Monday, April 9, 2012

I Have Been Given An Award!

Wow!  I am overcome, and happy and embarrassed and proud as well.

A fellow blogger, who writes of her immense struggle with not just depression but also withdrawal from Prozac, has given me the Liebster Award.   You can find her amazing, inspirational blog at Prozac Withdrawal.  I thank her so much!

Well digging around I find that the word liebster is German, and means 'dearest' or similar!  How nice is that!   The idea is for us to pass this award on, to help bring attention to our new, or fairly new blogs - usually ones with not many followers.  I can relate to that!

There are a few simple rules, as I understand it, which are:
  • Thank the person that nominated you on your blog and link back to them.

  • Nominate up to five other blogs for the award.

  • Let them know via a comment on their blog.

  • Post the award on your blog.  

Aha! Now let the fun begin!  I see I have fulfilled rule one.  Now to find five other blogs for the award!  

Not in any order are my choices, most of which are, at least in part, about depression and the battle of the black dog:

Dance Without Sleeping - Because, just because!

Flossing the Cat - How could anyone resist? 

Love in the Nest - Amazing blog, amazing blogger

Adventures of a Middle-Aged Matron - Gentle, inspirational lady

Dribbling Pensioner  - Funny and outrageous!

The Headline Was "Million Dollar Baby"

I am being way judgmental here, and not going to apologise for it!  My THIB (thinks he is boss!) showed me an article in the Sunday paper - with the above title.

A couple, who have two little boys, went to USA for the honeymoon they 'never had'.   She was 24 weeks pregnant.  To cut a long story short, the baby decided to pop out early, at 24 1/2 weeks.   Mum is now stuck in  Orlando, Florida, with her prem baby Gracee in hospital, while Dad has returned to Brisbane. 

The couple had holiday insurance with AAMI  but the company said that "Gracee was not covered by their policy because she did not exist at the time of cover".   AAMI is also refusing to pay Mum's medical bills, as  she had a "pre-existing condition" - i.e., pregnancy.

According to the news report, it is costing approximately $5,000 a day, PLUS doctor's and specialist's fees for Gracee.  Mum's hospital bill, for three days, was $30,000.  So far the bill for baby Gracee has reached $300,000.  It is expected she will need to remain in hospital for a further 60 to 80 days. 

Added to the silliness already racked up is the fact that as Gracee was born in USA she cannot enter Australia until she has a Visa.  That I find quite strange and rather extraordinary - after all, my daughter was born in UK and yet I registered her birth with the Consulate and she automatically became an Australian Citizen.

Something about this is either a bit off or mis-reported.  I guess it must be something to do with the laws in USA?

There is now a campaign to raise money to help the couple and their baby.  They have paid "as a show of good faith"  $10,000 toward the medical costs.

Now comes my judgement ok?  The lady in question said she already had two children who were born full term, and therefore she figured this pregnancy would go to full term.  Hmmm.  Didn't she realise that all pregnancies are different?  There are NO guarantees, none.  Anything can happen, and at any time, and often does.  And I don't  know about any other mums out there, but at 24 weeks pregnant, whether cleared for travel by a doctor or not, I would be sticking fairly close to home.  For obvious reasons!  

As far as AAMI goes?  They aren't the only ones who don't cover pregnancy and childbirth, from what I read.  In the AAMI Product Disclosure Statement, it is stated quite clearly that pregnancy and childbirth will not be covered.

One of the comments I have read about this unfortunate incident says "An unfortunate gamble by these parents, that has ended up costing them for the rest of their lives.. "

Me?  I just think they were irresponsible.  And they obviously aren't the smartest pair on the block........

Two morals - read the damned document, and don't travel 12 hours on a plane when you are so far advanced in your pregnancy....

Friday, March 9, 2012

3 Year Old Run Over And Killed

This is the saddest story I have read for quite a while, and I am sending my thoughts and love to the community where this happened.

Last night, 8th March, in a suburb near Cairns, Nth Queensland, a 3 year old was run over by two cars, and died later in Cairns Base Hospital.  The little boy was disabled, and could not walk.  

Apparently a door didn't close properly when someone went outside, and the little boy crawled out and into the road.  It was about 8.40 p.m. and the drivers of the two vehicles had little hope of seeing the small boy, who was wearing dark clothing.  It appears that he was hit by one car, and thrown into the path of the second.

Shocked and desperate neighbours tried to resuscitate little Lachlan, whose foster father was distraught.

A police spokeswoman, Sergeant Coolican, said  "Everyone involved in the incident is terribly upset, and that includes police and paramedics who did attend and the people involved in the car crash".

2 Year Olds To Get Lessons In Anger Management?

Dear reader, why is it that every time there is some article online which catches my attention, it is about some utterly ridiculous theory by a supposed 'expert' on children and their behaviour?

This time it was the Mail Online (or should I say, as usual it was the Mail Online?) which reported that a UK Government 'discipline expert' - a Mr. Charlie Taylor, has drawn up a proposal which was designed to  "improve provision for disruptive youngsters in the wake of last summer’s riots". Fair enough so far?  Sounds good doesn't it.  But when you read through the article, you won't think it is quite as sensible as it sounds.  

Mr. Taylor thinks that children at risk of turning to crime and aggression "can and should be identified at the age of TWO" and that children who are likely to 'go off the rails'  should be "sent to specialist behavioural institutions at the age of FIVE - to stop their bad behaviour escalating"??

The most frightening thing about this is that the article states that Mr. Taylor's report was likely to be endorsed in full by the government.  Mr. Taylor does not hesitate to say that he thinks nurseries should be able to spot the ones who have behavioural 'issues' and to then "provide them with boundaries and social skills".  Hello, hello?  That is what we parents strive mightily to provide for our kids!

