My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:23 pm

Hi Daniel,

Glad to see you're OK now.

A few years ago, when I broke my leg I had to stay in a hospital for a week. While that wasn't life-threatening, I almost got stuck with a bill for around $80,000 (no kidding!) because of some insurance issues. Luckily it worked out....

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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:43 pm

Welcome back Daniel! I wish you a speedy recovery!
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Aloka » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:50 pm

Lots of good wishes to you, Daniel.


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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby SDC » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:06 pm

Feel better, daniel! Glad you're okay.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:27 pm

Thanks to everyone who posted after my firtst thanks to everyone. :hug: But I'll wear a mask 'til my cough's gone. ;)
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:38 pm

Mawkish1983 wrote:How could an insurance company refuse to pay for that treatment? The world we live in is a strange place. I'm glad you're getting better Daniel.


I've been looking into that and it's not very easy to answer. Here's what I've found so far:

It seems more of a problem in countries like the U.S. where health care is still privatized (there's a quasi-socialized effect here in terms of government partnerships with providers and academic researchers because they usually use tax-payer dollars, but that's created other problems. See C below). In Canada and other countries with socialized medicine (according to Wikiepedia) the antibiotic in question is about 10% of the cost in the States. More specifically:

A: Zyvox (a.ka., linezolid, a.k.a. the $2,500 antbiotic I'm on) is a member of the oxazolidinone class of drugs, and is active against most gram-positive bacteria that cause disease, including streptococci, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE; they gave this one to me by IV in the hospital), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Zyvox is a synthetic antibiotic ORIGINALLY developed by a team at Pharmacia and Upjohn Company. PFIZER bought them out.

I won't list the side effects because I read them once and they're so disturbing I'm trying not to think about them (the only ones I'm experiencing so far are mild: indigestion, nausea, fatigue).

PHARMACIA: Pharmacia is the modern transliteration of the Greek word Pharmakeia which means pharmaceutically making and despensing POISONS, pharmaceuticals or medicines as well as cosmetics, lotions, perfumes etc. The word is used in many places in the world to mean pharmacy. Pharmacia was also the name of a pharmaceutical and BIOTECHNOLOGICAL company in Sweden.

HISTORY OF PHARMACIA AND UPJOHN COMPANY:

Pharmacia company was founded in 1911 in Stockholm, Sweden by pharmacist Gustav Felix Grönfeldt at the Elgen Pharmacy. The company is named after the Greek word φαρμακεία, transliterated pharmakeia, which means 'SORCERY'....

In 1999, the nutrition division was sold to Fresenius. The merged company "Pharmacia & Upjohn" merged with the AMERICAN BIOINDUSTRY and medical company MONSANTO Company (in 2009 OBAMA appointed Monsanto's former VP of Public Policy, Michael Taylor as a Senior Adviser to the FDA; Cf. MICHELLE OBAMA's new School Lunch Camapaign which is basically a bunch of GMOs) in 2000 (Monsanto had acquired the pharma company G.D. Searle & Company in 1985). The resulting conglomerate took the name of "Pharmacia Corp." Monsanto, via its Searle division, had developed celecoxib (an NSAID) which became a blockbuster drug soon after its approval by the FDA at the end of 1998.

The agricultural chemical division under the name Monsanto was spun off in 2002, but Pharmacia retained the original pharmaceutical division from Searle. In July 2002, Pharmacia was bought by Pfizer; control of celecoxib was often mentioned as a key reason for Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linezolid#cite_ref-1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pharmacia
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blo ... _blog.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-s ... 43810.html


B: "Pfizer: In the largest health care fraud settlement in history, Pfizer was ordered to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company illegally promoted uses of four of its drugs, including the painkiller Bextra, the antipsychotic Geodon, the antibiotic ZYVOX, and the anti-epileptic Lyrica."

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... in-us.aspx

See also: "What did Pfizer do to 'earn' the largest health care fraud settlement in history?

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... -Fine.aspx


C: The main reason Big Pharma will give for the cost of any expensive drug is to cover R&D. But this is pure horse pucky, as Harriet A. Washington* has pointed out in her excellent book, Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Takeover of Life Itself--and the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future. In the chapter, "The High Cost of Living: How Patent-Based Monopolies Inflate Drug Prices," she notes:

The industry's stirring commercials feature earnest young researchers who recount how the ailments of family members or cherished patients sent them on a personal mission to save others from a medical killer. Soaring anthems trumpet the company's humanitarian mission of ameliorating human health at home and abroad.

