Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"The difficulties of psychiatric dental care"

Oct. 6, 2016 "The difficulties of psychiatric dental care": Yesterday I found this article by Wency Leung in the Globe and Mail.  This is another article that is inspirational and about a deep and meaningful job as a dentist who helps homeless people with their teeth:

Serkis Massihi has been through a difficult time – and his teeth show it.
Massihi, 38, struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and became addicted to prescription painkillers after undergoing shoulder surgery more than a year ago. He began using methadone as part of his addiction treatment, but the drug left his mouth dry. It also made him crave sugar. He binged on pop and candies “like a little child.”
Within nine months, his self-described “beautiful mouth” was plagued by infection and decay. He had receding gums and cavities on nearly every tooth.

Yet Massihi had trouble finding a dentist willing to treat him.
“They turn you down because they don’t have respect for you, they’re not getting the money they want and they certainly don’t care if a toothache’s gonna kill me,” he says.

At the dental clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Massihi is now gradually getting his teeth repaired.
CAMH senior dentist Paul Zung has been treating psychiatric patients at the mental-health facility for 30 years. Previously located in the basement of a neighbouring building, his new, expanded dental clinic officially opens on Wednesday on the second floor of the Bell Gateway Building at CAMH’s Queen Street complex.

The new clinic, with its four dental chairs, is double in size. Zung says the former location was so cramped that he and his dental students were seeing patients “in my office, in the lunch room, probably breaking a half a dozen rules.”

But even with the expansion, the demand for psychiatric dental care is far greater than the dental clinic can accommodate.

Zung says his clinic sees only a small fraction of CAMH patients, those who are most severely affected by dental problems and are well enough to be able to brush and take care of their teeth.

“We don’t try to see everybody,” he says. “It’s a niche role.”
Among the broader population in Toronto, Zung says, he has worked on patients at the city’s non-profit Evangel Hall Mission and the Yonge Street Mission, where he was hard-pressed to handle the volume of individuals with mental illness seeking dental care.
“There’d be, you know, 15 people lined up, and I knew I’d could only get through the first three of them. And then there’d be a different three the next week,” he says, which made it difficult to see patients through an entire treatment plan.

Performing dental procedures on psychiatric patients presents its own set of challenges. Zung says his patients’ teeth serve as an archeological record of their ups and downs. Issues like addiction, psychotic episodes and homelessness leave a lasting impact, he says, noting that individuals with psychiatric illness tend to require five to 10 times more dental work than their same-aged peers who do not have mental illness.

Some of his patients are afraid of using anesthetics, and refuse them. Doing intensive procedures without painkillers “borders on the inhumane,” Zung says. “But they sit there cool as a cucumber and have deep fillings done, things I would not humanly be able to bear.”

Others have anxiety and have had prior negative experiences at dental offices. Some have false fixed beliefs, such as the idea that their teeth will grow back. No-shows are common, and so is having patients suddenly leave in the middle of an appointment.

Maintaining patients’ trust is paramount, Zung says, so he tells them that they can stop him whenever they need. “I keep that promise, and it’s that promise that gives them a sense of control and their pain tolerance goes way up,” he says.

That can lead to tricky situations, however. Zung recalls that he had one patient who had a tendency to bolt before his work was done. She rushed out of his dental clinic immediately after he had drilled a hole for a tooth implant. Worried that the implantation site would be ruined, since bone doesn’t grow back easily, he tried to get her to return as soon as possible. When she finally came back three months later, Zung placed implants as quickly as he could, fearing that she might leave and have the bone destroyed.

“My heart was just racing afterwards,” he says.
One-third of Zung’s patients receive coverage from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). The other two-thirds receive financial support from Ontario Works and the clinic charges them a fixed fee for each appointment, based on a sliding scale relative to their income.

Zung says private dentists can’t be blamed for turning down these patients. Because the ODSP doesn’t fully cover the costs, dentists would be volunteering their time to do complex work, and that’s assuming the patients actually turn up for their appointments. (Zung is paid a salary by CAMH.)

Yet, Zung finds that his skills and abilities are stretched far more than they would be in private practice, and the work, he says, is satisfying.

“I worked in private practice as well, and I thought, ‘I’m cleaning a lot of clean teeth here,’ but in a psych hospital, I’m cleaning teeth that are actually dirty. I’m fixing things that are actually broken,” he says.

James Bennett, 51, of Toronto credits Zung for helping him regain his self-confidence.
Bennett, a chef who was dealing with mental-health issues and alcohol addiction, had a front tooth knocked out in a fight while living on the streets. He had significant damage to his teeth and suffered from tooth pain. He says that getting his teeth fixed was part of taking better care of himself.

“I wanted to get back to work, and it was really important to me, in terms of self-esteem, and to get my smile back again,” Bennett says, who now works in catering. “It was a huge deal to me. It made a huge impact on my life.”

