Health and Wealth

‘Emergency rooms are closing; paramedics are struggling to answer 911 calls and hospitals all over the country are stretched to the limit. We can’t just blame Covid for all that can we?’ I wanted to hear Camp’s opinion on this issue.

‘The pandemic just highlighted what we’ve known for years. Not enough physicians, nurses and hospital personnel, underpaid care workers, immigrant doctors not able to get their Canadian license, family doctors a dying breed. Exasperating all of this? The same driving factors as in the worker’s shortage: Aging population, boomer retirement, not enough training and a lack of incentives for rural doctors and nurses.’

‘I read about a desperate senior – one of nearly one million people in BC without a family doctor – who took out an ad to find one. That got the attention of the premier who quipped he might do the same in order to get the federal government’s attention, which is woefully underfunding the provinces.’ 

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Wellness or Selfness ?

I practically sprinted towards the pub hoping to dodge between the raindrops but it was like running through an intense shower, water pouring relentlessly from the pewter coloured sky. After I had struggled out of my soaking wet jacket I finally sat down across from Camp who was eying me with a puzzled look on his craggy face. “Ever heard of umbrellas? It’s the only way to go and they serve as a convenient walking stick and can also come in handy as a weapon against unwelcome wild life.”

I grumbled something about having five of those at home. It’s not what I think about when I leave home when it’s not raining.

“I feel like I’ve got a cold coming on, “ I complained,“ so I better opt for a Guinness since it’s the healthy choice.”

“Yes, there are studies that show that Guinness reduces the risks of heart attacks and it also contains immune boosting antioxidants, which might help fend off a cold,” Campbell or Camp, as he is known in this part of the universe, said with some authority as if he was a professor of beer.

“Just like red wine and dark chocolate, as Clare pointed out to me,” I said.

“Make that two Guinness,” Camp told Vicky who is a clairvoyant, I swear, since she didn’t bring us our usual brews but waited for the special request.

“Wellness is all the rage these days, I guess it represents the absence of illness or maybe it’s more than that. Some of these wellness providers claim to add a spiritual component as in: feeling good in mind and body. All I know is that there is money in the Wellness Industry, sort of a new age health fad,” I said.

“I have a whole section in the book store dedicated to wellness, well being and well, just about anything to do with health improvement, physical and may I dare say it: spiritual well being,” Camp said “and it’s a popular section. The health of the bookstore depends on it.”

“Most of these wellness practitioners pander to the self-indulgent and have more to do with pampering than health, I think.”

“You’re treading on dangerous waters there my friend. Many women, including your lovely wife, and some men no doubt, would disagree.” Before I could stop him, Camp palmed his smart gadget from his pocket and was reciting from Dr. Google. “Ok, here we go: According to my little screen here the global wellness economy turns over a whopping 4 trillion dollars. That’s a 4 with a dozen zeros or 1000 billions, according to a research study done by the Global Wellness Institute. To put it in perspective, that is 8 times the yearly global arms industry trade. Think about that for a moment.”

“I’m not good with abstract numbers like the size of the universe or the world’s consumption of beers or the methane output of Kiwi sheep and cows,” I said, bracing for more of Camp’s words of wisdom.


“Beauty and anti-aging’ come in at a cool trillion, then there is ‘Mind and Body Fitness’, ‘Nutrition and weight loss’, each worth over half a trillion and let’s not forget preventive, personalized and alternative medicine. That probably does not include the thousands of books on all these subjects.”

“I suppose it’s all driven by us boomers,” I said. “We can’t stand the thought that we’re perishable goods and that we’re all eventually consigned to the spiritual and physical compost heaps.”

“It has to do with the fear of death or aging. In the middle-ages they looked for the fountain of youth and today, the modern alchemists, charlatans, snake oil salesmen, gurus, saddhus, doctors and scientists, all claim to have discovered a part of it. Selling hope in the form of meds and concoctions, from Noni juice to chemo drugs, all promise a better, longer, newer slice of life. From wrinkle cream to Botox injections, organ transplants and cosmetic surgery it’s all about preserving that youthful body or at least the skin-deep look of youth. ‘New teeth, new hair, tucked skin and implants does not make a new me but it sure helps if others see me that way. Not everybody can be like Jane Fonda at 82, besides I’m more in the Keith Richards corner as far as health and looks go,” Camp said, taking a healthy quaff from his Guinness.

“Now there is a real enigma,” I laughed,” puts all those wellness gurus to the test. If Keith can do it, so can we. I heard that he once made the cover of a British Health Magazine. Sold a million copies I bet.”

Wellness is all about self-ness. Nobody else is interested. And who can afford all those spas and treatments? The boomers of course.”

“Aren’t we boomers Camp,” don’t you feel the need for a back rub or a facial?

“No, but I should pay a bit more attention to Muriel and a hot rum toddy would help to keep that cold at bay.”

“To your health,” I toasted my old friend.