Archive for September, 2009

Personal Update – 29 Sep 09

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I am cancer free, my friends.

I feel very blessed.  I’ve dodged one of life’s great bullets and get a chance to go on with an open future.

Thanks to all of you who have followed this health saga of mine and who have expressed their concerns and compassions.   It has all been much appreciated.

Climate change: answers to every question you ever had

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The Greens down in New Zealand have posted an excellent article which refutes most of the arguments that climate change deniers have ever brought up.   It is a great summary and well worth reading.

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Rather than reproduce part of their article here and make you then follow a link to read the rest, let’s just push you right through the link here, eh?

Link to the New Zealand Greens answers article here: 

Personal update – 20 Sep 09

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Dear friends and readers.   It has been some time again since I’ve posted much here on Samadhisoft.   As some of you know, there have been a lot of things going on in my personal life that have preoccupied me since July.

To quickly recap.

My wife had divorce proceedings served on me on July 2nd.

Exactly two weeks later on July 16th, my Urologist gave me the results from a Prostate Biopsy and I found out I had Prostate Cancer.

After a crash self-education course on my options, I elected to have my Prostate removed since all indications were that we’d caught it early and it was still fully contained within the Prostate gland.

On August 11th, I underwent a robotic ‘da Vinci’ Prostatectomy at Swedish Hospital here in Seattle.

On August 19th, I went into my surgeon’s office to have my catheter removed and to get the Pathologist’s report on my Prostate.  The report confirmed that the tumor was indeed, fully contained within the Prostate.  My surgeon told me that this result meant that I had about a 95% chance of being Prostate cancer free.

It is now September 20th.   I’ve recovered well from the physical surgery.  I still have minor issues with incontinence but these are said to improve for most folks over time.   Impotence is also an issue but recovery from that side effect generally takes six weeks to three months and I’m only about five weeks post surgery now.

The truth is, for me personally, neither of these factors weighs very heavily on me compared to dodging the cancer bullet.

I go in this coming Wednesday to see my surgeon for what I believe will be my last post operative visit.   He’ll draw blood and run a PSA test and that’s when we’ll get some indication if I do, indeed, fall into the 95% cancer-free group or if I’m one of the unlucky 5% folks in whom the cancer cells escaped from the Prostate into the body before the Prostate was removed.   My PSA level should measure as zero, if all the Prostate cells are gone from my body.

On the divorce front, things are still proceeding.   Here in Washington State in the U.S., all divorces have to undergo a 90 day cooling off period so the folks involved can see, after their emotions have subsided a bit, if divorce is what they still really want.

Oddly, in our case, I was strongly opposed to the divorce when my wife first had the papers served on me.   But, now that most of the 90 days have elapsed, I’ve decided that I do want to proceed with the divorce and she’s begun to express some doubts.

There’s also the issue of how we will split up our assets. It is complicated since we own a business and five pieces of real estate.   Originally, we told the court that we would provide the court a document detailing how we wanted to split our assets by mutual agreement.

But, thus far, this mutual agreement hasn’t been forth coming.

An, in the mean time, I am still departing for New Zealand in late November on what will very likely be a permanent move.   I’m packing boxes of my personal books and possessions and I’ve arranged for these and my motorcycle to be shipped by sea.

So, there’s been a lot going on here and it has distracted me greatly from Blogging.  But, things will settle and I will likely resume.

I’m still following the news most days via my trusty RSS reader which I’ve set to trawl through 50 to 100 different websites and Blogs.

I’m still deeply convinced that the world is coming to a time of inexorable changes and they are not going to be pretty.

I may still post an occasional piece here if something intense arises.  But, until my personal life sorts itself a out a bit, I’d be surprised if I will post a lot.

Stay well my friends, stay flexible in your thinking and always consider your options – you always have some!

That’s about right

Thursday, September 17th, 2009


-research thanks to the Blog:

Money-Driven Medicine

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

healthcare_costs– A friend, who is an M.D., sent me these links.   Here’s a professional expose of what’s wrong with America’s healthcare system.   And I guarantee you, folks, that without serious agitation from the common man in the streets, it is going to stay this way because big big money is involved and for them, profits come before people.


– Video: Bill Moyers – Money-Drive Medicine – Part 1

– Video: Bill Moyers – Money-Drive Medicine – Part 2

– Video: Bill Moyers – Interviews Wendell Potter

And more on Wendell Potter, Healthcare and Rescission

– Research thanks to Hans D.

More on Healthcare

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

– A friend of mine who is following the Healthcare debate sent me the following.   It speaks for itself so I’m just going to publish it as is.

– If you find yourself wondering if you are seeing a pattern here, follow this link for a series of stories all on the same subject.  Sobering stuff, indeed. 

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As the health care debate rages onward, here comes yet another article debunking the “threat” of socialized medicine…and note that this article was issued almost at the beginning of the so-called debate on health care. Haven’t seen it? Hmmm, not surprising — as mentioned in my last sending on this subject, the health care industry is spending $1.5 MILLION dollars each DAY to pay lobbyists to both prevent these aritcles and the keep their current profitable system in place…all of which is funded BY YOUR PREMIUMS. And if that’s just what they’re paying lobbyists, imagine what they’re paying advertisers, other media and (gasp) Congress folk! Check out the bill…so far, it’s come to about $65,000 per Congress person (slightly higher for Republicans but that’s about average, even for “Blue Dog” Democrats).   But hey, it’s your money…your health…your Senator or Representative…your say.

Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by

The Truth about Socialized Medicine

by Audrey Mayer

I have been hearing a lot of pundits and politicians bemoan “socialized medicine” and its supposed inefficiencies and inequities. These horror stories are never accompanied by data, just hearsay and anecdotes from “a friend of a friend” in Canada or the United Kingdom. Rarely have I heard from people who have themselves experienced a universal public health care system. As one of those people, I thought I should speak up.

While living in Finland for three years, I experienced socialized medicine up close and personal. I gave birth to my son there.

Finland’s public health care system is run by a government agency called KELA, and the doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health care workers are government employees. KELA usually covers 100% of the cost of most services at public clinics, with small copayments for prescriptions and hospital stays that are scaled to a patient’s income. Finland also has many private clinics that are available to those who want to use them, where patients pay the extra cost of the private service (KELA will pay up to what the service would cost at a public clinic). When you visit a clinic or hospital you present your KELA card at the reception desk, and if a payment is necessary you can pay at the clinic, or a bill can be sent to your home.

All Finnish citizens and permanent residents are eligible for KELA benefits, as are immigrants on work and political asylum visas. I was eligible for the KELA system because I was in Finland on a work visa, and I paid income and social services taxes from my paychecks. Yes the taxes were high, about 40% of my gross pay. However, it is comparable to my take-home pay here in the US once I factor in my health insurance premiums, deductibles, and copayments, along with my income and social security taxes.

The care that I received in Finland throughout my pregnancy and childbirth, and for the first 9 months of my son’s life, was simply amazing. I saw the same nurse and doctor for monthly pregnancy checks (and later they were my son’s primary medical caregivers); their offices were in the same hallway. Both women knew us by name and by sight, and always remembered what we had discussed for the previous visit. Routine ultrasounds were performed at the maternity hospital; my nurse made each appointment for me and I simply showed up at the hospital for the procedure. When my labor started I headed to the maternity hospital, and the hospital’s nurses and doctors knew exactly who I was, as my medical files were available to them through KELA’s computerized filing system. (Patients must sign a form that allows their medical files to be accessible by other medical facilities, so a patient’s privacy rights are protected.) Every nurse coming on duty reviewed my file before seeing me, and so my discussions with them were focused on what my son and I needed at the moment, not what had been done during the previous shifts. After my emergency Cesarean operation and a four day stay in the hospital, only one bill was waiting for us when we got home, for a total of 260 Euros.

I never had to wait to see a medical professional, nor was any necessary procedure delayed or denied. Every nurse and doctor I saw was caring and knowledgeable, and spent whatever time was necessary to make sure that I received the care I needed.

I have now been living and working back in the US for 6 months, and already I have had problems with my health insurance plan through my employer. I found out the hard way (that is, at the doctor’s office after my son’s vaccination visit) that my son had been arbitrarily dropped from my plan months before, even though I had been paying the premiums for the family plan all along. It took almost a week of phone calls to get him reinstated. All the while, I privately wondered if the two ear infections he had had in the spring had prompted some computer at the health insurance company to calculate that he was “overusing” the system, and automatically drop his coverage.

That may seem like paranoid thinking, but I have seen it all before. In 2001, my mother was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Instead of focusing her strength and attention on recovering from a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, she spent much of her time arguing with the health insurance company and the hospital over bills she had already paid, and routine treatments that should have been covered by her insurance plan. Ultimately she lost her insurance altogether when she lost her job, and she has since been living in remission, uninsured.

When these pundits and politicians go onto national television and spew all sorts of false rhetoric about the evils of socialized medicine, it makes my blood boil. They are doing an incredible disservice to their fellow Americans, both those with and without health insurance. For every anecdote they have about a Canadian waiting six months for necessary open heart surgery, I can find twenty Americans for whom that equally necessary surgery is completely out of reach. Now is the time for an honest assessment about what (if anything) can be salvaged from our current system, and to put a system in place that does what it is supposed to do: provide health care.

Audrey Mayer is an assistant professor at Michigan Technological University, focused on sustainability research and education.