Medicine 4

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Childbirth

Most mothers since the beginning of time had given birth at home with midwives or other women in attendance. It was a long, painful and exhausting experience. Finally in the 1850s wealthy women were offered some relief from ether after it was used for Queen Victoria during her labor. Following the Queen’s lead ether, chloroform, and even laughing gas in the United States, were administered for decades to women able to afford delivery in a hospital. Because some doctors were better trained than others babies being born at home were likely to have had safer births without the effects of these gases.

Painless Childbirth

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Page 1106 in our 1910 manuscript states that a method of “painless childbirth” had been developed by doctors, Bernard Kronig and Carl Gause, in Germany. Hallelujah! Just what every woman in the world had been hoping for. It sounded wonderful, even the name “Twilight Sleep” (Dämmerschlaf in German) was promising. Doctors from the US went to Germany to learn to use this new miracle combination of drugs that would herald childbirth without pain. Soon gas was out of favor and powerful drugs were in. 

Twilight sleep was said to be “especially suited to the requirement of nervous women.” I find it interesting that men were so sure what women needed in view of the fact that not one of them had passed a bowling-ball-sized human through their loins. To this day many men are inclined to have very strong opinions about a woman’s body and what she should be allowed to do with it, but back to the topic at hand. 

Twilight Sleep

Twilight Sleep was made up of a combination of morphine and scopolamine. Morphine is derived from opium and acts on the central nervous system, causing pain relief. Scopolamine comes from a mixture of nightshade plants. It causes patients to fall into a semi-conscious state resulting in amnesia.

Both drugs are still in use today, but not routinely with labor patients. Morphine is a powerful and useful pain reliever that can lead to opioid dependence in some situations. Scopolamine is used orally or by a transdermal patch to treat nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. You may have used or seen fellow passengers use these patches to prevent or combat seasickness.

Possible side effects from scopolamine listed today include the following:  drowsiness, disorientation, dry mouth, blurred vision, dilated pupils, confusion, hallucinations, difficulty urinating and rash.    https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682509.html

What is wrong with this picture? In retrospect, it does not seem a chemistry degree is necessary to foresee problems with this combination of drugs. The pain relief of morphine was a big plus for the laboring mother, however, it could depress respiration in the newborn leading to a life-threatening emergency. The scopolamine rendered the mother semiconscious during the painful childbirth experience, however, it caused amnesia. The mother usually remembered nothing of the experience including seeing her newborn for the first time nor hearing the first cries. The effects of this drug had significant potential to defer or even diminish bonding between mother and child. 

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Both of these drugs crossed the placenta and depressed the fetus’s central nervous system. For decades babies would be born drugged, and unable to breathe normally. It is no wonder they were held upside-down and spanked to start them breathing. After over sixty years of Twilight Sleep administration, the practice was abandoned in the 1970s due to the harmful side effects. Unfortunately, this was after the birth of my two daughters and I am sure after many of you or your children were born. 

Lakshmipati G. (Care of the Medical Outpatient, (Preface) 1st ed. 2003. pp. vii–vii. Nama publication, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu) has said:  

“Half of what is true today will be proven to be incorrect in the next five years. Unfortunately we don’t know which half that is going to be.” 

Sadly, this is true even today. One only hopes that such truth will be proven in only a few years rather than the centuries or decades it has taken in the past. 

 An Art or a Science?

Whether the practice of medicine is an art or a science has been debated for centuries. Many, if not most, feel that it must include both. For a comprehensive discussion of this subject read Dr. Sadhu Charan Panda’s research. He is Editor, Journal of Community Medicine.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3190445/

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Change, does it occur too fast or too slowly? 

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 The Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease is still in print. If you are interested in reading all 20 medical books in one volume written over 100 years ago see: https://www.amazon.com/Library-Health-Twenty-Books-One-Scholl/dp/B007GNBQB6/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516977599&sr=1-10&keywords=library+of+health+by+Scholl

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Part 4 of 4

Medicine 3

Sexology Continued

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Conceiving a “Babe”

There is little doubt why there were very large families at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease, which was no doubt the prevalent thinking of the time, provided a very long and detailed chart outlining fertile and barren periods in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, it was dead wrong. The chart lists the days at the beginning and end of the cycle as “probable fertile” and the middle of the cycle which is we now know when ovulation occurs as “probable barren.”  By accident, a couple of the “probable fertile” days may have been in fact fertile. 

