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We salute the Grammy nomination of the late great Dave Van Ronk's final concert album:
". . . and the tin pan bended and the story ended . . ."
DVR Grammy CD
Watch the 47th Grammy's and look for DVR's Wife and Producer, Andrea Vuocolo Vanronk, and our beloved Christine Lavin [who helped edit it]
February 13, 2005 8PM on CBS.

click here

William Valdez is our Son-in-Law Extrodinaire.
You can support our troops via this site, and support William, personally, if you wish. His TFT ID is 1862195
Thank you!

don't recycle bush


Listen to Hober

US Faces of the Fallen:
•US Fatalities in Iraq

•US Fatalities; "Operation Enduring Freedom"

Civilian casualties update
  Thursday   February 26   2009

I spent a long talk yesterday on the phone with Karyn going over the assessment doc she sent me. This is the doc that goes out when the state applies for consideration of placement for Mom. There were a bunch of errors, or missing pieces, in the 28 pages!

Karyn and I finally hooked up yesterday after a long bout of telephone tag, and methinks it was way over an hour of chatting! youch!

She was very kind and patient (as was I ). She actually has a real clue as to who Gerry is from having spoken to, and visiting with, her in person, and seeing Mom doing her reading what is on a page correctly, then transition into "gerrywords". She's also noted and experienced her charm, sense of humor, her love of guys , and Mom's flirting & teasing etc etc. That is so encouraging! Unfortunately, we discussed again the decertification of WSH and how Mom has to leave this environment and full staff. Crap.

Earlier today I got a call from Dr Kaur. After Mom's fall from the 15th, and the low low BP (94/44), and our talk to back off the pain meds because of above plus I didn't like the idea of Mom not feeling ANY "normal" pain after the fall when I saw her, Mom has started to scream and act out and be unhappy in a big way increasing in the past 3 days or so. Since Dr Kaur and I spoke last Friday about backing off on the pain Rx, I'm sure it is related to it getting out of her system and all - but is it the pain that is back? or is it the sedation wearing off?

I asked if Dr Kaur would consult with Dr Olsen (psych doc) about maybe adding Atavan as not PRN, but use it to control her fear and mood in case it isn't the "pain" lashing out now. I also asked how soon does Atavan take effect. She said pretty quickly, so she thinks it's worth a shot to try first. So unless I get a call from Olsen, I'll presume it's all systems go.

I gave a "blanket" permish that Olsen can increase dose of Atavan is she thinks it's working but needs more, and if that doesn't help after a couple days, that it's ok for Dr Kaur to increase the Fentanyl patch.

Toes and fingers are crossed that Atavan will do the trick!!!

So that's the latest for GCG right now. xo+ to Mom and send good healthy vibes her way if you will!

 02:02 PM - link -    

I have no idea if this bit o' whimsy will work outside facebook, but just in case, here's the link.


I figure I'd share sending of good Karma just in case it does work.

 01:43 PM - link -    

  Tuesday   February 24   2009

I got this code from Hulu.com and thought it would be good to enter it on my blog:
FWIW, I wrote Obama a letter re: health care and economy and not to back-burner it. I was specific in my own story with Mom and WSH, and stranger things could happen, he could make it a priority after all because *I* asked and was so compelling .

Just a reminder - please, stay active, write your concerns to your representatives at a minimum. Make your voice heard.

 05:02 PM - link -    

  Monday   February 23   2009

Now you're getting the hang of it President Obama - Gary Locke I like!

Former Wash. Gov. Gary Locke Likely To Commerce

"Posted at 05:19 PM ET, 02/23/2009 Washington Post

Former Washington State Gov. Gary Locke is the likely pick to be commerce secretary, according to several senior White House officials.

Former WA Gov. Gary Locke
Former Washington governor Gary Locke, shown in this Jan. 2007 photo in Seattle, is expected to be named this as President Obama's nominee to head the Commerce Department.

Locke is the third nominee put forth by President Obama to head the Commerce Department. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson stepped aside after allegations of pay to play politics involving his administration cropped up, while New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg (R) removed himself from consideration after deciding his ideological differences with the administration were too great to overcome.

Locke, a Democrat, spent eight years as the governor of Washington State -- from 1996 until 2004 -- and before that served stints as the chief executive in King County (Seattle) and in the Washington state House.

When he was elected in 1995 Locke became the first -- and to date the only -- Chinese American to serve as the governor of a state.

During the 2008 presidential primary season, Locke was the co-chair of then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign and is personal friends with both Clinton and her husband -- former president Bill Clinton.

Obama swamped Clinton in Washington and, after she left the race, Locke threw his support to Obama.

Locke would be the third resident of the Evergreen State named to the Obama administration, following deputy HUD secretary-nominee Ron Sims and Seattle City Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske who reportedly has been tapped to serve as "drug czar."

Should he win confirmation Locke faces several challenges at Commerce, including the upcoming decennial census, the operation of which proved to be a key stumbling block for Gregg."
Washington Post staff writer Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report


 03:15 PM - link -    

  Friday   February 20   2009

I'm so frustrated. I just got off the phone with yet another state employee.

So many people who work for the State Healthcare and Eldercare divisions, including Western State Hospital, have been kind, supportive and hard workers.

But since the budget cut of 13 million late last year, the decision to place those that can not be "made well enough" or "rehabilitated" so they can live in the community again, has hurt so many residents, and most importantly to me, my own Mother.

Despite being told that "but for" (think tort law) the new mandate to not take into WSH, anybody who is unable to improve and re-enter society, Mom would NOT be ready for placement. Along with the budget cut came an new head of WSH who made this mandate.

With this policy, comes the threat that at some point, Mom will be placed out of WSH despite any family wishes and /or Gerry's specific personal needs! Only basic requirements will be met.

I asked what would happen if she's placed somewhere and it's not a match - would she be taken back at WSH?

The response was, depending on the reason it didn't work, she'd either be placed in a hospital for a while, or another place like United General who will muck with her meds again (I hear the subtext, sedation) and then she'll either placed back from where she was, or put into a new facility.
It [almost] goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, there will be no consideration on where she is placed relative to where I live and my ability to get there

S is doing his best, but there is a slew of pressure he's under, and a multitude of county requirements, and ECS, and RNS and other TLA rules and preferences including arcane formulas and bureaucratic crap he has to do and meet before S can even approach a place about placing Mom.

The places available for him to contact are limited.

On top of that, facilities refuse to take a medicaid patient their without having paid the "full rate" prior, for a time period from 18 months to 3 years.

When Mom was at Homeplace, they had me hold off on filing for Medicaid so that I could continue to pay for "required" 12 months at full price, so she could get the medicaid bed. Unfortunately, the over 5k I paid monthly, was money that was "wasted" as they ultimately did "street" Mom, which started this journey to the State jurisdiction, and our now being in this mess we're in here and now.

The State has no loyalty to the patient other than what is written in their directives and guidelines.

That is not to say that Mom's placement rep has not tried to work with me. He's very nice and is trying to do what is right for me and Mom, BUT, he works for the state and has to ultimately do what they tell him.

They apparently are not letting up on his not having pushed me into agreement for Mom go to that first AFH where they were willing to take her. That place was a long haul, and I was unfamiliar with any of the Medical community, from which I would have to choose a doctor. It's also a type of place that is totally inappropriate for my Mom's needs and preferences. It seems likely, that if something doesn't change or open up soon, Mom may be living even further from me and in a place that is a bad match.

This would be hell for Mom.

She will be freaked out by being moved from WSH to begin with. Then to be in a new (scary and unfamiliar) place, with a new staff and new MD with new rules will make her anxious and frightened on a new level. If that place doesn't work for her, a hospital stay in store for her, and it is double hell; she has been restrained physically before, because hospitals do NOT have a staff trained to work with Alz or dementia patients. From there, to be placed in yet another facility, with us needing to find another new MD and work to get him /her "up to speed" means even more of Mom's world changing yet again, after her having some semblance of recognition comfort, is inhuman and inhumane and wrong wrong wrong to do to my Mom!

Once she's out of WSH, they'll never take her back. Finished. Hands wiped of Gerry. Done. That's why I'm being such a pest to get her placed in the best possible facility where she'll have the most chance of success, and with her health continuing to fail, one the closest it can be to me.

I CAN'T have her going through so many changes, when even the simplest routine change is terrifically upsetting for her. Her world feels so unstable for her now with this insidious disease, to make it even more frightening is untenable! I can't allow it!

..and yet I have no power and no choice.
Being on disability, I don't have "disposable income" that I can use for Mom's care. Her funds are virtually gone, just a few "k" left for her personal needs that we provide for her beyond what Medicaid does.

This is so frustrating and leaves me spent emotionally spiritually, physically and psychically.
What more can I do?

Please send healing, protective light Mom's way, and think positive thoughts for a good placement.

 03:35 PM - link -    

  Thursday   February 19   2009

MY OH MY! Ken Griffey Jr.  he's back He's ba-aaack! Methinks
it's time to get tickets again for the games in '09 cuz the M's are coming back strong with the latest news:

M's notation
"© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
02/19/09 12:44 AM EST

Griffey headed back to Mariners

Future Hall of Famer returning to where storied career began
By Jim Street / MLB.com

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ken Griffey Jr. is coming home.
The future Hall of Fame outfielder, who began his Major League career with the Mariners 20 years ago this year, has decided to return to Seattle.

"I can't begin to tell you how ecstatic all of us are," said general manager Jack Zduriencik after announcing the deal in the press room at the Peoria Sports Complex at about 6:30 p.m. MT. "He is as well. I spoke to Brian [Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg] a few minutes ago, and he said that Ken is relieved and he is excited about coming back to Seattle."

Griffey accepted the Mariners' one-year contract offer, which includes a $2 million base salary and up to $2.5 million in incentives -- based on at-bats and attendance. His return to Safeco Field is expected to lure at least 200,000 additional fans this season.

Exactly when Griffey will report to Spring Training was not immediately determined.

But the mere fact Griffey decided to return to his MLB roots has the organization on cloud nine.

"I can get rather emotional about things, and I definitely got emotional this morning when I got off the plane [in Seattle] and got a phone call from Brian," Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said. "He asked if I was on the ground and outside the plane. I told him I was, and he said, 'Ken wants to talk to you.'

"Ken got on the phone and kind of played with me a little bit before telling me he was coming back. I am not ashamed to tell you I teared up."

The 39-year-old Griffey is expected to bring No. 24 out of storage when he arrives and goes to work providing run production and leadership in the clubhouse.

"With his experience, he's been there, done that," Zduriencik said. "There's not going to be anything he's going to see that he hasn't been through before. He's going to relate to some of the young players on this ballclub. He's going to relate to some of the veteran players and those who are in between, those players who are just about to take off.

"If I'm a young player on this ballclub, I've got to be pretty excited. I'm going to have my ears open, I'm going to listen to what he says and I'm going to watch him. He's going to bring a lot to the table that you're not going to be able to measure in the box score."

Zduriencik said the Mariners decided several weeks ago to pursue MLB's active home run leader.

"It was a baseball decision," Zduriencik said. "His health was probably the most important thing because at the end of last year he had the physical issues, and not a lot of us knew that. We had conversations with Brian, and it became clear that he [Griffey] was not 100 percent healthy [during most of the 2008 season].

"More than anything else, a few weeks ago we made this decision that this was the guy, and we were getting excited about the medicals we were getting. When we sat and talked, it kept becoming clear that it would be a good fit for us."

Armstrong traveled to Monterey, Calif., last week to meet Griffey face-to-face and gauge his desire to return to Seattle. Junior, playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament, told Armstrong that he wanted to come back and why.

Griffey met with Zduriencik and manager Don Wakamatsu for about two hours on Sunday during a stopover on his return flight to Orlando, Fla., and he underwent a complete physical at the Peoria Sports Complex. Griffey passed.

Meanwhile, across the country, the Braves also decided Griffey would be a good fit in their lineup and used Chipper Jones as the primary lure.

In fact, for the past several days, it appeared that Griffey would sign with the Braves. Negotiations were moving at a steady pace until Tuesday afternoon, when the veteran outfielder learned of a report in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that indicated he'd already decided to play in Atlanta.

But Griffey told MLB.com in a telephone interview later that morning that he had not made his decision and was "still kicking things around with my family."

Between the newspaper story and a phone call Wednesday morning from Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays, Griffey decided mid-afternoon on Wednesday that his career was making an about-face, going back to where it began.

"We've talked all along about coming up with a left-handed hitter, and we have an opportunity to do that in bringing back Ken Griffey Jr.," Zduriencik said. "His leadership, his experience and him coming back is a tremendous, tremendous thing for this organization. From top to bottom, we're very excited about him coming here."

Griffey began his storied career in Seattle 20 years ago as a 19-year-old kid with a fabulous personality and smile to match.

He hit home runs -- 398 of them -- and made spectacular catches. He was selected to 10 consecutive All-Star teams, won 10 Gold Gloves and one Most Valuable Player Award (1997).

He no longer is that player, but the surgery he had on his left knee last October to repair a partially torn meniscus -- apparently injured when he hit his knee against a truck inside the Reds clubhouse -- has completely healed, and he's ready to go.

The methodical Mariners were the last organization interested in signing Griffey to request a medical report on the operation. Junior received a clean bill of health and lost about 15 pounds.

"This is the one player, at the end of the day, that we thought we needed to bring home," Zduriencik said. "Chuck's relationship with Ken was fantastic, but at no time were we pressured by either Chuck or Howard [CEO Howard Lincoln] to do this."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. Mariners.com"

M's logo

Where's the Kingdome when you need it but seriously folx, Safeco is grande! If I can't be near my Boston Red Sox, then the M's make left coast living easy!

 02:06 AM - link -    

  Sunday   February 15   2009

Who'd a thunk it? I'm quite stoked to see that the military is seeing the proverbial light re: healthcare and the "new-age" over 2000 year old practice of acupuncture is being utilized !!!

Combat Doctors To Use Acupuncture

KAMALA LANE / January 30, 2009 07:13 AM EST

Read More: Army Acupuncture, Us Army Alternative Medicine, Us Army Doctor, Us Army Medicine, War Wire, World News

Martha Lewis, 62, has a tiny gold acupuncture needle inserted in her ear by Air Force physician Col. Richard Niemtzow, at the acupuncture clinic on Andrews Air Force Base, Md. on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON — Chief Warrant Officer James Brad Smith broke five ribs, punctured a lung and shattered bones in his hand and thigh after falling more than 20 feet from a Black Hawk helicopter in Baghdad last month.

While he was recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, his doctor suggested he add acupuncture to his treatment to help with the pain.

On a recent morning, Col. Richard Niemtzow, an Air Force physician, carefully pushed a short needle into part of Smith's outer ear. The soldier flinched, saying it felt like he "got clipped by something." By the time three more of the tiny, gold alloy needles were arranged around the ear, though, the pain from his injuries began to ease.

"My ribs feel numb now and I feel it a little less in my hand," Smith said, raising his injured arm. "The pain isn't as sharp. It's maybe 50 percent better."

Acupuncture involves placing very thin needles at specific points on the body to try to control pain and reduce stress. There are only theories about how, why and even whether it might work.

Regardless, the ancient Chinese practice has been gradually catching on as a pain treatment for troops who come home wounded.

Now the Air Force, which runs the military's only acupuncture clinic, is training doctors to take acupuncture to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. A pilot program starting in March will prepare 44 Air Force, Navy and Army doctors to use acupuncture as part of emergency care in combat and in frontline hospitals, not just on bases back home.

They will learn "battlefield acupuncture," a method Niemtzow developed in 2001 that's derived from traditional ear acupuncture but uses the short needles to better fit under combat helmets so soldiers can continue their missions with the needles inserted to relieve pain. The needles are applied to five points on the outer ear. Niemtzow says most of his patients say their pain decreases within minutes.

The Navy has begun a similar pilot program to train its doctors at Camp Pendleton in California.

Niemtzow is chief of the acupuncture clinic at Andrews Air Force Base. He's leading the new program after training many of about 50 active duty military physicians who practice acupuncture.

The U.S. military encountered acupuncture during the Vietnam War, when an Army surgeon wrote in a 1967 edition of Military Medicine magazine about local physicians who were allowed to practice at a U.S. Army surgical hospital and administered acupuncture to Vietnamese patients.

Niemtzow started offering acupuncture in 1995 at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Several years later, he became the first full-time military medical acupuncturist for the Navy, which also provides health care for the Marines.

Later, he established the acupuncture clinic at the Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews, and he continued to expand acupuncture by treating patients at Walter Reed and other Air Force bases in the country and in Germany. Niemtzow and his colleague Col. Stephen Burns administer about a dozen forms of acupuncture (including one type that uses lasers ) to soldiers and their families every week.

Col. Arnyce Pock, medical director for the Air Force Medical Corps, said acupuncture comes without the side effects that are common after taking traditional painkillers. Acupuncture also quickly treats pain.

"It allows troops to reduce the number of narcotics they take for pain, and have a better assessment of any underlying brain injury they may have," Pock said. "When they're on narcotics, you can't do that because they're feeling the effects of the drugs."

Niemtzow cautions that while acupuncture can be effective, it's not a cure-all.

"In some instances it doesn't work," he said. "But it can be another tool in one's toolbox to be used in addition to painkillers to reduce the level of pain even further."

Smith says the throbbing pain in his leg didn't change with acupuncture treatment but that the pain levels in his arm and ribs were the lowest they've been since he was injured. He also said that he didn't feel groggy afterward, a side-effect he usually experiences from the low-level morphine he takes.

Ultimately, Niemtzow would like troops to learn acupuncture so they can treat each other while out on missions. For now, the Air Force program is limited to training physicians.

He says it's "remarkable" for the military, a "conservative institution," to incorporate acupuncture.

"The history of military medicine is rich in development," he said, "and a lot of people say that if the military is using it, then it must be good for the civilian world"


 03:42 PM - link -    

What a hoot! I've become an Obamasized Icon! Not as much fun as being
Simpsonized, but a hoot nonetheless!

jlg heal


 02:11 PM - link -    

Just when I thought that the medical community finally had their act together post CDC endorsing the reality of Fibromyalgia, apparently the naysayers are making headlines by nit-picking, and picking on FMS again. Here we go again!!!

Below is a letter from NFA to an article dated Feb 8th 2009.

FM Community Responds to AP Article

"The Associated Press article by Matthew Perrone (February 8, 2009, “Drugmakers’ push boosts ‘murky’ aliment) has drawn several comments. Click here to read the article.

See below to read the NFA’s response to the Associated Press as well as comments and letters by others.

Focus on the Facts
The recent Associated Press story on fibromyalgia hardly qualifies as news; it merely regurgitates the same arguments that have been published in the past and offers the opinions of the same two men who have built careers out of drawing attention away from the hundreds of scientists who continue to make amazing scientific strides toward understanding the underlying cause(s) and pathophysiology of what fibromyalgia patients experience. By perpetuating this message, the article implies that it is more acceptable to debate names or labels for this “set of symptoms” and to point fingers at the usual “villains” (i.e.: pharma and the nonprofits who accept money from them), than to focus on the millions of desperate patients who deserve to have a voice in the discussion. The fact is that credible medical institutions and organizations recognize fibromyalgia as a life-altering disease; the fact is that patients who suffer with FM depend on the medical system (including pharmaceutical companies) to help them inform the public that this is a very real illness and that they need treatments, including pharmaceutical agents, to help them get through each day—and to look forward to some sort of quality of life in the future.

This article misinforms readers in a way that undermines and victimizes innocent people. By telling only selective parts of the story the author is perpetuating misperceptions and making it difficult, if not impossible, for readers to grasp what is truly important: that we need to stop debating and pointing fingers and start asking why it is perceived as acceptable to stigmatize a patient population just because medical research hasn’t yet provided us with all the information needed to understand that particular illness. Every illness seems to go through a stage of having to prove its legitimacy, but why should the patients be suspect during that phase of research?

Why would AP print information that is simply not true—i.e.: people with fibromyalgia are “more likely to have a history of mental illness and are economically disadvantaged?” That is totally false, as is the writer’s statement that the National Fibromyalgia Research Association received pharma money to fund Dr. Clauw’s functional MRI study. The money for all of the NFRA’s funded research came from the founder (the husband of a fibromyalgia patient), general donations, and revenue generated from a nonprofit bingo game. (Yes, the FM community has had to rely on bingo games to fund our research!)

How can we allow the system to fail millions of people whose only “fault” is to have developed a devastating illness? Along with the rest of the fibromyalgia patient community, I look forward to the day when society (including the medical community, the media, and our government agencies) accepts the responsibility of treating fibromyalgia patients like any other group of chronically ill patients; when it is a given that fibromyalgia will be further studied, that treatments will be developed and made accessible to patients, that the media presents the facts rather than perpetuating threadbare controversies.

Now that would be news worth printing."

Lynne Matallana
President, National Fibromyalgia Association

BTW, with my personal health issues, I have recently been lucky enough to be able to remove myself from a lot of medicine I had been taking, thus my outlook is more wholistic, and prefer chinese herbs for my approach towards healing, but if they came up with some Rx that would finally CURE FMS, I'd be on it like a ...er, let's say I'd be in line for my dose!
..Grant me the strength...Peace!

 02:01 PM - link -    

  Saturday   February 7   2009

Hopefully this will be resolved soonest, but until then, here's a PSA widget. I was surprised at the breadth of products, even "natural" "healthy" name brands that are on the list.

FDA Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak 2009. Flash Player 9 is required.


 01:33 AM - link -    

  Sunday   February 1   2009

I have joined facebook and have been dipping into the past. There is a WH CT group which had this nifty shot of West Hartford Center--prolly early 60s methinks...but the layout is the same .

West Hartford Center ~60's
Maxwell Drugs, Gillman's WH Inc and South Seas

We used to have to put tons of bugstuff on the South Seas side of our store, where the dressing rooms were, and out Coats (left side if entering from the front of the store). This is West Hartford Center in the earlier days. It has changed a LOT. You can see to the left, a triangle jutting out, that is Central Theatre, one of my first, outside of Gillman's jobs. Loved it!

 02:33 PM - link -    

"walk this way..." Igor [prnounced Eye-gore] from "Young Frankenstien" [pronounced Steen] -- there's more!