I don't know about you Mr. Taylor, even if you are the headmaster of the Willows School - I sincerely doubt whether you have had experience of an ordinary toddler going through the 'terrible twos'  or threes or fours come to that.   In my humble opinion it is simply not logical thinking to believe that we can identify future problem kids at age two.  I mean, for pity's sake, these are BABIES, who are learning what the word 'no' means, and learning that they actually have a separate identity from their mum.  They are bound to be little horrors at time, it is all part and parcel of the growing up process. 
If some nosy do-gooder like you told me that my two year old needed to be put into a 'specialist nursery' - well, gee I would want to give you the other side of my tongue to be honest.  As for your totally ridiculous statement about "some difficulties around speech and language very often as well. Often not potty trained".   The article didn't state at what age the kids weren't potty trained, or at what age they had difficulties with speech and language - but surely you simply CAN'T be talking about two and three year olds?  Surely not?   And what do you do about the little one who is behaving like a fruit loop until mum works out that she is having a reaction to chemicals in her food?  (And it took one of my daughter's acquaintances twelve months to identify and isolate 24 E numbers that were doing her child great harm.)  Would you have the love or patience to do this, or would you just keep her locked up until she turned 21?

Fair enough to say that some five year olds are disruptive and probably some younger ones as well.  My own reading of this situation is that you surely shouldn't be taking the children and putting them into what amounts to an institution - even if you try to get them back into mainstream school quickly.   Surely the ones to be taught are the parents?   Wouldn't it be far far better for schools to have parenting classes?  And if a child is proving to have problems with relating to others, aggression etc., wouldn't it be better to have classes which include the parents - most of us fly by the seat of our pants, and if a few have no idea what to do when their child throws a wobbly, then show them!
About the statement you made that "the aim was to help children early ‘rather than waiting until they are throwing tables around when they are 14 or 15"?   Quite a feat if you can do that, my lad.  It often happens (and if you lived in the real world you would know this) that a decently brought up child falls in with some not so respectable mates at school, and peer pressure does the rest.  All the early intervention in the world will not prevent this from happening.  Peer pressure is mightier than the teacher, on any day of the week.  And for heaven's sake don't forget hormones during the teen years!

As far as this intervention helping to prevent things like the riots happening again in the future - dream on kiddo!   It wasn't toddlers and tiny tots who were doing the rioting and thieving, as you well know.  It was disenfranchised youth - perhaps your government would be better served by someone working out how to help the underprivileged and the homeless, the jobless and the hopeless.  While these situations exist you have the potential for riots at any time in your future, whether you tame a toddler or not.
Read more:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Women Rapists of Zimbabwe

What was your first reaction when you read that title?  Mine? I started to laugh, 'cause I'm human and a female - and there doesn't seem to be an epidemic of female rapists - in fact it appears at first thought that there can't have been many female rapists throughout history.  And a man being raped by a woman usually doesn't appear to involve extreme violence and pain. But that is another blog! A further cause for amusement is that this happened in Zimbabwe, a male dominated country.

From media reports, there was a gang of women operating in Zimbabwe, who were 'terrorising' men from 2010 until their arrest in 2011.  These women would pick up male hitch-hikers, and sedate them by spraying "some liquid" in their faces.  They would then be forced to "be intimate with women at gun point".  (Africa Review)  The women used condoms to harvest and save the men's sperm.  They used aphrodisiacs to cause the men to have an erection.

In one incident, a 30-year-old man was kidnapped by, and forced to be intimate with three women for five days,  after they drugged him.  At one stage a couple of men were assisting the women with their kidnapping activities.  Various other methods of capturing men were employed, including luring men with the offer of work.  One man was promised employment in the town of Mutare.  He met a man he knew,  in Harare, and was introduced to another man and two women who were described as 'friends'.   They headed for Mutare, where they had promised the victim  employment.  During the journey they bought drinks, with one of the women handing her unfinished drink to the victim, who drank the remaining liquid.

Zimbabwean Police

He "suddenly felt dizzy and started sweating before falling unconscious".  He awoke feeling weak, and  found himself in a wooded area near Magamba Training Centre in Mutare. At the time of his awakening, he found one of the women having sex with him.

Mutare, Zimbabwe

"The police spokesman added: “In that state, he was forced to have sex with both women who are said to have been wearing female condoms. (female condoms?) The alleged female rapists drugged him with a stimulant before they both had sex with him till about midnight.” (approximately twelve hours total)
The attack stopped when the man started “producing blood”, Inspector Chabata said, forcing a member of the gang to observe that he was “no longer useful”.
The man was dumped at the spot and did not regain consciousness until noon on Saturday. He was treated at Mutare Provincial Hospital."  (From Zimeye)
The media speculated that the attacks were made to gather sperm for either ritualistic purposes, or for traditional medicine.  I am wondering if it was for the purpose of selling on the internet, but maybe that is a bit way out as a theory!  Whatever the use, the returns appear to have been lucrative, by all reports.

The three women who were arrested
As often happens, the accused women were caught purely by accident - literally!  A male accomplice, Thulani Ngwenya (24) was apparently driving a car which was involved in a road accident.  The women reportedly rushed to the scene to collect their valuable loot, which was in the car - 31 or 33 (depending on the source) condoms, 4 of them containing sperm.  The women were unfortunate in that the police arrived at the scene before them, and discovered the condoms.  That's a big ooops, girls!  And after their arrest?
Harare, October 15, 2011 -A group of women accused of raping men around Zimbabwe at gunpoint brought the Harare magistrate court to a standstill on Friday.
The three women dressed in designer clothes and fancy hairstyles looked unfazed by the bizarre charges that they are facing. They were quite relaxed as they appeared in the dock.

Sophie Tendai Ngwenya, 26, Netsai Monica Nhokwara, 24 and Rosemary Chakwizira, 28, attracted a huge crowd of onlookers when they were brought before Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini on Friday.

Whatever the sperm was being 'harvested' for still remains a little mysterious.  The trial has been delayed because DNA evidence has yet to be produced by the State, apparently because of logistical difficulty in transporting the results from South Africa. 
And at the accused's first appearance in court?  Seventeen men, including a soldier and a policeman came forward, claiming that they were “raped” by the three women. 

One of the women accused of rape
In the most bizarre end note, the women, who claim to be busy prostitutes who didn't have time to dispose of the fruits of their labours, cannot be charged with rape because Zimbabwean law does not recognise that women can rape men.  I wonder how long it will be before that law is changed? 

The three suspected female rapists — Netsai Nhokwara, Rosemary Chakwizira and Sophie Nhokwara — shy away from the camera before their release from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison 

And just for interest - here is a link to a very thought-provoking editorial about the bias being shown toward these women.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Who Is This Gina Ford? She Is Obviously Unbalanced..

