Friday, December 27, 2013

Religion and Me

I posted this as a response over at Ashok's blog to his avowed atheism coupled with appreciation of the beauty of spirit shone him by some believers:

I am not an atheist, but I do not believe in “an omnipotent person looking over you,” for there are very different ways to construct being and its roots. Indeed, I have never seen any of the descriptions of ultimate reality to match my vision in any of the religions, but I can see all of them as local representations of it, each with greater or lesser distortion and none of them complete. I am nonetheless appreciative of the truth of the serious believer when shone in love and humility.

And, I love that we all share seats in a magnificent mystery!

For once, I expressed well what I feel within.  I am like the new Pope, if a person is atheist and lives well, with compassion, caring and justice, I have embrace them.  If a person is a believer and lives poorly in terms of caring and love, I don't see salvation in their belief.


This is a sad post.  We as a family have been incredibly blessed this holiday season with the healthy birth of our newest addition, Newbie Fossil.  We had a much closer flirt with disaster, however, with the drowning and resuscitation of Innocence Fokker, my daughter's neice.  The doctors said she only had a 7% chance of even survival, so we count her full recovery as blessing beyond belief!  Our experience with Innocence made us very sensitive to the plight of kids in danger and, unfortunately, of kids dying.  

On the same day that Innocence drowned, 2 other children drowned in the same area.  Innocence was the only one to survive.

On the day that Innocence was released from the hospital, a 13 year-old girl was brought into the same hospital for a routine tonsillectomy.  But, routine or not, she began bleeding and went into cardiac arrest over the next few days.  She has been declared brain dead by several specialists.  Still,the family refuses to have her removed from life support and now it has been announced (as I've been typing this piece) that she will be transferred to a long term care facility.

The sadness we feel and the empathy runs VERY deep!  However, the scientist in me no longer has any hope, for brain death cannot be recovered from.  If ever she recovers, it will indeed be miraculous.  Short of that miracle, I fear that this will be a source of further pain for the family in ways hard to imagine.

Rarely, something like the recovery of Innocence happens.  Unfortunately, all too often, broken is broken and there is no repair available.  And there is no broken worse than that which happens to your child.

I hope that the other members of the Loose Blogger Consortium, listed on the right, have happier takes on this topic.  Nothing in me would be happier than being wrong about this 13 year-old.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


In this holiday season - and a quite unusual, intense and busy one for me and mine, I might add - I am running a bit late on my LBC blogging.  But, Maria / Gaelikaa brought this topic to us and I am determined to do my part!  Today, I will be channeling another person, a little person who will be a regular participant from this point forward.

Hi, I'm the newest member of the family, Newbie Fossil!  It isn't easy coming out of one of the nicest spas in the universe to the harsh light of day.  The responsibilities they lay on a kid!  Wake up.  Eat.  Poop.  Sleep.  Repeat.  I mean, it is unending!

Oh, and did I tell you that they packed me up from the hospital and brought me to some place they call home?

I think this is more work than it's supposed to be, right?  I mean, it even wears out my Dad:

I mean, Mom is carrying a load right now and I get how she could be tired:

Still, all of us women in this family hang together and she seems to be doing great in spite of it all!

If they can do it, I can do it!  I'm determined!

But, there are times ...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Is Global Peace Possible?

Ramana can at times throw a hard one at the LBC for the weekly topic.  Wow.  Well, here goes.

The optimist and the realist in me live in different time periods on this one.  In the present, there seems to be no viable path to global peace.  Human evolution just isn't at that stage and I can only see it happening with a few more millennia of progress.  If we can possibly survive to that point.

There is the rub.  Survival to the point that peace could be global.  We are on several collision courses in the path to global peace, and the most alarming is the one capable of triggering all the other disasters we fear most, the one that can truly bring the Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse - Conquest (or Pestilence), War, Famine and Death - into our presence.  That single source is not JUST iniquity, although the true believers of the literal will no doubt fault me on this, it is the inevitable collision with reality that an unsupportable population brings.

At our current acceleration of population, we are heading for a collapse of the bridge to the human future, for we will be unable to supply the resources necessary to sustain ourselves.  This, under present reckoning, is an unavoidable fact.  The result is the entrance of the Four Horsemen and the less literal interpretation is that these are the necessary forces that will come into play as the conflict of over populating hits the full tipping point.

We are already well on our way and can see the results all around us.  We have global warming.  We are polluting.  People are starving.  We have wars.  Ultimately, many people will die on a mass scale.

But ... this is where the optimist in me walks in, my internal version of the True Believer.  Given mankind's drive to survive, it will become apparent even to the ignorant that extinction is a very real possibility.  Existence itself will become intolerable on a more massive scale and humankind will either need to mount a massive defense of its viability ... or die.  When confronted with these options, it is amazing what people can do.

Is global peace possible?  Yes, I think so.  But it looks like a great deal of trauma may be necessary to truly awaken us to a better potential.  Do you agree?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Brain of Innocence ...

... suffered no damage!  The word just came in from the neurologist.

And, more good news: she is now walking around on her own!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Innocence's Hero

If you have not read the prior article on what happened to Innocence Fokker, I encourage you to read so that you can appreciate what is to follow.

When Innocence was discovered not breathing and without a pulse floating in the pool, she was immediately brought inside by her father.  An immediate call was made to 911 and her grandfather began doing cpr.

What was unknown to the family was that two experts were walking in their neighborhood at that time, a firefighter and his wife, a nurse.  American firefighters are very fit, very strong people capable of fighting fires in the greatest of extremity.  But, as I have been told in the past, over 90% of their calls are EMT (Emergency Medical Treatment) calls and they are very advanced in emergency treatment.

As this firefighter received the call on the radio attached to his belt, he realized the address was close by.  He immediately took off at a sprint with his wife following.  He arrived at the home and entered, immediately beginning emergency medical treatment of Innocence.  I do not know the details, but I know that he was maintaining a regimen of 100 compressions per minute and sustained that until the ambulance could arrive and even in the ambulance, then going with the ambulance to the hospital. From there, the earlier story picks up the narrative.

As Ramana commented: "At a cynical age when the medical profession is getting flack for negligence, this is a welcome change."  Agreed, but there are those around us ready to be heroic at a moment's notice, people geared to act and help.  There is not enough gratitude in the world for what they do for people they have never met just because it is the right thing to do, because they have huge hearts and great courage!

To a man I have never met, to a man I do not know, "Thank you!"

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Death and Resurrection of Innocence

This week, our whole family has gone through Hell and returned to tell the tale.  Everything I am going to tell you is the truth as reported to and experienced by me and only the names have been changed, because I don't want anyone unfamiliar with the people to invade their privacy at any level.

My son-in-law, Flash Fokker, has a twin brother, Twin Fokker, and Twin and his wife, TwinWife Fokker, have a beautiful little girl, Innocence Fokker.  This story is so poignant and so troubling that I am going to give you the spoiler that the ending is pretty good, because I don't want it to tear you up like it did us.

This past Sunday, the Lady Fossil came down the hall with cell phone in hand to tell me that Innocence Fokker had been found in the swimming pool unbreathing and with no pulse!  Lafawnda and Flash had been at a shopping center shopping for Christmas gifts when they heard and they had immediately set out for the home of Twin.  They learned on the way that Innocence was being airlifted to a regional children's medical center about 15 miles from our home.  All of us had started the trip to Hell.

Lafawnda and Flash actually arrived at the medical center before anyone else, including the copter with Innocence.  Soon, the direct grandparents gathered along with Twin and TwinWife.  Innocence arrived and was taken in for emergency treatment.

The doctor emerged to tell everyone that the chances were high that Innocence would not make it.  No one knew how long she had been in the pool and she was discovered clinically dead.  She was intubated and a pulse had been restored, but there were no guarantees of survival or of safety from severe brain damage if survive she did.

The doctors fought like the warriors of peace that they are with this little girl and by the morning, she was stabilized in a medically induced coma.  She had tubes and IV's everywhere and she was wrapped in a special cold blanket designed to keep the body temperature low.  Her temperature in the pool had dropped to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and it had returned to the normal 98.6 degrees.  This hypothermia was a possible saving grace for one so young, because it can prevent brain damage and tissue deterioration.

For the next two days, she was kept unconscious.  She was on a ventilator, but the doctors noted that her organs were still functioning.

The next day was her second birthday (can you think of anything more poignant) and the staff and other parents of very ill children brought her all kinds of presents.

A brain scan was conducted for 12 hours and the neurologist only said that during that time, she had no seizures.  Still, everything was looking as good as possible.

The next day, they started lowering the sedation and she began waking up.  And she smiled at her Daddy!  She had a long way to go, but she was able to recognize the people around her before she lapsed back into a deep sleep!

Well, each day has involved all of us watching the recovery of Innocence and helping our kids with the experience they were having every evening.  It is one of the more taxing stretches we have ever experienced, for none of us were in a situation to falter.

Innocence is exhausted as I write this, but she is out of the ICU and has started going through rehab, and the team working with her are some of the best in the world.  We are soooo relieved even though we don't know still if she will have any damage and aftereffects.  We know that she watches her favorite movies and laughs at her favorite spots.

Now I show you Innocence Fokker, a little girl who has been dead and has returned, as she looked yesterday:

And THAT is beauty!  Thank you Delores for bringing this topic to the LBC this week.  Your sychronicity was perfect!

I will have a followup, for there is a true hero in this story and I want him to get his due.  But, for now, this is enough.