Friday, June 21, 2019

I Came Out of the Closet,( But didn’t get very far)


Image by Paul Sprengers from Pixabay

When I was growing up I felt different and I knew I was different. I played baseball and football with my friends and had the same interests as they did, but I knew something was not the same. The term gay wasn’t used back then, the term was homosexual and it was a word that caused both laughter and revulsion.

I even made believe I was interested in girls!

There weren’t many people who admitted to being homosexual, because doing so was akin to a death sentence, if not for your life, for your job, your career and your reputation. The most famous person whom most thought was gay, was Liberace. He was extremely talented and extremely flamboyant, but he never admitted he was gay. Most celebrities back then had to hide their sexuality in order to maintain their careers. They had sham marriages and sham girlfriends to fend off the gossip mongers and tabloids. But many noncelebrities did the same. I even made believe I was interested in girls!

…I was terrified and wanted no part of that life.

The only openly gay person I knew was a person who lived in my neighborhood, Norman. He was a hairdresser, who was also very flamboyant, as he was commonly seen sporting makeup pastel-colored wigs and carrying his dyed pink miniature poodle. He was constantly the subject of laughter, ridicule and harassment. I can still remember my uncle, a city cop, relating stories where he and his fellow police officers raided parties where Norman and his friends were just having fun, only to harass them. I knew I was different, but I wasn’t like Norman and I didn’t want to be. If Norman was what it was like to be a homosexual, a gay, I was terrified and wanted no part of that life.

It was still quite risky to let anyone even entertain the thought that I might be gay.

Once I went to college and away from my hometown I began to allow myself to at least explore my sexual feelings. It was still quite risky to let anyone even entertain the thought that I might be gay. When I started to think I might be gay, my mind always forced the image of Norman into my consciousness. In my thirties and having lived away from home for a number of years, I was ready to admit to those closest to me, and myself, that I was gay. I came out to my family after my father had passed away from a long bout with cancer. My siblings and my nephews took the news okay, but my mother didn’t. She constantly accused me of being a pedophile, a drug addict, an alcoholic and referred to me as a faggot with faggot friends. She was more concerned with what her friends would think about her, than she was about my welfare and happiness. She was never without her St. Jude prayer card, praying for a miracle.

I was ready to step out of the closet.

When I moved to Boston to work in a well-known hospital I found freedom, freedom to be gay. I think almost half of my department was gay and the entire hospital was generously staffed with gays in every department. I was not alone. I was ready to step out of the closet. I did not hide the fact I was gay from my staff, my coworkers and my neighbors. Did you notice that I didn’t say friends? That’s because outside of my coworkers and my neighbors I didn’t have any friends! No gay friends outside of work.

I laughed it off, even though it really hurt.

I went to gay bars and to gay functions, but I couldn’t make friends. I was in my thirties and overweight, a combination that did not sit too well with most gays I came into contact with. Even when I attended events for gays, sponsored by the medical community, where one received his education and the position you held, was more important than what kind of person you were. I could lose weight, but I couldn’t change my age or where I went to college. I was who I was. I laughed it off, even though it really hurt. I still had no real gay friends and I eventually gave up trying to find any.

“I wasn’t gay enough”.

All of my friends were straight and were either neighbors or people I worked with. They knew I didn’t have any gay friends, as I didn’t hide the fact. One of my gay coworkers told me that the reason I didn’t make friends in the gay community was because “I wasn’t gay enough”. Apparently, he had received this feedback from some of his friends he had introduced me to. According to him, “I didn’t dress gay or even talk gay” and I “always hang around with straight people at straight places”. I had always thought being gay was a matter of sexual attraction. I didn’t know there was a particular way to talk or dress, or that I could only patronize gay gyms or restaurants.

I was gay and I was going to be gay in my own way!

I have always been told, by straight friends, that I was too sloppy to be gay, as my office and desk were in constant disarray and I dressed in a way that made me feel comfortable and not in a way to impress anyone or dress the way a gay person is supposed to dress. I did try to dress in clothes from Banana Republic or A&F, like good gays are supposed to dress and I did join a gay gym. I hated every minute of being that person. That wasn’t me. I wasn’t going to change just to fit into someone else’s criteria for being gay. I was gay and I was going to be gay in my own way!

Maybe it was her dementia or maybe it was St. Jude,…

I gave up trying to fit in and accepted the fact that I probably would spend the rest of my life alone, without any gay friends. My decision eliminated a lot of stress in my life and I felt comfortable with it. At the same time my mother finally accepted the fact that I was gay and even encouraged me to find “someone”. Maybe it was her dementia or maybe it was St. Jude, but anyway I was relieved. Not long after I gave up trying to fit in I met Kevin, my now husband. I didn’t meet him here, but in Malaysia, where he was forced to live in the closet, as I once did. Before moving here to live together, he too came out to his family and friends, and has never looked back.

No more closets and no more pretending…

I am happy now and I don’t regret “coming out of the closet”, even though I didn’t get very far. I see that I didn’t have to get very far, because I only had to be myself and by doing that I was able to meet Kevin. I still have only straight friends, mainly because we are new to this small town,and there is no gay community here or gay-oriented groups, and no one really cares about sexual orientation, as was the case when I was growing up. No more closets and no more pretending for the both of us. If only all LGBTQ people could enjoy what we have. We are truly lucky and truly blessed.

Originally Posted in Medium.com

Friday, June 14, 2019

Do Prayers Really Work?


      

Public Domain Pictures   
All my life I’ve been told to pray. I was educated in Catholic schools and there we prayed several times during the day. As students we were usually told what to pray for and I admit most, if not all of us, paid no attention to how or why we were praying. We were simply repeating words that we had memorized. Through this upbringing I learned that we had to pray to God, mainly for forgiveness for all the dastardly sins we evil children committed! I learned that there was a patron saint for just about everything and was told to pray to that saint for favors pertaining to his/her expertise. There was St. Anthony for lost items, St. Francis for animals, St. Jude for travelers and the list goes on and on. Even our sports teams prayed together before a game for God’s help in winning. I often was puzzled as how this works as the opposing teams also prayed! I don’t believe I ever got an answer.
As I grew older I fell away from the Catholic Church, as I became disenchanted with it’s teachings and the hypocrisy of not only Catholicism, but all religions. I still prayed though even though I wasn’t convinced it worked. Throughout my long life I have prayed for many things, although I believe very few of my prayers have been answered. Those few that have been answered I am not sure if they were really answered or if it was just coincidence that what I prayed for came to fruition. Yet still I pray.
We have overwhelming evidence that people pray and they pray often and for everything. Just about everybody prays,especially when they buy a lottery ticket. They pray that they will win the jackpot. People pray at casinos to win big. People pray for their favorite sports teams to win and also their favorite politicians.People tend to pray for their own self interests probably most often. On Facebook we can see people asking for prayers for sick relatives and quite often for children they don’t even know. Whenever someone asks for prayers for relatives we can see all of their friends sending prayers and prayer emojis. Personally I feel these are meaningless and don’t believe all of the friends and followers are actually praying. Times when we see many people praying are those all too often incidences where there have been mass school shootings. Instead of actually offering concrete actions to stop these mass murders, all we see is “offering thoughts and prayers” from politicians and citizens alike. Why aren’t all of these prayers being answered? Why do the shootings continue? I have never heard a sensible answer from clergymen and clergywomen as to why these prayers fall on deaf ears. Yet still I pray.
I believe that millions of people all over the world have been praying for world peace, as I have been doing my whole life, but we still don’t have world peace. I have been praying daily to end violence, killings and terrorism all over the world and I’m sure millions of others are joining me in my pleas. It still continues though. I pray every day to end the suffering of the sick, the poor, and the starving children of the world, yet it continues. I’ve actually asked members of the clergy about this and have been told “it’s part of God’s plan”. What kind of God has a plan that allows such disastrous hardships. Hitler had a “plan” and he’s considered one of the most evil and hated men who has ever lived! Yet still I pray.
I often think about why some prayers are supposedly answered and some are not, and think that maybe some of the petitions are just too complicated, even for God. After all God gave us all free will and if we chose to do evil, God will allow it, even thought it will hurt innocent people. I figured maybe God answered those prayers that were simple and would not change the course of human history. This idea was shattered recently when the beloved pet dog of my neighbor’s three young children (seven year old triplets)became seriously ill and was taken to the vet. The vet kept him overnight for a 24 hour observation to see if medication could improve his situation. If not he would have to be put to sleep. I knew the kids would be devastated if they lost their precious Griffin and he would be sorely missed by all of the neighbors. I prayed hard that night thinking that this would be a simple request for a benevolent God. After all keeping one dog alive would have no ill effect in the scheme of nature and it would save three children from losing their best friend and faithful companion. I was wrong. Griffin was put to sleep the next day! Yet still I pray!     
Wikepedia


One phenomenon of modern society that I find to be disgusting and unbelievable is what I call “mass demonstration of prayer”. I am referring to demonstrations of prayer emanating from the golden halls of today’s “megachurches” which are broadcasting to their gullible followers over our airways. These gigantic spiritual edifices are filled to capacity every Sunday preaching their own version of Christianity heavily laden with, not the love of Christ, but the love of money. I think it would be safe for me to say that the majority of the followers of the popular megachurches are lower middle class, the poor and the lonely and poor elderly. As we all have witnessed, the flamboyant and charismatic leaders of these megachurches, more often than not, live in multi million dollar bejeweled mansions with a fleet of expensive foreign luxury cars and even jet plans waiting at their beck and call. Who’s paying for these extravagances? Their followers! Inevitably the religious services conducted at these megachurches end up with the congregation being asked for prayers and money to assure that their prayers will be answered. Like lemmings, the members of the congregation loudly pray in unison for their souls, while opening their wallets and pocketbooks to ensure their salvation. In moving spiritual performances, which would be the envy of any Oscar nominee, preachers tearfully beg for money to be able to continue their ministry “the way Jesus would want” them to. And of course the congregation succumbs to their pleadings. Anybody want to bet that even if these preachers pray , it is to keep their followers gullible and generous? I firmly believe that prayer can be valuable for some people, but ministers and churches such as those mentioned above make a mockery of prayer and those who profess to pray.
I’m still debating with myself whether or not prayers are ever answered. Are some prayers answered, while some are not. Do the prayers of some get answered, while prayers of others are ignored. Of those prayers that some people say were answered, was it just coincidence that what was prayed for became reality? Would the events have happened anyway? I don’t know. I guess I’ll never find out. But, just in case, I’ll keep praying to be on the safe side!


This article was originally published in Publishous on Medium.com

                                                                                       

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I Guess I’m Really a Bigot


Add capImage by Сергей Корчанов from Pixabaytion
                                                                 I’m not sure if I should feel bad!

I published this in my own publication, “Your Voice Counts”, as I was quite sure it wouldn’t be accepted into any another publication, after I initially tried and was rejected. Even though this article is about my own personal feelings I thought it would be too controversial for some publications. After I published it my own publication it went nowhere. I am republishing this in my publication to see if it will pick up any traction or will be forever ignored. So much for my personal feelings.
I’ve always thought of myself as being quite tolerant towards different lifestyles, people of different races, creeds and sexual orientation and people with different beliefs. Being gay I have always been sensitive to the feelings of other people, even though I may disagree with them. However, I must admit that at times throughout my life I have harbored some less than endearing thoughts about a certain group of people. The events of the past few weeks in Alabama have forced me to realize that I may not be as tolerant as I thought I was. I have to admit that I have always disliked or mistrusted people from the South.

…not only the vile hatred, but the thick Southern accent stuck in my head.

When I was growing up I had neighbors who were from Mississippi and they were the nicest people, but they only lived in my neighborhood for a couple of years before the Army transferred the husband overseas. In my teen years I observed the events of the Civil Rights Movement unfolding on the nightly news. I can remember the Southern accents of people like Alabama governor George Wallace or Arkansas governor Orville Faubus ,who actively fought racial discrimination. On television I remember seeing the Klu Klux Klan marching against the enactment of civil rights legislation. Watching interviews with angry White Southerners condemning the federal government for trying to give equal rights to African Americans, not only the vile hatred, but the thick Southern accent stuck in my head.

I’ll never forget George Wallace standing in front of the door of the University of Alabama…

I could never forget the pictures of lynchings, or acts of tar and feathering, as well as signs reading “Whites only”. I’ll never forget George Wallace standing in front of the door of the University of Alabama trying to prevent three Black students from entering. Under orders from President Kennedy, the Alabama National Guard made Wallace step aside to let the students enter. Once again that accent stood out. Throughout the Civil Rights Movement hatred and violence towards Blacks and anyone who supported them seemed to be tied to that Southern accent.

I guess I tolerated them because they shared my values.

As the once solidly Democratic South turned Republican over President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act of 1964, to me the Southern accent began to be associated with Republican politicians. I was confused however by Johnson, Clinton and Carter. They had Southern accents, but they were Democrats and not racists, in my view! I guess I tolerated them because they shared my values.

…but I was still terrified of ever traveling through the South.

As I was growing older I watched movies where the plots often centered around the mistreatment of Blacks in the South as a matter of every day life. I can remember many movies where even White people form Northern States were singled out and terrorized simply for being from a Northern state. I realized they were just Hollywood movies, but I was still terrified of ever traveling through the South. When I was in high school a teacher of mine who happened to be a Catholic priest was driving to Florida to play golf on vacation and was arrested in one of the infamous speed traps that Southern states were and are still known for. He was thrown in jail for the night because he wasn’t wearing his Roman collar, and most likely because he was Catholic and from New York, a Northern state.

I cringe every time I hear Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana speak…

As an adult I was and still am leery about traveling to or through the South. I have been to New Orleans a couple of times and absolutely loved the city, the food, the people and the atmosphere, but visiting there I’m sure is not like living there, even though it is probably much more liberal than the rest of the state. I cringe every time I hear Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana speak out in his thick Southern accent against immigrants and LGBTQ rights, while at the same time fighting for enactment of religious liberty legislation to allow discrimination against anyone who is not a white right wing Christian.

 I was dumbfounded…

I realize at times that I am generalizing in my attitude towards the South and Southern accents and I have truly tried to be more accepting, like the time in Boston when I befriended a young doctor from Mississippi who was attending the same pathology conference as I was attending. We had dinner together and I showed him around Boston Common and the Public Gardens. We stopped in a bar for a nightcap and I asked him how he liked Boston. He replied “ I didn’t realize you had so many n*****s here! I was dumbfounded and very angry. Surrounded by all the historical sites and monuments to the founding of our country the only thing he noticed was the color of people’s skin! Needless to say I ended the evening with a nasty comment about his racism and left.

…but the Southern voices seem the strongest.

People say that as we grow older we become more tolerant, but I’m not sure that’s true, at least in my case. As an adult I saw the likes of Mike Huckabee, from Arkansas, Southern Baptist preacher, Pat Robertson, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senators Graham and Cruz, all Republican Southerners vehemently oppose gay marriage and anything resembling the granting of a civil right to the LGBTQ community. Just hearing that Southern accent was like an attack on my being! Every current Republican in Congress has opposed gay rights, as well as women’s rights and minority rights, but the Southern voices seem the strongest. It seems like they are pushing to return to the 1950’s, the glory days of the White, Christian, straight male!

I guess I have wrongfully learned to associate the Southern accent with racism and bigotry.

I realize that not all Southerners are like those I mentioned above, but unfortunately I don’t hear them. I know there are gays living in the deep South and I admire them for living there, but I don’t hear them. I know I shouldn’t paint Southerners as racists and bigots, but maybe I should paint Republicans, regardless of where they live, as racists and bigots. There are also many people who oppose civil rights, gay rights and immigrant rights who are Yankees, but I don’t hear them in the same way. I guess I have wrongfully learned to associate the Southern accent with racism and bigotry.

…I associate the sound with an attack on me and everything I stand for.

I have learned that when I hear Christmas carols I associate the sound to joy and good will. When I hear Dean Martin singing “Amore”, I associate the sound with eating in Italian restaurants, when I hear the sounds of children laughing and playing I associate the sounds with happiness and innocence. But when I hear a Southern accent I am put on guard, as I associate the sound with an attack on me and everything I stand for. I know this is wrong and I honestly try to fight the feelings, but lately I have not been successful.

