Tag Archives: Medicine

Thankful for surgery experience.

Two trees of drips for either hand and all sorts of electrodes over the chest.

A friend slew “The Dragon” (Route 129) for me, to the teaching hospital and back again. We got back after midnight.

The surgery was like getting hit by a Mac truck, but, this old body is getting better incrementally. It was necessary.

The best part was the great team of doctors, who were in a very good mood, laughing and making for a very pleasant work atmosphere. Never seen anything like it. Superb. The residents, the nurses, the assistants, all great, all with equally fantastic bedside manner.

There is a worst part with the very long lasting effects of the epidural. It’s worn off now. But there are other things which I’ll skip unless it all takes a turn for the worse. But I should be fine.

Meanwhile, I think of all those who don’t have the benefit of any kind of healthcare. And there are plenty.

Dear Lord, watch over them, provide them with your consolation, point their souls heavenward. Amen.


Filed under Medicine

Coronavirus quarantine? No such drama

Lisa simpson episode 11 season 15 GIF - Find on GIFER

With some merely state-wise but not U.S. Constitution-wise civil disobedience proceeding in our little parish, what with the full Mass and Adoration and Confession schedules, everything was then cancelled on the schedule, but not because of any law enforcement intervention, not because of any cases of Coronavirus of anyone in the parish. In fact, my own Covid-19 test result (negative) was just reported to me minutes ago by the head doctor of the Cherokee County Health Department.

A very kind parishioner in the backsides of the beyonds in far western Graham county offered not only to fix up Jenny the Jeep as a “woods-truck” (what with her burnt out electrical system and smashed up steering gear box, etc) …


… but he’s also kindly offered to supply the rectory with a wood-stove.

Meanwhile, another kind parishioner was taking down some trees next to the church and offered me a cherry and a hickory for the would-be wood-stove to come. I asked whether the ivy covering the hickory was poison, and he said that he thought it was kudzu, but not anything poisonous as far as he knew.

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It turned out that 99.9% was English Ivy, you know, the innocuous kind that covers old ivy league institutions like Cambridge and Harvard and Yale. But 0.01% was poison oak. It was hiding. The tree guys dropped off the logs at the rectory and spent days cutting up the logs to stove-length while removing the ivy, putting the ivy in piles, and burning the ivy, all the while oblivious to the poison oak. Here’s the difference with the two, the poison oak having wilted immediately, while the English Ivy is staying quite fresh:

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The bare forearms were scrapping against the rough bark of the logs, and that’s what I thought the rash was on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, but then by Saturday it was all too much. By that time the arms were leaking and I had to admit something was amiss. I got some advice and bought some things at the pharmacy, including a bag of Epsom salts and some Calamine lotion. But the eye’s also went crazy:

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The leaking on the arms was so exaggerated that it washed the Epsom Salts right off. We didn’t have poison oak up in Minnesota when I was a kid, and the poison ivy is only really in bush form where I was from. My situational awareness for the unexpected is obviously suffering a bit. It must be all the double negatives so common here…

Mayor quimby season 15 eating GIF on GIFER - by Nikogar

My primary care doctor is unavailable until mid-June, so I made an appointment with the Cherokee County Health Department. “The worse case I have ever seen,” said the nice doctor. I was given an 80 mg shot of Methylprednisolone and given the simultaneous usual six day tapering off course of tablets also of Methylprednisolone. I asked about a prescription cream for the itching, but considering the oozing and how deeply rooted it was, she said that creams would do “nothing.” So, I got a prescription for Hydroxyzine tablets. It’s all working pretty well. It’s still a bit like a hair shirt…

Meanwhile, a very kind neighbor who is not susceptible to poison anything offered to remove the ivy for me. How good is that?! Great!

Meanwhile, because of all the steroids, I was told to self-quarantine, not because of any Coronavirus, but because I now have entirely zero immune system. To have even a temporary immunodeficiency during this time of Coronavirus is not good.


I’ve not been able to find anything on the half-life of the steroids, that is, when it seriously starts to weaken. So I looked up the calendar effectiveness of Methylprednisolone. By some accounts it looks to be five days for poison ivy. For other conditions it’s two weeks, or for some things three weeks. I want to get out out of my self-quarantine ASAP. But when will that be safe for me? I also don’t want to be in an exaggeratedly vulnerable position, get Coronavirus but with no symptoms, and then spread it about to my vulnerable parishioners. So, does anyone have a good estimate of the timings for my re-entry into societal contact?

Meanwhile, the nice doctor at the Health Clinic said that we will be getting serology testing in another week or two and I can come down for that test. Not that it necessarily means anything – as there are so very many variables – but at least it is something even if only an occasion for overconfidence.


Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus and people at Mass: Instruction from Kateri Tekakwitha


From Wikipedia: “Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, and baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada. Tekakwitha took a vow of perpetual virginity. Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later her scars vanished and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by some of her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized. Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.”

Now, to the instruction on assisting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass without being physically present. I may well be mistaken on the source of what will be presented below but its entirely Catholic and orthodox. I’m going to blame Father Robert J Fox, who was pastor of a tiny church in the outback, if you will, of Alexandria, South Dakota. I had been with him on the very first of his Fatima Youth Cadets pilgrimages to Fatima way back in the 1970s. Lots of great stories with that trip. Just great. But that got me reading some things written by this country priest, including Saints and Heroes Speak. That turned into a series of books. One of the chapters was on Kateri Tekakwitha. Again, I’m not sure that I’m reporting exactly what he wrote. And what he wrote may well have been inspired by Kateri, but I don’t know if there are historical sources to back that up. But again, the instruction is entirely Catholic, profoundly entrenched in humble thanksgiving before the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Unable to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for lack of priests some 335 years ago in North Woods of upstate New York and Southern Canada, and for lack of sufficient health to be able to attend in person, Kateri had another way of assisting at Holy Mass. She would unite herself with Jesus wherever He might be being offered in the Holy Mass at the moment throughout the world.

