Edhird's Blog

Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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A guest article by Rob Wynen on Babyboomers and health

by Rob Wynen (guest editorialist)

You are old therefore you are sick.

Catchy titles are always a great way to pull in readers but this one I think pretty much sums up our attitude towards aging.  Feel tired, why not try a Viagra, got some wrinkles, try our newest Botox therapy, got some pain in your joints, hey why not get a new one, they are made out of titanium these days didn’t you know?  It seems like every time we turn on the tv there is an ad letting us know how we can, or should I say should, be living like we were when we were teens, minus the acne, low bank account and teen angst of course.  With a growing baby-boomer population the snake oil businesses are in full bloom.  Even amongst my colleagues the language surrounding aging has changed, “take this health survey and get your true physical age”, in my books if you are 50, you have the body of a 50 year old no matter how much you exercise; aging is not something to be avoided even if we could.

One of the greatest benefits to  my job is that I get to meet lots of seniors.  Seniors have been there and done that.  Why reinvent the wheel? I might as well learn something from someone who has been around the block and save myself the trouble.  What does depress me is the increased focus on making our seniors feel like they are inadequate and in need of intervention, whether it is glucosamine supplements (they don’t work by the way) or the almost unrelenting focus on getting all men over the age of 50 to take some drug which will make them feel like they are the new alpha male in town.  I hope that as I age, I will find something new to enjoy at every stage of my life, that the aches and pains in my body will send me a signal to take it easy, make sure I remember to take care of my body and appreciate all the experiences my body helped bring my way.  My hope is that I won’t be looking back at my lost youth but looking forward to enjoying my well worn body.

Rob Wynen

Fitness Centre Supervisor.


note from Ed+: While working out at the John Braithwaite Gym in North Vancouver, I ran across this interesting article written by our Fitness Centre Supervisor. As I found it thought-provoking, with his permission I posted this as a guest article on my blog. Let us know what you think about Rob Wynen’s point of view.

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Down in the Mouth in Deep Cove

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird 

For the past thirty years, I was a monthly columnist in the Deep Cove Crier.  I was always praying about some topic that people can really get their teeth into.

Sitting in a Deep Cove dental chair gave me time to reflect on my next article. As the dental hygienist was scraping and pulling and prodding, I began to reflect on the significance and priority of our teeth.  Teeth are unforgiving. You either look after them carefully, or they strike back in all kinds of unpleasant ways.  Just talk to your friends who have had a failed root-canal operation.   Even in these days of hi-tech painkillers, toothaches still ache.

I have been literally sitting in Deep Cove dental chairs for thirty years.  Every six months or so, I received the obligatory call from Dr. Mangat’s dental office.  I thank God for a good dental plan!  Dr. Mangat told me that one of the things that attracted him to relocate to the Cove is that ‘village’ sense that still exists in our community.

The term ‘down in the mouth’ means to be low in spirits, downcast, or depressed.  A number of North Shore residents report feeling more depressed during the winter because of all the rain. There is a perception out there that dentists suffer more from depression and even suicide.  In chatting with my dentist Dr. Mangat, he told me that the higher dental suicide issue is likely a myth.  Roger E. Alexander, D.D.S., of the Baylor College of Dentistry, recently examined this stereotype. Alexander found data suggesting that female dentists may be more vulnerable to suicide, but unearthed no evidence that dentists take their own lives with greater frequency than the general population. “What we know about suicide in dentistry is based on weak data from the early 1970s, involving mostly white males” says Alexander, who called for additional research in the Journal of the American Dental Association.  My sense is that there is a lot of pressure on dentists as they not only have to be technically competent, but also very skilled at running small businesses.

For the last sixty-three years of my life, I have been fighting the good fight, dentally speaking. My parents spent thousands of dollars on dental surgery and braces for me. I remember when a bully at Oak Park knocked me off my Peugeot bike and proceeded to stomp on my head with his boots.  Having no idea what he was upset about, I naively said: “Can we talk about this?”  When he grunted “no”, I realized that I was in serious trouble.  I was about to either lose face emotionally or lose face literally, which would mean that my multi-thousand dollar smile was about to disappear.  Being more afraid of my parent’s wrath over my braces than of the bully, I jumped on my Pugeot and rode off. This was one of the wisest dental decisions that I ever made, especially as I heard later that this bully later had his teeth kicked in and a broken beer bottle twisted in his face.

As a teenager, I felt very embarrassed by my braces, and later by my retainer which made it hard to communicate.  My math teacher in Grade 10 actually thought that I was swearing at her when I was only answering a math question while wearing my retainer.  She was not pleased!  You may have notice that teenage peers can be ruthless in their affectionate terms for those who are dentally-challenged: brace face, metal mouth, tinsel teeth, etc.    But three decades late, I am so grateful for the investment my parents made in me. Dentures just don’t compare to one’s own genuine teeth.

I used to hate flossing.  Gradually I began to grudgingly admit the need.  My thought of a helpful compromise was to only floss on the day that I went to the dentist. As I sat in the dentist’s office with bleeding gums, my compromise somehow did not impress them.  I am now a passionate flosser who tries to convert other people to the ‘redemptive’ benefits of removing plaque.  It occurred to me recently that many people view flossing and going to the dentist similarly to the idea of attending church.  They may acknowledge that it might be good for them, but it is certainly not something to which they are looking forward.  There are too many painful memories or alternately fear of the unknown.  Many young people nowadays, unlike the baby-boomers or seniors, have never been to a church service once in their life.

Dentists want to make a difference in other people. Many are inspired by the Golden Rule.  There is spirituality to dentistry that potentially involves the whole person, body, mind and spirit.  My prayer is that we may all show that same love to each other so that none of us will remain down in the mouth.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.


-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Letter to the Editor, North Shore News re Seniors Housing

Letter to the Editor

North Shore News

It is good that Joseph Bowes is admitting the need for such seniors facilities. Despite the title ‘Parkgate Highrise not about Seniors’, the discussion is in fact all about negotiating for seniors.  Our judeo-christian heritage teaches us to advocate for widows and orphans.  Our senior residents need to hear that they are welcome and wanted at the centre of their Seymour-Deep Cove community.

Joseph Bowes’ alternative locations would not meet the needs of our Seymour/Deep Cove seniors.  Because these alternative sites are remote and out of the way, they are not near enough, nor accessible enough. Seymour seniors can’t afford to be tucked away in a corner.  These alternative suggestions are non-starters and perhaps red-herrings.

The uniquely flat topography makes 3600 Mount Seymour Parkway ideal for seniors access. Many mature seniors find it more challenging to negotiate stairs. The elevators would give these seniors more access and greater mobility to their own community.

Let’s clearly tell the Seymour Seniors that they are both wanted and welcome at the core of their own community.  I hope that our civic leadership will put people ahead of bureaucratic plans.  The Seymour Seniors population has tripled from 515 to 1500+ since the OCD plan was first envisioned. Our Seymour seniors are worth adjusting for.  Seniors deserve better choices as their needs evolve. Independent living is a healthy choice not currently offered in the Seymour community.

I urge others who value the place of seniors to come out and support this application on June 22nd 7pm at North Vancouver District Municipal Hall, 355 West Queens Road.

Rev. Ed Hird

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.