Zen and the Art of Surfing

For a deed to be totally pure, it must be done without any thought of reward, whether worldly or divine. It is this kind of deed which is called a “deed of merit.” And because no merit is sought, it is a deed of immeasurable merit, of infinite merit.


Thich Thien-An

It is not without irony that this quote was read immediately after penning the previous day’s blog.

The blog entitled “The Reward.”

This was read in the book by Jaimal Yogis called Saltwater Buddha: A surfer’s quest to find Zen on the sea. Read while sitting on the toilet, truth be told.

Juxtaposed next to yesterday’s blog, this Zen saying suggests that the manner in which I have been undertaking surfing lacks purity. Because clearly from the blogs title, it has as its end the reward of the wave ridden. Possibly also the men or women impressed, the stories of great adventure and big waves conquered. The stroking of the ego.

So how do we approach surfing in a more Zen way? With a purity of intent?

The answer, presumably is contained in Jaimal’s book. But I have not finished it yet.

So in the meantime, let us ponder the notion here on this blog. It has been discussed in a previous blog that surfing has an aspect of meditation in it. That in moments of pure concentration the mind stops its normally incessant chatter and we simply “are.” We are “in the moment,” “one with the wave,” “in the zone.” It is like meditation on a candle or flower, combined with walking meditation where the goal is to be completely concentrated on the act of walking, thereby losing the “self” in the act.

What is most bizarre and a bit disconcerting about these moments as they occur while surfing is how fleeting they are. The feeling that comes with moments of no-mind seems to be forgotten before it can be savored. And the lasting feeling of peace that comes from surfing, I believe, has more to do with the exhaustion it induces than with anything to do with Zen.

But maybe that’s because there is often another wave to be paddled over, the impact zone to be hurriedly exited and more waves on their way. The activity itself does not ordinarily promote savoring the moment after the fact. But that again contains aspects of Zen…no dwelling on the past. You must remain focused on the present or risk having a big wave dump on your head, or a fellow surfer run you over as you linger on the inside.

One of my favorite books Peace is Every Step was written by a Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh. In a less than surprising bit of synchronicity, in his book about Zen and surfing, Jaimal goes to the French village begun by Thay (as he is known). Thay’s book is very much about how we can practice Zen in every day moments. How a stop light can act as a bell of mindfulness. To remind us to be present in this very moment. To discard the incessant and often negative thoughts bombarding our psyche day in and day out.

The Zen in surfing can similarly be attained in the way by which it is approached. Are we entering the water with an open heart, wishing blessings on everyone we encounter – the wave, the fish, the turtles and even the sharks (human and cartilagenous alike).

I mentioned my mantra “surf your surf” in my previous post – this too becomes an act of Zen – to remain focused and concentrated on the activity at hand instead of distracted by the crowd, especially the chest-thumping, testosterone-exuding surfistas. The mood remains elevated and genuine smiles and greetings are exchanged creating a vibe that is open, friendly.

The result is pure magic, pure Zen. The act of surfing becomes a dance with no feet trod upon. The rides full of grace.

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Check out Jaimal Jogis’ Video about his new book HERE.

For more about Zen, click HERE.

Click here to order Peace is Every Step.

The Reward

Recently, the first swell of the new surf season arrived. A storm that was spinning off the coast of New Zealand created the energy that created the disturbance that created the swell that arrived here on the south coast of the Baja California Peninsula.

As though a big rock was thrown into the biggest of ponds.

The storm’s winds hit the ripples to make them grow and the swell fanned out bigger and bigger. And we knew they were coming.

A phenomenon that has arisen over the past few years is internet-based wave tracking. It tells surfers where the waves will be born. Storms in one hemisphere are tracked and the swell they create measured and wave sizes, location and period predicted. It has changed the face of surfing. Removed the chance and challenge of being in the right place at the right time.

It has filled once unknown waves with crowds.

It used to be unusual for there to be more than five people out at one of the heavier local surf spots. And more often than not all five were your friends. At a more popular and well-known spot, crowds of 15 and up only happened when there was a surf school in town and that only happened but twice a year.

This last swell there were crowds everywhere. Twenty people out at the “secret” spot. And all very good surfers. People flying in from California just to catch the swell. More tents and campers on the beach than could be counted.

And the vibe changed. No more was it a group of friends in the waves together sharing the stoke. Now it was strangers competing for the best waves, jockeying for position. Giving and receiving the stink-eye. Dropping in.

