Friday, August 31, 2012

When Eating Right Isn't Exactly Healthy

Absolutely nothing puts politics and the internet community into the perspective it deserves like having a loved one experience a life threatening medical emergency. I actually believe I'm incapable of finding the right words to describe the shock I felt over it so I'll just describe what happened.

The call from my office with a request for me to call my daughter-in-law came on Tuesday as I was getting ready to leave my client. It took me three tries before I could get the number written down because I knew something was terribly wrong. I called her, received the news that Hubby was in the ER at our local hospital.

I called Oldest to let him know I was on my way. Hubby's two brothers have had heart attacks and there is that history there so I prayed all the way there that we wouldn't be facing that problem. We weren't, but the one we were facing was just as bad.

He'd been there for about an hour by the time I got there. He was vomiting in a way I've never seen him vomit. He had massive abdominal pain, was shivering so badly I thought he'd fall off the gurney a couple of times. They were focusing on the possibility of food poisoning or due to the area of pain, appendicitis. He had a white blood cell count of 17,000 and normal would be less than 10,000.

The doctor asked the him to put a number between 1 and 10 to his level of pain and while he took a moment to consider it, Oldest said: "He's here, it's a 10". They gave him shots for nausea, more shots for pain and still he would shiver, writhe and vomit. At this point, blood tests, xray and ultrasound weren't disclosing what the problem was. Since treatment wasn't helping they decided to go for a CT scan.

Hubby was a trooper, drank the entire quart of contrast and managed to keep it down long enough for them to find out the problem. When the doctor came back to talk to us it wasn't good news. He had a small bowel blockage. They inserted a nasogastric tube and shipped him up to Med/Surg. The oncall surgeon was notified. He chose to try to move the blockage via fluids keeping him comfortable and eliminating the pain via the NG tube.

He wasn't improved the next morning and when the surgeon talked to him, found out there had never been any kind of surgery to cause scar tissue to form it was bada bing, bada boom into surgery within the hour. Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery. As Dr. put it, he cut him open and pulled out his small intestines until he found 2 unhappy sections. They are unhappy because of scar tissue not the tumor that he was expecting to find. How he had inflammation in his small intestines bad enough to cause ulcers to form and then heal on their own without any suffering on his part is beyond all of us

Hubby has Crohns Disease. Something he's probably had all of his life, and undiagnosed because other than occasional bouts with gas, he's never had any strong symptoms. While he was in there, he removed the appendix because with Hub's pain where it is, any doctor in any ER will waste time working to rule that out before looking at anything else. He also cut the scar tissue that was constricting the bowel and causing the blockage.

The Mediterranean diet that I've been feeding us is partly to blame for what happened. All those lovely gas producing veggies, the higher fiber and whole grains are totally not what Crohns sufferers should be eating. I'm going to have to cook my meals and something else for him.

I can't get him out of there fast enough to suit me but I also want him capable of staying out of there. He should be coming home tomorrow or Sunday if he continues to improve. With no insurance and a bill that is most likely equal to an entire year of our income, I believe we may be paying for this until we die. Which, hopefully, won't be for quite awhile yet.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Disposable Pets

Back in 1994 the house on the other side of the treeline behind me caught fire. It happened a couple of weeks prior to Christmas and for some unexplained reason the local volunteer fire department inspector deemed it arson. It sat abandoned until 2010 and someone moved onto the property in a travel trailer and started cleaning it up.

The new owner, Dave, did a fairly decent job of cleaning out the inside and working by himself had managed a roof and some new siding. It's been a slow process of improvement since he's been working by himself.

He has this little goofy long haired black and white cat that suddenly started hanging around my place about the middle of July. He's a small cat made smaller by lack of feeding. When I spoke to Dave about it he claimed the cat wouldn't eat the food he bought. Of course, he was lying. The problem was the new girlfriend that wouldn't let the cat into the motor home to eat. When it was just the two of them, the cat was doted on, once there was a female in the picture, cat wasn't that important anymore. So, I started feeding him. I simply couldn't let the little guy starve to death.

