In fourth grade I became a paper boy for the New Britain Herald. It ws an afternoon paper, second fiddle to it’s morning counterpart The Hartford Courant. It was my first job, and it taught me a lot about living. I had responsibility, collected money from my customers, and paid my bills. Whether there was a raging thunderstorm, winter blizzard, or rubber-melting summer day, I had to get out there and deliver those papers. My territory was sizable. There were big hills, and ferocious dogs that wanted a piece of me. I started off with a single speed green bike, and after a couple of years and some good Christmas tips, traded up for a red Ross ten-speed.

Over time I developed friendships with many of my customers. They were mostly grey and white-haired suburbanites. There was the politcal campaign manager whose yard signs changed with the election cycle. Helen was the caregiver for a grumpy, wheelchair-bound policeman injured on the job. Her blue budgie parakeet was named Little Baby Bird. She would invite me in to play cards and eat her homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. There was the couple who had a farmette in the country and would share some of their vegetables to me. I would eat their fresh green peppers like apples. There were two confirmed bachelorettes who shared their home with a big grey cat.

Then there was a customer who told me he was a bionic man. He was a capital C Character. As he pulled up his pants leg to show me his shiny metal hardware, he explained that he had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. His leg had been blown off by a Viet Cong booby trap, and they gave him a bionic replacement.

The Six Million Dollar Man was a popular TV show at the time, and a favorite of mine. Lee Majors played a character who was The Bionic Man with superhuman strength, speed and intelligence. The introductory soundtrack and the sound effects of him lifting heavy objects in slow-motion are etched in my memory.

The Colonel, as I came to think of him, liked to smoke cigars. These were thick long cigars like the Winston Churchill in my history book had smoked. My Pop pop smoked cigars too, so I enjoyed the smell, and I liked playing solider, so I didn’t mind hanging out on his front steps as The Colonel told me stories of his exploits. He told me exactly how many North Korean and Vietnamese soldiers he had killed in combat. It was a chilling number, something like thirty two and forty one. I was a boy that liked watching war movies, but The Colonel’s statement was disturbing and challenged the romantic illusions I had about soldiering.

Writing this Substack got me thinking about the many, many permutations of the word character. My favorite use of the word is to describe what Webster’s Dictionary defines as a person who is peculiar or eccentric. I enjoy the company of such people, and aspire to be a capital C Character myself. There is another definition which I also appreciate, closer to the Greek origin of the word character; kharassein, which means to inscribe. Inscribe: to write a brief message on a photo or book when giving it as a gift. When I remember The Colonel, and all of the Characters who have touched my life, I think that they have inscribed the gift of their peculiar worldview on the pages of my life, and for this I give thanks.

Back to the story! One hot summer day as I rode up to The Colonel’s house to deliver his paper, there he was on his stoop sipping from a can of Foster’s Lager. For the uninitiated, Foster’s Lager is an Australian beer which comes in an enormous can. Google tells me it is 25 oz. I recognized the can from some war movie I had seen on TV. I would bet it was “The Odd Angry Shot” about Australian soldiers fighting in Vietnam. I said “Oh Foster’s Lager, I know that beer.” Natural-as-can be, like I was one of his old Army buddies, he said, “Well, let me go get you one.”

Here I was, a fifth grader who looked more like a third grader, who didn’t weigh eighty pounds dripping wet, and had only sneaked a sip of beer from the rare can of Miller High Life my dad would drink while watching a football game. The Colonel comes back out with a nice big, cold can of Foster’s Lager. And a huge cigar. He handed me both and proceeded to explain that this wasn’t just any cigar, but a Cuban cigar. “They’re illegal you know? Damn buur-row-crats don’t like Commie Castro, so they try to keep me from smoking ‘em, but I’ve got connections.” With the remainder of my paperboy duties on standby, I popped the can open, and he lit me up.

I’ll say, the first few puffs were pleasant. The first few sips of the beer were tasty too. If I could have stopped there, it would have all been an interesting wrinkle to my day. Not wanting to appear ungrateful for this bionic hero’s generosity and comradeship, I kept at both the cigar and the beer. By the time he relieved me of both, I felt seasick, but hadn’t left shore. Somehow I finished delivering the rest of my papers, and arrived safely home. To my surprise, my mom told me that we were going out for pizza, which normally have sent me over the moon with delight, but didn’t sound so good at the time. I thought for sure that I would get busted for smelling like beer and cigar smoke, but the only comment I received was, “Hmmm, you look a little green Scotty.”