Those of you who know me also know I don't live in England (although I did at one stage!) so have never heard of this Ford woman.  She sounds like a complete moron, to be honest.

She is described in the Mail Online as "Britain’s most popular childcare writer" - which has me baffled and stunned, as according to the article she has never had children?   How on earth can anyone write about child care when they have never been a parent?   It's beyond me how she can be the most popular, particularly in light of what appears to be her latest effort at advising mothers of a new baby.

According to her, "women should show sexual interest in their man four to six weeks after having a baby".... even if you don't feel like it!   She must be from some other planet I think.  Whatever happened to new mums being advised to refrain from sexual relations until six weeks, at least, after the birth of their baby?
This Gina dame is quite insulting towards men - she seems to think that your man will lose interest and trot off somewhere else for the odd bit of nooky if you don't come across asap.  Never mind that you are both overwhelmed, exhausted, shell-shocked,  and generally struggling through the toughest time you have experienced as a couple.  Especially if mum has been through a traumatic birth experience, is stitched from here to there and back again, has had a c-section, is still bleeding,  or is just plain still horribly sore from the birth.

She actually advises that sometimes "you may just have to grin and bear it"......what?  That is sure the way to stop your partner from feeling 'emotionally closed out' - come on you stupid woman, do you have any brains at all?   Do you honestly believe that our men want us to go along with 'sex'  just for the sake of their 'needs' ???   Where the hell is the intimacy and emotional closeness in that?   What, lie back and think of England?    Think about what colour to paint the ceiling?  Meanwhile trying not to shriek because it hurts so much, and your breasts leaking all over the shop, and the baby screaming in the crib next to the bed?

How unreal is her advice?   I am frankly appalled that anyone could write such complete drivel, and then even more appalled to read that she has "made millions from her childcare manuals" - now I really really would love to know who has paid for advice from this idiot?  And now this advice from a new book she has apparently written, laughing all the way to the bank, whilst merrily wrecking people's lives.  Never mind the extra, unwanted pressure she happily puts on new mothers - as if they needed extra stresses at this time.  You want an extra guilt trip?  Buy this idiot woman's book.

This woman is a troll, pure and simple, and she is taking the mickey out of anyone who is foolish enough to fork over hard-earned money for anything she has written.  She obviously has the lowest opinion of men, and is extraordinarily ill-advised about what a breast-feeding mum can and cannot drink  -  one of her tips  -  "getting in the mood by drinking wine".  So in other words you feel so unwilling and unable that you will need to get drunk and let your partner use you like a prostitute?

That is healthy, is it not?  Really good for your relationship.  I noted also that :

Miss Ford has been criticised for her views, such as those in 1999’s The Contented Little Baby Book, which urges new mothers to let their babies cry themselves to sleep via her ‘controlled crying’ technique. The most controversial tips in her new book come from mothers who have contributed to the forums on her website, 
Oh my, oh my - so any mother, whether she is knowledgeable or not, whether her parenting methods are poor or not, has been quoted in her book - as some sort of expert one assumes.  How bloody dangerous is that?   And the controlled crying thing?  Everyone (I hope) knows I do NOT and never will agree with this.  And now?  There is extremely credible information published, about how the danger of letting a baby cry it out at night.  Leaving an infant to feel alone, abandoned, insecure and desperate creates unnecessary hormone surges, which can greatly affect them for the  rest of their lives, and also affect  how they deal with stress.  One article from Natural Parenting in Sydney states:
Controlled Crying, also referred to as Comfort Crying or Sleep Training, are well documented to be harmful to the child's brain development and her emotional connection to her mother and even in other relationships later in life. 
When you leave a baby to cry, you are not teaching her independence, or the ability to 'self settle', rather the  baby is learning not to ask for her needs to be met, because 'no-one is listening and nobody is coming'.  In effect, the baby shuts down emotionally on some level.  Crying also has negatitve physical effects on the baby's brain development and through the high level of stress hormones that are released into the baby's body during prolonged crying out. 

I wonder if this ugly woman realises that even from as far back as five or more years ago it was recognised that controlled crying is dangerous?  And by ugly I mean her nature - anyone who writes the things she has written is truly ugly.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl - Botched Circumcision

You thought I was finished, didn't you?  I don't think I will ever be finished on this subject until not one boy in the world is forced to undergo this brutal and unnecessary operation.   I want to share with you a story that made me weep, and grind my teeth with fury, and made me want a gun.  It still makes me weep.   I apologise if the print is blurry, it will be from tears. I do urge you to read it, as it isn't a one-off as far as circumcision horror stories go, and the 'accidents' are still happening to this day. One accident is one too many.

In 1965 in Winnipeg, (Canada) a young couple had twin boys whom they named Brian and Bruce.  When the twins were around six or seven months old, their mother took them to the doctor, as they were having trouble urinating.  The twins were diagnosed with phimosis, and then given a referral for circumcision.   This procedure was carried out on Bruce on 27th April, 1966 by a urologist.  For some unknown reason, the urologist used cauterisation to remove the foreskin, and not a scalpel.  Something went radically wrong during the procedure, and most of the baby's penis was burned off.   There was far too much damage to the penis for it to be repaired surgically.   

Not unsurprisingly, baby Brian's operation was cancelled.  His phimosis corrected itself, as is most often the case. 

The newborn twins with proud mother

Baby Bruce's parents, obviously extremely distressed and worried for their child's future, consulted with many doctors, searching for help for their child.  All agreed there was little hope for repair.   Then, the Reimers saw a television program about an American psychologist, and his theories on sex and gender. Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was developing a reputation as a pioneer in the field of sexual development and  gender identity.  This was based on his work with "intersex" patients.

