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IdaBriggs

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 8,102

Journal Archives

More Thoughts on Woo - and How Doctors Don't Take Women Seriously

Okay, earlier this week I had my little hissy fit about the whole "no need to investigate and stop wasting money on vitamins" editorial (based on bad studies), and shared my own experience with *trying* to get something investigated. Many of you were extremely supportive - THANK YOU.

I have had a lot of time to think about why these issues (nutrient deficiencies) aren't being more thoroughly investigated and why everything has to be either a "disease" or a "genetic disorder" (which completely ignores the role nutrients plays in turning certain genes on/off - but, whatever), and also why medicine is truthfully still as much of an Art as a Science, and here is what I have come up with - your mileage may vary, and I would like to stress this is my opinion, and limited to my own knowledge and experience.

Back in the 1800s almost half of our population was involved in agriculture; by the year 2000 that number was at 3%. And only "rich people" could afford medical training back in the day, and realistically, how many rich men were involved in taking care of the livestock on the family farm? The farm, after all, was pretty far away from the city where the schools were, so think it through.

I've used the "when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" analogy before, and I think it applies to nutritional issues, too (on both sides of the discussion). If you know any people involved in training as physicians, ask them (for example) if they have time to garden. After they finish laughing at you, ask them when the last time they fertilized their lawns was (if they even *have* lawns). Master Gardeners (of which I am *NOT* one) are probably already smiling; feeding your lawn a decent blend of N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) affects how quickly it grows, the color, the strength of the root system, and its ability to combat drought/disease (among other things). These micronutrients are essential to healthy plant systems, and there is a ton of information out there about how to calculate the "best" percentages depending on your goal.

The same concept goes for animal husbandry. How many physicians do you know who have time to pay attention to the health of livestock while undergoing medical residency or actually practicing medicine? Nowadays we have a lot of companies providing "ready mixes", but a hundred years ago farmers were still mixing their own; screw it up, and you lost money. But again, this is not something most modern day medical students really have to deal with (although I am sure there are a few out there).

I probably don't need to discuss the challenges of getting women into the medical field, do I? Shockingly, many historical "female problems" were simply not taken seriously by male physicians ( ) and some pretty common medications involved opium and alcohol. Apparently we just imagined problems a lot, and at least that shut us up. See the wrong gynecologist, and you may still get this attitude - I did back in the 80s.

So we have a profession that does a lot of good, but is not really in touch with "how to grow a healthy pig" (for example) with a long history of dismissing concerns that haven't been personally experienced by the practitioners themselves, all puffed up and proud because they are "scientists", and anyone who doesn't follow the same path to reach the same conclusions is easily dismissed as a practitioner of "woo"; to be fair, this is an age old battle - midwife versus medieval physician, still replayed to this day.

And here is where I fight my little anti-fury battles, because I *get* the mindset that comes with the discipline they practice. I do not have the training to hold myself a little separate from the children in my project - their success and failure hits me at a level I cannot explain. It is not my normal. It feels like an unpleasant place to be, and I have not accepted it as "my home" for the duration of my career. To be honest, I would like the "Preemie Growth Project" to just go away in a few years because the mission should be accomplished with this getting investigated and implemented where appropriate. (Seriously - work for free, and see how quickly YOU want to work yourself out of a job! Lol!)

But then I get angry again, because WOMEN (and what we report) STILL AREN'T TAKEN SERIOUSLY. Let me give you an example --

One of the most common laments of the preemie mother is "my baby won't eat or gain weight." This is one of the scariest things a parent deals with -- when your child is "failure to thrive", and you *know* something isn't right because they aren't eating, you get anxious. You ask the doctor for help. You talk to everyone. You freak out. And when you are watching your child "not eat or grow or meet milestones", You *KNOW* Something Isn't Right.

The doctors initially double check to make sure you aren't a moron, or someone who is abusing / neglecting your child, then they assure you it is normal. The moms know better. Some of them do stupid stuff - one mom I know started feeding her child lard with sugar in it to help her child gain weight - and some just force feed their kid. Most spend time crying. If your child doesn't eat, as mammals we know our babies will die, and every bite becomes a battle, every calorie a victory - if the only thing your son will eat is chicken nuggets (for the sensory moms), then by God! your child can have as many nuggets as he wants!

The Mayo Clinic says:

Zinc deficiency - Zinc deficiency is caused by inadequate intake or absorption, increased zinc excretion, or increased bodily need for zinc. Zinc deficiency symptoms include growth retardation, hair loss, diarrhea, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, eye and skin conditions, and loss of appetite. Additional symptoms may include weight loss, delayed wound healing, taste changes, and mental lethargy. Zinc can be measured in plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and hair. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/zinc/NS_patient-zinc/DSECTION=evidence


I am using Zinc because it is easy. Physicians already know premature babies are at increased risk for trace mineral deficiencies because it is in their textbooks and the neonatologists prescribe intravenous TPN to correct for it. NOTE: If you are missing one of the trace minerals, odds are good you are missing more that we don't know how to measure - this is for example purposes only, so don't diagnose yourself based on this post, okay? INVESTIGATE IF YOU ARE CONCERNED!

