Monthly Archives: December 2013



I do not remember a time when I didn’t have a book spinning in my head. Reading forced me to decide whether I wanted to be like the people in the books I read. That aspect of reading became more important when Holocaust literature started to become available in the early 1950’s. I still weep for Elie Weisel’s losses and marvel at his survival.

My youngest child (who was born when I was almost 46) and I were discussing a talk she had heard by an author who was a holocaust survivor when I mentioned that I had been in my early teens when I began reading books on the subject. She looked surprised and indicated she had begun reading those books when she was nine or ten. Imagine her shock when I reminded her that when I was that age the war was barely over and the books were not yet written. World War II was ancient history to all of my children.

There were so many times that books challenged me and made me decide what actions I would not take part in, or which ones I wanted to emulate. Sometimes I think of life as a continual “reinvention” of one’s self. The act of reading internalizes the quest to change like nothing else. Asking questions and deciding how one should act is a process of surprising growth and most of the thought involved is inside “where the meanings are” (per Emily Dickinson).

I remember a chance thing when I was a high school sophomore in a World History class. The instructor began the class by telling us what we didn’t know about history. Then he described a city where the ruler had gathered up scrolls, clay tablets, cuneiform writings and books from all over the known world and established the greatest library the world had ever seen. The teacher said he knew no one in the class could even tell him the name of that city. Instantly without even thinking I said, “Alexandria.” The teacher’s face was so shocked as he stared at me. I was also shocked because I was normally shy and hated attention being drawn to me. I honestly could not remember how I knew about the great library at Alexandria and can only think I must have read about it in The Book of Knowledge years before that class. If the teacher had asked me one real question about the city or the library I don’t think I could have answered it.  The only thing I could have said was that the library was destroyed almost completely some time after the death of the ruler (Alexander the Great).

Of course I became the “teacher’s pet”, and also became known as a “brain.” There are times when a reputation has to be maintained with great effort. I worked so hard in that class so I would not be exposed as the dummy I actually felt like. I don’t think I could have done anything wrong in the eyes of the teacher in that class, and I know word got around to a lot of the other teachers. I found myself putting more effort into every class I had.

One of my aunts (the wealthy one) was telling my mother how she paid her children $25 for each A they got, $20 for each B, and $10 for each C. I was around the corner listening and feeling sad because we didn’t have that kind of money. After a moment my mother said, “If we did that with Anniel we’d go broke on one report card.”

She had never said a word to me about my grades so I hadn’t known she was proud of me. Her words were a better reward than any money.


“TODAY IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING.” English translated road construction sign on  Tokyo street –

Very early this morning I had cause to remember learning to read and what that has meant in my life, which is still under construction.

I was three years old when our family moved out to what was then the country. Dad bought an acre of scrub land covered with sagebrush, tumbleweed and mustard weed, where we lived in a four room shack with no indoor plumbing or central heat. We did have electricity and a party-line telephone. A well was drilled and we were fortunate enough to hit artesian so we never needed to pump or prime the well. I loved the well and thought it the most beautiful place of all in winter when it froze where it flowed down the pipe and onto the bare rocks and little branches around it.

We had very few books in our home, although daddy loved the newspaper and we all loved the comics. After dad and mom finished with the paper, I always sat on the floor under the kitchen table and  “looked” at the rest of the paper, along with the comics.

My older brother started school the year we moved, so I was alone a lot. My parents decided that year to buy a set of books called The Book of Knowledge, and I would sit on the floor in front of the wood stove for hours poring over and looking at the different sections and pictures until I practically had them memorized. I particularly loved the literature and Fairy Tale sections where there were tales of villains and heroes. Each year we would receive another book to add to the set. It was called The Book of Knowledge Annual, and I lived for the day it would arrive so I could find out what had been learned in the past year in science, and what literature had been added.

I could hardly wait to go to school so I could learn to read, then I would be able to learn anything in the world. The thought was thrilling to me. I envied my brother and the kids around us who went to school before I did. They would be so far ahead of me. I hated the thought.

Finally I was six and the big day arrived. Kindergarten at last, and I would learn to read. All of my senses were alert, and, sure enough, the teacher stood up and talked about the great things in store for us, including learning to read! She picked up a strip of blue colored paper and said, “This is the color ‘blue’ and this is the word ‘blue’ written on it.” She repeated the same thing with a strip of red paper. I was so bewildered. She repeated the same thing with an orange strip, and then added, “Someday you will know how to read, and no one will have to tell you what the words are.”

I went into absolute shock. Of course the words said “blue”, “red”, and “orange”, what else could they possibly say? Then it hit me, this was reading and I hadn’t known it. I already knew how to read!

I wish I could tell how I learned to read without ever realizing what I was doing. I remember the stories, King Bruce and the Spider, Robin Hood, Beauty and the Beast, I had read them all in The Book of Knowledge. I had also read about World War II and even the Rape of Nanking in The Reader’s Digest, which a neighbor subscribed to.

After school that afternoon I told my mom I didn’t have to go to school anymore because I already knew how to read.

They still made me go to school, even though “See Spot Run” held little attraction for me.



Soon after my daughter had transferred to the University of Chicago to be near a doctor who actually treated the conditions known as Chiari I and Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC), I had occasion to approach him about some questionable behavior on the part of a resident in his program. The physician explained many things to me about the new students coming into medical schools. He said they were unused to real work and believed whatever they did had to be right because they had been reared by parents who taught them so. Students who had been raised on “self esteem” by their parents and teachers now had unions representing them, so they never had to take responsibility for themselves. He told me that minority students would accuse anyone who chastised them of racism. He said that we would look back on the 1990’s as the last of the “golden age” of American medicine. His admissions were stunning to me.