Dec. 22, 2016 "Millennials are shaping the future of charitable giving": Today I found this article by Brenda Bouw in the Globe and Mail.  I'm interested in charity so I had to read it:

Sonja Cunningham was 21 years old when she first started making regular charitable donations. She was approached on the street by a representative from UNICEF and was immediately moved by what she heard about how the humanitarian organization was supporting children in developing countries.

Ms. Cunningham couldn’t afford much at the time – about $10 to $15 a month – but believed strongly that, as an adult, it was time to start giving back.
“Child-related charities have always been close to my heart,” says Ms. Cunningham, who is now 32 years old, married and a mother of two.

She’s among an estimated twothirds of Canadian millennials who donate to charities, according to The Next Generation of Canadian Giving study conducted by Edge Research. It says millennials donate an annual average gift of $639. That compares with 78 per cent of baby boomers who donated to charities, with an average annual gift of $942.

While millennials may have less money to give today, they’re considered an important demographic for charities to reach in the future. It’s not just the size of the demographic, but its steadily rising income and the likelihood of receiving some of their parents’ wealth when it’s passed down.

“They have huge purchasing power,” says Marina Glogovac, chief executive of, an online funding portal for charities. “Millennials are shaping how giving will be. They’re coming in, making certain demands.”

That includes increased transparency and accountability around where their money goes. A study conducted by the Millennial Impact Project says 78 per cent of millennials are “very likely or somewhat likely to stop donating if they didn’t know how the donation was making an impact.”

Feeling a personal connection to an organization was also important for 72 per cent of respondents. The project also says nearly 70 per cent of millennials surveyed are willing to raise money on behalf of a non-profit they cared about.

The Edge Research study says Gen Y donors are more likely to support human rights and international development organizations. Ms. Glogovac believes that’s due in part to their time spent on social and digital media, and its global reach.

“I think young people are genuinely concerned about the world, maybe more so than [older] generations,” she says. “The Internet has removed barriers. The ease of use of technology is driving transparency, share-ability and what they expect from charities.”

She says CanadaHelps is trying to facilitate those through its campaigns.

“I think this an opportunity for charities, it’s a challenge and an opportunity and it’s coming up fast,” Ms. Glogovac says.

In the case of Ms. Cunningham, it boiled down to cash flow. After finishing school, buying a home and starting a family, she and her husband decided to increase their charitable contributions, including sponsoring a little girl in Honduras through World Vision.

“I really love feeling connected to the child and her community and it’s been amazing watching her grow and change,” Ms. Cunningham says.

As a public service employee for the province of B.C., Ms. Cunningham also contributes to an employee charitable giving fund through her regular paycheque, has donated to Black Lives Matter, Standing Up for Racial Justice, Wikipedia and is a member of a Syrian refugee constituent group.

At Christmas time, Ms. Cunningham also helps the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society by organizing a gift hamper donation on behalf of a group of moms. They collect hundreds of dollars to buy gifts for specific families, including bikes for two brothers and a new mattress set and linens for a 10-year-old girl.

Donating to charities doesn’t just feel good, it’s a “personal moral imperative to give back and to share what I have,” Ms. Cunningham says.

Ms. Cunningham and her husband set aside about 1 per cent of their income each year for charitable causes.

Ottawa’s First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC), introduced in 2013 and aimed at millennials, is also encouraging some to give back. The credit is for new donors who haven’t claimed a charitable donations tax credit for any year after 2007. They qualify for an extra tax credit of 25 per cent on their first $1,000 contributed until the end of 2017, when the credit is set to expire.

Charitable organizations like would like to see the credit continue to encourage not just millennials, but the next generation of donors behind them.
Ms. Cunningham isn’t eligible for the credit, since she’s been donating for years, but believes it’s a great way to encourage millennials to give back.

“I would imagine that millennials would take advantage of it,” she says.

Dec. 29, 2016 Social work: Learn to help your community: I found this old Metro custom publishing:

"In today's society, individuals and groups often experience hardship due to social and economic inequity," says Dr. Anne- Marie McLaughlin, associate director, academic, central and northern Alberta region of the faculty of social work, University of Calgary.

"Social work has a dual responsibility to work for a more just society, while at the same time working with individuals and groups to identify their strengths and overcome barriers."

Work at: hospitals, long-term care facilities, non-profit, grassroots organization.

