Reminiscing

10 Fascinating Facts About a Hospital Stay in the Czech Republic

I was living in Prague, the beautiful capitol city of the Czech Republic, when I got sick. A scary prospect at any time, but besides being in a foreign country with limited facility in the language, I was unaccustomed to being sick. I ended up in the hospital for three weeks. Here are some of the fascinating facts, I picked up along the way.

1. It’s called a “nemocnice.”
Well, it’s unlikely they’d call it a hospital since that’s an English word, and the language of the Czech Republic, not too surprisingly, is Czech. The particular hospital in which I spent that lovely interlude was called, “Fakultni Nemocnice Motol.” Czech is a Slavic language, related to Russian, Polish, and a few other Slavic tongues. It

 has also been influenced by Latin. Like most national languages, it has developed and evolved independent of the related languages. It’s a relatively difficult language for Americans to learn. The Foreign Service Institute ranks Czech as a Class IV language, meaning, “Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English.” (LINK 1). They don’t use a lot of vowels, and some words are difficult to pronounce. A good word to learn, however, is zmrzlina, which means ice cream.

2. The doctors are not MDs. They’re MuDrs.
Czechs, and other Europeans, are fond of titles. They’re important in that society. When I had cards printed in Prague, I had to make sure that I used my professional title, something I would not do in the United States. But the designations of the various degrees are not necessarily the same as in the US or UK. For instance, the master’s degree is referred to as the magisterské stadium. On a business card or an office door the person’s title would appear as Mgr (magistr). A lawyer would take the degree JuDr, and a PhD, would be designated PhDr. All of these would be prominently displayed on the business card. (LINK 2).

3. The ICU is called the JIP.
While I was in the hospital (nemocnice, remember), I was moved around a bit. I was in five different rooms in those three weeks. First I was in a seemingly private room (there was, after all, nobody there but me) in the infectious disease ward. This was, of course, in a separate building. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. Since I’d been in deepest, darkest Africa the previous year, they didn’t want to take any chances. When I had a bit of a crisis, I had to go to emergency surgery. My outpost was so far away from the main building that I had to be taken by an internal ambulance to the other side of the campus. After that surgery, I was put into the Gastroenterology JIP. This is the Czech designation for the ICU. It stands for Jednotka Intenzivni Pece, which, surprisingly, translates literally as Intensive Care Unit. BTW, after leaving that JIP, I was placed in a ward. Then I had a heart attack. Off to the Kardiac JIP, after placement of a stent.

4. All the doctors speak some English.
One of the biggest fears as one enters a foreign hospital may be that you aren’t going to understand the doctors. You might end up agreeing to have your liver cut out, when all you need is a zit lanced. But, have no fear. You can count on your doctor to have some English. For many, especially those trained in the post-communist era, it’s part of their training. It’s also true that many Czech medical professionals continue their training in English-speaking countries. But, don’t assume that their English comprehension is absolute. If it’s possible to have a translator around, that’s a good thing. At times, after getting an explanation from the doctor in English, I would hear the explanation given to a friend in Czech. Invariably it took four or five times as long to explain (presumably) the same thing. But, they do have some English. (LINK 3)

5. The nurses probably do not.
In the several different accommodations I had the pleasure of inhabiting while at Motol (the nemocnice). I found several levels of both English and nursing care. In the JIP almost every nurse had conversational English. This proves very helpful when he or she comes to hook up yet another IV, or give another shot. It also helps when it is necessary to explain one’s bathroom needs or level of pain. These nurses (referred to as sestra – sister – even the men) were skilled in all the aspects of nursing which I required. They drew blood painlessly and gave shots in the same manner. In the wards, however, such was not the case. English was really lacking and the level of care ebbed considerably. These wards are where I experienced the most discomfort and pain. I decided that the top 10 percent of the nursing classes must end up in the JIP, while those in the wards may not have graduated at all.

6. “Neni krev” is a good thing.
It’s amazing how much Czech you can learn while in the hospital. Of course, the phrases one learns are not readily transferable to any other part of society. For instance, it was here that I learned the importance of the accents in Czech. The Czech word moc that I had been singing about in church means power. But don’t confuse it with the word moč. That one means urine. Since I started out with abdominal surgery, it was some time before I was allowed to get up and walk to the bathroom like a big boy and do what was necessary. Even when that great event occurred, I had to stop on my way out of the toilet (toaleta) and report either krev or neni krev. Neni krev is the one I wanted to report. It means “no blood.” (LINK 4).

