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How did someone who “died” 20 different times survive?

“The Summer I Died Twenty Times”

Reviewed by BERNIE BELLAN
In the summer of 2009 Winnipeg-born Fred Rutman claims to have “died” 20 times. As he writes in the prologue to his newly-released book, “The Summer I Died Twenty Times,” “I was clinically dead twenty times that we know of – heart stopped, no breathing, ready for the toe tag. And then I wasn’t.”
What happened to Fred Rutman, why it may have happened, and what he says he discovered has become the most effective treatment for his extremely rare condition is the subject of quite an intriguing 275-page account.
Fred had contacted me some time back to ask me whether I’d be interested in reading his book. Naturally, being the publisher of the Winnipeg Jewish newspaper, I was interested in knowing whether he had any Winnipeg relatives. It turns out Fred has strong Winnipeg roots, having been born here and having grown up here. Also, I remember being in school with his brother, Ray.
But, his book only deals tangentially with his Winnipeg connection. What Fred does is tell a story – a lengthy story that at times can bog you down with descriptions of what seem to be endless medical procedures he has undergone over the past 14 years, but one that is nonetheless thoroughly intriguing.
“The Summer I Died Twenty Times” is unusual also in how breezily it’s written. Chapters are short and are often given very humorous titles. Fred actually began writing the book during Covid as a means of passing time, he says. By the way, he also mentions that he’s had Covid three times – and, for someone who “died” 20 times before that, one has to wonder just what keeps this guy alive.
But, no matter what his medical history is – and how confounding it has been to what seem to have been a never-ending series of medical professionals, one is constantly left wondering: How did Fred Rutman survive?
Here’s how he describes his condition at one point: “I have a heart condition called a severe full AV block. Why, they don’t know. What they do know is it prevents your heart’s electrical signals from telling the atria and ventricle to beat in synch. That is to say, my heart stops. Now I am fully 100% dependent on a pacemaker to keep me alive…Collectively, my heart has stopped 50 plus times. Sometimes for extended periods of time. During many of these stoppages, I collapsed and bashed my head, resulting in concussion/brain damage…”
Fred also explains that at one point one of his doctors determined that Fred had suffered a stroke at birth, “which caused all sorts of brain trauma that no one caught.”
But, there is no conclusive evidence, he writes, that the stroke at birth is what has led to his heart problems.
No doubt, at this point, anyone reading this would be wondering: Was Fred Rutman clinically dead? The answer, as he discusses thoroughly, is an emphatic “yes.”
And then, of course, you would likely want to know: What was it like? Did he have an out-of-body experience at any time? Did he see a light? Did he go through a tunnel?
The answers, again, are: none of those things. Fred apologizes if a reader had been hoping to find some hint of an afterlife while reading his account.
Not that Fred Rutman is irreligious – far from it. He’s an observant Jew, not that he was always one, he explains. His becoming observant happened over time after he had moved to Toronto. In many ways, as he writes about the warm and loving Jewish community of which he’s now a part, he makes a convincing case for the merits of adhering to an Orthodox lifestyle.
In fact, because Fred does not refer to the many characters that populate his book by their real names, instead choosing to use often hilarious pseudonyms, it’s not always easy to remember just which member of his synagogue it was that administered to his needs at any particular point, including taking him to the hospital, visiting him there, bringing him kosher food to eat while he was there, or often letting him stay at their home, either while he was convalescing or after he had just experienced another near-death experience on the way to synagogue or on the way home.
I don’t know Fred Rutman, but after reading his story, I can’t help but think that someone who has as many friends as he does must be one terrific guy. He describes his academic and work background to some extent, but doesn’t really explain how he was able to support himself all the many times he ended up in hospital or later, while he was recovering.
