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Dr. Charles Krauthammer- a physician to know- in memoriam

I don’t remember the first time I read an article by Charles Krauthammer but once I did, I never missed a chance to read more. Dr. Krauthammer recently passed away from cancer and I among many mourn his passing.

His Washington Post syndicated column appeared in my local newspaper on Saturdays;  I would read it aloud at breakfast so my husband and I could discuss it. Invariably, there would be one or two words or phrases we didn’t understand so I would look up the definition- this despite  both of us having graduate degrees.  We were alternately entertained, enlightened, and enthralled by his way with words.

As a physician, I am intrigued and inspired knowing  Dr. Krauthammer completed medical school and residency after and despite sustaining a spinal cord injury which caused quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down, preventing use of his arms and legs).   (This no doubt made his treatment and recovery from cancer surgery all the more difficult.)  In his memoir, he explained how a caring professor did whatever it took to help him get through medical school after his injury, including lectures at his bedside while he was still hospitalized.

He did not use “M.D.” or the title “Dr.” after he changed his career from psychiatry to journalism, but I think he should have, he earned it.  He mostly wrote about politics and social issues but occasionally would address medical issues. (These and others in this post are affiliate links to Dr. Krauthammer’s books and others.  )

Here are excerpts from a sampling of  articles that deal with medical topics;  I encourage you to read them in their entirety.

(I quoted these in a previous post on this blog.)

After watching videos in which  The price of fetal parts was discussed over lunch, Dr. Krauthammer wrote

“Abortion critics have long warned that the problem is not only the obvious — what abortion does to the fetus — but also what it does to us. It’s the same kind of desensitization that has occurred in the Netherlands with another mass exercise in life termination: assisted suicide. It began as a way to prevent the suffering of the terminally ill. It has now become so widespread and wanton that one-fifth of all Dutch assisted-suicide patients are euthanized without their explicit consent.

ultrasound image of a 4 month old fetus

a prenatal ultrasonographic image of fetus at the four-month point in its gestation; public domain image used courtesy of the CDC/ Jim Gathany

There is more division about the first trimester because one’s views of the early embryo are largely a matter of belief, often religious belief. One’s view of the later-term fetus, however, is more a matter of what might be called sympathetic identification — seeing the image of a recognizable human infant and, now, hearing from the experts exactly what it takes to “terminate” its existence.

The role of democratic politics is to turn such moral sensibilities into law. This is a moment to press relentlessly for a national ban on late-term abortions.”

After Another massacre, another charade  he said this about guns and laws about them.

gun metal barrel

Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

“So with the Roseburg massacre in Oregon. Within hours, President Obama takes to the microphones to furiously denounce the National Rifle Association and its ilk for resisting “common-sense gun-safety laws.” His harangue is totally sincere, totally knee-jerk and totally pointless. At the time he delivers it, he — and we — know practically nothing about the shooter, nothing about the weapons, nothing about how they were obtained.

In the final quarter of his presidency, Obama can very well say what he wants. If he believes in Australian-style confiscation — i.e., abolishing the Second Amendment — why not spell it out? Until he does, he should stop demonizing people for not doing what he won’t even propose.”

In this tongue-in-cheek (pardon the pun)  post Food fads: Make mine gluten-full

 he “preaches skepticism” about most current dietary advice.

“Exhibit A for medical skepticism, however, remains vitamin C. When Linus Pauling, Nobel laureate in chemistry (not nutrition), began the vitamin-C megadose fad to fend off all manner of disease, the whole thing struck me as bizarre. Yes, you need some C to prevent scurvy if you’re seven months at sea with Capt. Cook and citrus is nowhere to be found. Otherwise, the megadose is a crock. Evolution is pretty clever. For 2 million years it made sure Homo erectus, neanderthalensis, sapiens, what have you, got his daily dose without having to visit a GNC store.

Sure enough, that fashion came and went. But there are always new windmills to be tilted at. The latest is gluten.

various types of bread

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now, if you suffer from celiac disease, you need a gluten-free diet. How many of us is that? Less than 1 percent. And yet supermarket shelves are groaning with products proclaiming their gluten-freedom. Sales are going through the roof.”

I enjoyed listening to  Dr. Krauthammer’s memoir THINGS THAT MATTER: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics  

His book is a collection of  his more memorable opinion pieces as well as a memoir of his life, including medical school, his life-changing injury, psychiatric medical practice, his  journalism career, hobbies (chess and baseball) and life with his family.

According to Amazon-

Now, finally, the best of Krauthammer’s intelligence, erudition and wit are collected in one volume.”

In his last piece for The Washington Post, barely two weeks before his death, Dr. Krauthammer wrote,

“I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

I am sad he left, but grateful that he shared his “intelligence, erudition, and wit” with the world.  May we all find the loves and endeavors that make life worth living and live intentional lives as well as he did.

Tributes to Dr. Krauthammer, a few of many

from the NATIONAL REVIEWCharles Krauthammer, R.I.P.

from THE NEW YORK TIMES – The Example of Charles Krauthammer

from the WEEKLY STANDARDThe Quick Wit of Charles Krauthammer

Please share this post and share about your recollections of  Dr. Krauthammer’s work.

Thanks for exploring the HEART of health with me. Dr. Aletha

stethoscope with a heart

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The word "Read" written in black paint on a colorful watercolor washed background.

Will reading about health make you healthier?

Did you know that reading books can help you be more creative, more successful, and add years to your life? Well, it can, according to this article

Why reading books should be your priority, according to science

I chose several book sites as affiliates for this blog- because I like to read, I believe reading is important, and I hope my readers do also. Even though I write for the internet, I think books and other printed media are valuable.

 

I have reviewed several books for this blog but in this post I share some others that I have heard of and think sound worthy of considering. I haven’t read them yet, but if you have or do read them, please write me and tell me what you think. I’ll share it with my other readers (anonymously if you prefer).

Will reading about health make you healthier? watercresswords.com

 

 

These book links are affiliate links- but if you want to borrow them from your local library that’s fine, I borrow books also. If you do make a purchase, you will be supporting the work of this blog- to spread the HEART of health throughout the world. Thank you!


The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health 

by  T. Colin Campbell, PH.D and Thomas Campbell, M.D.

The science is clear. The results are unmistakable.

You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes just by changing your diet.

More than thirty years ago, nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell and his team at Cornell, in partnership with teams in China and England, embarked upon the China Study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. What they found when combined with findings in Colin’s laboratory, opened their eyes to the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the unparalleled health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet.

In 2005, Colin and his son Tom, now a physician, shared those findings with the world in The China Study, hailed as one of the most important books about diet and health ever written.

Featuring brand new content, this heavily expanded edition of Colin and Tom’s groundbreaking book includes the latest undeniable evidence of the power of a plant-based diet, plus updated information about the changing medical system and how patients stand to benefit from a surging interest in plant-based nutrition.


Bestsellers at eBooks.com!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

First ,Do No Harm: The Dramatic Story of Real Doctors and Patients Making Impossible Choices at a Big-City Hospital

by Lisa Belkin

“A powerful, true story of life and death in a major metropolitan hospital…Harrowing… An important book.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES

“What is life worth? And what is a life worth living?

At a time when America faces vital choices about the future of its health care, former NEW YORK TIMES correspondent Lisa Belkin takes a powerful and poignant look at the inner workings of Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, telling the remarkable, real-life stories of the doctors, patients, families, and hospital administrators who must ask–and ultimately answer–the most profound and heart-rending questions about life and death.”

Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in your Skin…every Inch of It

by  Brittany Gibbons

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

“Fat Girl Walking isn’t a diet book. It isn’t one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat.

Brittany doesn’t lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that’s been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn’t mean you’ll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What’s important is learning to love your shape.

With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else’s. Just with better snacks.”

 Read it on iBooks

“Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors.

In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust.

He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.”

In case you missed it, here is my guest post about how reading changed my life.

How have books changed yours?