This doctor usually made rounds with only two or three residents or fellows accompanying him and they were pretty quiet then. One day he took all of his students on “grand rounds.” That meant that 10 to 15 people were crowded into my daughter’s room. I could not believe the student’s rude and insulting behavior, not just to my daughter but to their teaching physician, too. They talked and whispered to each other incessantly, giggled and laughed at jokes, and even shoved each other. The physician told me later that if he demanded they stop, someone would accuse him of abuse before the union.

I finally could not stand such behavior and said, “Dr. A, awhile ago you told me that the quality of the new residents you’re getting isn’t very good and they are hard to deal with. Were you telling the truth and do you still feel that way?” The residents stopped to listen to his answer. “Anniel,” he said, “It’s worse than I can tell you. They are so poorly educated that we almost have to start over. They don’t know how to work and don’t even seem to care. It’s a very sad situation.” He said some other unflattering things while the students watched with slack faces. I would have been crying had I been one of those students. I would not want anyone to think of me that way.

To my astonishment, when the physician turned again to my daughter the students went back to their former behavior. Remember, these were residents, which means they had already graduated from medical school. When they all left I told my daughter that I could not believe not one of them acted chastened at all. She laughed and said, “Oh mom, they don’t think he was talking about them.

There were so many times that these students needed to be failed in their studies and kicked out of medical school I can’t begin to write of them. But the university would have to deal with the unions. Some of these students had begun to mature when their rotations were over but most are somewhere out there now where I feel they are poor physicians and perhaps a threat to their patients.

There is one other aspect of the medical establishment that I feel needs addressing. No one, and I do mean no one, ever asks patients what they have learned about their illnesses. They never ask how treatment has changed them. It’s as though anything they learn is of no value.

When my thyroid was removed 43 years ago, it was a few years before I realized that the periods of ups and downs I had gone through for so long had been part of my illness. Just recently a doctor told me that what she referred to as “pulsatile thyroid disease” was very rare in the literature. Well, sure, most patients probably don’t figure it out and if they say anything the doctors don’t pay much attention. The “white blindness” I suffered the first summer I was in Alaska remained a mystery to me until my daughter had a thyroid storm and also went “white blind.” No one really cared about that either.

I bought a thyroid book when I knew my daughter had thyroid disease and could have added so much to what was said in it. None of the endocrinologists I have gone to have ever listened to what I could say, and when we tried to get a diagnosis on my daughter no one would listen to her symptoms. Let’s see, her hair was falling out in big hanks; she was freezing all the time, even in summer; she was losing weight and sleeping all the time. One endocrinologist told me to bring her back when she “starts having symptoms.” What did he think we had been saying for half an hour? Then he wrote in his report that the patient “denied” any family history of thyroid disease. We had told him about my grandmother, father, brother, aunts and myself. Had he been asleep or just not listening? Oh, I forgot: all patients lie to their doctors.

Dr. Hashimoto wrote the book on the thyroid in 1912, and I don’t think it’s been updated since. My daughter developed a newly identified (sort of) thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s Encephalitis a few years ago. After she nearly died and spent a few months going in and out of comas her thyroid was finally removed. When she went in to be checked by her endocrinologist in Anchorage he informed her that Hashimoto’s Encephalitis was not a “real” disease so to “shut up” about it. And, as he told us, all the other endocrinologists in Alaska agreed with him.

Are there good doctors out there? Of course there are. But they are only people like the rest of us and probably have their own bell curve.

Until medicine reaches another “golden age” we have to deal with what is, not what we wish was.


“FIRST DO NO HARM.” Hippocrates

This is a personal account of my thinking on the state of medicine in the United States today. My account is based on many years of experience because of genetic anomalies passed down for at least five generations in my family. I watched my father and his siblings struggle with glandular and metabolic disorders from their mother. I and at least one brother also fought the same disorders and now my two daughters and one grandson are afflicted.

Our youngest daughter’s medical problems began at birth even though she seemed very healthy. As she grew she thought she was like everyone else. People said they had headaches, so her headaches were normal; other people were “double jointed”, so when her knees pushed backwards or her elbows dislocated, that happened to everyone else, too; when she laughed or got upset, lost all strength and fell down, that also must happen to other people. In short the following rule applies:

There are many things your children will accept as “normal” and not tell you about. There is no way as a parent you can realize many things that afflict your child. All you can do is assume your child is healthy unless there are family diseases where the symptoms are clear, or you have a really good pediatrician.

When our daughter became acutely ill I recognized at once that she had suffered a thyroid storm. When I tried to tell the doctors about our family history and what I knew, I was told that, “This isn’t about you. Stop trying to get the attention.” Many years later our daughter finally had her thyroid removed and there is not a single endocrinologist or surgeon who knows what actually destroyed it. Even now there are doctors baffled by her condition and wonder if the thyroid is responsible for all of her problems.