How do I destroy my own bigotry towards those who wish to destroy me?

With the Trump administration this country has become more divided than I can ever remember. We are not only divided by politics, but by race, gender, sexual orientation,religion and even where we live. It seems as though we have abandoned tolerance towards those who are different and are now choosing our camps and fighting to defend them, regardless of what it is doing to our country. I sadly have become involved in this abhorrent behavior and I don’t like it. Yet at the same time, the attacks on the values I hold strongly continue. My sexual orientation, my marriage, my immigrant husband and even my safety are being attacked daily, but I am going to fight back for my rights and those of others. How do I do this and remain tolerant? How do I destroy my own bigotry towards those who wish to destroy me? Is it really possible?

…I know Southerners are caring people…

Deep inside my being I know the South is a beautiful part of our country and I know Southerners are caring people, and I would really like to spend time there. I want to get over my mistrust and fear of those with a Southern accent. After all it is just a manner of speech. I feel badly that I have allowed myself to stereotype all Southerners by the actions of a loud bigoted few. To those from the South who may be reading this, I apologize for my feelings. If there was only a way to fight ideas instead of fighting the people who espouse them!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

To Impeach or Not to Impeach!

                   Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay                 
                       
Unless you are a Fox News watcher you have probably heard Robert Mueller's statement on his investigation of Trump.  In his statement he he did not exonerate Trump, as the White House claims his investigation did. On the contrary Mueller said that if Trump had not been the President he would have been indicted. In other words Mueller is saying Trump is guilty of crimes, but because of the Department of Justice's mandate that he not indict Trump, he wasn't indicted.  He left the task of bringing Trump to justice to Congress.

Now the Democrats in the House of Representatives have a problem, to impeach or not impeach.  Speaker Pelosi is reluctant to begin impeachment hearings fearing that it would play into Trump's hand.  Others say that if the House impeaches the GOP Senate will squash it immediately, as McConnell and Republicans in the Senate are determined to protect Trump at all costs, even if he is guilty as hell.  

The problem is that most people have not read the Mueller report because they already have formed an opinion.  Since Fox News does not report factual news that Trump would not like, there are many people who haven't got the slightest clue how corrupt Trump and his minions are.

It appears that not only are the Republicans in Congress are afraid of Trump, but also some Democrats are also fearful of offending Trump and his mafia.  Even though the GOP has the majority in the Senate, it is more important for the American people to know what the true facts of Trump's activities before, during and after the 2016 campaign.  If there were hearings in the House, Fox would have a more difficult time white washing the Mueller Report and lying to their viewers to protect an corrupt and illegitimate President.

It's time to fight for our Democracy and our freedoms and impeach Trump!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Do Internet Health Forums Ever Help Anyone?


Image by rawpixel on Pixabay

For many years I have suffered from breathing problems related to a combination of Chronic sinusitis and GERD. I have even published an article on Medium about this, called Living with Chronic Sinusitis, GERD, and Asthma. in which I described my symptoms and what medical help I was receiving. I have also previously published and article on HubPages called “What is Really Wrong With Me?” in which I shared my thoughts and feelings of not being able to have received any help with these conditions. I really had hoped that by publishing these articles someone would comment about how they had found something to help them, if they were suffering from the same conditions.

…no idea what I was talking about…

 I have seen a number of doctors here in the US and in Malaysia (where I lived for 7 years), who had no idea what I was talking about and even shrugged off my complaints. The only diagnoses I have gotten were either GERD or Chronic Sinusitis with associated asthma symptoms. COPD was ruled out, even though I have been prescribed COPD medications, which did not help. I have tried every inhaler and nasal spray on the market, with no results. Because I could not get any answers from my doctors I began visiting numerous Health Forums related to respiratory or breathing problems. On these forums I found large numbers of people suffering from the same maladies as I have been suffering for years. I have spent hours reading the their accounts of their symptoms and what they have done to alleviate them. Some of them have tried the same medications that I have tried and were helped; while others were not. The consensus was that most, if not all, of these people have been suffering, sometimes for years, but have not gotten any real relief. It is very discouraging for me and I’m sure for everyone else not to be able to get some sort of relief, so that we may be able to live normal lives.

…“learn to live with it”…

 What really makes me mad is that every once and a while a doctor will reply to some of the patients sharing their symptoms, telling them to contact their physician! What the hell do they think we have been doing all these years? On some of these health forums the patients actually pay for an online consultation and share the results on the forum. Once again they were told to contact their physicians. What kind of morons are these doctors that they don’t listen to what is being said? For years we all have been going to our physicians and hearing the same thing over and over, before we’re told to “learn to live with it” or some other asinine excuse for not knowing what is wrong!

Forgive me for sounding off,…

 I’m not complaining about these forums, on the contrary, I am grateful to them for the support they offer me and thousands of other people. I just can’t understand that after all of the forum posts, over a period of years ,why there has not been one single healthcare professional who has offered some consolation or other ray of hope. Forgive me for sounding off, but I am becoming very frustrated with my health problems and the way our healthcare system works, or more correctly, doesn’t work.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I have to pee again!






Sadly those days are gone forever!

BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition from which most males over 50 years of age suffer to varying degrees. BPH is not related to prostate cancer and is not considered a very serious condition, but the symptoms are very annoying. One of the symptoms that can be very disturbing is having to get up a number of times during the night to urinate (nocturia). This is the most annoying symptom of BPH for me. Sometimes I get up as little as twice a night or as many times as every half hour! Getting up several times a night to urinate is very disruptive to a good night’s sleep and can affect one’s overall health.