Yet PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES SEEM DRIVEN BY MOTIVES THAT THEY DECLINE TO TRUMPET, FOR THE DRUG INDUSTRY DOES FAR MORE THAN RECOUP IT'S COSTS: IT'S ANNUAL SALES OF $400-600 BILLION SPEAKS FOR THEMSELVES, ELOQUENTLY ANNOUNCING THAT PHARMACEUTICAL MAKERS ARE LIVING LARGE. THE INDUSTRY'S PROFITS, NEARLY 10 PERCENT OF ITS GROSS INCOME, EXCEEDED $65.2 BILLION IN 2008 ALONE.

FOR APPROXIMATELY TWENTY YEARS PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES ENJOYED THE HIGHEST PROFITS OF ANY U.S. INDUSTRY. IN 2002 THE COMBINED PROFITS OF THE TEN DRUG COMPANIES IN THE FORTUNE 5000 ($35.9 BILLION) EXCEEDED THE PROFITS OF THE OTHER 490 BUSINESSES PUT TOGETHER ($33.7 BILLION).

If the R&D costs ares so high, and if, as http://www.phrma.org/ claims, five to ten thousand candidate drugs are investigated for every one that ultimately finds its way to the medicine cabinet, HOW CAN AN INDUSTRY BURDENED WITH WITH SUCH ASTRONOMICAL COSTS SEE ANY PROFIT, TO SAY NOTHING OF HAVING BECOME THE MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRY ON THE PLANET?

IT'S SIMPLE. DRUG COMPANIES DON'T PAY FOR MOST OF THEIR R&D--YOU DO. UNIVERSITY RESEARCH IS TYPICALLY SUBSIDIZED BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS. WETHER THE UNIVERSITY RESEARCHER PARTNERES WITH THE CORPORATION, WHETHER SHE STARTS A BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY THAT THE CORPORATION BUYS, OR WHETHER THE CORPORATION ENTERS INTO A CONTRACT DIRECTLY WITH A DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY, THE RESULT IS THE SAME. THE CORPORATIONS MARKET, SELL, AND PROFIT FROM A PATENT THAT IS THE PRODUCT OF LARGELY TAX-PAYER FUNDED UNIVERSITY RESEARCH (pp. 80-81).


*Harriet A. Washington is also author of "Medical Apartheid," which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the 2007 PEN Oakland Award, and the 2007 American Library Black Caucus Nonfiction Award. She has also been a fellow in medical ethics at the Harvard Medical School, a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University, a fellow at Harvard Public School of Health, and the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford University.

So far, then, it looks to me like the main reason Zyvox is so expensive is because Pfizer knows it can get away with exploiting severe suffering and the threat of death. From my perspective, they're exploiting sufferers of MRSA because they know it's one of the most effective drugs for that. Without antibiotics (there are less effective alternatives) MRSA is basically fatal, and in my case (pneumonia with a necrotizing cavity), certain. So Pfizer essentially says, "Pay up or die!" I'm ambivalent about insurance companies (On the plus side, for instance, they've started to justifiably, IMO, pay less for SSRI's and SSNRI's as the efficacy and side efffects research continues to point out the problems with these dangerous designer drugs. They've also started to put limits on sessions for things like Physical Therapy as more and more research begins to reveal how quacky PT is.). But in this case, can you blame them for initially refusing? They're standing up to Big Pharma because if they don't their profits would likely take a huge and hit. Granted, that's like a big bully standing up to an even bigger bully, which goes to say that the main problem is political.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:05 pm

yet symptoms such as "death" are seen as reasonable?!

anyway hope you feel 100% soon!
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Nyana » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:12 pm

Serious illness. Take care of yourself. Glad to hear that you're on the mend. :smile:
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:43 pm

Thanks Cittasanto and Nana.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:34 am

daverupa wrote:
SN 22.1 wrote:"So it is, householder. So it is. The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself."


:group:

I had my large intestine removed when I was 15, and learned half of this lesson early. The other half is truly a boon during such times as these.

