Lyme disease, cannabis news, and county corruption: My most popular 2017 posts

People were equally interested in 2017 about why I was thrown in the Rock Island County Jail on no charges at all for two days as they were in the joy I experienced when I obtained my medical weed card.

I love it.

A review of my website analytics for the year ending 1 p.m. today (and of course, we still have the rest of the day today, and tomorrow, for those of you wanting to push the happy weed story ahead of the sad jail story) reveals the Top10 list.

In true David Letterman style, here’s the top 10, from the home office in Davenport, Iowa (nobody really has heard of Rock Island…yet):

Aging gay people struggle to find support and community. An odd coincidence: I found a blog I wrote two years ago on this very topic this morning, and published it to my site. It originally was written for Caregiver Relief. So, I am happy to see I have readers who are interested in this.

Here’s even more proof the plant is a way out of addiction. I wrote this a bit before the idea of treating addiction with cannabis started becoming REALLY hip. Check it out.

Medicine cabinet shakeup: Bye-bye benzodiazepines, hello Mother Nature. Footnote: I feel a hundred times better than I did even when I wrote that column. I also have lost a lot of weight, but in a healthy way.

Why Shelby County is the conscience of the Illinois medical cannabis industry. I have to thank Carrie at Nature’s Treatment of Illinois in Milan for tipping me off to this one. One of the cultivators in Illinois actually is a non-profit, employs special needs clients in its greenhouses, and uses the cannabis proceeds to fund community mental health services. This one is a must read, IMHO.

It’s the mother of all triggers, but it’s my courthouse, too: Why I’m here today. Three words: Tear. It. Down.

Village Inn corporate HQ, famed pot hotel next door neighbors. Would you like some pie with your cannabis?

I legally bought weed today at this dispensary in Milan, Ill. Thank you Lord.

What happened in jail while I was kept from my sick dad, on no charges at all? Finally, my tell all. Footnote: This blog actually was written last year, in September. It just keeps a clickin’. Suffice it to say it has WAY more page views overall than the number shown in the photo with this blog. That’s only for this year.

Chronic Lyme hornet’s nest still buzzing at physicians’ conference in San Diego. I never would have guessed this blog would rocket like it did, and yet I should not be surprised.

I interviewed famed Dr. Richard Horowitz and was sort of on the “chronic Lyme disease” beat at Healthline for a while. There remains a huge rift between the medical establishment and those who suffer from chronic Lyme regarding treatment.

Suffice it to say the Lyme community did not like much of my reporting. One of them sent an email explaining why my dad probably did not have FTD, but chronic Lyme.

Yes. Seriously.

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For a while, chronic Lyme was not even recognized as a legitimate condition. Great progress has been made on behalf of Lyme sufferers.

And the number one, most viewed story on DavidHeitz.com in 2017…far and AWAY….

BREAKING: Study says cannabis effective at treating nerve pain

I would say my readers have EXCELLENT taste in what they choose to read. I’m serious. I feel completely affirmed by these choices of a top 10, all chosen by YOU!

Thanks everybody, and happy, happy New Year!

Please check out my Facebook page, updated regularly

I can get a bit political on Twitter. Follow with caution. I am not your typical gay.

Please follow me on social media to see all my home improvement blog posts, as well as my PTSD/medical cannabis reporting, sobriety reporting, celebrity interviews, and  “what works for me” type of advice.

Always want to be a writer?

You can start a blog, too!

 You can start a blog for free with all sorts of website deals. Or, you could get a WordPress site like myself. WordPress has many affordable plans.

Then, just write about what you know. You may be a professional writer and not even know it. Go blog about something you’re passionate about!

 

LGBT seniors disrespected in long-term care, forgotten by youth-centric gay peers

By David Heitz for CaregiverRelief

I originally wrote this in October 2015 for the website CaregiverRelief. Reprinted here with permission.

During World War II, Alexandre served his country as a medic. He respectfully and dutifully helped save the lives of those fighting on the front lines to keep our country free.

But when Alexandre became old and frail, finding himself in his own battle with Parkinson’s disease and struggling just to get through each day, respect did not come easy.

Like so many caregivers, Alexandre’s partner, Lawrence, gave all he had caring for the love of his life. He tended to him at home as long as he could, but after an accident Alexandre landed in the hospital and then a nursing home.

Check out my report: LGBT Caregivers: The isolated among the isolated, and what Baltimore is doing to help

“From the hospital, he was sent to a nursing facility, and I really didn’t know what was going on,” recalled Lawrence, explaining during an interview with CaregiverRelief that definitive moment that so many of us who have cared for people with dementia face.

Sometimes with only two days’ notice, the hospital tells you they are discharging your loved one and you need to find a nursing home. It comes as a shock to anyone who has gone through it. Medicare pays for the first 100 days of care, and then you’re on your own.

Nobody wants to go to a nursing home, and when it happens, dedicated caregivers like Lawrence often spend every waking moment at their loved one’s side. Especially at first.

“It was a beautiful place,” Lawrence recalled of the first nursing home Alexandre entered. “So, I said, ‘Oh this is really nice.’ But little did I know…it was really a disaster.”

In a nutshell, Lawrence never felt welcome when he was visiting his same-sex partner. Whispers. Stares.

Read more: Check out my report on why aging LGBT people need to start preparing for their trip over the rainbow

Several members of the staff, nurse’s aides in particular, Lawrence said, made it clear he was not welcome there. “Mostly it was just attitude,” he explained. “If you feel as if you’re not wanted someplace you’re in a state of stress. You’re not allowed to be who you are.”

Whispers, stares, rudeness, utter disrespect

Those who read my pieces regularly know why this story strikes a chord with me. Lawrence and Alexandre are featured in a documentary called “Generation Silent.” It’s all about gay and lesbian seniors and the struggles the face when they find themselves needed long-term care.

You can learn all about the documentary and watch the trailer by clicking here. Warning: It will BREAK. YOUR. HEART.

Although my dad was not gay, I sure am. And like Lawrence, I spent many hours of every day being disrespected by self-entitled, malcontented elder care workers whose qualifications better suited them for Burger King than caring for my father.

From day one, Diane Carbo, purveyor of Caregiver Relief, suggested I likely was experiencing the sort of homophobia that runs rampant in many of these places. Cultural, religious, and political forces converge in ways that can be frightening for gay people.

So, imagine how frightening it is when you can’t get along with them and they are caring for your beloved parent.

Finally, the cunning executive director of the memory care community had me trespassed. You can read about that here.

My father and I were apart for 108 days before we were reunited with help from the state of Illinois. My dad said, “There’s my friend” when he saw me.

