Saturday, June 04, 2005

My Return to the Dominican Republic (Part II )

SECOND TRIP and second email to my yahoo and catholicity groups :

Date: Fri Mar 29, 2002

My Return to the Dominican Republic

Every once in awhile, God moves just a little, and if you listen closely, you know that you are being directed to do something. When He says "Now, go!", you can go and be blessed, or you can pretend it wasn't Him. IF you listen, you can touch, and be touched by many.

I don't fly well. Well, it isn't the actual flying! It is the getting TO the planes that is irritating. The first trip, a Hurricane prevented me from getting to the DR on time. THIS time, it was snow, and it was an airline itself that was late and caused me to miss a total of three different flights!!! THEN, it was the exhausted traveler herself oversleeping who missed her re-scheduled fourth flight! 'Nuff said. My oldest daughter sincerely asked me if I was sure that I was supposed to be going when all of these things began to happen. My answer was, I am even MORE certain now than I was before!

I had 'met' Jack via the internet the first time last June, when he answered an inquiry about the possibility of doing some work with orphans in the DR in a city where a friend of mine is living now. I made a trip last November to visit a friend, meet him in person, and to speak to someone at the orphanage to see if they were even interested! They were, and the young girls there made lasting impressions on our hearts!

I do NOT want to mention any names, as the girls there are all cuties, and I don't want to offend any of them by leaving any out. But, there are about three, er...four...well, to be honest, about seven...or...more, whom I would LOVE to snatch up and bring home. Reality sets in when I remember that all of these girls will eventually turn into teenagers...and, as much as I love someone else's teenagers--been there, done that! (SMILE) and not asking for more!

Working with portable equipment that I was unfamiliar with left me feeling TOTALLY inadequate, and as though I had NO idea how to do sealants. The added language barrier was no help (I found out the other day that I was telling them 'zipper', not 'don't close your mouth!'); nor was the fact that I did not realize that IF I didn't plug the fan into "La PLANTA", the generator that Jack has, then IF the power in Puerto Plata quit as it frequently does, there would be no breeze! I melted the first day. Literally. Between suction that I could NOT get to work cuz my hands were just too small to reach the button to push to get it working, and the heat....the massive saliva and resulting messed up sealants, and my own sweat…it threatened to send me home faster than ANY late flights had just a day before!

*smile* But, I don't give in that easily!!

I asked Jack if he minded if I cut the high speed suction tips in half, and armed with fourteen halves, I was ready for the next day. THEN, Jack said, "YOU KNOW, if you plug the fan into this, and use the generator, it will work all the time!" DUH!! I was no longer melting...Day Two began with a cool breeze that felt like Heaven.

I was a terrified child myself, once. I know what it is like to feel sheer terror at the site of any kind of syringe, OR even a doctor, nurse, or dentist!! These kids have NO idea what a Dental Hygienist is. They only know it hurts to see 'Dentista'!! Now, imagine that you are seven, have had a horrible experience, and this strange lady is telling you "No dolor!" as she holds a syringe!! She could care Less if I could speak English/Spanish/PigLatin!! She sees PAIN. She isn't listening, she isn't hearing, she isn't wanting anything to do with me OR Jack!

But, imagine the sheer wonder when she allows you to do the sealants, and actually finds out that it didn't hurt! Then, as she goes to Jack to get that tooth fixed...the terror builds again, and she is allowed to leave without it fixed, told that IF she decides to return, he will fix it and he promises her that it won't hurt.

She leaves, and is obviously NOT believing him. She returns many times, and peeks in shyly, watching. No one is crying. She leaves, she returns, she leaves, and finally, she consents to give him a chance. He fixes the tooth, she smiles. "NO DOLOR!" She is the best advertisement we have, as she goes around telling others that it didn't hurt, and returns, at seven, to become HIS assistant! SHE reassures the others, and she holds the suction for Jack. She will no longer be afraid the next time someone tells her that she needs to see the dentist. A miracle. A smile.

