28 January 2018

Comeback from almost a goner

Greeting to all readers

On the 24th. November, 2017, I heard from the Irish National Bowel Screening Programme, which I have been following for a number of years, that blood was found in my stool sample. I was advised to have a colonoscopy done and that took place on 10th. December. As I chose not to be sedated during the examination, I was myself able to follow the camera inside my bowel on a screen. It travelled first through a clean bowel, but then suddenly showed up a place full of blood. Afterwards, I was told that it was bowel cancer. I felt that this was the end of my life. I would have to desert Hilary.
Good news came on 13th. December, with a CT scan provisionally showing no metastasis.
On 12th. January I met my consulting surgeon, Mr. Peter Murchan, for the first time at a Pre-Operative Assessment Clinic. He has 20 years of experience and, apparently, is one of the best surgeons in this field in Ireland.

Admission to hospital on 16th. January in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary and on 17th. January an operation lasting four hours.

As, unfortunately, laparoscopy was not possible in my case, the next day, after 24 hours, I awoke from the anesthetic with a giant 'zip' in my belly in the Intensive Care Unit, where I stayed until 21st. January. Intensive care was necessary because of my history of deep venous thrombosis for which I have been taking anticoagulants for more than 2 years. After that I spent some time on a ward. I was told that the whole process could take 14 days, but, as my G.P. told me during a talk we had at the beginning of January, I am, though nearly 70, a very healthy man with a strong heart and excellent lungs. Even the staff at the hospital were amazed at my speedy recovery. Two days ago, on 26th. January, 2018, after just 10 days in hospital and without a stoma, I was back on my feet again, if a little wobbly. Hilary, my wife and the best friend I could ever have wished for, has taken off the whole of January from work and is now caring for me as one of my finest nurses. She will be getting medical assistance from the district nurse here in Tallow.
Everything the surgeon removed has been sent to a laboratory. No chemotherapy as yet, but if there appears to be metastasis after all, a small chance, then I will have to take that on board too. The hospital will be monitoring me closely this year and in the future and the way it is looking at the moment, it is quite likely that I will need half a year to completely recover......walking, gardening, cooking nice food and making sure that my body stays as healthy as possible. Thanks to this bowel screening I got a timely warning. Science, up till now, has saved my life.

I hereby would like to sincerely thank those friends and acquaintances who knew of my illness for their support.

Hans van den Bos
Terug van bijna weggeweest

Lezers dezes gegroet

Op 24 november 2017 kreeg ik van het Iers Nationaal Darm Onderzoek, waar ik aan deel genomen had, te horen dat er bloed in mijn ontlasting zat. Mij werd geadviseerd om een Colonoscopie te ondergaan op 10 december. Ik kon de camera zelf op het scherm volgen, omdat ik geen verdoving wilde. Door een schone darm kwam deze camera plotseling aan bij een bloedige plek. Later hoorde ik dat het een darmkanker was. Mijn gevoel, dit was het einde van mijn leven. Ik zou Hilary in de steek moeten laten.
Een CT scan op 13 december gaf het eerste goede nieuws, geen uitzaaiingen werden voorlopig geconstateerd.
Op 12 january 2018 een Preoperatieve beoordeling, waar ik ook mijn chirurg, Mr. Peter Murchan, voor het eerst ontmoette. Hij heeft zo'n 20 jaar ervaring in zijn vak en schijnt een van de beste op dit gebied in Ierland te zijn.

Ziekenhuisopname 16 januari 2018 in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, op 17 januari de 4 uur durende operatie.
Met een grote ritssluiting op mijn buik, Laparoscopy was helaas in mijn geval niet mogelijk, werd ik na 24 uur de volgende dag uit de narcose wakker op de Intensive Care Afdeling, waar ik bleef tot 21 januari. Intensive care was noodzakelijk, vanwege de geschiedenis met de aderen in mijn benen, risico van bloedproppen, ik slik al meer dan 2 jaar een bloedverdunnende medicijn. Daarna nog een tijdje op de zaal. Er was mij verteld, dat het gehele proces zo'n 14 dagen kon duren, maar ik ben, zoals mijn huisarts tijdens een gesprek mij begin januari vertelde, met mijn bijna 70 jaar, een zeer gezonde man, met een sterk hart en uitermate goede longen. Zelfs het personeel van het ziekenhuis was verbaast over mijn snelle herstel. Ik ben sinds, 26 januari 2018, na 10 dagen ziekenhuis, zonder stoma, weer thuis en op de been, al ben ik nog wat wankel. Hilary mijn vrouw en beste vriend die ik ooit had kunnen wensen, heeft de hele maand january vrij genomen van haar werk en zorgt nu als een van de beste verpleegsters voor mij. Medisch zal zij geholpen gaan worden door de district verpleegster hier in Tallow.
Alle stukjes die de chirurg verwijderd heeft zijn voor nader onderzoek naar een laboratorium. Voorlopig geen chemotherapie, maar als blijkt dat toch nog ergens tumors zitten, dan zal ik er aan moeten geloven, maar de kans is klein. Dit jaar en ook in de verdere toekomst zal ik onder toezicht van het ziekenhuis blijven. Zoals het nu is, is de kans groot dat ik zeker een halfjaar nodig zal hebben om volledig te genezen. Wandelen, tuinieren, lekkere gerechten koken, gewoon zorgen dat ik mijn lichaam zo gezond mogelijk houd. Ik was dankzij dit darmonderzoek er heel snel bij. Wetenschap heeft tot nu toe mijn leven gered.
Vrienden en kennissen die op de hoogte waren van mijn ziekte, wil ik met deze bedanken voor hun support.

Hans van den Bos

29 December 2017

Is Religion Child Abuse? - Christopher Hitchens

First part of Chapter Sixteen from the book ''GOD IS NOT GREAT''
How Religion Poisons Everything
Published by Atlantic Books, London in 2007

Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 - 15 December 2011) was an Anglo-American author, columnist, orator, religious and literary critic, social critic, and journalist. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays, on politics, literature and religion.

When we consider whether religion has ''done more harm than good'' - not that this would say anything at all about its truth or authenticity - we are faced with an imponderably large question. How can we ever know how many children had their psychological and physical lives irreparably maimed by the compulsory inculcation of faith? This is almost as hard to determine as the number of spiritual and religious dreams and visions that came ''true'', which in order to possess even a minimal claim to value would have to be measured against all the unrecorded and unremembered ones that did not. But we can be sure that religion has always hoped to practice upon the unformed and undefended minds of the young, and has gone to great lengths to make sure of this privilege by making alliances with secular powers in the material world.
    One of the great instances of moral terrorism in our literature is the sermon preached by Father Arnall in James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This disgusting old priest is reading Stephen Dedalus and his other young ''charges'' for a retreat in honor of Saint Francis Yavier (the man who brought the Inquisition to Asia and whose bones are still revered by those who choose to revere bones). He decided to impress them with a long and gloating account of eternal punishment, of the sort which the church used to mandate when it still had the confidence to do so. It is possible to quote the entire rant, but two particularly element - concerning the nature of torture and the nature of time - are of interest. It is easy to see that the priest's words are precisely to frighten children. In the first place, the images are themselves childlike. In the torture section, the very devil himself makes a mountain shrivel like wax. Every frightening malady is summoned, and the childlike worry that this pain might go on forever is deftly played upon. When it comes to the picture of a unit of time, we see a child on the beach playing with grains of sand, and then the infantile magnification of units (''Daddy, what if there were a million million million squillion kittens: would they fill up the whole world?''), and then, adding further multiplicities, the evocation of nature's leaves, and the easily conjured fur and feathers and scales of the family pet. For centuries, grown men have been paid to frighten children in this way (and to torture and beat and violate them as well, as they also did in Joyce's memory and the memory of countless others).
    The other man-made stupidities and cruelties of the religious are easy to detect as well. The idea of torture is as old as the nastiness of mankind, which is the only species with the imagination to guess what it might feel like when imposed upon another. We cannot blame religion for this impulse, but we can condemn it for institutionalizing and refining the practice. The museums of medieval Europe, from Holland to Tuscany, are crammed with instruments and devices upon which holy men labored devoutly, in order to see how long they could keep someone alive while being roasted. It is not needful to go into further details, but there were also religious books of instruction in this art, and guides for the detection of heresy by pain. Those who were not lucky enough to be allowed to take part in the auto-da-fé (or ''act of faith'', as a torture session was known) were permitted free rein to fantasize as many lurid nightmares as they could, and to inflict them verbally in order to keep the ignorant in a state of permanent fear. In an era where there was little enough by way of public entertainment, a good public burning or disembowelment or breaking on the wheel was often as much recreation as the saintly dared to allow. 
Tertullian, full name
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus,
 c. 155 – c. 240 AD,
 was a prolific early Christian author from
Carthage in the Roman province of Africa
Nothing proves the man-made character of religion as obviously as the sick mind that designed hell, unless it is the sorely limited mind that has failed to describe heaven-except as a place of either worldly comfort, eternal tedium, or (as Tertullian thought) continual relish in the torture of others.
    Pre-Christian hells were highly unpleasant too, and called upon the same sadistic ingenuity for their invention. However, some of the early ones we know of - most notably the Hindu - were limited in time. A sinner, for example, might be sentenced to a given number of years in hell, where every day counted as 6,400 human years. If he slew a priest, the sentence thus adjusted would be 149,504,000,000 years. It was left to Christians to find a hell from which there was no possible appeal. (And the idea is easily plagiarized: I once heard Louis Farrakhan, leader of the heretical black-only ''Nation of Islam'', as he drew a hideous roar from a mob in Madison Square Garden. Hurling spittle at the Jews, he yelled: ''And don't you forget - when it's God who puts you in the ovens, it's FOREVER!).
    The obsession with children, and with rigid control over their upbringing, has been part of every system of absolute authority. It may have been a Jesuit who was first actually quoted as saying: ''Give me the child until he is ten, and I will give you the man'', but the idea is very much older than the school of Ignatius Loyola. Indoctrination of the young often has the reverse effect, as we also know from the fate of many secular ideologies, but it seems that the religious will run this risk in order to imprint the average boy or girl with enough propaganda. What else can they hope to do? If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world. Faithful parents are divided over this, since they naturally hope to share the wonders and delights of Christmas and other fiestas with their offspring (and can also make good use of a god, as well as of lesser figures like Santa Claus, to help tame the unruly) but mark what happens if the child should stray to another faith, let alone another cult, even in early adolescence. The parents will tend to proclaim that this is taking advantage of the innocent. All monotheisms have, or used to have, a very strong prohibition against apostasy for just this reason. In her Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, Mary McCarthy remembers her shock at learning from a Jesuit preacher that her Protestant grandfather - her guardian and friend - was doomed to eternal punishment because he had been baptized in the wrong way. A precociously intelligent child, she would not let the matter drop until she had made the Mother Superior consult some higher authorities and discover a loophole in the writings of Bishop Athanasius, who held that heretics were only damned if they rejected the true church with full awareness of what they were doing. Her grandfather, then, might be sufficiently unaware of the true church to evade hell. But what an agony to which to subject an eleven-year-old girl! And only think of the number of less curious children who simply accepted this evil teaching without questioning it. Those who lie to the young in this way are wicked in the extreme......................

27 December 2017


Borlase and Son by T. Baron Russell 

'Borlase and Son' has the merit, first of all, of actuality'. As the preface is dated for May last, one may credit the author with prophetic power, or at least with that special affinity for the actual, the engrossing topic, which is a very necessary quality in the melodramatist. The scene of the story is the suburban district about Peckham Rye, where the Armenians have just fought out a quarrel, and, moreover, the epitasis (as Ben Jonson would call it) of the story dates from fall of stocks incident upon a revolution among the Latin peoples of America.
But the author has an interest beyond that derivable from such allusions. He has been called the Zola of Camberwell, and, inappropriate as the pepithet is, it is to Zola we must turn for what is, perhaps, the supreme achievement in that class of fiction of which 'Borlase and Son' is a type. In 'Au Bonheur des Dames' Zola has set forth the intimate glories and shames of the great warehouse – has, in fact, written an epic for drapers; and in 'Borlase and Son', a much smaller canvas, our author has drawn very faithfully the picture of the smaller 'emporium', with its sordid avarice, its underpaid labour, its intrigue, its 'customs of trade'.
The suburban mind is not invariably beautiful, and its working is here delineated with unsentimental vigour. Perhaps the unctuousness of old Borlase is somewhat overstated, and the landladies may be reminiscent of Dickens. In spite of its 'double circle' plot, 'Borlase and Son' has much original merit, and the story, a little slender starveling of a story, is told very-neatly and often very humorously. For the rest, the binding of the book is as ugly as one could reasonably expect.  

James Joyce

For more information about this review go to The James Joyce Centre - http://jamesjoyce.ie/tag/t-baron-russell/

17 September 2017

J. P. Donleavy's Ireland

 In All Her Sins  Some of Her Graces
(Full Documentary)