healthcare, music, narcissists, politicians

Some people have to experience things personally to understand…

Well, today was the day we were long awaiting, but has already turned out to be disappointing. No, I don’t just mean because it’s Election Day in the United States. That is probably going to be quite a shitshow, because it seems that the United States is firmly polarized as to which direction people want our government to go. It really is distressing to see how many people are so divided over concepts like a woman’s right to make private healthcare decisions and the economy. It’s also sad to see how many truly ignorant, unkind, and unempathic people there are in the United States. We have lots of “nice” people there… but it’s really nothing but a show, isn’t it? MAGA idiots have no empathy for anyone, nor are they long on intelligence or insight.

I’m really starting to dislike them.

Over the past few days, I’ve read several heartbreaking stories from women in Texas who needed to terminate their pregnancies, not because they were careless, but because of catastrophic things going wrong. In the two most recent cases I read about, one four months pregnant woman was advised to terminate because her developing baby boy’s kidneys had failed to develop, and upon further testing it was discovered that he had other fatal conditions that were slowly killing him inside her womb. In that case, the mother ended up flying to New York for an abortion, because doctors in Texas were not allowed to help her in that way without risking legal ramifications.

In the other case, a woman was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix and would inevitably lose the baby girl she had long anticipated. Prior to 2021, her doctors in Texas could have helped her before she became seriously ill with the sepsis that almost killed her, and forced her to spend several days in the ICU. But thanks to Greg Abbott’s barbaric anti abortion law, she had to wait until she was “sick enough” for help. She almost died, and she may never be able to conceive again, due to scarring left by the infections. She has to undergo surgeries and other procedures to repair the damage wrought by willfully incompetent medical care in Texas. How is this happening in 2022? I hope she sues the ever loving fuck out of the hospital and the state for medical malpractice. I hope she sues Greg Abbott, too.

Try to point out these cases to the MAGA morons, though, and you’ll read and hear nothing but bullshit rhetoric about how abortion is “murder”. They pull fake statistics out of their asses, and talk about babies being “dismembered”. They say that 95% of pregnancies don’t involve these kind of catastrophic situations. And, amazingly, these folks– most of whom are MEN– say that the women must be lying, because the law allows medical professionals to help women who need abortions to save their lives. While that may technically be true, I have read multiple stories of pregnant women experiencing complications who were told to wait until they got very sick, even though the physicians know damned well what will happen to them. It’s obvious malpractice. I think the only way this will change is if women die, and lawsuits happen… particularly if the women are young, thin, beautiful, socially prominent, and middle or upper class. Only then can we hope to vote out misogynistic bastards like Greg Abbott and his ilk. Abbott and the rest of the MAGA crowd don’t care about women.

Last night, I tried to explain this to one man who was writing about women “murdering” their babies, and he obviously couldn’t deal with the edification. My guess is that he’s a very narrow minded person with a tiny dick who can’t stand a woman confronting his views. So, after I set him straight again, I told him I hoped none of the female loved ones in his life ever need life saving medical care in Texas when they’re pregnant. Then I wished him a “good one”.

Naturally, because he’s a misogynistic MAGA male, he responded to me, even though I made it clear I was done with the conversation. I didn’t read his response, because he’s made it abundantly obvious what kind of a horrible, ignorant person he is. I know I sound angry in this paragraph, but my initial comment to him was not written in anger. I was sincerely trying to point out the fact that all women of childbearing age are at risk in Texas, because of these laws. It’s not just women who got pregnant and don’t want to be. It’s also women who desperately want their babies, but will suffer health consequences if they don’t terminate. At the time I made my comment, I hoped that he at least cares about the women of childbearing age in his family. But, I guess he doesn’t. Maybe he just needs this issue to affect his loved ones personally, before the significance of completely banning abortion will be clear to him. Maybe one of his female loved ones needs a bonafide brush with death, or severe illness, before the truth about how dangerous these bans are finally knocks him in the head. And I hope he’s the one who has to pay the medical bills, too.

I am still a Texas voter. Bill and I sent our ballots weeks ago. We both voted straight blue. I know we aren’t the only ones, but I fear that Texas is full of stupid MAGA creeps who love Trump more than they do the women in their lives. And they aren’t bright enough to understand that the economy isn’t completely controlled by the president, nor is inflation an issue that only affects Americans. They also want to conflate abortion with COVID vaccines. The sheer stupidity of it really makes me sick. There was a time not so long ago that the two main parties in the United States weren’t THAT different. At least the candidates were, on the surface, basically decent and respectable. But Donald Trump has ruined the Republican Party. I only hope that his influence causes them to eat each other alive.