The challenge of course is to maintain the stoke in the face of such changing and challenging circumstances. And for a relative new-comer to the sport, to maintain confidence while surrounded by very experienced and even professional surfers. Making it a mind game.

“Surf your surf” is the mantra. Focus and concentration are friends, insecurity and distraction enemies and potential killers (of the stoke at least).

There are risks that accumulate in bigger surf and bigger crowds. Getting caught inside in double overhead surf is scary at least, and at the risk of sounding melodramatic, fatal at worst. Exhausting for sure. But it happens. And it’s part of the challenge.

After getting caught inside twice on big sets, the temptation could be to go back to the beach. There is an eccentric surfer camped there that likes to yell “Go to the beach if you’re tired!!” There is wisdom in his annoying words.

It is a test of the metal. But with determination, the white water and currents are fought and the break resought. Breath regained. Center reestablished.

The lines on the horizon tell of a new set arriving. Energy traveling across time and space. Come half-way around the globe to rise up and kiss the shores of my home.


The author’s reward.

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For more information on surf forecasting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surf_forecasting

Link to local surf forecast:
Los Cabos Surf Forecast

Easter Feast

The cars just keep coming. Most of them are trucks actually. And they are loaded to the gunnels with chairs, tents, barbecuing equipment and people. People and more people. Men and women. Children. Dogs. And they are all coming to the beach.

It is Semana Santa, Holy Week, and everyone in Mexico is on their way to the beach.

Any other day of the year, we see very few cars pass in front of our property each day. There are more every year, but since October things have fallen off to 2004 levels again. We might see six vehicles per day. During the summer, when all the snow birds have returned to their respective countries, the numbers ebb to a trickle.

There must have been 200 cars passing today. Easily.

The beaches are filling with bodies and tents and cars, trucks and ATVs. City folk are running around like they’ve been released from a prison, jumping up and down and running into the sea with all their clothes on.

Seriously.

They are that excited. Well, it may have to do with some of the mores of dressing here, but I think it is a combination of unfettered excitement and the fact that many women don’t wear bathing suits. They are too revealing in this conservative Catholic country.

They play soccer and jog on the beach. They get sunburns and eat lots of barbecued meat.

Those who have them ride their ATVs ferociously up and down the beach, spinning donuts and figure eights. Some even stop to photograph their “impressive” tracks in the sand. Ah, memories.

The men fish with hand lines. And catch bait with nets.

A group of men are seen with a section of drift net out in the water – using cheap plastic inner tubes to take it out to greater depths where presumably they think they’ll catch a big one. There are red snapper, rooster fish, sierra, skip jack and, if they are lucky, sea bass. There are also sea turtles.

Photo credit: Thierry Lannoy

Unfortunately, Easter is the time of year in Mexico when many sea turtles will meet their end at the hands of one of these fervent revelers. It is TRADITION! A turtle will be caught, suffer inhumane treatment for possibly many days and then be decapitated and its meat cooked in a soup.

In Mexico, sea turtle “meat” is considered fish by tradition, but this is based in ignorance. It is not. Sea turtles are reptiles, just like a snake, a crocodile or a lizard. During the catholic period of Lent, it is custom that red meat is not eaten. Meat is given up “for Lent”. Fish is acceptable however. Hence, historically, turtles were eaten during Lent as a religious observance.

At other times of year sea turtle meat, blood and eggs are eaten to increase virility. It is a deep seated belief. Not even ubiquitous Viagra has toppled sea turtle products as the male enhancement product of choice.

The practice of eating sea turtle meat originated at a time when turtles were plentiful. And people were isolated and hungry. There were so many turtles in the Sea of Cortez, in fact, that it was reported one could walk on their backs for miles during mating season when they would form huge aggregations – males on top of males on top of females, clamoring for reproductive success.

Over-harvesting of sea turtles for meat and “tortoiseshell” (a misnomer) in the 50s and 60s reduced sea turtle numbers drastically to the point that all seven species of sea turtle are now endangered, several critically. Still more are drown by industrial fishing nets, particularly shrimp nets.

Despite the fact that the capture or killing of sea turtles is illegal in Mexico, 35,000 sea turtles are estimated to be murdered every year in the state of Baja California alone. Of those as many as 10,000 are killed during Semana Santa. How many must therefore die in the rest of Mexico and Latin America!!! In 2002, San Diego-based conservation organization WildCoast approached Pope John Paul II with the request that he declare turtle to be “meat.”

