At a recent press briefing held during the National Conference of the American Society On Aging and the National Council on Aging, I posed a question asking how we could reconcile the disparities between the $269 billion dollars caregivers are saving the government by keeping loved ones home and out of facilities, vs. the $250 billion Congress has approved for the military.

The panel was made up of five representatives of MEDICARE. Like clockwork, the male respondents turned their heads away from me like robots, ignoring my question. The one woman on the panel simply nodded and smiled as if I was hitting the nail on the head.

I was unnerved by their evasion, and told them so. I pointed out that their salaries came from our tax dollars, and I wanted to know why weren't they bringing the voice of the public of the entire nation, back to the President so that these inequities could be corrected.

One of the male panelists replied with ³It's up to you journalists to write about it!" Before I could contain myself, I countered that even if we did write about it, the mainstream media wouldn't publish it because they only print and broadcast what they are told to by the vested interests of the corporations and the government. Needless to say, more than a few jaws around the room dropped....

Later that afternoon in another press event, I asked Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Josefina Carbonell the same question, who spent about 7 minutes responding to just about everything but my specific query.

When I went up to her after the briefing, she told me that the question was excellent. I looked her straight in the eye and asked her "So, why didn't you answer it?" There was no response. I said, “You know Ms. Carbonell, if I have learned one thing here today at these two press conferences, it is that I have a voice. And I am going to make sure my voice will be heard from now on!” I actually walked away thinking to myself, “I’ve got a new attitude!” Within seconds, I was singing Patti LaBelle’s song, “I’ve Got A New Attitude.” And, I haven’t stopped singing…

As I found myself battling my own inner war with our President, I realized that I had to let go of that struggle, because it was not under my control, and I didn't feel good putting this man down. What I do have control over are my own emotions, and although I had to dig very, very deeply to muster up the energy, I did resolve to send him love. I do so in hopes that by sending love, Mr. Bush might find the resolve to shift some of his own energies into more peaceful, loving ones.

t has been an immense challenge for me to transcend the disharmony that has descended upon us recently. Immediately following 9/11, it seemed that most of the world supported us and our own nation was healing.

The complexity of our situation holds no easy answers. On the one hand, my life¹s work is about addressing the pain and suffering of others, so does it make me less-than patriotic to want peace? Am I wrong for wanting caregivers to receive some of the funding that is being wasted on war? Just to recall the thought that over 500 bombs were dropped in less than two hours, to the tune of $1 million per bomb, makes me almost physically ill.

I can¹t help but wonder why congress not only approved previous levels of military spending, but is now said to be ready to grant the President another $75 billion or more. When will this insanity end? When can we count on the government to give the same priority to caring for its own- for helping to rebuild, to feed, and possibly to even insure its citizens¹ health through new programs?

Many of us have mixed feelings about all of this, and our reactions are valid, real and important. We all need to know that what we are feeling as individuals is important, whether or not we are for the war.

Does the stress you are feeling impact your life, your daily routines? Do you feel like you are reacting to the stress more than those around you?

If you are feeling this way, simply take a moment to recall another time in your life when you were unable to control something that caused you pain? Past losses such as a job, friend, etc. may begin to surface as a result of what you are feeling now. How did you deal with this issue then? What are the similarities or differences compared to how you feel now? This feeling of being out of control can consume any one of us who may be dealing with unresolved past issues.

The most important thing to remember is to talk about the feelings you are experiencing out with someone who will really listen to you. Also try to write and journal all these feelings on a daily basis so that you no longer carry them with you, for holding them in will cause more harm than good.

Empowering Caregivers has created a special area at the web site to address such issues as the war, on posttraumatic stress disorder and more. See below for links.

have come away from my experiences at the Conference on Aging feeling even more empowered, for what I did at both briefings was something I would never have done before. My mission has been, and will continue to be, to help caregivers and I will do what ever I am capable of to advocate for your needs. I have learned that I must allow my passion to speak out on behalf of all of us, so that we all have choices, opportunities for healing, for expressing ourselves, and opening to love.

As someone who is dedicated to caregivers, I encourage all of us to take a stand. By doing so, we can help to get legislation passed, and it doesn't take much time or effort. It just takes a few moments here and there to sign emails, and petitions. We will be sure to keep you posted on upcoming campaigns.

Spring has arrived and it is wonderful to feel the warmth on our bodies here in the Northeast. Let it be a time not only to clean our homes, but to cleanse our minds from negative, petty, angry thoughts. Let it be a time to sow new seeds to renew and heal from within and out.

Let us pray for peace for everyone...all over the world.

May your journey be gentle and beautiful!
In Love & Light,
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Caregiver Books Given Away Monthly

Jonathancares, Attagirl, and Burnedout have been chosen to receive "Hard To Forget: An Alzheimer's Story. The book tells the story of a socially prominent woman who slowly became and embarrassment to her family. It describes her decline, her rage, her wandering and so much more. The family finally brought her to Frankfurt, Germany in 1906 who was a nueropathologist. His name was Alois Alzheimer and so the story unfolds.

The Center For Long-Term Care Financing

IVillage Chat Will Resume After April 15th, 2003

"Featured Guest Experts"

Mary C. Fridley
Questions & Answers
April 2003
Or click on this link:
Featured Guest Experts

The Following Articles Are Included In Empowering Caregiver's Newest Series On: Coping With War & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Waiting For War: Dealing With the Stress of It All National Mental Health Association

Helping Our Children Deal With War- National Mental Health Association

Lobby Washington To Create A U.S. Dept of Peace: April 6-8, 2003 Conference in D.C.

What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?The National Center for PTSD

Common Reactions to Trauma - Edna B. Foa, Elizabeth A. Hembree, David Riggs, Sheila Rauch, and Martin Franklin - The National Center for PTSD

Coping With PTSD - By Joe Ruzek, Ph.D. - The National Center for PTSD

Terrorist Attacks and Children By Jessica Hamblen, Ph.D. - The National Center for PTSD

Effects of Traumatic Stress In a Disaster Situation - NSW Institue of Psychiatry

How Terrorist Attacks May Affect Veterans - By Candice Monson, Ph.D. - The National Center for PTSD

Self Care and Self-Help Following Disasters -The National Center for PTSD

Seeking Help For PTSD - The National Center for PTSD

Understanding Secondary Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
By Carla Wills-Brandon, Ph.D.

In Memory

My darling husband passed away on March 14,..he died with diginity and grace...his transition was breathtaking and beautiful. his suffering is over....I am lost and numb, my dear Uncle passed away suddenly with a heart attack the same will take time to move forward.

I was Dennis' caregiver for 15 will never be the same again...He stopped eating or taking fluids on march 1...went 14 days without food or his body begam weaker, his spirit grew stronger...I feel lost, but wanted to share his passing with you..thanks for your love and support. Robin.

Robin, we are holding you in our loving thoughts and prayers, for a gentle, easy healing.. Robin



Common Reactions to Trauma
Edna B. Foa, Elizabeth A. Hembree, David Riggs, Sheila Rauch, and Martin Franklin
Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety
Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania

A traumatic experience produces emotional shock and may cause many emotional problems. This handout describes some of the common reactions people have after a trauma. Because everyone responds differently to traumatic events, you may have some of these reactions more than others, and some you may not have at all.

Remember, many changes after a trauma are normal. In fact, most people who directly experience a major trauma have severe problems in the immediate aftermath. Many people then feel much better within three months after the event, but others recover more slowly, and some do not recover enough without help. Becoming more aware of the changes you've undergone since your trauma is the first step toward recovery.

Some of the most common problems after a trauma are described below.

Fear and anxiety - Anxiety is a common and natural response to a dangerous situation. For many it lasts long after the trauma ended. This happens when views of the world and a sense of safety have changed. You may become anxious when you remember the trauma. But sometimes anxiety may come from out of the blue. Triggers or cues that can cause anxiety may include places, times of day, certain smells or noises, or any situation that reminds you of the trauma. As you begin to pay more attention to the times you feel afraid you can discover the triggers for your anxiety. In this way, you may learn that some of the out-of-the-blue anxiety is really triggered by things that remind you of your trauma.

Re-experiencing of the trauma - People who have been traumatized often re-experience the traumatic event. For example, you may have unwanted thoughts of the trauma, and find yourself unable to get rid of them. Some people have flashbacks, or very vivid images, as if the trauma is occurring again. Nightmares are also common. These symptoms occur because a traumatic experience is so shocking and so different from everyday experiences that you can't fit it into what you know about the world. So in order to understand what happened, your mind keeps bringing the memory back, as if to better digest it and fit it in.

Increased arousal - is also a common response to trauma. This includes feeling jumpy, jittery, shaky, being easily startled, and having trouble concentrating or sleeping. Continuous arousal can lead to impatience and irritability, especially if you're not getting enough sleep. The arousal reactions are due to the fight or flight response in your body. The fight or flight response is the way we protect ourselves against danger, and it occurs also in animals. When we protect ourselves from danger by fighting or running away, we need a lot more energy than usual, so our bodies pump out extra adrenaline to help us get the extra energy we need to survive.

