Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What is a "Good Scientist?" Secret Hitler and Aunt People


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Please note that this piece was initially composed on December 7, 2021, and that in the past few days Fauci has been having to backpedal on his advice to live it up over the holidays, because of the disaster that has ensued.


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I am a scientist, but think a lot about family roles and their psychological impact. I am a wife and a mother, and much has been written about those particular roles. I am also a daughter and a sister. I did a lot of work examining those functions of mine earlier in life and determined that my sister and I were probably not going to be close in our adult lives. We both recognize how much we have in common, and we enjoy our connection. But as a family doctor she is a clinician, not a researcher, and that often puts us at odds with each other, because I was the latter. Things that are found in research aren’t used in clinical practice for a long time (except for vaccines, ahem). Weaknesses in the medical system have had a great impact on my life, and these are systemic fallibilities that we both recognize, but the two of us have different levels of risk involved with questioning the established system.


I think this is putting extra strain on our relationship, beyond what we feel from being mothers of twice exceptional kids, while likely being twice exceptional ourselves. She probably had a lot more information about neurodiversity than I did when she became a mother, since she was a doctor. Everything I learned, I had to uncover on my own, carefully noting how it aligned with what I learned studying neuroscience. There was quite a bit I didn’t understand about psychology and the way the mind works, particularly my own mind, which made it difficult for me to understand the puzzle of health in a way a physician with clinical mental health training would. It also made for an incomplete understanding of neuroscience.


My sister shared with me how overwhelming it is to be a doctor right now. She actually doesn’t have to keep her job - we live in America. Many people who are unhappy with their jobs are quitting right now. Doctoring was always a moral thing for her and the money happens to be good. She has complained about her work to me as well, but the relative amount of my attention that has taken is low compared to other things we discuss, and also, and she never seemed to be soliciting advice, just telling me what was going on in her life. She didn't repeat herself much, so I got a good picture of the situation and felt like she was being realistic. What I have discovered about my own health has been difficult for her to process because the approach I take relies heavily on nutrigenomics, and I arrived at that approach through a lot of trial and error and unhelpful expensive doctor visits.


Our mother has always been very intent on my sister and I being friends. I was there for the births of both my niece and nephew, and my sister was there for the birth of my daughter. In both cases, we provided critical information to each other’s care team which may have saved our lives during childbirth. We respect each other greatly, but we don’t have much time for each other, and I have never had free childcare to accomplish what I do. I think she forgets that most people don’t have that luxury. We don't have time for actual friendship, and that was something that was a factor in our relationship long before she became a doctor. She made it clear early on through her choices that “superfriends” were more valuable than sisterhood, and I think she was probably right. Sisterhood locks us into family trauma and the past in ways only superfriends and quality community connections can heal. We are both heavily invested in the values we try to embody in our lives, which don’t always appear to align from the outside, and it’s painful when we have these realizations.


We are both Aquarians, and have simultaneously had the realization that we need to keep our circles small. She doesn’t study astrology, but I took it up a few years ago as a curiosity, and found specific interest in Harvard history professor Richard Tarnas’ studies on astrology and the development of western consciousness. Tarnas’ initial study was of the archetypology of the planet Uranus, which he equated with the Promethean urge in the mind of man. It is a fascinating read, and I recommend it to anyone trying to grasp the study of astrology. Part of his hypothesis has to do with the awakening of the conscious scientific mind in mid-life. He found that around age 42, uniformly, great minds like Plato, Aristotle, Galileo, William James, Freud, and Jung, who were all born when the planet Uranus was conjunct (very close to) the sun. Additionally, all were simultaneously struck by major epiphanies that informed their work exactly when Uranus was halfway through the 84 year transit that it takes across the sky, when it was directly opposite from where it was on the day of their birth. He documents his evidence carefully.


The ceiling in Area 57.


Both my sister and I have strained relationships with 3rd Wave Feminist in-laws who still control family matters. These are the women we saw get to have everything they wanted when they were our age, and they still need it that way, it seems. They are unable to relinquish control of our attention at the holidays, even if we are not physically present with them. In my case, it took a pandemic to break the stranglehold, but even so and despite our asking years ago for them to stop making surprise visits to our home, they insist on turning our attention to them and their materialism in some way over the holiday by playing Santa. We are burdened by stuff. I am the only one who takes things to the thrift store. Giving unnecessary gifts to children is a burden on caregivers, primarily women. I am frustrated that these women do not seem to understand how they constantly make life more difficult for me by giving us things that have little utility or even sentimental value. What I find most upsetting about this whole situation is the obvious fact that what these women were fighting for with their version of feminism was essentially matriarchal fascism centered around Lilliputian ideals. That is as bad as the patriarchy. I know that sounds like loaded language, so let me explain.


It’s no secret that everything is twice as expensive as it was for our parents because the economy adjusted to women going to work. Since I was a kid, Christmas has gotten out of hand. In my family growing up, we just spent it as a nuclear family. It was a respite from all the church services we participated in because we were part of the choir. Early on, when people talked about keeping God in the holidays, I was like, “Well, yeah.” I didn’t really understand the insidious effect materialism has on the holidays in the context of an extended family.


When I was growing up, I did not have a close relationship with my aunts, uncles or cousins. We did not spend the holidays together. Nor did we spend all of our summer and winter breaks together. That didn’t cloud my view of them - the breaks, holidays, or family. I assumed they were having their own similar celebrations. My sister had even less of a connection with them, because I at least corresponded with some of them by snail mail for a time. The number of times I wrote was maybe a handful; just enough to give me a sense that we were connected, but certainly not enough to actually know them. I almost never received material gifts from them, and it was never assumed that any of them had the financial wherewithal or energy to do that sort of thing, nor was it expected.


During the resulting private nuclear family holidays with just my parents and sister, I rarely had to hear people complain about work. Or at least, I should say, the complaining did not lead me to be excessively concerned for the person’s wellbeing or their effect on the people around them. I think that is part of the reason I am an optimistic person. Furthermore, my parents’ attention wasn’t divided trying to entertain a bunch of people, so we actually connected during those times. This is how I imagined the holidays being for our own family, but they were often abbreviated by large holiday celebrations with extended family with a lot more bellyaching, manipulation and gluttony, enough for me to see the difference and know my preference. My holidays spent with only nuclear family, as a child or an adult, have been more grateful in nature. I suppose I should have realized how the holiday dynamics in my family life would be different when my in-laws regularly hosted holiday Open Houses which included their business contacts, that deep connection with their nuclear family was not their priority when they were raising their own children.


