Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween! (Ghost Stories)

image courtesy of my husband's pumpkin carving skillz

I originally posted this as a contest entry for Halloween stories. Everything here is completely true to the best of my knowledge and represents paranormal experiences I've had--just in time for Halloween!

My experience with the paranormal began as a child. I was always 'sensitive' to unseen things and was good at predicting small events, like phone calls and things that people were going to say.

When I was 12, I had a best friend (who was basically my ONLY friend at the time) and we both became sick and missed school. We saw each other at the Boys and Girls club and she asked me to come home with her. Afraid of getting in trouble (and afraid of going a new place without anyone knowing where I was), I begged off and went home.

At home, I talked with her on the phone for a while and taught her "American Pie" ("This will be the day that I die") after "Paint It Black" and some other oldies. She loved them. At the end of the call, she had to go take her medicine and we sang American Pie one last time.

That night, I had terrible dreams about fire and trying to find her.

The next day, my mom came home and said, "Heather, it's April..."

I just looked up and said, "Is she dead?"

There had been a fire and because of the cough medicine she took, she never woke up. Her mother lost both her daughters that night (her sons survived) partly because of the burglar bars on their windows. April was 12, like me and her sister was in high school.

Then there was the terribly haunted house I lived in in high school (a toaster once flew across the kitchen at my mom's head while I was in the living room, coming to the kitchen--it flew outward by about 2' right at her from on top of the fridge to where she was cooking at the stove and there were people who absolutely refused to set foot in our house--they would get to the threshold and freeze, uncomfortable and then leave... amongst too many other stories). My best friend was the only person comfortable with being downstairs alone at night there. There was one ghost on the stairs that kept any others from coming up.

On to when my husband and I first met in person (we met online months before). He flew here and then flew us down to New Orleans to meet with more friends from our online group. While there, we stayed in an Inn in Geismar. We had one jacket and hung it on the single coat rod. Randomly, it would slide back and forth along the totally level rod. We checked everywhere and there was no draft, no airflow at all to move it. And it slid both ways.

Going back a way, I was on a family vacation with a friend, coming back from Colorado (to Missouri) when it became late and we pulled into this small town to find a place to sleep. I could see shapes moving out in the darkness and this pervasive sense of Wrong filled me with terror and the need to leave. Immediately.

I started telling my friend we couldn't stay there, we had to get away, get away now. Her walkie talkie buzzed on and her parents (in a separate vehicle) said, "Your sister is freaking out and says we have to leave. We're thinking we might want to find another town to stay in tonight."

My friend confirmed that I was acting the exact same way and thankfully her parents were spiritual people who believed us. I don't remember what town it was, just a small one in KS before we got to Salina, which is where we ended up staying. But in two separate vehicles, her little sister and I saw and felt the exact same thing. She described exactly what I had.

And for my last ghost story... In the last house we lived in before this one, there was one night where I felt this incredibly disturbing feeling. I felt sick and terrified and knew exactly where it was coming from--like hearing a sound, only with a completely different sense.

I felt it moving around the house and locked the doors in fear. Then this scratching sound started on the back porch door (enclosed porch--the door was non-functional--we used it as a library). I was freaking out and staring at the source of the sound and then a banging started against it. I touched the glass of the door with my left hand that led to the porch and jerked my hand back. There were scratches up and down my left arm. I started praying frantically and it faded away.

When my husband (then fiance) got home, I had him look and there were scratches on my arm and my shoulder where I couldn't see.

I warded the house after that. In this one, there's some disturbing negative sense that both I and my youngest feel toward the back porch/back yard, but the house is basically neutral.

Well, there's a short summary of many of the ghost stories I've lived personally. Happy Halloween!
image again courtesy of my husband's pumpkin carving skillz

Alternative Vaccine Refusal Form

This was written in response to many parents being asked to sign "vaccine refusal waivers" (don't ever sign one, by the way!) to offer if asked to sign. While most pediatricians wouldn't appreciate being handed this, it's hardly fair that we're expected to appreciate being handed a piece of paper that says that we agree with their assessment that we're taking a greater risk by not vaccinating. Obviously, if we are refusing, we DON'T agree. This summarizes very nicely why many people choose not to vaccinate. Thanks to Kathryn E. Rateliff for compiling it and all the bloggers who keep passing it on!

image courtesy of ~darkland-stock


Patient Name_______________________________ Birthdate_______________

As the parent/guardian of __________________________, I have investigated the risks and benefits of the following vaccines and diseases. I am aware that there are documented cases of people contracting diseases for which they are clinically fully immunized and that the manufacturers of the vaccines do not guarantee 100% efficacy. I am also aware that VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System) documented cases of over 54,000 adverse reactions from vaccines in a 20-month period. The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (The Vaccine Court) received 366 new petitions for compensation between 1/5/04 and 3/30/04. The National Vaccine Injury Fund, created in 1986 to compensate families of vaccine-damaged children, had paid out over 1.4 billion dollars in compensation 1986 to 10/21/04.

POLIO: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing paralytic disease and meningitis associated with poliomyelitis. I understand that even under epidemic conditions, natural polio produces no symptoms in over 90% of those exposed to it.(1) I understand that there have been no cases of wild polio in the US in the last 20 years and that those cases which have been documented have been caused by the vaccine.(2)
I understand the following side effects for the vaccine are possible:
Killed virus polio: temperature of *102° in up to 38%, sleepiness, fussiness, crying, decreased appetite, vomiting, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and allergic reaction in those allergic to neomycin, polymyxin B and streptomycin. Precautions include those who have had a previous negative reaction, pregnant women, and possibly those with HIV/AIDS or otherwise compromised immune systems.
Live virus polio: Reactions include contraction of polio by those who have received the virus and by those who have come into contact with body fluids and wastes of the immunized person. Paralytic symptoms may follow contraction of polio. Live virus is reportedly shed for up to 8 weeks after the inoculation. Guillain-Barré Syndrome has also been noted. Not recommended for use in households where someone has a compromised immune system, for pregnant women, or where a previous reaction has been reported.(3)
Killed virus Ipol® is grown on monkey kidney cells, contains formaldehyde, and triple antibiotics. Poliovax® is grown on cells from an aborted baby, contains formaldehyde, cow serum and triple antibiotic solution.(4) The monkey kidney cells used in the original killed polio vaccine contains SIV-40 and has been found in tumor cells of children whose parent's were vaccinated against polio using the contaminated virus.(5) The live vaccine is grown on monkey kidney cells, antibiotics and calf serum.

HEMOPHILUS INFLUENZAE B: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing meningitis (although this vaccine will not protect the child from meningitis from all other forms such as pneumococcus, and meningococcus, viruses, and fungi), pneumonia, and infections of the blood, joints, bone, and soft tissue associated with Hemophilus Influenzae B. I understand that this disease is most likely in children up to 15 months of age and is fatal in 3-6% of children who contract it. Incidence of this disease today is low and the vaccine has not proven to be highly effective in 41% of cases, according to some studies.(6) Treatment is available.
The vaccine is often combined with the DPT which has the highest reaction rate of any vaccine available today. Reactions include: contracting HIB, localized pain, erythema and induration, fever >100.6°, irritability, lethargy, anorexia, rhinorrhea, diarrhea, vomiting, cough, when administered alone. Reactions occurred in up to 30% of patients. When administered in conjunction with the DPT, reactions include local tenderness erythema and induration, fever >100.8°, irritability, drowsiness, anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting, persistent crying, seizures, urticaria, hives, renal failure, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and death. Reactions occurred in up to 77.9% of patients.(7)
The vaccine contains yeast, thimerosal (mercury derivative), and diphtheria toxoid when given alone.(8)

PERTUSSIS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing whooping cough, pneumonia, convulsions, inflammation of the brain, and death associated with pertussis. I understand the disease is rarely fatal, with a 99.8% recovery rate. It is most serious and life-threatening in children under 6 months old, but there are adequate methods of treatment available.(9)
The vaccine is most often given in conjunction with diphtheria and tetanus as the DPT or as the DaPT.
Pertussis vaccine may cause: fevers >106, pain swelling, diarrhea, projectile vomiting, excessive sleepiness, high--pitched screaming, inconsolable crying bouts, seizures, convulsions, collapse, shock, breathing problems, brain damage and SIDS. One in 600 suffer a severe reaction in one study (10) and 1 in 875 suffered shock-collapse and convulsions.(11) Those in the 2nd study were only tracked for the first 48 hours following immunization. A more recent study indicates that 1 in 100 react with convulsions, collapse, or high-pitched screaming and 1 in 3 of those cases sustained permanent brain damage.(12) In a study of 103 children who died of SIDS, 70% died within 3 weeks of the DPT vaccine and 37% of those died within the first week.(13)
The DaPT is recommended as a safer option for vaccination. Side effects of the DaPT were only tracked for 72 hours and included: tenderness, erythema, induration, fever >102.2°, drowsiness, fretfulness, vomiting, upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, rash, febrile seizures, persistent or unusual crying, lethargy, hypronic-hyporesponsive episode, urticaria, anaphylactic shock, convulsions, encephalopathy, mono- and polyneuropathies and death.(14) Not recommended for children under 15 months or for those who have not had 3 injections of the DPT.
Either form of the vaccine contains thimerosal (mercury derivative), formaldehyde, and aluminum phosphate.(15)

DIPHTHERIA: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing paralysis, heart failure, or respiratory failure associated with diphtheria. I have also been informed that there have only been 5 cases reported annually since 1980.(16) I am also aware that diphtheria is rarely fatal and treated with antibiotics and bed rest. (17)
The Diphtheria component is most often given within the DPT or DaPT and includes the same side effects and reactions as those listed for pertussis.

TETANUS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing fatal neuromuscular disease related to tetanus. I understand that the incidence of tetanus is low, and there is an antitoxin, should we decline the immunization. I understand that contracting tetanus does not provide life-long immunity, and neither does the vaccine. I understand that to prevent more severe reactions from the vaccine, the tetanus component has been so significantly "diluted" that it is clinically ineffective.(18) I understand that the death rate for properly treated cases of tetanus may be as high as 20%.(19)
Side effects of the tetanus vaccine alone include: high fever, pain, recurrent abscess formation, inner ear nerve damage, demyelinating neuropathy, anaphylactic shock and loss of consciousness.(20)
Tetanus given in the DPT or DaPT shot include the same side effects and reactions as those listed for pertussis.

RUBEOLA (MEASLES): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), degenerative disease of the nervous system with convulsions (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis) related to rubeola. I understand the death rate for measles is .03 in 100,000.(21) I understand that since 1984, over 55% of documented, confirmed cases of measles have been in fully immunized persons.(22)
I understand that the greatest risk of the measles vaccine may be to push the incidence of this disease into the late teens and adulthood where it is more likely to be fatal or cause more adverse and long-term effects.(23)
The measles vaccine is a live vaccine, and carries the risk that it will cause the patient to contract measles. Other adverse reactions include: stinging or burning at the injection site, anaphylaxis, fever up to one month following injection, rash, cough, rhinitis, erythema multiforme, lymphadenopathy, urticaria, diarrhea, febrile convulsions, seizures, thrombocytopenia, purpura, vasculitis, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, retinitis, encephalitis and encephalopathy, ocular palsies, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, ataxia, and subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.(24)
Measles vaccine is most often given as a part of the MMR which includes the following side effects: burning or stinging at injection site, malaise, sore throat, cough, rhinitis, headache, dizziness, fever, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, erythema, induration, tenderness, lymphadenopathy, parotitius, orchitis, nerve deafness, thrombocytopenia, purpura, allergic reactions, urticaria, polyneuritis, arthralgia, arthritis, anaphylaxis, vasculitis, otitis media, conjunctivitis, febrile convulsions, seizures, syncope, erythema multiforme, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, retinitis, encephalitis and encephalopathy, ocular palsies, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, ataxia, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis,(25) and a recent study from Europe indicates that there may be a link between the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine and autism and irritable bowel syndrome.(26)
Measles vaccine contains chick embryo cells, neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin. MMR contains all live vaccines, chick embryo, cells from aborted babies, neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(27)

MUMPS: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing inflammation of the testicles, joints, kidneys, and/or thyroid, and hearing impairment related to mumps. I understand that mumps is rarely harmful in childhood, and that most of the above risks occur when mumps is contracted in adolescence or adulthood.(28)
I understand that there is a Mumps vaccine which poses the following risks: contraction of mumps from the live vaccine, burning or stinging at the injection site, anaphylaxis, cough, rhinitis, fever, diarrhea, vasculitis, parotitis, orchitis, purpura, urticaria, erythema multiforme, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, syncope, encephalitis, febrile seizures, and nerve deafness.(29)
Mumps is usually given in the MMR and may cause those side effects and adverse reactions as noted in the measles section above.
Mumps vaccine is live and should not be given to pregnant women. It is cultured in chick embryos and contains sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(30)

RUBELLA (GERMAN MEASLES): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing inflammation of the brain or joints, and of the risk of birth defects (including eye defects, heart defects, deafness, mental retardation, growth failure, jaundice, and disorders of blood clotting) in infants born to mothers who contract rubella during pregnancy, related to rubella. Therefore, I understand that the greatest risk to my child may be if she never contracts rubella as a child, but when she is pregnant and it damages her unborn child. If she contract rubella in childhood, she is immune for life, and prior to the vaccine 85% of the population was immune.(31) I understand that if she is not immune as an adult, she can choose to take the vaccine prior to becoming pregnant. I understand that many of those who contract rubella have been immunized (up to 80%). (32)
Adverse reactions from the vaccine among teenage girls is 5-10% and 30% in adult women.(33) Adverse reactions include: contracting rubella from the live virus in the vaccine, burning or stinging at the site, lymphadenopathy, urticaria, rash, malaise, sore throat, fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, polyneuritis, arthralgia, arthritis, local pain and inflammation, erythema multiforme, cough, rhinitis, vasculitis, anaphylaxis, syncope, optic neuritis, retrobulbar neuritis, papillitis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, encephalitis, thrombocytopenia, purpura, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (34)
Rubella is most often administered in the MMR and may cause those side effects and adverse reactions listed under measles.
Rubella is cultured on the tissue of an aborted child. This child was the 27th child aborted and tested by researchers due to exposure to rubella in a pregnant woman. It contains neomycin, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin.(35)

HEPATITIS B: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing Hepatitis B viral infection which can cause chronic inflammation of the liver leading to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and possibly death. I understand that my child's risk of developing Hepatitis B is low if I am not a carrier or infected, if my child does not engage in promiscuous sex or use drugs. I understand that there is antibiotic treatment for HepB and that most of those who contract it recover.(36) I understand that the HepB vaccine only contains strains of HepB and is not effective against HepA, C, D, E, F, or G.
I understand that the HepB vaccine has the following side effect and adverse reactions: induration, erythema, swelling, fever, headache, dizziness, pain, prutitus, ecchymosis, sweating, malaise, chills, weakness, flushing, tingling, hypotension, flu-like symptoms, upper respiratory illness, nausea, anorexia, abdominal pain and cramping, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, lymphadenopathy, pain or stiffness in muscles and joints, arthralgia, myalgia, back pain, rash, urticaria, petechiae, sleepiness, insomnia, irritability, agitation, anaphylaxis, angioedema, arthritis, tachycardia/palpitations, bronchospasm, abnormal liver function tests, dyspepsia, migraine, syncope, paresis neuropathy, hypothesis, paresthesis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Bell's Palsy, transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, multiple sclerosis, thrombocytopenia, eczema, purpura, herpes zoster, erythema modosum, alopecia, conjunctivitis, keratisis, visual disturbances, vertigo, tinnitus, earache, and dysuria.(37) The studies only followed patients for 4 days post-vaccination.
The most commonly used HepB vaccine contains thimerosal, although a relatively new release does not contain thimerosal. The vaccine also contains: aluminum hydroxide, yeast protein, and phosphate buffers.(38)

VARICELLA (CHICKENPOX): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing chicken pox which could potentially result in pneumonia, secondary skin or generalized infections, or, if caught during pregnancy, birth defects in the baby. I understand chicken pox is generally benign in children, but results in significant lost hours at work for parents. Chicken pox in adults often manifests as shingles, a chronic and painful condition. I also understand that contracting chicken pox later in life may increase my risk for herpes simplex.
Side effects and adverse reactions for the chicken pox vaccine include: contracting chicken pox from the live vaccine (27%), pain and redness at site, swelling, erythema, rash, pruritus, hematoma, induration, stiffness, upper respiratory illness, cough, irritability/nervousness, fatigue, disturbed sleep, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, otitis, diaper rash/contact rash, nausea, eye complaints, chills, lymphadenopathy, myalgia, lower respiratory illness, headache, teething, malaise, abdominal pain, other rash, allergic reactions including rash and hives, stiff neck, heat rash/prickly heat, arthralgia, eczema/dry skin/dermatitis, constipation, itching, pneunonitis, febrile seizures, and cold/canker sore.(39)
Varicella vaccine is cultured on cells from aborted babies, and guinea pig cell cultures. It contains live virus, monisodium glutamate (msg), sucrose, phosphate, processed gelatin, neomycin and fetal calf serum. (40)

HEPATITIS A (HAV): I have been informed of the risk of my child developing HAV which could potentially result in prolonged or relapsed hepatitis, but will not result in chronic hepatitis disease. (41) HAV usually causes mild "flu-like" illness, jaundice, severe stomach pains and diarrhea; and, in rare cases may result in death. Infection confers lifelong immunity. (42) I understand that the CDC admits that good personal hygiene (handwashing) and proper santitation can prevent HAV. (43)
HAV infection is spread by contaminated water or food, infected food handlers, unsanitary conditions following natural disasters, ingestion of raw or undercooked shellfish, institutionalized individuals, children not yet toilet trained, blood transfusions or sharing needles with infected people. Transmission is most likely in developing countries where sanitation is poor and infection rate of children under 5 is 90%. Fatality rate is less than .6% overall, and 70% of those in patients over 49 years, many of whom have underlying liver disease. (44) Other at-risk populations include those living on American Indian reservations and in Alaskan Native villages, homosexually active men, IV drug users, people using clotting factor concentrates and international travelers. (45)
Side effects and adverse reactions from the vaccine include: injection-site soreness, headache, fever, malaise, induration, redness, swelling, fatigue, anorexia, nausea, pruritis, rash, utricaria, pharyngitis, upper respiratory tract infections, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dysgeusia, vomiting, arthralgia, elevated cratine phosphokinase, myalgia, lymphadenopathy, hypertonic episodes, insomnia, photophobia, and vertigo. (46)
Aborted fetal tissue is an ingredient in the Havrix® Hep A vaccine, as is formaldehyde, aluminum hydroxide and 2-phenozyethanol.(47)
There is currently a combination Hep A and B vaccine, Twinrix®, being tested in the UK. (48) Twinrix is grown in human cell cultures, contains 2-phenoxyethanol, neomycin sulfate, polysorbate, tromentamol and formaldehyde. (49)

PNEUMOCOCCAL: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing pneumococcal disease which could result in meningitis, blood infection, pneumonia and/or ear infections. Iunderstand studies indicate that this vaccine may only decrease ear infections by 9%, and only result in a 20% reduction in chronic ear infections and ear tube insertion in that group.
I understand that my child has a 7.5:5,000 chance of deveoping this disease if he or she is under age 2 and a 1:5000 chance of developing it if over age 2. Risk factors for developing this disease are: immunoglobulin deficiency, nephrotic syndrome, Hodgkin's disease, congenital or acquired immunodeficiency, some upper respiratory infections, splenic dysfunctions, splenectomy or organ transplant. This vaccine (PCV) was originally marketed for immunocompromised children. (50) This vaccine is contraindicated to children with thrombocytopenia, coagualtion disorders, or sensitivity to diphtheria toxoid.(51)
Possible side effects and complications from the vaccine include: erythema, induration, tenderness, interference of limb movement, inflamation, fever, irritability, drowsiness, restless sleep, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fussiness, rash, hives, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, otitis media (ear infection), sepsis, seizure, anaphylaxis and death.(52) Recipients were followed for 3 days and almost 10% of the subjects made a visit to the emergency room in the follow-up period. There were 8 cases of SIDS in the 17,066 subjects involved in the trial.(53) Note: Children in the studies' control group received another experimental vaccine, so there have been no trial studies done with children who received no vaccine.(54)
Prevnar contains .125 mg of aluminum sulfate, protein polysaccharides from 7 strains of strep. pneumoniae bacteria, diphtheria toxin, casamino acids, yeast extract. Studies indicate that it may interfere with the safety and efficacy of other vaccines.(55)

FLU: I have been informed of the risk of my child developing influenza, which could result in hospitalization for respiratory complications, pneumonia and death. I understand less than 175 people died from the flu in the US during 2003. I understand that there is no guarantee that the flu strains chosen for this year will be the flu strains that are active this year. I understand that from 1999 - 2003, 70 - 80% of the sniffles, fevers, and body aches did not test positive for influenza regardless of the flu strain used.
The most common reactions to injected flu vaccines, which begin within 12 hours of vaccination and can last several days are: fever, fatigue, painful joints and headache. The most serious reaction that has been associated with flu vaccine is Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), which occurs most often within two to four weeks of vaccination. GBS is an immune mediated nerve disorder characterized by muscle weakness, unsteady gait, numbness, tingling, pain and sometimes paralysis of one or more limbs or the face. Recovery takes several months and can include residual disability. Less than 5 percent of GBS cases end in death. Brain and nerve disorders such as encephalopathy, optic neuritis, partial facial paralysis, and brachial plexus neuropathy as well as vasculitis also have been reported following the flu vaccine, although a definite causal relationship has not been established. (56) A tenfold increase in Alzheimer's disease exists for those who receive the flu vaccine five years in a row. (57)
FluMist: Reported adverse effects in children include runny nose, nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, headache, irritability, decreased activity, fever, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting. In adults the most common side effects were runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fever, chills and tiredness or weakness. Other adverse events that occurred in children were abdominal pain, asthma, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, viral syndrome, otitis media (middle ear infection), and wheezing or shortness of breath.(58)
Fluzone is propagated in chick embryos. It contains formaldehyde, sucrose, polyethylene glycol, sodium phosphate, salt and thimerosal.(59) Fluvirin is prepared in chicken eggs and contains thimerosal, neomycin, polymyxin, and phosphate-buffered saline. (60)
FluMist is a live vaccine propagated in chicken eggs, and contains potassium phosphate, sucrose (table sugar) and monosodium glutamate (MSG). (61)

HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV): I have been informed of the risk of developing HPV. HPV is a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause genital warts, and it’s most severe stage, cervical cancer. I understand that there are more than 100 forms of HPV and that the currently available vaccine only covers four of the strains; current screening for HPV looks for 13 "high risk" strains. The CDC estimated that 20 million people in the US had HPV and many strains cause no harm. (62) I understand current research shows that most women will quickly clear the infection on their own, and very few will develop pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. Use of the vaccine will not cure HPV infection, and the duration of the longest HPV vaccine studies covered less than 50% of the time it takes to progress from CIN 2 or 3 levels to cervical cancer, so 100% efficacy cannot realistically be proven. (63) HPV vaccination does not take the place of routine Pap screens. (64)
The most common reactions to the HPV vaccines were pain, swelling, redness and itching at the injection site. More than 90% of vaccine test subjects and more than 85% of subjects receiving the aluminum-containing placebo experienced at least one of these reactions. (65) Other reactions from the vaccine included: systemic fever, nausea, nasopharyngitis, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, myalgia, cough, upper respiratory tract infection, malaise, arthralgia, insomnia and nasal congestion. More severe reactions included headache, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, asthma, pulmonary embolism, sepsis, arrhythmia, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, arthritis and reactive arthritis. There were also statistically higher levels of birth defects in women who got pregnant within 30 days of receiving the vaccine and in more than 30 cases of birth defects in women who became pregnant after 30 days from either Gardasil® or the aluminum-containing placebo. (66)
Gardasil® is currently the only HPV vaccine approved for use and contains 225mcg of aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, sodium chloride, L-histidine, polysorbate 80, sodium borate, water, and proteins from HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18 grown in yeast fermentation medium. (67)

Reference List
1. M. Burnet and D. White, The Natural History of Infectious Disease (Cambridge, 1972), p. 16.
2. Strebel, et al, "Epidemology in the U.S. One Decade After the Last Reported Case of Indigenous Wild Virus Associated Disease," Clinical Infectious Diseases, (Center for Disease Control, February 1992), pp. 568-79.
3. Physician's Desk Reference (PDR), 50th Edition; Medical Economics, 1996, p. 1388-1390.
4. Ibid, p. 885-886 and 891-892.
5. J. Butel, et al; "Molecular Evidence of Simian Virus 40 Infections in Children", The Journal of Infectious Diseases ; September 1999;180:884-887.
6. PDR, 50th Edition, p. 872-875.
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., "Immunizations: The Other Side," Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 34.
10. Immunization: Survey of Recent Research, (United States Department of Health and Human Services, April 1983), p. 76.
11. "Nature and Rates of Adverse Reactions Associated with DPT and DT Immunizations...," Pediatrics, Volume 68, No. 5 (November 1981).
12. Walene James, Immunization the Reality Behind the Myth, (South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey, 1988), p. 14.
13. W.C. Torch, "Diptheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) immunization: A potential cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," (Amer. Academy of Neurology, 34th Annual Meeting, Apr 25 - May 1, 1982), Neurology 32(4), pt. 2.
14. PDR, p. 875-879 and 892-895.
15. Ibid.
16. Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., How to Raise A Healthy Child...In Spite of your Doctor (Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1984), p.223.
17. Ibid. 244-246
18. Isaac Golden, Ph.D., Vaccination? A Review of Risks and Alternatives, (Geelong, Victoria, Australia: Arum Healing Centre, 1991), p. 31
19. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., "Immunizations: The Other Side," Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 34.
20. Isaac Golden, Ph.D., Vaccination? A Review of Risks and Alternatives; p. 71
21. R. Mendoholson; How to Raise a Healthy Child; p. 217.
22. John Frank Jr., M.D., et al. "Measles Elimination - Final Impediments," 20th Immunization Conference Proceedings, May 6-9, 1985, p. 21.
23. Infectious Diseases (January 1982), p. 21.
24. PDR, p. 1610-1611.
25. DR, p. 1687-1689.
26. Sara Solovitch, "Do vaccines spur autism in kids?", San Jose Mercury News, 5/25/99.
27. PDR, p. 1687-89, 1610-1611.
28. Richard Moskowitz, M.D., "Immunizations: The Other Side," Mothering, (Spring1984),p. 35.
29. PDR, 1708-1709.
30. Ibid.
31. R. Mendoholson; How to Raise a Healthy Child; p. 218.
32. Dr. Beverley Allan, Australian Nurses Journal, (May 1978).
33. Hannah Allen, Don't Get Stuck: The Case Against Vaccinations..., (Oldsmar, FL: Natural Hygiene Press, 1985), p. 144.
34. DR, p. 1697-1699.
35. Ibid and Attenuation Of RA 27/3 Rubella Virus in WI-38 Human Diploid Cells; Amer J Dis Child vol 118 Aug 1969 and Studies of Immunization With Living Rubella Virus ; Arch J Dis Child vol 110 Oct 1965.
36. John Hanchette, "Safety of controversial hepatitis B vaccine at center of debate" Gannett News Service, 5/18/99.
37. PDR, p. 1744-1747, 2482-2484.
38. Ibid.
39. PDR, p. 1762-1765.
40. Ibid.
41. CDC Viral Hepatitis A - Fact Sheet, 9/29/00;
42. CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98
43. CDC Hepatitis A Facts, 11/16/00
44. Mosby's GenRX®, 10th Ed., Hepatitis A Vaccine (003158) as posted on MDConsult website
45. CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98 and CDC Hepatitis A Vaccine Vaccine Information Statement; 8/25/98
46. Mosby's GenRX@, Hepatitis A Vaccine
47. Ibid.
48. "Combined hepatitis A/B vaccine offers fast protection," Reuters Health, 4/12/00
49. Vaccines and Their Ingredients, 6/24/99;
50. Michael Horwin, MA; "Prevnar: A Critical Review of a New Childhood Vaccine" 9/19/00.
51. Prevnar package insert, Wyeth Lederle, 2/17/00
52. Ibid.
53. Horwin; "Prevnar: A Critical Review"
54. Dr. Erdem Cantekin, Ph.D.; "Pneumocaoccal Vaccine and Otitis Media", NVIC's 2nd Intl. Public Conference, 9/8/00.
55. Horwin; "Prevnar: A Critical Review"
56. Physician's Desk Reference (PDR), 53rd Edition; Medical Economics, 1999, p. 2326, 3464
57. Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD; "The Truth Behind the Vaccine Coverup" 9/22/04;
57. Fluzone 2003-2004 Formula, Aventis Product information as of July 2003
58. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, DO, "FluMist Vaccine: Nothing to Sneeze At!" 10/23/2003; .
59. Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal FluMist 2003-2004 Formula, Package Insert (Circular) June 16, 2003.
60. "New Preservative Free Flu Vaccine Approved"
61. Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, DO, "FluMist Vaccine: Nothing to Sneeze At!"
62. CDC HPV Fact Sheet,
63. Dr. Clayton Young, MD, FACOG, "OBGYN Against ACIP HPV Vaccine Decision," 6/27/2006
64. CDC HPV Fact Sheet,
65. Merck Professional Privider Information Sheet: Gardasil® [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recominant Vaccine.
66. Daron G Ferris, "Facing the Future: The Impact of HPV Vaccination on Adolescent Health," and "An Update of Clinical Trial Results With Preventative HPV Vaccines"
67. Merck Professional Privider Information Sheet: Gardasil® [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recominant Vaccine.

