When Health Care Becomes Perplexing

Health care was one of the top issues in the midterm elections. According to a letter that I received yesterday from the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan (my alma mater) : We grapple with the knowledge that the United States is the top spending country in health care but only ranked 34th among wealthy countries in health outcomes. 

It is perplexing to see the ideas about healthcare that are being promoted. I am saddened to know that two bills in the Illinois House of Representatives expand access to abortion, up to nine months of pregnancy. 

It is painful to know of depressed young people that are being counseled to change their gender with expensive surgery when there is no clear evidence that it will have a positive impact on their health. Transgender adults have a high rate of suicide.

Health care should be about life and healing. 

There is an interesting passage of scripture in the book of Exodus. The Israelites have left Egypt and are in the wilderness. They are looking for water. God provides water and speaks to them through Moses.

There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will  not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26

He didn’t say that they would never get sick but referred to diseases they saw in Egypt.

As a nurse my first experience with abortion was in a labor/delivery unit of a hospital. It occurred shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided. A young woman seven months pregnant was admitted for a saline induced abortion. Saline was injected into the womb to kill the infant and induce contractions. I was horrified and wrote a letter to my manager stating that I could not participate in abortions. 

Every type of abortion procedure has risks. When I read about the early cases of women that died after using the abortion pill, the procedure became part of the story in my novel, Aliisa’s Letter. The book is about a young nurse, her friend, and a midwife. The story is set in Upper Michigan.   

On January 22nd it was the 46th anniversary of Roe v.Wade, the national legalization of abortion. Since that time the March for Life has become an annual event, pregnancy care centers have sprung up, healing retreats have been organized and a support group for former abortion workers has been organized.

Physical, emotional and spiritual pain surround abortion. I am thankful for the organization, Students for Life. As they educate millennials about the abortion procedure, the infant’s development and experience of pain, young people are changing their mind about the right to abortion at any time in pregnancy.

God’s ways are good. He has created life and calls on us to seek him for help. In our churches we can come along side the unmarried woman who is pregnant and the woman who has an unexpected pregnancy with difficult circumstances. I am wondering and thinking about how we can walk along side young people who are in emotional pain and suffering. How should we, in the church, respond to the transgender person?

I encourage you to pray with me over these difficult issues.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can follow me on Facebook for health related posts.

Memorable Books that I read in 2018

The local libraries are a wonderful resource. Many of the books I have read this year were from the library. Others I purchased or received as gifts. Here are some that were enlightening, thought provoking or an engaging read.

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia

Dr. Dunlop explains the progression of the disease along with suggestions for relating with the person with dementia. When the disease is well progressed an individual may not remember the past and have little interest in the future. But they can still enjoy moments in the present. This book gave me insights into important aspects for my mother’s care.

Redeeming the Feminine Soul

Julie Roys discusses terms that come up in the church: patriarchy, complementarianism and egalitarianism. She discusses her own struggle to acknowledge her feminity. She writes: Gender, marriage, sexuality—it was all designed to help us understand God and how he relates to us.

A Place to Land

Kate Motaung’s memoir is a story of God’s grace throughout the events of her life. As she tells her story she takes the reader along with her from Michigan to South Africa. This author shares her moments of struggle and doubt. A thread of brokenness runs through the book—we live in a broken world. We all experience some brokenness in our families. But there is hope.

Until We Reach Home

Lynn Austin’s historical novel captured my interest. Three Swedish sisters immigrate to Chicago. Each sister had a unique story, and a spiritual development. After reading this book I looked for other books by Lynn Austin. Waves of Mercyis another historical novel—this one set in Holland, Michigan.

Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

Ray Rhodes wrote a detailed biography of the wife of Charles Spurgeon, a famous preacher in England during the Victorian era. Although I have heard of Charles  Spurgeon, I did not realize the extent of his popularity. I did not know that Susannah was vital to his ministry. Despite physical frailty she was a constant support for him and had a significant role in the preservation of his sermons. 

Killer Smile

Lisa Scottoline has written a series of books about an all women law practice. They are novels and plot driven. I am careful to pick up a book when I have a space of time to read. Often I end up staying up too late because I can’t put the book down. In this book, lawyer Mary DiNunzio is researching an internment camp for Italian immigrants during WWII.

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies

Dawn Raffel has patched together the story of a man who saved the lives of premature infants in the early 1900s. She gathered research from immigration records, from doctors that had done their own research on Mr. Couney, from interviews with senior adults that had benefited from his incubator care as infants.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis 

Patti Callahan has written a historical novel about Joy Davidman, the woman who married C.S. Lewis. The book is heavily researched and details Joy’s accomplishment as a writer in her own right. It also gives an account of her first marriage to Bill Gresham. Some years ago I read C.S. Lewis’ book, A Grief Observed, and I have always wondered about this woman that Lewis grew to love so deeply.

A Forgotten Place

Charles Todd (the pen name for a mother & son writing team) has written a series of books about a nurse during WWI. This is the latest book about Bess Crawford. I especially enjoyed how well the setting in Wales was conveyed.

For more book recommendations visit Kate Motaung’s link-up. Click here.

This post is also linked with Booknificent Thursday 

Book Review: Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia

The progressive loss of brain  function  in  Alzhiemer’s  disease  and     dementia is difficult to observe in a loved one.    My  mother’s  loss  of memory and physical skills has been gradually progressing. It would be wonderful to have a knowledgeable and experienced Christian doctor give guidance for both victim and the family.

