Cultural Context

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I am in the throes of my annual sinus infection. I thought I’d managed to avoid this year’s thrilling science experiment. I’m not that freakin lucky!

This one is worse than previous years and I’m on an antibiotic. Thus far pretty standard stuff.

Except that as I’ve gotten older I appear to be developing a sensitivity to some antibiotics.

I took the drug as prescribed on Friday.  After not sleeping and being in really serious pain.  (achey joints, cramping, all the long muscles hurting and a blinding headache.) Saturday morning, I called the pharmacy.

These symptoms were not present on Thursday, and only began to show up as Friday evening wore on. 

Things went down hill from there.

The pharmacist spoke English mostly. His accent is so heavy I could barely understand him.

He wasn’t listening to what I was saying. Then without thinking I used an American colloquialism “I feel like I’ve been in an auto accident

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The pharmacist told me ”drink more water and eat something when you take the pill” which is exactly what he told me on Thursday, and exactly what is printed on the instructions for use.

It was only after I hung up that I realized he probably didn’t understand the americanism.

Depending on what shit hole 3rd world country he came from, it was likely that he didn’t have a car until he got here, and therefore wouldn’t have the common experience of being in an auto accident during the 60s, 70s, or 80s.

Come on… if you’re over a certain age, didn’t all your friends have at least one small accident? Didn’t their parents?

But if you were in a 3rd world country you probably didn’t have a car, and if you did you likely were never driving more than 40MPH because the roads were bad.

Given that, there was no common ground for him to compare to.

But there’s another issue that sometimes happens with 3rd world individuals in professional situations. They really don’t listen very well except to each other.

I suspect this is a vestige of the old caste systems and if someone came to America to break free of that system, they tend to be a little dismissive. It makes sense in a weird sort of way. You see similar effects with the “new rich” regardless of where someone comes from.

In technology development situations this can be a problem but it’s easily monitored and corrected. 

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In a medical situation…

Theoretically it could be fatal.

For example, the symptoms I was complaining of are now reducing instead of increasing. The pain had become debilitating by last night. So this morning, I decided to forego the scheduled dose.

It’s been greater than 12 hours since I took the last antibiotic. I’m still weak, and achy, but I’m feeling much better than I did.

I still don’t trust my reaction times to be fast enough to handle driving, so I’m canceling my plans for the evening.  I’m waiting to have a chat with my doctor and from there we’ll decide how to proceed.

I’ve also started a journal that describes the issues I’ve had with various drugs. 

From here on out, I’m checking the list before I leave the Docs office.

Apparently, I can no longer rely on my local pharmacy for advice.

I have definitive proof that you will not go blind…

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… No matter how much you masturbate!

This is really good news for me because I’m not planning to quit masturbating anytime in the near future!

I just finished a follow-up appointment with the Ophthalmologist.

I’m in the “Should be monitored” class of people for Glaucoma but as of today I don’t need drugs to control it.

This has made me very happy.

About all I can say is don’t neglect getting your eyes checked. It’s simple, generally painless, and this is a pretty planet. It would really be ashamed to miss it over something that is fairly easy to take care of.

In any case, I’m celebrating with a nice cup of coffee, just had the car washed, and I’m trying to figure out what I’d like for lunch.

The rest of the day is mine perhaps I’ll do some writing.

Been dreaming of a character which means that his story is pretty close to being ready for prime time.

Another Day another Starbucks

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This time however, I’m grounded.

I have to say as an aside, I hate panicky medical providers.

I went for a routine (Yearly) eye exam, and the optometrist that did the exam, freaked out over the pressure reading in my eyes.

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I explained that I was aware of the condition and the underlying causes for the readings his little handheld puffy machine was reporting. (essentially his little puffy machine isn’t calibrated for people like me. And they’re NOT that accurate to begin with.) He would have none of it!  This guy is not the guy I saw last year and he’s lost me as a patient for the firm for a number of reasons.

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Top of the list, is that he was badgering me and not listening to what I had to say about this issue.

Further down the list is that in general he wasn’t listening to anything I had to say and was spending way too much time playing with his damn computer trying to find my records.

But then there was the whole insanity of him wanting to make sure I knew how to handle my contact lenses… Uhhh I walked into your office wearing them and you didn’t see a problem.  30 years on; believe me I know how to wear contacts. At this point in my life I think the only contact lens I haven’t worn is the full scleral lenses usually seen in monster movies.

