Monthly Archives: July 2012

no blogging for a bit

I wont be blogging for at least a couple of weeks. Taking some R&R.

God bless

St. James, the Pillar and the shell.

I like Mary Salome who doesn’t get much notice in Scripture. I imagine she was a good, hard-working wife of a fisherman. I think her husband Zebedee was most likely dead by the time her kinsman Jesus began His mission, as she was able to follow Him and help take care of Him and His followers, including her two sons, James and John. Jesus named them Sons of Thunder. They, along with Peter were the only apostles to be given a name by Jesus. In Jewish tradition that’s important.

At the foot of the cross Mary Salome stood with the other three Mary’s and her son John. Jesus gave John to His mother and we can be sure Mary Salome was happy with that.

After Pentecost James took none companions and went on a missionary journey to Spain. He brought the people the Gospel and the people were completely disinterested in what he had to say. He was disheartened and went to the Lord in prayer. Jesus heard the prayer of His dear friend and sent His Blessed Mother to help James.

She appeared to him standing on a pillar of jasper, held by angels, and holding a wooden statue. She gave the pillar and statue to James and asked that a church be built. James did as she asked and built a small chapel where she had appeared to him. That is now the great basilica of Santiago de Compostela, probably the most visited pilgrimage site in the world.

His vision of the Blessed Mother is the earliest one ever recorded and as it happened while she was still alive on earth it is considered the earliest known case of a saint bilocating. (St. Pio is probably the most well know saint who did this).

James returned to Jerusalem where he was martyred in 44 AD. His disciples took his body back to Spain and had a grave made for him there. He has been denied burial in Jerusalem.

What about the clam shell symbol? There is a legend – which may be true- that a knight was taken by his runaway horse and plunged into the sea, armour and all. He cried out to Saint James to save him and immediately floated on the water. A wave washed him back to shore and he found he was covered in clam shells. So the symbol stuck (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Anyway, on this feast of St. James I can’t help thinking of his mother Mary Salome sitting in heaven with a smile on her face as her boys, the Sons of Thunder, did good.

Antibiotics war – we’re doomed! Dooooomed I tell you! And it’s all the patient’s fault!

Recently there has been a couple of MSM posts about how awful patients are demanding antibiotics for no good reason and how this has led to the current scary scenario where more and more infections are now resistant to antibiotics. Meanwhile there has been a mild suggestion that doctors over-prescribe antibiotics, where they aren’t needed, just to get bolshy patient’s off their backs (poor dears). Even those reports about the horrible side effects of antibiotics, including obesity bizarrely, tends to lean toward blaming the patient.

Why is it that doctors get so uptight and snarky when patients know about their own health and bodily function, but then blame patients for ignorance over medication?

Meanwhile the history of misuse, and continued misuse, of antibiotics in meat production seems to have been quietly forgotten. Of course the over prescription of these drugs happens in poor quality animal care.

Thanks to the massive misuse of these drugs we now face more “superbugs” that are horribly resistant and therefore obviously more dangerous and difficult to treat. Most of us know about MRSA and most of us, I am guessing, know someone who has been through that nightmare.

But the knowledge that antibiotic use needed serious reformation has been around for well over 20 years. In the book Osler’s Web, which I reviewed, Johnson mentioned a book published in the 1980’s that warned of the impending bacterial and viral crisis the Western world faced. Nothing was done.

When considering the shocking misuse in food production alongside the incompetent use by medics, it’s hardly surprising that patients are sicker for longer.

Let’s look at three little cases.

Case One: A long time ago when I was still a nurse, a woman was referred for psychiatric care because she appeared lethargic, anxious and depressed. So a Community Psych Nurse went out to see her and so an assessment. She discovered that this patient was on four different antibiotics and had been for some considerable time. On questioning the patient the story emerged that she had been to the GP with an infection and he’d given her a prescription. He gave her no info about the tablets so when she finished she assumed she should ask for a repeat and as she got the repeat she presumed that was correct. She later went with another infection and got another antibiotic and did the same. Feeling ill she returned and was given another one and so on. Each repeat prescription request was filled with no questions asked.

The CPN went to see the GP who was pretty rude to her but he cancelled the  scripts. Soon the woman was feeling much better. Rocket science this ain’t.

The second case is a very young lady who has suffered repeat infections since childhood. No doc has ever taken blood so no blood cultures have ever been done. She’s had no specialist care and is already unable to take two antibiotics, leaving her with very very few choices. She has finally been referred but I have to wonder how much damage has already been done through medical neglect. She has quite a few shocking tales to tell about her treatment since childhood. The fact that she carries infection that is immune to two abtibiotics is not her fault at all – it is plainly and startlingly the fault of her past GP.

Then there’s my story. I get repeat chest infections. Back in childhood they were frequent but nothing like these last couple of years. In the past I would have blood taken, usually in hospital- as I was there a lot, and the correct antibio given. It was given for  7 or 10 days and I wouldn’t need another lot for quite some time.

But as things went wrong again I learned a lesson. If I went to the doc at the beginning of an infection to get it nipped in the bud, I was almost always turned away as he couldn’t “hear” it. Or there weren’t enough symptoms. This meant I would then have to go back a few days later when it was bubbly and I was so feverish even a doctor couldn’t miss it and he would give 5 days of Amoxicillin. Hardly a target antibio. Giving it for only 5 days, which would simply knock the infection back, meaning a couple of weeks later there is was again and a couple of weeks after that I was back with “in yer face” infection. This has left me taking Amoxicillian every 6 to 8 weeks for months on end. A bit like inocculating the bloomin’ infection really.  The only time I get a targetted antibiotic is when I’ve been in hospital and blood cultures are done.

It’s time to stop blaming the patient and do something genuine to sort out the problem.

Feast Day of St Bridget of Sweden

Today is the feast of my beloved St. Bridget. She is one of the three women patron’s of Europe along with St. Edith Stein (Sr. Benedicta of the Cross) and St. Catherine of Siena.

She was married around age 13 or 14 to Ulf who was then 18. They had 8 children together, one of whom, Katrin (Katherine) is also a saint. (St. Katrin of Verdena or Katherine of Sweden, depending on spelling and translation).

Bridget and Catherine of Siena were more or less contemporaries and were both fighting for reform in the Church and a return of the papacy to Rome from Avignon.

While Catherine and Bridget worked for reformation and tried to intervene in the war making politics of Italy and other parts of Europe it would be the Jewish convert Edith Stein who would give her life for the soul of Europe under Hitler’s wholesale destruction of the Jewish people.

Europe needs all the prayers it can get these days. These three along with St Benedict and others would be wearing out their knees, but it’s heaven and so they aren’t.

Just in case you were wondering – what happens with FM/ME…

This will take just a little more than 4 minutes of your time and took the very ill maker just over four months of her life.

And it breaks my heart that so many children and teens have this truly hideous disease. But it is heart warming to see that talent isn’t dimmed.

Please spend another 5 minutes watching this vid made by a 13 year old. You may think the photos are unimportant, but if you look…you will see.

I cannot begin to tell you how horrible this disease it, or how much I utterly hate it. But there is some light and these vids shine it.

Friday Freebies

Free Videos

NeoK 12 vids on all sorts of things.

I am sure most of you already know about Khan Academy.

We have found this site Study Jams and I’ve used some of the vids for the children as learning back up.

Other freebies.

Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop has lots of free downloadable games and things to make for lots of subjects. Looks good to me.

End of term trip.

It’s the end of term for schools this week. Our lot have more or less finished and anyway they are already well into next years work.

Yesterday Iona and Jenny (my oldest son’s girlfriend) joined another couple of Home Ed families for a trip to the Museum. The main focus of the trip was the Egyptian displays as that’s what we’ve studied in history with the younger ones.

They had a great time and Ronan came back with lots of photos of various displays, including the mummies.

I stayed home this time to recover from my hospital stay. It was so quiet! I read and watched a bit of Dr Ray and felt much better by the time they all came back.

There are some plans for the Summer for meeting up with folks hopefully. J has hopes of helping Heleyna fulfil her ambition.

She came downstairs yesterday morning and in her just woken up, slightly groggy state announced, “I want to hold a frog.”

These were the first words of the day!

J has a friend with a pond full of tadpoles at the moment, so hopefully Heleyna’s ambition can be met there.

Sometimes you meet the most amazing people.

Things went a bit wrong, and I ended up spending the night in the lovely facilities offered by what is affectionately called “The Three Toilet Seats on the Hill.”

You can see why it has that name

There was a lady in the bed next to mine in her 70’s. She overheard my conversation with one of the nursing assistants about having 6 children and home educating. The lovely NA wants a big family of her own. Good for her.

Later, when I been given the “get out of jail free, with drugs” card and my neighbour was told they were getting her a bed on Cardio we sat together and talked.

She too has six children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Her husband worked hard and died a few years ago when her youngest was quite young. The following year her brother was killed in an accident and she took in his wife and 5 children. She didn’t tell me this in a boastful way – just very matter of fact. This is what her family would do. Her older brother would have taken them, but he wasn’t in the country by then. So she took them in. No quibbles, no worries.

She married very young in Pakistan and lived a happy life. She loved in a most amazing way, and now she is very ill. Please pray for her. I think I will remember her for a very long time.

It is lovely to meet people like this. I assume she is Muslim, and I bet she does pray five times a day. She fights her illness with a gentle resignation. I hope I remember her when I am getting frustrated and angry about mine.

I must add here that while I hate hospitals and have had awful experiences with doctors; the staff over the last couple of days were lovely.