People who have been traumatized often see the world as filled with danger, so their bodies are on constant alert, always ready to respond immediately to any attack. The problem is that increased arousal is useful in truly dangerous situations, such as if we find ourselves facing a tiger. But alertness becomes very uncomfortable when it continues for a long time even in safe situations. Another reaction to danger is to freeze, like the deer in the headlights, and this reaction can also occur during a trauma.

Avoidance - is a common way of managing trauma-related pain. The most common is avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma, such as the place where it happened. Often situations that are less directly related to the trauma are also avoided, such as going out in the evening if the trauma occurred at night. Another way to reduce discomfort is trying to push away painful thoughts and feelings. This can lead to feelings of numbness, where you find it difficult to have both fearful and pleasant or loving feelings. Sometimes the painful thoughts or feelings may be so intense that your mind just blocks them out altogether, and you may not remember parts of the trauma. To read the complete article, please go to: Trauma

The National Center for PTSD is a world leader in research and education programs focusing on PTSD and other psychological and medical consequences of traumatic stress. For further information and online sources of support go

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National Center for PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was created within the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989, in response to a Congressional mandate to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD. Its mission was, and remains: To advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. This website is provided as an educational resource concerning PTSD and other enduring consequences of traumatic stress:


This organization was established by volunteers dedicated to alleviating the plight of an ever-increasing number of patients who cannot afford their prescription medication. Find out more about our service and how you could benefit from this program. These programs are available nationwide and are designed to help people of all ages.

Stroke Resources

The Stroke Network
Stroke Survivor Information Board
Stroke Awareness For Everyone

Caregivers’ Taxpayer Credit Information
Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid someone to care for a child or a dependent so you could work, you may be able to reduce your tax by claiming the credit for child and dependent care expenses on your federal income tax return. This credit is available to people who, in order to work or to look for work, have to pay for child care services for dependents under age 13. The credit is also available if you paid for care of a spouse or a dependent of any age who is physically or mentally incapable of self-care.

To claim the credit for child and dependent care expenses, you must meet certain conditions: to read more please go to: conditions

New Financial Information For Caregivers

The Family Caregivers Alliance offers a report called “Insuring Your Future: What Caregivers Need to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance. The report outlines the benefits, costs and limitations of private long-term care insurance. You can access it for free on their web site at

Top Alzheimer Sites

Brenda Parris Sibley hosts a listing of Top Alzheimer's Sites, featuring a variety of websites with information from research to personal stories. You may get to it our main page as well as other pages at the site and by clicking on this link. By clicking on the links from the Empowering Caregivers site, you will be casting your vote for us as one of your favorites.Top Sites

House Restores $200 In MEDICARE Funding

Distracted by the war in Iraq, the House Friday voted 215 to 212 to adopt a budget resolution that excludes more than $200 billion in by the House Budget Committee. The resolution proposes about $93 billion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years and a one percent across-the-board spending cut for all mandatory programs except Medicare, defense and homeland security. Negotiations with the Senate may begin this week.

The Caring Workplace

The Caring Workplace is a resource for caregivers because they understand how dealing with your loved one's needs while sifting through mountains of eldercare issues and details can be emotionally overwhelming and stressful. They've done the work for you. They'll help you assess your loved one's needs and support you in selecting the best eldercare option and support service. The program is brought to you by St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors, a known community expert in eldercare management. Currently this is a pilot program being tested to provide employed caregivers with cost effective eldercare solutions so that they can remain on the job. To read more about this please go to: Caring Workplace.

Talking With Your Parents About Medicare and Health Coverage From The Kaiser Family Foundation

A consumer's guide, updated for 2003, helps seniors and their adult children sort through the basic facts about Medicare and the choices seniors make related to health coverage and paying for care. This resource is intended to assist in answering questions on a range of issues, from Medicare eligibility, enrollment and coverage (including supplemental insurance and Medicare managed care), to long-term care options available and ways of paying for prescription drugs. It also includes state-by-state phone numbers and web addresses for resources that can by used to obtain more specific help with questions and concerns.: Guide

Last Chapters

A new Web site called, ‘Last Chapters,’ offers a collection of inspiring stories and video interviews of people who are facing death or chronic illness. These stories shed light on a range of issues about quality of life, including: spirituality, talking about dying, managing pain, caregiving, coming to terms with grief and more. The Last Chapters Forum is a discussion board where site visitors can comment on featured stories and share their own experiences, concerns and encouragement. The site provides a variety of resources as well as ideas for individual action to improve end-of-life care.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
New online Resource

Medicare Basics: A Guide for Caregivers provides caregivers a guide through eight critical decision points in the health care process. Caregivers will benefit from practical information such as: how to read a Medicare card; the differences between various Medicare options; how to contact and utilize national and local resources; when to seek second opinions; how to read a Medicare Summary Notice, and how to begin looking into long-term care facilities.