Thanks for sharing, Dave. I had several moments of weakness, but I persisted in training my mind to be unafflicted. Having my Albert Ellis books to read (when I had energy) was helpful too.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:
danieLion wrote:I missed being able to get on Dhammawheel and am glad to be back.
Frightening as hell, the loss of control, the deadly threat to one's body and the resulting confusion and fear, and being at the mercy of not always good judgment.

Being so sick is difficult but good Dhamma practice.

Glad your back. Be patient with yourself and take it slow and easy.

Spot on, Tilt. Fear? Plenty. Especially for my wife. I'm generally not scared to die--although I can relapse--and there were moments where I wished I was dead. Imagining what it would to her scared me a lot though. Of course, we'll lose each other eventually, but when it's right thick in the moment and right there all of a sudden, it's very intense. The loss of control was harder for me than the fear, especially as it manifested between me and the providers in terms of not always good judgment. The consensus until two days before my discharge was that I DID NOT have MRSA based pneumonia with a lung abcess but a plain old Staph A with the abcess. No one took any MRSA precautions until then, including my first visitor. They wouldn't let me eat or drink either. The rationale was I needed a bronchoscopy, which was true, but they couldn't tell me when it would be scheduled. Before this, I was drinking six or seven cups of coffee a day. Dumb, yes, but that's where I was at my addiction (I'm off the coffee now but and only drinking Puerh Tuocha at home today, which helps with the nausea from the antibito). The second day there I developed a caffeine withdrawl migraine on top of everything else and lost it. I finally said, "You need to take this f*cking catheter out of my arm right now or I will! I'm going to get some coffee and there's nothing you can do to stop me." They brought me some coffee. When the lung doctor saw me, I relayed the event to her and she said, "I totally understand. I'm a coffee fiend and when I miss my coffee I get the worst headaches in the world!" So she scheduled my bronchoscopy so I could get up in the moring, drink my coffee, eat, take my herbs and vitamins, and then restrain until that afternoon. And when I told the nurse I was dehydrated despite the IV fluids, and could feel my blood sugar dropping, she said, "You shouldn't be," implying she was too inflexible within her education/training (and she was a Preceptor Nurse!). But I KNOW when I'm dehydrated and have low glucose, and yet she still believed she somehow knew better than me.

These were exceptions, though. Overall, the nurses were pretty good and we got along fine. I knew my Dhamma practice was paying off because I was typically very polite to everyone I met largely because of what I've learned from the Buddha about how to treat people with respect was constantly on my mind. When the nurse I wrote about above introduced to me to the nurse from the next shift, I heard the new nurse say as they were leaving, "What a nice guy."
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby yawares » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:14 am

:heart: Dear DanieLion :heart:

I'm so happy to hear you are recovering now. Get well soon!... Thai fruit-flowers for you :heart:

Thai carved fruits..pumpkin/melon/cucumber/carrot/red onion/papaya..more
Image

?????
Image

Miss you :heart:
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:30 am

Thanks yawares.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Dmytro » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:03 am

Good health and equanimity to you, Daniel!

I would like to share the "Therapeutic qualities of Dhamma" which helped me very much recently:

The Therapeutic Qualities of Dhamma

Ban Nong Pheu monastery was situated in a dense forest, rife with malaria. As the rainy season approached, Acariya Mun advised monks, who came simply to visit him, to hurry and leave before wet weather arrived. In the dry season they could stay without risk. Monks who fell victim to malaria just had to put up with the debilitating symptoms. They had no access to anti-malarial medicines, such medicines being scarce everywhere back then. So, they had to rely on the ‘therapeutic qualities of Dhamma’ instead. This meant investigating painful feelings as they arose with an intense, incisive degree of mindfulness and wisdom. Otherwise, they had no effective means of alleviating the pain. If successful, they reduced the fever, thus effecting a cure much quicker than could normally be expected.

