“DO NOT CALL” List problem…

My wife and I have had our phone listed on the National “Do Not Call” list ever since the first day that it was possible to sign up.  In many respects, it has been wonderful.

What I don’t like is that the legislators who wrote the law that authorized the list made one very huge exception.  An entire BLOCK of people is immune from any punishment for breaking this law.  Who are these . . . . jerks?

Politicians and political pollsters.

Oh, and the reason I am specifically bringing this up right now?  The last 6 days IN A ROW (yes, do the math – that includes a national holiday weekend!) I have answered the phone to a robo-call voice (the same one, no less) telling me that “The following is an important political survey that will take just a moment . . . .” The honest truth is, I have no idea what comes next, because I always hang up.  IMHO there is no such thing as an important political survey – and NOBODY has a right to know in advance who I plan to vote for in November – or even IF I will vote in November.

If there was any one thing that we seriously needed to have a national referendum on, it would be the question of forcing US politicians to play by the same rules they make for everyone else to live by.

Talked with the lawyer . . .

My lawyer called back this morning, and we talked over my concern and the response I wrote up to the doctor.  She approved everything I wrote, with the caveat that this may still initially cause trouble with Social Security over not complying with “doctor’s orders”.  Still, she feels that because it’s a matter of spiritual/religious faith, ultimately we’ll prevail.

It’s currently 56F degrees here, looking for a high in the low 70’s – so I shut off the heater and opened up the windows.  It’s SO NICE to have that option now!

Cholesterol check . . .

I’ve been sitting on this for over a week, waiting for a chance to talk to the lawyer who’s handling my claim for Social Security disability.  Unfortunately, she’s having health issues herself, and hasn’t returned my call yet.

Anyhow, through the last 5 years the doctor at the VA clinic has been “concerned” about my cholesterol levels and has wanted to put me on drugs to lower them.  This year, he didn’t even have a lab on-site to get the results from, but he went full-court press on pushing the statins just based on LAST YEAR’s results.

I swear, being an MD is nothing but legalized drug pushing anymore.

Anyhow, I told him I wanted to see what the results of the NEW blood work were before making any decision, and they could contact me with those results by email.

I got the email the next day.  My results were that the total cholesterol went up over 40 points.  Here is an excerpt of what he said:

“LDL (bad cholesterol) has gone up from 240 mg/dL to 280 mg/dL  Patient has been very resistant to taking statin drugs.  Complications of untreated high cholesterol including heart attack.  I would advise him taking ATORVASTATIN … in order to get his LDL down.  Possible side effects include muscle weakness, muscle pain.”

First – ATORVASTATIN is generic Lipitor.  Notice that the only side effects he mentions are muscle weakness and muscle pain – nothing about LIVER DAMAGE, which all the literature on the health websites claim is the #1 side effect.

Anyhow, I still haven’t talked to my lawyer, but I also haven’t been sleeping well for the last week, mostly because I’ve been stewing over this.  I still want to talk to my lawyer, but I think I have figured out what to say to the doctor.  It would go something like this:

Dear Doctor:  Please notice in my records that I am a Scientologist.  This affects much more than just my attitudes towards drugs that have psychiatric actions.  It is WHY I have an Advanced Directive AND a Living Will, both of which stipulate a DNR order.  It is my religious and spiritual belief that the end of this life is only an opportunity  to begin the next one.  I am happy to discuss health care options that affect the quality of life while I have it, but I have no interest in extending it.  If I have a heart attack, it will be the end of my life, and I’m comfortable with that.  I will not take anti-cholesterol drugs now or ever, and you will not ever bring it up again.

Well, I think that’s what I’d say.

Freedom?

First, let me share a paragraph that was in the email I got yesterday from US Senator Jerry Moran (KS).

“This week, an activist group from out of state pressured the local post office in Pittsburg to remove a patriotic banner – a sign raised by veterans and post office employees in response to the attacks of 9/11. The banner has been proudly displayed since Sept. 11, 2001. I commend the Pittsburg community for rejecting this decision and I stand with them. The Constitution guarantees a right to freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. This banner is an expression of faith and of love for country. Expressions of patriotism, faith, and community should be welcome in our society and I have contacted USPS officials to express my concerns about their decision and to request reconsideration. Since the local post office branch is unable to display the banner, I am proudly to displaying it at my own office in Pittsburg.”

Now, let me focus on one phrase in that paragraph – “The Constitution guarantees a right to freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”  There is just one small problem with that point of view – it has been used to totally invalidate “atheist” as a religious choice.  If it was the official position of the government, it could be used to state that everyone MUST choose some acceptable religion, which then throws open the doors to government deciding what religions are valid and which are not.  Of course, this would all be subject to the efforts of special interest groups and lobbyist organizations, and upstarts or independent churches would loose all claims.

THIS is why I have long advocated that a person’s individual religious beliefs should remain private, and should NEVER be given consideration when determining laws that oversee the fates of nations.  A nation like the United States of America needs to embrace ALL of its citizens, including those who do not accept any religion as valid, or it cannot function as anything less than an emerging police state.

Another Social Security hearing . . .

Yesterday afternoon, I had another hearing with the Social Security people about the status of my claim for disability benefits.  Some good things resulted – my lawyer reviewed my records again (several times, actually) and has realized that one of the potential weaknesses of my case can be completely explained BY SOMETHING IN THE RECORDS in a way that negates the weakness entirely.

I suppose that is rather vague, and it doesn’t need to be, so I’ll elaborate.  I’ve made no secret on here of the fact that I used to be a staff member of a Church of Scientology – I was an ordained minister and conducted Sunday Services for several years.  Yes, I’ve left the church – but because I had problems with the church, not the collective “scriptures.”  I still have my entire collection of materials that I built up while I was on staff.  I believe that the tech works well, when it is used correctly, and I believe that the church has been deliberately misusing it for years.

My VA medical records reflect that I had my religious preference listed as Scientology, and that is where things start getting interesting for the Social Security case.

One potential weakness to my claim has been that the judge reviewing my medical records has been seeing notes in those records that I’ve been “non cooperative” with medical professionals when they tried to give me certain drugs to treat my migraine headaches.  If the doctor tells me he wants me to try something (let’s say, for example, PROZAC) that I know is usually prescribed for psychiatric cases or has potential hallucinogenic effects, I’ll tell the doctor straight up that I won’t take it.  That is documented in my medical records.

The reason WHY I won’t take it is because I still believe in the Scientology principles, even if I don’t support the church.  Remember a few years ago when Brooke Shields went public with taking psych drugs to treat postpartum depression?  Tom Cruise made a big splash in the media for attacking her over the admission.  I agree with Tom that taking the drugs is a mistake; I disagree with placing public judgement on another for the choices they make regarding them, especially when they don’t share my beliefs.

Anyway, my lawyer feels that whether or not I succeed in my claim for disability looks like it’s coming down to that one issue – the non-compliance with medical advice.  She’s going to raise the issue of religious belief at the next hearing if the questioning goes that direction.

I say “at the next hearing” because yesterday’s hearing was almost literally a non-starter.  It lasted 5 minutes.  The major reason for the hearing was to get the testimony of a medical professional who is being paid to review my treatment records and determine if I am functionally unable to hold a job.  After we convened the hearing and officially went “on the record” – meaning that everything said from that point forward would actually become part of the case records – the judge asked the court secretary to call the doctor (who was scheduled to give his testimony live over the phone).  When she got him on the line, the first thing he said was that he called the judge’s office yesterday and told someone that he never received the disc with my records.  The judge immediately realized that the doctor couldn’t testify about records he hadn’t reviewed, adjourned the hearing, and made a note that we’d (my lawyer and I) get a notice when the hearing is rescheduled.

Big, scary numbers – not really…

I’m calling the BBC out on this one.

A few days ago, they posted an article online titled, “Obama considers unilateral action on US gun violence“. You can find it here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-35211294

What I want to call them out on is that the graphic at the bottom of the article makes the US look completely out of control on guns – and I’ll admit it looks very scary. Which I’m sure it is supposed to. What the BBC isn’t telling you is that they are reporting ALL forms of gun-related death, including suicide, drugs, gangs, criminal misuse of guns, legal self-defense, and police killing people caught committing crimes who resist arrest. NONE of those will be altered significantly by any unilateral action President Obama can take. Not even one.

What the anti-gun crowd consistently ignores is this one unalterable truth: criminals do not care what the laws are.