Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The Best of the Buzz in 2007
Every week you send us letters and e-mails for publication, sharing your views and telling us what we have done right and what we should do better. Many more readers choose to comment in another forum: online, where the postings are anonymous and the opinions often more outspoken.
What follows are a few excerpts -- with original spelling and styling largely intact -- from the Web comments our articles prompted in 2007.
Happy New Year -- and please keep writing!
The article that probably sparked the most controversy in the past 12 months was by freelance contributor Jason Feifer ["Combat Zone: There's No Neutral Ground in War of Information About Lyme Disease," May 15]. Many of the postings reflected the frustration with mainstream medicine of people who say they suffer from the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
"Chronic Lyme may not exist, but after 10 years of being treated for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or being told by many MDs that I was depressed or needed to exercise, I found a doctor who treated me [with] pulsing antibiotics for 2 years. It was difficult treatment at first, but now I am much improved. I have gone from 1995, when I was basically couchbound to today, when I can travel and enjoy life. The majority of my improvement came since 2005 when I began the antibiotics. If it isn't Chronic Lyme . . . then will someone please tell me what it is? It is almost impossible as a patient to fight the illness or even cope with the illness and battle the doctors who do not believe you are really sick, take issue with the medical establishment guidelines and advocate for yourself with the insurance companies."
"It is possible for mainstream science to be wrong. It is -- especially -- possible for mainstream science to be wrong when politics, power, and money are injected into the equation . . . as when it taught the earth was flat."
And James B Cole wrote:
"It is human nature to believe that some miracle cure exists if only it could be found (e.g. long search for the Fountain of Youth) and that the "Establishment" is withholding it. Doctors certainly do not know everything, but they know much more than the average person. By all means get second opinions from qualified physicians, but politically inspired faith-based assumptions about what works and doesn't work are likely to do more harm than good."
Another lively Web debate followed staff writer Sandra G. Boodman's July 31 article, "Do-It-Yourself Delivery," about women who choose to give birth at home without medical assistance.
"What is sad is that homebirth advocates, particularly professional homebirth advocates, attempt to keep the truth about homebirth from women. All the existing scientific evidence shows that homebirth has an increased risk of preventable neonatal death. There are studies that CLAIM to show that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth, but they do that by comparing homebirth to high risk hospital birth or to hospital birth from decades in the past. Go back and read the homebirth papers that you believe demonstrate the safety of homebirth. You will see that what I have pointed out is true."
"I will still claim my rights of self determination over my own body and defy you or anyone else to force me into the hospital to give birth surrounded by strangers, chemicals, and machinery. It is NOT going to happen. And if the powers that be outlaw home birth, we will simply go underground and continue on until our society collectively pulls its head out of the sand and realizes that the American Birth Machine is BROKEN. And mothers are increasingly dying and babies are increasingly being traumatized by current obstetrical dogma. I am not willing to put myself or my child at risk by giving birth in the hospital."
"I don't advocate unassisted childbirth in any way, but it is sad when the happy medium of a safe home or birth center birth attended by qualified medical professionals is not given more support by the political and medical establishment. That lack of support of safe alternatives probably is at least in part guilty of driving women to the extreme of preferring unassisted childbirth."
And tasharosemirick wrote:
"I strongly believe that if you need medical help to have children, then you really were not supposed to have children. My first birth was in a hospital and was TOTALLY traumatic. My nursing relationship with my newborn failed because of it. My second birth was at home and the baby, now 21 months, has been nursing since then and has seen the dr once for her psoriasis (which is inherited.) The interventions to 'help' my birth the first time actually hindered it. the baby was simply not ready to be born."
Finally, here is what some online readers had to say about last week's Health section articles:
After reading "Lice Work, If You Can Get It," several readers posted their home remedies. Mhedgpeth wrote:
"My daughter has really, really thick curly hair. Always, prayed she did not get lice, but one day it happened. What a mess. I bought the medicine, we sat in the bathroom on the edge of the bath tub for hours going through every inch of her head. A few days later still saw more and could not treat it because you have to wait or else it would affect her scalp. I tried olive oil. Put it on her hair at bedtime, covered her head with panty hose, wrapped it in plastic bonnet, took it off the next morning. Comb her hair, they were gone. . . . Olive oil worked so well, I used it to condition her hair."
"I was lucky to have boys. When they turned up with head lice we did the Nix/comb thing and then headed over for a very short haircut. That greatly simplified watching for more bugs. My boys particularly disliked having to sit while I combed through their hair so it wasn't very hard to convince them that a short haircut was a good idea. I don't know what you do with girls except maybe go for braids or ponytails to keep the hair in place and less likely to brush up against infested sofas and kids."
In response to contributor Jennifer Huget's "Life's Big Questions: How Can I Get a Good Divorce?" MLuther wrote:
"How about prevent the need for divorce in the first place? Maybe a little more thought and consideration going into a marriage to begin with would help. Marriage means nothing because people get into it for the wrong reasons."
"Well what does one expect when people are marrying on impulse. Sure one has to be in love but often times people overlook the practical aspect of marriage, i.e. the spouses credit, spending habits, living habits, level of education etc. Once the lovey dovey stuff is over, people, it's a legal contract. One has to be very sure that the marriage can go the distance."
"I highly recommend a program called Retrouvaille It is an extremely successful! http://www.retrouvaille.org. You can find one in your area they are all over the world! My husband and I went and I can honestly say that it will open your eyes to a whole new way of looking at your marriage. The best thing about Retrouvaille is it has the PRACTICAL TOOLS necessary to begin to heal your marriage.
It is associated with the Catholic church but you absolutely don't need to be Catholic. It has changed our lives and even if you go and still get a divorce you will learn a lot about yourself and benefit so that you can say 'at least I have tried everything and now I can leave this marriage with the information I need so that I can live a life that is better for me and my future'!"