Friday, December 29, 2017

Sesame Street: Can Its Sunny Way Sweep Our Dark Clouds Away?


Miracle GirlSesame Street: Can Its Sunny Way Sweep Our Dark Clouds Away?

In the age of Trump and Charlottesville, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street's multicultural, humanistic values? 
One idealistic young person at a time.
Everything will be A-okay...if we fight for Sesame Street's empathetic values. A Cookie-Monster-blue wave is on its way.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Myth-Taken by Santa


Miracle Girl: Myth-Taken by Santa

Children often come back from preschool with contagious diseases. I brought back a belief in Santa Claus.
It didn't take long, though, before the budding skeptic in me cottoned onto the deception....
'Santa is a fake! And all those Santas, in all those malls, they’re all fake too!'
Does the Santa myth remind you of something else?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Trump: Transgender Transcender to Rights Recinder


Miracle GirlTrump: Transgender Transcender to Rights Recinder

Trump forces the military to march in the evangelical pander parade. His closeted, gay-persecuting mentor would be proud. 
Like Roy Cohn, President Trump doesn't mind trampling on the gay and transgender communities. LGBT tolerance wouldn't play to his evangelical base.

Friday, December 15, 2017

California Wildfires: Global Warming Early Warning


Miracle GirlCalifornia Wildfires: Global Warming Early Warning


Global Warming is lighting the fuse of the devastating California fires. Still, deniers continue to fiddle while the Golden State burns.

Thousands won't have a home for the holidays due to the California wildfires...and Climate Change. This is one war on Christmas President Trump refuses to fight.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Alabama and Doug Jones: Segregation Then, Elevation Tomorrow?


Miracle GirlAlabama and Doug Jones: Segregation Then, Elevation Tomorrow?

Will the (old) South rise again? Or will it finally be laid in the same mouldering grave as segregation? 
And will the crimson tide of Alabama voters shift toward the future or turn back to yesterday? We will know presently.

Friday, December 8, 2017

GOP and Religious Right: Blowing Smoke While My Head Reels


Miracle GirlGOP and Religious Right: Blowing Smoke While My Head Reels

My head reels as evangelicals defend a child molester with the bible, while the hypocrisy of the GOP takes my breath away.

If this is the new reality, can I please go back in my coma-dream now? 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Personal War on Christmas


Miracle Girl: My Personal War on Christmas

Christmas is a season of mawkishness and awkwardness for deconverts. I was simply confused. Here's an antidote for both...

“Run Donder, run Blitzen, run Prancer, it’s through,” cried Santa, but we were booking them too. 

No, that isn't Robert Mueller leading the investigation in this satiric sting of Santa Claus.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hyperactive Students: Emerging from the ADHD Dark Ages


Miracle GirlHyperactive Students: Emerging from the ADHD Dark Ages

Hyperactive and ADD kids now receive academic aid, giving them a hand up instead of stiff arm in school. For ADHD students born in the hyperfast lane, schools are finally doing something to keep them from crashing and burning. 
Can I have a do-over for my childhood?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Not Seeing God: Patheos Nonreligious Bloggers Unite!


Miracle GirlNot Seeing God: Patheos Nonreligious Bloggers Unite!

Not seeing is not believing. In "Not Seeing God: Atheism in the 21st Century," the voices of 24 Patheos Nonreligious bloggers come together in a chorus of godless dissent.

My chapter in this new Patheos Nonreligious anthology is a tongue-in-cheek guide to raising your secular children.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Weight: Giving Thanks for My Metabolism (Please Don't Hate Me)


Miracle GirlWeight: Giving Thanks for My Metabolism (Please Don't Hate Me)

My weight has been feast or famine. But you probably won't empathize with me as visions of pounds gained dance in your head.
Maybe you can't be too rich. But take it from me, you can be too thin. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Christian Hypocrisy: Can the Unholy Still Be True Believers?


Miracle GirlChristian Hypocrisy: Can the Unholy Still Be True Believers?