We all feel like we are taking one for the family team at the holidays. Perhaps it is so our mothers-in-law can repair the psychological damage done to our siblings-in-law due to the loss of their fathers to mental health issues. I know this is the case with my sister’s mother-in-law. She made an edict that all Thanksgivings would be spent at her house because that’s when they get together to remember their lost family members. It’s terribly inflexible. Sometimes we need to just move on, or pick a day that doesn’t interfere with our grandchildren’s lives with their family and friends. I know my sister and my husband's sister felt that way, too, at times over the years. I spent a good deal of time over the last decade mourning the loss of the dream of a simple life over the holidays - a dream I had when I got married and bought a house. Both mothers-in-law attempted to circumvent any efforts for independence by opening their homes to whoever wanted to come, but failed to recognize how family dynamics shape the entire experience, and that others might not feel so comfortable, especially when there is not enough seating, or the food gets put away too soon because of a compulsive need to appear perfect.


Holidays did not feel like an obligation at first, but that feeling certainly grew.


For many years in a row, I witnessed my husband’s sibling family dynamics and noticed how they subconsciously talk louder and louder over each other to get their points across. I got the sense that things must have been pretty chaotic in their house when they were young. From the stories I heard, it certainly seems so. DH likes to remind me of how he felt like my sister and I were overly competitive at board games. I realized when he said that more recently that my sister and I might be so focused on beating each other that we forget other people are involved in the game. We’re always just trying to play our best game; not cheat. It may have felt like cheating to him because my sister and I have a psychic connection and drive each other to do better by learning from each other. No shouting is necessary; we just play the game intelligently and fairly, and listen.


Note that my sister organized a huge mask-sewing campaign in the beginning of the pandemic when I was dubious about the effectiveness of varying qualities of masks. They do not all have the same effectiveness, and encouraging this behavior before we had characterized COVID’s behavior felt irresponsible to me. I felt like we needed to slow down rather than speed up, and this is generally a way that my sister and I live our lives differently, so I can imagine feeling stuck was a particular frustration she was concerned about that I wasn’t so much. I wasn’t sure she was being a good example when she did what she did, but I know that she made it so people could socialize more safely before companies could respond with other solutions. Furthermore, she was able to quickly mobilize an army of mask-sewing women where she lives, and provide them with instructions for something that was probably more effective than what I witnessed people wearing around where I live. To my mother, she looked like a hero. I was worried she was encouraging reckless behavior by encouraging mingling so early on, but I didn’t know how to express this to her at the time. I was worried she wasn’t being a good example, and that her particular bias and tendency toward busyness and heroics was clouding her better judgment at a time when circumstances were indicating an important need to slow down. I never said anything to her directly because I did not want to hurt her feelings, but inside I was a mess. She does things that scare me. I homeschooled, and I am sure that scared her, and that there have been many things she has had to bite her tongue about because I question everything. Nevertheless, I have spoken with another person who noticed a physician behaving less carefully than others by encouraging large community gathering (albeit socially distanced) quite early on. But I was still scrubbing all my groceries because I have never had any good reasons to trust anyone to use the obvious and necessary precautions regarding any sort of infectious disease. Everyone I have known has been pretty laissez-faire regarding personal responsibility in this department, and I think that is still true because of all the misinformation we were given over the course of this thing by the people we trusted to help us. Perhaps what I am writing is too little, too late, because with the misinformation being circulated now by the media and our government, I don’t know how the truth will ever survive.


In my family, we were expected to get along, and disagreements were not tolerated. My husband pointed out when he read a draft of this piece that it was not healthy to do that to children; but neither is totally divorcing oneself from any responsibility for their behavior, and whacking them with a wooden spoon carried around in the back pocket when they get too loud for Mom or Dad’s migraine. How we discipline our children has permanent effects on their psychology. I do think my parents’ intolerance of our disagreements when we were young had the effect of helping my sister and I be civil and respectful with each other as adults, and generally get along well with others, but it made both of us internalize our conflict which isn’t good for our health. I think the same happens with neglect, or at least that has been my observation in the other situation I describe in this paragraph.


We both have had personal struggles with how to approach discipline with our children since like most people, our parents were imperfect. Ultimately, we want to encourage them to be healthy in mind and spirit. It would have been helpful to know more about childhood development before I became a mother. I was as permissive a parent as you can get, and allowed my children to learn from their mistakes like an organism would in nature, without my intervention. I did give opinions and supporting evidence for those opinions, and tried to point out potential safety issues when I could, while acknowledging that bad outcomes often have silver linings, so it’s not like I was absent. I treated my kids like little scientists, which had its own set of benefits and drawbacks, because I tended to approach emotional issues in pragmatic and material ways rather than through listening. I fell into that approach naturally because my kids and I were so sensitive and connected, and also because I have mirror touch synesthesia and couldn’t tolerate their discomfort for very long, which meant I felt an impetus to pacify them. Other forms of control often used by other parents ended up feeling traumatic to all of us. We weren’t good about identifying our feelings, possibly due to neurological issues from chemical exposures and head injuries, which may be fairly common. I now know after reading a bit about the neuroscience of trauma that continued exposure without appropriate expression of emotion compounds the problem of trauma-induced aphasia, and that is why I continue to "do the work" even though I am essentially putting others on trial in identifying my sources of trauma. Not all of it comes from the past, so it behooves us to identify ongoing sources and have better boundaries, lest we lose our ability to speak of these things forever. For this reason, if my kids need space, I give it to them. We try to do many right-brained activities here (or we are drawn to them); art and music are particularly therapeutic for encouraging self-expression. Other people rely on physical activity to encourage right brain connection, but if attention is not paid to the amount of time spent in catabolism, it can have the opposite effect on speech and language due to how consciousness is affected by metabolism. This is a phenomenon I think many people and even many doctors do not understand. Doctors’ understanding of metabolism and nutrition are poor at best because of the way they are trained.


Giving my children space, not using corporal punishment with them, and encouraging their interests helped them to be naturally more self aware than other kids we knew. Enough people in my circle do mindfulness meditation now that I notice many of them being more self aware (even the historically problematic individuals who are now doing things like drinking less alcohol). With people being less dependent on me for emotional validation, I have more time to pursue my creative pursuits. I have this constant dialogue in my head, so I just write it out and it’s therapeutic for me, helps me figure things out that I often can’t, and I can share what I learned so it helps someone else. (This medium poses challenges for people who are not sighted or do not have the privilege of time like I have had, though). I try to edit quite a bit to make things concise, but I do know that themes and vignettes can recur in my writing on occasion. I try not to do it that often. I massage the resulting record of my stream of consciousness until I feel that it is clear, post it on my blog - voila! I guess that is what being a writer is like. Some people have difficulty with conversational tone in writing, while others have difficulty with technical jargon, so I try to strike a nice balance which is approachable by most people. I don't have time to write for special audiences right now. It is the information that is important. It bothers me that I have to explain any of these things at all. This is a blog. It is amazing the sorts of things people will use to discredit a person’s perspective, typos and access to editors notwithstanding.