This is a matter of love. Walking the in the presence of the Lord Jesus – as I like to mention all the time in homilies and in conversations – isn’t just some sort of weirdly faked spirituality congratulating oneself for walking with our Lord, making oneself special because of being sooooooooooooo spiritual! No. Not at all. The walking in the presence of our Lord thing is – how to say? – a matter of being in this world, being “in the body”. Here’s the deal:

  • Our dear Lord was “in the body”, as it were, when He was tortured to death in front of His dear Mother. He was “in the body” when He celebrated the Last Supper, when He united His offering of Himself there for us, the Innocent for the guilty – This is my Body given for you in Sacrifice – This is the chalice of my Blood given for you in Sacrifice – having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • Our dear Lord is “in the body”, as it were, when He is offered in that self-same Last Supper at every moment throughout the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We offer Him as He is now, risen from the dead, but, as Saint John writes in the Apocalypse, as the Lamb of Sacrifice, standing and therefore alive and risen from the dead, but still bearing the marks of slaughter upon Him. The Sacrament of the this great Sacrifice is – in transubstantiation – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
  • We are not to forget the wounds of our Lord. We are not to forget His being “in the body” not only on the Cross, on Calvary, but also at the Last Supper, and therefore in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is precisely one and the same, today as yesterday, Jesus, ever ancient, ever new, present to us, in the body, with the wounds today as yesterday. This is a matter of love. Our hearts and souls and minds are with Him in the Holy Sacrifice, in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us. While we are “in the body” in this world, we are with Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who is also still, to this day, to this hour, to this minute, “in the body” in the world in the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Did Kateri catch on to something in all friendship with Jesus, in all humble thanksgiving for His great love for us at every moment, following the Lamb whithersoever He goes among us in this dark world while we, His little flock, is still here before He calls us to be on our way to heaven? Yes. Yes she did.

I have many stories about being assigned over the years to mission churches dedicated to the North American Martyrs and to Kateri herself. We also had a statue dedicated to her way back when I was a kid in Minnesota. But that’s a post for another day.

Here’s the deal, again: Saints and Heroes continue to speak to this day. We are one family. Don’t be merely alone. Be alone together. Be in the communion of saints, also on this earth.

mass clock prayer2

mass clock prayer

I had a big part in keeping this all alive some 35 years ago. But that’s another story. I’d like to revive this.

Back to the Last Supper of Da Vinci with no Apostles up top of this post: It’s just not true. Be in the body wherever you are. Be with Jesus in the body wherever He is. Just don’t go out into the dark, so to speak, as it were. Be with Jesus.


Filed under Coronavirus, Eucharist, Saints, Spiritual life

Coronavirus’ Pharmacy Canary

coal mine canary resuscitation machine

From the In Box:

“I was speaking with one of your brother priests in New York City today and he asked me to share some very important news that could affect you.

“Father’s doctor prescribed him Losartan for high blood pressure. When he visited the pharmacist today to refill the prescription, she told him that they had none available: ‘Father, it may be months before we get Losartan, please call your doctor right now for an alternative.’ She also told him that many ARBs are on back order at this time.

“According to WebMD, Losartan (Cozaar) belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Losartan and other ARB drugs block the effect of angiotensin II, a chemical that narrows blood vessels. By doing so, they help widen blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily, which lowers blood pressure.

“If you are taking blood pressure medicine, you may want to check with your doctor or local pharmacist to see about supply availability.”

Well, I don’t take Losartan, but I have a question mark about the availability of another that I take for HBP, but – HEY! – because of the Keto diet, having now lost 60 pounds and the BP down, I may be able to just drop any BP meds altogether. Yay. But, let’s pray for those who are running out of meds because of the big pharmaceutical companies having so much of our meds manufactured in China.

Just a note on that China bit: as I’m told, these USA do all the research and development; China merely does the busy-work of manufacturing the meds. We can take that back in a nanosecond… and we are. I mean, that’s fair, right, after China threatened to cut us off? Yes, that’s totally right and just, dignum et iustum est. ;-)

We’re learning a lot from these Coronavirus exercises. And whatever your cynicism is about the Coronavirus (that will wear off, soon), the benefits are many regarding learning about our state of preparedness or lack thereof. In a fallen state, humanity is simply not capable of sustaining a perfect liberté, égalité, fraternité. I’m so happy to be an American.


Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus for cynics


Excuse the language. It doesn’t bother me. Also, this is a week old. But it’s good on the process of the sickness. 10M views in a week… He appropriately throws a much needed guilt trip on narcissistic Spring Breakers. I would add Cruise Line clients.


Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus fears? Escape to Graham County NC?! No. Don’t even try.


