Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

January 22, 2010

In which I take on the “C” word.

Filed under: childbirth,Health — by lindyborer @ 8:07 am
Tags: , , , ,

Photo of a baby boy, mid-cut. photo credit: Amy Arbus

As usual, I seem to have an affinity for leaving things like this to the last possible minute, and I have a hunch that because I’ve done so this baby will most likely be a boy (Murphy’s Law has a 99.9% chance of applying to me).  I’ve been in somewhat of a quandary regarding a topic of which is seldom spoken, but highly charged among parenting circles.

Nope, not vaccination.  The C-word.  Circumcision.  There.  I said it.

Okay, as usual, I try to keep things balanced here at Lindy’s (take that however you wish.)  Those of you who are recent parents realize the sensitive subject matter that circumcision is.  Let me just say this up front:  We are going to circumcise our son if this baby is a boy.  I would be just fine not doing it; however, my husband would not.  I realize that many in the “NOCIRC” camp will automatically call me a barbarian and equate our actions as the equivalent to the male form of genital mutiliation.  I realize those on the other side of the debate will think I’m stupid for even entertaining the notion of NOT getting my son snipped. 

Let me cut to the point (no pun intended):  I’m simply trying to research the possibility of getting a “dorsal penile nerve block”–that’s local anesthetic, much like Novacaine at the dentist–for the baby prior to the placing of a scalpel to what I’m told is a highly sensitive area.

Now, it’s always good to step away from “what is and what has always been done,” and to actually–with a pure mind–run the scenario through one’s head.  According to Dr. Sears (who I’ve generally found to be quite balanced and who has performed thousands of circs himself), this is how a circumcision today is commonly performed on infants before they leave the hospital:

Baby is placed on a restraining board, and straps secure his hands and feet. The tight adhesions between the foreskin and the glans (or head) of the penis are separated with a medical instrument. The foreskin is held in place by metal clamps while a cut is made into the foreskin to about one-third of its length. A metal or plastic bell is placed over the head of the penis to protect the glans, and the foreskin is pulled up over the bell and the circumferentially cut.

Easy as pie!  Sounds quite painless.  Oh wait, except that it totally DOESN’T!!!!

Let me back up.  When my first child was born, I really hadn’t looked into this at all.  When the time came for my son to go under the knife, inner reservations surfaced, but a voice in my head told me, “We live in an enlightened age.  Surely the common argument that newborns’ nervous systems aren’t fully developed and it doesn’t hurt them is completely research-based, because how could we as a society just allow a poor defenseless newborn to get his foreskin ripped away without local anesthetic on a routine basis?”  (Of course, this same “enlightened” society allows for much worse with abortion, but I digress…)

Feeling somewhat better, the nurse then came in to get my son and flippantly told us to “take a walk so you won’t hear him scream,”  and then that abhorrent woman LAUGHED.  That is something that I have never forgotten. 

Since then, I’ve learned that babies who “seem to fall into a deep sleep toward the end of the procedure” have actually passed out from the pain.  Ahem.  I AM a barbarian.

I emailed a friend about this yesterday; she has two boys.  She related this anecdote:

I was concerned about the pain, too.  At that time, we had a female pediatrician who did the procedure and this is what I remember her saying when she brought him to me afterwards—she said that yes, it hurts like the devil, and they always cry…but they can be comforted and within minutes they are fine.  And that’s the difference between pain and agony.  That has always stuck with me. 

No shit.

Her sisters, who have seven uncircumcised boys between them, likewise chimed in.  One said:

When Bryan and I realized that the ONLY reason we were being encouraged to have the boys circumcized was so they wouldn’t be laughed at in the locker room, we decided that that just wasn’t a good enough reason to have a piece of skin ripped off our little boys’ you-know-whats when they were hours old, with no anesthetic.  It was a Jewish tradition.  We’re not Jews.  Ergo, we didn’t have it done.  I don’t know anything about the block, but it sounds like a good idea to me.

Which is so true.  The locker room argument, I’ve found, is one of the top arguments in favor of the procedure.  (Must be a brutal place.)  The pressure to “look like one’s peers” is actually becoming less and less relevant, though, because more and more parents are not getting it done.  This may come as a surprise to folks my parents’ age, but it’s true.  Several friends of ours have chosen to forego the procedure for their boys. 

