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Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

It felt as if my body wasn’t my own. I had retained so much fluid that it felt as if I was sloshing about in boiling hot water. My thirteen-year nightmare with rheumatoid arthritis was surreal. It exploded into my life preventing any further training in Kenpo. Although my husband and I had closed our school, as a Black Belt I still trained daily, but that was over when the debilitating fatigue and pain began. I still had no idea what was happening to me but it was clear that something was terribly wrong.

I began to walk slowly, experiencing excruciating pain in my feet. I had always been a high energy person so this was concerning. By the time I saw my primary care doctor, my hands were also painfully swollen but his response was less than supportive. I would discover much later that I was experiencing all of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, but on that day, my doctor diagnosed nothing. By his estimation I was fine.

Eventually, I would be diagnosed with RA and prescribed drugs that only made my body even more toxic. Disease modifiers, anti-inflammatory drugs along with two different injectable biologics were my primary medications until I became insulin resistant and needed another prescription for that. I was on blood pressure medicine but it wasn’t enough to keep my blood pressure in check given how much fluid I was retaining. It wasn’t until my blood pressure skyrocketed after seven or so years after beginning treatment that a second medication was added, this one containing a diuretic. Along with my blood pressure normalizing, the diuretic caused so much fluid loss in the first two weeks that I woke up one morning engulfed in a flare that would go on to last slightly longer than one year. My C-Reactive Protein test was 46.5; normal, I was told, is 5 or less. The medications weren’t helping me. I was a mess and only getting worse.

My husband had been encouraging me to become a cannabis patient throughout my treatment. He had been researching the success others had using cannabis to treat all sorts of conditions and begged me to apply for my OMMP card. I resisted for some time but when the year-long flare began, I was so ill at that point that I really didn’t believe I would survive, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and apply for my card, receiving it in June 2010.

While my cannabis grew I used raw leaf in my daily smoothies. From my research, I learned that raw cannabis contains plant acids that transform into other compounds through the drying process. Plant acids are healing and patients were reporting success including raw leaf and bud in their self-treatment so I did that as well. When my harvest was done I began making concentrated medicine. I infused dried bud into coconut oil for capsules and made glycerin tincture to use in tea. At the end of December 2010 I began my own treatment plan using raw cannabis, tincture, capsules, as well as smoking for pain relief and by the middle of March of 2011, I had achieved clinical remission. Just like that.

I never told my rheumatologist at the time what I was doing. He wasn’t interested in signing off on the application so I decided it was none of his business. I began slowly discontinuing the medications I had been prescribed, waiting for symptoms to return. They didn’t. The last prescribed medication I discontinued was the biologic I was injecting twice monthly. I had reduced that to once a month with no return of symptoms. Since I’m also a herbalist, I was supporting my remission with herbal tinctures I formulated, so I felt comfortable discontinuing the biologic in September 2015. To date, I’ve had no return of symptoms and the only change I’ve made with my cannabis medicine along the way was adding actual cannabis oil to the mix. That’s the thick, sludgy oil that’s so helpful with cancer, Crohn’s and other issues. I use a small amount now to keep things in check.

I was expected to buy into their program and not think for myself. But if I had continued along that path, I believe I wouldn’t be writing this now. And now we have a president and an attorney general who seem to want to put my life and the lives of other patients at risk again by suggesting that cannabis is dangerous. The new attorney general apparently believes that it’s almost as bad as heroin addiction which is ludicrous.

The entire west coast has legalized recreational cannabis and over half the states have legalized medical. The tax revenue alone has opened the floodgates to legalization across the country. Seniors opting to medicate with cannabis are discovering that they can reduce the number of prescriptions they’re taking, a concern of Big Pharma I’m sure. But that’s too bad considering what this new regime plans to do to everyone’s healthcare. We must have options when they seek to give us none.

I know first hand how well cannabis replaces any number of prescribed medications. If the destructive health insurance changes the Republicans are insisting upon are voted into law, seniors will have even greater difficulty purchasing their medications. If cannabis can replace those medications then they need safe access to that without fear of arrest.

Veterans, my husband included, need safe access as well to help relieve the crippling effects of PTSD from which so many suffer. Because if the Republicans have their way and privatize veteran’s health care, safe access to cannabis will become more important than ever. These men and women served us honorably and with dignity. Their return home should reflect the same commitment and respect they gave our country. The last thing any of them needs is to face uncertainty over their healthcare concerns.

To say the government lied about the safety of cannabis is an understatement. Lives have been ruined through incarceration and for what exactly? To preserve a lie told long ago? How many people would be alive and well today if they had cannabis as a treatment option? Ideally, raw cannabis should be considered as a dietary staple, available for purchase in any produce department. I’m convinced that had my mother had access to cannabis oil, she might still be alive instead of dying at sixty-five from COPD and congestive heart failure. Children who have survived cancer using cannabis oil go on to live healthy lives. A boy in Colorado with Crohn’s has become a vocal advocate for healing with cannabis and is living a happy and healthy life. Families move across the country to live in states with medical cannabis when it’s the only thing that will save their child.

