Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Monday, January 31, 2005

Well, I sold a small table, and the fishtank was moved out along with our four huge goldfishies.
The cats were given away last week, and I guess word went out because today I spotted a small mouse in the kitchen. The neighbors kid promises to let me "borrow" their cat to scare it away or catch it.

The house is almost empty. My suitcase is full, but I still have a lot of clothes in the closet-- mostly winter clothes that I won't take to the Philippines.

And I think we have sold the house.


Sunday, January 30, 2005

We are starting to pack....the neighbors bought our old furniture, and moved out a bunch of it. So now we have only one bed.

and guess who is feeling lovey dovey?


now if I could only read my own handwriting
Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 29, 2005

yesterday, we had an ice storm, so work closed early.
Here in Oklahoma, they don't have a lot of trucks etc. to clean the ice, so it's easier to shut down. Luckily, it was big snowflakes, so the wires didn't collapse---and the electricity stayed on.
I shipped two more boxes of books to the Philippines. My husband, who reads two newspapers a day and keeps up on Hollywood gossip sheets-- doesn't read books, and would probably be annoyed.
The neighbors were going to pick up more furniture, but I was already sick in bed with my arthritis hurting, so they'll come back today. I should send my big computer out today, if the roads allow.
One more week of work, then we get ready to leave.
I hate moving, but everything will probably work out fine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Trying to get procrit for a patient.

First, you have to make a special request.
Then you have to find funding, if possible.
Then you have to check the dose with the specialist.

The trouble with government clinics is that we are underfunded, but for really vital problems, like procrit for cancer patients, we can get the stuff quickly...but lots of red tape.

The gentleman today-- and he is a true gentle man-- got his within a week. His cancer is being treated aggressively, and we don't know if he'll make it or not.

When we started getting funds to give the stuff, one of our first patients had terminal leukemia. We saw him every week get weaker...and twice arranged transfusions, even though he was "hospice" patient, i.e. had a "do not resusitate" and no extraordinary treatment on his chart. But he wasn't quite ready to g0, so we had him transfused...

We had his church pray for him and lay on hands. We discussed that often patients know when their time is come, and the fears. Except for weakness, thank God, he was not in pain. But every week he was a bit weaker...and held on.

Finally, I asked: who isn't here, who hasn't visited him? It turned out his son was in Afghanistan. So we put a call to the Red Cross...and got his son home...alas, he died a day before the son arrived, but the father knew the son was coming.

Often, we have patients say "goodbye" to us, and then quietly die in their sleep, or go into a coma. My own father did this.

But my favorite story is a man who had lung cancer, and who I pulled back twice from the brink of death. Finally, we all knew it was the end, but he just was scared and kept hanging on.

Then a priest came to visit. Often, priests are too human, and talk the talk but may not be "good" with the dying, which is a gift one is given, or one earns form suffering.

This priest lived in a tiny Native American village, which had many traditional people (and many people who were both Catholic but kept Indian traditions alive)...The priest wanted to be a missionary, but developed a severe illness that made it impossible for him to do so, or even to work at a vigourous parish. So they sent him to this isolated spot, where he did not have to work hard. And he prayed a lot, and the locals loved him.

So the father came in to say "hi", and saw he was dying, and asked if he wanted prayers.

The man nodded "yes" (he was a nominal Catholic) and so father prayed a few minutes, and touched him in blessing.

Then Father said: "It's okay. You can go now"...and the man smiled...and died.

One of my professors said few doctors are pious but few are true athiests either, because we see so much.

The blessing of a peaceful death instead of one in fear is something we all wish for...but rarely see.

Monday, January 24, 2005

except for doing five loads of wash, cleaning and recleaning the kitchen floor, and placing three essays on my blog, I've done nothing today.
I was watching seven brides for seven brothers yesterday...lots of song and dance...and primitive prefeminist ideas that are probably nearer to reality than a lot of modern stuff...kidnapping your girlfriend so you can get married? Absurd...but ironically, such things exist, and what is true is the hothouse of sexual attraction is not exactly logical.
I ordered some stuff from Landsend, and my husband said it came but I have the feeling we accidentally threw it out. oy veh.
So it goes...