This sounds like good advice, but it doesn’t work!

 When you talk with your Urologist or do research online you are told to stop drinking liquids after 5 or 6 at night and stop the use of alcohol and caffeine. This sounds like good advice, but it doesn’t work! The medications given for BPH, I find have little or no effect on the frequent nighttime bathroom trips and the side effects, such as ED or the destruction of the libido,are as bad or worse than the symptom. So I decided to go the route of natural supplements. I have done a good deal of research about the various herbal supplements that reportedly relieve the symptoms of BPH, especially the nocturia. First of all I have been taking Saw Palmetto for about 35 years and found it to be absolutely useless! I have tried Maca, which other than giving me extreme gas and stomach pains did not work. I have used Beta Sitosterol, Stinging Nettle, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Pygeum, Fenugreek and others, but not one of them had any effect on my symptoms!

These are evidently paid reviews!

 There are many combinations of these supplements, some costing a fortune, which are touted to relieve almost all BPH symptoms. These are sold in drug stores and online and even promoted on TV infomercials. If you check the ingredients you will see that these so called miracle supplements contain basically the same supplements I have listed above, with a few added inactive ingredients. If you look at the reviews of these products you will find that they all work marvelously! These are evidently paid reviews! I have tried a number of these products over the past few years and not one of them had any effect!

I long for those days when I could hold it for hours and I had the pressure of a fire hose!

 One thing that I have noticed is that when I have a few glasses of red wine I get up dramatically fewer times at night to go to the bathroom! This is the direct opposite of what is recommended!
 I have found that diet affects BPH symptoms, especially the nocturia. I have discovered that eating fatty foods such as chicken wings and eating really spicy food causes more bathroom trips and more urine retention. I have also found that my blood pressure medication, amlodopine, makes my nighttime symptoms worse if I take it before bed. Even though I get up to pee quite frequently I find that my bladder never empties and my stream is akin to. dripping faucet. I long for those days when I could hold it for hours and I had the pressure of a fire hose! (Like the photo above)

…we will all have to accept the unpleasantness of BPH and just live with it.
Like millions of men who are in the same boat (or should I say bathroom?) as I am this is just one more aspect of aging that has to be accepted. There are many physical problems that are far worse than peeing all day and night, so I should be thankful. Some day I hope medical science will develop a more effective medication to treat BPH, without the adverse side effects and that will be affordable for us oldsters. Until then I guess we will all have to accept the unpleasantness of BPH and just live with it.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

I’m Struggling to Breathe

leadcma.org


For about 12 years now I have had a continuing problem with shortness of breath. I am particularly effected by changes in weather, especially changes in the barometric pressure and humidity rather than certain allergens. I become short of breath when I exercise or whenever I am outside after the sun sets and even when I get upset. Before I begin having difficulty breathing my sinuses begin to drain and my post nasal drip increases dramatically. I can actually feel my nasal passages constrict and well as my airways. I have had post nasal drip 24/7 for about 12 years. Approximately 10 years ago I underwent sinus surgery which was excruciating and did absolutely nothing to alleviate any of my symptoms. Presently my sinus CT scans show no abnormalities and my lungs are clear. I have used every kind of inhaler that is on the market, but with no success.

All because I have to struggle to breathe.

I love the outdoors, especially the mountains and forests, but I can no longer walk through the woods and enjoy the scenery, because I have to struggle to breathe after only a few minutes being among the trees. I believe it’s the humidity in the woods since I have tested negative for tree allergens. I would love to ride a bicycle around my neighborhood and play catch with the kids next door, but I can’t. My days of playing tennis are over and running up and down the stairs are out of the question. All because I have to struggle to breathe and no one knows why.

…she pooh poohed my assertion…

 I have been to numerous doctors in Boston, Penang, Malaysia and Rochester, NY. Each of them have said I have asthma. I was referred to a cardiologist who “guaranteed” that my shortness of breath was due to anemia. He did a blood test which proved him wrong. I then underwent stress tests, ECG’s and echocardiograms that showed nothing abnormal . He surmised my shortness of breath was attributed to asthma. I’ve heard that before! I was referred to an allergist who tested me for a variety of allergens, all of which were negative. I tried to explain to her that the weather caused my breathing problems, but she pooh poohed my assertion, even as I had an attack as a sudden thunderstorm went through the area. After trying a variety of inhalers and steroids, which constantly made me dizzy, and scheduling a pulmonary function test, which showed asthma, she quit scheduling any more appointments. Her office said that they have no record of me ever being there! Needless to say I gave up on her, as she gave up on me!

He also told me not to expect that doctors know everything!

 I was then referred to an ENT specialist who was the most honest yet. After examining my sinuses and CT scans he admitted that there was nothing wrong with my sinuses and he had no idea what was causing my asthma. He also told me not to expect that doctors know everything! I was happy that he was honest with me and didn’t offer false hopes or wanted me to keep coming for appointments which would be both a waste of money and a waste of his and my time.

She evidently was absent the day “bedside manners” were taught…

Next I went to a pulmonologist, who was the most useless yet! I paid a $50 co-pay and $125 for the tech to take an inhaler out of the package to show me how to use it! As if I didn’t know anything after 12 years of inhaler use! She arrogantly told me I had asthma and her treatment was to suggest I continue using my inhalers! I refused to make another appointment with her as she had nothing to offer and appeared not to really care. She evidently was absent the day “bedside manners” were taught or she flunked that exam! It doesn’t take a specialist to tell me to continue to take my medications that doesn’t work!

