About you. About G-d.

They are really the same entity. You. G-d. 

Also Jesus, Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Krishna, Rah. Also Danu, Lugh, Cernunnos, Dalon ap Landu, Loki, Odin, Thor, Frigg, Ceridwen, Lakshmi, Sita, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Athena. Those are some of the names of the “Archetypes,” and they are also alternative names of G-d. Of you. Of me.

Also, there are those who once lived on Earth with us but are no more.  Robert A. Heinlein, John F. Kennedy; his brother Robert, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jules Verne, Golda Meir, etc.  (fill in the blank) These we refer to as the “Old Ones.”

And then there is you and me.

What is the difference between them?  From one point of view there are those of us who are alive today.  Then there are those who once lived with us in the past. And last there are those who never lived. though they might have. From the true, the real point of view, they are all the same entity. They are all the same life, the same being.  We also include all the microbes, all the plants, the animals, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, this universe, and all the other universes. All of Nature really.

There are no differences really – they are all G-d.

We are one with the all. We are all G-d.

When you pray you are talking to yourself. When you worship, you are worshipping your self. When you think you are thinking G-d’s thoughts.

We are the individual cells of G-d. No matter what your religion, your race, your ethnicity, your nationality, you are G-d.

If you hurt someone you are hurting yourself. You are hurting G-d.  If someone is homeless, or hungry or sick. G-d is homeless or hungry or sick. And so are you.

We, all of us, and the planet, etc., are interconnected, and interdependent.   Just like the cells of your body are interconnected and interdependent.  The differences we see are illusions.  The things which separate one person from another are illusion, and there are only experienced, and only matter, while we are in these physical bodies. When you die and leave the body you finally can perceive the reality. You think you become one with the universe, with G-d, but the fact is, you’ve never really been separated. You’ve always been one with G-d.

There is only one G-d. He or she (hirm?) has many, many names, and many, many manifestations, and you and I are him/her.  Collectively.  Just as your physical body is an interactive collective of billions of cells, so you and I are part of the interactive collective that is G-d.

You know, if everyone believed this there would be no war, no poverty, no hunger; an end to climate change. The earth would be a paradise for all to enjoy, prosper, and thrive upon.

It’s time. Time to embrace your true nature.

“Thou art god, I am G-d. All that groks is G-d.”

“Thou art G-d’. It’s not a message of cheer and hope. It’s a defiance – and an unafraid, unabashed assumption of personal responsibility.”


Is this the hill you want to die on?

My eldest son, Joshua, asked me this recently in reference to my belief that we are all (collectively) G-d.

My answer: YES.  Because, as far as I am concerned, it is the absolute, undiminished, truth of all truths.  The problem of course is that if I believe that, than any other thing that contradicts this is a lie, and those who believe thusly believe in lies. Those who do not believe in their own inherent G-d-ness are deceived. They’re ignorant, or worse, they are elitist. This saddens me, but seeing humanity eternally involved in endless wars saddens me as well.   Seeing people homeless and in poverty, seeing people sick and untreated, seeing people hungry, these things sadden me as well. Seeing women treated as possessions, being denied the right to decide what happens to their own bodies saddens me. Seeing people killed or tortured for the crime of being the wrong color saddens me.

“Some men see things as they are, and say why. I dream of things that never were, and say why not.” Robert Kennedy

The thing is, my belief, if accepted and implemented by everyone, would put an end to  all of the problems that plague our race (the human race – the ONLY race).  What has your belief contributed to humanity?


Happy Natal Day to Jordan and Jesse Arseneau

They turned 40 today.

40. That’s 4 decades.

They are both videographers. Jordan works for ABC in Chicago, and Jesse has his own video production business.  Jordan has won, I think, 6 Chicago area Emmy awards for his camera work and for editing. Jesse specializes in surgeries. He is one of about 6 in the country that do that. Maybe in the world. As you can tell I am very, very proud of both of them.

Their mother and I did not know we were having twins.  Her doctor didn’t know.  So, imagine the surprise on May 8th, 1981 when we witnessed not one, but two births, about 5 minutes apart. Seems like yesterday.

They have both achieved the American dream.  They own houses and cars. They are both married to very beautiful and intelligent women, Nikki and Lyndsay.  Jordan is father to Cam, Ian and Joy.  Jesse is father to Mia, Poppy and Dorothy.  Cam and Mia are in High School. Both of them are artists, and Cam seems to be a budding entomologist.

Here is a picture of the two of them from a few years ago:

Happy birthday sons. Your father is very, very proud of you.


What does the Bible say about abortion?

As a formed believer in the Bible, I thought I should weigh in on this.

What does the Bible say about abortion?

Absolutely nothing! The word “abortion” does not appear in any translation of the bible!

Out of more than 600 laws of Moses, none comments on abortion. One Mosaic law about miscarriage specifically contradicts the claim that the bible is antiabortion, clearly stating that miscarriage does not involve the death of a human being. If a woman has a miscarriage as the result of a fight, the man who caused it should be fined. If the woman dies, however, the culprit must be killed:

“If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

“And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth . . .”–Ex. 21:22-25

The bible orders the death penalty for murder of a human being, but not for the expulsion of a fetus.

When Does Life Begin?

According to the bible, life begins at birth–when a baby draws its first breath. The bible defines life as “breath” in several significant passages, including the story of Adam’s creation in Genesis 2:7, when God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Jewish law traditionally considers that personhood begins at birth.

Desperate for a biblical basis for their beliefs, some antiabortionists cite obscure passages, usually metaphors or poetic phrasing, such as: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5 This is sexist, but does nothing other than to invoke original sin. It says nothing about abortion.

The Commandments, Moses, Jesus and Paul ignored every chance to condemn abortion. If abortion was an important concern, why didn’t the bible say so?

Thou Shalt Not Kill?

Many antiabortionists quote the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13) as evidence that the bible is antiabortion. They fail to investigate the bible’s definition of life (breath) or its deafening silence on abortion. Moreover, the Mosaic law in Exodus 21:22-25, directly following the Ten Commandments, makes it clear that an embryo or fetus is not a human being.

An honest reader must admit that the bible contradicts itself. “Thou shalt not kill” did not apply to many living, breathing human beings, including children, who are routinely massacred in the bible. The Mosaic law orders “Thou shalt kill” people for committing such “crimes” as cursing one’s father or mother (Ex. 21:17), for being a “stubborn son” (Deut. 21:18-21), for being a homosexual (Lev. 20:13), or even for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-35)! Far from protecting the sanctity of life, the bible promotes capital punishment for conduct which no civilized person or nation would regard as criminal.

Mass killings were routinely ordered, committed or approved by the God of the bible. One typical example is Numbers 25:4-9, when the Lord casually orders Moses to massacre 24,000 Israelites: “Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun.” Clearly, the bible is not pro-life!

Most scholars and translators agree that the injunction against killing forbade only the murder of (already born) Hebrews. It was open season on everyone else, including children, pregnant women and newborn babies.

Does God Kill Babies?

“Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”–Psalm 137:9
The bible is not pro-child. Why did God set a bear upon 42 children just for teasing a prophet (2 Kings 2:23-24)? Far from demonstrating a “pro-life” attitude, the bible decimates innocent babies and pregnant women in passage after gory passage, starting with the flood and the wanton destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, progressing to the murder of the firstborn child of every household in Egypt (Ex. 12:29), and the New Testament threats of annihilation.

Space permits only a small sampling of biblical commandments or threats to kill children:

  • Numbers 31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones.
  • Deuteronomy 2:34 utterly destroyed the men and the women and the little ones.
  • Deuteronomy 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters.
  • I Samuel 15:3 slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.
  • 2 Kings 8:12 dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
  • 2 Kings 15:16 all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
  • Isaiah 13:16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled and their wives ravished.
  • Isaiah 13:18 They shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.
  • Lamentations 2:20 Shall the women eat their fruit, and children.
  • Ezekiel 9:6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children.
  • Hosea 9:14 give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
  • Hosea 13:16 their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

Then there are the dire warnings of Jesus in the New Testament:

“For, behold, the days are coming, in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.”–Luke 23:29

The teachings and contradictions of the bible show that antiabortionists do not have a “scriptural base” for their claim that their deity is “pro-life.” Spontaneous abortions occur far more often than medical abortions. Gynecology textbooks conservatively cite a 15% miscarriage rate, with one medical study finding a spontaneous abortion rate of almost 90% in very early pregnancy. That would make a deity in charge of nature the greatest abortionist in history!

Are Bible Teachings Kind to Women?

The bible is neither antiabortion nor pro-life, but does provide a biblical basis for the real motivation behind the antiabortion religious crusade: hatred of women. The bible is anti-woman, blaming women for sin, demanding subservience, mandating a slave/master relationship to men, and demonstrating contempt and lack of compassion:

“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”–Genesis 3:16
What self-respecting woman today would submit willingly to such tyranny?

The antiabortion position does not demonstrate love for humanity, or compassion for real human beings. Worldwatch Institute statistics show that 50% of abortions worldwide are illegal, and that at least 200,000 women die every year–and thousands more are hurt and maimed–from illegal or self-induced abortions. Unwanted pregnancies and complications from multiple pregnancies are a leading killer of women. Why do antiabortionists want North American women to join these ghastly mortality statistics? Every day around the world more than 40,000 people, mostly children, die from starvation or malnutrition. We must protect and cherish the right to life of the already-born.

Do Churches Support Abortion Rights?

Numerous Christian denominations and religious groups agree that the bible does not condemn abortion and that abortion should continue to be legal. These include:

Fetal Heartbeat

  • American Baptist Churches-USA
  • American Ethical Union
  • American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee
  • American Jewish Congress
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Episcopal Church
  • Lutheran Women’s Caucus
  • Moravian Church in America-Northern Province
  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Union of American Hebrew Congregations
  • Unitarian Universalist Association
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodist Church
  • United Synagogue of America
  • Women’s Caucus Church of the Brethren
  • YWCA
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • Catholics for Free Choice
  • Evangelicals for Choice

Belief that “a human being exists at conception” is a matter of faith, not fact. Legislating antiabortion faith would be as immoral and unAmerican as passing a law that all citizens must attend Catholic mass!

The bible does not condemn abortion; but even if it did, we live under a secular constitution, not in a theocracy. The separation of church and state, the right to privacy, and women’s rights all demand freedom of choice.


Musings about G-d

YOU ARE G-D!!!

That’s it. That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  The whole of reality, the whole of existence, is summed up in this simple phrase:

Thou art G-d.

That is not to say that you, by yourself, are G-d. You and your sister, and mother, and neighbor, and wife and the President and every other sentient being in the universe, together, communally, you are G-d. You might say the collective of G-d.

But you have been brain washed.  You believe that G-d is an entity outside of yourself. He’s this big guy up in the sky who looks down on the world; down on you, and judges.  What a puny, tiny, insignificant being you have made of yourself.

They say, G-d is love.  “G-d is love, and he who abides in G-d, abides in love, and love is in you.” In other words, G-d is in you. Thou art G-d.  This makes you and me equal to each other, and to all other sentient beings.

Science tells us that there is no darkness, that darkness is simply the absence of light. The truth is that you are G-d, and G-d  is the LIGHT.  EMBRACE THE LIGHT!  “You are the LIGHT of the WORLD!”  “The Kingdom of G-d is within YOU!”  “You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.”  All the words attributed to Christ, and to Krishna, and to Buddha and to all the other great teachers of the world, say the exact same thing” THOU ART G-D!”

G-d is like the ocean.  If you take a glass, and dip it into the ocean, that glass contains all of the essence of the ocean.  If you turn the glass over, the water it contains returns to the ocean. We, as individuals, are all glasses of water, each of which contains all of the essence of the ocean. The ocean is G-d.  We are G-d. When our physical body finally runs out of steam; when our body dies, the spirit, or soul, or atman, is released and returns to G-d.  The soul, or spirit, or atman, is Self.  The Self is composed of energy, and science teaches us that energy cannot be destroyed. It lives forever. It is the essence of G-d.

We see that in the microcosm, each cell in your body contains your DNA, and is specialized to perform specific tasks. You have eye cells, brain cells, muscle cells, etc. Yet in the all together, they make up you. So it is, that each of us embodies certain traits, certain skills, and all together we make up G-d.

What about people we don’t like? They are part of G-d as well, just as cancer cells or other diseased cells are part of you. But cancer cells do not act right. They do not know, or refuse to know, that they are part of the body. They act as individuals, and bring harm to themselves and to the whole of the body.

That, denial of self – denial that you are G-d, is sin.  It’s the ultimate sin, the sin that all other sin comes from.  Salvation?  Salvation come from acknowledging that you are G-d. Salvation comes from the realization that when you harm another person, you are harming yourself;  you are harming G-d. Matthew 25:35-40

There is a song I remember from a gathering my first wife took me to, that we called “The Happening.”  It goes like this:

Where do I see G-d? Where do I see G-d?
I see G-d in you,
in the things you do,
in the way you see,
all the things in me and in you.

I see G-d in you.
I see G-d in me.

Did you know?  Not one culture contains the truth of G-d. Not one. But many cultures, understood together contain this truth.

The Jewish mystic discipline, known as Kabbalah, seeks to find the name of G-d.  The Hindu’s already know it.  The name of G-d is OM. G-d has other names as well. Some of them are familiar to us: Christ, Krishna, Yahweh, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Buddha, Elohim, Adonai, Leon, Ellis, Joshua, Jordan, Jesse, Aisha, Nikki, Lyndsay,  Isaiah, Jalen, Cam, Ian, Joy, Mia, Dorothy, Poppy, Lynne, Ceridwen, Karyn, Ganesha, Kali …. etc.  Others, are not so familiar: Cernunnos, Dalon ap Landu, Sequoia, Cywarch merch Dalon, Danu, Morrigan …. There are billions of names, but there is only one G-d.  G-d is neither male nor female, yet G-d expresses his self through all of us, and everyone; through Nature and the Cosmos.  Some call G-d “the Universe.”  “The universe is YOU – so share!”

Do you want to see G-d? Look in the mirror. See your self. THOU ART GOD!

You don’t believe this? Some of you will reject this teaching only because I am the one making it. Some of you will reject this because, and I hate to say it, “Thou art G-d”  means that everyone is equal. I’m not better, or worse, than you; you are no better nor worse than me, or than anyone else. You are not better. You are equal. Some people want to be better, so they come up with an elaborate scenario where they start out as, for example, sinners, and then “accept” a savior.  This is nonsense.  Get past yourself. The universe is much bigger than you. You can choose to embrace it – G-d – or not. Your choice.

 


Continental Finance LLC / VERVE Mastercard (and others)

My credit rating is poor. Very poor. One day in the mail I was offered a new credit card, a Master Card called “Verve,” issued by Continental Finance LLC.  It had a $500 limit (unheard of as usually these offerings are $300).  I thought I would use it very sparingly, so I had my Medicare Part D premium ($10/month) charged to it, and planned to pay it off every month.  I put the card in the bottom of a dresser drawer, so I wouldn’t be tempted to actually use it for anything flippant.

I applied for it and received it on October 26, 2020.  To make payments, I set up my checking account. This is the same account I use to pay other credit cards, and other bills. I sent off my first payment of $50 on November 25th.  A week later I discovered that the payment had been returned to the bank.  Now, my bank would surely had charged me an NSF fee for this, but they did not. Further, my bank account had over $1,000 in at the time it would have posted.

What’s going on?

The following month, the exact same scenario played out.  So I called Continental.  They were sorry and refunded the NSF and late payment fees they charged.  A new payment was submitted with the same bank account number and routing number, and that one went through.  I suspected at that time that this was a scam the company was running in order to charge late fees and NSF fees. I told the fellow on the phone this, and I also told him that if it happened again, I would report them to the Federal Trade Commission.

The December payment went through alright, but the January payment did not. This was the same exact scenario — the bank information was the same as always, and there was plenty of money in my account to cover it.  The payment was returned and I was once again charge an NSF fee and a late payment fee.   This time I went online and used the FTC’s complaint form to post a complaint.  I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Of course they denied everything. It was all my fault. I gave them incorrect bank account information, or, my bank account had insufficient funds.  The fact that I used the same exact bank information every single time meant nothing to them.  The fact that my bank account always has $1,000 + also meant nothing to them.  The fact that  my own bank was unaware that any of these transactions had taken place also fell on death ears.

At that time, I realized that either their web based interface was prone to mistakes, or, these problems were deliberate.  This is how Continental Finance makes their money, by not submitting payments to your bank and then saying it was returned, and now you owe them an NSF fee and a late payment fee.

I set up a bill pay using my banks bill pay service. This way all future payments are in my control, not Continentals.

This is a warning to you all:  don’t open credit card accounts with Continental Finance LLC.  First of all, they are not a bank, so they are not subject to the Federal and State rules that banks are subject to.  “Verve” is but one of many cards they offer. Other names are “Surge,” “Reflex,” “Cerulean,” “Fit,” and others. They also do business under the name “Cuzco Capital.”   The Better Business Bureau has a ton of complaints filed against the company which seems to have found endless ways to screw over consumers. See https://www.bbb.org/us/de/wilmington/profile/credit-cards-and-plans/continental-finance-company-llc-0251-21003066

As I said, avoid this company like the plague.  I’ve noticed that of late they are flooding FaceBook news feeds with their spam. Oddly (or maybe not so much) there are lots of positive remarks for these ads, but no way to comment. Or if you do manage to comment your comment mysteriously disappears.

Avoid Continental Finance LLC. like the plague.


Before you cut the cord

Cord cutting is a pracctice where by people stop their cable service, and take their TV watching from over the Internet. It’s supposed to save a lot of money and that was why I tried it out. I was paying out $200 a month for TV and Internet. I had a Tivo and HBO, and 100 mps unlimited data Wi-Fi service. We acquired a Roku enabled TV, and decided we would save $100/ month using that.

It didn’t turn out quite that way.

First of all, my bill only went down by $50 for having “Internet Only.”

Then I found I had to subscribe to various and sundry streaming services to get the channels I wanted. By the time it was all set up and one, I was paying out $225 per month! Plus, the streaming services are not at all as easy or convenient to use as Tivo. We ended up watching A LOT of commercials (which on Tivo we could just fast forward through). If you stopped a program in the middle, like to have a life or something, when you went back to it it started over. You can fast forward, but not as easily. This drove my wife nuts.

So in the meantime, our Internet provider offered us a deal. We could get 200 Mps Internet, plus TV (and the Tivo) for $70/ month. Because of work, I needed unlimited data, so I upgraded the Internet to 1 Gigabite service (and unlimited data) so this brought the price back up to $124/month. Still better than $200, and with much, much better service.

So the verdict? Cord cutting is not for everyone, and you might be just better off sticking with what you have.

 


About a woman’s right to choose

Abortion. It’s a hot topic, especially among those who would impose their religious ideals upon a populace consisting of both religious and non-religious people.

What do I believe? I believe what Jews believe.

There are four aspects to the issue of abortion in Jewish tradition: (1) the legal status of the embryo/fetus, (2) the time of ensoulment, (3) conditions under which a therapeutic abortion may take place, and (4) conditions under which a non-therapeutic abortion may take place.

The Legal Status of the Embryo/Fetus
According to Jewish law, a fetus is not considered a full human being and has no juridical personality of its own. While recognizing the potentiality of becoming human, Rashi, the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus “lav nefesh hu – it is not a person.” The Talmud contains the expression “ubar yerech imo – the fetus is as the thigh of its mother,” i.e., the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant women’s body.

The biblical foundation for this statement is Exodus 21:22ff:

When men fight and one of them pushes a pregnant woman and a miscarriage results, but no other damage ensues, the one responsible shall be fined according as the woman’s husband may exact from him, the payment to be based on reckoning. But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life…

The Jewish legal interpretation of this passage states specifically that only monetary compensation is necessary for one who causes the death of a fetus. The unborn fetus is not worthy of the “life for life” punishment demanded if the woman herself is killed. This clearly implies that the fetus is not accorded the same legal status as the woman herself, namely that of independent human being.

Further proof of the Jewish legal principle that the fetus is to be regarded as part of the pregnant woman is contained in two examples from the Talmud. The first involves the sale of a cow which, subsequent to sale, is found to be pregnant. The legal determination is that the fetus in the womb of the cow belongs to the buyer, and that the seller can make no claim for further compensation. The second example concerns the conversion to Judaism of a woman who is pregnant. Jewish law regards the conversion valid for her future child as well, requiring no separate conversion for it after birth.

While all of the above is not totally sufficient to determine the Jewish attitude toward abortion, it does set the stage. Jewish law is quite clear: while the fetus in the womb is to be protected as a potential human being, it has no personhood; it is not a bar kayamah (a viable, living being), thus, it is not accorded any of the right or privileges of a human being.

The Time of Ensoulment
While the status of a fetus is of interest with regard to the ultimate question of the morality of abortion, so, too, is the issue of ensoulment. Namely, at what moment does the soul enter the body? In Jewish legal tradition, there are several theories. The most famous text in this regard is from the Talmud and concerns a somewhat strange dialogue between the Roman Emperor Antoninus and Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, the complier of the Mishna. (The Mishna is the first post-Biblical compilation of Jewish law and tradition, compiled at the beginning of the third post-Christian century.)

“Antoninus asked Rabbi Judah: ‘From when is neshamah (soul) endowed in man: from the time of birth, or from the moment of intercourse?’ Rabbi Judah answered, ‘From the time of birth.’ The emperor then asked, ‘Can meat remain three days without salt and not putrify?’”

As obscure as this dialogue may seem, Rabbi Judah understood it. According to Talmudic dictum, it can take as long as three days from the moment of intercourse until the ovum is fertilized. What, then, keeps the sperm (i.e., meat) vital through that period of time? There must be a vitalizing life force (i.e., salt) present. From the conclusion of their discussion, it appears that due to the questions of a Roman emperor, Rabbi Judah changed his mind and adopted the position that ensoulment occurs at conception.

However, the rabbis of his and succeeding generations have taken such a view to task. They have expressed a variety of opinions, citing proofs for ensoulment as early as the act of intercourse itself, and as late as the time a child learns to speak! The rabbis were saying, in effect, that the moment of ensoulment is unclear at best and subject to a great deal of speculation and disagreement, They state, therefore, that is one of the “secrets of God” that will be revealed only when the Messiah comes. As a result, the issue of ensoulment plays virtually no role in Jewish considerations of the morality of abortion.

Conditions for Therapeutic Abortions
The issue of therapeutic abortion itself is first dealt with in a second century Jewish legal text quoted in the Mishna.

If a woman is in hard labor (that threatens her life), one dismembers the fetus within her and removes it limb by limb, because her life takes precedence over its life. Once the greater part of it emerges it may not be touched, for we do not set aside one life for another.

In commenting on this passage, later authorities further define the phrase “the greater part of it.” During a normal delivery, this refers to the emergence of the forehead, while during a breech birth, this means more than half the body.

There are two principles employed here o arrive at the conclusion that the abortion is justified. The first and foremost of the two is that the fetus remains only a potential human life until its emergence from the birth canal. One must, therefore, sacrifice the potential life in order to save a fully existent human life, i.e., the pregnant woman in labor.

The second principle deals with the concept of self-defense. In Jewish law, one is permitted to defend oneself, even to the extent of taking the attacker’s life should one’s own life be in jeopardy. This point was brought into the discussion on abortion when some authorities in the Talmud challenged the prohibition stated above, of the taking of the life of its mother. It was argued that the principle of the aggressor ought to apply here. Since it was pursuing its mother with intent to kill, one should be permitted to kill the fetus if necessary, even the fetus whose greater portion had already emerged. This argument was rejected, however, in favor of a position that the mother is being pursued “from Heaven,” i.e., that the difficulties she is encountering are an act of God, and that it is impossible to know, in reality, who is pursuing whom. The principle of pursue and self-defense, therefore, cannot be applied in the case of the child in the process of being born and need not be applied prior to birth since in that case the pursuer is not a person.

Nonetheless, in the legal code of Maimonides, the great Jewish sage of the 13th century, the argument of the pursuer was used once again. In commenting on the passage from the Mishna quoted above, and in stating the rules governing abortion in his code, Maimonides utilizes the pursuer justification, using the examples of a boat about to sink from its load. In order to lighten the load, a passenger without baggage steps forward and proceeds to throw overboard the baggage and a mule belonging to the others. Maimonides states that person is not liable for restitution to the owners, for the baggage and mule are pursuers, “seeking” to kill them all.

In using the justification of the pursuer, Maimonides clearly complicates the meaning of the Mishna passage. There are those who believe that Maimonides’ intent in using the pursuer argument was to limit abortions only to those cases where the pursuer argument applies, i.e., in life-threatening situations. There are others, however, who believe that he was using the language only as an illustration and has no intention to contradict the authorities of the Talmud who had rejected the pursuer argument. In any event, Maimonides’ use of the principle and its assumption by later authorities in their codes of Jewish law became a point of contention in deciding the permissibility of non-therapeutic abortions.

In dealing with therapeutic abortions, one final point must be made. It is important to note that the Mishna text does not present either the pregnant woman or her physician with options. If her life is threatened, the unborn fetus must be sacrificed; she may not make the decision to sacrifice her own life for that of the fetus within. And, equally as compelling, once the child is born, no decision may be made to sacrifice its life in order to save that of its mother. They both have an equal claim on life.

Conditions for Non-Therapeutic Abortions
The guidelines for deciding cases of accidental and therapeutic abortion, then, are reasonably clear-cut, even though there is some disagreement concerning the proper justification. Such cannot be said once one turns to the topic of a non-therapeutic abortion. Here the relevant literature is the Responsa – questions written to and responses written by rabbinic authorities from the 10th century to today. It is also here that a divergence in opinion begins to emerge. Such divergence is due initially to differing understandings of Maimonides’ use of the pursuer argument, cited above. Later, in the 19th and 20th centuries, it becomes part and parcel of the diversity within Judaism itself as liberal streams of Jewish tradition and observance emerge. There are many relevant Responsa concerning abortion, several of which follow. In all of them, the principles are those described above. Note however, how different understandings of these principles lead to different conclusions.

The first case concerns a child who is nursing and cannot survive without his mother’s milk, being allergic to all other forms of nutrition. The mother, however, having become pregnant once again, sees that her milk has now ceased flowing. Here, where the issues is saving the life of a third party, as opposed to the pregnant woman herself, two different authorities mandate the performance of an abortion to save the life of the existing child.

Other cases emerge today as a result of a better understanding of mental health issues. The question is whether or not suicidal tendencies in a pregnant woman (tendencies that might, as a result of the pregnancy itself, impel the woman to take her own life) justify the performance of an abortion. In this case, even the most stringent of authorities permit an abortion to save the life of the pregnant woman.

In past centuries, many other circumstances have come before rabbinical authorities. One case involved a woman whose pregnancy would leave her permanently deaf, and while some authorities rejected this as sufficient grounds for an abortion, no less an authority than a Chief Rabbi of Israel granted her permission.

In cases involving adultery, there is also a division of opinion. Some invoke the principle of “let the fruit of the act bear witness to the deed lest adultery flourish in the land.” Others maintain that we must do everything possible to save the pregnant woman from great mental pain and anguish, shame being the greatest mental pain. And in several cases involving rape, this latter principle seems to dominate, with many authorities granting permission to take the steps necessary to ensure that a pregnancy will not result.

Yet, in the light of these cases, might one assume that abortion is justifiable under any and all circumstances? The answer, according to Jewish law, is clearly “no.” The majority of Jewish legal sources indicate that abortion is permissible at any stage of the pregnancy if the well-being of the pregnant woman is jeopardized, while it is clearly not permissible if the well-being of the future child is the issue. This distinction can best be illustrated by the following example.

Modern medical technology allows a pregnant woman to be certain, long before the birth of her child, whether it will be born defective due to rubella, genetic factors such as Tay-Sachs disease, systemically transmitted diseases such as HIV, or another such factor. In all of these cases, abortion is not permitted out of fear or concern over what the child might have to endure during its life. Its lot in life is not to be determined or judges by humanity. Its quality of life is one of the “secrets of God” and is not open to human judgment. However, some rabbinical authorities maintain that if the pregnant woman expresses anguish about her own mental, emotional, or psychological condition resulting from an impending birth, then her pain my warrant an abortion. Other rabbinical authorities would not permit an abortion on such grounds.

In cases of non-therapeutic abortion, then, the major consideration is “the pain of the mother.” It is consideration for the woman involved, and not the fate of condition of the fetus, which becomes the determining factor in prohibiting or permitting an abortion. And it is precisely on this issue that diversity of opinion is now the greatest. Not only is the diversity seen among the various movements of Judaism today, but even within each movement itself. In addition to traditional Jewish mores and standards, each movement has its own criteria for determining the permissibility of abortion under other than therapeutic circumstances.

Summary
For Judaism, the evidence in matters of abortion, then, is reasonably clear. The legal codes and rabbinic teachings tend to depict the fetus as simply a part of a woman’s body. Just as one may not wantonly mutilate one’s own body, so, too, a woman is not permitted to obtain an abortion merely for reasons of convenience. But just as she is permitted to sacrifice a portion of her body for her greater good, so, too, may she obtain permission for an abortion in order to assure her overall well-being. The fetus is not a person; it has no rights. Questions of ensoulment, while interesting, are essentially irrelevant. Thus, abortion becomes permissible, according to the vast majority of authorities, under a wide variety of circumstances.

However is must also be said that Judaism as a religious heritage does not tilt absolutely to one side of any issue. Callousness as to the seriousness and the tragedy of abortion is unacceptable. Abortion as birth control is unacceptable. Abortion as a means of avoiding the responsibility of bearing children is antithetical to Jewish values.

One final point. Due to the general leniency in matters of abortion, as well as to a long-standing Jewish insistence on the separation of religion and government in American life, all four non-Orthodox Jewish movements – Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative and Humanist – are on record opposing any governmental regulation of abortion. Moreover, many Orthodox authorities take the same position. Whatever their opinions on abortion in any given situation, a vast majority of Jewish thinkers agree that decision-making with respect to abortion must be left in the hands of the woman involved, her husband, her physician, and her rabbi. Out of this context, in consonance with her Jewish heritage, she can make a decision as she is permitted to do by the United States Constitution.

These, then, become the guiding principles on abortion in Jewish tradition: a woman’s life, her pain, and her concerns take precedence over those of the fetus; existing life is always sacred and dates precedence over a potential life; and a woman has the personal freedom to apply the principles of her tradition unfettered by the legal imposition of moral standards other than her own.

“But El, didn’t you use to be a Christian?”   Well, that’s the trick isn’t it? I am not now a Christian.  I do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel.  Shit, I’m not even sure he ever existed historically.  I suspect he may have been an invention of the Romans, as proposed in the book, “Caesar’s Messiah,” by Joseph Atwill. But even as a Christian, I believed in a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body.

 


Libertarianism vs Christianity

A Facebook messenger conversation between myself and my eldest son, Joshua.

(Joshua’s posts) (My posts)

It started with this post on Joshua’s timeline:

They say most people are Libertarian they just don’t know it. Well how do you know? Are you conservative on economic issues and liberal on social issues. Then your probably Libertarian. Any who good to hear a third party perspective on why the current candidates suck.

http://https://youtu.be/Xt-vL_d7tpA

The problem with Libertarianism is that it’s root philosophy is based in selfishness.

I have read your blog on this and like most things seems logical on the surface but thats not what we actual see in our society.

See if you really care about your family and society you won’t be a burden to them. You will be self sufficient as soon as possible.
I’m not talking about people who have a mental or possible physical disability. I’m not talking About the 10% of the population that has an IQ under 80 these people need help. These people can’t pull themselves up by their boot traps.
Are you saying that I am one of these? I think the NAZI Party calls them “unproductive eaters.”  Well you are right. In 2009 I was evaluated by a physician and pronounced disabled. This came about as a result of selling mattresses, particularly Tempurpedic brand, which I sometimes had to shlep out to a customers vehicle.  They are very heavy, and flop around a lot. My back was not happy about this, and I developed degenerative disk disease as a result. I am permanently disabled. I take 22.5 MG of Norco (an opiate) daily for pain.  So since 2009 I’ve been collecting Social Security Disability, SNAP, and MediCal  (California’s version of Medicaid). Two years later Social Security granted me Medicare.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case for most. See the more independent I’m am and able to take care of myself the more margin I have to help others. Im able to absorb the problems of people in my family and in my community. I don’t have to depend on politicians to rule in my favor. I don’t have be controlled by my employer either. I don’t need to beg for a raise. I create value and if they don’t pay me what I’m worth I go somewhere else.
See what is selfish is when people don’t delay gratification. They don’t save and invest. They spend more then they make and get into debt. They have no margin to help themselves or others.
Wages in the United States have not kept up with the cost of living. If the minimum wage today (adjusted for inflation)  was equivalent to what it was when it was first instituted, we would be looking at around $25.00 per hour today.  Most people don’t make $15.00 / hour let alone $25.  So after they pay out the minimum in living expenses (rent, utilities, gas, insurance(s), groceries, medical/dental etc.), there is nothing left to save. There is no discretionary spending. They don’t invest or save because they cannot.
Let me ask: how much are you investing/saving?
You we’re unemployed last I knew.  Are you on unemployment? If not, how are you making a living?
Then they feel controlled by their jobs cause they can’t quit or move somewhere where they will be valued. They can’t afford to rock the boat. What would happen if I lost my job?
This is why they need to Unionize.
What would happen if I have a bad credit score?
My credit score has been in the toilet pretty much since I moved out here.  I filed bankruptcy back in 1995.  I never really recovered though. I have no credit cards, and frankly I have found that I do not need them. I  live quite nicely without all that, thank you very much. 
The whole credit system is a scam.  Unless you are planning on buying a house (and at my age that is very impractical anyway) there is not much need for “good credit.”  The only down side is that you might have to pay more for some things. But most of the time those are things you can probably live without.
When you truly become Self sufficient you realize that life is meaningless if it is only about you and your family.
Indeed. All humans, all sentient beings are in fact ONE. It is said that we are made in the image of G-d. Like G-d then, we are one. The experience of being in many separate, diverse bodies is an illusion.  We experience this only while on the earth plane. You are me.  You are Aisha, you are Jordan and Jesse. You are everyone whom you have ever know, know, or will know.  You are everyone that you do not know.
Because of this, individuality is an illusion.  All mankind is interdependent upon one another.  We are like one body, each part having a job to do for the good of the whole.  Just as your heart is dependent upon your brain, so too are you dependent upon others, and by extension, others depend upon you.
By extension we are also one with G-d, and therefore we are G-d.  He is one with us, and we are one with Him.  There is only one. There can be no other.
“The GOOD of the MANY outweighs the GOOD of the few, or the one.” — Spock
I life well lived is one that is not just consumed with your own needs. In fact when you are empathetic and see the needs of others it is the only way to be grateful for what you have. You are content and have joy. You give because you see those with less. You also able to empower instead of enable. You know the difference between a need and necessity. You are not over compassionate and enable bad behavior.
Putting your happiness in accumulation is fleeting. It is boring and temporary. Western culture is successful because it is built on the idea of the individual. Not because it perfect. It’s just better the alternatives.
Again,  you are quoting Buddhist thought, which I subscribe to.
This where you usually “sigh” but I know you dad. I know everything about your life and choices you have made. Capitalism, libertarianism, Christianity, climate change, republicans and who will be the next president is not your problem.
You are right. I do get caught up in the mundane at times. More perhaps than I care to admit.
You had the freedom to do what you wanted and things haven’t gone the way you planned and so you want a safety net.
I grok.  I  had planned to go to college. I had planned to become a journalist.  But then I latched onto Christianity.  I was convinced that Jesus was coming back in my lifetime.  Specifically, I was taught that Jesus would return within 40 years of Jerusalem’s liberation.  So, 40 years from June of 1967.  Why go to college?  Why make plans if it’s all going to end.  I took a job as a janitor and bided my time. 2007 has come and gone. No Jesus. Why is that?
I was mislead and misinformed. 
I get it but maybe if you would lived your life knowing there was no back up plan you would have been more careful. You had the freedom to lose but you were the most selfish if where being honest.
I forgive you and love unconditionally but that because of my relationship with God and what he is done for me.
I had other choices I didn’t take. I could have moved to Canada, where things are much much more like I would like them to be. You and your brothers might be living in Quebec now and speaking French.
Do you understand that the United States, in it’s position as the most prosperous country on the planet, is the ONLY English speaking country that has a huge and growing homeless population?  (That’s not to say there are no homeless in other countries, it’s just that it’s very minimal in comparison to the US).  As the most prosperous country on Earth, there is not excuse for this.  As a supposed Christian nation (so they say) there is REALLY no excuse for it.
As we “progress” we will be finding that more and more jobs will be replaced by automation (AI and robots).  Look at the growth of self-check out at grocery stores.  Where will the workers displace by this find work?  They won’t.  The unemployment rate will grow higher and higher.  
When I speak of Libertarianism being based upon selfishness, I am alluding to the fact that modern Libertarianism is influenced by Ayn Rand. Honestly, Christianity is totally incompatible with Libertarianism. You cannot follow Christ AND be a Libertarian. You should read some of Ayn Rand’s books before continuing on this.
Maybe you should also review Matthew 25: 31-46. Are you a sheep or a goat?

 

See I follow Jesus. You can’t follow Jesus and not love people. They are one In the same.
A follower of Krishna can (and does) say the same thing.
My faith filter comes before my political beliefs.
And my political beliefs are derived from my faith.
So If I get off target my moral compass Jesus puts me on track. Jesus compels me to be empathetic towards people equally.
“So If I get off target my moral compass, KRISHNA, puts me on track. KRISHNA compels me to be empathetic towards people equally.”
It also compels me to empower and not enable people.
What is the difference? I mean between empower and enable? Are they not one and the same?
We are building a kingdom in heaven.
NO!  The kingdom is already built. We aren’t doing anything. Adonai has already done this.  And guess what?  WE ARE THE KINGDOM.
Political parties comes and go. Countries and kingdoms come and go. Presidential candidates serve for a limited time and go. Why would I invest time on things that are so temporary? Wealthy and things come and go.
Very similar, if not identical, to Buddhist thinking on this.
People who allow every aspect of their lives to be controlled by other entities don’t have any margin to help others.
Well, and I hate to point this out, but Jesus is an “other entity.”   Or by entity you mean something else?
At some point you have to realize it doesn’t matter where you live.
Actually it does matter. Otherwise I would move back to Kankakee.  I hate the cold, and I hate the heat. Here, on the NorthWest coast of California, the temperature never gets hotter than about 70 degrees, or colder than about 45.  But, I do miss you, and the twins, and I miss seeing and interacting with my grand kids.
Me and the twins will be successful where ever we live. If we made it in Kankakee we can make anywhere. You could have lived in Canada and you would had the same results.
I believe that.
You did everything your way dad.
Honestly?  I did everything your mothers way for the most part. It was really only about 1985 or so that I really started thinking for myself.
You had more opportunities and advantages then everyone else. You couldn’t have been anymore selfish. I mean I don’t want be harsh but what have you done for anyone or anybody that didn’t benefit you some how?
When I was living with you I tithed.  Faithfully.  Not so much to the Church (because I came to not fully trust the elders) but to various and sundry  charities who were doing things I believed in. Helping the poor mostly.
Last time we talked it was the first time you sort of admitted you didn’t know everything. You need to keep going down that road.
This moral superiority is exhausting. You have always acted your a little to good to do things. Some work is just beneath you as I recall.
I was a janitor at St. Mary’s, then Riverside, for over twenty years.  So I acted like I was took good?  What occupation is below that of janitor?
These politicians are liars.
Especially Trump.  Do you know how to tell when a politician is lying? Their lips move.  Tell me something I didn’t already know.
They don’t have the solutions. Spend what time you have left on this earth reconciling with the people you have hurt. Take responsibility for the things you have done that have gotten you where you are today.
That would be about 33 years then.  I expect to live to at least 100.  As for the rest, I have been engaged in all of that for some time now.
Realize you have legacy in Christ regardless of what you believe that will last an eternity. Start enjoying life and stop chasing some utopia that doesn’t exist.
Seen by Joshua Arseneau at 6:09 PM
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My Recent Surgery, Part Two: St. Joseph’s

This account was written for Facebook by my lovely wife, Ceridwen. Enjoy!:

New Story for El:

Tonight, about 20 min. ago, El had a seizure (about 10 seconds long), sitting in his chair at the kitchen table, waiting for his dinner, and then he starts shaking and convulsing! I hurried over to keep him from falling off the chair, and then his body just slumped, and then he “came to” again, and asked what was wrong. He said he kind of blacked out and doesn’t remember anything…

So our friend who was visiting called 911 while I tried to prepare El for yet another trip to the hospital, to which he replied, “I don’t want to go back to the hospital, I just got out!”

Oh, and he sounded fine afterwards – almost like nothing happened. He answered most of the questions the medics asked, except for the actual event, which I took over and answered for him…

I am trembling as I type this – just 2 days home, and the nurse from Mad River Hospital was gonna come over tomorrow morning to start his home care… 🙁

Anyway, they said, “Sorry you can’t ride along, because…” and they told me to call the hospital in a while and check in…

That’s all I know for now…stay tuned…

-El just called me this morning, saying that they are keeping him another day and night. The initial tests found an elevated white blood count, a minor infection they said, which seems normal after all he’s had done…but that doesn’t explain last night, so they will continue with more tests today. He sounds and feels fine, just frustrated…

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 1:

After being hospitalized for the mini-stroke he had last night, El has taken a turn for the worse:

Pneumonia in his right lung – need to drain water buildup
Sepsis (with elevated white blood cell count to fight it)
Brain shrinkage (did mini-stroke relate to recent TIA?)
Internal bleeding (red blood count of 6 – normal is 12) so they need to transfuse him
Extreme swelling in legs and feet
Low blood pressure
Low oxygen levels (probably causing the mini-stroke?)

I talked to him before and after I got this news of the test results…he sounds normal, and was trying to comfort ME!

They will try to stabilize him tonight in ICU, and try to do what they can for him tomorrow…

I put in a call to the surgeon in St. Helena – he was in the middle of a surgery and they said they would have him call me back. I plan to ask him why all this didn’t show up on his stats, as he probably wasn’t ready to be released…I mean, he couldn’t have developed all this in the 2 days he was home, right?

More later when I talk to the doc… 😰

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 2:

I’ve been on the phone a lot, with a lot of people, including El, a couple of the surgeon’s nurses in St. Helena, and a few nurses at St. Joe’s…and the surgeon is supposed to call me back regarding the updates and questions I gave him…

El called me this morning to check in…he sounded tired but coherent…

They have him on straight morphine now (in tablet form), telling me that they are not denying him anything, since he’s in a lot of pain and they need him to be calm…he’s not complaining, said he felt almost good!

They say he has chronic kidney disease, which they are monitoring closely…

Today they are giving him an endoscopy to look for internal bleeding in the upper g.i., because his stools (what little there were, as he hadn’t been eating much) were dark…

They also discussed doing an MRI of his brain, checking for atrophy or whatever – if the other tests warrant it…

He’s breathing “room air” now, oxygen level good at the moment…

They say he’ll be in ICU at least a couple more days for more tests and close monitoring..

To be continued…

 

***CONTINUED FROM DAY 2:

Just now able to write this report about yesterday afternoon…it’s been a rough night…

El called me yesterday morning to check in before they were to take him to the procedure – en endoscopy to look at the upper G.I. to try to find the source of the internal bleeding. He sounded tired but coherent…

I then went to sleep for a while and realized that my phone (a cheap android) is randomly sending calls to voicemail right away and not ringing on my end, but sometimes it does ring…anyway, I received a call from St. Joe’s (one of several attempts to reach me) and they said that I might want to come down asap to see him, that I had special permission from the floor supervisor because he had a serious episode and was in crisis mode…and we can all imagine what that could mean, right?

Well, I called a friend for a ride and got there around 5:30pm and he opened his eyes and saw me, and they widened and he responded to my talking by nodding or shaking his head…they had a breathing tube down his throat again…so I sat and held his hand while they told me what had transpired…

So here’s where it gets technical:

On the way to the procedure, they transfused him, as his red blood count was 5.8.

He did well during the procedure, they sent the scope down and located the source of the bleeding: It was a DUODENAL ULCER, which was HUGE, and actively bleeding – to the point where if they had not found and treated it when they did, he would have bled out and we would have lost him…

So they injected the ulcer with some meds to shrink the capillaries and then they put a big clip on the ulcer to stop the bleeding…apparently, all the bleeding internally was keeping the heart (and the brain) from getting the hemoglobin and oxygen they need – his BP was extremely low, and caused the heart to race to keep the blood flowing, and THAT was a side-effect of the meds that shrank the capillaries in the ulcer, as mentioned above…

Still, the doctor felt good about the procedure and started to remove the breathing tube when El was in recovery – and THAT is when the real trouble began…

Right after they removed the breathing tube, El lost consciousness, and then they lost his pulse – so they called a CODE BLUE and did CPR on him, off and on for 5-10 minutes of chest compressions (on his newly re-wired rib cage and fresh wounds and delicate heart!)…

They got him back, and spent a lot of time trying to find the delicate balance of raising his BP and not stressing his heart out again – since his heart hadn’t been getting enough oxygen, it would not tolerate any changes without getting stressed, so it was a delicate procedure to get that stabilized…

They are also checking his brain for any damage from not getting enough oxygen and blood as well…

Anyway, THAT is when they called me to come see him and the story I was told…

It was the scariest day of my life! Poor guy had been through so much, and I just sat and held his hand and talked to him and flooded him with love and Reiki as he dozed off and on last night – I didn’t leave there till after midnight…

I asked them last night if I’d be able to come back today and visit him, and they said that privilege was reserved only for those who are in danger of passing, otherwise, they are pretty militant about it…however, the nurse was very compassionate and said she’d try to put in a word to today’s supervisor to try to let me see him…

I will call and check in shortly, and then later on start a new report for Day 3…

He is still in ICU Bed 4, though I don’t think he can take any calls till they remove the tube, of course…I’ll report back when I can reach him/them…

 

Update on El’s rehospitalization, Day 3:

Just called the nurse and he said that El had a good night, is awake and alert, much more stabilized in his readings, keeping his blood pressure up almost without meds (just one right now), and writing notes on a notepad, as he still has the breathing tube in…

Today they will do a TEE to check his heart for any damage from yesterday’s episode and CPR…

They told me to call back around 4pm to see how that went, and if they can take the breathing tube out, then he can call me before then…

More later…

 

Update on El’s rehospitalization, Day 3: ***Evening update below:

Just called the nurse and he said that El had a good night, is awake and alert, much more stabilized in his readings, keeping his blood pressure up almost without meds (just one right now), and writing notes on a notepad, as he still has the breathing tube in…

Today they will do a TEE to check his heart for any damage from yesterday’s episode and CPR…

They told me to call back around 4pm to see how that went, and if they can take the breathing tube out, then he can call me before then…

More later…

***Evening update:

Today was much better, and they were able to take the breathing tube out so El can talk again! I talked to him twice today, and he sounds so much better!

They decided not to do the TEE today since his levels are holding steady and they don’t feel the need right now…so that’s a good thing and another procedure that he doesn’t have to go through…

They still have him on clear liquids, and he was complaining that he really wanted to eat…so maybe tomorrow for that…

He mentioned how much he loved having me there with him yesterday, holding his hand, and being with him…he asked if I could come again today, but they said no, he was in too good a shape to call me in again…so I guess that’s good news…

To the family: Rest easy for now – it seems he’s REALLY on the mend this time… ✨💜✨

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 4:

More progress was made yesterday, as they pumped 3 liters of fluid out of his lungs – 1.5 from each lung! So now he can breathe much easier, and when I talk to him, he sounds clearer and less wheezy…makes sleeping much more sound as well as it can be in a hospital…so the hope is that the fluid will not build up again and this will be the end of his pneumonia!

That’s how his whole day went – one procedure in the morning in one lung, and the next one in the afternoon for the other…

We have gotten into a habit of having him call me when he wakes up, and I call him in the evening before he gets tucked in and drugged out for the night…and if anything happens in between, there could be a third call, but 2 minimum per day…it’s a sweet habit and helps us have some semblance of regular, predictable contact, which is a lifeline for both of us right now!

The plan for the day of the Solstice (our first holiday apart in almost 21 years!) is to get him sitting up in a chair…

And then there’s Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, and I’m hoping that his wonderful sons will call him – which reminds me, there is a direct ext. to his room now so you won’t have to go through all the prompts:

707-445-8121, X-2254

So MY plan is to use these powerful Solstice and Solar Eclipse energies to channel some major healing energies to surround and permeate El’s body and all the auric layers around it!

Who will join me? ✨💜✨

 

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 5:

El sounds better every day. We had 3 great convos yesterday, and he is back to his snarky humour – a good sign of recovery!

The lungs are still clear, so breathing is still improving. He sat in a chair for the first time, not too long, at first, but baby steps…

He says that St. Joe’s is talking about coming to the house and putting in a shower bar and chair, and also installing a bar all the way down our central hallway…probably won’t happen till he gets home – but that will be interesting…

He was still in ICU as of last night, but they might move him to a room when one opens up, either today or tomorrow perhaps. Not sure how much work they’ll do on Father’s Day…

His number, again, is 707-445-8121, X-2254 (unless they have moved him, in which case the nurse will transfer you)…

Happy of Father’s Days to Joshua Arseneau, Jordan Arseneau, and Jesse J. Arseneau, El’s amazing and highly talented sons!

That’s all on this Solstice evening…and a big shoutout to all those who did special rites on El’s behalf last night! ✨💜✨

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 6:

El had a really good Father’s Day (considering where he is) because all three of his sons and his brother called him – that really made his day! Thanks, guys! 🙂

He is exercising more every day – now, besides sitting up in a chair, he is walking back and forth to the door of the room…

He also ate solid food for the first time – beef stew for lunch and turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner. He is very happy to be off that liquid diet…

During the night, they moved a new roommate into the room, and El says he’s a psyco…harrasses everyone around him, shouting stuff like, “You’re not doing it right”, or “Why are you looking at me like that?” His presence is disturbing to El, and he has requested a room change!

Heart patients are not supposed to be stressed, so I hope they accommodate him…

So, will El get moved to a quieter space?

Stay tuned…

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 7:

Well, in contrast to the wonderful day El had yesterday, today was a bit of a setback…

He still has a fungal infection that they have been treating with antifungals (white blood count still elevated), and when he tried to get up to walk, he got short of breath and had to sit/lie down again. They say he still has some fluid in his lungs that they are closely monitoring…

Remember when I mentioned that psycho patient that got moved into his room last night? It was around 9pm – just when El is supposed to be drifting off into a pain-free sleep from the Dilantin they give him at bedtime. His shouting, refusing to take his pills, harassing anyone who looked at him, kept El awake most of the night, and extremely stressed out…

When El told me about this on our morning call, I called the nurse back and asked that they honor his request to be moved to a different room (or move the other guy), and they told me they would see what they could do, if there was a bed available…

Then, when El called me tonight before bed, he said that they took the other guy out and now he has the room to himself for tonight – so maybe he can get some restful sleep and get his stamina back!

They were telling me that he will need lots of physical therapy to get his strength back, and I am checking into that now…

I guess I’ll have to accept that healing is not just a constant upward progress, but has some dips in it too, but I just want to make sure that his progress is not undermined by external factors that can/should be avoided…

May he rest easy tonight, and be much improved tomorrow… 💜

 

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 8:

Yesterday was better – they decided not to do another extraction from his lungs – so that is good. He was able to sit for long periods and walk a bit again, not too out of breath this time too…

He’s getting really fed up being there – especially when one of the nurses said that they would like it if he remained in the hospital and went to their physical therapy people for 5-6 hrs. a day!

He knows he needs PT, but we have our own plans to go to our own PT person at Vector – closer to where we live and someone we already have a relationship with…

Not to mention that staying long-term in the hospital while well enough to go to PT for so many hrs. is not something he can see himself doing…

There’s also some competition between home health care in Mad River and the one in St. Joe’s – they both want to be involved. So we talked and El wants to have the Mad River nurse give him the home health care, and then still allow St. Joe’s to come and install the bathtub bar and seat, and a bar down our long central hallway…

I hope we can work that out – Mercury Retrograde notwithstanding… 😉

The longer he stays there, and the better he feels, the lower his morale is – so please keep phone calls coming to cheer him up and make his long days go easier, ok?

707-445-8121, X-2232

Thanks again to everyone for the energies – you are all so loved and appreciated! ✨💜✨

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 9:

The main activity today was another fluid extraction from just the right lung this time (another 1.5 liters)…so since he was busy with that, he didn’t get a walk in, but he did sit for a long time today…

He’s getting increasingly frustrated about how long he has to be there, and this feeling did not get helped – in fact, got exacerbated – when one of the doctors said to him, “Oh no, you’re not going anywhere – we’re keeping you here till you are healed…we’re not making that mistake again…” This was delivered in a rather harsh tone…(Probably referring to his premature release from St. Helena’s hospital)…

He said, after talking to her, that he felt like a prisoner… 🙁

So what does “healed” mean to her?

I asked tonight’s nurse (while I was on the phone with El, he handed her the phone) what the status was on his fungal infection and white blood count…she said it was trending downward from 16.something yesterday to 14.something today, and she says normal would be anywhere between 4 and 11 (seems like a wide range to me)…so they are continuing on antibiotics and antifungals till he reaches those numbers…no telling how long that will take, but they think it might take another week? She wasn’t sure and said to ask the day nurse…

I would like to talk to more than one of his doctors and nurses and see if everyone’s story aligns…

He finally got some good sleep this afternoon, and turned in early tonight…

So I’ve got my homework cut out for me tomorrow…

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 10:

So one of his doctors finally decided to call in a bacterial infection expert to look at El yesterday – and his diagnosis is that El has a Thoracic yeast infection!

They told him that if everyone will sign off on this, then maybe El can get out of the hospital – on a program of antibiotics – and that should stop the fluid buildup once the infection is taken care of…

I will be calling in today to talk to the nurse and get an update as to what the next steps are…

I kind of need a probable release date before I can arrange for the home health nurse and PT…so we shall see what we shall see…

More later…

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 11:

Today was a busy phone day for me, between talking to El, a couple nurses, a cardiologist, Mad River home health, our PT person, and a couple of appts. for me personally, there was a lot going on… First off, the convo with the caridologist: She says El has Diastolic heart failure, plus the thoracic infection, so they have modifies his meds and are monitoring him closely… I will post a link to this after this update… Because of not being able to pee much without the catheter, they gave him a superpower diuretic and this brought out so much liquid that they had to put the catheter back on! Sheesh! They DID give a tentative prediction as to when he might be released (notice all the qualifiers I used there?), and they said 3 more days (as of today), which means Monday…? Needless to say, I’ll believe it when I see it, but it does give us a date to work with for those positive visualizations, eh? Today now equals the time he was in the hospital in St. Helena…11 days there, 2 days (almost) at home, and now 11 days and counting at St. Joe’s…I’ve only seen him a few days this month! Our kitten is SO confused…

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/diastolic-heart-failure?fbclid=IwAR361WrNGdruSSqppG4fgmB_OYjLX3d9k0OWXcUdA5guinLX2yzV0uG8Lc0

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 12:

It was a slow day at the hospital, and El says that they were short-staffed (because of striking?) and that they were unable to spare anyone to give him his walking exercises…

How is he supposed to get strong enough to leave if he can’t get exercise? This is highly disturbing to him, and me…If I was there, it would not be a problem, as I took him for walks back in 2012 when he had his first heart surgery… 🙁

Anyway, he sounds restless and bored, which means he’s feeling better and so let’s hope he can get more staff to help him get up and around and stronger…

 

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 13:

Much improvement yesterday – to the point where they are talking about releasing him today!!

I will talk to the floor nurse – who will need to sign off for him to be discharged – to verify that he will be ready to go…how exciting!

His levels are stabilizing, the catheter is out, they have found a balance of meds that seems to work, after some experimentation the last few days…

I’ve been giving the house a deep clean to make it ready, and can’t wait to bring him home!

Oh, and just a heads up: El’s new replacement phone has arrived in the mail, so he will be having a new phone number as soon as he gets it programmed…

I know that all the energies from everyone are making this possible – so thanks again to everyone! ✨💜✨

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 14:

Well, I thought it sounded too good to be true…

El called this morning to say that – even though one of the cardiologists told him last night in no uncertain terms that he could go home today, the one he saw this morning was adamant that he consult with 3 other doctors before discharging him!

We don’t know if that will happen today, as two of the other doctors are on holiday vacation out of state this week!

Needless to say, El is very depressed…as am I…

I have a call in to the nurse and I plan to get to the bottom of what is really going on…and when he can really leave…

Mercury Rx strikes again… 😔

More later…

 

 

***Evening Update*** Day 14:

After getting transferred all over when I tried to get info on El’s status, I finally talked one of the doctors and she went on about needing to up his electrolytes, for which they are giving him potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc., which must have been drained from his system from all the meds…she had no clue how long that would take…

Then later El called me to say that he spoke to the Infectious Disease doc, who says that the infection needs to be monitored closely…and get this: First the doc said it would take another 2 weeks (!)…then he downgraded that to 10 days…then he downgraded that to 7 days…all during their convo…

So a week from now is the holiday weekend, and they are already short-staffed from many leaving on vacation this week…

The challenge is to get the cardiologist, the I.D. doc, and the Pulmonary doc to all sign off on his release at a specific date and time…

Time for some major readings…

In the meantime, he really needs to keep his spirits up, so keep the phone calls coming, ok? 💜

 

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 15:

Every day, it seems, the timing of El’s upcoming discharge changes…

Monday night the Cardiologist was “sure” that he could come home on Tuesday…then the Infectious Disease doc (Tues. morning) said that he would be in for between one and two weeks…

Shortly after that, I get a call from the Discharge nurse wanting to set up the home health care and PT…and she was “sure” he’d be released in a day or so…

I called the nurse after that and she said that El and I were the only ones she heard from that he was being released! Oy…

No word since then…

It’s to the “crying wolf” stage now, where I don’t believe what I hear from any one of them until they reach a consensus…so as far as I know, he could get out any time within a week or so…

I’ve bought special groceries for him that I’ve had to freeze now…it’s really hard to prepare…

And to top it all off, our roommate moved out last night, and we have an Airbnb guest coming on Wed. afternoon to stay for a couple months – and I’ve been working hard to get the house in order for that change too…

 

Update on El’s Rehospitalization, Day 16:

El just called me, and he is coming home today!!!

They just need to give him one more IV bag, and then he’s good to go! Should take a couple hours, once they get it to him…

I knew there was a reason I didn’t go to bed today…lol

He will have a pic line in, and Home Health will come over tomorrow to show me how to give him IVs (just like I did in 2012 after that heart surgery)…

We are both SO excited!!!

What a roller coaster, eh?

More later when I get him home

 

**Evening Update Day 16***

There was a ton of stuff to unpack, and 6 more prescriptions to pick up…so we laid down for a wee nap when he first got home and settled…

Now he’s getting online again and programming his new replacement phone, so you should be hearing from him soon with his new number…

Thanks again to each and every one of you for all the love, prayers, Reiki, and good vibes you’ve been sending throughout this ordeal – you have all earned some karmic brownie points for sure! I love you all! ✨💜✨

 

El’s Health Update: Closure

On Wed., July 1, I brought El home from St. Joseph’s Hospital after an extended stay due to complications from his heart surgery at Adventist Health Hospital in St. Helena. He has spent all but a few days in June in those hospitals…

He has shown tremendous improvement in the 12 days that he has been home! Amazing what some TLC and good food and sleep will do for the healing process…

When he first got home, he was very weak and wobbly – could barely walk without getting winded and having to rest frequently while catching his breath…needing help getting up from a chair or bed or toilet seat…

We blame St. Joe’s for the extent of his weakness, as they were too short-staffed to exercise him – only giving him one walk every 2 – 3 days! How was he supposed to develop strength enough to be home without exercise?

We got the old walker out of the closet that we had gotten for him during his previous heart surgery, and we were so glad we didn’t sell it! He gets lots of walking practice through our long and narrow apt – a nice long hallway to walk down…

Initially, I had to bring him his toothbrush with a bowl of water to his desk since he couldn’t stand at the sink to brush his teeth…
His stomach had shrunken from not being able to eat the crappy food at St. Joe’s, but his appetite has been improving daily…I’ve been cooking some healthy, organic food and not letting him eat anything processed, as he is supposed to be avoiding salt – and most processed things have tons of salt in them…I’m even holding off on the Himalayan salt for the moment until we are sure he is stabilized…in fact, I’m even looking into learning some Ayurvedic cooking from a friend who just completed her certification – looking to make sure all the elemental energies are balanced…

Mad River Home Health has sent nurses over almost every day the first week…the first 3 days he still had the pic line In, and was receiving IVs of antibiotics/antifungals…then they removed the pic line and switched him to oral medicines…

Speaking of medicines, he had thought that he would be able to get off all those meds, but now he has a new batch to take…some of which are temporary – some are not…

He has his urinary function working properly again, which is quite a relief…still a bit of swelling in his feet, but the edema in the legs has almost gone – we’ve been elevating his feet a few times during the day, which helps…

When the nurse listens to his heart and lungs, the heart has a good, strong, regular sinus rhythm, and the lungs sound clear on top, but somewhat muffled on the bottom, due to some fluid buildup…they have him doing breathing exercises and such to loosen that stuff up and trying to expel it…

He is off the warfarin and digoxin, and is on another couple heart meds – but we are happy he is off the blood thinners (except for a baby aspirin they prescribed)…so now he can eat Vitamin K foods again!

He will begin physical therapy soon at Vector, where we know the PT (the same one who worked with me and got to know us over the years – even took my Reiki class) – and it is very close to our house…

Mad River sent an Occupational Therapist over last week, and we are looking into getting some equipment installed in the bathroom: a shower seat for the tub, some bars to hang onto, and – since there is a dip in the road before the one step into our house – we are looking into getting a ramp to cover that…lots of changes…

So now, 12 days home, he is getting up by himself, dressing and doing his bathroom routine, even going out to the kitchen before I wake up and starting his breakfast!

He’s working very hard to be independent and not “burden” me…and I am so proud of his progress and accomplishments! He has to be so strong to be able to go through all that and do as well as he is doing today!

I am so happy he is truly on the mend, and improving every day!

Thanks again, everyone, for the caring energies! ✨💜