Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Miss Manners" Gave Poor Advice When She Interjected Political Opinion

This morning, I am reading the advice columns in the local paper, as I usually do, and I came across the following question addresses to "Miss Manners" Judith Martin:

Dear Miss Manners: I am a father of three, with No. 4 on the way. This time, my wife and I decided to find out the sex of the baby before the birth (some-thing we did not do with the others). I am proud to say that we are expecting a girl, and I would like to share the news with my buddies with the traditional cigar. Do I wait until the birth to pass them out? Or is it OK to pass them out now when I share our good fortune?

Miss Manners response was less than suitable, filled with her political opinion and with a touch of bitterness:

Gentle Reader: You have three children, and you haven't learned patience? Yet there are other things Miss Manners hopes you never learn, such as that not all pregnancies go smoothly, and not everyone is as charmed by embryos as by babies. (Some people even find cigars offense, but that's another matter.) Your daughter is not ready yet for her debut. Please give her a chance to get ready to face the world, and, for heaven sakes, to put something on.
Copyright Judith Martin Distributed by Universal Uclick

As this father-to-be and his wife have been able to determine the gender of the fetus, that puts them at between 15-20 weeks at the earliest, as the sexual organs distinguishing male or female are clearly visible at 12 weeks post-ovulation/gestational age (14 weeks since Last Menstrual Period) (Source: Visible Embryo), and most patients don't seek to find out the gender of the baby by ultrasound until around 18-20 weeks (Source: His wife's pregnancy was more than just an embryo at that point and well past the point of the highest risk for miscarriage (About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks. Source:
Also, even if Miss Manners didn't feel the pregnancy amounted to much, it obviously did for this father-to-be and surely it was poor etiquette for her to use her advice column on manners as to a pulpit to offer unsolicited personal political convictions on the value of an embryo/fetus, instead of the answer sought by this father-to-be. My advice to Miss Manners: better educate yourself in biology and to leave your personal political convictions out of your advice columns.
My advice for the father-to-be? Celebrate with your buddies and bring out the cigars (or a healthier, less stinky option is the candy/gum cigars made for such an occasion), congratulations on expecting and I wish your wife and child the best health.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taboo...Talking About Living with Tourettes, Trichotillomania, and Autism

A few months ago, I watched an interesting episode of the television show "Taboo." Featured in that episode  were individuals with tourettes, trichotillomania, and autism. I found the whole episode fascinating and educational (as in bringing awareness), however when they got to interviewing two individuals with autism and talking about autism and how individuals with autism (and other disabilities) were institutionalized when they were children (one interviewee was raised in an institution, the other by a family member), it broke my heart recalling some of the horror stories I've heard about how institutions were run back in the 1950's and 1960's, and having had seen the damaging effects of institutional abuse in a mentally disabled elderly gentleman I cared for a couple years ago. Fortunately, a demand for reform came back in the 1970's (although too late for some), resulting in movement towards integrating individuals into smaller group homes and expanding services in the community (which enables these individuals to stay in their home communities near friends and family), as well as an improvements in care and the development of new therapies, including assisted communication, music therapy, and art therapy, which enables individuals with disabilities to develop their abilities and strengths and live their life to the fullest. Also, the individuals in the show talked about stigma, the stigma surrounding having their condition and others reactions to their atypical behaviors and mannerisms. The show ended with a great message: "I have found a great purpose in my life. And that is to change people's view of disability to that of ability." and "Can you, as a supposedly non-disabled person, see me for who I truly am, not seeing the autism, but me, the real Tracy!" - Larry and Tracy, two gentlemen with autism.
to which the show's narrorator ended with this message, "Isn't it treating people as outcasts...taboo?"

This episode highlights the importance of educating children, teens, and adults in the fight to end bullying and erase the ignorance and stigma surrounding developmental disabilities and mental illness.