Category Archives: Health

Republicans: Put Up or Shut Up

H/T to Terra Sears, author of Addicted to Research.

I felt the urge to stand up and cheer after this! You absolutely must see it!

Rep. Anthony Weiner on healthcare:


On the Ball

My back hurts constantly. Stretching helps, but sometimes I just can’t seem to stretch enough. I’ve imagined that doing back-bends would feel good, but I wouldn’t dare try it for fear of paralyzing or killing myself.

Then I thought a yoga ball might be just the thing!

I rarely spend money on things I don’t absolutely need because, quite frankly, I rarely have it to spend. yogaball-main_thumb2But as I was walking into Walmart this afternoon, right at the entrance where they display various sale items, was a shelf full of yoga balls in just my size. The balls come with an exercise guide and an air pump, and they were on sale for only $10! I couldn’t pass it up!

I managed to ease myself into the position illustrated here and it was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. It stretched not only my back, but my neck and chest as well. It felt great!

I’ll probably be a little sore, as with any new exercise or stretching routine, but this could be just the thing for me.

I’m thinking about getting one of these next. My butt would love me!


Marijuana Treats Fibromyalgia

Since I’m always looking for ways to manage pain, I wonder how I missed this:

Marijuana-based Drug Reduces Fibromyalgia Pain, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2008) — Patients with fibromyalgia treated with a synthetic form of marijuana, nabilone, showed significant reductions in pain and anxiety in a first-of-its-kind study, published in The Journal of Pain.

Fibromyalgia syndrome has no cure, is difficult to diagnose, and effective pain management strategies are a must to help patients cope with the disease. An estimated 12 million Americans have fibromyalgia, which is characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain and myriad other symptoms.[…]

The drug was well tolerated by treated patients, which the authors characterized as reassuring since fibromyalgia patients are sensitive to most medications and have difficulty tolerating side effects. The downside, however, is cost. In Canada, nabilone would cost about $4,000 for a year’s supply.

SceinceDaily

Kind of makes me wish pot was legal. Wonder how much it goes for these days.

I should probably say, just so there’s absolutely no misunderstanding about this: I would never use an illegal substance! Not even if it would take away my pain, and not even if I thought said substance should be legal. I simply would not risk losing my child over it.

Interesting article, though.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


You Look Fine To Me

I have mentioned on a few occasions that I have a condition which causes chronic pain. I hesitate to talk much about it, though, because the condition I’ve been diagnosed with is often misunderstood; some people don’t even believe it exists.

I look fine, after all.

There is no test for fibromyalgia. The diagnosis is made after every other suspected illness has been ruled out.

You can’t see fibromyalgia. I can’t point to a specific injury so you can get an idea of how much I may be hurting. But it hurts all the time. Some days are better than others, but I hurt every day of my life, all day long, to varying degrees.

Sometimes it feels like a burning ache all over my body. Other times it’s a dull, throbbing pain throughout. At its worst, I’ve described it to Mike as the sensation that my muscles are trying to strangle my bones. It’s deep and excruciating. So much so that simply standing and walking across the room can cause me to cry out in pain.

Even when sitting comfortably with a heating pad, sometimes just holding a book or a cup of tea is out of the question. My hands either hurt too much or they just don’t have the strength to hold on. If the fibromyalgia itself isn’t bad enough, I also have osteoarthritis in my spine and various other joints, to further complicate things.

Over the counter medications offer very little relief, if they even help at all. The only prescription medications that have ever given me enough relief to make the cost worthwhile were narcotics, and I simply can’t live like that.

It’s finally starting to get good and cold for us Texans, and the weather aggravates the pain, which means I’m going to have a hard time working this week. My office chair broke long ago, and sitting in this stiff kitchen chair is about to make me scream.

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Flare-ups like the one I feel coming on also cause concentration problems, so it’s difficult to focus on exactly what I’m trying to say. Maybe I’d better just hit the sack before it gets any worse.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Abstain If You Will

I have written several posts about my opposition to abstinence-only-until-marriage “education”. I oppose these programs for a variety of reasons based on strong evidence and sound reasoning. Today I would like to discuss the subject of abstinence until marriage from a slightly different angle.

I have never intentionally implied, nor would I want it said, that I oppose abstinence. Well, I oppose it for myself, but I’m a forty-two year old woman who is well-informed, mature and responsible enough to make that choice. Oh, and I’m married, but as you may already know, marriage is not a deciding factor for me when it comes to making decisions about sex.

What other people choose to do or not do, and under what circumstances, is their own business, though. And that is the subject of this post.

According to an article by Julie Sternberg, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, by age 20, 75% of Americans have had sex without being married. By age 40, that number increases to 95%. Premarital sex is a cultural norm in the U.S. — and has been for decades.

That said, it has never been my intention to criticize those who do choose to abstain until marriage. If that is important and right for you, then that’s what you should do. But you should also realize that your choice is not based on science or facts, but on your personal values and ideologies that may not be shared by the next person — and that’s OK!