In all that time I’ve never had an eye infection of any kind. I have on occasion had abraded corneas. Usually due to an accidental situation like getting caught in a sandstorm while hiking in the desert. The corrective action is, don’t wear the contacts. Let the eyes heal, while watching for any signs of further injury. At the first sign of the problem getting worse… you get your happy ass to a qualified medical practitioner. Next! Its pretty common sense when you think about it.

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In any case, this guy was just annoying in his panic and as he ratcheted up his rhetoric about how bad this was, how dangerous, and that I was going to go blind imminently. I found myself thinking perhaps I should have it checked out… This guy is really excited about the readings. 

Blindness is not cool, especially if it can be prevented with minimal effort and corrective action.

So I went home and scheduled an appointment with an Ophthalmologist.

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These folks are full MD’s who specialized in the eye. And as a side benefit… they can do surgery, give you drugs, and deal with glasses and contacts. In other words they’re a one stop shopping experience. Guess what kind of eye doctor I’ll be going to in the future… Good I knew you were bright enough to figure that one out. Sadly, the optometrist isn’t, ahh well…

I just finished with the first round of tests and scans with the Ophthalmologist.  I’m grounded because my eyes are dilated and my vision is really screwed up. I walked to this Starbucks! I’d be an accident waiting to happen if I tried to drive right now. There is no way in hell I could process all the visual / spatial data required to drive on California Freeways at 80 – 90 MPH.

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So I’m having a moca, doing a little business, writing, and relaxing.

Oh, as it turns out…

According to preliminary results, I do have a thicker than usual cornea, My internal pressures are on the high side of normal, & my optic nerve is in good shape. Pending the final round of testing I’ll probably fall into the category of people who should be monitored and there is no immediate danger of my going blind.

In other words, what I was telling the Optometrist was correct, and his panic was completely disproportionate to the situation. Thank god he wasn’t in control of an AED or I’d be dead because he’d have pushed the shock button at the first sign of an irregular heartbeat of high blood pressure.

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Coupled with all the other issues he demonstrated in dealing with me I’m going to take delivery of a set of working contacts and then I’m going to fire him.

If I have to be monitored for glaucoma from here on out… I might as well be monitored by a professional who can actually take corrective action and who has the proper tools to deal with my eyes.

It’s good that I reconfirmed what I thought I knew. But really, I’m trying to live drama free and I prefer medical people who think like Vulcans

 

I don’t think today is going to be all that productive

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It was another one of those nights.

I’d gone to bed a little early, then I get woken up by the other half getting into bed. I rolled over and fell back to sleep. 

An hour later I wake up because the bed is vibrating, at first I think it’s an earth quake. Then I hear through the ear plugs I MUST wear to get any sleep at all that the other half is snoring and the vibration is translating into the bed.

“ROLL OVER!” 

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Snuffling, snorting grumbling from the other side of the bed. Back to sleep. Forty five minutes later I wake up with my throat burning. At first I think its smoke or something I’m breathing has irritated my throat. I get up, check the house, all is well the alarm system says nothing is wrong as well.

I go back to bed, & fall asleep again.

An hour after that, apparently I’m sleeping with The Three Stooges. “Whistle, snort, pepepepepepepe, Whistle, snort, pepepepepepe…”

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Right that’s it! I get out of bed grab my sleeping bag and head out to the couch.

I get settled sans earplugs which is a welcome relief. I can hear the wind in the trees outside the house, I’m just drifting off when;

lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick, lick

Starts.

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One of the dogs has decided to go all OCD about licking his paws. I growl at the dog to stop, several times. He doesn’t until I get out of the sleeping bag and he decides I’m serious, then it’s silent as a tomb. I get back into the sleeping bag and get settled again. 

Lick… lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick,lick, lick, lick. 

GRRRRRRRR!

I’m seriously thinking about going to the garage and sleeping in my car!

DOG!!!

Licking stops, silence in the house. I go back to sleep.

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An hour later I wake up sweating, not the sweating of being too hot, but that sweat that happens after a fever breaks. Ahhh that might explain why I’m a bit hyper sensitive tonight.

I get up, grab a hand towel and wipe the sweat off my chest and neck. I toss the towel on the coffee table and crawl back into the sleeping bag. I’m asleep almost instantly.

A short time later I wake up because I hear the heater kicking on, it’s warming the house in preparation for our normal routine I must be about 5 am I’m sweating again so Im thinking a fever broke. My throat doesn’t burn anymore so that’s a good sign.