When I was a kid, the author Sandra Dallas started a library at our church and I volunteered to help. In her recent newsletter, she discussed not quitting one’s day job and writing a little bit every day. Technically, I have been doing this, I just was never paid for the majority of the work I did. (And that applies to my work as an artist, too). I feel like I have faced a lot of unfair judgment for never having a paying job, and that a lot of my family members viewed my writing as a passing fancy rather than anything important. The way they treated me with respect to my time certainly reinforced that perspective for me. They always acted as though their own time was more valuable than mine, but did not understand that there was no way for me to come up with more energy or time to hold a paying job, even after quitting most of my volunteer activities. They were things I carefully fit around supporting my own nuclear family allowing me to remain flexible in my care duties, and I did not really have time to provide emotional support for my sibling or my husband’s sibling while trying to do these things, especially over the holidays. Neither did our household really have energy for the continual babysitting of the younger cousins of our working sisters. I understand how older cousins can be revered, but I also understand that it can be a burden if they aren’t getting their own needs for intellectual stimulation or mature emotional connection met. And with kids who are trying to transition to adulthood who need to have their wits about them to do schoolwork and learn how to drive, we really don't need exposure that doesn't directly benefit us somehow.


My mother’s favorite animal is the goose. Both my husband and I heard at some point in our lives that geese mate for life. It dawned on us that maybe this was another one of those “scientific facts'' that were actually just rumors, and it turns out that is true. Only 44 percent of geese are monogamous. Monogamy in geese usually fails when the pair are unable to create a successful nest together. And they don’t even have to passive-aggressively argue with in-laws over how to spend the holidays for eight weeks out of every year! If the holidays are what makes a home, how does constantly having to be at someone else's nest or answering their needy texts affect our own? What if negotiating that annually becomes a mark on the calendar that now feels like a cancer because the waves of drama circle out around that date for weeks and monopolize our time and attention? It erodes my desire to write as I become increasingly flabbergasted by people’s choices to feed into that drama dynamic and their blindness to the ways they use others’ attention for minutae to fill their own emotional needs. (Hint: You have to *be* Transphobe Voldemort to know Transphobe Voldemort, and you have to be a copyright monster to know one). Creativity is not so limited that we need to own it, and it is wrong to pretend that the origin of something creative does not ever involve the influence of others who might not receive credit. It’s rather more important for our interdependence in society that everyone feels safe, has enough, and can express themselves without fear of being bullied by someone who thinks they should be disproportionately rewarded for their particular contribution to the collective consciousness, which always involves standing on the shoulders of giants. Ahem.


<cough, cough>

 

My sister-in-law works redecorating vacation homes for the wealthy. Much like with the friend I had who was a hair stylist, I have been privy to the stories about the horrible behavior of her wealthy clients; because of her continued occupational exposure to trauma, she requires a lot of emotional support. She has been saying the same thing for the last 9 years. My sister-in-law doesn’t like what she does, and she doesn’t know how to change jobs this late in life while raising a child. I feel that. But listening to her complain for all these years certainly did not help my view of the wealthy, and it made me detest any effort on our part to emulate wealthy people. Most wealthy people become wealthy by taking advantage of others somehow; they undercompensate people for their time and ingenuity, keeping the underclass of creatives unable to pay others for the same sorts of labor. When I learn about the industries her clients work in and how they make their money, and hear her talk about how she is treated by them, many things about the way greed corrupts people in this country become clear. And it’s not something I care to mourn while repeating their errors. Maybe she would feel better if she could take a real break from all that, but just like being a doctor, the cost of art school is insane, so one ends up having one’s life potential derailed by sunk cost. I feel that, too, even though the cost for me was just time (graduate programs in science and engineering pay students - a pittance, but it’s something).


I think particular lifestyles tend to make people focus more on what the potential salary is for a profession than if it is a good fit, which leads to even more unhappiness and a need to claim ownership of anything that might make it big - even single words like “Meta.” All of the professions my sister-in-law talks about going into have one thing in common - they are high paying careers - not necessarily things she would enjoy or be good at. Life is not about salary, but because of the values of people we keep close in our lives we can become imprisoned by thinking it is. The government has a useful website with salary information for anyone who wants to take that single-minded approach for choosing a profession. There is no need for people to make themselves unnecessarily vulnerable on Reddit, though salary discussions are important, as is a dialogue about what psychologically humane work looks like in a capitalist post-pandemic world. When looking for new employment, it is a good idea to compare any offers against this database. Please note that the government website does not include the value of benefits packages. Companies have been trying to use people’s ignorance with respect to salary negotiation against them, particularly in Colorado, so this data is a particular public service to us.


Beyond that, trying to get free career answers from people who don't have those answers makes no sense. I believe a lot of what is going on with respect to salary insecurity and also the pandemic has to do with the way Boomer holidays are celebrated engendering jealousy and materialism, and a reluctance to “do the work” on ourselves to change the system for the better, in lieu of socialization. Scheduling pressure from the educational calendar creates a feeling of scarcity that permeates the national ethos with fear of missing out; industries like medicine and religion are particularly prone to acting as amplifiers of that fear and drastically influencing the behavior of the authoritarian herd.


Our sisters and we didn’t have radically different parenting values, but they were different. Because of our homeschooling, we generally learned to turn inward when everyone was out of school because we noticed that stores were more crowded, people were grumpy on the road, and the flu was always going around. They of course had to use this time to live their lives, because that is all that the system allows when one is in it. Very little time is left to question authority when one is a slave to the academic schedule. So there was a lot of pressure for us to go against our better nature as a nuclear family and get together because of the time scarcity schooling families felt during the holidays. No wonder it is Capricorn season - Kronos, its ruler, is the God of Time.


I feel like there was a subconscious impetus for my sister-in-law and her brother to try to appear like the best aunt or uncle. I think it is a confusing thing for kids to receive inappropriately large gifts from people who did not have time for them during the rest of the year, and who don’t really know them as individuals. It ends up being a platitude easily payable by the wealthy, not a gift given because of any real connection, and perpetuates that sort of materialism. Moreover, the way the holiday was celebrated, I didn’t get to know my in-laws in a way that made me want to spend more time with them. They didn’t share much about their childhood or thoughts on deep subjects in all the years I spent with them; because of this I tended to give them alcohol as gifts because I only knew they seemed to like it a lot. I only got to know that they were very wealthy or that they had expensive taste, so if that is the message they were trying to send, they were successful in conveying it. They were so intent on avoiding discussion of what made them who they are today that I suspected there were things they were hiding, and because I am a genealogist, I found out that was true, and that it was uncomfortable stuff that they hadn’t really addressed in their subconscious behavior. Their fixation on selectively remembering the past as positive seemed like a subconscious effort to hold on to family when faith was falling apart. A wise person would understand that personal faith, especially under these psychological conditions, is much more important than any illusory material family bonds. Furthermore, I learned that everyone in their family who appeared wealthy didn't actually own much; they just had a lot of loans.