If you know anything about the miliary, you know that the non-commissioned officers run the show. In the Army, Air Force and Marines it’s the Sergeants. In the Navy and Coast Guard it’s the Chief Petty Officers. In the Emergency Department, it’s the Charge Nurses. In my nursing career, there have been Charge Nurses who loom larger than life. They have enough chutzpah to fill a stadium. Susan Rainbow was one, a traveler when we first met, and years later my manager at Upstate. Don’t let her last name fool you. Yes, a hippie at heart, but tough as steel and more self-possessed than an NFL quarterback getting blitzed in the last minute of play. Paul Czarnecki and Joseph Zelynak were two others from Upstate. Paul made his own musket balls, created trucks with a blow-torch, and fought fires in his off-hours. Joseph was a soft-spoken maestro conductor of the ED symphony, if you can imagine making music out of chaos. Philip Glass perhaps? Then there was Kathy Fox.

Kathy and I didn’t part on great terms. I was one of two nurses who led an attempt to unionize our smallish community hospital. She was at the top of the pay scale, pulling down six figures between her wage and crazy overtime hours. She wanted nothing to do with a union.

She was a terrible gossip. It’s fair to say she was vindictive, because she once mentioned running her ex-husband’s credit cards to the limit to try and drive him into bankrupty. She was a big-boned woman, with a bit of a waddle, I assume because of aches and pain from arthritic joints. That can happen after forty three years of lifting and moving patients. I judged her for taking the patient parking spot closest to the ED, but I shouldn’t have.

Kathy had a husky, nasally voice, and a wicked laugh. Her IV skills were beyond reproach. I would say that she could throw an eighteen gauge in a dehydrated, obese, diabetic patient from across the room. Somehow, miraculously, she kept her heart from turning to stone. With all the tragedy, drama, blood, sweat and tears she witnessed over decades, she still cared. She could still be empathetic and diplomatic. She was also a cat lover, which gets her bonus points in my estimation.

After last weeks Substack, Chicken Nugget wrote me to report that Kathy died recently in a car crash. I’ve been thinking about her since. When I went to Quaker Meeting on Sunday, I spoke up during joys and concerns. I told the Meeting that anyone there who had lived in our county for more than a decade, whether they had gone to the ED themselves, or a family member had, were touched by the life of Kathy Fox. She was the Chief Petty Officer, who kept that ship afloat and in fighting shape. She was a capital C Character, and with her death, this earth has lost one of its better angels.


In 2014 I graduated from the Family Nurse Practitioner program at SUNY Upstate Medical University. I was still working part-time in the ED at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, NY. A local internal medicine physician named Muhammad Wattoo hired me as the second practitioner in his primary care office. Wattoo, as he is called, is a doctor’s doctor. Literally. We had more doctors as patients than about any other practice in town, except maybe Ann and John Costello, two more doctor’s doctors.

I can’t say enough good things about the three of them. Ann was kind enough to let me do two of my clinical rotations in her office, and John gave me the best lesson ever on the proper technique to take a blood pressure. Mind you he was talking to me many years into my nursing career, and yes, I did learn something from his fifteen minute teaching moment. For his part, I still hear Mohammad’s voice in the back of my mind sometimes when I’m seeing a patient or working out a clinical problem.

In the olden days, and I’ll tell you this is starting to feel like I’m grandpa spinning a yarn about an event in the time of Lincoln, but it was actually just a decade ago…. In the olden days, the Costellos would host a journal club. They invited Wattoo, Adam Law (a British ex-pat guru of diabetes in our community), and little old me, to their home. They would pick a topic, about twenty relevant medical journal articles, and maybe even a book. We would read ahead of time, and after office hours, convene at their home around a table with hummus, crackers, nuts, fruit, tea, and an earnest desire to learn.