Something happened this past week. It involved the sheriff department, the town codes enforcer and a few other legal eagles. Seems the girlfriend left after a fight, had the electricity turned off and then reported that Dave was living on the property. Dave had to find an apartment and his new home doesn't allow pets. He simply moved out last Thursday leaving his little furball behind.

This is an outdoor kinda kitty, and I am an indoor kinda owner. My conscience won't allow me to leave the poor thing outside all the time. I'd suffer through the howling to force it to adapt to indoor living if it weren't for Butterscotch. While the little kitty is used to encountering other cats outdoors, Butterscotch has never been faced with sharing his house with anyone other than people. I'm not even sure he knows this is another cat. I do know he isn't liking this one damn bit. He's scared of the little thing. This cat weighs a whopping 7 pounds. He's half the size of Butterscotch and the orange one is scared of him. Who knew I was raising a wuss?

There's been no unpleasantness due to little kitty's behavior. While he doesn't back down from Butterscotch, he doesn't push the situation either. However, he wants to be let outside more than he wants to be in the house.  He's a neutered male and doesn't really go that far. According to Joyce, one of my other neighbors, he was seen by the vet in the Spring. Joyce provided the transportation so his shots are most likely current. That does relieve my mind somewhat, but there are many, many ways he could get seriously hurt out there. I live on pins and needles until he shows up at the door to be let in.

I did the Advantage for fleas on him last month and again this month so we aren't worried about that. He's started to gain some weight, regular feedings seem to agree with him. There's been no direct contact between him and Butterscotch and he won't use the litter box so I'm not worried about parasite transmission if that's a problem. I won't know until after I take Butterscotch to the vet next month. He'll be next if he survives, maybe I should say if I survive the stress of worrying about him. Did I tell you his name is Precious?

Dave's doing. He, like us with Butterscotch thought he was a female kitten when he got it.  He didn't discover the mistake for a couple of months, the cat was answering to it so, just like us he didn't change the name. Any similarity stops right there since we, Hubby and I would never, ever walk away and leave our Butterscotch behind. He did absolutely nothing towards trying to find a home for the little guy. Just up and moved out.

I'm assuming he'll be coming back to work on the property although this will probably take longer than it would have since he won't be able to use his rent money to buy the materials he needs for repairs and whatever. If he ever manages to move back in, I'll be damned if he'll get his cat back. I'm hoping that once the weather turns ugly this cat will adapt to what he thinks is the not so great indoors. By then, Butterscotch may have figured out this isn't any threat to him and things will settle down to peaceful co-existence. Dave may have named him, but I know what Precious means and he deserves better than he got from Dave.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Penis Is Not A Magic Wand And Rape Is Still Rape

In 1986 an accident took a young woman away from her loved ones. She didn't die, she entered a comatose state and remained there permanently until she drew her final breath some 12 years later. She was placed in a nursing home where her physical needs were adequately cared for, or so everyone assumed. In 1996 staff discovered that her belly was enlarging. Tests were conducted and it was discovered that she was pregnant.

An internal investigation disclosed that a male nurse's assistant had been accused of a prior rape of a resident. It was, at the time, determined that no rape had occurred, it was consensual and he was allowed to continue in his position. Apparently, he decided that his next victim ought not to have the ability to tell anyone. His reason for raping this particular woman was the claim that he thought it would bring her out of the coma. I'm assuming his defense for the first offense was "she was asking for it".

The case made national news because the woman's family were Catholic and opted not to abort the baby. People were seriously divided over the ethics of this situation. She was obviously, as a comatose patient, not able to voice her own opinion, and since this was a groundbreaking event, could her family really have the right to make this decision for her? It also called in to question the decisions made by the management of this nursing home when they didn't terminate the employee after the first accusation. Apparently an employee having on-the-job sex with old ladies was acceptable.

A person is a resident of a nursing home due to diminished abilities both mental and physical. Since consensual sex requires that all parties involved have the mental capacity to make a consent, why was he even employed there after the first time? Another thing occurred to me and that was how does a 51 year old male suddenly take up rape as a hobby? That question was answered during his trial. He had a history of rape which happened in other states and didn't turn up in the local background check.

New York State locked the barn door after the horse got out by instituting fingerprinting as the only acceptable background check if one wants to work in the healthcare or childcare industry. You don't get to have a job in healthcare if you're convicted of a certain class of felony. My problem with this is that only 3% of rapes are ever prosecuted. Which leaves a whopping 97% of rapists who got away with it to exercise their magic penis at will. They are perfectly employable in hospitals, nursing homes, state homes for the mentally disabled and in home care. Not only that, the state also determines that it is discrimination to refuse to hire a qualified person based on his or her gender.

In the beginning of the fingerprinting regulation, the prospective employee could be put to work while the prints were being processed. They, of course, would have to be terminated if the state received detrimental information regarding that person from the FBI. During the time frame that regulation existed a local hospital hired someone, submitted his prints, put him to work and an 87 year old long term female resident was raped by him. Guess who had been accused of rape? He was awaiting trial on his charges.

This all brings me to my problem with all the "Personhood" Amendments that everyone has decided is the Holy Grail in the fight against abortions. In the rush to protect the unborn, they are opening the door to a definition of rape that does not include statutory, that does not include the capacity to give consent, nor will it include incest.

Until our culture understands that No really does mean NO! Until we accept that rape of all kinds is not the subject of a joke. Until we accept that all women have the right to be treated with respect and dignity no matter how they dress or where they are. Unless all men really understand that their penis has no magical powers to turn an act of force into one of pleasure, then we need to leave any attempt to define rape alone.

If the knowledge that elderly women in nursing homes are actually victims of rape doesn't make you understand that rape is a crime of degradation born from hate, then I don't know how to help you become a human being.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dear GOP I Hope You Burn In Hell

I thought that Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert were bad enough with their Muslim Brotherhood crap. As a matter of fact I have a hard time with the entire GOP/TeaParty stupidity. Fox News, Malkin, Coulter, Limbaugh and Beck leave me with a serious need to vomit when I hear anything they have to say. However, I believe I've finally heard what for me is the final straw.

Rep. Todd Akin, from the should be ashamed of itself state of Missouri, has finally made me realize that I can no longer tolerate the inhumane bullshit that passes for "Christian" Conservatism. This Akin douchebag has stated that "legitimate" rape victims cannot become pregnant because their bodies shut down during the rape. That statement is utter and complete bullshit of the worst kind. It places the stigma of being raped, not on the rapist but on the victim. I can't. I just can't.

According to statistics 5% of rape victims become pregnant. This means that of the 683,000 women raped each year 34,150 will face pregnancies. That is 93 women a DAY forced to be a vessel for some criminal's seed. Rape is a crime. Anyone perpetrating said rape is a criminal but thanks to the current Christian  Republican Party, in their total disregard for the loving spirit that is supposed to be a cornerstone for their very existence, some 93 women a day will be raped and bear the stigma of being a liar. According to Rep Todd Akin, if they become pregnant, why they weren't raped at all.

No matter what I or anyone else may say to try to disprove that statement, the current GOP will ignore the facts of the matter and continue to spew their bile. Facts no longer matter. Science doesn't matter. NOTHING matters except their warped view of what's wrong with their world and what needs to be done to fix it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Be Careful What You Ask For

The rallying cry of the GOP, Tea Party and most Libertarians is "We want small government and lower taxes". When pressed for an explanation of what they mean by that statement, it becomes apparent they're thinking only about all those "welfare bums" their taxes support. You ought to see what happens here when the local School Board tries to close a school and transfer it's students elsewhere.

You should have seen what happened in 1994 when a stroke of President Clinton's pen closed an air base and put 5000 LOCAL residents out of jobs, plus moved military families out of the area. In a city consisting of 35,000 residents, putting 5000 of them out of work tends to create more problems.

Businesses which relied on the income generated by the civilian and military residents, closed their doors putting more out of work. Homeowners unable to pay their mortgages or their taxes simply abandoned their properties. Houses owned by the relocating military families were placed under HUD and an attempt was made to sell those at an attractive rate of interest to qualified buyers. You couldn't walk down any street in the city and not see empty rotting homes. They were eventually taken off the tax rolls and torn down. Shrunk the tax base quite a bit and meant a change in services the city could offer.

