Thursday, November 29, 2007

Waking up from the Cinderella sleep

I am reading the book "Exposed" by Mark Schapiro. He says that the United States does not regulate toxicity in products very well. Now that the European Union is gaining clout, it is causing much of the rest of the world to go along with its regulations. The products US companies sell outside of the United States follow those regulations, but those same products (same color, same bells, same whistles) here at home still contain toxic substances that have already been eliminated other places. How could that be? Are we so sheepish to buy products that have the potential to poison our children? Obviously we are. We are blinded by the mistaken belief that things are always better here. Let's wake up from our Cinderella sleep! We are falling behind, and some of the results can be seen in the birth defects of our children. How long can we ignore that the shoe does not fit? I have been naive, too. But there is no excuse for me any longer.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And now it is fall again

This year the squirrels did not partake in the abundance of persimmons on the tree in the front yard. It is almost December and the fruit are hanging there pretending to be Christmas tree decorations. The orange leaves are nearly gone, but all the trees with yellow leaves have not yet shed their dresses. I am wondering about the nude state. Will the coming season of undress also disclose what I have not been able to figure out in the summer with all its glorious perfusion of colors? Once the leaves are gone the branches, the structures of the trees and bushes can be clearly discerned. I need to see more clearly why there is no clarity. Things can be brought into focus when the veil of foliage is stripped from the earlier summer thoughts. It's a puzzle why there are no answers where all the brighter trees have already been denuded. Clarity does not come unless the wind blows the leaves and shows the bare branches. Bring me the bare branches any time. They show what's truly underneath.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The more I know, the less I believe

I have learned so much in the last few years, but the more I know the less I feel secure in a belief that my knowledge can help me overcome my fear of being powerless. I had always thought knowledge is power. I do have some power, but the more I know, the less I believe in it as an answer. Maybe the ancient Greeks evolved because their belief in knowledge being power led them to finally turn to ritual because that was all that was left when knowledge became too deep a trough.

I have no interest in making knowledge my power base. I use knowledge to find answers, real answers to what has happened to my trust in the truth that is supposed to make me free. I have searched far and wide, but the answer lies within. I must carry my burden basket of insights and carry it as if they were flowers that have not gone to seed. And when I bring them home I will have a wonderful bouquet of joy. I arrange them in a vase, and a ritual is born.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Erik had another ultrasound

Yesterday Erik had an ultrasound at Valley Medical. The one he had had at Stanford about a year and a half ago had revealed absolutely nothing. So I was on tenterhooks about this one. Would the technician coax heretofore unseen structures? Would there be new details? Most of all, would I be able to tell where the kidneys were? Would I see his inner being?

The technician was a personable lady. She introduced herself and went to work right away after I had placed Erik on the bed in the room with the ultrasound equipment. The technician put some goop on a tool that was attached to a computer and monitor. The triangular field all of a sudden showed structures that were clearly defined black, gray and white areas. I saw the bladder. I saw the megaureter. The technician's comments helped me identify all the organs. She told me where the spleen was, and low and behold there were the kidneys. The right one was enlarged. That meant he had hydronephrosis. At the end of the procedure she asked me if anyone had ever diagnosed what made him so small and so frail. I couldn't think of anything more intelligent to answer than "beats me!" And she repeated "beats me!" I said "Erik's megaureter hadn't been discovered until just few month ago. At that time the doctor thought that Erik had had this condition since birth. But I also had it on good authority that Erik's kidneys had been tested at least four time before, and no structural anomalies had been found." She appeared surprised when I said that but didn't respond. I think she didn't want to blurt out something unspeakable. What I would have said under the same circumstances would have been something like: "You mean to tell me that Erik has had this condition all his life, and no one has taken the time to look at him in detail?" He has had something all his life and not a cotton-pickin' soul has bothered to go to the bottom of it. "Not even the science of Erik's condition had lured a wayward doctor into Erik's path." I guess Erik is so hard to find out because there is no redemption in curing a "cripple."

I feel so sorry for all those people out there who haven't seen Erik's insides. His ultrasound let me, and it convinced me that there was something there, and his insides are just as handsome as anyone's insides. His eyes are as blue as can be, and he can beat a rhythm with his hands.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Due Diligence

I read a lot about due diligence when lawyers do their research for a case. Due diligence is checking in all possible corners for similar cases, and when they find them, they check for decisions judges made, and whether the decisions were turned over on appeal or whether the law still applies. At least they are supposed to do that. That's called Shepardizing. This tells you about the status of those cases. Much of the research is done behind the scenes and the only way the client finds out about that part of the lawyer's work is later seen in a bill.

My issue is not with the due diligence of a lawyer. My issue is with doctors. I would like to see due diligence in a doctor. I would like to see a patient to at least be weighed. I would like to see the doctor look at the whole body and feel for the liver, listen to the heart, thump the lungs, and when there is pain in a limb to check for a broken bone. Those things are the bare minimum. Doctors often don't do that. But if the patient actually tells the doctor what he thinks the problems are, he says "no," without giving it another thought. I wouldn't come out stating that this happens, and with increasing frequency at that, if I hadn't experienced it in person. He really should have x-rayed. (In fact there was a broken bone in my son's case). This case turned out to be much worse than I am letting on. But for the sake of brevity I will not get into details about that. I have come across so many doctors who have only committed to their memory what they learned in medical school. I don't see many doctors reading up on a subject to see what the latest stand of knowledge in a given field is. I recently heard about a study of breast cancer in black women. All the well-known facts were included in the report except the most recent findings about the influence of Vitamin D deficiency on breast cancer.

There are certain fields that doctors treat with disbelief. That is because they can't diagnose something that has not been officially sanctioned by the Medical Association. An example is mercury poisoning. Whenever a patient comes with all the symptoms of mercury poisoning, he looks at the patient with a sideways glance and suggests an antidepressant or a muscle relaxant. The idea of actually looking for mercury poisoning doesn't cross his mind. If he had done his due diligence, he would see that mercury poisoning can be tested for with DMSA. This test is called a mercury challenge test. Reading up on this is like legal research. Google makes it so easy. Non-emergency mercury poisoning is not reimbursed by your HMO. Chelation therapy isn't either. My son knows this, and I was told that Kaiser would perform all the tests and even chelate, if I paid for it myself.

Doctors, please, do your due diligence! I might help someone.