The entirety of Graham County is in my parish. It’s THE bugout place to which one runs from big cities. And city slickers bring us disease. Lots of disease. And it’s not welcome anymore. Here are some of the communications of the Commissioners of Graham County in WNC to the citizens of Graham County NC, and to anyone who would be so very, very foolish as to attempt to come here. You will be turned away. Need food and gas and shelter and medical attention. Not here, buddy. Ain’t gonna happen. Take note:


The Graham County Board of Commissioners has authorized a county wide state of emergency declaration. The details of the declaration will take several days to implement. Starting today Friday, March 20, 2020 a curfew will be put in place. The curfew will start at 10:00 pm and extend till 6:00am and wlll be for an indefinite period. Persons that are going to and from work will be exempt from the curfew. We are considering some road closures and travel restrictions that will be annouced in the coming days. We are awaiting a decision from NC DOT about possible road closures and road restrictions. We do not take this matter lightly but if we are expecting our citizens to change their lives and limit their travel we must expect the same from those persons who are not residents of our county. We are taking a better safe than sorry approach to deal with the safety of our citizens. Should road closures be implemented or road restrictions implemented persons travelling to work outside the county or travelling to doctors visits will not be impeded. Necessary commercial traffic will be allowed as well. We know these decisions will impact many people but the safety and health of our citizens must come first. We expect our EMS services and our Sheriff’s Department employees to be extremely busy and the more we can to reduce traffic in and out of the county the less we’ll take them away from the emergencies that they have to deal with. This is a situation with a lot of unkowns and the response required by the state is changing almost by the hour. We urge everyone who can to just stay home and avoid person to person contact wherever possible. Persons who are not full time residents but own property here should prepare to show proof of property ownership. Should actual road closures take effect only persons with a Graham County address will be allowed into Graham County unless they can show that they have property in Graham County. We ask for your patience and your prayers as we try to manage the impact of Covid-19 on our county.



Three Cherokee County Residents and an Illinois resident Test Positive for COVID-19, Currently Isolated in Cherokee County

Two Cherokee County residents that tested positive for COVID – 19 are being monitored and following isolation orders in Cherokee County. The patients are household contacts of the case from New York that tested positive in Cherokee County earlier this week. Both the index case (patient from New York) and the residents from Cherokee County have been isolated since testing was initiated on the patient from New York.

A third Cherokee County resident has tested positive for COVID – 19 and is currently isolated in their home since testing was initiated. This patient attended the contra dance on March 10th at the John C. Campbell Folk School which the New York patient had also attended. The patient is at home on isolation. Cherokee County Health Department will continue necessary contact tracing on this patient in identifying close contacts.

A resident of Illinois that tested positive for COVID – 19 is being monitored and following isolation orders in Cherokee County. The patient had traveled from Illinois and was staying in the home with the index case (patient from New York) that tested positive in Cherokee County earlier this week. Since cases are reported under the state of residency, this case will be identified as an Illinois case, not a North Carolina case. Therefore, this case will not show up on the North Carolina maps as a Cherokee County case. Both the index case from New York and the resident from Illinois are isolated since testing was initiated on the patient from New York.

Both of the Cherokee County individuals and the Illinois case have been on isolation since before becoming symptomatic. For this reason, contact tracing on these three cases will not be necessary. We can say with great certainty that these cases were isolated during the symptomatic phase of the illness and therefore had little to no opportunity to spread the virus.

It is now advised that anyone who becomes ill with a respiratory type illness should isolate until the following criteria are met:

• 7 days have passed since the onset of symptoms; AND
• At least 72 hours without a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and respiratory symptoms are improving

Because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, individuals should take the same measures that health care providers recommend to prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, including washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, staying home if you are sick and covering coughs and sneezes with your elbow.

It is important to make sure the information you are getting about COVID-19 is coming directly from reliable sources like Cherokee County Health Department, CDC, and NCDHHS. For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina.

Cherokee County Health Department regularly updates our Facebook page with accurate and current information regarding COVID-19, we encourage the public to check our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

Symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, and other lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath). If you are having a mild respiratory illness, isolate yourself from others until the criteria above is met. If your illness becomes severe requiring urgent or emergent health care, call and inform your health care provider or emergency services of your symptoms prior to arrival. If you have questions, you may call the Health Department at 828-837-7486 during regular office hours which are Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM.


As a result of the countywide declaration of emergency Graham County Government has established an Emergency Mangement Committee. This committee has met this morning and the following decisions have been made and will be put into play over the coming days.

A) Effective Monday, March 23,2020 all accomodation businesses shall close for business at 12:00 noon. Accomodations defined are hotels, motels, cabins, bed and breakfasts, campgrounds, or any public rental facility that typically rents for less than one month.
B) By Friday, March 27, 2020 the following highways will be closed or have restricted access. 1) Cherohala Skyway will be closed to all traffic 2) Highways US 129 and NC 28 at Deals Gap will be restricted to local resident traffic and commercial traffic 3) US 129 at Topton will be restricted to pass through detour traffic, commercial traffic, and local resident traffic only. Once the US 74 detour is ended then US 129 will be restricted to local traffic and commercial traffic only. 4) NC Highway 28 going east from Stecoah will be restricted to local and detour traffic only and commercial traffic. Once the detour is ended NC 28 will be restricted to local and commercial traffic only. Persons travelling these highways should be prepared to show a Graham County address or proof of property ownership for non-residents to be able to enter Graham County.

We understand that this decision will impact a lot of people. It wlll cause people to be temporarily laid off from work. We will post information on how to file for unemployment benefits on the Graham County website. We accept that these are drastic steps to some degree but we have to do what is necessary to keep people safe. The President of the United States has asked everyone to stay home and eliminate unneccessary travel. We support that decision.