We are all entitled to our own views about sex and marriage, and to make our own choices about them. But what abstinence-only-until-marriage programs try to do is take moral and religious ideology and dress it up as science in an attempt to frighten, control and manipulate people into following a religious moral code. That is what I have a problem with, rather than with people abstaining for personal reasons.

Abstain, if you will. You don’t need to explain or justify it to anyone. It is your choice, and your choice alone. You don’t even need a reason, much less a bunch of factually incorrect reasons. And if you abstain because of your religious beliefs or your faith; because God says premarital sex is a sin, shouldn’t that be enough?

It seems to me that you do your faith a huge injustice and undermine your god by attempting to justify your decision in some other way. Especially when that way is a lie.

Bottom line: do it, or don’t. I support your right to make that choice for yourself. But don’t lie about it, and don’t try to impose your moral code or religious principles on me or my child, especially not on my tax dime.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Abstinence Or Orgies: The Eternal Dilemma

The subject of abstinence-only-until-marriage “education” seems to be rearing its ignorant little head again.

In Abstinence-Only: Stop The Madness! I wrote about my reasons for opposing abstinence-only programs. One of my reasons is that they are thinly-veiled religious programs to promote an ideology which encompasses ignoring and even lying about the facts regarding condoms and other forms of contraception.

I said it then, and I say it now, aside from religious ideology, there is no basis for teaching abstinence only until marriage. I invited readers to enlighten me; to give me one measly little logical reason to reserve sex for marriage.

To date, no one has been able to do so.

I’ve been given reasons to abstain which I agree with. I’ve been given reasons to abstain until adulthood which I agree with. And yet, despite efforts both here and on other forums, no one has been able to explain the mystical power of marriage contracts that allegedly protects against unwanted pregnancy or STDs.

Before you decide to take me on and show me the error of my ways, I recommend reading the comments section under the above-linked post. It could very likely save us both a lot of time.

While I want to avoid getting too long-winded and repeating every point I’ve posted on the subject, there are a few things I would like to address again.

The first is the apparent confusion towards those of us who want to provide comprehensive sex education for our children. You see, there are a lot of people who seem to think that it’s the same thing as telling our children to go and have all the sex they possibly can as if it’s all or nothing, abstinence or orgies, with no other possibilities.

Some people seem to sincerely believe that there are only two options we can give our children in regard to having sex: to have none at all, not ever, or to have indiscriminate sex any time, any place, with anyone at all. It’s really a rather bizarre and disturbing train of thought, isn’t it?

This subject seems to generate some pretty weird questions, too: “So, when you’re telling your son how wonderful sex is, do you plan to also tell him that sex can lead to pregnancy and STD’s? Huh? Huh? Do you? Huh?”

Well, garsh! I don’t know. I mean, in the context of talking to my child about sex, it hadn’t actually crossed my mind to mention pregnancy and STD’s. Good thing I’m surrounded by geniuses who can remind me that I might want to mention that little tidbit somewhere between buying his condoms and taking him to cruise the red-light district.

Engage your brains, people! You’re posing this ridiculous and redundant question to someone who consistently emphasizes the importance of teaching kids about condoms and other forms of contraceptives! In what context would these things be discussed, if not in the context of discussing pregnancy and STD’s?

“Look at these pretty red condoms, Honey! This should really put her in the mood!”

“Oh, let’s get these pills! They look just like smarties! And be sure and tell all the boys! They’ll start beating down your door!”

Of course I’m talking about pregnancy and STDs! Good grief! The fact that you’re even asking this only serves to confirm what I’ve suspected all along: that you’re not reading all the words, or you can’t or won’t comprehend them.

And people always seem so earnest in their questioning. Why, just this morning I logged in to find this little gem:

Are you going to teach your son also, that if he gets a woman pregnant to make sure he is a father figure in that child’s life for the rest of his own life? Are you going to teach him to take responsibility for one night stands? Are you going to have these discussions with him?

I hope you will.

Nah, I thought I’d just hand him a box of condoms, point him toward the nearest brothel and wish him the best of luck.

You really should read the rest of that comment as well as my response, if only for the entertainment value.

Once again, for the record: I have no intention of encouraging my son to have sex. I have consistently stated that I will encourage abstinence, first and foremost. But I will not treat sex like it’s something shameful, and I absolutely refuse to promote the lie that marriage contracts are more effective than condoms in guarding against STDs or unwanted pregnancy.

I can guarantee you that when the time comes for my son to make the decision of whether or not to have sex, he will be able to do so based on complete and accurate information. And you know what else? If he has doubts or questions, or just needs to talk, I’ll betcha he comes to Mike or me. Unfortunately, those parents who shut the door on the communication with their No sex, end of discussion mantra won’t be able to say the same.

I wonder where their kids will go looking for information.

Posted by Lottie – Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


The Brilliance Of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, so-called advocate for the disabled and children with special needs, doesn’t seem to know a whole heck of a lot about the cause she’s supposedly so committed to.

