Archive for June, 2011

The drone of the motor of the car
Permeates throughout the interior of the car.
Never ending. The dull hum vibrates against my ears.
Amidst the drone one can hear the faint sound of a siren.
In traffic a car horn blasts.
A semi passes and its tires roar.
A loud muffler rumbles as another car passes.
This everlasting noise needs to stop, because I can’t hear the voices in my head.

In the office sitting in a cube, tightly contained in a row.
Two phone conversations going on at the same time,
One in front of me and one behind.
Every word said is heard.
Just outside an office a congregation of three
discuss the latest meeting subject.
A co-worker loudly asks a question over the top of the cubes to another person.
All the conversations need to stop because I can’t hear the voices in my head

Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room
Hearing the muffled conversation of other patients.
A baby cries for its mother.
An older woman loudly talks
To an older gentlemen with a hearing problem.
A voice comes over a loud-speaker
Asking for a doctor to come to a treatment room.
A nurse enters the room,
Calling a patient’s name for his appointment
All the talking needs to stop because I can’t hear the voices in my head.

A catchy sound effect tune comes from the TV.
My son is playing an addictive video game.
Co-players from the internet
Chat about the current game in progress.
Next to my son is his lap top
Playing the latest video from some female singing pop star.
Across the hall the muffled sound cartoons
From a left on TV playing in my son’s room.
All of the noises need to stop because I can’t hear the voices in my head

Sitting in the cafeteria at a table.
Monotonous conversations float across the room.
A grill chef calls out an order
While another customer requests some food.
A server from the sandwich deli
Calls out to another server for more wheat bread.
The cashier chatters,
Making small talk while patrons pay for the food.
The noises need to stop because I can’t hear the voices in my head.

The noises never stop
No matter where one goes, the noises prevail.
The noises need to stop.
I can’t hear the voices in my head.

This is a follow-up to my blog called Not much patience . . .   Read on if you want to know what life is like when your child is first diagnosed with epilepsy.  In my previous post I described the initial days after my son had his first seizure.

As I indicated in my previous post, my son had a seizure and we were waiting for an appointment with a neurologist.  For the next three days we waited in suspense.  I didn’t go to work.  I didn’t go out and about.  We stayed close to home.  I just waited for our appointment on Friday, and watched my son hour after hour.  Within a day I saw that my son was having many bouts of eye blinking, lasting for as long as 20 minutes.  Once again these events were nothing like his first seizure and I could tell that they were different from regular eye blinking. The blink was faster and appeared more of a tug at the eyes.

Finally Friday came and we were off to the neurologist appointment.  As we sat in the waiting room for the neurologist, I was quickly enlightened about the many challenges that some children can face.  As we sat there we saw children with many brain-related disorders.  Some of the children looked like my son and appeared as if nothing was wrong with them.  On the other hand, there were children with greater challenges such as Down Syndrome.  There were children in wheel chairs, children with helmets, and basically children that had huge challenges in life.

The other thing I noticed as I sat there was the caretakers of these children.  Most were parents.  Some were paid caretakers.  The parents had this attentive look on their face, watching their child and diligently attending to all of their needs.  Their language was like any other language used when dealing with a child, whether the child had development delays or not.  Some of the children were teenagers, and some were newborn infants.  There were children who were White, children who were Black and children who were Hispanic.  It was obvious that no child was immune to these conditions.

I did not see anything that I hadn’t seen before, but I was hyper-sensitive as a sat in this waiting room with this concentrated focus on the children with brain disorders.  As I sat there it came to me that my child was one of those children.  I was one of those parents.  It also dawned on me that things could be worse, much worse.  That didn’t lighten the urgency in my mission, but it did make me somewhat thankful for our circumstances.

The other eye-opener was the actual waiting.  We were a family in crisis.  From my perspective we were in need of urgent help.  To me crisis and urgent implied immediate attention.  That was the feeling that was going on inside of me.  Then I compared that feeling to what I saw in the waiting room, and for the length of time we waited.  It was a paradox.  I wanted my son to get help right away.  This feeling of  urgency was aligned with the concept of being cured.  I know this sounds crazy and unrealistic, but that was what my initial feelings were toward this diagnosis of my son having a seizure.  I thought if I immediately addressed it, then he could be cured.  I know this doesn’t make sense, but I think it is a common reaction for any parent when they have a child that is sick.  Little did I know but this “waiting” aspect was going to become a normal part of our lives.

Finally my son’s name was called and after being weighed and having his height measured, we were led into an examination room.   I had the misconception that once you were in an examination room that the doctor would be in shortly.  Not the case here, it was another hour before the doctor came in.

The first thing we went over was to description of the seizure itself.  Looking back, I can’t tell you the number of times I had to describe the seizures.  A description had to be detailed each time we saw a new doctor, which over the years has been 7 different neurologists.  A description had to be given each time we had a short-term EEG, which has amounted to 5 or 6 more times.  Likewise, a description had to be given each time we had a long-term EEG, which has been 7 times in the last nine years.  And finally at the beginning of each school year, this description has been given to the school nurse.  It is very tiring and frustrating that you have to repeat this over and over again.  This is one aspect of improving our health care system that I look forward to.  Document it once.  Put it in a system that can be shared by everyone.

After going through this description process, the neurologist did some very basic neurological testing including the following six categories:

  1. Mental Status
  2. Cranial Nerve
  3. Motor
  4. Coordination and Gait
  5. Reflexes
  6. Sensory

These tests include:

  • Left to right symmetry
  • Field of vision
  • Pupil reactions
  • Facial movements
  • Tongue movements
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength
  • Coordination
  • Gait
  • Reflexes
  • Sensory responses
The neurologist asked a lot of questions including my sons earlier years and his development milestones, which had all been normal. The other odd observation that they noted was the birthmarks my son had. Coincidently, my son had a white spot the size of a quarter on his chest and two small brown birthmarks on his sides. To this day I don’t know what the significance of these birthmarks.At the conclusion of this examination the doctor suggested that we do a short-term EEG.  He confirmed that the first event we described sounded like a seizure, but the eye-blinking episodes he was not sure what they were.  He scheduled the short-term EEG, which meant another week of waiting.

I walked out of that office frustrated.  I did not know any more than I did when I walked into the office.  From this doctor there was no sign of urgency, and definitely no movement toward a “cure.”  It was this moment that I decided that I needed to educate myself.
To be continued . . .

This is a follow-up to my blog called The first neurologist appointment. Read on if you want to know what life is like when your child is first diagnosed with epilepsy.  In my previous post I described our first appointment with a neurologist, including the types of tests they did and the misconceptions in my head.

After meeting with the neurologist we waited another week for our appointment for the EEG test. At this point I did not really know how an EEG test was done. Little did I know that we would become very familiar with EEG tests.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) detects abnormalities in the brain waves or electrical activity of the brain. During the procedure, electrodes consisting of small metal discs with thin wires are pasted on the scalp. The electrodes detect tiny electrical charges that result from the activity of the brain cells. The charges are amplified and appear as a graph on a computer screen. A neurologist who is specially trained in EEG then interprets the reading.

While we waited for our appointment my son continued to have multiple episodes every day of this unusual blinking. Occasionally the blinking was accompanied with a head jerk. When I say multiple times per day, I mean he had fifteen to twenty times per day lasting as little as a few minutes and as long as twenty minutes. As he would have an episode, the rhythm between blinks became further and further apart as time passed by.

The other noteworthy observation was that he constantly rubbed at his eyes when the episode would begin. Unfortunately he was really young, three and a half years old, and was not able to tell me what it felt like. But I could tell he knew it was happening and he knew it was something new happening to him.

Before the EEG appointment, they instructed us to wake up extra early in the morning, because they wanted the child to be tired while they were being tested. The idea was that with lack of sleep seizures were more likely to occur. This sounds easy, but he was only three years old and he wanted to sleep.  We woke up extra early at 4:00 a.m. I did everything I could to keep him awake until we got to our appointment for the EEG.

The first step of having an EEG is to provide the technician with a detailed description of what the seizures looked like. I provided two descriptions, including the characteristics of the very first seizure and then the subsequent blinking, head jerking episodes.

After this was documented the technician put the leads (electrodes) on specific places of the scalp. For children this clinic did not call them electrodes.  Instead they called them buttons.  The technicians did measurements for each spot and marked this placement spot with a grease pencil. After marking all of the area the technicians scrubs at the spots to ensure a good connection.  This being my son’s first EEG he tolerated this process even though it took about an hour to get all of the spots measured, scrubbed and then using a conductive gel placed the twenty or so electrodes to my son’s head. The technician explained to me and my son that my son would have to be real still so the electrodes remain in place. She said if my son could not be still then she would have to use glue.  Luckily, for this EEG my son remained very still.

Some of the things they look at on an EEG are bursts of electrical activity (spikes), whether the two sides of the brain show different patterns of electrical activity, or sudden slowing of the brainwaves.  When a person has epilepsy, the location and exact pattern of the abnormal brainwaves may help show what type of epilepsy or seizures the person has.  Keep in mind that in many people with epilepsy, the EEG may appear completely normal between seizures.  An EEG by itself may not diagnose or rule out epilepsy or a seizure problem.  The other component to keep in mind is that an EEG only measures surface level brain waves.

Once they had all of the electrodes in place they did a series of tests including: blowing at a pin wheel to make him hyperventilate, opening and closing his eyes, answering questions and watching a strobe light at varying frequencies. Then they let him sleep for about 20 minutes while recording the brain waves.

We got through the EEG. I did not see any of the events like what we saw at home. None of the test provoked a seizure. It’s odd but I was a little disappointed. Of course I didn’t want my son to have a seizure, but I wanted a diagnosis. For some reason I thought if I had a diagnosis then he could be made well.  Once again one of those misconceptions.

Then I was hit with reality. It would be several days before we would have the results. The technician has the skills to perform the test, but could not evaluate the results. Once again we were in a waiting mode.

While I waited for the results I continued to stay home with my son. He continued to have the blinking episodes. After three weeks of watching him, I started to see some patterns with the blinking episodes. First of I noticed that my son had a twenty-minute episode of these blinking episodes every morning within a half hour of waking up. The other observation I had is that bright sunshine seemed to trigger the events. Both of these observations happened every single day.

Finally we got a phone call from the neurologists office. The woman calling us said when my son was going through the sleeping part of the EEG test, his brain waves showed patterns of a seizure. The woman called it Benign Rolandic Epilepsy. She then said they were prescribing Tegretol, and she explained the frequency of the medication. She then said that I should make a follow appointment in a month. And then that was it. I didn’t even get a chance to talk to the neurologist. No opportunity to ask questions. Nothing. And that was our first experience with our neurologist, an EEG, and seizure medication.

To be continued . . .

a.k.a The God Syndrome

Scandal, corruption, bribery, treason are all adjectives that are used in respect to many third-world countries and their associated governments.  They are also used in reference to some of the upheaval in the Middle East that we see today. In these nations the people are speaking out against this and want to put a stop to leadership that is sullied by it corrupted deeds.

The reality is these adjectives are also the same words to describe activities that happen within our own American government. Greed and corruption are rampant.  This is nothing new, and has been going on in the United State’s even in its infant days of  democracy.

It seems that not a day goes by these days that we don’t see headlines of an elected official involved in  infidelity, tax evasion, bribery, power scandals, and corruption.  These are supposed to be the leaders of our nation.  These individuals were elected to stand for the people.  Do they stand for you?  Not me.

I don’t understand what happens to politicians when they get power.  All common sense seems to leave their heads.  They work in their sheltered worlds, unconnected with the people, which gives them a sense of empowerment and invincibility.  I call it the God Syndrome.  Nothing can touch them.  No power is greater.  Some of these activities are blatant and common – having affairs has become a norm in Washington D.C.  Other corruption is being done under the guise of governing for the people, including:  the rigged system of redistricting, misappropriation of public funds (case in point, the Iraq War), earmarks for pet projects (also called Government Pork), bending the rules for campaign contributions, and consorting with lobbyists.  Sometimes I wonder if these politicians think the American people are stupid.  Listen to some of these “Pork” projects:

  • $50,000 for helicopter improvements at a small-town sheriff’s office – Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.)
  • $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in California – Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.)
  • $300,000 to preserve the ‘final resting place for Hawaiian royalty’ – Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
  • $1.24 million for tree snake control in Guam – Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam)
  • $1.9 million for water taxi service at Pleasure Beach, CT – Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.)
  • $3 million for a project to distribute NASA images – Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.)
  • $3.8 million to save part of a baseball stadium from demolition… for the memories – Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)