Hypocrisy, thy name is the Religious Right. But does being a hypocrite mean they don't really believe Christian doctrine?
To me, human nature says no.
And besides, the Ten Commandments doesn’t say anything about thy neighbor's teenage daughter.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Roy Moore and My Molestations: When Political News is a Painful Trigger


Miracle GirlRoy Moore and My Molestations: When Political News is a Painful Trigger

Many Alabama Republicans excuse Roy Moore's assaults. Will child molestation soon join the list of inexcusable behaviors normalized in the Trump era?
And what message would a Roy Moore victory send to victims of child sex abuse?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Democratic Wave: A Change is Gonna Come


Miracle GirlDemocratic Wave: A Change is Gonna Come

Grassroots begin with a single blade. And a Democratic wave starts as a ripple before it gathers into a political tsunami.
Seeds are being planted for Democratic grassroots. Finally.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Northam/Gillespie Race: Is Trumpism Coming to an Election Near You?


Miracle GirlNortham/Gillespie Race: Is Trumpism Coming to an Election Near You?

Trumpian racial fear mongering in the Northam/Gillespie gubernatorial contest shows that Virginia isn't just for lovers. It's for haters, too.
If Ed Gillespie wins, so does Trumpism.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Aggressively Affectionate Cats: Pawed and Dangerous



Miracle GirlAggressively Affectionate Cats: Pawed and Dangerous

How can defenseless humans combat aggressive, but affectionate, cats armed -- and pawed -- with ice picks and sabers?
With only with a spray bottle to defend us, we battle our feline overlord.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

My Political Predictions: Through a Glass Dimly


Miracle GirlMy Political Predictions: Through a Glass Dimly

Will favorable political predictions for 2018 and 2020 wind up in the same graveyard as Hillary Clinton's landslide victory?
You would think I'd get out of the prediction business after the 2016 debacle....

Friday, October 27, 2017

Jeff Flake and Bob Corker: Republicans Opposing Trump from Within


Miracle Girl: Jeff Flake and Bob Corker: Republicans Opposing Trump from Within

Liberals unwilling to welcome Flake and Corker into the opposition need a slap upside the head. Now is the time for the left to cast aside petty tribalism and embrace everyone willing to join the cause of opposing Trump.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

ACA Marketplaces: Eve of Destruction or Dawn of Bipartisanship?


Miracle GirlACA Marketplaces: Eve of Destruction or Dawn of Bipartisanship?

Will senatorial bipartisanship fund cost-sharing reductions? Or will Trump's cancellation of the payments be allowed to destroy ACA marketplaces?

In other words, are all Republicans as eager to destroy Obamacare marketplaces as President Trump? 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Thurgood Marshall: Mr. Civil Rights in an Era of Racial Regression


Miracle GirlThurgood Marshall: Mr. Civil Rights in an Era of Racial Regression

Thurgood Marshall was a one-man Black Lives Matter movement at a time when the NAACP hung banners proclaiming, "A Man Was Lynched Yesterday."

The blunt Supreme Court justice would've had some choice words for Donald Trump.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Killing CSRs: Which Supervillain Does Donald Trump Resemble Most?


Miracle GirlKilling CSRs: Which Supervillain Does Donald Trump Resemble Most?

President Trump is killing Obamacare cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) for lower income people. Is his resemblance to a supervillain a coincidence?
In real life, there are no superheroes to save us from the villainy of Donald Trump.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Empathy: Missing from the Vegas Shooter and Cauterized by Tribalism


Miracle GirlEmpathy: Missing from the Vegas Shooter and Cauterized by Tribalism

Is there an off switch for empathy?
Empathy is the essence of humanity...and the quality the Las Vegas shooter lacked. Do we really want tribalism to destroy our empathy too?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mass Shootings: Death from Above, the Evil Lives Inside


Miracle GirlMass Shootings: Death from Above, the Evil Lives Inside

Most people mourn lives lost instead of taking them. At times like these, we hug our loved ones a little too tightly as we imagine losing them to the random whims of a compassionless killer. 
No demons need apply when explaining mass shootings like the Las Vegas massacre. The evil in the human "soul" comes from within.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Trolls: Warping the Internet into a Sadist’s Playground


Miracle GirlTrolls: Warping the Internet into a Sadist’s Playground

What drives the twisted minds of trolls? Every advance in communication technology seems to be accompanied by those who get their jollies from abusing it to harass the innocent.
But we can’t allow the worst in humanity to darken the best of the web.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pre-existing Conditions: When the Foxes Own the Healthcare Coop


Miracle GirlPre-existing Conditions: When the Foxes Own the Healthcare Coop

Trumpcare is dead. Again. But GOP predators haven't stopped stalking Medicaid and threatening the healthcare of millions of people with pre-existing conditions.
When the foxes own the chicken coop, the hens better stay on their guard.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Graham-Cassidy: The Final Trumpcare Resurrection


Miracle GirlGraham-Cassidy: The Final Trumpcare Resurrection

Hatred of the Affordable Care Act is the ultimate zombie, eating the brains of the GOP. And Graham-Cassidy is the final result.
Indeed, this brainless and heartless bill pickpockets Medicaid expansion states and resurrects pre-existing condition exclusions.
Way to go, GOP.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

True Grit: Discovering Your Strength Within and Without


Miracle GirlTrue Grit: Discovering Your Strength Within and Without

"You are my inspiration," said the man. "You're so strong," added his female companion. Before my coma, those words wouldn't have been spoken about me. 
It took a coma and some strangers to show me the grit and determination that lay within me. You have it in you, too.
This blast from the past Miracle Girl post could well have been written for Coma Chameleon in the earlier days of my recovery.

Friday, September 15, 2017

You Are Here; the Cassini Spacecraft Isn’t Anymore


Miracle Girl: You Are Here; the Cassini Spacecraft Isn’t Anymore


Cassini died for our bacterial sins, though the plucky spacecraft gave its life for science.
It's up to humans to dedicate themselves to improving life here at home.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Adult ADHD: Curing Chronic Brain Farts…and the Stinks They Cause

Miracle GirlAdult ADHD: Curing Chronic Brain Farts…and the Stinks They Cause
Living with adult ADHD means getting used to frustration and embarrassment. But what to do when the very symptoms of ADHD prevent me from seeking treatment?
What would it take to make me stop procrastinating and finally seek help?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

DACA Dreamers: Raised in America, Its Promise Yanked Away


Miracle GirlDACA Dreamers: Raised in America, Its Promise Yanked Away

To appease his base yet again, President Trump signed away the Dreamers' futures with the stroke of his pen.

Imagine being forced from your home and sent to a place you don't even remember. Will the Dreamers' American dream turn into that nightmare?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Pulling the Plug: Given a Death Sentence for Being Unable to Respond


Miracle GirlPulling the Plug: Given a Death Sentence for Being Unable to Respond

One in five apparently vegetative patients are actually covertly aware. Should they receive the death penalty for their body's incapacity? 
The more we learn about cognition in the vegetative, the more we realize how little we know. We should keep that in mind when considering pulling the plug.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Vegetative Mock Trial: An All-Too-Real Life and Death Scenario


Miracle GirlVegetative Mock Trial: An All-Too-Real Life and Death Scenario

Should a vegetative wife have her feeding tube removed? That was the question posed by a student mock trial. Yet the issues at stake are far from moot.
Would I have rather have been taken off life support and allowed to die? That's what the student asked me.
Seriously!???

Friday, August 25, 2017

Celebrating Coma Day: 5 Explorations of Covert Awareness


Miracle Girl: Celebrating Coma Day: 5 Explorations of Covert Awareness

Celebrating Coma Day -- the anniversary of my awakening -- by exploring my journey and the researchers who allow the covertly aware to speak for themselves. What better way to mark my rebirthday than by cheering the heroes of covert awareness?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Racial Tolerance: Charlottesville was NOT a Total Eclipse of the Heart


Miracle GirlRacial Tolerance: Charlottesville was NOT a Total Eclipse of the Heart

Like the Great American Eclipse, the light of racial tolerance has proven to be far stronger than the retreating darkness of hate. Indeed, the casual ease between every shade and ethnicity is so commonplace that we don't even notice it. 
Take that, Richard Spencer. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

It’s a Hard Luck Life: My Pre-Coma Mindset


Miracle GirlIt’s a Hard Luck Life: My Pre-Coma Mindset


I didn't realize how lucky and resilient I was until I suffered the worst luck imaginable...and not only survived, but thrived.
Coping with life's hardships is a survival instinct, too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tennis Study: Revealing Active Minds Adrift in Inactivated Bodies


Miracle GirlTennis Study: Revealing Active Minds Adrift in Inactivated Bodies

A seemingly vegetative patient participated in his own care using the tennis study technique. But thousand of covertly aware patients languish...for now. 

Scott Routley's heroic efforts reach out from the gray zone of consciousness will help countless others. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Changing Lady Liberty’s Beacon to Immigrants Into a Stiff-Arm


Miracle GirlChanging Lady Liberty’s Beacon to Immigrants Into a Stiff-Arm
Like the travel ban, the Trump administration's revised admittance policies for immigrants is a cover for the total ban they wish they could impose.
If only the Trump administration didn't have to adhere to that pesky constitution.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Obamacare Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments: Their Money or Your Life


Miracle Girl: Obamacare Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments: Their Money or Your Life

With Trump continuing to hold Obamacare cost-sharing reduction payments hostage, will the ransom be paid by bipartisan congressional negotiations?
The foxes now own the henhouse. If Obamacare implodes it will be at the hands of President Trump.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mitch McConnell’s Deadly Game of Obamacare Repeal Darts


Miracle GirlMitch McConnell’s Deadly Game of Obamacare Repeal Darts
Mitch McConnell hopes one of his legislative darts will hit the Obamacare repeal mark, but it's the healthcare of millions in his bulls-eye.
The Senate Majority doesn't care about the pain his blind darts "game" will cause.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Owen Lab: On the Road to Widespread Covert Awareness Testing


Miracle GirlThe Owen Lab: On the Road to Widespread Covert Awareness Testing
My mom thinks nurses were trying to nudge her toward eventually pulling my plug. She refused to even consider it. But what about the other covertly aware consciousness disorder patients?
False hope is a danger, yet false doom can be deadly. Mobile testing by the Owen Lab may save the lives of countless covertly aware vegetative patients.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pottery Barn Rule: You Break the Healthcare System, You Bought It


Miracle Girl: Pottery Barn Rule: You Break the Healthcare System, You Bought It
Forgetting the Pottery Barn Rule, the president has vowed to smash Obamacare. While Trump will buy the blame, the American people who will pay the price.
Sorry, Donald, the phrase doesn't go, "The buck stops with Dem."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Better Care Recovery Act II: Dean Heller Highwater


Miracle GirlBetter Care Recovery Act II: Dean Heller Highwater

If the BCRA fails, the healthcare coverage of millions will have been saved by senators covering something else, especially the GOP's most endangered senator, Dean Heller.
Will Obamacare be saved by a senator out to save his electoral skin?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Covert Awareness: Into and Out of the Gray Zone of Consciousness


Miracle Girl: Covert Awareness: Into and Out of the Gray Zone of Consciousness

My coma awakening was a quirk, but Dr. Adrian Owen is making awareness testing a science. Few consciousness disorder patients recover as fully from the "gray zone'' as I have. But the work of dedicated researchers may change that.

Friday, July 7, 2017

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Coma Girl

Coma Girl

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In July of 2013, I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died. When I awoke from the coma, I could barely lift my head. It has been a hard road to recovery. The doctors advised my loved ones to give up all hope for my full recovery, but while they were shining lights in my eyes to gauge my level of consciousness, I was telling them grumpily to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep...in my coma-dream. I was experiencing covert cognition, and the coma-dream was my version of a near-death experience. I'm a skeptic, so I saw surreal images instead of spirits or dead loved ones. According to my research, as many as one in five people with consciousness disorders have covert cognition.

Not a miracle recovery, but a miracle of modern medicine

In 2013 I fell into a six-week coma and nearly died after I contracted legionella. The Legionnaire's disease was in turn triggered by immunosuppression caused by the prednisone I was taking for my rare autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

I suffered a series of strokes on both sides of my brain when the sepsis caused my blood pressure to plummet. I fell into a deep coma. My kidneys and lungs began to fail, as my body was began dying one organ at a time. My doctors told my loved ones to give up hope for my full recovery. They expected me to die, and even if I somehow lived, I would remain a vegetable or at best left so hopelessly brain-damaged that I would never be same. But unbeknownst to them, while they were shining lights in my eyes and shaking their heads, I was telling them in my coma-dream--my secular version of a near-death experience--to leave me alone because I was trying to get back to sleep. I was experiencing what is known as covert cognition, the subject of my Skeptical Inquirer article "Covert Cognition: My So-Called Near-Death Experience," which appeared in their July/August issue.

But it wasn't a miracle--despite what so many continue to believe--that I recovered so fully. I owe my life not to God, but the miracles of modern medicine, as well as the nature of the watershed-area brain damage I suffered, as I detailed in my article and in this blog.