Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966. The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average." China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them. There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses...

...And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past. The ice is back. Gilles Langis, a senior forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa, says the Arctic winter has been so severe the ice has not only recovered, it is actually 10 to 20 cm thicker in many places than at this time last year....

...According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong....Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats." FULL STORY

So now we're seeing new evidence of climate change, but that change involves global COOLING. And the cause? A decrease in solar sunspot activity, the same thing that caused the little ice age in the 1300s. I think this story is well-timed given that all three leading Presidential candidates believe in man-made climate change and taking measures to curb this so-called crisis. I wonder how those beliefs will hold against this emerging evidence. If the global warming alarmists had their way, we would be bound to the Kyoto treaty and our economy would be in shambles as a result. Now what?

If these people still believe that human activity causes global warming, then would they support INCREASING our fossil fuel use in order to offset the looming cool spell that we face? Only if it means America signing a treaty that puts us at a disadvantage in the world market.

I've always said that the climate is a very complex and intricate thing and there is much we don't know. Human-induced climate change is more about international politics than science, and the evidence has always been lacking. Now we see that perhaps there are other factors at play. Thank goodness reasonable minds prevailed when it came time to decide on Kyoto.

Al Gore has not commented on this latest scientific data.
Looking more and more like a dying campaign, Hillary's army of nasties have apparently distributed a photo of Barack Obama dressed in what looks like traditional Muslim attire. It was during a trip to Africa, and Obama was obliging the local authorities as visiting dignitaries often do. However, his campaign objected to the photo, calling it fear-mongering and an attempt to build on the concerns of some that Obama is secretly Muslim.

Of course, Hillary denies any involvement and I'm still looking for someone who believes her. She now personifies desperation. I doubt this will harm Obama, but you never know. If anyone can revive a dying campaign with cheap tactics, it's Hillary. Of course, these tactics come as no surprise to me and other conservatives. The Clintons have won many elections like this. I find it interesting how those on the Left are so offended by her behavior now, but found no problem with it in the 90s when Bill was on the ticket. Typical.

Speaking of cheap tactics, the New York Times is up to their usual tabloid rag reporting with their latest deliberate slime of John McCain. Quoting anonymous "associates" from his 2000 campaign, they claim that McCain had an inappropriate romantic relationship with a lobbyist and used his influence to assist her clients. They offered no proof. No evidence. Only the word of these unnamed anonymous sources that no one knows. The New York Times is standing by their story. Does anyone still take this Leftist rag seriously?

The Times has had this story since December. There is no explanation why they've been sitting on it this long, and there is no explanation why they endorsed McCain despite having this information at the time. Credibility is not something valued too highly at the Times.

But, this whole thing has improved McCain's favorability in my eyes. If the New York Times hates you, then you must be doing something right. I'm not the only conservative who feels this way, so McCain will probably be writing the Times a thank you note sometime soon. He needed a boost among conservatives, and this may be just that.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In election 2008, don’t forget Angry White Man

by Gary Hubbell, Aspen Times Weekly

There is a great amount of interest in this year’s presidential elections, as everybody seems to recognize that our next president has to be a lot better than George Bush. The Democrats are riding high with two groundbreaking candidates — a woman and an African-American — while the conservative Republicans are in a quandary about their party’s nod to a quasi-liberal maverick, John McCain. Each candidate is carefully pandering to a smorgasbord of special-interest groups, ranging from gay, lesbian and transgender people to children of illegal immigrants to working mothers to evangelical Christians. There is one group no one has recognized, and it is the group that will decide the election: the Angry White Man.

The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field. In many cases, he is an independent businessman and employs several people. He pays more than his share of taxes and works hard.The victimhood syndrome buzzwords — “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” — don’t resonate with him. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him. He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the company Christmas party, three sets of braces, three college educations or a beautiful wedding.He believes the Constitution is to be interpreted literally, not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of a panel of judges who have never worked an honest day in their lives

The Angry White Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun to defend his home and his country. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone who needs killing really doesn’t bother him.The Angry White Man is not a metrosexual, a homosexual or a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina — he got his people together and got the hell out, then went back in to rescue those too helpless and stupid to help themselves, often as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter. His last name and religion don’t matter.

His background might be Italian, English, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, or Russian, and he might have Cherokee, Mexican, or Puerto Rican mixed in, but he considers himself a white American. He’s a man’s man, the kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, hunt white-tailed deer, call turkeys, play golf, spend a few bucks at a strip club once in a blue moon, change his own oil and build things. He coaches baseball, soccer and football teams and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, weld a new bumper for his truck, design a factory and publish books. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant on time so that you keep the lights on and never know what it took to flip that light switch.Women either love him or hate him, but they know he’s a man, not a dishrag. If they’re looking for someone to walk all over, they’ve got the wrong guy. He stands up straight, opens doors for women and says “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.”

He might be a Republican and he might be a Democrat; he might be a Libertarian or a Green. He knows that his wife is more emotional than rational, and he guides the family in a rational manner. He’s not a racist, but he is annoyed and disappointed when people of certain backgrounds exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their race. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they work hard, play by the rules and learn English.Most important, the Angry White Man is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.

He also votes, and the Angry White Man loathes Hillary Clinton. Her voice reminds him of a shovel scraping a rock. He recoils at the mere sight of her on television. Her very image disgusts him, and he cannot fathom why anyone would want her as their leader. It’s not that she is a woman. It’s that she is who she is. It’s the liberal victim groups she panders to, the “poor me” attitude that she represents, her inability to give a straight answer to an honest question, his tax dollars that she wants to give to people who refuse to do anything for themselves.There are many millions of Angry White Men. Four million Angry White Men are members of the National Rifle Association, and all of them will vote against Hillary Clinton, just as the great majority of them voted for George Bush.He hopes that she will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, and he will make sure that she gets beaten like a drum.

Gary Hubbell is a regular columnist with the Aspen Times Weekly.

(thanks to my friend Robert for sending this my way)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."

When I first heard that Ms. Obama said this, I wasn't too upset about it. Yes, it looks pretty ridiculous on the surface, but I realize that sometimes people misspeak, try to say one thing while the words come out sounding completely different. Surely Michelle Obama has been proud of her country before now. Again, the quote itself is ghastly, but I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Until today, when she attempted to clarify her comment.

"What I was clearly talking about was that I'm proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process. For the first time in my lifetime, I'm seeing people rolling up their sleeves in a way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out — and that's the source of pride that I was talking about."

Well, forgive me for being a stickler but that didn't exactly make things better, did it? What she basically says is that the source of her pride is the people engaging in the political process. Is that it? Is there nothing else about America that makes her proud? Well, she didn't say. She finally admitted that she was proud of her country as a whole, but only after being asked specifically.

I have been a bit disappointed in the Obamas lately. First the plagiarism thing. Now this. It's not the actual occurrence that disappoints me as much as the response. Barack brushed off the plagiarism thing as a non-issue as though it is silly to even bring it up. Well, in fact, it is a big issue. Obama is known for his speeches and if he is ripping off from someone else I think that's significant, and so do a lot of other folks. An apology and some remorse would be nice to see. Yet, Obama doesn't seem to think it's a problem. The same can be said about Michelle's comment. They basically brushed it aside as a non-issue when she should have apologized and then mentioned any number of things about America that make her proud. It seems lately that the Obamas are beginning to come across a bit arrogant and elitist. Not good for his image.

Ms Obama mishandled the entire situation and it's going to haunt her husband's campaign. John McCain won't let this one go. Conservatives and Moderates don't appreciate the blame-America-first mentality of the far Left, and her comment falls in line with just that kind of mentality. First Ted Kennedy endorses him, now this. Not good for someone who's trying to court the middle and a few disgruntled Republicans.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Presidents Day

My President's Day post is a day late, my apologies. This holiday honors George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Despite my respect and admiration for our first President, today's post will focus and Lincoln. Many consider Lincoln our nation's greatest President. While I don't agree with that, I will say as I've said before that Lincoln had to endure history's most difficult presidency. I will also say as I've said before that our current President has endured history's second most difficult presidency. And that begins some interesting parallels between Bush and Lincoln.

My problem with Lincoln is that he overstepped his Constitutional authority. He basically forced the citizens of 13 states to be part of America under the sword. I have a problem with that. I am not a confederate nor do I condone secession, but I think secession is legal. I think that anyone has the right to surrender their citizenship in this country without fear of military reprisal. Lincoln disagreed and because of this our nation suffered a great deal, and in many ways still suffers today.

However, despite my disagreement with Lincoln I am still forced to acknowledge that what he did was in the end best for America. Had the Union remain divided, history would have been dramatically different. One shudders to think of tyrants like Hitler and Stalin and how they would have fared while facing a divided America. This country rose to greatness as one nation, north and south, that neither would have achieved without the other. Not only this, but Lincoln DID end slavery in America, albeit his methods may have been questionable, he still ended this abomination nonetheless.

Yes, Lincoln stood in violation of the Constitution. Yes he overstepped his powers. But in the end it was best for America. Which brings me to George Bush. How many out there feel that Bush has over stepped his authority? And if you do, how do you feel about Abraham Lincoln? Hmmm.

Lincoln no doubt endured his share of hate on both sides of the mason-dixon line. He wasn't exactly the most popular of Presidents during his time. Much of Europe disagreed with his pseudo-tyranny against his own people. Northerners were tired of war and wanted it ended quickly. But history vindicated Lincoln.

Today, President Bush wages a war despite the disapproval of Europe, the disagreement of many of his citizens, and rampant claims that he is violating the Constitution. What will history teach us of him?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Here are some truly troubling statistics from USA Today:

The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That's a 24% increase above the inflation rate since 2000. Medical costs are the biggest reason. Last year, for the first time, health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older. The average Social Security benefit per senior in 2007 was $13,184....The federal government spent $952 billion in 2007 on elderly benefits, up from $601 billion in 2000. It's the biggest function of the federal government....Benefits per senior are soaring at a time when the senior population is not. The portion of the U.S. population ages 65 and older has been constant at 12% since 2000. The senior boom, however, starts big time in 2011, when the first baby boomers 79 million people born between 1946 and 1964 turn 65 and qualify for Medicare health insurance....The cost of senior benefits is equal to $10,673 for every non-senior household.

The biggest function of the federal government? Costs non-senior households over 10K a year? This should make anyone pause for a moment. My last post dealt with universal healthcare and the astronomical cost that would be impossible for the best of economists to forecast. This story just supports my claim. We provide care for our elderly population and that, in part, is why it is the biggest function of the federal government. 900+ billion a year for senior benefits. Extend this to the general population and just try to imagine the cost. I estimated 50% income tax, and that's looking like a gross underestimate. 900 billion a year and that doesn't even include the baby boomers. Folks, we may not get a shot at universal healthcare because it looks like Medicare alone threatens our budget. Not that Congress ever cared about a budget.

Meanwhile, our beloved Washington politicians busy themselves with Roger Clemens and his potential steroid use, and the New England Patriots and whether or not they videotaped the Rams walk-through practice before the Super Bowl. These are the pressing issues that Congress has put before Social Security and the looming crisis that it poses.

At some point, if we continue down this path of ever-increasing entitlements, the well will run dry. Eventually we'll reach a saturation point. You can only tax the people so much. What happens then? We spend 27K a year for every senior citizen in this country, and soon there will be 79 million more seniors signing up for their share. Do the math. And remember, we still haven't fixed social security. Do we STILL think we can afford universal health care for all? Who cares, as long as we know for sure if Roger Clemens took steroids?

Every day the idea seems more and more preposterous.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The problem with Hillarycare

Yesterday I was watching Hillary Clinton give a speech in Maine and the focus was her health care plan. Hillary wants universal health care for all Americans and she wants to pay for it with tax dollars. Under Hillary care, all Americans would have health insurance whether they wanted it or not. Those who opted not to have private insurance would be covered by the government. She thinks this can be done by simply "rolling back" the Bush tax cuts, and if anyone actually believes that they need a heavy dose of reality. The cost of such a system would be astronomical. Look at Australia, which has a similar system, and their citizens pay 50% income tax. So either Hillary is lying or is totally clueless about the facts.

She also said her plan would reduce health care costs by cutting back on ER visits. Again, this is way off the mark. I speak from experience on this issue because I have worked in a government funded socialized medicine system. I can tell you, implementing such a system nationwide would be a disaster for US healthcare. Here's why:

Today, if you get a few cold symptoms like runny nose or sore throat, what do you do? If you're like me you go to the drugstore, pick up the over-the-counter cold medicine of choice and wait it out. Most colds go away in a week or two, and a doctor's visit can be costly. Frankly, it's not worth spending the money to see a doctor about my cold.

The same is said about muscle aches and common pains. We all get the occasional headache from a bad day at work. We all get the occasional achy knee or wrist. It's part of being human. We buy some tylenol and let it get better. Again, no doctor's visit is necessary.

But what if that doctor's visit was free? What if the government picked up the bill? Well, naturally, the number of visits to primary care physicians would increase substantially. Take away the disincentive of paying a bill, and people are much more likely to go see the doctor. This is not opinion, this is fact. Where I worked we did a simple number crunch and found that our patient population averaged just over 6 doctor's visits A YEAR. SIX! And this was a relatively young, healthy, and responsible population. Compare this to the general population and you'll see an astounding difference (I think this number is more like one or two a year). Now, bring in the 47 million uninsured into this system, along with those currently insured but opt to have government coverage instead and what do you think would happen? Naturally, you can imagine the cost involved and the strain on our treasury. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts would cover this for a few days, but that's about it.

In addition, access to primary care would vanish. Even today, you will probably find it difficult to get an appointment with your family doctor within the next few days. But then flood the system with all of these unnecessary government-funded visits, and be ready to wait one or two MONTHS for an appointment. As for those who are sick and need to be seen right now, well they will go to the ER (since there are no appointments available) and ER visits go up, along with costs. This is not alarmism, it's common sense. Folks, when has the government EVER made something more efficient and cost-effective? I can't think of anything. Bureaucracy is expensive. There are a lot of pockets to pad and palms to grease. If you think the pharmaceutical and private insurance industry is corrupt, then look again. They look like seminary students compared to Washington bureaucrats. Yet, Hillary feels the bureaucrats can be trusted more than the private sector.

Just look at Medicare. This is the government's original attempt to dabble in the health care business and it has been a miserable failure. Medicare has become a tremendous financial burden for taxpayers and it gets worse every year, and will continue to get worse as the Boomers ease into that age group. As costs go up, so do restrictions. Bureaucrats implement payment restrictions constantly. How many on Medicare have had trouble getting Medicare to cover a test or a procedure? It's a daily thing. This test is only covered under this circumstance, etc. It's a hassle, and a costly one at that. In addition, payments to physicians get cut. This comes up almost every year. It seems to be the last thing the bureaucrats have left to cut. Do this enough and soon it will be hard to find a doctor willing to accept Medicare. Even today, many physicians LOSE MONEY when they see Medicare patients. And still, the tax burden remains heavy. We've had Medicare for 4+ decades and haven't been able to fix it. We are having trouble providing healthcare to our senior citizens because of bureaucracy, and yet we think we can extend this to every American citizen? The lack of logic and reason is astounding.

So when we have this wonderful universal coverage, and the politicans realize it costs way too much, what will happen? Well, look at Medicare. Restrictions get imposed. Limits on care are implemented. Doctor's payments get cut. And soon, you won't be able to find a doctor to accept this wonderful coverage, all while paying 50+% income tax. Sounds great doesn't it? And when that happens what will the solution be? Well, bureaucrats will do what they have always done, implement more bureaucracy. Universal care would mean full government control, which would mean putting physicians on the payroll as government employees with fixed salaries, no more pay-per-visit. When that happens, access becomes nonexistant. Why would a doctor risk making a mistake seeing thirty patients a day when ten a day is safer and earns him the same paycheck? Ever think you'd see long lines waiting to get in to a doctor? That would likely be a reality.

Call me alarmist, but this is simple truth. When the government subsidizes something it becomes more expensive and less accessible. It's a fact. Our current system isn't perfect, but it's still the best in the world. When people in universal healthcare countries get sick, they want to come to America to be treated. That should tell us something. Folks, once we do this there is no going back. We can't just abolish such a massive government program and have a do-over. Look what happened to Bush when he tried to bring just a little privatization to Medicare. He was slaughtered over it. Once we hang that albatross on our necks, there's no taking it off. Think about it long and hard when you cast your vote this November. We can fix our health care system without government subsidies. Doing otherwise would be a monumental blunder that we will never be able to repair.

I'm leaving this up for a while because I want as many eyes to read this as possible. Spread it around. I am a physician with experience in socialized medicine. It's not the answer.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Back in the saddle

My son is doing much better and I want to say how much my family and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers from all of you. It really meant a lot to us.

During my hiatus much has happened, so let's get started. John Edwards quit the campaign. I've left no doubts about my feelings toward him. America is a better country when he is NOT seeking political office. Did anyone ever buy that poverty thing? Come on, John. We've seen your house. Not exactly the residence of someone who cares deeply for the poor.

That leaves Hillary and Obama. No big surprise. I am enjoying watching Hillary squirm. The contempt and fury in her eyes is quite remarkable. This was her year, her election, her nomination. How dare this junior senator from Illinois come out and ruin it for her. It's entertaining to say the least.

Obama still has a shot, and I'm scratching my head a bit. I've heard him speak and he is good at it. He has literally given me goosebumps with his inspirational talk. But his speeches are very empty on substance. He doesn't offer ideas or solutions, he just describes the American utopia with incredible charisma and points out our most pressing problems. But what about solutions? I would venture a guess that most Obama supporters have no idea what his plan is for saving social security. I know because I read his book. But something tells me his followers don't know. They just like what he has to say, which is probably why he is so popular. You don't start angering people until you start offering real solutions and taking tough positions on tough issues. We'll see.

Ted Kennedy endorsed him and I think that hurts more than anything. Obama already has the radical Left locked. He's trying to court the moderates and a few disgruntled republicans. You can't do that with Ted Kennedy endorsing you. SOmething tells me Obama cringed when Teddy put on his little media hoopla event announcing his endorsement. But still, Obama would probably be more difficult to beat in the general election than Hillary simply because she is so easy to hate and so easy to vote against. Therefore, I'm hoping Hillary pulls out the nomination.

McCain has locked up the GOP nomination and this is quite a shocker. Last summer I said McCain's campaign was dead and his support for Bush's amnesty plan was what killed it. After that, I didn't think he had a chance at the nomination. But something happened since then. For one, Fred Thompson waffled on getting in and then spun his wheels once he did enter the race. He had a strong message but it was too little too late. The same is true for Tancredo and Duncan Hunter. These three were the only true conservatives in the race and none of them mounted any sort of formidable campaign. This left conservatives basically without a candidate, and no one to get behind. The base was fractured, looking for a home and completely unable to unite behind a single candidate. Second, Rudy Guiliani fumbled the nomination. Let's face it, this was Rudy's nomination to lose, and he lost it. And suddenly the GOP lost the candidate who presented the biggest challenge to Hillary.

So I think panic set in. Every Republican voter with any sense knows that Huckabee and Romney stood no chance in the general election. We're talking serious landslide loss here. So I think GOP voters went for the candidate who stood the best chance at beating the Dems, and thus John McCain gets the nomination. This is politics' version of the miracle on ice. An incredible underdog story. Along the way, many Repubs have compromised their own conservative principles by supporting McCain, but I guess to them it's better to have a Republican with some liberal tendencies than a Democrat who's one step away from being a full-blown Soviet.

McCain has some fences to mend, none bigger than the fence he needs to build along the southern border. No doubt his choice for running mate will be huge. Will he go for someone who appeals to moderates in hopes of solidifying his chance against Hillary? Someone like Arlen Specter or maybe even Joe Leiberman? Or does he go for someone who appeals to conservatives in an attempt to unite the base? ie Duncan Hunter or Newt Gingrich? I think that depends on his opponent. If Hillary wins, he won't need to unite the base because her mere presence on the ballot will be more than enough motivation to get people out to vote. But if Obama wins, then McCain will have a tough choice. My pick for VP would be Duncan Hunter, hands down. His platform is amazing and his big issue is immigration, McCain's downfall. Plus, Hunter may even bring California into play. We'll see.

As for me, my candidate is out of the race, so I'm left wondering who to vote for. Make no mistake, even though I like Obama as a person I still disagree with him on EVERY issue. He is a socialist to the core and would be a disaster for America. And Hillary? Well, let's just say that there is no candidate on this planet who is so bad that it would compel me to vote for Hillary. I dare say if Lucifer ran against her, I still wouldn't punch the chad beside her name (that's satire for those who don't know). That's how much I dislike this woman.

And yet, it's going to be hard to vote for McCain. He is a fine and decent man, and a genuine hero who would certainly be strong on defense, but conservative? I don't know. Maybe it's not too late for Gingrich to get in as an independent. Otherwise, it may be a third party vote for me.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A hero and a miracle

Rarely will I air personal matters on this site, but I feel I must make an exception because the past week and a half have been quite remarkable for me and my family. I never really felt that I had witnessed a true miracle until now. And so I feel I owe it to others to share what we experienced.

Last Monday I awoke and found my son running a fever of 103.7. He'd been around other kids with runny noses and typical cold symptoms, and children are notorious for running fever with the simplest of infections so I though nothing of it. We basically treated him with Motrin and Tylenol to control the fever and he seemed to do okay with it. But 48 hours later he spiked a temperature of 104. Kids shouldn't run fever that high for more than a few days, so we decided to take him in. The ER doc suspected a urinary infection and gave him an antibiotic and told us to follow up with his pediatrician that same day. My wife called me about 30 minutes before his appointment and told me that his fever was now 104.9, and that's when I knew something was terribly wrong. A few hours later I found myself in the ER holding my son, who had become incredibly pale, lethargic and barely responsive. My boy was like a rag doll. He was very sick and I knew that he was on the verge of coding at any moment. I remember holding him in my arms, waiting for the ER staff to set up IVs and medications. I remembered how he used to smile and laugh. How he liked to wrestle with stuffed animals. Now there he was, his eyes nearly rolled back in his head. My boy had drifted off somewhere and I wasn't sure if he was going to come back. So I did the only thing I knew to do...I prayed. I couldn't bare the thought of losing my boy and I begged God not to allow it to happen. I whispered in my son's ear, telling him that he was supposed to bury me, not vice versa. When the ER doc told me that the lumbar puncture confirmed the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, my fears grew deeper. Even today, 20-30% of children suffering from this will die, and more than 50% emerge with significant neurologic impairment. This is a catastrophic disease. The odds were stacked against my boy.

And as I was waiting for them to give IV medicines, my son woke up. I've never seen anything like it in all my years of medicine. One moment my son was lethargic and floppy, the very next he was alert, looking around the room. He focused on me and despite his weakened body was able to force the subtlest of smiles as if to say "I'm back, daddy". It was the most beautiful smile I have ever seen. The ER nurse beside me could only shake his head. What's even more amazing is that this occured before any treatment had been given. All that had been done to this point is the lumbar puncture. Some research has shown that LP leads to clinical improvement, but this has only been shown in certain cases of viral meningitis, not bacterial. Some will say that his fever finally came down, but he hadn't been given anything for fever in over four hours and, in fact, was due to be given something when this happened. His last and only dose of antibiotics was over 8 hours before. There simply isn't a medical or scientific explanation for the sudden and dramatic change in my son's condition.

We were subsequently transferred to the nearest urban children's hospital where he continued to slowly improve. Then one night I noticed that he was favoring his right hip. He was holding it close to his body and refused to move it, and would cry if I so much as touched it. I knew what this meant. A common complication of meningitis is infection elsewhere, including the joints. This is called septic arthritis and can devastate a joint. He was taken to surgery the following morning for surgical aspiration of the joint. Prior research data shows that my son likely had a septic joint, the only question was how bad was the damage going to be. Once again, the odds were stacked against him. While sitting in the surgery waiting area I had visions of one day explaining to my son why his brother is able to run and play football while he couldn't. I had visions of him struggling with chronic pain and a limp. Then the surgeon came in and said the sample was essentially normal. There was no evidence of septic arthritis and that his pain was likely a transient inflammatory process that would resolve spontaneously. Again, we were overwhelmed with relief. But that would only be a temporary feeling.

While in post-op recovery, I noticed his foot was twitching. My stomach flipped a bit, but I thought perhaps this was a muscle spasm from the anesthesia wearing off. But within minutes, his entire leg and then the entire left side of his body was doing the same. My son was having a seizure, another common complication from meningitis. I stood by and watched as the treatment team tried this medicine, then that, without results. Soon the medication had him snowed under, and yet the seizure continued. Things became very serious. I watched as the medication failed and I knew that they were running out of options. Soon it had been an hour, an eternity when it comes to seizures, and they were finally able to abort the process and end the seizure. Now we were left with another question...what else was going on? Again, the data was infavorable. Research shows that seizures that occur after 72 hours of treatment, and are prolonged and difficult to control usually imply a catastrophic vascular incident like a stroke, a clot or bleeding in the brain. The seizure was over, and my son was in a deep drug-induced sleep, leaving us wondering how different he would be when he woke. Was our son ever going to be the same?

They did a CT and an EEG and discovered normal findings. There was no evidence of any major cerebral damage and no evidence of seizure activity. Once again, our boy had beaten the odds. Since then, he has gradually returned to his old self, rowdy and flirty. He has the nurses gah-gah over him and as I type this he snores peacefully after a few hours of playing with his teddy bear and his balloons. He'll be in the hospital for about another week as they make sure no further problems develop. He is still at risk for long-term complications like deafness, mental disability and behavioral problems. He is hardly out of the woods, but the daylight is certainly visible. Looking back, I realize that the past week has brought some of the worst and some of the best moments of my life. I am blessed in more ways than I can imagine and I can't stop thanking God for those blessings. In this hospital, I am surrounded by parents who are experiencing similar moments, some worse and some better. My heart and my prayers go out to all of them. I have never been in a place of such sadness and despair.

I am a man of science, which means that I am awed by the things that science can't explain. Despite all we know, there is still so much that we can't decipher. I truly believe that my family experienced one or more of those moments this week. Some will call it karma. Some will call it luck. Some will call it modern medicine. Not me. I call it a true miracle from God. There were dozens and dozens of people praying for our boy, some we hadn't spoken to in years. I thank you all for your prayers. I believe they were answered. They were certainly felt by us.

Over the next few weeks we will attempt to slowly return to normality. But the impact has been profound. I saw God working in our lives these few days and I felt His comfort. I've achieved a new level of respect and empathy for parents who must cope with sick children. And I've discovered a new hero in my life.

And to think, just a week before I was stressed and worried about selling our house and preparing for our upcoming move to Texas. How ridiculously trivial! How shameful. The perspective I now have is a wonderful feeling, knowing that no matter what happens in our lives as long as I can hug my wife and kids, and see those wonderful smiles, there is nothing else that matters. I can't hug and kiss my kids enough. God has blessed me beyond description and that's what this crazy world is all about.