AS I SEE IT ! (a social comment) May 26th 2011

There’s an old Jewish proverb that that says- ” A mother understands what a child does not say.”

Nothing could ring more true, after events of the past days, whereby we learned of an urgent night court sitting to determine whether a health board’s decision not to do surgery on a terminally ill boy would amount to homicide. Thankfully, the judge did not rule this way and the decision to turn off the frail 7yr old boys life support was made.

I could imagine nothing worse than having to make this heart wrenching decision for whatever reason, but to have watched your child suffer in silence through out their life I could imagine nothing worse. The boy’s older sibling had also died after a long battle with the same rare disease. As the years passed, the condition began to cause irreversible damage to various organs. By the end, both were bedridden, unable to speak and in immense pain.

This mothers life was devoted to caring for her sick and frail children, every living breath of it. In October of last year, the lad had a feeding tube inserted because he could no longer swallow food or medication. Earlier this month, the tube became dislodged and the only solution was to operate. doctors said that without it he would die within days.

Senior doctors, nurses and a hospital ethics committee were unanimous that the tube should not be reinserted. So too, was the boys mother. The boys only form of communication was by flicker of an eye movement, but through all this pain and suffering, she knew and understood him. she said in her affidavit, read to the court; “He often screams out in pain. He is extremely fragile. He is uncomfortable if he is slightly too hot or cold. Passing urine and bowel movements hurt him. When he is being fed, the pain worsens horrendously due to acid reflux.” She said she was distressed about the intention to keep feeding him when she had seen him in chronic agony. A hospital director told the court that the mother was a “wonderful carer of her child, a child who she loves dearly.”

Justice Jill Mallon said she was satisfied it was not in the boy’s interest to have the operation and it would go against good medical practice. “It would be prolonging the dying period when … death is closing in. The operation will defer death, but not for long.

The boy departed this world the next day, to a better place, of that I am sure. The question is simply this..

Who knows best?

AS I SEE IT! (a social comment) May 22nd 2011

Some people say that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it. In my opinion I think that is a pretty fair assessment of the situation.

I was recently reminded of the Raurimu massacre, where 14 years ago, Stephen Anderson gunned down ten innocent people, in the tiny little hollow at the doorstep of the mighty Ruapehu.

Anderson was found not guilty by reason of insanity, on six counts of murder and four attempted murders.

He now lives in the community and has turned to religion to seek inner peace.

Too bad about the victims families, those still grieving the loss of their loved ones. Yes, it has been said time is a great healer but how can a nation forget?

Can they? Sadly we do, ask the average person in the street who is Stephen Lawrence Anderson and I doubt you will get a second glance.

We read almost with daily monotony, another victim, another committed to a mental institution because of a heinous crime.

Mental Health services are overstretched under resourced and lack the funding to deal with the increasing number of people calling on their services for help.

We do all have a choice, in some sad twisted way; Anderson’s was a cry for help, sadly altogether too late. Certainly lessons have been learned from that tragedy, but as time has marched on, we see and hear more and more about our failing mental health system. Too little, too late.

People turn to bizarre cults and beliefs to find solace inside their tormented worlds.

We only have to look at the latest prediction, the world, according to American Preacher, Harold Camping should have ended by now. People quit their jobs, euthanized their pets and sold all their possessions to follow this crackpot.

Across the ditch, a couple who claim they are Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene have set up base in Queensland and are drawing in disciples from across the country. Cult watchers along with mental health agencies are watching with interest as people from both sides of the Tasman pack up to follow these eccentrics. Some of the facts behind his fledgling movement make for alarming reading. Vulnerable followers, worried relatives, busted relationships and doomsday predictions, form the backdrop to this group that has everyone talking.

In the uncertainty of today’s fast paced world, Life really is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.

Live your own life, embrace it to the very best of your ability.

You only get one crack at it. Make it count.

AS I SEE IT! (a social comment) May 17th 2011

We live in a pluralistic society. In itself not an altogether bad thing, but when factions of society start to demand that we introduce their rules and laws into our way of life, that begins to disturb me.

I read recently where The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils wants Muslims to be able to marry, divorce and conduct financial transactions under the principles of sharia law. It argues that all Australians would benefit if Islamic laws were adopted as mainstream legislation.

Not a view I suspect shared by most reading this article. I’m all for the rights of any individual to be upheld, regardless of Race, Colour, Creed, Gender or Disability. Over the years many of us fought for the rights and oppression of men and women to be changed. It took conviction, courage and commitment but in the end we pretty much got there. Yes, there have been casualties along the way, this I am sure will continue.

Author Ida Lichter who has written on the lives of Muslim women in both the West and predominantly Islamic countries, writes “The members of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation in Britain have drawn attention to these oppressive laws that they escaped by migrating to the West, and they’ve said that women are much better under legislation based on universal human rights,”

Not a day goes by it seems, that we don’t see, hear or read of our rights being intruded upon. National Anthems being translated into a particular language. Western traditions being challenged, Christmas, Easter, ANZAC Day, the list goes on. Our children are being taught in a way that would make our forefathers turn in their graves.

No more Ba Ba Black Sheep. Now, its Ba Ba Rainbow sheep. Traditional Western and Christian values being challenged. Is it any wonder we have a confused and angry society. I am in favour of living in a multicultural society, learning and embracing all cultures, but the old cliché still rings true. “When in Rome”

AS I SEE IT! (a social comment ) May 11 2011

A phrase I’ve been hearing a lot of lately is “it’s all good”. This really bothers me!

A cursory look around would indicate that “it” isn’t even remotely good.

The “Merry Month of May” was punctuated by an announcement that would change the world forever: “Osama bin Laden was dead”! As the news burst into our lives, people paused, reflected, and continued with their daily routines, while discussing the how’s and why’s of an event that may become clearer as more information is filtered from American Government Agencies.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, there was a coup of a different kind playing out between Rodney Hide and Don Brash, again behind closed doors and in secret. Then, the announcement. Hide had decided to step down as the leader of ACT New Zealand for the good of the party. Joy in some quarters, sadness in others.

Of course, mixed in with all this were the ongoing trials and tribulations of Hone Harawira and his misguided comments about Bin Laden having been a “freedom fighter”.

So, what about you, the ordinary “man in the street”? When you stop for five minutes and reflect on the first five months of this year, the report card doesn’t look healthy.

Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and tornados for a start, all resulting in tragic loss of life. Most of us, in one way or another, have been affected by one of these “Acts of God”. To add fuel to the fire, the conspiracy theories jump up a few notches, playing on our minds. Perhaps in our own private moments, we reflect on past events and think about our future, our children, their children.

Looking at some statistics over the past few days, it’s interesting to note that church attendance this Easter was up right across the board, perhaps a reflection of the time upon us.

Whatever your reason, whatever your theory, right now, I find it hard to look at this mortal coil and pretend “it’s all good”.

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