Monthly Archives: March 2010

Yearly Physical and Weight Watchers

C O L O R IS GOOD

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my yearly physical. My blood pressure was high …. My cholesterol was high ……. I’d gained some weight, and I didn’t feel so hot.

My doctor said eating right doesn’t have to be complicated and it would solve my physical problems. He said: Just think in colors. Fill your plate with bright colors. Try some greens, oranges, reds, maybe something blue, etc. So I went right home and ate an entire bowl of

And sure enough, I felt better immediately. I never knew eating right could be so easy !!!

Well, this might not be completely accurate, but I did go in for my yearly physical this morning. Actually, my blood pressure was good and I’d lost a little weight, so I’m a pretty happy camper, although my left hip is now hurting, and it looks like I’m headed for another hip surgery.

Also, I keep forgetting to update you on Weight Watchers. I go tomorrow for this week’s “check up,” but so far I’ve lost 11 pounds in 11 weeks. I’m afraid I won’t fare so well for the next few weeks, but I’m definitely a fan of eating right, exercising, and losing weight! So, keep the colors coming, but maybe skip the M’n’Ms!

ūüôā

Celebrations

It’s been like a fireworks of joy around here the past few days! On Friday, Susan and I took Cindi out to celebrate her birthday. I asked her how many candles she wanted on her cake (…er… coconut cream pie, which is her favorite dessert), and she responded without skipping a beat: “Twenty-nine!”¬† Guess that works just fine!! ūüôā

Jonathan, on the other hand, really was twenty-nine on Friday, although on Saturday he turned 30. He didn’t seem to mind 30 candles on the fabulous chocolate fudge cake that Gerlinde made.

In fact, it was quite a hit with everybody (and their kids) who stopped by from their prayer group  to wish Jon a happy birthday!

About the time their friends left, our kids starting arriving for dinner and to celebrate.

After Kathy and Carl arrived, it was time for cake again! Gerlinde made TWO cakes for her beloved!

After cake and ice cream, we opened presents. All Jonathan asked for was some theology books…no trinkets, clothes, or luxuries…just books! We got him the books he asked for, but Alan and I also gave him about 75 various “treasures” as a bit of an early inheritance. They are commentaries, books of sermons, classic devotionals, biographies, Christian living, old texts from my college and seminary days, histories, etc….books that have been instrumental in our spiritual formation but are books that we’re not currently studying (but that Jon was interested in reading). It was a special joy to be able to pass along such a wealth of information to our son, knowing that he will be enriched by them as well as blessing others with what he learns. “The passing of the torch,” as some would say. Turning 30 seemed the perfect time to make the transfer!

Sunday, even though it was really Palm Sunday, we celebrated a bit of an early “Easter” since both Dan and Brianna have to stay in Ann Arbor to work next weekend. After a lovely time at church, we had grilled lamb chops for dinner.

In the afternoon, we painted Easter eggs. Jonathan complained that we needed some babies to enjoy such, but we all figured he’s the oldest and therefore should stop complaining and start producing!! ūüôā

After all the eggs have been lovingly decorated, Alan and I took them out in the woods and hid them along the trail to the garden.

This year for the first time, we actually couldn’t find one of the chocolate rabbits! Luckily, I had an extra one stashed in my closet for Michael and Grace, so it all worked out. Sorry about that, M+G…but I’ll get you another one before we see you! It was a beautiful day for a hunt in the woods, and a wonderful weekend. He is risen. He is risen indeed! The first violets and daffodils are just beginning to bloom. Thank God for spring time and the resurrection…for life rising again from the dead!

Spring Crocuses and Joel James

When Joel was just a roving toddler, he found something early in the spring that was too fabulous for words. He couldn’t explain it, but was so excited that he just HAD to show me. He led me by the hand outside so I could marvel with him at his new discovery. It was¬† a beautiful purple crocus, bravely emerging from the snowy edge of our woodsy home in Michigan’s¬† upper peninsula. Ever since that time, it’s been an unspoken annual event to see which of us will find the first crocus. This year I won, but next year, he probably will!

