. She came from a working class family who did not always have money to spend on new clothes for her. Therefore, she would wear hand me down clothes that were worn by her older sister.

When she was almost 15, she smoked her first joint with her childhood friend who convinced her to try it. It was love at first sight. Suddenly she felt happy, as though she didn’t have a care in the world. She would laugh for no reason and everything that was bothering her magically seemed trivial.

Jessica started smoking only occasionally. She went through a very hard time when she was in the middle of final exams. She even thought of leaving school and dropping out. But then her friend told her she should smoke some marijuana before taking a test and this will relax her. She took his advice.  Mind you, her grades weren’t so high but they were high enough to pass the courses.

After she finished high school Jessica decided to take some time off before she went to university. She went to Thailand and met a guy named Derek, who would later become her husband. The two of them travelled all over the country together. He was a very happy person who was always smiling and fun to be around. He was also smoking marijuana everyday.

At the beginning, it didn’t bother her. But as the relationship became more serious, she asked him to cut back on his smoking and he did it, at least around her. Still, from time to time he would invite friends over to visit and they would smoke in the living room. Jessica didn’t like this as they had a small apartment and the smoke stayed there for hours after they left.

It felt as though they lived in a chimney. While Jessica was smoking maybe once a week, Derek would start smoking the minute he opened his eyes, before he went to work, when he returned from work, and before he went to sleep. It seemed that the man couldn’t do anything without smoking a joint first.

Anyway, Jessica got pregnant approximately a year after they got married. She decided to immediately stop smoking completely, because she was afraid it would harm the baby. The two of them moved to a bigger apartment and she asked him not to smoke in the apartment at all. Obviously, he didn’t like it but he agreed to her request.

After a while he started smoking on the balcony. Derek returned   to his old habits in the winter and was smoking in the apartment once again. As a result, they began arguing nonstop. Jessica thought he should get professional help to reduce his smoking before the baby was born. He promised her a numbers of times he would do it but never acted on it.

After the baby was born she saw he didn’t want to do anything about his addiction. Jessica didn’t want the baby to be exposed to the smoke. She wanted to start a clean page but Derek wasn’t on the same page as her. By the way, she said that he became a different person every time he tried to cut back on his drug use. He became moody, impatient, and had a bad temper.

A few months after Jessica left him, Derek got into a very bad car accident where one of his best friends was killed. Derek was driving at the time. The police said that everyone in the car was high on drugs and drunk. Derek and all of his friends were badly injured and he spent months in rehab.

In conclusion, if you are a moderate marijuana user, it’s probably enjoyable and may not have a huge impact on your life. However, like everything else, if you overdo it, you have to take into account it can bring about unintended negative consequences. The bottom line is this. If you can’t control yourself, don’t start with marijuana in the first place……….

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

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As the world returns to normal and the number of Covid 19 cases has fallen to an all time low, we were notified a couple of weeks ago that a new Omicron variant is here. After we already had the BA1 and BA2, it is only natural that the BA3 would also come to keep us company….. The World Health Organization said the Omicron variant is a milder form of Covid 19. When you think about all the variants we’ve seen so far, I wonder how many more variants there are to come……and when will this bloody virus set us free?

However, in the last week of March 2022, the Ontario government decided to cancel the requirement for masks in public places. Hearing this news put me under a lot of stress. I have been at home for two years and not socializing with anyone. I didn’t fly overseas to visit my family because I was afraid of getting infected while on the airplane. I do not think that the danger is behind us yet and don’t understand what the hell they are thinking. Mind you, there are some public places where you are still required to wear masks such as clinics, hospitals and on public transportation. Still the fact that people in the grocery stores will be mask free puts many people in an awkward position.

I should add that most shoppers have continued to wear masks when I have been inside grocery stores. I was pleasantly surprised to see this as I was afraid that the majority of people would decide not to wear them. But I wouldn’t hold your breath as I have a feeling that it is just a matter of time until the masks come off completely.

Let’s take it into consideration that wearing a mask not only offers protection against the coronavirus, it also helps protect you from catching other viruses and some respiratory diseases too. Another advantage of wearing masks in Canada is it helps keep your face warm in the cold weather. Furthermore, it can protect you from inhaling air pollution too. It also goes without saying that wearing a mask helps keep you anonymous. It’s as though you are hiding who you are even when you are out in public…:-)

Anyway, it seems that life is pretty much back to normal. You don’t hear the birds chirping much anymore like we used to when the pandemic started. They have been drowned out for a long time now by the sounds of cars and trucks driving on the street. I don’t know if everyone who lost their jobs due to Covid are back at their jobs or are working at all. But the restaurants, theaters, and gyms, etc, are all open again.

Believe it or not, there are some people who have flourished during this period. One specific example is all the new cooks and bakers that have emerged online over the last two years. An entire industry has sprung to life for them. The people who found themselves at home against their will when the pandemic erupted decided to begin a new adventure. Some of them took online cooking and baking courses, started cooking, and put their creations on YouTube.

Viewship on YouTube has exploded over the past two years as millions of people were forced to stay at home and they turned to watching YouTube videos to either pass the time or to learn new skills.

I recently saw something funny when I was looking on YouTube for a new recipe. I saw a video of a lady who prepared the simplest recipe that I ever saw for maccaroni and cheese. This was the first video she put on YouTube. She had so many viewers for something so basic which surprised her. She now has thousands of followers and subscribers for her videos. The strange thing is that her receipes are OK, but nothing special or unusual.

It just goes to prove that you don’t need to invent something new to be a success. Sometimes all it takes is a slight change or a new twist on an old formula or even a different way of presenting old material to become popular or successful. By the way, a little bit of luck never hurt either….Even my neighbour whose cooking was something you wouldn’t want to touch even with a stick, and certainly not put anywhere near your mouth….. 🙂 has remarkably improved his cooking over the past 2 years.

The person started at ground level but today his muffins look wonderful and I can attest to the fact that they taste amazing. Now when he asks me to taste one of his creations, I never refuse. He told me that he never cooked before and never thought he had the ability to do it. He used to buy prepared food from stores and hardly spent any time in the kitchen at all. It’s as though he had a no entry sign on the kichen door….. 🙂 🙂

But look at him now. He’s become a celebrity. He has thousands of followers who anxiously wait for each new recipe from him and he makes a living from his YouTube videos. The man who used to earn his living as a bookkeeper, and didn’t like his job, finally does something that he enjoys and earns a good living at it too. Is that wonderful, or what?