She was finally diagnosed by lumbar puncture (LP) with a condition known as Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC). The neurologist handling her case had told us specifically that the LP was a “benign” test that would give them a lot of information. After the test he decided that the radiologist hadn’t conducted the test properly and therefore the diagnosis was wrong. When I asked when they would redo the test he yelled at me, “WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER ARE YOU WHO WOULD SUBJECT YOUR CHILD TO A FAR FROM BENIGN PROCEDURE?” Let me get this straight. Last week the test was “benign”, but this week it’s not and I’m a terrible mother not to know that. Of course the rare diagnosis of PTC was later confirmed and twelve years later our daughter is still fighting the condition.

During the early days of her acute illness, just breathing near a doctor made me a Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy suspect.

Doctors really do not like patients (or their parents) who can diagnose themselves, especially when they turn out to be right. Even doctors can change their minds about their tests or diagnosis, but then they can always blame the patient or their parents for their second guesses.

I was near death when I was finally diagnosed with severe Grave’s Disease, which I thought was just a thyroid disorder. Even though I had a Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test ( a now antiquated test) which showed I had an uptake of 93, when a reading of 40 and over was considered highly dangerous; when I had a blood pressure reading of 160/140 (absolute fact); and I went from 105 lbs. down to 93 lbs. in only seven days, the doctors wanted to put any treatment off. They told me they would “try to do something for you in a month or so.” Fortunately a doctor friend steered me in the right direction.

Sometimes getting a diagnoses does not mean you will receive treatment, or that the doctors who see you will be competent. You may have to change doctors more than once. Check around and ask lots of questions.

Medical records are another source of concern to me. Everyone talks about electronic records and how much more “efficient” they will be. Yep, they will be out there, available to anyone, doctor or not. They will be out there, right or wrong. Two of my white as milk children, one male and one female, have been misidentified as “tall, overweight black females” on some tests put in their records. One was in Chicago and the other in Seattle. When they both reported the mistake they were told the records were part of their permanent record and could not be removed, but an addendum correcting the record would be added. However, the records obviously belong in someone else’s file and there are lots of pages between the reports and the addenda. And where is the correct information that should be part of their records?

Next question: Do doctors really read the records? I guarantee that many doctors don’t so much as glance at records until they are walking into the patient’s room. They probably don’t even notice any addenda.

At one point my daughter was being told she had a “flat affect”, so lots of psychiatrists were being sent to her room for a “mental health” diagnosis based on her “flat affect.” We didn’t know what they meant. I arrived in Chicago, stayed with her all day and saw that she did a lot of talking to friends and medical people. Her voice was getting quite raspy towards the end of the day when a quite arrogant pulmonary specialist entered the room, turned his back on me, and proceeded to question my daughter. She answered a question and he said, “Oh my, you do have a flat affect.” CLICK, went my brain, that’s what they mean. “Are you aware her right vocal cord is paralyzed?” I asked. He whirled around, glared at me and asked what I had said. I repeated that her right vocal cord was paralyzed. He stared at me while he processed that information then turned and barked out to her, “Why is your vocal cord paralyzed?” She smiled sweetly and said, “Because the surgeon here slipped and nicked my recurrent laryngeal nerve when he removed my thyroid.” He stood there staring at her for a few more seconds, then turned and left the room without another word. No one had even read the record that covered the thyroid surgery. Once they got that information out all the psychiatrists disappeared, along with the accusations of a “flat affect.”

On a local radio program the doctor described what happens when a doctor is trying to operate a computer while also trying  to interact with a patient. It just doesn’t work and it’s frustrating to both the doc and the patient.  And what good are records if they are wrong or go unread?

Enough for now. I have further more serious medical matters to address soon.



Of all forms of medicine, the most destructive is what is known to me as Adversarial Medicine. The doctor meets the patient for the first time, shakes his or her hand, asks, “What can I do for you?”, then proceeds to aggressively challenge what the patient says, calls their symptoms silly, and/or does a cursory physical exam while not paying attention to the patient at all. If a parent and child are involved the parent may be marginalized completely by sneering references to their assertions about the child. And Munchausen’s Syndrome By Proxy almost always rears it’s ugly head.

The Hippocratic Oath, “First Do No Harm”, is regularly trampled by doctors who truly do believe their patients and parents regularly lie to them.

I am going to begin a series of posts which are highly personal in nature, having to do with an illness which has afflicted my family for at least five generations. My grandmother Aina Jarvi, came to the United States from the Karelia Region which belonged to either Finland or Russia, depending on the last war fought. She brought with her genetic disorders which followed through to my father, Henry, his three half-sisters, then to me and at least one brother, then on to my two daughters and one son, and now one of my grandsons.

It has been a long journey discovering all of the permutations of these conditions, and a large part of that journey has been discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the American medical establishment.

Americans tend to think in terms of our “great” doctors and medical system. We think all doctors are intelligent, caring, kind, and self-sacrificing, and many of them are just that. But many are mediocre at best, and some of them are horrible. Depending upon your need, it might be just the luck of the draw which you will get.

I don’t wish to come across as pessimistic about the future, but even without the specter of ObamaCare hanging over our heads, many changes need to be made in what passes for medical care in many facilities.

I will start this story tomorrow writing of my father and what I know of my grandmother. I hope to be hopeful.

LATER. RETHINKING THE MATTER: I wrote several posts on my family’s medical experiences, however I have now decided not to put them out, at least for now. Instead I will be pursuing my critique of the medical profession as it exists at the onset of ObamaCare. One of my daughter’s main doctors told me a few years ago that the doctors being trained are, for the most part, not very good, and that we will look back soon and realize that the “golden age” of American medicine has passed. I think he is right.