Back in 2007 when I started supplementing my babies with the trace minerals, the first thing I noticed was they started eating like little pigs and gaining *healthy* muscular weight like crazy. Prior to this, coaxing them to drink 30 mls of formula was an absolute battle, and it could take more than half an hour to get that small amount into them every three hours as instructed; when they started eating like "normal" babies, they sucked those bottles DOWN quickly and demanded more. They ate, they grew, they got healthy.

While I was doing my research for the Project, I ran across this little gem --

Col-late Piglet Kick-Start - "An immediate available source of glucose, B vitamins, vitamins A, D and E, amino acids and trace minerals (emphasis mine) providing a nutritional boost for runts and poor doers. PIGLET KICK-START ensures that the weak piglet receives rapid assimilation of energy and nutrients as the essential ingredients are shunted directly into the bloodstream across the stomach wall. Marked improvement will be evident in minutes." http://www.hyperdrug.co.uk/Col-late-Piglet-Kick-Start-100ml-50-doses/productinfo/COL9008269/


So let me get this straight: when the mother of a fragile newborn tells a doctor "my baby won't eat!" she's imagining things, but when a RUNT PIGLET won't eat, farmers have a nutritional product ON THEIR SHELVES that "provides a nutritional boost for runts and poor doers" that has been used FOR DECADES?



Bonus - it has zinc in it.

The health of my children was a woman's problem; my husband worked while I stayed home for the first year of their life, and my observations of my own children's growth are dismissed (including here on DU, by the way), despite heavy non-biased documentation by both their pediatrician and a NICU follow-up clinic, as purely "anecdotal". Not one of the organizations you would think would be interested (March of Dimes? ROFLMA!) has sat down with me to interview me to determine why the results my children achieved happened, or to verify whether what we did could be repeated. Anything I have to say is...not relevant. I am a reasonably intelligent college educated woman, but I am *not* a doctor.

But runt piglets -- ah, runt piglets who have no energy / won't eat, THAT can't be "bad mothering" so the veterinarians and the farmers actually INVESTIGATED the NUTRITIONAL NEEDS behind WHAT GIVES BABY PIGS THE ENERGY TO EAT AND NOT DIE, provided it, discovered it worked, and have been using it for DECADES???

Didn't someone figure out people are mammals, too, like a hundred years or so ago?



We were lucky. I heard that line so many times I started spitting it out. LUCKY. Yep, LUCKY. Or "blessed". That was another line - "you should be counting your blessings!" (I do - trust me, I do!) Both minimize my experience. Both DENY my reality. Both DISMISS what I report - and that was even before the good portion of my journey began.

Healthy babies eat and grow. Failure to thrive babies have poor appetite, don't grow and are at increased risk for further health problems. And LUCK doesn't need to be investigated.

Food and babies are women's purview; it isn't "science" like runt pigs are science. Women things aren't taken as seriously, and the reports of those who care for children are obviously biased. Bottles and poopy diapers (input and output!) are not seen as "measurable data" -- if the baby won't eat, it is obviously the mom's fault (or so we tell ourselves). It is one of the many reasons I think "correctable nutritional deficiency" was totally missed BY MALE PHYSICIANS as a cause of neuromuscular problems for 50+ years, just like autism used to be blamed on mothers, or having sex on a holy day was obviously why children were born with problems we now know are related to Vitamin B9 (folic acid) deficiency or why tens of thousand of women died because physicians who didn't believe in germs wouldn't wash their hands, or an african american lab technician who invented heart surgery worked for a white guy who took all the credit.

Do I sound bitter? How about "aware" of my current reality? The rise of the expert makes it easy to ignore me when I beg for an investigation.

But....

If you don't know what it takes to make your grass green, and you don't know what your cows eat to make milk taste sweet, and you don't know how or why the contents of the quality "animal chow" has increased the life expectancy of your own dog, how can I honestly expect you to know what the FUCK you are talking about when it comes to nutritional issues with a premature baby?

Oh. You're a doctor. Got it.

I'm a mom.

And I'm LUCKY.

End Rant. Thank you for reading.

Nitwits & Why Physicians Lose Credibility

We have a lot of folks on DU who are "experts" on a lot of stuff, but one of the favorite topics is "woo." "Woo" is generally anything that has not gone through rigorous scientific testing and stringent peer reviewed studies.

Today the good folks at the "Annals of Internal Medicine" jumped in to the fray, and have published an editorial that has me personally pissed off six ways to Sunday because they just don't know what they are talking about when it comes to nutrition.

Yeah, I said it, and I stand by it.

Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

...Despite sobering evidence of no benefit or possible harm...

(snip)

The large body of accumulated evidence has important and public health and clinical implications. Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation, and we should translate null and negative findings into action. The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided…The evidence also has implications for research. Anti-oxidants, folic acid, and B vitamins are harmful or ineffective for chronic disease prevention, and further large prevention trials are no longer justified…With respect to multivitamins, the studies published in this issue and previous trials indicate no substantial health benefit.

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1789253


Well, there you have it - pregnant women everywhere, stop taking your prenatal vitamins and folic acid because all of the research that showed good things was just a joke. Oh, and the Vitamin K shot stuff that has been doing what for babies? Ha! A "well nourished" baby needs no such thing! And all of you crazy veterinarians who have been dealing with "what does it take to grow healthy livestock" - you must be imagining THIRTY PLUS YEARS OF RESULTS because the hallowed authorities have spoken and the fact they don't know what they are talking about is completely beside the point!!!



Did I mention I am PISSED?

Many of you know my story. For those who don't, let me share. My husband and I went through eight years of infertility treatments that included three miscarriages. If the doctors said jump, we asked how high. If they said needles would help (drugs or acupuncture), into my body they went. You name it - pineapple juice, standing on my head, quacking like a duck - I was there. I also saw a guy with a PhD in CLINICAL NUTRITION, and followed his instructions for my prenatal supplements: a good quality easily digestible multivitamin, folic acid, zinc, and liquid trace minerals. And blessed be - I got pregnant with twins.

I am an anal retentive geek; I get "garbage in/garbage out" and I read the "what to eat for a healthy baby" books, especially the one about "how to eat if you are pregnant with multiples." And I tried - except I had hyperemisis the whole pregnancy, which meant "non-stop, put you in the hospital vomiting" and instead of gaining weight, I lost it, which was Very Bad. Then I ended up with pre-eclampsia, we all almost died, and my babies came two months early.

My daughter was born at 3 lbs 15.6 ounces, and my son was born at 4 lbs 3.5 ounces. Those are good weights for that gestational age, especially for twins, and a little surprising for the medical problems I was facing. We did the NICU trauma - 13 days for my son, and 19 for my daughter, who came home on oxygen and a heart monitor - and since I couldn't get them to latch, I pumped every three hours for two months.

And then I couldn't physically do it anymore, and had to switch to formula.

"Studies show breast milk is best for babies" and I knew that. My twins were at increased risk of neuromuscular issues due to their prematurity, and anything I could do to decrease those odds (since we had been living on the bad side of the odds for a very long time at this point) was important to me. But I honest to God could not physically do it because of absolute and utter exhaustion at a level I can barely describe. And I had a small breakdown in the middle of my kitchen, crying and praying because these children were the most important thing in my life, and I was failing them - first I couldn't eat right while I was pregnant, then I couldn't keep them safe inside of me, and now I couldn't "not sleep" so I could feed them. And for reasons unknown, as I was mixing their bottles with the polyvisol and liquid iron (baby vitamins and the iron was for anemia issues), I saw the liquid trace minerals I had been continuing to take while nursing, remembered a lecture about chickens getting 25% bigger than other chickens, and went, "well, it couldn't hurt" AND THEN I ADDED 3ml once a day to their bottles.

Two months later I had "normal" 14 pound four month old babies. By six months old, they were top of the growth charts for full term babies, and then they started meeting or beating their milestones as if they were full term babies.

Those of you who know anything about preemies are probably either surprised or skeptical. I have pictures and doctor reports. Honestly, it was somewhere between eight months and a year before I started getting how unusual this was - I had been told "preemies usually catch up" but didn't know it wasn't supposed to happen until they were one to two years old. And I suspected the trace minerals had helped and shared that information with my doctors; no one was interested.

The twins turned two, and I decided to push for an investigation. I contacted over FIFTY different organizations, physicians, research facilities, the NIH, formula manufacturers - anyone I could think of, I called. I put together a PowerPoint presentation, and over and over again I asked, "please investigate this - I think it is important!" People were happy we had such good results, especially because so many preemies don't, and everyone agreed "someone should investigate that."

We were formally diagnosed as "lucky."

In 2009 I complained about it here on DU, and the explanation was found in the "Textbook of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition" on page 631 - “ are at increased risk for developing trace mineral deficiencies... because accretion of trace minerals takes place during the last trimester of pregnancy." In addition to explaining what happened with my children, it also explained why preemies get "caught up" between one and two years of age, because that is when they start eating "real food" which has the missing micronutrients in it.

I went back to every single scientist, physician, organization, etc. showed them the textbook, AND NOTHING HAPPENED. Apparently I had given birth to miraculous mutants.

It got worse. We started the "Preemie Growth Project", provided the trace minerals to 17 more preemie babies (crappy documentation because honestly expected other people to take over), and they ALSO "caught up" in 2-4 months.

Yawn.

Ah, then Jordan's baby happened - 9 months old, weighing 12 pounds, diagnosed as a "floppy baby", she was told he would receive his formal cerebral palsy diagnosis when he was two, but she needed to begin preparing herself for him to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. She gave him 15 mls a day, and two months later he weighed 22 pounds, took his first steps, and currently has no cerebral palsy symptoms - woo hoo! THAT is a big deal, right?

My fifty folks didn't even blink. "Misdiagnosed."

The twins were 5 when "the Neighbor Girl" incident occurred. She was 9 years old, born a micro preemie, confined to a wheelchair, unable to use her hands to take care of herself, "failure to thrive" at 44 pounds, and unable to remember the alphabet. Her brother was five - my twins were five, and the family didn't do wine, so I gave them a bottle of the trace minerals.

June 8, 2012 - six weeks later - she was standing up, bending her fingers, could remember the alphabet, and weighed 50 pounds. I freaked out.