I have informed my kids that they are under no obligation to spend holidays with me or each other. I think it is awful to be continually disappointed by sibling and parent dynamics we may have gone to college specifically to get away from, and if there is anything like that in our family, I want them to feel free from it. Why do Boomer parents subconsciously enable dependence? Did their parents do that?


During a pandemic, especially, we need to take care of our mental and physical health, and the perpetuation of family holiday trauma is certainly at odds with that, because this year’s COVID situation is no better than last year’s. After a year it should be evident to everyone in the US that waves come two weeks after holidays.


“They” are telling me it’s going to be a “perfect tsunami” this time. I get messages from the collective. This is another way I have been marginalized by modern medicine’s ignorance of what neuroscience, psychology and physics understands about consciousness. In western medicine, we pathologize psychic phenomena, but certain branches of neuroscience and physics have been trying to make sense of this for a long time. Nearly everyone who has made a contribution to this knowledge has been persecuted by religion. Prometheus the Awakener, besides being a record of the evolution of human consciousness, is a record of the global fight to understand the nature of God and how we are all connected throughout history. Scientists who do not understand their own stream of consciousness have contributed to the intolerance directed toward those of us who *know* but do not have the words. The goal of enlightenment is to know, be able to recognize, and use this connection to help change the course of human destiny for the better. It is an ability that comes only through slowing down and noticing the transcendental, and is forced into hiding when we are hurried and under duress, so the societal systems we have in the manner they currently operate are a direct obstacle to this consciousness that connects us all. I am fairly certain the connection is metabolic due to studies of insect communication and my own experiences with my family members, animals and the natural world, but that is not what this writing is about.


How our leaders are handling the holidays feels like a capitalist conspiracy to avoid taking the time to speak the truth, even if it was just ignorance. Certain populations seem to be blindly following recommendations for boosters, specifically - wealthy Neoliberals who want to feel that the industry they supported for fighting infectious disease didn’t play a even a small negative role in the pandemic through encouraging risk-taking behavior over the holidays. These people have also failed to consider that there are less fortunate people who have difficulty getting time off work to renew their driver’s license, let alone get boosters and deal with brain fog and sleep deprivation every 10 weeks. On that sort of schedule, it’s important to note such reactions as adverse events. Is anyone else going to stand up against this classist and eugenicist dogma with me, or am I going to remain alone until the virus has mutated enough that my kidneys and heart give out because there seems to be no way to adequately protect myself? This is so discouraging. COVID does not treat people equally. I think people without children or whose kids have moved out of the house have no idea what kind of stress families are under. As of October 2021, the CDC reported that 140,000 children in the US alone had lost a primary or secondary caregiver to COVID. Disproportionately, this has been children who are minorities, with the largest risk being in the Alaskan and Native American ethnic groups. I am part of the latter. Furthermore, my husband's and my families were both impacted by losses due to the Flu and Tuberculosis pandemic as well as the Great Depression. The losses our family incurred impacted our parents' upbringing significantly, because they all had parents who were orphaned. So THIS IS MORE THAN PERSONAL. According to The Archibald Project, the foster care system is under tremendous invisible pressure right now, and this is not something I hear anyone talking about, and it's our country's future. The conservatives I know say they are all about protecting personal freedoms, but they do not realize how their refusal to take responsiblity for their own actions is a terrible burden on the people around them, especially children. Furthermore, neo-liberals unwittingly increased the burden on families further by adding to the pro-corporate pro-consumer anti-family effect of capitalism when the weak whose backs ordinarily help perpetuate system were unable to keep up. Capitalism clearly runs on the bones on the weak, and it is gluttony, greed and ambition that keep that monster in charge. What better way to perpetuate it than further enslave us to bourgeois ideals?


This is a sore spot for me, because my family got sick from our extended families who were part of the school system or child care often enough that it was a nuisance long before COVID was a twinkle in Dr. Charles Lieber’s eye. I lost a lot of time and energy battling infectious illness because of the carelessness of others, often having the finger pointed back at me for my own weakness, when it turns out that I am a carrier of multiple invisible genetic diseases. When I was pregnant with my first child, another one of my work colleagues was pregnant at the same time and we both got the flu twice during our second trimesters from coworkers whose young children were in daycare, significantly increasing the risk for our unborn children. There is new research coming out about the risks to children who were gestated during the COVID pandemic. I even had a woman in a playgroup when my son was little say that breastfeeding must not matter because it didn’t seem to protect us from illness which we often picked up from her daughter. It turns out genetics are probably a large factor in susceptibility to COVID sequelae. The genetics of the virus itself matter, as does how those genetics interact with that of the host. This is true of any environmental interaction. So it’s possible to be someone who doesn’t show a lot of outward signs of illness to still carry that illness, transmit it, and be more susceptible to something like cancer or dementia. The development of those conditions are increased by the same environmental illness; but the effects can go unnoticed by the sufferer. They are no less deadly.

 

When the going gets rough... the navel gazing becomes more intense.



Over the years, I felt like people who were vaccinated (particularly against influenza) used that as an excuse to behave cavalierly with respect to infection, and I fear the exact same thing happening with the COVID vaccine. The way vaccines have been marketed to us has been disingenuous in that the phenomenon of asymptomatic carriers is uniformly ignored, which is an important reason why COVID is still spreading. I just talked to an insurance guy who had a positive test but went back to work because "he only had a cough." He did let it slip that he had been having cognitive difficulties as well. It bothers me that people aren't being more transparent about that, but I suppose some people are accustomed to feeling that way semi-regularly, even before COVID. That was common for me when I was on a low carb diet and can be when I don't get enough sleep or have too much stress. Then there's this woman on a recent airplane flight. The promotion of the prone to false-negative rapid tests, and the new recommendations to cut quarantine in half after a positive test are certainly not going to help (EDIT: Thank you to the CDC for budging a bit, and at least on the website underscoring the importance of mask wearing). I saw some really dirty stuff from people who were unable to be honest about their children’s or their own health because of their fear of missing out. Over the years, I tried all sorts of strategies to avoid catching whatever illness my niblings would have at Christmas from being in school. I eventually figured out that because of the timing of when school lets out and how people do their shopping, that Christmas celebrations have often had people either getting or getting over something while they were still infectious, so even if they weren’t outright lying about the health of their children, the children were often carrying some ailment.