Complied by Kathryn E. Rateliff, CCD, CCM, CCCE, GSM, PE, BFE
October, 1999 and most recently revised August 10, 2006

Questions and comments can be addressed to her at:

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Two things inspired this: One, a trip to the pediatrician where she was nosier than she's ever been and one of her questions was to ask if Lilly had her own room (yes, she does--no, she doesn't sleep in it and no, we didn't say that because it's none of her business and I don't appreciate having another person's culture and family structure preferences pushed on me, which is what I suspect would have followed). Two, there was a Carnival of Breastfeeding on nursing and sleep, so a bunch of posts about sleep popped up. Since I nurse while cosleeping, that's what this entry is going to be about.

So, I went into parenting with a different perspective than most Americans on the issue of sleep. To me, the idea of having a baby in another room, where you aren't aware of what's happening to them, if they're truly safe or even alive, is disturbing. I would never trust a mechanical monitor to tell me that my baby is breathing, nor would I trust that my baby is not being injured like hundreds are every year by their cribs. Hell, SIDS used to be called crib/cot death.

I coslept with my mom as a baby, toddler and child. Like many Japanese children (the culture which held a special place in my mother's heart and influenced such parenting practices as cosleeping, breastfeeding for two years and baby wearing), I was in my mother's bed until I was about 8 (the average age for a Japanese child is actually 10 before they begin sleeping alone--if another baby is born, usually they sleep with another family member), which is roughly when I was ready to sleep on my own... to a certain extent. There were extenuating circumstances and I probably would have stuck around longer if I'd had the choice--but I'm glad I had the time I did and that my mom followed my cues on where to sleep, more or less.

It's not normal for humans to sleep alone. 1/4th of American couples sleep in separate beds, however, and the vast majority of American children sleep alone. Some are lucky enough to share a room or even bed with a sibling and a few are lucky enough to have access to a family bed as long as they want.

It's a cycle. In infancy (or early childhood), the baby is isolated, being forced to learn to sleep alone, being denied the human contact that they need (24/7--parenting is not a 6am-8pm job) and it continues through childhood. This creates a need for an artificial sleeping environment that is not conducive to bed sharing at any point in life. In fact, most couples have to learn to sleep together and many are just incapable in the end.

Throw in a healthy baby, who moves, wriggles, snores, coos, wakes and needs all. night. long. and it can be something that a Western-reared parent just can not handle. They can't sleep and so they fall back into the cycle that they were raised to fall into--by sending the baby off to sleep alone so that they can get their stimulating-sensory-event-free sleep.

Cosleeping doesn't have to be bed sharing. It includes just having the crib in the parents' room (which is actually recommended by the AAP for the first 6 months of life--which very few people seem to know) and then the toddler bed and kid's bed until they're ready to be alone. It doesn't have to be an intrusion into mom and dad's space--there are healthier compromises. But this, too, can be very hard for the parent who has been conditioned to sleep only in total darkness and silence.

A white noise machine (or a fan) can help many people get past the little noises in the night, but if baby's not in bed, that can defeat the 'mom wakes at the smallest sound' safety that's built in to protect our babies and keep their natural biorhythms going (which are attuned to our own).

It's not for everyone. People who smoke, drink, do drugs or take prescription sleep aids should never have baby in their bed (and if you smoke in the house, you shouldn't have a baby in the house at all--it's the number two direct cause of SIDS). That crib in the room can still be an option, however. People who are addicted to big, fluffy pillows and miles of bedding should not have baby in the bed. People who are exceptionally deep sleepers--same deal (and if you're drop dead exhausted from a sleep situation that's not working, that's not particularly safe, either!). Obesity? Well, that's a crock. The whole "overlying" thing makes it sound like fat people have no sense of touch. Without a secondary problem, that's just not the case. Secondary conditions that may cause dangerous sleeping habits that afflict obese people also affect thin people and should be taken into consideration with anyone before sharing bed with a baby.

The ideal situation for cosleeping is the biggest bed you can afford with the firmest mattress, on the floor (no frame and no headboard/footboard for baby to get caught in) with a parent/parents who is/are not under the influence of any substances, including prescription substances, with no pillows around the baby and no heavy blanket (baby does best in a sleep sack or something similar).

We do a family bed and sleep great. I know where my kids are (so no horror movie scenarios for me, thanks), they know where we are (no monsters to keep us coming back in so they don't feel lonely, scared, etc.) and when they're ready to have their own beds, that will be up to them. That's what works for our family. Like I said, I was raised to see the whole thing completely different from the culture I am surrounded by. I would never ask of my children what I wouldn't want for my own life. And in this case, that is to be alone while they sleep. Finally, it facilitates nursing as well as our connection. Never do I feel as at peace as those last moments of looking at my sleeping family before I let myself succumb to sleep.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welfare Drug Testing: Why I'm Against It

Free child looking out a window with reflection stock photo Creative Commons
Photo used with Creative Commons permission © Pink Sherbet Photography / Flickr

So, I'm constantly seeing, "If I have to get drug tested for a job, welfare recipients should be tested for drugs," and it makes me cringe. The first time I heard it, it made sense and I agreed (after all, I'm a prohibitionist). Then I actually thought about it.

