㉗ Thoughts for the week 27

Lots has happened in the past 7 days.

My parents got their results for the medicals they had to do as part of their immigration to Canada. Dad got a clean bill of health.

Mum, however, did not.

On her X-Ray they found a “small, oval-shaped fairly well-defined opacity in the mid left zone [of her left lung]” which show “features … suggestive of a calcified granuloma” and “no speculations are shown to suggest a malignancy“. They add that the “features are unlikely to represent tuberculosis“. The granuloma is small, measuring 12mm x 4mm. [Canadian immigration only require doctors to mention anything if something crops up that is more than 10mm in any direction.]

The Canadian immigration folks have (understandably!) asked for more tests to be done, including a CT scan, a further X-Ray, and a sputum culture. To the tune of about £2,000. Which stings. It’s more than doubled the price of Mum’s application, for reference. It’ll also set us back at least 4 months.

That being said, I maintain (what I’ve been telling my parents since the start) that the worst possible outcome here is that my parents don’t get to move to Canada, but we’ve caught something way, way earlier than we would have done otherwise, with a substantially better chance to remedy whatever we find if necessary.

Mum’s Mum – my nan – died of lung cancer which they found too late and had spread to several other parts of her body. So anxiety levels are perhaps a little higher than maybe are normal.

Mum, being mum, is more worried about me worrying than she is about the results of her medical.

I’m not “worried” as such. I’ve weirdly had quite a lot of experience with chest x-rays this past 16 months, and have managed to add several radiologists and pulmonologists to my friends list. It’s just yet another thing that is now part of my life over which I have zero control and am completely helpless to impact in any meaningful way. “Frustration” doesn’t cover it.

We got our second doses of our COVID-19 vaccine this past Sunday. I’m a proud member of the AstraZeneca/Moderna family (the same as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau it turns out). I had some side effects. I’d probably classify them as “a pain in the butt” but nothing major. That being said I had a fever on the literal worst day in Vancouver history to have a fever…

…For those not in the know, the weather up and down the west coast of North America has been nothing short of ridiculous this week. “Recording-breaking” doesn’t begin to cover it. Lytton, BC, whose average high temperature for June is 24°C (76°F), broke Canada’s all-time temperature record on Sunday. It then broke it again on Monday. And then broke it again on Tuesday. Eventually it got to 49.6°C (121.3°F). Before then, the record anywhere in Canada was 45°C (113°F), so it was nearly 5°C (>8°F) hotter. Traditionally, temperature records (high or low) are broken by a tenth of a degree or two. Not 5 degrees. This is unclassifiable.

49.6°C is hotter than Las Vegas has ever been. It’s hotter than anywhere in Europe or South America has ever been. And is only that same 5°C difference away from the hottest, verified, unquestioned temperature ever recorded on Earth. Lytton, BC is 50.2° North. And it is June.

Lytton, due to a forest fire not 24 hours after breaking the temperature record, has now basically burned to the ground. More than 90% of it has gone and lives have been lost. These two things (a place breaking the temperature record and a deadly forest fire) are not coincidental.

Across BC, it looks like several hundred lives have been lost because of the “heat dome” that baked us for several days and our forest fire season has started way earlier than normal. Beyond the deadly fire in Lytton, there are dozens of fires of various scale already ablaze. There is no rain in the forecast.

It was July 1st on Thursday this week: Canada Day. It was my 9th Canada Day as someone who lives here and it felt (and looked) very, very different to any other I’ve experienced. Not a single person in my friends list wished others Happy Canada Day. I was out walking for most of the day and not one Canada-motifed T-Shirt or Dress did I see. All Canadian flags were at half mast. A huge number of people were wearing orange, rather than the traditional red and white. In fact I don’t think I saw a single person wearing red and white at all.

Why orange shirts?
An orange shirt was given to Phyllis Webstad by her grandmother for her first day of school at St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia. A school she was forced to go to. When Phyllis got to school, they took away her clothes, including her new shirt. It was never returned. To Phyllis, the colour orange has always reminded her of her experiences at residential school and, as she has said, “how my feelings didn’t matter, how no one cared and I felt like I was worth nothing. All of us little children were crying and no one cared.”

From what I can tell, many Canadians have been soul-searching a lot these past few weeks. A lot of introspection, learning, and thinking has been done. I think we know that the more than 1,000 unmarked graves found across just a handful of residential schools is only the very beginning. The TRC estimates “more than 4,000 children” died at those schools. It seems, as some have already commented, that unfortunately, that may be an underestimate.

This is bullshit.

Quite a lot of intense thoughts and emotions this week. Hopefully things get dialled back next week.

My friend Chris Lema wrote an article about several options you have in the WordPress world when it comes to conditionally displaying your content. One of the plugins he evaluated was my Content Visibility suite of plugins. I highly recommend you read the whole post, but the one part that stood out to me the most was this line:

It is simple and easy to grasp and learn.

Chris Lema, talking about the Content Visibility plugin

Not only is it an honour to have Chris evaluate a plugin of mine, but to hear that as feedback was a real joy. I really spent (a lot! of) time trying to make the plugin simple. Simple, as they say, is hard.

Should you have a fan blow into a room or out of it? Is a box fan better? Nerdy and fascinating, I love it.

Using CSS to enforce accessibility was a good read with some potentially useful tips and tricks to help you get your users to think with accessibility in mind.

Indiepen is an independent and privacy-friendly (open source) solution to embed HTML, CSS and JS code examples.

Digital Ocean App Platform is going to be something I need to explore in the future, I think. It looks like a pretty compelling way to deliver static (and “dynamic”!) sites. (referral link where you’ll get $100 to spend for 60 days and I might get a $25 credit for my DO spending if you pay for their services for a certain amount of time)

BC COVID-19 Vaccine Count: 78.7% partially vaccinated and 35.2% fully vaccinated. (+0.9% and + 8.3%)
Canada COVID-19 Vaccine Count: (Numbers unavailable until July 5th) 👩🏼‍⚕️