Birth control is not a subject of these chapters on Sexology and I am glad. No way would I care to describe here the method most common at that time. We’ll just move on to determining whether the “babe” will be a boy or a girl. This book seems very confident in opinions regarding choosing the sex of a child. 

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Will the “Babe” be a boy or a girl?

We know today that the male sperm determines the sex of a baby. We’ve had more than a   century to study and learn, so it is unfair, I suppose, to make fun of the 1910 thinking. But hey, that’s up to you. Here’s what the manuscript says in direct quote or paraphrase:

  • “The ovary is undoubtedly the predominant factor.” 
  • “Nutritional disturbances” such as diabetes are more likely to lead to the birth of a girl. 
  • “Emotion” is a factor in sex determination and the soul pervades every element of our bodies with either pleasure or pain.
  • To conceive the desired sex, during intercourse (or coitus as Sheldon of “Big Band Theory” would say) ones’ mental recollections should be pleasant and calm. 
  • Experiments were made using cows and horses resulting in eight (8) different conditions that influenced the sex of a calf or colt, including the age, strength, health and work history of each animal parent. 
  • These animal observations were then applied to human parents.

 

 

 

Want a Boy?

The husband must partake of “substantial food, exercise in open air and indulge in light literature.” He should also not “indulge” himself for a few days prior to intercourse. The wife should eat a vegetarian diet, exercise daily to almost fatigue and spend some time with older women. She should also take certain extracts which are listed. 

Want a Girl? 

Do the opposite! The wife should eat animal food, not “indulge her passions” and keep all her “vigor for the desired time.”  The husband should do “exercise to fatigue,” and take a “sitz bath of cold rock-salt water” morning and night. 

Final Sexology Warning 

Above all take “Care of the Passions.” The book cautions that those who are reckless in this respect will “Produce disorders of the nervous system. Messengers of evil or of good are ever passing” through the reflex centers of the brain, stomach, and genitals and “to touch one is to touch all.”  

 

 

 

https://crookedcreek.live/2018/01/23/medicine/

Part 3 of 4

 

 

Medicine 2

Sexology

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It seems to me that Dr. Scholl and his writers hedge their bets in giving advice on Courtship and Matrimony. The recommendations are pretty emphatic but then a little wiggle room for the exception exists.

Those reading this post on a device smaller than a computer may not be able to read the print on the copied page above so I will paraphrase it for you. In summary:

  • Dispositions should be studied before falling in love. To do otherwise is blind folly. 
  • Run around long enough to be sure about the person you are settling on.
  • Courtship shouldn’t be rushed.
  • Long engagements are a spectacle of the couple getting on each other’s nerves.
  • Affinity (vs. aversion?) is essential.
  • Don’t marry someone dumber than you.
  • Grow up before you get married.

I am sorry to report that a page or two of Sexology seems to be missing, but have no fear there is more information to convey. I was both surprised and concerned to learn the following: 

  • Courage in a woman is illustrated by how well she cares for her children, especially when the children are ill for “weary hours, days or weeks.”
  • The mood determines whether pregnancy occurs, i.e., there will be no conception without “sexual emotion.”  
  • Life itself should be a sober hilarity” whatever that means and homes that approach sex with “holy fidelity” . . . prepare children to “dwell in heaven.”

Now that we have all that cleared up we will in the next post move on the section entitled “Can Parents Control the Sex of the Child?” Most parents of teens today would quickly answer, of course not, they will do whatever they decide regarding having sex, but on closer scrutiny, I believe that the advice refers to choosing the sex when a child is conceived.

https://crookedcreek.live/2018/01/23/medicine/

Part 2 of 4

Medicine

The Bookshelf

Bookshelves barely exist today. Those that remain often contain old books left over from a former era or perhaps ones with some sentimental memory attached. I must admit that I still like the feel of a real book and I like to highlight and make notes in margins. I can do that with my Kindle but it just does not feel the same. I will admit though that clicking on an unfamiliar word and having the definition pop up on the screen is a valuable feature of electronic readers. 