It was on such an occasion that the scales fell from my eyes on the topic of statins and cholesterol. Adam or John had put forth a book called Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, written by Dr John Abramson in 2008. Harbinger of the pandemic to come, the synopsis read: “Commercial distortion pervades the information that doctors rely upon to guide the prevention and treatment of common health problems, from heart disease to stroke, osteoporosis, diabetes, and osteoarthritis. The good news, as Dr. Abramson explains, is that the real scientific evidence shows that many of the things that you can do to protect and preserve your own health are far more effective than what the drug companies’ top-selling products can do for you—which is why the drug companies work so hard to keep this information under wraps.”

Dr Abramson lays out how the American medical obsession with cholesterol originated with Big Pharma. It was a planned epidemic, with drugs ready to solve it. Sound familiar? It’s still running strong today, despite the fact that the Framingham Diet Study put to rest the connection between saturated animal fats, cholesterol and heart disease beween 1948 and the 1960s in Boston, MA. “No association between percent of calories from fat and serum cholesterol level was shown; nor between ratio of plant fat to animal fat intake and serum cholesterol level.” AND, “There is, in short, no suggestion of any relation between diet and the subsequent development of CHD [coronary heart disease] in the study group.”  Why don’t we know this? Because these conclusions were not incorporated into the final report of the original investigators of the Framingham Heart Study. Never you mind those inconvenient details. Nor the fact that insurance compensation to medical practices is directly connected to their rigorous adherence to cholesterol management guidelines formulated by Big Pharma and rubber stamped by organizations such as the American Heart Association.

This was all obscene and disturbing before 2019, but then along came Covid and the spike protein, which has wreaked such havoc on our bodies that medical preoccupation with lowering blood lipids using statins has taken on much deadlier proportions. Here is a statement of observation for you. As a clinician who has treated several thousand patients for acute covid, post-acute sequelae of Covid (PASC) and Covid vaccine injury, I don’t think that I can help a patient fully recover if she/he/they is taking a statin. Period.

Let me step back from what is simply my expert opinion, as that is technically the lowest level of evidence. The Epoch Times, which has been almost consistently spot-on in its reporting of all things Covid (except the poorly written and researched article advocating exercise as the solution for PASC and vax injury, Lord help us), recently printed an article by Vance Voetberg about statins. The Epoch Times article featured a 2015 review, published in the Journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, which suggests that statins actively contribute to heart disease and heart failure by killing mitochondrial function, creating accumulated mitochondrial DNA damage, causing Vitamin K deficiencies, raising heart calcification, and ultimately driving millions of patients into heart failure. Say what!?! You read correctly. The authors state: “Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs.”

It is my observation that patients who I cannot persuade to leave behind statins inevitably plateau in their recovery, and then start to backslide. Why would that be? Covid is a mitochondrial slaughterhouse, and statins pour gasoline around it and light the fire. Without functional mitochondria, we don’t have ATP and energy, and so we witness the plague of fatigue in the wake of Covid infections and Covid vaccination. Without cholesterol entering our cells, we can’t make progenolone, our own homemade steroids, which we need to dampen the inflammatory fire. Without progenolone, we don’t have the building blocks to make hormones which control many body functions and are necessary for healthy endocrine function.

Alternatively, when we discontinue statins, and initiate therapy with Nattokinase, a soy-derived fermented supplement, what results is a very dependable magic trick. Patients who were not only on statins, but also one, two, and even three medications for their blood pressure are able to stop all four. They end up with picture-perfect blood lipids, an HDL level to make their cardiologist fawn, and rejuvenated blood vessels that are reflected in lower/healthier blood pressures. It happens in the relatively short time span of 2-6 months.

The benefits don’t stop there, because Nattokinase crosses the blood brain barrier and breaks down spike protein. Most importantly, it is part of a multi-pronged strategy in breaking down microclots. Now, not everyone can use Nattokinase, because it is soy-based, and patients with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome may not tolerate its embodied histamine from being a fermented product. Patients need to closely monitor their blood pressure and reduce or discontinue their blood pressure medications under their practitioner’s guidance as they advance Nattokinase dosing. In this way one can avoid low blood pressure, passing out, and falls. The main point here is that statins are unnecessary, dangerous, and vastly inferior to safer over-the-counter alternatives. This was true before the pandemic. Since 2019, it is a matter of health and sickness, life and death, to leave statins behind in the rear-view mirror.

In Memoriam to Kathy Ann Fox, April 3, 1954 – April 13, 2023.

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