This time I documented. We put it on the web. We gave it away for free, and ended up with 271 children in 38 states and six countries. We ended up with "good data" on 162. 121 saw "dramatic measurable improvement" in at least three of the eight categories we tracked. They started eating. They became demonstrably stronger. Three reported CVI children responding to visual stimulation. Small skulls began to get bigger. Babies responded in as little as 72 hours. 74% of the chronic "failure to thrive" kids were no longer in that category within 90 days. Teeth grinding stopped. Chronic constipation went away. Sensory issues were "gone" by week 16. "Impossible" things kept happening - clonus went away for one child! - and every excited parent assured me their doctor was going to be very excited because this was a MIRACLE!

Not one phone call. Not ONE.

These are busy people. Nutritional supplements are a waste of time and money. Just because the vets use them doesn't mean humans need them, right?

ARGH!!!

I don't sell this stuff. There are multiple brands on the market, and while I have my favorite, they all seem to work.

Apparently, you NEED the trace minerals TO GROW BRAINS. Also muscles, and a few other things, too. Children with deficiencies have neuromuscular issues. Correct the deficiencies, and the kids get better.

Oh, and it has to be done ORALLY (which is why TPN in the NICU isn't doing it), and liquid on an empty stomach seems to get the best results.

For babies, you just add it to their bottles. For children, mix it with juice. It tastes nasty. We've documented the pattern of improvement pretty clearly, and people know within two months if they are going to get a magical "lucky" diagnosis.

There is more - so much more! - and I have a list of unanswered questions, including why it only seems to help four out of five kids.

Apparently, I am "peddling woo." According to the experts, all of this is imaginary, and could be attributed to the placebo effect. Babies *always* respond to the placebo effect - and children, too!



At the end if the day, I have to make my best decisions for the benefit of myself and my family. I need to decide if the good folks at the "Annals of Internal Medicine" know what they are talking about. I have to decide if they understand the importance of a DIGESTIBLE multi-vitamin, or the differences in efficacy that can be found with a liquid form when there are issues with lower intestinal absorption. I have to figure out if they get that deficiencies can cascade, because zinc deficiencies can impact the appetite, which means you don't eat, which means you don't get what you need, which makes things even worse. Do they understand the role of biotin in Vitamin
B absorption? How about the estrogen/copper connection for young boys? Or the disastrous role of miralax and how it affects people with chronic neuromuscular issues?

I am guessing not. I find them to be "not credible."

And maybe I did indeed "get lucky" when the "scientific community" opted to ignore my story.

It isn't like they really seem to know their heads from a hole in the ground anyway.

Yep. I believe in "woo".


3 Strange But True Facts About Me.

1) I was once fired from a role as an African American psychic on a ghost hunting reality show before filming of the pilot began, and no, it wasn't because I am a corpse white Caucasian - I wasn't taking it "seriously" enough. (They were right - I wasn't. )

2) I am mostly responsible for a new theory about the possible cause, prevention, and treatment protocol for pediatric neuromuscular issues including cerebral palsy and sensory processing which is currently benefiting 83% of the children using the protocol.

3) I won a foreclosure battle against my bank!!! <== Yes, this is the one people will probably disbelieve the most!

Although the first two are fun stories, this post is really about the third.

We bought a house in mid-2008 right as the market started crashing. We used a "203k" construction loan to rebuild the worst house in a good neighborhood, with the expectation the loan would be refinanced when the construction was complete. (The construction interest rate was several points higher than a traditional mortgage, and standard practice involves refinancing when complete.) We went over budget, and depleted our financial reserves / went into substantial "unexpected debt". When we finished the construction, the bank delayed the refinancing for six months until the GM/Chrysler bankruptcies of Spring 2009 ended up with my husband being laid off for two months, which meant we no longer qualified for the refinance.

We began the "Loan Modification Process" in August of 2009. Yesterday - October 10, 2013 - I received the papers from the bank showing it was finally completed.

Our house was officially foreclosed incorrectly TWICE during this process, and reversed both times. We attempted to negotiate in good faith, spent over $36,000 in attorney fees, won $1,500 for them destroying my husband's credit, and had an idiot judge tell us there was nothing she could do to help us.

The *only* thing that saved us from being homeless was that I am an Anal-Retentive Detail Oriented person who was able to document over 275 communications between them and us, provide written proof of our veracity, and when I didn't get what I needed (them following the rules), I escalated.

Oh, and our case was identified by a HUD Auditor in December of 2010 who contacted us/documented the bank's "severe non-compliance", and we "blind cc'd" the faulty instructions to her for the next several months.

In August of 2012 the bank was instructed by FHA to halt all legal proceedings against us while they investigated. (We had sued them, and they decided to foreclose during litigation because we OBVIOUSLY weren't going to win.) The bank decided to ignore the FHA folks, and foreclosed on us a few weeks later. The bank was repeatedly instructed to provide documentation about our case, and they ignored it. We correctly concluded they were waiting for the "six month redemption period" in Michigan to elapse so we would have no legal standing.

Our attorneys told us repeatedly to "walk away" because no one *ever* beats the bank.

In December of 2012, in a final desperate bid to save our home, I sent 21 3-Ring Binders with documentation of our complaints to every single vice president of the bank in question, all attorneys involved, and all the way up the chain of command from our "FHA Housing Specialist" to the Assistant Secretary of HUD in Washington.