Another aspect of the book, and perhaps one that will resonate with Manitoba readers in particular, is that no matter how often Fred’s condition may have been misdiagnosed and no matter how many times he may have been subjected to tortuous tests and procedures – he still received care within the Ontario health system.
One cannot help but wonder how long Fred Rutman would have survived had he still been living in Manitoba. Would he even have been able to see a doctor? you might wonder – and when you start to see the list of doctors who attended to Fred over the years, you might gain a fuller appreciation of our Canadian health care system, at least at it has developed in Ontario. In Manitoba, no doubt, he would have been put on a wait list and then subjected to numerous postponements of tests, procedures, and ultimately, life-saving operations,
At the same time though, the frustration that accompanies the numerous occasions during which doctors go over Fred’s medical history from the start, rather than just reading what other doctors have already determined is wrong, is just another example of how inefficient our Canadian medical system can be. (Since the book isn’t a scientific paper, it’s impossible to know whether Fred would have received better care within a different medical system, but his story certainly calls for a case study of that sort.)
Fred Rutman has had four pacemakers implanted underneath his chest wall over a relatively short number of years. Three had failed – something which, in itself, is especially disconcerting. The most recent one, which he has had now for three years does seem to be working properly, at least as of the current moment. But, when he describes being awake while surgeons thread leads into his heart to regulate its heartbeat – several times when he should have been asleep but the anesthetic was not given properly, well, it’s hard not to squirm as you’re reading that.
So, in the end, what has kept Fred Rutman alive? And, this is the part of the book that I’m sure will arouse the greatest controversy – it’s Fred’s categorical acceptance of Intermittent Fasting as a cure-all for a myriad of conditions he has experienced which he now says have either been eliminated of have been greatly relieved.
Without going into the details of Intermittent Fasting, which Fred does, suffice to say that it can be approached in a number of different ways. Here is how Wikipedia describes what Fred refers to simply as IF: “Intermittent fasting is any of various meal timing schedules that cycle between voluntary (or reduced calorie intake) and non-fasting over a given period. Methods of intermittent fasting include alternate-day fasting, periodic fasting, and daily time-restricted feeding.”
Upon further reading, however, I could find no conclusive scientific support to substantiate Fred’s claims for the wonderful effects of intermittent fasting. Perhaps, just as what exactly led to his experiencing so many heart stoppages still remains a mystery to the many doctors who treated Fred over the years, so too do the apparently wondrous effects that IF has had for him – and for many others who swear to its absolute usefulness.
“The Summer I Died Twenty Times” is hardly a medical treatise. Fred writes in a charmingly breezy manner. As I wrote to him an email though, there are a number of spelling and grammatical mistakes, but perhaps only a nit picker like me would notice them. In addition, Fred did admit to me that the first 40 pages of the book are a bit of a slog, as he describes the process that led to his writing the book.
By the time that you begin to read the details of what happened to Fred though, at first you’re bound to think: How did he even survive that very first episode in which his heart stopped, never mind the 19 others that followed? As you read on, however, reading about one episode after another where first Fred would have what he describes as a “brainquake”, followed by his blacking out totally when his heart stops, only to revive time and time again for mostly inexplicable reasons, it all seems to become a continuous cycle of events that may even seem monotonous.
But – what Fred Rutman experienced – and regardless how much stock he may put in Intermittent Fasting, may experience again, is absolutely riveting. He remains a medical mystery, although in time perhaps someone will come up with an explanation how someone who had “died” so many times was actually able to survive.
“The Summer I Died Twenty Times” is available on Amazon.

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How Live Casino Dealers Enhance Your Gaming Experience

In the booming online gaming world, live casino dealers stand out as the bridge between the virtual and the real. They bring the physical casino’s authenticity and excitement to your screen, creating a more immersive and engaging experience. But how exactly do live casino dealers enhance your gaming experience?

From fostering a social atmosphere to increasing trust in online games, these professionals make gaming sessions more enjoyable and genuine.

Real-time Interaction

Real-time interaction revolutionizes the online gaming industry, particularly in live casinos. By leveraging advanced streaming technology, live casino dealers can engage with players just as they would in a traditional casino environment.

This dynamic interaction enhances the gaming experience by fostering a sense of presence and camaraderie. Through chat features and live video feeds, players can communicate with the dealer and even with other participants, creating an immersive and social atmosphere.

The role of the live dealer is crucial, as their real-time responses and professional demeanour elevate the authenticity and enjoyment of the game. This interactive experience makes the games more exciting. It instills greater trust and transparency, replicating the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino from the comfort of home.

Enhanced Trust and Transparency

Trust is essential in online casinos as it dramatically impacts players’ peace of mind. Gamblers look for confidence that their selected platform is dependable, safe, and runs transparently and fairly.

Online casinos build trust and transparency by acquiring proper licensing, offering secure transactions, ensuring fair play, and providing high-quality customer service. Moreover, other online casinos introduce live casino games with live dealers to enhance trust and transparency.

In addition to real-time interactions, live dealers can interact with the players like in brick-and-mortar casinos. Players can ask questions, make comments, and receive immediate responses, fostering a sense of community and reliability.

This interaction mimics the social aspects of land-based casinos, where players can gauge the dealer’s demeanour and professionalism, thus bolstering their confidence in the game’s integrity.

Additionally, live dealer games are often overseen by regulatory bodies and broadcast from high-quality, secured studios, adding another level of accountability. Multiple camera angles and advanced streaming technology ensure every action is visible and transparent, diminishing potential fraud concerns.

Professional and Entertaining Conduct

Professional conduct is the backbone of any successful live casino. Dealers who are well-trained in the game’s rules, adept at handling cards or other gaming equipment, and capable of managing the game flow efficiently create a seamless gaming experience.

They also uphold the principles of fairness and transparency, providing players with peace of mind that the game is being conducted properly.

Beyond professionalism, a dealer’s entertainment ability sets a live casino apart from its online counterparts. Engaging dealers who interact with players, share witty banter, and maintain a lively atmosphere can transform a simple game into a memorable event.

Their charisma and energy help to foster a social environment, encouraging interaction between players and setting the stage for a more immersive experience.

The best live casino dealers master the delicate balance between professionalism and entertainment. They effortlessly shift from explaining complex game rules to keeping the mood light and engaging. This balance ensures players feel respected and entertained, enhancing their satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits.

Varied Game Options

The success of online casinos heavily depends on the calibre and diversity of their game offerings. In the fiercely competitive online gambling industry, casinos must provide a wide range of top-notch games to draw in and keep their players engaged.

One essential reason online casinos need a diverse game selection is to keep players interested and entertained. Another advantage of offering a wide range of games is that it meets players’ diverse preferences. Gamblers have unique tastes, motivations, and gaming styles.

That said, live casino dealers are trained to handle multiple game types, ensuring players enjoy various gaming options.

Their professionalism and capability allow seamless transitions between games, keeping the gaming environment dynamic and engaging. This variety caters to seasoned gamblers seeking depth and strategy and welcomes newcomers eager to explore and learn.

Moreover, live dealers often introduce unique game variants and themed events that you might not find in a traditional online casino. These unique offerings can include everything from high-stakes poker tournaments to themed game nights featuring popular TV shows or movie franchises, enhancing the gaming experience.

Personalized Gaming Experience

Another key benefit of having live casino dealers is the personalized gaming experience they provide. Dealers are trained to cater to each player’s unique preferences and behaviours, making adjustments and offering insights that make each session feel exclusive.

Their friendly demeanour and professional approach ensure that the games run smoothly and that players feel valued and entertained.

Moreover, the live casino setup often includes multiple camera angles and high-definition streaming, ensuring players don’t miss a moment of the action. This level of engagement and transparency boosts player confidence and trust in the game’s fairness, further enriching the overall experience.

Conclusion

Live casino dealers significantly enhance the online gaming experience by bringing authenticity, interaction, trust, and entertainment. With varied game options and the ability for personalization, players can enjoy a casino experience that closely mirrors the excitement of playing in a physical casino.

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Is There Enough Time Before Summer to Get a Summer Body?

Do you think there’s enough time to get a summer body before the height of summer? Of course! If you start right now, you still have two months before August, which we’d class as the height of summer. Two months is enough time to make good progress and see some changes that’d make you look and feel incredible.

Read on to find out more.

Lean Diet and Lifting Weights

It’s the part that nobody likes to think about – the hard work. Yes, if you want to get a summer body before summer, you must be ultra-strict with your lean diet and lifting weights, with a sprinkle of cardio. Combining a lean diet with weight training forms the basis for your summer body.

If you’re ultra-strict with your diet and training four or five times a week, there’s a massive difference you can make, especially if you get your training plan spot on. You can also speed up the process with supplements – supplements will be your best friend! Check out Canadian Made Labs (canadianmadelabs.com) for example, to find the best supplement for you.

Stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Reducing refined sugars and unhealthy fats will help you lose fat and build muscle. Swap your sweet snack for 0% low-fat Greek yogurt, granola, honey, and mixed fruits, and you’ve already made a massive difference to your diet and outcomes. And it tastes good!

Weight training is equally essential for muscle development, metabolism, and how quickly your physique changes. Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscles for maximum results.

Hybrid Training

Hybrid training works well. If you’ve got some fat to trim, cardio is essential. Don’t worry, you don’t need to run. A moderate-paced walk on a steeper incline can burn more calories than running, is more enjoyable for most people, and won’t leave you gasping for breath. The stair master is another good cardio machine for a quick blast that will leave you gasping for breath but feeling good.

If you really want to make quick changes, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief periods of low-intensity exercise or rest.

This form of workout can help you lose body fat within a short period compared to steady-state cardio exercise, for example – a 20-minute session doing these intervals may benefit you more than one hour of slow walking. Apparently, you can burn 40% more body fat with HIIT. And what’s 20 minutes of sweating and suffering if you want quick gains?

Psychological Resilience and Self-Control

It doesn’t only involve physical fitness; mental strength and willpower also play a huge role in achieving a perfect summer body. Discipline and a positive mindset are necessary for maintaining focus on one’s goals. Set achievable targets, and understand that progress takes time. If you’re ever lacking motivation, pick the body you want and imagine it in your mind. Tell yourself, over and over, that you need that body. In times of low motivation, reminding yourself repetitively of the body you want can make a big difference.

Consistency in the eating plan and daily training will encourage habits that can become part of you. And, don’t only measure your progress through weight or inches alone but also how good you feel physically and mentally.

It’s time to think about your summer body…because you’re running out of time. Start today and see what difference you can make by August!

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Want to know about a a Muslim Arab state that’s been “occupied” by another Muslim Arab state? Read about Western Sahara

Contributed by DOMINIC MARTIN Did you know that a mere four hour flight from London lies a self-proclaimed Arab state chafing under a decades-long occupation? And that their haughty overlords, motivated in part by dubious historical claims to the land, partly by naked territorial aggrandizement, annually encourages thousands of its settlers to move in and tilt the demographic balance in its favour? And all this with the tacit support of its Western allies, and in blatant violation of numerous UN resolutions? Meanwhile the indigenous inhabitants of this land are left to eke out a threadbare existence in the arid scraps left to them, whilst many more languish in refugee camps in neighbouring states. And yet, undaunted, this oppressed people fight on, standing proudly under their red, green, white and black flag. Their occupiers, in a move equal parts desperation and exasperation, have resorted to constructing an enormous barrier across the entirety of the territory, de facto annexing the choicest areas to the ‘motherland’.

I talk of course of Western Sahara, or the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic if you prefer (Morocco, which has occupied the bulk of this former Spanish colony in north-west Africa since 1975, prefers the term ‘Southern Provinces’). Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Despite lying just 60 miles east of the Canary Islands, this Britain-sized slab of rock and desert occupies a position in the average Westerner’s imagination somewhere between East Timor and Ambazonia. There are no weekly protests in support of the oppressed Sahrawi people, no calls to boycott Moroccan goods, no ICC court case against Morocco, and no ceaseless stream of hand-wringing pity pieces for the Sahrawis in the left-leaning media.