A grassroots movement (often referenced in the context of a political movement) is one which uses the people in a given district as the basis for a political or economic movement.[1] Grassroots movements and organizations utilize collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional, national, or international level. Grassroots movements are associated with bottom-up, rather than top-down decision making, and are sometimes considered more natural or spontaneous than more traditional power structures.[2]

Grassroots movements, using self-organization, encourages community members to contribute by taking responsibility and action for their community.[3] Grassroots movements utilize a variety of strategies from fundraising and registering voters, to simply encouraging political conversation. Goals of specific movements vary, but the movements are consistent in their focus on increasing mass participation in politics.[4]

The idea of grassroots is often conflated with participatory democracy. The Port Huron Statement, a manifesto seeking a more democratic society, says that to create a more equitable society, "the grass roots of American Society" need to be the basis of civil rights and economic reform movements.[5] The terms can be distinguished in that grassroots often refers to a specific movement or organization, whereas participatory democracy refers to the larger system of governance.[6]

My week:

Jan. 23, 2017 Buspass complaint: Yesterday I bought a new adult buspass and the price went from $91.50 to $94.25.  I was surprised.  I read the Edmonton Journal everyday, and I didn't know the price was going to be raised.

Yeah, well at least I'm not driving.  I rather sit and read the newspaper on the bus.

Jan. 25, 2017 The Simpsons: I wrote about this last week, but here's the scene where Homer becomes a truck driver and Bart comes along.  The movie was called "The Monster that Ate Everbody."

Female movie character: You mean it ate Patrick too?
Male movie character: It ate everybody.
Female movie character: What about Erica?
Homer and Bart (angrily and in unison with male movie character): It ate everybody.

Jan. 26, 2017 Benefits specialist job interview: Today I went to a job interview.  I had seen this job ad before, but I never really applied because it was kind of far away.  It was like 1hr 10 min bus ride.  I have the 1st bus that comes frequently, and the 2nd bus does not come as often.  It was in the west end. 

The ad said full-time and benefits.  I decided to apply and got an interview.


1. Full-time.
2. Benefits.


A job interview is like an information interview. 

1. I learned that the hours were not like Mon. - Fri. 9am- 5pm.  It can be evenings and weekends.

2. You have to have a driver's license and a car to drive to clients houses and tell them about this insurance policy.

3. The pay is 100% commission. 25% is customer service and 50% is expand your network by referrals.

4. You have to get your HLLQP license.

My opinion: I don't think it's a scam.  The clients that you go to see, they are already interested and know about your company.  This is not door-to-door sales.

The office was nice and modern, but when I got there, there were 2 women and a man filling out applications.  It seems like a lot of interviews.

After the interview, I did tell the young guy who interviewed me that this job is not a good fit for me.

He did say that the people who do well say things like: "I can talk to a lot of people."

He did say they are expanding their business and will have another office open soon. 

Even if I did have a driver's license, I wouldn't want to work here because it seems so hard.

Jan. 27, 2016 Highest and lowest paying jobs: Workopolis sent me this:

We recently updated our salary report on what the average Canadian earns. Now we’re taking a look at what the top ten high-paying jobs are right now and which occupations pay the least. How does yours compare?

According to Statistics Canada, the average wage for Canadian employees is currently $952 per week – or just under $50,000 a year. Most of the jobs on our high-paying list earn at least three times that much (And the lowest paying occupations pay less than half the average).

The highest paying jobs in Canada:
Most of the lowest paying jobs will simply pay the minimum wage of whatever region the job happens to be located in. Towards the low end of the scale that is roughly $9.95 an hour earning someone just over $20,000; assuming they worked full time and were paid for 40 hours a week.

The lowest paying jobs in Canada:
  • Sewing machine operator – $22,514 – $41,546
  • Cook, fast food – $20,994 – $26,026
  • Cashier – $21,183 – $29,156
  • Dishwasher – $21,286 – $28,540
  • Bartender -$20,091 – $42,837
  • Restaurant host/hostess – $21,113 – $29,120
  • Service station attendant – $21,052 – $32,357
  • Food and beverage server – $22,360 – $30,369
  • Food counter attendant / kitchen help – $21,184 – $32,888
  • Babysitters, nannies, and parent’s helpers – $20,880 – $37,354
Please keep in mind that this list does not take tipping into account. Bartenders and wait staff, particularly at higher end establishments, can make very comfortable incomes with low hourly wages but the bulk of their income coming from tips.
Jan. 27, 2017 HMV Canada: Today I read in the Globe and Mail, that this store is struggling because of streaming music like iTunes.

Jan. 28, 2017: Today I read in the Edmonton Journal that they will close all their stores.  I was sad.  Then again as a teenager, that's where I bought all my cds.  This is like in 1999-2003.  Then in 2005, I was 20 yrs old and got a credit card and can buy cds and dvds for cheaper on Amazon.

Then I slowly stopped buying cds and dvds. 


At April 18, 2018 at 10:20 PM , Blogger Hamilton Family Dentistry said...

At Hamilton Family Dentistry it is our mission to create a safe, warm and trusting environment. Our professional staff will offer you a warm welcome and see to all of your needs. The feeling of comfort extends from our waiting area to each treatment room. If at any time during your treatment you have concerns, we encourage you to share them with us. We will do our best to answer your questions and explain procedures in plain language, putting you at ease.
Hamilton Family Dentistry
Affordable dentist in Hamilton


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