A little light

 

A little light in the darkest night,

A flickering flame, threatening to cease,

Is lighted when a little smile,

In an ocean of indifferent faces,

Creates a little space.

 

A gentle word in a flood of communication,

When understanding ceases and sanity wanes,

An uplifting gesture,

When all around is rejection,

Makes a little space, for a battered soul.

 

Would you be the spark, that lights the fire,

An introduction to a story of life,

Left unwritten,

Unless you,

Would care to be- that little light.

 

 

 

 

 

Picture credit: http://photographystatistics.com

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D’ya still enjoy doin it?

“A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.”- Gloria Steinem

“Sex is logically impossible after marriage. You have to overcome the paradox of Not this again and Hey where did you learn that?” –Emo Philips

“Life after death is as improbable as sex after marriage.” – Madeline Khan

“Sex was for men. Marriage like life boats, was for women and children.”- Carrie Fisher

 

Well if you believe that, there is a good reason you should read this book.

 

Sheet Music- Dr. Kevin Leman

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After 8 years of marriage I found this book so useful, there was  immediate betterment in our quality of life, not just on the bed. You see, there are so many things the articles on the web or other books on sex don’t teach you. This was an eye opener and I am going to buy a few more copies to present to couples on their wedding. You couldn’t give them a better gift, as a parent, friend or someone who deeply cares.

The book is written in a free, witty and easy style, which made me smile a lot. The examples and scenarios described are those most married people can completely relate to.

The first few chapters are dedicated to single men and women. How do you prepare yourself for the marriage bed? If your answer is ‘Get more practice before marriage’, like mine was, here is another view on it. Saving up for your husband has so many advantages, and Dr Kevin has statistics to back his points.

What if you have already made a mistake, what then? – Well it isn’t too late to abstain till marriage. The emotional consequences of premarital sex are completely neglected in our society, so are the risks of getting STDs. Dr. Leman has suggestions on how to deal with “the crowded bed”, the things that have influenced the person you are from childhood on. Your sexual rule book- We all have one, we’d be fooling ourselves if we pretended we didn’t. What is alright for me, what isn’t and the reasons, are some issues we need to work through. And while some rules might be easier broken, some might be quite tough. Whatever they are, they need to be faced.

Dr Leman then talks about learning to make music- about studying your spouse starting with the honey moon, and gives couples very practical solutions and realistic expectations, especially during this period. He uses a simile on how people learn to play violin, the instrumental and the violinist are capable of making beautiful music, which does not happen but for lots and lots of practice with one instrument.

The book then has a section “men only” and “women only” which is also extremely practical and deals with taking care of yourself and preparing yourself emotionally and physically to experience pleasure during sex.

“Why not, and why not here?”

I find that a lot of women think that they are doing their husband a favour by consenting to ‘let him do it’. I find that so sad, because of the experience and the relationship that comes with good sex. Some of us also tend to have fixed ideas about when, how, which position, and which area of the house it should be done. But why? Dr Leman tells us to be open to the practicalities and details  positions that can be used.

 

The book was very insightful about the differences between the genders, in the way they understand and perceive things, priorities and expectations.

It can be hard, just like marriage is hard.

To find the time, to make the effort, to prioritise, to plan.

But no one is ”winning” the marriage.

And I think what you reap is worth the effort, and when you reap you do manifold.

 

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You can purchase the book on amazon here.

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What do you think is worth fighting for?

“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world.”- Chaos theory

Do infants feel pain?

Jeffry Lawson was born on February 9th 1985, a little too early and a little too small. He was born at 26 weeks and weighed a little more than 700gms, his chances at survival were slim. He needed a surgery called a PDA closure (an open heart surgery) to help him survive. He survived only 5 weeks after his surgery. He would have been my age if he had.

A few months later, his parents Jill and James Lawson found out that the surgery on their child had been done without anesthesia. He had only received a powerful paralytic drug, which would not prevent the pain, but make sure he did not move during the surgery.

“That is how it is usually done”, they were told.

“They (babies) don’t feel pain the way we do.”

“They won’t remember, even if there is a moment or two of discomfort.”

“Besides, they may not even tolerate analgesics.”

Jill Lawson tried to get support for her position that babies should get pain control from dozens of governmental and nongovernmental agencies in vain. They were not willing to help her or they supported the anesthetist’s actions.

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They could have left it there. It had not been the surgery which caused their baby’s death. They had little chances while fighting against the elite medical community.