Anyway… that’s about all I want to say about the election. I truly am mostly worried about women’s rights to make private healthcare decisions and their ability to access timely abortions whenever they want or need them. I think it’s very important on many levels. I wouldn’t want to bring a baby into the world as it is today. Fortunately, it’s not an issue for me anymore. I won’t be having any babies. I always wanted kids, but now I thank God my family line will die with me. And the more this dystopian version of the United States, and the world, persists, the more I hope I can peace out of here sooner, rather than later. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I avoid seeing doctors myself.

Now, onto the reason why today is already disappointing. We were supposed to see James Taylor perform tonight. Bill and I have second row seats. Unfortunately, yesterday afternoon, last night’s and tonight’s shows were postponed, because someone in the band got COVID. This concert was originally supposed to happen in February 2022, but that show was also postponed due to COVID– that time, because the illness as a whole was too prevalent. This time, it’s because someone in the band is sick. Bill just got over COVID himself, so I can see why this happened. It still sucks. I’m not as upset about it as some people are, though. I think a lot of people are just totally over COVID and everything that goes with it, even though people are still getting sick. If we still lived in Stuttgart, we would have seen James. That show, which happened on Saturday night, did go on as planned.

It’s probably just as well that the show won’t go on tonight, because we didn’t get much sleep last night. Arran kept getting up, wanting food, needing to pee, and drinking water. He got up three times early this morning. I know Bill is going to be really tired this evening, so it’s probably better that we’ll be home this evening. Hopefully, James won’t reschedule the concert for when we’re in France next week. I doubt that will happen, though, since his shows next week are in Scandinavia. I can’t see him bringing his band and all that goes with it down here for shows in Zurich and Frankfurt for a couple of days next week. The funny thing is, now Arran is curled up in bed, sleeping. Why he can suddenly sleep after we’re up is a mystery. We do love him, and this is a temporary thing… Soon enough, we’ll be missing him. Bill will be especially heartbroken.

Anyway… I hold out some hope that more people will vote for decency than money. Because if they vote for money, they’ll find out that once those people are in power, their money will soon no longer be their money. MAGA leaders don’t want to see ordinary people with any money. They like to keep as many regular people down as possible. Not allowing women access to abortions or birth control is one way of keeping them down. Frankly, I think it would serve these male MAGA assholes right if women just stopped having sex with them. They should just be forced to exclusively masturbate from now on.

Sorry… that’s crass, but I’m tired and feeling a bit pessimistic. Hopefully, things will improve as the day wears on… but I ain’t gonna hold my breath.

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book reviews, healthcare, law, politicians, politics

Today, in the United States of Gilead…

Special thanks to my friend “Naphtalia” (not her real name) for today’s featured photo!

It’s another very warm morning in Germany. I kind of hate this time of year in Germany, because while it rarely gets as hot here as it does in my native Virginia or God forsaken Texas, air conditioning is a rarity. That makes for some uncomfortable days when it’s high summer, even with all the shades pulled down and a couple of portable air conditioners. I never run both ACs at the same time, either, because I don’t want to run up a big electric bill. They do electric bills differently here, though. Instead of charging different amounts based on monthly use, they do a yearly average and adjust at the end of the year. But still, I don’t want to be an energy hog, if I can help it.

Bill just bought oil for our house, to get us through the winter. This year, it cost about $1000 more than it did last year, thanks to Putin’s war against Ukraine. Fortunately, we’re able to afford it pretty easily. We stay in Germany largely because Bill makes really good money over here, but also because the lifestyle is much nicer, people are saner and less violent, and it’s cool to be able to drive to so many countries. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of home often, though. Missing my uncle’s funeral the other day was another reminder that I’ve been gone a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of beloved relatives for the last time. The United States is my home, but it doesn’t feel much like home anymore. People seem to be absolutely batshit nuts.

Still, I was delighted to read about Kansas yesterday, and voters’ decisions to vote for allowing abortion access. I think that was a rude wake up call for the more sensible Republicans out there. They overplayed their hand, and they will probably pay for it with some really tough elections. I have read about some scary elections results in Arizona, though, and apparently the Trump loyalists, drunk on the stolen election Kool-Aid rhetoric, are leading the way to Gilead inspired insanity. Not surprisingly, reasonable Republican, Rusty Bowers, who heroically testified in the January 6th sessions, was defeated by his Trump supporting opponent. I watched Bowers speak about January 6th again, the other day, and noticed that he was almost moved to tears. I was almost moved to tears listening to him, even though I don’t like his politics or religious beliefs. Bowers is a man of integrity, and those types are rapidly leaving the Republican Party.

I don’t think people realize that the power mad conservatives want to enslave them… keep them disenfranchised and begging for jobs that don’t pay enough. Keeping people pregnant, especially if they aren’t financially or health wise prepared for pregnancy, is certainly a big part of keeping them poor. The abortion bans are already proving dangerous for people who legitimately need to terminate pregnancies for health reasons, that they should be allowed to keep private. Personally, I am less concerned about no access to abortion than I am that politicians will soon push an agenda that makes healthcare privacy a thing of the past.

Health information is a very powerful asset, and getting people comfortable with the idea of giving up their confidentiality when it comes to health matters is a big step toward keeping them down. I don’t believe these folks will stop with denying abortion and contraception access. They would like to tear apart legal privacy protections for the citizenry, so they promote bullshit about the “sanctity of life” as a reason to deny abortions to people who want or need them, while idiots like Colorado legislator Lauren Boebert crow about their ridiculous gun control theories. Yesterday, I watched a video about how she claims people in Venezuela are eating dogs because they can’t have guns. Seriously!

Well worth watching, if only because the guy who made this video is awesome. Lauren’s personal assets don’t include having a functioning brain.

I read last night that extremely pro-life Indiana Representative Jackie Walorski, just two weeks shy of her 59th birthday, died in a car crash. Two of her staffers died with her. I didn’t know anything about Walorski until last night, when I saw the article from Reuters. I went to her Facebook page, where she had just recently posted about visiting a “crisis pregnancy center” in Indiana. Crisis pregnancy centers are places where a pro-life agenda is pushed. The goal is to get the person considering abortion to change their minds, sometimes by the unethical use of misinformation or religious dogma.

The comments were pretty bananas, as people squabbled over their respective political views. One guy was especially disgusting toward the pro-choice women who were commenting. Only a few realized, at that point, that Ms. Walorski is no longer among the living and won’t be pushing her pro-life agenda anymore. I only hope that whoever replaces her is more moderate in their views. Like a lot of people, I am tired of being held hostage by politicians who think their religious beliefs have any place in making laws that affect everyone. On the other hand, I see some really ugly comments about her sudden death, including the one below…

No matter what I might think about Jackie Walorski’s politics, I’m sure she had many loved ones. This is not any better than the awful things conservatives say to liberals.
Ouch.

I don’t cheer for Jackie Walorski’s sudden death, but I really hope with all my heart that whomever takes her place will have more heart and sense for moderation. The country is being torn apart by extremism, and it will lead to even more very ugly things in the future, if something isn’t done soon.

Last night, I finished reading Black Beauty to Bill, and once again, I was shocked by how relevant that book is, even today. It was written in 1877, but it addresses animal rights, politics, and religion, and how politics and religion can turn people into insufferable assholes. Here are just a couple of quotes from the book, one of which I recently shared a few days ago.

“Your master never taught you a truer thing,” said John; “there is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham—all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out.”

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 46). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“Well, a man who gets rich by that trade may be all very well in some ways, but he is blind as to what workingmen want; I could not in my conscience send him up to make the laws. I dare say they’ll be angry, but every man must do what he thinks to be the best for his country.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 142). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

“My boy, I hope you will always defend your sister, and give anybody who insults her a good thrashing—that is as it should be; but mind, I won’t have any election blackguarding on my premises. There are as many ‘blue’ blackguards as there are ‘orange’, and as many white as there are purple, or any other color, and I won’t have any of my family mixed up with it. Even women and children are ready to quarrel for the sake of a color, and not one in ten of them knows what it is about.

“Why, father, I thought blue was for Liberty.” “My boy, Liberty does not come from colors, they only show party, and all the liberty you can get out of them is, liberty to get drunk at other people’s expense, liberty to ride to the poll in a dirty old cab, liberty to abuse anyone that does not wear your color, and to shout yourself hoarse at what you only half-understand—that’s your liberty!”

“Oh, father, you are laughing.”

“No, Harry, I am serious, and I am ashamed to see how men go on who ought to know better. An election is a very serious thing; at least it ought to be, and every man ought to vote according to his conscience, and let his neighbor do the same.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (p. 143). True Sign Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

I announced to some Facebook friends that I was reading Black Beauty to Bill, and one of them, a British lady who used to teach school in Britain, said it would have him in tears. Sure enough, it did. Black Beauty has a happy ending, but it really is a very good book that tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s surprisingly relevant today, on many levels. I’m glad I read it again as an adult (it was never meant to be children’s literature), and I’m so glad I shared it with Bill. He loved it, and never would have read it on his own. It’s a great book for animal lovers– especially horse lovers– but I think everyone should read it. Anna Sewell was very wise. Her book promotes common sense and compassion, not just toward animals, but also toward human beings. And it’s a reminder that things were bananas in the 19th century, too.

Anyway… it’s going to be another steamy day in Germany, and I’m in the middle of changing the sheets, and will soon be vacuuming, which is not my favorite thing to do. So I guess I’ll end this post and get on with it. Let’s hope for better news in the coming days.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, sexism, slut shamers

How I feel when a man mansplains avoiding pregnancy…

Sigh… It’s not even 8:00am, and I’m already feeling a bit irritable, mainly because my nose was all clogged last night and I evidently slept with my mouth open. I was parched when I got up, and had a bit of a headache. It’s just another day of COVID… which hasn’t made me very sick, but has definitely been a real pain in the ass to deal with. Adding to my frustrations are the horrors of the world today.

Then I opened Facebook and saw the below post by Amy Klobuchar.

Yes, Amy. This is very important stuff!

The first comment I saw was this:

Codify reproductive rights and that will take care of contraceptives. Those men in black robes need to be shut down. I shouldn’t have to fight for this again at 76 !

Shockingly, she received laugh reactions and a shitty response from another woman, who stupidly wrote this:

So I’m sure you need birth control or an abortion at your age.

Seriously? This clueless bitch doesn’t think that older women might want to engage in the fight to bodily autonomy, just because they aren’t going to be affected by pregnancy or necessarily need birth control anymore? At least one person commented to that effect. But then I saw a comment from a man named Scott:

or you could use your time productively and promote not becoming pregnant in the first place. But that is never a thought is it?

Wow… does Scott have any fucking idea of what he’s writing about? Does he know how many of his fellow men pressure women to have sex with them? Does he realize that a lot of men can’t be bothered to use condoms? Even fewer of them will consider having a vasectomy. I have no issues with men who don’t want vasectomies, by the way. If you’ve read this blog, you know why I feel that way. But I do think that if you’re going to have the nerve to mansplain to women about personal responsibility and pregnancy, you really should walk the walk. Somehow, I doubt Scott does.

A woman addressed Scott with this comment:

do you have any clue how many people choose to have babies and who end up aborting a fetus because of miscarriage, the inviability if the fetus or other pregnancy complications?

Apparently not because anyone who did wouldn’t be thinking about every abortion being a problem. When pregnant women die because of a medical emergency that was preventable I guess that means you’re not as prolife as you think you are.

Scott came back with this ignorant comment:

the life of the mother should always trump the life of the baby.

This is not what most abortions are about though, and you know it.

First off… Scott doesn’t know what other people know, and what they don’t know. Secondly, while the life of the mother *should* always “trump” the life of the developing fetus, the sad fact is, that DOESN’T always happen. Especially right now!

Last night, I read a sad and disturbing news story on NPR about a Texas woman named Elizabeth Weller, who very much wanted her baby girl to be born. But Weller’s waters broke at 18 weeks gestation, which meant the pregnancy wasn’t going to be viable. It was May 2022, a month before Roe v Wade was overturned. Texas still has that shitty law from last year, which pretty much bans all abortions and has had a chilling effect on the treatments physicians are willing to give to pregnant people. This lady went to see her doctor, who told her that she could either terminate the pregnancy, or go into the hospital and try to carry the pregnancy until the 24th week of gestation, when developing fetuses start becoming viable.

Weller and her husband decided that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy, even though they really wanted the baby. They knew that even in the unlikely event that she was able to maintain the pregnancy until the 24th week, the baby would likely be born with serious birth defects. But when Weller’s OB-GYN tried to arrange the procedure, she ran into significant obstacles. Doctors would not help Elizabeth Weller as long as her fetus still had a heartbeat. They told her she’d have to wait for the fetus to die in utero. In other words, she’d have to get really sick and put her health on the line before they would take action. So much for the life of the mother, eh?