Dr. John Dunlop does that in his book,  Finding Grace in the  Face  of  Dementia. He explains the disease in terms that non-medical people can understand.

As I read the book, pausing to take in the information in each chapter, I developed a better understanding of what is happening to my mother. (I wish that this book had been available four years ago; it is so helpful.)

Dr. Dunlop explains the progression of the disease along with suggestions for relating with the person with dementia. When the disease is well progressed an individual may not remember the past and have little interest in the future. But they can still enjoy moments in the present. He writes:

Dementia does not alter a person’s ability to experience pleasure. Victims of dementia may enjoy pleasing aromas and be put off by offensive ones. They may like good music and admire pretty scenes or pictures . . . They will often enjoy human touch. They may want their loved ones to hold their hands or put an arm around them . . .

He encourages both the victim and family members to turn to their faith in God. Prayer, Bible verses and hymns can all bring comfort. Being involved in the care of someone experiencing dementia can deepen our understanding of self-sacrificing love. Dr. Dunlop gives reference to Bible verses throughout the book.

In the last chapter of the book Dr. Dunlop discusses end of life issues. I greatly appreciate the explanation of decisions that may need to be made. He offers wise counsel and demonstrates his faith in God’s eternal plan.

I enjoy sharing books that have been a blessing to me. If you found this post helpful you might enjoy  my Facebook page  where I post articles  related to family and health.

Sharing this post with Faith on Fire,  Booknificent Thursday and Literacy Musing Monday

Should the Flu Shot Be Mandated?

Flu shots

Everywhere I go I see signs for the flu vaccine—at grocery stores, drugstores and in advertisements. Many hospitals are making it mandatory for their staff to get an annual flu shot. When that          happened at my hospital, I applied for a religious exemption.

I had received vaccines in the past, but because one of my children     experienced significant side effects from a vaccine, I studied the issue. Over the years our family has made dietary changes, increased our use of vitamins, garlic and herbs. It made sense to develop a lifestyle that supported the immune system. God has given us an intricate     immune system to fight infection.

Why did I need an annual flu shot? Not to mention that the flu shot is not dependable. Every year the CDC is making a guess when developing a vaccine. The CDC has already admitted that this year’s vaccine probably won’t be effective.

The flu vaccine may not be very effective this winter, according to U.S. health officials who worry this may lead to more serious illnesses and deaths.

Despite uncertain effectiveness hospitals are under pressure to get their employees vaccinated.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Healthy People 2020” initiative states a goal of vaccinating 90% of the nation’s healthcare workers with the influenza vaccine annually by 2020,[1] a goal well underway. A separate DHHS goal aims to vaccinate 80% of all U.S. employees annually with the influenza vaccine by 2020. Read more here.

My religious exemption was allowed. I have learned that nurses at the University of Michigan can decline the flu vaccine because they have a clause in their union contract.

Some hospitals have required nurses to wear a mask if they refuse to get the flu vaccine.  And some hospitals have fired nurses for refusing the vaccine.

Nurse
Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The nurses’ union in Ontario took up the matter of masks and an       arbitrator declared that the policy could not continue.

The Ontario Nurses Association says hospitals will no longer be allowed to shame health-care workers into getting a flu shot following an        arbitrator’s ruling striking down a “vaccinate or mask” policy. Read more here.

 I have never been a member of a union, but perhaps nurses need a union to preserve their right to pursue health with personal freedom.

It isn’t just nurses that are questioning the flu vaccine. A doctor at John Hopkins is speaking out against the aggressive marketing of the flu shot.

For most people, says Dr. Blaylock, flu vaccines don’t prevent the flu but actually increase the odds of getting it. The mercury contained in       vaccines is such a strong immune depressant that a flu shot suppresses immunity for several weeks. “This makes people highly susceptible to catching the flu,” he says. “They may even think the vaccine gave them the flu, but that’s not true — it depressed their immune system and then they caught the flu.”

He explains that the flu shot should not be given to children under five years old. Read the entire article here.

The National Vaccine Information Center has an article about the amount of mercury present in the flu vaccine. Here is the analysis provided in the article:
2 ppb mercury = U.S. EPA limit for drinking water.
20 ppb mercury = Neurite membrane structure destroyed (Leong et al., Neuroreport 2001; 12: 733-37).
200 ppb mercury = level in liquid the EPA classifies as hazardous waste.
25,000 ppb mercury = Concentration of mercury in the Hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth in the U.S., from 1990-2001.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Concentration of mercury in multi-dose DTaP and Haemophilus B vaccine vials, administered 4 times each in the 1990’s to children at 2, 4, 6, 12 and 18 months of age.
50,000 ppb Mercury = Current “preservative” level mercury in multi-dose flu (94% of supply), meningococcal and tetanus (7 and older) vaccines. This can be confirmed by simply analyzing the multi- dose vials.

According to a chart prepared by the Edgy Truth the amount of      mercury in a contaminated whitefish is 500 ppb by comparison.

How much influence do the pharmaceuticals have in promoting vaccines? According to the Wall Street Journal (11/09/2015) the highest number of government lobbyists, among industries, are pharmaceuticals/health products.

 My biggest concern is that we are systematically replacing common sense and healthy practices with a shot that may not help and has      significant risks. I am in favor of health education, informed consent and personal choice.

Linking with A Little R & R, WholeHearted Home and Tuesdays with a Twist