Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dysmorphia

   Dysmorphia is a word seldom heard or read.  It’s a character disorder that obsessively perceive severe flaws in one’s own face, body or general appearance.  This warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix the flaw.  Exceptional measures range from over the counter cosmetic to cosmetic surgery.  It usually starts during adolescence when both boys and girls are preoccupied with their looks.  

   Even if factual, the significance of the flaw may be severely exaggerated.  The nose for example differ according to race although it serves the same purpose for all.  It could either be too flat, too big, or too small.  Rhinoplasty is the first and most elected cosmetic surgery for non-Caucasians.  Who made the Caucasian nose the standard of perfection?  The world can’t remember.

   We all believe mirrors can’t lie, so we believe what we see.  The sad thing is that flaw could be imagined.  A dysmorphic person might actually be good looking but see ugly when in front of the mirror.  At the very least, the person sees a different face in the mirror from what other people see.  The dysmorphic view is so distorted that compliments don’t help.  It sounds like that nobody else is telling the truth about it.

   When I attended a photography training with Kodak, Philippines, it was said that cameras don’t lie.  So, I thought, just like a mirror.  Then, people found discrepancy between the photo and the mirror image.  The word photogenic was invented.  It meant that faces not generally pretty or may be even unattractive when photographed can produce an attractive image. 

   In one of our conversations, my daughter called me “dysmorphic”.  I never heard the word before.  I had to look it up.  I looked at my photos, then looked in the mirror.  That settled it, I’m photogenic.  My daughter loves to play psychiatrist.  She said no one could convince me that I look good.

   I remembered Reb, the hero in REBEL, in a conversation with his comrades, said about me, in my presence, “She doesn’t know she’s beautiful.”  He said it not like flattery, but like an observation.

   Ten years later, I met the love of my life.  He once said to me “Do you know, you’re foxy?”

   “Oh, I look like a fox?” I made a pun about his compliment.  

   When I got home that night, I looked at myself in the mirror.  I didn’t see foxy, didn’t see beautiful either.  

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Fighting the Signs of Aging

   In the Philippines, it’s easy to cheat on one’s age.  Trust me, I applied for a job as twenty five when I was nineteen.  Then, decades later I got a job as 36 years old when I was 46.  I’m a workaholic and planned on working till I’m 80+.  I won’t mind dropping dead in my workstation.

   In my late twenties, I read in a women’s magazine an article about the signs of aging and that it could be prevented.  Aging cannot be prevented.  It’s the nature of all beings, men or animals but the signs that makes aging noticeable can be put off.  I bought the idea because I knew that employers worldwide discriminate against the aged.  If I looked 35 at 80 I will be hired.  If I looked 60 at 40 I will have a hard time getting a job.  

Here are the body parts that show aging.

My veneers at 66 years old
1. Teeth – brushing, flossing, dental cleaning are not enough.  Gums recede with age.  Receding gums will make the teeth recede with it so that they look smaller than they were some decades back.  Dental porcelain veneers or dental laminates are called ‘jacket’ in the Philippines.  They are custom-made to cover the surface of teeth not only to improve appearance but also to protect the natural teeth from bacteria that form cavities. These are bonded to the teeth to maintain color, improve shape, size, or length.  In my case I had it made longer than my natural teeth so that should the gum recede they will still look the same previous size.  Veneer is expensive but I figured I work, I am the means of production.  I deserve to be maintained.  I invested in myself.

My neck at 66 years old
2. Neck – the face and the rest of the body can be hidden or enhanced with makeup and clothes.  The neck, however, will be hard to hide, unless you’re a Catholic nun.  Thus, it needs continuous, dutiful care.  It has been said, heard and maybe believed or not that inadvertent pulling the skin down will create wrinkles.  So, since I read that article, to this day, I apply cosmetics going towards the side instead of up and down.  And here’s the result.  Does that neck look 66 years old to you?  A mere 4 years to 70?!