My husband had ongoing land use negotiations with the city of Wasilla, Alaska, where he had once lived, and felt that the mayor was never up front on what he said and seldom honored verbal commitments. My husband was often frustrated, so when Sarah Palin was elected he was relieved to find she was a person of honor.

I don’t always agree with some of the things Sarah did as Governor of Alaska, but overall I do like and trust her as a person. When I made the decision to defend her when I was in Chicago I had no idea where that would take me. We stayed at a Ronald McDonald House when our daughter was undergoing treatments for her illness and I chose not to participate in political discussions while we stayed there. I felt that politics should have no place in a house meant as a retreat for people whose children were ill, but there were others who indulged in loud and often insulting political discussions. You know the kind, all white people are racist, etc.

When we got to the house following the elections we were hit right away with sneering references to Sarah. I calmly said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t appreciate my friend being lied about, and she is really a very smart and lovely person.” One of the worst offenders jumped up like a scalded cat and ran from the room. I could hear her almost screaming about how awful Sarah was and how could I possibly be friends with her? The woman was a House volunteer who spoke to me only grudgingly thereafter.

A few days after our arrival, a good friend invited me and my daughter to attend a local Women’s Club meeting. I am not that kind of “joiner” but the speaker sounded interesting so we decided to go. On our early arrival we were introduced to a few women and sat down. One of the women came to sit beside me and told me she had been the first person in Hyde Park to hold a Tea and Fundraiser for Barack Obama and we were so lucky he had won the election, blah, blah. Me, “Ummm.” Suddenly she took my hand and said, “I’ve never met anyone from Alaska before.” “Well,” I said, “Here I am.” The usual questions followed, “How long have you lived there?” “Fifty years.” “Is it really dark six months a year?” “No.” “Do you eat seals?” “Some people do.”

Then she switched gears, “Maybe I shouldn’t ask this but, well I just want to know if the rumors are true and maybe you can tell me.” She sat there looking at me expectantly as if I were a mind reader. Finally I had to ask, “What exactly are the rumors?” Looking slightly embarrassed she said, “They say that Alaska is horribly polluted and that’s why Sarah Palin is so stupid.” By that time she was positively salivating for my answer. I was so stunned I could hardly think, so all I could come up with was, “I’m sorry about such a rumor because Alaska is one of the most pristine places on earth, and my friend Sarah Palin is very intelligent.”

She gave me a sad, pitying smile as the meeting was gaveled to order, and  she went to sit by friends while I thought of all the answers I should have given. How about, “You really think Alaska is more polluted than Chicago?” Or, “Gee, I just told you I’ve lived there for fifty years, shall I drool on you in my abject stupidity?”

One of my sons met this woman later and she told him she has been a long-time Socialist. Big surprise there.

She also has a PhD in psychology, but I won’t hold that against her.


“Mommy, I’m boring.”  Three year old.

For the past ten or eleven years Chicago has become almost a second home to me and several members of our family. Our youngest daughter has suffered from a rare neurological disorder and her needs, we feel, can only be met by a wonderful neurosurgeon there.

After Obama won his first election, I knew I would be facing two problems when I had to go to Chicago. One was the inevitable Sarah Palin ugliness and bashing and the other was my distaste for Obama and what to say to my many friends in his “hometown.”

Our first trip came just a few weeks after the election and I made a decision I could best defend Sarah Palin by saying that not only was she not stupid, but that I resented my friend Sarah being lied about. I would just mumble, “Ummmm”, about Obama.

We went to pick up our rental car just out of O’Hare and I sat down to wait while my husband took care of business. A gentleman I assumed worked for the rental agency came over to me and said, “I hear you’re from Alaska. Do you know Sarah Palin?” “Yes, and she’s lovely,” I said.  He broke into a big grin and told me he thought she was so beautiful and he hoped she would run for president someday. So far my plan was going well. Then he asked, “What do you think of Obama?” Before I could even get the “Ummm” out, he looked furtively around and said, quietly, “Some of us here have his number. He’s not as smart as you hear, but his real problem is he’s lazy and he gets bored very easily. You watch, he’ll last only a few weeks, maybe a month, and he’ll hate being president and start looking around for excitement. He’ll also be following the ways of crooked Chicago politics.” He then recounted to me the stories of how he won elections and his shady land deals. The stories that would later come out were never any surprise to me.

We were in the middle of all this intrigue when my husband came to get me. The gentleman shook our hands, raised his finger to me and said, “You watch. What I told you is true.”

Apparently Valerie Jarrett has said that Obama has been bored his whole life. That’s at least part of his problem.

I laughed when my friend’s three year old said she was “boring.” When my own children came along I tried to teach them that only “boring” people get  “bored” and that really “smart” people don’t get bored. Not one of them now ever tells me they’re bored. Evidently the President was not taught, or at least has never learned, that lesson.

To me he has always been a boring bore.

I did use my defense of Sarah Palin several times, so I’ll post a couple of those funny stories tomorrow.


“Don’t go there, whatever you do.”  Warning from my daughter

For the past few weeks the news has covered the story of the 15-year-old girl who has been taken from her parents by doctors at Children’s Hospital, Boston based on the theory that only the doctors there know what is wrong with the girl and how to treat her. She had been a patient at Tufts University Hospital and diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, for which she was being treated and was doing well. Apparently she also has a sister with the same disease.