So, I guess there might be a new meaning to the phrase “shirts vs. skins” in locker room lingo in the near future. 

Back to Dr. Sears.  In answering the question, “Does it hurt?” he says:

Yes, it hurts. The skin of the penis of a newborn baby has pain receptors completely sensitive to clamping and cutting. The myth that newborns do not feel pain came from the observation that newborns sometimes withdraw into a deep sleep toward the end of the operation. This does not mean that they do not feel pain. Falling into a deep sleep is a retreat mechanism, a withdrawal reaction as a consequence of overwhelming pain. Not only does circumcision cause pain in the penis, the newborns over all physiology is upset. New research shows that during unanaesthetized circumcision, stress hormones rise, the heart rate speeds, and valuable blood oxygen diminishes. Babies should never be subjected to the shock of unanaesthetized circumcision.

Can the baby have anesthesia to lessen the pain?

Yes, a local anesthetic can and should be used. Painless circumcision should be a birthright. I have used a local anesthesia in nearly a thousand babies for over twenty years. It is a safe procedure and it works. Sometimes the anesthetic will not remove all the pain, but it certainly helps. Within a few hours, after the anesthetic wears off, some babies exhibit no discomfort; others will fuss for the next twenty-four hours. The most common and effective method is called a dorsal penile nerve block, in which a few drops of Xylocaine (similar to the anesthetic your dentist uses) is injected into the nerves on each side of the penis circumferentially around the base of the penis.

So there ya go.  That’s where I’m at.  I simply don’t know if a block is available around here.  I’ve heard mention of some sort of “plastic cap.”  Anyone know if this is just a convenience thing, or a mechanism to lessen the pain? 

One final argument that has been most commonly thrown at me when I’ve brought this up:  “They don’t remember it.”  Can I just say how completely stupid this is, on so many levels?  You know, I don’t remember most of my life up to probably age three or four; does this then make it okay to scrimp on anesthesia during common childhood maladies (like tonsillectomies, for example?)  How utterly ridiculous.  Mom and Dad could have saved some money when I had to get stitches at age two! 

For those out there who persist in thinking I’m off my rocker, fine, but let me just say that we mothers–especially those of us who still have small children and are about to have a baby–we’re a ruthless set.  We are like the grizzly mothers who will not hesitate to maul and kill in order to protect our young.  And that is the frame of mind that leads me to question this procedure the way it’s currently done. 

In my informal survey of asking the males in my life if they, themselves, would elect to be circumcised NOW without some sort of block, they abruptly and deliciously change their tune.  Which, to me, says it all.

Can anyone out there give me some insight?

December 8, 2009

The hype, confirmed.

Filed under: Health,media — by lindyborer @ 3:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

Study: At Its Worst, H1N1 Only Slightly More Serious Than Seasonal Flu

At the risk of sounding terribly smug, I point to the above and say, “I told you so.” 

No, I did not receive the vaccine, even though I am in my third trimester of pregnancy and have small children–and thus squarely in one of the primary high-risk categories.  I will look forward to the next manufactured crisis and prepare to be further underwhelmed.

August 6, 2009

What’s wanting here is a good ol’ boobs post…

Filed under: Health,Humor — by lindyborer @ 8:26 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

THAT got your attention. 

I’m talking about the new doll that allows little girls to breastfeed them.  It’s causing quite the stir, of course, and as a La Leche League leader and mom who breastfed her babies–well past what is considered “normal” in the USA–my take on this won’t be all that surprising.

I will concede that back before I had babies and chose to breastfeed them, I would have found such a doll lewd, disgusting, and disordered.  Owing to my typical American upbringing, and saturated from birth by a culture that sees breasts as nothing more than sexual objects to be used to flaunt and taunt, my reaction would have been pretty much similar to the reactions of today to this little doll. 

That is, of course, back before I had actually had children–back when I knew everything about parenting. 

