Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Electronic Addictions, Las Vegas Style

(Photo by Nathana Rebouças on Unsplash)

When people go into a casino, they are mesmerized by the colors, bright lights, and dinging bells of slot machines that, nowadays, look suspiciously like video games. In fact, the video game craze has influenced what kinds of games casinos offer to their customers. The live-action table games are slowly being replaced with interactive video games. Not only is this cost-effective for casinos, but machines can be manipulated to take more of the customer’s money.

But why are people so attracted to the Las Vegas type of bells and whistles that they find in casinos, amusement parks, and video arcades? Why are they mesmerized by these same effects on their video games, computers, and smartphones? Are consumers being trained to use electronic devices like toys – and not just tools for business and communication?

According to an article posted on the Psychology Today website, “the typical American spends about 1460 hours per year on their smartphone” (Brooks, 2019, para. 2). The author attributes this behavior to the variable ratio reinforcement schedule, a conditioning process that draws users over and over again to their electronic devices, and in particular, video games. With the right psychological rewards in place, users can quickly become hooked (Brooks, 2019, para. 3).

In a variable ratio reinforcement schedule, rewards are delivered randomly so that the electronic device user has to use the device more and more in order to get the psychological reward. If the user stops using the device, he gets no reward. But if he keeps going, the reward will eventually be delivered, hooking the user even more (Brooks, 2019, para. 4-5).

Why does this happen? Dopamine is released by the brain when the reward system is activated. A random reward reinforces the reward system further, leading the electronic device user to unconsciously look for the stimulus that delivers the reward (Brooks, 2019, para. 7).

The anticipation and expectation of reward entice the device user to keep using the device and receiving the reward once more . . . over and over again . . . until the user has lost control over his own impulses. Unless the user has strong sales resistance and self-discipline, he may find himself glued to his device, drawn there like a bee to honey. This is why the mental health diagnosis of impulse control has become so pertinent to the abuse and overuse of electronic devices (Brooks, 2019, para. 8).

Reference

Brooks, M. (2019). The “vegas effect” of our screens. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

       http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tech-happy-life/201901/the-vegas-effect-our-screens.

Dawn Pisturino

Thomas Edison State University

January 7, 2023; January 23, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

34 Comments »

Reprise: Lessons from Lewis Carroll

Have you ever felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole? It wasn’t until she hit rock bottom that she found the tools to cope with her environment.

Or what about the White Rabbit? His obsession with time makes him sound like a classic Type A personality.

We all know people who act as if they are running a marathon race against Time. The most familiar thing out of their mouths is, “I’m busy. I don’t have time. Not right now. Good grief, I have to be somewhere in five minutes!”

Like the Red Queen, they are always running in place and getting nowhere fast. And no matter how hard they try to catch up, they never will. And no matter how much we try to convince them to slow down, they never will—until they suffer a heart attack or some other misfortune.

Appearing and disappearing like the Cheshire cat, they smile smugly and proudly tell us how terribly important they are; but they may as well be saying, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat,” or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Alice had many curious adventures in Wonderland, but even she had her limits. When she finally got tired of the Queen of Hearts screaming, “Off with their heads!” and all the other zany, madcap characters, she stood up and cried, “I can’t stand this any longer!”

And with one pull of the tablecloth, she was back home again with her beloved kitten Dinah.

The wacky world of Lewis Carroll can be seen as a reflection of our own crazy world. And, just like Alice, we sometimes have to pull ourselves in many directions to adapt to our environment. But when we can no longer tolerate living in this way, it’s time to stand up and shout, “Enough is enough!”

(White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane)

Dawn Pisturino

2007; January 18, 2023

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, September 11, 2007.

Copyright 2007-2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.





38 Comments »

Ayurvedic Land and Seed Theory: Cleansing to Restore Balance

An important concept in Ayurveda (traditional East Indian medicine) is the land and seed theory.

It’s really very simple. The body is the “land.” The “seed” is a virus, bacteria, toxic substance — anything that can take root and cause disease. 

In order to function properly, the body needs to maintain balance through good digestion and regular elimination. When toxins build up in the system through poor diet, inadequate digestion, or slow elimination, the “land” becomes fertile for the “seed” to grow and thrive, thereby causing discomfort and illness.

We restore the body’s balance by periodically following a cleansing regimen. In Ayurveda, this is recommended at every change in season, but you can do this whenever you feel the need.