In January of 2013, the bureaucracy moved - not, I am convinced, because we were being screwed over, but because the bank was "ignoring" the people who were supposed to be overseeing them, and THAT was unacceptable.

(I'm good with that! )

In February of 2013 the (second) foreclosure was reversed with apologies for having been done "in error" and in April of 2013 the findings came back that there were "servicing errors identified."

FHA spanked the bank HARD. We didn't get a free house (we weren't trying to get one), and the fuss I raised did end up making a difference that I hope will help other home owners.

Oh, and they have to clean up my husband's credit, which is HUGE deal for us.

I was repeatedly told "no one had ever seen a case so well documented" - and yet, we still came within weeks of losing our home.

We weren't special. The screwing we were getting was standard procedure. We actually had the money to fight, the skills to document the situation, and the wit to know when to escalate.

The bottom line is that the bank only did the "right thing" because the government regulators forced them to do it.

We were lucky. I have talked to dozens of people who gave up, lost their homes, had their credit destroyed, and finally walked away because there was nothing else they could think of to do, and they needed to move on with their lives.

We came so close to that - and even at the end, it almost got screwed up.

Last month we sent in our final notarized paperwork, and the week we did that, the bank "outsourced" their loan modification process, which meant anyone who knew anything about our account was no longer employed, and our paperwork was in a box on the desk of someone who didn't work there anymore. (I felt bad. Oh, and they couldn't find my "authorization to discuss" again either, which is a whole story in itself.) Fortunately a little pressure from our Not Happy FHA person (did I mention the bank was instructed to comply in April and we were now in late September?), and things smoothed out fairly quickly.

I have the bank notarized completed paperwork next to me. It has a cover letter that is definitely personalized. The last two paragraphs say this:

...Your concerns have enabled us to update procedures and practices ensuring a better relationship with our customers now and in the future.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us directly. <== their underline


It is real. I beat the bank.

(Thanks to the government regulator who is currently on furlough because the government is shut down.)

It is over. We won.

I beat the bank.

Four days is about right. The math is working nicely. (No, it isn't secret.)

Remember this? "12 victims slain in Navy Yard shooting rampage; dead suspect ID'd" http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/16/us/dc-navy-yard-gunshots/index.html

It was Monday. I posted a thread on Tuesday with the subject "Another mass shooting? Yawn." http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023682882

In that thread I said this:

Condolences to the victims and their families. Prayers for the next ones - because based on the current realities, I predicate another "mass shooting/killing" within the next ten days or so.

(Look! I'm psychic! I can do math! 272 days since Newtown / 29 incidents of 4+ killed = average of 9.4 days! )


I *should* have predicted today's shooting, though. In the 272 days since Newtown (at the time of the post), there had been 84 incidents of "4 or more people shot" (which is the definition of a mass shooting).

272 / 84 = 3.238 which is basically four days.

One of today's headings is this:

"Boy, 3, among 13 injured in Chicago park shooting"
http://news.yahoo.com/boy-3-among-13-injured-chicago-park-shooting-081123625.html

CHICAGO (AP) — Thirteen people have been shot at a park on Chicago's southwest side, including a 3-year-old boy who was in critical condition, in what authorities say was likely a gang-related shooting.


Now, who will win next Tuesday's lottery? Based on the current math, it should be a big one, with at least four dead.

Will it be YOUR town?

Public Mea Culpa: I now support the NRA.

Specifically, the BLACK NRA.

http://www.upworthy.com/ever-wonder-what-a-double-standard-within-a-double-standard-looks-like

With a goal to "arm every young black man in the country, so they can do normal things like wear hoodies, walk in the rain, and buy Skittles," how can I NOT support this fine organization?

Seriously, HOW could I have been so wrong for so long?

Bravo, Sara Silverman and Black NRA. Bravo!





Another mass shooting? Yawn.

With respect to the most recent victims (and appropriate condolences, of course), these "isolated incidents" are becoming so common place that the "once a month crime spree du jour" is becoming a staple of the news media.

Everyone is SHOCKED - simply SHOCKED - because it happened AGAIN.

Where *is* the fainting couch?

Remember this, back oh-so-long-ago in December, 2012?

http://www.thenation.com/blog/171774/fifteen-us-mass-shootings-happened-2012-84-dead#

Sixteen US Mass Shootings Happened in 2012, Leaving at Least 88 Dead

Today’s nearly indescribable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, where twenty-seven people, including eighteen children, were shot to death inside an elementary school, is at least the sixteenth mass shooting to take place in America this year. The death toll is now at eighty-four.

Here is a list of every fatal mass shooting that’s taken place since January 1—defined as multi-victim shootings where those killed were chosen indiscriminately. The tragedies took place at perfectly random places—at churches, movie theatres, soccer tournaments, spas, courthouses and, now, an elementary school. But given the frequency of these awful events, perhaps in the long view their occurrence isn’t so random after all—it’s predictable.

(then lists sixteen of them, ending with Newtown, CT)


Well, it was NINE MONTHS AGO - and lots of things have changed since then, right? Except they really haven't.

Over on Reddit, they have a list of 246 mass shootings (defined as "4 or more people SHOT") so far this year, but personally, I think a "mass shooting" should only get counted if people get killed, which brings the "number of times four or more people were killed" down to 29 mass shootings in 2013. If we think of it as "only 29 so far" instead of 246, then we only have to worry about 137 dead people, instead of 327 dead people, and we can totally ignore the 857 people who were "just injured."

http://www.reddit.com/r/GunsAreCool/wiki/2013massshootings
MASS SHOOTINGS IN 2013

The most obscene gun related killing surprisingly often doesn't make the mainstream news at all.

The only requirement is that four or more people are shot in a spree. This may include the gunman himself (because they often suicide by cop or use a gun to kill themselves to escape punishment), or police shootings of civilians around the gunman. The reasoning behind the latter being that if the shooter is arrested, he will often be charged with injuring people the police actually shot, as that is a foreseeable result of a shooting spree.

We count the number shot rather than the number killed because people are still shot by a gun whether they survive or not. The gun lobby benefits from our ability to save those who would otherwise die, even though those gun shot victims will never be the same. The NRA exports their medical costs to society which often pays the costs for the medical care of the wounded. We refuse to ignore the victims of gun violence who survive shooting sprees.


Obviously the number of "mass shootings" has nothing to do with the weapons, right? Because only a fool would think giving someone (usually a man) the ability to KILL LARGE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WITHOUT RELOADING was a "bad idea" -- heck, if you ask the NRA or their supporters, they would point out that knives and baseball bats kill more people, and everyone should be able to defend themselves against crazy felons with guns.

I have been an office worker since 1984. Earlier this year my workplace - for the first time *EVER* in my career - had me participate in a mandatory "Active Shooter Event Safety Training." My six-year olds have been in "school lockdown" more times than I can count to the point where we don't even notice anymore, and I don't *ever* remember dealing with that while I was growing up. Tornado drills, fire drills and pop quizzes - yes. "Mandatory School Lockdown" situations - no.

So, pardon me if I yawn through the tragic news reports of the latest one du jour. Most of them don't even seem to get any attention unless they shoot in the double digits (7 so far this year!), and the gun nuts think the second amendment gives them the right to roam local department stores with AR-15's strapped on their back (remember this thread? http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022218233), so UNTIL WE DECIDE TO TAKE AWAY THE ABILITY TO FIRE MORE THAN A FEW ROUNDS AT A TIME (and I will let the gun nuts earnestly explain why that isn't possible or necessary), instead of the breathless ratings driven television reportage, I'm going to re-watch the helpful hints in this old thread:

"RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Situation." http://www.democraticunderground.com/12623980

Condolences to the victims and their families. Prayers for the next ones - because based on the current realities, I predicate another "mass shooting/killing" within the next ten days or so.

(Look! I'm psychic! I can do math! 272 days since Newtown / 29 incidents of 4+ killed = average of 9.4 days! )

Got an awesome email today, and it made me cry happy tears.

Is there a smilie for that?

Just wanted to say that CHILD looks the best ever ............even today............ three days after a 7 hour operation on both of her hips to put them into sockets........... tuesday......... she got released on the time frame of a "normal child" not a medically fragile child on a vent........ she needed little to no pain meds and she is as up and about as you can get in a spica........... she looks awesome

all that have seen her over the last two years and even those who told me she would not make her first and then her second birthday were surprised!!!!

(snip) she is eating a little food and getting real drinks through her tube........ so thanks for everything and making me do what I knew best!


So, to recap, THIS MOM does all the work of taking care of her child, and she takes the time to say nice things TO ME in the middle of dealing with a child recovering from surgery.



I am so happy for her - she told me she lost count of the doctors who told her there was no hope. And I didn't even *do* anything (except running the Project, but seriously, that is NOT as much work as parenting a child with special needs, even though I probably whine more).

Awesome parents make me happy. And I cannot tell you how happy I am that this little girl is doing so well!!!



Earlier I was growling about infant mortality and measles and the impossibility of life in general. Now I am feeling hopeful again.

I think I figured out to help fix heart failure. I deserve an attagirl.

I told my husband, and he said "well, duh!" He didn't even seem that impressed. I think it is kind of a big deal.

Meanwhile, as the brainstorm hit, I let loose a string of obscenities because HOW COULD I NOT HAVE FIGURED THIS OUT ALREADY???

So, here it is: one of the factors we can't control for heart disease is "heredity" - in other words, if you have a family history of heart disease, you are at increased risk for it. (Duh.) Things you can control include your diet, your weight, your exercise level, smoking, etc. (Yes, everyone knows this.) But everyone agrees you can't control your family history - it is what it is.

Now, the hypothesis we have been investigating is that certain forms of neuromuscular issues, including cerebral palsy and sensory processing issues, are caused by micronutrient deficiencies either caused by prematurity/IUGR, maternal deficiency, exposure to teratogens and/or childhood absorption issues during periods of rapid growth. Bluntly, it looks like there was some confusion as to which came first in the classic "chicken versus egg" issue, and it looks like the micronutrient deficiencies occur FIRST (before the "brain damage"), and the "symptoms" include hyperspastic / hypotonic symptoms, developmental delays, sensory processing issues and failure to thrive (among others). More importantly, correcting these deficiencies (really easy to do and cheap - NO I DO NOT SELL THIS STUFF) for four out of five children appears to result in dramatic improvement / reduction of these issues, with added bonuses of improved cognitive and communication skills, too (and ADD/ADHD symptoms reportedly decreasing in many cases).