Why not? Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, right? Those on the progressive left endlessly tell us that their support for the Palestinian cause is due solely for their compassion for an oppressed people – ‘you don’t have to be Muslim/Arab to support Palestine, just human’, as the phrase de jour goes. Yet Western Sahara? Crickets. This is perplexing – after all, it has all the right ingredients; if anything, it offers a far more clear-cut case than Palestine, given that the Polisario Front (Western Sahara’s answer to the PLO) has refrained from terrorist attacks on civilians and focuses its armed struggle solely against Moroccan military targets, and therefore doesn’t require the kind of awkward moral hedging demanded by supporters of the Palestinians.

And yet Western Sahara is comprehensively ignored. Its flag emoji has failed to take its place next to the EU, Ukraine and trans flags in the Twitter and Instagram bios of the right-on set. Could it be that this intra-Arab dispute between two Muslim peoples who look the same and speak the same language simply lacks the gravitas and high-stakes excitement of the Arab-Israeli imbroglio? That this dispute over a remote desert fastness, whose main exports are fish and a bit of phosphate, is simply not sexy enough? (Even Lonely Planet, usually a-gush with fawning admiration for the most dangerous and dusty ‘up and coming’ developing world destinations, calls it “featureless, arid, inhospitable and uninviting.”) Is it possible that despite the evident wrongs committed against the long-suffering Sahrawi people, that the slacktivist set simply don’t care? It certainly seems that way, which would suggest to this author at least that their support for Palestine represents for the most part less a genuine outpouring of righteous fury against injustice, than a performative display of allegiance to ‘the current thing’. Having long since grown bored of the grim trench warfare in Ukraine, this is now the sole foreign policy issue on which our progressive panjandrums absolutely insist that one must take a stand. The only other similar dispute which even comes close is the moribund ‘Free Tibet’ movement, which has long since fizzled out as its supporters realised the futility of protesting the regime in Beijing.

We are often told that the world doesn’t care about Palestine, that “Palestinian blood is very cheap” as former Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf put it. Yet the complete opposite is in fact the case. No other foreign policy issue attracts as much international attention as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no other ‘national liberation’ struggle attracts as much foreign support as that of the Palestinians. Would a major flare up of fighting in Western Sahara be capable of swinging a British by-election, as happened recently in Rochdale? Hardly.

So, that’s the progressives. Meanwhile the vociferous rage of their erstwhile allies in the Islamic ‘ummah’ is perhaps at first glance more understandable, their religious sensibilities understandably inflamed at seeing Muslims dying by the score, and at the hands of the infidel no less. Yet even here we see a similar double standard at play. Where has been the outrage at other violent oppression committed against Muslims, such as China’s brutal suppression of the Uighurs, Burma’s genocidal attacks against the Rohingya, or the Alawite Assad regime’s brutal bloodbath in Syria? To say nothing of the tens of thousands of deaths caused by intra-Muslim civil wars in Yemen, Sudan or Iraq? It’s hard not to notice that Muslims generally ignore those issues and reserve especial ire for Israel and Israel alone. Ad for Western Sahara – it doesn’t even get a look in. It would seem that Laayoune, Dakhla or Boujdour simply lack the heady religious allure of Jerusalem, Jenin or Jericho. It would seem that some Muslim lives are worth more than others.

At some point the brutal fighting in Gaza will come to an end. The rent-a-protestors will find a new trend to get excited about. It is quite likely that we will see yet another international push to reanimate the interminable Arab-Israeli ‘peace process’. Forget potential nuclear war in Korea or Kashmir, or the slow-motion implosion of Myanmar – the entire weight of the world’s efforts and attention will once again be bought to bear on the great, grand cause of creating a corrupt, authoritarian (if not outright Islamist) Palestinian statelet in the Middle East. And when that happens, spare a thought if you will for the Sahrawis, as they waste away in their desert shantytowns. After all, no one else will.

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