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I dry off again and am thankful that I’m sleeping in a silk sleeping bag liner. The liner is a hell of a lot easier to wash than the sleeping bag.

I fall back to sleep…

Dawn wakes me. Sunlight streaming in the sliders off the living room. I guess I’m up but I can’t keep a thought in my head.  Maybe a couple cups of coffee will help me do the stuff I’ve gotta do today. I’m completely exhausted, but thankfully I don’t feel sick.

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I’ll take a couple of fever sweats during the night over being sick anytime. But I really do need to get at least a few consecutive nights of decent uninterrupted sleep!

Oh look, squirrel!

Musing on calling to make a doctors appointment

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I have repeatedly been reminded that I’m “Less Young” over the past two months and I’ve had just about enough!

This is the shit that goes on in my head while I’m working myself up to subject myself to yet more tests.

Threw my back out… WAYYYY out about 3 weeks ago. I spent almost a week in bed because laying flat was the only position that didn’t cause excruciating pain. The kind of pain that makes you yelp with each move. The kind of pain Torquemada would have been proud to inflict.

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Had some abnormal results in a routine physical prior to the end of the year. That was fun then because my old insurance would pay for the tests, ordered by a doctor that was no longer in their network, but they wouldn’t pay the doctor himself. Holy shit! what a screwed up system.

I changed insurance carriers and fully expected to do routine checkups and generally not see the doctor for the rest of the year.  That apparently is not to be, after several more abnormal test results the doctor wants me to go in for an ultrasound of my abdomen.

Yippeee! Reading the web site for the ultrasound people about the prep for an abdominal ultrasound, Oh lovely! I’ll have to not eat and only have clear liquids. Thrilling!

Wait… Clear liquids? This is an ultrasound, what the fuck does the color of the liquid have to do with the price of tea in China? Humm, I guess the particulates in tea or coffee might cause a shadowy reading if the sensor has high enough resolution but I find it hard to believe that a handheld probe would have that kind of sensitivity.

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Reading down the menu of services… Throat ultrasounds, abdominal ultrasounds, chest ultrasounds ( I had one of those a while back), prenatal ultasounds, What the fuck is a penis ultrasound? Oh, just what it says on the tin… 

I know the doctor is just trying to find the source of the abnormal results of the blood work, I get that he’s trying to see if there’s damage to a critical internal organ. Based on the results over the past months I’m seriously doubting that the results of the last test are valid but I’m not sure what’s causing the abnormal readings. 

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I need to do more research on the abnormal results, and see if I can’t narrow it down to something logical that I’m doing. It makes no sense that the results are varying from normal to abnormal month to month if we’re looking at a disease process. 

My concern is that I don’t want to be gullible and I don’t want to become a science project. At the same time, I’m not at all ready to kiss Death on the lips. I got stuff to do and places to be. Heck I still haven’t had sex with twins!

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Near the end of my father’s life he said to me once that he didn’t want to travel out here because he didn’t want to get too far away from his doctors. I don’t know how much of that was and excuse designed to cover the fact that he was too weak to travel, or if he was trying to spare my feelings because he didn’t want to come out here.

I tend to think it was the former rather than the latter. However, I never want to feel like I can’t be too far from my doctor. Unless we’re sleeping together and I get a nice car & condo on the beach out of it… (Yeah, so I’m a whore what of it? At least I KNOW what my price is and accept it.) I’d just as soon not feel or be tethered because of some health issue. 

There’s a quality of life versus quantity of life equation in my head which says, “If you’re feeling pretty good keep going and enjoy yourself. Death will find you when it’s damn good and ready so don’t worry about it and don’t go looking for trouble.

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The quantity part of that equation is something like; “If you can do what a doctor says and feel better, last longer, and keep one step ahead of death then it’s probably worth it.

The problem is balancing the two sides of that equation. I always did SUCK at differential equations!

I’m not ill, I’m nowhere near having to run that Quality of Life calculation yet.

Recently however, I have been confronted with reminders that at some point I will have to run that equation and that I’ll have to live & die according to my answer.

I’ve been thinking about it because of my annoying issues, and the issues of my Mom who’s been in and out of the hospital a lot since Sept.

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Recently, her health has improved and it looks like another month or so in the hospital and she’ll be back to her normal self. She’s probably going to be a medical success, much like an old friend who is still kicking in the Pacific Northwest.

As I’ve said before I’m older now, than my father was when he died. There’s a part of me that wonders, “Did something happen to Dad that shortened my brother & my expiration dates? If so, how much intervention am I personally willing to accept and how the hell do I calculate the ROI?

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My friend up North went FULL MONTY with folks seeing parts of him that no other human being had ever seen, so that he could hang around on this strange little world filled with psychotic apes (borrowing loosely from Douglass Adams).

My Mom has had 5 hips and god only knows how much blood in the form of transfusions. Both of these folks have good years left in them so hands down the procedures they’ve endured were probably worth it.

Then I think about my Dad, so sick in his hospital bed. He’d chosen to figuratively fire a flare to get Death’s attention, a “Hey asshole! I’m ready, come and get me.” Even then Death wasn’t quick to show up. I guess Death doesn’t take kindly to orders or demands.

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I find myself wondering if Dad could have gotten up from that bed and had a few more days of puttering around seeing the sunrise & hearing the crickets at dusk without being in agonizing pain, would he have taken those days? Yeah, without a doubt, he would have even knowing he on his way out.

What might he have done with them? A last awesome mind bending no holds barred fuck @ some crazy upscale whorehouse, one last night at a bar with his friends playing pool, a last trip to the beach to watch the sunrise, more time with his sons doing any and all of the above with him, to the disapproving tut-tut of grandma?

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I guess as a man, I don’t really want to know. I want to be happy, enjoy myself, and just drop dead one day. I’d like it to be a surprise. I’d like my appearance at the pearly gates to be heralded by me loudly exclaiming, “WHAT THE FUCK?” Followed by the disapproving tut-tuts of all the grandmas waiting to speak to St Peter.

I think that’s why men in general don’t go to the doctor unless and until something is falling off or we’re dizzy from blood loss.

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I like seeing my doctor when I see him, he’s a good guy.

I really hate the yearly exam. There’s always something “wrong” at this stage in my life, “you need to loose weight, I want you to start taking this pill, you shouldn’t be eating this or that, when was the last time you had a drink (I swear one of these days I’m going to tell him two minutes ago… in your lobby!), I don’t like the looks of that, when did you see a dermatologist last, blah blah blah!” 

I preferred it when he just said, “you’re good to go play and call me if you need me.”

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As I’ve put on the years it’s less likely that I’m going to hear that anymore. I could simply not go see the Doc until something is falling off or I’m dizzy from blood loss.

I could simply not continue spending money trying to find out why there’s an abnormal result, but I’d never hear the end of it from the other half, and my Mother, and all the rest of the females in my family and life.

There are times when I wish I needed hearing aids… SO I COULD TURN THEM OFF! That would make it a lot easier to ignore all those voices and trundle happily toward just dropping in the garden one spring day.

Well, the ultrasound is non-invasive. I suppose it’s worth it to find out what’s going on, get the Doc off my back and not have to listen to all the whinging  from the family.

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I swear though, if anyone starts talking about poking me with large bore needles or comes at me with a scalpel it’s going to get nasty.

…They inject something into your penis, force an erection, ultrasound your member, then may inject you with something else to make you soft again? That’s seriously fucked up! They oughta have a room where you and your other half can pound it out.

At least then it might conceivably be worth it. Hell, all the men in the waiting room would have hard-ons in anticipation of that particular ultrasound procedure.  

There’d be guys coming out of the cardiac ward signing up for it. Oh, I guess that might not actually be a good thing… I suppose the hospital would have a problem explaining why all the male corpses had grins the undertaker had to jackhammer off.

Alright I gotta make that phone call.

Finally up and out of bed…

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And NO I wasn’t spending days in bed having a good time! If ONLY!

I threw my back out and WOW! Its been a long time since I’ve felt blinding pain like that.

Every step was followed by agonizing twitching in my low back. Each twitch felt like a flaming dull knife was being repeatedly plunged into my iliac crest (Top of the hip bone) then sawing down to my knee and balls at the same time.

Yeah it HURT!

I tried to tough it out, but after 3 days of not much change, I went to bed. 

Two days later I’m feeling much better and even feel like writing without having every thought focused on burning agony.

My only comfort was that for the two days I was in bed I didn’t have to put clothes on. Mind you, I didn’t feel like having any kind of traditional “naked fun” but at least I was more comfortable than being wrapped in clothing.

After this I can understand why so many “Snake oil” remedies exist for back problems.

I’d have made a deal with Satan to make it stop. Of course that deal would have involved me holding on to MY soul and selling out the rest of you, but that’s another story.

In any case I’m finally on the mend but since I’m alone and the temp isn’t too low I might strip off these dang clothes and just enjoy working on my projects in the buff.