She became ill with the flu and her parents took her to Children’s, Boston, where the docs decided she did not have Mitochondrial Disease because it is “not a real disease”, and actually is suffering from some psychiatric disorder caused by her parents being “too involved in her illness”, and “over medicalizing her.” The hospital went immediately to court, had the parents rights revoked and took legal custody of their daughter. She has now been under guard as a prisoner in the psych ward, and on harmful anti-psychotic medications, for over 9 months, with the threat being that the hospital will keep her there until she is 18.

The Court has gagged the parents right to speak on their own behalf, and they are able to visit their daughter, under guard, only once a week. No other visitors are allowed.

The girl was still able to walk when she entered Children’s Boston but can no longer do so. With no teachers or friends allowed to visit she has regressed to the mental level of a second grader. The arrogant SOB’s at Boston’s are hunkered down on their diagnosis and legal position to the certain detriment of the child. The tame judge seems also to be some sort of fool, or tool of the docs, even though the doctors from Tufts University also testified before the judge to confirm their diagnosis and treatment.

The parents are under court order not to discuss their case with anyone since they are no longer legal custodians of their daughter. The hospital representatives refuse to speak out of court because of HIPPA rules. Catch 22. So much for free speech and any recourse for the girl or her parents.

This is not the only case of this sort happening today, but Children’s Boston seems to be the most egregious example of this kind of thing. This is a case that should make every parent’s blood boil. We can only hope enough money is raised to fight for the rights of the family, and that the hospital, their doctors and lawyers pay big time for what they are doing. The judge also needs to be investigated for her role in the matter.

I feel especially out of sorts because of my daughter’s experience at that hospital in 2004.

Our youngest daughter is afflicted with a rare neurological condition called Pseudotumor Cerebri (PTC), also known by some practitioners as Intracranial Hypertension (IH). The condition is characterized by the production of too much cerebrospinal fluid, leading to pressure within the brain, causing horrendous headaches, blindness, deafness, nerve damage and other problems. She also has a Chiari I Malformation at the base of her brain, making the PTC much worse.

One of the symptoms of PTC is swelling of the optic nerves, or papilledema. However, about 30 percent of the cases do not exhibit with papilledema and our daughter is in that group.  Over the past ten years she has had many central nervous system surgeries at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Chicago, including shunts in both her brain ventricles and spine.

She also has what she chooses to call “Pervasive Autoimmune Disorder,” and has been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis, Ehlers-Danlose Syndrome, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and now possibly Myesthenia Gravis, etc. and etc. She is ill most of the time. I will undoubtably address the issues of medical practice aside from ObamaCare, but not yet.

At one point our girl pulled herself together in spite of her pain and was attending Northeastern University in Boston when she became severely ill. She was told by her local physician to go to Children’s Hospital, Boston, even though she was already over the age of 18 (barely). Her father left Alaska for Boston as soon as he could, but she had to be alone in the hospital for three days. The doctors of Boston Children’s went to work on her, with questionable intent which, I think, became malice, probably because she is so medically knowledgable and argued her points. A letter later written by the Chief Neurosurgeon at Boston’s indicated her medical acumen was not proper and made her suspect. He also accused her of just wanting to “. . . use up all her parent’s money.”

To make a long story short, the docs finally ganged up on her and told her she could not possibly have PTC because she did not have papilledema. When she protested that not everyone did, more of the big guns were sent into her room to berate her, while she was lying in bed, for not listening to them, and then they lied to her by saying they had contacted her neurosurgeon in Chicago who now agreed with them that she was not sick at all and just wanted attention. The psychiatrist who was on staff was particularly insufferable.

When she asked why her neurosurgeons had operated on her so many times  when she supposedly had nothing wrong, the docs became even more arrogant and condescending. They let her know she was just a lowly peon who had no standing in their august company, that she had no business questioning THEM and then left the room. When her father reached the hospital just a few hours later, he found a thoroughly demoralized and sobbing girl who was being kicked out of the hospital. I guess we were lucky she’d just had her birthday. Her personal medical records, which she had brought in and requested be left in her room, had been confiscated by a nurse and were never found, then or later, and they discharged her from a CHILDREN’S hospital at 2 A.M. while the good citizens of Boston were tearing up the town after a World Series win. It was a mess.

Two days later as our daughter and her father were preparing to leave for Chicago, she remembered she was scheduled to see the hospital’s neuro ophthalmologist, whom she liked, and decided to keep the appointment. His diagnosis? Pseudotumor Cerebri, WITHOUT PAPILLEDEMA. The OFFENSIVE doctors probably never even read his report.

As you can tell, our family has no love for Children’s Hospital, Boston nor any respect for the competence and attitudes of their staff. And, no, the Chicago Neurosurgeon did not agree with their findings, the doctors at Children’s were just lying.

It’s long past time for the Board of Directors at Children’s Hospital, Boston to demand a complete investigation of all policies and personnel at their institution and clean the place up.

One can always hope that the physicians and other personnel involved in the present case, and, of course, the not-so-wonderful-judge, will get their just dues.

In the meantime, our advice is to think twice, and NEVER, EVER take your child to that hospital if you can possibly help it.



I keep hearing Speaker Boehner and Mr. Ryan touting their silly, disloyal and self-defeating Budget deal, and in my mind in the background I hear the Odious Harry Reid, Nancy (“embracing” her own “suck”) Pelosi, and the very juvenile Obama laughing all the way to where ever it is they think they are heading. I recently coined the term “complicitors” to cover such people as these, who try to destroy all of us out of a desire for power but who also destroy themselves out of sheer stupidity. I think with this “deal” we can add many names to the list of complicitors, some because they are fools and others because they have no backbone.

The Devil is always in the details, and that is where his fingerprints are to be found. It’s time for us to “find out what’s in the bill”, in part at least. All the “fingerprints” have not been seen yet.

1.   $85 Billion in Cuts, spread over ten years. It starts “down the road”, so don’t hold your breath.
2.    The Sequester is gone for now.  $63 Billion restored here. Doesn’t this leave just $22 Billion in supposed cuts? Remember that the “draconian” Sequester was the idea of Obama and was really just a reduction in the rate of INCREASE to the Budget. To have honesty in our budgets we must move to zero-based budgeting, and get a Balanced Budget Amendment.
3.   ObamaCare is NOT defunded. In fact it is funded for two years.
4.   Extension of Unemployment Benefits is Out. But only for now. First we have to see what the Senate does. Odious Harry Reid will tackle this.
5.   The Military Budget Is Increased. One can only hope.
6.   No Changes to Entitlements. We can always print more money. Right?

And the whole deal, by design, does not even address the Debt Ceiling. Undoubtedly many details are yet unseen and unanalyzed.

The Senate will now do the bidding of their Master, Harry Reid, and add, add and add again to the bill. And all the purported savings? Hey, those are W-A-Y W-A-Y down the road and are never meant to be real, so forget them. Mr. Ryan, you have been royally sucker-punched, along with everyone in the House who admired you enough to follow your lead. Perhaps the people who voted for you and those who wished you well will feel as though they got punched by a sucker.

Since it only happens in Fairy Tales, there is nothing like spinning straw into gold.

Whom do you name RUMPLESTILTSKIN?


“Conservative groups . . . are ridiculous”  “. . .they are misleading their followers . . . I think they’ve lost all credibility.”  John Boehner (R), Speaker of the House
Here we are, over SEVENTEEN TRILLION  dollars in debt with more piling on every second of every day, idiots like Mr. Boehner in charge, lies and cowardice running rampant, and what are we to do? Send off yet another blast-fax? Is anyone at all even THINKING, let alone LISTENING?

When John Boehner can speak so crassly and stupidly of the Conservatives in his party, why should they support him in anything he attempts to do, even if it looks OK on the surface? What rocks and shoals await the unwary? I agree totally with defunding the Republican Party and have not given to them in years.

I, personally, am not a member of the Tea Party, but wish I were in a position to join and support them. I often think about the good things they do in standing up for the Constitution and that they are the adults in the room, toilet trained, respectful, sane, cleaning up after themselves, what more can we ask?

That Occupy Wall Street group, who seem to be in love with their bodily excretions (does this prove Freud’s anal phase?), especially in public places and smeared on cop’s cars; their disrespect for persons and property; their general filth and lack of thought, leave me with the proverbial “chill up the spine.”

Now we have ObamaCare tearing the nation apart while said Obama goes to South Africa and again reveals himself as not only a narcissist but a horny juvenile to boot, with no sense of proper behavior or decorum whatsoever. One can only hope his wife does read him the riot act and teach him some manners. I also hope the people of Denmark chastise their ostensible “leader” for her actions on such a supposedly solemn occasion.

The charming Nancy Pelosi (DEMOCRAT), House Minority Leader, has told the Democrats they’ll just have to “embrace the suck” over the budget deal and ObamaCare. What is that party thinking, having such a woman as one of their “leaders”? Are they really proud of her, or of themselves for that matter? Yuch!

The very people who should set the standards of morality and manners (at least) are the very ones who embarrass both themselves and their countries. The barbarians are not just at the gates, they are HERE.

It was Patrick Henry who said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
Lately I have begun to think that we are in the midst of those “times” again and there are few willing to confront our condition in any honest way.


“. . . whoso shall offend one of these little ones . . . ” Matthew 18:6

The radio wakened me this morning to the news that a six year old boy in Colorado was being charged with “sexual harassment” for kissing the cheek of a little girl he liked. The principal of the school said the charge would be permanent on his school records. I was rolling my eyes at such stupidity when the news played the little boy’s voice saying, “I did something wrong.” At that point I almost cried and wanted to scream, “NO, YOU DIDN’T!!” It was not a good beginning to the day.

What in the world are we doing to our children? Six years old and this child thinks he did something “WRONG”, when he did no such thing. And now he faces the threat of this idiocy hanging over him for the rest of his school years. At some time or other every little boy innocently kisses a little girl. Most big boys sometimes innocently do the same thing, too. Almost all women have male (and female) friends who hug them and kiss their cheek. That’s just who they are – huggers and touchers.

Doctors and nurses know that all patients, from birth to death, crave human contact; that preemies are more likely to thrive and survive if they are held, caressed and spoken to. Some hospitals have volunteers who feed and rock babies so they receive important touching.

I have heard parts of, but not read in full, a report about developing a conscience in children. One researcher said that the first step is to hold and talk or sing to babies so they learn they can trust and care for those around them. Another researcher said that trust is the cornerstone of conscience. Sounds about right to me.

The war against boys is such a farcical thing it makes one want to laugh and cry at the same time. And what does this war do to little girls? Can they grow up happy when they are forced not to trust any of the boys, or men for that matter, around them? And yes, I do know you have to teach children to recognize inappropriate behavior, but there are correct ways to do so without scaring them to death.