He was dead 26 days later.

Look for facilities with gay employees in management positions

Eventually, Lawrence found a better place for Alexandre, who died two years later. Lawrence found the new place through word of mouth, from a lesbian who worked there. The facility had a gay executive director and many gay employees, so Lawrence was able to lovingly rub lotion onto the hands of his dying companion and not have to worry about stares or whispers.

Vietnam vet KrysAnne: Unthinkable suffering

Gen Silent subject Krys Anne Hembrough

As I’ve reported many times before, gay and lesbian people often find themselves alone in their golden years. According to SAGE, LGBT seniors are twice as likely to live alone, twice as likely to be single, and three to four times less likely to have children when compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

And here’s the other problem: LGBT culture is one that celebrates youth (the men in particular). As people get older, they tend to stray from “the crowd” that is that younger set you always see behaving outrageously at gay pride celebrations on television.

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I aged out of the gay community a long time ago. Getting sober and serving as your parent’s caregiver are factors that drive isolation in any population, but I suspect even more so if you’re gay, too. Being gay often is all about the party and nothing else for so many.

The peace of living in isolation after the wild life I have lived is wonderful. But someday, I’ll be old and sick. Who will help me?

Transgender Vietnam vet speaks kind words with labored breath

Consider the plight of KrysAnne, a sweet transgender woman who dutifully served her country in Vietnam. KrysAnne developed lung cancer. And even then, her family, who disowned her after she transitioned, would send her nasty, vulgar messages and even return her letters.

Gen Silent subject Krys Anne Hembrough

KrysAnne found herself dying of lung cancer alone in her home. I can tell you, as someone who has reported on lung cancer and COPD, and also had a dear friend die of lung cancer, it’s a horrible death.

Read more: My interview with Loni Anderson on caring for her parents with COPD

When you see sweet KrysAnne, who remains remarkably positive despite the abuse she absorbed for years, huff and puff just to get through each day, alone, it will break your heart.

Of course, KrysAnne wanted to die in her lovely home, very fearful of being cared for by unsuspecting nursing home workers who would discover her penis. And she very bluntly phrases it that way herself.

Listen up, you twirling twinks!

But even if KrysAnne were to sell her bumblebee yellow Mercedes Benz, the proceeds only would pay for around-the-clock in-home care for one month.

Read more: My Los Angeles Times report on why gay people need to stop smoking

You will have to watch the film to find out what happens with KrysAnne, as well as Sheri and Lois, a couple of old lesbians who exemplify all that can be right about a couple of old lesbians. In the film, they serve as the historians who explain the sacrifices today’s gay seniors made to create this quasi-accepting American society that gay people (openly and otherwise) live in today.

Just think, today’s gay and lesbian seniors were in their 20s during McCarthyism. Their parents legally were able to have them committed to insane asylums for being gay if they wanted to. It’s not something the twinks who twirl around dance floors today have any concept of, nor do some of them even seem interested in learning about that history.

I know. I used to be one. You can read all about my “Circuit Boy” days by clicking here.

Guys, the next thing you know…you’re 50! SCREECH! SCREECH! SCREECH! SCREECH!

The good news is, organizations like SAGE are working hard to open the eyes of people who work in and manage long-term care facilities and home care agencies. In one film, one official even describes how home care workers frequently will get out a Bible and tell gay seniors that through prayer they can find salvation for their sins (chiefly being the “sin” of living life as a gay person).

You will see in the film the resistance organizations like SAGE face when trying to educate people who work in long-term care. And it’s alarming.

Learn how to support SAGE or access its services by clicking here.

Please check out my Facebook page, updated regularly

I can get a bit political on Twitter. Follow with caution. I am not your typical gay.

Please follow me on social media to see all my home improvement blog posts, as well as my PTSD/medical cannabis reporting, sobriety reporting, celebrity interviews, and  “what works for me” type of advice.

Always want to be a writer?

You can start a blog, too!

 You can start a blog for free with all sorts of website deals. Or, you could get a WordPress site like myself. WordPress has many affordable plans.

Then, just write about what you know. You may be a professional writer and not even know it. Go blog about something you’re passionate about!

Treating opioid addicts with #morphine? It’s an idea floated in Annals this week

Image courtesy Pixabay

It is true that people addicted to opioids often need to be detoxed under medical supervision and with the help of opioid-assisted replacement therapy.

In other words, they are being treated by the healthcare establishment for their opioid addiction with opioids in a third-party payor healthcare setting that is CMS-certified.

The clinicians in these rehabilitation centers and hospitals are granted total legitimacy by our federal government to determine the best course of treatment for the addicted.

The truth is, many addicts scoff at detox in inpatient facilities with opioid replacement treatment. Many claim they found it easier to quit on their own, at least when they finally made a real commitment to do so.

There is no “one way” to sobriety, but if, for example, Rock Island County has pre-selected “volunteers” and a “budget” for their roundup operation, those taken to treatment will only have one option.

Check out the Quad-City Times report on the plan by the sheriff of my town, Gerry Bustos, to combat opioid addiction.

It’s better than jail, most everyone will say.

Heroin cut 91 lives short today; My Sobriety Resources report

Well, perhaps. But these addicts will be in the medical system. It has to be trusted for the wellbeing of these vulnerable people.

Why do I bring all of this up now? Well, for a few concerns I have about the Safe Passage Program, namely the pre-selected (and paid?) roundup crew. I experienced what I would describe as a shocking pre-selected crew in the jail.

I do understand that treatment choices may be limited in Rock Island County, and that Robert Young Center/Riverside may be a natural choice. Still, the nepotism and genetic links between all of these agencies need not be further discussed.

Despite HIPAA, a general sense of transparency about how these addicts are being treated should be paramount. Success rates should be made public since taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the roundup crew (can someone go check that out?). 

PTSD and addiction: Why it’s such a dangerous mix…my Sobriety Resources explainer

Finally, check out this research that broke Christmas night: A new paper lends legitimacy to treating opioid addiction with…morphine.

 It’s called Slow-release oral Morphine, or SROM. Already, multiple other “opioid replacement therapies” (treating opioid addiction with different #Pharma formulations of opioids) is commonplace.

It helps a lot of people.

But some claim the therapy prolongs the nightmare. It’s a controversial topic in the rehab community and should not be accepted as gospel, nor should 12-step programs.

By any means.

In a news release, Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians, explains:

“With more Americans dying from accidental opioid-related overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents and homicides combined, it is clear that evidence-based solutions are urgently needed.”