Medicare Basics is available online at: Basics It was produced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with the assistance of the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and with the endorsement of the Administration on Aging (AOA), the Alzheimer’s Association, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), National Council on the Aging (NCOA), the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The CMS has also produced a resource for employers. When Employees Become Caregivers: A Manager’s Workbook, which includes an outline of issues that affect employees; educational pointers about the daily effect of caregiving; and no cost and low cost solutions for businesses. The employer's workbook is also available at : Employers

ecretary Thompson Announces the Creation Of A Bi-Lingual Toll Free Helpline: “Su Familia”

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the creation of the "Su Familia" National Hispanic Family Health Helpline (866-783-2645 /866-SU-FAMILIA). Su Familia will help Hispanic families get basic health information to help them prevent and manage chronic conditions, and refer them to local health providers and federally supported programs including the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). By establishing the Su Familia helpline, we are helping families get access to the best health information." The toll-free helpline is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 pm Eastern Time.

We Can Make It Happen!
Lobby Washington To Create A
US Department Of Peace

At this critical time in our nation's history, righteous action is the antidote to despair. Please participate in a powerful citizen lobbying effort to create a U.S. Department of Peace, sponsored in the House of Representatives by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. This bill establishes nonviolence as an organizing principle of American society, cultivating an array of peace-building policies and procedures. On April 8th, this historic legislation will be introduced for a second time; whether or not it becomes law is dependent on whether we, the people of the United States, take the time to make phone calls, lobby our Congress people, and in other ways create the political will to make it happen. To learn more go to US Dept of Peace

Do You Have An Aging Loved One With Memory Problems?
Try A New Website and Get $50!

A new website has been developed to help people who are concerned about an aging loved one with memory problems. This educational program offers strategies for dealing with common problems, balancing home and work demands, coping with stress, and much more.

The National Institute on Aging is sponsoring a research study to determine how helpful the website is. Participation involves using the website and answering two on-line surveys. You will receive $50 for participating. For more information, or to sign up, go to . Or call the Aging Family Project toll-free at 1-800-934-0626.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Application for Social Services (COMPASS)

The state's online screening tool for social services -- has been
expanded to include long-term care and some home and community-based services within the state. The expanded website provides education about available services as well as allow interested persons to fill out applications online. To find out more: Screening tools.

Senate Committee Approves Clinton Legislation To Provide Relief To Family Caregivers

Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) announced today that the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2003 was passed unanimously out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee. Senator Clinton sponsored the bill with Senator John W. Warner (VA), Senator John Breaux (LA), Senator Olympia J. Snowe (ME) and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (MD). This Act would provide $90 million in grants for states and local organizations to increase the availability of respite care in their regions, and to help families care for their dearest ones as they see best. To read more go to:




Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.

Friedrich Nietzsche

I hope . . . that Mankind will at length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their differences without cutting Throats: For in my opinion there never was a good War, or a bad Peace.

Benjamin Franklin

I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

You are your own raw material. When you know what you consist of and what you want to make of it, then you can invent yourself."

Warren B. Bennis

You can have peace in relationships by not entering into conflicts. We can have peace in this world by not entering into war.

John Roger

It's easy to find fault in others, but much more difficult to look at our own faults and ourselves with honesty. We're often in denial about our own faults; we don't like to see them too clearly. After taking a look at my own flaws-some of which I could change, others of which I simply had to accept-I was gradually able to recognize my faults as parts of me that needed ongoing work.

Betty Eadie.
For You, My Sunshine

You're all grown up, my Sunshine
And I wonder how I knew
Just the perfect one to choose
When I was naming you
You know you are my Treasure
And have been from the start--
My tiny little baby girl
Born with a great big heart

A heart they called defective
Oh, if only they had known
Just how many lives you'd touch
With that heart as you have grown!

You filled my days with chatter
And a giggle that I love
Then each night you said your prayers
To your Jesus up above.
Your sweet little freckled face
Could truly come alive
As joy (and sometimes mischief)
Sparkled in your pretty eyes.

You taught me what faith really is
By your childlike trusting way
My life was blessed abundantly
Just watching you each day.

And tho' you'll always be my baby
It's not a little girl I see
But a beautiful Godly lady
Is looking back at me.

Now we plan more tomorrows
Thanking God for yesterdays
And ask His wondrous blessing
For you, your wedding day.
So with much pride and endless love

As I share you with another
Please know how special I have felt
That God chose me to be your mother...

c) 2000 S.C.


I have cared for my adult brother for 18 years plus with Progressive MS. After his wife left him, I cared for him in my home and in nursing homes for 15 years. I went every day and twice a day for the past seven years. Two months ago I was told I could bring my brother home on hospice which I have done and entered a whole new roller coaster of emotions transitioning from guarding his care at the nursing homes to trying deal with a whole new program of hospice, and his moods and needs as his sole caregiver. I am very worried that I sometimes lose patience with him when I should be 100% supportive. I am dealing with trying to sort out manipulative behaviors and real changes in the disease process. No other family members have been involved all of these years and he and I am virutally alone now except for hospice. I get so weary of people judging me in this situation, people who have no experience in the real trenches. If someone has an idea how I can smooth out this roller coaster so feel like I have some control over my sanity, I would really appreciate your thoughts and ideas! Thank you. Erma

My husband is a 44yo complete quad due to a motorcycle accident 13 1/2 yrs ago. I married him 6 mos ago. I thought my nursing background would help w/ coping and handling his care. I was so wrong. I am completely overwhelmed, exhausted and lonely. I didn't realize how isolated I would feel in this relationship. I have searched for support groups, social events anything for our age group and have not found any. Our marriage is very strained at this point and we are going thru counseling at church but unless you go through it yourself you can't really understand and help much. I would greatly appreciate any comments, suggestions. Thank You!! Kathy

I take care of my 92-year old grandfather who has alzheimer's. We have installed a double lock on our door and he has never done anything harmful or destructive when un-supervised at night. He gets up and thinks that its morning or goes to the bathroom and then forgets its nighttime. I am usually awake at night and about half the time, I can get him to go back to bed by telling him its not morning yet or that he can do whatever it is he thinks he needs to do at daylight.

When he wakes up at night, he gets fully dressed, goes to the living room, and goes back to sleep sitting up on the couch. I know this can't be healthy for him. My father (and co-caretaker) doesn't think its a problem but it really bothers me. #1: should I be concerned that he sleeps half of most nights sitting up and #2: how can I get him to listen to me and go back to bed? Thank you. Tiredlady



The Hearing Aid

Two elderly women were eating breakfast in a restaurant one morning. Ethel noticed something funny about Mabel's ear and she said, "Mabel, did you know you've got a suppository in your left ear?" Mabel answered, "I have? A suppository?" She pulled it out & stared at it. Then she said, "Ethel, I'm glad you saw this thing. Now I think I know where my hearing aid is!"

What's My Address?

When I went to lunch today, I noticed an old lady sitting on a park bench sobbing her eyes out. I stopped and asked her what was wrong. She said, "I have a 22 year old husband at home. He makes love to me every morning and then gets up and makes me pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and freshly ground coffee." I said, "Well, then why are you crying?" She said, "He makes me homemade soup for lunch and my favorite brownies and then makes love to me for half the afternoon." I said, "Well, why are you crying?" She said, "For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal with wine and my favorite dessert and then makes love to me until 2:00 a.m. I said, "Well, why in the world would you be crying?" She said, "I can't remember where I live!"

Two Elderly Women

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards. One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me...I know we've been friends for a long time...but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is. Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?

The Senility Prayer

Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Healthy Foods

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry's and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said "Yea," and woman said, "And another one with sprinkles." And they gained 10 pounds.

And God created the healthful yogurt that woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane, and combined them. And woman went from size 6 to size 14.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad."

And Satan presented Italian Dressing and garlic toast on the side. And man and woman unfastened their belts following the repast.

God then said, "I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them."

And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.

God then brought running shoes so that his children might loose those extra pounds.

And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And man and woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and gained pounds.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.

And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And man gained pounds.

God then gave lean beef so that man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonald's and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, "You want fries with that?" And man replied, "Yea! And super size 'em." And Satan said "It is good." And man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery. Then Satan created HMOs.

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