Since stress negatively impacts the digestive tract, reduce the amount of stress in your life by getting enough sleep and practicing meditation and other stress-relieving acivities.

Physical activity energizes both the digestive and immune systems. Engage in daily exercise, and don’t be afraid to sweat! Sweating opens up the pores and allows toxins to escape through the skin. Breathe deeply, and open up the lungs.

Treat yourself to a massage or visit a spa. Take a warm bath or shower every day. (Jacuzzis, steam baths, and hot tubs feel wonderful!)

Flush out your system with plenty of water, fruit juice, vegetable juice, and herbal tea. Dandelion root tea is especially beneficial in detoxifying the body.

Promote regular elimination by eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Add more fiber to your diet with whole grains and legumes.

Since this is a cleansing diet, avoid junk food, fatty food, processed food, sweets, soft drinks, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. Limit your intake of meat and dairy products.

Spice up your meals with liberal amounts of fresh herbs and spices. Cilantro, mint, lemon, basil, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, clove, fenugreek, cinnamon, black pepper, and fennel whet the appetite and stimulate the digestive juices. Use extra-virgin olive oil whenever possible.

Prepare cool, light meals in summer and warm, nourishing meals in winter.

Follow this regimen for at least 30 days. People with chronic health problems or disabilities should consult a physician before making any diet changes or engaging in physical activity.

Dawn Pisturino, RN

2007; January 9, 2023

Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, June 7, 2007.

Copyright 2007-2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

27 Comments »

Poetry Book Reviews: Paula Light and Lamittan Minsah

(Photo by Arash Asghari on Unsplash)

Monochrome: Poetry from the Ashes by Paula Light (2018). Available on Amazon.com.

Paula is a California poet whose poetry collection is a delight to read. She writes with a gentle hand. Her poems are like butterflies which attract us with rich colors, feather-weight movements, velvety textures, and delicate wings. She explores the nature of love, loss, sadness, and acceptance with profound understanding and peace. At the same time, she has a sharp wit and approaches life with humor and positivity. When you read her WordPress blog, you will experience both sides of this very talented woman.

“Immersed in words,

Steamed in verse,

Lovesongs burning up my dreams . . .

It must be true:

I still hold

A torch for you . . .”

And from her poem, Grace:

“The night sky knows my sorrow:

An ice wind screams your name,

While thunder booms in horror

And lightning damns this place.

Then softly comes the music;

Gently falls the rainsong;

Rhythms drip down smoothly,

And the moon is bathed in grace.”

Website: Light Motifs

Let’s Talk Bride: A Poetry Collection by Lamittan Minsah (2020). Available on Amazon.com.

Lamittan is a Kenyan poet who has written a collection of poems about a very special person in his life, Apostle Darlan Rukih, also known as the Bride of the Lamb, a minister in the Bride of the Lamb Ministries International.

This book has a fascinating backstory. Darlan Rukih was born a hermaphrodite (someone who is born with both male and female genitalia and characteristics, also known as an intersex person). Since this condition is not accepted in Kenyan culture, Rukih grew up isolated, alienated, and rejected by others. But faith in God and the Lord Jesus Christ helped Rukih to overcome this disability and to serve by helping others. Rukih first married a woman and was blessed with a son. After that relationship failed, Rukih dated a man and got pregnant. Blessed with two children, Rukih is devoted to helping children in need in Kenya. Reference: Mpasho website.

Lamittan’s admiration for the Bride of the Lamb knows no bounds in this fine collection of poems which praise Rukih, God, and His son, Jesus Christ. Lamittan expresses both his joy and his sorrow in these poems:

“There’s beauty walking in Africa,

Traversing a lonely desert –

A damsel formed by the maker

Out of the ribs of Adam, long ago.

There is beauty

Such as one that never was before.”

~

“They nailed our Lord by force.

The heavens roared,

His pain had reached God,

And for a moment,

Darkness covered the firmament

And hid God’s gaze from his son . . .”

Follow Lamittan Minsah on WordPress to read more of his poetry and stories and to learn more about Kenyan culture. His business site, Laminsa Indies, encourages and aids “budding writers, musicians, actors/actresses, self-publishers, photographers, drawing artists, dancers and many other talents from the creative industry.” Check it out!

Website: Laminsa Indies

~

Dawn Pisturino

November 21, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

26 Comments »

Poetry Book Reviews: Barbara Harris Leonhard and River Dixon

(Photo by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash)

Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir by Barbara Harris Leonhard (2022).

       Available on Amazon.com.

Barbara is a retired English teacher (ESL) whose award-winning work has appeared on Spillwords, MasticadoresUSA, and other poetry sites and magazines. Most recently, her poetry appeared in Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women (2022), edited by Gabriela Marie Milton, and a #1 Amazon Bestseller. She currently serves as the editor of MasticadoresUSA.

Penned with heart-felt love, devotion, and pain, this memoir is an honest family portrait that mirrors both the mother and the daughter. The bond between mother and daughter is complex, but Barbara beautifully describes both the comfortable and uncomfortable sides of this relationship. Anybody who has cared for a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s, will relate to Barbara’s experience. Anybody who has missed out on motherhood and lost a child, will find Barbara’s story deeply moving. But there is no self-pity here. She has written about her life with honesty and compassion. She has experienced trauma and heartbreak. But she accepts what life brings and looks hopefully to the future instead of staying shackled to the past. She presents herself as strong, determined, and willing to learn from life’s lessons. She has written a remarkable collection of poems that are powerful in their very simplicity. Whatever trauma and pain you have endured, her poems will edify and uplift you in a positive way. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

In writing about her miscarried child, she says:

“You left my broken womb

as the bloody remains of what

was never to come. I still feel you

in the waves, the flow

of my sacral river – your tears?

Your fears I’ve abandoned you?

No, Honey. No! I’ll never forget you.”

Finally, her experiences with encephalitis and her mother’s Alzheimer’s:

“Not enough that I am

the spitting image of Mom

and her namesake.

We both experienced

a brain injury. The encephalitis

burned away my young memories;

       Alzheimer’s, her short-term ones.”

Barbara has been nominated for a Pushcart award for her poem, Mom and I Play Lassos with Our Hysterectomy Scars, a deeply provocative and sensitive poem which is included in this collection.

Website: Extraordinary Sunshine Weaver

Lost in the Hours: A Poetry Collection by River Dixon (2020). Available on Amazon.com.

River is a multi-talented poet, fiction writer, and publisher at Potter’s Grove Press. His fiction leans toward the dark side. But his poetry is honest, raw, straight-shooting, and direct. The first thing you come to realize when you read his poems is that River is a realist, not an idealist. There are few hearts and flowers here. He writes with power, intelligence, profound understanding, and articulate expression. He shares a healthy cynicism about life and the world in general. I like his poetry because he says what many of us are only thinking. He’s not afraid to criticize the status quo:

“While you drown in a shallow pool

Of only three inches of self-worth

They taught you well

How to hold your own head under

And convince you of rainbows

While they blot out the stars

One by one . . .”

His works are also available from Potter’s Grove Press, along with other avant-garde authors.

Websites: The Stories In-Between

                 Potter’s Grove Press

~

Dawn Pisturino

November 19, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

20 Comments »

Poetry Book Reviews: Kym Gordon Moore and Patricia Furstenberg

(Photo by John Jennings on Unsplash)

We are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook by Kym Gordon Moore (2022).

       Available on Amazon.com.

I’ve known Kym for about a year now and regularly follow her blog on WordPress. Although we don’t always agree, I’ve always found her to be intelligent, funny, well-educated, and articulate. And, she’s fierce! Whatever causes she embraces, she puts her whole heart and soul into them.

In her latest book, Kym provides a general overview of poetry and her vision for the future of poetry as an art form, a therapeutic tool, and an educational medium. She views poetry as a living, breathing thing that can transform the poet, the community, the country, and even the world. Poetry should be as rich, colorful, and diverse as life itself.

Her book is almost a textbook on creating poetry and would be a useful tool in the classroom. She introduces the concept of ArchiPoetry, which employs architectural ideas to design and perfect poetic creations. As she writes: “By combining the use of language, imagery, metaphors, and specific patterns, the design elements in ArchiPoetry have different disciplines and poetic variations.”

While journaling has been an accepted therapeutic tool for a while in mental health, Kym developed the concept of TheraPoetry, a process through which people can find emotional relief by expressing themselves with poetry. Kym speaks from experience. After the death of her mother, it was poetry – and writing poetry – which helped her through the grieving process.

