main site http://www.zcgvaz.com
Started 3 June 2008
Last Updated 4 August 2008
Category : FICTION
Uploaded 30 June 2008
Tuck the lower edges under the mattress after you get inside to keep the mosquitoes OUT. Good night! Good HEALTH!!!
Late 2001 – 2007
Retire 2002, 1st Female Priest Ordination, Africa, Lynn’s Ordination, 2 popes, Disability, close business, Katrina, etc
A female patient walked in.
“I saw an interesting item at the local grocery today.” She announced.
“I saw my doctor’s face rolling up and down the aisles in the local grocery!”
“I saw that too.” A man added. “I was loading my shopping cart and almost dropped a carton of milk when I saw it.”
“I heard a child talking to someone and peaked inside the cart he was standing close to. I thought maybe the mother left a younger sibling inside.” Another patient said. “He was apparently carrying a conversation with dr G’s picture.”
“I try to kill two birds with one shot whenever possible.” Lynn teased. “That means advertise … advertse … ADVERTSE!!! Baby sitting at the same time won’t hurt. If I get paid for that the office may stay open a little longer.”
“You can’t close your practice.. Who do we go to?”
“That sliding scale clinic I used to work in should be able to stay open. It gets aid from the Federal government. It can accommodate more patients. Some of you saw me there. You know how they function by now. The private offices will stay open as long as possible.”
“ …Then what?”
“A few doctors may be forced to join bigger practices but they’ll stick around. It would be the same all over the country so there is no sense moving. It would be more difficult to start from scratch. One thing sure, each one has to continue working even with lower income. They have families to support.”
Life has multiple ups and downs. After 9 – 11 it was mostly down in all parameters. Stocks went down even before the economy did verifying the psychological aspect of the market’s behavior. The airlines suffered losses immediately. People were afraid to even get close to a plane. Travel companies offered great savings on vacation packages. No one wanted to go anywhere. In fact, scheduled trips and resort reservations were cancelled in great numbers. Related businesses closed. Soon, a lot of other businesses closed. The unemployment rate soared. There were no jobs to replace lost ones. 401 K’s, annuities and CD earnings plummeted. People withdrew them as fast as possible to transfer them to money market accounts at great loss of future return in addition to previous drops in cash value. In the meantime, food prices went up. Few were able to buy necessary clothes and other items. Only the super wealthy managed to do so.
The economic slow down affected all including doctors. Patients lost their jobs along with their insurance coverage. They tried very hard not to see a doctor until they found someone willing to see them regardless of third party payment capability. By the time they showed up, they were in worse conditions. Some had to have expensive laboratory tests or diagnostic procedures which often were needed because of the seriousness of the conditions secondary to complications. The facilities that performed them often did not get paid. Doctors, clinics, hospitals had the same problem. Even insurance companies suffered losses and instituted measures to limit what services they would pay for including medicines previously allowed to be prescribed to patients. Some practitioners had to limit and screen their patients carefully for ability to pay or be paid for. Some small practices closed. Large ones sold to larger ones. Employees did not necessarily get hired by the new owners. Criteria for accepting patients differed and were limited. Medical personnel also lost jobs. They too had families depending on them. They had to depend on other agencies. Those who were of the correct age retired and those disabled but still working in spite of difficulty sadly joined the line at the Social Security Office. Some started other undertakings raising eyebrows everywhere. Lynn was prepared for this. Beauty is skin deep. Self pride is penetrating. It was time to grit her teeth.
She called the Social Security Office. The answering phone menu was worse than those of large banks directing calls to an 800 number somewhere. There were a number of choices for different needs and situations. There was an option to be called back. She could not tie up her phone waiting so she chose that one. Either her phone was always busy or happened to be bust\y each time they tried to reach her. There was no call or message from them. She trued again and made a mistake in punching her selected choice. She had to start and wait again at the expense of possibly missing an incoming urgent call from a patient. One patient evcounter later, she tried again. She must have made the correct ‘mistake’ because a recoeding told her that her choice was not a valid one and therefore her call was connected to a HUMAN BEING!!! She took a mental note of the ‘error’.
Yes, her full retirement age was pushed back to three months before her 66th birthday based on her birth year. 62 is the early retirement age for everyone. The advantage is getting money early but the monthly checks would amount to less at an amount proportional to length of time prior to full retirement age. Another advantage which was not mentioned was the money received earlier can also be invested earlier. At the time of her call, it may not earn anything except tears considering the problems with dropping or rather disappearing lifetime investments in financial institutions everywhere. Disability if proven would entitle her to the same amount as that she was to receive at full retirement age. Of course, there would be re-evaluation from time to time and incentives to get back to work. It is possible to work and continue receiving payments after being granted disability status below a maximum amount stated in the law somewhere. Being legally blind entitles the beneficiary for exemption to that rule. Legal blindness requires definite measurable criteria using special tests not just a doctor’s word. No, she would not qualify for Social Security Income and benefits. Her personal income is not sufficiently low. She would not be granted spousal benefits either. Her calculated monthly social security payment should be less than half that of her husband. In the event of death of one of them, the one with the less monetary benefit can apply for the bigger check. It is not automatic. Above all, she has to be a US citizen with proven income for at least the past ten years as shown by tax return reports. Annuities and 401 K’s do not count as income though they get taxed and show up as such on IRS papers. It is actually possible to be granted points by a spouse or parents if they are willing and have enough to spare within the last ten years. Plan on not applying for benefits the same year. There are a lot of documents needed to prove one’s identity and US citizenship. Some may have to be obtained from agencies in the Philippines. A birth certificate is one of them. It is to prove her age. In the process, her first name will come to the surface. That is why females of Mexican or other Hispanic descent do not get rid of the name ‘Maria’ even if they never used it. Hopefully, they know that somewhere a paper will reveal the secret and mess up their application if no proof of link to that identity is not available … all this to prove age? That is as sacred as a confession or a patient’s record. The passport is not good for everything after all.
There is a penalty for not enrolling in Medicare at the correct enrollment period. Those granted disability status are automatically enrolled. The advantage is one does not have to worry about being penalized for missing the date. The drawback is being automatically enrolled when you wish to defer such a thing and use a private insurance paid by someone else such as an employer in stead. The last case is more important for those who have dependents covered by the same private insurance.
Lynn originally planned to retire in 2004. At the rate the economy is going and the reimbursement for patients’ services are dropping, she would lose much greater than she would recover by then even IF the situation improves before then. 2002 would be more logical but she has to get her patients ready. Worse still, she has to get their records ready. Even more terrifying than that, she has to devise a plan to cope with the problem of doing so by herself, possibly at home, with portable equipment and at a rate she can handle. Keeping records for ten years afyer closing the office can be unaffordable if storage elsewhere is required. Dealing with request for records all at once or way in the future may neither be easy or possible. She has to comply with legal requests unless she finds a legal way to make it easy and affordable for her and still acceptable to her patients.
“It is not going to work.” Her husband warned.
“Watch me.” She said calmly. “You do not want to be a slave to patient records.”
“Who do you suppose has to do it when I can no longer see what I am doing?”
First, Lynn moved her boutique to their new home to reduce rent. There were more restrictions to home business operations than when she originally started in the old house. Customers may come but no more than three vehicles at a time are allowed to park on their street. They also are not going to be allowed to carry out their purchases with them. She may as well have a Catalog Store. So, she settled for online business only. That really would be good since patients would be looking for her after the office closes. With a Post Office Box number, Fax phone, website and e-mail, she may be difficult to locate. Security will be less of a problem for her and some worried neighbors. It was an excellent idea until her web server’s business was taken over by someone who could no longer support the merchant type capabilities online. She had to transfer her website service to a differenyt server. In the meantime, her domain was apparently discontinued without her knowledge. It was the same as changing the business name. Furthermore, the merchant service software recommended by the new server did not perform all the necessary information intake and transfer needed to accomplish a sale between customer and merchant. It was a full stop of business. Then the e-mails were mixed with and later dominated by hackers and spammers then by obscene malevolence. 9-11 was more of a nightmare than Lynn ever imagined. After moving the furniture and other items home, she left a message at the church for someone to pick up brand new sales items for donation. She kept selected one for herself and save some for gifts later. She decided to limit her sales to health and exercise videotapes. Yikes!!! She had to make more.
An old time friend and patient arrived at the office with a friend and also a patient. He was upset.
“First, you dare quit. Now you want me to sign this paper saying I can choose to have my personal copy of my records now or forever disallow release of the same to everyone including me. So I ignored it and you sent a copy of your letter to my son. Who do you think you are?”
“Your doctor and a friend.”
“My wife is your patient too. You did not send our son a copy of your letter to her.”
“She does not need her records. You do.”
His friend nodded.
“Do you have to charge me for my own records?”
“ … just for my service and production costs … paper, ink, electricity, wear and tear of equipment, light bulbs, office rent, time away from income generating activity …”
He and his friend laughed. So did Lynn.
“I am on a fixed income and our son is having trouble with the store funds.” He started.
Lynn knew that he would be insulted if she deferred the charge.
“ … Pay half.” She suggested. “You or someone can pick up your records tomorrow. I’ll have to thin it out so the others do not get bored reading and stop. The most important things will be in the ‘Special’ section. They can at least look at all of that.”
He arrived with his son the following day with the rest of the payment.
“I didn’t expect you to do that.” Lynn objected.
“I wanted to.”
“You really should not stop.”
“I’m just doing it ahead of the others.”
They in the past have agreed and disagreed on many things. It was sad to see a very independent, proud, stubborn and very knowledgeable man also inconvenienced with the national tragedy. If not for his age and health, he would have been the best survivor but a reluctant one. They had discussed all the things Lynn was talking and writing about for years. There were differences in opinion. He stuck to old Transylvanian logic mixed with a quick wit and humor and resisted a lot of health interventions not necessary for good medicine. He happened to be familiar with many alternatives to western ‘Cowardly Therapeutics’ and went to non traditional healers. He was a Jehovah’s Witness and a minister besides with a son following his footsteps. He joked about not accepting blood derived modern agents as the ultimate rejection of charity. Lynn did not scold him for seeking unapproved treatments and actually explained to him their mechanisms of action. She demanded, though that he tell her about what he received elsewhere. She was the only one his other healers sent some of his therapeutic records to.
“No. They are not in your chart.” She reassured him.
Lynn withdrew her annuities and moved them to CD’s. Her 401 K was disappearing rapidly as did everyone else’s. She reduced the fraction devoted to stocks to 10% and assigned the rest to bonds. Then she figured that she may as well spend what remained before losing it all with the Stock Exchange fall. Of course she had to limit withdrawals according to ability to afford corresponding taxes. She never had any luck with the lottery and cannot and is not willing to throw away necessary cash that direction. Sure, it would help someone else but charity starts at home and may stay for a very long time. Any effort to prevent imposing on someone else should balance that.
A long time ago she planned a financial crisis emergency response. If for some reason she became unable to earn before age 59 ½, she will have to depend on her savings or beg. At 59 ½, she starts distributing her 401 K or annuities or both depending on the situation. At age 62, she can start ‘Early Retirement Pay from Social Security. At age 65 or the new postponed full retirement age, she withdraws full monthly payments. She did not want ‘Disability’ status though the payments would help. That would be resorted to only in the face of unforeseen circumstances. By then, respectable living would be more important than pride.
So, by early 2002, she should be eligible for 401 K distribution. She would use that to pay for their home. The home mortgage is the biggest monthly bill and most unfair specially for those already retired, with low fixed income and limited or no other source of funds not to mention many surprise illnesses and other expenses plus lost investments due to more economic crises and Wall Street panic. There also are family members that may need to share whatever few dollars are left. The monthly house payment bill is only 1/8 what it is called. 7/8 is a horrendous highway robbery by the mortgage company and other institutions ‘funding’ the ‘loan’. Doubling the monthly payment or paying the same amount twice as most financial advisers recommend only shortens the total paying years by about seven. Pay cash if possible. Pay additional amounts towards the PRINCIPAL whenever possible. The real amount of the remaining balance is the principal. The rest is interest, extra fees, and other padding for everyone except the home owner who in the end incurs the worst loss … a roof over the head when there is no income for one. The street may be dangerous for one’s health. The risk for exposure to more than the elements can kill.
“Are you alright?” A woman asked as she entered the then empty boutique. Lynn had converted it to a recording studio so she can produce more videotapes to sell online. She did her recording on Sunday afternoons when the Chiropractor and his helpers in the same building were not working and her patients were down to a minimum. The woman and her husband did not have appointments to be seen. The office was officially closed by then but the man had a semi urgent problem and they knew that Lynn would be there doing extra tasks. She was recording a dance number. It was to the tune of ‘Our Father’. After the last chord at the end, she added a dramatic ‘ad lib’. It required acting very sad and pretending to cry ‘I’m scared! I’m scared! … but Thy will, not my will be done’. The couple entered the common foyer shared by the three suites at that precise time and saw her kneeling and sobbing on the floor. The music had stopped by then but the camera was rolling.
“I’m fine!” Lynn quickly started to explain what she was doing to the relief of the couple.
“We can come back some other time.”
Lynn stopped them and took care of the man’s problem.
“Now you can help since you are conveniently here when I need taller folks to fix this prop.” She said as she led them back to the ‘studio’. “I need a nail up there to hang a cross from.”
“What for? Are you having a prayer session here?”
“A musical one. I am dancing to ‘Ave Maria’ next. See? I have these two huge rosaries. One goes like this and the other one the opposite way. They will form a pair of wings and the outside outlines will form the letter ‘M’. The cross will be above the center. Then I’ll have this Civil War sword standing up here looking like a letter ‘P’.”
“Pax Jesu-Maria! Ingenius! Hand me the hammer. I’ll finish up. Go ahead and lock up your office before someone else shows up.”
When it became difficult and later impossible for devotees to enter Medagurje, the Blessed Virgin Mary seemed to find other locations to appear and speak to Christians and non-Christians alike. Around one Mother’s Day more than a year earlier, the Blessed Mother was reported to have been seen in more unlikely places including the bell tower of a church in a nearby town. The Parish Priest was bothered by the 24 hour presence of devotees and curiosity seekers keeping him awake the same length of time. A patient working for the church mentioned that the priest was planning to remove the bell which cast the shadow that was seen by some as the image of Our Lady. Someone studied the ‘vision’ more carefully and explained that it was the front wall causing the shadow and the window shaping the iight going through that caused the distorted bell shaped ‘miraculous’ image on the inside of the back wall. The irregularity of the surface resulting from beams, furniture and other structures further ‘painted’ specific details such as the ‘staircase pedestal’, the Lady’s arms and the infant Jesus.
“One time, someone claimed the Lady turned around and raised her arms.”
“What happened to the Baby Jesus?” Lynn asked.
The patient gave Lynn a sharp look. Then they both laughed.
“Some have more imagination than others.” The patient continued. “Someone said there is a face on the bell. She outlined it with her foot on the gravel for me. She thinks it is Jesus Christ’s.”
“I saw a face too.” Lynn said. “ … but I thought it was a monkey. Miracles and visions are wasted on me. I think the surface of the bell is not completely smooth.”
“Anyhow, Father wants to close the window of the tower or turn off the lights.”
“No.” Lynn objected. “The people need to pray for any reason at all for as long and frequently as possible.”
“ … but this is not a real miracle. Father even made sure that the paper explained that.”
“Did you make it up?”
“No.” The patient said. “We could not have produced such a realistic image even if we wanted to. Besides, we do not have the money to pay someone to plan it and come up with the effects people see now. We did want to have a simple religious image in the yard so passersby will know that there is a church here.”
“Whose image were you planning to display?”
“ … Wishing and hoping for.” The patient corrected her.
“ … well?”
“ … St. Anne.”
“Obviously, you were overruled.”
The priest decided to keep the window open and leave the lights on till midnight. The bell was also subjected to vigorous cleaning. The face disappeared. The people kept coming from far and near to look or pray. The view was overpowered occasionally when the nearby school turned on far brighter lights during football games.
“The paper said they would post a notice when the Lady would not be seen so people can postpone their visit.” The patient said weeks later. “I objected. The Lady is not an actress who needs a ‘Now Showing’ billboard.”
Lynn and her husband can testify to the truth of the patient’s claims. They went to see the ‘miracle; soon after the word spread. Lynn heard the patient explaining how the image may have been produced.
“I came all the way from California for this?” The young man beside her exclaimed.
The patient’s parents came one time for follow up visits. Lynn did not notice them sitting in the main foyer between her office and the emptied boutique. She was preparing the backdrop for another videotape. Yes, it was another Sunday afternoon. The woman had a problem that started to get worse after mass.
“I told her she has to be more sincere about preparations for Holy Communion.” The husband teased.
It was an easy problem. The couple ended up helping with more tiptoeing and hammering. This time, Lynn was getting ready for an Oriental dance number about ‘the king with the white turban’ in Nostradamus’ prophesies.
“You’re going to balance a sword on your head?”
“The real one already did but survived miraculously. The one with the blue turban did not. Another one with a white turban was exiled to a Byzantine monastery. The first one with a turban started all the trouble when he returned to Persia from exile in France. He died of natural causes after a lot of damage to the world.”
“What color was his turban?”
“ … Blue!” Lynn replied. “There is another king but the color of the turban was not specified. He shall be short lived. Another line mentions a place ‘no longer trodden by the infidels from Aquilon’. Another includes the ‘Cath Leader Taker’. The turban may be white.”
“You will not have any fans in Communist China or North Korea. Children in the first country are growing up being told that there is no God of any kind. Those in the second one are being raised to hate the USA and Christianity. You may have better luck with Africans. They are the ones most eager to grab a god specially Jesus. Christianity is exploding over there. They have the most reasons on earth to pray. Persecution and Genocide are actually firing their spirits not eradicating them. Famine, disease, bullets only kill physically.”
“There is a website owner that says dead babies and women are visible from his office window every day.” Lynn said. “I hope that is an exaggeration. If all the bodies go, there would be no spirits left.”
“You’re partially right. The people are fleeing Sudan and seeking refuge in Chad. The refugee camps there are getting too full and even the people helping them are getting attacked by Arabic bandits. They used to be occasional robbers on camels taking advantage of those the government do not want anyhow and cannot seek help. Now they are hired militia men on SUV’s with guns. Women and children are more vulnerable and are favorite victims. The women get raped aside from being robbed and injured. The husbands are overpowered and often made to watch. Then they feel overwhelmingly inadequate in their helplessness and actually abandon their families leaving them in worse shape.”
“Are these Christians?”
Africa was a glorious and rich continent. The oldest humanoid skeletons were both discovered in Ethiopia. Two of Eden’s rivers are there. Paradise could have been there. After the flood, Noah divided what he thought to be the entire world among his three sons. The middle third lay between the Nile and the border between Sumeria and Persia. There the Euphrates and Tigris flowed from the mountains of Turkey to their convergence before plunging into the depths. A branch formed the North River which went throughout Havila later considered to be Arabia. Another branch went into the place called Ethiopia which we still know by the same name. It merges with the North River which encompassed the Kingdom of Kush. There is a rich network of rivers in Africa. Tanita River is among those that flow out North to join others to merge with the plexus of rivers North of the Mid East including Turkey. The Euphrates and Tigris mingle with this vast water network. Lake Tana is one of the sources of the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile flows North and becomes the White Nile thus making true the statement about one river running through Eden. There is a River Tina which closely follows the description of part of either the Tigris or Euphrates merging with one or the other to form the Shatt al Arab we know today. A circle of waters surround the lands of the bible. Paradise was supposedly West of the middle section. How far west? Good question. It may have broken off, washed off, floated away and now known by a different name. Bethlehem is still Bethlehem but on Easter 2002, the little town did not lie still. Palestinians took over. Bible Land is Trouble Land. The distorted geography and overlapping or broken borders can better be identified by the flow of blood.
On the third weekend of May, There was a lot of activity at the NICCA diocese. Yes, the parish priest was consecrated into the Episcopate and has become the bishop of the entire state. He scheduled his first big achievemt … the ordination of the first female priest in the NICC and NICCA, the town, the state, and the entire Catholic Church in non- Communist locations. Lynn and her husband were privileged to attend the rehearsal and dinner that Friday, the actual ceremony on Saturday and the regular mass on Sunday. Some non-NICCA members attended the Saturday or Sunday event to be part of history. The local paper printed the story. There was a co-celebration of the mass by the bishop and the new priest as part of the ordination ceremony. On Sunday morning, a visiting priest said mass with the new priest in attendance. The bishop was elsewhere.
The non-NICCA attendees looked at each other when the guest priest delivered his sermon. He had just returned from Africa in good condition. His wife (?) and son (?) were happy to see him alive and maybe a little too well. He looked and moved like a Sumo wrestler. When he started relating his experiences and started talking about having to be away from his non-clergy related sports related job (?) and practice sessions as well as the usual salary from the company (?), frowns deepened across some foreheads. Then he mentioned something about the disadvantage of NICCA priests not getting paid by the Church and having to earn their own livelihood plus the funds to travel to remote areas to spread Christianity, some whispered questions among those seated near them. Everyone had a good time listening to his account of the visit he came back from. He went to a remote part of Africa. They had to walk through unpaved roads or uncut brush and then no road at all and even a paddle boat transfer or two under the guidance of someone speaking a language he was just learning to be familiar with the sound of. They both pointed, nodded or grunted a lot. He managed to deliver a sermon over there. It was memorized, of course. Then he happened to mention the word ‘wrestling’. A couple suddenly learned to speak English quite fluently. After struggling with the accent, it finally dawned on him that he was being challenged to a match after the service, of course. Either he won or they were courteous but he came home with a dark, polished, eccentric carving of a pregnant woman leading another child and balancing a jug on her head. There was something odd. There were tears flowing down her face and on her arms and shoulders? Those were drops of blood. Artistically perhaps, the child had enormous eyes. He was also pregnant? The abdomen was protruberant. Their skinny built and spidery arms and legs were not Il Greco’s handiwork. The artist portrayed a mother and child unaccompanied by a father after an assault by unfriendly strangers. They must have been starved for a long period to look like they did. The child had the stigmata of severe malnutrition … Kwasiorkor!!! This was a piece of art? It was a very eloquent plea for urgent help.
Aside from starvation and violence there are more problems in Africa and similarly troubled countries. WOWI had designated help for some problems through the years. Ltnns favorites was the Water Well Project. Each club picked a country to donate funds to for the purpose of having a water well drilled and and set up for years of use. A recipient was invited to speak in Kiva one time. She described it as ‘enabling us women to pick up ourselves. . Hellping women helped families. Then the they were able to help others and entire communities improved.
Then there was the UNIFEM Profect which trained women for small businesses and provided necessary equipment or animals. An innovative club helped women grow pigs for sale. They donate a pregnant pig which had male and female piglets which later grew and had families of their own for sale.
A more recent project was the Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Prevention Program. Deaths from Tetanus were quite common because of lack of immunization and sanitary conditions during childbirth. Education on preparations for contamination free deliveries in rural areas without medical personal was started along with mass immunization of women and children against the disease.
An even more recent project was mass education about HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention including use of condoms instead of anal sex for contraception. In the process, it was also noted that groups that routinely practiced male circumcision had a lower incidence of the disease. In same sex partnerships, the one being penetrated per anus is the more likely to get infected probably because of microscopic injuries to the fragile anal mucous memberane of the orifice and walls. That may also be the reason females have a higher rate of disease when such method of relation for preference or contraception is used. Use of condoms even in such situations may be helpful even if pregnancy is not a possible unintended result. Condoms may not stay properly in place and special care in technique has to be diligently observed. Men often had to go far for work and return home with a terrible gift for their wives. Knowing the implication helped and made preventive measures more popular. Interestingly, abstinence was also practiced and actually preferred by some over other methods of protection and prevention. In cases of rape, the tragedy is compounded immensely. First of all, the ‘gift’ of disease can be fatal not only to the immediate victim but more so to the orphans left behind and the infants born with the disease. In women who were already victimized from the traditional pracrice of genital mutilation, this is untold horror and immeasurable undeserved punishment.
There is good news in one corner of the horizon. ‘Doctors Without Borders’ have succeeded in establishing treatment centers in vacant lots, parking lots and other usable space for nutritional resuscitation of starved infants. Severely malnourished mothers often have inadequate to no milk production at all for their nursing babies and small children. If the resident Nanny goat does not have enough milk either or has died earlier, the problem gets worse. They can bring the little ones to these centers as soon as possible or they die. Some may need emergency IV’s. Others may be fed orally with a concoction made locally using pureed peanuts, water, sugar, salts and vitamins. This ‘Plumplynut’ has saves lives. The infants soon become less lethargic and are suckung and feeding on their own. These individuals usually do not thrive or grow properly. Mothers have noticed that treated children develop better than others and are more alert. Hopefully no one tries to ‘help’ by donating commercially made peanut butter and inadvertently add hydrogenated fats and other delectable poisons to the menu. No one wants to see them suffer from other modern illnesses after being providentially rescued initially.
Africa was the land of glorious ancient civilizations as well as oppression of the less powerful. Untold riches such as gold, frankincense, myrrh, and bedillium were here. Diamonds and oil are now the prime reasons for struggle. Manpower was or is a precious commodity as well. Other countries later imported slaves from here.
Since at least the 2000’s BC, the pharaohs took advantage of the Nubians just South of them. Their gold and gold craftsmen were essential to the glory of the palaces, temples and pyramids. The Egytians conquered the kingdom of Kush which extended from the second to the fifth cataract of the Nile River. Garrisons were built along the river for assigned chieftains. Children of the elite were schooled in Thebes and educated in the ways of the ancient priests of Karnak. The Nubians were partial to the Amun, the sun god with the ram’s head. The later dynasties declined in morality and spirituality. The priests in Karnak worried about the future of the once glorious pharaohs and coming generations. They looked for solutions and saw the black descendants of Kush, the Nubians who were by then more Egyptian than the real Egyptians. By about 723 BC, Piye decided it was time to straighten up the ruling class. He summoned his best warriors. They marched North to Thebes and bathed in the Nile. They wore their best linen and prayed to Amun for blessing. They took the decadent dynasty in one sweep. Then he left and never returned but he ascended the common throne of Egypt and Nubia under the name of the revered pharaoh of glorious moral times … Thutmose III. He unified the 25th Egyptian dynasty and ruled Nubia and Egypt covering North of Khartoum to the Mediterranean Sea. The people once more lived to spiritual heights. When he died on 715 BC, his brother Shabaka ascended the throne under the name of another glorious pharaoh … Pepi. The Assyrians in the meantime were steadily gaining power in the area. After a battle, the Assyrian king boasted that he made a complete killing as usual. Later, Taharga, who was about twenty years old at the time of the siege of Eltekeh grew more powerful. At the right time, in 690 BC, he ascended the throne at Memphis announcing to the known world that the Assyrian king did not have a complete victory. He was thirty years old by the time. He proceeded to conquer every army in existence. The Assyrian king was on his way to conquer Jerusalem. In II Kings, it was written that the King of Assyria did not battle with him thus sparing Jerusalem in the process. Taharga combined all of Egypt and Nubia for twenty six years. Queen Tiye of the 18th Dynasty and grandmother of Tuthankamun was reported to have been Nubian. Nefertiri’s lost kingdom supposedly was dedicated to the worship of one god … Amun. The boy King Tut, under the guidance of the regent, resumed the worship of multiple gods. When Archeologists finally found his tomb, they were amazed at the amount of gold among the precious artifacts. Egyptians believed that gold was the reincarnation of the sun god. They worshipped gold. They conquered and enslaved others for gold.
Lower Nubia is under Lake Nasser. Kushite pyramids El Kurru, Nurri and Meroe still stand but are rarely visited. They shall also disappear under a lake when Sudan builds a dam and hydroelectric plant at about the fourth cataract about 600 miles upstream of the Aswan Dam. Nubians have been relocated prior to building the Aswan Dam. They were relocated as far South as Sudan. Where will they have to be moved to before or after the future dam is built?
The Nile flows towards God. Which? Whose? What??? It was a lot easier when Lynn was a young child. It was presumed that everyone was Catholic and therefore believed in God. There was only one just as there was only one church in each town. No one mentioned what the Japanese believed. They were gone anyhow. The Spanish were definitely Catholics. The Americans were mostly Protestants meaning … they broke off Catholicism in protest of some rule. The HUKS or local insurgents were originally organized to protest and fight the Japanese. They were supposedly indoctrinated by the Chinese Communists but remained Catholics. After the war, they focused their attention on Agrarian problems and protested against landlords. How they turned against innocent citizens who obviously even had no land or knowledge of land disputes was difficult for Lynn to understand. How the conflict became a primarily anti-government one was another question. There were Muslims in the Southern islands. They defended their autonomy fiercely against all possible occupiers. That was more logical. How they turned specifically against Christians was mind boggling. There was only one school. … a public school. There was a Flag ceremony every morning. All the teachers and students were Catholic. There was no talk about God in school except in connection with a coming fiesta which everyone looked forward to, prepared for and enjoyed. There were no squabbling about interfaith issues. Killing for differences in faith was unheard of except with the Muslims in the South and was history by the time Lynn’s family moved to the Mountain Province. There used to be head hunting in this region but only between warring tribes and for irresolvable but honorable causes. The last one was more than twenty years before they arrived. It was because the foreigners involved acted suspiciously and caused mistrust among the natives. The Catholic sisters in school up there should know. They have been there on and off but were unable to start missions deeper in the mountains than the city. They also managed to change traditional attire of the women in the remote areas. The sisters apparently showed them how to make blouses to wear with their wrap skirt. The men followed suit. On their occasional trips to the city Markey, they purchased coats to wear with their G strings. Both males and females started wearing sneakers later. Lynn saw a couple of these natives in school. They were orphans adopted by the sisters. They were shy and did not mix with them. They smiled when she met them at the hallways but were usually coming or going somehwre to do something. She was never able to speak with them. They were not in her class. Their classmates did not talk about them. They looked surprisingly like her but more sturdily built and taller. They had lighter skin than she expected showing the rosiness of their cheeks even from a distance. The natives selling goods in the marketplace did not look as good nor as hefty. There must be differences among tribes. These girls did not belong to the same one that those frequenting the city did. Sure enough, there was an Army officer assigned in the same camp they were in. Bingo! He looked like their brother.
“Tall, white and handsome … born in Bontoc! …” The others used to chant when he was around. The cadets quickly followed the example to the chagrin of his Ilocano wife. The children thought it was funny.
The sisters in school knew about differences in religious beliefs in the world. Members of their order had missions everywhere. They learned to reach the hearts and brains of strangers and convert them to Catholicism. Yes, there were sad encounters but those were quickly avoided as they learned the trust of even the most hostile strangers. They were in such places as the Belgian Congo. Many years after she graduated and left for America, she somehow ran across an article about their work. The bishop in the city where she attended school was the Archbishop in the Congo. They manage to blend in spite of major obstacles. It was not Paradise but their location was relatively safe and habitable. The curse to the North River is WAR and to the South River is Famine. To balance that, Africaa is ‘Paradise’ for the world’s biggest and most unique wild animals and hunters. It is the home of great gold and diamond mines and oil. The last one may be another curse. It has been the reason for violence and association with unfriendly International allies and grief for local citizens. Rwanda and Somalia were proofs of this. Nigeria and Darfur are today. Tomorrow’s sites cannot be too far in time and place. The UN was not able to prevent prior internal bloody conflicts involving genocide at times. The ongoing intertribal, intrasocietal and cross religious differences, hatred and reasons for vengeance have become too many to put aside. Support by outside countries with business interests in local riches make it impossible to get UN and other world interventional organizations to pass and implement remedial measures. Solutions are myths or unreachable stars. This region has been the site of catastrophic drought about eight and four thousand years ago. There were lesser ones since. It has been a permanently arid territory for the last few thousand years. It is suffering the effects of global warming earlier and more severely than other parts of the planet. Cosequently, socioeconomic changes also deteriorated early.
Talks about Darfur leaked out as early as 1994 but no action was taken by the usual ‘strong democratic nations’. The UN infrastructure was such that it was more equipped for mopping up work after the fact. Russia used to support Sudan. Now Communist China does. China’s need for a huge amount of oil for the mega population and corresponding increase in industries and cars make it necessary to look elsewhere. It was not a matter or obsession or greed on its part. It is an unfortunate predicament that the rest of the world shares. The solution goes beyond and should skip the use of oil. We, humans as a whole, are still not cognizant of the grim fact that we are committing more than genocide but cooperative global suicide taking both the innocent and the guilty with us. Life depends on waking up to the sound of industry geared to production of non-fossil based fuels.
Lynn closed her office on the 15th of July 2002. That was the time when she had to pay for the next year’s malpractice insurance premium. It would be three times more than her estimated earnings for the given year. She has to pay for ‘tail coverage’ in anticipation of lawsuits that may be filed after the last year of regular coverage. This would be more than twice the usual yearly premium but she would be allowed to divide payments into three yearly installments. There were a good number of other fees she was able to eliminate at that point. On the other hand, she would pay a penalty for discontinuing some contracts ‘early’ and have to ‘buy’ herself out of others meaning paying the full amount of the total of monthly payments due from then to the end of the term which for some were years too long. Ouch!
“Are you going to have a party?” Ber former co-workers at the Health Department asked when they came to pick up unused supplies from her office.
“ … No, unless you plan to join me when I stand at the street corner to beg. Please bring your own fluids. No one is allowed to faint and get injured.”
“It can be a good statement about what is going on.”
6-26-2002: 3rd secret. People disappointed, no war? What did the Lady really say? Sword/Penance is key, removed, reappeared much later. To date, people do not think of sword and penance.
On October 18, 2002, Pope John Paul II added another set of ‘mysteries’ to the holy rosary. He invented the ‘Luminous Mysteries’ to highlight the period of time between the ‘Loss and Finding of Jesus Christ at the Temple’ and the ‘Agony in the Garden’.
“The pope is getting sneaky in his old age.” … was Lynn’s comment. “He devised a way to entice devotees to pray longer to the Blessed Mother and at the same time meditate longer about Jesus Christ. The last part conforms with Our Lady of Fatima’s statement about her ‘Open Heart and contemplating on God’ as factors that would help us survive the darkness starting from the middle of the second half of the XXth century and lasting ‘A LONG TIME’.”
Once more, there was a buzz of activity at the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Cathedral. It was time for the ordination of the second female NICCA priest … Lynn. She tried to send a message to Dala but found one from her instead when she opened her Inbox. Siro, Sigaw, Elo and Samara are going to follow the ceremony by Sonar. How wonderful. She requested her to tape it for her since she would not be able to do it. There was NO reply. There was a bouquet of flowers for her and a ‘Sympathy’ card for her husband early the day of the ordination. She sent a ‘Thank you message for the bouquet and a ‘?’ for the card. Everything almost went well. She forgot some words but the congregation did not notice. The visiting clergy members ignored the ‘editing’. The resident clergy members simply did what they could to modify their own parts when possible and spoke a little softer when not possible. She was duly ordained regardless. Protocols were never her specialty. They all managed to act with decorum. Dala sent a message later. There was no mention of mustakes. All that mattered was that at last, they can proceed. Even Lawin sent a message through her daughter. Her hope has been renewed. She was confident that their mission would be successful.
As the morning after the first female priest’s ordination, the priest in charge of the African NICCA mission was there. He gave the sermon. A few parishioners remembered him. He spoke about developments in his parish. Then someone asked if he had any wrestling match lately. He said he was too tied up to have one and was hoping to have a match with anyone willing to accept his challenge. At this point, one man stood up to run away but the priest quickly thanked him for accepting. The other men quickly kept him from escaping.
“This is what we plan to do.” He started. “You get as many volunteers as you can to pray at exactly 3:00 P.M. daily and request others to do the same. We shall all pray to ‘The Divine Mercy’ for help with the environment and eventually achieve PEACE!!!”
“Wow!” The man and the people cried. They clapped.
“ … of course, my name is on each one of them. I’ll let you figure out how to replace or cover that.”
“I’ll simply type something to explain how they could have come to be mine and frame that. You can keep the trophies. Your autograph confirming my account would be greatly appreciated.”
“I insist that you have one right now. You would need it to explain your mission. Go ahead and pick your choice.”
The crowd watched as the man approached the trophies lined up on a long table. They were very similar to the one he brought on his previous visit.
“They all depict an injured pregnant woman and a starved child. Where are the newborn babies?” A woman asked.
“They died earlier.”
“Do you accept women challengers?”
“They may be the best ones. Yes!”
“I accept the challenge and promise to work for peace.”
“I do too.”
Twelve volunteers each picked up a trophy. The priest led the congregation in a prayer for their success and hugged each one.
Other things happened in quick succession:
2-1-2003 the bearded comet
March 19? 2003 Iraq War/Shock and Awe
Pope John Paul II, in his homily during the Christmas Eve mass, included prayers for the Great Lakes Area. Lynn asked others if they heard that. Either they missed it or she imagined it. Anyhow, on December 26, 2994, a tsunami devastated Indonesia. He must have seen or had a premonition of a water related disaster and thought it iwould involve the Great Lakes or something else was due to happen where he thought sometime. Another premonition was when he set a dove free through his window and the ‘bird of peace’ decided to fly back in. After a few attempts, the pope laughed and gave up. He had been through a lot of adverse situations and illnesses which he managed to live through. The conquest of world peace was not among his victories.
On April 2, 2005, he said: “Please allow me to go to the house of my Father.” Like Jesus Christ, there was an eclipse at the time of his birth and again at the time of his death.
On April 18, 2005, the 115 members of the College of Cardinals eligible to vote started the Conclave to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II. They may or may not have realized that the new pope has already been chosen. It was his identity that they had to determine. St. Malachy has predicted many years ago that two more popes are to follow the departed pope. They are “Gloria olivae” and “Petrus Romanus”, the LAST POPE IN ROME. As with the previous popes in St. Malachy’s list, descriptive, not real names were given, Few clues if any were added. . With the unresolved problem of spreading terrorism and unresolved conflicts specially in the middle east, world leaders, Christian and non-Christian alike, prayed for someone who can make worldwide peace a reality. Is this the olive branch that the bird of peace did not hold in its beak when it flew back into Pope John Paul II’s window after a much hoped for successful democratic election of their own leaders in Iraq?
The Benedictines have been saying that Gloria olivae was to come from their line. He was to be of Jewish-French descent. However, St. Paul wrote: The branches of the cultivated olive tree are the descendants of Abraham. The branches of the wild olive tree grafted into the cultivated olive tree are the Christian gentiles. Neither group is better than the other for neither one supports the roots.
After his predecessor’s long reign, voters preferred that the new pope be not too young. With the ever louder clamor for a change in Church rules regarding celibacy, divorce, non-abortive methods of contraception and ordination of female priests, the cardinals likely preferred a less conservative pope.
At the end of the conclave on 19 April 2005, ballots were burned and white smoke floated out of the Sistine Chapel chimney. All seven bells rang as requested by Pope John Paul II before his death. An announcement was made by Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estivez from the balcony: “Habemus Papam: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has chosen to give upon himself the name BENEDICT XVI. His coat of arms shows a bear carrying a backpack.
Did the College of Cardinals actually pick out Gloria olivae? GOK!!! JP II later became regarded as the pope with nine lives. He had a broken hip, was shot and had multiple illnesses. In 1995, according to a complicated count of years served by the different popes and how many popes would reign within certain periods of time, it was determined that he would die that year. Indeed, a plot against his life was discovered during his visit to Manila. It was foiled and the would be assassin was caught in a different country later. The pope died the same month a full ten years later. There also was a prediction that warned "Paul the celibate" not to go to the country where two rivers meet. Very few probably knew about it. Fortunately more than enough individuals begged him not to start his Millennium Tour in Ur. He heard unkind words in Syria but returned to the Vatican alive. That year, he thought of retiring but something changed his mind. During his last series of illnesses and hospitalizations, he vowed to continue his mission. Could he have been allowed a longer term to take over that of Gloria olivae in addition to his own?
During the series of apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, the three children had a vision of the clergy and the people being persecuted. An angel stood beside the Blessed Virgin Mary. With his left hand, he held and pointed a flaming sword towards earth while saying in a loud voice: “Penance! Penance! Penance!” The Blessed Virgin Mary said: “The open heart purified by the contemplation of God is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. My Immaculate Heart will triumph.” During one of her sppsritions, Mary held a rosary.
In 2003, John Paul II appointed a new cardinal in a country where the Church is being oppressed. The cardinal's identity was not revealed to protect him from his own government. The secret name was taken by JP II to the grave. If he voted, it was in spirit. God knows who his candidate was.
There is a definite need to do penance and pray for peace as can be concluded from the visions in Fatima. We may as well start now and hopefully be able to prevent or at least postpone or lessen the severity of the catastrophe. As to whether or not there shall be more popes and the Church will survive, we hope that this is just a transient time of tribulation which becomes an opportunity to change and unite. There is such a prophecy that says ... "The dog of war howls all night when the Pontiff changes bier." The papal seat shall move. The Church has a Coptic Pope exiled by the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. He is still alive. The Church is growing fast in Africa. It is not the end of the world yet. Plan to restructure elsewhere. Also, St. Malachy did not say that there would be no intervening pope/s before Petrus Romanus who in the final persecution of the Holy Roman Catholic Church will feed his flock amidst tribulations. He shall appear to be great and have the allegiance of the world. Even the elect shall be mislead. After this Rome shall be destroyed and the terrible judge shall judge the people.
The 265th Pope is truly the “Glory of the Olive”. He took the name of the patron of the Benedictines. He chose the bear carrying a backpack as his coat of arms symbolizing his humility and willingness to carry the weight of his difficult mission. In Bavaria there is no telling how much of the population were of Jewish-French descent before and during World War II. Edgar Cayce said that there would be ONE pope after John Paul II and he would reign for a short time. At his age, he cannot last very long.
Lynn was rooting for the Belgian Cardinal. He was the most sympathetic to divorces and open minded about women’s issues. All those proficient in music were suspect as possible Peter Romanus. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the most popular and likely to win. He was the closest to Pope John Paul II and can continue the role without a minute wasted and with eyes closed. He was also one of the most conservative hardliner leaving no hope for women ever stepping upwards. He, like Pope John Paul II was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, specifically … Our Lady of Fatima. He, of all candidates understand where the world stands or lies sideways at this point. He would be too conservative and Christian to use arms. He KNEW he was going to be the ONE. He joked about not living too long. The others laughed and fully understood their fears. When asked what name he would like to be called, he announced it without hesitation. He had already given it a lot of thought. Then he told them about his ‘coat of arms’. It would be a bear with a back pack.
Everything fitted ‘Gloria olivei’. On the other hand, in Roman numerals, ‘666’ = DCLXVI’. There are different possibilities. He can have an exceedingly good sense of humor, be game, NUTS or with real power to beat the odds. Which one? Peter Romanus has to be pleasant to everyone the first two years of his reign then show his true colors on the third year. Before the halfway mark of his second year, he was burned in effigy in India for missing that sweet tongue. He tried to refuse to apologize as politicians do but eventually said something that started with ‘I’m sorry …’ for causing distress. It was not exactly an admission of guilt but it worked. It was not till much later that Lynn heard that a Catholic nun was killed in Somalia because of him quoting a statement about Mohamed which was maybe thought to be his own or something he believed.
A priest had made this comment: “This pope still has to learn to be pope.”
The bear on the ‘coat of arms’ was supposed to indicate a connection to the Benedictine order or be a sign of humility. Nostradamus son supposedly made some drawings to illustrate key portions of his father’s works. One of such obediently not written comments was a draing of a sword shaped like a cross pointed at a bear’s neck.
Lynn deferred applying for disability because she wanted to know for a fact how long her eyes would allow her to be professionally functional. She continued her online business so she can continue the mechanics of running one even if it did not earn provided she did not lose either. She continued the paperwork, responded to e-mail, POB and Fax messages. She scheduled tasks as she would when she was running an office and did thm on schedule. The most difficultthing to do was fill up forms. The print became less and less readable. Reading glasses helped initially but soon became useless. So did visual aids. She made her own papers such as order forms. Those had bold and large size font. Government forms are a pain. The official printer or form developer used fine print ans multiple blanks and boxed to fill by hand. She figured that the day she no longer can fill one of those will be the day she would call it ‘QUITS’. The IPI 1 form for the tax year 2004 was it. After struggling with it, she made preparations to officially close her online business on May 18, 2005. The other reason for waiting was to prove for herself thatshe would make it till the maximum number of years the Ophthalmologist at her medical school said she could function but with severe difficulty. She had the needed Visual field determination in in 2005 to prove she had the required criteria for ‘Legal Blindness’. She made an appointment to apply for both ‘early retirement’ and disability status. She heard of difficulties in applying for early or full retirement and specially disability. She did not want to have trouble three times. This way, she can reduce her unhappy encounters and preparations. There were questions. The investigator apparently wastreating her case as an ordinary one for disability. Early retirement qualifications were more clear cut because it was a year later than the minimum age required. Disability needed more statements from doctors and multiple problems at the same time will add to the prospect of being more qualified. Lynn knew the criteria needed. She recited them. She presented the results of her previous exams. The investigator asked for the usual written ‘word’ of the doctor written on a prescription slip. The doctor wrote the diagnosis. It did not ring a bell. Lynn asked him to Fax another prescription slip saying ‘Legally Blind’. That worked better. Her records had to be copied and sent to the investigator which were then forwarded. Lynn slipped a copy of the criteria she saw on the Internet in the envelope.
“Make sure this goes on the very top followed by that the ‘Visual Field’ measurements.” She asked the nurse at the office. “I hope those in the central office are familiar with these simple requirements and do not have to waste precious time looking at the other papers and asking for more information from all the doctors who have seen me.”
She did not need to have additional problems to qualify or fill up the questionnaire regarding ADLs. Of course, she did anyhow. The eye specialist at her medical school guessed that she may do well the first ten to twenty years but would have severe difficulty afterwards. May 18, 2005 ws the fortieth anniversary of her graduation from medical school. She made it!!!
That year, Lynn found herself making sense about allegations aboutLeonardo Da vinci’s works and life as well as those of Jesus … of all people. Mary Magdalene was probably scoffing it all off. She heard comments about his most famous work … the ‘Mona Lisa’. That was mentioned too. She remembered staring at it perplexedly at the Louvre. She liked the other picture mentioned … ‘Madonna at or of the Rocks’ which made the sisters who commissioned him mad. Leonardo had fun! ‘Mona Lisa’ is a good example. It took some time to figure out. The work was not commissioned. He did it for free? Some said the work was a self portrait. Lynn made a photocopy of the pictures of Mona Lisa and Da Vinci’s self portrait. She held them side by side obliquely ‘looking at each other’. Yes, it may be true. Da Vinci removed the bump on his nose, rounded the face a little bit and erased the hollows on the face. He cleaned up the hair. He did not finish the painting. Mona Lisa’s baldness was not completely corrected. Then she heard that he was painting the strands of hair one at a time the same way hair implants are done today. Then the maestro finally died. His well trusted friend called the work a masterpiece. Everyone deluded themselves into believing an authority. He also said that it was Da Vinci’s most important work. A modern author made another one more popular. Da Vinci spent his last years overcoming the sequelae of a stroke. His left side which included his gifted hand was paralyzed. He kept working on the self made challenge of his life. Eventually it was ‘one hair at a time’ creating his most important work … the ‘Mona Lisa’.
2005 was a lesson on what ‘climate changes’ are and how they start a series of ‘life changes’ yet the world still did not learn much.
Katrina 8-29-2005, 125 Mi/hr, >1200 D, water breached levis, Lake Ponchotrain flooded, “Pumps were fine till they had to pump.” Was in NO paper Mar mid 2007.
12-30-06 Saddam excuted, buried 12-31, videotape of hanging
In 2007, the Sumo priest became a the Sumo bishop. He visited once more. He gave an update on Darfur. The UN was finally ‘officially’ notified of the situation. A resolution was discussed but but did not pass. Some delegates did not agree. In 2004. the US and allies conducted factual investigations and gathered proof. On 2005, the case was presented to the International Court. The Court handed a verdict of Genocide. More discussions were held in the UN. A resolution was eventually passed to send troops for peacekeeping in Darfur after Communist China joined the others in 2007. However, there was a stipulation allowing to Sudan to refuse entry of the troops and what they can do. More talks were held to iron out stipulations. Muslims, Jews, Christians, public figures all focused on publicizing the situation. Wuth the Beijing Olympics coming up, the odds for winning are good. After the Olympics, the future shall depend on all of us.
The twelve candidate for membership as ‘Knights of Peace. lined up in front of the congregation. Each carried ‘his’ or ‘her’ trophy. Each had a turn to kneel in fron of the bishop to be knighted using the ‘Sword oh St. Michael’.
“How is life treating you these days?” The bishop asked after the ceremony.
“ … Fine. I just take it one hair at a time.”
“ … beg your pardon?”
“ … Da Vinci style!”
“ … Huh?!”
"I do what I can the simplest way possible with minimum equipment, materials and effort."
"Solving your problem with Malaria control."
"Yeah, I need to know how to control the disease in the orphanage. The children are immunocompromized to begin with. They were born with Aids and lost their mothers to the that epidemic. I need something I can do myself quickly and cheaply."
"Sleep inside mosquito nets, screen all windows and doors. I am not a carpenter so the only way I can mangae to do that myself is to atach tool or fine netting material across the window openings. Hopefully you can cut out windows from your doors and cover them similarly. Here, we use duct tape a lot."
"I'll bring a starter supply on my next trip."
"You have to eliminate all stagnant water. Keep remaining brooks and rivers flowing. Avoid going to wells at night. Also avoid opening doors at night."
"needless to say, we have to stay in after curfew time."
"yes. It would help if you have indoor-outdoor enclosures with a larrge enough play area for the children to play in and protected from all insects not just mosquitoes. Build large covered patios all around the building. Have a clean floor to avoid sources of Staphylococcus, Tetanus and other bacteria that may make minor wounds for normal people devastating for these fragile ones. The rook can be woven leaves. We use Nipa leaves tied in shingles and bamboo poles for building huts. The walls can be two layers of bamboo lattice with insect proof cloth or other screen like material 'sandwiched' between them. I'm sure you have enough imagination to design good looking essential structures. The jungle should provide materials I do not even know about. Abacca has been woven into delicate women's accessories and other more utilitarian items such as placemats, floor mats and ropes. It would be exciting ifone day someone like you decides to get it intricately woven into multicolored rolls of screening material for looks and function. What could be more noble a purpose than to stem the spread of Malaria in a world that needs help and protection most?"
"This may be my one chance to make a difference."
"You and your community can. Depending on availability of local talent and materials, ‘screen panels’ can actually be customized to the correct size and shape and with built in frames to ‘jam’ into the openings or attach to the wall or across the opening or to a window frame. Depending on cost, they can be repairable on site and even disposable. The technique has been used to weave cane seat backs and bottoms on dining chairs and sleeping surface on beds. Holes are drilled all along the frame or appropriate edges of the piece of furniture and the fiber woven through permanently. Be sure that the holes are obliterated enough to preclude entry of mosquitoes. Alternatively. Notches are made on the outer edge of the frame or piece of furniture to keep the threads in place. Any durable, flexible and water compatible material or fiber can be used. Go shopping in your backyard.
"Too bad, you can't come to supervise."
"Send me pictures on the 'Net'. The main thing is to seal all possible entries of unwanted guests."
"Walang anuman, po. Stop in the Philippines and stock up on 'kulambo to sleep in for now. It us as simple as sleeping in a folding four cornered tent with no poles."
"How do they stand up?"
There is a loop on each corner of the top section of the box like slumber tent. You hang each one on a nail hammered into a nearby wall. A string can be tied to each loop to adjust the length and reach of the loops. We used them for centuries and they are popular to these days specially in the rural areas. You have to make sure that the lower edges are securely tucked under the sleeping mat or mattress so they do not fly in the breeze allowing entry of the harmful mosquitoes. Mosquitoes transmit more than Malaria. You can get Dengue tha same way. I had Hemorrhagic Fever. The virus was 'delivered' by the very devious mosquito."
“I have one more question.”
“Fire away till I pass out due to Hypoglycemia.
“Here’s a snack size package of chocolate covered almonds. It is the same brand you recommended last time I was here. About 31 calories a piece but has just enough sugar to pick you up. The small amount of caffeine in the chocolate will wake you up. The fats and fiber and little amount of protein in the almonds and chocolate will metabolize very slowly to keep you going till I’m done.”
“I see you are well prepared.”
“ … and well advised. Would you like to seat? Most of the congregants are either gone or having breakfast in the Community Room. We can seat in one of the pews.”
They went back into the church. One of the servers was rearranging pamphlets in the holders at the backs of the seats.
“”We’ll stay out of your way.” The visiting bishop reassured her.
“Did you happen to hear about that recent move to train womwn to do Cesarean Sections in Mosambique?”
“Yes. What’s wrong with that?”
“The women are not in the Medical field.”
“ … neither are those guys performing male circumcision and female genital mutilation.”
“ … but these women are going to perform major surgery. I know women die during labor and delivery. These women already are trained to handle that we are talking about an operation not even non-surgical or Obstetrical; doctors here would dare to do. Isn’t that a lot of risk not just medically but medico-legally?”
“On our side of the world, it would be both and probably be more of the latter. It would also be political disaster for the government leaders. However, we have to consider what can be gained to reverse what is actually happening previously. At least, the women have already been trained in non-operative Midwifery skills. That is progressive and commendable enough to me. If there are no men volunteering to do the same, so much remarkable it would be since the previous outcome has been certain death for the women who had no help.”
“I’m glad we are sitting down.” The bishop remarked while he mopped his face with tissue paper and looked around for anyone who may be listening.
“One of my father’s female cousins was a trained midwife early in the 1950’s in our hometown. She was in attendance when my youngest aunt had her first child in my grandfather’s home. I did not think much about it then because I had no idea about what could go wrong during childbirth. I myself was born in the next room. The only possible danger I thought was being attacked by the Japanese at the same time. This was during World War II. There were surprise intrusions by the invading soldiers every so often. My uncle’s wife had her first baby in our home shortly after the war ended. I thought there was no big deal bout having babies. After all, it is a natural process. In first grade I had a classmate with a limping gait, one hand held slightly bent and the hand facing backwards in a begging position. I was informed that she had a birth injury. Later, there were radio programs highlighting the noble status of doctors. The frequent subject was a husband having to choose between the life of his wife versus that of his unborn child. The doctor it seemed was to abide by his choice as to which one to save or both would die during the later stage of labor OR DELIVERY. I THOUGHT THAT WAS A CRUEL EXAGGERATION. Much later, after the first two years of Medical School and before we actually started actual involvement in clinic and hospital observations, we had the option of volunteering to help General Practitioners in rural areas. My classmate, friend and also a daughter of amilitary officer suggested that we do it together in my home province where the camp they live in was also located. My father was happy thinking I would be encouraged to devote my career to the service of my home province and specifically, my hometown. We worked with an elderly male physician close to retiring. On some days, we traveled with a nurse midwife doing Health Department work, home visits and home deliveries. It was very sobering to realize that Medicine was not fun, difficult, entailed a lot of sacrifice and may be a seeies of bad treatment outcomes. On the other hand, it was great to be the heroine of the day when things go well. The elderly doctor made sure that we had a good preview of what rural practice was about. He did not reside in a palace. He drove is ancient car. He had no assistant. He made sure we were well fed and welcomed by his relatives and friends.”
“I bet you liked that!”
Oh yes! Then one day, the nursemidwife was attending a delivery at home. The patient was in labor on the split bamboo floor covered with clean but sterilized old linen. She had the standard Obstetrical packet open on the boiled sheetes. Her gloves were on. The instruments, bulb syringe, pack of gauze, sterile string for the cord were all there/ A Bunsen burner was nearby alond with a scalpel to use for cauterizing the cord stump later. My friend and I were getting impatient. The baby kept us waiting forever. OB is only for those with time in their hands. Then she gasped after one of the patient’s heroic effort to push the baby out. My friend and I did not see anything wrong. She must be trying to wake us up.”
“Stop pushing!!!” She screamed.
“Why?” My friend and I asked disgustedly. We were running late.
“Nuchal cord!” She breathed out anxiously. “Pant!” She ordered.
My friend and I looked at each other. She could not be referring to us. She grabbed one ring forceps and clamped something we could not see but she obviously could feel. She took another ring forceps and repeated the procedure. Then she picked up the scissors and cut something we still could not see.
“Push!” She ordered and the lady did. The baby was blue initially but eventually turned pink after a scream and few gasps and more screams.
“Is that when you decided to go into OB-GYN?”
“No. That was when I almost chickened out of Medicine altogether. I was never a girl scout and completely understood why that day. It took a lot of self examination of my aptitude and willingness to decide to even finish Medicine. In time, I reolved my questions and actually joined my friend when she applied for Externship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Military Hospital in Presidente.”
“You think the women volunteers would do well?”
“Yes. They have been exposed to Obstetrical disasters and poor outcomes all their lives. They know a lot more than I did how necessary it was to do something to help. They cannot possibly correct every problem but they can make a lot of difference. Even if they have some bad outcomes, they would be probably unavoidable even in the best of hands. They would be working in adverse locations with hardly any equipment more than basic ones with undependable power to even light up the operating field, few or no assistants and back up. THEY WOULD NOT HAVE ALL THE ANCILLARY DIAGNOSTIC AND SUPPORTIVE EQUIPMENT AND DRUGGS WE CONSIDER INDISPENSABLE. In other words, they would be expected to magic without the magic wand.”
“You actually think they can be trained to do operative procedures? Some are simply high school graduates. Maybe a few have some nurse training.”
“Paramedics are not doctors. We know they make a lot of life saving evaluation, decision and procedures. Yes, local women can train. It is the intenisity of training and inate ability of the students to learn and catch the spirit that make the difference. “
“They are the ones who volunteered and are willing to work hard for the welfare of other women and children. Besides, thei patients. Husbands may not be willing to have their wives touched by male doctors. The patients themselves may be more comfortable being cared for by women. Women understand what the patients go through. Most have been through the same experience. Those who have not are more likely to have seen it compared to men who usually are asked to step outside the birthing area.”
“I also understand that these ladies are going to do Tubal Sterilations on women who had three or more previous Ceasarean Sections for fear of rupture of the uterus during a subsequent labor and stress on that scar.”
“I am glad you brought that up. I was worried that Tubal Sterilization may not even be allowed and deaths from uterine rupture on women laboring after several Ceasarean Sections would happen. It is a moral duty to inform the woman and her husband of the danger and the option to prevent it by Sterilization.”
“The couple first must have three living children and the husband must consent prior toi the operation.”
“What if the husband is not around at the time of an emergency Ceasarian Section?”
“It cannot be performed..”
“ … even if the woman signs a consent form?”
“… no husband’s consent, no sterilization!”
“How insignificant is a woman’s life that the husband’s need to ensure his progeny should take priority?”
“It is a different world and different values prevail. Also, depending on religion, the procedure may not be done anyhow. We may still see some deaths for that reason in addition to others.”
“I have to go.” Lynn said.
All Rights Reserved MMVIII
Magdalena D. Guerrero, M.D., FACOG/GP (dr G)
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