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Peace and quiet.
It is cold and windy, but we have been spared the blizzard that is hitting the east coast.
Scrappleface has a post about faith aid groups in tsunami belief...
I am of two opinions.
One: that in the middle of a disaster, the aim is helping not preaching
Second, that the goodness of the deeds are like sowing the seed; the harvest may come years later, via the local churches...

Today I sent two more boxes of books (half of it sheet music) to the Philippines. I found that book rate is about one dollar a pound, which makes it as cheap as sending books UPS to my brother to store...
Lots of the music is falling apart, so I hope to xerox it there to use.
My stepdaughter and kids left today, so the house is a mess.
She has now power of attorney to fill out paper work if we can't be reached in the Philippines.
This morning I worked, and most of it was just easy stuff...but the lab came back from diabetic clinic, and two of our diabetics, the nicest ladies you ever met, have now developed renal failure bad enough to refer, and possibly to dialyze.
Diabetes is a lousy disease.
Yup, you say, but they eat too much so it's their fault. But both these ladies are slim and tiny. It's genetic.
And both have bad hearts.
One of them gave me an "angel" statues that lights up with batteries for my "angel"collection. I'll probably take them with me to remember them.
My granddaughter saw an embroidered kleenex box holder with Indian designs that an elderly patient gave me a couple years ago, and wanted it. I said yes, but she had to say a prayer for that dear old lady, who died several years ago of a stroke and now undoubtably praying for all of us here below.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

My daughter Robin is here with the kids, but I am exhausted. This afternoon, we arranged for the car and any junk left behind to be sold. And arranged with the bank for her to write checks for anything we owe (elec etc) when we leave.
I hate moving

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ah, what should I do?
I am trying to pack up my stuff...but I am a packrat.
I have a couple hundred books: anyone want them?
And what about our African stamps?
Sell them on Ebay? Duh...
Right now, I'm downloading my music files onto my laptop that I will take to the Philippines...can't carry everything.
I need to take clothes, so not much room. I already sent a lot of books--pulled out my back loading them to the Post Office....boy, my husband will be mad.
He is the opposite: Throw everything out.
How about "give everything to the poor?"
Right. Good idea. But they don't want a lot of this stuff...
Oh well.
My step daughter comes tomorrow and will probably help.
So: Anyone want enlarged photos of Father Zishiri's first mass at MoyoMusante? How about mom and the triplets I delivered by Caesarian section?
See what I mean?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Along with the spanish pro euthanasia film and the clint eastwood film, we see this "oh let's not prosecute" report...
Anglican Church adviser backs euthanasia

Ah, what a culture of death. Let's all be compassionate. And I'll look the other way when you kill off grandmother, because I know it is out of compassion, not the ten million dollars left to you in your will...

Clint Eastwood's film is lauded by Hollywood, but blasted by the disability community...but it also assumes the worst about "trailer" trash. Yup. No one in a trailer park would take care of a family member, so she's better off dead...

Ah, but wait.

Cynical nihilism allows hollywood to project the worst into working class people (where is John Ford when we need him?)
But there is another story that illuminates the way country people care for their own...

But it was not written by a literati from NYCity, but by an immigrant doctor from Africa of Indian heritage: Dr. Verghese.....and the movie was made by Mira Nair, not a white Hollywood director: In my own country

Here is a review by a doctor:
He tells of the daily fight to keep people alive. And he tells the story of how ordinary Americans confront this new disease with courage.
Too often, Southern Americans are portrayed as bigoted religious homophobes by the literati. His stories of how the close knit families confront and accept their dying sons and husbands.
And he tells of the common --but rarely discussed-- story of immigrants. This a story I see in my own family, where one person comes, and then is joined by friends and family, and soon a thriving immigrant community invigorates the small towns of middle America.
Finally, he shows the strains of practicing medicine in the context of a daily life.
Most of the reviews paint this as a book about HIV, and it is.
But it is a book about families, about culture, and especially about the life of ordinary physicians who daily confront the struggle against sickness and mortality.

