NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Insult to Injury / Illness

If I read one more person lament about being unable to gain weight because of their Crohn’s Disease, I will very likely scream out loud to the point where I will frighten my neighbors.  There is most definitely a benefit to the several online support groups I visit; other patients can share information and consolation in ways most doctors just can’t, and that really helps.

In a recent thread started by a woman who wanted to know if anyone else couldn’t lose weight, despite the disease restricting her ability to eat, the comments started coming in fast and furious.  As someone who deals with this same problem, I felt less alone in my struggle when I saw how many others really know the pain and frustration I feel daily.  It’s not a “misery loves company” thing, really – it’s more an “I’m not the only one (a freak)” feeling that makes me feel a bit better.

What does not help is a person showing up to the thread adding their comments about how they are 5’9″ and only 115 pounds.  So, basically, you’re complaining that your height and weight is similar to that of a Super Model??  And, let me see if I understand: you consider this is a freakin’ problem?  Question: Does the inability to gain weight [so you can stop resembling a Super Model] also eliminate your ability to realize it is inappropriate and most certainly NOT helpful for you to share this in a thread where the rest of us are commiserating about our complete failure at losing any weight?  Why not contribute to the person who commented about how utterly horrible it is to have people continually tell them, “you really need to eat more” because she DOES eat normally, but just cannot gain weight.  “They just don’t understand.”  There was a whole whine-fest going on over there and you’d fit right in.  Courtesy:

Here’s the thing that really upsets me: in our society, your “underweight-ness” is completely acceptable – praised, appreciated and envied, even.  Until a person literally looks like a skeleton, they are considered attractive (even then, you might find walking skeletons on runways during Fashion Week).

But for those of us who are bloated from steroids and other harsh medications, overweight from a diet that restricts fruits, vegetables & other complex carbs (Oh, my kingdom for a salad!), out of shape because this disease combined with the side-effects of all the drugs that keep us alive and out of the hospital [for now] drain us of so much of our energy that we can only do what we absolutely have to… and even that is sometimes impossible.  Us?  No, we’re not attractive.  We’re not understood.  We are quickly and thoughtlessly judged, labeled as “fat and lazy”, with an underlying implication that we are also stupid.

We may be fat, but we are not lazy, and certainly not stupid.  We are at war with our bodies and at war with Crohn’s Disease just as much as much as our thin, attractive, socially acceptable counterparts, dealing with all the same horrors this disease has brought into our lives — only, we deal with more.  We also live with societal stigma and the butt of even more jokes: Fat jokes are always funny, right?  Just like bathroom humor.

When It Hurts

When it hurts, I pray.  Most times, I can feel a perspective shift in my mind and spirit, taking my attention off what is bothering me and turning it to something that reminds me of all that God has done and given to me, and I feel thankful.

Sometimes, I only need to look out my window.

20151030_092948  20151030_093012

Autumn 2015

Unfortunately, yesterday was not such a day.

But His mercies are new every morning, so today offers another chance to get it right.

NaBloPoMo 2015

…one day late (and “a dollar short”, no doubt).

But you know what?  That’s what life is like when one has a chronic illness, so I’m just gonna have to get over my perfection-seeking self and be ok with that.

NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month.  30 posts in 30 days.  It’s a commitment.  It’s scary.  But I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging for quite a while and this is the perfect motivator.

…One day at a time…

I can’t believe my last post was in 2009.  And I even find it a bit difficult to recognize myself in some of my way-back-when musings.  Life is so different now.

After leaving NomDebPlume by the wayside, I began another blog where I wrote honestly and anonymously about how chronic illness changes things – for me, yes… but also for my whole family.  And then, almost 4 years ago, I stopped writing altogether.  I barely even write in my journal anymore (a compilation of the last 38 years of my life and, needless to say, a joy to read :-/ ).

Why?  Because on the morning after Easter, 2012, my daughter was rushed to the hospital with what I would soon learn was called Severe Diabetic Ketoacidosis… which was especially weird because she had not been diabetic her whole 10 years of life. How does a child go from “healthy/not diabetic” to “keep asking her questions so she doesn’t fall asleep… we don’t want her to slip into a coma”.

Coma?? What the WHAT?!?

Life Lion Helicopter

It was in those hospital moments, those ambulance moments, those watch-my-daughter-fly-to-a-better-hospital-in-a-helicopter moments, the watching her cry and being unable to soothe her – those moments – that MY chronic illness(es) suddenly melted into the background and I began my constant and laser focus on learning everything I could about Type 1 Diabetes and how to best care for my beloved child whose life had been turned upside down by its diagnoses.  And I learned to step out – way out – of my comfort zone and actually give my daughter injections.  (To know me is to know how very, VERY difficult this was for me to overcome.)

But Sunday will be 3 years and 7 months since that terrifying day, and things are less terrifying now.  And I guess I’ve [finally] given myself permission to do something I have always loved – write.  I can’t promise it won’t be without some accompanying guilt, but I think the accountability aspect of NaBloPoMo will help me get past that.
I hope :-)

Coincidentally, November is also National Diabetes Awareness Month.  I shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to write about for the next 29 days.

National Diabetes Month

‘Tweaking’ our Healthcare System


I don’t know anything about cars, just like I am not well-versed in the intricacies of healthcare.  But… you drive, you learn.  You get sick, you learn.  You live, you learn.  You pick up little ideas here and there to save money while also keeping your engine, or your body, running optimally. 
It certainly wouldn’t make sense to replace my entire car if I just needed new spark plugs and an oil change, so why is the current administration proposing we start from scratch with our healthcare system?  Really, that’s more of a rhetorical question, since I think we got exactly what all the liberals, democrats and Hollywood air-heads voted for: incompetence.  But hey… what about the people who knew all along that this guy was in way over his head?  How about we only force Congress, Mr. Obama and everyone who voted for him to participate in government-run healthcare?

Those would be in my ‘Fantasy Tweaks’ category, but I can think of two realistic changes right off the top of my head.

What about this…
– Prohibit pharmaceutical companies from advertising to the general public. 
Think about it: how much sense does it make to advertise something that cannot be purchased without a doctor’s prescription?  Aside from raking in big profits (which are incorporated into the high prices we pay for medication), what are these companies really doing?  Are they suggesting that our doctors are too stupid to recommend the appropriate medication for us without us first approaching them with a tale of some commercial we saw that convinced us that we need it?  So, in effect, we have prescribed it for ourselves and the doctor is now an afterthought… a mere signature provider.  I’m glad I didn’t go to school for 8-10-12 years so my patients can just tell me what they need (after being educated by a 60-second television commercial).
And who pays all those nicely dressed sales reps I’m always seeing in my doctor’s office?  You know the ones: they leave all those samples and post-it pads, pens and stuffed toys with their logos smartly displayed?  Perhaps the same people who pay for those pharmaceutical company-sponsored, all-expenses-paid trips to luxury resorts for doctors.  That would be YOU.  And ME.  We all pay for it with every inflated price of every single pill we swallow… or medication we can’t afford.
Here’s my next idea:
Stop using the “Price Squared” system for medical equipment and supplies.  People who don’t need these items usually have no idea how much putting the word “medical” in front of a product raises its price.  When I cared for my mother-in-law after her stroke, I was introduced to a world I never knew existed: the world of over-charging for medical equipment and supplies – or in the patient’s case, over-PAYING. 
I remember when I wanted to purchase a cushion for my mother-in-law’s wheelchair.  I went to the Medical Supply Store and was charged more than $50.00 for a square piece of foam rubber covered with a cheap, thin cotton pillowcase.  If I could sew, I could have made one of these for about $7.00, but since this was a special cushion, made specifically for a wheelchair and had to be bought at a special store, it cost WAY too much.
Why are medications and necessary supplies more costly in the hospital?  Different people have different theories about this, but I think we can all agree that it’s out of control.  And why can’t I just take my own medication when I’m in the hospital?  You know, the stuff that’s already paid for at a rate I can afford AND understand.  I take my meds properly at home, but the hospital doesn’t “trust me” to do it correctly while there, so that charge gets added to my bill in some indecipherable terminology. 
See?  “Tweaks”.  I’m sure there are more, but these two could probably keep people busy for a while.  Imagine the savings!  Appreciate the logic!  Or overhaul the entire system, continue to ignore common sense and let our older, disabled and chronically ill citizens die while they wait for adequate care they may never receive in a new, government-run program. 
In a nutshell, have you noticed how well the out-of-touch, self-important politicians handle everything else they get their greedy hands on?

I’ve seen the future…


And it’s some freaky combination of Obama-mania mixed with the worst of the 70’s.  

If it wasn’t so scary, it would be hysterical :-/

Naked Gnomes?


One of the things I like about being married to a “European” is how he not only stays on top of the news here in the U.S., but keeps himself abreast of newsworthy stories in Europe, as well:

 Where does one even go to purchase a “naked gnome”? 

In the story, naked gnome collector, Sandra Smith, said she was told to put clothes on three of her favorite ornaments because they were deemed offensive.  Personally, I find the entire display offensive because it’s so kitschy and overdone.

I mean, really, Sandy… the wet t-shirt gnome is over the top! J

An Open Letter to Senator Specter




Senator Specter,

I am writing again to ask you to PLEASE not put your name on this insulting “stimulus” bill until we can say that all the items contained within it will actually stimulate our economy and not just put us deeper in debt while we fulfill the numerous spending projects that are now also filling its pages.

I have four children, one of whom is 16-years-old and [seriously] wants to know if he should start buying gold NOW because the new President and Congress are in the process of ruining his future with this bill. I can’t make him feel any better, because he’s right – that’s what you’re doing. I can’t offer him any “hope”.

Please don’t be one of the people responsible for destroying the futures of so many young people. Yes, we need to do something and we need to do something [relatively] soon, but we DON’T need to meet Mr. Obama’s ‘deadline’ of 2/16.  “Haste makes waste”!!   We don’t want to screw this up. Like Mr. Obama, you are supposed to represent US… we are not a group of idiots, we are registered voters, and we don’t want our money spent like this:

• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient

• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film

• $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon program

• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship)

• $448 million for constructing the Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $248 million for furniture at the new Dept. of Homeland Security headquarters

• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees

• $400 million for the CDC to screen and prevent STD’s

• $1.4 billion for a rural waste disposal programs

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion

• $75 million for “smoking cessation activities”

• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges

• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI

• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction

• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas

• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings

• $500 million for state and local fire stations

• $650 million for wildland fire management on Forest Service lands

• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities

• $1.2 billion for “youth activities,” including youth summer job programs

• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service

• $412 million for CDC buildings and property

• $500 million for building and repairing NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD

• $160 million for “paid volunteers” at the Corporation for National and Community Service

• $5.5 million for “energy efficiency initiatives” at the VA “National Cemetery Administration”

• $850 million for Amtrak

• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint

• $75M to construct a new “security training” facility for State Dept Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.

• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems

• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

• State Medicaid Bailout: $87.7 billion Through 3 different mechanisms, the bill would provide additional federal funds to state Medicaid programs over the next 3 years. This is nearly $70 billion more than the governors asked President Obama for in December, and should be a loan to be repaid by the states.

Source: Website of Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn 
Someone who votes for you only because the alternative is voting for a liberal Democrat

Home, Hospitals, Holidays and HIPAA





To write that being in the hospital is anything but unpleasant and something we all wish to avoid would be obvious and unnecessary. Yet sometimes, it is the only way to enable someone to return to good health, or at least better health. And during a stay at the hospital, there are things we can learn – other than exactly what diagnosis put us there in the first place.

Beginning with how grateful I am for my own bed and pillow, I personally learned how much I really do appreciate the mundane, annoying chores I do on a daily basis that normally give me only the slightest gratification. I missed getting my children ready for school and making my 7-year-old’s school lunch at 6:30 each morning. I missed doing laundry, cooking dinner, paying bills and loading/unloading the dishwasher. After 6 days away, I missed seeing my family every day – even when they were in my face making too much noise when I wanted to be ‘alone’. For the most part, I was alone each one of those days, all day… all night.

It is a conundrum of human nature, I think, to initially be content with what we have… then dissatisfied once we have it for a while… then miss it and want it back once it is taken from us. Or maybe I am the only one who is guilty of this unappreciative tendency, along with the lack of appreciation of the phrase “at least you have your health”.  Spend some time as an anxious patient in the hospital and you, too, may eliminate the words “at least” from that sentence… at least for a while.

Because my stay in the hospital was a bit longer than average, I enjoyed the company of 4 different roommates, 2 of whom were sicker than I was. If not ignored, this benefits one’s perspective; focusing on the pain and anxiety of my roommates was definitely helpful in temporarily diverting attention away from my own problems. While I felt bad for what these two women were enduring, I admit I felt grateful that it wasn’t me. And when I pray for my own health and future, I remember them, too.

Now, since I am never one to overlook the political aspects of an experience… :-/… I was surprised, perhaps even shocked, to learn that our HIPAA Privacy Laws that we are told are so vitally important (and the related paperwork that stuffs landfills everywhere) were broken on a regular basis. If you’ve ever visited a doctor’s office, you’ve signed a HIPAA form that prevents the sharing of your personal medical information without your expressed consent. If you’ve ever watched a television police drama where they need medical records, you’ve probably noticed they need a subpoena to get/view medical records, even if the person is DEAD.