7. Men and women share the bathroom in the wards.
The wards in each department had the same configuration; three beds against a wall, separated by hanging sheets. A television, with one remote sat in the middle (BTW, did you know that Walker, Texas Ranger speaks Czech?). On the way out the door we find a bathroom. In this room are two sinks, one toilet, and one shower. Straight across the narrow room from the door is another door. It leads to the women’s ward. That’s right. Six patients, half male, half female, shared one toilet and one shower. The doors did not lock. I tended to wait until after midnight to get my showers, but my abdominal surgery forced me to have other needs considerably more frequently.

8. Want sleep – go home.
This one, of course, is pretty universal. One does not go to the hospital to rest. Late at night the sestri, (plural for sestra) would be at your bedside to take blood, administer meds, and probably a dozen other things I never quite understood. Then through the night the sounds of the hospital, coughing, wheezing, moaning, sometimes yelling, would continue. After all that sweet slumber, bright and early in the morning, a different sestra (yes, they got to go home and get some shuteye) would come in and test blood (krev), urine (moč), temperature, blood pressure, measure out the meds, and a few other things. I did learn to catch naps during the day, while I waited for the next contingent of MuDr wannabes to come through on rounds. It is a teaching hospital.

9. Want coffee – forget it, but “white coffee” is in the hallway.
I’m not an addict. I can quit coffee anytime I want. But, I didn’t want to when I was forced to reside at Fakultni Nemocnice Motol. On my first transfer into the wards, I found out that I could have a drink anytime I wanted one. All I had to do was go out into the corridor and get it myself. The offerings included fruit tea and something called “white coffee.” Now I have attempted to find out exactly what constitutes white coffee, to no avail. It certainly is not what some Americans would consider white coffee, dark, caffeinated brew with cream added. Two facts, however, I can attest. It is neither white, nor coffee. The first was obvious. It is a sickly pale brownish, concoction. Taste was negligible. The second fact is that it is not coffee. This I did find out when I asked an English-speaking sestra. “No,” said she, “we could not allow you to drink a caffeinated beverage.” But, I could have as much white coffee as I wanted. At breakfast, they even brought a cup.

10. Want beer – bring your own.
Beer is another matter. Remember, we’re talking about the Czech Republic here, the home of the first pilsner beer (Pilsner Urquell) and the original Budweiser (Budvar). Beer is the primary beverage in the nation. Czechs average 140 liters (37 gallons) of beer each every year. (LINK 5). The beer is so good that Germans junket to Prague to drink Czech beer. I have friends who go to a conference in Germany once each year. They always load up the trunk of their vehicle with Czech beer to share with their underprivileged German colleagues.
Well, there I was lying in my hospital bed, when I heard a visitor come to see the man in the bed to my left. I thought I heard the sound of bottles clinking and I looked over to see the visitor taking two bottles of Krušovice (one of the popular brands) from a paper bag. He’d forgotten the opener, so he asked one of the staff for one. And he got it. So, the two friends, one of whom had just gotten through abdominal surgery, just as I had, sat and chatted and enjoyed a beer together for a half hour or so. But, it is not on the menu (there really is no menu). It’s definitely BYOP – Bring Your Own Pivo.

11. BONUS: it’s not called Czechoslovakia anymore.
When people ask me where I lived (sadly I don’t live there anymore) and I answer Prague, more often than not they would respond, “Oh, Czechoslovakia.” No, the Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia came into existence with the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1917. It’s existence ended on January 1, 1993 when the two peoples, the Czechs and the Slovaks, separated and created the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. They remain on the best of terms. In fact the split has been referred to as the Velvet Divorce, a reference to the Velvet Revolution of 1989, during which Czechoslovakia split from the Soviet Empire without firing a shot. (LINK 6).

RESOURCES:

LINK 1: http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/language-difficulty.

LINK 2: http://www.czech.cz/en/66997-academic-titles

LINK 3: http://www.valuemd.com/palacky.php

LINK 4: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/czech.htm

LINK 5: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/01/26/in-country-where-water-is-pricier-than-beer-czech-official-seeks-change/

LINK 6: http://www.prague-life.com/prague/velvet-revolution

Heresy, Cults, False Gospels

There are so many branches and offshoots of spiritual fa;sehgood that we can only mention a few, most of which you will probably at least recognize, but some of which may surprise you.

