Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kids and Guns.

I was having a conversation yesterday with a colleague about children and guns.
He has a new baby and is torn between allowing toy guns, or not.
When we were little my mother did her darnedest to keep guns and violent toys out of our hands and in response we picked up sticks and pretended they were guns.

When I was about 8 or 9 my great uncle allowed me to watch as he organised the guns and ammo for rabbit/possum hunting on the farm. I clung to the back of his bike as we all rode out to a good spot while the sun lowered itself into the hot Hawke’s Bay earth.
I waited, twitching with suppressed excitement and nerves, for the rabbits to come out to feed.
I watched as he shot animals and they didn’t get back up again.
I cried as he walked me over to retrieve the “bunny” and ensure that it was a fatal shot and was not in pain.
He explained the different between pets, farm stock, and pests.
We talked about animal control and what rabbits and possums did to New Zealand farms and native bush.
We went home and skinned the rabbits and fed the dogs.
After a night of bad dreams I awoke and sat at the breakfast table, little legs swinging and explained to my amused Aunt that MY Bunny was a good bunny because it didn’t have too many babies and only ate our vegi scraps, so that bunny shouldn’t be shot.

My mother taught me that she didn’t like guns.
That is all.

My uncle taught me that guns are tools.
Guns harm that which you use them on.
He taught me that if you shoot something it is your responsibility. YOU pick it up, make sure you did it properly and dispose or/use the remains.
Guns are to be taken seriously, and are NOT toys.

My uncle taught me more in one week than my mother had taught me in 8 years.

I have no doubt that if he had caught my brother and I pointing even pretend guns at each other’s heads we would have finally met the big leather strop he kept on top of the fireplace to scare us with.

So when I saw this morning’s paper with this article I was delighted.

There will always be guns in this world.
Kids will see them on T.V, on farms, in computer games, and in the sadder cases, in their own world.
Kids will always play at adult activities, cooking, families, building, driving.
Shooting a gun is an adult activity and will be mimicked.
It is a parent’s responsibility to provide good behaviour for children to emulate.
We can turn our backs on violence and pretend it doesn’t exist, or confront it and teach our children better lessons. This idea is a brilliant way of providing the toys, with an appropriate response.

Will the kids who haven’t seen a real gun in action understand why the license is part of this play activity?
I wonder.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"I hope you raise boys"

I was at a hospital yesterday, and stepped aside to allow a middle aged woman and her father in a wheel chair through the door before me.
The woman paused to thank me for my “gentlemanly manners” and hollered at me “I hope you raise boys”.
At first I was like “is she THREATENING me?”
‘I hope you raise boys’ doesn’t have the greatest connotation for me being that my brother was SUCH a shit to raise for my Mum and Dad. (I now know he reads this so I hope he gets a thrill from the notoriety if the nausea from my previous post hasn’t killed him!)
Once I got over the paranoia, that moment really touched my heart. What a lovely compliment. The most influential role a woman will have in an individual’s life is as a mother, and to wish me the honour because she thought I would do well both terrified and thrilled me.

That same evening, having had a rough day, I was heading home to a lonely house when I thought I would pop in and see friends of mine who have transitioned from the equivalent of colleagues with our involvement in community activities, to feeling like family.
If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed by the world I head to their place with three kids and more love to spare. There are always cuddles to be had, great conversation, an open door, and SO many toys to play with. Plus the kids love hearing stories and I love reading them. Heaven.
So I turn up there in the middle of mayhem hour (you know it mums and dads!) and they welcome me with open arms and plonk their littlest guy in my arms and ask me if I want to be a godmother.
I had just squashed a butterfly with my car and was convinced I was bad voodoo.
As I started crying with the overwhelming emotions of it all, Godbaby decided to join in.
I’m sure we were a delightful picture. Runny eyes and scrunched up red faces both of us.

The answer was yes and then I paused and looked at them.
“But I’m an atheist. Does that make me exempt?”

Apparently I still qualify on account of my coolness, storytelling abilities, and the fact that they want ‘a role model who will be involved with their family for a long long time.’
Oh crap, now I’m crying again.

One of my top twenty life moments.
Now, all I have to do is figure out what this gig is about...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The rules of engagement

Don’t worry, I’m not engaged.
This post is much funnier, slightly less awkward and with more cringe than a marriage proposal.

As a celebration of International Women’s Day I got virtuous and booked myself in for a cervical smear.
Apparently noone told my doctor’s Locum the “rules of engagement”

It is quite simple... as with any other embarrassing situations (such as being at a urinal or a close space like an elevator), when doing an awkward procedure such as a cervical smear, or prostate exam there are rules.