"Money was a prominent proponent of the 'theory of Gender Neutrality'; that gender identity developed primarily as a result of social learning from early childhood and could be changed with the appropriate behavioural interventions. The Reimers had seen Money being interviewed on the Canadian news program "This Hour Has Seven Days", where he discussed his theories about gender. He and other physicians working with young children born with abnormal genitalia believed that a penis could not be replaced but that a functional vagina could be constructed surgically, and that he would be more likely to achieve successful, functional sexual maturation as a girl than as a boy." (From Wikipedia)

Bruce's parents were convinced by Money and others that this was the best hope for their son, and thus when Bruce was 22 months old, an "orchidectomy" (surgery to remove a testicle/testicles and the full spermatic cord, through an incision in the abdomen. Orchidectomy is one form of castration) was performed on the little boy.  Bruce was then  renamed 'Brenda', and was to be raised as a girl.  John Money must have been ecstatic at this 'gender reassignment' - he had just been handed the perfect control couple in Bruce and his twin Brian.

"What remained of his penis was left, not to interfere with his urinary tract. When Bruce was released from hospital, his parents were told to raise him as a girl. The family was told not to divulge anything to anyone. They went home with a girl they called Brenda.
"We relatively quickly came to accept that," Janet Reimer told CBC News in 1997. "He was a beautiful little girl."   (From CBC News Indepth)

"This reassignment was considered an especially valid test case of the social learning concept of gender identity for two reasons. First, Reimer's twin brother, Brian, made an ideal control since the two not only shared genes and family environments but had shared the intrauterine environment as well. Second, this was reputed to be the first reassignment and reconstruction performed on a male infant who had no abnormality of prenatal or early postnatal sexual differentiation."   (From Wikipedia)

Over the course of the next 10 years Money provided "psychological support" and saw 'Brenda' annually to assess the outcome of his case.

For some years, Money reported on Reimer's progress, referring to him as the  "John/Joan case". He reported successful female gender development, and he used Bruce's case as  support for the feasibility of sexual reassignment and surgical reconstruction -  even in non-intersex cases. He  reported -  "The child's behaviour is so clearly that of an active little girl and so different from the boyish ways of her twin brother."   He stated that the twins were happy in their assigned roles. Brian a rough and tumble boy, his sister Brenda a happy little girl. Money was featured in Time magazine and included a chapter on the twins in his famous textbook Man & Woman, Boy & Girl

However, in notes by a former student at Money's laboratory, it states that during the follow-up visits, which occurred only once a year, Reimer's parents routinely lied to lab staff about the success of the experiment.

From the first, 'Brenda' refused and was confused by her so-called gender, and was bullied and relentlessly teased at school for her masculine walk, behaviour and tastes and was called names such as 'it',  'freak', and 'caveman'.   At the age of only 2, 'Brenda' angrily tore off her dresses. She refused to play with dolls, she would beat up her brother, and take his toy cars and guns. She complained to both her parents and her teachers that she felt like a boy.  Because of Dr. Money's strict orders of secrecy, her parents insisted that she was only going through a phase. Meanwhile, 'Brenda's' guilt-ridden mother attempted suicide, and  her father descended  into alcoholism. Neglected, 'Brenda' eventually descended into drug use, pretty crime, and clinical depression. 

'Brenda's' visits to Money in Baltimore were a traumatic experience, rather than supportive, and when Money began pressuring the family to bring 'Brenda'  for follow-up surgery, during which a vagina would be constructed, the family discontinued the visits. By the age of 13, 'Brenda' had suicidal depression, and told his parents he would commit suicide if they made him see John Money again.   

From Wikipedia: Dr. Money forced the twins to rehearse sexual acts involving "thrusting movements" with (Brenda) playing the bottom role. As a child, Reimer painfully recalled having to get "down on all fours" with his brother, Brian Reimer, "up behind his butt" with "his crotch against" his "buttocks". In another sexual position, Dr. Money forced Reimer to have his "legs spread" with Brian on top. Dr. Money also forced the children to take their "clothes off" and engage in "genital inspections". On at "least one occasion", Dr. Money took a "photograph" of the two children doing these activities. Dr. Money's rationale for these various treatments was his belief that "childhood 'sexual rehearsal play'" was important for a "healthy adult gender identity".

From the age of 22 months through to his teenage years 'Brenda'  urinated through a hole surgeons had placed in the abdomen.  She was given oestrogen during adolescence, in order to induce breast development. Having no contact with the family once the visits were discontinued, John Money published nothing further about the case to suggest that the reassignment had not been successful.

When 'Brenda'  was 13, (the age varies according to the source) his parents finally told him the truth about his gender reassignment, following advice from Reimer's endocrinologist and psychiatrist.  At 14, Reimer decided to assume a male gender identity, calling himself David.

"Bruce Reimer said he had one thought at the time: to go to the hospital and track down and shoot the doctor who had botched his circumcision. In the end, he was unable to exact his revenge, but turned his anger on himself. "   (From CBC News Indepth)

Bruce attempted suicide three times. The third, which was an overdose of tablets, left him in a coma. When he recovered, he started on the long road to a normal life as a man.  By 1997, Reimer had undergone treatment to reverse the reassignment, including testosterone injections, a double mastectomy, and two phalloplasty (penis reconstruction) operations. 

"David soon embarked on the painful process of converting back to his biological sex. A double mastectomy removed the breasts that had grown as a result of oestrogen therapy; multiple operations, involving grafts and plastic prosthesis, created an artificial penis and testicles. Regular testosterone injections masculinized his musculature. Yet David was depressed over what he believed was the impossibility of his ever marrying. " (From "Slate")

He married Jane Fontaine and became a stepfather to her three children. 

"When David was almost 30, he met Dr. Milton Diamond, a psychologist at the University of Hawaii and a long-time rival of Dr. Money. A biologist by training, Diamond had always been curious about the fate of the famous twin, especially after Money mysteriously stopped publishing follow-ups in the late 1970s. Through Diamond, David learned that the supposed success of his sex reassignment had been used to legitimize the widespread use of infant sex change in cases of hermaphroditism and genital injury. Outraged, David agreed to participate in a follow-up by Dr. Diamond, whose myth-shattering paper (co-authored by Dr. Keith Sigmundson) was published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in March 1997 and was featured on front pages across the globe."  (From Slate)

Soon after this, David went public with his story.  John Colapinto, in December 1997's "Rolling Stone" magazine, published a widely broadcast and influential account.  David Reimer and John Colapinto then elaborated on David's story, in the book " As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl".

David's story came to a tragic end in 2004, on 5th May, when he shot himself.  Nobody really seems to know the exact reasons for his suicide, but his brother had committed suicide two years previously, (Brian had schizophrenia), David had become unemployed, he had lost a great deal of money through bad investments, and his wife had asked for a separation. His life as a man was far from peaceful and placid, David had numerous fears, cycles of depression and an explosive temper. 

David Reimer

The Intersex Society of North America, which opposes involuntary sex reassignment, treats the story of David Peter Reimer as a cautionary tale about why the genitals of unconsenting minors should not be needlessly modified. (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Why Not Tell The Truth?

You know everyone lies now and again, and we would be terrific liars if we said we never did!  We know kids lie, and the do it to keep out of trouble, or whatever.  But when an adult blatantly lies about things that are going to be found out, well that takes the bloody biscuit as far as I am concerned.

Wonder what I am thinking about?  I'll tell you because I can't tell HER.  To give you a little story, I have had the most rotten bad luck over the past few years with my mobile phones.  They are all made in the wilds of the Okefenokee Swamp I think, and are so infested with swamp bugs it isn't funny.  And if I have the spelling of the swamp wrong, that is tough.  Hard cheese Louise, and all that.  Because I am really over it.  So. Take a breath in, a breath out.

My daughter suggested I get an IPhone, to which I screeched 'what? and pay a grand? No way Jose" or similar gentle words.  She kindly said she could find one cheaper for me.  So she spent who knows how long online, going on different sites and looking for a second hand phone for me.  I stuffed up because she showed me a couple on "Gumtree".   Now you understand I am feeble-minded and old and basically dimmer than a 40watt - and so used to eBay crud like photos and the like, that I immediately said 'oh no, there are no photos on there, and I can't see how much it is, and it says email but then it says they won't answer emails, and ....... and ....."   blah blah.  Don't ever try and teach an old lady new tricks - moral of the story.

Poor kid tried to explain it to me, and I was ranting away in a total panic because she said you have to go to the seller's house.......aaagh I can't do that, I just can't.  This one is a long way away, I can't travel that far, blah blah.  (Here we go again, sigh.  Poor daughter).  She told me she would travel for me, and I got muddled and forgot.  No, I am not blonde, just dim. And old.  And some days not too well!  (ahem)

Yes madam, it is exactly your size, just pre-shrunk during manufacturing

Upshot was she went on eBay and bid for a 2nd hand IPhone for me.  All went lovely and that.  I paid me money the same night (or the next, I forget - soon as she got an email from the seller anyway).   So we wait.  And we wait. And ages later still wait. Daughter sends email or text to the seller to ask if she got the money.  Seller was away apparently.  Would post the phone on the day she got back, which we calculated as Thursday.  She was paid for Registered Post, said she would send it Express Post as well. Hmmm.  I should have received it last Friday.   No parcel.  Nothing Monday.  Nothing Tuesday.  hmmm (remember, we worked for Australia Post until not that long ago - the woman is pulling a fast one!). 


Now madame seller in Melbourne said she would send the tracking number to my daughter.  At one point my girl sent email or text and the seller replied in the vein of " yes, yes. And I am sending my purple case as well"  - something like that.  A bit, 'piss off, you are bugging me' type of thing?  uh huh.   So yesterday, being Tuesday and all, my girl sends a text asking for the tracking number please and thanks as no parcel has arrived.  Woman says she is at work and will send number when she gets home?  After that? Nothing, nada, no contact. uh huh. 

What happened this morning?  First thing?  An Australia Post Platinum Express Delivery arrives, to be signed for.   The absolute of the absolutely guaranteed NEXT DAY DELIVERY.  The lying cow didn't send it until YESTERDAY.   It has taken her about 2 weeks to send the phone, and when it arrived?   Contrary to her assertion that it is like new, like it was just out of the box - it has scuff marks and the glass front has chips out of it.  Lying cow.  And no little implement thing so I can put a sim card in it.  And NO purple case!  um.....   why lie?   Mind you, I didn't want a stupid purple case, but that is beside the point yeah?  I do NOT understand people like this.  I didn't pay a huge price for it, but I still feel that I, and other bidders, deserved the truth?    And that I deserved the truth about posting time.
Maybe it is me, maybe it is the way of the world now, where dishonesty is second nature to many. It is wrong, whatever the reason, and it has nothing to do with "what you get for buying from eBay".  It is all to do with that particular person, who cheated, and lied. You can be cheated and lied to by salespeople looking you in the eye as well....

Personally?   It stinks, and if you tell someone the truth they are more likely to be calm and patient, and will also have enormous respect for your honesty.  You get a lot further in life with honesty than with lies.  And don't forget that great thing, karma!  Melbourne lady?  It will come back and bite you fair on the bum.  You'll see.

There.  Gran has said her bit.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Circumcision - I Wouldn't Do It To My Child If You Paid Me - Part Five

I surely hope you aren't fed up with me by now!  Up to last night, we saw that 1. Medical Professions do not advocate routine circumcision for newborns, 2. Circumcision is painful in the extreme and 3.  It is dangerous to administer anaesthetic to very young babies, 4. There are adverse complications and even death associated with circumcision and 5. There is no significant reduction in UTI's for circumcised neonates.

There are many myths about the operation and I am surely not going to cover them all, especially in depth, as it is just too much.  There are a couple of myths that are dangerous ones, and which have recently been disproven and it is these I am going to address here.

The myth that circumcision prevents STD's and HIV-AIDS

World Health Organization (WHO) stated:

There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. Three randomised controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe. WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasise that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence. Male circumcision provides only partial protection, and therefore should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes: the provision of HIV testing and counselling services; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use.

There has been no convicing evidence that the incidence of infection with STDs is reduced by circumcision.  The HIV and STD studies are normally done in poor and under-developed countries, and are not relevant to Australia, UK or USA.

Furthermore, circumcising an infant to reduce the risk of HIV and STDs is not justifiable - infants are not sexually active!
Myth - Circumcision prevents penile and cervical cancer

If you are exposed to strains of human papilloma virus through unprotected sex with multiple partners, or you smoke, these are the main risk factors for cervical and penile cancer.   Penile cancer is very extremely rare, there is less than 1 case in 100,000 men, and the median age of diagnosis is 64 years.   Circumcised men do develop cancer of the penis, and this can develop on the scar from the circumcision!  Strangely, breast and testiticular cancer is more common in men than is penile cancer.