Joel has been doing an incredible job of helping me around the house this year when he’s not otherwise employed doing free-lance work for Cornerstone or busy writing a fantasy novel. I’m sure I’d be extremely lonely if I were home alone all day, and Joel has been a fabulous worker. He’s been cleaning, sorting, scrubbing, digging…you name it! Today he helped hang up some pictures in the living room and has been spear-heading our spring cleaning campaign. He’s helping me reorganize and update the house so that Alan and I don’t go crazy trying to keep it up after we’re kid-less some day.

Thank you, Lord, for helpful sons!

Joel is also trying his hand at developing a writer’s blog. If you enjoy reading and ever get a free minute, I’ve got his blog link on the right-hand column. He reads a ton of stuff and has a very analytical mind, so you might enjoy his thoughts on literature.

(P.S.‚ÄĒFive years later…Joel no longer has a blog, but he is now in Boston working on his PhD in literature…and still writing!)

How Will the Health Bill Affect Us?

Let’s make some logical deductions from the facts:

1.¬† If¬† you are a tax payer, you will end up paying more taxes. Despite the government’s penchant for the rhetoric of “fees” instead of taxes, our government only has one means for raising money: taxing the citizens. None of our politicians sell books or provide free services to raise money for “the cause.” The trillions of dollars for the health care reform, and the countless billions more in interest‚ÄĒif it doesn’t prove to be the 2X4 that breaks the back of the U.S. economy altogether‚ÄĒwill have to come from somewhere, and that somewhere isn’t thin air…it’s out of our pockets. That’s all we’ve got, folks. There ain’t nothin’ else, no matter what anybody tries to tell us.

2.¬† If your health care is already being assisted by the government in any way‚ÄĒbe it Medicare, Medicaid, or whatever‚ÄĒthat assistance is going to be diminished. Why do I say that? Because you can’t add 32,000,000 people who need help on to an existing program without a huge amount of sharing, with the “haves” needing to give up part of what they have to provide for the “have nots.” I am not saying this is wrong. Christ tells us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we’d all been doing that, there wouldn’t be a need for health reform. But, when charity becomes government business instead of personal business, we suddenly find that our neighborhood goes beyond those we know personally, voluntary sharing in love becomes mandatory taxation, and that we may be forced to give up the medical care we expected in order to help those who may be deemed in more critical need or more worthy of care by reason of younger age or whatever (unless they’re helpless babes in the womb; sadly, the government won’t help them)!

3.¬† Being forced to sign up for health insurance and pay for it will be a financial burden to those who do not have it at present. Logically, if people could afford to pay for health insurance, they would be doing so. Where will people come up with the extra cash to buy health insurance if they can’t afford it in the first place? Are we really going to prosecute people if they don’t get health insurance? Send them to jail? Where’s the wisdom and justice in that one? Unless the 32 million people are given free health care, then I don’t think forcing them to buy insurance is truly a benefit to them. My husband works at a hospital where even penniless patients can come in and get emergency care free as needed. (Granted, he works at a Christian, non-profit hospital, but I’m hoping that might be true at other hospitals??) Wouldn’t it be better for poverty-stricken individuals to get free emergency care as needed rather than to have to pay for care that they may or may not need along with all their other struggles?

4. The burden of so many more people in the health care system will necessarily diminish access to excellent service in a timely way. It will take years¬† to gear up medical schools to train enough physicians to meet the additional needs and many more years before there are enough seasoned physicians who are able to service the greater population. In the meantime, there will be tremendous pressure on the existing medical staff. Doctors and other medical personnel¬† will have to work even harder (if that’s possible…my physician husband is already pushing the limits of his endurance) and be less available to each individual patient as he tries to meet the needs of a spiraling population base.

5.¬† Eventually, hopefully, things will settle out, and in another 50 years, after the Baby Boomers have all passed on to their eternal homes, our population may stabilize and learn to accommodate the basic medical needs of all of “We, the people of the United States.” High-end care will become almost a thing of the past, fewer¬† brilliant, aspiring students will become doctors because the pay will be less and the hours horrendous, and America will cease being a medical mecca that draws in some of the most creative and energetic students from around the world. Health care will become part of the great, gray middle zone, but at least most everyone will have a crack at basic care, and that is certainly laudable.