With my own extended family I settled on mid-January for us to get together to avoid this issue. That’s when “birthday season” starts for us, anyway. My inlaws’ birthday season is November, so the pressure to gather is near constant through flu season, which has never been effectively controlled by vaccines alone, despite the industry’s attempts to convince us otherwise. Blow me to Bermuda, indeed. Neither side of the family budged in such a way as to let up the pressure on us; our self-employed in-laws leave town in October and usually roll back in for birthday season, expecting attention, typically within a day of their return. In the past they have given us an ETA before leaving, and just when we are starting to get back into the groove, they return early. This is slightly better than what they used to do, which was show up at our door unannounced. We spent the first 11 years of our oldest child's life living away from relatives, so that kept their visits confined to a discrete period of time over the holidays - but after they moved closer to us, that's when we lost our autonomy. My decision to not celebrate with my own family until January came as a necessity, because there just wasn't enough energy to give to them after my in-laws had their way with us. In fact, what happened for several years which led to my decision that something had to give was that my daughter developed appendicitis, my husband had kidney stones one year, and a grand mal seizure that broke his shoulder another, and I had a hypertensive crisis, and those events all happened in January after my in-laws hopped back into their RV and resumed their business lives. In some years, we made the executive decision to avoid seeing the niblings over Thanksgiving, and those were the few years we were able to avoid illness over the holidays, because of our mothers' and sisters' tendencies to downplay or minimize the symptoms of runny nose, cough, and sleeplessness. What's really frustrating about this behavior is that they have expressed that they wish to stay in their home as long as possible as they age, disdain for assisted living, and they assume my husband will be available or well enough to care for them when their cognition continues to decline. Furthermore, upon their death, because of the way they choose to handle their finances, there will be no estate left. They seem to be expecting the care they need in their old age to not cost anything, and that it is something my husband will do because they are nearby, when their relationships with his sister and brother have been a lot more reciprocal and respectful, and his brother has gloated about all the resources he has (he complained to me that he was sad that he never liked any of his work despite making "four times the average household in the US").


It used to bother me that they weren't around to help us through the hard times, but when my husband had his seizure, I got to see that they did not know how to help. Their help amounted to hanging out at our house and instructing us on all the ways I needed to optimize our credit cards. They did bring us food, but they ended up eating more than they brought, and drinking a lot more. I know now that was exactly the opposite of what a person recovering from a seizure and their actual support people need. In the years that followed, both my mother and father-in-law had seizures over the holidays, but they fortunately did not break any bones. Out of curiosity, in 2019 after I spent three weeks ill with panic attacks and aphasia after my mother-in-law hosted my son's college graduation party, I looked to see how much time we had spent at their places using my Google Maps timeline, and it was significant. There was no time or energy to spend with anyone else, it became clear to me. My depression suddenly had an identifiable source. Their house was constantly being remodeled, and they hosted so many people there is no way there was enough oxygen. Their house does not used forced air, so there is no way to bring fresh air into the space they entertain in. I learned that commercial spaces have to use very strict calculations for return air to avoid making people sick, and that large amounts of people are not considered in the construction of residences. So fourteen people in such a small space might actually suffocate people with underlying metabolic issues like mine (and that might make them prone to gloating about their income).


There are many benefits to not doing things in lock step with the school system. Everything is less expensive and less busy during the school year. That is one of the ways people in the system are at a disadvantage, and how by participating in the educational system, the way it is currently scheduled, they help perpetuate that disadvantage. If the school system did not require everyone to operate in lock step, the ability of corporations to artificially raise prices would be lessened. But the way the school year works, for consumers, it is like shooting fish in a barrel for corporations. I believe that this has the effect of making holiday seasons into an important component of Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work in economics. It works against families and educators. It works against all of us. I see that although it appears the vaccine and boosters are totally ineffective against the spread of the omicron variant, advertisements for travel are permeating the collective consciousness. While we were extremely privileged to be able to travel, and internationally at that, when we did it was the cheapest time when it wasn’t a pandemic, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise. We often had help with the cost. In a post-pandemic world, we should be mindful of when we travel. Air travel during flu season was never intelligent; it’s less intelligent now. Regardless of the cause, it is true that the Airline Pilots Association saw only 6 deaths in 2020, and 109 just through September 2021, and that those deaths were likely related to COVID in some way because an increase that large is a statistical anomaly. To outsmart the virus, we actually have to be smart and not do things when everyone else is or because they are. Is that possible? Can the educational system become a participant in the solution? I think it can, but not the way it currently runs. In a system where children learn at their own pace, this might be possible.


I have had this weird sense that social darwinism has been at work in my life for a long time, so the issues with COVID vaccination feel personal. I made a piece of art two years ago based on some pages I tore out of a dictionary. I had never torn a book before for the purpose of making art. I chose two facing random pages where the dictionary opened naturally, and they happened to be from the S section, spanning many terms that I would find to be important over the last two years, including social darwinism, which I had not heard before. From Merriam Webster:


social darwinism n (1887) : an extension of Darwinism to social phenomena; specifically : a sociological theory that sociocultural advance is the product of intergroup conflict and competition and the socially elite classes (such as those possessing wealth and power) possess biological superiority in the struggle for existence

 

Butterflies, a collaboration with National Geographic and Merriam Webster, origami and acrylic on canvas board



I have not been quiet about the way the holidays have affected my family’s health over the years. We are the canaries, and every day I find a new person who, at the most basic level, thinks we don't deserve to exist because we are "snowflakes." A burden. My whole life, I have been getting the message that I am a burden through others’ actions because I am slow due to aphasia I suffered on and off over my life and probably Asperger's. It's mean. I am done with it.


“They” are telling me that what happened in Nazi Germany was around this very subject - people of "genetic superiority" not wanting to take part in systems of equanimity. Thinking they weren’t like the rest of us, when maybe they were. Not wanting to slow down for the rest of us. Dragging unvaccinated children along on holiday travel when even in the adult population, protection against transmission is poor at best, rather than using our educated voices to speak out against that insanity. Really, people? I do realize that many people made their travel plans during the summer when we were lured into feeling safe. I noticed all the perfectly timed travel advertisements, right as the vaccine program was gaining momentum and people were feeling more confident about going maskless outside.

 

Vaccinated twice with Pfizer in March 2021; two three week long vaccine reactions. Out of commission for over 3 months from either COVID (one case before vaccination, and a breakthrough case in Fall 2021 and maybe another now). @CDC @FDA #notdeadisnotgoodenough #disposablepeople #lifesucksthenyoudie



Last week my husband told me that "Democrats steal behind your back and Republicans do it in front of your face.” How the vaccination program was handled felt just like this between the two administrations. This is totally evident right now in what is going on in the news. There is no evidence that the original vaccines protect from contracting omicron, and this is repeatedly stated in the media. This morning my husband read me a report that in an Oslo gathering of people who had two doses of vaccine and had tested negative just before, 80 out 111 contracted the omicron variant. Yet, even embedded in that news is flawed reasoning for getting boosters. The data clearly show that vaccination reduces the risk of death and hospitalization much more for unvaccinated people than it does for previously vaccinated people, yet Fauci and the FDA are simultaneously encouraging consumption of those doses as boosters, and now by 16 and 17 year olds who already have a minimal risk of death or hospitalization. This is just another plot to sell the waste product of our corporations to us rather than give it to other countries to whom it would be of greater benefit. An article I read yesterday was on NBC.com and was useful because it outlined the contribution of T-cells to immunity and the limitations of focusing on antibody-mediated immunity, claiming that we may have immunity longer than we thought, but then the video at the top has Fauci encouraging boosters, which clearly are not effective against the spread of omicron at all (the evidence for my argument is getting stronger every day!). This is irresponsible journalism; perhaps mass media reports should be written by scientists who can recognize these logical discrepancies. Another example is in an article I read this morning where it is possible to see the FDA CDC director Rochelle Walensky promote boosters for 16 and 17 year olds, while simultaneously admitting we don’t know how they hold up against omicron. She even says “As people gather indoors with family and friends for the holidays, we can’t let up on all the preventative public health measures that we have been taking during the pandemic.” Did she forget to mention masks on purpose? I am not providing links to these articles because the specific articles aren’t important - it’s the myopic view of a booster program and the avoidance of encouraging proper mask wearing and social distancing I am trying to address by pointing out the specious and duplicitous arguments that are currently being used by specific people in the government. I hope the people making these recommendations do not have conflicts of interests, because people have lost their lives. Nowhere in either of these articles is the discussion of spread mentioned, or the fact that to curtail spread masks are still critical. Is this intentional social darwinism? My only conflicts of interest are the ability to speak my mind, breathe and be free of the neurological and cardiac sequelae of this infectious monster. I am entitled to no more. Can I have at least that?


It was easy to see the potential connection between the antimaskers and social darwinism, but the connection between the now vaccinated people and eugenics is one that was created by the vaccine industry, the US Government, our religious, medical and educational systems, and the vaccinated themselves through complicity and authoritarianism.


I so desperately wanted to believe in the goodness in everyone… I have been saying between the lines that having the vaccinated stop wearing masks when our vaccines were experimental at best was basically genocide. They say never to attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance, but I cannot unsee what has happened due to the overconfidence in and misrepresentation of the effectiveness of vaccines, and it disappoints me. Another scientist I know pointed me at rationalized, science-based reasons for not wearing masks anymore and letting COVID wipe out the weak and unvaccinated. I am mortified to see scientists and people in our government who are supposed to protect us become Goebbels like they apparently have.


None of us have any reasonable personal reasons to need that particular outcome, and people in upper middle class who are retired or work from home generally have masks and access to more than most of the world. The CDC website I linked to above said very few people actually quarantine for the full recommended 10 day period, and for folks who don't have to work, I still wonder what it is that makes them so antsy to leave home. I am not going to stop standing up for the little guy. The discussion with the other scientist and my husband arose from frustration about what is going on with COVID in Africa because of the way the rest of the world hoarded vaccines and obstructed Africa’s attempts to get them. We gave boosters to Boomers before we sent anything useful to Africa. Even Paul Offit thinks this is stupid. It is good to see him being more pragmatic, especially because of the venomous diatribe of some people who are only partially educated in these matters (most people) and seem to see vaccination as a way to sort the weak from the strong - seeing the weak who have vaccine reactions or breakthrough infections as simple fodder for the rest of society. While the effectiveness of boosters is currently being questioned, it is prudent to wear effective masks, and educate others about covering their snoots, since the current vaccines are less effective against the new strains, and none of them appears to be as effective against spread as we hoped. A decrease in one’s personal risk of death is certainly a reason to have had a vaccination in the first place. But it’s important to keep in mind the questionable effect on spread of infection and be mindful of that. Getting a booster is not a license to go maskless in public, or with people who don't live with us. COVID is in the animal population; masks are therefore in our indefinite future. Get over it. We should have been wearing them a long time before COVID, especially in the winter, to protect ourselves and the vulnerable from influenza (which are apparently also going around now).


At the beginning of vaccine development, the scientific community knew that coronaviruses mutate quickly and share many of the same characteristics as the common cold. We also knew they were potentially zoonotic. We knew that the quick mutations would make it difficult to make vaccines effective, and that our past attempts to do this for influenza, which mutates more slowly, have been poor at best.


What's interesting is these people who talk about not wearing masks and letting the virus spread unchecked would never say those things in a public venue lest they be seen for their obvious cruelty. It actually makes my stomach upset.


I would like to point out that we were all discouraged from wearing respirators, and respirators essentially do the same thing as the vaccine right now; they protect the user, but not others. In the link to the CDC's mask guidance (which has been archived), they did not recommend N95 masks for anyone but healthcare providers, but I see now those are the only sorts of masks working very well against omicron. Traditional respirators might actually protect the user from illness better than vaccination. Neither of these solutions particularly protect children who cannot be vaccinated very well, and since the virus is in the animal population, this feels like a directed effort against weak children in particular. I hope that was not the intention, but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time something awful arose from a technology developed to help people. My point is the solution our government is currently advocating took a long time and a lot of money to reach, and it is no better than giving everyone respirators. I understand the chances of getting a Nobel Prize for getting respirators to everyone is pretty low, so maybe that’s a reason this immediate and effective solution was overlooked. The situation was certainly ripe for attempts at heroism, even misguided. Perhaps it would have been less of a zombie apocalypse had efforts to provide a respirator been considered. Plus respirators address other strains, other viruses, and chemicals, too. They are the most equitable and sustainable solution. What we have now is neither. I understand that respirators have a psychological stigma because they invoke images of what is actually happening now. But guess what? It happened.


Early on in the pandemic, respirators and n95 masks were reserved for people on the front lines. So even my sister, who is a primary care physician, did not have access to the personal protective equipment she needed to do her job, and ended up contracting COVID by April 2020. Moreover, when I went to the Emergency Room in November 2020 with tachycardia from COVID, they tried to turn me away, but saw me because I had my sister talk to them over the phone and she convinced them to run a D Dimer test on me to make sure there wasn’t damage to my heart. I had to be on a beta blocker for several months afterward, and it ended up taking a long time to unravel my tachycardia. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I had been turned away. How many other people did the emergency room at Medical Center of the Rockies turn away? My ER physician told me while I was being cared for that they felt safer in the Emergency Room than they did out in public. I can’t make this up. Meanwhile, after her own experience, my sister has been foreseeing a wave of long haul patients that the system is doing very little to stop, and so have I. It was a situation created by the way our leaders and the pharmaceutical industry have responded, and they continue to make the same errors in judgment. They have not had our backs.