From Wiki Commons - Prevalence of Circumcision by country

Myth - Circumcision is necessary to prevent phimosis and paraphimosis

The condition known as phimosis is where the foreskin can't be fully drawn back to uncover the glans.  Almost all infants and young boys have phimosis, which is normal for the infant and juvenile penis.   As discussed previously, the foreskin usually becomes retractable between ages 3 to 13, and nothing need be done unless the child is having discomfort or pain.  Phimosis does not need surgery unless conservative treatment fails.

Paraphimosis is a condition where the retracted foreskin has become stuck behind the glans, and cannot be brought forward again.  Using cold water and gentle compression this problem can usually be remedied.  In rare instances, where the skin is very tight, urgent medical attention is needed.

I do hope I have given a broad outline of the myths about circumcision, and the extremely strange reason why many still insist on circumcising their boys.   One aspect that keeps being dragged up is cleanliness - a good bath or shower with soap is all that is needed for cleanliness and hygeine.  When a boy is old enough he will normally pull back the foreskin and clean around under it himself.  
According to advocates of circumcision, there are many health benefits for the infant.  If this is so, if we are circumcising because way in the future this might prevent penile cancer - why then are we not operating on little girls to remove tiny breast buds?  The risk of a woman developing breast cancer is about 12% over her lifetime, which is a much higher risk than a man developing penile cancer.

Strangely enough, "the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that Australian children have become significantly healthier as the incidence of circumcision has declined."  (   So much for circumcision having health benefits for the child.

There are psychological factors to consider as well, with circumcising infants - although I have actually seen these brushed aside as being unfounded, and anecdotal.  Of course evidence of psychological harm will be anecdotal - after all, the man is telling us of the harmful effect his circumcision has had on his mental wellbeing.  In a survey reported by Circumcision Information, they state that over 80% of 300 self-selected circumcised men said they had been harmed emotionally by infant circumcision.   Responses showed that at least one of the following feelings were reported:  anger, resentment, rage, hate, revenge, a sense of deficiency or loss, a diminished body image.  Disbelief, confusion, shame, embarrassment, feeling victimised, robbed, cheated, raped, violated, abused, mutilated, deformed.  They experience fear, distrust, withdrawal, sadness, pain and grief.   Some men have commited suicide.   Others have successfully sued for pain and suffering.

And a little fact that horrified me?  We saw before that the prepuce is rich in blood vessels.  This makes it likely to haemorrhage when it is cut.  The frenular artery is also at risk of being cut during the procedure.   An infant has only a very small volume of blood. For example a 4kg baby has only 340ml (or 11.5oz) of total blood at birth.   That is 85ml per kilo of weight.  An infant only needs to lose 68ml (2.3oz - about half a cup - go measure it) and he has lost 20% of his total blood volume - this is about all they can tolerate before hypovolemic shock sets in (shock from blood loss), which is quickly followed by death.  This has happened on many occasions.  A frightening fact is that the volume of blood loss that might kill a baby, which is 85ml, is easily concealed by disposable nappies (diapers).   You would not even know your baby was bleeding to death.

It seems to me that here we are in the year 2012, and for some unfathomable reason we are STILL following the dictates of some half-baked, unscientific and uneducated theory dreamed up by a long-forgotten prudish and sadistic doctor in the early 1800's - to stop men masturbating!   Sheer superstition still rules the day!  We may as well start burning witches again.

The phrase that keeps running through my head is the medical ethic "first, do no harm"  -

Nonmaleficence, which derives from the maxim, is one of the principal precepts of medical ethicsthat all medical students are taught in medical school and is a fundamental principle for emergency medical services around the world. Another way to state it is that "given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good." It reminds the physician and other health care providers that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. It is invoked when debating the use of an intervention that carries an obvious risk of harm but a less certain chance of benefit.

Thank you for staying with me on this very long blog. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Circumcision - I Wouldn't Do It To My Child If You Paid Me - Part Four

Thanks again for reading these blogs!  Not much more to go now, and by the finish I hope you will have gained some understanding about circumcision - I know that when I did my months of research I learned so much.

Back to the myth busting.  So far we have seen that 1. Medical Professions do not advocate routine circumcision for newborns, 2. Circumcision is painful in the extreme and 3.  It is dangerous to administer anaesthetic to very young babies.

The next myth is that circumcision is just a tiny snip and that there are no risks attached.

On the contrary, there are many risks of circumcision - these include infection, bleeding, scarring, excessive skin removal, damage to the glans and frenulum, loss of the penis and even death.   The danger of this myth is that it is more risky to circumcise an infant than an adult, simply because a baby's penis is so very small, and is therefore difficult to operate upon, plus the fact that more skin is removed from an infant than from an adult.  This means that excessive skin removal is quite common and this problem can result in painful erections, and also (contrary to popular belief) restrict the growth of the penis at puberty.


The latest figures I can find for complications caused by circumcision are for the USA, where the rate is given as between 3% and 9% - which doesn't sound like a lot, but actually means tens of thousands of boys suffer from complications because of this surgery.   There are deaths even in such developed countries as Australia, The USA and Canada.   I believe that even ONE baby suffering from complications is one too many, and that a procedure which is unnecessary, and has the risk of death attached should not be carried out.

The frightening thing, from my point of view, is that in many cases there are no figures for death or complications following circumcision.  Many complications are not followed up at the point where the procedure was done, and therefore are not reported.

I checked some statistics at the webcite, and was appalled to see the following, just from Australia:

1919 Tuberculosis contracted during circumcision
1943 Gangrene following circumcision
1953 "Begg noted that figures for deaths from circumcision were not available, but reported Gairdner's observation (1949) of 16 deaths annually in England and Wales for period 1942-1947 and commented "There was every reason to believe that a proportionate mortality would prevail in Australia".
1965 "Dr R Southby mentioned two neonatal deaths which had resulted from infection after circumcision in the last year, and other instances of surgical complications leading to litigation"
1966 Two deaths from haemorrhage.
1967 Commonwealth Statistician report of one death in 1963 and one in 1964. Statistician commented "Figures of deaths from complications of circumcision for other reasons (other than ritual or preventive) are not available."
1969 Official statistics reported two deaths from 1959 to 1969 but "There is probably no adequate record of morbidity (death)"
1977 Death from meningitis
1993 Death from anaesthetic overdose, Brisbane
And for the complications arising, we have dozens, including tuberculosis following circumcision, septicaemia and also pneumonia in one baby, staphlycoccus in another.  Infection leading to loss of a third of the penis. In 1970 as report of complications at 15.5%.

A letter from A. Clements, MJA in 1972 "Examining large numbers of children at school medical inspections over the last few years I am appalled at the phallic mutilations exhibited by many of these children, some of whom have even been subjected to a subsequent 'tidying up' procedure after being bady mauled in infancy".

Other complications include cases of meningitis, including one fatal, one mildly 'retarded' and one seriously 'retarded';  two Sydney babies suffered severe blood oxygen deprivation after the administration of prilocaine anaesthetic.

And just in case you are thinking this is all past news, and these things don't happen in this modern world, think again!  In 1997 a baby almost bled to death after circumcision, 2006 a doctor was deregistered for ten years by NSW Medical Board for misconduct..including an excessive incidence of circumcision complications.   And in 2010 a Melbourne doctor was suspended for three months (only) after "incompetent circumcision" - using a Plastibell device, resulting in severe injury to the penis and the need for plastic surgery, on a 2 year old boy.

And we have an "enviable record"? 

Other complications include:  meatal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the urethra, this can interfere with urination.  It may require further surgery to remedy.   Adhesions, where the remnants of the foreskin try to heal attached to the head of the penis, in an area where they are not supposed to grow. These adhesions are treated by doctors ripping them open, with no anaesthetic.  Buried penis, where the penis is trapped or buried because too much skin has been removed, forcing the penis inside the body.  Infection is also a serious risk with the prevalence of the modern drug resistant bacteria which can be picked up in the hospitals. 

Regarding the myth that circumcision is necessary to prevent Urinary Tract Infections in infants: 

This is a no-brainer, as research for this claim was based on one study, of babies born in one hospital in 1985.  According to Psychology Today, the study had "many problems, including that it didn't accurately count whether or not the babies were circumcisied, whether they were premature and thus more susceptible to infection in general, whether they were breastfed, whether their foreskins had been forcibly retracted".  This last can introduce bacteria and lead to infection.  Since this 'research'  there have been many further studies, some showing either no decrease in UTI's from circumcision, some showing an actual increase.  The generally accepted figures  state that around 0.188% of circumcised babies and 0.702% of intact babies develop a UTI.  Such a slight difference as this hardly matters.  The incidence for girls of UTI's is around 5%.   Also immediate breastfeeding apparently protects male and female babies from UTI's. 

Tomorrow I will look at the last of the myths I will cover, that of STDs and HIV - I think you will be quite surprised by the most recent findings.  I will also look at the long term and psychological implications of circumcision.  They aren't pretty in a lot of cases.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Circumcision - I Wouldn't Do It To My Child If You Paid Me - Part Three

A warm welcome back to those of you who are following this story, and thank you for staying with me.   We have looked at the general, simplified anatomy of the penis, and the main ways in which circumcision is performed.  Now I want to dispel a few myths, many of them perpetrated by the medical profession, and to enlighten you about the facts.

There are still staunch advocates for infant circumcision, but it is fact that there is no medical organisation anywhere which recommends this routine circumcision.  The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, The British Medical Association and the American Academy of Paediatrics are included in those organisations.  Routine neonatal circumcision has been declared unlawful in South Africa, Sweden (apart from on religious grounds) and Finland.

A myth still floating around is that doctors advocate routine circumcision of newborn baby boys.  The truth?
The RACP says, in their Policy Statement, in part:  After extensive review of the literature the RACP reaffirms that there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision. The complication rate of neonatal circumcision is reported to be around 1% to 5% and includes local infection, bleeding and damage to the penis. Serious complications such as bleeding, septicaemia and meningitis may occasionally cause death.

The possibility that routine circumcision may contravene human rights has been raised because circumcision is performed on a minor and is without proven medical benefit.
Review of the literature in relation to risks and benefits shows there is no evidence of benefit outweighing harm for circumcision as a routine procedure in the neonate.

From Wikipedia:
The Royal Dutch Medical Association stated in 2010: "There is currently not a single doctors' organisation that recommends routine circumcision for medical reasons."  The Royal Dutch Medical Association issued a new policy in May 2010: "The official viewpoint of KNMG and other related medical/scientific organisations is that non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors is a violation of children’s rights to autonomy and physical integrity. Contrary to popular belief, circumcision can cause complications – bleeding, infection, urethral stricture and panic attacks are particularly common. KNMG is therefore urging a strong policy of deterrence. KNMG is calling upon doctors to actively and insistently inform parents who are considering the procedure of the absence of medical benefits and the danger of complications."
The Fetus and Newborn Committee of the Canadian Paediatric Society posted "Circumcision: Information for Parents" in November 2004, and "Neonatal circumcision revisited" in 1996. The 1996 position statement says that "circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed", and the 2004 advice to parents says it "does not recommend circumcision for newborn boys. Many paediatricians no longer perform circumcisions."
The British Medical Association's position (June 2006) was that male circumcision for medical purposes should only be used where less invasive procedures are either unavailable or not as effective. The BMA specifically refrained from issuing a policy regarding “non-therapeutic circumcision,” stating that as a general rule, it “believes that parents should be entitled to make choices about how best to promote their children’s interests, and it is for society to decide what limits should be imposed on parental choices.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) found both potential benefits and risks in infant circumcision, however, there was insufficient data to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In situations involving potential benefits and risks, and no immediate urgency, they state that "parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child". They continue, "To make an informed choice, parents of all male infants should be given accurate and unbiased information and be provided the opportunity to discuss this decision." They said, "In the pluralistic society of the United States in which parents are afforded wide authority for determining what constitutes appropriate child-rearing and child welfare, it is legitimate for the parents to take into account cultural, religious, and ethnic traditions, in addition to medical factors, when making this choice." If a decision to circumcise is made, the AAP recommend using analgesia to reduce pain, and also said that circumcision on newborns should be performed only if they are stable and healthy.