This isn’t a very vibrant forecast, but I believe it’s an honest one. For those of us left holding the bag‚ÄĒand that’s all of us who pay taxes‚ÄĒI would encourage us to try to look on the bright side of what seems like a potential disaster. Helping those in need is a good thing. Breaking the backs of the working class is not. Let’s continue to pray for those who are making decisions and trying to sort out “all this mess!” May we continue to try on a personal basis to create beauty from chaos and offer good will and kindness to others as we can. May God’s promise hold true: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Are you one of the “called” of God? The Bible says that God is calling everyone! I hope we all answer. ūüôā

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

Response to Obama’s Health Care Bill

Stained glass window from “The Holy Land Experience”

Are you holding your breath over what the new tax reform will mean for you? Are you feeling anxious over the prospect of our country imploding financially from the strain of unbearable overspending? I am. I fear our country has gone from trying to provide “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to trying to provide something only God can give us: security.

As a doctor’s wife, I want to admit that doctors as a group (along with many successful people in other fields) do get more than their fair share of the nations’ wages. Some type of reform would definitely be a good thing. However, I feel pretty devastated that the current reform bill passed, and I also objected to their holding sessions on Sunday when many conservative politicians from both parties would normally be taking time to pray, worship at their local church, and get refreshed so they could “think straight” and make wise decisions. Sometimes we can learn from bad examples. I wonder if I am expecting anyone under my authority to just “buck up” and do what I want without giving that person a chance to consider all the options and prayerfully work through the issues with me. Haste makes waste, and unfair pressure stirs up anger and resentment.

Lord, help us submit ourselves to you, as the wise bishop and overseer of our souls. Please oversee our country too! Deliver us from evil and turn our hearts to you! Help us become united by your Spirit. Help us also to be patient and wise leaders for those under our care, so that both at home and at work we can move with confidence and the unity of your Spirit.

May we be patient, peaceful, faithful, and beautiful…always!

What’s Wrong with Obama’s Health Care Bill? Let Me Tell You…

Here is a letter I sent to¬†Senator Bayh.. Feel free to ¬†copy it and send it around to all other ¬†representatives. — Stephen ¬†Fraser

(Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis, IN ) .

Senator  Bayh,

As a practicing ¬†physician I have major concerns with the¬†health ¬†care bill¬†before Congress. I actually have read ¬†the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the ¬†government’s proposed involvement in the ¬†patient-physician relationship. The very idea ¬†that the government will dictate and ration ¬†patient care is dangerous and certainly not ¬†helpful in designing a¬†health care system¬†that ¬†works for all. Every physician I work with ¬†agrees that we need to fix our¬†health care ¬†system, but the proposed bills currently making ¬†their way through congress will be a disaster if ¬†passed.

I ask you  respectfully and as a patriotic American to look  at the following troubling lines that I have  read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe  that these proposals are in the best interests  of the country and our fellow  citizens.

Page 22  of the HC Bill:  Mandates that the Govt  will audit books of all employers that  self-insure!!
Page 30 Sec 123  of HC bill:   THERE WILL BE A GOVT  COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits  you get.
Page 29 lines 4-16 in  the HC bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS  RATIONED!!!
Page 42 of HC  Bill:  The Health Choices Commissioner  will choose your HC benefits for you. You have  no choice!
Page 50 Section 152  in HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL  non-US citizens, illegal or  otherwise.
Page ¬†58 HC Bill: ¬†Govt will have real-time ¬†access to individuals’ finances & a ¬†‘National ID Health card’ will be ¬†issued! (Papers ¬†please!)
Page  59 HC Bill lines 21-24:  Govt will have  direct access to your bank accounts for elective  funds transfer. (Time  for more cash and carry)
Page 65  Sec 164: Is a payoff subsidized plan for  retirees and their families in unions &  community organizations:  (ACORN).
Page 84 Sec 203 HC ¬†bill:¬†Govt mandates ALL benefit packages ¬†for private HC plans in the ¬†‘Exchange.’
Page 85 Line  7 HC Bill:  Specifications of Benefit  Levels for Plans The Govt  will ration your health  care!
Page 91 Lines 4-7  HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic  appropriate services.  (Translation:  illegal aliens.)
Page 95  HC Bill Lines 8-18: The Govt will use  groups (i.e. ACORN & Americorps to sign up  individuals for Govt HC  plan.
Page 85 Line 7 HC  Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels  for Plans. (AARP members Рyour health care WILL  be rationed!)
Page 102  Lines 12-18 HC Bill:  Medicaid eligible  individuals will be automatically enrolled in  Medicaid.  (No choice.)
Page ¬†124 lines 24-25 HC:¬†No company can sue ¬†GOVT on price fixing. No “judicial review” ¬†against Govt monopoly.
Page 127  Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/ American  Medical Association РThe Govt will tell YOU  what salary you can make.
Page  145 Line 15-17: An Employer MUST  auto-enroll employees into public option  plan. (NO choice!)
Page ¬†126 Lines 22-25:¬†Employers MUST pay for ¬†HC for part-time employees¬†ANDtheir ¬†families. ¬†(Employees shouldn’t get excited ¬†about this as employers will be forced to reduce ¬†its work force, benefits, and wages/salaries to ¬†cover such a huge ¬†expense.)
Page 149 Lines  16-24: ANY Employer with payroll 401k  & above who does not provide public option  will pay 8% tax on all payroll!  (See the  last comment in  parenthesis.)
Page 150 ¬†Lines 9-13:¬†A business with payroll ¬†between $251K & $401K who doesn’t provide ¬†public option will pay 2-6% tax on all ¬†payroll.
Page 167 Lines ¬†18-23:¬†ANY individual who doesn’t have ¬†acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed ¬†2.5% of income.
Page 170 Lines  1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is  exempt from individual taxes.  (Americans will pay.) (Like  always)
Page ¬†195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of ¬†the GOVT HC Admin.. ¬†will have access to¬†ALL Americans’ finances and ¬†personal records. (I guess ¬†so they can ‘deduct’ their ¬†fees)
Page 203 ¬†Line 14-15 HC:¬†“The tax imposed under ¬†this section shall not be treated as tax.” ¬†¬†(Yes, it really says ¬†that!) ( a ¬†‘fee’ instead)
Page 239  Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt will reduce  physician services for Medicaid Seniors.   (Low-income and the poor are  affected)
Page 241 ¬†Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors:¬†It doesn’t ¬†matter what specialty you have trained yourself ¬†in — you will all be paid the same! (Just TRY ¬†to tell me that’s not ¬†Socialism!)
Page 253 Line ¬†10-18:¬†The Govt sets the value of a ¬†doctor’s time, profession, judgment, etc. ¬†¬†(Literally– the value of ¬†humans.) Page 265 Sec 1131: ¬†The Govt mandates and controls productivity for ¬†“private” HC industries.
Page  268 Sec 1141: The federal Govt regulates the  rental and purchase of power driven  wheelchairs.
Page 272 SEC.  1145: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS Р Cancer patients Рwelcome to  rationing!
Page 280 Sec 1151: ¬†The Govt will penalize hospitals for whatever ¬†the Govt deems preventable ¬†(i.e…re-admissions). Page 298 Lines ¬†9-11: Doctors: If you treat a patient during ¬†initial admission that results in a re-admission ¬†— the Govt¬†will penalize ¬†you.
Page 317 L 13-20:  PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. (The Govt  tells doctors what and how much they can  own!)
Page 317-318 lines  21-25, 1-3: PROHIBITION on expansion.  (The  Govt is mandating that hospitals cannot  expand.)
Page 321 2-13: Hospitals have the opportunity to apply  for exception BUT community input is required.   (Can you say  ACORN?)
Page 335 L 16-25 Pg ¬†336-339: The Govt mandates establishment of=2 ¬†outcome-based measures. (HC the way they want — ¬†rationing.)
Page 341 Lines 3-9: The Govt has authority to disqualify  Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc.   (Forcing people into the Govt  plan)
Page 354 Sec 1177: The ¬†Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of ‘special needs ¬†people!’ ¬†¬†¬†Unbelievable!
Page ¬†379 Sec 1191: The Govt creates more bureaucracy ¬†via a “Tele-Health¬†Advisory Committee.” ¬†¬†(Can you say HC by ¬†phone?)
Page 425 Lines 4-12: ¬†The Govt mandates “Advance-Care Planning ¬†Consult.” ¬†(Think senior citizens ¬†end-of-life patients.)
Page ¬†425 Lines 17-19: The Govt will instruct and ¬†consult regarding¬†living wills,¬†durable powers ¬†of attorney, etc. ¬†(And ¬†it’s¬†mandatory!)
Page 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3: The Govt provides an ¬†“approved” list of end-of-life resources; ¬†guiding you in death. (Also called ‘assisted ¬†suicide.’)(Sounds ¬†like Soylent Green to ¬†me.)
Page ¬†427 Lines 15-24: The Govt mandates a program for ¬†orders on “end-of-life.” ¬†(The Govt has a ¬†say in how your life ¬†ends!)
Page 429 Lines 1-9: An ¬†“advanced-care planning consultant” will be used ¬†frequently as a patient’s health ¬†deteriorates.
Page 429 Lines ¬†10-12: An “advanced care consultation” may ¬†include an ORDER for end-of-life plans.. ¬†¬†(AN ORDER TO DIE FROM THE ¬†GOVERNMENT?!?)
Page 429 Lines 13-25: The GOVT will specify which doctors ¬†can write an end-of-life order.. ¬†(I ¬†wouldn’t want to stand before God after getting ¬†paid for THAT job!)
Page 430 Lines 11-15: The Govt will decide what level of ¬†treatment you will have at end¬†–¬†¬† of-life! ¬†¬†(Again — no ¬†choice!)
Page 469:  Community-Based Home Medical Services =  Non-Profit Organizations.  (Hello?   ACORN Medical Services  here!?!)
Page 489 Sec 1308:  The Govt will cover marriage and family therapy.   (Which means Govt will insert itself into  your marriage even.)
Page  494-498: Govt will cover Mental Health Services  including defining, creating, and rationing  those services.