We’re still waiting.

Photo credit: Thierry Lannoy

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For more information on sea turtle conservation click here!

To donate to Wildcoast’s campaign to eradicate the consumption of sea turtle meat click HERE!
(Note: WildCoast received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for the last three years running)

The Times, They Are a Changin’

An amazing thing happened today. I was the first one to arrive at a party. I am never the first one anywhere. I am usually the last. My friends have learned to tell me to arrive an hour earlier than the intended time. However, living in Mexico now means that I fit in well where it is common practice to show up to a party two hours later than the stated arrival time. And still there are people who arrive later. Today the clocks went forward one hour and that always screws up at least half the population, including me.

Many of you will be wondering if I am not posting something that happened several weeks ago, three weeks ago to be exact, as Daylight Savings Time begins on the second Sunday in March in most of North America. Arizona is one exception in the United States. They do not observe Daylight Savings Time.

However, here in Mexico, Daylight Savings Time begins on the first Sunday in April. This invariably causes much confusion for anyone from the rest of North America traveling to and from Mexico or particularly for North Americans living here. For three weeks in spring and fall, we in Baja California Sur, Mexico are on the same time as California and British Columbia. The rest of time we are on the same time as Alberta and Colorado.

So today, forgetting that most people would have forgotten the time change, particularly because I have managed to remember, I arrived at a baby shower at the stated time of arrival, 11:00am sharp. The hosts were still preparing the food. No one else was there. Now it is important to point out as well that the hosts are American. And several of the guests are American. But the guest of honor is Mexican. So there is no knowing what time we are working on. American Time? Mexican Time? Daylight Savings Time in Mexico or no? Very confusing.

No one else arrived for another two hours.

The hosts were assisted in making preparations. Plates and dishes of food arranged. Food tested. Lemonade made. And still no other guests. One of the host departs to buy ice and some food items. Returns. Still no one else.

It was thought to open the champagne that was brought and to forget the whole thing. Lose time altogether. But no, that wouldn’t be polite and it was obvious no one else was going to join in on getting drunk. No one else was there to join!

More food was eaten. Lovely food, crepes, spicy bread and dip, fresh fruit including the favored raspberries, and croissant. A huge spread. Slowly the guests being to trickle in. It is 12:15. But still no guest of honor.

Finally she arrived with a large entourage, explaining that they thought it was only 11:30. The last guest arrived at 1:10pm. The watch was examined many times wondering when gifts would be opened and home retreated to, because now all desire to be social had dissolved and all the blood was in the stomach digesting the excessive amounts of food. Gifts were opened at 1:20pm. Photos made of the happy mother-to-be. Oooing and ahhing at the many gifts received. Departure made at 2:00pm sharp.

It is decided that this being on time is for the birds. Next time I intend to be late!

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For additional information on Daylight Savings Time, including its origins, click HERE.

Poon Poon’s Shame

A litter of eight puppies was born in Cabo Pulmo. One looked like Bravo, Ricardo’s brindle pit-bull, another like Charlie the rottweiler, one looked like Kiri, Juanito’s old golden retriever cross and so on. A clear example of the infidelity of dogs and that “littermate” does not translate to full brother or sister.Poon Poon was the handsome, sandy colored puppy apparently fathered by a beige pit bull owned by Señor Jesus Castro. El Pelon (Baldy), as Jesus was known, lived with his blue-eyed wife Clotilde and their two children in what was the original ranch at the heart of Cabo Pulmo. He kept horses, chickens, cows and peacocks. And there were dogs for security and cats to keep the mice and rats at bay. El Pelon was a locally renowned horseman, a caballero or cowboy in the literal sense of the word. It is not without irony in the case of Pelon that caballero also means “gentleman.”

Pelon adopted Poon Poon and presumably gave him his odd name, a common practice in this part of Mexico. Shortly thereafter, Poon Poon’s presumed father disappeared from the ranch and, when I asked one of the ranch hands where he was, they explained that Pelonprobably took him out to the dump and killed him. Pelon had done this before.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Like I said, while he may have been a horseman, a gentleman he was not.