Chit chat before, Chit chat after. Don’t chit chat at the time.
Don’t look me in the eye.
Don’t comment on what you see, my body is mine and your job is an honour.
Once it is over, we pretend it never happened.

I will fulfil my duties by arriving on time, with only my fluids inside, relax to make things easier, and not fart at the time.
As an added bonus I will try very hard not to sneeze or cough causing the speculum to shoot across the room.

Today it was not my lovely female GP who has known me since I was a wee girl.
Today it was (dum dum dum dum) the LOCUM.

The first insult... you asked me why I was there.

You talked to me during and kept popping up to make eye contact.
Not cool. Just let me sing songs in my head, deep breath, and pretend I’m somewhere else.

You didn’t warm ANYTHING, least of all the one thing that should have been warm.

You put the speculum in, and then wandered off to get your bits and pieces together.
Don’t stick ANYTHING in until you are ready (this goes for anything else in that area lads).

When you are finished even if you can see a GIANT cancer with a sign saying malignant and a “fuck you I’m stage 4” t shirt, you don’t say ANYTHING, you make polite chit chat and confirm you have the right contact number for when tests come through.

You DONT say “Hmm, that’s interesting, I’m going to take two swabs. We don’t call if it is ok, but are you happy with us giving results by phone?”

NO! No I’m fucking not ok.
What would be ok is not mentioning anything you don’t definitely know about, and if you do have to give (actual real) bad news, you do it in person, while I have a support person attending.


As I wrote this I realised that this could be off-putting to Women who are overdue for a smear, or men overdue for a prostate exam.
Please let me clarify.

If your doctor is an insensitive jerk – change doctors.
Don’t give up on your most important asset (health) because of a jerk – your health is more important than that.

Even if this swab is bad news, it won’t be that bad, because the cancer will be new since my smears are up to date. Thanks to the check up we will have time to fight it and it’s no big deal.
If it’s nothing I will be a happy chappy and really pissed off at this doc giving me unnecessary worry.

Go make an appointment now.
Then swish your hair, smile in the mirror and say these words.
“Because I’m worth it”.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Heart breaking.

I have been arguing over on an anti-abortion site that has misused a quote of someone staunchly pro-choice.
The blogger used a quote out of context; it is clearly explained in the blog post here - about how she was misquoted to be used against her own beliefs.
First I was just really ANGRY.
The “pro-lifers” I have had to deal with in the past already have a plethora of fraudulent techniques such as doctored photographs or mislabelled scans of foetuses much later term than what they claim them to be. Why do they need the words of someone smart enough to come back and argue the point with them? Why waste time and heartache like that?
I did some looking into the woman who wrote the blog’s background.

And my heart broke.
This woman's story is why abortions SHOULD be legal to anyone who needs one.

If someone young is raised in a household ethically or religiously against contraception, and they have unprotected sex, they will very likely get pregnant.
Is it the woman’s fault that she was raised without education of how to take care of herself?
When she DOES get pregnant, and either doesn’t know about the morning after pill, or cannot take it due to religious beliefs (or in this case, unavailable in the era conception occurred) what then?
And then, after four months of denial (her words not mine) she does come out to her family her father says she SHOULD have an abortion... what then?
I cannot imagine this situation.
My heart broke for her.
She was doing the right thing, living life by morals, that were then turned upside down to suit the ONE person in this scenario who would never have to live with it himself – her father.

In the USA on July 1976, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment banning Medicaid funding for abortion unless a woman's life was in danger.
I can only assume that, and the fact it was an illegal act having an abortion “after viability” as decreed by the New York state at the time is the reason that she was subjected to a traumatic saline induction abortion (contraindicated after 16 weeks), instead of the less traumatic surgical abortion under anaesthetic.
Non legitimate facilities run illegally would use options that would enable deniability and ability to move the woman if someone came to check.
As someone who hadn’t made the decision themselves and were well down the path of pregnancy, this would have most likely been traumatic. (and it was according to her story)
I do not know who the “doctors” were who put her through that, but I do know that with legalisation and less stigma women receive the support, counselling, full decision making process and explanation of what will happen.

None of this was afforded to her.
No support, no decision making process
No care while in the ‘hospital’.
No one held her hand and talked her through what was happening.
No support after, or links to groups that she may have found helpful.

The fact that her father essentially forced her to undergo a procedure should not happen in a legal operation.
Could my father take me into the public hospital and have a mole removed for me?
No, the doctor sits down and talks to the PATIENT and only the patient to discuss the procedure. It is called informed consent and is legally required before any operation.
This process clearly did not take place.