It’s very hard to disagree with that. In the commentary by British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, the authors explain, “Buprenorphine and methadone may not be effective for all patients, with some studies indicating that fewer than 50 (percent) of persons who begin (opioid assisted treatment) with these medications are still receiving treatment at six months.”

My Sobriety Resources exclusive: Medicare, Medicaid too loose about handing out opioids to vulnerable populations, research proves

Um…hopefully they are sober now? How can we define failure as being off the opioid therapy?

These vulnerable populations are dying because they became addicted to painkillers born out of an innocuous “Smiley Face Pain Scale”: Check out my explainer for Talbott Campus, Atlanta

 Despite the proven benefits of opioid agonist therapy with buprenorphine or methadone, several health system and regulatory barriers to this treatment persist throughout North America,” the release continues. “In addition, buprenorphine and methadone may not be effective for all patients. These barriers have resulted in a large unmet treatment need, leaving an estimated gap of up to one million persons with untreated opioid use disorder, who continue to be at risk for overdose death and other negative health and social outcomes.”

In other words, everything deemed safe needs to be tried to save someone from opioid addiction. The commentators made a claim that using oral morphine as a (weaning?) treatment tool works just as well as methadone and buprenorphine and is just as safe.

But in a country swirling with distrust around the fetid healthcare system – indeed, 60 Minutes sounded a deafening foghorn waking up America about Congress, Pharma, cozy comforts and thousands of dead Americans.

Learn more about the amazing 60 Minutes bombshell report that America already has forgotten about

Can we trust that our vulnerable addicts are being given a true shot at sobriety?

I sure hope so.

Until next time.

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Please follow me on social media to see all my home improvement blog posts, as well as my PTSD/medical cannabis reporting, sobriety reporting, celebrity interviews, and  “what works for me” type of advice.

Always want to be a writer?

You can start a blog, too!

 You can start a blog for free with all sorts of website deals. Or, you could get a WordPress site like myself. WordPress has many affordable plans.

Then, just write about what you know. You may be a professional writer and not even know it. Go blog about something you’re passionate about!

The real reason why people with HIV are not being vaccinated for Hepatitis B

A simple lifesaving measure for people with HIV largely is being missed, and in places where you might not expect: Private-pay provider offices.

How could they be missing out on a simple, safe and effective way to improve the health of their patient? They don’t receive Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funding.

So, they just don’t know, according to a study published Christmas night in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Check out the study for yourself by clicking here. It explains that more than a third of people with HIV in the U.S. have not been vaccinated against Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver. It can be serious and even chronic, particularly among people with HIV, who already are at greater risk of infection

The good news is that there is a vaccination for Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is transmitted sexually (semen), as well as by sharing needles (blood).

Read more: Check out my paid reportage portfolio on matters of public health

Gay men are among those at greatest risk. Like HIV, hepatitis causes inflammation in the body. The two diseases, HIV and Hepatitis B, create an entourage effect that can wreak havoc inside the body.

When all of this happens, viral loads undoubtedly spike, particularly among those with HIV who are untested and untreated. That results in increased HIV transmission rates.

The study looked at more than 18,000 people with HIV participating in the Medical Monitoring Project between 2009 and 2012. More than a third of these people being treated for HIV had not received the Hepatitis B vaccination.

“Although vaccination prevalence was low across all facility types, it was substantially higher among patients at RWHAP-funded facilities, which is consistent with other indicators that patients who receive care at such facilities have better clinical outcomes than those at facilities without RWHAP funding,” the researchers concluded.

“Vaccination prevalence was marginally higher among patients with social determinants of poor health, at least partially because vulnerable patients disproportionately receive HIV care at RWHAP-funded facilities,” they concluded.

People with HIV are reeling over all but certain healthcare cuts that could impact their treatment.

People who don’t have HIV need to be reeling, too.

Not giving people with diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C or any communicable infection the treatment they need is a public health disaster for all of us.

Read more: Check out my paid reportage portfolio on issues related to addiction and recovery

Write the researchers in their paper, “Several factors might contribute to failure of clinicians to vaccinate HIV patients for hepatitis B, including deferral of vaccination because of reports of reduced immunogenicity among such patients, inconsistency of recommendations for timing and dosage of vaccination within and across guidelines, deficiency of robust systems within health care facilities to support vaccination, and lack of access to affordable vaccines for some HIV patients.”

In a report I penned in 2015 for HIV Equal, I explained how Hepatitis B infections had dipped among gay men, even HIV-positive gay men in treatment with undetectable virus levels. But, the good news came with a catch:

Even in the modern era of HIV medication, Hepatitis B infection rates did not dip among people with HIV who did not reach undetectable levels. Plenty of research has shown that the best way to achieve undetectable levels is to get tested regularly and into treatment as soon as possible.

In their research, the authors stress that a vaccination against Hepatitis B has been around and recommended for men who have sex with men since 1982, yet few get it. The vaccine is 95 percent effective.

While two to three doses of the vaccine are recommended to reach 95 percent efficacy, the researchers said in their study just one dose reduced the risk of HBV infection by up to 70 percent.

It is important to remember there also is a vaccine for Hepatitis A, which has higher prevalence among gay and bisexual men. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests men who have sex with men receive both vaccinations.

Learn more about Hepatitis A, which is rather rare unless you live in a developing nation, by clicking here.

Communities should (and many do) offer free Hepatitis B vaccinations and have effective messaging campaigns in the place to reach populations most at risk.

An investment in public health is taxpayer money well spent. If it’s not allocated for vaccinations in matters related to HIV, Hepatitis C, and other dangerous communicable diseases, there are only two outcomes:

People die; and/or

Pharma profits skyrocket when people become infected and do seek treatment, which in the end comes with a much heavier cost to taxpayers than a simple vaccination.

Until next time.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Research explains why hypertension (high BP) treatment is failing so many

Image courtesy Pixabay

It’s a killer public health problem, but with effective treatment when properly executed: High blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

And yet according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about half of the 75 million Americans living with this “silent killer” have the disease under control. Check out this CDC fact sheet on hypertension for yourself.

Research published online Christmas night in Annals of Internal Medicine shows why America, and indeed the world, needs a more comprehensive approach to blood pressure treatment.

Prescribing pills wily nily until a doctor finds something that works just isn’t working. We need a more comprehensive approach that includes patient coaching while clinicians work to find the right treatment combination, the authors concluded.

And it does take a combination of treatments – not just handful of pills – to get blood pressure under control.

The study published tonight by researchers at Tulane University explains “Barriers to hypertension control have been identified at the health care system, health care provider, and patient levels. Such barriers include limited health care resources, lack of performance standards, and limited reimbursement for health coaching at the system level; lack of adherence to clinical guidelines at the provider level; and lack of adherence to prescribed medications, lifestyle modifications at the patient level.”

You can read the study for yourself by clicking here.

In an accompanying editorial, doctors from Ireland and the UK, where blood pressure treatment outcomes are even more abysmal than in the U.S., use a decisively American term to describe what’s going on:

“The answer seems to lie in the ‘swamp’ that is everyday clinical practice, where unreliable blood pressure measurement and polypharmacy with associated patient illness seem to challenge adherence at every turn and can create a complicit therapeutic nihilism between patients and health care providers.”

You can read the editorial for yourself by clicking here.

Anxiety meds, gym actually resulted in my blood pressure going up

Anyone who has battled high blood pressure, like myself, knows how hard it can be to control. My blood pressure now is controlled with medical cannabis – it has dropped to normal levels since I obtained my Illinois Medical Cannabis Card with chronic PTSD as a qualifying condition.

Read more: Blood pressure down, anxiety receding. Me: Pharma free

But that doesn’t mean that’s an effective treatment for everyone, particularly since it is not legal for most.

And sadly, it is extremely expensive, and insurance does not pay one penny.

My blood pressure stays under control because I also eat right and get plenty of exercise. And I don’t smoke or drink. I wrote the blog about the blood pressure seemingly being controlled with cannabis only after consistently getting normal blood pressure readings even after going off the beta blockers.

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Essentially, I ran out of them after losing my insurance for a short time. I had weaned off them, however, knowing my medication supply was dwindling. I did not stop them cold turkey.

And I never would have stopped them without the medical cannabis card and a general feeling of wellness. I have not felt more physically healthy since high school. Mentally, I do feel I am on my way to achieving warrior status with my PTSD, but of course you never know where the next setback lies.

Normal blood pressure readings did not happen at first. My blood pressure became elevated for a while before essentially working itself out.

Never go off your blood pressure medication cold turkey and always listen to, and communicate with, your doctor.

With chronic PTSD, I had been prescribed whopping amounts of benzodiazepines, a type of anxiety medication also known as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, etc.

After a while, as it the case with some people, the benzodiazepines began to have a reverse effect. I began to experience explosive fits of rage again when remembering certain things I have survived.

And, I was finding that the gym was causing me to gain weight and experience intense anxiety. This did not at first make sense. But my therapist explained this can happen as a result of cortisol production.

Cardiovascular exercise (which is what I mostly did at the gym) does not always result in the desired calming effect in people with PTSD and anxiety. For me, the gym was a trigger. And after one member who works in the emergency room of a local hospital said something alarming and frightening to me, I never wanted to go again.

But I did keep going. For a while.

Finally, I quit the gym. And I told them, in writing, exactly why I quit.

Check out this interesting New York Times piece on why exercise isn’t always good for your health

Instead, I went back to doing what I did before I owned a vehicle – lots of walking, and a lot of time spent working in the yard (scientifically proven to help people with PTSD…check out this blog post I wrote).

And I sold my vehicle, awesome little car that it was. Driving stresses me out and always has.

PTSD, anxiety made controlling BP challenging

Recovering alcoholics only should be prescribed benzos as a last resort, as they affect the brain the same as alcohol. I already was a year sober when they put me on them, but after two and a half years, I experienced an alcohol relapse.

My anxiety medication began to inch me into rages toward the end. I have no doubt this was affecting my blood pressure, as it was happening most every day.

As for the relapse, I was on vacation in Fort Lauderdale in January, watching a live mermaid show, after many, many years of extreme duress. The boozing began to occur every time I went on a trip (and there were four of them January through May). Then, it happened at home a few times.

It was then that my healthcare providers decide to support me in my quest for a medical cannabis card. While I knew it would work for the PTSD and the anxiety, I did not expect my blood pressure to also resolve itself.

Until July, I was taking two beta blockers per day plus a water pill to treat my blood pressure. While that treatment was working, and working better than any previous regimen I had been on, for many years I had been prescribed wily nily medications that did not work. In fact, some made me balloon up and retain water, doing exactly the opposite of what the medications are supposed to do.

Other times I had been prescribed blood pressure meds that made getting up in the morning so difficult (intense dizziness) that I just stopped taking my meds altogether.

Other blood pressure meds literally resulted in my peeing the bed every night. However, this was back in my hardcore drinking days of long, long ago.

Where were my doctors when I was having all these blood pressure problems? Waiting for my one-month follow-up appointment, like most doctors do after prescribing blood pressure medication.

And yet there’s an easier, more effective way to blood pressure management: Clinicians and patients talking to each other more frequently and sharing what works and what doesn’t.

It’s a job that doesn’t have to be completed by a doctor. Medical professionals should be reimbursed for it, however, and usually aren’t.

Doctors need training; patients need education

In the Tulane study, researchers conducted what’s known as a systematic review and meta-analysis. In other words, they studied previous studies about blood pressure treatment.

“Multilevel, multicomponent strategies, followed by patient-level strategies, are most effective for BP control in patients with hypertension and should be used to improve hypertension control,” the authors concluded.

Top number blood pressure readings tended to plunge significantly in patients receiving multilevel care management as opposed to those receiving medication alone, dropping more than seven systolic points in some cases. Lesser interventions in addition to medication produced similar results, although not as pronounced.

Diastolic numbers similarly improved.

The researchers determined that to better manage patients with high blood pressure, both the patient and the doctor needs to better understand where the other is coming from.

For doctors, this might mean more training about how to manage patients with high blood pressure and the hurdles to healthcare many of them already face. It can even mean a third-party audit of their blood pressure prescribing and treatment practices and constructive feedback.

Read more: Medicine cabinet shakeup: Bye-bye benzodiazepines, hello Mother Nature

For patients, it means making them understand that lifestyle modifications really do work, and that medication adherence is paramount. It also means listening to your body to find out what works and what doesn’t.

For example, if while on blood pressure medication you begin to fill up like a water balloon attached to a garden hose, something is not working. The reverse should happen.

When it happened to me, I posted something about it on Facebook (I wasn’t working in healthcare yet and did not realize it was the BP meds) and a former newspaper colleague alerted me that my blood pressure meds weren’t working.

Patients and payors expect to be educated by clinicians about good health

Not everyone has such smart Facebook friends. They need simple coaching about what to look for when beginning blood pressure treatment so they can record it, as well as regularly record their BP, and communicate their findings with their doctor.

“Health coaching strategies could be delivered in person or by telephone at several individual or group sessions during the intervention. The strategies were patient-centered, with a component of behavioral self-monitoring,” the researchers explained.