A young boy, one of his anterior permanent teeth badly discolored and  enough to cause HIM to cover his mouth when he talks, obviously a source of discomfort for his young teen esteem. He is terrified that Jack will 'pull the tooth'. Instead, Jack is able to restore it, and make it look like the other, MAYBE for the first time this young man can ever remember! He walks out smiling, widely and NOT covering his mouth, telling every one of the other kids that it didn't hurt! His friends all see the difference. A miracle. A smile. Forever, a life changed.

A beautiful eighteen year old young woman, needing sealants and three teeth filled. Gorgeous smile. Those permanent teeth will NOT be lost soon, because someone was able to restore them. A miracle. A smile. A life that may be changed forever.

A Hygienist, not able to speak the language tries to 'sing' reassurances to one of the young a tune that the others recognize, and soon, one begins to sing the song in English, and the others pick it up, and the entire room is filled with kids singing "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!"....smiling, in a DENTAL office--a source of fear and pain in earlier times--NOW a place to have fun. A miracle. Smiles all over. Lives changed, maybe a little, maybe much.

A nun, caretaker of the girls, has a very bad tooth that has to be extracted. They CANNOT afford to go to a dentist, but, can Jack help her? Yes, and a hygienist who has NEVER assisted at oral surgery helps him to do an extremely difficult extraction. A female friend, herself afraid of dentists helps in the background and sees the miracles in progress herself.

A couple of teachers from the school nearby need prophys, and MAYBE to see the "dentist"....and are thrilled when no cavities are found. Others KNOW that they need the "dentist" more than the other...and are equally thrilled to know that one is there, that they can

Jack had warned me....I am a strong and hard worker, and have always been. But, by Thursday, at ten, the wall hit! I had gotten to the point that I was glad the time was ending. I was praying for the day to end!! By eleven thirty, I even admitted it. I loved every minute, but it was beginning to be hard to continue. Some of the girls had already begun having tears the day before when they asked when we were leaving. Hugs....Many many many hugs.

Friday, the girls began to bring letters, and pictures, and their toys, as gifts to US. My grandmother/mother's heart wanted to say...NO these are YOURS...keep them! thanks, but YOU keep them, but I knew that that was NOT the thing to do. Instead, hug each, and say "Gracias!" and tell them that you will put them up at work, and take a picture to send them. I have Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, troll, clay, bracelets, a bear, a lizard, a Tweety bird painted plastic piece that can be turned into a refrigerator magnet easily, and....a Barbie brush and comb. I have many "Te quiero mucho!" and 'don't go!' messages. I have MANY pictures!!

I have plans to return.

Memories of First Trip to the DR

Awhile back, I put a couple of posts on various yahoo groups that I had/have belonged to about visiting the Dominican Republic. I had lost them, and searched, finally finding two of them, the first and the second. I believe that there was a third, but it may be lost forever in cyberspace... for sure, no longer on my crashed/fixed puter.

Now that I have found them, they are safe once again, and I can share them once more. The first trip there was November 7-12, 2001 and what follows was my first 'report'...

I am posting this from another club so that I don't need to repeat myself ten times. forgive me?

I just returned from the Dominican Republic on Mon night, and was working all week so have not caught up on any clubs, etc.

I was there because I have a friend who recently moved there to work for the Bishop in the new Diocese of Puerto Plata as a teacher of English as a second language for the seminarians in the not-yet built seminary. However, they have 28 current seminarians studying elsewhere at the moment, and over 100 waiting to get in! Bishop Pena...don't have Spanish symbols here, should be a tilda over the n... is the name of the Bishop there.

I went for two reasons, actually. I went because I had teasingly told my friend that since she was renting a two bedroom apartment, we could all come to visit housing, you see. LOL She said that was why she GOT the two bedroom, as she WANTED us to come to see her. THEN she added, "But when YOU come, bring your instruments, cuz there is an orphanage here and you can clean the girls' teeth!"

