28 thoughts on “Retrospect”

  1. The idea that Bush is responsible for the recent breakthrough in stem cells is silly.
    The breakthrough happened IN SPITE OF Bush’s policies.

  2. I’ve had it. I’m now personally going to kick the asses of anyone referring to any human being as a vegetable.
    That beotch is lucky she’s a cartoon.

  3. Regarding stem cells,
    A couple of days ago Jill posted a story about a little boy whose condition improved after he got a IV infusion of his umbilical cord blood which contained his own stem cells. What if they had not clamped and cut his cord at birth and he had continued to have use of all of those cells? It would be interesting to see if there are different rates of certain birth related problems based on whether or not the cord is clamped and cut before all of the blood from the cord and placenta has got into the baby. Just a thought.

  4. hey hippie,
    stem cells are very often considered only as a different type of repair kit. However, this does not make too much sense especially when we know that the vast majority of stem cells exist at birth. By perceiving that stem cells are the normal way the body ‘learns’ an action, a much different perception can be understood for these cells.
    As just one example: in learning to play a piano, several different kinds of cells are needed: auditory(hearing) cells; vibrational(touch) cells + nerve cells (glial & peripheral) + skin cells + Muscle cells + brain cells (in several different regions) +++. With practice, a person becomes ‘hard wired’ …. the stem cells have differentiated to become the different types of cells required.
    This same type of effort goes into every single physical activity whether it is crawling/walking/running/jumping or whether it is language acquisition …… and we as well ‘learn’ our response to energies like light, so we need stem cells to become educated.
    Early ‘baby-hood’ stem cells are used for the selection and acquisition of language … and once acquired there (apparently) is a huge ‘die-off’ of unused stem cells. Does this mean that there is a deep seated ignorance (lack-of-learning) swiftly following a basic fear that originates from a cord/placental blood loss?

  5. No one can tell me why we’re in Iraq in the first place, embryonic stem cell research is still going on as planned and Teri Schiavo wasn’t a vegetable – she was a potroast whose brain ran all over the table during her autopsy.

  6. Teri Schiavo wasn’t a vegetable – she was a potroast whose brain ran all over the table during her autopsy.
    It’s so sad when people have so little respect for people that they must degrade them in this manner.
    Who would really think this comment is funny, except someone who was just terribly cruel?

  7. Bethany,
    I agree that calling a person a potroast or vegetable is just a terrible thing to say. Whatever happened to having some respect for dead. It is not like she was a bad person before her life altering injuries. I also find it ironic when society pushes for scientific advance yet doesn’t want someone like Terri Schiavo to benefit from it. What is the point of developing treatments if we aren’t willing to give the treatment to people?
    Oh wait, I remember health care is a for profit industry. It is not about helping people. It is about helping people who can pay.

  8. It’s so sad when people have so little respect for people that they must degrade them in this manner.
    Excuse me?
    The person Teri Schiavo was died YEARS before her body expired.
    She was all gone.
    The strucutes in her head that would have made consciousness and self-awareness possible had turned to fluid. All gone.
    Game OVER.

  9. Teri was not a minimally conscious person. She was in a persistent vegetative state. There is a world of difference.

  10. Laura and Erin, you already have seen the evidence, as it’s been presented here ad nauseum, that Terri was not ever in an actual persistent vegetative state, but some people will never be persuaded by the truth, I suppose.
    It’s sad, really.

  11. Terri Schiavo died years before her body expired…Really? So what was she doing in a hospice instead of a cemetery or mausoleum until after her body had expired? Doesn’t sound to me like she’s the one with mush for brains. A soft head doesn’t compensate for a hard heart.
    Good cartoon and Bethany, hippie, and McDonnell, good comments. Evidence doesn’t matter to bigots like Mike Schauvinist Schiavo, Laura, Erin, & co. Reminds me of a story about a guy who woke up one morning convinced he was dead. He shared this discovery with his wife, who immediately scheduled him for an appointment with a local psychiatrist, hoping to bring him to his senses. The psychiatrist asked the man if he knew that dead people don’t bleed. He said that he did, so the psychiatrist proceeded to stick the man with a pin to show him that he wasn’t dead yet, after all. When he saw the bleeding that issued from the pin prick, the “dead” man exclaimed, “Well! How about that! I guess dead people do bleed, after all!” So much for evidence…
    The whole vegetable/potroast/houseplant (Felos’s favorite term for Terri) is just a variation on the old Nazi b.s. of calling people they didn’t like vermin, lice, cancers, parasites, etc., ad nauseam, in order to dehumanize the victims, and legitimize their victimization. The socialist playbook really doesn’t change, people just forget…like the man said, those who don’t learn from history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

  12. Excellent post, Wachet Auf!! The story about the man who thought he was dead was very funny, and very appropriate too. You’re right…sadly, the socialist tactics just remain the same throughout history…and yet, they never seem to realize it.

  13. Jacqueline: I’ve had it. I’m now personally going to kick the asses of anyone referring to any human being as a vegetable.
    That beotch is lucky she’s a cartoon.
    J, you are one spicy little tomato.

  14. J, you are one spicy little tomato.
    I’m one pissed off little girl, that’s for damn sure.
    And I refuse to invest emotional energy refute the ignorance of people that don’t understand clinical diagnoses can’t be made from autopsies, especially veiwing a brain that had dehydrated over the course of 13 days.

  15. You know, I talked to Bobby Schindler, Terri’s brother just Saturday.
    Did you know that blood was pooling in Terri’s eyes in the last few days of her life?
    Did you know that Erin? Did you know that Laura? If that doesn’t break your soul, you don’t #&^%$*(# have one.

  16. Jacqueline,
    I just read your posts. I didn’t follow the details of Terri’s case and hadn’t heard that. I feel just so sad for Terri and her family. I just can’t imagine the suffering she must have endured. I don’t know how the people around her could do that to her. I know some want to say she didn’t know or didn’t feel, but no one really can be sure of that. I feel that argument is made so that those who starved her, and those who let it happen can make themselves feel better. The lack of compassion is shocking. Even so, I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else even those who feel nothing for Terri’s suffering. I hope they are never defenseless and abused.

  17. hippie- I do. If I am ever in a state like that and my parents don’t honor my desire to die in peace, I will HAUNT THEIR ASSES. And I’ve told them that too.

  18. hippie- I do. If I am ever in a state like that and my parents don’t honor my desire to die in peace, I will HAUNT THEIR ASSES. And I’ve told them that too.
    Did you not read what I wrote about blood pooling in her eyes?
    Do you think a dry, cracked tongue, severe migraines, muscles spasms, nosebleeds, etc. is a peaceful death? Hell, a bullet in the head is a peaceful death. Two weeks of agony with no comfort care, no lip balm on the cracking lips, no ice chips, etc. That’s not peaceful. And contrary to your ignorance, Terri was conscious, only unable to communicate with words because her husband denied her rehab.
    She did speak when she was getting rehab. Words like Mommy, No and Stop. This is on her medical charts.

  19. Jacqueline, could you post links to those videos please because I would like to watch them. The capacity of cruelty in this world is astounding.

  20. I’ve watched all of the ones on Terrisfight.org…they make me so sad. She was most certainly a very loving and very loved person. She most certainly had feelings and suffered when she was killed.

  21. “If I am ever in a state like that and my parents don’t honor my desire to die in peace, I will HAUNT THEIR ASSES…”
    Very reminiscent of “Little Pig, little pig, let me come in, or I’ll huff and I’ll puff…” The unmistakeable voice of the wolf that comes but to steal, kill and destroy.
    You may have terrorized you parents, but they probably aren’t too concerned about the prospect of your haunting them. More likely that your parents’ asses won’t be around for you to haunt; children typically outlive their parents. Sounds like you’re more likely to murder “their asses” if you decide that they are inconvenient, stand in the way of an inheritance, etc…in which case, you will most likely become the haunted one. Either that or psychotic from a seared conscience, if you’re not that already.
    If you ever are in the state Terri was in prior to her actual death in 2005, you’ll probably want to live just as much as she arguably did at that time. It’s easy to think/feel or say that we wouldn’t want to be worse off than we are, and that we would like to be better off than we are, at any given time. But real people are normally hardwired with a strong instinct to survive. Suicide occurs when negative emotion -grief, despair, etc.- overwhelms and/or temporarily shuts down that instinct. But what most people who become handicapped -mentally or physically- actually do is grieve the loss, naturally, and then ADAPT to it. Just yesterday I met a totally blind woman who is learning to play the harp (this was the occupation of choice for blind children in Ireland several centuries ago; the great composer laureate of Ireland, Turlough O’Carolan, was blinded by smallpox as a teenager) and, from what I heard, doing very well with it! Better than many people who can see.
    I have personally suffered the loss of several abilities that I had earlier in my life. I miss them, but I sure don’t want anyone taking from me the senses/abilities I have left because I am presently missing a few. (I say presently because I believe there’s a remedy for anything but death. Adult stem cell research seems to be showing great promise to heal a lot of conditions, restore many losses, and generally provide great benefit to many people without harming anyone; I also believe that God can intervene in and reverse any bad situation as He sees fit. But we aren’t to tempt Him; we are to do the best we can with what we do have…like all the handicapped people I know do, and I try to do myself…and you will probably find yourself doing, in spite of all your death talk, when/if you are ever in a similar situation.

