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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If you are a new reader...

If you are a new reader, start with the oldest post in 2010, and work your way to the newest. Thanks.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

For American Men Who Want to Find Love in The Philippines

I'm guessing you may have had a good job and been laid off or forced to take early retirement. It is likely you have been divorced at least once, and American women seem unreasonable, avaricious, selfish, and impossible to please. You have heard that Asian women believe in more traditional gender roles, or that many are "submissive." Let me just tell you right now, that all those stereotypes are put out there by someone who is selling something. For the most part, it is total bullshit. This post is about what living in the Philippines is really like, and how to find the girl of your dreams, while avoiding the dragon ladies.

Before I get started on this subject, let me tell you that I made nearly every mistake it is possible to make. I am a very lucky guy, and in spite of all my mistakes, I ended up married to a great girl who really loves me and is always trying to make life better for me. The most important bit of good luck I had was that I didn't run into a real scam artist or predatory woman. You can't count on my kind of good luck. An ex-inlaw once said that I could fall into a pile of manure and come up smelling like a rose, but you probably won't be naturally lucky.  I think many, many Philippine women are attractive. Most have excellent figures, and pretty faces.  Many have gorgeous long black hair. As is true all over the world, there are shapes and sizes for every taste.  However, there is a big difference in personalities, attitudes, and behavior, so it is even more important here not to just look at a girl's appearance.

If you are going to find a girl you can really love, and who will really love you, and not just your money, first you have to stop thinking and acting like an American. Americans are in a hurry, and most want everything all planned out and guaranteed. Life is messy. It won't work out all neat and tidy, or even close to the way you imagine.

This sentence should be in bold, all caps: It is impossible to get to know a person on the Internet. You can't expect to have a girl ready and waiting, and in love with you when you arrive; unless you are content with an actress. My advice is to stay away from Internet introduction or dating sites completely. You, and possibly even the girl, may fall in lust or love, but it will be with an image, not a real person. Your image of the girl will have all the gaps filled in from your own subconscious, so of course she seems perfect; but believe me, your image of her is not who she really is. If you want true love with a real girl, you are going to need to do some work.

I believe it is very important for you to know yourself well, and figure out the kind of girl you really will be happy with for the rest of your life. You need to think this through carefully, and in some detail. "Not a bitch like my ex-wife" is not going to do you any good. For me, a girl who didn't get grossed out clipping my toenails and cleaning out an enlarged pore on my back were two important indicators of what kind of girl she really was. I always had to get up early to go to work, before I retired, and my ex's never made me breakfast. I always felt I was doing all the giving in my marriages, so a sweet girl who wanted to do things for me was important to me. The things you need to feel LOVED may be simple, or complicated, but you need to know what you need, or you are going to end up with something else, and you will not be happy.

You need to figure out what kind of a budget for living expenses you need. Do you need four star amenities and service, or do you prefer a simple life? Either is available here, but all the American style conveniences come at a price. You need to plan for medical insurance, if you don't have pre-existing conditions; or doctor visits and medicine, if you do. Do you need the hospital and doctor's office to look like the Mayo Clinic, or can you deal with going where the locals do? You can read some of my other blog posts to get an idea about the differences between public and private hospitals, and the prices for medical care.

I recommend that you come to the Philippines single, travel around the 7,000 or so islands, and see where you feel at home and want to live for a while. This also gives you a chance to see if girls in one region look better to you. Women in different regions act and dress differently, based on the availability of jobs and local cultural expectations. Some behavior will be more appealing to you, but you won't know unless you go out and talk to people.

It is very important to stay away from bar girls and strippers, if you really want a happy, long term relationship. Dr. Drew Penski says that girls who make their living taking advantage of, and fooling men, can't have a real relationship because men become, "Johns," that is, targets to be exploited, not individual persons. He also says that strippers almost always grew up being molested or abused and need to have chaos in their lives. They will make their own mayhem if you treat them nicely.

You need to go out and walk around and talk to people. Be friendly, but don't show off or try to impress people. Try to learn something about the Philippines and your local area. Most girls are shy about their English. If you can learn Tagalog, it will go a  long way toward being able to meet and get to know a great girl.

Employment discrimination is pervasive in the Philippines, and in large mall stores, especially anchor department stores, sales girls have to be between 22 and 27 and have a college degree to get hired.  I may just be a sucker for a girl in uniform, but I do think that many of the sales associates are very attractive, and the uniform shows off their figures nicely. Sales associates are on salary, but most strive to be helpful, because they are always watched and evaluated. This gives you a chance to talk to girls, briefly, to see if anyone interests you enough to ask for her number or to meet for coffee after she gets off work. Be sensitive to her working conditions and don't get her in trouble with her supervisor by talking to her for too long at work. You don't always have to buy the socks or underwear, or whatever, but you should always look at them for the benefit of her supervisor. Of course there are many other places to look, like restaurants, market stalls, car or motorcycle dealers, doctor's offices and hospitals.  Generally government offices, like Immigration, or Land Transportation Office are very busy and people are stressed, so they are not good places to meet a girl, unless she is there as a client or customer.

Employers don't trust employees, so every sale has to have a hand written ticket or receipt. The supervisor has to initial the ticket before you can take the purchase away from the cash register. If it is a big ticket item, three or four people have to verify that you really paid for the item, and the security guard will probably open the box to make sure there isn't a 60" TV in the box marked, "fan." As part of theft prevention, sales people are moved around frequently so they don't have the opportunity to plan cooperative theft with coworkers. Don't count on a girl you like being in the same department until you get your courage up. Filipinas you want to meet are generally shy. If a girl comes on to you, be very wary, because she may have experiences that have side effects you don't like. Some girls are so shy, they may not show up to meet you, even when they want to. That's why it is important to just be friendly until you really get to know a girl and are sure you want a romantic relationship. If you tell a girl you are OK with her bringing a friend to your first meeting, she may be braver, and actually show up.

Sometimes a girl can be great, but her family may be after money, and may even be dishonest about it.  One American I know says that he was shocked that all the Filipinas he knows have a father in the hospital and a mother at death's door.  If you run into this right away, you can be sure the girl is running a scam to get money from you.  Most girls feel a responsibility to give something to their family, and you need to be OK with that, or else try to find a girl with no living relatives.  Some girls are sensible about giving money to their mother, and others are obsessive about it, living in virtual poverty, in order to send money to mom. You need to find the level that you can live with.

If you are still working, and have business associates, they can be important resources who can help you meet a great girl.  Of course it is important not to do anything that would make the girl, or her family, sorry she met you, or it could destroy your business relationship.

In summary, take the time to know yourself and what you need. Take the time to get to know a girl and find out who she really is. If you are looking for a long term relationship, it is best to concentrate on one girl at a time. Don't look for short cuts, and don't be fooled by girls who make a living playing a role to get money from men. To find a real girl, you have to be a real man, and act like one.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

There HAS To Be A Better Way

It is pretty unusual for a truly wealthy person to say something more than a carefully sanitized press release. Warren Buffet has talked about the economy in a straight forward way, and given valuable advice, which unfortunately, the majority party in the House, chose to ignore.

Now Mark Cuban's comments about the stock market have been published, and they are straight talk.  Mr Cuban is the owner of the "Dallas Mavericks" NBA franchise.  According to the New York Post, "He sold his Internet start-up in 1999 for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock -- and he says he's been involved in the stock market for the better part of a decade." His stock market activities were not for entertainment, but to increase his already considerable wealth.  Mr. Cuban is considered a successful businessman, and his ability to finance an NBA team and support the payroll necessary to take the team to a championship should validate those credentials. That means Mr. Cuban knows how to profit from investing in the stock market.

Now the market today does not function the way it was originally intended to.  The market was designed as a way for corporations to raise capital without borrowing from banks.  Rather than borrow from a bank, the corporation issues stock certificates and in effect is borrowing from the stockholders who buy the certificates.  In the beginning, people bought stock in companies they believed were financially strong, and would be profitable.  They held the stock for long periods of time, and received dividends from the company when it was profitable.  This is a little more risky than putting money in a savings account and getting a fixed interest rate, but a well run company will often provide a higher rate of return than a savings account, so it was a good investment choice when the economy was stable or growing.  People built wealth slowly by collecting and reinvesting dividends.  At some point, speculation came into the market, and I believe most of our historical economic ills can be tied in one way or another to this form of unrestrained greed.

Here is what Mr. Cuban has to say about the cause of the current economic mess, as reported in The New York Post, via Yahoo:
"The only people who know what business Wall Street is in are the traders," Cuban wrote on May 9, 2010. "They know what business Wall Street is in better than everyone else. To traders, whether day traders or high frequency or somewhere in between, Wall Street has nothing to do with creating capital for businesses, its original goal. Wall Street is a platform. It's a platform to be exploited by every technological and intellectual means possible."

Cuban went on to make another point, about how entire nations are now bought and sold within seconds and even nanoseconds:
"It’s hard to believe," he wrote, "but evaluating countries as an investment is now easier than evaluating companies."
Lo and behold, the current malaise on Wall Street is tied not to the earnings of public companies -- which are largely strong -- but to the debt load of national economies.
But Cuban came back again to the traders, whom he called "hackers" because, he said, they look for weaknesses in the system to exploit for short-term gain.
"The Government needs to create incentives for this business," he wrote, "and extract compensation from the traders/hackers for the systemic failure level of risk they introduce."
He concluded again in bold text with a scary forecast that, although not completely unique to him, now looks more and more accurate:
"There will be another crash, because there are too many players looking for the trillion dollar score."
The market is not operating as it was designed, and speculation is driving, what will surely become wider and wilder swings.  This is bad for business, and it is especially bad for the American people.  We have many other markets operating that are also a cause of economic problems.  Commodities markets were designed as a way to ensure the supply chain would deliver agricultural products reliably and steadily, rather than all in one huge wave at harvest time.  Industrial food processing is more profitable when there is a steady stream of food to be processed, rather than one huge flood each year.  However, speculation has caused instability and unnecessary inflation in food, oil, and other raw material prices.

There has to be a better way. We need to be able to get food and raw materials to market in a steady, predictable stream for efficiency, which SHOULD translate to lower prices; BUT, we need to eliminate speculation, which isn't good for anyone except the greedy speculator. We also need an efficient way for businesses to have access to capital needed to finance expansion, volume purchases, or replacing old equipment; BUT, we need to make sure our financial markets are not vulnerable to the speculator.

The SHORT Version

Here is the "SHORT" Version of the conservative strategy:

Step 1: Break things.  For example, the economy.
Step 2: Blame anyone liberal or progressive for failing to fix what the conservatives broke.
Step 3: LIE frequently. Make sure the lies get in the press. If people hear it often enough, there are plenty of people dumb enough to believe the lies.  Make up some "danger" to make people afraid, so they don't think straight. Take away some civil liberties by making people believe it is necessary for their safety.
Step 4: Lie some more, and promise that if people will just vote for conservative candidates, everything will get better. Once there is a conservative majority, abolish any government agency that protects ANYTHING, like consumers, the elderly, or the environment; then steal everything they can from American Taxpayers and give it to themselves.


The result: America becomes a Third World country, where the rich can easily get "good help."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Debt Deal

Now the GOP's agenda, behind all the debt rhetoric and manuevering, was never a secret as far as I'm concerned. It was clear to me from the first that the goal of holding the entire country hostage was to gut agencies and programs they don't like.  However, the title of the article is, "The GOP's hidden debt-deal agenda," so I guess someone was surprised.  Read about it here: The Hidden GOP Agenda Behind the Debt Deal

So you see, the whole "debt crisis" was manufactured to divert your attention from what the reactionaries really want to accomplish, which is destroying the American social safety net, and turning back the clock to the England of Charles Dickens novels.  Of course the Tea Partiers, and I strongly object to the hijacking of a proud moment in American History to camouflage the nefarious doings of these self serving ideologs, fancy themselves the Lords and Ladies of the Manor, and you and I are the prospective butlers, man servants, maid servants, grounds keepers, cooks, and scullery maids and boys of their repulsive vision for America.

I have been giving my opinion here, but recently, I've felt the need for some scholarly rigor, and that has prompted me to find some people with credentials who agree with what I've been telling you.  Now as everyone knows, the Scarecrow was quite smart, he just needed a diploma to prove it. Never the less, I give you evidence that although I don't have a degree in economics, Mr. David Gonnerman taught me what I needed to know at Roosevelt High School, in the form of an article by David Cay Johnston.  Who is Mr. Johnson? He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. A 13-year veteran of The New York Times, David won the Pulitzer in 2001 for enterprise reporting that uncovered loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code. He has written several best-selling books, including Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill). His latest, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Abuse "Plain English" and Other Tricks to Rob You Blind, will be published in January


The American Economy has bee fueled by Consumer Spending since the end of World War Two. If working Americans don't have any money to spend, what good is having "LOW, LOW Prices" going to do WalMart or any other retailer?  As I previously said, the rich are NOT going to spend their money. They are not going to create jobs if they get tax breaks. We need to increase revenue by raising taxes on the richest and the corporations with the biggest profits.  If we write the tax code so it is to THEIR ADVANTAGE to create jobs, then they WILL create jobs.  When Americans are working, there is money to spend, and retailers won't be facing bankruptcy.  We need to re-educate the faculty of every business school and reprogram every MBA.  We need to make sure the people we elect to represent US at all levels of government are doing what WE want them to, not lining their own, and campaign contributors pockets, at OUR expense.

American Democracy is HARD. It always has been, and always will be.  If WE don't do the work, we will end up being those scullery maids and dustmen that make us shudder when we read about what it was like to live in a society where only the rich and entitled mattered to anyone, including the government.

I see a trend in America, and I was equally guilty before I retired, of thinking that our education or skills will protect us from losing our jobs. In the so called tech revolution of the 1980s, many of us thought Labor Unions were outdated, and perhaps even in the way of our streamlined, super efficient, high tech companies. Now, it looks like we are losing 100 years of labor progress. We are in danger of losing the worker and environmental protections that went with the living wage American manufacturing and trucking workers used to make.

In thinking about how Unions are under assault from the right wing, I'm reminded of a statement attributed to Martin Niemoller.  While historians say he probably didn't actually speak the words in the form usually quoted, he did express the ideas in similar forms for many years. If there is some editorial help, making the phrases more memorable, it doesn't make the ideas any less valid.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was an ardent [German] nationalist and prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last 7 years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
The provisions of the so called "Patriot Act" could be just the beginning of turning the U.S. into an oppressive, totalitarian, corporate controlled, oligarchy. Think about it people. When will they come for you?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Congressional Insanity

The so called "Deficit Reduction" plan is just another excuse for the rich and big corporations to get richer on the backs of the American working people.

Here's what the Senator Sanders, from Vermont, who is doing the best job of responsibly representing the American People today, has to say about the deal:  Senator Bernie Sanders

The reaction of many progressive members of Congress mirrors mine:

I think the "middle class" has lost so much over the last twenty years that now all working people have similar issues, no matter what sector they work in or what their job title.  From now on, I'm going to talk about all American working persons as a group and stop making artificial distinctions like white collar, blue collar, or middle class.  We all are, or were employees, and we all have the same issues and needs.  We are all taxed out of proportion to our incomes, and it is time we recognized, and put a stop to it.  IF we organized and could agree on the issues important to us, we have the numbers and thus the political power, to change things.  Unfortunately, the majority of us are working so hard, we don't take the time or put out the energy to make our voices heard.

I read the other day that the reason the Tea Party has so much power these days is that they recognize that most people don't care about the primary elections.  They put their time, energy, and money into getting a candidate nominated who will work for their agenda.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. If it works for them, it will work for us.  If we get busy and make sure candidates who will represent OUR interests are nominated by BOTH parties, when the general election rolls around, we can have confidence that no matter who wins, we will not be sending a Representative or Senator to the Congress who is a vassal of the rich or big corporations.

Unless you are looking forward to being a peasant in a third world country, which is exactly where the United States is headed, it is time to stop being lazy and complacent. It is time to get busy and use the political system to our advantage.  We need a resurgence of Grey Panthers to protect the interests of retired people.  We need to recognize that the value of Labor Unions has been underestimated and compromised because of Jimmy Hoffa type characters who criminalized what was originally a great idea.  By organizing and concentrating the voices of the many, organized labor had a strong voice in American politics for many years.

If we can use everything that was learned in organizing workers in many industries, and apply those principles, without the goon tactics and criminal activity, the American Workers COULD have representation in the Congress.  We COULD tell the President he better find his courage and stand up to the people who want to take the little we have, for themselves.  We COULD tell the President he better stand up for US.

I'm tired of people who don't care about America holding the entire economy, and thus the whole country, hostage.  I served in the U.S. Armed Forces. I fought in a VERY unpopular war. I have been a responsible, productive, tax paying citizen my whole life.  I love the principles in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution.  I love what America has always stood for, and the America that we can and should be.

I am very troubled by seeing the entire Congress hijacked by people who very obviously DON'T love America.  They are so obviously in the pockets of special interests, I can't understand why they aren't being investigated.  The press crawls all over every word a President says, ridicules a well meaning, former football player, who had some coordination issues, until he was un-electable; but these people who are criminally obstructing the work of the entire Congress and endangering the welfare of the entire country are not scrutinized at all.

I'd like to see the Attorney General get to work, and look into the campaign funding of these people and see if there isn't a conflict of interest behind all their self-serving rhetoric.  I'd like to see the Ethics Committee looking into the dereliction of duty of these ideologs who are not getting the business of the United States done.  They have sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States, but by their insistance on their own way, like spoiled two year olds, they are actually endangering the whole country.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Forced Choices, Part 5

This is Part 5 of a multi-part post.

This post is an attempt to explain how people can be forced to make financial decisions that are not beneficial, why Social Security is necessary, and why the system of medical insurance and private doctors in the United States needs to change.

There are SO many things wrong with what goes on in the U.S. Congress; it is hard to know what to talk about first.  I share the feelings of many Americans that the members of Congress are completely out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent. It seems that the majority of members either don't know, or don't care about the hardships most working and retired Americans face every day.  The policies they advocate are just plain bad for the average American, and only benefit the very rich and the biggest, richest corporations.

This post contains details of medical procedures, so if that is TMI, you may not want to read on.

Most of the major religions of the world talk about compassion for others in some way. Jesus is quoted as saying, “I am my brother’s keeper.” Almost all Christians agree the statement means that each person has a responsibility to help others.

Sikhs are often seen as warlike, but when you look at their core beliefs, as revealed by their ten gurus, compassion and charity are key principles.  My friend, Sean Toor, says that when a local Sikh Gurdwaras is following their beliefs correctly, there is a meal after each service, where all who are hungry may come and eat.  This is just one example of how Sikhs are called to practice compassion and charity.  If you look at the Sikh beliefs, as explained at,

you will see a very compassionate and progressive religion with much in common with Christianity.

These are just two examples, including a very large and a smaller religion, where believers are called on to care for other human beings with financial help, as well as emotional support and compassion.

The Dalai Lama said, "The practice of altruism is the authentic way to live as a human being, and it is not just for religious people. As human beings, our purpose is to live meaningful lives, to develop a warm heart. There is meaning in being everyone's friend. The real source of peace amongst our families, friends and neighbours is love and compassion."

I believe the expression of a need for human compassion by many religions, over thousands of years, is a foundation stone of any code of ethics or morality.  If that is true, then it is not only unethical, but also IMMORAL to profit from the misfortune or illness of another human.

The structure of medical care as a “For Profit Business” in the United States is ineffective and failing because by emphasizing profits, it automatically makes patient care, and care giver compassion, of secondary importance.  Being a “For Profit” enterprise opens medical care to all the abuses that greed and criminal minds can devise.  Medicare and Medicaid are great ideas, but in the “For Profit” model of care, they are subject to a multitude of abuses that put millions of dollars into the pockets of the unscrupulous and the criminals.

Setting up so-called “Health Insurance” as a “For Profit” business compounds the problems.  The policyholder is paying an insurance premium to protect themselves and their families from the financial ruin a major illness can cause.  The “Health Insurance” business, because they are in business to make a profit, is motivated to deny payment to the policyholder.  We see all kinds of devious ways Insurance Companies use to keep premiums and deny benefits.  Pre-existing condition exclusion is just one of those ways to steal from their policyholders and increase their profits.

As it exists today, the entire American Health Care System is not only ineffective, much too expensive, and subject to scams and theft; it is just plain IMMORAL.

Doctors should not be getting rich from treating human suffering.  There should not be an incentive for doctors to recommend unnecessary operations to increase their income.  Nurses and other care givers should not be overworked or underpaid by employers trying to make a profit and run the hospital or clinic like a business.

The Food and Drug Administration, FDA, is the U.S. agency that decides if treatment methods and prescription drugs are safe and effective. If criteria are met, the treatment or drug is described as FDA Approved.  If the FDA does not approve a treatment method, a doctor can’t perform it in the U.S., a U.S. hospital can’t offer it as an option, and an insurance company will not pay for it.  Again, we have a law that was enacted to protect the interests of the patient from quackery that has gone wrong.  Due to the “For Profit” structure of the American Healthcare System, FDA approval has become a source of abuse and probably bribery and other criminal activity.

When I was researching what method of treatment to choose for treating my Prostate Cancer, I looked carefully at the risk of side effects from each method of treatment.  ALL of the “Approved treatments” had significant risks of major, debilitating side effects.  Having to live the rest of my life wearing diapers was not an acceptable risk.  That is what led me to choose a treatment method that was not FDA approved.  I’ve talked about having to drive 3 hours to see my doctor.  The reason was, that I had to see a doctor who was willing to travel outside the U.S. to perform the procedure.  My doctor is a Board Certified Urologist who is licensed to practice in the U.S. and has performed thousands of FDA Approved Prostate Cancer treatment procedures.  The fact that he recommended HIFU above ALL FDA Approved treatments, combined with the results of my research, made the HIFU procedure the best choice for me.

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, was first investigated at Indiana University, over 50 years ago.  When technology finally caught up and made the treatment practical, it was researchers in Europe, who developed the equipment.  HIFU was approved for use in Europe in 1997, and in Canada, in 2000.   It is in clinical trials in the U.S. but still has not been approved by the FDA.  The structure of the original clinical trials was flawed, because the ONLY treatment methods compared were the French HIFU machine, which is low power, and can only treat a prostate gland of 25 grams or less; and Cryogenic treatment, which causes impotence as an after effect in 100% of patients.  No one wanted to be in the control group, so those trials made little progress.  I talked to a doctor at Duke University who was participating in the trials, but because of the structure, you could not choose whether you were in the experimental or control group, so I did not sign up for the trial.  In addition, my prostate was between 85 and 100 grams when I was diagnosed, so the French machine was not an option.

My doctor is trained to use the Sonablate® 500 system, designed and manufactured by Focus Surgery, with headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This machine is capable of treating a prostate glad of up to 50 grams, and has better imaging resolution than the French machine, so the doctor can “see” the area being treated more clearly.  Clinical trials in the U.S. now include the Sonablate, but I don’t know the structure of the trials yet.  I will update this information when I’ve been able to research the details of the trials.

I was on hormone suppression therapy for about a year to get my prostate down to treatable size.  This is an FDA Approved therapy, and my health insurance did pay for some of the treatment.  When my prostate shrank below 50 grams, I had to choose whether to have the procedure in a hospital in Mexico, Canada, or The Bahamas.  Treatment in Canada is more expensive, so I chose The Bahamas, because I had always wanted to take a trip to the islands.  The cost of the procedure in 2008 was $25,000 plus the cost of my airfare and hotel.  Since the procedure was not FDA approved, I had to pay for all of it myself.  The treatment took 5 ½ hours.  I was asleep for the procedure, so there was no pain.  The clinic was clean and the nurses from England and Australia were very kind and thoughtful.  My doctor from the U.S. performed the procedure.  I was up, and walking around the Atlantis resort the next day.  There was no pain and only some minor discomfort from the supra-pubic catheter.

The urethra can experience some trauma from heat generated by the ultrasound beam cooking the cancer, so the catheter is placed through the abdominal wall and directly into the bladder.  That lets the urethra rest and heal.  Debris from the prostate collects in the bladder, and is removed by the catheter.  A week after treatment, I was scheduled to see my doctor in the U.S. to have the catheter removed.  During that week, I was supposed to start closing a valve on the catheter to get the bladder used to filling up and used to voiding normally.

The recovery process was going well until the balloon that holds the catheter tube in the bladder failed.  That obstructed the tube and prevented urine from flowing out of the bladder.  I was still having a lot of prostate debris in my bladder, and a large bit was obstructing the urethra, so I couldn’t empty my bladder normally.  In the middle of the night, the pain from the pressure of an over-full bladder became unbearable, and I had to go to the ER.

The doctor in the ER would not treat me, and called the on-call urologist to come in.  I had documentation on how I had been treated, and what should be done if there was a problem with the supra-pubic catheter to give to U.S. doctors, in case I was not able to see my doctor.  Because HIFU was not an FDA approved procedure, the urologist thought he had to take 45 minutes to lecture me on the folly of choosing that treatment.  He insulted my doctor, who is a past president of the state association of urologists and has impeccable credentials, and accused him of just doing HIFU for the money.  Finally, he put me to sleep and removed the failed supra-pubic catheter, but he did not follow the instructions in my documentation, and inserted a Foley catheter, which goes through the urethra, into the bladder.

I’ve already talked about how this complicated and prolonged my recovery, so I won’t repeat the story.

Why did I write about my personal experience with the effects of FDA approval?  To demonstrate that the process is broken, and denies American patents the best options for medical care.  Whether the cause is bureaucratic inertia, or lack of personnel to investigate new drugs, equipment, and procedures, the FDA is harming, instead of helping patients in many cases.  Sometimes it seems as if the right bribe has not crossed the right palm.  I’m not accusing anyone of anything improper, but it seems that if a procedure was approved in Europe in 1997, and in Canada in 2000, the FDA SHOULD have had ample time to study it.  Why is HIFU still not approved by the FDA in 2011?

To be continued …