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Category: health

You’re worth more dead than alive

by Andrea Elizabeth

says Mr. Potter to George Bailey when the latter tries to come up with collateral for a loan. In watching detective shows it seems that this can often be the case. Detectives and the public in general desperately want justice to be served to murdered victims. They will meticulously pour through cold case files for decades to get their man. But what if the victims don’t die? Many rape kits aren’t even tested. Have you seen the names or faces of the 21 wounded victims in the San Bernardino shooting? To some there were only 14 victims. And what about the ones who weren’t wounded but lived through the horror?

I saw a show Sunday about wounded warriors who go on annual pilgrimages to Lourdes for the camaraderie but not so much expecting a miracle. I think many of them believe it would have been easier to have been killed than to face the pain of their injuries, survivor guilt, surgeries, therapy, disfigurement, social stigma, and post traumatic stress.

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Healthcare 2

by Andrea Elizabeth

I started a sequel to complain about how healthcare has gotten out of hand in scale and costs because people are too greedy to always feel and look good, but it was too morbid and so sits in my drafts bin. The problem is that pain and death are not our chief ends in life. Yes, God can use them to encourage us to make good decisions, and to stop us from doing bad things, but this is because we are programmed to avoid pain and death. I reread the passage about Hezekiah begging not to die and how he was told he would have bad sons who would lead the nation into captivity to Babylon if he was given more time, and he said, Yay, I’m not going to die yet! Some people are just not psychologically ready for it. Martyrs are. They are living for a higher good. But we can’t have a universal policy that everyone needs to be a martyr. That would make one Diocletian or Oliver Cromwell.

I like that the original Christian hospitals were built on mercy. Mercy is different than entitlement, however. A person looking for mercy wants relief from the results of something that is their own fault. Entitlement says, give it to me now or I’ll sue you. The latter is my problem with American healthcare. It is why even 30 years ago I wanted to be a missionary to Africa instead of practicing nursing here. I ended up nursing here anyway for 10 years, and most were really nice patients. Hurting humbles people. It was some of the families and administrators who kept the threat of lawsuits looming in the atmosphere. Protective roles can also make people aggressive.

Theological pros and cons to the quantum theory of multi universes

by Andrea Elizabeth

1, Con. If all possibilities are actualized, whose spouse will you be in heaven? Even if people will be like the angels and not married, wont they have memories of their past life? Too many memories?

2, Pro. It could explain how people can possibly know everything and be everywhere in heaven, provided the alternate selves will be integrated.

3, Pro. It could explain how someone is guilty of murder or adultery for just thinking it.

4, Con. It dilutes the importance of this set of actualities, such as the Fall, the Incarnation, and every day decision-making.

5, Pro. It supports being credited for your intentions.

6. Pro. It is a way to see fiction as the gateway to knowing what some of the other worlds are like, thus making fiction real or true, and those who get caught up in it not crazy or delusional.

7. Con. It is an excuse for these people to think they are not crazy or delusional.

8. Con. It makes truth too relativistic, unless certain foundational truths about human, divine, and created natures remain constant.

The pros and cons are equal, therefore I have determined that multi universes both exist and do not exist.  (see related posts on Schrodinger’s cat in the February archives of Sine Nomine, starting with “Quantum Cats”.)

Miss Marple, Edmund Burke, movies, and healthcare

by Andrea Elizabeth

Instead of watching the Academy Awards, which I’d forgotten about, we watched Miss Marple, whom I’d never watched, much less read, before. Curious about the inspiration for this respected spinster sleuth, I queried Wikipedia, which gave some interesting accounts of her mother marrying her aunt’s husband’s American son, her unhappy first marriage which lead to a famous 11 day disappearance, and her being a nurse during WWI and working in a pharmacy during WWII, giving her a very good knowledge of poisons. On the critical side,

Twenty-five years after her death, critic Johann Hari notes “In its ugliest moments, Christie’s conservatism crossed over into a contempt for Jews, who are so often associated with rationalist political philosophies and a ‘cosmopolitanism’ that is antithetical to the Burkean paradigm of the English village.

This lead me to look up Edmund Burke. Though I can’t find anything about villages or Jews in the article, I do sense a kindred spirit. He has some very interesting things to say about both the American (which he was for) and the French (which he was against) Revolutions, as well as about being English.

Back to villages. When people talk about the advantages of modernity, their most convincing argument seems to be about advances in medicine that have dramatically decreased infant mortality, communicable diseases, and alleviated so many other ills. I suppose I’m torn because stories of primitive little village doctors making house-calls and tribal natural medicine (not necessarily shamanism) are so appealing. The quandary comes when a person is forced with a choice in the modern age. It seems village people always cave in once their child or other loved one gets sick. Now with extremely expensive cures available, it seems that one has to participate in a more and more global pool to afford and have access to them. Cranford and The Village have some interesting things to say about that. I suppose there’s no going back, but I fear that letting people go will become more and more difficult as time goes on. And this will lead to more and more dependence on global economies, as well as increasing the difficulty in deciding to what measures one should go to preserve a life.

