January 31, 2007 at 9:53 PM (Uncategorized)

I’m unable to read comments at this time…an annoyance that none of the blogger help sites seem to have ‘frontpaged’ yet…

More later

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Sometimes we do…

January 29, 2007 at 7:33 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Yank your chain….

It’s the late 70’s and myself and a crowd of my cousin’s neighborhood cronies were enroute to the amusement park…

This was usually an all day affair and well into the evening, so I took the wheelchair and was cheerfully ‘pushed around’ by the group, some taking shifts, so that my cousin didn’t have to push all day.

We were in line to get in…and one of the kids said…”Wait Wait…I’ve got an idea…”

So she swung full tilt into tent revival mode, fire and brimstone preaching right into my face loudly and at length, commanding that I be healed. She was high volume and we drew a small crowd that turned to look without ever quite giving up their place in line.

At a given point, I was told to ‘stand and walk,’ and obediently stood and took a few awkward steps, well within my capabilities at the time… The group stood amazed with stunned looks…the little ones clapped, appreciating the show…

And then we all started laughing and I went back to the chair…

And the adults in the crowd looked either sheepish or outright pissed off, to have been had in such a way…

But some scenarios are just too good to pass up.

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Peter Singer’s at it again…and the NYT is his platform.

January 27, 2007 at 8:35 PM (bioethics, Peter Singer, The Ashley Treatment)

Forgive me readers all, I know we’re sick of this but…Via The Gimp Parade’s Slumgullian…Here goes Singer…


Some quotes:

Ashley is 9, but her mental age has never progressed beyond that of a 3- month-old. She cannot walk, talk, hold a toy or change her position in bed. Her parents are not sure she recognizes them. She is expected to have a normal lifespan, but her mental condition will never improve.
In a blog, Ashley’s parents explain that her treatment is not for their convenience but to improve her quality of life. If she remains small and light, they will be able to continue to move her around frequently and take her along when they go out with their other two children.

The hysterectomy will spare her the discomfort of menstrual cramps,

Oh yes. Peter Singer as the expert on menstruation….I bow down.

and the
surgery to prevent the development of breasts, which tend to be large in her
family, will make her more comfortable whether lying down or strapped across the
chest in her wheelchair.

This is the part of the argument that would make me laugh if it weren’t so dangerous. Breasts are a natural development. Breasts are parts of our bodies that do no harm to us or to anyone else unless they develop cancer. I submit that taking away a girl’s breasts when they have not gone cancerous is a violation not just of her body but her future, even with her mental age so low. See Wheelchair Dancer’s post for why. And, the ‘defense against predatory caregivers’ argument breaks down too because predators will do their evil deeds whether the victim has breasts or not.

All this is plausible,

Here’s the calm rational bioethicist, never had something this difficult rock his world, I’d imagine. But of course, we have no voice in whether this horse **** can be used to argue for the wider use of this treatment

even if it is also true that
the line between improving Ashley’s life and making it easier for her parents to
handle her scarcely exists, because anything that makes it possible for Ashley’s
parents to involve her in family life is in her interest.

Her parents already feel strongly about her and love her and would have involved her in their lives even had she kept her breasts…mootness all ’round.

The objections to Ashley’s treatment take three forms familiar to
anyone working in bioethics. First, some say Ashley’s treatment is “unnatural” —
a complaint that usually means little more than “Yuck!” One could equally well
object that all medical treatment is unnatural, for it enables us to live
longer, and in better health, than we naturally would. During most of human
existence, children like Ashley were abandoned to become prey to wolves and
jackals. Abandonment may be a “natural” fate for a severely disabled baby, but
it is no better for that reason.

Oh my. Singer seems to be saying that those who oppose *this particular treatment* are some sort of anti science cabal who long for a past when it was considered correct to abandon children with impairments on a hillside. It’s so much more civilized to use medicine to make a child fit caregiving requirments… Never mind that *the medical establishment* contains the modenrn “hillside” the institution and the nursing home, but we’ll leave that by for now.

We’re all primitives obviously, who’d rather do a little ritual and look crosseyed at the doctors instead of staying silent and giving by that silence our tacit acquiescence to the ‘expansion’ of the availability of this ‘solution’ to other children….

*That’s* the fight. To bring debates about this procedure’s marketing to other children and usage outside the teaching hospital ethics rooms and into the wider world.

Second, some see acceptance of Ashley’s treatment as the first step
down a slippery slope leading to widespread medical modification of children for
the convenience of their parents. But the ethics committee that approved
Ashley’s treatment was convinced that the procedures were in her best interest.
Those of us who have not heard the evidence presented to the committee are in a
weak position to contest its judgment.

And? Those who have never been in the midst of caregivers or doctors
or family taking actions that are harmful to PWD’s experiencing a life of
dignity and fullness are in a poor position to tell us that our concerns, anger
and skepticism are unsound and without merit

Finally, there is the issue of treating Ashley with dignity. Her parents write in their blog that Ashley will have more dignity in a body that is healthier and more suited to her state of development, while their critics see her treatment as a violation of her dignity.
But we should reject the premise of this debate. As a parent and grandparent, I find 3-month-old babies adorable, but not dignified. Nor do I believe that getting bigger and older, while remaining at the same mental level, would do anything to change that.

So “dignity” as a principle for a good life is now balanced with an adjective “dignified” that, at least for me, brings up a mental picture of rulebound folk, for whom adult, singly normative,uncomplicated behavior is the essence of acceptable. I’ve read about and seen so many different, messy, colorful, joyful, atypical versions of dignity, that were no less clearly “dignity,” because they caused a ruckus. I’m grateful my concept of dignity isn’t that unyielding.

I’m not going to quote the rest because he goes off to a corner I can’t possibly map the road to about cats being undignified and knowing more than those with the mental age of an infant, ipso facto The Ashley Treatment is fine and dandy….

The MSM, Singer and the NYT…Bringing you the next big thing. Designer frames for ease of use.

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Paratransit Parables #2

January 27, 2007 at 5:22 PM (Bill O'Reilly, marijuana)

The problem with being a perpetual passenger is that the driver or owner of the vehicle always has jurisdiction over the radio.

So I’ve been exposed to

Country–new to the genre so I’m holding off on opinionating

Jazz–one of my favorites


And last night? Bill O’Reilly…nattering on about some dark conspiracy to legalize pot, and that he had no sympathy for anybody claiming to need medical marijuana.

One hopes he never finds himself combating cancer….

He bleats: “if somebody wants to be a layabout and a criminal and a drug addict guys like Bill O’Reilly and [guest] are going to foot the bill? I don’t have any sympathy for these guys…”


I take an atypical stand about drugs for a “liberal,” perhaps by knowing some alchoholics.

I’m against broad legalization of any street drugs present or past, mild or lethal or anything in between.

I’m also against legalizaton of processed sugar, alchohol, or cigarettes, but I’m a bit late for that…any substance that clearly and obviously triggers addiction, the world can do without. [shrug]

But a strictly controlled medical marijuana program?

Anything that reduces side effects of chemo has my vote and right away quickly please…and that rat essentially equating cancer with criminality…

Gawd. I’m hoping I won’t have many rides home like that.

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A wonderful post about assumption

January 25, 2007 at 8:44 PM (Able Bodied Antics, Assumptions, On Being Fat) (, )

Is here., and made me think about my own frames about communication and realized that I need to broaden my perception of how communication happens and what constitutes facile communication…and, it also jogged my memory the assumptions folks can make about my impairments.

1. “I know bunches of people with CP who drive…you should drive [Subtext: “She doesn’t want to drive and she really could and she won’t because she’s lazy and likes having people run her around.]

Um no. My depth perception and lack of much clear peripheral vision in the right eye are “off” enough for me to have no sense of lenghth of the vehicle or be in danger of anyone who wanted to come up on my right. My reflexes are further shot since the chemo…just no.

I live in the freakin’ Rockies…with some of the best scenic driving around in the other three quarters of the year…do you think that if I *could* drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, that I wouldn’t *beg* for that license?

Wake UP!

2. “You’re smart, so you’re not really disabled…why are you asking for all this help?”

Smart gets you 50 cents and a cup of coffee at Denny’s. If the physical plant of an entertainment venue, a job, a school, a rec facility, a church etc etc…is not wheelchair accessible, or is only minimally so…I have to go collaborate immediately with those in charge to work to find an acceptable solution. *That’s not whining!* It’s necessary.

3. “I could never live like that.” [Subtext: I don’t want to, no one should so let’s minimize the validity of that life, that particular experience]

It’s amazing what you find you can do, because you must do it. So don’t tell me the strategies I use to live my life are “impossible.” It’s your imagination that has limits on it, placed there by fear

4. “I don’t understand how you can possibly [insert activity here].”

And, I don’t have time to explain how I can possibly [insert activity here.]

And the most annoying assumption of all. Running through some abled’s strangers heads, never really spoken:

“Simply because you are 1. Disabled and 2. Fat, that means the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the things you like, the workarounds you do, your dating life, your recreational habits, your spirituality, your relationships with friends or family…are all open for me the abled to poke my nose in *and pontificate* about things that are….(wait for it)…actually none of my business, personal things I would *never* offer an opinon or judgement about to an able and /or thin person.”

The only thing right about *that* of course is that how any one individual with impairments or any group of people handle their impairments is, very very often: None of an able stranger’s business.

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