Surviving COVID—“a weakness like I’ve never known”

I’d like to begin this by saying that I’m both thankful and full of thanks. I have just spent the last four weeks battling a COVID-19 variant strand. I can’t recall ever feeling so sick in my life! So sick that I couldn’t eat, had a fever, aches all over, chesty coughing fits, and a weakness like I’ve never known.

What kept me going—kindness. Kindness from my family— both in my home, who monitored my health and delivered fluids and food as needed, and my outside family, who brought groceries, delivered cookies, called each day and always sent me good thoughts. Kindness from my workplace, with folks checking in, sending treats, flowers and a reassurance that things were being taken care of during my absence. Kindness from neighbors and friends, who called and offered help, delivered meals and flowers to brighten our days. Recovery has been slow, but steady. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of those who were there for me.

I’m also thankful to live in an area that values healthcare above all else. Niagara Region Public Health called regularly to monitor and check to ensure my health wasn’t worsening. They tracked my health and extended isolation as needed. Today, I’m thankful to be able to go out and dig in my garden, walk down the street and smile at people I pass.

My request to you is to please continue to listen to the health system’s recommendations. We are not out of these woods yet. Please get vaccinated when you get the chance. Trust me, you don’t want this virus, as it depletes your health in a matter of days.

Finally, BE KIND to those around you. Don’t let fear and anger lead your way, but rather look for ways to support and help.

Shellee Niznik

Appreciates vaccination care

There has been a considerable amount of criticism and confusion about the province’s COVID-19 response and the vaccination program. And, no doubt, some of it might be justified. However, I would like to commend the Niagara Health System for the amazing organization at the Seymour- Hannah site in St. Catharines, where my wife and I (80-years-plus) received our first Pfizer shot on March 16. We were given very clear instructions to follow. Everybody we encountered was extremely pleasant, helpful and professional. We felt cared for and the process was very smooth from beginning to end. Thanks to all the staff there who made it so stress-free.

Bill McInerney

The Last Walrus

The “Last Walrus” documentary, depicting MarineLand Niagara Falls, which aired Friday, March 12, on CBC, was a revealing shocker exposing just how heartless the business is.

Phil Demers, a previous MarineLand employee, developed an unbelievably unique relationship with a walrus called Smooshi. Phil explained the walrus had imprinted on him and regarded him as her mom thereafter. He and Smooshi brought much good publicity to MarineLand on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show and worldwide.

Certainly benefitting from the good publicity, MarineLand, instead of appreciating what Phil had done and respecting it, chose to sue him. And what is Smooshi’s reward? She is stuck in isolation in a small cement enclosure with no companionship of other walruses.

MarineLand today does not have any heart whatsoever to allow Phil a chance to visit his beloved walrus. Instead, Phil is left to be mentally tormented wondering if Smooshi is going to survive or even if she is alive today.

Mammals ended up with chemical burns under MarineLand’s failing to change pool water and flush it clean properly. The red raw skin on mammals was shown in the documentary.

Personally I reported to the humane society in the 1970s a bear dragging its hindquarters. The society spokesperson revealed no surprise saying there had been other calls regarding animals at MarineLand.

Phil has brought much light to shine on the abuse allowed at MarineLand along with tireless protesters, especially ones from the Niagara Action for Animals organization.

Please let MarineLand know your feelings on its hardnosed stand of not allowing a miracle of a compassionate young man and an innocent walrus to resume an outstanding relationship.

Surely the pair after many years deserve a chance to once again gaze into each other’s eyes and believe the world does hold a trace of good.

Faye Suthons


TD decision typical in modern era

The article “Pelham fumes at TD Bank departure” [March 10, p.15], provided interesting information about the earnings of banks in Canada and implied that the major banks are not like other corporations, whose main objective is to obtain the maximum income for their shareholders.

Indeed, banks are public service institutions obliged to offer citizens of Canada financial services according to provincial and federal bank acts. That is the reason why the federal government has allocated taxpayer money to secure deposits in bank accounts in the event of a bank failure. Banks benefit from this support as it encourages Canadian citizens to use banking services with confidence.

Banks are sometimes delinquent in their duties and we have all heard of horror stories concerning individuals. Unfortunately, there are matters in which we have all been compromised. For example, we have been encouraged to start a TFSA (tax free savings account), which was advertised to pay a tax free income on interest that the banks must pay us for leaving our TFSA money with them. The banks have now arbitrarily reduced the annual interest to about 0.05 percent, or about $29 dollars per year on a $60,000 TFSA deposit, while they continue to lend out our money at high interest rates. Since inflation is well over 2 percent, we actually lose well over $1,200 on a TFSA deposit.

The banks need our deposits to make to make their large earnings. That is the reason why they have arbitrarily imposed a $75 fee on those of us who might like to transfer our TFSAs to another institution—to keep us in harness even if they close their local bank. Such arbitrary fees might be in violation of their obligations under the bank acts. When the TD Bank closes in Fonthill, we will have to pay-up or to drive ten miles, back and forth, to Welland, paying for gasoline, for wear and tear on our car, and also wasting an hour of our valuable time.

The above is an example of a minor irritant, however it shows how some corporations have employed psychology and have used methods to manipulate people for their benefits. It is no wonder that people “fume” at such manipulation. People of Pelham, stop fuming and instead devise methods to defend ourselves against manipulators.

Dr. Joseph Kos



PSWs—Worth their weight in gold

There are a few occupations that do not get the laurels they deserve and consequently are paid just marginally above or at the minimum wage level. One of those occupations goes by the title of personal support worker, or more commonly “PSW.” Somehow or another that word, “worker,” seems to demean the position to the level of a mere job and does not sufficiently reflect it as a true calling.

Such a connotation is reflected in the meagre compensation level awarded those engaged in delivering the indispensable services they provide.

Why a society would undervalue the crucial services provided by these experts is a mystery. Throughout the normal course of daily life, one rarely gives a thought to these precious service providers until their much-needed capabilities are called upon. These practitioners provide much welcomed assistance, comfort and relief to those encountering the burden of caring for frail partners, parents, and other cherished persons in their lives.

Once engaged with their clientele, a PSW almost assumes the status of being a member of a close-knit family unit. It is difficult to reconcile the value these persons deliver and the fact that the occupation is among the most marginally compensated ones.

Perhaps largely due to the low compensation, the vocation has difficulty enticing the numbers needed to overcome the shortage of their kind within the healthcare system. That shortage is the reason that the Ontario government introduced tuition-free entry into a college level program to train persons for this occupational group. There is no doubt graduates of the program will have little difficulty gaining entry into the practice of providing compassionate care giving in both the private and public sectors.

A notable discrepancy has crept into the compensation system within this occupation. Those who choose to practice in long term care facilities (LTCs) earn four to five dollars more per hour than those who provide service to clients who choose to continue to live in their homes. This is contrary to the reality that it is more economical, and perhaps healthier, to provide health care support, whenever possible, to people living in their homes. Such a practice avoids the higher costs associated with institutional care given in both the private and public sectors.

The people who have made use of this facet of the healthcare system praise the excellent care provided by those engaged in this occupation. However, there remains the misgiving that this particular facet of the system may be undervalued for the contribution rendered whenever called upon to do so.

Imagine the chaos and impairment that would occur should these essential practitioners in the system abandon their compassionate care services. Is the compensation for those devoted to keeping people comfortable in their frailties and alive in their sunset years commensurate with the true value of their contribution?

Hopefully the system will soon reconcile the value PSWs deliver and the level of compensation they receive.


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Starting Monday, those 75-plus may book appointments

While addressing a public forum this past Friday afternoon, the Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, stated that 48 percent of the 80-year-old-plus segment of Niagara’s population have now been vaccinated. Of course the majority of these are located in the Region’s senior and long-term-care homes. It can be assumed that the remaining 52 percent of this group live in their own homes. It is the group that has for the past week been able to book appointments on the province’s health line. A fair number of Pelham seniors have used the assistance offered by the Pelham Library to make these bookings. If you require some help, the Library phone number is (905) 892-6443. Once you have booked an appointment, the website provides information on such things as when to arrive, what to bring, and what to expect at the clinic.

Starting this Monday, those who will turn 75 or older in 2021 may also now book appointments.

The first vaccination clinic will be held at the MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls, and its first three days are fully booked. In Pelham, the Meridian Community Centre will be the Town’s vaccination clinic location, and it will be open April 8. Niagara Regional Transit is providing free transportation to the clinic and their customer service telephone number is (289) 302-2172. When using this service, you must show the driver proof of your appointment.

With the United States shipping 1.5 million doses of vaccine north to Canada, this should ultimately speed up the process here in Niagara.

As of Sunday, there were 14 people with COVID in Region hospitals. On Friday the Ford Government increased the customer limit from 10 to 50 percent of capacity in restaurants and bars at any one time (not to exceed 50 patrons), as long as physical distancing between tables can be maintained.

At last, spring is here and this week’s forecast is for very spring-like temperatures. Please get outside for some fresh air and sunshine, maybe a walk, and if it ends at an outdoor patio, so be it!

Until next time…