“A health coach (case manager, nurse, medical assistant, or community health worker) and patients worked together using self-discovery or active learning processes to improve medication adherence and lifestyle modification.”

I have been blessed to have received excellent healthcare the past couple of years for the challenges I face. Having had intense cognitive behavioral therapy for trauma for two years, sometimes three times per week, I have tools for managing triggers, which also can raise blood pressure.

And with no booze, no drugs, no cigarettes, and a general knowledge of healthy eating (and a growing love for healthy foods…they really do taste awesome!) I have evolved into one of those people who really does treat his body and mind like a shrine.

It’s something we all can learn to do. Whether it’s regarding your blood pressure or any health problem, a commitment to lifelong learning about your body, and a respect for it, means you’re doing all you can for good health.

And that should feel good.

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Why is the hospital down the street from me still open? Terror in the ER

Stock image courtesy Pixabay

CORRECTION: An earlier version should have reported I later tested positive for hepatitis A, not B. This should not infer that I received hepatitis A  in the hospital. I tested positive for hepatitis A after remembering an attack that occurred in my basement a year prior. Terrified, I called Quad-City Times reporter Brian Wellner, the only person in the entire community who I believed I could trust. He drove me to Community Health Care for HIV and hepatitis tests and also sheltered my cat LuLu in the Quad-City Times newsroom while I was there. I was jailed (on no charges at all, for two days) a couple of days after that health care test, and then received the hepatitis A results from Community Health Care shortly thereafter. There should be a Rock Island County Public Health report on the incident. My kitchen sink pipes and dishwasher reeked of feces for weeks during the opportune hepatitis A infection window (all have been replaced). The street in front of my home repeatedly was tore up.

You’re supposed to be safe in a hospital.

I knew I was not safe.

When I began to feel like I might die at Hy-Vee, my heart about to leap out of my chest, I asked the manager of the floral department to call 911.

I have known Lana a long time and always got the feeling she knew I somehow had been royally screwed over.

By the entire town.

So, I trusted her to make the 911 call.

I didn’t know what was happening, but my mouth had dried out and for sure I thought I might die of a heart attack. I had woken from a nap, had a drink of water, and suddenly began to feel just very, very sick, and like I might die.

I decided I might walk it off. I headed out the back door to Hy-Vee, about a mile walk through a residential neighborhood of which I am quite familiar.

On the way, I walked past the home of an old friend. Her mom, Diane, still lives there. Diane also knew what had been going through, and I wondered if I should just walk up to Diane’s door and knock.

But instead, I kept walking.

When I got to Hy-Vee, I knew I could die at any time if I did not get help.

When the ambulance came the paramedics were, of all things, rude to me. They acted like nothing was wrong with me. They began to whisper to one another about calling a second ambulance.

I wondered where they were going to take me. I wondered if they were going to take me back to the jail, where I had been held and tortured two days on no charges at all.

After finally getting out, the deputy who opened the door to release me, a guy I knew from college, and who I had shared information with about drugs during a Mulkey’s breakfast on my dime, drove me straight to Trinity.

I remember telling him in the squad car that I thought I might be murdered in the jail. His eyes looked like he had seen a bleeding deer who survived a direct shot to its heart when I told him that.

“You know why I have to take you here, right?” he asked.

“Yes, and I’m glad you’re taking me here. I think I might die.”

I had no idea what was awaiting me at the hospital. I knew it could not be good, because I had heard everything said in the jail.

But I never could have expected what happened next.

‘HIPAA, MACRA,’ we’re SMART malcontents, oh my!

The first thing I remember about the hospital ER is the employees fighting amongst themselves over hospital policies. One was attempting to play the role of queen kiss ass while the others partook in malcontent rioting.

I exclaimed from the cot something about “How about you tend to the sick people instead of fight amongst yourselves, dear God, I knew this place was toxic, but really?”

And if that’s not exactly what I said, that’s exactly what I would have said if I could go back and edit the moment.

The first doctor I saw was rude and distrustworthy.  I just made that word up. I know his type all too well.

This hateful doctor, who used narcissistic, offensive down talk throughout the horror of my UnityPoint Trinity experience, wrote as my chief overall “Clinical Impression”:

Acute psychosis (unspecified). In all bold like that. It was just a litany of pathetic gas lighting and discrediting by sick healthcare workers. Not all of them. There always have been and always will be dedicated health professionals working for UnityPoint Trinity, too.

Wrote one nurse in what appears to be an absolutely desperate attempt to discredit me, “Upon admission the patient’s mood appears elevated, his speech is very rapid and flight of ideas are present,” she wrote. “The patient appears to have delusions of grandeur. He states “I am a very important reporter. I have done interviews with superstars. I need to leave, I have a job in California soon.”

Check out my celebrity interviews

Check out my public health reportage portfolio

Read all about the all expenses paid, Pharma-sponsored AIDS ride I was supposed to attend but could not because of the hospital nonsense

I do not have HIV. I am not stigmatizing people who do. My HIV status is going to end up being a critical point in my book. Print date expedited! Coming Summer 2018!

I believe that UnityPoint Trinity, particularly its emergency department and affiliated Robert Young Center, should be taken over by federal public health officials at once. I cannot possibly be the only person to ever have an experience like the one I had. And once is one time too many.

I just sat there, helpless and confused, my life literally in that hospital’s hands.

I never stopped praying. I never gave up hope.

Another worker inside the crisis center, Dan, took the bull by the horns. Ignoring calls from others to abandon me on the lockdown mental health unit, he took me into a room where he conducted a videotaped interview.

I wonder if it will emerge someday.

It became clear within seconds of arriving at the hospital that it was nothing more than an extension of the jail. Full details will be in my book, coming late summer 2018 (print date expedited!)

According to my medical records:

A profound white blood cell spike (infection)

Tachycardia (dangerous rapid heartbeat)

Anxiety

Kidney disease (GFR under 60…I believe this was temporary due to who knows what)

Editor’s note: My most recent vitals were “good-to-excellent.” My Hep panel was not only normal but GOOD. I take no medications whatsoever but am a medical cannabis patient. 

At one time, the mainstream medical community had me doped up on 4 mg of Ativan per day, even as a recovering alcoholic.

The inaccuracies in the UnityPoint Trinity medical records are nothing short of hilarious. I began to get angry while reviewing them, but now…I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the show.

Dr. Bernie Tadda of Community Health Care always said it is rather remarkable the comeback my body made with my sobriety. I would like to think I am a symbol of cell regeneration excellence.

I later tested positive for Hepatitis A, and of course I live with chronic PTSD that can at times be debilitating.  I may also have BvFTD, my father’s brain disease.