I think it should be a fundamental human right to have a respirator in this world, since clean air is so elusive. People deserve a right to feel safe from infectious disease, too. I feel like this right is more important than a right to accumulate so much wealth that you can build your own escape to another planet while encouraging people to breed and consume like rabbits while picking on their intelligence. What are these oligarchs thinking?


My sister and I had an ethical argument years ago about the Hippocratic Oath and "do no harm" when I tried to educate her about vitamin D (she later became a proponent). We have tiptoed around vaccines, but it is now an unavoidable subject, due to the incidence of vaccine reaction and breakthrough infection, which was the risk in using vaccination to thwart COVID. It was an approach that risked revealing the cracks in vaccination as a form of infectious disease control. In meditating on the subject of the Hippocratic Oath, it came to my attention that it was also Hippocrates who said, “Let food be thy medicine.” The Oath itself is somewhat of a sham - or maybe just something to strive for. Interventions rarely come without some sort of negative side effect, and that can be true of regular whole food, too, for many reasons.


I felt over the years that I had to walk on eggshells at my and my kids’ doctor’s appointments, and with other scientists, not knowing if they would believe that my son, husband or dog had vaccine injury, and I know these instances were never reported to VAERS even though they affected our lives drastically. I was not always treated with respect as a caregiver, which before my husband had his vaccine reaction eroded the trust he had in me at times. Taking the children to the doctor should not contribute to marriage problems. I’m pretty sure that counts as harm.


It means we have gotten substandard care, because doctors were generally not well-informed about the knowledge that neurological lesions (which are more common than one would think) make people more likely to suffer vaccine reaction. The release of vaccine information and vaccines themselves has not been held to the same scientific scrutiny as other fields. I have been suspecting for years that there is a level of acceptable loss included in industry and government calculations and that I am part of that acceptable loss, so to continually hear and see that through the actions of the people in our support network, especially from physicians, scientists and engineers who consider themselves shining examples of ethical behavior is discouraging. As far as I can tell, politicians are thoroughly unaware of people like me and our struggles with the government’s clumsy attempts at infectious disease control. I have called vaccination a pogrom in the past; I wish I were not correct. Even if that is not the intent, that is the effect.


I’ve written about my interactions with my conservative next door neighbor in the past; it turns out he got COVID last month. Another conservative neighbor had to put his 90-year old mother-in-law in long term care because her health deteriorated so badly from infection. A 77-year old vaccinated member of a local Unitarian Church recently passed away from COVID. And as of Tuesday, December 29th during my final editing of this piece, we heard about a person about our age who was not vaccinated, three degrees removed from us, who passed away from COVID. We have been saying COVID is not a joke. When will people get it? This didn't stop my daughter's anti-mask anti-vax friend from reaching out to get together, unfortunately, and I am tired of trying to educate the people in my close circle. I am at a nexus of opposing beliefs and it sucks.

I am tired of being the wealthy’s guinea pig. To get care for vaccine injury, you actually have to have a physician who believes you. Are there any? Will there be any effort to explain that vaccines may still carry some of the risks of the diseases they try to protect us from to our doctors, or will the Harvard Study I linked to above just fall by the wayside while more of us become zombies?


The rest of us are supposed to be careful to protect these wealthy or healthier (in their eyes better) people while they continue to globe trot unmasked, and not effectively vaccinated, because they somehow believe they deserve it. The wealthy do not have a right to spread the virus. I can't believe how tone deaf people are. It's seriously disappointing.


Non-Believers like me have a difficult time with the bible, but like all creative works out there, it is just prophecy from the collective consciousness, from what I can tell. Christ seems to be a metaphorical construct, and for that consciousness to exist, we, and especially our authorities have to embody it. Our healers are also our teachers and need to be good examples and I am not seeing that. It is much more difficult when a person is over scheduled and under stress. If they have to go back into work 5 days into a COVID infection, especially considering that infection involves brain fog and anxiety, the system is going to have a lot of problems. And if the rest of us do not take steps to curtail our snot swapping, we are at fault. I cannot believe that someone in the WHO hasn’t said something about any of this. (EDIT: the WHO made it very clear that masks and social distancing will be more effective than boosters, and that hoarding of doses by wealthy countries has created further inequality in third world countries where there are still large numbers of unvaccinated individuals).

Some people have said that “the biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” During my time in quarantine and just before I spent quite a bit of time reading about consciousness research, and realized that my job as a scientist was to essentially “protect the light of consciousness.” After much meditation on the subject, I have determined that means identifying those things that are life-giving, and fighting the things that work against consciousness. Every day we are presented with multiple opportunities to make this choice in many ways. Consciousness includes the ability to listen and recognize it and its foe which have been unrecognizable throughout history because we have not had a good definition for what it is and isn’t (see this twisted video from the 1990's as an example). Supporting policies and behaviors that spread an antimetabolic virus that causes dementia is supporting a decline in societal consciousness. We need to think about this when we are listening to media reports - we are already going to have a dementia epidemic on our hands. Thank you, non-neuroscientists in charge of things.


From my vantage point, in my own town, there was a big rally against quarantine because of how it interfered with work. I feel like the restaurant industry had a huge negative influence; way more negative than positive. Arguing for rights to work in an industry that does not adequately compensate most of its workers makes no sense. It would have been better to pay these people to stay home, and probably cheaper than bailing out the cheaters at Goldman Sachs for a 50th time. Furthermore, there are myriad health threats to restaurant workers that medicine ignores, including exposure to fumes from gas stoves and deep fat fryers. The argument for keeping restaurants open so that people can eat is erroneous because the cost of eating restaurant food is inflated by a lot of overhead. Furthermore, there are many things in restaurant food which increase a person’s risk of COVID sequelae, like excessive vegetable oil and fillers. The FDA has been ignoring research on how various foods affect the gut biome and mental health, and this is an important part of COVID survivability. Air quality has also been tied to COVID outcomes, and they don’t talk about that, either, likely because of the drastic impact it would have on the economy. People who work in restaurants often have to eat the same low-quality food they have to serve or prepare on their breaks. It is impossible to wear a mask while eating, and this is precisely how my teenage daughter caught COVID - outdoors - and also how I got a breakthrough infection in early Fall. We knew exactly what our exposures were because we stayed home. I did not like how restaurants were there to tempt people. They should have remained shuttered until we figured everything else out. That was the industry that needed a bailout if there was one. Why we continually bail out luxury industries and let the essential ones like the postal, grocery and education industries, which serve us all struggle, is a question we need to ask our government. Our attempts to keep things going when we should have slowed down has created chaos. 


Rest is an art in this skinsuit.