Ah, but how could you show the courage of ordinary people, especially (shudder shudder) RED STATE BIGOTED IDIOTS

Sunday, January 16, 2005

On my (other) blog I posted another scathing review of the latest pro euthanasia film that will probably sweep the oscars.
If we are in a "war of civilizations", the war is not Christians vs Muslims but liberal secularist/islamofascists who see utopian governments/perfect humans/their own will as God's will versus Christians/Muslims/Jews/Buddhists who see life as a gift, family as important and God in control...
In one of Tolkien's letters to his son, he discusses marriage: (I paraphrase). People want the perfect soulmate, and divorce the one found imperfect in favour of a new soulmate that will make them happy.
But Tolkien is deeply Catholic: He says our marriage is God's will, and that the imperfect spouse may not turn out to be the perfect soulmate, but the one that will be best for us.
This made me pause. People don't realize that Tolkien's wife from the stresses of incertainty and the stresses of the hoity toity university life became more stressed out and rigid. Undoubtably there were other women who would have been glad to "rescue" him...no, there is no proof...but it makes one wonder where the character of Eowyn came from. One of his many nurses? One of his many female students (and as a married man, he was sent many women students to teach, since they could visit him in his home without a chaparone).
The idea we are sent our own wives by God for the greater good was also told to me by my own husband. He had a (dare I say) neurotic first wife, who he did not divorce since they had children and did not believe in divorce...he once said to me it was God's will that he fell in love with her, and then quickly out of love with her. Because if he loved her, he would not have worked quite so hard, and would given her all his money. As it was, he became a workaholic, and could keep the family comforable but still send money home to his extended family in the Philippines.

To be continued.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Rewrote my will today...had to add grandchildren.
I write it every ten years or so, but the last time I had it done was when our unit did the paperwork (!) in case we were called up....it was right before Desert storm, and I wasn't called up, since I had resigned. I just couldn't make the weight or PT test any more...and knew if they did get the 40 000 casualties that they expected, that I'd probably be called up to a stateside job at a VA or Army hospital taking care of casualties.
I had to include my granddaughters, --who were born since that time.
Today I was in a bad mood, too much paper work...every "referral" needs lots of detail, and with some people with cancer, they see four or five specialists so each needs the same paper filled out..
Socialized medicine at it's best.
But then one of my favorite patients came in. She was going down hill over the last six months, and we were working her up for bowel cancer, and had to check her heart first before Colonoscopy. But Colonoscopy was normal, and her anemia was found to be from an ulcer...and her back pain MRI showed only severe arthritis...
Now, in medicine, when one has abdominal pain and you can't put your finger on it, you think Pancreatic cancer, a lousy disease that kills quickly and hides from normal tests. So I did a liver/pancreas scan, which were normal--but she had a fairly good sized cancer of her kidney behind the liver, which surprised me.
So we took her kidney out...and from the worrying and anemia, she had a heart attack...
Today, she felt lousy, and she was short of breath...rales at the base, and we found pulmonary edema on chest x ray (lab was off, so we didn't do lab)> Bet her BUN Creatinine is up, but not too bad, since she didn't smell uremic...and since she was pale, her hemoglobin was probably down.
So she went off to the Cardiologist who will treat her and get the right specialty care...transfuse and diurese her and hopefully she will be home by Sunday...

Friday, January 14, 2005

busy busy today...lots of shots into sore knees...hope the pain decreases...

main frustration was trying to hurry up a thoracentesis before the holiday weekend...had to explain that a pulse ox of 93 was low, and the lady might end up hospitalized if we didn't get a quart of water off her lungs.

What is worrysome is that she has been slowly going downhill, confused, and came in with a BP of 220--after going thru her medicines we found she had forgotten to take her Irbesartan. Kidneys starting to fail too...it's a real question which will go first, her heart, her liver, her brain or lung cancer (she still smokes which is another reason why I'm in a hurry to drain the fluid).
In the meanwhile, she is under the care of her druggie daughter who right now is clean and sober...
Ah, the fun of medicine...
n

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Right now we are tying to get things done to move overseas...alas, where I work, the work is getting more not lss, so I have a problem doing such things.

