Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2010

Prozac is Talking -- Anybody Listening?

Anybody know this story?  You get a new prescription.  Responsible consumer that you are, you read carefully the PI [prescribing information] sheet.  It says, "If xx happens, call your doctor immediately."  Sure enough, xx happens.  You call your doctor, who does not call back.  After persistent calling over several days, the doc says, "Really?  We'll keep an eye on it."

The other day, I had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop.  The PI sheet says my new med can interfere with platelets, admittedly not very high on the list of side effects.  But I contacted the doc.  "Really?"  she said, "Where did you hear that was a side effect?"  My answer, "On the PI sheet you gave me."  It turned out, my blood work was fine, and the humidifier took care of the nosebleeds.

No harm done.  Right?

On the other hand, five years ago my GP had me on Prozac.  After a couple months, I couldn't sleep, was irritated, agitated, couldn't concentrate…

The Miracle of Gheel -- Humane Treatment for Mental Illness

It was seventh century Ireland.  The Queen died.  King Damon's grief was so deep that it moved into depression and then psychosis.  He thought his daughter Dymphna was his queen.  Rather than submit to his advances, Dymphna fled to Belgium, to the town of Gheel.  But her father followed.  When she again rebuffed him, he killed her, cut off her head.  Dymphna was buried in the local church.

Six centuries later, her coffin was found during renovations.  Signs on the coffin demonstrated her holiness.  She began to be venerated.  Cures of the sick were attributed to her.  She was canonized in 1247 as the patron saint of the mentally ill.

Okay, here the one last bit of unrecovered Catholic in me demands to be heard, to note Rome's fascination with girls who prefer death to rape.  Even as a nine year old, that made me uncomfortable.

Moving on.  People came to Gheel for healing.  Many brought family members who were mentally ill.  Sometimes they left them there.  The priest housed thes…

The Best Health Care in the World

Rush Limbaugh says that he experienced the world's best health care in the United States of America, and it does not need fixing.  I am glad for Rush that he was staying at a resort near a world class hospital for coronary care last month.  I imagine he has insurance to pay for the hotel-like accommodations, the angiogram and several other tests that failed to find the cause of his chest pains.

Given his public platform and his wide influence on American opinion and public policy, I wish Rush would expand his experience of health care in the United States of America.  He could shadow Craig Rennebohm for a few days to find out how health care works for other people.  Craig is the pastor of Pilgrim Church (UCC) in Seattle and, as part of their ministry, "companions" persons who are homeless and mentally ill.  With David Paul, Craig describes their quite different experiences in Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets.


Spiritual Practices for the Dark Night -- Forgiveness

Okay -- one more in the spiritual practices series.

But I don't put forgiveness in the same category as thanksgiving and tithing, practices I keep and commend to my readers.  I can't say that I practice forgiveness.  When forgiveness happens, it comes as unbidden as a gracious gift in a time of desperation.

I can't tell you how to forgive.  I never learned.

What I mean by forgiveness goes something like this:  This person has a relationship with me, in which I can expect this person to treat me well, AND this person did me some harm, AND I forgive this person and will carry the burden of not forgiving no longer.

I never learned that kind of forgiveness.  I learned BUT forgiveness:  This person did me some harm, BUT it wasn't that big a deal.  Or:  This person did me harm BUT there were extenuating circumstances.  Or: BUT I just haven't figured out the bigger picture yet.  Or: BUT he/she couldn't help it.  Or: BUT I am the better person, and will let it go.

But …

Spiritual Practices for the Dark Night -- Tithing

Yes, I'm serious.  Tithing.

I knew about tithing because I am a Christian.  The concept comes from the Old Testament.  I used to think it was interesting -- from a distance.  Like fasting.  Of course nobody except the legalists actually did it.  Still, I suspected I was missing something.

Then two things happened within two months.  I left the person to whom I had turned over all decisions that mattered.  And I attended a conference about what was called the "Alabama Plan."  We did bible studies about money, about tithing, about abundance and God's promises.  And then we were asked, What is preventing you from claiming God's promises?  I realized my answer was -- nothing.  Nothing prevented me.

So I became a tither.

Now remember the context.  Having just moved out on the chief money maker of the family, my household income had plummeted to 40% of what it had been.  It occurred to me -- this was the perfect time to begin tithing.  Instead of 10% of what I was used…