…I realized that for the first time I was breathing easier.

From this sad excuse for a doctor I went to see an asthma specialist at a well known asthma and allergy clinic, which had an excellent reputation among medical professionals in my area. I was given a spirometry test followed by a nebulizer treatment and an oral medication. My consultation and treatment took over three hours and offered me some hope. The doctor appeared to be genuinely interested and assured me that he could help me breathe again, and if he didn’t he wouldn’t keep me coming to give me false expectations. When I left his office and drove home I realized that for the first time I was breathing easier. I hoped it would last.

 He told me he was not satisfied with my progress…

I saw the asthma specialist twice, but I did speak with him on the phone numerous times. I had some relief with some of the medications he prescribed, while one of the drugs severely worsened my condition. It was interesting that one of the drugs he prescribed was one I had taken as a child for my severe asthma. It worked then so he wanted to see if it would work again and it did, even though it is very difficult to get as it is seldom used today. In my last telephone conversation with him I learned that he had referred me to another pulmonologist, who specialized in asthma/COPD patients who did not respond to treatment. He told me he was not satisfied with my progress and wanted me to see someone with more expertise. Next month the saga continues!

I’m sure whatever it will be it will be way too expensive and I won’t be able to afford it!

Every time I see another specialist I have to start from the beginning to explain my symptoms and how long I’ve had them and who I’ve seen. I feel like I should make a recording to play each time I see a new doctor! I can’t imagine what medication he will prescribe next, as I think I’ve tried every drug on the market. I’m sure whatever it will be it will be way too expensive and I won’t be able to afford it! In the meantime I am researching natural supplements, as to their effectiveness and affordability. I am not holding out too much hope for my next adventure with this specialist, but I am not quite ready to give up either. To be continued…

Friday, April 26, 2019

Christianity Now Has A Different Meaning to Me

                                                        

I was raised a Roman Catholic and was educated in Catholic schools through high school. When I was growing up if you were asked about your religion you responded either Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish. Rarely did anyone answer with the name of a protestant denomination. No one ever simply said “Christian”. Even though there was some prejudice towards Catholics and Jews in my home town, usually nobody cared about your religion. The religions I knew when I was growing up were the mainstream established religions such as Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist. There were really no storefront churches or so called evangelical churches yet. I didn’t really give much thought to religion, other than going to church because my parents made me or during religion class in school. The only time I felt uncomfortable with religion was when the nuns and priests condemned gays as sinners as I expected at that time that I was gay. I thought this was odd as I found out later that many of these teachers were gay themselves!

 When I was in college I almost began to accept myself as being gay, while at the same time seeing the rise of the “born again” Christian movement. After graduation I began questioning some of the teachings that were hurled at me in Catholic school and in Catholic church. I saw the hypocrisy of many of the teachings and the teachers. As I began to accept myself more I became braver in questioning my religion or any religion for that matter. With the growing strength of the Civil Rights movement and the gay rights movement, I saw the growing strength of new “Christian” churches and religions . It seemed as though anybody could start a church with a couple of followers and a vacant storefront. When I was growing up, my church and other mainstream churches held festivals, bake sales and food and clothing drives to help the poor. After all that is what Jesus Christ taught us to do. What was obvious to me was that these new “Christians” were not teaching the love of Christ, but were constantly preaching hate and intolerance. They were against anyone or anything that was different or that they did not understand, including other religions. It seemed as though every time I went shopping in downtown Boston, where I lived after college, there was some deranged “Bible thumper” filling the air with vitriol about gays, gamblers, atheists or anyone who was in the least way slightly different from what they believed to be a true Christian. Even at work I met a few fellow employees who were insistent that I was an atheist because I was a Catholic. Their church taught them that Catholics were not Christians.

 With the advent of cable TV these so called “Christians” soon took over the airways. I was annoyed by having to pay for religious channels that attacked me and others who did not fit their idea of a human being. Christianity was no longer a religion but a business. It was sickening to see the poor and elderly being promised a place in heaven for turning over a large portion of what little money they had to a religious business tycoon! Once they were on the airways they metastasized to the political arena to spread their hatred and to fleece their ignorant followers. They have become known as “the Christian Right” and have taken over the Republican Party. Instead of espousing true Christian values the have been bastardizing the Christian faith to form strong opposition to such issues as gay rights, abortion, same sex marriage, women’s rights and even public education. The time honored bastion of our democracy, the Separation of Church and State, is slowly being obliterated. They are now attacking the basic human rights of millions of Americans with the implementation of religious liberty laws that basically give right wing Christians the right to legally discriminate against anyone whom they find to be different, on the grounds that these people offend their religious values!

 These hate mongers, posing as Christians and wrapping themselves in cherry picked Bible quotes, are so filled with hate and bigotry that they have mocked Christ by supporting an adulterous, misogynist, racist, sexual abuser as president. The very ideals of Christianity, which would preclude a really religious Christian from supporting Donald Trump, are completely thrown aside in favor of promoting bigotry and racism. Decades of advancement in civil and human rights are in danger of being destroyed by Trump and his Supreme Court nominees and his racist Attorney General, who support religious liberty laws. With what is happening with the Trump administration’s war on immigrants, more correctly, non-white immigrants, one would expects religious leaders and churches to actively oppose the disgusting actions of our government, but it’s not happening! The mainstream Churches are stepping up, but what is surprising is that the far religious right either remain silent or are in lock step with Trump.