I have to change addresses, and have done quite a bit. We have to arrange giving things away, and selling things. Our daughter is coming next week to help.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pajama people one, Dan Rather zero.
It took Buckhead and the Freepers six hours to figure out that there were typing problems with the Rathergate memos; within twelve hours, LGF had pretty well proven an exact match with Word documents, and of course, powerline coordinated the discussion, with expertise from not only word processing/print experts but with people who wrote similar memos...

I just went thru my NG records, (I'm cleaning house) and many of the things pointed out were true: from the size of the paper (slightly smaller than the usual 9 by 12 inch) to the way they abbreviated the unit etc. up to memo forms as opposed to letters.

Of course, there is a suspect, who worked not with the AFNG but with the ANG...I can see him not realizing the difference between word processing and typing (I didn't know that until it was pointed out) but if I were doing a forgery, at least I'd get the abbreviations for the unit correct...by copying from my own memos...

And Vodkapundit has it right: What makes it really nonsense is that no body cares. O'Reilly says that it is open knowledge that rich men got sons in the "old boys network" of the National Guard.

But much of the commentary missed one point: Bush became a pilot. Flying jets is dangerous, probably as dangerous as being in Viet Nam, except for special forces or Marine units.
And when Bush signed up, his AFNG unit was in Viet Nam-- by the time he finished a year flight school, it was not. And his type of plane was not being used much by the time he started doing replacement drills.

I did replacement drills when I was sick and when I chaged jobs while in the Army NG, and had no problems in being excused for such drills...

Perhaps the real problem is that few reporters come from working class backgrounds or served in the military when young. And so feisty leftist female producers (like Mapes and like the CNN Tailwind scandal, which ignored that a helicopter spraying nerve gas would leak the gas into the helicopter and blind the pilot) lack very basic knowledge of what who when and how...

David Brooks discussed this in a nyt editorial a few months ago, saying "we" no longer spend time in the armed services, and I wrote a letter to the editor asking "who is we, Tonto? Speak for yourself"...perhaps they need an affirmative action program for veterans in the news business...so they don't make such basic errors that are easily picked up by amateurs let alone professionals with knowledge ofthe subject...

Monday, January 10, 2005

I was surfing and ran across an article that had the professional feminists blasting the Bush administration.

Wonder of wonders, it also quoted two women from conservative Feminist groups. This is new...fair and balanced anyone?

The problem is that both groups saw feminist reforms as good, as progress.

As a doctor, I predate feminism, so I enjoy the "freedom" they espouse...but you know, fifty years ago, I was "free" to be a doctor, but had to overcome obstacles.

You see, fifty years ago, one of the questions was that if I became a doctor and married and had children, I would stop work, and voila, waste my education. Alas, this was true back then...because married women didn't work...or were discouraged about working.

In the 1940's, many women worked because of the war effort. After the war the propaganda line goes that they were encouraged to quit and have kids...what they ignore is that these women (dare I say, sex starved, child hungry women) now had men, and biology kicked back in...all they now wanted was to make a family...the nesting instinct, or as one stay at home lawyer labled it, the Brunhilde syndrome...(i.e. fighting is fine, but after a good F*** all you want to do is lay around and sing oh sweet mystery of life I've found you...)...

Feminism and the sexual revolution weakened the sexual bonding of marriage (why buy the cow when milk is free)...indeed, the social roots of modern feminism is the knowledge that men may not take care of you when pregnant...Mary Wollstencraft, the grandmother of feminism was left pregnant and alone...

So what is called progressivism is in effect the result of distrust in the marital bond...

(to be continued)...

Lovely Lady, Dressed in Blue
Teach me how to pray.
God was just your little boy
Tell me what to say.

Usually this is the time that I call my own dear mother, who recently died.

How we women argue with our mums, especially if we are different in termprament or in talents.

Ah well, I presume she is busy doing things in heaven.

I would love to be a Mary: sit around and pray all day. But alas, in that way I am like my mother: I have a nervous busy temprament that in some way is lazy but has to be doing something all the time, whether it is reading, blogging, or knitting.