Well, I told her that there was much more to that than just bringing instruments. Like, licensure, a dentist to work under if required like it is here in the USA, and the equipment, and supplies, and a way to sterilize, and also, most importantly, an INTERPRETER.

The Lord knocked down nearly every one of those. I found a mission to the children site, where they HAVE all the equipment and products that I would need, and even permission under Dominican Laws that enables him to practice dentistry there, so that I can work with him in Puerto Plata on future vacations.

I saw the 'resorts' that many tourists THINK is the DR, and I saw the barrios, which IS the DR. I saw the orphanage, and will be returning in the Spring to actually do some work there with Jack...he goes with his equipment, you see....and he couldn't figure out why all of a sudden he was getting 10,000 prophy angles and pastes!!! lol Now he may be getting some indication....
I am going to be putting my trip story on Dental forums, and also to all of my coworkers at our six offices, to see if any other Hygienists/Dentists would be willing to shell out a trip to work/vacation there since the expenses would be paid BY THEMSELVES...and also would be tax deductible since doing this for the Diocese, and under the umbrella of the mission to the children. I found Jack by searching for licensure requirements for hygienists in the DR. Since there are no Hygienists, lol, I found no information and had to keep digging.

I spent Wed to Mon there, and left the DR to return home on an American airliner about twenty minutes AFTER the crash of another airliner in NY. There were 175 Dominicans on that plane, and the entire country is in mourning. Ten were from Puerto Plata, and 40 were from Santiago...I was in both places.

I would be 'doing my thing' in Puerto Plata, as that is where my friend lives, and she can find more inexpensive housing for others who MAY decide to come. Pray for this. If others are supposed to come, they will need the prayers.

I will be working WITH Jack, but through the Catholic Diocese in Puerto Plata. Jack comes with his equipment and supplies, lolol (thank goodness, cuz I cannot do cavities, etc!!) This could be the start of something JUST for me, or much bigger than Grace and I can imagine. Who knows? God is in charge, not me.

These are a couple of sites that I have about Jack's ministry....he is a very nice guy, and he now lives there full time as a missionary, and works doing dentistry free for them and, the one that I met Jack through is this one...he will be putting a picture of us together in a future update, unless his digital camera broke when it was taken...lolol.

I was in Puerto Plata, traveled to Santiago, then took the guagua (pronounced waa waa) to Moca to meet Jack. The hotel she used to stay at is the Paradise in the Playa Dorada. We were there on a day pass, and for supper on Saturday, which is Dominican night, when they serve roast suckling pig and other culinary delights from the DR.

I was on top of Mt Isabela de Torres where the statue of Jesus is. Huge, but I am sure those in South America are even bigger! One way to get there is to ride the cable car to the top.

Since I wrote this in 2001, Bishop Gregorio Nicanor Peña Rodríguez has been transferred to another Diocese (Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia en Higüey) and recently Puerto Plata has a newly named person to be installed on July 16, 2005 as the new Bishop ( Julio César Corniel Amaro ) and my friend has spoken at several parishes in New York State each year to get funding for the new seminary and the poor of the Diocese. Last summer, she met a dentist, Jude, who has now come with several Dentists and Dental students and is currently doing a week long dental mission in Puerto Plata.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dad, you left us too soon April 3, 1925 to June 3, 1987

My father, husband of one wife, parent of ten children, sibling of one sister, three brothers, two of whom survive him, died on this date in 1987, and he is still missed by all of us, as well as his grandchildren. One of them had just turned five on the day that Dad left us, and the baby of our family was graduating from High School the next day.

My father grew up during the Depression, and one of his worst fears was that he would not be able to provide for my Mom and the children well enough to care for them should he die early. Dad was able to do so, partly because of the timing of his death ... all ten grown but one, and she already 18, nearly finished with high school herself.

He was a hard working man who began as a new employee of a paper mill after a few other jobs, and rose to a management position, including teaching himself how to use a slide rule. He often said that when you work, you stay busy, even grabbing a broom if necessary. It was, til later when he learned to say "I love you"... his way of showing his love, to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads....

I had been hurt seriously as a four and a half year old in a car accident, and spent a lot of time in the hospital, with at least two surgeries on my arm, plus a huge cast, plus a 'stab' wound on my chest that happened in the ER when I was having problems breathing, due to a collapsed lung, and the other punctured, developing 'crepitus'... I was terrified of doctors, nurses and shots to the point of screaming and kicking when one came near me, including my dentist uncle (when I was a patient in his chair, awaiting needed work on my teeth...). I caused Mom a lot of grief when at ten, I had a bad injury to my knee, requiring a doctor's visit and a tetanus shot. She vowed, NEVER to take me again...

At twelve, it was determined that I had to have a Tonsilectomy/Adnoidectomy, and Dad was informed that HE was taking me... due to the shot I would have to have pre-op... Dad took me. He held my hand, reassured me firmly that it would be ok, and that I was not to move... and then just kept saying... 'that's a good girl'... something triggered in my mind as I was put under the ether, and the doctor became my YOUNG Daddy in my mind's eye (looking as he must have when I was in the hospital as a young girl...) saying over and over... that's a good girl... that's a good girl... that's a good girl. He was there yet when I came to after the surgery, saying the same thing..... holding my hand, patting it, something HE HATED me doing when it was him lying in the hospital bed ill.

He was proud of the fact that my oldest daughter, when he met her, LOVED lying on his big belly and falling asleep with him, and boasted often that on one day in particular, no one but him could get her to stop crying...they had a game he loved... she took his pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket and chewed the box to pieces all the time, so he planted his empty packages there just for her whenever she was around.

When we brought home our second daughter, and told him her name, Dad, being 100% German, married to a 100% Irish woman reacted to my second choice of an Irish name (another grandchild also had an Irish name) by saying "Don't ANY of you know any good GERMAN names? Like Olga or Wilhemina???" DD#2 is VERY grateful we did not know those names....When JPII was named Pope, he began to call her 'the Pope's cousin', as she is a tad Polish....

When I was once again on fertility drugs, Dad was terrified that something dreadful would happen, especially multiple birth. But he was not afraid of us HAVING several...he was afraid that there would be four or five (he actually said 'litter of four or five') that would not survive, and that I would subsequently 'go nuts'.... when I tried to reassure him that I was on the lowest dose of the mildest form of fertility drug, it did little to ease his mind.

Several days later, an article appeared in our local paper about the new grandparents in our area of quads born in Texas... and brought me the quote from them saying that the mother had been 'on the lowest dosage of the mildest form of fertility drugs'... exactly my words to him just days before.

When our son was born, and I called him to tell him at work, his comments to me was 'just one?' Just one, Dad.. "And he is healthy?" .. yes, he is healthy, Dad.... "Good... that is good. I am happy for you." and he hung up.

However, he called back, a short time later. Dad did not often make long distance calls, and this was long distance.

He said to me..."What did you name that kid again?" I told him, Kevin Patrick...a short pause, and he said a few 'teasing type' choice words and hung up on me! I laughed long and hard, and the nurse in the room looked at me. I told her that it was my Dad, and he'd hung up on me when I told him my son's name. She looked shocked, and said 'He hung up on you?'... while still laughing, I said... "You have to understand. He called me so that he COULD hang up on me... " Still not understanding (obviously.... if you did not know my Dad, it would seem to be rude, not hilarious...) and as I was trying hard to wipe the tears and stop the laughing, I told her about the Irish name thing... and she also laughed.

He'd often come over for a cup of coffee after I married, alone... instant, this much... microwave it for 2 1/2 min, and put ONE ice cube in the cup.... his directions. When that cup was gone, Dad kissed me good bye and left, after telling me 'not to tell Mom' some of the things he had said. We had some nice kinds of secrets (most of which Mom already knew). It was on one of these visits, shortly after our wedding/honeymoon that he told me the first slightly off-color joke, saying 'You're married now" when I reacted, saying "DAAAADDD!"....

