Sunshine, skin cancer, attitude and showing up.

My internet connection and home telephone service have been intermittent for the last three days. It is a real shock to realise how much we depend on these two services.

Phone and Internet Dependance

Phone and Internet Dependence


I could take my tablet into town and sit at a friendly coffee shop which provides free wifi. Surprisingly, we have several of those in our little town. But I find it difficult and slow to type on a touch screen.

The internet connection is working now but may not for long so this will be a short post, on two experiences from yesterday.


The penalty of being a baby boomer with a fair skin who spent most of his life in the tropics is serious skin damage from the sun. I have had over 100 tumours surgically removed over the last 30 years, about 60% of them were either basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. Many more have been frozen with liquid nitrogen.

Since moving to the Northern latitudes and temperate climate of Canada and being fortunate to have received the innovative PDT treatment for several years, the number of these skin cancers has declined significantly. None has required surgical removal for over a year.

Until yesterday.

A biopsy had confirmed that a tumour on my back and another on my arm were positive and needed to be removed.

I visited Victoria Hospital in London yesterday. The plastic surgeon I had been sent to was situated in an older part of the huge complex, one I had not previously visited. When his secretary or nurse had phoned me with details of the appointment, she had carefully explained which entrance and which car park to use, which elevator to take and exactly how to find the clinic reception. Much more explicit instructions than I expected. An example of good customer service.

On arrival, I went to the reception window and was greeted by a very cheerful, friendly and helpful receptionist. She was very efficient, did the paperwork quickly, showed me how to find the waiting room and told me she would get me a new hospital card as my old one was obsolete. I was so impressed that I thanked her and told her she was the happiest person I had met all day.

The rest of the visit was similar, the surgeon, a resident, a student and a nurse were all involved in the procedure. All were excellent.

All had the right attitude.

What makes my experience unusual is that in Canada we have a universal health system, hospitals are government institutions, not generally known for efficiency or customer service. Not subject to the pressures of private enterprise to satisfy customers.

Was much of the great service a result of my own attitude and taking the trouble to express my appreciation?

Perhaps a little, but I believe I was fortunate to be treated by a group of concerned people with the right attitude. They transformed what could have been a miserable time into a good experience.

Showing Up

Showing up is closely related to attitude, deeply influenced by it. Without the right attitude, people don’t show up when they should.

Last month I went to a meet up for WordPress users in a city about a 30 minute drive away. It was the first meeting, only four of us showed up despite more than that having joined the event on the Meet Up site. That was ok, it was the first meeting.

I had confirmed that I would attend the second event yesterday. After returning from London with stitches in my arm and back, I did not feel like going. But, I had said I would, I wanted to meet some of the others who had also confirmed and I wanted to support the organiser for his efforts in organising the meet up. I showed up.

The organiser, myself and one new person who had just noticed the event on Meet Up were the only three to show up.

It is summer, people are busy and life gets in the way, one member had sent apologies at the last-minute, but it was still a disappointment.

Sadly it seems to be a sign of the times we live in, too many don’t show up, for themselves, their families, their customers and clients, their community, their country or mankind.

Do you have the right attitude?

Do you show up when it’s the right thing to do or only when it’s convenient?

Oh, and lastly, wear a hat and sunscreen outside in the sun, stitches are uncomfortable.

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  8 comments for “Sunshine, skin cancer, attitude and showing up.

  1. Roberta
    August 2, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I am so glad you had such a positive experience with the Canadian health care system. I hope and pray you have no more cancerous tumors found.

    • August 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you for your good wishes Roberta.

      I have written before, that for life threatening health issues, I believe the Canadian health system is the best in the world. Whether it is sustainable at that level is a concern. However for less serious conditions, delays in getting treatment can be frustratingly long and have serious consequences for a patient’s health.

      In this case I was fortunate, the surgeon had a cancellation and was able to see me weeks ahead of what I had expected from previous episodes.

      The staff were wonderful.

  2. Charmaine
    August 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I agree that it is sad that so many people say they will be there (where ever there is) then simply do not show up – no regrets, no comment. I see it happening more and more. It is a sad state when a person’s word holds little or no value. If being part of something is important to you, it is important that you show up.

    • August 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Thanks for your comment Charmaine, let’s hope that common sense and good manners come back soon.

  3. August 6, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Hi Peter–blessings to you and glad you are well.

    A quick thought for you! Have you checked out They have keyboards for tablets/ipods. Genius products that make typing int he local coffee shop or in the front seat of your car while waiting in a parking lot a easier.

    • August 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Thanks Cait, I visited the Zagg site,they have one that will work, there is also a microsoft one. Part of the reason for not already buying one is to restrict email and other business work to the office on the desk top. If I make the tablet too easy to use, I will be tempted to use it at night instead of reading or thinking.

  4. August 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    For sure, excellent point, Peter! I was delighted to recently learn of the Zagg site because I use my iPad while taking notes with clients (for convenience) and, like you–I’m not sold on the touch for typing!

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