Am I in the middle of a nightmare that won’t end, or did this idiot just mock fruit fly research in the context of discussing how to help special needs children?

Good Gawd! Does this woman read anything besides bibles and teleprompters?

Fruit Fly Research Illuminates Human Health, by Alison Davis

Decades of study have revealed that the tiny insects, which bear little resemblance to people, nevertheless share much of our genetic heritage. Fruit flies possess strikingly similar versions of the genes that promote normal human development and, when altered, contribute to disease.

The NIH Record

And there’s more:

Fruit Fly Research Set To Revolutionize Study Of Birth Defects

ScienceDaily (Nov. 22, 2005) — A Queen’s University study of fruit flies that may revolutionize the way birth defects are studied has identified the genes affected by a widely prescribed drug known to cause birth defects.

Science Daily

But it gets even better:

Specific Brain Protein Required For Nerve Cell Connections To Form And Function

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for these nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

Science Daily

After saying that “no bureaucracy should stand in the way of special needs kids” she mocks the very research that benefits special needs kids and suggests that funding for it be cut or eliminated. According to Palin, it’s money wasted on a “political pet project that really [doesn’t] make a whole lot of sense” and “has little or nothing to do with the public good”.

Fucking brilliant!

Richard Wolfe, says to Keith Olbermann:

Keith, I’m going to be as restrained and measured as I possibly can about this. This is the most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment we have seen from Governor Palin so far, and there’s been a lot of competition for that prize.

Please watch this short clip to hear Richard explain precisely why this is Palin’s worst blunder to date:

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


Psychopathy: Up Close And Personal

Have you ever known a psychopath? I have, and I’m not using the term flippantly. While I’m certainly no expert in the usual sense of the word, my experience was up close and personal, for an extended period of time. With that and several years of intense personal research, I am reasonably certain about my ‘diagnosis’.

I have attempted on several occasions to write about my experiences, but I’ve never been able to do so coherently because this person’s behavior was so utterly bizarre that it seemed impossible to convey the full impact of it with mere words.

Psychopaths have no conscience and are incapable of feeling compassion or empathy. They are smooth operators, master manipulators and liars; the one I knew lied like healthy people breathe. They live exclusively for themselves, and no-one — no-one — else matters. They are the center of the universe, and everyone else exists solely for their benefit and pleasure. They are entitled to take whatever they want, including but not limited to your sanity, often for no reason apart from their own personal amusement. Continue reading


Thirty Day Experiment

I haven’t told you about our other blog yet, have I? It’s called Thirty Day Experiment. Here’s the idea taken from our About page, written by Mike:

The reason for the existence of the 30 Day Experiment is for us to challenge ourselves to live a little differently. If we can spend thirty days living in a way which is significantly different to the way we would live normally, maybe we can find it in ourselves to be ready to make positive changes and grow with time.

And, of course, it makes for some interesting blogging material!

The aim is to take one aspect of our lives, which must be fundamental in character like eating, and radically change something for a month. That’s it. We will record our thoughts, actions and reactions over the course of this time and hopefully leave an interesting document behind us.

We started this on September 1st, so this thirty day experiment is nearly over. Mike is living as a vegan and I have been doing yoga every day.

Yoga bendingThe reason yoga is so significant for me is because I have a medical condition which causes chronic joint and muscle pain. Mild exercise is good for me, but doing even a little too much can aggravate it and land me in bed for several days. Finding just the right balance and not crossing that very fine line can be quite difficult, but I think I’ve found it in a fifteen minute daily yoga routine for beginners.

I had planned to post daily updates like Mike does, but I quickly discovered that there’s not a lot to say about yoga on a daily basis, aside from the fact that I’ve done it. I’ve tried to post at least once a week, though, and my whopping six entries can be found here (read from the bottom of the page to the top for chronological order, of course).

Mike, on the other hand has been posting faithfully and I’m impressed with how well he’s doing. In his entries, you’ll find recipes, cooking tips, nutritional information and a lot of other interesting and useful stuff related to Veganism. You might be surprised at the many things you can do with tofu, and the many ways you can get a ‘meat fix’ when you want one.

I’m not sure what direction we’ll take at the end of this month. I’m a little bored with my yoga at this point, to be honest. But I know I need something, and with my condition I’m afraid to try anything else. If it works, don’t fix it, you know? But we’ll see how it goes and let you know when we decide. Suggestions are welcome, of course.

Thanks for following along.

Posted by Lottie — Copyright © 2008 Rambling On


The Atheist Experience: Best Caller Ever

What is The Atheist Experience?

The Atheist Experience is a weekly cable access television show in Austin, Texas geared at a non-atheist audience. Every week we field live calls from atheists and believers alike, and you never know what you’re going to get! Sometimes it can get quite feisty indeed! You don’t want to miss it.

I actually sat back in my chair and applauded for this caller! Check it out:

Continue reading