And yet I can still dust it up with a good scoop.

Not acute psychosis.

I heard them talking in the jail about putting meth in my food. “We all did it,” said one.

He admitted this after I accused him of it out loud for another person in the jail to hear. That person then asked this jailer if it were true.

There was one guard, he looked like a guy on a sitcom, but I can’t remember which one, maybe “King of Queens.”

He was so kind. He brought me a meal and encouraged me to eat it.

“I made it” he said.

This guy must be embarrassed to work for that outfit.

Can you imagine the terror of what I went through? When I shared my story, mental health professionals admitted they had heard similar stories before. “But you’re the most credible one yet,” said two different behavioral health professionals employed by two different healthcare organizations.

I actually did keep my mouth shut for what…a year? Not even that long?

I reported the crazy sh*t to several people from the first day I was brave enough to talk about what went on in there, maybe a month or so afterward. I’m still scared for talking about it. On the other hand, keeping it inside would not have turned out well for me either.

Now, it is what it is. I really had hoped I had entered psychosis state by the time I heard some of the things I now believe to be true.

It is what it is.

Isn’t it.

It is no wonder the vulnerable in the Quad-Cities do not seek help under the current frightening, corrupt healthcare regime. Immediate intervention is needed for the sake of our community’s public health, which no doubt already has been significantly impaired by current indiscretions.

I ask President Trump to proclaim Rock Island County a public health emergency.  I can make the case additionally in future blog posts.

No, I don’t think this blog post is ridiculous, even after editing it a third time. Not at all.

But I realize not everybody knows what I know.

Superman, I know you’re nearby. I still have my panic button, and I’ll only press it if I really need to.

Forever yours,

Lois

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Massive study confirms #LGBT teens face exponential #suicide risk

Barack Obama followed me on Twitter this week. Who are my other followers?

Editor’s note: I have since blocked Obama on Twitter. I no longer have any reason to believe he had good intentions in following me.

When Barack Obama followed me on the eve of my dad’s birthday Friday, to say it gave me a lift is an understatement. 

You can read my blog post about President Obama following me on Twitter by clicking here

The reason I am unemployed right now, both directly and indirectly, is because I blew a deafening whistle in a political corruption case. And I’m still blowing it.

While I thought I would land more work as convictions came down the pike and my story began to be proven true, the opposite has been true so far.

All people with PTSD really want is to feel like they are being heard and believed. A very cool piece of LinkedIn content I ran across recently said the right thing to say to someone who is grieving is, “How can I best love you today?”

And when you’re Barack Obama, following someone on Twitter, especially when it’s me, in the context of all I have been through, is akin to doing that.

At least that is how I took it.

So, for starters, thank you Mr. President. You’re listening. That’s all I need to know.

But then I started wondering last night around midnight, unable to sleep without medical cannabis for about a week now due to being broke…just who are my other followers?

For starters, they’re loaded with cash

I never, ever had examined Twitter analytics.

I know. Terrible. For whatever reason, I have obsessed on that other social media platform until now.

The first thing that strikes me about my 2,200 give or take followers on Twitter (a portion of it churns constantly) is that they have A LOT of money. At least compared to me.

Take a look:

Twitter Money

Four out of 10 of them make $175,000 per year or more. Wow.

Even the “poor” ones make a lot more than I do!

Their interests are less surprising. For many weeks now, I have been added to all kinds of lists labeled “entrepreneurs” and the like. I’m flattered by that, because I absolutely do have an entrepreneurial spirit that I’m glad is being recognized.

Success isn’t always measured in income. Even as I sit here so broke I can’t sleep because I have no medical cannabis, I absolutely feel successful.

My followers want to know about news, business and politics. But almost equally, they want to know about eating healthy, losing weight, and staying sane.

Twitter Interests

More surprisingly, at least to me, they are interested in comedy and technology.

I love that. I like to think of myself as a pretty funny guy, even when I’m angry.

Am I a good fit for your brand?

Why am I sharing these analytics?

Because I need work, that’s why!

There are a lot of people at Contently and outside of Contently who can vouch for the fact that I’m very good at what I do. They also know, however, that the fit has to be right.

I have more male followers on Twitter, 56-44 percent. On Facebook, where I have about 4,700 followers, exactly the opposite is true when it comes to gender.

Finally, the buying habits of my Twitter followers? They want quality. Period.

Buying Habits

My Facebook demographics are different

When it comes to my Facebook followers, they tend to be caregivers: Women ages 45 and up account for a full third of them.

I know a lot of caregivers who would like to jet off to Vegas for a cannabis holiday, believe me.

My Facebook followers are from all over the country and even the world, although my recent blogs have caused my top cities on Facebook to become those in my own community.

Facebook Demos

And that’s flattering, too. While I’d rather be making good money writing branded content, writing blogs that expose corruption, and how vulnerable populations are being abused, is satisfying the diehard journo in me.

When is the last time you looked at your social media analytics?

I’m glad I took the time to better understand my followers today.

And never did I think I would sign off a blog with…

Thank you, Mr. President.

And may my dad, Bernard Lawrence Heitz, who would have been 79 Saturday, rest in eternal peace.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

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My deceased father’s Barack Obama birthday surprise

Editor’s note: I have blocked President Obama on Twitter.

Dad, I wasn’t going to write a blog for your birthday today.

Not because I don’t love and miss you – THAT goes without saying – but because I know at some point you wish I could get past all that I have been through.

Problem is dad, while you are enjoying eternal life in heaven, I am still on this hell on earth.

But it’s not really a hell. I’ve continued to have great purpose, even after you have died, dad. This week, I judiciously put fingers to keyboard and hammered out some blogs that have the Quad-Cities reeling.

Read more: AA a proven paradise for those looking to exploit the vulnerable

And by God, they apparently have caught the attention of President Obama, too. Obama began to follow me on Twitter yesterday.

As of this morning, he still was following me.

And what do you think of that?

‘Don’t mess with my black president’

Dad, I think he’s following me because of you.

I think he knows it’s your birthday.

I think he knows I’m telling the truth about the corrupt Rock Island County Democrats.

Read more: My home was illegally searched and damaged, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg

And I think he’s helping me out of respect for you, one of his most devoted voters of all time.

President Obama may not know that some called you a racist. You’re not racist. You got upset with some people and used some bad language now and then.

But your endearing support for President Obama has been firm from the git-go.

Remember how we used to argue? I wanted Hillary.

And yet, in the end, I ended up voting for Donald Trump.

