Thursday, July 24, 2008

Odds and Sods - soaked hallway and closet edition

Left: Our Lady of Mercy (stained glass) from St Mary's, Greenville, SC. I have begun fervent petitions to the Blessed Mother, and let's hope the rest of our apartment escapes the deluge.


There is water coming from somewhere into my hallway and bedroom closet. A huge box of books placed against the closet wall tricked me into thinking the closet might escape the creeping-water, but this morning I realized the bottom of the box was soaked. This enormous box was filled to the brim with Mr Daisy's geeky paperbacks, and I haven't told him yet. I just know for sure that Robert Silverberg's The Feast of St. Dionysius has been trashed. Now that we are older, we realize how difficult it is to replace such books, which are usually out of print (like that one). I am afraid to look at the rest of them.

I haven't told him yet.

It doesn't look like a good day. I am home from work, awaiting the maintenance crew, or somebody, O Jesus, Mary and Joseph, to help me. I have used up all my towels in the wet hallway.

(((prays Hail Marys)))


Please check out A MOTHER'S STORY: Elke Kennedy, Out in Asheville's profile of the mother of Sean Kennedy, victim of a gay-bashing murder here in Greenville.

As covered here previously, his murderer, Stephen Andrew Moller, will only serve 10 months:

While many of us in the LGBTQ community were hoping for justice, the judge in this case proved that justice for Sean Kennedy's murder would never be had. Moller received a three year sentence. But, it is very clear that Moller is likely to spend only 10 months in prison, after which he is entitled to parole. If granted parole, he will be on probation for three years. He was also sentenced to 30 days community service and ordered to take anger management classes and enter alcohol and drug counseling. In a sad message to the LGBTQ community, and parents of LGBTQ youth, South Carolina has once again made it clear that even those born in its bosom are not afforded justice or protection.
Where do such mothers find the strength to go on, without being eaten up with fury? I can't imagine such a thing. Kennedy had duly prepared herself for the trial's probable outcome, and knew there would not be justice for Sean, she says, "because I knew what the laws were and I knew that [Moller] had not been charged correctly in the grand jury hearing. The laws are not good laws. When you can charge a violent murderer and you can make it involuntary manslaughter and the maximum the judge can give him is five years, there is a serious problem."

Yes, there certainly is.

Left: Sean Kennedy, age 20, murdered May 2007 here in Greenville County, SC.

On a somewhat happier note, Elke Kennedy has received condolences from wonderful people all over the state and the nation, some of whom just pick up the phone to call her and check on her:
Elke will continue to grieve and work towards equality as a mother who lost a gay son because he was gay. Calling herself a mother on a mission, Elke said, “I am determined to help all the other Seans out there. Not just murder victims, but victims of beatings, people who commit suicide – the people no one talks about. It’s for all those people who have a mother who can’t do what I do, or won’t do what I do. It’s for those unspoken deaths, beatings, assaults and suicides that never get told.”

Elke chooses to focus on South Carolina, not only because it was the site of Sean’s murder, but because it is somewhere she moved because she thought she could safely and happily raise a child there. She wants to change South Carolina because “South Carolina has a long way to go before they can say that they are embracing people.”

I first saw Dr. Michael J. Rosner on ABC's 20/20 TV show back in March 2000. Even so, I remember the show well (can't locate a transcript; my apologies). I was extremely skeptical concerning various medical claims to be able to "help" Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia by shaving off some skeletal bones near the skull. You say what!?!?

My first question: How can you "help" something we don't even know the causes of? (Are the two conditions possibly the same thing, simply assigned different diagnoses, as I often suspect?)

No way I would let this guy near my spine or my brain, I thought. But what if I was desperate and had not left my house for years? I'd probably do anything.

Rosner had already performed about 50 of the procedures at the time of the 20/20 show, and with the free half-hour prime-time commercial, went on to do a parcel more. However, in 2002, his license was suspended. His frequent diagnosis in such cases, Chiari Malformation, has allegedly been overused/abused. Mountain Xpress reports:
Rosner wasn’t allowed to reapply for his license for six months, and when he did, his application was denied. Rosner appealed. Following a June 2004 hearing, the medical board did reinstate his license—but with certain conditions.

As for Rosner’s patients, some have reported improvement that’s little short of miraculous; others say the treatment made only a minor difference, and still others report worsening conditions. But Rosner has also been sued at least 48 times in the past six years by people alleging unnecessary surgery. Fifteen of those suits have been dismissed, he says, and eight more have been withdrawn. According to Henderson County [NC] court records, however, 32 lawsuits against Rosner remain unresolved.

Rosner maintains that over his entire career, only one malpractice claim has been paid on his behalf: a $50,000 settlement in 1987 for operating on the wrong level of a patient’s back. Rosner also contends that the medical board’s actions may actually have encouraged some suits. Four months after the suspension of his license, he notes, a single law firm filed eight cases.

A confident man with a salt-and-pepper goatee, Rosner seems unbowed by the controversy that continues to dog him. He’s still seeing patients, most of whom are referred to him either by other doctors who believe in his work, or by passionate supporters who network via the Internet.

In Rosner’s eyes, the real question is how long it will take to change what he believes is faulty science.
Faulty science? Well, okay, but why not come out and make some concrete medical claims for your surgery, in that case?