Astrology

Astrology is big business today. There are over 10,000 full-time astrologers and over 175,000 part-time astrologers in the United States. Over 2,000 newspapers carry daily astrological readings. Zodiac jewelry has become popular. Even restaurant table mats have horoscopes!  

  1. The Scriptures condemn it as an abomination before God and an occult tool of satanic origin and power (II Kings 17:16; 23:5; Isa. 47:13; Amos 5:26).
  2. Astrology is not a science but only a superstition i.e., a fraud. The scientific evidence against astrology is irrefutable.

Native American religion

“Native American Religions for instance offer a rich tapestry of ideas about our relationship to the earth.”[Al Gore, Earth In the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.].

This attitude is representative of modern both New Age consciousness and the ignorance of those seeking solace in anything but Christ. Just as many voters in the last presidential election supported “anybody but Trump,” New Agers recognize that they can’t play fast and loose with Christianity. So they seek something “noble” and “earthy.” If you’ve ever read the Last of the Mohicans, you’ve probably noticed the juxtaposition of the Noble Savage over against the wacky protestant clergyman who goes running through the middle of a battle shouting Psalms aloud. You’ve probably also heard references to Mother Earth and the respect of the native Americans (formerly know as Indians) for the earth and all the elements. Many New Agers have started practicing such practices as using Shamans (medicine man/woman; magic; incantations) and sweat lodges to clear the spirit and get in touch, etc.)

Native Americans can be just as savage as other human beings. Native Americans, BTW, also resent the New Age trying to horn in” on their religious practices.

Robert Bly teaches “manhood” by getting men back to their “roots.” For Bly this means sweat lodges drum beating and being environmentally aware.

The Unity School

Origins: Unity began in Kansas City in 1889. Both Charles (a spiritist with no Christian background) ) and Myrtle (raised a Methodist) Filmore were involved with Christian Science and claimed that principles in Christian Science lead to healings in their lives. However, they disagreed with the Christian Science doctrine that matter is not real. They broke away, taught the reality of matter (Christian Science denies the reality of matter) and added, among other doctrines, the belief in reincarnation. Charles even believed he was the reincarnation of Paul the apostle. The Fillmores studied Hinduism and wove many of its other principles into their philosophy as their new religion grew. Unity is a mind science cult.

Doctrines: Unity School of (pseudo) Christianity denies the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the necessity of the atonement of Jesus for our sins, heaven, hell, sin, and the existence of the devil. Unity teaches reincarnation. “The second birth is that in which we ‘put on Christ.’ It is a process of mental adjustment and body transmutation that takes place right here on earth.” They are largely vegetarians. It teaches that experience, if you are ‘in tune’ with God, is more accurate and reliable than the Bible. God, though, is a divine universal consciousness. Man is a part of that Divine Consciousness and is, therefore, divine by nature.
      Unity separates Jesus from Christ saying that Jesus was a man, but that we all possess the Christ consciousness within us. Christ is the one complete idea of perfect man and divine Mind. Atonement is the reconciliation of our minds with the Divine Mind. It says that the Holy Spirit is a latent power within every one of us.
      “Problems” disappear when you think correctly; that is, when you think according to the principles of divine mind as revealed in Unity. God is within us all as well as creation. “God slumbers in the rocks. God stirs in the flowers. God awakens in Man.” All are children of God and Jesus was simply here to show us what we, as children of God, can do. It denies that Jesus is God in flesh and that he is to be worshiped. “But because He remained in a high state of spiritual consciousness, He became the ethical Messiah of the world.”
      Following are quotes from Charles Fillmore’s book Christian Healing, Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO. They are at the end of each chapter in his book and are meant as summarizations and points of meditation.

  • “God is the name of my good” (p. 17).
  • “God is the name of the everywhere Principle, in whom I live, move, and have my being” (p. 17).
  • “I am the son of God, and the Spirit of the Most High dwells in me” (p. 29).
  • “I am the only begotten son, dwelling in the bosom of the Father” (p. 29).
  • “I am the Christ of God” (p. 29).
  • “I and my Father are one” (p. 29).
  • “I am one with Almightiness” (p. 29).
  • “God is good, and God is all, therefore I refuse to believe in the reality of evil in any of its forms” (p. 60).
  • “My perfection is now established in Divine Mind” (p. 83).  
  • “I see the light of the Christ consciousness always” (p. 106).

Publications: Wee Wisdom, for Children; Good Business, for business people; Weekly Unity, their devotional magazine. They use mail order extensively. There are many other writings some of which are “Mysteries of Genesis” and “Christian Healing” both by Charles Fillmore.

Environmentalism

Much of the environmental movement has gotten back to its pagan roots as it subtly fosters rejection of the Bible and Christianity. The Sierra Club Environmental Health Sourcebook, Well Body, Well Earth, tells us to “turn to the traditions of ancient cultures” such as Buddhist meditations and Native American Hopi rituals in order to “reaffirm our bond with the spirit of the living earth.” “The more you contact the voice of the living Earth and evaluate what it says, the easier it will become for you to contact it and trust what it provides.” In the New Age environmentalists view, starvation, plagues, and death are blessings that simply buy more time for planet Earth. They are pantheistic; their god is an impersonal god, who resides passively in every fiber of the universe; to them, to destroy a plant is to destroy their god; to decimate the quality of human life, on the other hand, is of no concern, because humanity represents the greatest danger to the rest of creation.

Greens in all categories generally agree on one point: Today’s ecological crises is rooted in Christian traditions. They tell us:

The Judeo/Christian belief that God assigned man to “rule over” the earth has caused us to exploit and abuse it. Sound familiar? There is a wing of one of the political parties that also accepts this viewpoint.

Perhaps more influential in raising the religion of environmentalism in recent years was the Clinton/Gore administration. President Clinton and his New Age spokesman, Al Gore, consistently pushed an agenda of “control” and promoted false “science” using their office and taking advantage of the Leftist “education” establishment to make sure our kids knew nothing else. The teaching of Humanism in the schools for several decades has created a spiritual vacuum in the hearts of our people and it has opened those hearts to receive the New Age Spiritual answers such as Vice President Gore’s solutions. We have a pantheistic, pagan type philosophy dominating the thinking of the Vice President of the United States who is a zealous New Ager advocating “a new faith in the future” which will be a return to paganism’s worship of the earth as sacred. Gore identifies the root problem of Western culture in that “we lost our feeling of connectedness to the rest of nature” and finds answers in pantheism. He attempts to blend Christianity and pantheism where the source of all life, instead of God has become Mother God, (Mother Earth/Mother Nature also frequently referred to as Gaia). He, like the radical eco-feminists who support him, see the earth as the pagan goddess Gaia who “has been seriously ‘wounded’ by the expansion of human civilization, and now there must come a universal atonement for these many millennia of grief on ‘her’ part” through an event or process they call ‘cleansing.’

For Gore and other environmentalists, the Judeo-Christian faith is the source of ecological evil, from oil spills to global warming. He asserts it is ignorant Christians who are afraid to open their minds to teachings outside their own system of belief who have become a dangerous threat to the survival of humanity…blights on the environment. To Al Gore, it seems obvious that a better understanding of a religious heritage preceding our own by so many thousands of years could offer us new insights.

“The richness and diversity of our religious tradition throughout history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief. But the emergence of a civilization in which knowledge moves freely and almost instantaneously through the world has … spurred a renewed investigation of the wisdom distilled by all faiths. This panreligious perspective may prove especially important where our global civiilzation’s responsibility for the earth is concerned.” (pp. 258-259)

What’s the point? No sees God. No not one (Romans 3:11). Man wants to be “spiritual,” but he does not wish to do it God’s way. Man will worship anything but the God who made him.

The New Age Gospel

There are some similarities between the various brands of false gospel. Let’s look at just a few of them (there will be more later).

New Ageism embraces supernaturalism, but ascribes it to the creature, not the Creator Jesus was not and is not the only Christ, nor is he God.

Some may think that everyone means the same thing when they say “Christ.” Christians see the one and only begotten Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Many New Age writers on the other hand refer to a Christ spirit. They believe there have been many Christs, Jesus being only one of many.

New Age prophetess Alice Bailey an author of many occult books, including The Reappearance of The Christ, describes the “Avatar of Synthesis,” who she says is a “close Associate” of “the Christ.” She says: “He works under the great natural Law of Synthesis, producing at-one-ment, unification and fusion. His function (in unison with the energy of Christ) is to generate spiritual will in humanity, the will-to good.

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The New Ager understands Christ as a reincarnated avatar, Messiah, or messenger sent from the ‘hierarchy’ to give the living on earth spiritually advanced revelation. The New Age accepts that Buddha,

Mohammed, Confucius, Jesus, and many others were ‘Christ’.
The Baha’i World Faith claims to be in perfect harmony with the Christian Faith yet see the historical Jesus as only one of several manifestations of Christ on equal ground as Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroastrian, Buddha, Mohammed, the Bab, and their founder: Baha’u’llah.

“God” is impersonal, cosmic, a God of energy forces.
All things, including man, constitute, the ONE – called Universal Mind, The Source, Universal Self, Cosmic Consciousness, Universal Presence, or The Force” – your Inner Voice, Higher Self, or Intuition. ” God is an impersonal energy; force, immanent in all things (including man). God can be referred to either as she or he, mother or father, god or goddess. Do not be deceived! New Agers do not mean God or Jesus Christ of the Bible. Most New Age teachers hold that Mother Earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars, indeed all of Nature can be worshipped as God.

Man is himself God, for he consists of and is the creator of “the forces.” Man already exercises the powers inherent in his divinity and needs only to awaken to this fact.  (as in Romans 1:22-24). They flaunt the “I am God” concept as it naturally appeals to man’s ego and thirst for power, an appeal as old as the Garden of Eden.    

Man should seek and accept spiritual instruction and direction directly from the spirit world.

The lure of the occult is almost always on the basis of acquiring knowledge or power. We crave a knowledge that is esoteric, not normally available to the ordinary person. We want to experience a power that is spiritual and supernatural in origin. People don’t seem to want to hear what God has to say, they want information and direction from someone else who “knows”; a psychic, a channeler, a palm-reader, a card-reader, Ouija boards, astrology, magic charming, automatic writing, or the spirit of a dead friend of relative. In a sense these are God-given desire, but they are intended to be fulfilled by the knowledge and power which comes from God. However, Satan is busy trying to pass off his counterfeits for God’s knowledge and power as the real thing. If he can get us to accept his versions of knowledge and power, he has a foothold in our life.

All religions and religious teachings lead to the same goal. All are equally of merit.


Satan’s primary tactic in opposing God is not to foster atheism but religion; not to prove there is no God but to be worshipped as God.   
The New Age does express a cloudy sort of religion, claiming vague connections with both Christianity and the major faiths of the East (New Agers like to say the Jesus spent 18 years in India absorbing Hinduism and the teachings of Buddha), plus an occasional dab of pantheism and sorcery. The underlying faith is a lack of faith in the orthodoxies of rationalism, high technology, routine living, spiritual law-and-order. Somehow, the New Agers believe, there must be some secret and mysterious shortcut or alternative path to happiness and health.


“Ecumenism is essential in creating a “Christianity” which embraces all religions

.Psychology plays a major ecumenical role by providing common faith, language and ritual for everyone from atheists, cultists and occultists to Roman Catholics and evangelicals.” [Dave Hunt, “Mystery Babylon Part II,” The Berean Call, August 1993]

The “ancient wisdom” of Babylon, Egypt and Greece – not the Bible – is the basis of all truth.

Vice President Albert Gore in his book Earth in the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, reveals himself as a person who believes we should have a “mother goddess” that we can worship. He points back to ancient religions and Hinduism and says that they have something good in their worship of “mother earth,” and claims that our modern slogan should be the worship of “mother earth”; that man and nature are one, and that God is part of nature, and nature is part of God. On pages 258 through 259 of his book, he shows where he departed from the Baptist faith and entered in to the New Age Religion. He says “The richness and diversity of our religious tradition through out history is a spiritual resource long ignored by people of faith, who are often afraid to open their minds to teachings first offered outside their own system of belief.” “This Pan-religious perspective may prove especially important where our global civilizations responsibility for the earth is concerned.” “Native American Religions for instance offer a rich tapestry of ideas about our relationship to the earth.”[Al Gore, Earth In the Balance; Ecology and the Human Spirit, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992.]

Sin and evil do not exist. Peace and love are the ultimate realities.


New Agers deny the existence of a hell (gehenna fire) and a judgment. They also deny that sin and evil exist. God (The universe) is alleged to be beyond good and evil.


The New Age gospel is not a system of revolutionary principles. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within us.” It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed.

Before leaving this topic today I will mention a new entry in this race to hell, the religion of “Wokism.” It is best described by this article is the Federalist.