Reading-The Fastest Way to Everywhere

 

 

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading Watercress Words. Please share, follow, and support this blog  as we explore and share the HEART of Health together. 

                                     Dr. Aletha 

man praying on holy bible in the morning

A simple step to become important

Luke 18:9-14, ERV

There were some people who thought they were very good and looked down on everyone else. Jesus used this story to teach them: 
“One time there was a Pharisee and a tax collector. One day they both went to the Temple to pray. 
The Pharisee stood alone, away from the tax collector. He  said,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not as bad as other people. I am not like men who steal, cheat, or commit adultery. I thank you that I am better than this tax collector. 
“The tax collector stood alone too. But when he prayed, he would not even look up to heaven. He felt very humble before God. He said,
O God, have mercy on me. I am a sinner!’ 
I tell you, when this man finished his prayer and went home, he was right with God. But the Pharisee, who felt that he was better than others, was not right with God.
People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important.”
Easy-to-Read version© 1978, 1987, 2012 Bible League International
a pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself; but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself.

graphic created and offered by Lightstock, stock photo site, an affiliate link

These are affiliate links used to support this blog.

A.W. Tozer 

“Self-taught theologian. Fearless preacher. Gifted writer. Man of the inner life.”

Inspired by Tozer


eBooks.com

Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog. You are helping it grow and support those who offer medical care to the sick and needy throughout the world.

 

 

You may also enjoy this previous post-

The surprising blessing of discomfort

a ceramic cross with the Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10

The Beatitudes from Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more words of

FAITH, HOPE, LOVE in wooden block letters

Faith Hope and Love- graphic from Lightstock

Weekend Words-

sharing words of faith, hope, and love

(1Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha 

an apple on top of a stack of books

Being Mortal- a book review

Being Mortal 

Medicine and What Matters in the End

by Atul Gawande, M.D. 

(This blog post features affiliate links which pays a small commission to this blog from purchases, without additional cost to you)

 

 

Dr. Atul Gawande is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and professor at Harvard Medical School. He writes for The New Yorker and has authored three other bestselling books.

In Being Mortal, he explores the way most people now live, age and die and for the most part it’s not a pleasant prospect.

Caring for elderly people

As people age and lose independence due to frailness, illness, mental decline and poverty, they often also lose whatever is most important to them- their home, pets, hobbies, possessions. And these losses often occur to protect them from harm as they progress into assisted living centers, nursing homes and hospice.

Dr. Gawande describes how his  family in India expected  to care for their elderly relatives, which differed from what he saw happen when they immigrated to the United States. After becoming a physician, he recognized that our care of the elderly often robs them of the well-being that he sought to promote in his practice.

He wondered how it can be done differently. To find out, he interviewed people who are developing novel ways to provide care to older people, care that preserves their independence, dignity and choices while still keeping them safe and protected.

Most of us either have relatives or friends facing these decisions, or are facing them ourselves. If not now, we all will eventually. Whichever the case, this book shows

“how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life-all the way to the very end.”

woman sitting in a cemetery

photo from the Lightstock.com collection, an affiliate link

Caring for dying people

Finally, Dr. Gawande discusses end -of -life care- that is, care when a disease has become terminal and a cure is no longer likely. Sometimes it is difficult to determine when that occurs. As he says, it is rare in medicine when there truly is “nothing more we can do”.

However, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Some treatments, rather  than extending life just prolong the suffering. Still it is heart wrenching for patients and families, along with their doctors, to decide that it is time to forgo treatment and instead opt for palliative care, with or without hospice.

(Palliative care focuses on symptom management and social and emotional support for patients and families.)

Dr. Gawande poignantly describes this process by sharing in detail his  father’s cancer diagnosis, treatment, progression, hospice care and death. He shows how difficult a process this can be, given that even he and his parents, all of whom are physicians, struggled to come to terms with the reality of terminal illness and the dying process. Though they were all familiar with and experienced in dealing with the medical system, they still felt unprepared to face the decisions required at the end of life. But in the end, both he and his father felt at peace with the outcome and Dr. Gawande senior did experience “a good life-all the way to the very end.”