With contraception the pregnancy may be prevented.
If not, the morning after pill can also protect against pregnancy
If abortion is de-stigmatised, legalised, and allowed by the church, an early term abortion of a zygote is far less traumatic than a late term illegal abortion.
If not, an illegal late term abortion of a foetus causing all sorts of side effects is still available.

The end result of all of these outcomes is the same.
A woman who has not completed a pregnancy.
The difference is in the trauma that woman had to endure, and her recovery and mental health afterwards.

THIS is why contraception and abortion should remain legal and the judgement and religious docterine against it needs to STOP.

Note from Scuba Nurse.

Me using her story without her permission is rude.
Me using her story to speak against her catholic faith is horrible.
Me using her words to support a point of view she opposes is cruel.

As soon as she apologises about HER blog post about Lauren’s story, I will do the same.
...At least I didn’t use her words out of context.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Naked ambition or disrespect for athletes?

Can someone please explain to me why Great Britan's female athletes have to pose naked in order to get funding from the National Lottery and British Gas?

"Thanks to National Lottery players, over 1,200 athletes are benefitting from world-class support for 2012. The National Lottery is also contributing up to £2.2bn to the London 2012 venues, infrastructure and legacy."

It appears that the national lottery is funding more than just the women's swim, synchronized swimming and water polo teams, and yet the women’s water teams are the only ones getting their kit off.
No male swimmers? No women's shot-put, discus, or wrestling teams?
Since the national lottery is also funding the venues and infrastructures, why not have some tasteful nudie shots of the organizing committee or would that be too disrespectful of those in authority?

The discussion about how well women's teams get funded compared to men's always ends in the old "women are not as athletic/strong/fast/violent, therefore not as interesting to watch.
This publicity does nothing to improve on that ignorance, and undermines thier sporting abilities with the lack of skill shown in the photo.
This picture is 100% about the beauty of the women. There isnt even any sporting equipment in the shot.

What is the relevance of these women’s naked bodies vs. their performance in their sport of choice? This is an especially important question since they have photo-shopped them so heavily so that they are all smooth and flawless. The flip side of that being that they have also removed most of the muscle tone.
What the heck are all the girls dreaming of national league supposed to think when they develop their wonderful strong, muscular frame of an athlete, and it looks NOTHING like the athletes on that page?

I have nothing against nudity.
I have nothing against fundraising.
My friend worked as a prostitute to get through med school. The advantage of this particular choice is that it can remain a secret when she needs it to be.

These women, for better or worse have most of their bodies accessible to the entire world for as long as the internet is open, and that is totally their choice, right?

When asking if they were coerced in any way, ask this. - Have any of them released naked photos of themselves on the net without the incentive of team funding?

While you think about that, go ahead and ponder and what level of respect is shown here for female athletes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Does contradictory bleeding heart syndrome make someone incompatible as a writer?

If we could benefit from the death of a prisoner, would that make the death penalty ok?

This comment on feministe is what pissed me off.
“However, our prison system exists, and the death penalty is (unfortunately) not going away any time soon. Given that, prisoners on death row should have the option — the totally freely-made opinion, without any incentives on either end — to donate their organs after death. That, of course, requires counseling, and it requires that they not receive any benefit for organ donation. But there’s no reason not to allow people on death row the choice to donate.”

The above quote was inspired by the article by Christian Longo “Giving life after Death Row”

These people have a world of information at their finger tips and they couldn’t be bothered to look up what is needed before someone can become an organ donor.
Forget all the morality issues, or the structure that would have to be put in place for this to even WORK, just the fact that they stop someone’s heart makes this whole thing totally pointless.

So let’s start from the beginning. Slowly.
You can’t use a death sentenced prisoner as an organ donor because by the nature of the definition of the sentence they have to be fully dead for the sentence to be complete.
You need well perfused, healthy organs for harvesting and if the heart stops working for a sustained length of time (like long enough to pronounce someone dead) that is no longer valid.

You also need organs that will not transmit infectious diseases, and with infectious disease rates up to 3x higher than general populations, many prisoners will not pass that test.

You also need the patient’s family’s permission, and I cannot imagine as a family member of a person about to be killed by the state saying “sure, take them, I don’t mind”.

So if you have a non-infectious, available, consenting donor from the prison system then what?
They cannot put them to death at the prison.
They would need to transport them alive to the hospital, harvest organs then declare them dead.
So it would be the qualified surgeons and surgical nurses who took life deliberately.
They are not trained for this, and understand better than anyone what taking a life truly means and how it can impact. Not to mention the fact that they have taken a Hippocratic oath.

