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.
See also:


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”.  



See also:


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)

See also: 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Blogging for Dialysis Patients

   I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) by my primary doctor.  I was referred to a nephrologist, a word I heard for the first time.  No one in my family ever had the same ailment so I knew nothing about it.  I was given a kidney disease orientation immediately.  They put me in a room by myself to watch a PowerPoint presentation that gave me a list of what I can no longer eat or drink and why.  It showed images of the fistula, graft and catheter for dialysis access.  It showed me my options between hemodialysis in a center, home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.  I picked the hemodialysis in a center because I preferred to have professionals overseeing my treatment and didn’t want to miss out on the frequent tests conducted in the center.
  
   The surgeon first installed a fistula on my left arm.  The long scar tells an ordeal I am quite proud of having gone through.  The fistula didn’t develop as it should.  My arm was tight from decades of dumbbell lifting which I did religiously to stay in shape.  The surgeon next installed a graft.  I started dialysis in a couple of days.

   I assumed that every kidney patient went through the same orientation, were given the same options and experienced the same pains.  That was 2009, now, there is social media.  I realized not every patient got the orientation.  I joined Facebook groups of dialysis patients.  It allows patients from different countries, different hemodialysis centers and different methods of treatment to ask each other about their dialysis experience.  The Facebook groups allow us to encourage our fellow patients in some distant continent.
  
   We don’t always get to comment about all our opinions and personal dialysis practices.  This led me to blogging.  Blogging is easy.  Here are the steps I took.

1. I gave my blog a title and got a domain name from GoDaddy Inc.
2. I started a free blog from www.blogger.com, picked a theme or design, tweaked it a little to conform to my liking. 

   My articles on dialysis has 23,888 Pageviews.  If the blog helped one patient, the work is well worth it.

ARTICLE (Click to view)
PAGEVIEWS
1,479
1,641
1,614
3,663
784
480
1,798
2,448
1,551
3,463
1,060
502
212
1,655
1,538
TOTAL
23,888

   Patients need a hobby to stay positive.  Blogging costs $10 a year for the domain name, maybe even less from another provider.  Website building is free and easy.  There are customizable templates.  Free hosting is included. 

   Writing is not for everyone but you'll never know until you tried.  For the old, poor and sick like me, it's a legacy at the cost of ten dollars.



Friday, July 27, 2018

Blogging for Jehovah's Witnesses

Rizal Memorial Stadium

   In 1985 the Jehovah’s Witness sister who was giving me a Bible study took me with her to attend the “Integrity Keepers” Convention held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, Philippines.  She called it “international convention” because “Many foreign delegates traveled to the Manila convention, and about 80 percent of these were in some form of full-time service.”  

   I was impressed by the global reach of the organization but I was a Mormon at that time and have seen Latter Day Saints conventions attended by international members.  During those days before the internet, it was rare to behold the global Jehovah’s Witnesses organization.  

   Now, there is social media.  It doesn’t take the place of international conventions.  However, those who can’t afford to travel can now associate with other nationalities by joining Facebook groups of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Facebook groups allow us to console the bereaved fellow witnesses in some distant continent, seconds upon finding tragedy or death in the family.  With a click, it allows us to rejoice with brothers and sisters getting wed, having children, graduating and gaining privileges in the congregation.  By sending messages at no cost, it allows close friendship with particular brothers and sisters to continue after moving to another congregation or another state or country.  

   Long before the world found commenting in social media, Jehovah’s Witnesses have always been encouraged to comment during the Watchtower congregation meeting.  We don’t always get to comment about all our opinions and personal takes of Bible incidents and characters.  This led me to blogging.  Blogging is easy.  Here are the steps I took.

1. I gave my blog a title and got a domain name from GoDaddy Inc.
2. I started a free blog from www.blogger.com.  I picked a theme or design, then tweaked it a little to conform to my liking. 

   My Bible comments through my blog has reached countries like Ukraine, France, Russia, etc. with a total pageviews of 177,613.  I can walk to doors my entire life and probably not get to talk to that number of people.  

   The blog is an instrument of preaching that is not included in the Watchtower statistics of preaching progress.  However, Jehovah sees our efforts and “searches through all hearts, and he discerns every inclination of the thoughts” (1Chronicles 28:9)


   Jehovah has allowed the blog and social media to exist.  Now all we need to do is use them for His purpose. 

See also:


Friday, July 13, 2018

Surprising Info from Google



   In 1997, I bought a Macintosh personal computer in the Philippines.  It was the first to use a mouse.  Back then, a modem was used to connect the computer to a digital subscriber line (DSL) connection.  DSL was the highest speed connection available that used a regular telephone line.  It gave out a dial up tone like the one on the video below.  

   Google was launched in the same year.  Now, people all over the world Google.  That’s right, it can now be a verb.  I do it all the time.  I used to Google English idioms for accurate use on my articles.  I Google historical events, characters and their political implications for my books.  Those are all in the English language.

   Later, more languages were added to the Google search, a total of 149 languages to be exact.  Let me show you how this helps cultural and spiritual exchange between peoples.

   Google explains in English and Tagalog age old Filipino sayings that the younger generations have not learned.  Like, for an example, what does Saling-Pusa mean?  I Googled it and this is what I got.

   Google made any Bible text searchable.  If you don’t remember the exact Bible verse, a word or a phrase would be enough.  











   



      The internet and Google are just inventions of mere mortals.  We can't begin to imagine the level of communication we will enjoy in God's Kingdom.

   For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

See also: