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My Letters


Dear Max Ferguson,

My name is Victor Enns. I am a grade 12 student in the Mennonite Collegiate Institute, the oldest coeducational boarding school in Canada. The school has several other distinctions, and is renowned for its music program. I have enclosed two records of our choral singing that were made in the last two years under the direction of Henry Engbrecht. I hope you find something appealing on these albums that you might play on your show.

I love your show and I’ve been listening to you at whatever time of day you have been granted by the CBC. This is now more complicated because your broadcasts are on during regular school hours, so if you do choose to play something from these recordings could you let me know so I can tell the choirs when to listen.

Sincerely,Victor Enns
Gretna, MB

Author’s note: The letter was sent in 1972, the recordings made in 1970 (Peaceful River)  and 1971 (Age and Youth Unite). Max Ferguson did play a cut from the albums, but I can’t remember which. This marks my first adventure in promotion.



Selected Letters from THE LETTER-WRITER

February 5th, 2013

Room 302 Legislative Building
The Legislative Building of Manitoba
450 Broadway
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3C 0V8


Dear Minister,

I have received excellent care from the Canadian Health Care system from Saskatchewan and Manitoba Health throughout my life. I am happy to pay taxes and praise the doctors that provided physical and psychiatric care since my adult hood. Thanks to you and the hard work of many Canadians and representatives such as yourself the only cost outside of my taxes has been a need to be a strong advocate for my care, and that of family.

I am currently scheduled for a foot surgery that has been delayed twice, but the foot-bone fusion itself is not critical. Unfortunately I also need two hip replacements because of osteoarthritis, and the xrays show it’s bone on bone which is very painful. It’s important to be on two good feet (they fixed the right one very well last January, thank you Dr. Hammond) to carry my weight properly to be mobile as I need for my hip surgery recovery. So I’m happy to have a foot surgery date of February 28, and my first hip replacement surgery on June 14th. I look for some pain relief at that time, but in the meantime I need to take painkillers.

A problem has arisen because neither the doctor who wrote the first prescription for Oxycodene (Pan Am Clinic– an excellent clinic) because he could see the problem of my hip and understand my pain, or the General Practioner who wrote one renewal when the Pan Am Doctor was away, have shown any interest in being the doctor to write the prescription I need today.

I am being treated like an addict, either because I used my 120 pills in 17 days instead of 20, or because I have a history of alcohol abuse, just recently overcome. I am also in treatment for Chronic Depression, but I am fighting everyday to continue working for the Province of Manitoba and not go on disability, because the last time I did at the Manitoba Arts Council I lost my job, and I need the stimulation and the routine of work to be healthy. My employer and my workplace have accommodated my needs and I am working from home for three days a week. The problem is pain management.

I’m beginning to feel as if my medical history is creating a difficulty for doctors to prescribe a narcotic. I had asked both of the doctors for a prescription of Nabilone, which is a THC based product and is used by my arthritic sister in B.C. and as Savitex, by a friend with MS.  My GP prescribed T3s and I tried marijuana from the street, but I didn’t like the way it made feel and I could never regulate anything to approximate a “dosage.” So I gave up on it.

In December I was diagnosed with gout, and as we do these days, I checked it out on the web and got the shock of my life, especially by looking at an image off gouty fingers as the joints in my fingers hurt. This was in December. I drank my last scotch – and just one on New Year’s Eve – having already given up beer. The truth is I had started cutting back in November, because a colleague in the office next to me died of liver failure.

Leonard Cohen has a song “Please Don’t Pass Me By,” which I relate to on another level completely today. I began to work on renewing my Oxycodone prescription last Wednesday after learning my GP was away until Monday, which is when I needed a new prescription.  I called my Pan Am Doctor, and was only able to leave a message about needing a renewal, and could he write one because my GP was away until Monday. I was called back from an assistant who says that at the last appointment I had agreed my GP would be responsible for writing my pain med prescription. I agreed because he had written them once before and so I expected him to do it again.  I said, he probably didn’t get the part of the message in which I had said my GP was away until Monday.  Yes, that was it, they would add that to the message and call me back Friday. There was no call Friday. Last night I took my last oxycodone tablets and went to bed.

My wife had agreed to drive me to the Corydon Clinic, which has been a wonderful facility, which has always treated me well, so that my GP could write me the pain prescription I needed. We arrived at the Clinic, just as my GP was leaving the building, and I said “wait, I need a new pain medication prescription, could you…..please…? “I’m not on until noon I’ll consider it then.”

He literally passed me by, because he probably had an important engagement – obviously more important than my pain. I went in to the clinic and asked whether any other doctor could help me, and the nurse said no. I handed in a note scribbled on the back of a grocery list indicating my current prescription was for 2 tablets 3 times a day; what I was actually taking was 2 tablets 3 times a day, plus one as needed, which meant I had run out 2 – 3  days before I should have. But that was what it took for me to remain as a productive member of my community and continuing to work everyday. No, they said no one could help me.

Shortly after noon (the GP must have be “on”), I receive a call from the Corydon Clinic, not from the cowardly GP who was afraid to talk to me, but from his poor nurse, who told me. “He will not write that prescription, he had never authorized that prescription, he only wrote it the one time because my Pan Am Doctor was away, and since it was the Pan Am Doctor that had started me (as if……this road to perdition….unsaid, my speculation)it would have to be the Pan Am Doctor who wrote the renewal. I appreciate the delicacy and the concerns about writing prescriptions for narcotics, especially for someone with my medical history, but it seems now, that no Doctor wants to be responsible for authorizing it, or even talking to his patient about it.

So I called the Pan Am Clinic, and got over emotional, but finally did get the message through to doctor. I am happy to report, he actually called and is seeing me tomorrow at 1:30 and I hope will write the prescription I need. It does mean I will have to call in sick in the morning, and as you can image, an employee looking forward to three osteo surgeries in the next 12 months does everything he can to protect his sick days. The conversations though went something like

“I thought we agreed your GP would write the pain med prescriptions”
“He won’t, I asked him directly.”
“Why do you think that this”
“Because of my medical history he probably thinks I am an addict.”
Are you.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow at 1:30, you know you have to come in personally and I can’t give it to anyone else.

“Yes, Doctor.”

But really Minister, what else can I say. All doctors, you and I know, will believe that if I take oxycodone from now until July I will almost certainly be addicted to the drug, even if I’m not today[1]. This is wrong because……? The upside is I’ll have stopped drinking.  You do have to have a sense of humour about this kind of thing,

Today is February 4th, my first hip surgery is June 14th. So far I have not been able to get more than 120 tablets at a time, and maybe that’s a good thing, and maybe I have to live with whatever pain goes beyond the 120 tablets, and call in sick, but I started this last Wednesday, and every prescription seems to have a maximum of 20 days. How would you feel if you had go through what I have in the last five days to relieve your pain, and participate in your community, every 20 days, taking 5 days of your thinking and anxiety? 


Sincerely,  V


Victor Enns,





[1] I am still not addicted in 2022. I have needed opiod pain management for ten years, and another ten years coming up. I still am prodsuctive. The stigma seems less in BC, and during Covid.






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