Poon Poon grew into a big strapping, muscular dog. Despite his macho appearance, he was everyone’s friend and spent more time on the beach with tourists than he did at the ranch. He was a people dog and wanted to be where the action and attention was. Gradually he became the constant companion of one of the more gregarious dive instructors, Roger. As far as I could tell it was generally understood that Roger had formally adopted him.

Maturity and musculature, a sign of testosterone coursing in the veins, meant that Poon Poon became a fighter. Each time one of the village’s many female dogs came into heat, great dog fights were inevitable. Formidable adversaries in these fights were Bravo the pit bull and Charlie the Rottweiler. Even Kiri the old golden retriever would get his licks in where he could, but more often than not he came out on the losing side. Poon Poon typically returned from each battle with minor wounds, a scratch here, a puncture hole there, but one day I walked into the dive shop and was horrified to see him with large holes ripped into his neck.

“Wow Roger, those are serious wounds!”

“Ya, I know, but what can I do? He likes to fight.”

There was a spay and neuter clinic coming up and I was already taking two dogs to have them fixed. I figured it was worth a try.

“If he keeps up like this he’s going to get killed. That wound could have been fatal. You know he’s fighting over bitches don’t you? He’ll stop if you have him neutered. Why don’t you let me take him to the free clinic this week?”

The last line was said hopefully, but with the knowledge that most Mexican men abhor the idea of neutering a male dog. They see it as a direct reflection on their masculinity and as something unnatural, even sacrilegious.

To my surprise, Roger agreed. “Okay, do it. I don’t want him to fight any more.”

A couple of days later, Poon Poon, his brother Lobo, and a little black bitch named Nookie were loaded into the back of my truck and were off to Los Barriles and the free clinic.

The operation went off without a hitch and Poon Poon returned to Roger that evening showing little indication of the life-altering operation, his usual happy, energetic self despite the transformation his testicular sack had undergone, which now hung flaccid between his legs, empty as a poor man’s wallet. Roger’s eyes betrayed the regret and shame he felt for his dog. I asked him to keep the dog quiet and at home for the next 48 hours.

The next morning, as my tea steeped, there was a knock at the door. “Who could that be at this hour of the morning?” I thought.

At the door stood Clotilde, Pelon’s now widow. She looked perturbed, angry perhaps.

I began, “Buenos dias, Señora Clotilde,” but the words were barely out of my mouth before she cut in, “Can you please tell me who had my dog fixed?!”

Confusion. Shock. Misunderstanding because of my limited Spanish? No, I heard right.

“Your dog? Which dog?”

“Poon Poon.”

A very bright light illuminated above my head, a blindingly bright torch.

“Oooooh…Poon Poon?…uh, yes, um… I did…uh, Roger gave me permission.”

At the mention of Roger’s name, her eyebrows shot skywards and she replied “That is what I thought!” She spun on her heel and strode away. For a second I thought, “Is that it? Aren’t you going to yell at me?” But then I realized she was reserving her wrath for Roger. I tried to intervene.

“No wait! Clotilde. Why are you angry?”

She turned to listen, her blue eyes cold as steel. I continued, “Didn’t you see the wounds on his neck? He was going to get killed. Now he won’t fight with the other dogs.”

Lifting her head high, she glared down her nose and revealed my ignorance, “No! Now he will be lazy and wander. And he will not protect the property. He is ruined!”

I tried to explain that he would stay closer to home now and be a better watch dog, but she had made up her mind. She shook her head, turned, and headed off, a woman on a mission.

“Oh God! Roger! She’ll be on the war path for him and out for his manhood!” I gulped down my tea and ran to the dive shop to warn Roger.

His downcast face told me I was too late. We shrugged it off, recognizing there was no going back, comforted by the knowledge that Poon Poon was better off.

A little later that same day, as I bicycled past the ranch, a curious sight caught my attention; Six Mexican caballeros dressed in jeans, cotton shirts and cowboy boots, some in white cowboy hats, stood in a loose circle, with hands cupping chins thoughtfully, attention directed at something on the ground. They wore serious expressions – disappointment, pity, maybe shame. Some heads shook disapprovingly. Then as I rounded the corner, the focus of their attention came into view. It was Poon Poon. There he lay, on his back, in the middle of their circle, tail wagging contentedly, begging for a belly rub, innocently exhibiting to all present what was evidently considered his shame.

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Thousands of innocent animals are killed every day because of uncontrolled animal breeding. Click here to donate to PETA’s SNIP program.