My grandmother died when my mother was barely six years old, and mom’s father was a rather shy and undemonstrative man who didn’t quite know how to rear his four little girls by himself, so he made sure they were fed and clothed, and left the loving to visiting aunts and friends. My mother missed the love and touching of a parent and grew up craving human touch and contact so much. Sometimes when I would visit I would reach out and scratch her back or hold her while we watched TV. She would sigh and open like a thirsty flower. I could feel her wrap herself around in my expressions of love through touch.

What happens to this little boy and girl in Colorado now that they have been shell-shocked by the so-called adults around them? Do they feel that all people who hug them are evil? That if they want to hug or kiss someone they themselves are bad? Do they ever trust anyone at all? What are the long term consequences of cutting off completely normal actions of the people around them?

Fathers and mothers need to stand up for the right of their children to be children and do the normal things that all little children do. It is really past time to attach shame to the so-called professionals who don’t use common sense and indulge themselves in bringing harm to little children.


“The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good, but nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity and until they do (and find the cure) all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.”    Richard Feynman

Today we once again find ourselves in the dirt and muck of government stupidity, and because the swamp that is Washington D. C. needs to be seriously drained, quicksand has entrapped us all. Just try to lift your feet out of the mud and find someone who will help you to solid ground. Chances are not too good that anyone will be there. It all depends on who you know, how much money you “donate” to whom, and how well you know how to play the political games.

There are so few who win elections and actually attempt to correct the problems that beset this country. Those who do are attacked mercilessly, even by their supposed friends. What are we, the patriots who stand by the law of the land, the Constitution, to do in this situation?

Some throw up their hands in despair, and it is tempting to withdraw from all public and political life, but I am reminded here of a statement by Plato: “The punishment that the wise suffer who refuse to take part in government, is to live under the government of worse men.”

Can it get much worse? The worse men and women are in charge today and they tell lies on top of lies on top of even more lies, ad nauseum. They even seem to believe their own lies. Again, what do we do?

Study history, not just about our land, and the founders, but also about people who would be our leaders today. Study their records. What are the outcomes of programs or laws they have championed? Are they constitutional? Have the programs worked? If not, should we get rid of them? Right away or over time so people can adjust? Should we get rid of the people who continue to do the same things in spite of failure and ask for more and more money?

Learn to question everything. Look between the lines. Check serious meanings, imagine outcomes.

Don’t be afraid to question your most deeply held beliefs. Have the courage to change yourself if you need to. Walk away from any group or person who will not be civil to your opinions and your right to express them.

One thing people loved about Richard Feynman, who is quoted above, was his “no nonsense” approach to life and his joy in living. Remember the hullabaloo after the Challenger explosion? Mr. Feynman was the gentleman who, on a national TV report by the investigating committee, placed the “O” ring in a glass of ice water to show how the ring failed because of cold during take-off. There were many members of the committee unhappy with his actions. Apparently some of them thought such a “simplistic” approach was demeaning to them personally and to the company who had failed in their specs for the flight. There were those who would have white-washed the whole matter if they could.

Mr. Feynman knew government stupidity when he saw it and didn’t pull any punches about what he saw. Listen carefully to those who speak up, listen even more carefully when they are attacked. Maybe some of them are as smart as Richard Feynman, who also said we need to find the cure for government stupidity. Want to bet on when that will happen?


The greatest evil is not done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see the final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars, and cut fingernails, and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.
                                                                      C. S. Lewis

This is such a frightening thought, that evil comes with soft voices and under the guise of well-meaning, reasonable men (and women) who want only the “best” for every one. The thought alone makes one feel — slimed??

How do real people fight against such evil? You and I, who have no voice in such offices, or with the hollow men who glide on silent feet to enslave the world and make it in their own image, where do we go and what do we say to their unhearing ears and dead hearts and minds? How do we reject such ends? Sometimes it seems that war becomes the only weapon left.

Only bumper sticker mentality thinks that “giving peace a chance” will halt the progress of evil. Does no one remember the wars to end all wars? The  agreements to never forget, to scrap our weapons and disband our armies and live in peace forevermore? Evil smiles and goes underground in such times, lulling peaceful people to sleep.

Wake now. Anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear truth must have the heart and courage to face facts: our nation and world are in perilous times. Times where, once again, the hollow men and women are in charge of the institutions meant to protect freedom and law. Look and listen carefully, you will know who they are.

They are the liars and oath breakers who no longer care to even hide their tracks. As their power seems to grow, we are left in wonderment at their ability to lie so smoothly, with such facile ease. No shame attaches to them, and yet they point the finger of shame at anyone who has the courage to speak out and confront the lies.

The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has promised to fight our battles if we will but trust in HIM, repent of our evil doing and follow HIS ways. If we will but ask for guidance for the safety of our land and people is there still time to stand fast and free? Will we need to fight, and will we have His blessing if we do? Only He can answer that question, but our hearts need to be open and brave to fight if we must.


How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light of the glittering stars,
Have I stood there amazed and asked as I gazed,
If their glory exceeds that of ours.

Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
and the skies are not cloudy all day.
. . . . . . . . . .

