The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Archive for November 30th, 2010

Give the Cuddly Atheist Some Good Vibes

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 30, 2010

Some of you know Kate, the Cuddly Atheist, and for those of you who don’t know her, you really need to get to know her – she’s a wonderful person.  Sadly, despite what the fairy tales tell us, some really awful things can happen to some really great people, which is why I’m posting this message.  You see, Kate had a stroke recently, and she’s also beset by all manner of other health issues which are even more unfortunate given her young age (she’s only 30).  I’ll refer you to a post that her husband, Jay, had put up over at Kate’s Cuddly Atheist blog…

The stroke – more details and how you can help


This is Kate’s husband, Jay, again. My last post was a bit short on information. It’s been a bit of a hectic week. We are now home fro the hospital, and resting comfortably in our own bed again.

To recap, Kate had a stroke on 19 November and as a result now has Broca’s aphasia. Broca’s aphasia is what is known as an expressive aphasia. It limits her ability to express the ideas in her head, whether in speech or in writing. She is still “all there”; she just has extreme difficulty in communicating. As you can well imagine, this is extremely frustrating, particularly for someone so rightly proud of her communication skills as Kate. She has shown some improvement over the last week, and I am also getting better at interpreting her.

There are two pieces of hopeful news. Strokes cause swelling in the brain as well as damage, both of which can lead to impairment. As the swelling goes down over the next two to three weeks, any impairment due to the swelling, as opposed to damage, should spontaneously reverse. Significant improvement is likely, though not certain, soon.

Also, Broca’s aphasia is generally quite responsive to speech therapy. She met with a therapist in the hospital a few times last week, and seemed to really enjoy her sessions. Monday, I will call the speech therapy clinic to set her up on an outpatient schedule. The therapy will last up to a year, depending on how well and how quickly her communicative abilities return.

Many people over the course of the last week have asked me what they can do to help, and several have asked to send money. A lovely friend at the JREF Forums is taking up donations on our behalf at her site. Be sure to indicate in the comments why you are sending her money, or she might just spend it on hookers and blow. If you decide to do this, know that we are very grateful.

Far more important than any amount of money, though, is support and encouragement. From everything I’ve read or heard from doctors and therapists this week, the effectiveness of speech therapy will be highly influenced by Kate’s attitude. Right now, she is very upbeat and excited, but it will be a long and frustrating process. Any little words of encouragement you could leave would be worth their weight in baby tears.

Thanks for reading, and thanks especially to Hemant Mehta and Heidi Anderson, who have graciously agreed to repost this.


Posted in skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Celebrate the JREF’s Season of Reason

Posted by mattusmaximus on November 30, 2010

This time of year it seems that just about everyone celebrates some kind of holiday.  Some are explicitly religious in nature, such as Christmas or Hanukkah, while some secular holidays are being celebrated at about the same time.  It is in the spirit (pardon the pun) of furthering critical thinking & skepticism among the population at large that I share with you the JREF’s annual Season of Reason initiative. Whether you are religious or not, I think we can all agree that reason is something we need more of in our society, so I hope that you consider donating to this worthy cause…

Season of Reason 2010: The JREF’s Bright Future

The James Randi Educational Foundation is proud to announce its annual fundraising campaign running from November 15, 2010 through January 15, 2011.

Last year’s Season of Reason campaign raised thousands of dollars, which was used to help establish the JREF’s new Education Department and get a number of new programs off the ground. This year, we’re asking you to help us raise $100,000 to support the further development of the educational programs that will be the backbone of the JREF’s work in 2011. Such support helps the JREF to continue to extend the important work of James Randi, influential skeptic and social critic who has for decades stood against the prevailing cults of nonsense and supernatural charlatans of every stripe. …

… Donate today to help us reach our goal!

Posted in education, skeptical community | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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