The American Medical Association (1999) noted that medical associations in the US, Australia, and Canada did not recommend routine circumcision of newborns. It supported the general principles of the 1999 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (January 2007) acknowledges the controversy surrounding circumcision and recommends that physicians discuss the potential harms and benefits of circumcision with all parents or legal guardians considering circumcision for newborn boys.

The American Urological Association (May 2007) states there are benefits and risks to circumcision, recommending that circumcision "should be presented as an option for health benefits" while acknowledging that "evidence associating neonatal circumcision with reduced incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is conflicting." It feels that parents should consider medical benefits and risks, and ethnic, cultural, etc. factors when making this decision.
So medical authorities are agreed that there are medical risks, and that routine circumcision of newborns should NOT be performed.  It is the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".   So much for the advocates.

Note that there is still no mention of the male having the right to make decisions about his own body?

A second myth is that it is less painful for circumcision to be carried out when the boy is a baby, rather than later in life.
Circumcision is extremely painful - and traumatic - for a baby. Just being strapped down is frightening for a baby. The often repeated statement that babies can't feel pain is not true. Babies are as sensitive to pain as anyone else. Most babies scream frantically when their foreskin is cut off. Some defecate. Some lapse into a coma. The reason some babies don't cry when they are circumcised, is that they can't cry because they are in a state of shock. Most babies are circumcised without anaesthesia. Anaesthetics injected into the penis don't always work. Being stuck with a needle in the penis is itself painful for a baby, just as if would be for anyone else. Babies are rarely given pain medication right after they are circumcised or during the week to ten days it takes for the wound to heal. Pain medication is not always effective and is never 100% effective. (

In 1997, doctors in Canada did a study to see what type of anaesthesia was most effective in relieving the pain of circumcision.  As with any study, they needed a control group that received no anaesthesia.  The doctors quickly realized that the babies who were not anaesthetized were in so much pain that it would be unethical to continue with the study.  Even the best commonly available method of pain relief studied, the dorsal penile nerve block, did not block all the babies' pain.  Some of the babies in the study were in such pain that they began choking and one even had a seizure  (Lander 1997). (Psychologytoday)
Tiny infants experience the most excruciating pain, both during circumcision and for weeks following the procedure.  They can exhibit changes in behaviour, for example avoiding physical contact, sleep disturbances, frequent crying and even reluctance to breast feed.
The last myth today (but not the last myth of all) is that of anaesthetics being used for newborns.

Most newborns do not receive adequate anaesthesia.  Only 45% of doctors who do circumcisions use any anaesthesia at all.  Obstetricians perform 70% of circumcisions and are least likely to use anaesthesia - only 25% do.  The most common reasons why they don't?  They didn't think the procedure warranted it, and it takes too long  (Stang 1998).  A circumcision with adequate anaesthesia takes a half-hour - if they brought your baby back sooner, he was in severe pain during the surgery. (Psychologytoday)
Oh, before I go any further, there is a doctor (who shall remain nameless) here in Australia who happily chops off foreskin from babies willy-nilly and has a huge website in favour of circumcision.  In my opinion he is a sadist, but he would probably dispute this. He also advocates the use of the EMLA patch.  There have been many very adverse results from the EMLA patch, and the reason is very very simple:
The following is from

EMLA topical anaesthetic for neonatal circumcision

This page presents information about risks associated with the use of EMLA cream for relief of infant circumcision pain. Although certain pediatric groups recommend its use, other authorities tell a different story.
"EMLA Cream is not recommended for use on mucous membranes because limited studies show much greater absortion of lidocaine and prilocaine than through intact skin. Safe dosing recommendations for use on mucous membranes cannot be made because it has not been studied accurately."
"EMLA Cream should not be used in infants under the age of one month, nor in infants under the age of twelve months, who are receiving treatment with methemoglobin-inducing agents (see Methemoglobinemia subsection of WARNINGS).

EMLA has added a new warning to their product inserts and their web site. The new warning states:
"EMLA Cream is not recommended for use prior to circumcision in pediatric patients."
and also:
The Canadian Nurse, August 1994, pp. 5-6
[Material in brackets added. CIRP]
Editor's note: Recently we received a copy of the following letter from Grace Boudreau, RN, Director of Quality Assurance, G. R. Baker Memorial Hospital, Quesnel, B.C. [British Columbia, Canada]. The letter was sent to all general practitioners, hospitals and pharmacies in Northern British Columbia on March 28, 1994. We have permission from the letter's author, Dr. Marie Hay, to print the letter in its entirety (bold type represents emphasis expressed in original letter.)

Dear Doctor,
The Department of Paediatrics at Prince George Regional Hospital recently discussed the unfortunate case of a 21-day-old male child who was circumcised using Prilocaine as a local anesthetic agent. A few hours after the circumcision the baby developed significant Methaemoglobinaemia [reaction with the blood] due to the Prilocaine anesthetic.
The department of Paediatrics is issuing a strong warning to all physicians who perform circumcisions. We strongly advise that Prilocaine local anesthetic not be used under any circumstances for neonatal circumcision. It is also interesting to note that EMLA cream contains 2.5% Prilocaine. It also therefore should not be used on the mucous membranes of newborns when they are circumcised.
It is the Department of Paediatrics' recommendation that no infant under the age of 3 months gets Prilocaine or EMLA cream in any form because of the serious risk of Methaemoglobinaemia.
I understand from speaking with an Intensivist at B.C. Children's Hospital that two other cases of Methaemoglobinaemia due to Prilocaine have also been noted in B.C. in the past recent months. As you know Methaemoglobinaemia can cause brain damage and death in small infants.
Even the dorsal penile nerve block leaves the underside of the penis able to feel pain. Babies go into shock, and although this appears that they are quiet,  it  is their  body's  reaction  to  profound  pain  and distress.  Nurses will tell the parents "he slept right through it" so as not to upset them. Who would want to hear that their baby was screaming throughout in agony?
There are many risks involved with using anaesthetic on newborns, the above are just a small example of the outcome of using  EMLA (which by the way is NOT sterile) and prilocaine - which EMLA contains. 
More myth busting tomorrow night.