Please click here to donate food to abandoned animals.

Fear and Loathing in San José del Cabo

Yesterday it was reported that a doctor’s appointment was had with Doctora Elena Velderrain. Also visited yesterday was the curious but very pleasant Doctor Pedro Velderrain, Elena’s brother. He is an ultrasound specialist and as such works closely with his sister who is an obstetrician and gynecologist. They share patients naturally. She reviews the progress of pregnancies and he takes the developing babies’ photographs. She also does manual breast examinations and he uses ultrasound to determine the nature of any abnormalities she encounters.

The Velderrain family has been very successful. Four out of five children are doctors and the fifth is a chemist. Their father was also a doctor and must have created a very good example for his children because all are reputed to be excellent doctors.

The visit to Dr. Pedro was recommended by his sister at an appointment over a year ago. She reported that ultrasound was just as effective at finding lumps in the breast and much more accessible and economic than a mammogram. She did not mention a more important detail, which is that it is also a lot less tortuous, breasts are not squished pancake fashion in a vice-like machine.

The doctor first took the family history and there was an opportunity to look around his office. There were pictures under the glass of his desk, just like in his sister’s office. Ultrasounds of perfect little faces of sleeping babies (fetuses) waiting until it was time to join the rest of us. The faces appeared serene, as though sleeping, or maybe meditating.

The main reason for appearing, it was reported to the doctor, was that a sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer [and is fortunately cancer free now after a lumpectomy followed by a series of chemo- and then radiation therapy]. My father’s mother died of breast cancer. Therefore there is a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

The hospital gown was put on, open to the front, but this time only shirt and bra had to be removed, significantly less uncomfortable. And onto the table.

The doctor is experienced, 20 years, looking for cancer in the breasts of women, checking the well-being of fetuses. And he is personable much like his sister. Very pleasant. Which puts the patient at ease while he runs his gel-covered wand over the breasts, or in Spanish, pechos.

Also like his sister the good doctor has a television monitor above the table where you see what he sees. Expressing an interest in the details of what we are looking at results in a full explanation.

“The white lines are called Cooper’s ligaments, connective tissue of the breast. That is a fat deposit, these are ducts and this….this is a cyst. Well defined…tiny…less than half a centimeter.” Sensing the tension of the patient “and nothing to worry about.” Of course an explanation of what a cyst is was required. “A duct has collapsed and the body encapsulates the resulting discharge. This is a tiny one. Nothing to worry about. I can show you video of a cyst being aspirated if you like. ”

The cyst seen via ultrasound looking a bit like the eye of a storm.

The video magically appears on the screen. It is explained that the large black oval delineated by white lines at the top of the screen is the cyst. An arched line below some fuzzy tissue is a breast implant. Then, from the right side of the screen a fine line enters the field of vision goes into the oval, the cyst, and before our eyes the cyst shrinks and collapses as the fluid is removed. Almost like magic.

Then the doctor produces an image of an ultrasound of advanced breast cancer. “This was a friend of our family. She knew that there was something wrong with her breasts, but she refused to come in because she was afraid to hear the diagnosis. By the time she came in several years after noticing the lump, this is what I found. Two large masses. She died six months after this image was taken.”

A potent reminder of the importance of regular examinations and that fear is a poor motivator. The same fear resulted in a long delay between the previous mammogram and this current ultrasound. Unacceptable. Of course now that the experience is had there is no more fear. The process is simple and painless.

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

“Come back if the cyst bothers you and I can aspirate it. And be sure to come back again in six months regardless. Unlike a mammogram, you can have ultrasound regularly because there is no exposure to radiation. Your history means you should do this. And keep eating healthy!”

A file folder was offered and inside were photos, this time of breast tissue, specifically the cyst, and a full description of the findings of his examination (in Spanish). Total cost 900 pesos ($65).

A little research and it was found that “fibrocystic breast changes” (cysts in the breasts) are very common. Between 30 and 60 percent of women have them. This means that up to 60 percent of women have reason to have their breasts examined thoroughly by ultrasound to ensure that they are indeed cysts and not a malignancy. It is not necessary to have them aspirated and many will disappear on their own. Nevertheless, women finding lumps in their breasts should have them examined by ultrasound and may be relieved to discover that it is only a benign cyst. Either way, it is important to conduct regular self examinations and to have regular check ups, particularly if you have a family history of breast cancer. Don’t let fear get in your way.