Back to Miss Marple. In one mystery, I wont give the title and thus spoil the plot, Miss Marple showed a disturbing lack of consideration for the humanity of  the two murder victims. They were annoying characters, and the sympathy was for the murderer, who was mercifully euthanized by her loving husband who didn’t think her delicate constitution could handle the trial and imprisonment. Miss Marple let him get by with it. I believe our culture has an intolerance for being annoyed or discomforted, and believes that certain classes, if not races, and genders shouldn’t be, at all costs. When one feels that this is unjust, then is he going to say that everyone should be pampered, no matter what the cost?

Seeking and not seeking help

by Andrea Elizabeth

It’s weird, anemic people crave ice, water, and beef. Just the last couple of weeks I’ve wanted tap and chicken. My blood sugar and energy level don’t feel right though. Maybe it’s also a thyroid problem, but I’ve probably been eating too many carbs. I love bread, and every weekend my daughter brings home homemade beer bread, assorted cakes, fruity french toast and cheesecake that is not eaten at the B&B around the corner where she works. Not good.

I keep hoping that new back strengthening exercises will take away my back pain, but they don’t. They make me able to do more stuff though. I had two different types of procedures, one dermatological (I only went because I was worried about skin cancer – one mole was irregular), done last year to fix me, and that took a lot of coaxing from my husband to do. Going to the doctor is a very last resort. I’m really not impressed with back treatments though. Seems even chiropractors only offer temporary relief. If I want temporary relief, I can just stay in bed or on my recliner. I can do what I want to do – write, pysanky, stand and walk (not too long though as I found out at Epcot center and San Francisco and during prolonged Church services), but rest makes it feel better. I’ve worked up to 25 prostrations in preparation for Forgiveness Vespers, which has aggravated the pain somewhat, but it’s live with-able if the kids do the bend down work of loading and unloading the bottom shelf of the dishwasher and pick up things off the floor for me. So it’s really not bad enough to do anything about.

And I don’t want to have my thyroid checked until I’ve done what I can eliminating carbs, so pretty much I’ve chosen to live with the sugar lows after the sugar highs at this point.

health update

by Andrea Elizabeth

Last may I had a procedure that has effectively reversed the cause of my anemia. I haven’t had my blood count checked since, but I think maybe I still have a little way to go to get to normal. I feel stronger though and that my mood is somewhat improved.

Along with that I’ve quit stocking cold drinks in the house, so I’ve not had my daily splenda or nutrasweet. It’s nice to have more space in the frig now.

I’ve also quit using sweetened creamer in my coffee and now use half and half with no sugar.

Since we cleaned out the garage, we’ve been playing ping pong almost every day, which has at least gotten me off the couch more often.

Kids are calling, maybe I’ll take a picture of our new space.

Personality or soul

by Andrea Elizabeth

St. Vladimir Seminarian, Reader David, has thankfully shared his paper, The Scriptural Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria on his blog.

I don’t believe I’ve ever thought about the nature of Christ’s soul before. This portion deals with it,

‘Cyril counters that, though the Scriptures do indeed describe Christ as the Word made flesh, and thus imply instrumentation, we must nonetheless be diligent in teaching “that the body which he united to himself was endowed with a rational soul, for the Word, who is God, would hardly neglect our finer part, the soul, and have regard only for the earthly body.”‘

I infer from this that Christ’s soul was created, and that soul includes mind. I don’t have a problem with understanding that His mind and heart were created and assumed by his unchanging person, but “soul” to me implies personality and identity. I’m sure one could get pretty technical about what personality and identity is, but I’ll just speculate for now. It is given that Christ did not change when he became Incarnate, but that he assumed a human nature into his eternal hypostasis. Perhaps since He has two wills, His soul has to do more with his human will. But this means that we are what we choose. Along with this is preference, we are what we like, not that we can change our mind about what we like. One can acquire tastes however. So if Christ preferred broccoli over brussel sprouts, or more likely, black over green olives, or vice versa, I don’t think this necessary means that the Trinity prefers one food over the other. Perhaps Christ didn’t either. Please pardon the past tense. People can get criticized for making statements similar to ‘if Christ were alive today’. People usually mean before He ascended. This can still cause a false division between heavenly and earthly life though. Christ could still be eating and drinking in heaven at this moment just as he did with the Apostles after His resurrection.