There is more to all of this but I am trying to explain it all in its most basic terms, which comes to this:

Nutrition matters, especially when pregnant; the guidelines include "healthy food" like spinach and eggs and lean meats NOT just because of the calories, but because of what is in them - the vitamins *and* the minerals. (But sometimes it doesn't matter what you eat - see IUGR; not trying to "blame" anyone for anything here - the baby needs what the baby needs, and if they don't get it, bad things happen.)

So I am mentally working on my presentation which I have to do soon, and I start thinking about "other applications". The kids who are improving are seeing increased strength (it begins with head/neck and trunk, then spreads to extremities). With the babies, it is easy to see because *everyone* knows the order of milestones, so when a baby *isn't* meeting them (reaching out, supporting head, sitting up/turning over, etc.) it is obvious, and an immediate cause for parental anxiety. Plus "failure to thrive" is *really* an easy thing to identify, and I am trying to put stuff together in a coherent way to show how easy zinc deficiencies can be tested, and politely point out if a child won't eat (usually zinc) and is on medications that cause problems (miralax and antacids) with absorption, then odds are good they aren't ONLY deficient in the ONE or TWO things they were tested for because they are probably deficient in a whole bunch of OTHER things too (because that is how these things work). Anyway, for the children who respond, the babies are usually quick with gaining healthy weight and milestones are great measurable, while the older children (pre-puberty) who also respond see the same pattern of bowel change/appetite increase/weight/strength/etc. When it works *really well* the "symptom" of "weak muscles" goes away. (Example: one child at age five required assistance going up and down a flight of stairs; six weeks on the protocol he was climbing the monkey bars - it doesn't work that fast for every kid, and it doesn't even *work* for every kid, but -- I digress.)

So, I am mentally working on the "other applications" for future research *if* this continues to pan out the way it looks like it is going to - trust me when I say this level of breakthrough is a big deal, and the amount of skepticism and double checking that *needs* to happen is well warranted and beginning. It can get frustrating at times, but ANYWAY --

Muscles get stronger. THE HEART IS A FRIGGING MUSCLE!!! And we know (as well documented in the veterinary research) nutritional deficits during pregnancy impact two generations down in health.

So, if "heart disease" runs in families, that probably means the "families" all eat the same types of food from the same regions (which may or may not contain all of the micronutrients required for optimal health depending on the quality of the food supply available). And we also *know* that the ability to *absorb* some of these micronutrients decreases with age / quality of intestinal flora, etc. which means the ability to *absorb* the micronutrients from the food supply is impacted, too.

Which means if we "know" there is a family history of heart disease, and someone has a "weak heart" and if micronutrient deficiency issues really *ARE* involved (because I could be wrong), then correcting the deficiency *may* increase the strength of the heart muscle Just Like It Is Doing For (83% of) My Neuro Kids.

It isn't just the calories. It is what is IN THEM that counts. Food matters - and the food your grandmother had access to may account for "heart disease" -- and *maybe* if we identify and correct these deficiencies (which can be helped by looking at "family history") then *maybe* we can help fix heart failure.

It may be a "duh!" moment to my husband (who has been forced to listen to this stuff for the last several years!), but I think I deserve an "attagirl."

Yeah, me!

Sigh. I do not have time for this. Back to work....

And I just blew my stack at an old friend about the Zimmerman case.

My old friend is a Libertarian. He was a "Reagan Republican" but recovered during the Bush years (who he hated). He is an equal opportunity politician hater, if you know the type. He is a good guy, and he delights in intellectual arguments. We've clashed before -- we do NOT discuss guns -- and we've been on the same side about a lot of other stuff, with abortion and gay rights being top on the list.

Today he posted an idiotic facebook thing about "Trayvon Martin" versus "Marley Lion": both 17 year old teens killed while engaging in innocent activity by opposite race men.

Trayvon is black. Marley is white.

The facebook thing stated Marley didn't get any press coverage, and asked "what's the difference?" with the clear implication race was the issue. My old friend then followed up the discussion with comments about how liberals weren't outraged over Marley, and MSNBC talking heads didn't cry, and how the President didn't talk about Marley (while he talked about Trayvon).

And I blew my stack BIG TIME.

I found two articles without even trying (blunt lie about no media coverage right off the bat) about how the police were actively pursing the murder of Marley (as opposed to treating Trayvon like he deserved it) and posted this

http://www.abcnews4.com/story/18829994/he-was-a
"Chief Mullen said that while they know Lion was at a house party earlier in the night and apparently drinking, that is not their focus as of now. He says they are doing everything they can in the police agency to solve the murder of the recent Academic Magnet graduate and bring the shooter to justice."


and pointed out the DIFFERENCE in reaction to the black boy ("deserved it" and Zimmerman hailed as a hero to some) while the white boy had police wanting to "bring the shooter to justice".

I got madder, especially after I found this:

http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/TheBattery/archives/2012/07/31/four-arrested-in-marley-lion-murder
"Charleston police have arrested four people in connection with the June 16 shooting of 17-year-old Marley Lion in a West Ashley parking lot. The arrests came Monday after a six-week investigation that involved surveillance video enhancement from the Secret Service and an undercover gun-buying operation with help from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives."