Senator,  I guarantee that I personally will do everything  possible to inform patients and my fellow  physicians about the dangers of the proposed  bills you and your colleagues are  debating.

Furthermore,  if you vote for a bill that enforces socialized  medicine on the country and destroys the  doctor-patient relationship, I will  do everything in my power to  make sure you lose your job in the next  election.

Respectfully,

Stephen  E. Fraser, MD

The Bible encourages us to pray for all in who are authority over us. May we, as Americans, plead with our Father to move our leaders to vote wisely on the health care reform bill!

Such Industry!

Linda is a speech therapist, and she and Jonathan missed out on our spring break so that she could take her exam to become a board-certified therapist here in the U.S. For the entire week while Linda was slaving over her books in preparation for the exam, Jonathan was slaving away repainting the main part of our house, which has never had a fresh dab of paint since it was built twenty years ago!After Linda’s exam was over, she began helping Jonathan too! In fact, she stayed up until 3:00 am the night before we returned just to make sure the kitchen was functional and we could walk through the house enough to unload our gear! What a woman. ūüôā (I think Jonathan was also working preparing his message for Sunday school the next day.)

After our return, Joel joined in and helped out with the ceiling. It’s turned from a smokey, dingy brownish color (from years of fires and smoky kitchen cuisine?) to a brilliant, spacious white. I LOVE it!

The intrepid painters even did the peaks of the chapel ceiling above the stairwell, proving that Linda is truly as brave as a barrel full of bears!

I was reading the account of the 10 lepers who were cleansed this morning in Luke 17, and I noticed something that had never struck me before. Jesus seems to equate giving thanks with glorifying God. I want it on record that I am extremely thankful to God for about a zillion things, but a few on my mind at this moment include returning safely just this week from our wonderful vacation, a warm and loving family, and kids and kids-in-law who are living life with courage and godly grace! Thank you, GOD!! May you receive all the glory and praise for your wonderful kindness to the children of men!