3. Eye lids – eye lids have a tendency to droop with age.  There’s no way to go around it.  I had monolid eyes.  When I developed eye bags in my 40’s I went to a plastic surgeon to remove the eye bags.  He suggested that I have the lids folded surgically as well.  He said that the lids will droop as I age so if I get it folded I may get away with it. 


My eyelids at 66 years old
   So here’s my folded eyelids, instead of drooping down the aging skin goes inside the fold.  And putting on eye makeup got easier.  Eye liners hide under the monolid.  Ask any Asian.

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Prop 8, CA – 2018 – My Choice

   In the previous article, 2018 Proposition 8, California, on Dialysis Treatment, I gave the pros and cons arguments as neutral as I can.  I also stated there that “I am a Jehovah’s Witness.  We don’t vote.  I am also a dialysis patient who will be impacted by Proposition 8, one way or another.”  My article received a comment that said I should exercise my right to vote.  That comment got me thinking.  If I were voting, which way will I be going?  Here’s what my deliberation told me:

   The ‘yes’ vote contends that dialysis clinics are getting over 115% of profits.  It specifically targets the two top California dialysis corporations, “DaVita and Fresenius, made nearly $4 billion in profits from their dialysis operations in the United States in 2016”.

   Fresenius claims to be “at the forefront of high-flux dialysis technology, providing Nephrologists the solutions to allow for the continuous enhancement of dialysis treatment. And today, over 90% of the machines utilized in the provision of hemodialysis are manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care.” 

   DaVita may not have the same bragging rights, however, “In 2017, the federal government agreed to pay DaVita $538 million to settle … U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs underpaid for dialysis services to veterans between 2005 and 2011.”  A greedy company would not have continued to serve veterans while underpaid.

   Prop 8 claims that a ‘yes’ vote would refund money to patients or patients’ insurance payers.  I am betting the refund to patients will be minimal or nothing because the insurance pays most of the cost of dialysis.  Thus, this vote only serves the insurance companies.

   A ‘no’ vote lets the dialysis clinic keep the profits all and above 115% percent.  It deprives the insurance companies the refunds they want, but the insurance companies are paid in premiums, either by the patient or American Kidney Fund, etc.  On the claim that the dialysis center’s profits are pocketed rather than spent on improving the quality of care, my question is, how will giving that profit to insurance companies “improve the quality of care”?

   In short, the Prop 8 is merely a tug of war over the money between insurance companies and dialysis clinics.  Both sides, agree that missing dialysis treatments will kill the patient.  As a dialysis patient, on the side of patients’ welfare, who do I want to hand that money?  The dialysis providers are keeping us alive.  The insurance companies will simply move on to other customers after we die.

   Again, I reiterate that I am a Jehovah’s Witness.  I am not voting because voting will give Jehovah God the impression that I don't trust he will take care of me.  

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Monday, September 17, 2018

2018 Proposition 8, California, on Dialysis Treatment

   The 2008 Proposition 8, was a California ballot proposition for a state constitutional amendment to oppose same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 was ultimately ruled unconstitutional in 2010.  After a lot of contention in and out of court, same-sex marriages in California resumed in 2013.  This shows Proposition 8’s effect on life as we know it.

   Today’s Proposition 8 is just as contentious.  The Proponents of California's Proposition 8 says, “Proposition 8 would improve the quality of care for the 66,000 Californians who are on dialysis, and that’s why the initiative is supported by the California Democratic Party; CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund; firefighters; patients; healthcare advocates; dialysis workers; veterans; and 130 other community groups, labor unions and churches.”

   The flyer above says, “California Proposition 8 sets severely low limits on what insurance companies are required to pay for dialysis care… These limits do not cover the cost...forcing many dialysis clinics to cut back services or even close.”

   In terms of insurance payments, “a ‘yes’ vote requires dialysis clinics to issue refunds to patients or patients’ payers for revenue above 115% of the costs of direct patient care and healthcare improvements.”  That means the clinics are paid 100% + 15% profit, only the excess over the 15% will be refunded to the payer.

   “A ‘no’ vote opposes refunds to patients or patients’ payers, the dialysis clinics gets to keep the profits all and above 115% percent.

   A Mercury News Editorial says, “The complex initiative designed to regulate the dialysis industry is better suited for the Legislature, (not a ballot measure) where the wording of new laws can be thoroughly vetted and easily altered if problems arise.”

   The Legislature has already spoken on this issue way back in 1972.  Public Law 92-603, 92nd Congress, H.R. 1 qualified all dialysis patients for Medicare benefits.  Patients, their families, and physicians, as well as the National Kidney Foundation, lobbied to get the federal and state governments to provide financial coverage for treatment of kidney disease.  Congress passed it, and President Richard M. Nixon signed the Social Security Amendments of 1972 getting him overwhelmingly reelected.  This law is based on the United States Declaration of Independence guarantee of “life, liberty…” just as both pro and con of the current Proposition 8, both sides, agree that missing dialysis treatments will kill the patient.

   I am a Jehovah’s Witness.  We don’t vote.  I am also a dialysis patient who will be impacted by Proposition 8, one way or another.  I have laid out the arguments from both sides as neutral as I can.  It’s up to the rest of California dialysis patients to decide which way they want to go on this.
  
   Whatever happens, I trust Jehovah God will take care of me as he has done, through all these years of my living dangerously.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Souvenirs of the Third Man

Daughter with Star Trek stars
   At fifty years old, the big 50, the middle age, I was hit by midlife crisis.  Twice married with no guy to show for it.  My three children have all finished college.  My sons were happily married and my daughter was a happy Trekkie, a Star Trek follower.  It occurred to me that I was no longer needed as a mother.  I prayed and asked Jehovah God that he allows me one last stab at marriage.

   No one in my circle caught my interest.  Where do I find the lucky third?  I went to an internet dating site, opened an account highlighting my employment history to show financial promise.  I posted my best looking photos and discounted 10 years from my real age.  I received responses from single men about my age from the US, England and one Australian geologist working in Saudi Arabia.

   The geologist appealed to me but he had a wife in Australia.  Then I found a man from Kentucky who was exactly my type, facial hair and a police record.  Here are souvenirs of my years in Kentucky:



The heating pad he bought for me.  It warms the bed before we get in because the bed was always cold despite the centralized heating. 



The winter boots he bought me that I still wear once in a while, to this day, after twelve years.



A pair of diamond earrings I bought from the $150 he gave me on a Valentine’s Day.  I kept telling him I don’t celebrate those occasions because of my being Jehovah’s Witness.  Each time he insisted I buy myself something and show him what I bought.


   We traveled to these places:



Hong Kong


Bangkok, Thailand,


Tennessee

Tagaytay, Philippines



   September 9, is the anniversary of that third wedding.   That marriage went south too.  I have no regrets.  I gave it my best but as the song says “sometimes love just ain’t enough”.  



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Friday, August 31, 2018

Mission Impossible – Fallout’s Analogy to REBEL

From: cinemark.com
   Field service, which I did every Wednesday was cancelled.  I went to see Mission Impossible – Fallout for want of a better thing to do.  I had seen the trailers on television which showed car chases.  I now call it the “mother of all chases”.  This might sound like a spoiler, however, it has been showing for weeks.  In fact, at midday, midweek, the theater was almost empty.

   I did not expect the movie opening to remind me of Reb, the real life person on whom the main character of the book REBEL was based.  The movie opened with Tom Cruise waking up to someone ringing his doorbell.  The first thing he did was grab his gun off the pillow next to him.  Reb used to keep his caliber 45 under his pillow or mattress or under his folded jacket where he laid his head when he didn’t have any bedding at all.  In those days, student activists actually experienced sleeping on old newspapers laid on concrete floor of the “safe house” called “HQ”, short for headquarters.  They thought it was fun, like indoor camping.

   Tom Cruise arose to answer his doorbell.  A man was delivering a packet in an envelope.  An exchange of weird dialogues between Tom Cruise and the delivery man ensued.  The audience was supposed to assume the conversation was a sort  of password to identify each other.
  
   Reb, also created a password to be used between him and his comrade/wife.  He instructed her to never repeat the password to anyone else.  Their password was to be kept a secret from all to be effectual.
  
   The declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines dispersed the student activists from Manila.  Many were arrested, or were killed or were never heard from again.  Many went back to college to “peacefully” finish their course.  Reb was one of those who went to the “hills” to continue the struggle in the provinces following Communist China’s strategy.

   “Marx and Lenin never mentioned the encirclement of the cities from the countryside - a strategic principle that had not been formulated anywhere in the world … Comrade Mao Zedong pointed it out as the specific road for the revolution in China's concrete condition”.(spartacus-educational.com)

   The Philippines “concrete conditions” drifted Reb and his wife apart.  Fast forward to 2010, his wife received an email purportedly from Reb.  The email was asking for balikbayan packages” from the US to the Philippines.  She replied to the email asking for the password.  The email sender replied with one word missing.  She declined to further that communication.  She found out five years later Reb had died before the emails happened.  The email was a scam.  Reb's password, even in death, served them well.  Now that Reb is gone, the secrecy of the password has lost its meaning.  Here’s Reb’s password:

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Grand Jury Report in Pennsylvania

  Boston Globe’s Spotlight on Crimes Against Children was posted on this blog on August 7, 2016.  Two years later, almost to the date, the Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania was released.  Here's the original Boston Globe’s Spotlight on Crimes Against Children  with a postscript of new developments:

   In 1981, Donald Roemer pleaded guilty to child molestation in Los Angeles.  In 1985, Gilbert Gauthe, was convicted of similar offences against 11 boys.  Those two were priests, but the abuse was seen as isolated incidents. There was no consistent pattern of a cover up.  The priests were simply moved to a different location without informing the authorities. (www.theguardian.com)

   In 1994, Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was enacted as a part of the Omnibus Crime Bill as guidelines for states to track sex offenders.  Did priests got on this sex offenders registry? (ojp.gov/smart/legislation.htm)

The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie
   In January 2002, Boston Globe came out with the first of the 800 articles on the scandal involving 150 priests, in Boston alone, accused of sexual abuse on more than 500 victims that filed abuse claims.  The church-goers’ donations slumped by 50%.  That means the other 50% either agreed or didn’t care about the sexual abuse of children. 
(www.theguardian.com)

   As a result of the Boston Globe articles, on Monday, 8 July, 2002, six months later, the Catholic Church apologized for sex abuse committed in the Philippines.  

   “According to the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, about 200 of the country's 7,000 priests may have committed “sexual misconduct” - including child abuse, homosexuality and affairs - over the past two decades.” (BBC News)  That means going all the way back to 1982.  How many were the victims of the 200 priests?  Surely there wasn’t just one each, assuming the twenty years is accurate.

   The Vatican heard of the sex abuse allegations concerning about 3,000 priests dating back up to 50 years, according to Monsignor Charles J Scicluna, the Vatican's Promoter of Justice that investigates the complaints. 

   “The founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry, according to his letters, which were obtained by plaintiffs' lawyers… In a 1957 letter to Bishop Matthew Brady of Manchester, N.H., Fitzgerald wrote that abusive priests only pretended to repent and change “to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity”… The New Mexico treatment center closed in the 1990s in the face of lawsuits over priests who molested children while staying or after being treated there.  That means the priests still got access to children during and after the so called treatment.

   After the Boston Globe's investigative journalism that earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the can still has not given out all its worms.

Postscript, August 18, 2018

   I typically don't date my postscripts but this one tells me more are coming.  I am reposting this article in the light of the recent Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania.  Below is the MSNBC news.

   "Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.  “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.  Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’" (Matthew 7:20-22)

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