Cannabis is safe to use medicinally or for recreation. Research from around the world supports this truth. CNN did a three-part investigative series where Sanjay Gupta discovered the truth about the efficacy of cannabis in treating so many conditions. But Congress, the DEA, and the new attorney general have other ideas. Truth matters not to these people, but the stakes are too high to give up now. Too many of us have had our lives saved by this blessed plant and we’re not going away anytime soon. We’ll stand up to the nonsense because as we all know, healing with cannabis is definitely worth the risk.

So give it your best shot, Mr. Sessions. A veritable cannabis army awaits, many of us silver-haired and not done living yet.

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Regrouping For The Coming Struggle ~ Tarot for 28 Jan 2017

Regrouping For The Coming Struggle

Today’s reading gives the feel of everyone off doing their own thing, as if regrouping for the coming struggle. The 6 of Wands depicts a young knight returning home from battle. The crowd receives him with cheers as he carries his flag of victory. The crystal tip of his spear reflects the sun’s rays as they radiate over the crowd. Six represents the sacred layer of the Holy Spirit within. It governs our emotions, balance, harmony and love. The knight’s battle has been long but his victory is received with love and an sense of community.

The King of Cups has a different feel to it. The King sits off by himself, on a throne emerging from the ocean. A dolphin jumps out of the water while the King sits in quiet reflection with waves crashing and roiling about. A calmer ocean scene appears at the bottom of his robe suggesting a calmer emotional presence. He wears a fish talisman around his neck as Neptune’s trident adorns his crown.

Cups represents our emotional presence and it appears that the King is taking some time to regroup and reflect on his life. He seeks an emotional balance as evidenced by the yin/yang symbol on his chalice. The difficulty with this particular man is that he can be passive/aggressive in his interaction with others, so time in reflection may be what he needs to come to the center with his emotions.

The 9 of Pentacles finishes out the reading with a woman wandering in the garden with a hawk on her arm. As she picks some grapes, she smells the fragrant red roses along her path. An ornate gate rises up behind the garden, with eight pentacles arching over with the ninth pentacle crowning the top.

Pentacles represent our material presence in the world, the wealth we build, and nature. The woman’s clothing reflects a luxurious lifestyle, a sense of order surrounding her. She lives her ideals, enjoying the peace a solitary existence allows. The gate as well as the hawk’s hood suggest a retreat from the chaos of the world, in harmony and balance with nature. Nine represents completion and the alignment with Source Presence.

It’s the weekend and time to let go of any stress felt over events from the previous week. Not the easiest thing to do, but as we can see, we need a break from the chaos. Each individual depicted in the reading is involved in their own activity, their own process, and not involved with others. Even the knight stays on his steed, moving through the crowd instead of dismounting and visiting.

The numerology of the reading is 6 and as we know from above this represents the Holy Spirit within. The chaos brought about by the new guy and his minions won’t get better any time soon and we may find that impeachment is the only solution. But until then, aligning in Source Presence seems to be our only choice lest we allow reaction to rule reason.

The last week has given us all so much to think about and process. The new guy is causing an extreme level of disruption that doesn’t seem legal but in the interim lives are put in jeopardy nevertheless. Millions are closer to losing their health insurance, legal immigrants are in jeopardy, and veterans are getting the shaft once again.

But we’re getting a multi-billion dollar wall between us and Mexico, one that only a few of us seem to even want. Science oriented agencies have taken to alternative Twitter accounts to get out science facts since the new guy has insisted that they can’t talk to any of us anymore, at least not without running it by all the so-called smart people in his administration.

In the meantime, a mosque in Texas was set on fire and Jewish people are being harassed by neo-nazis in Montana.

It’s a new day, folks. Time to regroup for the next battle.

Blessings to all and by all means, feel free to hunker down, perhaps for the next four years.

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Republicans Continue to Fail Our Veterans

Republicans Continue to Fail Our Veterans

Republicans continue to fail our veterans. Now the new guy is giving the Republicans one of their bigger prizes: he’s signed off on a federal hiring freeze. What the assholes have done by this less than noble effort is to prevent the Veteran’s Administration from hiring any more staff to take care of the thousands of veterans waiting for a fucking appointment. Because after all..it’s not about hiring more people but in fact hiring the right people. These people are so foolish.

To drive all of this home, while on our walk this morning, we received a call from the dental office at the Veteran’s Administration in Portland telling my husband that they were pushing his dental appointment back by 20 more days. He had his upper teeth pulled September 1st and is still waiting for his denture and he’s not even sure that he’s getting it on his next appointment. Without staff, they can’t get through the backlog. Without funding they cannot hire staff. So of course the obvious answer is to freeze any hiring with the ultimate agenda to privatize the VA. Right. We live far enough away from Portland that my husband can seek dental care locally, but rare is the dentist who will accept their fee schedule without endless bullshit. So my husband stays in the system.