Each bday he had, somewhere along the line, I began to buy him elephants of all kinds (he was Republican...). On St Patrick's Day, a red carnation, with an Honorary Irishman pin that he would promptly take off... as he and my other two fully German uncles sat together 'grumbling' about the dumb Irish and 'having to be here'..... every year, without fail... they were there... refusing together to be made honorary anything.... especially Dad and Uncle Ron, as Uncle Dave just laughed....

Mom and he had gone to Ireland after touring Germany with my brother who was stationed over there in the Air Force, and they had met Mary O'Meara, a long time snail mail penpal of mine that I have lost track of. He loved Mary's kids, especially Kim, the one he called a little imp.

Each Christmas time after that, he gave me ten dollars per child (5) and told me to get them something from their American Grandpa.... but don't tell Mom.... and he told me that Ireland was a beautiful country, that he'd like to go back someday, and that when he died, he wanted an Irish wake...but don't tell Mom....

He found an article one day, and brought it over, telling me that he was very angry ... it was a National Enquirer piece on narcolepsy. He showed me a scar on his hand from a ruler from kindergarten (or some early grade in school) where he had been hit with a ruler for falling asleep in class. He told me that when they had been on that trip to Germany, they went intentionally to places he had been in during WWII, and he had no memory of. He said he thought that he must have been sleeping during the march from Nancy, France all the way to Germany, as he had no recollection of any of it...

He made me read it, asked me what I thought, and then told me that he fit it to a tee, and was scared, because things had been happening that made it MANDATORY that he find out soon.

Things like being at work, and suddenly 'coming to' on top of a paper machine, and not knowing how he got there.... driving across a bridge one recent day, and 'coming to' as he hit the side, and another time, 'coming to' as he was heading toward a sidewalk where a young boy was riding his bike....and he was scared to death, knowing he could have killed that child. He asked me to pray, and told me he was going to see that MD...and demand answers...but don't tell Mom....

He was right, as a neurologist told him he could sell his medical history to the Medical School because he is a CLASSIC case of Narcolepsy, including catatonic states after emotional outbursts like anger or hard laughter.... and.... he had to tell Mom...

He was put on a med and called me from work the first few days, asking me different questions, and saying...something is wrong here...either the Mill has been AWFULLY understanding all these years, or something is wrong here.... when asked why, he said he'd started his work day at seven thirty, and it was only nine thirty...that he had not only FINISHED all of his work for the day, but had double and triple checked it, and had nothing left to do but sit with his feet up waiting for you think I can/should cut the pills in half?

I remembered all the times I had intentionally sat in the front seat of the car and waited, watching for the droopy eyelids, the tell tale sign he was going to sleep... Mom... "Art, you're falling asleep!" Dad... "No I am NOT"... did not work, as it only made them both angry, and I'd feel like a lost soul, uncomfortable. So I took 'control', claimed the front seat as oldest kid...and watched, waited for the signs..... then suddenly stretched or 'elbowed' him just a little... and we were safe again, sometimes repeating that same kind of movement several times on the way home from where ever we were.... but didn't tell Mom ...or anyone... especially not Dad...

I remember once being in the back seat, and Dad driving through a road barrier where construction was being done on the road (night time, he said..never saw it, he said... dark, you know... but had a flashing yellow light on it.... working...). He was not happy, and because we had been squabbling...did also tell us that part of the reason he'd missed the sign was the distraction caused by the fighting of so many kids in the car....but it was also that Dad had probably fallen asleep...and I took charge in the only way I could... I claimed the front seat...

Dad taught us a valuable lesson that day. He took the damaged sign, fixed it the best he could and drove to the police station to report it.... take responsibility for your actions, he said....

I had opportunities to be his nurse while he was hospitalized a few times during my nursing career at the local hospital. I remember when he was told he MUST quit smoking, walking in to his room several times to see him 'smoking' a straw...thinking my co-workers simply HAD to think that this man was absolutely NUTS.... and how MUCH he hated being a patient...