When I drive into the city for work, the road I must travel on to enter from my side of the county is home to 5 empty commercial buildings. Buildings that once were home to 2 car dealers, a printing operation, a mill, and a Mom and Pop grocer have stood empty since 1997. Can you imagine what the near economic crash of 2008 did to this area?

If residents want to shop someplace other than Walmart, Staples, JC Penney, Marshalls and Lowes, they have to travel to New Hartford to find what they're looking for. There are no small boutiques or gift shops anymore. It's not that bad a drive, but that money spent elsewhere means the little city isn't earning sales tax revenue.  Crafters were even affected since without shoppers, none of the vendors made money and weren't willing to sign up for the local PTO Craft Fairs held for years at the schools. Even the volunteer fire departments in the area along with the churches had to give them up. That's the trickle down effect that the GOP keeps trying to tell us will work so well to fix what's broken.

The GOP has spent years trying and succeeding in convincing this nation that the problems will all go away if only the government which spends so much money becomes smaller. There's a great deal that they aren't telling you when they make that sound so attractive.

Smaller government means less money for firefighting equipment and the manpower to operate it. It means longer response times for medical emergencies in places where firefighters are first responders. In some areas it has meant that fire departments must charge to save your home, if you won't pay it goes up in flames. It means fewer street lights and police patrols in high crime areas. It means larger classrooms and longer bus rides for children transported to schools farther away due to closings of those closest to the neighborhoods.

It effects municipal trash collection, the condition of sewer and water mains. It effects the ability of cities to keep roads open in the winter and safe to drive on because of timely snow plowing and salting or sanding. It affects the ability of municipalities to keep the streets and bridges in a manner safe to walk or drive on.

Since 1994 all of the elementary parochial schools have closed and the children have been consolidated into the one building that used to be the parochial high school. Military residents who no longer are here helped keep those schools open by paying for private schooling. The public school system has closed 2 elementary schools and is using a third empty school building to temporarily house middle school students while their school buildings are being renovated for safety.

Trash collection has been outsourced to a private company who saves the city money by selling it's "approved" collection bins to the homeowners along with the quarterly bill for collection which is paid by all city homeowners. You are allowed to set out the contents of 1 trash can a week without paying more for pick up. You are allowed unlimited recycling in the smaller bins they sell. However, you have to buy enough bins to hold the amount you recycle. The cost for trash collection must be quite high, there seems to be a rash of people dumping trash along the sides of the road in more rural areas. It's becoming quite a problem where I live. My little town is having to dispose of trash from the city to the west of me since we don't want to leave it lying there. It creates a problem with and for our 4 legged residents.

I can't count the number of times I've heard "If I don't use a service I shouldn't have to pay for it". Tell me, what service don't you use? If you've never drawn a glass of water from any source other than a well on your own property. If you've never flushed a toilet, nor taken a shower and allowed water to run down a drain. If you've never put out a single bag of trash. If you've never sent a child of yours to school. If you've never driven to your place of employment on a road maintained by the city, county or state. If you promise to never call an emergency service for your property or for a loved one in distress, or take it upon yourself to never report a crime committed against you then I'll allow you not to have to pay taxes. In the meantime, shut up and think about what it is your asking for because you might just get it and good luck with that.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Even Smart Phones Need Sleep. It's Called Recharging The Battery

My favorite time of the day is the last half hour or so that I spend getting ready for bed. The computer has usually been shut off for an hour or two by that point and I have managed to fill my brain with something other than the political fight of the day. Probably lowering my blood pressure in the process.

The television has been shut off. Time was spent straightening whatever was out of place, checking the doors to make sure they're locked and marveling at the different sounds made by the night critters outside my windows. My favorite is the one that sounds like playing cards clothespinned to a spoke of a moving bicycle tire heard from a distance. I find myself wondering how it, whatever it is, sustains the long drawn out sound it makes when compared to the short chirpy bursts of the others.

Hubby has usually fallen asleep on the couch by this point so Butterscotch and I have temporary use of the whole bed. Since we live in the country there are no streetlights to mar the darkness. Once in awhile a car goes by out on the road. I can't hear it but I can see the brief flicker of headlight as it illuminates the trees. Once I close my eyes and begin to drift towards sleep everything but the sensation of the cat curled up against my stomach is lost.

It is then that I have those ideas for blog posts I should write, which I don't remember the next day when I wake up. I suppose I could sit up, turn on the light and write it down but that act would destroy my relaxation and likely prevent me from falling asleep in a timely manner. I'd rather sleep. It's a lot more necessary to the brain than blogging or internet use is.

I used to believe that regular computer use was good for the brain. Studies are showing that not to be the case. As a matter of fact using the internet is damaging short term memory. The memory of much younger people than I am no longer retains information the way it used to. Today's memory is retaining the knowledge of where to find information rather than the information itself. Being very familiar with how my brain at nearly 63 functions, I find myself wondering what life will be like for today's 23 year old when they get to be my age?

I was in my 50's when I started the walk-into-a-room-and-forgot-why-I-went-there syndrome. The internet equivalent, going-to-a-website-and-forgetting-what-I-wanted, didn't start until I was in my 60's. Plus, I've only done that one twice. At what age will those particular incidents begin for today's younger generation? I suppose I needn't worry too much about that. With today's access to smart phones and the number of people using them who seem to feel they need to do so rather than watch where they're walking or driving, life expectancy might suddenly take a nose dive.

If anyone needed any proof that phones are getting smarter while people are becoming more stupid, they need only look at statistics concerning the number of deaths caused by texting while driving. If they can't remember where those statistics are, they can always turn on the TV to TruTV. I like to call it the stupid people channel, and watch all those videos of people walking while using smart phones and crashing into doors and falling down. I've watched people fall off curbs, fall down stairs and escalators, even fall into manholes. All of this has to hurt, but do they learn anything from it? Uhhhh, NO! They just pick themselves up and keep on trying to prove they really can walk and text at the same time.

At this rate I'm thinking that smart phones of the future may need to have the ability to turn themselves on, connect to their power source for recharging and possibly write their own texts. If the internet usage that I see from today's young people has all ready begun to deteriorate the brain's memory storage, it's a safe bet people of the future may no longer remember how to do the easiest of tasks. Want to tie your shoes, or chew a stick of gum? Can't remember how? Oh well, they'll remember there's an app for that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fanning The Flames Of My Own Disgust

I have a problem with online dialogue regarding tragedies like the Aurora shooting and now the shooting in Wisconsin. My problem is I don't believe these dialogues reflect the true belief of the people involved. I think they have these dialogues for the sheer purpose of getting themselves noticed and gathering a following. The reason I think this is that these dialogues begin with someone posting information about the tragedy that may not be the entire truth and then continuing the embellishment of the truth until they've stirred the outrage of others. Once the inflammatory rhetoric has begun, lines are drawn, sides are taken, follower counts increase and it's ON!

There is a total disconnect, a disregard for the grief experienced by the victims and their loved ones. It's ALL about who has the loudest voice, the most followers and who can be the nastiest in putting down those voices that don't agree with every pearl of wisdom uttered by those at the center of attention. Even those that say they're going to offer a prayer have to follow that statement with an attack on those who don't march in lockstep with their view.

No one on either side ever tries to understand why they hold the views they do. How can someones Second Amendment Rights be so important that they bring a gun into their own home despite the fact that most of these shootings happen with legal guns? Why is it necessary to have the right to own an assault weapon? Why don't they see that gun ownership shouldn't have a basis in fear and anger? Guns are weapons of destruction. They are designed for one purpose, that purpose is to kill. How far from the desire to kill is fear and anger? Evidence suggests those emotions create the desire to kill, and you want the tool by which that can be accomplished in your own home?

None of these questions are ever asked, or answered. There's just the incessant online fighting that lasts for a few days and then is replaced by the next big issue. Aurora got dropped entirely when the Olympics began. Yet these same people who dropped their push to bring gun control in favor of the current topic sat there last night complaining about those who said three weeks ago, less than 24 hours after that shooting, that then was not the time.

I said that they were politicizing the grief of others. I still say that. If they weren't doing so, they would have allowed time for these people to come to grips with the tragedy that occurred in their lives and THEN they would have begun a dialogue. One that included an honest attempt at trying to create a compromise between the opposing sides. See? That's what it's going to take to create gun control. Cooperation and compromise to work out something that can be presented to STATE governments. Oh! But! PRESIDENT OBAMA needs to DEMAND a gun control law.

I live in the real world. In that world I know Conservatives who feel the same way I do about gun control. They believe in it and don't understand why anyone would want a gun in their homes unless they enjoyed hunting and did so to augment the food they feed their families. They don't believe guns belong in public places like restaurants, theaters or churches. They are quite willing to lend their voices to the gun control issue in a positive way. Only, no one has spoken to them and asked them nicely for their support. I wonder why?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Greatness of the American System

So, Senator Harry Reid says that Mitt Romney paid 0 taxes for 10 years. He also commended Mitt's Daddy, George Romney, for his integrity and release of 12 years of his tax records when he ran for President.

The Romney Camp, while rushing to Mitt's defense, attack Sen. Reid for his praise of Mitt's Daddy? However, on the subject of Mitt's financial support of a country he loves so much he wants to be it's President, the Romney Camp roar of protest is just not there. It's there from his loyal supporters, those Conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party and Libertarian people who fail to understand that in life you PAY for what you receive. However, from anyone inside the actual Romney campaign, the tongues are silent.

Back in 2003, we filed our 2002 taxes taking an $1100 deduction that we thought we were entitled to. In April of 2004, the IRS audited us for that year. We wound up paying the $1100 plus another $1800 in penalties and late charges. The reason we thought it a legitimate deduction was because it was the Sales tax amount that would be owed in March of the following year. The IRS determined that any money left in the account at the end of the year was Profit. We now keep sales tax money in a different account with the words Sales Tax in the account name. In NYS Sales Tax is not income. The IRS doesn't agree if that money is in our business account.

In 2002 we paid somewhere between 3 and 4 thousand in income tax, and then paid another $2200, but we never grossed more than $80,000 that year. By the time the allowed deductions took place, our taxable income was less than $25,000. We own a small business which began to shrink once Bush became President. The Bush tax cuts allowed us to get back around $100 a year instead of paying more in, but our income dropped every year by as much as $10,000. We were hurt badly by the economic slide.

By rights, (the "rights" being I paid taxes which HURT) I should be absolutely livid at Mitt Romney for his tax evasion ways. Every single one of us who works hard to eke out a living and pay the taxes we owe should be livid. I don't think it's apathy that I'm not. As a matter of fact, I have a certain sense of pride about the fact that we did pay our taxes. When life has it's moments of struggle, the fact that you can actually scrape up enough to pay for something and on time has it's own rewards.

We didn't seek out a method to avoid paying our share for the programs our government runs to aid those less fortunate. We didn't look for a way to avoid paying for wars from which we were making a profit. We weren't the ones making that profit. We didn't put people out of jobs so we could have another shelter to be used to keep more of our income. We paid what we owed. And for that 1 year we actually paid more than we owed since Sales Tax isn't income. In that case we paid for a lesson learned.

Mitt Romney lives what most people call "The American Dream". In my estimation, even with the struggle life has become, so do I. I live in a way that allows me to pay my bills in full and on time. I don't have to hide anything. I can, with my head held high, say what I believe in this week and know that there is no record anywhere that I said I believed something else entirely 10 years ago. My honesty, my integrity is intact. It's not held hostage by my ambition.

We paid our taxes, and it wasn't easy. There were times when doing so created a hardship. That would not be the case with the potential Republican Candidate for President. However, he apparently thinks he owes this country and it's people nothing. He just wants to be President of a Great American System that he won't support with either his taxes or his integrity.