Why should they bear the burden?
Would America then struggle to find good medical professionals to work on the organ transplant teams?

On a more moralistic standpoint. You claim to be against the death penalty and I am not going to get into that debate. But if you claim to be against the death penalty, then how can you advocate for the benefit of some on the deliberate death of prisoners? If we make use of the human remains of death penalty prisoners, what are the chances of having the death penalty abolished?

What are the chances of the numbers of people charged with the death penalty increasing in response to organ needs of the population?

What are the chances of more people charged with the death penalty being put to death sooner, lessening the chances of an appeal?

‘Only’ 38 prisoners were executed in the USA in 2010 but there were over 4000 people killed on motorbikes in 2004 in the USA alone.

Stop wasting your time worrying about "wasting lives" that have already been stopped through a death sentence.
Start informing your friends and families that THEY need to make a decision and share it with their friends and families.
Because it won’t be the “bad guy” that you don’t know that saves a life.
It will be someone you love and miss.
And yes, it would still be a great shame to waste a life.

For information on the death penalty in the USA please see this link here.

Organ donation. Not just the donor's decision...

There is a lot of mis-information outside the hospital about the organ donation stuff that people really care about beyond the medical jargon.
"Will the doctors be gentle?"
"Can we still have them for a funeral"
"Will they get less care if they can be used after death?"
"what about MY choice?"

I hope this is of help to someone, and if just one person takes steps to ensure that their organs will be available for donation, I am happy. A lot of the information on this page can be found at Organ donation NZ as well as being based on my own experience as an OR nurse (but not part of the transplant team).

There is plenty of heart wrenching information about those of our community who need a second chance by way of an organ donation. Enough information that I didn’t think twice about putting that I am an organ donor on my driver’s license.
It was an easy enough decision for an atheist like me, no rules from god, distaste from my family or concerns that the soul might in fact be stored in the heart. Just the idea that if I die young, the waste would not be so great if I could benefit someone else.
For the average Jo, there is not as much good strong information about what happens to the donor and equally importantly, the family of the donor.

An amazingly helpful link is this one here taking you through the donation process. Please read this before continuing on through my blog post.

In New Zealand if you wish to become an organ donor there are a lot of barriers between you saying yes, and the right thing happening when you die.

• Even if I say yes; if I die suddenly and my heart no longer pumps, there is a very high chance or organ death, and I can no longer be a donor.

• Even if I say yes, and I die of brain stem death whilst my heart continues pumping; my partner can say no.

• Even if I am a valid donor, and my partner and I say yes; any other family member can say no.

• Even if I am a valid donor, and everyone involved says yes; if they sign me off as brain dead, turn off the ventilator and I do not stop breathing within a certain amount of time, I will be put back on the ventilators to continue being cared for.

It is no wonder that the annual rate of deceased organ donors in NZ has always sat under 47 pa.
Not only do you need to be ok with it, but your family needs to be ok with it too.
Talk through the positives and the negatives.

The negatives.

Your family will be asked about this by an intensive care doctor, once the diagnosis of brain death is clear. They will be heartbroken and stressed and do not need to be making hard decisions at this time

Although the donor is brain dead, and would never survive without the machines helping them breathe, they appear very much alive, just asleep. – This can be hard to cope with.

The donor does not visibly ‘die’ (their cardiac and respiration stopping) in ICU. They are taken to theatre still breathing, with a heartbeat. - This can be hard to reconcile with the diagnosis of death.

The positives

There is more done for a donor patient to ensure a correct diagnosis of death, than is done on a non-donor patient.

If you have discussed donation with your family in advance and they understand what is involved and are happy for donation to take place, the idea that a positive is coming from it, can be a small ray of light in a horrible situation.

Once the patient is assessed to be a donor, and the family has been asked, donation is still very personal and the family can select what they are happy donating, e.g. My partner might be happy with donating my heart, but does not want my corneas taken – that is totally ok.

There is a donor coordinator whose only job is to help facilitate the smooth running of donations, and ensure the wellbeing of the donor and donor family.

The donor’s body is returned to the family for them to say their goodbyes in the same way as any patient who passes away in the OR.

The donor is treated just like any other patient in the OR. It is a surgical team working respectfully on them. Their wounds are sutured and dressed, just like they would normally be.