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For more information about fibrocystic breast changes click here.

For a very cool video on self breast massage that helps reduce breast pain and dissolve cysts click HERE!

Click on this link to support the free mammogram program of
The Breast Cancer Site.

Medicine Mexican Style

A few weeks ago when this blog had only just been born, the reader may recall that a photograph was to be made of the author by a photographer of some international acclaim who has photographed tens of thousands of people all over the world. It is with some regret, that the photography session was put on hold until some time in the future.

Today, however, the dreaded annual doctor’s appointment was undertaken. So dreaded, in fact, that it has been avoided for several years. Time and responsibility being what they are, finally an appointment was made a couple of weeks ago with the lovely and charming Doctora Elena Velderrain Zazueta, ObGyn.

In the doctor’s office, there is nervousness, heart racing, mind racing, quickly Spanish words are lost and feelings of being an idiot come into the mind making the whole cycle continue. Big butterflies fly around in the stomach and then into the intestines.

After a preliminary exchange of information like name and date of birth, the blood pressure is taken and the doctor informed of the likelihood that both will be significantly elevated by the aforementioned feelings and related physical reactions. An attempt was made to relax while the pretty doctor made a lighthearted joke. Her charming smile and calm demeanor assisted the patient greatly. Blood pressure 115/71. A mere miracle!

While having the blood pressure taken, a series of photographs, three sets of three photographs each, were observed under the glass covering the desk. The subject of the photos was the same in each frame, but what it was in reality was not readily apparent. They left the viewer with an unsettled feeling. Probably best not to ask in the midst of trying to relax.

An invitation was made to come to the technical area of the office, tucked behind the wall that encloses the waiting room, but separated from it by a corridor. “All clothes off please,” Dra. Elena politely requested. Together we flipped back and forth between English and Spanish. Among other lessons, it was learned that, in Spanish, the nose can become constipated.

“And the gown open to the front.” This was said rather sternly. It is suspected that more than one patient has exited the bathroom with the gown on the “wrong” way. How very disconcerting to put on a hospital gown over nothing but your insecurity with the opening at all the important bits.

The bathroom was exited with the gown wrapped well over the front of the body, arms crossed firmly to keep things well in hand and an invitation was now made to get on the examination table. Butterflies, which had flitted off somewhere temporarily, returned now.

First with the right arm over the head and right breast examined for lumps. Observations made aloud in an atmosphere of disclosure. Left arm up. The evil stirrups put in place and discovered to be of a different sort altogether than those experienced in Canada. The legs dangle comfortably supported at the knees. Cushioning is present. Conditions that permit the patient to relax. Each step is explained before any action is taken, making the patient feel even more relaxed. The demeanor and tone of the doctor similarly promote relaxation. A very unique experience!

Lying there on the back feeling very vulnerable, a television monitor is noticed hanging above the examination table. It is directed so the patient can see it clearly. And it is noticed that the digits of the doctor are visible moving on the screen. And then it is realized what is being viewed on this screen. Utter amazement. Embarrassment overcome by amazement and then curiosity.

While the doctor works she talks and explains what we are viewing. We not just she. There is complete disclosure and actual participation. The images distract the mind from what is actually happening in the body and sensations are explained by what is happening on the screen.

Over and above the visuals, several procedures are carried out that have never been done in what is supposed to be the more developed nation of Canada. Iodine is used to look for the human papilloma virus (HPV), a cause of cervical cancer. Ultrasound is used extensively to examine the ovaries and uterus. The results are both visible and verbally communicated immediately to the patient and interaction encouraged.

“You may get dressed now.” Music to the ears.

Back in her office, the doctor is making notes on her computer screen. She has packaged the sample to go to the lab and has an envelope for the patient. It is discussed that an email will be received when the results from the lab are ready and there is no charge for the lab work nor for the follow up consultation to hear the results. The entire examination has cost only 900 pesos ($65 US)!

In the car it is discovered that the envelope contains a series of 3 photographs similar to those seen under the glass on the doctor’s desk. It is realized that they are images taken from the video viewed earlier. As if to fill the void made by the desire to have the photograph taken several weeks ago, images of the cervix were captured by a photographer who similarly photographs thousands of people each year. Only this time there was no need to smile.

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For more information about human papilloma virus and its links to cervical cancer follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cervical_cancer