Being Mortal is also available as a convenient low cost ebook from eBooks.com. (Using this affiliate link supports this blog.

drawing of various electronic devices-phone, PC, tablet,

graphic from Lightstock.com, an affiliate link 

 

I  also enjoyed listening to this interview with Dr. Gawande-

 Atul Gawande on Priorities, Big and Small– a podcast interview with Tyler Cowen

Other books by Dr. Gawande

Complications : A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science

In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel’s edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is―uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance 

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision.

Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession

The Checklist Manifesto:How to Get Things Right

Atul Gawande shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.

 

I appreciate your sharing  this post on your social media pages.

And please follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thank you for  viewing  the advertisements and using the affiliate links  that fund this blog; with your  help, we can grow, reach more people, and support worthy causes that bring health and wholeness to people around the world.

Thanks for visiting.        26952564_10213093560871954_4239554644472378905_o

Dr. Aletha 

"I have a dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.

King, Obama, and Healthcare

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 

The  United States observes the third Monday of January as a federal holiday in honor and memory of the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929)

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.

First African-American President- Barack Obama

In 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama ran for President of the United States and won, becoming the 44th President  and the first African-American to win the office.

Former President Obama running with his dog

President Obama kept fit exercising with his dog- photo compliments Pixabay 

 

Candidate Obama  pledged to enact universal health care coverage for the country, a promise President Obama fulfilled with the support of a Democratic Congress. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

 

 

First Universal Healthcare Coverage -“Obamacare”

The term “Obamacare” was first used by opponents, then embraced by supporters, and eventually used by President Obama himself. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 amendment, it represents the U.S. healthcare system‘s most significant overhaul and expansion of coverage since  Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. (source Wikipedia) 

 

Is ObamaCare doomed?

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign platform included health care reform, a plan he labeled “repeal and replace” for Obamacare. Thus far, as of January 2018 , President Trump has not convinced Congress to abandon Obamacare, but it will change under the recently passed tax law which has abolished the individual mandate  requiring all persons to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty. Premiums are predicted to increase significantly, making it more difficult for people to afford coverage.

 

 African-American Health- Progress Made, More Needed

 

The death rate for African Americans dropped 25% from 1999-2015, but they are still more likely to die at a young age than white Americans.

African Americans in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more likely to live with or die from conditions that typically occur at older ages in whites, including

  • heart disease,
  • stroke, and
  • diabetes.

African Americans ages 35-64 are 50 percent more likely to have high blood pressure as whites.

African Americans ages 18 to 49 years are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease as whites.

Social and economic conditions, such as poverty, contribute to the gap in health differences between African Americans and whites.

 

Public health agencies and community organizations should work with other community resources , including

  • education,
  • business,
  • transportation, and
  • housing,

to create social and economic conditions that promote health at early ages.

Consumers can prevent disease and early death by

 

Dr. Ben Carson- “Gifted Hands”

Ben Carson, M.D., renowned neurosurgeon, also ran for President in 2016 , leaving the campaign during the Republican primary.

 

President Trump appointed him to his Cabinet where he serves as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

 

 

Will you share this post on your social media pages?

This blog receives support from your use of the affiliate links in this post , other affiliates, and  visiting the advertisers. Profits will also support various health and relief related  organizations.

I invite you to  follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thanks for your time and interest.  Dr. Aletha 

 

man with hands folded in prayer

Remembering Dr. King’s dream

Isaiah 40:4-5, NIV

Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted this scripture passage in his famous speech at the “March on Washington” in 1963.

 

"I have a dream"

Plaque honoring “I have a dream” speech by Dr. King

 

On the third Monday of January, the United States observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as an official federal holiday.

The Reverend Dr. King led the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His famous “I have a dream” speech, delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is  remembered, read, and recited by people all over the country on the anniversary of his birth each year.

 

nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding, quote Martin Luther King

graphic with King quote compliments of Lightstock.com, affiliate link

 

 

 

Learn more about Dr. King and listen to part of his famous speech at  Biography.com

Read the full text of  “I Have A Dream” .

 

The following book suggestions lead to affiliate links which may pay a commission to this blog at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please share this post and follow this blog  for more –

Weekend Words of  faith, hope, and love

Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles

These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

album covers from music by Carole King

Beautiful- remembering the music of Carole King

“You’ve got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You’re gonna find, yes you will

That you’re beautiful as you feel.”

Beautiful, by Carole King

My husband and I enjoyed a date night at the theater watching Beautiful- The Carole King Musical. The play covers the start of Ms. King’s career as a songwriter, including meeting and marrying her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

husband-wife couple holding hands in front of poster for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

My husband and I at the theater for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Together they wrote some of the most successful and memorable songs of the 1960s-1970s including

I Feel the Earth Move 

Will you Love Me Tomorrow?

Up On The Roof 

You’ve Got a Friend 

Sadly, their marriage was not as successful as their careers due to his infidelity and mental instability which culminated in hospitalization and divorce.

As I watched and heard the story portrayed on the stage  I remembered her memoir which I read and reviewed here. The memoir included this part of her life as well as subsequent years, which often were as turbulent as the ones in the musical.

Here is my review of her memoir –

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

Although Carole King did not write A Natural Womanfor herself (she and her first husband were asked to write it for Aretha Franklin), the song aptly fits her life also.

She grew up in a close Jewish family, attended school where she excelled in performing arts and graduated early. She married young and  loved her husbands (four of them) passionately. She doted on her four children and did all the typical mom things- driving them to activities, homeschooling, sewing their clothes. She cooked food that she grew herself and even milked a goat she owned. She welcomed grandchildren and cared for aging parents.

She could almost be any 70 year old woman- except she is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter who has written over 100 songs, including many of the greatest hits from the 1970s. In 2013 she became the first woman to be awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

Ms. King was at the height of her career in 1972 when my husband and I met, and found a mutual appreciation for her music, and still do. So, even though I don’t read memoirs of celebrities, I made an exception this time. I wanted to know more about this talented woman, and I was not disappointed.

As  I listened to the book’s audio version, read by the author,  I marvelled at  how she managed to live such a normal and successful life while experiencing a series of traumatic experiences starting in childhood. These included

  • a sibling with physical and developmental disabilities
  • the dissolution of her parents’ marriage
  • financial instability in her early career
  • the breakdown of her four marriages
  • an extended civil lawsuit
  • accidents resulting in serious physical injury
  • exposure to mental illness and substance abuse

The last issue led to two of her divorces, one of which followed several years of verbal and physical abuse .  She candidly admits that she submitted to it,  thinking that  she deserved it, he didn’t mean to hurt her, and that he would change.

Fortunately, one night she  woke up with the conviction that she needed help. Counselling helped her develop personal resources to resist and stop the abuse. She urges women in similar circumstances to seek help and recommends

 The National Domestic Violence Hotline | 24/7 Confidential Support.

I am sad that she  experienced such pain in her life, all the while brightening other lives with her music. She said that music helped her cope with the challenges in her life.

Her life reminds us that people who appear successful and accomplished in some areas of life, may be unhappy and hurting in others. We may never know the pain that some have walked through to get where they are.

Carole King insists  she never wanted to be a star or diva, and she zealously guarded her privacy. According to this book, she valued most her family, relationships, writing songs and sharing her music. I am glad she  decided to share this side of her life and the lessons it teaches .  Thank you Carole King.    It's some kind of wonderful! Beautiful The Carole King Musical- poster on window at theater

Here is a selection of Carole King’s music

(these are affiliate links)

Tapestry  Carole King’s first and most successful album

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  the story of Carole’s life and career

Live at the Troubadour Carole King singing with her friend James Taylor

The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) June 1971 

Listen  to Carole King on Apple Music 

Will you share this post on your social media pages?

And please follow Watercress Words for more information and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH.

Thanks for your time and interest .

Sincerely, Dr. Aletha