This is not the first time I’ve read a story like this. I’ve seen stories like Elizabeth Weller’s from several different states. I’ve also seen many smug, self-righteous, arrogant comments from people like Scott, stating that if a woman’s life was in danger, the doctors would help her. What Scott doesn’t seem to realize is that right now, doctors are afraid of being arrested or sued for giving women abortions, even when an abortion is clearly medically indicated. Elizabeth Weller was forced to go home and wait until she had a high fever and was passing discharge from her vagina that smelled bad enough to make her retch. This is not good medical care, people. It’s torture. It’s cruel and nonsensical to treat women this way. This should not be happening. Moreover, nobody should have to justify or explain why they want or need an abortion! Especially to sanctimonious dickheads like Scott!

Scott continued his mansplaining, though, with this comment:

men have no say in getting you pregnant, only you do.

Seriously, Scott? Where the fuck have you been?! Tell that to the disgusting male RAPIST who impregnated a ten year old CHILD!!!

I wish it was only men who were making these ignorant comments, but there are plenty of old biddies weighing in, too. A woman named Kaye keeps commenting on Klobuchar’s post that abortions are not contraceptives. Duh, Kaye. This post wasn’t about abortion, it’s about making sure that women have access to contraceptives. There are politicians and judges who are considering taking away those rights. That’s what Amy Klobuchar is posting about.

I don’t think people like Scott and Kaye have really considered what taking away reproductive rights will do to our society. I can think of quite a few consequences just off the top of my head. Here’s a list:

  • Health care costs will go up, because women will have to wait until they get very sick to get abortion care. That will mean more needlessly complicated and costlier interventions.
  • Fewer people will want to be OB-GYNs, because they will be too constrained by uninvolved parties in delivering care, and they will have to pay even higher malpractice premiums than they already do. OB-GYNs have among the highest malpractice insurance premiums already.
  • There will be more children with special needs, and more children in the foster care system.
  • There will be more child abuse, because people will be having babies they aren’t prepared to parent, and they won’t necessarily want to give them up for adoption.
  • There will be more poverty, because children are expensive to raise.
  • There will be less privacy, because some folks will feel the need to intervene in other people’s personal business.
  • More men will be accused of rape, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • More women will be accused of “murder”, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • Some women will stop having sex with men voluntarily, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I hope no woman lets Scott have sex with her, given his caveman attitude.
  • There could be an uptick in domestic violence and divorce, as women won’t want to risk getting pregnant. Men will be sexually frustrated, which might cause them to drink more alcohol and engage in violent behaviors. There could be more drunk driving, and we all know what that leads to.
  • There may be an uptick in mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Some people may even turn to suicide, if a situation seems desperate enough.
  • Women will be less healthy. Some will die.

I’m sure if I felt like it, I could sit here and think of even more consequences to this ridiculous idea that women shouldn’t be allowed to control their own healthcare decisions. Politicians are already talking about trying to restrict potentially pregnant people from leaving their states to access abortion care. It’s absolutely SICKENING that they’re talking about this. I grew up hearing about how lucky I was to be an American, because we’re so “free”. Tell me, what is so “free” about passing laws that punish pregnant people for making decisions about their own bodies? Why in the world should someone like Greg Abbott, current governor of Texas, have any say whatsoever in decisions a woman makes regarding her own reproduction? The United States is turning into a police state, especially for WOMEN!!!!

I, for one, am glad that the 76 year old woman on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page is willing to speak up for other women. She’s old enough to remember when women had far fewer rights than we have now. She remembers what it was like to be a woman of childbearing age who had no right to terminate a pregnancy. In those days, people had more privacy, though, because there was no Internet. Nowadays, the Internet can trip up a person, as creepy social media sites collect information about users. Oppressive jerks like Scott want to put women behind bars, simply because they think they should have a say in what another person does with their own body!