When we read an article from USA Today talking about the federal hiring freeze and its impact on veterans, here was his loud response: and he wants to privatize it too? Fuck this guy. It went on from there but it was mostly vulgarity.

I’ve read that veterans have died while awaiting care, while all they want is what was promised them. We send them off to war and give them nothing but crap when they return. They protect us and we let them suffer.

The life of disabled veterans can be challenging enough without Congress interfering with and jeopardizing the health care they’ve been promised. The people who staff VA facilities are compassionate folks who do a great job with what they have but there’s only so much they can do when funding is lacking. And if the Republicans in Congress want to sell a hiring freeze as anything other than a death sentence for veterans then they’re mistaken.

Veterans and their families understand perfectly what this means. For any veteran to have voted for this guy..well, I don’t even know what to say to any of you. I really don’t.

It will be six months since his teeth were pulled by the time my husband sees the dentist again. The care he receives when there is excellent and he appreciates the care they provide. But what he and other veterans contend with falls at the feet of Congress and any administration that disrespects the very people we ask to protect us. When things go sideways, we promise to be there for them. And that’s a forever thing. How is it that these people don’t understand this?

Any business needs income to successfully operate. Governmental agencies are no different. Without adequate funding, they can’t do their jobs. It’s a simple concept really. One that you would think someone qualified to serve in Congress would understand completely. Instead it appears that intelligence and common sense aren’t part of the job requirement.

But we’re gettin’ that wall..

Blessed Be

References

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And So It Begins

The Politics Of Baby-Proofing The World Against A Leader Lacking Basic Impulse Control

The Electoral College did what many of us wished they hadn’t. They formally elected the lowest common denominator as our president. I’m not going to list all of the harm he’s caused others because we’ve all heard it before. Unfortunately, enough people listened to his craven bullshit and because of the idiotic way we elect presidents in this country, the woman who was more qualified and received nearly three million more votes didn’t win.

I haven’t watched any news programs since before the election was called on November 8th. As an empath, I feel the collective grief we’re experiencing and I just can’t take that much. It’s like watching everything you know and love drive right off a cliff, powerless to stop any of it. I’ve posted headlines on Facebook and Twitter but I rarely read much of what I post. I’m not sure any of us needs the details of what this guy and his social circle will do to this country and in turn the world with their elitist attitudes. The rich won and the rest of us will have to make do with whatever they deign to give us.

To his supporters, is this what you thought would happen? That he’d fill the swamp instead of draining it like he promised? Could you not see that it was your own party’s policies and obstruction that brought us to the brink in the first place? And you think this guy is the answer? I suppose we’ll see, but so far, it’s beginning to look a little like Nazi Germany, what with the thug security force in lieu of Secret Service as his personal guards. I hope the taxpayers aren’t paying for them, but I’m sure we are.

It’s hard to believe he’ll settle down after the inauguration and actually govern like a real president does. I think we’ve seen the last of such things for a while. He’ll be too busy offending people and apparently corporations on Twitter. He can’t help himself, evidently having no off switch.

Bad news always seems to arrive at the holidays. Maybe we can end the Electoral College before this time next year. It’d be a bright spot, a reason to celebrate, amid whatever other crap we’re dealing with.

And so it begins, our new and uncertain future. But until this is over, I’ll pay attention while avoiding much of the details. And really, like the name of my blog, sometimes the best thing to do is to step aside and let others be exactly who and what they are, on display for all to see. The rest of us will be here to pick up the pieces after they’re done.

Blessings to all.

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Finding Inner Strength When You Have Nothing Left

Oh my. Where do I begin? Donald Trump has an opinion about veterans who suffer from PTSD. They’re not strong¹ in his estimation. From Vice President Joe Biden on Trump’s comments:

“Where in the hell is he from?” Biden asked at a Florida rally for Hillary Clinton. “I don’t think he was trying to be mean. He is just so thoroughly, completely uninformed.”²

Vice President Biden may be correct that Trump wasn’t trying to be mean, but I believe he suffers from a disconnect so profound that it affects his ability to connect in a fundamentally respectful manner with anyone, the most obvious example his endless Twitter rampages against anyone who tells the truth about him. And it’s bad enough he went after Captain Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan’s parents after they spoke at the Democratic National Convention, but now he’s taken to expressing opinions that aren’t just heartless, but in fact destructive concerning veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Is there no one this guy won’t disparage? He’s stated that men and women shouldn’t serve together in the military, citing that practice as a reason for sexual assault. He went off the rails on Twitter about Rosie O’Donnell and Alicia Marchado because he lacks even a modicum of self-control. But veterans?

My husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran and he knows a thing or two about PTSD. He’s watched friends suffer from it, and taught martial arts to PTSD survivors, including me. It’s not just veterans who suffer from PTSD. Those of us who have experienced rape, sexual abuse, and spousal/partner abuse, or who have grown up in violent homes experience PTSD daily.