A courageous monk who succeeds through the power of mindfulness and wisdom to overcome the painful feelings caused by illness, creates thereby a solid base of support that will serve him well in times of good health as well as in times of sickness. Ultimately, at the time when death is imminent, he will not feel weak and disheartened, and thus not be overwhelmed. Having succeeded in establishing total mastery of the truth about dukkha, he boldly faces the natural process we call ‘death’. Mindfulness and wisdom have taught him to recognize dukkha’s intrinsic nature, so he never again worries about pain. He always maintains the firm basis of truth he achieved through his investigations. Later, when a critical situation does arise, the mindfulness and wisdom that he has trained to proficiency will come to his rescue. He can utilize their investigative skills to override the pain, allowing him to immediately reach safety. Thus trained, mindfulness and wisdom will not abandon their duty, leaving him simply to wallow in misery as he did before he came to realize the true nature of dukkha. On the contrary, they will immediately engage the enemy. His external manifestations of illness will resemble those of any other sick person: that is, he will appear just as weak and exhausted as anyone else. But internally, mindfulness and wisdom will manifest within his heart like soldiers preparing to do battle. Then no amount of pain will affect his state of mind. His only consideration will be the inner search for the true causal basis of the physical body, the painful feelings, the citta, and the mental phenomena arising in conjunction with it;6 for, this is precisely where the full intensity of dukkha will converge at that moment. Since his ability to confront the pain and endure its effects is no longer a concern, his confidence is unshakable. His primary concern is whether mindfulness and wisdom will successfully realize the entire truth of these phenomena in time. Once a monk has investigated a Truth of Dhamma, like the Truth of Dukkha, until its true nature is fully understood, the next time he wishes to repeat that accomplishment, he does not allow the difficulties of the investigation to block his way and needlessly weaken his resolve. He simply considers what he previously did to enable him to see the truth so clearly, then reproduces that same effort in the present moment. In that way, a clear realization of the truth always lies within the powers of his mindfulness, his wisdom, his conviction, and his persistent effort. The truth is: pain, body, and citta all exist separately, each one being true within its own sphere. They in no way conflict or interfere with one another. By the power of this realization, samudaya – the cause of dukkha – is conquered, and all apprehension about the pain, the condition of the illness, or the prospect of dying is vanquished with it. Such fears are really emotional concerns that demoralize the spirit and lead to a debilitating sense of frustration. Once this decisive breakthrough is achieved, the illness is likely to subside as a result. But even if the symptoms don’t entirely abate, they will not intensify to the point where the citta is overwhelmed by an onslaught of painful feelings, thus producing a twofold illness: one of an ailing body, the other of an ailing mind.

In times of severe illness, dhutanga monks are sure to examine the resultant pain. It’s considered an essential means of sharpening up mindfulness and wisdom, thus honing their skills until they are quick enough to keep pace with all mental activity – thoughts that are inevitably bound up with physical and mental pain. Any monk showing signs of anxiety or uneasiness when ill is considered a failure within the circle of practicing monks. Mentally, his samadhi and wisdom are insufficient to sustain him in a time of crisis. Lacking mindfulness, his practice is unbecoming and unreliable. This doesn’t fit with a monk’s obligation to stockpile mindfulness and wisdom as the weapons of choice for protecting himself in his battles with pain of all kinds. Those who have developed the qualities needed to remain mindfully self-controlled, never showing signs of agitation, are considered truly praiseworthy examples of the warrior spirit typical of practicing monks. In critical situations, they stand their ground – and fight. The benefits of this to their meditation are self-evident. Those good results are also noticed by their fellow monks, all of whom greatly admire a fighting mentality. The others have faith that, no matter how overwhelming the pain is, a dhutanga monk will never be defeated – even in death. That is, his mindfulness and wisdom will never accept defeat, for they are the investigative tools he uses to search for a safe, trouble-free way to go beyond when it finally becomes impossible to keep body and soul together.

Anyone practicing Dhamma, who arrives at the Truth proclaimed by the Lord Buddha, is absolutely certain of its universal validity. Confronted with the enemy, he will never accept defeat and withdraw his forces. He is obligated to fight to the death. If it so happens that his body cannot withstand the pressure – he will let it die. But he will never relinquish his citta, or the mindfulness and wisdom which maintain and protect it. He is committed to fighting on to victory. Failure is never an option. He displays the attributes of a warrior who expects to be victorious, and thus reach a sanctuary that is truly safe and secure. Practicing with unwavering faith in the principles of Truth, he is certain to personify the maxim: dhammo have rakkhati dammacarim – Dhamma protects those who practice it faithfully. If, however, he practices in a hesitant, halfhearted fashion, the outcome will only contradict the Truth, never validate it. It cannot be otherwise, because Dhamma, the svakkhatadhamma, requires that results be directly correlated with their causes.

Despite all the rewards the world seems to offer, a dhutanga monk prefers to concentrate on the immediate, inner rewards offered by the sasana. For example, the peaceful calm of samadhi and the intuitive wisdom needed to extract the kilesas piercing his heart; both reward him with a steadily increasing sense of contentment that is clearly evident, moment by moment. These immediate, tangible results are the ones a dhutanga monk strives to realize. In doing so, he cuts through burdensome problems and unresolved doubts. If he truly has the capability to transcend the world in this lifetime – be it today, tomorrow, next month, or next year – this feat will be accomplished by means of his unflagging diligence at each and every moment.

Acariya Mun employed inspirational teaching methods to reinforce this fighting spirit, regardless of whether his students were sick or not. He insisted his monks always be warriors fighting to rescue themselves from danger. But it was in times of illness that he placed special emphasis on being uncompromising. He worried they might become dispirited in the face of this challenge. A sick monk showing signs of weakness or anxiety, lacking the mindful self-control expected of him, was bound to be severely rebuked. Acariya Mun might actually forbid the monks in his monastery to care for a sick monk, believing that weakness, anxiety, and a whining mentality were not the right way to deal with illness. Sick people react in that way all the time and never see it as a problem. But a monk, whose status demands that he put up with difficult situations and investigate them carefully, should never react like that. It creates a bad example. For if a monk brings this kind of defeatist attitude into the circle of practice, it may spread like a contagious disease, easily infecting others.

Think of the mess that might cause: Monks moaning and groaning, tossing and turning like dying animals. You are practicing monks, so don’t adopt animal-like behavior. If you begin thinking and acting like animals, the religion will soon develop animal characteristics, spreading confusion everywhere – definitely not the way of the Buddha. We have all been sick at one time or another, so we are well aware of what someone else feels like when sick. It isn’t necessary for you to make a public display of your discomfort. If mental anguish and vociferous complaints were effective cures, then conventional medicines would not be needed. Whoever fell ill could just whine about his plight in a loud voice to make the illness go way – easy as that. There would be no need to spend a lot of time and trouble treating the patient. Can whining really cure your present illness? If it can’t, why disgust everyone else with your useless whining? This is a sample of the lecture Acariya Mun might give a monk whose inability to face hardship was an annoyance to the whole monastic community.

On the other hand, when he visited a sick monk, who maintained a strong, mindful calmness, showing no signs of agitation about his condition, Acariya Mun invariably demonstrated his approval. He commended the monk for his fortitude and gave him some very inspiring words of encouragement. Even after his recovery, Acariya Mun continued to praise that monk’s mental toughness, holding him up as an excellent example for the others.

“That’s how a true warrior in the battle with pain gets the job done. Don’t complain about the enemy’s overwhelming numbers. Just dig in and fight them all to the limit of your strength and ability without flinching. Never withdraw your forces, never accept defeat. Never let the enemy stomp on you while you’re down. We within the circle of practice must be warriors. It is no use complaining how extremely painful an illness is – just focus on the pain as it arises and try to understand its true nature. Regardless of how much, or how little pain we experience, all pain is a manifestation of the Truth of Dukkha.”

Any monk who was weak and submissive when faced with a painful affliction heard a different tune from Acariya Mun.

“If you want the Truth, but refuse to investigate it because you are afraid of pain, how will you ever discover where the Truth lies? The Lord Buddha succeeded in realizing the Truth by thoroughly investigating everything, not by whining about everything like this useless monk now disgracing himself. Where did the Buddha ever state that reaching a true understanding requires moaning and groaning? I didn’t study many books, so perhaps I missed it. Where in the suttas does it refer to moaning and groaning? If any of you who are wellversed in the scriptures comes across a passage where it states that the Buddha extolled the merits of moaning and groaning, please point it out to me. Then I won’t have to teach monks to trouble themselves about investigating pain and putting up with difficulties. You can all just moan and groan until the Truth arises to fill the whole universe. We can then witness the appearance of wise, sagacious individuals who have succeeded in reaching magga and phala by the power of their loud moans and groans. They will be in a position to question the legitimacy, and the current relevance, of the Dhamma that Lord Buddha proclaimed over 2,500 years ago."

“The Dhamma of these latter-day sages will be a new, modern Dhamma whose attainment requires no troublesome investigations. All that’s required to attain magga and phala is a chorus of moaning and groaning, a method suited to an age when people prefer to seek righteous results from unrighteous causes – a pernicious attitude consuming the whole world today. Before long there won’t be enough room on the planet to hold all these modern-day sages. I myself have an old-fashioned mentality. I trust what the Lord Buddha taught and dare not take any shortcuts. I am afraid that, as soon as I put a foot forward, I would fall flat on my face – and die there in disgrace. That would be immensely heartbreaking for me.”

Any monk who showed weakness when in pain could expect such uncompromising treatment. The same kind of punishing rebuke was meted out to a monk who succumbed to weakness or discouragement while undertaking any harsh training practice, since they were obstacles preventing him from making use of the various investigative techniques at his disposal. Acariya Mun constantly urged his monks to display the fighting spirit necessary to overcome these impediments, so they very often heard this dynamic teaching. For them, seekers of the true Dhamma, his words were a kind of therapy which roused their courage, invigorated their practice, and kept their spirits high. Thus buoyed, they were ready to advance triumphantly, step by step, up the path to that sphere of blissful contentment the Dhamma promises to reveal. Inspiring commitment, his stimulating instruction dispelled tendencies toward weakness and laziness that prepare the way for the misery of samsara.

WHILE ACARIYA MUN lived there, two monks died in the monastery at Ban Nong Pheu, and another one died close by, at Ban Na Nai. The first to die was a middle-aged monk who ordained specifically to practice meditation. Living in Chiang Mai as Acariya Mun’s disciple, he eventually followed his teacher to Udon Thani, and then Sakon Nakhon – sometimes staying with him, sometimes practicing alone, until he finally passed away at Ban Nong Pheu. He was very skilled in samadhi meditation, and, prompted by Acariya Mun’s constant tutoring, his wisdom practice had already developed a sense of urgency. He was a very devout, resolute character who gave wonderfully lyrical talks on Dhamma, in spite of being wholly illiterate. His talks, quick-witted and clever, were invariably illustrated with skillful similes, allowing his listeners to easily grasp his meaning. Unfortunately, he had tuberculosis. Long a chronic illness, it eventually reached a critical stage while he was living in the monastery. There, early one morning at about seven o’clock, he passed away in a calm, peaceful manner, befitting one who had been a genuine practicing monk for so long. Witnessing his final moments, and then the moment when his breathing stopped, I developed a deep respect for this monk and his proficiency in meditation.

At death, it is we who control our destiny. So we must take sole responsibility for our future. For no one else, no matter how close or dear, can intervene to affect the outcome. Before that moment arrives, we must develop a means of focusing all our strength and skill on facing this critical juncture wisely, so as to extricate ourselves from danger and safely move on. Our final moments will present us with a significant challenge. All of us, whether we are well-prepared or not, will eventually be confronted with this situation. Those of us who have devised clever means for helping ourselves will fare well. But those of us, who remain ignorant and confused, will founder helplessly, unable to salvage our fate.

The Lord Buddha declared: “Kho nu hasa kim anando…." 7 It can be translated essentially as: When the world is engulfed in lust, anger, and delusion – a blazing bonfire that rages day and night – how can you keep smiling and laughing all the time? Why don’t you immediately search for a refuge you can depend on? Stop this negligence now! Don’t carry on with it until the day you die, or else you will experience the painful consequences into the future – indefinitely. The Buddha was cautioning people not to be unreasonably heedless in their lives. But when people hear the Buddha’s words today, they feel so embarrassed, so ashamed of their wanton infatuation with sensual pleasures that they want to hide their faces. Despite their shame, they are still lured by their desires – loving this, hating that – for this kind of intransigence has always been an integral part of worldly attitudes. And they don’t know how to stop themselves. So, sadly, their only response to the Buddha’s warnings is shame.

The death of the monk at Ban Nong Pheu should prove a valuable lesson to all of you who are headed toward the same fate. Please consider the manner of his death carefully. Just as he was about to pass away, Acariya Mun and the other monks, who were on their way for alms, stopped by to witness that sad event. Afterwards, Acariya Mun stood in silent contemplation for a moment; then he spoke to everyone in a solemn tone of voice:

“There’s no need to worry about him. He has already been reborn in Abhassara, the sixth brahma realm. He’s all right for now. But it’s a shame in one way, for had he lived longer and developed his insight with a little more intensity, he could well have been reborn in one of the five suddhavasa brahma realms.8 There he would have progressed directly to the ultimate goal, destined never again to enter the cycle of rebirth. And what about the rest of you – what kind of rebirth are you preparing for yourselves? Will it be one in the animal world, the ghost world, or in the realms of hell? Or will it be as a human, a deva, or a brahma? Or will it be Nibbana? Which will it be? If you want to know for sure, look closely at the compass bearing of your heart to see the direction in which you are headed. Examine yourselves now to find out whether your present course is a good one, or a bad one. Once you are dead, it will be too late to make adjustments. Everyone knows that death is final – nothing more can be done after that.”

The second death was that of a monk from Ubon Ratchathani who came down with malaria and died a month later. Shortly before it happened, his death was foreseen in the meditation of another monk who was living there at the time. The monk went to speak with Acariya Mun the next evening. After discussing various aspects of meditation practice for awhile, their conversation turned to the sick monk, and the monk informed Acariya Mun about the vision that appeared in his meditation.

“Something odd occurred in my meditation last night. I was investigating in my normal way when I reached a state of calm and suddenly saw an image of you standing before a pile of firewood, saying, ‘Cremate that monk right here. This is the best place to do it.’ I don’t fully understand the meaning of it. Will that sick monk die of malaria? His condition certainly doesn’t appear to be that serious.”

Acariya Mun responded immediately.

“I have been investigating this matter for a long time now. He is bound to die, it cannot be avoided. Still, he won’t have died in vain. I have seen his mental state: it’s exceptional. So, he’s sure to fare very well. But I strictly forbid you to mention anything about this to him. If he finds out that he’s certain to die, he will feel very disappointed. Then his health will deteriorate even further, and his mental state could waver to the extent that he misses the excellent rebirth he can expect now. Disappointment is a very harmful emotion in this respect.”

Several days later, that monk’s condition suddenly took a turn for the worse. He died calmly at about three a.m. This prompted me to consider how Acariya Mun must have investigated the circumstances that lay behind every incident that appeared to him during meditation, pursuing them all until he clearly understood their significance. Then he simply let go, allowing them to follow their natural course.

One morning, a disciple of Acariya Mun, who was running a very high fever due to malarial infection, decided to forgo almsround and fast for the day. He used his investigative skills to battle the intense pain from early morning until three in the afternoon, when the fever began to abate. Feeling completely exhausted in the middle of the day, he drew his attention to and concentrated solely on those points where the pain was most intense, but without making an effort to probe and analyze the pain with wisdom. At midday, Acariya Mun momentarily sent out the flow of his citta to check how the monk was coping with the pain. Later in the afternoon, while visiting Acariya Mun, he was surprised to hear Acariya Mun immediately question his mode of practice.

“Why were you investigating like that? How can you expect to understand the truth about the body, the pain, and the citta, if you merely concentrate your mind on a single point? Instead, use your intuitive wisdom to analyze all three of them. In that way, you discover the true nature of each. Yours is the kind of concentration one expects from a yogi; it has all the single-minded intensity of a dogfight! It is not the right practice for a monk wanting to discover the truth about pain. Don’t do it again. It’s the wrong way to go about realizing the many truths to be found within the body, the pain, and the citta. During the middle of the day I examined your practice to see how you were coping with the pain caused by your fever. I noticed you were just focusing your attention exclusively on the pain. You were not using mindfulness and wisdom to ease the problem by looking at all three aspects of it: body, pain, and citta. This is the only effective way to quell pain, and neutralize the symptoms, so that the fever subsides as well.”

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Acari ... al%20Years
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Sylvester » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:10 am

May you be well, Daniel, altho' I see you've recovered your form, what with your energy to essay against Big Pharma. :tongue:
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:29 pm

Sylvester wrote:May you be well, Daniel, altho' I see you've recovered your form, what with your energy to essay against Big Pharma. :tongue:

Thanks Buddy. My body lags much behind, but my mind forges onward. It's not too taxing to lie in bed with my laptop and type altough I do have to take lots of breaks.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:03 pm

Hi Dmytro,

What a wonderful post. Thank you so much. I spent much time recalling Reverend Thanissaro's talks, etc..., on when he had malaria. However, I'm not a monk, and I'm not even close to the likes of Reverend Mun. While I have approximated as best I can as a "householder" a dhamma trained mind, and as you know am well versed in a variety of dhamma teachings on chronic pain because of my chronic pain condition, I'm not perfect (which is different from perfectionism, which I do struggle with). Additionally, this extract from your post
Dmytro wrote:...Thus trained, mindfulness and wisdom will not abandon their duty, leaving him simply to wallow in misery as he did before he came to realize the true nature of dukkha. On the contrary, they will immediately engage the enemy. His external manifestations of illness will resemble those of any other sick person: that is, he will appear just as weak and exhausted as anyone else....
is somewhat contrary to what happened to me. Doctors call "external manifestations of illness" patient presentation. My presentation might have actually confused and deceived the doctors to some extent, largely in part because of my previous dhammma training. Perhaps my dhamma training has been so effective that not only did I have inner composure, but also outer composure? I was sick for two weeks before I was hospitalized. My wife persuaded me to go to the doctor. I called him the next day and talked to him on the phone. My presentation to him only implied the flu and maybe bronchitis and we agreed I should wait it out a few days with home remedies. Two days later, I was not better and probably worse. I went to the offfice and saw his colleague. My presentation to her only implied the flu with bronchitis. She prescribed more of what my doctor suggested and cough syrup. Six days later, I was worse. My doctor had me come in examined me himself. Same diagnosis but to be safe he sent me for chest x-rays and blood work at a hospital lab nearby, and you know the rest of the story. But all along way (aside from some moments of weakness; like I said, I'm not perfect), the nurses and doctors kept commenting on my great attitude and high spirits. On top of that, I have a pretty good diet and exercise lifestyle, and they all commented on how healthy I looked. But I didn't feel healthy. I felt like I was dying. And I was--barring medical intervention. I'm generally not scared to die and my dhamma training is also to credit for that. So, I'm not sure the story with Reverend Mun--aside from the general dhamma principles it emphasizes--parallels well what happened to me. This is not to say I don't find much value in it. It's just to say, the me + the circumstances aren't a precise fit with it.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby marc108 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:00 pm

glad you are OK dan!
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby Dmytro » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:00 pm

Hi Daniel,

danieLion wrote:
Dmytro wrote:His external manifestations of illness will resemble those of any other sick person: that is, he will appear just as weak and exhausted as anyone else....
is somewhat contrary to what happened to me. Doctors call "external manifestations of illness" patient presentation. My presentation might have actually confused and deceived the doctors to some extent, largely in part because of my previous dhammma training. Perhaps my dhamma training has been so effective that not only did I have inner composure, but also outer composure?


Yes, this sounds very familiar. Somehow doctors are used to quite different behaviour of ill people. External manifestations may resemble what doctors are used to observe, but be quite different. Add to that the fact that Dhamma practitioners may be far more sensitive to the subtle feelings - and you get a fertile ground for diagnostic errors.

The first point I learned is to immediately cleanse the body and listen attentively to what the body really needs - often the ill body doesn't need food, or needs scpecific kinds of food.
And the second point is to know the true limits of medicine - where it is competent and where it is not. Medics pretend to treat anything, but actually their scope of competency is quite limited, - mostly to surgery, stomatology, acute infections and laboratory diagnostics.
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Re: My Brush With Death, Hospitalization

Postby danieLion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:54 pm

Dmytro wrote:Hi Daniel,

danieLion wrote:
Dmytro wrote:His external manifestations of illness will resemble those of any other sick person: that is, he will appear just as weak and exhausted as anyone else....
is somewhat contrary to what happened to me. Doctors call "external manifestations of illness" patient presentation. My presentation might have actually confused and deceived the doctors to some extent, largely in part because of my previous dhammma training. Perhaps my dhamma training has been so effective that not only did I have inner composure, but also outer composure?


Yes, this sounds very familiar. Somehow doctors are used to quite different behaviour of ill people. External manifestations may resemble what doctors are used to observe, but be quite different. Add to that the fact that Dhamma practitioners may be far more sensitive to the subtle feelings - and you get a fertile ground for diagnostic errors.

The first point I learned is to immediately cleanse the body and listen attentively to what the body really needs - often the ill body doesn't need food, or needs scpecific kinds of food.
And the second point is to know the true limits of medicine - where it is competent and where it is not. Medics pretend to treat anything, but actually their scope of competency is quite limited, - mostly to surgery, stomatology, acute infections and laboratory diagnostics.

Very well put. Thank you. I'm so glad others--you, Tilt, Dave Rupa, et al--understand this. It is very good to help me process what happened and is happening. :anjali:
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