I’ve said it before. I’m so tired of thinking and writing about abortion. It’s not something I will have to face. However, this issue is a slippery slope. No, it doesn’t directly affect me anymore, but who’s to say that the next invasion of privacy and intrusion into healthcare practices won’t affect me? Has Scott considered that this issue is just the tip of the iceberg? He’s very naive if he doesn’t realize that the powers-that-be will eventually be coming after freedoms that are important to him. Many of those folks truly believe that they have different rights and privileges than the rest of us have. I am reminded of Martin Niemöller, who wrote a very famous poem about the dangers of looking the other way:

Americans better wake up. The abortion issue is just the beginning, and it’s distracting us from a more sinister situation that is brewing. Niemöller, by the way, wasn’t all that innocent himself. He wasn’t all that interested in fighting Naziism until the Nazi movement threatened him directly.

As I close today’s rant, I want to share this July 25th video by Rachel Maddow, which shows how it’s later than we think. We’ve got idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about turning the United States into a “Christian Nation”. Listen to Rachel’s talk about former 50s era politician Gerald L.K. Smith, and his “America First” party. Listen to what Mr. Smith said back in the day, and compare it to what Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying now. It’s scary as hell. Mr. Smith was a racist, Nazi sympathizer, and anti Semite, and he wanted to be president. Smith died in 1976, but there are lots of other people just like him who are in politics now. They want to be in charge. Abortion rights and access to contraception are just the beginning of what they want to take away from rank and file citizens.

This is a fascinating look at the past… and the future, if we don’t take action. Listen to the clip she includes about Doug Mastriano, who is the Republican nominee for the governor of Pennsylvania. Scary shit!

So, you see, this issue isn’t just about abortion. And we should all fight against ignorant people like Scott and Kaye, and do our best to defeat people who want to take away our freedoms and rights to privacy. I have seen some very scary ignorance regarding pregnancy and abortion from people like Scott and Kaye. There will be real consequences if we don’t reverse this trend now.

Now to move on to guitar practice, before I have a stroke.

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condescending twatbags, education, healthcare, stupid people, YouTube

A quick update on Mama Doctor Jones and her skewering in Alaska…

Merry Christmas, everyone… I just spent ages trying to write a travel blog post about our morning. I am now hungry and cranky, and I’m not so much in the mood to write a long post. However, I did want to post a link to Mama Doctor Jones’ latest video, which shows her reactions to the idiots (sorry, they are) on the school board in Fairbanks, Alaska, who are calling her content “pornographic” and/or “inappropriate”. I watched this video this morning and it really pissed me off… I should have blogged right then and there. But now I’m not in the mood to go off on a rant properly.

Anyway, here’s the video. I recommend watching it if you’re concerned about sex ed in schools. Kids do need it. Parents suck at educating their children about these topics. They do. Stop denying it. And doctors don’t have the time to teach this stuff during appointments. Unfortunately, this is a task that does fall to teachers.

Seriously… these people are DUMB. They are. Stop denying it.

Again, I want to remind people that Mama Doctor Jones HAD NOTHING TO DO with her content being used as supplemental materials in Alaska. That was a decision made by an educator who obviously is a realist and has good sense. These people on the school board are woefully out of touch with reality, and they are insulting the hell out of the students and parents in their community. They are also embarrassing themselves… or, at least they really should be.

I think the folks in Alaska and everywhere else should be grateful to Mama Doctor Jones for providing expert knowledge about how bodies work. And while not every video is appropriate for young people, young people are not as young as they used to be. As Dr. Jones points out, she’s delivered babies gestated by girls as young as 13. Some kids that young are having sex. They absolutely NEED TO KNOW HOW THAT WORKS. Or parents need to do more to prevent their kids from having sex. Or, they need to keep pervy male adults away from their girls.

Kudos to Dr. Danielle Jones for watching this travesty and reacting to it in a civilized way. It really is mind blowing how dreadful this is. These folks don’t like it when agendas are pushed… I say they are promoting their conservative, right-wing, religious agenda on young people who desperately need to know how their bodies work, how to identify abusive versus healthy relationships, and how to avoid diseases and unintended pregnancies.

Yes, it’s best if kids don’t have sex, but that is not a realistic goal. Young people have sex, and their bodies are primed to reproduce. So they should know how all of that works, and they should not have to hope that their parents properly teach them about sex. Because the fact is, a lot of parents don’t or won’t teach their kids about sex… and not every child has parents, anyway! And if people in Alaska think that Dr. Jones is posting anything akin to “porn”, they obviously haven’t seen much of the real stuff.

Maybe this isn’t the best topic for Christmas. I might even be back after I have some food. In any case, if I were Dr. Jones, I think watching that school board meeting would make my head explode. The mind boggles.

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healthcare, rants

A stupid hill to die on…

I’ve been thinking about my health lately, and not just because of COVID-19. That stomach bug I had two weeks ago has left some lingering effects. Sorry if this is too much information for the delicate among you, but I have been suffering from what I think is “post-infectious IBS“. Ever since I kicked the acute version of whatever made me sick two weeks ago, I’ve been dealing with, shall we say, mixed bowel habits, especially in the morning. Since mornings are when I tend to do most of my stuff for the day, this new development is cramping my style somewhat. As I write this, I feel vaguely queasy, and I’ve had diarrhea and constipation. It’s not the greatest way to start the day, although one positive to this development is that I don’t want to eat very much. Maybe I’ll finally lose some weight.

Up until two weeks ago, I’ve had the good fortune of being pretty healthy, in spite of my decadent lifestyle. I haven’t had a cold or the flu in ages (knock on wood). I didn’t even feel sick after I got vaccinated against COVID-19. I just had a sore arm for a day or so after the first shot. After the second shot, I didn’t even have that.

I understand not everyone has been as lucky as I’ve been. In fact, I realize that some people really suffered after they got vaccinated. Still, I don’t understand why so many people are still refusing to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. It seems to me like a pretty stupid hill to die on.

This morning, I read two stories about people who are refusing to get vaccinated. One person gave up her job as an anchorwoman on a morning television show in Mississippi. Another is allowing herself to be marked inactive as a candidate for a lifesaving kidney transplant. Both she, and her living donor, are refusing to be vaccinated against a deadly virus that has killed millions of people worldwide.

I’ve written before that, generally speaking, I do have empathy for people who want to make their own medical decisions. I also understand that there are people who can’t get a vaccine for health reasons. Some people also cite religious reasons why they won’t get the shot(s)– personally, I think religious reasons for avoiding vaccines are pretty bogus. Let me make it clear that I’m not for forcing people to get shots. However, I am in favor of private businesses being allowed to make decisions based on whether or not people get vaccinated, particularly against diseases that are highly communicable and have killed so many people.

The Mississippi anchorwoman, name of Meggan Gray, is 40 years old and has co-hosted “Good Morning Mississippi” on WLOX for the past 14 years. Her former employer, Gray Television, mandated that employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1. Gray decided not to comply with the directive. So she was forced to resign her position. She claims she had made an “informed and prayerful decision” not to get the vaccine. In a public Facebook post on her page, she wrote:

Before GrayTV mandated this vaccination policy, I made an informed and prayerful decision not to get the vaccine, mostly because I had already survived a case of COVID-19. (There are other, more powerful reasons that led to my personal decision.) I know there will be people who disagree with me or do not understand my reasons. That is fully understood because that is a protected right they enjoy. Moreover, it is a personal decision for each American; but in my opinion, a forced decision to decide between a vaccination and the livelihood of an individual is a dangerous precedent.

Unfortunately, because of my decision about vaccination, I faced termination. The decision was difficult because I knew it would impact me and my family. My choices were either I follow the mandate and get vaccinated, or I lose my career at WLOX.

Gray writes that she offered to be tested weekly (which wouldn’t have been often enough). Her request was denied, and rightfully so. Yes, it’s true that vaccinated people can still get and spread COVID-19, but the evidence is very clear that vaccinated people are much less likely to get and spread the disease. I fully support Gray’s decision not to get vaccinated. But I also support her former employer’s decision to terminate her for not complying with a company policy designed to keep everyone safe from a deadly communicable disease.

There are plenty of people out there who are willing to abide by the company’s policies and can do Meggan Gray’s job. I’m sure there are people who enjoy Gray’s work as an anchorwoman, but they can get used to someone else. Television is a pretty competitive field. I’m certain there are many people who would love the opportunity to launch a career at WLOX, although maybe some of them would rather avoid living in Mississippi. I’ve got nothing against the state myself, but I can see why some would rather not go there.

Moreover, Mississippi is an “at will” employment state. That means that a person can be fired from a job for any reason that is non-discriminatory. I’m not sure, but I don’t think COVID-19 vaccination hold outs are in a protected class of people who can claim discrimination when they are dismissed for non-compliance of company policy regarding vaccinations. I would think that someone who “prayerfully” considered not getting the vaccine would understand a private business’s right to enforce health policies. Besides, God helps those who help themselves.

I’m sorry that Meggan Gray has chosen this hill to die on. I hope she doesn’t literally die because she’s made this choice. I especially hope her decision doesn’t kill someone else, and no one ends up begging for the shot as they lie in an intensive care unit, gasping for breath. I wish her luck with her career. Maybe Fox News will hire her. Or maybe she can start a YouTube channel. I know some people are cheering on her decision not to be vaccinated. Personally, I think people who are refusing to be vaccinated are short on sense. But maybe that’s because I have a master’s degree in public health.

As for the lady in Colorado who is being denied a kidney transplant… I don’t know where she’s been, but people who need organ transplants are routinely required to abide by conditions before they can get someone else’s healthy organ(s) transplanted. They typically have to agree not to smoke or drink alcohol. They have to agree to take powerful immunosuppressant drugs and yes, be vaccinated against diseases– not just COVID-19, but other diseases, too, like hepatitis and measles, mumps, and rubella. These are standard protocols for transplant surgeries; they are nothing new.

I don’t have any personal experience with organ transplantation, but I have done some reading about the experience. In one book I read, Sick Girl, by Amy SIlverstein, the author explained that getting a transplant is basically like trading one health problem for another. She wrote that she constantly suffered from sinus infections and colds because she had to keep her immune system weakened. Otherwise, it would attack her donated heart and she would die.

Leilani Lutali needs a donated kidney. She and her living donor have chosen not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 “for religious reasons”. Lutali claims that she’s “uncomfortable” taking the vaccine, and worries how it will affect her health. She stated, “I’m being coerced into making a decision that is one I’m not comfortable making right now in order to live…” She cares enough about staying alive to accept a donated organ, and her religion doesn’t forbid organ transplants. But somehow, her religion forbids vaccines? That sounds like bullshit to me. But if her faith in a God is so strong, then maybe God will perform a miracle and she won’t need that kidney after all.

I want to ask Lutali… why in the hell did she consult physicians for help with her kidneys if she knows more than they do? I get being an expert on the experience of living in one’s own body, but why go to a doctor for cutting edge medical care if she doesn’t trust their opinions about how to prepare for a transplant? She’s concerned about how the vaccine will affect her health in the long run? If she doesn’t get a transplant soon, this will not be a concern for her anymore. She will die, and health will be a thing of the past for her.

Aside from putting herself and the success of her operation at risk, Lutali will also be putting hospital staff and other patients at risk by not being vaccinated. For some reason, these folks who know more than medical and public health professionals have missed the memo that COVID-19 is extremely contagious. Hospitals, for all of their lifesaving capabilities, are chock full of organisms originating from sick people.

Hospitals are not actually good places for sick people to be, because sick people are there, and they spread diseases. That’s why people who go to the hospital for a simple surgery sometimes end up contracting nosocomial infections or iatrogenic illnesses. COVID-19 spreads like wildfire, and people in hospitals are already vulnerable. What right do Leilani Lutali and her donor have, putting other vulnerable people at risk?

I wish Lutali luck with her quest to find physicians and a hospital that will grant her a kidney transplant without the vaccine. I hope if she finds them, she tells us who the surgeon(s) are and where they practice medicine. That way, people can make an informed decision to avoid seeking treatment from them.

Most of the time, I really do support people’s rights to make their own decisions regarding medical treatment and healthcare. I do support privacy policies, too. But COVID-19 is a different matter. It’s killing people all over the world, and it’s a nasty way to die. The vaccinations have been tested and are safe and effective. They have been shown to reduce hospitalizations and the severity of illnesses. Every single vaccine that was ever made was once “new”, but as each day passes, these vaccines become less new.

At this writing, millions of people have been safely vaccinated against COVID-19. Hospital wards are not full of vaccinated people; they are full of unvaccinated people. And those people are preventing people with other health problems from getting the lifesaving care they need. That’s not right or fair.

I’m afraid vaccine mandates are here to stay. People better get used to them.

Don’t want to get the vaccine? That’s your right– for now, at least. But there are consequences for those kinds of choices. You should be prepared to live, or die, by your decision. You’ll probably be dying alone, too, because that’s often what happens when someone gets COVID-19 and it’s bad enough to kill them. I hope these ladies wake up soon.

In other– good– health news– Arran’s pathology report came back. The crusty growths he had removed last week are benign! So that’s one reason to smile today.

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