Getting help isn’t easy when the words won’t come, finding the inner strength when it seems that you have nothing left. And the stigma attached prevents many from seeking the very help they so desperately need. I remember a counselor in high school who looked for anyway she could to keep me safe. But at that time, reporting abuse wasn’t required, and I convinced her that it would cause more trouble than I was worth. And yes, you read that right. Because when you suffer from PTSD you believe you have no worth at all.

Veterans in particular have a difficult time seeking help because it’s never curried favor with their superiors to admit they needed any. They’re supposed to be unbreakable. Our lawmakers ask the moon of them, yet cannot understand how our military personnel are also human. And it never seems to occur to them that we shouldn’t be fighting wars in the first place.

But for this candidate for the highest office in our country to suggest that our veterans who suffer from PTSD are weak is completely beyond the pale. He knows nothing of the things they’ve seen. He knows nothing of what they’ve endured watching children die, mothers die, their buddies on the battlefield die.

When my husband and I taught martial arts, we had a student who, like my husband, was a disabled Vietnam veteran. He  barely slept at night, his nightmares waking him if he did. He would wake up, his hands violently brushing off imaginary brain matter off of his chest belonging to a fellow soldier who died in his arms. There was a look of desperation in his eyes, always. He trained with us to regain some measure of control in lieu of his typical way of coping which was to use alcohol. He had a teenage son when he trained with us and he wanted to be a better dad to him. Although his son was somewhat used to what his dad dealt with, it was still difficult to see his dad in this state.

This is not the story of a weak man. This is a man who stood up to what he was experiencing and decided there could be a better life for himself and his family. This is what strength of character looks like. Our uninformed candidate would do well to take a lesson from this man and all other veterans just like him who deal with the effects of war after their discharge.

It’s not weakness to feel something on the battlefield. It says you still have a heart, a moral compass, and integrity. After a point, it gets to anyone. And frankly, I’m more worried about the people it doesn’t affect. Because either they’re in denial or they’re missing something of their humanity. But to come back, experience PTSD and then seek help? That tells me that their humanity is intact after all they endured. That tells me that they know their worth, have the inner strength to cope, and that they haven’t given up.

And it’s more than I can say for the uninformed candidate in the race.

And it’s also why I’m With Her.

 

References:

  1. Benen, Steve. Donald Trump’s latest misstep on veterans: getting PTSD wrong. The Maddow Blog.

  2. Dillon, Nancy; Joseph, Cameron. Donald Trump sparks outrage by suggesting vets with PTSD aren’t ‘strong’ and ‘can’t handle it’. NY Daily News.

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Veterans Need Safe Access To Medical Cannabis

Healing With Cannabis Is Worth The Risk

After all the work Rep. Blumenauer and Senator Merkley did to give veterans safe access to medical cannabis in the latest funding bill for the Veteran’s Administration, that section was stripped from the bill and when it finally passed Congress, it was still not in there. Instead of VA doctors being allowed to sign off on medicinal cannabis paperwork, veterans will continue to do what the rest of us do when our doctors won’t sign the damn paperwork. We go to a clinic that specializes in cannabis applications. I pay nearly $200 to see a doctor at a local clinic because my doctor won’t sign mine either. Then, it’s another $2oo to the state for the card itself which took almost three months to get this time around. My disabled veteran husband could get a card for a reduced rate as could other disabled veterans in the state, but no. Congress had to be assholes again and continued to prevent VA doctors from prescribing cannabis to veterans.

I wonder. Do any of them experience PTSD? Do any of them experience pain? Have any of them had cancer? Have any of them had autoimmune conditions? Have any of them had diabetes? What about Crohns? Or Parkinson’s? Anything?

Within three months of consuming cannabis infused coconut oil, cannabis infused glycerin (tincture), raw cannabis in smoothies, and smoking/vaping, my severe rheumatoid arthritis was in clinical remission. After thirteen years of excruciating pain, inflammation and endless swelling, I was finally regaining control over my life. I was so ill that I believed I wouldn’t survive. And after my doctor gave up on me telling me that he had done all he could and that all we could hope for is to try to make me as comfortable as possible (without considering cannabis of course), I began making medicine. He never told me I was in clinical remission. I had to discover that by getting my records for the cannabis clinic.

Cannabis can help anyone who uses it. It’s not addictive irrespective of what anyone else says. It’s safe and effective and our bodies are set up with an endocannabinoid system with receptors ready and waiting to interact with the cannabinoids in cannabis. It’s just part of our design as humans. For the government to lie about this plant is shameful. And given all that we now know about it, to continue this sham is beyond the pale.

The VA negotiated lower drug prices. Kudos for that. But as my husband knows first hand, as acceptable levels for blood testing were lowered, more drugs are prescribed, so where again is the savings? Cannabis can reduce prescription use by veterans, particularly where pain and depression are concerned. Why on earth wouldn’t the federal government leap on such a find? But no. Instead, they’re either living in the past, believing the propaganda and hype, or they’re getting ready to hand it off to Big Pharma.

Either way, veterans were, once again, left hanging by their government. And thank you to everyone who worked on this, particularly Jeff and Earl. You guys have really been there and I know veterans like my husband appreciate everything you do. And I know you won’t give up until everything is made right for those we depend on and who defended us with all that they had.

One day I hope to write a post shouting to the rafters that our cannabis nightmare is over. That our government finally pulled its head out of its ass and told everyone the truth. Cannabis is safe and effective to use as medicine for a myriad of conditions. It’s also safe for recreational use, far more than alcohol has ever been. And it’s safe to give children, and it doesn’t have to be in CBD form only for that to be true, when in fact, it’s the whole plant that we need.

And I hope that when I write that post, I’m also able to say that we favored decriminalization over legalization. As we’ve discovered in Oregon, voting to legalize doesn’t necessarily make it so everywhere in the state, even though that’s what we all voted for. Here in Oregon, we’ve learned that our vote matters not, particularly where cannabis is concerned.

Had we simply decriminalized and said grow whatever you want but if you sell it then you’ve entered another area that we’ll regulate in the same manner as we regulate food, I think we’d be much better off. Dispensaries would be for patients and recreational outlets would be for everyone else. As it stands now, recreational outlets aren’t ready and dispensaries for patients are being used for that purpose. And for patients, that blows.

And to think all of this nonsense began with a lie to make other people rich.

Blessed Be

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A Veteran’s Worth

Republicans Continue to Fail Our Veterans

My husband, Jerry, is a disabled Vietnam veteran and has been so since his discharge in the mid-70’s. An outpatient clinic opened in our area and he goes there for his medical and vision care. But for dental, we drive 300 miles round trip to the VA Hospital in Portland. He can receive outpatient care locally but few dentists accept the lower fees the VA allows for dental work. The last guy who did had a staff member who was so unpleasant and unprofessional that he gave up and started back with the folks in Portland. Which is where I sit at this writing, waiting for him to finish getting a filling.

Jerry is also getting an upper denture and while he’s healing we’ve already received two letters cancelling and rescheduling his next appointment. True he needs to heal, but his appointment changed from the end of December to the beginning of January, and as of now, it’s been changed again to the end of January. This is what veterans deal with when it comes to dental treatment. And when the veteran has to drive 300 miles round trip, it would be nice if the appointments weren’t scheduled so far apart.

But all in all, he has very nice things to say about the dental staff who take care of him. He finds them to be thorough, prepared, and conscientious. They’re not in a hurry there; they don’t rush the vets in and out. They’re concerned about how he’s feeling during his time there and always treat him with respect and dignity. And they make sure he understands what they’re doing and why. So, even with the issues that veterans do face, the care is good even with the money woes.

The lobby was filled with veterans and their families as it is every time we come here. Everyone is so kind and helpful at the VA Hospital and we try to arrive in time to have something to eat, even though it was cottage cheese for Jerry this time. He’s relegated to smoothies, mashed potatoes, and blended soups until he gets his upper denture. Thank the Goddess I have a VitaMix. And to tell you what a great place this is, I left my iPad in the bathroom and it was right where I left it, untouched. Meltdown averted.

These are dignified individuals, our beloved veterans. When they need an X-ray, they shouldn’t be told that they will have to drive to Portland to get one because the local hospital won’t take veterans with benefits unless they have other insurance or can pay out of pocket. Apparently our government is late on paying for hospital services. Can you imagine that? Jerry’s knee was full of blood and enormous but they don’t have any X-ray equipment to take a shot of it before draining it.

And when they’re summoned to the eye clinic for a checkup they shouldn’t face ridicule because no one tells them they must wear their glasses when they drive now. Jerry could have done without the insulting demeanor and comments and been glad for the information, but that was beyond the doctor who couldn’t be bothered to be on time for his appointment.

Some of his eye appointments have to do with a diabetes diagnosis that Jerry was blessed with some years ago. The acceptable range was lowered and suddenly he was diabetic. He had run into a tree branch, scratching his eye, and the eye doctors in Portland were concerned it was actually due to diabetes, so he had to have numerous checks to be sure his eye was fine and not diabetes-related. Of course the diabetes numbers were probably due to the cholesterol drug they had him on, not that he needed that either. The nurse even called us while we were on vacation a few years ago to try to convince him he needed the statins even though his numbers were fine. He politely told her no. And that diabetes diagnosis? What diabetes? His numbers have been fine for years and today’s blood pressure was 100/67, so my almost 63 year old husband is doing well.

We were told that the VA tends to redefine acceptable ranges for blood work when other agencies do, typically lowering them and ultimately giving Big Pharma a whole new batch of customers in the process. It’s all well and good to try to keep veterans healthy, but lowering numbers results in more drugs prescribed along with more drugs still to handle the side effects and new conditions said drugs create. It all seems counterproductive at best, negligent at worst. I know, because Jerry experienced it and stopped cooperating with them. And all the negotiations made to lower drug costs presumably to save taxpayer dollars fly right out the window as more veterans are prescribed more drugs to offset side effects. Jerry calls it farming. I’m not so sure he’s wrong.

Again, we all agree that our veterans are worthy of our care and support. Well, the crazy guy running for President seems to be an exception. But most of us recognize the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for this country and feel that Congress has let them down. They don’t need privatized care because doctors evidently need to charge far more than the government wants to pay, dentists as well. So if Republicans expect privatized care to be the answer, they’re either craven or clueless. We’ve experienced this firsthand and it’s just not workable.

If the Republicans in Congress would have actually governed these last eight years instead of behaving like racist jackasses, then maybe the VA would have been fully funded and appointments could be scheduled in a way that actually makes sense. But as we all know, that hasn’t happened and with any luck, voters will throw these freeloaders out of office and elect lawmakers who actually care about our country and our veterans who have given everything for our protection.

So many of the faces I saw today are framed with white hair. My husband turns 63 in December and is no different. These amazing people protected us when we needed it the most, and like my husband, events went a little sideways and now here we all are. They each have a kind word for everyone they see. The staff members who take care of our veterans do all they can to see that our vets have everything they need and we both thank them profusely for that. You’d think providing for our veterans’ care would be just as uppermost in our lawmakers’ minds as well.

November is coming. So are voters.

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Witch Notes…7 November 2015

Witch's notebook

 

This witch did a double take when reading that the new DEA chief believes that cannabis has no medicinal value, calling it a joke, yet also believes that it’s not as bad as alcohol, which is legal throughout the country. For the love of Goddess, when will we appoint people who can actually think and/or reason effectively? Has he not watched ANY of Sanjay Gupta’s Weed specials? There are three to choose from. Pick any one of them and you can’t help but come away with a different view.

Cannabis treats all sorts of conditions. Conservatives in the government regularly abandon veterans in need of health care, and refuse to allow cannabis as a option, even when it’s shown to consistently relieve PTSD. They view the private sector as the best option for care, ignoring the fact that few doctors in private practice want to accept the fee schedule allowed. In other words, they won’t work for peanuts.

Now we can all agree that doctors charge too much, but it’s a system with a mind of its own and profits are revered over patient care. My husband is a disabled Vietnam veteran who has had the option for years to seek care in the private sector. No one will treat him because of the low payment involved. Fortunately we have a local veteran’s clinic near us now, so he receives his care there. But that’s meager at times when the government doesn’t pay its bills. Now if he needs an ex-ray, he must pay completely out of pocket or drive 150 miles to the VA Hospital. Apparently the local hospital hasn’t been paid in three months. And I’m sure sending an email to the Feds, suggesting that they witch up will fall on deaf ears.

So long story short, we’re all kept, in one manner or another, between a rock and a hard place. It begins with opinions, never facts, that end up controlling everthing. Mexico’s Supreme Court just ruled that access to and use of cannabis is a human right, preparing the way for lawmakers there to end prohibition. Israel has been researching cannabis for years, with recent government sponsored studies focusing on not only PTSD but also gerontological conditions with positive results. Yes, that’s right. The goverment of Israel funds cannabis research. The US could take a lesson. Or at least in this witch’s opinion, stop hiring people like the new DEA chief.

)Ο(

I have a hard time with the Law of Attraction because I’m a Libra, an Air Element sign. Librans over analyze everything in an effort to both understand and share what they’ve learned. We’re gabby that way. From A Course in Miracles, I know that I give everything I see the meaning it has. From Human Design, I know I’m a Generator type personality with an Emotional Authority. I need to initiate only after first waiting to respond. Nonresistance appears to be the key. My emotions move in waves, and I need to experience them with nonresistance, particularly in the peaks and valleys of the waves. I posted a graphic from Abraham-Hicks on my Facebook page that said the following:

it should only be talked about if the talking will make you feel better. It is of no value, ever, to activate and talk about something that doesn’t feel good, because it reactivates it in your vibration; it makes it another point of your point of attraction-so you’re less clear.

We’ve become so detached from our point of origin that we don’t understand the effect of thought on reality, when there is no reality without the initiative of thought. A witch understands this idea when viewing spellcraft as desire made manifest. What’s desire, if not thought? But in Law of Attraction, negative thought alone reactivates it in our vibration. Throw in a conversation, and we’re no longer moving in nonresistance. We’re focused now.

Focusing on the past, which the Course makes clear is a form of judgment, creates a moment in time where we’re apt to wobble, another wonderfully descriptive term from Abraham-Hicks that’s easy to identify with. The more we talk about something, even in an effort to understand it, it only creates the space for that “point of attraction” to enter in, and we become “less clear”.

I understand the notion of becoming “less clear” because I feel it. I was born aware, an empath, later identifying as witch. When unimpeded, energy flows freely. In resistance, however, vibration slows down, becoming more dense. What we view as time is merely a collection of these slower, more dense vibrations. The past is sustained in the present, slowing the vibration further, where we become stuck, taking everyone with us. A classic example is found with adult children who hold their parents in place of their own choosing, seeing the present through a more juvenile perspective. Regardless of the example, forgiveness is the release, allowing the individual to move past whatever hurt, real or perceived, that’s still felt.

Participating with others in this vibrational dance can be one of creativity or sorrow. I choose the full expression of creativity, having felt all the sorrow I intend to feel. A witch in her Crone years has her standards after all.

~Witchin’ up and sending blessings to all!

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Protect Veterans by Funding the VA

It’s simple really. Fund the Veteran’s Administration so that they can hire more staff. More staff means more veterans will be seen. My husband received a letter recently from the Department of Defense saying that he could sign up for outside care if he wanted to do so. He already has that option given his disability rating, and he’s well aware of the compromise he makes if he uses it.

You see, private physicians don’t want to accept the payment amounts approved by the Veteran’s Administration. This is true for dental care as well. Physicians are not permitted to charge the difference between the amount billed and the amount authorized. If the facility submits a request for treatment and it’s approved, they must, by law, accept that amount as payment in full for services rendered. He was referred one time to a local eye doctor who didn’t understand the law and insisted that we would be billed for the balance. I told them we wouldn’t be scheduling an appointment with them. We don’t do business with criminals.

Dental offices are a nightmare as well. Trying to find anyone locally to take care of my husband is impossible. The one dental office we did find actually has a good dentist but an office manager who probably needs to find employment elsewhere. She’s offended us more times than Carter has pills or whatever that expression is. So the only option he has is to continue going there and put up with her nonsense, or to go to the VA hospital in Portland. But getting an appointment with them is ridiculously difficult. They’re really nice people and they do the best that they can, but funding them properly is critical.

We were at our local VA clinic the other day to have my husband’s knee looked at. It had been swollen for several weeks and although comfrey root compresses and a long Reiki treatment did help and brought the swelling to half its size, he decided to go see his regular doctor. Surprisingly enough, he was seen the following day. But no xray because they don’t have a machine. And going over to the hospital or to the radiology clinic down the street would have been a waste of time because evidently funding is gone and no one is getting paid. Vets who really need an xray are forced to either pay out of pocket or drive the 150 miles to the VA Hospital in Portland. But as Lindsay Graham says, it’s not the Republicans’ fault.

I suppose we’re going to blame President Obama again, or Hillary Clinton for the debacle at the VA. Never mind that it was Bush who sent everyone to war. I understood going into Afghanistan. That made sense, but Iraq? At some point the GOP is going to have to own this one and stop talking about how Bush kept us safe. The halls of every VA clinic and hospital are filled with the consequence of the decisions that man made, so stand up..be a man..accept responsibilty for the situation we have now and tell your cronies to shut up, particularly Mo Brooks. Rep. Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, wants to apparently have Hillary impeached upon taking the oath of office. Goddess help her, she’s not even President yet and the natives are already trying to destroy her. Nice to know at least this guy believes she will be our next President. Bet the rest of them think so too.

Our veterans aren’t guinea pigs to test whether or not our democracy works. Fund the damn VA. Give them anything they need. Take care of my husband and his fellow veterans. They were there for us in our hour of need. Have some integrity and stop abandoning them in their’s.

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This is Dental Care for Veterans?

No one likes going to the dentist, least of all me, and most of all my husband. He’s a disabled Vietnam veteran with full benefits. His medical, dental and anything else he needs is covered. It’s the promise we keep when they go to war on our behalf. Unfortunately, when they come home, it’s not always easy to get the care they not only deserve, but actually earned by their commitment to serving in the military. You know, for protecting us and all that good stuff. And if anyone has been paying attention, the VA is a mess right now. Even with all the so-called improvements, it’s still a mess.

We’ll be celebrating 36 years together in May. So, I know first hand how ridiculous things can get. I had two children, both c-sections without the family benefits we were supposed to receive. The first was paid for by another insurance I had. The second, we had to sell our truck to pay for him. We had nothing at all at that time. The VA couldn’t seem to figure out that we qualified for CHAMPUS, not CHAMPVA. So nothing went forward until a very nice woman in Salem by the name of Darlene listened to my story that I had told to anyone who would listen for the umpteenth time and explained to me what we needed to do, and then proceeded to do it all for me while I sat there in shock. I love that woman.

We finally had medical insurance. No vision or dental yet, but at least we had medical. That was in the eighties. Eventually, we got dental which initially didn’t pay much, but dentists in the network agree to accept Tricare’s fee schedule, so not paying full retail for services was something at least. Although each dental office signs a contract with Tricare when becoming a network dentist, I’ve only seen one that actually followed those guidelines. They increase their patient numbers as well as their income by appearing on a list of dentists that we then choose from so that we keep our costs down. We can go outside the network, but then we pay more. If they find that the payments are less than they like, they can always write a letter asking to be removed from the network. It takes about a month, and then they no longer appear on the list. Then they need to inform all their Tricare patients that their costs are about to increase. They avoid all of that drama by saying things like, well, our price is this. The contract they sign is apparently just an inconvenience. They want the clients. Just not the payment. You get the idea. I even had one send me a scathing two page letter explaining what deadbeats we were for wanting him to not breach the contract he signed with Tricare. He did this while on his way out the door to begin his retirement. He overcharged me as many have and then let the new guy send me the refund check. Another dentist had to refund me almost $400. I stopped going to her and went to this moron. Out of the frying pan, and into the fire.

We live so far away from the VA facility in Portland that they’ve always given Jerry the option to see someone locally for any care that he might need, unless it was simply too costly and then he’d go down there for care. Now that there’s a clinic locally, he doesn’t have to do that anymore for his medical needs. For any care he’s received, medical or dental, however, the VA has a fee scale they use for payment that not every doctor or dentist is comfortable with. Although clearly there’s overcharging in the medical world, I can’t actually blame any of them for not wanting to take on veterans. The problem doesn’t lie as much with them as it does with the VA and what they’re willing to pay. Watching costs is one thing, but it can’t be at the expense of a veteran’s care.

In 2008 or so, we found a guy locally that would take my insurance as well as see Jerry. When a crown I had him do broke, I contacted the VA to see if there was any more progress on approving Jerry’s work that they had supposedly sent in a request for. The receptionist at the dental office hadn’t been very nice to me when I called before to see if they had heard anything, so I wanted to confirm that they had indeed sent in a treatment request. I had a feeling that they didn’t, and unfortunately I was correct about that. Although he was the only dentist who respected Tricare’s fee schedule, I really didn’t appreciate being lied to, particularly when it had to do with Jerry’s care, so I went to another dentist, paid out of pocket for a new crown, and Jerry went to the VA in Portland. A couple of years ago, Jerry decided to go back to this same dentist in our area for an emergency. He felt comfortable enough to continue going there for emergency visits while going to the VA in between to see the dental resident. Sometime in November or December of last year, they sent in a request for some extensive treatment to the VA for approval.

Having heard nothing from the dentist office, we got up early to keep the appointment the VA dental resident set up for him months ago. I don’t know what made me call them before leaving that morning, but in fact, the VA had cancelled it without telling us. I don’t even want to think about Jerry’s reaction had we driven the 150 miles to the VA Hospital in Portland. I suggested that to the nice man on the phone and wouldn’t you know it, Jerry got another appointment for less than a week later.

So we get up at 4 am and make the trek to Portland. It was a 9 am appointment and by the time we got to the Ross Island Bridge (and yes, I know there are better routes than Powell to take) traffic was so backed up I had to call them to let them know we might be a few minutes late. Irony, a cruel bitch. Or, I’m just more responsible than the VA. Anyway, I drop him at the door, and I find a parking place. He’s still waiting to go in when I get there. Apparently when he gets in there, he unloads on the dental resident. Respectfully, I’m sure, because Jerry doesn’t know how to be anything else. Along with other issues, he shows them his bite and explains the problems he’s been having with it. And instead of taking the time to correct his bite, and after acknowledging it’s a mess, they decided to take more xrays. Again, no care, but lots of radiation. Jerry says every time the machine took a shot, a voice from the machine said, “radiation detected”. Jerry’s convinced that we won’t have to find his grave, we’ll just need a radiation detector, or we could just wait until dark. The glow from his grave ought to be enough. Or the sound of teeth grinding from the bite that was never adjusted…

Jerry called today to schedule his work and found that the original dentist retired. And then the best thing happened! He learned that the new guy is willing to take care of him. Yay! He also found out that the work the dental resident stated had already been approved for some time, was in fact going to take another week or two to ACTUALLY be approved. That’s a new one. Typically, if they say somethings been approved, it’s true. So now we have something new to contend with. It’s getting so old micromanaging people who should need none of this. As soon as the dental office is notified, they’ll call him to schedule the appointment. Finally.

Dental care for veterans shouldn’t amount to xrays, runaround, passing the buck, and extractions. He’s convinced they either want to radiate him to death or just let whatever toxins created by his lack of dental treatment do him in. He’s doing his part. He’s using a Sonicare, he oil-pulls with coconut oil, and he uses coconut based toothpaste that I make. He does everything they tell him to do. But when they cancel deep cleaning appointments and then can’t reschedule another until three or four months later, what good is it? Timing is everything and if too much goes by, then his dental health, and in turn the rest of his health, deteriorates.

I really feel for the new wave of veterans and their families. Our government goes to war on a lie and now we have an even bigger number of folks in the system who aren’t getting care. At least our boys are adults. I can’t imagine what families have to contend with now. Some of the stories I hear make anything we’ve dealt with seem like nothing. Do any of these warmongering right wing nutjobs want to deal with the nonsense we’ve dealt with all these years? Every time I turn on the news, another one wants to bomb Iran. And then there’s the idiot who’s complaining about the cost of Tricare. It’s too expensive. Well, so’s the price soldiers and their families pay when they serve this country during wartime. All my husband wants is to get his teeth taken care of like anyone else with insurance gets to do. He wants to be healthy. So does any other veteran out there.

They give their all. Sometimes things happen. Don’t abandon these people. They didn’t abandon us.