  22. to “Yeah, right!”
    good post; talking of harps, did you ever read “The Tiny Foot”, by a Dr. Loomis?
    If not, I think you’d appreciate it, so here it is…
    Two years after I came to California, there came to my office one day a fragile young woman, expecting her first baby. Her history was not good from an emotional standpoint, though she came from a fine family.
    I built her up as well as I could and found her increasingly wholesome and interesting as time went on, partly because of the effort she was making to be calm and patient and to keep her emotional and nervous reactions under control.
    One month before her baby was due, her routine examination showed that her baby was in a breech position. As a rule, the baby’s head is in the lower part of the uterus for months before delivery, not because it is heavier and “sinks” in the surrounding fluid, but simply because it fits more comfortably in that position. There is no routine “turning” of all babies at the seventh or eighth month, as is so generally supposed, but the occasional baby found in a breech position in the last month not infrequently changes to the normal vertex position with the head down by the time it is ready to be born, so that only about one baby in 25 is born in the breech position.
    This is fortunate, as the death rate of breech babies is comparatively high because of the difficulty in delivering the after-coming head, and the imperative need of delivering it rather quickly after the body is born. At that moment the cord becomes compressed between the baby’s hard little head and the mother’s bony pelvis. When no oxygen reaches the baby’s bloodstream, it inevitably dies in a few short minutes. Everyone in the delivery room is tense, except the mother herself, in a breech delivery, especially if it is a first baby, when the difficulty is greater. The mother is usually quietly asleep or almost so.
    The case I was speaking of was a “complete” breech – the baby’s legs and feet being folded under it, tailor fashion – in contrast to the “frank” breech, in which the thighs and legs are folded back on a baby’s body like a jack-knife, the little rear end backing its way into the world first of all.
    The hardest thing for the attending doctor to do with any breech delivery is to keep his hands away from it until the natural forces of expulsion have thoroughly dilated the firm maternal structures that delay its progress. I waited as patiently as I could, sending frequent messages to the excited family in the corridor outside.
    At last the time had come, and I gently drew down one little foot, I grasped the other, but for some reason I could not understand, it would not come down beside the first one. I pulled again, gently enough but with a little force, with light pressure on the abdomen from above by my assisting nurse, and the baby’s body moved down just enough for me to see that it was a little girl – and then, to my consternation, I saw that the other foot would never be beside the first one. The entire thigh from the hip to the knee was missing and that one foot never could each below the opposite knee. And a baby girl was to suffer this, a curious defect that I had never seen before, nor have I since!
    There followed the hardest struggle I have ever had with myself. I knew what a dreadful effect it would have upon the unstable nervous system of the mother. I felt sure that the family would almost certainly impoverish itself in taking the child to every famous orthopaedist in the world whose achievements might offer a ray of hope.
    Most of all, I saw this little girl sitting sadly by herself while other girls laughed and danced and ran and played – and then I suddenly realised that there was something that would save every pang but once, and that once thing was in my power.
    One breech baby in 10 dies in delivery because it is not delivered rapidly enough, and now – if only I did not hurry! If I could slow my hand, if I could make myself delay those few short moments. It would not be an easy delivery, anyway. No one in all this world would ever know. The mother, after the first shock of grief, would probably be glad she had lost a child so sadly handicapped. In a year or two she would try again and this tragic fate would never be repeated.
    “Don’t bring this suffering upon them,” the small voice within me said. “This baby has never taken a breath – don’t let her ever take one. You probably can’t get it out in time, anyway. Don’t hurry. Don’t be a fool and bring this terrible thing upon them. Suppose your conscience does hurt a little; can’t you stand it better than they can? Maybe your conscience will hurt worse if you do get it out in time.”
    I motioned to the nurse for the warm sterile towel that is always ready for me in a breech delivery to wrap around the baby’s body so that stimulation of the cold air of the outside world may not induce a sudden expansion of the baby’s chest, causing the aspiration of fluid or mucus that might bring death.
    But this time the towel was only to conceal from the attending nurses that which my eyes alone had seen. With the touch of that pitiful little foot in my hand, a pang of sorrow for the baby’s future swept through me, and my decision was made.
    I glanced at the clock. Three of the allotted seven or eight minutes had already gone. Every eye in the room was upon me and I could feel the tension in their eagerness to do instantly what I asked, totally unaware of what I was feeling. I hoped they could not possibly detect the tension of my own struggle at that moment.
    These nurses had seen me deliver dozens of breech babies successfully – yes, and they had seen me fail too. Now they were going to see me fail again. For the first time in my medical life I was deliberately discarding what I had been taught was right for something that I felt sure was better.
    I slipped my hand beneath the towel to feel the pulsations of the baby’s cord, a certain index of its condition. Two or three minutes more would be enough. So that I might seem to be doing something, I drew the baby down a little lower to “split out” the arms, the usual next step, and as I did so the little pink foot on the good side bobbed out from its protecting towel and pressed firmly against my slowly moving hand, the hand into whose keeping the safety of the mother and the baby had been entrusted. There was a sudden convulsive movement of the baby’s body, an actual feeling of strength and life and vigour.
    It was too much. I couldn’t do it. I delivered the baby with her pitiful little leg. I told the family the next day, and with a catch in my voice, I told the mother.
    Every foreboding came true. The mother was in a hospital for months. I saw her once or twice and she looked like a wraith of her former self. I heard of them indirectly from time to time. They had been to Rochester, Minn. They had been to Chicago and to Boston. Finally I lost track of them altogether.
    As the years went on, I blamed myself bitterly for not having had the strength to yield to my temptation.
    Through the many years that I have been there, there has developed in our hospital a pretty custom of staging an elaborate Christmas party each year for the employees, the nurses and the doctors of the staff.
    There is always a beautifully decorated tree on the stage of our little auditorium. The girls spend weeks in preparation. We have so many difficult things to do during the year, so much discipline and so many of the stern realities of life, that we have set aside this one day to touch upon the emotional and spiritual side. It is almost like going to an impressive church service, as each year we dedicate ourselves anew to the year ahead.
    This past year the arrangement was somewhat changed. The tree, on one side of the stage, had been sprayed with sliver paint and was hung with scores of gleaming silver and tinsel ornaments, without a trace of colour anywhere and with no lights hung upon the tree itself. It shone but faintly in the dimly lighted auditorium.
    Every doctor of the staff who could possibly be there was in his seat. The first rows were reserved for the nurses and the moment the procession entered, each girl in uniform, each one crowned by her nurse’s cap, her badge of office. Around their shoulders were their blue Red Cross capes, one end tossed back to show the deep red lining.
    We rose as one man to do them honour, and as the last one reached her seat, and we settled in our places again, the organ began the opening notes of one of the oldest of our carols.
    Slowly down the middle aisle, marching from the back of the auditorium, came 20 other girls singing softly, our own nurses, in full uniform, each holding high a lighted candle, while through the auditorium floated the familiar strains of “Silent Night”. We were on our feet again instantly. I could have killed anyone who spoke to me then, because I couldn’t have answered, and by the time they reached their seats I couldn’t see. And then a great blue floodlight at the back was turned on very slowly, gradually covering the tree with increasing splendour: brighter and brighter, until every ornament was almost a flame. On the opposite side of the stage a curtain was slowly drawn, and we saw three lovely young musicians, all in shimmering white evening gowns. They played very softly in unison with the organ – a harp, a cello and a violin. I am quite sure I was not the only old sissy there whose eyes were filled with tears.
    I have always like the harp, and I love to watch the grace of a skilful player. I was especially fascinated by this young harpist. She played extraordinarily well, as if she loved it. Her slender fingers flickered across the strings, and as the nurses sang, her face, made beautiful by a mass of auburn hair, was upturned as if the world that moment were a wonderful and holy place.
    I waited, when the short programme was over, to congratulate the chief nurse on the unusual effects she had arranged. And as I sat alone, there came running down the aisle a woman whom I did not know. She came to me with arms outstretched.
    “Oh, you saw her,” she cried. “You must have recognised your baby. That was my daughter who played the harp – and I saw you watching her. Don’t you remember the little girl who was born with only one good leg 17 years ago? We tried everything else first, but now she has a whole artificial leg on that side – but you would never know it, would you? She can walk, she can swim, and she can almost dance.
    “But, best of all, through all those years when she couldn’t do those things, she learned to use her hands so wonderfully. She is going to be one of the world’s great harpists. She is my whole life, and now she is so happy and here she is!”
    As we spoke, this sweet young girl had quietly approached us, her eyes glowing, and now she stood beside me. “This is your first doctor, my dear – our doctor,” her mother said. Her voice trembled. I could see her literally swept back, as I was, through all the years of heartache to the day when I told her what she had to face. “He was the first one to tell me about you. He brought you to me.”
    Impulsively I took the child in my arms. Across her warm young shoulder I saw the creeping clock of the delivery room 17 years before. I lived again those awful moments when her life was in my hand, when I had decided on deliberate infanticide.
    I held her away from me and looked at her.
    “You never will know, my dear,” I said, “you never will know, nor will anyone else in all the world, just what tonight has meant to me. Go back to your harp for a moment, please – and play “Silent Night” for me alone. I have a load on my shoulders that no one has ever seen, a load that only you can take away.”
    Her mother sat beside me and quietly took my hand as her daughter played. Perhaps she knew what was in my mind. And as the last strains of “Silent Night, Holy Night” faded again, I think I found the answer, and the comfort, I had waited for so long.”
    Joyeaux Noel!

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