Category Archives: Health

Flu Shot

Get one.

If you have a legitimate, scientific, medical reason to not get one, such as you’re allergic or you have a compromised immune system, then of course, you don’t have to.

But if you’re one of the 99.9999999% of the population who don’t have a legitimate, scientific, medical reason to not get a flu shot, then GET A FLU SHOT!!

If you don’t know why you should do that, aside from the fact that having the flu really sucks and you’ll feel terrible for days, or the fact that the flu still kills almost 80,000 people every year in the US alone and you could be one of them, then read this about how your getting a flu shot will also help everyone out there not get the flu.

And if you’re truly foolish and clueless enough to be reading my site and want to bring any anti-vaxx bullshit in here, well…

(Image “liberated” from somewhere on the Internet sometime in the past several months from someone I’ve never heard of because I really liked it. Isn’t that what the Internet is for?)

(P.S. – yes, I googled the image, found thousands of folks who have used the background image, a few dozen that have this version with the text, but NO ONE who has any clue who took the original image or made the text version. If your google-foo is stronger than mine and you can find a reliable credit for either version, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to acknowledge it.)

P.P.S. – now that we’re done with that, go get a flu shot!!

I got mine yesterday. Lots of places, like Kaiser where I was killing time, have them for free. Your arm will hurt of about 1/3 of a second. It might be teeny, tiny bit sore in the morning.



Filed under Health

The Wisdom Of “Dune”

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, “Dune”

I distinctly remember reading “Dune” for the first time. I was a high school senior and took a college-level night English literature class that focused on science fiction classics. I remember being just totally blown away by the scope and sweeping story line, but also with some of the more philosophical concepts and the detailed politics and strategies between the different factions.

The quote above was always the best and most memorable of all.

These days, fifty-four years after publication, you can get it on T-shirts and memes – in high school you could order posters of it to hang next to my Led Zeppelin posters.

Fear has its place. There are lots of things in life that are worthy of fear – hopefully most of us don’t encounter them on a regular basis.

Irrational, unnecessary fears are a problem. Too many of us (myself included) can get slowed down, even paralyzed into inaction at times, tied up in knots over fears of what might or might not happen in the immediate or near future.

Courage and confidence can be overwhelmed by such fears. The mind can believe us to be helpless when we are not. The gut can get twisted into knots when there’s no immediate danger, or even true danger in the short term. Problems? Yes, up to our asses in alligators some times. Danger and crises? No, they’re not real alligators, it’s just a figure of speech.

There may be problems at work, at school, with our health, with our families, and they may be serious. Are they an actual “DANGER” this minute? Today? Next week? If not, why be tied up and wasting all of that nervous energy today?

And we’re usually not without resources, not without alternatives, not without options. Sure, getting from here to a better place might well involve a gauntlet of truly torturous ordeals – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get there. And if we’re already being tortured on a daily basis just dealing with our current day-in, day-out shit, isn’t the better long term plan to be working through those ordeals toward a better place.

The gut doesn’t always agree or understand. But the head needs to remember. Don’t let fear dominate. Let it pass through you. And then move on, with the head in control, not the gut.

At least, that’s the plan and good advice!

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Filed under Health, Paul

Side Effects

When I was at Urgent Care last week and hadn’t had more than about ten minutes’ consecutive sleep in three or four days due to the 24/7/365 coughing fits, I didn’t ask about the side effects of the industrial-strength drugs I was begging for. Not wanting to be dead or dying was pretty much the one and only priority on the table.

Now that I’ve run the course of those prescriptions (both for only four or five days, since they did their magic and I could again breathe and occasionally sleep without coughing to the point where I turned inside out) and I’m getting back to normal (hey, you, shut up, I can too be normal!) I’m noticing some of the lingering side effects.

Even if I had known then what I know now, I still would have taken the prescriptions (duh!) but it would have been nice to know in advance what to expect.

Feeling a little bit “fuzzy?” It must be lingering effects of the cold. (Wrong!)

So tired that you’re falling asleep driving to work in the morning and trying hard not fall asleep on your desk at lunch? That cold must have really taken it out of you! (Wrong!)

Got that horrible feeling of existential dread and impending doom? Dude, you’ve really got to stay off of Twitter and stop watching the political news! (Okay, that one’s true, but the effect isn’t helped at all by that medicinal cocktail.)

It finally occurred to me to check today. Geez! This isn’t “normal.” This is, “God, I hope I never really get any of those diseases where this crap is used every day for years or longer because this sucks, four or five days is plenty!”

I know, lots of water. Flush my system. Out with the bad, in with the good.

But I still need sleep. How am I supposed to get any when I’m getting up to pee every half hour all night long?

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Not Boston ferns, actually from about 150 miles northwest of there.

Free-range ferns. Not contained to any pot hanging in a T.G.I.Friday’s!

Update – feeling fine, just still can’t speak. It’s incredibly frustrating, like fighting with both hands tied behind my back.

Some progress on that front tonight when I found that if I basically try to shout as loud as I can, actual vocal sounds come out. Good to know, I was starting to wonder. I can only do it for a few words at a time and folks start to wonder why you’re shouting at them like some Monty Python character in what should be a normal conversation. In addition, I suspect it’s damaging and slows down the actual healing.

But any little bit of progress is welcome.