I try to mind my own business, but for some reason I still end up hearing what people are doing, and it boggles my mind. Seriously. I can't believe how materially needy wealthy people are. It is yucky. And I can say this stuff because yeah, I am guilty, too. But a whole damn continent? We can't slow down for a whole damn continent? We can’t put our travel plans on hold for a season while we pull together and take care of Africa? It makes less sense to give boosters to people with an already low risk of hospitalization and death than it does to save those doses for the unvaccinated. Nevermind the specious arguments some people are giving about why not providing Africa with fresh doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is somehow Africa’s fault (a friend with a PhD in biology went there, I am afraid). I’m beginning to see people who are running to get boosters as selfish. Especially people who seemed to be concerned about civil rights and inequity before. I cannot underscore how many people have expressed to me how proud they are of how they were able to uphold the status quo over the last year; where they traveled, what they bought, and without any concern for people whose lives were lost or greatly impacted because nobody would slow down. Someone we know who particularly aggravated me with his behavior (because it was at his place that I got a breakthrough infection) currently has COVID. He thinks he got it in a popular restaurant in our town (though from what I hear I am doubtful he was able to conclusively link it to that because it seemed like he was really getting around).


It is really strange to see what happened to me happening to so many other people. My sister said that after the Thanksgiving holiday her patient population of women my age with my symptoms suddenly jumped. I’ve had to deal with people thinking my neurological issues were all in my head for the last year, too. I was experiencing symptoms of Functional Neurological Disorder and had kidney scarring linked to hypertension long before COVID came around. I have had to learn to treat it myself (and I was successful thanks to my wonderful education and persistence) because I was never able to communicate to my physician in a succinct way what was going on with me and get a referral. It just so happens that COVID makes all these symptoms worse, and treatment is sort of an ongoing thing, because I keep getting knocked down. At this point, I just want to geek out with the neurologist and get my dopamine and serotonin levels tested; I don’t have any immediate needs. Apparently the wait to see a neurologist is very long right now because of this, though, and it's difficult to get specialist referrals on Medicaid (what is everyone going to do?!). I am working on writing up my protocol, but I don't know who to share it with.


I do not think I have a solution that cures the neurological, cardiac and nephrotic symptoms, I only think I have found solutions to mitigate or slow the damage, and they are largely but not entirely nutritional in nature. Many are environmental, and they are fairly low cost. They are things with established uses in medicine with good safety profiles, but they are not financially lucrative for medicine or even snake oil salesmen.


I have often been ahead in terms of being able to solve medical puzzles, and that has been emotionally difficult. I have been criticized by my sister about and have heard other doctors disparage “Dr. Google.” What she does not understand is that I had to really know metabolism for my research, and I was working on a real and relevant problem to my own life. Furthermore, the hydrochlorothiazide my doctor had prescribed had caused my potassium levels to drop to dangerous levels, which I believe contributed to my receptive aphasia. I would not have recognized the connection except having had the same thing happen when I had been put on blood pressure medication for pregnancy-induced hypertension in the mid 2000’s. Moreover, I try to read as much primary research as I can. Jesus, I would have a terrible bedside manner. But I do understand how things work. I think it is possible that sometimes a scientist might be a better diagnostician than someone with more clinical experience because of entrenched beliefs about what is perceived to work in the patient population, and a tendency to overlook outliers. These beliefs are based on a misguided definition of health as being just “not dead” or, at “best” - “able to hold a job” and also not really knowing one’s patients as whole individuals with dreams.


I get the sense some other scientists feel aspects of this, too. It is so difficult fighting the standard of care and also having the time to evaluate research, when our physicians do not have this same luxury. It is strange, years later, to have things come around to my way after having traumatizing experiences with medicine. To finally have the CDC, AMA and others recognizing the things that have happened to me as not in my head is surreal. I have been dealing with these things for the better part of a decade. I mean, there was and is some low consciousness stuff going on going on in medicine. I guess that's the way it always is. I am lucky that I have established a good track record with being correct on scientific matters, so the people around me who are also well educated don’t just see me as obstinate (probably just annoying). It was like that for a while, and it was difficult.


A lot of what was going on with my health was subclinical and episodic, and I certainly wasn’t going to figure it out in a system that is incapable of listening, requires appointment scheduling so far out that a woman’s symptoms might not show, and where doctors are run so ragged they are forced to follow recipes more than listen or use their intuition or curiosity. It is a cruel way to make them work, and I think that it is a stretch to call it a healing profession the way it is currently working.


This is what I really wanted to tell my overwhelmed sister. And why I want her to know that our relationship has been up against the impossible and that I love her. I can’t imagine being a doctor right now. I know it’s not what she hoped for when she went into medicine. I can’t imagine what it is like to see the thing you believed in to create equity in the world make it more complicated. We are faring worse than we did with the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which ended due to a death of natural causes; the virus had mutated to what my family and I are calling a “less killy but more spready strain.” Less killy doesn’t matter if our people can’t think, and it’s too early to know if omicron is “less killy” or how its cognitive, neurologic, cardiac and nephrotic long-term sequelae differ from other variants. Sufferers are being stripped of their livelihood and humanity. Anyone who truly cares about personal responsibility and not infecting others should be interested in this perspective. Everyone else is just playing Secret Hitler.


We need the Long Range Vulcan Mind Meld. Lo siento, hermanita.







For the Ricardos - A Whale Tail

Pandemic shenanigans


 

Credit to Redditor Jmods_wont_reply


For Bozos




Sinners and Saints


Once a journalist...


Grateful, but not quite dead


Illusion machines



All time blog traffic

 

All time blog traffic

 

Six months blog traffic showing sudden loss after break with award-winning Malaysian client company. Any mooks out there might want to check my LinkedIn.

 

Six months blog traffic:  I never paid attention to where my traffic was coming from until it suddenly disappeared. Apparently someone with a lot of power has a problem with me speaking up for creativity, the little guy, air quality and orangutans, my love for Paul Newman's work with children notwithstanding.

 

Three months blog traffic: dropped suddenly on October 9, a day after sending an email to the client explaining why it was necessary to terminate the relationship. Sharing this information publicly will not violate the terms of our contract, FWIW, and may better the world. Using Buddhism to ply people into working harder is mind control, not spirituality. The same goes for Christianity. It puts undue pressure on family caregivers, as well as the workers themselves. I stand against human rights violations in the workplace.

 

Three months blog traffic showing disappearance of Indonesia. For what its worth, there are other ways for people in Indonesia to hear the truth. I am just one of many messengers. I learned that Southeast Asia and Africa have the highest number of unpaid female caregivers per capita. I am an unpaid caregiver, and I blog about the mental health challenges of living in a world where caregivers are subservient to systems which do not recognize their important contributions. The World Health Organization has recognized this inequity in these countries, and it is clear to me that the Rolex-wearing Country Club dining powers that be care very little for their wives, mothers and grandmothers, and that there are power-hungry women who are complicit in this system of inequity in many places. COVID has only served to further marginalize unpaid caregivers.