I told my old friend if he didn't understand the difference in the two cases, he was part of the problem. That it was PURE RACISM, and his little picture trying to pretend the two were the same was insulting as all hell. And I told him to back off.

We were both typing so quickly, we probably didn't even have time to respond to each other before the next comment was made. He really felt the two were the same, and then he said Trayvon was a criminal when he started bashing Zimmerman's head into the cement, and I said I believed Zimmerman had the gun out already, which meant Trayvon was defending himself, which is what DECENT people believe, and I wasn't going to tolerate RACISM on my page.

For the record, my old friend has NEVER displayed a racist temperament EVER. For him, I really think he was just indulging in an intellectual exercise, and not understanding just how much of a BEYOND push button issue this is for me. Plus, Zimmerman was found "not guilty" so Trayvon must have deserved it, right?

I'm white. I am so freaking white, I practically glow in the dark. But I have a "mixed" nephew who is 15 years old, and a "mixed" niece who is 8, and I love them, and if Zimmerman had killed one of them, the trial would be mine because I would kill that son-of-a-bitch in a heart beat, and then dance on his blood splattered body while cursing his name to the heavens.

And yes, I know that isn't a nice thing to say, and I pray for the love of all that is holy I *NEVER* have to deal with this type of a situation, but you kill a kid - MY KID - and you god damned DESERVE the crazy.

Trayvon could have been my family member. I am still in mourning about this. Hell, I am still in mourning for a list of children this country seems to have mostly forgotten who went to kindergarten one morning, and never came home because they were in body bags by the end of the day, but that perpetrator is dead. Trayvon's killer is still at large, and this MATTERS because he wasn't the first, and he isn't even the last.

Something has to change.

As a society, we have made a bargain: I give up my right to a blood feud, and my community ensures justice on behalf of me and my loved ones. I am not as strong as a man - it is a reality - and I am not a violent person (despite the imagery I invoke in hyperbole). If I had to kill the meat I eat, I would be a vegetarian; yes, I know it is hypocritical, but welcome to my world. I have to trust the system.

When the system fails, it has to be fixed.

Pretending a dead white boy whose killers will be sent to jail is the same as a dead black boy whose killer is being hailed as a hero are the same thing -- it offends my sense of honor because it is a lie.

They were both boys. Neither should be dead. Both should have justice.

And it shouldn't happen to another child.

But we all know it will.

I call them my "Moses Moments."

The times when I feel completely overwhelmed, frustrated, ineffectual, and whiny.

"Why me, God?" (Yes, I believe in an entity bigger than myself who has an amused awareness of A Grand Plan, and I don't want to argue about it on this thread.)

"Why ME?"

(Yes, God gets a lot of my whinier moments. If you want perfect, this isn't the thread for you.)

"Couldn't you have picked someone better qualified for this?"

(Sometimes I feel like an idiot who just likes to bang her head against a wall in a very ineffectual manner.)

"I am VERY BUSY - I am OVERWHELMED - I don't know how to climb this unclimbable mountain to complete this IMPOSSIBLE task!"

(Apparently I believe God needs to be lectured sometimes, because God needs things like this explained.)

"What were You thinking when You plopped this situation into my lap? I am not rich, I am not powerful, I am NOBODY in the grand scheme of things, and I think maybe You Screwed Up when You decided I could handle this! I mean, do You just ENJOY watching me jump through hoops? Is that it? Is watching me FAIL at something this important just some kind of character building exercise?"

(I do not always think God understands just how challenging my life is sometimes; I am not always convinced "omniscient" applies when it comes to my life.)

"I am doing the best I can - or really close to my best - oh, God, I think this IS my best, and I am SCREWING IT ALL UP! I don't know what to do! AAARRRGGGHHH!"

"Help, please."

I have "Moses Moments" on a regular basis with a wide variety of topics: my parenting, my spousing, my job, my volunteer work - you name it, and I have whined about it. Frankly, I am sometimes unsure of how I manage to stumble through a day sometimes, but honestly, I have been blessed with so much in the way of opportunities and choices, I am simply in awe of how amazingly lucky I am. My children are healthy, my husband is loving, my job is interesting, my volunteer work is rewarding, I have food, shelter, a running vehicle, and education.

Seriously, I still whine, even though I don't have a lot of "real" problems to whine about.

It is kind of embarrassing.

Ramadan begins soon; I will be fasting for thirty days while working to keep "an attitude of gratitude" for the many good things I have in my life. I will be feeling hunger as I drive by restaurants and grocery stores filled with an abundance of food, feeling thirsty in buildings where clean water comes from a tap, and spending time with people I love and care about daily.

I will also be whining because this year's "sunrise to sunset" fasting means getting up for breakfast at 4:00 am and eating supper after 9:00 pm which is going to be a very long, challenging thirty days.

It is going to be HARD, and I am not sure I can do it. It is summertime, and it gets hot out there. Plus I *hate* getting up early. And besides....

I warned you this thread wasn't full of me being perfect. I will be praying my favorite prayer a lot:

"Help, please."
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