commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘healthcare’ Category

Open letter to my congressman about the phlegm flute

After viewing the video about the Phlegm Flute, and seeing on the manufacturer’s site that the FDA currently bars its sale in the land of the free and the home of widespread, money-making drugs for COPD, pneumonia, and other things that must be protected so healthcare costs can be uncontained, I wrote the following to my Congressman, Rep. Chris Smith (R-4-NJ). (The first paragraph refers to the efforts he put in to restore Sean Goldman to his father, David Goldman.) Aside from the first paragraph, others may wish to write to their congressmen via .

First, I’d like to congratulate you on your handling of the Goldman case and getting that child back in the US. Great job.

As you know, there are several influenza virii circulating, as well as the usual colds, etc. There is a device – non electrical, not a drug, just a tube that helps vibrate the chest – called the lung flute. You can see a video of it at . However, the company that makes the device says on their site at that although non-Americans can obtain it, the FDA is blocking it and will make it available only by prescription. I see no reason why a non-intrusive (except for blowing into a tube) device, which has had excellent results in other countries, should be withheld from Americans by a hyperactive bureaucrat at the FDA. I generally lose 5-10 days work time per year to upper respiratory infections – luckily I get sick time at my job – and my mother has COPD. Two close friends have severe pneumonia, and have to take steroids which are themselves proven dangerous with side effects – but are the only things stronger than Robitussin/Mucinex available.

Please consult with your colleagues and with the FDA to make this device available to Americans immediately. Considering the amount of money spent on antibiotics, steroids, and guafenesin – not to mention lost productivity – this is a simple health plan that doesn’t need thousands of pages in the Congress, but simply reining in the FDA. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Another reason why marijuana should be legalized

“‘We’re not winning the battle,’ Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told lawmakers.  ‘The violence that we see in Mexico is fueled 65 to 70 percent by the trade in one drug: marijuana.'” (CNN)

The Arizona Attorney General has made it clear: marijuana legalization would cut violence in Mexico by 65 to 70 percent – violence that is creeping north into the US.  At what point will our elected officials see that the biggest threat marijuana poses is the violence that accompanies prohibition?

Pancreatitis, or something.

You won’t see me much online for the next week… I’ve been getting all sorts of tests because I get lightheaded when I eat, and my blood tests and other tests are indicating that I have an ulcer or an obstructing gallstone.  So I can’t eat solid food, and I’m drinking a lot of Gatorade… and resting a lot.

Reiki practitioners and those who do healing magic: I need all the help I can get, both for medical healing and for calming me down – I’m the kind of person who knows just enough medical information to scare myself silly.

Upon removal of 4th leg, grasshopper goes deaf

My endocrinologist is puzzled by the fact that sometimes, when she increases my dosage of testosterone (which I do not naturally produce enough of), my blood level of it actually decreases.  I thought I’d check if possibly there was some odd interaction between other medicines I take and the testosterone.  One study looked promising – until I read the absolutely unbelievable details, which suggest that researchers will put any dosage of a drug they want into a test animal to prove their point.

From PubMed:

In the first of two experiments, young male cardiomyopathic hamsters were injected intraperitoneally twice a day for 29 days with 8 mg alprazolam/kg body weight or saline. Three hours after the same injections on day 30, they were sacrificed and plasma hormone levels were measured. Alprazolam increased cortisol, total glucocorticoid and triiodothyronine levels…These experiments suggest that chronic benzodiazepine treatment can affect adrenocortical function and perhaps some aspects of thyroid function.”

8 mg/kg body weight twice a day?  These experiments suggest that researchers at the VA Medical Center in E. Orange, NJ, need to move into the world of reality.  These people could make a good case against ingestion of dihydrogen monoxide.  For a 180 pound human (81.5 kg) to get an equivalent dose, that person would have to take over 1300 mg alprazolam per day (or more, for equivalent bioavailability peroral.)

I guess I’m safe at 2 mg/day.

Mammogram. Not too bad.

Because I have a weird genetic structure, starting this year I have to get regular mammograms.  I’ve heard horror stories which turned out not to be true.  Or else it’s that to a person who’s been through over ten kidney stone attacks, one kidney stone extraction, and a bone marrow test, a mammogram is like the proverbial walk in the park…

My father

My father passed away on October 26, 2007, after extensive complications (we’re talking MRSA and Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and Pseudomonas ae. here, in a leg wound) developed from an attempt to replace his right hip joint.

A memorial site is on the web at

Poor, innocent, uninsured children

According to CNN,  Senator Lott (R-MS) said today: “Do you really believe Republicans don’t want to help poor, low-income children?”

Actually, I was surprised how many Republicans in the Senate want to help poor, low-income children.  I found the House behavior and the President’s behavior much more in line with my observations and beliefs: Republicans are only interested in health care for the unborn.  Born, they’re on their own.