 I probably now pay much more attention to religion, than I did when I was younger, but for a different reason. Now I pay attention to religion more of a means of self protection or self preservation! Years ago when a person told me what religion they belonged to I considered it as a point of information and nothing more. But today when someone tells me they are Christian I immediately shy away from them. Today when someone says they are Christian I interpret that as being a white supremacist or a bigot. (The same way I view the confederate flag.) Being gay I automatically mistrust them. They are not the Christians I knew growing up. I see them as enemies trying to destroy my marriage and denying my civil and human rights. I have heard Christian preachers call for my death, simply because I am gay! That’s not what Christ would do!

 To these fake Christians I would say if you don’t like abortion, don’t get an abortion. If you disagree with same sex marriage, don’t marry a member of the same sex. If you don’t like transgender people, don’t become transgender. My being gay or being in a same sex marriage does not affect you in any way, but your hatred and intolerance affects me and millions of others. I don’t care how you live your lives, but don’t try to legislate how I live mine. Live and let live and as Christ said “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, even the Gay, the Brown, the Black, the Muslim, the Jewish, the transgendered and sinful neighbor!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

We Have a White Supremacist for Our President.

Image by Cristian Ferronato from Pixabay 
I have lived through many presidents and remember them all,  from Harry Truman to the present one.  I may not have agreed with all of them, but I did at least like them and respect them, except for the one we have now. It makes me sick to even type the name of Trump!

I can remember times when our country was divided on the issue of the Vietnam War, when I saw many and even violent anti-war protests.  Eventually the protests were instrumental in ending that war.  Afterwards we slowly came together as a country.  I remember being in Germany shortly after JFK was assassinated and observed how much loved and respected he was.  He is the President whom I admired the most and the one who inspired me to take an interest in politics.  I remember the race riots in Los Angeles and Chicago, as our citizens of African descent had to fight for their God given rights, against white racist and bigots.  I can remember Stonewall, in NYC, when gay people finally began to stand up for their rights.  I remember the American Indian movement, when the original inhabitants of our land fought for what was legally theirs.  They were tough fights, but eventually these groups won, at least some of their rights, with the help of their fellow citizens and politicians, including the President.

Then in 2016 Donald Trump was elected by the Electoral College, with the help of Russia and his base, comprised of racists, bigots and sorely uneducated individuals.  He lost the popular vote by a sizeable margin.  It's been downhill for our democracy ever since.  One of his first actions was to attempt Muslims from entering the country.  Then he called Mexicans rapists, criminals and drug dealers, as well as denigrating a federal judge of Mexican descent.  He has attacked the parents of a slain Muslim war hero and he has also attacked John McCain, a former POW and war hero.

In his short two years as our President, he has called African countries shitholes and alienated our closest allies, as he cozies up to dictators like Putin and Duterte.  He has banned transgender people from serving in our military and has attacked LGBTQ people, actively supporting the rollback of all rights they had previously won.  He has courted right wing religious groups who support passage of laws that would allow them to discriminate against the LGBTQ community.

Spending more time on the golf course and on Twitter than working for the American people, he has attacked the free press when they report his lies and corrupt activities.  He is quick to take to Twitter to condemn anyone of color or non-Christian faith involved in a terrorist activity, while remaining silent when the perpetrators of mass murder are white.  He supported white supremacists and neonazis after Charlottsville.  He was uncharacteristically silent after the mass shootings at the Pittsburgh synagogue.  He was silent when a white Coast Guardsman was arrested with a cache of assault weapons and plans for a terrorist attack on white Democratic politicians and journalists. And recently he downplayed the terrorist attack in New Zealand where 50 Muslims attending religious services were killed by a white supremacist who admired his stance on immigrants!

Trump's silence on the acts of terrorism carried out by white supremacists and his outrage at acts of terrorism carried out by people of color or people of other than Christian faith is a true indication of who and what he is.  He is a racist!  His actions are solely to inflame his racist followers to ensure he is elected once again in 2020, thus delaying the impending legal actions that will surely land him in jail where he belongs. 

I am not even sure he will give up if he is defeated in 2020 or, God forbid he is elected, at the end of his second term. He is the most disgraceful, racist and immoral person to ever serve as President and it is a travesty that the Republican Party not only protects him, but enables him.  The GOP has lost all respect and relevance as a political party and are as guilty as Trump in all of his treasonous misdeeds.




Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Follow Me on Medium

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

If there are people who follow this blog, you have noticed that I have not posted anything in quite a long time.  I'm going to be honest with you and tell you why.  I enjoy writing blogs, but I also enjoy having people read my posts.  I had thought that a rather good number of people read my posts, but I was proven wrong when I started to use Statcounter to track my views.   I soon noticed that the statistics that were provided by Blogger were totally wrong and unreliable.  I was only receiving a small fraction of views that Blogger had been reporting.  Some days I actually received none.  I also discovered that the views that Blogger was reporting were actually from bots. That is why my referring sites were mainly from Russia!

After I write these posts I have to manually distribute them to social media sites in hopes of boosting readership.  This can be very time consuming and often times a useless endeavor.  I started writing this blog both as a hobby, since I enjoy writing, and as a possible source of some sort of income.  As you may have noticed I have ads on this site, including Google Adsense, in hopes of earning enough money to at least pay for my costs of running this blog.  I have never received enough money from Adsense or my other ads to come anywhere near that.  Over the lifetime of my blog I haven't earned enough money to buy myself a bottle of wine!  I have tried very hard to promote my blog and have people follow me, and click on the ads, to no avail.