Laying on the lawn at night gazing at the stars and learning the constellations from our father and mother, who had learned them from their fathers and mothers, and they from theirs, back, back into the past, was one of the joys of me and my brothers. We loved learning the difference between stars and planets and finding the Pole Star of true north. There was Orion with his gleaming sword, the Great and Little Bears, Cassaeopia’s throne, and yes, we did learn the Latin names, too. Do parents still lie on the ground with their children and show them the heavens? Or are their children so enthralled with Social Media, texting, computer games and the like that they never look up at the heavens, still less what might be at their own feet?

I can’t help but ask myself when I see the Mall Zombies wandering down the halls, rude and foul mouthed, not even seeing or caring about other other people, what they will do when the plug gets pulled and the lights go out. Are they even prepared to take care of themselves if the need arises? How will your children fare? Do they know how to work or even be responsible in any way?

I think we have many people who will succumb to despair and fear in straitened circumstances, while others will turn to crime and violence to get what they want.

Lest you think I have not seen such circumstances, I was living in Alaska on March 27, 1964 when the Good Friday earthquake struck. We were fortunate in Anchorage then because for the most part people were somewhat prepared and helped each other. But there were certainly others who indulged in uncivil and criminal acts.

We need to strengthen our children, homes and communities to prepare them for what they may face.

Parents and children need to bless the ties that bind them and learn together the things of glory that surround them.

Even now, living far north, where one cannot even see stars in summer and it’s so cold to be out in winter, our children show their children the stars and northern lights, rousing them in the middle of the night, bundling them and carrying them out to SEE.

I love to sing the forgotten verse of “Home On The Range” to remember those beautiful times and the questions of creation. Do any of the other stars’ glory exceed that of our own?

Why are we so afraid to acknowledge all the beauty around us, to be thankful for creation’s miracle? Make time to teach your children of wonder. Caring parents used to do that in order to humanize their children, to pass on their own love and wonder.



. . . it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.  Matthew 12:12

The question we are left with is whether the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy applies to us today, and, if it does, how do we keep the commandment?

Let’s back up and read again a charge given by Moses to the Children of Israel and then the sabbath day commandment itself:

“The Lord spoke those words – those and no more – to your whole congregation at the mountain.” Exodus 5:10.  “Be careful then to do as the Lord has commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left.”  Exodus 5:29


“Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days shall you labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, your son or your daughter, your male or your female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle, or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slaves may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God freed you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day.”

In the commandment there is the charge to keep the sabbath holy; for you and your family to do no work, nor are you to require anyone else, including strangers and slaves, or even animals, to do any work on the sabbath day. The third charge is to remember that the Israelites had been slaves and that God had made them free. Those three things and no more.

Jesus and His disciples were always sabbath keepers, but their enemies put forth that they were sabbath breakers, mostly because Jesus often healed on the sabbath. It was in answer to one such charge that Jesus said: “Wherefore, it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” On another occasion He declared:  “ . . . the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is also Lord of the sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28). If Jesus is Lord of the sabbath then Christians must be under the sabbath law.

After the death of Moses, the Israelites soon encumbered sabbath day observance with rules and ideas far beyond those three simple thoughts.  Of course there are always questions: Who feeds the chickens and milks the cows? Who does such essential chores and cleans up after the children and the sick? Apparently those matters did have to be clarified, and so “rules” were made. This led to such sensible things as being able to “pull your ox out of the mire” on the sabbath. It also led to many things that seem  inconsequential to us in our day but which are still debated in many fundamentalist circles. Which is the real sabbath, Saturday or Sunday? How many steps may one walk on the sabbath? Is flipping on a light switch work? What is carrying a burden? May one drive a car? Depending on the religion one follows, the questions – and answers – seem endless.

So what are you and I to do? The “essentials” have multiplied so much in our time. We still must “heal” on the sabbath, so hospitals and health care people are on duty. Communications must run. The list can be extended. Some people just cannot have their sabbaths free from “work.”

So how do we keep the sabbath day holy? For our family the answer is to make things simple. As much as possible we attend church on the sabbath; we don’t go to movies or other entertainments; we don’t participate in or attend sporting events; unless we are traveling we don’t eat out so others don’t have to work for us; we do no shopping on the sabbath, unless it’s an unavoidable emergency; we try to study the scriptures and just keep things as simple as possible. In short we attempt to devote our time to God. To do well on the sabbath.

I have met people who must work on Saturday or Sunday so they set aside another day as their sabbath. I think God would honor such a commitment. Another good friend studies and prays each morning of the week for at least an hour and feels she keeps the sabbath all week. I can’t say she’s wrong.

Each of us Is faced with the sabbath day challenge if we wish to return to the laws of God.

These are the three charges to Israel: Keep the sabbath holy, require no labor from anyone on the sabbath and remember you were a slave so you know where your liberty comes from. The basic premise of God’s laws is to “proclaim liberty throughout all the land.” (Lev. 25:10). There are Jewish commentaries that indicate only free people are capable of redemption and that is why the Israelites had to be removed from slavery in Egypt. That third requirement of the law, to remember you were a slave, means that sabbath day worship and liberty are somehow inextricably connected.

We can be slaves to many things in this life. Maybe what we need to remember as part of our sabbath is that truth, which comes from God, is what sets us free. Is that part of the link between the sabbath and liberty? This is a matter I have not fully been able to understand, but I feel that it is true and someday someone will be able to explain it.

If we develop faith that the sabbath is made for man as a blessing, then the day will come when we will ” . . . call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the  Lord, honorable.” (Isaiah 58:13).

How and why was the sabbath made for you and me?