I love my job and helping people, but get burned out all the time, because I see so many suffering, and so many who hurt because they bring it on themselves: thru lazyness and overeating, but a lot of time because they prefer to be a "victim" to circumstances.

One of the ironies of being a doctor, I guess.

But we women often have bodies and emotions that cannot be controlled. Feminist fought the idea that women were merely emotions-- hence the word "hystrical", from the Greek word for uterus--. But now things have gone too far the other way. We are supposed to work and ignore our bodies, our emotions etc.

One of the reason that educated women get in to WICCA is because of the herbal/ emotional/mystical aspects of it. Andrew Greeley calls Wicca Catholicism without rules, since Wiccans use candles and other beautiful things as part of their religion.

Ironically, the same "back to natural things" is also found in very devout Christian women.

Heresy is usually something ignored by the mainstream churches, and pops up elsewhere to get attention.

So I don't think that Wiccans who follow the Lord in the beauty of their hearts will have to worry when they see Beauty of eternity.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

This is from the Dec 23rd post of the Diplomad (link in previous post) and blasts the "lovely nature let the poor people starve as along as they look pretty on my photo" types:
...........................


I want, however, to focus on one particularly interesting sub-set of the AGM with which I have had some personal experience, and which has not received as much attention as the others. I refer to "movements" for the "rights of the indigenous."

Note: often run by college educated elites who were born in a nearby city, not the villages they claim to want to "preserve".



Having served and visited extensively in Central and South American countries with large "indigenous" populations, I can freely state that the region's "indigenous" cultures largely ceased to exist hundreds of years ago; "indigenous" culture today means rural poverty. As the saying goes, "I was born at night, but not last night," so even I understand, therefore, that calling to protect "indigenous culture" really means seeking to preserve rural poverty; to keep people poor, sick, illiterate, and isolated from the great and small wonders of our age.

In the Philippines, you now see primitive huts with a single electric wire going to them-- with a TV antenna. And in our local village, you see homes with "cell phone here for long distance calls to Saudi Arabia" signs, because many local villagers are prosperous enough to send their kids to school, and these kids now work in the Near East..sending mom money and paying for their sibling's education...


It means helping condemn them to half lives consumed with superstition, disease, and of watching their puny children struggle to live past the age of five.

Missionaries bring in medicine, and basic schooling. They also break the back or local shamans who often terrorize locals. In Africa, they would accuse a person of "witchcraft" and ask for bribes to remove the curse, or if a person wanted a healing ceremony, they would have to have their daughters sleep with them. And this doesn't even go into vodoo murder or raping children virgins to be cured of HIV...

It's a call to keep certain people as either an ethnic curio on the shelf for the enjoyment of European and North American anthropologists or, equally vile, as exploitable pawns for the use of political activists.



When I hear these calls, I think, "We don't protect rural poverty in the USA. Western man no longer lives in caves or trees, terrorized by solar eclipses and at the mercy of an unforgiving environment. Why should these people? Why should humans live little better than animals in disease-infested jungles, or exposed on wind-swept plains?"

I am struck, for example, by how much effort "pro-indigenous activists," often themselves urban upper-class types or foreigners, expend on "land reform." Instead of working to develop an economy where land ownership does not determine whether one lives or dies, the activists seek to chain the "indigenous" to, at best, a brutal life of scratching out a living on postage stamp-size plots of land.

Oh yes, and missionaries often import fertilizer, or high yield chickens, or start new crops and animals-- we taught rabbit raising and imported egg laying chickens in our hospital outreach, for example.

Often land reform involves "giving" the rural poor these plots but without the right to sell or use them to secure loans from banks. The poverty and hopelessness increase.

