December 2010 Archives


Well, it’s about time the military took its head out of the sand regarding homosexuals in the ranks.  I could never see the reasoning behind someone considering gays inappropriate for the military. The opposition had been saying things like this would “undermine order and discipline and unit cohesiveness.”   Of course, I cannot find a single article or source to support these fanciful statements.  People abandon reason when it comes to finding ways to endorse previously existing prejudices. The military — in the U.S. at least — has been a haven for discrimination.  I dare anyone to tell me it isn’t. It has been 25 years since I served my hitch, and during that time, I heard enough of people feeling hurt and abused by statements perceived as racial slurs, as well as actions that ranged from hostile to physically violent. Sometimes these affronts came from peers, but more often from people of higher rank.

Yes, as a woman, a Jew and a psychiatrist, I had my share of harassment. It was bad enough coming from among the ranks but I even heard an unforgettable anti-female slur from my Jewish chaplain — a real live ordained rabbi in uniform who had had a camouflage yamulke and liked to jump from airplanes.  When I told him I was heavily trained in Jewish liturgy and wanted to contribute to the ritual any way I could — including teaching others — he told me that there plenty enough men to fill ritual needs and so it was not necessary for him to do anything with a woman. The military was to me a place where civil rights were stripped from you.  The idea of the military taking time to comply with this new ruling — well, the bigger and the more unwieldy the bureaucracy, the longer it takes to do things.  But when it bucks longstanding, pre-existing prejudices, it can only take longer. Read more on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Will The Military Adapt?…

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My husband and I don’t have children – much less “tweens” – but even I know who Hannah Montana is.

Hannah Montana and Miley CyrusOkay.  I only have a little idea about what is going on in this specialized world except when some of the women with whom I tend to associate (the mental health field is almost all women) told me that their little daughters loved Hannah Montana.  But I would have to be Helen Keller not to see her image on blankets and jewelry and plastic stuff the exact nature of which is unidentifiable to me, and to hear her recordings in public places where they blare so-called “popular” music indiscriminately.

This should be understandable.

I will admit I had to look up the information that Miley Cyrus plays Hannah Montana on a Disney network TV show that has all the tweens twittering or tweeting or whatever. Read more on Hanna Montana Gets High — And Tweens Follow…

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“I wants me some of them-there antidepressant pills.”

He was a 47 year old good old boy of the sort I had treated in Oklahoma and other rural parts west –a real cowboy. He had herded animals and done the rodeo and all of that.

No, he had never seen a psychiatrist before, ever.  He had been out crying on the front porch, and it was a next door neighbor who had somehow convinced him that there were medications and he did not have to tell his whole life story to get pills. Well, maybe that would work with a general practitioner, but he was not only disappointed but also angry that it was plainly NOT going to work with me. Figuring he had been had, he broke down and told me the story.  I could understand at once why he had been reluctant to get into this, for we went through half a box of Kleenex while he gave me a plot that was worthy of a tear-jerky country song. Read more on A Cowboy’s Lesson — Antidepressants Won’t Work Well With Alcohol…


I could not believe it when the patient asked me about ketamine.  I had just seen an episode of “House, MD” on one of those cable super-stations the night before and it dealt with this weird drug.  I told my husband about my experiences with it during my surgical career. Then, the next day, this patient brought up the same rare drug. When I looked at him closer, it became believable.  He was old enough — in his sixties — that in the swinging sixties he had surely been one of those “knowledgeable” druggies who pride themselves on knowing all about everything that could give one a buzz.

House, MD

Hugh Laurie as TV's Dr. House

This type of person is a sort of lay-pharmacologist — someone who knows not only how each drug made someone feel, but sometimes even about class of drug and mechanism of action.  Of course, this type of expert would seldom know terribly much about what the FDA thought or felt about these drugs. “I heard it works pretty well and faster than anything on depression,” he said, “and I am kind of depressed and the standard antidepressants, the crap like Prozac and Zoloft aren’t worth taking and don’t do anything.  But they say that stuff works fast on depression.”

Yes, he knew his stuff so well that he may even have read some kind of FDA reports or something. Still, ketamine is not the kind of thing you can dish out in a county clinic in Noplace, California.  If you want something exotic, try a university psychiatry or pharmacology department, or call or email the National Institutes of Health.  I could offer the standard stuff, but not ketamine.  Not me, not there.

Read more on Cure Your depression? Take a Trip, Man!…

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FINE — so I am home spending a quiet Christmas eve at home with my dear husband, and reliving the time in extreme youth — would you believe before I started school, meaning not over four or so — when I told my parents that this Santa was a rip off, because there were people in all these suits at the couple of different stores they shopped, nobody could fly like that, lots of folks had no chimneys. Also there was nothing on our roof to designate us as Jewish but he wouldn’t come and whatever.

Santa and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Santa and Rudolph Are Heroes of Mythic Proportions

Often in our house, especially when my grandmother of blessed memory was alive, several things, including Santa, were simply dismissed as things necessary to “goyim,” (non-Jews) and therefore somehow for the inferior or those who were somehow mentally or socially challenged.

One self-styled parenting expert on the net has raised the question whether the Santa Claus myth is good or bad for kids.

Read more on Santa, We’ve Got You On Our Radar…

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I had trouble repressing tears as I read a recent article about conditions in a Mexican psychiatric hospital.

To me, accounts of wartime and man’s inhumanity to man pale next to what people of all cultures have, at one time or another, done with the seriously mentally ill. Read more on Still Some Psychiatric Hell Holes Left In The World…

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Despite what some consider excessive education, I regress to using primitive expressions from a very deep and fairly primitive part of my brain when I’m frustrated.  So excuse me a moment while I wail, “Oy Vay!” Thank you – I feel much better now.

You might wonder what brings such an expression to my lips.  And you deserve an answer for faithfully continuing to read while I ventilate some steam.

Every discussion of public health care in this year which is winding down has been totally misguided – and I believe intentionally aimed at misleading the public. Read more on What Good Is Access Without Quality?…

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I really am not worried about my reputation among my medical colleagues, as most of them think I’m “cracked” anyway.

However, just as an actor or director doesn’t make a movie just to get an Oscar, I don’t worry about what other doctors think – as long as I take good care of my patients.

Maybe that’s why the most frequently asked question by my patients is, “Why didn’t my other doctors know/discover/tell me this?” Read more on Yes, Virginia, Mercury Could Be At The Root Of Your Problem…

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