Sick to Death
I've come to the conclusion that Canada must be a disease factory.
So many people seem to be suffering from diseases which, up until now, I'd only read about in the back pages of obscure medical journals. If they're not already on disability insurance for it, they're doing their best to convince the government that they should be, or, failing that...persuading anyone and everyone around them to change their lifestyles to accommodate their wide range of (what I previously thought were) rare symptoms.
Canadians (myself included) seem to be obsessed with our health and I'm not sure if it's a result of government advertising campaigns to promote a healthier lifestyle or if it's because corporations use our already innate fear of death to manipulate us into buying their products. Either way, it's getting on my nerves already.
Let's start with peanuts. They seem innocent enough. But not in Canada. Here, they're a surefire way to kill people. In drive-through windows at fast food outlets, there are signs assuring customers that their food is not cooked with peanut oil. Attached to my son's summer day camp registration form was a reminder not to give him peanuts or any food which could include any peanut derivative (like peanut oil) in it. On restaurant menus, diners are reassured that their food does not include nuts.
The reason behind all the notices is that some people suffer a serious allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis which can be life threatening. According to Anaphylaxis Canada, about 1-2% of the population suffers from it but from all the warnings I'm seeing, you'd think 100% of the population is midst of an anaphylactic epidemic.
I'm almost 40 years old and throughout my whole life, I only know one person who is allergic to peanuts. I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with the rest of my childhood friends. Because I am a vegetarian, my nutritionist told my mother that she should include peanuts in my diet since I wasn't eating meat to ensure a good dose of protein to keep my immune system working properly. I feel badly for people who suffer from this allergic reaction but does it really warrant so much fear mongering?
And then there are all these people walking around wearing masks suffering from environmental illness. While I recognize that some people do feel sick from smelling too much perfume or detergent, but in the eight years I've been absent from Canada, has our environment deteriorated so much that it justifies the sudden increase in people claiming to have environmental illness? Am I that naive or insensitive to the horrors of such illnesses? Or are people just taking things too far?
We could tell the sufferers of such diseases to stay home but apparently they're not even safe there since the advertisers for bug repellant are telling us that if we don't buy their brand, then we might very well be bitten by the deadly West Nile virus carrying mosquitoes.
And I thought terrorism was our biggest threat on our lives. Coming back to all these peanut, perfume and mosquito warnings, you'd never even know there was a War on Terrorism.