Read about the doll in the link above; Bebe Gloton (“gluttonous baby”) cries when she wants more milk, and makes sucking noises while she feeds.  I’m pretty sure that these features aren’t unique to Bebe Gloton.  We have, after all, dolls who pee, burp, talk, you name it.  What seems to be upsetting some people is the way that she’s meant to be comforted and nourished–not by a bottle–but by what God actually intended from the start–the breast!  They might also cringe because the doll comes with a nursing top for little girls to wear, that has little flowers where the baby puts its mouth to activate suckling.  (The horror!)  Remind toy companies to can every “Just Like Mommy” product before they do irreversible damage… 

The reactions in the article, to me, are a scream.  I’m not trying to diminish the true dumbfoundedness that these people are feeling, but I think I need to point out a very important thing:  Children who have been breastfed since birth and who have witnessed their younger siblings being breastfed from birth don’t find anything freaky about repeating what is to them (and should be to us all) a completely normal and natural way to feed a baby.  And I will also point out that it doesn’t take a breastfeeding doll to make little girls imitate it, either.  Both of my children have play-nursed dolls, with no coaching from me.  When a child has rarely seen a baby being fed from a bottle, what do these experts presume they will do when presented with a ravenous doll?  It’s an automatic lifting of the shirt, and it does the trick every time, just like in real life. 

Sorry to break it to some people, but the purpose of breasts on women–just like all other mammals–is to feed their young.  Every time I see someone going through an internal shit-fit when they witness a woman unobtrusively nursing her infant, I want to scream at them, “Relax!  That’s what they’re FOR!”

And just to put forth another quite salient point:  Breasts are not sexual objects to young children!  I think the horrified experts are failing to do one very important thing:  They are failing to take off their “breasts-as-sexy” glasses when examining little Bebe Gloton.  So hang up your hang-ups and take a chill pill, I say.   

I do want to address the claim put forth in the article that Bebe Gloton “might promote early pregnancy” and “speed up maternal urges in little girls who play it.”  Dr. Alvarez also wonders whether little girls might later be “traumatized.”   

Um, please.

If we’re going to start worrying about various anatomical anomalies of specific dolls and action figures, I’ve got a treasure trove for people horrified by a nursing doll:  Cabbage Patch Kids had cracks, for crying out loud–cracks and tatoos.  Barbie?  Well, her impossible figure has been hashed and re-hashed for forty some years.  Ken doesn’t have a penis.  What message is that sending to curious youngsters?  (Not that I think he should have one, mind.)  And need I mention the Bratz dolls?  As far as promoting early maternal feelings goes, probably not so much, but I would definitely argue that the Bratz dolls (David refers to them as “Slutz” dolls) could verifiably promote what leads to early pregnancy in girls. 

Sheesh.   

That said, I do acknowledge the reality of our bottle-is-normal, breasts-as-toys culture, and therefore cut most people some sort of slack.  They really cannot help their knee-jerk reaction to recoil from a breast working as it was made to work.  Perhaps we need more products like Bebe Gloton to help people along.

July 1, 2009

Just say no to Obamacare–your child’s life may depend on it

Don’t let looming Obamacare distract you from the more immediate “pile of s**t” bill known as cap and trade–the most massive energy tax ever undertaken in the history of our nation.  Contact your senator and let him know his ass is on the line should this pass.

But there are starting to be some good opposition videos emerging involving Obama’s quest to take over the private health industry, exposing the utter nightmare that will ensue should he get his way.  I must include them here.  See below.

Also, I saw this story last week about the Canadian preemie who was sent to the US for care due to a lack of beds in Canada.  Besides pointing out the obvious–Canada, whose socialized medicine cannot meet the demands of her sick and injured–it makes me wonder where these little babies will go once the US begins rationing healthcare should Obama get his way.   Here’s a great article exploring this as well:  What will happen to Canada’s preemies?

May 13, 2009

Are you “cost-effective”?

This post, per the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on health-care reform.  Obama is pushing onward with his plan to create a single-payer, universal health care system, despite the fact that WE HAVE NO MONEY.  That’s okay; they’re going to start taxing soda.  And all sorts of other things.  

Anyway, the speaker at this hearing, Brandeis University’s Professor Stuart Altman said this (my emphasis):

Remember, our population is aging. And with the very, very elderly, the costs go down, so that percentage should be falling, and it’s not. Second, the cost of care is growing by so much, so at the same percentage, it’s worth a lot more. So let’s go back to the issue of comparative effectiveness, which we’re supporting. That’s where that can have a big impact. It’s not only there, but that’s where the waste is. That’s where people are using technologies that really either don’t work at all or keep people alive for for very limited [time] and [at] very high cost.

Hospice is one option, but we do need take account of the cost — you know, I hate to say it, the cost-benefit of some of the things we do. And either we can do it directly, or we can do it by bundling the payments and let the delivery system deal with it. So it’s a combination of the delivery system dealing with it, or, and/or providing more information for people to make the right decisions, both for themselves and for the care.

Read:  Sayonara, Grandma.

This is not difficult.  If the state controls the resources, the state will be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the decisions that are made regarding your treatment (or lack of treatment.)  Health care facilities will make decisions based on what is good for them, not what’s good (and life-saving) for you.  When choices are restricted, rationing follows.  In the free market, patients are able to choose for themselves the cost-effectiveness of treatments sought, and the market responds accordingly by having incentives to produce that care.  If we adopt the the single-payer system (like the UK and Canada, for instance) you will no longer be in control of the decisions you make regarding your health care.   

As Ed Morrissey puts it:

What happens when the state controls all the resources? New resources do not develop, and the government winds up rationing care based on its own priorities, and not the priorities of the patients or caregivers. Professor Altman’s suggestion that the elderly get hospice treatment to save scarce care resources is exactly the kind of decisions the state will make for its citizens, and it won’t be limited to the elderly, either. Anyone whose value does not show a positive “cost-benefit” ratio to the state will also likely wind up without the kind of care necessary to stay alive and healthy.

Furthermore:

Progressives who back this plan get offended that people with more resources can get better care, just as they can get better housing, better food, and better entertainment, among many other things. Like in all other arenas, their prescription for equality of result will mean that everyone gets treated equally poorly, and that we will eventually start culling out the weak in favor of the strong. We’ve essentially returned to the eugenics arguments of the early 20th century, a dark period of human history we should be avoiding rather than embracing on the floor of the Senate.

This will not be limited to the elderly.  It will extend to the very young, as well.  Also those with chronic conditions, or those with bad “lifestyle habits.”  Are you a smoker?  Are you overweight?  Have diabetes?  You will not be considered cost-effective. 

Listen to the real-life stories of the victims of government run health care.

And, if all this has sunk you into a deep depression, watch this to cheer up: 

April 27, 2009

Like horror stories? Good news! We’re about to be one!

Filed under: Health,politics — by lindyborer @ 3:11 pm
Tags: , , , ,

R.I.P.: The American Health Care System. Died: this week.

Rationing of health care, here we come.

I suppose that I take comfort–great comfort, actually—in the assurance that the time I spend in this life is but a foreshadowing of what is to come, and that death is really the beginning.  The end game for all of us is precisely the same, no matter what anyone believes or doesn’t believe; we’ll all, most assuredly, die.  For those who believe in a Creator who loved us and saved us by dying Himself, death is not the ultimate enemy.  So I die sooner rather than later?  Sad for those in bereavement, but it’s not the end.  Quite the opposite, actually.

Now, if I happened to be one of those who think that we’re done–for good–once we’ve expired, the news that Obama is going to ration our health care by ram-rodding socialized medicine through Congress would be far more troubling.  Then, having the availability of a system that will do whatever it can for me no matter what my age or condition would seem doubly important.

Don’t get me wrong, both types should do all we can to not let this travesty take place.  In other words, let your elected representatives know what you think.

April 2, 2009

Banquet or dumpster?

Filed under: Catholicism,Health — by lindyborer @ 7:28 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Judging from the news coverage, one might think that Pope Benedict’s visit to Africa was about one thing:  Condoms.  No one mentions anything else about the trip, but that’s understandable, given the nature of our secular world and its underlying pessimism regarding humanity. 

Prominent UK atheist, Richard Dawkins, has called the Pope “stupid,” and has said the Pope’s remarks condemning condoms could be “devastating for the health of millions of people.”  (It has not been reported whether Dawkins threw in a “na na na na boo-boo”.)  Um, what exactly were the nay-sayers expecting Pope Benedict to say?  He is the spiritual leader and head of the Catholic Church, and as such, he has a responsibility to speak Truth.  As Fr. pointed out last night, the media and opponents of the CC were in hysterics because Pope Benedict, apparently, was not utlilizing his trip to Africa as a way to throw condoms to the masses.  They were in an uproar because he wasn’t using the popemobile as a prophylactic dispensary.  The gall!  