We had a lot of conversations during that one cup of coffee... including some purchases of the company stock he had made, and plans to purchase an RV for just Mom and him, and take her golfing all over the US when he retired. He never made it.

Dad lost the use of his L arm one morning, Jan 3, 1987, and then the partial sight of one eye (blood clots) a short time later. He turned 62 on April 3, 1987 and was already on disability from work, and also on kidney dialysis three times a week right about that time.

I am convinced that it was also blood clots that took his kidney function, as later, a massive blood clot at the same area (the junction of the stomach and small bowel) where he had had a history of bleeding ulcers caused a massive bowel infarction, which is what killed him on June 3, 1987.

His dying months were very hard, as I, being a nurse, was asked by Mom to help, to take him to dialysis, to sit with him when she was working, to help when he got confused... and some siblings did not understand why I was there so often with my kids... doing as requested by Mom, being nurse/daughter to my Dad. As a then single Mom, I had no choice but to take my kids with me when I sat with him during Mom's work hours.

There were very hard times, his last couple of weeks.... both with him, and personally as well, in my own life and home. Because of that, I had the answering machine on, screening phone calls when Mom called, and she left no message.... and I was too late to really say good bye to my father, arriving as he had already been taken to emergency surgery, where the bowel infarction was found.

It seems like an eternity since Dad left us, but at the same time, it seems like yesterday.

Daddy, your 'little princess' misses you terribly, today, yes... but always.

Quality of Life

I hear that term bandied about an awful lot in the past ten to fifteen years, as people try to convince others that some individuals just don't have any ...They also speak of how 'they would not want to live like.... that'.

What did it mean when we spoke of 'quality of life' when I went to nursing school?

"Death with dignity" is another term that I have heard distorted into something it never meant long ago. Perverted term now meaning that a certain person has no real reason to be alive, and the 'most merciful thing' is to 'help them die' ... with 'dignity'... kill them, assist them in suicide, euthanize them, starve and dehydrate them to death.

When I was in nursing school, 'quality of life' was a positive, meaning that when someone could not do things, like bathe themselves, get out of bed, feed themselves, etc, WE did it for them, allowing them the dignity to do whatever they COULD do, and then picking up the slack in order to give them a BETTER quality of life. If all you could do as a quadriplegic was to reach up and scratch your nose... we let you reach up and scratch it no matter how much easier it may be for us to just do it for you. But if you could not get that spoon to your mouth, we got it there for you, treating you the way WE would want to be treated.

The Golden Rule.

Death with dignity meant that we cared for you, held your hands, turned you, bathed you, dressed you, fed you, changed you, spoke to you, listened to you, and did this as your ability to do it lessened. As you could do less, we did more. You may want to speak about Faith, or not. You may want to plan your funeral or not. You may want to say or write things to loved ones, and you were given the opportunity to do this. We kept you comfortable with medication as needed, but we did NOT use 'Terminal Sedation' designed to ... uhm, 'keep you comfortable'... while depressing your respirations with morphine given much more often than you may need it... actually probably speeding your death.

As your body needed less food and fluids (as the dying process continues, eventually, your body can no longer assimilate food and fluids... ) we continued to offer it to you, even if you only wanted a sip or a bite. When no longer able to take even that much, we still offered liquids via syringe or moist swabs.

Today, OTHERS judge some persons' lives as having little or no quality ... and OTHERS speak of allowing people to 'choose to die with dignity'... which means... choose suicide or kill them. OR, never allow them to live to begin with, by aborting 'defective fetuses'. Either way, they are being judged as being not worthy of life by someone else. They are being judged to be non-productive, having no real 'quality of life'.

Thalidimide was a drug used to aid nausea in early pregnancy that was found to cause serious abnormalities in the babies. They were born missing limbs, or with malformed arms, legs, etc. I remember the Romper Room lady's picture in the paper after she went to Sweden for an abortion, on a stretcher, at the entrance/exit of a plane, because she had used that medication. Sherry Finkbine decided that her baby was not worthy of life. This was her fifth pregnancy, and she was unable to obtain an abortion here in the US. Many today praise her actions and hold her up as an example of a woman's right to choose...

Consider her example and that of some others for a moment... A Spanish speaking woman gives birth to a baby boy and is not allowed to see/hold her son by her physician/uncle for very long. Repeatedly, she sees him for short times, totally wrapped. Eventually she insists, and sees her baby with no arms, and a deformed foot. She cries, hard. Her own mother comes to her and challenges her to accept God's gift a 'Gift of Hope'. This family chooses to help this child have a better quality of life, by helping him learn independence, and treating him as though he can do anything he wants to do. They TEACH him to do things, and let him learn.

He learns to sing at his father's side on the couch, and eventually tries to learn to play guitar with his feet. He struggles, and his siblings mention that maybe this is something he should not attempt. But HE continues regardless of the 'noise' that comes from that guitar. Many years later, he has the privilege of singing for the Holy Father for World Youth Day in California...and the Pope jumps down off the stage to go to give him a kiss on the cheek, telling him to continue to gift others with his singing/playing the guitar. He does. He drives a car, travels the world, is married, and has adopted children, including carrying them on his back. This video is in Spanish, with some (the important parts) in English, and takes awhile to download, ... but...

Witness Tony Melendez. Witness 'Quality of Life'. Witness human dignity. Witness a life WORTHY of living. And do not ever judge anyone else as being less than worthy, regardless of their disability, for many 'normal' people are much more handicapped than the most disabled that I have met.

Handicapped is NOT the same as disabled. Disabled is something you learn to live with, and get on with life in spite of, no matter how bad. Handicapped is letting life pass you by because you choose not to live it to the best of your ability. And you don't have to be without arms, without cognitive ability, without sight or hearing, without use of your body to be handicapped!

Witness a young teen girl just out of High School in 1967 who dives in and hits the bottom, breaking her neck, and becoming paralyzed from the neck/shoulder area down. As she struggles to live, she wants to give up, but is challenged by others. This girl learns to paint beautiful pictures with her TEETH! Gorgeous pictures. And she has better "handwriting" than many able-bodied. She uses her brain to write, her voice to sing, drives a special van, and travels. She had found ways to get wheelchairs for those who cannot get them, through Wheels for the World....
She is my age, and has accomplished much more in her life than most, including getting married. Joni Eareckson Tada is living a life worthy of dignity and ... has a wonderful quality to that life.

Consider Zach, a young man now, a boy when I met him. Adopted into a family with several other special needs children, Zach can do nothing but smile and coo, and ... say HHHHHAAAAAAA for 'Hi'. A wonderful smile, he requires nursing. He had a sister Destiny, who could win your heart in seconds, but who was trached and could play with some toys, roll around on the floor, and not much else. Destiny died at age five, and is still missed. He has a sister who is beautiful, but severely brain damaged as a result of her father's physical abuse when she was a baby. She also can smile, and does need much physical care. The others are more capable than this, but also special needs. Consider the quality of life here as their parents and nurses take these children in a large camper all over the US for vacations, including their suction machines, nebulizers and .... in some cases, tube feedings. Oh, did I mention that in addition to their adopted children, they have two adult biological children, and take in foster kids, some as disabled as their own, some 'normal' but with emotional problems? Witness acceptance, tolerance, devotion. Witness quality of life!

Witness a young girl, wild. Prone to temper tantrums. Witness a family unable to help her, but who found her a teacher. Witness a woman who broke through the cloud around this young girl who LOOKED to all the world like she had little to live for. Witness Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan..... and see that even though disabled, both women were NOT handicapped! Both women became college graduates at a time many women did not go to college.... witness quality of life....

Each child, each adult is a Child of God who is alone the Author and Giver of Life, and who is the ONLY one with the authority to call those lives Home to Him when it is His time, not ours. We have no right to take that life from ANY of His Creation until HE calls them home, by injetion, by oral med, suppository, or... by dehydration/starvation as we have done to Nancy Cruzan, Terri Schiavo and others.

When God Himself calls them Home finally, they deserve to be treated with the dignity due any human being, with kindness, and ..... to live until He says "Come, follow Me... enter into my Kingdom"....and in the final analysis, most/many of those who are disabled may beat those of us who are normal (not by their death, but by their innocence) into that very Kingdom due to our sinful behavior.

God bless.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Let's talk about Stem Cell Research

There is PROBABLY not a person on the face of the earth against Stem Cell Research. Not one. Including the President and anyone pro-life. Stem cell research is exactly what Bone Marrow Transplants is all about. It is also what Cord Blood Transfusions are all about. There is a growing list of various human problems that are becoming treatable with Bone Marrow and Cord Blood cells. There are studies on adult stem cells being derived from nasal cells!

The line is drawn when we use a human 'embryo' to get those stem cells, effectively taking that person's life. Life begins at conception. Life is Sacred. Those frozen 'embryos' are not 'garbage to be tossed out, wasted.' They are human lives that deserve to be treated with dignity. MANY couples would be thrilled to adopt those children...that IS what they are. In fact, some have already done just this, with the blessings of the biological parents!

When we cross one ethical line, there are others waiting not far behind, challenging us to 'just step over this one' false promises but leading further and further down the path toward the day that 'anything goes'.

Animals rights' activists have a hard time with doing experiments on animals, and think that this should be outlawed. I can see their point, but also know that an animal and a human being are not the same. But even there, some have crossed the line in animal experimentation, also, such as in cloning. Now they want to take that knowledge and clone human beings.... see, if you cross ONE ethical line, there are others beckoning, daring you to cross them, too, giving more and more 'rational reasons' to do so...and many will.

I listen to some giving very emotionally charged, manipulative 'pleas' to 'just let us use those embryos that will be tossed in the garbage anyway...for LIFE, so that they don't go to waste'.... and this kind of 'speech' persuades many others to step over that ethical. moral line of taking a life to experiment on human beings.

There will always be people in the private sector willing to do anything, regardless of the morality or the ethics involved, and some will think that they have very valid reasons to do so, justifying their actions as being good for humanity. The problem comes in when you want to use tax money to have government fund that work.

When there is so very much evidence that Adult and Cord Stem Cells are already being used with great success, there is no reason to kill the babies (excuse me, politically correct says that they are embryos..).

A line was already crossed when President Bush authorized federal funding on already EXISTING lines of stem cells..... daring others to press to cross the next. In order to continue, they say, they must have fresh cells to begin new lines because the existing ones 'may have been contaminated'.

Let's go with the ethical and moral way, staying away from the questionable things that destroy life, and continue working with what is proving to be fruitful, adult stem cells. For if we don't draw a line in the sand and say 'NO, you are not going to cross this barrier', there will be no end to the unethical and immoral choices in the future that are justified and ... emotionally presented to us in order to get us to accept each step down that slope.

For a list that Adult Stem Cells have been used to help patients, and a comparison of what Embryonic Stem Cells have been used for on humans, please see this site. For a very thorough and frequently updated website to learn the TRUTH about Stem Cells, go here, and check back often.

To read an online 'debate'/interview on the subject, see this website .

OH, and the new, politically correct terminology to learn that will obfuscate the entire issue in order to make it more palatable is already available! "Nuclear Transfer Technology" is what they now want you to learn. Just as Baby has been replaced by terms like 'products of conception, embryo and fetus' so that we don't think about who we are hurting when we do those abortions, and 'artificial feeding' so we don't realize it is REALLY food and water that we are taking from a living human being in order to 'let them die with dignity'...(starve and dehydrate a human being to death)... these three words are what they now call... cloning.

"to deliberately make something unclear or difficult to understand, by making use of unfamiliar terminology"

"Right is still right if nobody is right,
and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
Archbishop Fulton J Sheen
author of The Life of Christ