Life on the other side of the camera

Dr. Victor Varma, a radiologist at the Chatham Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, talks about the limitations of aging equipment used in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at the hospital. A fundraising drive is underway to replace much of it.
Dr. Victor Varma, a radiologist at the Chatham Campus of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, talks about the limitations of aging equipment used in the Diagnostic Imaging Department at the hospital. A fundraising drive is underway to replace much of it.


As a journalist, I’ve spent more than my share of time asking questions and covering meetings.

But now as a business owner, I find more and more I’m answering questions and taking active part in gatherings.

Last week, I was in front of the camera speaking about the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Renewal Campaign. They’re seeking $6.9 million in donations to replace aging imaging equipment, including X-ray and ultrasound machines.

In the past year, I’ve been in there getting X-rays done on the hip I have to get replaced, as well as a cortisone shot into the same hip. Both times, my experiences there were awesome.

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I wrote columns detailing the visits, and as a result, the Foundation of CKHA folks asked if I’d answer a few questions on camera for a video they’re preparing.

On Friday, I did just that.

What’s sad is the fluoroscope the radiologist used while painlessly jabbing a rather large needle into my hip in October was on the fritz last week. Good thing I’m still three months away from my next shot.

So much machinery is quite dated at the hospital. And since the province doesn’t really fully fund health care, the health alliance needs help funding equipment.

Up-to-date equipment lures health-care professionals to hospitals.

Dr. Victor Varma, the radiologist who gave me the cortisone injection, said a big reason he chose to come here a decade ago was the CT scanner in Chatham, which was state of the art at the time. The scanner has received a workout over the past 10 years, and technology has advanced a great deal since then.

Varma said today’s machines are 20 times faster, quick enough to scan a human heart between beats.

A day before my Q&A, I spent the afternoon with about 20 other folks offering feedback and ideas as a consulting firm works on developing a municipal energy plan for Chatham-Kent.

The goals outlined were pretty broad based, so the effort Thursday was to offer goals, discuss issues and best practices within the municipality.

It was an interesting effort, with a diverse group of stakeholders. There were municipal officials on hand, Entegrus personnel, and local business people.

It was a bit weird being involved, rather than reporting on the meeting. I had several people comment they would be interested in reading my story, but as I wasn’t taking notes, instead offering opinion, there will be no story.

We talked energy conservation, renewable options, greenhouse gas reduction, you name it. It was a productive white-board session. I don’t envy the folks who will have to crunch all the suggestions.


Of frozen eggs


This past Monday was supposed to be the darkest day emotionally for folks in the Northern Hemisphere. The third Monday in January, in the middle of winter, when your Christmas bills start to hit you has been dubbed Blue Monday by some.

For me, I suffered Blue Friday last week. Why? Because I went to barbecue chicken and our Big Green Egg was frozen shut. The gaskets had absorbed a lot of water during the previous warm spell and then froze tight. Had I tried to pry it open, I’d have pulled off the gasket, or worse.

In conversation with Sensei Jeff, I learned one of his Eggs was frozen too. He suggested filling an empty soup can with lump charcoal, lighting it, and then dropping it into the barbecue through the top.

So late Saturday morning, I grabbed a soup can, filled and lit it, pulled off the Egg’s rain cap and lowered it with a wire through the opening.

I let that get to work warming the inside of the barbecue while I pulled down all our outside Christmas decorations (yes, we tend to cling to Christmas).

After giving the can of coal a little more help with the propane weed torch, the Egg relented! Happy times for the Corcorans.

I cleaned out the barbecue, restocked the coal and lit it. At first, I thought I’d just run it for a while to dry out the gaskets, but decided to grab the chicken and peppers I’d wanted to put on the night before.

Saturday dinner at our house took place mid-afternoon, and no one was complaining.

I was the next day, however, when the rain started falling again. It dashed my plans for a mac and cheese casserole with pulled pork (in the freezer from an earlier barbecue effort) on the Egg. It also had me worried that as the temperatures sank below zero, our Egg would once again freeze shut.

But another friend and fellow Egger, Greg, from Union Gas, suggested slipping a paint stir stick between the Egg’s lid and base. It keeps the two halves far enough apart that the Egg won’t freeze up.

Great tip!

But I worry about the potential for moisture to get into the Egg. I must investigate purchasing an Egg cover. It’s more of a tip cap, actually, as the Egg is embedded in a table.



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