Illiteracy is an issue about which Kym is very passionate; and she wants to use poetry as a medium to teach our children how to read and improve their reading comprehension skills. We all remember rhymes that we learned as children. Those rhymes stick in our heads as rhythmical pieces of our childhood, bring back fond memories, and encourage us to pass them on to the next generation.

Poetry is creativity, mental gymnastics, lyrical composition, and inner fantasy. Poetry is emotional release, mental growth, and spiritual expression. This is why Kym championed the cause of poetry in 2014 when she persuaded mayors all across North Carolina to submit proclamations officially recognizing April as National Poetry Month. Kym also endorses and supports the Academy of American Poets as a valuable resource for educators and poets everywhere. As she says, “Poetry is a revival and reminder of our aspirations, possibilities, and achievements for all people.”

Finally, I close with Kym’s own summation of poetry:

“Poetry paints emotion

art is imagination and passion

poetry inspires art

expressionism through creativity is art and poetry

-transformation-

poetry and art is creativity through expressionism

art inspires poetry

passion and imagination is art

emotion paints poetry.”

Website: From Behind the Pen

Christmas Haiku by Patricia Furstenberg (2018). Available on Amazon.com.

Patricia is a Romanian poet living in South Africa. Her poetry appears regularly on MasticadoresRomania, Spillwords Press, and other poetry sites and literary magazines. With Christmas right around the corner, I was drawn to read her book of Christmas haiku. Charmed by the simplicity of her verses and photos, I sincerely recommend this little chapbook as the perfect way to get into the candy-gingerbread-tinsel-lights holiday mood! Patricia has written numerous books for adults and children, which are all available on Amazon. So, grab a steaming cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!

“Christmas, snow, giggles,

Young and old around the tree.

Scent of fresh cookies.”

Website: Patricia Furstenberg, Author

34 Comments »

“The Girl on the Bus” on Spillwords

(Photo from Spillwords)

I’m pleased and honored to announce that my poem, The Girl on the Bus, has been published today on Spillwords. I want to thank Dagmara K. and the staff at Spillwords for publishing it. Please visit Spillwords and show them your support. Thanks!

The Girl on the Bus

by Dawn Pisturino

The bus driver watched you in the mirror,

His eyes wide with fear,

When you stood up in the middle of the bus,

Crying like a terrified child.

Passengers waited with bated breath,

Wondering what you would do.

The sharpness of your pain . . .

Please visit Spillwords here to read the rest. Thank you so much!

Have a beautiful day!

Dawn Pisturino

November 17, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

35 Comments »

Euthanasia and Healthcare Ethics: An Ethical Dilemma

A recent case of euthanasia in Europe prompted me to post this. Here’s the link to the case:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11291995/Woman-23-survived-2016-Brussels-airport-ISIS-bomb-euthanised-Belgium.html

(NOTE: Some laws may have changed since I wrote this in 2017.)

Euthanasia and Healthcare Ethics: An Ethical Dilemma

by Dawn Pisturino

Abstract

Healthcare ethics deal with life and death situations which involve every member of the healthcare team.  But the patient is at the heart of healthcare ethics, and the rights, safety, and well-being of the patient must come first in all healthcare decisions.  It is not up to healthcare personnel to decide who will live and who will die.

Euthanasia and Healthcare Ethics: An Ethical Dilemma

       Every discipline has a code of ethics to follow when it comes to making ethical decisions, and healthcare is no exception.  Ethics in healthcare is so important, in fact, that most organizations have a process through which tough ethical decisions, such as end-of-life decisions, can be made.

The Hippocratic Oath and Modern Healthcare Ethics

       The origin of healthcare ethics dates back to the Hippocratic School of 200 B.C. (Geppert & Roberts, 2008).  Hippocrates devised the Oath of the Hippocratic School, which includes confidentiality, nonmaleficence, and beneficence (Geppert & Roberts, 2008).  Since then, technology has forced changes in healthcare ethics, adding principles of autonomy, respect for persons, compassion, privacy, and honesty (Geppert & Roberts, 2008).  Most of these principles can be applied to end-of-life issues.

The End-of-Life Debate 

       The end-of-life debate has been fueled by the preponderance of chronic disease in modern society, quality of life issues, and the soaring cost of healthcare.  In most countries around the world, euthanasia and patient-assisted suicide are illegal.  Hippocrates himself said, “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect” (Doukas, 1995).

Dr. Jack Kevorkian

       In 1999, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder by a Michigan jury in the death of Thomas Youk (Charatan, 1999).  Dr. Kevorkian had administered a lethal dose of medication to Youk, who was suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  He could not prove that Youk had asked him to end his life.

       The Hemlock Society, a proponent of physician-assisted suicide, condemned the verdict (Charatan, 1999).  But many organizations devoted to disability rights applauded Dr. Kevorkian’s conviction, claiming that euthanasia is a threat to people with disabilities (Charatan, 1999).  The American Medical Association issued a statement by Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, who was president at the time: “Patients in America can be relieved that the guilty verdict against Dr. Jack Kevorkian helps protect them from those who would take their lives prematurely” (Charatan, 1999).

       John Roberts, North American editor of the British Medical Journal, labeled Dr. Jack Kevorkian “a medical hero.”  He considered Kevorkian an honest man who was acting according to his personal moral principles (Roberts & Kjellstrand, 1996).  Still, most physicians want to be perceived by the public as healers – not death dealers (Doukas, 1995).

Dutch Euthanasia Act

       In 2002, the Netherlands passed the Dutch Euthanasia Act, sparking a world-wide debate on end-of-life issues (Van der Heide, 2007).

       Euthanasia, as defined in the Netherlands, is “death resulting from medication that is administered by a physician with the explicit request of the patient” (Van der Heide, 2007).  In physician-assisted suicide, the physician prescribes the medication and the patient administers it himself, leading to death.  In both cases, the physician is legally protected by the Dutch Euthanasia Act for ending life “at the request of a patient who was suffering unbearably without hope of relief” (Van der Heide, 2007).

       Before making a decision, physicians are required to discuss euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide with the terminally-ill patient and his relatives.  If there is any question about the ethical nature of the decision, physicians may discuss the matter with colleagues.  In 2005, in the Netherlands, 73.9% of all patient-requested deaths were the result of neuromuscular relaxants or barbituates; 16.2% were the result of opioids (Van der Heide, 2007).

Ethical Dilemma Case Example

       Physicians are not the only healthcare workers faced with ethical dilemmas.  Nurses also find themselves in situations where they must apply ethical principles.

       The Charge Nurse at a local hospital wanted to open up a patient bed in order to admit a patient from the emergency room.  She asked this author – the patient’s nurse – to give a dose of intravenous morphine to a patient who was dying of end-stage kidney disease.  Legally, the patient was a “Do Not Resuscitate.”  The family was at the bedside.

       “Ethical dilemmas often provoke powerful emotions and strong personal opinions; however, emotions and opinions alone are not a satisfactory way of resolving ethical dilemmas” (Lo, 2013).   Faced with an ethical dilemma of tantamount importance, this nurse had only a short time in which to make the right decision.

       The first thing to consider was the law and the legal ramifications of any decision made in this situation (Pojman & Fieser, 2017).  How would the decision affect the Charge Nurse and the patient’s nurse?  Would we be held legally liable if the patient died after receiving an extra dose of morphine?  Would we lose our nursing licenses?  Would the family sue?  Would we lose our jobs?  Euthanasia in Arizona is against the law.

       Secondly, would the patient want to be given an extra dose of morphine?  A “Do Not Resuscitate” status merely indicates that the patient does not want to be revived if the heart stops beating or respirations cease.  It is not a request for euthanasia.  Would it violate the patient’s personal or religious beliefs to administer an extra dose of morphine?  Would it violate her core ethics?  Would it take away her right of self-determination and autonomy (Pojman & Fieser, 2017)?

       Thirdly, to go into the patient’s room and administer an injection of morphine without just cause would violate the culture and ethics of the hospital, the doctor, and most of the nursing staff (Pojman & Fieser, 2017).  It would look suspicious to the family.  They would question what this nurse was doing.  It would place this nurse in an uncomfortable situation.

       The ethical dilemma posed here is this: should the patient’s nurse do what the Charge Nurse requested or refuse?  In order to make a rational and ethical decision, the patient’s nurse must first analyze the situation.  According to Pojman and Fieser, “most ethical analysis falls into one or more of the following domains: (1) action, (2) consequences, (3) character traits, and (4) motives.”

Action

       Giving the patient an extra dose of morphine would be the right action if the patient was in pain and wanted the medication.  It would be the right action if the patient seemed uncomfortable and the patient’s family requested it.  It would not be an obligatory act if it was too soon to give the medication or if the patient did not need it at that time.  It would be considered an optional act, based on the nurse’s professional judgment and opinion.  On the other hand, it would be a wrong action to give the morphine if the patient did not need it or the patient’s family did not want it given.  If euthanasia were legal and the physician was at the bedside and requested the patient’s nurse to draw up the medication, it would be considered a supererogatory act if the physician administered it to the patient.  He would be ending the patient’s suffering.  The nurse would be involved in a legal and compassionate act.

Consequences

       If the patient was in pain and needed the medication, giving the morphine would be the right action because it eased the patient’s pain.  If the patient died as a result, there would be no legal or professional consequences because there is no way to predict if that particular injection will cause the patient to stop breathing.  The morphine was given according to medical guidelines ordered by the physician.  If the patient was not in pain and the extra injection of morphine caused the patient to stop breathing, it could raise ethical and legal issues for the nurse who administered the medication.  Those issues would most likely be raised by the family, if they were concerned.

Character Traits

       The Charge Nurse was more concerned about opening up a patient bed than respecting the rights of the patient who was dying.  It seems callous, malevolent, and unfeeling.  The patient’s nurse must examine her own feelings and attitudes and decide if the Charge Nurse was right or wrong in her request.

Motive

       The motive of the Charge Nurse was clearly to give in to pressure from the emergency room to admit a patient.  She showed no concern whatsoever for the patient who was dying.  She had no respect for the patient’s rights and autonomy – or for the patient’s family.

       The nurse’s motive should be to protect the rights and safety of her patient.  She is the patient’s advocate.  If she gives in to pressure from the Charge Nurse, she will fail in her duty to her patient.  Even if she believes that euthanasia is a moral act, neither she nor the physician has informed consent from the patient or the family.

What Happened

       The patient’s nurse evaluated the motives of the Charge Nurse, felt disgusted, and went into the patient’s room to check on her condition.  She was resting quietly with her eyes closed, and the nurse saw no evidence of pain or discomfort.  When the nurse asked the patient’s family if they wanted the patient to receive a morphine injection for pain, they agreed with the nurse that the patient was resting quietly and did not need it.  Relieved, the patient’s nurse reported all of this to the Charge Nurse.  As a parting shot she added, “And I’m not Dr. Kevorkian!”

Conclusion

       Patients and their families have the final say in what happens to terminally-ill patients.  It is not up to healthcare personnel to make decisions about end-of-life care for a patient.  This will be particularly true if euthanasia and patient-assisted suicide ever become legal on a widespread scale.  The medical community, in line with its own ethical principles, must respect the right of self-determination and autonomy of terminally-ill patients.

References

Charatan, Fred. (1999). Dr. Kevorkian found guilty of second degree murder. British medical

       journal, 318(7189), 962. Retrieved from

       http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1174693/

Doukas, D.J., Waterhouse, D., Gorenflo, D.W., Seid, J. (1995). Attitudes and behaviors on

       physician-assisted death: A study of Michigan oncologists. Journal of Clinical Oncology,

       13(5), 1055-1061

Geppert, M.A., & Roberts, L.W. (Ed.) (2008). Book of ethics. Center City, MN: Hazelden

       Foundation

Lo, Bernard. (2013). Resolving ethical dilemmas: A guide for clinicians. Philadelphia, PA:

       Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins

Pojman, L.P., & Fieser, J. (2017). Ethics: Discovering right and wrong. Boston, MA:

       Cengage Learning

Roberts, J., & Kjellstrand, C. (1996). Jack Kevorkian: a medical hero. BMJ: British

       Medical Journal, 312(7044), 1434

Van der Heide, A., Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B.D., Rurup, M.L., Buitina, H.M., van Delden, J.M.,

       Hanssen-de Wolf, J.E., . . . van der Wal, G. (2007). End-of-life practices in the Netherlands

       under the euthanasia act. New England Journal of Medicine, 356 (19), 1957-1965.

~

UPDATE:

Where is assisted dying legal in Europe? 

Assisted dying refers to both voluntary active euthanasia and physician-assisted death, when a patient’s life is ended at their request. 

Only three countries in Europe approve of assisted dying as a whole: Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

 The first two even recognise requests from minors under strict circumstances, while Luxembourg excludes them from the legislation.

 Germany, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, and Austria allow physician-assisted death under specific circumstances. 

Countries such as Spain, Sweden, England, Italy, Hungary, and Norway allow passive euthanasia under strict circumstances. Passive euthanasia is when a patient suffering from an incurable disease dies because doctors stops doing something necessary to keep them alive. 

Sources: Euronews

~

Dawn Pisturino

Philosophy 151

May 2, 2017; November 2, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

34 Comments »

Starry, Starry Night

(The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh)

I’ve visited many art galleries and museums, including the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York City, and seen many wonderful and inspiring paintings, but what really stands out in my mind is Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Its brilliant blue and yellow colors, active night sky, and peaceful ambience (in spite of the strong brush strokes and turbulent sky) provoke speculation, mystery, and fascination, in my mind. What was Van Gogh thinking? What was he feeling? Most importantly, what was he seeing?

It’s well known that he suffered from mental illness and attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest. He later died of the wound. His death surprised people who believed that he was actually in a more positive frame of mind at the time of his death. But who knew what was really going on in his mind and in his heart?

(People who have decided to kill themselves often appear more positive and energetic because they have made the final decision and no longer feel conflicted about their actions. In fact, people can feel so depressed that they lack the energy to actually harm themselves. Appearances are deceiving, and it’s important to remember this if you are dealing with someone in your life who suffers from depression and suicidal ideation.)

Sometimes, people ask if persons who are mentally ill are more artistic than others. When I worked in mental health, I met scores of patients who were phenomenal artists. Not only did they possess an exceptional natural talent for art, but engaging in art helped them to concentrate their attention, focus their thoughts, freely express their ideas and emotions, make sense of the larger world around them, distract them from troubling thoughts and feelings, and help them to cope with anxiety and depression. (When I worked in Flagstaff, we had an actual art therapist who would come in and do art projects with the patients.) I cannot say that their mental illness made them more artistic. In some cases, their lack of self-esteem and confidence actually caused them to suppress their talent. On the other hand, people who are intimately in touch with their emotions make great artists because they can freely express themselves without regard to social convention and self-constraint. But people who are over-sensitive and cannot manage their own emotions can be more susceptible to mental health issues.

So, it’s a conundrum. Did Vincent Van Gogh’s mental illness make him a great artist – or did his mental illness interfere with his natural artistic talent? I don’t know.

What do you say?

Perhaps Don McLean can answer that question:

(“Vincent” by Don McLean – one of my favorite songs)

Dawn Pisturino

October 10, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

41 Comments »

The Clown School

(Red Skelton and Lucille Ball)

When my daughter told me she was going to go to clown school, I thought, Okay, what new adventure is this? Is she going to join the circus? The rodeo? What’s up with this?

After a few chuckles, she explained to me what clown school is — a school for performing artists to learn the intriguing history of clowns, a variety of new acting skills, and a way to incorporate playfulness and fun into theatrical acting.

The Clown School, located in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, California, is one of the top clown schools in America. People from TV and film attend the school in order to further their careers. My daughter, who is a professional singer and performer, has been taking their online classes, and she loves it.

One famous TV clown was Red Skelton, but Lucille Ball was also considered a clown. Her comedy routines, playfulness, and ability to make people love her and laugh, are legendary. I Love Lucy re-runs are still on traditional TV and streaming.

Clowns have been around for thousands of years. In 2400 B.C., Ancient Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty saw priests assuming the role of clowns in order to promote social and religious concepts. Jesters were common in China as early as 300 B.C. They were used in India as interpreters in 100 A.D.

Greek and Roman theater featured clowns and mimes. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance period, fools and jesters entertained members of the public and the royal courts alike. They were often used to promote religious concepts for the Church. In the 14th century, clowns began to appear on tarot cards.

The Aztecs were employing court jesters for entertainment when the Spanish arrived in 1520 A.D. The Commedia del Arte established the tradition of the three Zannis in 16th century Italy, which included the character of Harlequin.

Among Native Americans, clowns were used to make social and religious statements. Their antics made people laugh and think about the message the clowns were trying to deliver.

The first circus clowns were brought to England by Philip Astley in 1768. And Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), a British entertainer, expanded the role of the clown and earned the title “Father of Modern Clowning.”

For more information about The Clown School, click here: http://www.theclownschool.com.

Have a fun-filled, happy day!

Dawn Pisturino

September 28, 2022

Copyright 2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

21 Comments »

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