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Filed under Flowers, Health, Photography

It’s A Challange!

It’s a challenge, not being able to speak at all in a job where a big chunk of it it answering questions, being in meetings, giving instructions, communicating, communicating, communicating!

To be specific, it’s a pain in the ass, extremely frustrating, gonna put me in an early grave challenge!

I’m coping, carrying around a pad of yellow sticky notes, a notepad, and even a short FAQ sheet. (“Yes! I have industrial strength laryngitis and can’t talk!”) Several folks thought the latter was humorous and amusing – screw that, I was trying to stop repeating the same thing (in pantomime) a dozen times a day!

When we went into Urgent Care on Sunday morning I pretty much knew what most of the questions would be, so I while sitting there in the waiting room I whipped out my iPad and typed up a document that gave them my name, address, medication, symptoms, history, what I needed, and so on. Again, the staff seemed bemused by that. I can’t really be the only one who thinks this makes sense, can I? Do you have to be Steven Hawking to get a little bit of technological help with a medical condition?

I’m sure when I look back on it it will be amusing, and probably hilarious if it’s happening to someone else. Right here? Right now? Not so much.

I’m ready for this to be over!

One other thought from yesterday, where I staggered my way through to the end of the day.

On the way home I was too freaking tired to bother to change the station. It was on the usual (Sirius channel 33, First Wave) but it was one of their weekly shows that I rarely listen to, the Billy Idol hosted show. But exhaustion won and I ended up a winner.

Billy was, as always, talking about the very early days of punk in the UK in the late 1970’s. This was about the time I was getting hooked on it over here in my early 20’s, but he was already deep into the genre. He told a great story about seeing the Sex Pistols form, very, very early in their career, when they were playing Tuesday night pub gigs and doing all covers, including songs by The Who and even The Monkees. Then they started experimenting with their own stuff, one night breaking out THIS…

You don’t have to know much about that genre of music or that time to know what “THIS” was going to be. I might have been tired, but my arm instinctively shot out and cranked up the volume to hearing impairment volume just as the first note of that infamous opening bass riff hit.

It was glorious.

I had the top up on the convertible and all of the windows rolled up, so they probably couldn’t hear me more than ten or fifteen cars away stopped at that red light. And if the little old lady from Pasadena next to me gave me the hairy eyeball? It’s okay, she knows that I made her day, even if she can’t appreciate it.

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Filed under Health, Music

SO! How Was Your Return To Work?

After days of feeling like death warmed over, two trips to Urgent Care, literally DAYS without sleep, fevers, hacking coughs, and MORE…

…today it was time to go back to the office since things weren’t exactly “on hold” there while I was gone.

(My outstanding staff and co-workers did yeoman’s work covering, but as anyone who has ever had to cover for a co-worker knows, especially in a small office, tasks that I could have done in five minutes because I do them every day can take forty-five minutes because they do them once a year or so.)

So after a so-so (but that’s better than “totally sucks!”) night of sleep, I let people know I was coming in. Got a couple of “eeeew!!” responses but proved that I wasn’t contagious, was more or less functional, could drive without being a hazard to navigation, and got the green light to go back in.

Only to find that I had left the car, days ago, with about 5 miles worth of gas in it.

There’s your first course correction.

Fine, but I figured it out before I ran out of gas (and was a hazard to navigation) so it was just a delay.

Get the office disinfected, start getting caught up, morning’s okay. I explained to everyone that I’m still suffering from about 99.99% laryngitis. Despite that, it did take a while (okay, it took all day and tomorrow’s questionable) for people to stop calling on the intercom and wonder why I didn’t just talk to them instead of getting up and walking to their office while they said, “Paul? Paul? Are you there?”

Running on fumes, need lunch. But that’s okay, I still have the lunch in the fridge that I took in last Wednesday and never ate. It should be fine!

And it would have been if it hadn’t been sitting in that one thermodynamically challenged spot in the fridge that freezes everything solid as the icy polar regions of Pluto if you leave it sitting there for a few days. I could have used that apple for a cannonball, and the turkey and cheese on wheat sandwich would have substituted for a hammer in a heartbeat.

Let it thaw? Well, okay, but it still tasted like total crap.

Best moment of the day was a call from one of the guys at the CAF hangar. I’m barely whispering (laryngitis, remember?), he thinks I’m in a meeting, asks if it’s a bad time, I explain the laryngitis, he pauses, then says, “I actually kind of like it, it makes you sound…” Stop right there buddy, it’s a bad time to fuck with me!

Welcome back!

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Filed under Health

Feeling Semi-Human

Which, if you’ve endured the last week’s postings, is a substantial improvement. Two days ago I was at “invertibrate” status, and yesterday morning I had devolved to “slime mode.”

Looking back at what I posted last night, I’m surprised that it had any coherency at all. And when I looked at it today, following some actual sleep (five or six consecutive hours of it!), I was surprised to see that I hadn’t posted the pictures that went along with it.

So for now, while I watch to see if SpaceX gets their first night launch of the Falcon Heavy off the pad (wake up, Florida!!), and I ponder whether or not I’ll be up to going back to the office tomorrow, here they are!

Okay – so maybe an intervention on the topics of “taste” and “boundaries” wouldn’t be completely out of order…

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Filed under Health, Photography