The news reports said Jill Lawson was a housewife from Maryland.

They were not professionals, doctors or advocates.

Her complete account of the story can be read here.

An excerpt from one of her reports reads:

‘‘Jeffrey had holes cut on both sides of his neck, another cut in his right chest, an incision from his breastbone around to his backbone, his ribs pried apart, and an extra artery near his heart tied off. This was topped off with another hole cut in his left side. The operation lasted hours. Jeffrey was awake through it all. The anesthesiologist paralyzed him with Pavulon, a drug that left him unable to move, but totally conscious. When I questioned the anesthesiologist later she said Jeffrey was too sick to tolerate powerful anesthetics. Anyway, she said, it had never been demonstrated to her that premature babies feel pain.’’ 

It was not until a year later, in August 1986, that an article in the Washington Post told their story to the world. In the article, Rovner, a staff writer, interviewed several experts in the area. The article include a quote by Willis Mc Gill, Chair Anesthesia who said “it doesn’t do anygood to have a dead patient who doesn’t feel pain’’.

This article followed others which highlighted the inequity of conducting surgery on babies without anesthesia.

Those days few parents realized that major surgical procedures were routinely performed on premature and sick new born infants without analgesics, which relieve pain or remove sensation. Instead babies were immobilized using strong muscle relaxants. Many procedures in the nurseries were done without pain relief, day after day, and week after week.

Pain in infants was soon discussed around the breakfast table and the water cooler. If mothers knew by the cries of their babies that they had pain, why did not doctors agree with commonly understood parent observation?

In the meanwhile Dr Anand, a surgeon in the UK, was working on measuring stress responses using small blood samples in infants. He showed that neonates showed a major stress response following surgery which eased with anesthesia. He was awarded the Dr. Michael Blacow prize for his paper on “Anesthetic management of preterm infants during PDA ligation.”

With the publication of his paper in the Lancet in 1987, the world realized that surgeries were being performed in babies without anesthesia. Dr Anand and his supervisor Professor Aynsley Green were viciously attacked and accused of experimenting on babies and withholding analgesics. They demanded an investigation by the General Medical Council.

Dr Anand might have thought that his career had ended.

There was an immediate uproar in the press.

The experiments were severely criticized and condemned.

It took several prominent medical scientists to point out that Dr Anand’s research would save many babies from having unprotected pain to mitigate the situation.

Shortly thereafter, 2 years after Jeffrey’s death, the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics each produced statements on the appropriate use of analgesia in neonates. AAP stated that it was no longer ethical to perform surgery on preterm babies without anesthetic.

The November 24, 1987, headline of the New York Times covering the Lawson story read ‘‘Infant’s Sense of Pain Is Recognized, Finally.’’

A leading journal declared that: “Failure to treat treatable pain in infants and children is both inappropriate and unethical.”

Clinical practice in anesthesia and cardiac surgery changed.

American Pain Society now awards the annual Jeffrey Lawson Award to outstanding pediatric pain clinicians in memory one poor infants tragic death.

The public concern and outcry, namely the attacks on Anand and the tireless advocacy of Jill Lawson, provided the engine to move change forward.

Science provided the knowledge base for the public outcry.

Without the public outcry, knowledge would have taken years to be implemented into clinical practice.

The public outcry was generated by common people. By a mother who wanted to be heard.

There was a sharp increase in the number of publications on pediatric pain studies between 1981 and 1990 and a dramatic increase in articles on pain in neonates in the mid 1980s.

We now therefore know that:

Poorly managed pain has serious short and long term consequences because infants remember pain and suffer physiological consequences of untreated pain even 9- 12 years later.

If were do not give babies pain medication it can affect them in the following ways:

  • Pain ratings were higher at the 4-6 months routine vaccination for boys who were circumcised without analgesia than for girls or uncircumcised boys.
  • It affects their sensory processing, which is the way they perceive sensation, even at 9-12 years of life if they were exposed to pain in their infancy.
  • It may impair the maturation of the brain.
  • They may have reduced visual abilities.
  • They may have poorer language outcomes.
  • They may have greater internalizing behaviors.
  • Appropriate pain relief after trauma decreased the risk of developing posttraumatic stress disorder in children at 12 months. It affects their response to pain later on in life.
  • Inadequate pain relief and the memory of painful experiences of procedures reduced the effects of adequate pain relief in subsequent procedures.

 

Jeffry Lawson’s memory lives on and has impacted millions of lives all over the world, because one woman did not let go.

One woman stood up for what she believed in.

“I had some second thoughts about pursuing it,” Lawson says, “but I have learned a lot and I know I’m doing the right thing.”

Her intention was not to condemn/ initiate legal action against an individual or an institution. She had a problem and she wanted a solution. She wanted people to know about the problem, so that someone somewhere would maybe work out a solution.

“I think what they’re saying is that there’s no way to anesthetize very tiny or weak babies so the choice is not doing the surgery or doing it under horrendous circumstances. I’m not saying never do it, but I would want to think long and hard.”

 

If it is you who is wondering whether your battle is worthwhile, even when it seems like you are on the losing side- don’t give up. It is worth it.

If your little concern doesn’t even seem significant, even if no one seems to care, don’t give up. It is worth it.

If you have the government and science stand against you, but that little voice inside you cannot accept it, don’t give up. Don’t let that little voice die.

You never know how that little action of yours is going to change the world, just because you believed.

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References:

http://www.dolor.org.co/articulos/MOderna%20historia%20dolor%20pediatrico.pdf

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0194599816636100

Science is not enough: The modern history of pediatric pain. Patrick J. McGrath

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She…

 she gave up.

 she let go.

 she didn’t see a reason to keep fighting,

 nor did she have the strength anymore.

 so she let herself go.

 let herself fall,

 felt the weightlessness.

beneath the closed eyelids,

tears formed and overflowed,

even when she forced them back;

back to their source.

but in the falling and the flowing,

she found the strength,

to stand when she landed-

and to walk some more.

 

 

 

Photo credit: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/4-you-are-the-ocean-and-i-am-drowning-glennis-siverson.html

 

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An immigrant family. A genius. An indifferent mother.

Would the bright child of an immigrant family who never had the chance to go to school make it in life?

Would a mother who hung to memories of an adventurous night in a train with a man be happy with another for the rest of her life?

What about children, who look after each other, and constantly wonder when their parents are going to leave them for good?

What about the father, whose only worry in life is that the mother would leave him and spends the rest of his time crying?

 

 

Rain in summer

Marguerite Duras

 

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This is a story about a family and about individuals. It is about love and about dreams.

A story of an immigrant family in France, of their life, their struggles and ideology.

The story describes the growing up of the elder 2 children of the family, Ernesto and Jeanne. The father and the mother, the remaining 5 children are hardly mentioned by name.

The mother dominated by experiences of passionate love in the past remains in a world of her own.

“Sie liebten die Grausamkeit der Mutter. Sie liebten die Mutter. Sie liebten es, von der Mutter im Stich gelassen zu werden. “

“They loved the mother’s cruelty. They loved their mother. They loved being let down by their mother.”

The father plays his role as being the mother’s protector, who never leaves her side in the fear that she would leave to an unknown place and not come back. Neither of them have a job or seem to do anything productive. The parents are intelligent, well read and have ideals which are impractical in the real world, but very real to them.

In their story, the children provide them with ”Children’s money” that the government give the parents for their care. The children are not cared for by any adult except for being provided food. None of them go to school. Earnesto and Jeanne look after the ‘children’ and provide them emotional support, by understanding them and reading to them.

There is a lot of crying (every few pages of the book has someone crying), the father cries, Earnesto cries, so do the children.

The underlying tone of the book is also the search for a God .

“An jenem Abend hatte die Mutter gewusst, dass Earnestos Schweigen zugleich Gott und nicht Gott, der Drang zu leben und der Drang zu sterben war. “

“ That evening, the mother knew, that Earnesto’s silence was simultaneously the presence of God, and his absence, the urge to live and the urge to die.”

The life of the children, their hope and strength revolve around a book- One which is a little burnt and yet readable. The book contains the story of a king- King Solomon and the Ecclesiastes, are the ones frequently mentioned.

Earnesto has special abilities. He has taught himself to read and write using this one book. Later, he starts to read books given to him by a teacher. He has attended school for 4 days and decides to stop going because “They taught him things he did not know about.” Jeanne goes to school for 10 days before she discontinues.

Earnesto and Jeanne merge into each other in a way only children in suffering can, with each declaring not willing or able to live without the other. Jeanne confesses her love to her father, thought no true words of love are openly spoken, there is an understanding beyond words, which is in my opinion the only good portrayal of relationship in this book. As a consequence their physical relationship is not shocking and does not come as a surprise.

At the end of the book Earnesto leaves to study, Jeanne leaves too, the father and the mother ‘allow themselves to die’ and the children go to foster care. The teacher later adopts the children.

That is the end of the story.

How do you feel at the end of the story? You feel like you have lost all hope, you feel depressed and you carry a bit of the weight of the injustice of what has happened.

There is unfortunately no English translation of the book yet. I would recommend it for easy read, a little thought provoking, but definitely not for pleasure.

Take away points from the book:

Mothers can be indifferent.

A genius will come up no matter what the circumstances.

Life can be terribly unfair.

In the midst of the dark there is usually a tiny little light.

 

 

 

You can find the German version of the book here.

The French version of the book can be found here.

 

 

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Looking Christian, Acting Christian

In the world we live in Christianity is just another phrase, sentence or verb.

It is associated with people of certain characteristics and behavior.

In some countries, it may be associated with shame, in some with pride.

It is associated with a religion which is split into so many fragments that a new ‘believer’ has difficulty understanding it.

Storm- Reg Grant

(A story of Martin Luther)

In this context, I read “Storm” by Reg Grant, a story about Martin Luther. The book is an attempt to bring to life a historical figure and portrays a man’s struggle against the most powerful authority of his time. It describes the formation of his ideology and his struggles in his quest for truth.storm

Martin Luther lived from 1483 to 1546 AD in Germany. He is known for his role in the Reformation in the church. The Reformation was a movement that caused the split in the Roman Catholic Church led by the pope and the formation of the protestant church. Martin Luther is famous for translating the New Testament into the German language in a way that was easily comprehensible to the common man and for introducing hymns and singing in the churches, which was then a privilege of priests.

At the time of his struggle, the Catholic Church issued ‘indulgences’ which could be purchased for money, the amount depending on the number or enormity of sins you had committed. The purchase of these would save you from ‘hell’ or the eternal fire, the sure punishment of sinners. The church used this money for building projects and for a comfortable life of those in superior positions at the cost of the poor man’s hard earned wages. In his 95 theses, he posed questions about the practices of the church and the pope to the academic community of his time, using the bible as his sole reference.

Sola Gratia – We are saved by the grace of God alone.”

This phase became the center of his discussion.

His teachings caused the poor local community to rebel against the aristocracy which had been exploiting them for centuries causing civil wars. This movement soon spread to other countries including Austria, Czech lands, Bohemia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. This finally culminated in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, after 30 years of war.

He caused a scandal by marrying Katherina von Bora, a former nun, breaking the rule that church leaders/ pastors should not marry.

Martin Luther is known today as one of the most influential figures in the history of the world. But he was more than just a leader of a historical revolt, he was a man of God. A man who stood firm for what he believed in even when he stood alone. A man of vision, who stood for what was right in the face of threat to life. An exemplary life lead with determination and passion.

Moreover, we owe to him that we know that there is a God who loves and cares for us.

A God who is merciful. Grace.

Christianity is more than looking smug and pretending to be good.

It is more than singing songs and donating to organizations.

Martin Luther demonstrated that being Christian is often standing alone, getting out of your comfort zone and persecution.

It is holding on to the only thing that really matters in life.

His Word.

 

 

Picture credit: http://www.crosswalk.com

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I forgive you

For all the half truths and half lies

Confessed, unconfessed,

And everything in between.

 

For all the choices you didn’t make,

Or made, When

You couldn’t or had to.

 

For all the words that meant,

Nothing or everything to

You and me.

 

For the thoughts that guided

Your actions, expressed

Or unexpressed.

 

For the gifts you bought,

Or didn’t, the ones

Returned or should have been.

 

For the moments of deception, intentional

Or instinctual whilst these drew or

Repelled me to and from you.

 

Cause you see in the end,

The things that mattered were insignificant

The things that didn’t- important.

 

So in the end, I Embrace truth, I forgive you.

 

 

Prayer to forgive others

Help me forgive those who have hurt me, God. Maybe they had a reason, or it amused them, maybe they wanted me to learn something or they wanted me to hurt and rot. Whatever the reason, help me to breathe in the Holy Spirit and say “I forgive you.” Help me, Jesus, to forget the hurt, and work towards my own health and soul. Inspire me to be positive and identify the numerous opportunities that present themselves before me. Amen

 

Picture credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/forgiveness-virtue

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