“Although confidentiality is maintained, recipients are able to write an anonymous letter of thanks to the donor family. These letters are forwarded through Organ Donation New Zealand to the family of the donor, if they wish to receive them. Donor families are also able to write to recipients and these letters are handled in the same way.” *“Each year in April or May, a service is held in Auckland in recognition of those who have donated organs and given the gift of life to others. A second service is also held on alternate years in Wellington and Christchurch.
Donor families, recipients and their families, and health professionals are invited to these services."

So PLEASE, if you do want to be an organ donor in NZ, don’t just ensure that it is written down. Talk to your loved ones about it and make sure everyone understands and agrees.
I have personally discussed this with my close family, to the point where my parent’s understand that I would still be breathing when I left them. They know as much as they can know so that if, FSM forbid something should happen, the decision has already been made and they can just go through the motions.

For more information on the limitations of NZ's current Organ Donor system please visit and take a look.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Galileo could kick Ken Ring's Ring.

Before I start please let me clarify. I’m not angry at Ken Ring, and I’m certainly not angry at John Campbell.
I’m angry at you, yes YOU.
The people who commented on the various blog posts and media articles about how badly Ring was treated by Campbell.
Because in the process of commenting you have said:

“Anyone who judges Ring without proper research of his methodology is coming from a place of ignorance and fear.”

“Galileo was considered a crackpot in his time too.
I personally would like to see a scientists peer reviewed proof that this dude is a nut. Until then, I will accept him as an outsider with some interesting ideas that appear at first glance to be reasonably accurate.
Just because he has no qualifications, or is not in a scientific society, or is not respected by other scientists means nothing to me. Neither are the global warming groups.”

“Just because he has the balls to give dates doesn't make him evil. It makes many, like you & John Campbell, incredibly freaked out, and in knee jerk reaction, aggressive”

And you called doubters “conservative”.


People used to believe the earth was flat, and that the universe revolved around it.
Others tried to prove it was round, and that we revolve around the sun.

Yes, it took time, and yes they were ridiculed, threatened, denounced to the roman inquisition (in the case of Galileo) and killed (Giordano Bruno).
Poor Ken Ring had to cope with John Campbell talking over him and ridiculing him in public. He can publish books, have an open website using his real name, and people PAY for his opinions.
I’m pretty sure I get more hate mail for my feminist opinions and pro-choice stance than he gets for his weather 'reports'.

Don’t you think it is a bit insulting to compare what these brilliant minds went through to bring their theories to the public eye with Ken Ring’s ‘plight’?

The concept the earth was flat was a Belief.
The theorem that the earth was round was a scientific theory, proved by many different people with different scientific types – physics, astronomy, natural sciences, etc.

In contrast, what we are comparing here is current SCIENCE (not belief) vs. Ken Ring’s OPINIONS.

It makes me really frustrated when people compare a renowned physicist, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer (Galileo Gelilei) to Ken Ring.
Ken RING??? A guy who published a book in 1998 on how to read cats paws.
A man who, in his own words, sells opinions...

"I don't claim to be able to forecast the weather. That is your claim on what I do, again your interpretation. I claim to have an opinion on what might happen, that is all... I sell opinions."

"My business is only a bunch of opinions as I have wearily repeated. There is no claim on accuracy; proof or anything other than that I have opinions."

"I don't claim to predict the weather. No one can. We are not gods. Nobody has all the answers. In my books it states on paragraph one on page one that what I say is opinion."

For a fantastic link to a full debunking of Ken Ring please head HERE.
They have done a lovely job of comparing his almanac to actual weather patterns and disasters.

And some graphs of earthquakes vs stages and distance of the moon from Sciblogs.

I will not waste my time by further pointing out the irrelevance of his predictions/opinions.
But for your information I will include here his much talked about prediction on Valentine’s day 2011.

Over the next 10 days a 7+ earthquake somewhere is very likely. This could also be a time for auroras in the northern hemisphere and in the southern tip of NZ. It may also be a time for whale strandings because of increases in underwater earthquakes. The 7+ is sure to be somewhere in the "Ring of Fire", where 80% of all major earthquakes seem to occur, and NZ is at the lower left of this Ring. The range of risk may be within 500kms of the Alpine Fault.

Firstly, there were no 7+ quakes in that time frame, and if we include the 6+ quakes he has got a bloody good chance of being correct because there are about 4 of them every ten days according to geonet.
Secondly.... An earthquake on the ring of fire. Gosh that WOULD be a surprise. It was hardly a brave prediction.
And finally 500km near the alpine fault is the entire South Island and a fair bit of the North.

What a Muppet.

How can people compare his dodging, weaving, changing of stories, disclaimers of “opinion” and other such drivel with the level genius of past scientists who were harassed because of their research?

I’m gutted, I really am.