Do you have a child with autism?

My wife and I raised a child with special needs and autism and have over 20 years of experience with issues from infancy to adulthood.  If you have a child with autism I’d love to hear from you to share your stories and share our lessons learned.


Chron’s/Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

I haven’t said much about this publicly in the past, but I have Chron’s/ulcerative colitis (UC) and it is great to see the therapy that basically saved my life get some validation and recognition.  The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

What’s even better is that this recognition is coming from our very own Seattle Children’s Hospital!

Dr. David Suskind, a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s hospital, had been searching for a more appropriate and efficient solution for treating IBD that is free from chronic side effects. Recently, the researcher found a perfect way for treating IBD. His research, published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, reveals that it is possible to treat IBD by intake of a special diet, Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

When I discovered the SCD diet it was because of my own research because I was desperate for relief.  I had been suffering for a year and a half and my doctors were at the point of recommending both surgery….colon resection…. and putting me on Humira, which in my opinion is a horrible medication.  I knew I didn’t want to lose part of my intestines through surgery and I didn’t want to take a drug that could put me at risk of many adverse effects including tuberculosis.  I tried the gluten free diet faithfully for six months and it made no difference at all in my symptoms.  Besides that most GF foods taste like crap!  I asked my gastroenterologist if what I was eating made any difference to my symptoms and he told me that food has no know effect upon Chron’s/UC!  So, hating to take no for an answer, I eventually found the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and decided it I had nothing to lose.  I began the diet in September 2009 and within only 30 days I was symptom free!  My docs just looked at me with a blank look when I told them my story.  But that’s okay, I don’t really care what they think.  I do care about what works for me and my body and SCD works!  Besides that it is a wholesome and healthy way to eat.

Here is a link to the full article about the Children’s Hospital research.



Bass Lessons Update

Just a quick news release to update you that I have not forgotten about continuing the double bass lesson series.  My last lesson post was on February 26th.  I was preoccupied and/or traveling for business (I have a full time day job other than music to keep me busy!) for most of the month of March.  Then in the first week of April I managed to break my thumb!  And I’ve been struggling with the VA healthcare system ever since trying to get properly treated. (See “Dear VA – Sorry, but you still suck” post for details!)

Broken Thumb

Anyway, stay tuned because once the thumb is better I will be continuing the DB series of double bass lessons and videos.  The next lesson will be on beginning to play open string notes, learning to control the bow and then moving on to fingering notes from, as Simandl calls it, the “usual” or “half position”, or as I call it from the open strings through the third position (equivalent to the 3rd fret on the electric bass).


Dear VA – Sorry, but you still Suck

Dear Congress and the VA:

I’m not a dying vet (yet) that you have abandoned.  But I am a vet (Navy) and I did have a medical issue and you did abandon me.


You gave me VA health care coverage under the Veterans Choice Act because they are not accepting new patients at my local VA facilities.  In theory you said I can go receive care by a non-VA provider.  Sounds great right?


I managed to break my thumb by smashing it between a sledge hammer and a steel fence post.  (OK my bad….but stuff happens, you know?)

I went to my primary care doctor who cleaned and examined the wound and had it x-rayed.  He told me, “You broke your thumb.  You need to go to orthopedics to get it treated.  We already have an appointment set up for you this afternoon.”

Not long afterwards his office called me back and told me I couldn’t go to orthopedics because the VA has to approve the referral first.

I called the Veterans Choice program and asked them if the referral had been approved yet.  They told me, “No.  It may take up to 14 days.”  I said, “You have got to be joking?  I can’t wait two weeks!  I have a broken thumb.”  They told me to go to my nearest hospital emergency room because the VA would pay for that.

How stupid is this?

They are trying to save money by having some moron in a cubicle who doesn’t know me or my doctor decide what kind of medical care I should receive.  Instead they send me to the ER.  I’m sure that saved them tons of money.

So I went to the ER.  for the privilege of having a trainee ER tech fit me with a gigantic fiberglass splint that went halfway up my arm.  The ER doc said I should see an orthopedic hand surgeon as soon as possible.


In the meantime, I called Veterans Choice, VA patient advocacy, and the VA non-VA billing department multiple times to try to get the orthopedic referral approved.  Everyone told me how sorry they were and thanked me for my service.  But no one said “you’re approved”.

So, it has now been nine days and still nothing.  Still waiting on whoever to finish their box of donuts, or come back from a smoke break or whatever and do their job.

Again, my issue was a minor one, so I feel really, really sorry for any veteran out there who has serious health problems that is dependent on the VA healthcare system.

People:  This is an example of socialism, socialized medicine and central control.  It’s been tried.  It doesn’t work.  It sucks.

Well, what do you think?  Am I being too critical? (I don’t think so!)  Are you a vet or do you know a vet who has had a bad experience with the VA?

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