Sunday, November 30, 2008

Illness In My Home

I have not been blogging of late due to an illness that has inflicted my 23-year-old son. Generally I refrain from posting personal things, butI felt my absence from the blogosophere merited an explanation.

My son contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome, (GBS) a devastating illness that is recoverable. Basically the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system, which is everything except the brain and spine. The coating of the wires (myelin sheath) for the nervous system are stripped away.

He first complained at work that his feet felt like they were asleep. The next day it was his legs, and he could not work at all. He could barely walk when he checked into the hospital. He steadily got worse, and the neurologists could not definitively say it was GBS. One cannot test the body for an attack by the body itself. It is diagnosed by symptoms and the elimination of other potential causes through a battery of tests. The treatment they decided on was five bags in five days of immuno-globulin.

And yet still my son got worse. He became weaker and his motor skills further deteriorated. His vision blurred and he lost control of his bladder and bowels. His breath became weaker and he lost the ability even to smile.

He was moved to intensive care right before he lost his ability to breath, a machine took over. He could not even close his eyes, they had to place ointment in his eyes and tape his eyelids shut.

Within three weeks my son, with a body like a sock-full of Hickory nuts, went from a double-rough-tough tush hog to being completely paralized, down to the eyelids, and a machine breathing for him. We just waited and watched.

I need to say something here about nurses. Most of his nurses were extra-ordinary people. It is easy to spot a good nurse, simply because a good nurse cares about people. My son always had the watchful eye of a family member with him 24 hours a day. Caring for someone in that state is a lot of work and we made sure it was done. All of the nurses performed their duties, but the really good ones, of which there were not a few, enjoyed what they were doing and made sure they did it well.

Finally, after about a week of being completely out of it, my son jerked slightly from the pin prick of a blood test. Slowly he came back to us. Unfortunately, as his feeling returned, it brought great pain, much like freezing hands thawed out under a hot faucet. The pain was tremendous.

He is now out of the hospital and in physical therapy. They have told us that it is a 20 day program, and since he checked in three days ago, it looks like he'll be home for Christmas.

A very Merry Christmas Indeed.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Time For Joe To Go

Joe Lieberman was kicked out of the Democratic Party during his primary race in Connecticut, losing to Ned Lamont. He maintained his Senate seat by re-registering as a third party candidate "Connecticut for Lieberman" (a vanity party) and received funding and support by republicans.

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader did not get the memo.

Even though the 2006 Democratic wave was based in opposition to the war in Iraq and Lieberman was one of the biggest cheerleaders, he maintained his seniority as well as the chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Lieberman has openly defied the Democratic Party by being a keynote speaker at the Republican convention and campaigning against President-Elect Barack Obama. Before that, he has generally been an all-around pain in the ass. It is way past time for Joe to go.

Jane Hamsher of firedoglake has a petition for the member of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee urging them to give Joe the boot.

Sign the petition here.

Get Over It

After the selection of Bush by the Supreme Court in 2000, many Americans were outraged. Even though Bush had lost the popular vote by a wide margin, the press joined the right wing by telling us to get over it.

W's reelection in 2004 by a squeaker margin of 3.5 million votes was labeled a "mandate" by all those within pickup range of a microphone. Couple this with all the voter suppression tricks the Republican party could muster, along with a campaign of "smears, queers and fears," was just one more indicator of the brand of conservatism served up by the current day leaders.

The elections of 2006 and 2008 have handed the Republicans the greatest humiliating losses since the Great Depression. As of this writing Republicans have lost 55 house seats and 11 senate seats as well as the Presidency in the last two elections.

The vote total for Obama is more than twice that received by W who claimed a mandate in 2004. By extension President Elect Obama now commands a double mandate, if such a thing exists.

Republicans whined about the strong headwinds of an unpopular President, failing economy, unpopular war and massive debt. These are all creations of Republican policies so whining about it is akin to the kid who murders his parents begging the court for mercy since he is an orphan.

The Democratic candidate suffered structural obstacles as well. A skinny black man with big ears with a name like some swarthy mid-easterner. Of course, the republican slime-dozer machine piled on with several metric tons of vile slurs. It seems the term liberal has lost the value to shock the populace, so now republican operatives throw out terms like "marxist" and "socialist," which also lost its punch as the Republican Administration is in the process of nationalizing banks and socializing the losses of investors.

So America is trending left. We have seen in very stark terms the result of Republican rule. Massive death, massive debt, massive layoffs, massive losses in health care, massive riches for the one percent and massive decline in wages for the lower 95 percent. The only hope I have is the far-right teevee, radio and bloggers insist on party purity, further reducing republican seats in the future.