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Thank you for helping me by donating a small amount toward what I do. You can adjust the amount donated by scrolling the up and down arrows next to the $10 denomination

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Do you remember watching CSPAN and cussing legislators who would occasionally criticize the president?

“Don’t mess with my black president!” you used to angrily say.

Facebook Marketplace all I have right now for income

Dad, I have been so blackballed for telling the truth that I’m having trouble finding work. This, after having a very solid 2016.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ll owe any taxes at all this year. Between the quarterly tax payments I did make, and being unemployed or underemployed since June, and various work trips the first half of the year and additional big write-offs, like a new MacBook Pro, my taxable income is going to be almost zero.

Now, remember what you used to say to me about marijuana?

Read more: How I obtained a medical cannabis card for my PTSD

“Yeah, it helps ya, there’s no doubt about that. But when you don’t have it you’re NO GOOD!”

Dad, can you believe that I legally smoke marijuana now in my home? We know I had PTSD long before you ever got sick. What happened to me after that…how am I even alive? You yourself used to ask me that all the time.

I know you thought I was going to die a few times. I know you told me not to share what I have shared.

But dad, when you have ink running through your veins, you really don’t care what happens to you for reporting the truth.

Anyhow, I’ve been selling things on Facebook to pay for my medical cannabis, my toiletries, and even to make a couple of student loan payments.

Now though, my student loan payment is $0 because my income is $0. As you know, they have been current several years now.

Read more: My report on why CBD successfully helps people with PTSD when all hope is lost

At any rate, I’ve basically sold all I’m going to sell. Yesterday I was so disgusted, desperate for cannabis and triggered by all of this that I decided to put some political memorabilia on the marketplace. You’re going to love this.

Hillary placards won’t even sell two for $3

So, I decided to place my “Ready for Hillary” placards on the Marketplace.

Hillary

Silly me, I tried to get $10 each for them. I can get a gram of premium medical cannabis for $20.

“PTSD Trigger” I put on the Marketplace ad. “Must go.”

I made a whole bunch of friends very quickly.

I’m not kidding.

But beyond the side-splitting laughs everyone shared on the Marketplace, I could not even sell those placards when I reduced them to $1.50 each.

What I did next is just awful.

I decided to spice up the deal with your Obama family portrait print, signed by Michelle Obama, that you got for making a donation to the President’s campaign.

Obama Close

Then I said to myself, out loud, “I can’t do this.” I voted for him both times myself after all, and here’s the deal-breaker where I’m going to lose all my new Republican friends on Twitter: I support Obamacare, or at least an improved version of it.

Dad, it wasn’t even hours later that President Obama began to follow me on Twitter.

And now that framed portrait of the Obamas is on the wall in my office, and it will stay there unless something horrible happens.

Obama Office

Not joking about Hillary being a PTSD trigger, and here’s why

When you still were alive and in Amber Ridge Memory Care, I went to see Hillary when she campaigned for Bruce Braley.

In fact, I was FIRST IN LINE. Quad-City Times political reporter Ed Tibbetts knows it’s true – I even was featured on Braley’s social media page.

But it wasn’t just me. It was a group of us Quad-City gay people.

Unfortunately, those people aren’t looking so hot right now.

One of them had a key to the house to take care of LuLu while I was supposed to be in Los Angeles. But I couldn’t go to Los Angeles after being thrown in the jail.

Read more: Jailed on no charges at all for being my father’s outspoken caregiver

However, this woman, since she had a key, was able to feed LuLu while I was imprisoned and tortured on no charges at all for being an informant in a political corruption case.

She now says she knows something terrible happened to me in this house, but that she had nothing to do with it.

And that may be true.

Filth and corruption everywhere I look

Another gay person who was at the rally?

Well, she ran for public office. Her adopted son recently went to prison for armed robbery. Her dad was a bigwig at St. Ambrose University once upon a time. I have known this woman a long time and always kind of liked her. I’m not linking to any of the stories out of respect for her, because this woman also has been treated horribly by her fellow gays.

She has lived a painful life, too.

I want nothing to do with gay people in the Quad-Cities

I’m not even sure I’m gay anymore after what I have been through.

I’m serious. I think about women quite a lot, particularly when I have my medical cannabis.

Don’t ask. I have no idea.

Dad, the only person who can fix this mess for the corrupt Rock Island County Democrats is Barack Obama. Some may be speculating the former president began following me on Twitter to nail me.

I don’t think so.

I bet he’s encouraging one, if not several, local Dems to resign.

We’ll see.

I love you dad. You know the Obamas love you, too.

I’m counting on it.

Until next time.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz

Why AA is paradise for those looking to exploit the vulnerable

Stock image courtesy Pixabay

AA die-hards bemoan rehab centers, which they say simply roll out their free 12-step programs in glitzy envrions and then charge a bundle.

You can get the same treatment for free, they say, in church basements with folding chairs.

It’s all about money, money, money, AA says of the rehab centers.

AA is fooling no one.

In June, the mammoth, powerful organization that pretends to be just a bunch of humble little alcoholics decided to take someone to court.

The AA “Big Book” proclaims, “We have ceased fighting anything or anyone.”

So much for that.

They claimed that the original “Big Book” of co-founder Bill Wilson, which is expected to fetch millions at auction, belongs to them.

They later dropped the suit when their own members called them out on their hypocrisy.

Read more: Behavioral health professionals pumping addicts full of the very substances they are addicted to, but scoffing at medical cannabis

AA is an organization steeped in hypocrisy. They talk about service to others, yet encourage anonymity in sobriety. The best way to end addiction and alcoholism is to stamp out stigma by standing up, not remaining anonymous.

But even more dangerous, allowing alcoholics and drug addicts to remain “anonymous” in “the rooms,” and encouraging other members to keep them “anonymous,” is a recipe for exploitation.

And people get exploited in AA meetings all the time.

You can say whatever you want about AA; don’t be intimidated

There is no law that says you have to keep anything about AA anonymous, so do not ever be fooled or threatened by that nonsensical “rule.”

I sure haven’t, and I make no apologies at all for that.

I hope this blog and all other others detailing the dangers of AA at least gives people signs of when to run.

Or when to say, “Screw this, my sobriety is too important to me to put up with harassment from angry alcoholics who claim to be happy, joyous and free.”

Read more: Check out my report for Universal Health Services/Foundations Recovery Network on when it’s time to throw in the towel on AA

Among themselves, maybe. It’s often a grotesque little clique when you go to various groups.

The genie is out of the bottle: AA increasingly is viewed upon as an arcane, ineffective, exploitative organization that is handing out snake oil while Americans are dropping like flies from opioid addiction.

Yes, the program works well for the people it works for: Extremely sick alcoholics who want to drink vodka first thing when they get up in the morning.

An overgeneralization and hyperbole? Of course. But to my point, AA was not designed by Bill W. to treat the masses who are forced into the program. AA’s own rhetoric says the only requirement for AA is a desire to get sober.

Go to Central Discussion on a Sunday afternoon. Ha! Those court-ordered meetings are lucky to have even one person in them with a commitment to getting sober. I am concerned for the safety of the people running those Sunday afternoon groups, quite frankly.

The truth is, AA’s program is just not a good fit for most of us, even though our addictions and what causes them are no better or no worse than the people who find relief in AA.

Read more: Was I almost trafficked right out of the Rock Island County Jail after being held two days there, naked and tortured, on no charges at all?

Those of us who have been the victim of violent crimes or political corruption in the Quad-Cities are hamburger on a meat tray in a room of circling vultures at AA meetings.

Vulnerable people need to be treated by clinicians; not bullies in cliques in church basements with no medical training whatsoever.

I’m quite adamant about this.

And yes, I’m angry.

AA sponsor says the ultimate wrong thing

When my sponsor, who sits on the Rock Island County Board, told me to “let go” and “forgive” I rolled my eyes at him. That was more than two years ago.

Now, with what has transpired since then, I’m REALLY rolling my eyes. He actually told me to apologize to my brother.

I’m not even going to go there.

No apologies from this man — yet. His lack of concern and inaction in reference to my human rights being violated by the county he represents, and serves as chief apologist for, is nothing short of alarming.

Nuff said.

“Letting go” is bullsh*t when you’re a reporter who was stripped naked and tortured in the county jail for being a snitch and exposing corruption. My serenity now comes from exposing every little detail of my shocking story, which continues to be proven true through the MSM, albeit with a lag, as I go along.

Read more: Chapter 1 of my book: Dad and I reclaim the property

So, with that, the anonymity of my AA experience goes right out the window. To me, it’s nothing less than a creepy coincidence that my sponsor sits on the board of the county that jailed me. And probably nothing more than that either, but a human being with any intestinal fortitude at all would have apologized, or at least demanded an internal investigation of the sheriff’s department.

My dad was taking his final breaths when they jailed me and I almost never saw him again because of this nonsense.

And I better not EVER be told to take personal responsibility for what happened at the memory care hellhole that day. I have said all along I had been poisoned and I was not myself that morning. My story has never changed, as St. John Lutheran Church Pastor Stacie Fidlar can verify.

Check out my portfolio of paid addiction/recovery content

Pastor Fidlar can verify everything. That’s why nobody ever has contacted her about it.

AA horror stories more common than you think

In a 2013 ProPublica piece, the website already reported exactly what I know to be true:

“Each year, the legal system coerces more than 150,000 people to join AA, according to AA’s own membership surveys. Many are drunken drivers ordered to attend a few months of meetings. Others are felons whose records include sexual offenses and domestic violence and who choose AA over longer prison sentences. They mingle with AA’s traditional clientele, ordinary citizens who are voluntarily seeking help with their drinking problems from a group whose main tenets is anonymity. (When telling often-harrowing stories of their alcoholism, the recovering drinkers introduce themselves only by their first names.)”

AA cost Karla Brada Mendez her life. In the ProPublica piece, a chilling story of narcissism by a man who knew the Big Book backward and forward leaves readers feeling ill about AA.

 And with good reason.

To quote ProPublica:

“To Victor Vieth, a former Minnesota prosecutor who now heads the National Child Protection Training Center in Minneapolis, none of these developments is surprising. Vieth has been involved in sexual abuse cases and prevention for 25 years and has become a nationally recognized expert in developing protective mechanisms for volunteers in service organizations.

 “It’s predictable that if you put violent offenders in the company of those who are vulnerable, this is going to happen. This is exactly where they want to be, and who they want to target,” Vieth said.

Sentencing a man who has repeatedly been physically violent to women to attend AA meetings, he said, is akin to sentencing a pedophile to be a middle-school hall monitor. “Predators find the company of who they want and violate them,” he said. “If you are a woman in AA and you have social factors intervening in your life and you need someone to understand you, offenders know that. They can demonstrate compassion and kindness. This is exactly where they want to be. It’s 100 percent predictable that violence or sex offenses will occur because this is their target.”

Judges, he said, should consider the possibility of predatory behavior.”

I already have been threatened for telling the truth

After I fired the sponsor, I still stayed sober on my own for 2 ½ years until relapsing, a full year and a half after the jail incident.

AA attendees from throughout the Quad-Cities have been reaching out to me for several years now since I began to write about addiction. Two have told me that when young new members arrive at a Moline AA group, one person, a woman, sponsors them almost every time. These people said that usually a Moline squad car also shows up to talk to these new members sponsored by this woman.

I passed that information along to Braking Traffick last year, but I suspect it went nowhere. Yesterday we learned that Family Resources had a counselor at its Annie Wittenmyer Youth Complex who allegedly gave a 16-year-old resident marijuana, had sex with a resident and even gave a resident money to buy a gun.

This investigation began in June, according to news reports.

I met with Braking Traffick last year and it was a profoundly appalling, discouraging and disturbing experience. All they were worried about was telling me to shut up because if I tell them my story, “I might get subpoenaed!”

Oh. Sorry. I thought you existed so I could tell my story. If not, what are you there for?

I’ll be writing about it in the days ahead, if I am able to get over the fear of retaliation. I already have been threatened once and called a liar for telling the truth.

It’s scary as hell. None of you have any idea whatsoever what I am going through. Penniless. Wondering how I’m going to buy toilet paper. All because I am now blackballed and viewed as “trouble” for telling the truth.

This is the classic example of what happens to people who are victims of political corruption and/or human trafficking. The good news is, I own my home, I’m getting help with my bills, and I have a MacBook Pro and, for now, an internet connection.

The stories will continue. I know I’m going to be vindicated. And I have no doubt job offers will pour in at that time, not to mention the book will be that much closer to the publish date.

So, I’ll trust in the Lord and be patient.

The AA cloud of anonymity gives members anonymity in court, too. A convicted killer’s testimony recently was thrown out, for example.

I can’t even believe a judge would do that.

AA also creates a place where volatile people can come together in a setting where nobody can be sued – there is no payor-sponsored clinician present.

In light of the seriousness of addiction, and the very few (and very fragile) chances you get to give someone a true way out, I believe these meetings are wholly inappropriate in the early days of recovery. And yet, they remain the only thing offered in many communities.

This is disgraceful and beyond outrageous.

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You can find me on Twitter @DavidHeitz