Shouldice Hernia Hospital and Resort

NO FAT DUDES!

Feeling great, I was just discharged after 4 nights in the Toronto (luxury) Shouldice hospital. I’ll taxi to the airport. Then catch a redeye flight to “rehab” at this campsite in Iceland.

My plan is to camp near the hot springs for up to 8 nights. Hike as much as my recovery allows. There’s a good chance I’ll end up doing the 4 day Laugavegur trek.

Like almost all their patients, I was very satisfied with Shouldice.

I’d had my left side inguinal hernia repaired 30 years ago at age-30. This time it was a right side inguinal fix.

I got the appointment at Shouldice about 6 weeks after application. In Alberta it would have been about 6 months. Inguinal hernia surgery is low priority. A relatively easy operation. In fact, it’s the “oldest” and the most commonly performed surgery worldwide.

The only debate is whether to get …

1. NON-MESH (Shouldice) repair
2. MESH (Lichtenstein) repair

Both work. Most surgeons use mesh as it’s less invasive. Faster. Quicker recovery.

Some say the Shouldice is better for simple, first-time repairs. Mesh better for bilateral and/or recurrent inguinal hernias.

Shouldice does 70,000 hernia surgeries a year. It’s all they do. Specialists. Only about 1% get mesh. At Shouldice they like the traditional Shouldice technique they popularized.

Only about 1 / 1000 operations at this hospital results in serious complications.

Patients are carefully screened. Required to be within 20% of their ideal body weight. Many with pre-existing complications are refused. That’s one BIG reason for their high success rate.

Shouldice is a factory. Five days a week patients begin the program. Each day is scripted. Everybody is in the same boat.

Daily “Exercise Class” is a bit comic. One day we marched to the soundtrack of Bridge Over The River Kwai.

Americans are here. One guy from California told me he booked at Shouldice because his research showed they were best in the world. He was getting a both sides done during the same trip after putting it off for 15 years.

One fellow from B.C. decided he did not want mesh. Coming here was his only option.

Patients are mostly old men. There are a few young guys. And a few women. (I’d not realized women got hernia surgery.)

Once I get my budget finalized I’ll post it. Alberta will repay me for more than half of the medical cost, I believe. (I was told PEI pays nothing. It varies Province to Province.)

Looks like my out-of-pocket will be about CAD $1500 plus travel.

Cost at other similar hernia hospitals: India CAD$1254, Ukraine CAD$1019, Morocco CAD$1000. Thailand about £1,050 for a day procedure. Most of those would be one day mesh prices, I assume.

Canada is single payer healthcare. HOW is this for profit hospital allowed?

It has a special licence from the Ontario Ministry of Health to continue operating.

I’d go back to Shouldice if I needed another hernia operation. But before you book, read a report of a surgeon who works close to the hospital. She feels the Shouldice program requires patients to stay too long. It’s a waste of money.

Patients are charged about $250 / night for shared room and excellent food.

Shouldice.com

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Golf with Rockin’ Ronnie

For some reason Ron’s gotten back into the Game. He dragged me to gorgeous Northlands.

I quit golf about 20 years ago. Too expensive. Too time consuming.

But I did enjoy ruining a beautiful walk on this beautiful day.

We had fun golfing with Chief Gibby Jacob, Executive Operating Officer of the Squamish Nation. Very personable. Very funny. Very patient with my lousy game.

My highlight was skipping lunch and driving over to C-Lovers Fish & Chips for deep fried homemade battered mushrooms instead of the 19th hole. Ron and I always had deep fried mushrooms after Golf at Kokanee Springs Golf Course when we were kids. #nostalgia

I’m on blood pressure medication

My GP tried me on 3.5 mg Viacoram.

It went down from 160 / 105 to 150 / 100.

He then doubled it to 7 mg Viacoram.

It stayed about the same at 150 / 97.

The third experiment has me on …

Viacoram 5/7mg every morning for the next 90 days.

Apo-Hydro (hydrochlorothiazide) 12.5mg every evening with dinner for 90 days.

I’ll be tracking results.

my travel medical insurance

I travel a lot.

Currently I’m buying coverage from my bankTD Canada Trust.

I can take multiple trips / year up to 30 days at a time. Cost is about CAD $200. It jumps over $400 for maximum 60 day trips.

For my policy you must be under age-65 and have no serious pre-conditions.

Cancellation / trip interruption is NO LONGER covered. Everything else looks good.

Spelunking Riverbend Cave, Parksville

Ron and I had lunch at Realm.

Kate was in town on a media junket. They treated me to join them on her tour of Horne Lake Caves.

Though it’s #1 of 29 things to do in Qualicum Beach I hadn’t been there since my Dad brought the family on a camping holiday 50 years earlier. (Closed that day for renovations, he tells me.)

There are some short sections you can explore yourself for free. Or sign up for one of the award winning tours. (From $27 / person.) An expert guide like Myles Fullmer makes for a far richer experience. Myles is a passionate caver. Seven years guiding here. He met his wife at Horne Lake Caves.

Though I’d been to a few wheelchair accessible caverns over the years, I’d never caved for real before.

It’s adventurous. Physically challenging.

Myles showed us dozens of things we’d never have noticed on our own. Best was a stone Buddha formation protected by a perfectly clear reflecting pool.

Fantastic. I’d recommend this attraction for anyone physically mobile enough to scramble. I’m already planning to return for the 5 hour advanced version.

Surprisingly, Myles likes winter even better than summer as there is more water. The caves are open every day of the year aside from Christmas.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

more photos 

details – Horne Lake Caves

By the way, Myles explained the difference between caving and spelunking. Caving means to explore, survey and document the caves, main purpose is the accumulation of knowledge. Spelunking is the visit of caves without any kind of justification, the touristic visit of caves.