I want to try and put this emergency declaration in perspective to some of you. Again, we may look like idiots and fools when this is over and no one gets sick. I’m OK with that if it happens. We have 8900 or so full time residents. We have NO MEDICAL FACILITIES THAT CAN TREAT YOU FOR CORONAVIRUS. “0”. We have 2 ambulances. About a third of our EMS paramedics live in other counties and are employed by those counties. Those paramedics from other counties will be kept in their home county if there’s an outbreak in the home county. Should that happen, we’re down to a few paramedics and EMT’s.There is a serious shortage of paramedics across the region. IF, BIG IF, those paramedics start getting sick there will be no one to bring the ambulance to get you and take you to a hospital. Graham County citizens will be competing for a hospital bed with every county in western NC. There’s a hospital in Murphy; one in Franklin; one in Sylva; one in Waynesville; and Mission in Asheville. Mission serves all the western counties from Graham to the TN state line in Madison County. There are few empty beds at any of those hospitals on a normal day. Imagine how fast they’ll fill up with and outbreak in Buncombe or Haywood counties. Every county we border in NC has at least twice our population except Swain which has around one and a half times our population. Swain Hospital to my knowledge is not equipped or staffed to handle a pandemic outbreak. Their citizens will be taken to Harris in Sylva. If we have 1000 people across the region infected the available hospital beds are all of sudden gone. Where will the people from Graham County go? We would have to wait for the National Guard or other military personnel to come in and set up a hospital. Think of how many people are hospitalized on a normal day. Heart attack patients, cancer patients and all the normal emergencies that occour on a normal day. When I think about the worst case scenarios that causes me to be very concerned about the health and well being of the people of Graham County. I do not take this matter lightly. Some people following this news have called us communists (they have no idea what a communist is) and worse. They say we’re taking away their constitutional rights. Not true. You can’t run into a crowded theater and yell fire even if you’re joking. No one has the right constitutional or otherwise to put another persons life at risk. No one knows how to deal with a disease like this coronavirus. Our state and federal governments tell us minimize the risk. Reduce person to person contact. That is what we are trying to do and are trying not to disrupt anyone’s life more than we have to. ECBI Chief Richard Sneed announced yesterday that all non-essential businesses in the Qualla Boundary will close effective noon March 23. Graham County will be planning for the same type of closures in the next few days. We would hope that people would just voluntarilly close and stay home. Those businesses that will do that voluntarilly please do. This is serious not something to joke about. One sick person can lead to potentially hundreds of sick people. The isolation that we love about Graham County is also part of our worst nightmare to. We need food, shelter, and medical care. We have food and shelter. The medical care requires us to be taken to another county. Take steps today to reduce contact with other people. STAY HOME!


Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus survivor: advice from experience

The news anchor keeps repeating a question about the ♬ Feelings!!! ♬ of the young man who survived the Coronavirus. I get it. That’s actually important in that people will surely fail because of the feelings they are not used to having. This guy has a good bit of balance and common sense about him and integrates the feelings-inquiry with great advice about how NOT to break a self-quarantine. I think that it’s well worth the listen. It’s very wise what he says about keeping oneself busy by reading books not yet read, learning new languages, and NOT panicking.

Meanwhile, here are some very useful maps you can use to rid yourself of the fear of the unknown regarding geographical locations of cases. The second link below is extremely well done with the interactive map. You can click on the red dots to get numbers of cases in that area, etc.

Meanwhile, keep up on cancellations of gatherings in your area. The K of C, for instance, is going to try to go ahead with the Fish Fry in Hayesville this Friday evening, even though it was actively suggested that councils reconsider doing any kind of face-to-face get-together. But I’m sure that will be the very last get-together for quite a while. And, it’s a day away. We will see. Things are changing by the hour.

I myself am checking with the International Conference of Police Chaplains coming up which is a number of states away at a very international hotel which has itself been closing down entire hotels in entire countries around the world…

Anyway, it was suggested that you don’t do panic buying of supplies of food and soap, but that you absolutely do buying of supplies of food and soap enough to last you a number of weeks if there are quarantines of towns and villages. But no panicking.


Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus, Communion in the hand, when I was a kid…

As the days go by and the stats on reported cases and deaths bring up a ratio which is consistent in nations which publish health data with accuracy. Sorry, but I don’t trust China. I do trust Italy and these USA.

The mortality rate for reported cases hovers between 4% to 5%. Today for these USA it stands at 4.33%. That is, around midnight between March 9 to 10, there were 26 deaths with 600 cases.

4.33%… What does that mean? It means that as of now, 1 in every 23 people you see on the street will drop dead.

1/23 is a statistic that changes quickly but it hovers around that rate, more or less. But what does it mean in real life?

The one’s who are getting especially sick with this Coronavirus are those who are already health-compromised and stuck with others who are vulnerable. Sorry to profile, but this means geriatric vacations on cruise ships. Do you know anyone elderly that goes on cruises? I know many. Do you see druggies and drug houses every single day? I do, very, very many. All druggies are ultra-super-health-compromised, are frequently visiting drug houses to get drugs and hang out, and are liable already be sharing diseases of all kinds, and – get this – really don’t have much of a conscience about avoiding sharing disease. No really. There are those who, as we know in now many news reports (just as happened with HIV-AIDS), when someone gets such a virus as Coronavirus or AIDS, they purposely go out as predators so as to spread the virus, so as to spread HIV. That’s fallen human nature.

Fr Z has been writing quite a bit about Communion on the hand vs Communion on the tongue in a time of Coronavirus. Here’s his latest: https://wdtprs.com/2020/03/ask-father-what-to-do-when-intransigent-priests-refuse-communion-on-the-tongue/. That’s helpful. Hint: Communion on the tongue is more hygienic, more reverent. The question in that post is about someone who has never received Communion in the hand, is now very elderly, and would be devastated to take Communion in the hand because of an intransigent priest.

I would like to share an analogous event when I was terribly scandalized by a knucklehead priest intent on scandalizing us kids. This is not about sex abuse, but it is quite directly analogous to that as well. This was when I was in second grade attending our parochial school. The Monsignor had our entire class marched over to his rectory, to the little chapel in the rectory. Upon entering I was devastated. I asked what the electric light on the wall was. I was told that this was because the tabernacle was there. Where? I asked. The monsignor pointed to a matchbox sized box unceremoniously stuck to the wall in the corner. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like Jesus wasn’t important, that God wasn’t important. I knelt down. He got real nervous. He had us march around the butcher block altar in the middle of the little room (which also totally scandalized me). I asked if that was really the altar as it wasn’t at all like the high altar over in the church that was then being torn down. Yes, it’s the altar, he said. My heart sank. I was scared. What’s happening? I was extremely aware of the reverence I had for the altar. And he was forcing us to touch it. I asked like three times if I had to touch the altar. He said yes, and was getting quite impatient with me. I was going into full adrenaline mode with everything graying out as I marched around the altar and touched it as did the others. I had hesitated even then at the last second. Just touch it! I was instructed. Sorry to put it this way, but I felt as if I had insulted the Lord, I felt as if I myself has been violated (raped if you will). I was empty. No heart left. My heart had been ripped out of me and stomped on and thrown out. But I did sense – mind you – that the angels had been warning me before this and were angry (so to speak) after this, not angry with me, but with this event, so very, very sad. To be precise, it’s that the very Sacred Mysteries had been stripped from my soul.

Back to Communion in the hand. My anecdote about the altar is an analogy. I would never force anyone to take Communion in the hand. And anyway, Communion on the tongue is more hygienic.


Filed under Angels, Eucharist, Medicine

Coronavirus humor is for the dogs


Filed under Dogs, Humor, Medicine

Coronavirus humor Edvard Munch’s Scream: Don’t panic! Don’t touch your face!

Image result for the scream

As of this writing, the death rate for the Coronavirus in these USA is 4.71%. That’s 16 deaths into 339 reported cases. Obviously, that doesn’t include untested mild cases, but that’s also true for unreported mild influenza cases, right? Taking into account reported cases (how else?), the Coronavirus has a mortality rate that is hyperbolically higher than bad strains of influenza, a kind of never-before-scene-in-these-modern-times scenario.

Just the facts. Some will say that reporting on facts is scare mongering, and that we should do the same thing as was done around the first world war when huge percentages of the world population died, it is said, by absolutely playing down the facts. The thing is, people read through any playing down strategy and that bit of lying is what creates panic: Why the lying? I’m always all about just the plain truth. We can all deal with that. The best way to keep people calm and not to panic is to tell the truth. Then we know what we have before us. Then we use our brains to solve the problem. Not to tell the truth because of being in a panic and being all afraid of spreading panic is exactly the kind of fear which creates panic.

But panic is an emotion leading to herd looting herd home-invasion herd lawlessness mentality which ends up killing more than any virus ever could. Don’t panic. Just the facts. Deal with it.

Having said all that, the question is as to whether you’ve ever had the bottom drop out of your little world, and then what did you do about that? I had the bottom drop out of my world. Many times, actually. It’s a blessing. It rearranges priorities. It’s an occasion to turn to God, with humility. Great!

On one occasion, in my early twenties, I had a horrific case of Entamoeba histolytica dysintery that would have killed me off, with urine the color and consistency of black tar and the back-end being the color and consistency of yellow Gatorade, just clearer, more like water, and the eyes totally jaundiced as the little beasts were quickly eating my liver. At the time I was volunteering for the Missionaries of Charity at their home for the dying in Calcutta. How appropriate.

So, there I was, five minutes on the bed, and then twenty-five minutes in one of the two toilet stalls of the Salvation Army hostel where I was staying. The 5 min bed / 25 min toilet was locked into a 24/7 cycle. Talk about losing weight! Keto has nothing on Entamoeba histolytica. With dazed mind I read – and re-read a thousand times – all the graffiti on the back of the door and the walls of the sickly sweet smelling stall even while the little window allowed the smoke of the little manure fires cooking food on the street to waft inside. A peculiar mix of odors. A very clever poet traveler with similar digestive problems had written this:

  • “If you think the bottom has dropped out of your world, come to Calcutta, and you will think the world has dropped out of your bottom.”

Hahaha – sigh – Fine. I guess you would have had to have been there.

In these days of Novel Coronavirus CoVid-19 panic mongers, sometimes a little humor goes a long way toward teaching low-panic ways and means of dealing with any virus. One bit of advice came from some high level health official knucklehead testifying in the U.S. Congress the other day about avoidance-of-the-virus strategies. One of those strategies was NOT TO TOUCH YOUR FACE. Meanwhile, the nice lady who was screaming her testimony (so to speak) about the validity of this strategy was – in front of God and Congress and the whole world – continuously touching her face. Ah, the irony!

Here’s the deal: Maybe this bit of humor will help you put the basic strategies into effect in your daily life. It’s simple, but good. Most importantly for the not-to-panic theme: get your soul right with God. Be calm and want to go to heaven in any situation.