1970s Print

This framed print from my office is a drawing by Robert Conley.  Conley’s art was in tribute to nurses who cared for his terminally ill wife in the 1970s. I love it for many personal reasons, but I’m sharing it today to point out two essential medical books of that era. The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) and The Merck Manual seen here were essentials in any clinical area. The PDR was published each year and contained page after page of details about each prescription drug available.  It was heavily used by doctors and nurses alike. The Merck Manual explained diagnoses and treatments. I am willing to bet that you do not recall seeing either of these in the past thirty years and younger readers will not likely remember ever seeing a doctor referencing a book of any kind. 

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The reason, of course, is that now all this information and so much more is available and up to date electronically. This easily accessible data saves time and, no doubt lives. One only needs a handheld device to answer any inquiry. 

1910 Manuscript

Recently I ran across a few pages I had photocopied from an old book at some point long ago. I have no recollection why I had them or had kept them, but I’m glad that I did. Especially since that out of all “Twenty Books” in the “One Volume” I had chosen to copy Book VIII entitled “Sexology.”

Library of Health – Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease

Edited by B. Frank School, Ph.G, M.D.

Graduate of Jefferson Medical College and Philadephia College of Pharmacy

Table of Contents:

Anatomy, Physiology and Preventive Medicine, Curative Medicine, First Aid Measures, Diagnosis, Nursing, Sexology, Simple Home Remedies, Care of the Teeth, Occupational Diseases, Garden Plant Remedies, Alcohol and Narcotics, Treatment by Fifteen Schools of Medicine, Beauty Culture, Physical Culture, the Science of Breathing and the Dictionary of Drugs. 

Historical Publishing Co.          Philadelphia, PA


In the next few posts, I will summarize some of the wisdom contained in this 108-year-old manuscript. So if you have questions about courtship, matrimony, procreation and more HANG ON! The answers are on the way. 

Part 1 of 4

 

 

Cats 4

Trips to the Vet

fullsizeoutput_126e  Zoe

Taking Zoe to the vet has become increasingly difficult. Part of that may be that I now must do it alone, but the biggest factor is her fear of enclosure. She is quick to sense that something is up. It makes me wonder what she may have endured in her first year of life before she was given up for adoption. I learned long ago to not let her see the carrier ahead of time or she would hide where it is impossible to reach her. Currently, she escapes under the king sized bed and holds her ground right in the middle where not even the longest human arms could retrieve her.

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After doing some Online research I ordered a “Cat Bag” to transport her in an effort to help her feel more secure. It has a long zipper and adjustable velcro at the neck. A soft handle in the middle allows carrying the cat snugly in the bag. She said, “You’re kidding, right?” and the chase was on.  

She weighs less than ten pounds, but the total package consists of amazing speed, terrorizing screams and four paws equipped with dagger claws. Now almost twelve years old, Zoe is behind in vet visits for the first time. We are waiting each other out and I’m pretty sure who will win. Yes, the one with the claws.

fullsizeoutput_1227  Elliott

Elliott couldn’t run away if he wanted to. I simply pick him up and stuff him into his larger size carrier. Simple, until I start to carry the carrier! Really, I’m capable of carrying twenty-two pounds. I carry heavier bags of cat food and litter, however, those packages do not shift. Elliott cries half-heartedly as he moves from one end of the carrier to the other, keeping me off balance as I carry him.

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With each annual trip to the vet, it becomes increasingly more difficult. The staff always sees my challenge and offers to help me get him back to the car, but I need to demonstrate that women (and senior women at that) can handle any job we accept. He is my cat. I can carry my cat. I always pray they are not watching my retreat wobbling to the car. 

I have a plan for Elliott’s next outing. We will meet the challenge.

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Bottom Line

Zoe, Elliott and I are all seniors. We understand each other. We need each other. We love each other. We know that, one at a time, we will conclude our stay on this spinning orb, but for now, the three of us are making one another happy day by day.

 

So now you know that adopting a cat (or any pet) is a big responsibility. You probably knew that already, but thank you for reading about my life with Zoe and Elliott. I hope you have pets you love as much. Animals are wonderful. They give so much love and devotion and expect only that in return.

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Night Prayers

Part 4 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott

 

Cats 3

Here We Are in 2018

In these almost ten years of cohabitation, I’m unable to find one photo of Zoe and Elliott together. She has never warmed up to him. He has never learned that she likes her personal space. 

