The baby kept alive by Viagra

Impotency pill helps Owen stage incredible recovery

DIAGNOSED with a serious medical condition while still in his mother's womb, Owen Bloomfield was given just a 50-50 chance of survival.

When the tiny tot was born, doctors discovered he was even sicker than they had first thought.

And they warned his parents they did not expect Owen to live longer than a week.

Incredibly, the baby boy has confounded medical opinion - and stunned his parents - by fighting for survival with the help of Viagra, the drug normally used to treat impotent men.

Owen was born with his stomach in his chest, a hole in his heart and a rare lung disorder. Today he is being kept alive with a dose of Viagra every four hours and has amazed medics by his remarkable recovery.

Last night his parents paid tribute to their son's courage and spoke about his return from the brink of death with the help of a little blue pill.

His father, Ronnie Bloomfield, 24, said: 'I thought it was an old man's drug but Owen gets it every four hours. He has pulmonary hypertension and he is given it to open up the blood vessels in his lungs and lower his blood pressure.

'It has been a real rollercoaster.'

Owen was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which left him with an incomplete diaphragm - the breathing muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities.

As a result, his stomach, intestines, part of his liver and his spleen formed in his chest. He also has two extra spleens, although only one works.

In addition, he has a hole in his heart, which has yet to be corrected, and pulmonary hypertension, a rare and life-threatening blood vessel disorder of the lungs.

His mother, Jennifer Strachan, who lives with her partner in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, had gone alone for a scan when she was 22 weeks pregnant to be given the devastating news that her son had CDH, which occurs in just one in every 2,500 births.

She said: 'When I had my 12week scan, I was chuffed because I thought everything was fine and nothing else could go wrong.

'Then, at 22 weeks, they told me he had CDH. I had never heard of it before and when they explained what it was, I just started crying.'

For the rest of her pregnancy, Miss Strachan had scans every three weeks to check how the baby was developing and had other tests to see if her son had other conditions such as Down's syndrome.

At one point, she was told she may even have to terminate her pregnancy if the condition was too severe. To make matters worse, the additional heart and lung complications did not become apparent until Owen arrived a week earlier than planned, weighing 6lbs 7oz, at Glasgow's Queen Mother's Hospital on July 23.

He was not expected to pull through the three-hour operation to put his organs back in the correct places. Miss Strachan said: 'The three hours of his operation were the worst three of my life because we were told he could die on the operating table.

'I just thought "Oh my God, it's all going to go wrong".

'The doctors said they had only known of one or two babies to survive with all three complications and if he didn't start to pick up in a week, we would have to think about turning his medication off and letting him go peacefully. The next day he started to pick up.'

Owen is still on a ventilator to aid his breathing but he is now responding to treatment.

Miss Strachan, who suffered a miscarriage just three months before she found out she was pregnant with Owen, now spends seven hours at a time by her son's cot in the neo-natal intensive care unit in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill, in Glasgow, as he battles for survival.

She and her partner have been warned their little boy could spend up to a year in hospital.

She said: 'It's hard seeing him lying there like that. I can't wait to pick him up and give him a cuddle.'


CONGENITAL Diaphragmatic Hernia is a birth defect that affects one in every 2,500 babies - 50 per cent do not survive.

Babies with the condition frequently are unable to breathe effectively on their own because their lungs are underdeveloped.

An operation moves the stomach, intestine and other abdominal organs from the chest cavity back into the abdominal cavity.

Once the baby no longer needs help from a ventilator to breathe, they may still need oxygen and medications to help with breathing for weeks, months or even years.


The geography of religion: faith, place and space

Until now, scholars interested in the geography of religion have had only a few broad surveys available. Pierre Deffontaines' (1948) text remains untranslated from its original French. David Sopher's (1967) and Chris Park's (1994) introductory texts have been critiqued for their writing styles. Roger Stump's new book The Geography of Religion (2008) fills this gap and stimulates future research in this understudied field. Social science undergraduate students and their instructors interested in the intersections of faith, space and place will appreciate the book's organizational structure and thematic clarity, provocative examples of both traditional and new religious movements and trends across multiple scales, and especially Stump's own passion for religion and politics.

Roger Stump reasons that if cultural geographers are indeed interested in human products and meaning across space and through time then careful attention must be paid to religion as a central element in cultural life. As articulated by the author, "Religion is interpreted throughout this volume as a cultural system, an integrated complex of meanings, symbols, and behaviors articulated by a community of adherents" (p. 7). In the introduction he hooks the reader with an intriguing case of a Manhattan Jewish eruv, a ritual space used by Orthodox Jews during observance of the Sabbath. Like so many of the poignant examples offered throughout the book, Stump's analysis of the eruv illustrates several spatial processes and concepts central to the geographic study of religion including: movement, diffusion, distribution, localization, place, space, and meaning.

The book's chapters are organized around four main themes: ( 1) the spatial dynamics of religious distributions; ( 2) the contextuality of religions; ( 3) religious territoriality in secular space; and (4) the meanings and uses of sacred space. Much of the material on the emergence, diffusion and localization of the world's religions will be familiar to veteran scholars and is readily available in other sources. However, Stump's passion for religion and politics comes through in his discussion of religious territoriality, the focus of the fourth chapter. Religious groups strategize internally to exude influence in adherents' daily lives as well as externally in the lives of non-adherents in secular spaces. Hegemonic and minority religious groups innovate in a variety of ways in order to influence their particular environment. Throughout the text the reader is reminded of the significance of scale in studying cultural life. From more narrow scales (i.e. the body, the family and the home) to wider scales (i.e. the state, the imagined community of believers, and the world) religious groups work to shape space and place according to their world views. While Stump is obviously well versed in the field's literature, he does not bombard the reader with clunky reviews and internal citations. Instead, previous scholarship is seamlessly woven into his discussion and carefully annotated thematically at the end of the book. The end pages also provide a useful glossary, however the terms are not offset within the body of the text.