It is all a matter of perspectives, really.  It’s quite simple.  The way one looks at humanity is central to the way people decide the answers to society’s problems.  To the pessimistic, humanity is a dung-heap, where men are no more than lust-ridden animals who are incapable of exercising self-control.  Women, in this perspective, are little better.  Their best bet is to utilize as many birth control devices as possible,  let the savage men have their way with them, and cross their fingers that these men will then suddenly decide to commit.   In this way, the ultimate panacea for many people, like Dawkins, is the lowly rubber.  All hope has been placed in the condom.  It will, they say, cure AIDS.  Okay. 

On the other hand, there are others, like the Pope, who see the beauty and inherent dignity in every human being, and tell men and women, “You’re better than that.  You deserve the best.”  God has placed a plan before us, and wants us to have a banquet.  Why settle for the dumpster?  It IS possible to exercise self-control and to adhere to God’s plan for marriage.  And, when it is revered and respected and acted upon, all the negative consequences of infidelity and lust fall away.  STDs and AIDS are no longer issues.  Awesome!  If everyone chose to live this out, it would mean the end of AIDS.  Without a doubt.   

For the record, people like Dawkins have been advocating and passing out condoms as a way to prevent AIDS for years.  Over thirty years at least, probably  much more than that.  And AIDS is not going away.  Quite the opposite.  But instead of taking a step away and re-evaluating, these people persist in pushing condoms as a way to stop the spread of HIV.  It’s their last best hope.  Dung-heap.

If I were a feminist, I’d have a hard time reconciling that viewpoint.  Women deserve better than that.  And if people would be broad-minded enough to look into what Pope John Paul II had to say about human sexuality, I think they’d be blown away.  There would be a rush to vote JP II as THE foremost feminist of our time.  This blogger writes a post about “Why Eve Ensler’s got nothing on John Paul II.”   Here is a link to a beautifully-written account of one woman’s change in viewpoint.  You’ve really got to read it:  Contraception and a woman’s self-image.  Feminists, meet your new hero.  He’s Catholic.

 That aside, there are many self-professed feminists who are starting to practice one aspect of JP II’s beautiful theology, NFP, because it takes into account a woman’s dignity, and doesn’t simply make of her an object of her husband.  Other women are shunning chemical birth control out of an understandable concern for their health.  Whatever the initial draw, there is no bad consequence!  It’s all good!  It’s not a bunch of “no’s,” it’s all “Yes!”  Who wouldn’t want that?

March 19, 2009

Again, the road to hell…(CPSIA)

Filed under: Health,politics — by lindyborer @ 7:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,

This has been brewing beneath the surface of my mind lately, and it has reached boiling point.  I now deem it necessary to blow my top.

It started out as a curious incident at Dollar General.  The kids begged and begged for some “fish squirties,” aptly named bath toys whose function reflects the name.  Less-than-thrilled by the prospect of four gallons of water, toys that propel it, and two overzealous children, I nonetheless caved that day.  (Moms, I was at that point where I would have done or said anything to get out of the store in a relatively calm manner.  It was past naptime, you understand.)  So, we reach the checkout and the cashier says, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I can’t sell this to you,” as she snatched it out of Linus’s little hand, pointing to the type-written sign on the pay pedestal with her other.  “Due to the recently-passed law, all products aimed at children under 12 that might contain pthalates are not for sale and subject to heavy fines.”  And that was the day that Mommy had to explain to Linus the pitfalls of Government.  “Linus, honey, I’m so sorry.  Blame the government.”  (Of course, now every time we go to the store, and Linus sees something he wants, he queries, “Can the government let me have this?”  And I go to smile, before realizing that his question reflects so much truth lately that all I can do is shrug and inwardly groan.)

Fast forward to my little solo shopping excursion last week.  I freely and openly admit that I shop at Goodwill.  Children have a habit of a) growing so fast that they barely wear an item of clothing, therefore leaving it brand-new and b) wearing their clothing to rags.  It is this combination that makes parents realize the genius of second-hand stores for children’s items.  Call it fiscal responsibility, if you will.  I have found more name-brand, excellent clothing for the kids at Goodwill or other thrift shops that I’ve barely had to pay over $5 for any single item of clothing.  (Plus, it’s rather fun/challenging to find a great bargain.)

Well, minus the children I was ready to hunt and rummage.  Change of season, Linus grew six inches, we need some bigger clothes!  I went to the back of the store to find–NOTHING!   Nada.  No children’s clothing.  I’m not exaggerating.  No toys, no childrens books.  I was like a black hole, and just as I turned to ask the store clerk, “Where are the goods?” I remembered:  GOVERNMENT!  CPSIA!  DAMMIT!

Okay, so what is CPSIA?  It’s the latest law designed “for the children” that practically no one in the House or Senate thought through when it was passed last August.  There was one nay vote in the House, and three in the Senate.  It was enacted on Feb. 10th, and it has done almost as much to piss people off as the drunken spending spree that is going on now.  (Which goes to show how many of our elected officials shop second-hand, apparently.) 

One of the Senators who didn’t vote for it, South Carolina senator Jim DeMint (along with five other Republican senators) has introduced a bill to amend the law so that it doesn’t include thrift stores, libraries, garage sales, hand-me-downs, etc… There is also a bill being introduced in the House to do the same.   Here is some more information about the law and its effects and requirements.

CPSIA:  The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act.  Remember the China/lead toy scare?  In the rush to “do something,” our elected nincompoops passed a sweeping law that will do more to worsen the economic climate for millions of Americans who don’t necessarily buy all their childrens’ duds at Baby Gap or Janie and Jack.   Like garage sales?  Depend on hand-me-downs?  Fuggedaboudit.  Many stores won’t risk the liability or $100,000 fine.  (Here’s an excellent article that outlines the law and what is being done to try and amend it back to common sense.) 

And that’s not the worst of it:  any childrens books that are pre-1985?  Trash can.  Might have lead-type.  And we all know that children generally lick the pages of their books, right?  That treasured copy of The Velveteen Rabbit?  Get rid of it; it’s a hazard to your child’s health.  (Pause to think of the ramifications on used book sellers or collectors.)  That mom friend who knits baby scarves to sell online?  She might want to reconsider.  It is absolute insanity.)

Look, I managed to survive my “unprotected” childhood without growing a second head so far.  Do you think we’re overreacting?  

Anyway, this post grows long, and if you want to learn more, just google CPSIA and you’ll find tons of information, “Save handmade” blogs, etc…

What is the lesson, here?  There have been more stupid laws passed because the words “for the children” or “for the environment” are pasted on them, and in the end, they ultimately do far more harm than good.  (One that I can think of off the top of my head is the 1972 US banning of DDT, which has led to millions of malaria-related deaths in primarily Africa, the largest casualty group being children.)

As for poor children who might need that donated winter coat?  Well, they won’t get it.  Hey, they’ll be cold, but at least they won’t run the risk of lead exposure, right?

February 10, 2009

Hell hath no fury…

Filed under: Health,politics — by lindyborer @ 8:39 am
Tags: , , , ,

…like Lindy when something gets her goat.  And her goat’s got.

This “stimulus,” Barack Obama’s baby, is all about pork, as I’ve pointed out in past posts.  Due to waning support in the Senate from all but three Republicans, a unanimous rejection by House Republicans (and 11 Democrats) and despite the fact that 62% of Americans think it should include far more tax cuts and less spending, the thing that has my blood reaching a boiling point is the health provisions that have been unobtrusively slipped into it.  No one is paying any attention to them, but we should be.  This stimulus has gone past being bad for the economy; it’s hazardous to one’s health.

The provisions in the stimulus bill are nearly exact replicas of what Tom Daschle described in his book, “Critical:  What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis.”

Let me elaborate.  Raise your hand if you think it’s a swell idea for the government, via a new bureaucracy called the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology,  to decide which medical treatments are appropriate for you.  This committee would oversee doctors and dicatate to them which treatments you will receive (or won’t receive) based upon what they deem is cost effective, and also based upon others factors such as age and health. 

What this means is that you will not be in the driver’s seat when it comes to your health care, some bureaucrat will.  Kiss another freedom goodbye.  It gets worse.

Hospitals and doctors who aren’t “meaningful users” of the new regulations imposed under the new system will face penalties.  What does “meaningful user” mean?  Who the hell knows, it’s not defined in the bill.  But the secretary of the Health and Human Services will enforce it.  Tax-challenged #24 Obama HHS appointee Tom Daschle is out of the picture now (thankfully), but whoever is there will ultimately be the one making the calls when it comes to your health(according to Bloomberg):  “What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment?”  Again, who knows.  But I’m starting to feel queasy. 

Any takers so far?  Well, it gets worse.

The new governing body that “will make the tough decisions” regarding YOUR health is called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.  And what, you ask, is this body’s goal?  I find it so repulsive and un-American that I can hardly provide the link (via Bloomberg):

The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Do you hear that?  I know we all get sick of liberal-types praising Europe (with its stagnant economies, low birth rates, cultural decline, anemic militaries, and horrendous health care) but what else should we expect from Daschle and the proponents of universal health care?  Does anyone in their right mind want our superior American health care system to become a carbon copy of the UK’s or Canada’s?  Canadians are lining up to come to the US to receive care.  The US’s health care system–even with its faults–still blows other countries’ health care systems out of the water precisely because it is treated as an industry with growth potential and not a government-run institution, whose sole concern is cost at the sacrifice of quality and innovation. 

According to Daschle, all you elderly people need to accept your age and gracefully allow us to pull the plug on you.  The very young and the very old will be the casualties of these changes.  Culture of death, full speed ahead.  Combined with the ultimate goal of the Freedom of Choice Act, which would allow abortion at any stage of pregnancy, the liberal Democrats will have us coming and going. 

But Daschle (amazingly) admits that there will be downsides to the new health care system:  “[Health-care reform] ‘will not be pain free.’  Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them” (Bloomberg).

Fantastic.

I highly suggest you read the linked article and decide for yourself if this is what we want health care to look like in the US.  And by all means, contact your representatives and let them know how you feel about it.  Important health care changes don’t belong in an economic stimulus bill.  They need to be carefully and thoughtfully deliberated, not rushed through incognito.

January 31, 2009

“Results not typical”

Filed under: Health,This and that... — by lindyborer @ 7:55 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been seeing this ad around lately, and I’ve greeted it with a mixture of adolescent hilarity tinged with an undertone of ambivalent awe.  It’s aimed at men–particularly older men, and it’s called Cenegenics.  It makes many claims:  Decreased risk of age-related disease, improved muscle tone, decreased body fat, increased energy, increased sex drive, sharper thinking, etc…  Now, I’m not necessarily doubting it, but I do have a healthy skepticism regarding any of these supposedly miraculous products.  If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

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The reason I get the urge to giggle and point is due to one thing.  Look at the ad.  It pictures its developer, 67 year old Dr. Jeffry S. Life.  Yes, Dr. LIFE.  I’m thinking that the Cenegenics people left off another key result of the program:  You might end up looking like a buff Santa Claus.  You might end up with the head of a crotchety 67 year old and the body of an Adonis.  People might point and stare, and find themselves torn between admiration for your fine form and trepidation at the dissonance between form and mug.  It’s kind of weird.  It’s like looking at a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

This has been my reaction to seeing the ads.  My conflict of emotion is exacerbated by the fact that the good Dr. Life bears a strong resemblance to a man in town, and every time I see this man at church, the childish small voice that can’t pay attention during mass is busy wondering what Mr. X looks like with his shirt off.  No!  Not in a sexual way, people!  It’s just that the resemblance is there to such a degree, that my subconscious deliberates.

I know we live in an age nearly completely engrossed in the young and the beautiful and the fit.   It is amazing to see people who are in their golden days running marathons, lifting weights, and staying healthy.  And my post today has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that actress Helen Mirren, at 60, rocks a bikini better than do I.  Really, I’m not jealous at all.   REALLY! 

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But everything in moderation, right?  Call me old-fashioned, but I kind of like the idea of my grandfather being grandfatherly.  And as I near the end of my twenties, I realize that with each passing year, it takes a lot more work to look good (or even passable) in jeans.   

I guess what I’m trying to say in my usual, long-winded, convoluted way is that no matter what, this Dr. Life spends at least four hours of his day in a gym, and Hellen Mirren (besides being blessed with good genetics) likewise has to dedicate a healthy portion of her time to an elliptical.  I do hope that I can stay fit and healthy into my senior years, but I also hope that the desire to look a certain way doesn’t interfere with the things that matter.  I hope that I’ll be too happy and fulfilled and busy with my family and friends to devote large quantities of time preparing for my close-up.   A mid-life crisis at 67 seems disordered…  

I showed the ad to my husband and he said that he, too, could look like that:  “Just give me a few minutes with Photoshop.”  Ha, ha.  Yes.  But the ad says right there that the photo is not “digitally enhanced.”  So apparently, we’re not the only ones.

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