It would be redundant for me to preface this with “we had a crazy week.” But it’s tempting. I’m fighting off the stomach flu (or something equally evil) for the second time this month, thanks to my son who, ahem, shared(?) it all over the house earlier this week. The hubs has been traveling and my parents were here to help out, but it seems I’ve still had no time to sit down and write. I did get in some reading on the fly, so here’s my stuff this week.
Stuff we celebrate this time of year:
- Black History month. I saw this profile of Jackie Robinson earlier this week on Twitter from Athletes in Action. Being a thoroughly non-athletic person (unless you count my addiction to sports-related movies), I have stayed out of the whole Tebow worship phenomenon. I’ve been following Jeremy Lin (or more to the point, following people following Jeremy Lin) and I love reading about his talent and his faith. There are so many athletes who have both, and they’ve been left out of the conversations I’ve heard about Tebow, etc. so I was glad to discover this group. They’re doing a series of profiles for Black History month, if you’re an athletic enthusiast (not an athletic supporter, that would be the other thing).
- LENT! I was a Methodist for a few years and had a little training in celebrating Lent (“I give up bread…a week later…Uh, I give up giving up bread.”). But my years as a Southern Baptist pretty much dried all that up. In my post-Baptist life, I’ve tried to give Lent a go a time or two and failed miserably. (I’ll give you time to recover from the shock.)This year, my husband and I are going all in and taking Pastor Chris Seay’s challenge to eat simply in solidarity with the poor for the duration of Lent. He’s got free daily devotional videos and a book (which I haven’t read yet) that go through the 40 days. We’re getting a late start with all the traveling and family visiting, so we’ll be on board this weekend, but I’m really looking forward to it. The children we sponsor through Compassion International live in Rwanda, so we will be eating the same foods our kids there eat during this fast.
Stuff about disability:
- My week got started with this nonsense from Rick Santorum that prenatal testing coverage should NOT be mandatory under the new health care law. He argues that tests like amniocentesis result in more abortions and that ob-gyns often recommend abortion after undesirable diagnoses because they want to cover their liability. Someone please tell me why, at a Christian event, this kind of ridiculousness would get applause? It goes beyond oversimplification and into the realm of outright lying. The Senator has a disabled daughter and I believe that he cares about that community for her sake, but this is just BANANA CAKES. Yes, kids with certain diagnoses are often aborted by frightened parents, but that’s a problem created by ignorance and able-ism, notthe tests themselves. It’s wrong, but this is not how you address that wrong. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.As Christians, we must be watchful and discerning about bioethics, but it doesn’t help anybody to misinform the public. These issues are complicated and there is plenty to fear in our potential and power to create, destroy and “adjust” human life. We have to understand what we’re dealing with and one would hope a presidential hopeful would get that. He doesn’t. Know who does, or at least is trying to? My imaginary BFF Sara Groves. (She’s not imaginary, our friendship is. My friendship with Tina Fey, however, is very real.)
- There is a shortage of an injectable medicine called methotrexate that I am currently taking for rheumatoid arthritis. It’s a chemo drug used for juvenile cancers, etc. I’ve heard several national and local news stories about the shortage and none of them mention it’s prolific use for people with arthritis. I know cancer sounds more urgent, and in many cases it is. But it bothers me that diseases that create widespread disability in our society are marginalized in the media this way. I’m not saying RA people need it more or deserve it more than people battling for their lives, and I would take nothing away from those who need the medication for cancer. This doesn’t have to be a zero sum game if we don’t want it to be. We have to hold manufacturers accountable to all their patients. From the article:
Late last year, the Government Accounting Office in Washington, D.C., released a report saying the FDA should have more authority to require companies to disclose impending shortages.
“One thing that would be really important is if a company producing the drug [foresees] difficulty with production or distribution, it would be nice to let the FDA and public know that could be a concern,” Dr. Matteson says.
The FDA says there has been progress on this front as a result of an Executive Order the President signed in October. Among other things, it directs the FDA to require drug manufacturers to provide adequate notice of manufacturing discontinuances or other actions that could lead to critical shortages, and it encourages companies to voluntarily notify the FDA about potential shortages. The FDA says it has prevented 114 drug shortages since then, which it attributes to increased voluntary notifications from drug makers. Before the Executive Order went into effect, the FDA says it got about 10 voluntary notifications a month. The month after it was instituted, it received six times as many.
- Also, I got this email from the Arthritis Foundation this week with this map showing the shortage of pediatric rheumatologists in various states. It’s really unfortunate. I’m convinced that my mobility and my health today, after 32 years with RA, can be attributed to the fact that I had specialists who were able to intervene in the course of this potentially debilitating disease. I don’t always like being an advocate for arthritis patients because it makes it uncomfortably obvious that I am one. Everyone with a disability knows the paradox of wanting to blend into the crowd and yet have people know, understand, and acknowledge your disability. I didn’t pick this course, but I own up to it. And kids shouldn’t face permanent disability because they didn’t have access to a doctor who fully understands the way autoimmune or musculoskeletal diseases work.
Stuff for book-lovers
Stuff my friends are saying and sharing about women and feminism and yeah
- My seminarian pal has a series on outing herself as a feminist. It’s been fun to watch this fire build over the last couple years. Also, she’s brilliant.
- My other lady friend working on her Gender Studies degree consistently shares the material she’s reading and invites us all into her world to discuss the things. She has a great primer on the discourse of choice in the context of oppression. That same friend shared this hilarious video from Sarah Haskins on the use of friendship in advertising. (My personal favorite is this one about yogurt ads. Yup, that hoodie joke tooooooootally applies to my life.)
That’s all I have for now. Feel free to offer up a title for these link love posts. I’m beginning to relate to the kids who wrote papers for my 10th grade English class. “Gilgamesh did some heroic stuff and was a hero.” Also, if any of y’all live anywhere near northern Virginia or plan to visit soon, load up on hand sanitizer. I’m telling you, this bug has taken out entire classrooms of elementary schoolers.
Peace, love and alka seltzer (do people still buy that?).