Well, I was privy to dozens of people’s medical records while in the hospital every day, without a subpoena or anything… using just my ears. My hospital room was close to the nurses’ station and every time the shift changed, the nurse on duty would relate each chart’s information to the nurse coming on duty. She would go over each chart, starting with the FULL NAME, diagnosis, doctor’s orders/medications, details of what transpired during her shift, and for some patients, some added anecdotal information, such as “what a nice woman she is,” or “he’s a real nasty one”. I wasn’t trying to hear what they were saying, their voices echoed into my room and to my bed, which was the furthest from the door.

Thankfully, I didn’t recognize any of the names I heard, so all of this information means absolutely nothing to me, but what if I DID know one or more of these patients? I would now know their private, medical history (unless I stuck my fingers in my ears and did that la-la-la-la-la thing). And who might have heard MY medical information? There could have been someone there who recognized my name from seeing it on my check at the grocery store, or the pharmacy, etc. Now they know exactly what is ‘wrong’ with me. I’m not liking this. Why don’t the nurses have a room with a closed door where they can do this confidential job? Why do any of us sign those HIPAA forms in the first place – are they just to make us THINK our privacy is being protected? Hmm…


 Whatever the case, I was released from the hospital the day before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a toned-down eating experience, but a day full of more gratitude than usual. I valued this more than the usual type of celebration, and hope I can remember this important lesson for future years without preceeding the holiday with an unpleasant trip to the hospital.


While all of this is so fresh in my mind, allow me to wish each of you a Holiday Season full of gratitude and good health…

Nice Guys Finish Last


It has been reported that John McCain considered certain aspects of Obama’s life and behavior to be “off-limits” during the campaign, even though they would make Obama look bad – and, conversely, make McCain look good.  Everyone has heard that McCain had passed a “No Jeremiah Wright” edict, considering this absurd long-term association of Obama and his family with this hate-preaching ‘pastor’ something he didn’t want to help illuminate for the American people.  I’m guessing it was because it had to do with church, but… Come on!

In addition, some of the other firm boundaries set by Mr. McCain were:

  • No Michelle Obama attacks
  • No attacking Obama for his lack of service in the Military
  • No using children to depict Obama being soft on crime
  • And absolutely no ad of a black man busting a move with a lesbian!


    The idea is that this last one would be too provocative, but it’s more likely that it would have led to liberals belly-aching and whining about how McCain and conservatives are intolerant racists and bigots (see “The View” for an example of said belly-aching and whining).  So, perhaps it was a shrewd mood in such a malicious and hyper-critical environment.

Obviously, I agree with leaving Mrs. Obama alone, just as the Obama campaign should have left Mrs. McCain alone. But we are talking about two totally different standards here; which man was it who put out an ad that accused the other of being so old and out of touch that he can’t even use the internet? But in reality, it is a war injury that keeps Senator McCain from using his arms comfortably enough to utilize the internet regularly. Yes, two different standards, indeed… or perhaps it’s a lack of standards at times.

By the way, what do you suppose Ellen thinks of the vocal and violent opponents of Prop 8 who are defacing churches, harassing church-goers, hurting dissenting grandmothers, stomping on crosses, intimidating those who voted against them by threatening their jobs (or eliminating them) and wreaking havoc as they take to the streets in an effort to get California’s Supreme Court to reverse this entirely fair VOTE of the people (that they agreed to abide by beforehand)? 

Woman in yellow is grandmother being harrassed - after having her cross trampled.

We know she donated money in an effort to defeat the proposition, has she – or any of the other highly visible/celebrity opponents – denounced this horrendous behavior or the religious persecution taking place in our very own country? 
All I’ve seen is the likes of Drew Barrymore fighting back a flood of tears as she yelled her support into a bullhorn for a battle that is not hers. 


Actors just love being the center of attention…

But I digress…  Or perhaps not.  Why must “nice guys finish last”?  And will they again in this whole Prop 8 debacle?  Will the tantrums of a raucous, disorderly and disobedient ultra-minority force activist judges to undo the will of the people as demonstrated by an election?
Is this how we want to herald the history of Mr. Obama’s arrival?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal:


…it is the courage to continue that counts.”  

– Sir Winston Churchill


There is little that is final about Mr. Obama’s success, since he now needs to live up to all the promises he made, but will be nearly impossible to keep.  The watch begins…


I thought these other Churchill quotes were also quite notable:


“If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

(Well, doesn’t THIS explain a lot? :-)



“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”


…Or, in this case, a 2½ minute conversation:




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