Critics may be concerned with Stump's inattention to praxis. Stump reflects on his own bias against discussions of "'doing' the geography of religion." He sees much of that type of work as methodological "fashions of the moment," often dismissive of previous work, and lacking "a middle way" needed to advance the field of study (p. xvi). While this decision is common in the writing of most introductory texts due to their broad scope, considerations of reflexivity and positionality may have benefited Stump's discussion of fundamentalism. The reader will undoubtedly appreciate Stump's expertise on the subject as this was the focus of an earlier work of his. However, compared to fundamental factions within other faith groups, the book pays excessive attention to Islam. Some scholars may regard this emphasis as reinforcing damaging stereotypes.

Overall, The Geography of Religion offers an excellent and thought-provoking survey of the geographic study of religion. The book will undoubtedly inspire burgeoning cultural geographers to delve deeper into this often-neglected field.


funny joke

A man and a friend are playing golf one day at their local golf course. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course. He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer.

His friend says: “Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man.”

The man then replies: “Yeah, well we were married 35 years.”


ganked from a lady love

One girl is licking an ice cream, one is slurping an ice cream and one is sucking down an ice cream...

Which one is married asks johnny.

The one that is sucking said the teacher.

No, it's the one with the wedding ring, but I like your thinking says johnny.


Overcoming Loss: activities and stories to help transform children's grief and loss

Busy members of staff working with children aged between four and eight are always grateful for practical tools that make their lives easier. This resource, which can be photocopied, is designed to help children deal with their feelings of loss in individual or group settings. Whether working with looked-after children who have many losses, or supporting a parent or carer to help their child, this book should be accessible to all professionals.

Written by a Canadian psychologist — you have to accept the spellings from across the pond — it encourages children to name their feelings, and deal with them in positive ways, using a model of cognitive behaviour therapy. Appendices include UK and EU Resources and recommended reading lists, as well as handouts listing common reactions to traumatic stress and what parents can do to help.

It's honestly worth having in the office. You will use it regularly if working with children who have lost their sense of self or even those who have just lost their cat.

Lynne Fordyce, Bereavement, Loss and Trauma Unit, Leeds Primary Care Trust

you can buy this book here


Book Review: Hell's Islands: The Untold Story of Guadalcanal

Oscar Wilde once remarked that there was no use in writing a book if you didn't irritate someone. That comment obviously applies to book reviews as well.

To judge from his review of my book, Lieutenant Colonel Bartlett gave the book only a cursory inspection. Bartlett cited several books about the war in the Solomon Islands and asked why another was necessary. The answer is that my book covers what other histories have not, and it includes more information on the Japanese involvement in the land campaign than all the cited books combined. For example, in his excellent work, Guadalcanal (Random House, 1990), Richard B. Frank neglected to mention that 5,000 U.S. Navy personnel took part in the land campaign — namely, the 6th, 14th, 26th, and 27th Naval Construction Battalions. I included them.

The reviewer criticizes me for taking tour chapters to get to the start of the Guadalcanal campaign. Those chapters lead up to the main story; they give the reader an idea of what life in the Solomon Islands was like before the Japanese invaded the islands and how the civilian populace and the skeleton military defense forces reacted to that event. That information is not available anywhere else.

Bartlett seems to think I was troubled about the naval enlisted ranks. They all were taken from the fifth edition of the Glossary of U.S. Naval Abbreviations, published by the Government Printing Office for the Chief of Naval Operations in April 1949. The Japanese naval ratings were furnished by Yoshi Sagai, a former sailor in the Imperial Japanese Navy.

In an effort to find something else to complain about, the reviewer asserts that Japanese names should be written with the family name first, followed by the given name. The preface to my book, however, clearly states, "Japanese names are presented in western style — given name first, followed by the family name." This is the same style used in Richard Frank's book.

Similarly, Bartlett complains about naval terminology — "artillery is organized into batteries, not companies." In the appendix, Japanese artillery units are listed as companies, battalions, and regiments. That list was compiled by Captain Akio Tani (better known to American veterans as Pistol Pete), who commanded the 2nd Company, 7th Heavy Field Artillery Regiment, during the Guadalcanal campaign. lf anyone knew about Japanese artillery units and their organization, it was Tani.

Bartlett states that "the Japanese also called Guadalcanal 'Starvation Island.' 'Ga,' the first syllable of Gadarukanaru — their name for Guadalcanal — means hunger." The latter statement, howver, is incorrect. There are many Kanji characters pronounced as "Ga," but only a few can be used w ith only, one charater as a word. They include "my," "moth," and "greetings." The Kanji character meaning "starvation" is not used with one character. It is used with a combination of other Kanji characters, as in Kiga ("starvation") and Gahi ("to die of hunger").


15 Cents

A woman says to her mother, 'I'm divorcing Sheldon. All he wants is anal sex, and my ass hole is now the size of a quarter, when it used to be about the size of a dime.'
Her mother says, 'You're married to a multi-millionaire businessman, you live in an 8 bedroom
mansion, you drive a Ferrari, you get $1,000 a week allowance, you take 6 vacations a year and you want to throw all that away over 15 cents!'