I might add that there was something even better than this humor, making it all very personal, having us identify with the personal feelings of another. I know: ♬ Feeelings… ♬ … Woah, woah, woah… ♬ Feeelings…♬ But I’ll say it anyway. POTUS Trump was talking about the NOT touching your face thing. He said that he’s been putting into action the NOT-touching-one’s-face thing and he misses touching his face. Missing touching my face was my reaction exactly. People otherwise do this unconsciously about 20 times an hour. It’s that personal anecdote which stops my hand to the face.

Meanwhile, a health care worker testing patients for coronavirus got coronavirus even though wearing a special respirator. It didn’t help her. Why? I’m guessing because she kept re-adjusting the mask, touching, of course, her face. Get it? It’s like a new concealed carrier of a pistol. He or she is always checking on it, making sure it’s there. Don’t do that either.

So, if I were to wear a mask while going to emergency scenes with our local PD, well, I couldn’t wear a mask. Why not? I have a beard. A priest friend of mine calls beards CVIs: Coronavirus Incubators. Hahaha. So again, I ask the question as the numbers continue to rise, including the numbers of quarantines around the country, do I scream as in The Scream above, or do I shave my beard (I would hate that, nicking and cutting my face and making entryways for Coronavirus received by touching my face…. grrrr…) and then scream as in The Scream above, or…

Here’s the deal, it’s not just a one-on-one situation in hospitals and nursing homes and at incident locations, it’s about large gatherings at churches and social halls, it’s about “public speaking” if you will, during the Mass and while preaching. I’m a priest. Can you do all that in a respirator? And why would I have a respirator while no one else has a respirator? I mean, picture it, a priest at the altar saying Holy Mass with a respirator on. It’s absurd. Again, what about everybody else?

It’s devolves into inconsistencies, just as does the administration of Holy Communion no matter if it’s in the hand or on the tongue: Do priests or EMHCs (though we are too small to have those in this parish) use hand sanitizer between every communicant? And if so, do they purify their fingers in the little water bowl thingy next to the tabernacle before they do that so as not to possibly desecrate the Blessed Sacrament with hand sanitizer? And is a new bowl used every time, that is, after every single communicant? And is that bowl washed down the sacrarium and then washed and sanitized in the sacrarium every time, for every communicant? No? You get the idea. Therefore: either you administer Holy Communion or you don’t. Right now, we do.

But, all the same, do NOT touch your face!

Please share this post. You might save a life. A little humor goes a long way.


Filed under Humor, Medicine

Communion on the Tongue in a time of Novel Coronavirus panicking: Rock on!

Jesus Passion of the Christ hand nail

An elderly long-time reader of this and now long defunct blogs of mine wrote in all devastation about the brutal treatment she received from an apparently non-believing priest when she approached to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. She gave me permission to share the story for the benefit of all those whose bishops have “mandated” Communion in the hand”:

  • “This morning at daily Mass, the priest shoved the Host in my hand and said ‘In the hand only’.  He has always protested against COTT. I am very shocked. I don’t know what to do. I am an old lady and we never touched the Host because we do not have consecrated hands.  I’m sure the excuse is the coronavirus. So do I stop receiving Holy Communion or is it just my pride getting in the way?”

communion in the hand

My response to this dear soul:

  • “I’m sorry that that happened to you. That’s so terrible. That was actually my experience at my first Holy Communion in the 1960s. Minnesota was sooooo liberal. I would just go to a different parish. Put your hands behind back when you are going to receive and then, hopefully, receive on the tongue. I’ll say a prayer of reparation for that priest.

Some points:

  • You always retain the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue. Bishops cannot touch universal liturgical law.
  • Receiving on the tongue is a zillion times more hygienic than in the hand. Hands are disgusting. Really. People curl their hands and you cannot avoid touching their hands. Girls put “sparkle lotion” goop all over their hands. Totally inappropriate and sticky and disgusting. Stop it. Blech.
  • Communion in the hand is almost as bad and disgusting as women with tubes of lipstick on their faces and who drink from the chalice leaving glops of disgusting lipstick all over the chalice which then ends up all over the purificators – stopping the administration from the chalice (if that’s what your parish does) until the purificator can be changed out – so, just don’t. We don’t have Communion from the Chalice. I wonder if the priest who insists on Communion on the hand has Communion also from the Chalice. That would be so ironic.


But is there a theological heresy involved in being worried about the transmission of diseases with Holy Communion being “The Carrior”? Some say that to say this could happen is blasphemous. Not at all.

This is our Lord Jesus. Yes. But think about that for a second. Within hours of the Last Supper He is hanging on the Cross on Calvary and people are spitting on him with whatever rubbish diseases they have. That’s dripping off our Lord and falling on the very ones who are spitting on him. Excuse me, but spitting up when gravity is involved is as stupid as pissing into the wind. You’ll only be subject to what you yourself have done. Of course Holy Communion can be a “Carrior”, not because our Lord is subject to any disease, especially regarding the circumstance of Holy Communion, but because those externals of Holy Communion have nothing to do with Him. As the great Saint Thomas Aquinas said, the externals of the Most Blessed Sacrament are not essential to but rather accidental to the substance of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord. The weight and measurement and color and feel and taste and sight… whatever… are accidental. Don’t blame any virus on our Lord Himself, but do blame your lack of care in administering or receiving Holy Communion.

The best video on the Gates of Hell NOT Prevailing and Communion on the Tongue:


Filed under Eucharist, Medicine

Calm quarantine strategies, not panic


First  of all, we are not in any kind of stage of a quarantine of any kind. San Francisco called for a State of Emergency, but that was just a cynical move to release Federal monies they otherwise can’t get at this time for sanctuary cities. It has nothing to do with any COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. No. Demoncrats are self-centered jerks and want to cause panic.

And I don’t say we are any kind of stage of a quarantine YET. No. That also would be to panic. See above.

Having said that, let’s take the worst case scenario – a declared pandemic – so as to point out how to avoid the worst case scenario, which would not refer to any medical condition (more people dying from the flu or smoking or car accidents…), but rather panic, which would be the logistical cause of death for hyperbolically more cases of death. So…

  • The other week a reporter asked POTUS Trump whether or not plans were already in place for the quarantine of entire cities if the need arises. He answered yes.
    • I’m sure that if this were to be effected it would be done so by the National Guard before anyone knows, including all law enforcement, who will likewise be quarantined in place in their cities.
    • Immediately after the National Guard is in place for a no one in-or-out scenario, health officials and law enforcement will be privy to policies and enforcement and rules of engagement.
    • It would be extremely helpful if in the same announcement it was said that food delivery trucks to supermarkets will have drop off locations at the border of the quarantine and that other trucks from inside will later come to pick up that food and deliver it to local supermarkets.
    • Gasoline deliveries? I guess they would have to be made when the stations are otherwise abandoned.
    • It would have to be stated that utilities will continue.
    • Extremely severe penalties for price gauging and looting would have to be stated.
  • demon panThe worst possible thing that could happen is panic. In that case, there will immediately be home invasions of idiots looking for food, not because there is any lack of food, but just because of panic. This will be done by those who have already been spending all their money on drugs. And they are well practiced with home invasions. Not good.
  • Panic in this sorry world of ours – the mob mentality which eliminates all “inhibitions” like reason and goodness and kindness and courage and fortitude and justice and mercy – the eliminator of all that is good in the chaos of panic is the demon-god Pan. This is not the too-cute and effeminate Peter Pan of Disney, but rather the ancient demon of all demons, Satan, who, as Jesus says, is a murderer from the beginning. Panic is the worst thing that can happen.
  • What is most needed in a Pan-Dem-ic is to not cave into panic, to not cave into Pan-Demon-ium. Get it? Pan in Greek means all or everything or everyone: “Everybody’s panicking!!!!!!!”
  • To panic is to give reverence to the demon-god pan. Panic makes one a worshiper of Pan. Panic makes one a pagan, an idol-worshiper. “Oooh! Pan told me to worry and have anxiety and to panic, so, therefore, of course, ever-obedient to demons, I will! I will panic! I will! I will! // off sarcasm.
  • So, an examination of conscience is in order. What or who is the most important thing, person, during a pandemic? Christ Jesus. If we have our spiritual lives squared away, if we are actually looking forward to going to heaven, trusting in the mercies of our Lord, we will not cave in to panic, we will not worship at the feet of Pan.
  • For atheists who mock faith in the time of crisis as the opiate of society, know this, the only ones I’ve ever seen help each other out in desperate times are believers. This is especially true in Socialist/Communist/Marxist countries. You know that’s true. I’ve seen it first hand. Believers have extraordinary strength of love and reason because of the love and truth they carry about within them coming from God Himself.


  • Where is God in all of this? Look for those who are trying to be helpful in all of this. Look at Jesus’ good mom holding God in her arms…
  • But why did God let this happen?
    • Let’s call to mind that original sin opened us up to all of this sickness and death and weakness of mind and weakness of will and emotions all over the place.
    • Let’s call to mind that God so loved that world despite our use of free will that He sent His only-Begotten Divine Son Jesus – basing mercy on justice – to stand in our place, the Innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve so that He might have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
    • Let’s call to mind that God thus knows all about suffering, and all about combating panic and the horrific demon-god Pan.
    • Let’s call to mind that Jesus does give us the grace, His friendship, to be reasonable, to be calm, to be good and kind, not to panic, but to be helpful, pointing people to Him who is that love which is stronger than sickness, stronger than any pandemic, stronger than death, strong enough to bring us to eternal life, to our eternal home, where love and peace reign supreme. Heaven is our home and we are now – in this hell – in exile away from home. But we do have a home in heaven, and we right now carry about the way to that home, grace which St Paul says will turn to glory.

So, no worries then! Jesus, I joyously trust in You.


Meanwhile, I’ve lost 52.xx pounds on Keto so far, and I’m going off Keto soon, transitioning over to something more high protein and not neglecting carbs. Trundling off to Walmart grocery to stock up on non-Keto items, I noticed lots of almost empty shelves, just a few packages of oatmeal, a packet or two of lentil beans, that kind of thing. It looked like panic buying. That’s O.K. Those panic buyers are all set now and won’t be emptying out stores in panic buying. Don’t panic. Instead, drop off real dead weight that holds you back. Go to Confession!


Filed under Confession, Exorcism, Jesus, Law enforcement, Medicine, Military, Missionaries of Mercy, Spiritual life

COVID-19, beards, attending church


The above chart is actually from 2017 and gives advice about respirators in general. It wasn’t generated in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). How long the virus is able to survive on surfaces (for days or weeks) or in aerosol form (hanging in the air from breathing for minutes or hours traveling in the breeze) is all unknown.

There are scare-tactics used by some on the one side, and the near hysterical smashing down of scare-tactics used by some on the other side. Scare people and it spreads faster as people run. But don’t tell the truth of virility of the virus and people are not careful to take precautions as simple as washing your hands on the other hand.

My own beard and gas mask story. From about the end of June 1989 until about the beginning of February 1990 I was living at the Pontifical Biblical Institute across from the King David Hotel a stone’s throw from the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. Saddam Hussein was lobbing scud missiles at Israel that contained – he said – biological weapons of mass extermination. We were all issued gas masks to avoid breathing in aerosol laden poisons or biological horrors.

I liked having a beard mostly because I was too lazy to shave every day. We were told to tape up our windows to avoid glass shattering from exploding missiles, so I did that. Likewise, we were told to tape up cracks between the doors and the walls of our little rooms, so I did that. We were all ready, with rolls of tape at the ready, to tape up the opening between the door and the door frame the moment a scud missile exploded nearby. The missiles were dropping all over Israel. We had a room that was especially well-sealed and stocked with food and water into which we could seal ourselves for a day or two if need be, if we had the chance to get there before some of the more nervous members of the Biblicum community locked late-comers out of the room much like submariners caught in a leaking chamber are sealed off from escape by their friends so as to save the rest of the crew members in the rest of the submarine.

Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount is Islam’s third most holiest site in the world. We were very close to that, and stupid me, I was trusting in warfare technology of 1990, and, stupid me, I was thinking that Saddam wouldn’t dare throw missiles that would drop around those living near the Temple Mount. I thought that until a scud missile exploded between the Biblical Institute and the King David Hotel, near enough to shake a car outside my window, setting off its alarm, but the tape on my window held.

So I tried to shave my beard, only half successfully, but not good enough for a seal to be made between the gas mask and my mug of a face before the rest of the community were yelling at me to get into their special room.

Now, that’s a different set of circumstances, right? Well, that’s controversial. Those in danger areas are wearing total-seal hazmat gear from head to toe, looking like aliens in space suits. Why oh why would they do that, I wonder. Why would the CDC make a statement against all previous policy for all other viruses and say that the spread of COVID-19 in these USA is inevitable? It’s not the beard chart that surprises me, but the “inevitable” statement.

The Italian government has been cracking down on meetings of people, you know, in churches. Hardly any Ash Wednesday Masses in Italy at the beginning of this Lent. Scare tactics that are political in nature, as there is no crack down on going to stadiums or supermarkets.

Meanwhile, with great malice, the Demoncrats have been playing up scare tactics as a way, they think, to hurt any re-election of Donald Trump. That’s a fright, because scare tactics only encourage faster spread of the virus.

Having said all that, I should also be the priest and say what I always say, people should have their souls in order. Our Lord can call us at any time. Confession! For myself, I’ll go to Confession again later today if I can as the Smokey Mountain Vicariate of the Diocese is meeting up down the road.

If the CDC’s out-of-character statement about “inevitability” comes into play, this priest will be at particular risk:

  • I’ll attend to the sick and dying with the last rites as long as I’m not forbidden by hospital staff. That would be tough for them since the kind of volunteer level that I enjoy is actually at the level of employee status for our local hospital.
  • I’ll still accompany our local law enforcement as Police Chaplain. I can only imagine that unstable people will cause trouble with increased home invasions if the inevitability thing closes down supermarkets. It would get a bit chaotic. Can you imagine being on corpse-removal-detail? Blech. I hope any respirators have odor controls.

Having said all that, I have not shaved my beard. Life goes on. I do what I always do. Take note of a recent development – as reported some hours ago – that there may be a way around a year and half wait for a vaccine. It was said that there may be a way to fight this with an anti-viral found to have great success in animals and which may be able to be used forthwith. Maybe. But – hey! – maybe!

Here’s the deal: We’re no longer meant for this world. Our home is to be in heaven. We’re in exile here. Worst case scenario with COVID-19 may be a ticket to heaven. Not bad, that.

But what about Church attendance here in the USA? Yesterday, a reporter asked POTUS Trump a question about any contingency plans for locking down cities. He said that those are in place and being refined. Lock downs enforced by Martial Law can happen overnight. That includes shoot-to-kill curfews. I must say, I’ve never in my life heard talk of such things in public in these USA. I’m NOT indulging in scare tactics. Don’t be mad at me. I’m just noting was the CDC has been doing, and what the advised policies are regarding mentioning any of this kind of thing in public. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Now, after all that chaos, I have a question:

Should I shave my beard?


Filed under Law enforcement, Medicine, Missionaries of Mercy

I got an eyeful, so, a Hail Mary please

john wayne eye patch

I’d rather keep my eye. Apparently, it’s a kind of medical emergency.

I guess I’ll be busy today. The eye thing started while driving back after hearing four hours straight of Christmas Confessions in an “adjoining parish” that takes well over an hour to get to in these backsides of the back ridge beautiful mountains.

Actually it started when I was a kid. But that’s another story. But now it’s at crisis stage.

“Lord, that I may see…”


UPDATE: Thanks for everyone saying prayers. You’re very good to me. All indications were that there was a bit of vitreous separation of the retina. The ophthalmologist said there was in fact a bit of that, and however dangerous that can be regarding vision loss, he said that that was not the reason I was there. He came up with something altogether different, something which has nothing to do with the actual eyes, but which can be quite annoying altogether. I’m happy to something more about what I’ve been going through for a lifetime, and happy to know again that adjunct ocular symptoms are connected with that (also in the documented experience of others). It’s a fairly rare condition, but – Hey! – I’m already special. Anyway, I’m back home. The eyes are still dilated and so I see really good. I asked for that, right? Right now, the rectory is in cave mode, no light. And, btw, as it turns out, I would have done better with two eye patches for some hours today. But I won’t be wearing any for the foreseeable future.


Filed under Medicine

THIS guy? My hero. Like Thomas More fighting for his life. Awesome.


Filed under Medicine, Pro-Life