Let's start with what Welfare is. In my state, it's a pittance of less than $300 that only goes to needy parents. If you don't have children, you do not qualify. There is a 5 year limit on this assistance--for life. Meaning that once the 5 years of assistance has been reached, you can never get it again.

The ONLY people truly hurt by this would be the children. Suddenly, kids who were already barely getting enough to get by wouldn't even have that. Would that make their parents clean up and get help? No. It's not even doubtful, but history shows that it would do the opposite. The further stressed parents (who couldn't even keep clean long enough for a damn drug test they'd have KNOWN was coming) would just delve deeper into drugs to deal with their problems (because if they're on drugs in the first place, then they have no coping skills in the first place). If you are rejected for a job because you tested positive for drugs, then that's all that happens. The children would receive no help by having their parents cleaned up AND they wouldn't have food or necessities that the money was going to bring them.

Drug testing would add $6 million to the cost of Welfare per year for new users of the program. To put that in perspective, new users cost about $2.3 million on their own. So it would triple the additional money each year--in a state that spends less on its poor than any other in the country. The bill that was brought up to force this didn't go through because it was primarily a publicity stunt.

However, in Florida, they made the recipients, who make less than $80/week to feed their kids, pay for it out of pocket. Then, when they pass (as 98% did), the State had to repay them. Assuming they could afford half a week's money to prove that they are in the majority of people--those who don't use drugs. 70% of illegal drug users are employed full-time.

Now, why it isn't comparable to job drug testing. Why do you get tested for drugs for a job? Because if you are on drugs, then your job performance is going to be impeded. You aren't going to be able to perform the duties of your job--which is going to pay far, far more than Welfare, even if you're working as a waitress at half minimum wage. It has nothing to do with the law and once you've been rejected for the job for drugs, that's the end of the story.

So, this would cost the state more money, only cause harm to children who are already in a horrible position and doesn't serve a purpose like drug testing for employment does. What's more, it's already been ruled unconstitutional by federal court in 1999 when Michigan instituted the program and was slapped with a restraining order to cease and desist immediately (Marchwinski v. Howard, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled this unconstitutional).

The main proponents of such an act are people who constantly quote the Constitution. Well, you can't have it both ways! Either the Constitution is valid for EVERY citizen or it's not valid at all. You don't get to pick and choose which parts of the Constitution you want to uphold, either.

Now, the MO bill did address two key issues: the purposelessness of the bill and the food taken out of the children's mouths (the second by allowing third party benefits--but this might not apply to all children). They would have required testing only for those who the caseworker felt there was "reasonable suspicion" to suspect drug use and be given drug treatment assistance. Also, assuming that "reasonable suspicion" didn't include simply showing up at the office or being poor, it would avoid violating the constitutional bit about unreasonable search and seizure. Although I have my doubts about 1. Case worker bias and 2. training.

Now, none of this would affect me much because 1. I've never used and never will use drugs and 2. I'm not on Welfare. I hope to God I'm never that poor. I'd definitely be tested because my disability makes my behavior strange in stressful situations and I wouldn't care, but this isn't about my personal situation. It's about children who are living in terrible conditions who would be punished for their parents' poor decisions on top of the crappy circumstances they're already living in. It could also cause prideful people who are letting their families suffer because they don't want to ask for help, to be less inclined to get that help because their personal privacy was being violated (even though these kinds of people are very unlikely to fail a drug test).

It's just a mess. If the whole purpose were to get help for the families with drug problems, I'd be for it, possibly. But that's not why people go off about it. People are going off like children seeing another kid with a different toy. It doesn't matter that it's a dirty used water bottle and they have a shiny new doll, they are throwing a fit because the other child, after going through a humiliating trial and being teased constantly for their toy, was just given it when they had to spend their chore money on their toy. Because 'outrage' is all the rage.

And I'll close on a quote:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Further recommended reading:

This blog entry was updated 3-10-13

Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Rock the Boat? Quotes

A collection of my favorite quotes:

A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
Mohandas Gandhi

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it.
Mohandas Gandhi

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
Mohandas Gandhi

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mohandas Gandhi

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.

We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
Voltaire (this can be applies to the internet as well)

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Mohandas Gandhi

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
Mohandas Gandhi

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
Mohandas Gandhi

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
Mohandas Gandhi

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.
Maya Angelou

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.
Mohandas Gandhi

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

All great achievements require time. --Maya Angelou

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. --Voltaire

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. --Oscar Wilde

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. --Maya Angelou

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. --Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be the change that you want to see in the world. --Mohandas Ghandi

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. --Maya Angelou

We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. --Maya Angelou

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. (Ghandi)