I don’t understand how these types of activities go on and on, year after year.  Are Americans too caught up in their daily lives to pay attention?  If someone steals from me, I don’t forget it and I am probably going to do something about it.  I am sure that is probably true for every American.  Then why doesn’t this same behavior occur with our elected officials  Americans need to be come enraged.  Americans need to speak out.  Americans need to take a stand.  Americans have the ultimate power to put an end to these activities. They don’t need to take it to the streets, such as what is happening in Syria or Iran or Egypt.  Instead all we need to do is exercise our right to vote.  We need to keep in mind that not only do these politicians represent us in our government but they are also a demonstration of what type of people we are.  Is this the reputation that you want?  If not why are we putting up with this.  Vote.  Use its power.  It is an age where “career” politicians should be no more.  Term limits are sound like a better idea every day I hear these headlines.  Robert F. Kennedy’s statement that “politics should be the most honorable profession” seems increasingly like a bitter joke.

In the last few years we have seen headlines of politicians ignoring all consequences for their behavior.  Most recently we have Anthony Weiner (D-NY) sending lewd photos to women on Twitter, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) having an affair with his maid.  Scandal is nothing new in this country.  Take a look at the following financial, sexual misconduct, and political suicide events that have occurred over our American history.  More importantly, be angry, and remember these activities the next time you go into a voting booth.

Financial “Misdeeds”

2010 Charles Rangel (D-NY) multiple ethic violations for financial misdeeds

2010 Tom DeLay (R-TX) convicted of money laundering

2008 William J. Jefferson (D-LA) in August 2005 the FBI seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s home freezer and convicted of 11 counts of bribery

2003 Janet Rehnquist (R) appointed Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services by George W. Bush. In 2002, Governor Jeb Bush’s (R-FL) Chief of Staff Kathleen Shanahan asked Rehnquist to delay auditing a $571 million federal overpayment to the State of Florida. Rehnquist ordered her staff to delay the investigation for five months until after the Florida elections.

2002 Sen Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) accused of taking illegal contributions from Korean businessman David Chang.

1997 Newt Gingrich (R-GA), the Speaker of the House, was accused of financial improprieties leading to House reprimand and $300,000 in sanctions  leading to his resignation

1989 Albert Hakim A businessman, he pleaded guilty in November 1989 to supplementing the salary of Oliver North by buying a $13,800 fence for Oliver North with money from “the Enterprise”, which was a set of foreign companies Hakim used in Iran-Contra. In addition, Swiss company Lake Resources Inc., used for storing money from arms sales to Iran to give to the Contras, plead guilty to stealing government property. Hakim was given two years of probation and a $5,000 fine, while Lake Resources Inc. was ordered to dissolve

Sexual Escapades

Christopher Lee, (R-NY) emailed a shirtless picture of himself to a woman he met through the website Craigslist.

Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) ethics violation when he had an affair

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, (D-NY)a Democrat, resigned after his dealings with prostitutes were exposed

1999 Henry Cisneros (D) Secretary of Housing. Resigned and plead guilty (1999) to a misdemeanor charge of lying to the FBI about the amount of money he paid his former mistress, Linda Medlar

1987 Barney Frank Congressman (D-MA), Lived with convicted felon Steve Gobie who ran a gay prostitution operation from Frank’s apartment without his knowledge.

1859 Daniel Sickles (D-NY) shot and killed the district attorney of the District of Columbia  Philip Barton Key II, son of Francis Scott Key, whom Sickles had discovered was having an affair with Sickles’s young wife, Teresa. He was tried and acquitted in the first use of the temporary insanity plea.

1835 Robert Potter: Congressman from North Carolina who resigned from Congress after castrating two men he believed were having an affair with his wife. (1831) Later, in North Carolina, he was expelled from its legislature for cheating at cards or for pulling a gun and a knife during a card game

 Obstruction of Justice, Bribery, Fraud, Corruption, Treason

2008 Alphonso Jackson (R) The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development resigned while under investigation by the FBI for revoking the contract of a vendor who told Jackson he did not like President George W. Bush (R)

2007 Karl Rove (R) Senior Adviser to President George W. Bush was investigated by the Office of Special Counsel for “improper political influence over government decision-making”, as well as for his involvement in several other scandals such as Lawyergate, Bush White House e-mail controversy and Plame affair.

2007  Lewis Libby (R) Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney (R), was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame Affair

2006 Jack Abramoff,  Republican, offered bribes as part of his lobbying efforts, involved several White House representatives

1992 Caspar Weinberger (R) Secretary of Defense, was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992.. Weinberger received a pardon from George H. W. Bush on December 24, 1992 before he was tried

1991 Clarence Thomas (R) Supreme Court nominee accused of sexual harassment by former employee Anita Hill. He was approved anyway.

1991 Elliott Abrams (R) Asst Sec of State, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush

1990 Austin Murphy (D-PA) convicted of engaging in voter fraud for filling out absentee ballots for members of a nursing home and had a child from an affair

1990 Jesse Helms Senator (R-NC), His campaign was found guilty of “voter caging” when 125,000 postcards were sent to mainly black neighborhoods and the results used to challenge their residency and therefore their right to vote. (1990)

1978 Joshua Eilberg (D-PA) pleaded guilty to conflict-of-interest charges. In addition, he convinced president Carter to fire the U.S. Attorney investigating his case.

1977 Richard Helms, Head of the CIA, denied his role in the overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende and was convicted of perjury. He also destroyed all record of over 150 CIA mind control experiments of the MKULTRA project for which he was not prosecuted.

1973 Spiro Agnew (R-MD), Richard Nixon’s Vice President, convicted of tax fraud stemming from bribery charges in Maryland and forced to resign.

1970 Harold Carswell (R): Was not nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court (1970) after publication of a 20-year-old speech: “I yield to no man… in the firm, vigorous belief in the principles of white supremacy.” Was also alleged to be hostile to women’s rights.  Later arrested in (1976) for homosexual advances in a men’s washroom.

1862 Simon Cameron (R): Lincoln’s Secretary of War resigned in 1862 due to corruption charges.

1807 Aaron Burr: New Empire (Southwest) Burr conspiracy (1804–1807) In which Burr allegedly tried to seize a large part of the Louisiana Purchase and establish his own country. He was arrested for treason, but was acquitted for lack of evidence

1797 William Blount Senator (Democratic-Republican-TN) Expelled from the Senate for trying to aid the British in a takeover of West Florida.

1787 General James Wilkinson: was appointed to be Governor of the upper Louisiana Purchase. He then conspired with Spain to get Kentucky to secede from the Union in order to be allowed shipping on the Mississippi. (1787–1811)

1778 Conway Cabal: movement or conspiracy to remove George Washington as commander of the Continental Army by Thomas Conway and Horatio Gates (1777–1778)

1778 Silas Deane: accused of mismanagement and treason while ambassador to France.

Intoxication, Misconduct, Drunkenness, Use of Profanity

1873 Mark Delahay U.S. District impeached for misconduct in office and unsuitable personal habits, including intoxication. Resigned before his Senate trial.

1856 Preston Brooks (D) Congressman from South Carolina burst onto the floor of the US Senate and beat Senator Charles Sumner (D) with a cane until he was bleeding and unconscious while two others held the Senate off at gun point.

1804 John Pickering, Federal Judge appointed by George Washington was impeached and convicted in absentia by the U.S. Senate for drunkenness and use of profanity on the bench in spite of the fact neither act was a high crime or misdemeanor.

Corruption At Its Worst

2007 “Lawyergate:”  The Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy where  President Bush fired, without explanation, eleven Republican federal prosecutors whom he himself had appointed. It is alleged they were fired for prosecuting Republicans and not prosecuting Democrats.  When Congressional hearings were called, a number of senior Justice Department officials cited executive privilege and refused to testify under oath.

2007 Bush White House e-mail controversy – During the Lawyergate investigation it was discovered that the Bush administration used Republican National Committee (RNC) web servers for millions of emails which were then destroyed, lost or deleted in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act and the Hatch Act. George W. Bush,Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Sara Taylor and Scott Jennings all used RNC web servers for the majority of their emails. Of 88 officials, no emails at all were discovered for 51 of them.  As many as 5 million e-mails requested by Congressional investigators of other Bush administration scandals were therefore unavailable, lost, or deleted.

2003 Invasion of Iraq depended on intelligence that Saddam Hussein was developing “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs) meaning nuclear, chemical and/or biological weapons for offensive use. The Downing Street memo were minutes of a British secret meeting with the US (dated 23 July 2002, leaked 2005) which include a summary of MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove’s report that “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy” This was called the ‘smoking gun’ concerning W. Bush’s run up to war with Iraq.(2005)

2004 Payoff to Journalists:  Bush administration paid columnists with federal funds to say nice things about Republican policies. Illegal payments were made to journalists Armstrong Williams (R), Maggie Gallagher (R) and Michael McManus (R) (2004–2005)

2004 Torture: Top US officials including George W. Bush  and Dick Cheney authorized enhanced interrogation techniques of prisoners, including waterboarding (called torture by many) by US troops and the CIA in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In 2010 Bush stated “He’d do it again…” and Cheney stated on ABC’s This Week, “I was a big supporter of waterboarding.”

2004 Plame affair:  ,CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name was leaked to the press in retaliation for her husband’s criticism of the reports used by George W. Bush to legitimize the Iraq war.

2002 NSA warrantless surveillance:   Shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001, President George W. Bush (R) implemented a secret program by the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on domestic telephone calls by American citizens without warrants, thus by-passing the FISA court which must approve all such actions.   In 2010, Federal Judge Vaughn Walker ruled this practice to be illegal.

2003 Yellowcake forgery: Just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration presented evidence to the UN that Iraq was seeking material (yellowcake uranium) in Africa for making nuclear weapons. Though presented as true, it was later found to be not only dubious, but outright false.

2002 Enron:   The collapse of Enron led to the investigation of its CEO Kenneth Lay (R), a former member of the Republican National Committee and once considered a possible pick for Secretary of the Treasury, was a top political ally and financial donor to President George W. Bush. Lay was found guilty of 10 counts of securities fraud, but died before sentencing.

1992 House banking scandal:  The House of Representatives Bank found that 450 members had overdrawn their checking accounts, but had not been penalized. Six were convicted of charges, most only tangentially related to the House Bank itself. Twenty two more of the most prolific over-drafters were singled out by the House Ethics Committee.

1992 Iran-Contra Affair pardons:  On December 24, 1992, George H. W. Bush (R) granted clemency to five convicted government officials and Caspar Weinberger, whose trial had not yet begun. This action prevented any further investigation into the affair.

1991 Congressional Post Office scandall (1991–1995) A conspiracy to embezzle House Post Office money through stamps and postal vouchers to congressmen.

1989 Housing and Urban Development Scandal:   A scandal concerning bribery by selected contractors for low-income housing projects.

1986 Savings and loan scandal:  747 institutions failed and had to be rescued with $160,000,000,000 of taxpayer monies in connection with the Keating Five.

1985 Iran-Contra Affair (1985–1986); A plan conceived by CIA head William Casey (R) and Oliver North (R) of the National Security Counsel to sell TOW missiles to Iran for the return of US hostages and then use part of the money received to fund Contra rebels trying to overthrow the left-wing government of Nicaragua, which was in direct violation of Congress’ Boland Amendment.[144] Ronald Reagan appeared on TV stating there was no “arms for hostages” deal, but was later forced to admit, also on TV, that yes, there indeed had been:

1980 Keating Five (1980–1989) The failure of Lincoln Savings and Loan led to Charles Keating (R) donating to the campaigns of five Senators for help. Keating served 42 months in prison.   The five were investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee which found that:

  1. Alan Cranston Senator (D-CA) reprimanded 
  2. Dennis DeConcini Senator (D-AZ) acted improperly 
  3. Don Riegle Senator (D-MI) acted improperly 
  4. John Glenn Senator (D-OH) used poor judgment 
  5. John McCain Senator (R-AZ) used poor judgment 

1980 Abscam:  FBI sting involving fake ‘Arabs’ trying to bribe 31 congressmen.(1980)  The following six Congressmen were convicted:

1980 Debategate: briefing book of President Jimmy Carter stolen and given to Ronald Reagan before U.S. presidential election 

1976 Koreagate scandal:  Involved alleged bribery of more than 30 members of Congress by the South Korean government represented by Tongsun Park. Several other Koreans and Congressmen were allegedly involved, but not charged or reprimanded

1974 Nixon pardon: The pardon by President Gerald Ford (R) of former President Richard Nixon (R), (who had appointed Ford his vice-president), just before Nixon could be tried by the Congress for conspiracy and impeached for his role in the Watergate scandal. 

1972 Watergate (1972–1973) Republican ‘bugging’ of the Democratic Party National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel led to a burglary which was discovered. The cover up of the affair by President Richard Nixon (R) and his staff resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 pleading guilty. Eventually, Nixon resigned his position.

1964 Pentagon Papers:   Exposed unconstitutional actions and coverup by Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson (D) and Richard Nixon (R) in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from 1964 through 1971. 

1920 President Warren G. Harding Administration (R-OH)  1920–1923. His administration was marred by scandals stemming from men in his administration who followed him from Ohio who came to be known as the Ohio Gang.

1875  Whiskey Ring: Massive corruption of Ulysses S. Grant’s (R) administration involving whiskey taxes, bribery and kickbacks ending with 110 convictions. 

1869  Black Friday: When financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk tried to corner the gold market by getting Ulysses S. Grant’s brother-in-law Abel Corbin to convince Grant to appoint General Daniel Butterfield as Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury where he could then give them insider information.

1798 XYZ Affair: French seizure of over 300 US ships and demands for bribes and apologies, led to a Quasi-War causing the US Congress to issue the famous phrase, “Millions for defense, sir, but not one cent for tribute!” Real war was averted by treaty. (1798–1800)  

Information provided by:

List of federal political scandals in the United States

The World’s Most Corrupt Countries
David A. Andelman 04.03.07, 6:00 PM ET

This is a follow-up to my blog called My son and a different path.  Read on if you want to know what life is like when you are first diagnosed with epilepsy.

In my previous post I described the first time my son had a seizure. As soon as my son was able to talk again, I scooped him up and took him to an urgent care facility.

The physician concluded, what I already knew, it was a seizure. The physician suggested that we make an appointment with a neurologist for further testing and possibly medication.  He said it seems that my son was okay now and was just tired from the seizure.  He also gave us some basic information about what to do if my son had another seizure.  The following information is available from the Epilepsy Foundation for this circumstance:

When providing seizure first aid for generalized tonic clonic (grand mal) seizures, these are the key things to remember:

  • Keep calm and reassure other people who may be nearby.
  • Don’t hold the person down or try to stop his movements.
  • Time the seizure with your watch.
  • Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp.
  • Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult.
  • Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head.
  • Turn him or her gently onto one side. This will help keep the airway clear.
  • Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. A person having a seizure CANNOT swallow his tongue. Efforts to hold the tongue down can injure teeth or jaw.
  • Don’t attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally

In addition to the above information the doctor said if my son has another seizure and it goes on for 10 minutes or more, then I should call 911 and get my son to a hospital.

After the doctor visit, I took my son home, who was very sleepy.  The whole situation was jarring.  My son had a seizure which was shocking to me. It isn’t something you expect or plan for. Luckily I knew some of the first aid procedures for seizures from a first aid class I had in grade school. I also knew a couple of people who had seizures. One was a young girl I went to grade school with who had a brain tumor. The other was a neighbor and I knew he did not have his driving license because he had epilepsy. Up to this time I had not ever seen a seizure in person, but had seen them depicted on TV.  I am sure you can imagine how accurate that is.

I was reminded that my husband and I had such a hard time having a baby. Finally after five years with no success, I got pregnant via invitro fertilization when I was forty years old. Our son was our miracle baby and we were grateful to have him in our lives.

The day after my son’s first seizure I made an appointment for my son with a neurologist. Coincidently we lived in a city that had a Children’s Hospital.  The earliest we could get in to see a doctor was Friday, which was 5 more days away.  I called in sick to work because I wanted to make sure that everything was all right with my son.  The last thing I wanted to happen was to take him to daycare and he have another seizure.

While we waited for the neurology appointment I kept running things through my mind about what could have caused this to happen and why did it happen to my son now. At the moment I could not think of anything except earlier in the week my son had fallen off the bed head first. When it happened he was fine and he just shed a few tears.  I think the falling was more traumatic than the actual landing on his head.

That first morning I also called my husband and told him what happened.  He was in West Africa and was stunned went I told him the news.  He asked that I keep him informed as more information is available. He was going to make plans to conclude his business as soon as possible and come home.

To be continued . . .