So, I think it is a mistake to say we are what we prefer. This does not take into account immaturity nor less than ideal situations. Society places too big an emphasis on personal preference. Computer cookies make this even more of a problem. Everything is customized. Even adds that are displayed in web site side bars are tailored based on past google searches. People are getting used to this customization and are loosing their aversion to their privacy being invaded. Commercials targeting the general public are also invasive and incite people’s passions so I don’t know how much worse individualized ones are except maybe they make a person more aware and thus responsible for what they search for and how they respond to advertising.

You are what you choose is an interesting notion. We have the capacity to choose against personal preferences. If a person seeks to make right choices instead of selfish choices then one has to look outward. Christ even said, ‘not my will but Thine be done’. This is Mary’s claim to fame too, ‘be it done unto me according to your word.’ Reader David Bryan’s paper emphasizes the necessity of Christ to assume human nature in order to conform our nature by obedience. Christ submitted His human will to His Divine will. We are to do the same regardless of our preferences. So is one’s personality shaped by their willingness to obey? One who prefers to obey has less of a struggle on their hands, if obedience is their goal. But even Christ struggled at least in the Garden. To some extent. I think I’ve heard explanations that His obedience was always instant, but I guess He had a process or painful sequence of right decision making that night.

But these are all in the category of human nature, not individual personality or the individual soul. I wonder if Christ’s human soul was determined by Mary as much as his physical DNA would also have been. If we take away preferences as defining a soul, then I’m not sure I know what else makes us distinct from each other. Besides male and femaleness. Males and females are equally human, and I think one can speak of a category of human soul, but there probably is also a male soul and a female soul. I know a lot of male and female characteristics are determined by chromasomes and hormones, but there is also an essence of both that isn’t. However, if a soul is highly individual, lines drawn between who a male soul and female soul is cannot be strictly judged on this point. One reason I talked about anemia instead of my individual circumstance, which is due to being female, is that males can become anemic too from different causes. Their symptoms are the same. But then, so probably are an animal’s, so that doesn’t get me very far.

I think psychology (technically the study of the soul) is generally studied on a generally human level. Gender may sway statistics, but again the lines are fuzzy when diagnosing people. Psychology also tends to deal with nurture over nature. External forces affect humans in similar ways. It takes determination a lot of the time to alter one’s psychological course. I think there is credence to the idea that one can choose to be happy for instance. Thankfulness can be obedience. So that puts temperament outside the realm of individual personality. The above is one reason I don’t subscribe to personality tests such as the Myers Briggs test. It puts people in a rigid box that they may be better served by being encouraged to venture out of. Even if a person who lives a life of repentance still gets the same results no matter at what stage he takes the test, I still don’t like to be so rigidly defined, but that may just be my preference.

Anyway, I don’t think we need female deacons. A nun who does similar duties should probably be called something similar to altar nun.

There’s hope

by Andrea Elizabeth

It is very good to know that there is a physical cause for feeling “tired, fatigued, weak, dizzy, irritable, short of breath or depressed.” And not only that, “Some people with anemia also have a desire to eat ice or other peculiar things […] or have trouble concentrating or performing mental tasks.” (source) For the past several months I have been addicted to ice like nothing else. Especially after crushed ice has been sitting for half an hour in order to soften it up. Weird. The doctor just told me that my hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying part of red blood cells, is 9, and the low normal limit for women is 12. It’s not all just because of my (or anyone else’s) flawed character!

I am scheduled to have an outpatient procedure in a couple of weeks to get rid of the cause, so hopefully I’ll be less of a drag when my count gets built back up.

Irony and the Truth

by Andrea Elizabeth

Kierkegaard will next tackle Plato’s Apology in his Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates. I’ve gone through the Symposium, Phaedrus and Phaedo in pretty quick succession and was admittedly more motivated by their topics of love and death than I currently am in Socrates’ trial defense. So far it seems that the concept of irony comes from the idea that in the course of honest, detailed reasoning, precise conclusions cannot be drawn, except that one should strive to be virtuous so that no matter what happens one will have nothing to fear. This uncertainty is why I’m glad we have revelation through the Church. Without the revealed Tradition of the Church, even Reason’s ability to come to conclusions about the Bible faces a similar dilemma. Which is right, literal vs. figurative interpretation, free will or determinism, once saved always saved or contingent salvation, faith vs works, etc.? There are good arguments to be had on both sides which is why we need the judgment of the Church to settle these disputes and show us the way.

I intend to get back to Kierkegaard after I take a break to read something else. I need to write that my plan is to pick up Crime and Punishment after I finish this post, or else I may continue to put it off. Thus far I’ve not been up to what I anticipate will be an uncomfortable read. Maybe my post-fast anemia is making me hungry for raw meat.