“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Spring Rain,” by John Sloan (1912, oil on canvas)

“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.” ~ Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Pink Peony with Drops from Night Rain (Wikimedia Commons)

I’m back. Had a brief hiatus while waiting for our Internet to be restored. Usual problem. Anyway, as a result, I am behind on posting as well as reading my favorite blogs, which I plan to do after writing this post. I did spend a bit of my time experimenting with making a couple of videos with Windows Movie Maker. Interesting. Now I just need to figure out how to grab clips from existing movies . . . 

My life is so full. 

Today is my mother’s birthday; tomorrow is Eamonn’s birthday, and tomorrow is my other mother-in-law’s birthday. Speaking of which, yesterday, my other mother-in-law dropped by the house. I was mortified, of course, because the house is in its usual disarray, but what can you do? My o-m-i-l has Parkinson’s Disease, so I was actually quite surprised that she drove over to our house. Surprised, and a bit scared. Her condition has been worsening, and I’m not sure that she should really be driving, but I truly understand how having driving privileges taken away is one of the last vestiges of independence. 

She realizes that she is getting worse, and it really consumes and frustrates her when she is talking and forgets in the middle of a sentence. Parkinson’s is a relentless, unsympathetic condition that gradually eats away the brain. I have known one other person who had it. For those of you who don’t believe in stem cell research, I give you brain tumors and Parkinson’s—two medical conditions that definitely benefit from such research. 

The weather here has been chilly and rainy the last few days, but it is supposed to get warmer towards the end of the week. Spring would be nice. It usually arrives in this area suddenly, and lasts less than a month before becoming hot and humid. 

“Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting.” ~ Audrey Niffenegger, The  Time Traveler’s Wife

Rain on Silene Flower (Wikimedia Commons)

In other news: Brett’s two gerbils, Ben and Jerry, both died within one week of each other. They were brothers, and Brett had them for more than three years. Of course he is saddened by the loss, as am I. They were actually pretty adorable. Fortunately, both Corey and I were around when Brett discovered Jerry, and then later, Ben. I know that made it a bit easier for him as opposed to finding out by himself. 

On Saturday, Brett took his SATs (college board examination). It’s late in the year to be taking them, but he really wasn’t sure what he was going to do this fall. Now he is thinking that he wants to go to Old Dominion for a year. With any luck, he’ll get credit for some of the freshman classes that he has taken in high school, which will save us some money. No point in asking the ex if he plans to help pay for college as he wouldn’t even cough up half of the co-pay for Brett’s medicine. Such a loser. Such a disappointment. 

Alexis had her appointment with the neurologist last Thursday, who confirmed that her seizure was a grand mal seizure, also known as a tonic-clonic seizure. This kind of seizure features a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. Since Alexis has been on a medication that also functions as an anti-seizure medicine, the neurologist thinks that perhaps she may have had seizures before that were prevented by the medication but that this one was particularly bad. She is scheduled for an EEG on Thursday, and an MRI soon. 

The neurologist says that after seeing the results of those two tests he will have a much better idea as to whether or not she has developed epilepsy, which usually presents between the ages of 17 and 21 when not caused by an injury. That I know of, there is no history of epilepsy in our family, but the doctor says that it is not always genetic. I had a cousin on my mother’s side who had epilepsy, but it developed after she was in a serious car accident and suffered a head injury. Other than that, I know of no one else in the family on either side, but then again, I do not know everyone on my father’s side in the Philippines. 

The neurologist also said that he thinks it unlikely that her Wellbutrin caused the seizure since she has been on it for more than four years. All of this is worrisome, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t her medication. Now it’s more waiting until after the tests for some definitive news. 

Corey still hasn’t heard from the port security firm, which is so disappointing. They had told him that they hoped to make a decision by mid week last week. He plans to calls them tomorrow. More waiting. 

“I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.” ~ Bill Watterson

Last night I had a very strange dream in which it was Fashion Week, but it was here and not in New York. Bizarre. Equally bizarre was the portion of the dream in which I was on the run from someone and wanted to change my appearance, so I went into a hair salon and asked a woman to cut and dye my hair. She recommended a color, which I agreed to, but then she said that my hair would be several different colors, including bleached blonde, and the colors wouldn’t be blended but in horizontal stripes. I told the woman that I really didn’t want striped hair, especially not blonde. She told me that that was what I had agreed to, so she was going to do it. 

Very weird.

Other than that, the long wait continues: the wait for decisions, decisions about jobs, decisions about funds, decisions about school; the wait for warmer weather and spring blossoms; the wait for better sleep and less anxiety; the wait for things to fall into place, or not. I spend so much time waiting, that I am forgetting to live, forgetting to experience, forgetting sometimes, even to breathe deeply. The wait is interminable. The interminable is vexing. 

I am reminded of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”—the wait for what, exactly? The unknown continuing to rule the minutes, the hours, the days . . . until, what? It is March 15, the ides of March. One quarter of the year has passed. The changes I predicted are no nearer now than they were last December. Corey and I were watching something last night, and the ending was too perfect. And I suddenly said, this had better not be a dream, and sure enough, it was a dream, and when the man dreaming awoke, he was still in the same place, still facing the same uncertainties, still pining for change. 

This had better not be a dream. 

More later. Peace. 

                                                                                                                                  

So here is my first YouTube video, Jann Arden and Jackson Browne singing “Unloved.” Most of the images are mine. Hope you like it. 

Right of Conscience Rule is All Wrong

Dear President Bush,

Please Keep Your Laws Off My Body.king-george

Two days ago, the man who-would-be-president decided to sign one of the foulest pieces of legislature in his eight years of office, knowing that it will take some work by President-elect Obama to undo this last-minute attempt to circumvent basic rights for women: It’s called the Right of Conscience Rule, and it goes into effect the day before W. leaves office, part of the legacy.

But what people don’t realize is that this rule goes far, far beyond abortion rights into very murky waters in a galaxy not so far far away. This rule will allow refusal of AIDS treatment, blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, stem cell research, psychiatric treatment instead of prayer (Christian Scientists), even in extreme cases, the selling of condoms to minors.

This rule basically allows people in any position, not just physicians and pharmacists—but receptionists, cashiers, nurses, even the people who clean the instruments post operatively—to deny service if their consciences are against it. And I call that a great big bag of Bush bullshit. Let me clarify. If a cashier at a pharmacy is a Roman Catholic, and you come through her line with your monthly prescription of birth control pills, she can refuse to ring up said pills because she does not condone birth control pills. To her, these pills represent the killing of babies. And under this rule, she cannot be punished by the store’s management for refusing to give you service.

Let’s take another scenario: If a woman who has been raped goes to a drugstore and asks for the morning after pill because she does not want to report the rape, but she just wants to make sure that the rape does not cause her to become pregnant, and the pharmacist is a strict Fundamentalist Christian, he can refuse to supply her with this non-prescription drug that any woman can ask any pharmacist for. What’s more, said pharmacist can tell the woman why he doesn’t believe she should have this pill. The woman, who is already traumatized, will have to be humiliated and traumatized again.

Let’s take another scenario: A couple has a very sick child who needs antibiotics for his infection and fever. They don’t have a car, so they call a cab. They ask the cab driver to take them to the Children’s Hospital. The driver refuses on the grounds that he is a Christian Scientist and does not believe in medical treatment and offers to pray with them. Far-fetched? Probably. Possible? Who knows?

Latest true scenarios: In Virginia, 42-year-old woman was refused morning-after pill by pharmacist and as a result became pregnant. In California, a lesbian couple was refused artificial insemination. In Nebraska, a 19-year-old female with a life-threatening embolism was refused an early abortion at a religiously-affiliated hospital.

What’s the common thread here? All females. And who will be affected by the Right of Conscience Rule? Predominantly females and gays and lesbians—the populations who usually are underserved medically. Will straight men be refused Viagra? On what basis? My conscience does not want you to have better sex . . .

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is quoted as saying, “This rule protects the right of medical providers to care for their patients in accord with their conscience.” With this rule, providers, ” including hospitals, clinics, universities, pharmacies and doctor’s offices — can be charged with discrimination if an employee is pressured to participate in care that is ‘contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions.’Violators would lose their federal funds.”

bush20frustratedOne of the fears of opponents to this regulation is the withholding of information from patients. For example, an emergency room doctor who does not believe in emergency contraception does not have to provide information about this contraception to a rape victim if it goes against his or her beliefs. Or an antiabortion doctor in a federally-funded clinic does not have to tell a patient if she is carrying a fetus with severe abnormalities if he doesn’t believe that she should have an abortion.

Okay, let’s stop for a moment and look at the far-reaching implications here. First of all, why am I in the medical profession if it is not to provide health care? Is it my place to pass moral judgments on my patients? Did I become a pharmacist only to decide which medicines I will and will not dispense even though a customer has a prescription? If a woman has been raped, who am I as a man to decide that she should not receive emergency contraception? As a patient, do I now need to screen all of my doctors to find out what religion they are before I begin treatment with them to make sure I don’t hit any bumps down the road, just in case? Do I need to find out if the local Walgreen’s has people on its registers who will ring me up without any problems or cause me any embarrassment before I go back in for a prescription I’ve been getting for years?

These are not silly questions any more, not under this new rule. Let’s take it a step further. Will any of my gay or lesbian friends be refused treatment because the medical staff believes that homosexuality is a sin? If Eamonn goes to college and has too much to drink and is taken to the emergency room, will they refuse to pump his stomach because drinking is wrong? If my daughter became pregnant and had an infection and needed a D and C, would she be refused because she isn’t married? These are things that you think about when you hear about the sweeping broadness and open-endedness of this new law.

bush_shrug2But I also have to ask, exactly when did George Bush get a conscience? Over 4,000 of our troops have been killed in an unjust war? We have—on the record now—used torture as a relatively ineffective means of gaining information on an, as yet, unknown number of people. We have acted without honor for the past seven years and lost the respect of numerous other world leaders—all on George Bush’s watch. Our veterans have come home to reduced benefits; they have been subjected to loopholes that have decreased their treatment options, and we have more veterans living on the streets and more warriors doing repeat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, all so that W. could prove to his daddy that he is a man.

Well, I have a conscience, too. And mine says enough paying for Bush’s mistakes. My conscience says that we should have universal health care by now. My conscience also says that we should be much farther along in alternative energy. But most of all, my conscience says that way back in 2000, George Bush should not have been allowed to steal a national election and get away with it. And the same could be said of the election in 2004. Enough already.

Go to this link to see the complete Federal Regulation HHS FRDOC 0001-0042:http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&o=09000064807e2d39. You can download a PDF.

Not a good rule. Certainly not a good Christmas present from the current president. More later. Peace.