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Monetary Liability

I am not exaggerating when I say that the medical care for the two cats combined is a few thousand dollars. Even though I have all the records and receipts I don’t want to know the actual total. I do recall that Elliott’s heart ultrasound was $350 back in 2008 and that his workup last year for a period of lethargy when I thought he was surely terminal was about the same. He was apparently just faking it since all his tests and exams were normal.

These charges are fair and are part of the deal when we take animals into our lives. The total includes annual exams and vaccinations as well as illnesses. Add to that food, litter, treats, toys, brushes, nail trimmers, bathing (Elliott loves his spa days, Zoe not so much) and laser pointers which are so much fun for cat and human and the investment is not insignificant. This fact is important to know before taking on the responsibility of a pet.

Are They Worth It?    

Absolutely, many times over, but if money is tight this may not be the time to adopt a cat (or other pet). 

Hard Decisions 

To the vets’ chagrin, Elliott has continued to gain weight. None of the counseling, handouts or warnings has worked. Not even four pounds when we adopted him, this week he topped the scales at nearly twenty-two pounds. It wasn’t that I did not understand the instructions or the cardiac condition that made being overweight a risk. I did. I do. But when there are two cats who live together and one is skinny and the other obese it is a dilemma. The only way to limit Elliott’s food is to put the cats into separate living areas and that is next to impossible in this space. So, the decision I have made, right or wrong, is quality over quantity.

Elliott was rescued on a railroad track when he was a kitten. There is no way to know how he got there or how he survived long enough to be saved, but he has been happy for all the years since. 

We are lucky that his murmur has not worsened in spite of the weight. He is a big fat happy boy whose heart is full of love. 

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Number 3 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott

 

Cats 2

Elliott

Perhaps I should have known something was up when the person who was fostering Elliott insisted that she would deliver him to us in spite of our plans to pick him up. She also discouraged my naming him Zack. She assured me that he knew his name as Elliott. I had thought that Zack and Zoe would be so cute, but I didn’t want to confuse him, so I agreed that he would stay Elliott. As it turned out I don’t think he knew his name for about a year after he came to live with us.

When he was delivered our friends, Mike and Debbie were visiting. I thought the least upsetting for Elliott would be to turn him out of the carrier and into a room where he could be alone without us humans around, so we put him in an upstairs room with food and water and closed the door. In about an hour I checked on him to find that he had chewed or clawed a large piece of trim from the door frame in an attempt to get out. This was just the beginning. 

Dysfunction

When Zoe spotted this stranger in our midst she retreated to the top of our spare refrigerator in the basement. She practically lived in that private loft for the next couple of years. When she did venture down to eat or use the litter box Elliott wasn’t mean to her, but he stalked her. He followed her closely as she scratched and hissed at him. At times she made horrible screaming sounds and at others, she cursed in a low guttural growl. He was just a guy confused by his lack of popularity with this feline housemate. But, Elliott was a lover! He jumped into our laps, he cuddled, he purred. In spite of his concern for Zoe, my husband, Raymond, bonded quickly with Elliott. 

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Within a few days, we took Elliott to the Shelbyville Road Veterinary Clinic to become an established patient where our pets had been cared for about ten years . Unfortunately, the examination revealed that Elliott had a heart murmur. During a later ultrasound, we learned that he had two septal defects, a.k.a. holes in his heart. We were devastated, not knowing what that meant for his long-term survival. The doctors would monitor his condition and advised us to keep him from becoming overweight. 

The Humane Society did the right thing and offered to take Elliott back but it was too late. We loved this cat in spite of all the trouble he brought with him. We were hooked on Elliott. Even Zoe was becoming a little more tolerant even though reclusive. A few years later when we moved to a condo she lost her basement sanctuary and has never been as happy. In fact, she has had a couple of stress-related illness, but she is resilient. She has managed to tolerate this big clumsy roommate for ten years now. 

And, that presents another challenge. Zoe is thin. Elliott is not. Leaving food out all the time is necessary for her, but detrimental to his need to be on a limited calorie diet. So, we continued our dysfunctional ways, loving both cats and trying to provide equal attention and devotion. 

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My Point?

If I have one, I suppose it is that pets are a big responsibility. They require our time and a fair amount of work. They also deserve humans who are knowledgeable about their needs and compatibilities. It is not enough that we care and that we want to rescue at-risk animals. We need to be well informed of their needs. We owe them the same love and devotion they give to us. 

We have done our best to care for both of these cats, but if I am honest I know that Zoe was much happier as an only cat. We didn’t know that at the time we adopted Elliott, so we’ve tried to be responsible to both of them. Now as I care for them alone, I do my best to give them what they need.

The Best Part

We have adapted to the changes in life, a cat added, a smaller home, the loss of a caregiver and we’re still a family. Zoe still curses. Elliott still stalks. But, we have love. 

The cats do yoga with me most mornings. Elliott sleeps with me at night. We have neighbors and relatives who care for them if I need to be away for a few days. I would not take anything for my two cats regardless of the work and expense. They have made my life happier and I trust that is mutual. 

 

Part 2 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott

 

Cats

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Photo by Kate Puckett Elliott – Australia

 

Advice 

Never go to a place where rescued animals are up for adoption unless you are planning to adopt. It can be heartbreaking. It can lead to a dysfunctional relationship. 

2006

Several months after the unexpected death of our beloved cat, eight-year-old Annie, we felt we were ready to adopt another cat. We went to Shamrock Foundation http://shamrockpets.com to select another cat who would hopefully be as loving as Annie. We did not find that cat on our first visit but we filled out adoption papers listing personal references and our veterinarian and agreeing to a home visit if requested. We wanted to be ready when “our” cat appeared.  

In a few days, we received a call that a nice young “tortie” was available. We had no idea what that term meant, but soon learned it is short for tortoiseshell. These cats are usually a combination of two dark colors with little or no white and the pattern is somewhat like that of the shell of a tortoise. Fun fact, they are almost always female, because the few males born are usually sterile. 

We went in to see this “tortie” who had been brought to the shelter because her owner had too many cats to care for. We watched as she played with balls and string and after about an hour decided to adopt this little girl who still had stitches intact from her recent spaying. 

Meet Zoe

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2008

While shopping for supplies for Zoe at a pet store we accidentally stumbled into a nest of large cages containing cats for adoption. The Humane Society of Kentucky https://www.kyhumane.org from an adjoining county had about a dozen cats there. I tried to ignore them, but it was impossible. While standing by one cage a large caramel and white cat stretched out his paw through the grid and gently touched me. I instinctively stuck one finger inside the cage to rub the top of his head. That was an action that sealed our future as a family. 

After much deep consideration and discussion with my husband and friends, I knew I had to return for that cat. Long story short, (I know, too late!) We became a two cat household. Twice as much litter to scoop, hairballs to clean up and vet bills to pay.

Unfortunately, I did not consult Zoe. She would have clearly said “NO!” Little did I know that male and female cats (especially those who have been “fixed”) are not going to get along well. 

Meet Elliott 

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Part 1 of 4 

Truth

New Horizon 

Last night at the Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey won the Cecil B. DeMille award.  She gave a momentous acceptance speech that I’m sure many of you heard. She spoke of empowerment and equality.  http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/entertainment/oprah-globes-speech-transcript/index.html

One of our readers, Lula, remarked to me in a private message that it reminded her of our Crooked Creek discussions last spring regarding “What I Know for Sure 1-5.” https://crookedcreek.live/2017/03/27/what-i-know-for-sure/

I agree because one of Oprah’s statements, in particular, bears repeating and remembering: “What I know for sure is that speaking the truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Thank you, Oprah and Lula. While truth has always been crucial, this is a time when women must not only be truthful but also demand truth from others. Truth, spoken by both women and men can bring about, finally, the transformation needed for women and girls to truly be equal . . . in respect, in compensation, in power.

This time is long overdue.

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Courtesy of Pixabay

 

Tip

Tip of the Day

OK, one does not have to be an expert to give advice. Experience gives one lessons worth passing along. I have lots of experience, 74+ years of it. Here’s my advice from an experience early this morning: If it’s 11 degrees out, you’re in heavy traffic and the morning sun is shining brightly onto your very dirty windshield THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO USE YOUR WINDSHIELD WASHER!

I have lots of experience and you would think that in 74 years I would know better. The first thing I thought of (once the solid ice melted) was to pass along this to you.

You’re welcome. 

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Picture Courtesy of Pixabay

Have a safe day!

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay