Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This is the time for sincere wishes, heartfelt thanks and reminiscences…

There is one particular group of people in my life that I feel very grateful to: my patients, past and present, the hundreds of people through the years that invited me to share their journey of self-discovery. Some of those journeys were short, some long. They all taught me something invaluable, something about myself, something about life, something about human nature.

I remember one of my first patients. I was an intern at Elizabeth General Hospital, wet behind my proverbial therapeutic ears, scared, anxious and eager to do a good job. He was a gruff, big guy who for months said very little and he looked at me even less. At the end of my year as an intern when I was saying good bye to him he said that he wanted to give me a gift. He put a knife on my desk and informed me that he had carried it to every of our sessions for the whole year. Life had taught him to trust no one but, he said, I had taught him that there was one person he could trust. Thanks Antonio for sending me off to my new career with a boost of confidence.

I remember my first job as a staff psychologist at the hospital, still nervous, still a baby in the proverbial deep and challenging woods of psychology. I remember the woman who sat in my little office and said; “I know I need help, but she is telling me to tell you to f…off.” Who is telling you that I said baffled, “the voice in my head, she calls herself Ella”. And there and then she chose for me my specialty in DID (a.k.a Multiple Personality Disorder) and Trauma related disorders.

This was the most horrifying, challenging and rewarding learning expedition ever. It opened the door to the ineffable horrors human nature is capable of and at the same time the resilience and wonders of the human mind and its ability to heal. Along with these tortured souls I questioned life and its purpose. Along with them I lost faith in humanity and my nerve as a therapist and together with them and through their struggle to put the shattered pieces of their lives back together I redeemed both hope and faith.

I remember the old lady, a concentration camp survivor, the horrors of her past carved in the deep lines of her face as indelibly as the haunting numbers on her arm. She had just lost her son to cancer. She saw the tears in my eyes looking at the horrifying numbers on her arm and said : “oh Liebchen, I had kids, and grandkids, I still laugh and cry. I am here talking to you. He did not win, I did” Thanks Aida for the lesson in courage.

And then there were all the people that I could not reach, I was not able to help. They too had a lot to teach me about my shortcomings, about the dark places in my mind that I was unwilling to explore in order to help them. They disillusioned me and taught me humility.

For all the lessons taught,
for all the tears shed,
for all the laughs that lifted my spirit,
for all the journeys taken.
For the privilege and the trust that you have given me….


All acquaintances should certainly not be forgot
And they will always come to mind….

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Vaccine or Assassin?

It is the flu season, in case you have missed the sniffles and the pains and the fevers and all the unsolicited "gifts" from the foreign invaders to our bodies. So, the skeptic and cynic that I am, I did my own research into the benefits of flu vaccines and I came across some disquieting findings. My source is Donald Miller, MD who is a cardiac surgeon and professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is also a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. So, this is what the good Dr. tells us:

Vaccine makers grow the viruses in fertilized chicken eggs with 500,00 eggs per day for up to eight months. Formaldehyde is used to inactivate the viruses. It is a known cancer-causing agent. Aluminum is added to promote an antibody response. It is a neurotoxin that may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Other additives and adjuvants in the flu vaccine include Triton X-100 (a detergent), Polysorbate 80, carbolic acid, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), gelatin and various antibiotics - Neomycin, streptomycin, and gentamicin- that can cause allergic reactions in some people.

If this did not gross you out here is some more yummy ingredients put in the mix: 100 million vaccines made for the 2008-09 flu season ( about 2/3 of all the vaccines made) contain full-dose Thimerosal, an organomercurey compound, which is 49% mercury by weight. Each shot contains 250 times more mercury than the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit. Mercury is a neurotoxin that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s and Autisms.

In addition to the “milder” side effects of the vaccine ( joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock) it can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, and no you definitely do not want to risk this.

So,you say to yourself: Ok, I take all these poisons but at least I will not get the flu, not so. In September 2, 2008 New York Times published an article titled
“Doubts Grow Over Flu Vaccine in Elderly”. A study done by the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle found that the vaccine does not protect the older people against developing pneumonia. The evidence in young children are not much more favorable either. A systematic study involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is more effective than placebo).

I don’t know about you, but I would think long and hard before I take another flu vaccine. Maybe next year I’ll take an extra vitamin C, wash my hands more diligently and hope for the best…