Kidney stones: a follow-up report

In May last year, I wrote about two over-the-counter, non-prescription “remedies” for kidney stones that I’d been trying out.  I reported considerable success with them at the time, and I’ve continued to use them since then.  I’ve also experimented with different dosages. I’m pleased to report that for the past eight months, I’ve been kidney-stone-free.  That’s a huge improvement for me compared to earlier, when I was passing a kidney stone every two to three months, and experiencing considerable pain associated with them.  In particular, I’ve narrowed down my dosage to two capsules every morning (half the recommended dose of two capsules morning

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The bloody ethics – or lack thereof – of organ transplants

Two articles caught my eye over the past few days, both dealing with different aspects of organ transplants. The first is from Quillette, and is titled “Bloody Harvest—How Everyone Ignored the Crime of the Century“.  It provides ghastly details of China’s harvesting of organs from political prisoners and prisoners of conscience – apparently including current Uighur detainees. In June of this year the China Tribunal delivered its Final Judgement and Summary Report. An independent committee composed of lawyers, human rights experts, and a transplant surgeon, the Tribunal was established to investigate forced organ harvesting on the Chinese mainland. These rumours

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Saturday Snippet: a Viking teaser

During my ongoing recovery from my heart attack last month, I’ve been trying to work on the books I have in progress.  It’s very difficult to write creatively when the new medication I’m taking makes me breathless, dizzy, and too easily tired.  The combination doesn’t do much for my muse!  As a result, when things get too confused, I put aside my regular projects and try to noodle on other things to get my mind out of the same old rut, and keep at least some creative juices flowing. The snippet below came to me a few weeks ago.  It may

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You think you’re tough? Try removing your own appendix!

I recently came across a fascinating article about a Russian doctor who cut out his own appendix, after being left with no alternative. During an expedition to the Antarctic, Russian surgeon Leonid Rogozov became seriously ill. He needed an operation – and as the only doctor on the team, he realised he would have to do it himself. . . . Rogozov was part of the sixth Soviet Antarctic expedition – a team of 12 had been sent to build a new base at the Schirmacher Oasis. The Novolazarevskaya Station was up and running by the middle of February 1961, and with their mission complete the group

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Ebola: just when things were looking up, the killing starts again

It had begun to look as if the authorities in the Congo, and the international medical teams, had started to get on top of the big Ebola outbreak there.  Sadly, their progress has just come to a grinding halt. Three health workers were killed when Mai-Mai fighters attacked a center run by the United Nations health agency overnight in Biakato, a local official, Salambongo Selemani, told The Associated Press. One resident also was killed and Congolese forces killed one attacker and captured two others, Mr. Selemani said. Warnings had been posted earlier demanding that the health workers leave or face “the

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Fake science, sexual reality, and gender identity

Last week I noted that the ACLU’s claim, that one can be a man and still have periods, get pregnant, etc., was scientifically false;  that sex was determined by the chromosomes, and they are definitive.  Since then, I’ve received a certain amount of pushback from transgender individuals and/or lobbyists, trying to persuade me (or browbeat me into accepting) that the science is rather more involved than that, and that gender fluidity and/or identification is not a matter of the chromosomes alone. I accept that psychological or psychiatric problems can lead some people to adopt a different mental outlook on their gender and

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African crawling cooties . . . nasty little things!

Westerners who visit Africa, particularly the off-the-beaten-track parts of Africa, often have little or no idea of the dangers involved.  Some are obvious:  war, terrorism, predatory animals, etc.  Others, such as disease, organisms, etc. are less so – but they’re no less dangerous.  I was reminded of one such organism by this news report. A British man nearly died after a parasite crawled up his penis and started laying eggs after he went for a swim in Lake Malawi in southeast Africa during a “holiday of a lifetime” with pals. . . . A week before Christmas he was diagnosed with schistosomiasis,

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Fraud and counterfeiting in medical supplies

I’ve been looking into emergency medical products to control bleeding, following my recent spell in hospital and subsequent developments.  I’ve been very fortunate to have Kelly Grayson as a friend.  He’s not only a very experienced paramedic, he’s won national awards in that field, and is about as knowledgeable as you can get as to what works and what doesn’t.  He’s pointed me in the direction of what I need (tourniquets, larger hemostatic wound dressings, etc.), and I’m in the process of buying it now. What’s astonished me is the amount of fraud and counterfeiting going on in that field.  There are certain types of

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Recovery is not as easy as I’d hoped

Following my adventures in hospital last week, I’ve been trying to get back on an even keel.  Progress has been in fits and starts, with a few more fits than I’d have preferred!  Still, I’m alive to work at it, which is a very good start. I’m on a new-fangled anticoagulant medication, because apparently the danger of blood clots in a newly-installed stent is very serious.  I’ll be on it for at least a year, and perhaps longer, depending on what my cardiologist decides.  (Affording it is going to be a problem;  it’s going to cost me hundreds of dollars a month, even

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Well, that was fun (NOT!)

In October 2009, I suffered a heart attack, that led to quadruple bypass surgery.  Since then, I’ve had other medical issues, but my heart has behaved itself. On Tuesday morning (November 5th, which is, perhaps appropriately in this case, Guy Fawkes Day), I had brunch about 10 a.m., carried on with my morning’s work, and took a brief nap during the early afternoon.  When I woke up, I had a tight feeling in my chest, not unlike indigestion, but it grew in intensity, centered over my heart, and I began to get radiated pain in my left arm.  Sounds familiar, no? I

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