I recently discovered Medium, a site where I can write about what I want for free and even make money from my articles.  On this site you have 2 options. One is to publish articles on this site for free, but only be able to read a few articles a month. The other option, which I have, is to pay$5 a month for the Medium Partner Program, to read unlimited articles and earn money from my articles.  I have been writing for Medium for about 6 months and have earned over $100 so far. That doesn't sound like much, but compared to months of zero earnings for years, it's a fortune.  The money a writer earns comes from the $5 fee each Medium Partner Program member pays.  There are no annoying ads.

If my readers want to continue reading my work you can find my articles at Medium. You can join the site for free or pay for the Medium Partner Program and read an unlimited number of articles on a variety of subjects, as well as begin your own writing adventure.  On occasion I may post articles on this blog, but until I see more of a following here I will be writing on Medium.  I hope to see you again and thanks for those who have stuck with me for all of these years.

You can follow me here.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

How does that make you feel?


The high cost of breathing

 
flickr

Are you, like me, and millions of other Americans suffering from asthma, or COPD or both and need to use an inhaler every day? You know what it is like to struggle to catch your breath while doing the simplest of everyday tasks. Sometimes just taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning leaves you as breathless as if you had been running the bases in a baseball game in your youth.
You tend to collect everything that needs to be taken upstairs on the stairs…
If you live in a two-story home you know how it is when you know you have to climb the stairs to put the laundry away or clean the bedrooms. You tend to collect everything that needs to be taken upstairs on the stairs, so as to limit the number of trips you have to make. If you have a basement you literally have to plan your chores as to avoid going down to the basement to get something that needs to be taken up to the second floor or vice versa.
…it seems to take forever to do the simplest tasks…
Outside of your home, you dread having to mow the lawn on hot and humid days and forget raking leaves in the fall! You love to work in your vegetable garden, but it seems to take forever to do the simplest tasks, as you have to stop to rest after each little action. Taking the trash out on cool nights seems like running a marathon at times, but it has to be done. You dread walking the dog even though you know it’s a good exercise for both you and the dog, but you hope he doesn’t walk too fast. You look at your neighbors riding their bicycles around the neighborhood and wish you could do the same, as they smile and wave to you.
…you secretly worry that there are not too many flights of stairs to challenge your breathing.
When friends invite you to go to a public event such as a hockey game, basketball game or concert you secretly worry that there are not too many flights of stairs to challenge your breathing. At least going to the mall is easier, if everything is on the same level or there are escalators. If you have to fly for vacations or family visits you have to make sure you have enough time to make connecting flights, so you are not forced to run from gate to gate.
You feel inadequate and feel as though you are not a whole functioning human being.
You know what it is like not being able to breathe like you once did in your youth, or maybe you are young and have never been able to breathe normally. Not being able to breathe adequately is annoying and extremely depressing. You feel inadequate and feel as though you are not a whole functioning human being. If you smoked in the past you also have feelings of guilt and anger. Why do some former or present smokers not have any breathing problems, when you do? With all of the above feelings you have another feeling, one of dependence. You are dependent upon inhalers to enable you to breathe a little better, hopefully.
You have to have no insurance and no money.
Thank God asthma and COPD sufferers have inhalers which can greatly improve our lives. Too bad we live in the Unites States though! That’s right! did you know that inhalers in other countries cost a fraction of what they do in this country? In Asia and Europe they may cost anywhere from 1/3 to 1/10 of the cost in the U.S.! (When I lived in Malaysia I paid $9 for my inhaler and now it’s $45.) How does that make you feel? Sure, ads for certain inhalers that offer $5or $10 monthly payments for eligible patients are everywhere on television or in magazines, but read the eligibility requirements found in the fine print. If you are covered by Medicare or Medicaid or other governmental programs you do not qualify! You have to have no insurance and no money.
The answer is greed!
How does it make you feel when you see ads for inhalers that offer hope in being able to breathe normally and then find out there is no way you can afford them? My pulmonologist says that most of his asthma and COPD patients cannot afford their medication and many go without. How does this happen in the richest country in the world? The answer is greed! A few years ago inhalers were affordable to most people but this all changed when the EPA banned CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) which were propellants used in inhalers, because they damaged the environment. The CFCs were then replaced by a new propellant, HFA ( hydrofluoroalkane). Because of this change in propellants, the pharmaceutical companies were able to re-patent their inhalers, thus drastically raising their price and assuring that they would continue to reap high profits for years to come! These newly reinvented inhalers, as well as all new inhalers now have patents that will not expire for another 20 years!
Our own FDA chose to aid big pharma’s profits…
For many of inhalers we use there are generic brands available, but not in the United States. Asia and Europe offer these generics and also brand named inhalers without the new propellants and that is why they are so much cheaper. Our own FDA chose to aid big pharma’s profits, rather than alleviating the suffering of our own citizens! How does that make you feel? Oh yeah, how about all of those drug ads you see on television, in the newspapers and in magazines? Who’s paying for all of those ads? You are, in the price of the drugs! How does that make you feel?
How about you?
Will things ever change for all of us who suffer from respiratory diseases? Probably not, at least not in my shortened lifetime. Things won’t change in this country until it is not possible for our politicians to be owned by big pharma and we have some kind of universal health care, like the rest of the civilized world. According to Opensecrets.org. big pharma donated over $25 million in 2018. That money was to purchase members of Congress, from both parties, to protect their profits and keep our drug prices high. Election after election our politicians promise to do something about the high cost of drugs, but nothing is ever done. And Americans continue to vote for the same lying politicians enriching themselves from big pharmacy at the expense of our failing health. That makes me feel sick and angry! How about you?

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues