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WALTER REED AND BEYOND: The War Inside

A great article, courtesy of the WaPo, which means it will soon fade away into that pay archive black hole. So here it is on the Free Internet Press. Just watch you don’t get squished by that pop-up!

I’m not in the least surprised that this administration, via the Defense department, is seeking to deny mental health services to returning soldiers by claiming they had a pre-existing condition. That’s the thanks our military can expect to receive. Kind of like Vietnam in reverse. The people are warm and welcoming. This time it’s the government spitting on them. Either way, seems like a good reason to burn a flag, now, doesn’t it?

(Yes, I do advocate the burning of the American flag as a form of free expression. It is not something I have ever done and I doubt I ever will. But, by God, we deserve the right to do it if we choose! Go ahead and blast me on that one, too. I also happen to believe it’s perfectly reasonable to declare that English is the official language of the United States. So there.)

Anyway, back to the point. The young man who spearheaded the rape of a fourteen year-old girl and murder of her and her family? Yeah, that is a personality disorder. The young men and women who cannot sleep without waking in terror following their deployment? That’s PTSD. Come on. This one’s a no-brainer.

But, there’s hope on the horizon in the person of our Defense Secretary, Robert Gates. Oh, wait. He’s the one in charge of this, isn’t he?

More recent news…

Pentagon May Drop Mental Health Question

DoD press release on receipt of the task force’s report.

Study Finds 1.8 Million Veterans are Uninsured (Is that on top of the 46 million?)

Here’s the same article, forever free.

George Walker Bush

‘Nuff ranting for one night.  Let’s get back to the good stuff…

 Ah, summertime!

Enjoy it while it lasts…I’ll likely remove ’em on the ‘morrow. The regrets of sleep following too much wine…

Happy HNT!

45113638_202b79dc11

HNT.  See…told you I might regret it on the ‘morrow.  But you can keep the next one.

‘Nother one atcha.

From Space.com,

Space Station and Shuttle Visible Together in Night Sky 

If you live north of the 35th parallel, look up.   Have fun!

…some right-wing, right-to-life, so-called Christians can be?

Third Minnesota sextuplet dies;
others in critical condition

Have I mentioned that I have been a nurse for nearly 23 years? And that I worked 14 of those in a high-risk perinatal setting. In a hospital with a Level 3 designation, providing high-tech, high-quality obstetric care.

Here is the entire text of the brief piece, which CNN got from the AP. And I’m sure they paid the royalties to them, too.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Half of the sextuplets born prematurely to a Minnesota couple have now died, while the others remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Saturday.

A third boy, Lincoln Sean Morrison, died Friday. Two of his brothers, Tryg and Bennet, died earlier in the week.

The four boys and two girls were born last Sunday about 4½ months early at a Minneapolis hospital. Doctors had advised the couple to selectively reduce the number of viable fetuses to two, but they declined.

Parents Ryan and Brianna Morrison released a statement saying it has been “a difficult week” for them, and they thanked everyone for their prayers and support.

“We continue to trust in the Lord and are hopeful for a good outcome for Cadence, Lucia and Sylas,” the statement said.

Hospital officials said no further information would be released.

Can I tell you how frustrating this is for an OB nurse?

When I worked in my last life, I worked with two women with fertility problems. Actually, I worked with quite a few with fertility problems but these two stand out in my mind particularly at the moment.

Linda was in her thirties, happily married and Christian. I can’t remember all the specifics but Linda underwent fertility treatments including drugs like Pergonal and Clomid, the use of which frequently gives rise to conception of serious multiples (quads or greater). Mary was in her twenties, married, Catholic and Italian. I have no idea of her fertility treatment but she conceived quads.

Linda was initially pregnant with four babies, selectively aborted one and carried three babies to over 35 weeks gestation before delivering them, all in the vicinity of five pounds. None of them needed assistance with breathing. They all fed. They may have had a few bumps but, pretty much, were as near a term pregnancy as any triplets are likely to get.

Mary, being from a staunch Catholic upbringing, opted not to selectively terminate and tried to bring her quads to term. I believe they delivered in the vicinity of 33 to 34 weeks, considerably earlier and lighter than Linda’s triplets. Mary required much intervention during her pregnancy, developing preterm labor necessitating medications. Some of those PTL meds are not the kindest or best things for even a relatively healthy, childbearing age woman.

I don’t think any of Mary’s babies was able to leave the hospital with her. If I remember correctly, they all required feeding tubes. Some of them may have had assisted ventilation (probably with nasal C-pap.) I think at least two of Linda’s three went home with Mom…it might have been all three.

I had the pleasure of taking care of Linda in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, when she was confined to the hospital. I also took care of her afterward and helped her to learn to breastfeed. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of my years as an OB nurse.

I never had to deal with Mary when she was hospitalized, thankfully. She was one of those nurses who claimed a moral and religious objection to caring for women during elective terminations. Frankly, I always thought she was just lazy and not really so morally offended, more of a selective Catholic, but that’s an even snarkier post for a really snarky day.

If the Minnesota couple had chosen to reduce the number of fetuses in the pregnancy to three, they might all have left with Mom. Had they reduced the number of babies to four, they would all probably still be alive.

As it stands, they delivered six babies at roughly 22 weeks. A 22-week singleton stands, at best, a 50-50 shot, in my estimation. And that’s a 22-weeker that didn’t have to spend those weeks sharing his environment with five siblings.

As it is, the six babies have required a tremendous amount of health care resources. I’m sure not one was able to breathe on his or her own at birth meaning 6 full teams of neonatal nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists needed to be present. Every effort is made to save any neonate, regardless of gestational age, after the point of potential viability (around 22 weeks when I left OB in 2001).

The three boys who’ve died were each treated by a team of those professionals along with all the ancillary departments necessary for a very sick infant. The three surviving babies, I’m sure, remain in a neonatal intensive care unit, fully ventilated, unable to eat, unable to see yet. Totally unprepared for survival in the environment into which they’ve been thrust.

I don’t begrudge them the medical care, which will run into millions of dollars if many more survive. God bless them that they were able to provide care for their children. I begrudge their parents’ complete lack of foresight via blind devotion to a religious ideology. It is my opinion their ideology is flawed, is too literal and basic and lacks any sense of nuance. I’m of the opinion that four of those babies might be alive today had two of them been selectively terminated early in the pregnancy.

Imagine that…abortion might have saved the life of a child that is now dead.

Theirs is a black and white world. Too bad most of the world comes at us in lovely and varied shades of grey.

What a waste.

Oh, I’ll link it up later…I’ve got a bath waiting…

So, I’m doing this quiz on LiveScience. I know it’s lightweight but I just worked the last two days and lightweight is all I can deal with right now, what with a glass o’ wine in me and all. (Yes. I am a cheap date.)

Anyway, I’m taking the sex quiz…myths, taboos and such (Science Lite and sex…such a lovely combination) …and the question is:

Proportionally and compared to other primates, human males have…

And the choices are:

  • Tiny genitalia
  • Massive genitalia
  • About average

Being the kind soul I am and the mother and grandmother of males, I don’t want to suggest the males of my species are deficient in that manner. However, the feminist in me simply cannot grant my male genetic counterparts the superiority of “massive,” now can I? So I naturally click on “about average.”

Guess what? The male of this species has, compared to other primate males, “massive genitalia.”

Whodathunkit?

Maybe there is something to that “superiority of the male of the species” and “Power of the Penis” stuff after all?

So, who’s conducting the research into the relative size of the female genitalia?

This is the DSM-IV diagnosis my therapist assigned to me a few years ago:

Dysthymia.

(I found that information on Internet Mental Health, which I haven’t explored enough yet to endorse, though methinks it has potential.)

And this is the most amazing description of my condition I could have ever imagined:

Mental Water Torture.

“If we think of major depression as a spectacular brain crash, milder depression can be compared to a form of mind-wearing water torture. Day in and day out it grinds us down, robbing us of our will to succeed in life, to interact with others, and to enjoy the things that others take for granted. The gloom that is generated in our tortured brains spills outward into the space that surrounds us and warns away all those who might otherwise be our friends and associates and loved ones. All too frequently we find ourselves alone, shunned by the world around us and lacking the strength to make our presence felt.

The symptoms are similar to major depression, with feelings of despair and hopelessness, and low self-esteem, often accompanied by chronic fatigue. This can go on for years, day in, day out.

Still, we are able to function, a sort of death-in-life existence that gets us out into the world and to work and the duties of staying alive then back to our homes and the blessed relief of flopping into our unmade beds.”

(from Suite 101…anybody ever heard of it before?)

Is it any wonder we turn to drugs?

Good thing I have an appointment on Thursday. After reading that, I am so much more depressed! ; )

From the AP, via AOL news:

Green Apple Scented Condoms

Grandma Finds Condom in Kid’s Happy Meal

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A grandmother was alarmed to find a condom in a happy meal gift pack bought for her 7-year-old granddaughter at a McDonald’s restaurant in New Zealand, local media reported Thursday.

The condom was discovered Tuesday night in a bag that came with Maia Whitaker’s meal, which her grandparents bought at a McDonald’s outlet in the city of Wellington.

Grandpa Rowan Hutch told The Dominion Post newspaper it was lucky his wife was first to look inside the small sports bag that came with the meal.

She was aghast when she found the green condom and its packet inside the bag, he said.

“I was pretty horrified really. The fact my granddaughter was going to look in the bag and find this thing. It would be difficult to explain, she’s only seven,” said Hutch.

The outlet quickly swapped the happy meal for a hamburger and pencil case. McDonald’s is investigating the find.

Spokeswoman Joanna Redfern-Hardisty said because of its popularity, the previous happy meal gift had sold out at the outlet and prepackaged sports bags were substituted as children’s gifts.

One was left unsealed for display purposes and “somehow” had ended up with the customer, she said, without explaining why the condom was present.

Hell, I started talking to my son about sex, condoms and personal responsibility at the tender age of 6. I’ve always figured a class about the mechanics (and sanctity/responsibility/ownership) of sex and our bodies would be much more helpful than that stupid menstruation cartoon we were made to watch in fourth grade. Dancing ovaries? I’ve never known mine to even do a jig, though I swear my uterus is in there kickboxing some months!

Here’s hoping the AP doesn’t track me down for my flagrant violation of their copyrights.

Toodles…

I’m an amateur US Constitution and Supreme Court buff. I was quite happy, therefore, to find a couple of great feeds for news on the court.

Okay, okay, I’ll share.

Here’s the other.

While I was on Medill’s On the Docket site, I happened upon a decision from Monday, April 2. It is fitting that on Earth Day I should find “Court sides with environmental interests in landmark car emissions case.” Of course, environmental non-activist that I am, I found it necessary to go read the original case, Massachusetts v. EPA, which dates to 1999.

Our wonderful Environmental Protection Agency declared in 2003 that it did not have jurisdiction over the regulation of greenhouse gases and that, even if it were within its power, it would opt not to regulate them.

Here’s an excerpt of the article on On the Docket that I found particularly compelling:

…in 1999, environmental groups unsatisfied with the federal government’s response to global warming filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles. They said greenhouse gases should be considered air pollutants and thus, regulated under the federal Clean Air Act.

The petitioners cited Section 202 of the act, which states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”

The EPA denied the petition in August 2003, saying that the act does not authorize the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and, even if it did, the EPA would not exercise such authority.

The agency cited a study by the National Research Council that concluded that “a causal linkage” between greenhouse gases emissions and global warming “cannot be unequivocally established.” EPA said it was inappropriate for the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without more understanding about the causes of global warming.

Again, Section 202 of the act “states that the federal government is to regulate “any air pollutant” that can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” Can we not make a fair assumption that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming which is likely to have devastating effects on American citizens in the nearer rather than distant future. I fully expect to see horrible global consequences within my lifetime, don’t you?

What better US agency, you may ask, to regulate an air pollutant which can “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare” than the Environmental Protection Agency?

Oh, I guess I’m just one of those ill-informed, bleeding-heart liberals who’s screaming that the sky is falling for no good reason!

I smile sardonically at the irony of all this. The things today’s “noted scientists” are now proclaiming as truths are all the things the rowdy, smelly environmentalists were ranting about back in 1970, on the first Earth Day. Now the whole world is up in arms over something the tree-huggers were being irrational and extremist over way back when and still the money grubbers don’t want to give an inch.

Record profits for any US company…ever.

Redux.

Happy Earth Day, all!

I heard on NPR yesterday that a hospital in New York has been conducting research and is close to being able to offer uterus transplants to women who want to bear children. You can listen to the story on NPR’s Day to Day by clicking here. You can read about the research here. Here‘s some more on the subject from the AP via The Spokesman Review in Washington. Need a little satire with your news? Try this, from The Spoof, in the UK. Gotta love them Brits!

Uterus transplants. That’s right. Not lungs, which are necessary to breathe. Not kidneys, which are necessary to process and excrete fluids and minerals. Not a heart, which is, of course, the ultimate transplantable necessity. No, a uterus. Harvested from a woman who was unlucky enough to be killed while of childbearing age.

In case you hadn’t heard, having or using a uterus is not necessary for life. It’s not even, truly, necessary for a fulfilling life.

C’mon, folks. We are so obsessed with having (i.e. “bearing”) our own children that we will go through major abdominal surgery (we’re not talking about a laporoscopic procedure here) and treatment with immunosuppresant drugs for the sole purpose of being able to say we bore our own child?

How much attention is being paid to the impact of those immunosuppressives on a developing fetus? More importantly, why expose a child to any kind of risk associated with that therapy if it’s really not necessary?

Reproductive science has developed some marvelous therapies…first artificial imsemination then in vitro fertilization. We can now screen for a large number of genetic disorders early enough in pregnancy to allow parents the choice to bear a child with Trisomy 18 or cystic fibrosis. We can implant the ovum and egg from one couple into a woman’s body and successfully cultivate a pregnancy to a healthy conclusion.

Why is it so imperative for a woman to actively, personally participate in the incubation and delivery process to reach fulfilment in parenthood?

The basic immorality of this doesn’t even address the fact that this therapy will probably be out of the reach of all but the wealthiest infertile couples. The working poor infertile couple who has no health insurance will just have to go without. Or they can do what we’ve done for centuries…take in a family member’s child, adopt…

This seems the ultimate folly and vanity to me. If we want to outlaw some procedures, instead of focusing on embryonic stem cell (using cells which will be destroyed anyway) why not focus on something really needless, like transplanting uteri?

Had to be a real penishead that thought up this gem.

So sorry I had to miss out on National Drunk Blogging Day. I’ve been preoccupied ever since Global Orgasm Day.

Maybe next year…

Peace.

Peace, Dude!

Before that she bitched about: