News of Otsego County

R Scott Duncan

DUNCAN: Let’s Try A Little Tenderness

Let’s Try A Little Tenderness

To the Editor:

Kindness is very powerful.

Many years ago I had surgery. The hospital kept me till the end of the day and then pushed me out the door and into a cab. They stuffed a prescription for pain killers in my hand.

I don’t remember filling the prescription, but I do remember the brutal pain of climbing up two flights of stairs to my apartment. Then collapsing into bed.

After a while, things simmered down and I got up and took the pain killers.

Many hundreds of years ago in Baghdad when you went into the hospital they would take your clothes and you would get a linen gown to wear. The beds had linen sheets!

When you were ready to leave they would give you your clothes back, all clean and fresh. They would also give you some money so you did not have to go back to work for the first week. That would give you some more time to heal.

Recently I was in the hospital for four days. A little while after I got home friends stopped by on two different occasions. They each brought me some food. It was a great thing to do for me. It made me feel connected. It’s nice to taste food that is made by different people.

I remember church suppers in the basement of the church. They were once a month. People would bring different dishes to pass.

Tomorrow, I am making a calamari and tomatoes stew. Pam is making fresh loaf of bread. Bread to dip into the stew to soak up the juices and to excite the taste buds.

We are going to take it to a special friend who has just gotten out of the hospital. I hope it helps her to recover faster. Plus, she won’t have to think about dinner for her family that night. Rest and relax.

Isn’t that why we are here: To help each other in times of need? It certainly helped me that time. I had forgotten how powerful the kindness of sharing food can be.

Hartwick Forrest

DUNCAN: Hospitals Posting Prices? When You’re Sick, It Doesn’t Matter

Hospitals Posting Prices? When

You’re Sick, It Doesn’t Matter

To the Editor:

As I was driving along listening to NPR talking about hospitals now being required to post prices for services. I thought: That is all the hospital needs, more hoops to jump through for the government. I looked on the Internet to find out more details.

“The Trump Administration…announced it would begin forcing hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies, a potentially bold move to help people shop for better deals on a range of medical services, from hip replacements to brain scans,” wrote the New York Times’ Reed Abelson.

Do they really think I want to go shopping for better deals in healthcare? Can you see yourself on a shopping spree to compare prices when you are sick? Are they completely clueless?

If you are sick, it’s prices be damned.. You want solutions to regain full health. Do you think a commander of a battleship has to worry about how much weapons, food and fuel cost so they can go out and kill people? Yet with healthcare in this county, it is all about prices. What kind of country is this?

It is true that hospitals and doctors are the Number 3 cause of death in America. (Maybe with COVID they have moved to fourth.) This fact and the issue of cost is a symptom of a deeper problem of medicine in America. What is the meaning of healthcare?

The high cost of healthcare is drug companies – “BigPharma”. They donate huge sums of money to universities to teach doctors to push drugs. Doctors then have a limited perspective on what healthcare is. They are forced to think within the box and lose their ability to be creative and innovative.

The knowledge should be about nurses’ and doctors’ views and experiences, not corporations. Even scientific studies would be better off if the ideas came from the nurses and doctors, not from mice running around in cages.

You can’t have a system of health based on profit without discriminating against the people with limited resources. Capitalism and healthcare can’t share the same bed.

Many will cry “socialism.” My cry is: compassion, humanitarianism. Healthy citizens equal healthy society. The bottom line is: We are all in this world together and we are all going to die. Why can’t we do it with dignity and virtue?

Hartwick Forrest

DUNCAN: Quality Of Food Goes Back To Soil’s Quality

Quality Of Food Goes

Back To Soil’s Quality

To the Editor:

Vitamins, minerals, and other supplements – there are numbers of people who say you should take vitamins.

Vitamin C for tissue repair, A for healthy skin, B for stress, E for women over 40, and a very popular one today – Vitamin D for overall health.

But the cost of the vitamins keeps getting higher and higher. A men’s multivitamin today will cost well over $50!

I was looking at the label on the jar and it said that a number of the ingredients are foods, from foods? Why not just eat the right foods? Well, they say foods are
not as nutritional us as they used to be.

I remember reading about one genetically modified grain that was created so it would grow faster. One of the reasons that it grows faster was that the roots are shorter. Well , the shorter roots do not go deep enough to absorb enough minerals, which in turn affects the brain function because of the lack of the minerals.

You can see why a lot of people think that you should eat organic, non-GMO foods. So I wonder why isn’t the food as good as it used to be?

A lot has to do with the soil. It’s been depleted and in many places contaminated.

There’s a graveyard for cars around here. Tons of cars lined up near a river. Every time I drive by I think how stupid to be so close to the river. The acid rain comes down on all the cars and carries all the pollutants into the river and into the farmland.

Man just ignores the cycles of nature, giving little respect to the natural process. They think science can do a better job. There is no balance between nature and science. You really don’t want to wait for nature to build the soil back up.

The way she takes care of things! Think about this: the COVID virus. It is keeping people inside, thereby reducing their impact on nature. Example: air pollution. The virus is killing lots of people, which reduces the population and also the stress on the environment.

Nature has her way of balance if we don’t play fair. Building up the quality of soil in Otsego County should be a pretty high priority on the list. Quality of soil equals quality of food equals quality of people.

I wonder what is being done to protect and enrich our local soil for, as they say, future generations?

Hartwick Forrest

DUNCAN: Mix Medicine, Wisdom Of Ages


Mix Medicine, Wisdom Of Ages

To the Editor:

So Bassett has a new machine to fight cancer. The TrueBeam. It makes you think that this is the final answer.

Have you ever noticed how man is always looking for something outside of himself to heal himself? It’s like COVID: Everyone is wearing masks to protect themselves, and others, and many are waiting for a shot that they think will save them.

The trouble is, a virus is much smarter than man and can change and morph before the drug even gets to the counter. It’s my understanding that the virus can change in 21 days.

I’m not saying you should not wear a mask or get a shot, because it can surely help. I’m saying, what is the real root of the problem? Why is it that some people get sick and others don’t?

It seems to me it all goes back to the immunity system of your own body. Why do they leave that part out? What are you doing to make your immunity system stronger? Food? Herbs? Exercises? Do you really think someone else is going to save you? Are you putting responsibility on machines and drugs?

On the new machine, the article left out all of the side effects such as: fatigue, nausea, swelling at the treatment site, diarrhea, lymphedema and secondary cancer, just to name a few things.

Allopathic medicine is fixated on external solutions to health. This is, unfortunately, the way the modern doctors have been trained to think.

This is not to say the machine is useless. By integrating other knowledge, it could be a lot more powerful and less destructive. Without a broader perspective it will only get the job half done … and we suffer for it.

Hartwick Forrest

DUNCAN: In The Lap Of Luxury – At Bassett Hospital

In The Lap Of Luxury

– At Bassett Hospital

To the Editor:

Who would have thought that you could find this magic red button at Bassett.

The pain was excruciating. After two months I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the emergency room. We arrived at 10 p.m.  By 4 they took me up to my room.

Whoops, no bed. Waited a little longer, finally some rest and pain killers.

They put an object that looked like a remote next to me, it had a big red button and was attached to a long cord. I was told just to push it if I needed something. I felt self-conscious and reticent about using it. I am stubbornly independent.

The next day I became a little bit braver. And it grew from there. In the middle of the night after fighting back and forth in my own mind about feeling cold, I finally pushed the button and said that I was cold.

The door swung open and the light spilled into the darkness. A nurse walked in and pulled back my covers. She laid two warmed blankets on me. Ahhh.

You could push the button and get a cuppa tea. You could push the button and get a meal. By the third day I was getting into this.

But I still held back some, knowing that I was not the only button pusher in this place. I need to go for a little walk, push the button. I need to go to the bathroom, push the button.

On the third day I realized I was getting all too comfortable with this. It was time to try and get out of here. I wasn’t pushy and they suggested one more day. I was not going to argue.

This is one of the problems with the healing process. People become used to being waited on. They become used to the attention, compassion and concern from the nurses and doctors.

Some patients can’t get that in their life so they turned to the medical profession and look for as many procedures as they can find in order to keep the caring people around them. To feel wanted.

It gives you insight into our society and what is lacking in America. Humanism. Compassion. There are some people who would rather be sick then to go back out into their cold world.

So on the fourth day they wheeled me out to the front door. I did drag it out till after lunch! One more push of the button! It was a bit sad, there were a few people that I really enjoyed seeing and talking to every day, as they were going about their rounds, and checking up on me from time to time, around the clock. Thanks guys.

Hardwick Forrest

DUNCAN: If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s Try A Little Tenderness

If Laws Don’t Work, Let’s

Try A Little Tenderness

To the Editor:

It always amazed me to see the picturesque and charming villages in Vermont. How is it that the townsfolk work together to create what I think are charming well keep towns?

What you see with your eyes effects your health. This is an ancient concept that has now been proven by modern science. Isn’t that one of the reasons we live in the country? The beauty of nature and the seasons.

Autos and trucks have no use just sitting and resting, abandon on front lawns. The rain washes the chemicals from the vehicle into the ground and into the drinking water.  I’m not sure what people get from seeing their old beaten-up cars sitting around on their front lawn or driveway?

Mowing grass is a pain to me. I am planting more and more flowers and small fruit trees – that equals less and less grass to mow!

The Town of Hartwick’s attempt at threatening people with jail or fines is just a power game so that a few people get their way.

Better to use compassion. Form a community for the beautification of Hartwick, a group of people that helps their neighbor on Saturdays. A discussion on health and design. Educate, don’t threaten and punish. That only isolates and infuriates.

It is time we started dealing with things on a local level, as just plain neighbors and friends. Don’t try and equate everything in terms of money.

Oh, by the way my neighbor’s dog barks a lot…any suggestions?


Hartwick Forrest

If Dogs, Why Not Cuddly Rabbits?

If Dogs, Why Not

Cuddly Rabbits?

To the Editor:

Bassett Medical Center adds dogs to its security patrol.

You can’t be serious? Safety of patients? Dogs carry many diseases as well as ticks. Some people are allergic to dogs and dog hairs. Yet another disease in the hospital environment to be wary of.

So now when we go into the hospital, we will see attack dogs patrolling the hallways with armed officers, and this is supposed to be a secure healing environment?

I go into a hospital for compassion and to be in a caring environment, to seek guidance, not to feel like I am in police state. Putting K-9 unit in hospitals is just one more step closer to living in a police state. It only exacerbates a violent mentality by using power games.

A real healing center would know how to handle disruption with compassion and other methods. There is a reason people get unreasonable in a medical settings. Medicine is not doing a very good job. Look at the statistics. We have a right to be hostile and angry.

There is a difference between controlling society and educating and empowering individuals to feel part of society and safe. Armed units only polarize people by intimidation. That will only make the irritated more irritated and more violent. What we have here is just power game, it has nothing to do about security of the sick person.

It is sad to see where medicine is heading: Some are so busy trying to protect their empire they are missing out on their real job – healing the sick in mind and body. They have lost their way.

Hey, let’s add cats … to catch the mice…!! Oh, and rabbits to cuddle … a good cuddle is always healing, It’s hard to be angry when you are in a cuddle!!


Hartwick Forrest


Take Care Of Yourself – Now; If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late
Letter from R. SCOTT DUNCAN

Take Care Of Yourself – Now;

If You Get Sick, It’s Too Late

To the Editor:

Who in their right mind would want a one-payer healthcare system? That is not the root problem of the healthcare system.

money is not the problem. Americans deserve a free healthcare system.

Where does our ill health come from? Answer that and you know who should pay!

Thanks to Kaiser and Nixon, healthcare was removed from non-profit status to a for-profit system. That means the sicker you are the more money is made. Where is the motivation and incentive for wellness?

Thanks to Carnegie and Rockefeller; due to their desire to create a monopoly with the drug industry we are stuck with allopathic medicine. They figured if they drove out the use of herbs and homeopath (which they could not patent and control) and pushed drugs, they could make huge profits.

Then they went to educational institutions and gained control of the type of medicine that doctors were taught. A monopoly … based on financial gain … not on wellness and quality of life.

It is not about science. Half the world uses other forms of medicine. Some forms of medicine have been used for thousands of years, successfully.

People say how free we are….we are being maimed and killed by what is called “medicine” in this country. It is time that we are treated better. We should not just be income makers for a few who control the healthcare system.

The first step is to take control of your own heath and question your healthcare providers. Demand proof that their treatment plans work.

The best course of action is to take care of yourself now. When you are sick it is hard to sort out and find a solution to your problem while you are in pain and fear.

Hartwick Forrest

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