Left: Dr. Michael Rosner, photo from Mountain Xpress.

See, I am profoundly uncomfortable with the way the good doctor hedges his bets, claiming as a legal dodge (which I immediately noticed when I saw the 20/20 show in 2000), that his surgery doesn't claim to "cure" CFS or fibromyalgia, but merely "treats the malformation"--which may or may not cure these conditions. Hmmm.

Indignant herbalist note: When the alternative medicine companies try something like this, say, about supplements such as Coenzyme-Q10 ("may lower cholesterol and blood pressure")--they are literally nailed to the wall by the powers-that-be. I could name a dozen companies off the top of my head that have been forced to change their labeling for HEDGING... so why are mainstream doctors allowed to hedge their bets and tell patients something MIGHT work, but we aren't? Harumph.

Rosner, as the article claims, isn't worried:

Rosner and other proponents of the surgery believe that many of the patients they see suffer from one of two conditions: a skull that’s too small for the brain, or a compressed spinal column. Sometimes they have both.

In medical terminology, “hypoplastic posterior fossa,” also known as a “Chiari I malformation,” essentially means that the back of the skull and upper spinal column are too small to contain the lower part of the brain and the upper spinal cord. This condition has long been known to cause some neurological difficulties—such as tremors, sleep apnea, headaches and poor coordination—in some sufferers.

Rosner wants to be clear: He’s not operating to treat fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. Rather, he’s using surgery to correct what he calls a “neurological deficit” in his patients. He also emphasizes some fundamental differences in the way he examines patients and determines a course of treatment.

In his small office next to Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher [North Carolina], Rosner says he sees two to four new patients a week and generally performs surgery at the hospital one day a week. Patients come to him from across the country, often after wrestling with their medical problems for years.
Uh-huh. Italics mine. Read the whole thing, courtesy of Mountain Xpress. The comments, in particular, are illuminating. Many are diehard supporters of Dr Rosner and claim that he helped them.


Left: attempting to salvage Mr Daisy's paperbacks, and in so doing, saved a first edition! I feel like I'm doing something important for Western Civ, saving all of this antique paper verbiage. The wife of an obsessive book-collector: a difficult gig.

The fix-it guys are currently working on the problem, as I survey the damage and debate whether this deserves a claim with State Farm.


New to my blogroll:

A Choice of Weapons, featuring the fun Mista Jaycee.

Quaker Pagan Reflections, in particular, the series titled CAT'S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, which I stayed up all night reading last weekend.

Faking It, by Jennifer and Womanist Musings, by Renee. Both great reading!

Check em out!

Listening to: Howlin' Wolf - Smokestack Lightnin'
via FoxyTunes


annie said...

great tuneage!

so sorry for the wet books issue. i can symathize completely, as we are insane book savers too. some of ours were damaged when they were stored in our barn, at our old place in the woods. good luck!

annie said...


Zan said...

The current theory is that CFS and fibro are on a continuum -- same disease process manifesting in different ways, kinda. They thought I had CFS for awhile, but I'm too functional for that. Most of the time, anyway.

And you know, no one is going to be opening me up and messing around my FRIGGING BRAIN! anytime soon. OY!

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Wow! Thanks for the link, and for the compliment!

I'm loving your idiosyncratic, personal take on the news, by the way. I was very moved by the story about Sean Kennedy. Thank you for covering the story.

And, hey, don't despair of the out of print books--if you can't save them, the odds of replacing them may be higher than you think if you haven't ever used Abe Books, a database connecting you to thousands of used book dealers. I've stumped it in the past, but you have to try really hard to do that; I've been able to come up with quirky little 19th Century novels and Spiritualist tomes that nobody has ever heard of--it's very satisfying.

Fingers crossed for you and Mr. Daisy. It hurts to lose a book, I know!

ArrogantWorm said...

Sometimes books that look totally dead can be saved. If they're totally waterlogged and dripping / clinging pages, stick it in front of a fan and wait until the edges dry out a bit (about an inch and a half), then you can, ever so gently, peal pages back and attack 'em with the heat of a hairdryer to dry 'em further. Time consuming, but it's worked fairly well for some of mine. Then comes the process of sticking them under some heavy weights for a month or two so the ripples are lessened considerably. I hate it when books get wet.

queen emily said...

If he comes near my Zan's brain, I'll hit him with a brick. That may or may not treat some neurological symptoms.

Anonymous said...

He is a excellant dr. and has helped so many people .

belledame222 said...

well, if an anonymous someone says he is an "excellant doctor," by golly, I guess he must be! :facepalm:

wowzers. Um, yeah, I wonder has this guy been noted by any of the various Quackwatch, skeptic's etc.?

"IS OBAMA THE ANTICHRIST?" We are ALL the Antichrist. Like Spartacus, only with better shoes. (That made no sense, but what the hell).

belledame222 said...

sorry, "a excallant dr." I hate to misquote.

chiari 1 malformation said...

I was recently diagnosed with chiari 1 malformation and will be going for decompression surgery in one week.

Kelly Crawford said...

Not really recent, but I just started taking CoQ10 supplements. I bought mine from I heard (and researched before I bought one) that CoQ10 is for anti-aging and good for the heart. So, what the real deal with CoQ10?