Ah, in the Philippines, they are selling us back our confiscated land-- after one generation, they are rich enough on money sent home from Saudi Arabia that they no longer need to work back breaking labour planting rice. So we import new workers from poor areas, who will undoubtably do the same trickle up wealth



This segues to one of the great and evil myths promulgated by activists, i.e., the Native Americans' love for the land. As one activist (from Minnesota) told me, "they would rather die than give up their contact with Mother Earth." Really? You can believe that if you want, but everywhere I've gone in Latin America, rural people seek to head for the city, or, even better, the USA. They want medicine, Coca-Cola, TVs, cars, motorcycles, corn flakes, and indoor plumbing -- they want to live like the activists do in Minnesota. Those who stay on the land, in particular the men, do not radiate any particular love for the land, the flora, the fauna, or for each other. They fish with dynamite and mercury; burn or cut huge tracts of forest; treat their "sacred lakes" as sewers; drink themselves stupid; and engage in often lethal fights and horrendous cruelty towards women, children and animals. In other words, they behave as uneducated, poor people have throughout all history and in all cultures. Note to activists: the "indigenous" are human.

AMEN AND I SAY AMEN

From The Dipolmad

This January 2 report is written by local Dutch diplomats who traveled to Aceh and saw the reality on the ground. We will cite the two principal paragraphs, and leave them unedited in their original rather charming Dutch-English,


The US military has arrived and is clearly establishing its presence everywhere in Banda Aceh. They completely have taken over the military hospital, which was a mess until yesterday but is now completely up and running. They brought big stocks of medicines, materials for the operation room, teams of doctors, water and food. Most of the patients who were lying in the hospital untreated for a week have undergone medical treatment by the US teams by this afternoon. US military have unloaded lots of heavy vehicles and organize the logistics with Indonesian military near the airport.

A big camp is being set up at a major square in the town. Huge generators are ready to provide electricity. US helicopters fly to places which haven't been reached for the whole week and drop food. The impression it makes on the people is also highly positive; finally something happens in the city of Banda Aceh and finally it seems some people are in control and are doing something. No talking but action. European countries are until now invisible on the ground. IOM staff (note: this is a USAID-funded organization) is very busy briefing the incoming Americans and Australians about the situation.


The US, Australia, Singapore and the Indonesian military have started a 'Coalition Co-ordination Centre' in Medan to organize all the incoming and outgoing military flights with aid. A sub-centre is established in Banda Aceh."

Ah, but you won't hear much positive about that in the Washington Post, which only parrots criticism from the UN:Aid arrives but often not in Equal amounts

Ah, it's all Bush's fault.

But you know, all those complaining that they got "no aid" would have been dead if aid was the only source of food and supplies.

Maybe the reason they didn't get aid is that they didn't need it? Naah. Easier to blame Bush...

Yahoo has a story of tourists lauding how the tsunami cleaned up the beaches...

Stupid tourists

Ah, pristine beaches. Reminds me of when I admired a nice picturesque beach in the Philippines, my husband reminded me you can't eat scenic views...and that the picturesque fishemen would be exhausted after standing in the surf pulling nets for 10 0r twelve hours...and die of old age at 40 years

A good book to read if you "love" nature would be the diaries of pioneer women...Women of the West

I get up at 5, microwave water for instant coffee, wwrite or read on the computer for an hour before going to an office job...pioneer women would have to milk the cow, bring in wood for the stove, collect eggs, and start breakfast before waking the men...and remember, in those days before "the pill", she'd probably be pregnant or breastfeeding...

I always wondered why we read that people in those days went to Chruch services for three hours Sunday morning, then often went back for two hours Sunday night...until I realized that that might be the only time that pioneer women would be free to sit and relax for three hours at a time...except for feeding baby and changing diapers, of course...

Today I'm busy changing addresses and getting a new email in anticipation of stopping my ancient AOL account.

I am also busy writing change of address things in anticipation of moving to the Philippines.

We finished shopping at our local food store...got cat food, but also birdseed...the checker jokingly asked if I was planning to attract birds for our cats...a joke of course, since our cats are declawed and stay indoors...

But once we did have parakeets and cats...we had to keep the cage suspended from the ceiling to keep the cats from getting in...then one day I heard loud shrieking from the parakeets...

It seems that Puma, one of our cats, decided to try to get the bird by climbing up the nearby curtains, and then jump four feet to the cage...he was suspended from the botton of the cage like Sylvester trying to get Tweety...

The end result is that we gave the parakeets away to a better, less threatening home.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

This is in today's BBC:

disabled baby from Kenya

In the story, the baby was adopted by a local British lady and her husband, and they are seeking help since the child's disabilities are similar to those from Thalidomide.

Now, what people don't know is that thalidomide is used for leprosy, so it may have indeed been a child whose mother took the drug.

Actually, it is used for other things: I have a patient with multiple myeloma who is on it..

Now, what is interesting is that one of the early "I need an abortion because my child will be so deformed he will have a lousy life" was a lady in the US who was given thalidomide, and aborted the kid (and this was the days before ultrasounds, so she just presumed the kid was deformed.)

The press was oh so sympathetic to her...but never pointed out that the kid was viable at the time she was aborted. Heck, she even had an HBO movie that made her the heroine...

Ah, but luckily this child will have a life...and a mum who loves him.

I once delivered a child with no arms...don't know why, but mom had delivered several "fetal alcohol" children who were in foster care, so we suspected she had taken some bad drugs.

Similarly, one of my friends adopted a child with one arm missing, again from a druggie mother....

but these kids, like the kid from Kenya, won't have an HBO movie about their struggles...maybe an episode of "touched by an angel", but no movie...unless, of course, they decide to kill themselves...there are two movies about that "right" being lauded right now for their courage...

Culture of death, anyone?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Today it is freezing rain outside and lots of colds, but not flu yet.
All bad news on the news...gotta stop watching.
You see, it is hard to put things into perspective from our news. And one sided bad reports don't help.
We just heard one of our elderly diabetics died. He was working up to last summer, and refused to go on insulin while working, so for the last four years his blood sugar was averaging in the mid to high 200's...finally, he quit, partly because his foot ulcer wouldn't heal and kept get infected.
We place him on insulin, but then he got low blood sugar when he got pneumonia and ended up in the hospital...then a stroke, then he lost his foot, and now he died...
Diabetes is a lousy disease...

Monday, January 03, 2005

Mass todzy had only a communion service...Father was sick and just got out of the hospital.
Thank God, we have a Deacon to run it...
only a few of our "regulars" showed up, of course, but not bad for holidays in a small town.
Our Deacon is a local man. But at my mom's funeral, the sermon and the graveside service was by a young man who is obviously still in training to be a priest.
Our deacon looks like a chubby version of Bill Clinton...
Makes me think what if...what if Clinton decided to give his life to Christ and serve others instead of merely excelling academically and being sucked into love of money and power?
Ah, but I have my own temptation to power to fight every day...
Will have to meditate on that someday.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Over Christmas week I flew back east to my mother's funeral.
She died two days before Christmas, so it was not a nice holiday for any of us. However, she had cancer, so her death was not unexpected, and she was actually still at home and not in much pain at the end. She was found partway out of her bedroom, with her walker, in different clothes from the night before, which suggested she died in the morning going to eat breakfast. She was found by the nurse who checks on her every morning (my brother checked in on her every evening).
She had fallen several times, and had an alarm button to push, and twice the fire department sent men to get her up. But this time she did not push an alarm, so I suspect she either had a heart attack (an arrhythmia) or a pulmonary embolism.
As a doctor, I see deaths all the time, and was actually glad she went this way: In her home, still independent, still thinking clearly.
I've seen too many deaths where people die in hospitals, although now with hospice they usually die at home, and the pain is much better controlled than in the past.
My brother, who cared for my mom, was much more upset. He is not "used" to death, and of course he and his wife were the caretakers.
So we had her funeral, and the last hymn made me laugh: The hymn she loved "How Great thou art", a hymn celebrating the glory of God shown in nature's beauty.
But the reason I laughed is that it has a different context.
When she was a missionary in Africa, that was the hymn they were going to sing if they were taken out and shot. If this sounds melodramatic, it was...but you see, in the last three months we were in Africa, three missions were attacked where that happened, and others were killed when their cars were stopped, people went in the hospitals and robbed and killed everyone there, and people were killed walking from the houses to the hospital. I had a bicycle and a dog, so that I traveled too fast for a sniper, but the dog would also warn me of danger.
Luckily our mission was not attacked while we were there, and we were sent home three months after the killing started, so we weren't there for the worst times.