Category Archives: Health

Planning Ahead

Given ALL that’s going on right now, you know, that whole “worst case it’s the end of the world” sort of thing, it’s often a serious roller coaster of emotions. It’s also tough to tell when you’ve come up with a truly funny idea or if you’re just borderline hysterical. (And about to slip over the border.)

Tonight, talking to a dear friend (as opposed to a “deaf rriend”) on social media I mentioned the new NEJM ethical guidelines that came out today. In short, when this COVID shit hits the proverbial health care fan in a few days (see Italy and Spain for example) there are going to be X number of ICU beds and respirators and X*Y dying patients, where Y could be a very, very large number.

It’s called “triage” and it means that the doctors and nurses will literally have to decide on the spot who lives and who dies. You. Can’t. Save. Everyone. So you have to figure out how to best utilize your available resources (time, ICU beds, respirators, drugs, medications) to save as many as possible as efficiently as possible.

It’s horrible. It’s not fair. It’s obscene. And it’s coming soon to an emergency room near you.

Having reached a certain middle age, I’m in a gray area at best when those decisions get made. To be blunt, if I’m a 64 year old with grown kids and I’m in a bed next to an otherwise healthy 24 year old who has young kids, the 24 year old is going to get a respirator and I’m going to get morphine to make me feel better, or not care.

(Time to really hop on that old hand washing routine with some enthusiasm, eh?!)

These thoughts and discussions in turn lead to filling out advance directives “just in case.”

So my thought was, “Where’s the box that says ‘either give me a fucking respirator and drugs or aerosolize me and spritz me into the HVAC system at the White House’?”

Maybe it’s the word “spritz.” Maybe it’s just been a really long couple of days. But that line is hilarious!

I’m not planning on going anywhere. But if I get dragged off by fate, I’m going to go kicking, screaming, and (hopefully) laughing. And wishing I could take a few of those evil GOP MFers with me.

No more fucks to give.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Farce, Health, Politics

“It’s Not The Years, Honey…”

“…it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones

Yes, that is my toe starting to stick out of the left shoe. Running shoes do that after enough miles.

We were reminded at the beginning of the week that:

  1. The COVID-19 virus situation was getting worse (based on the situation in Italy and how little was being done in the US)
  2. The stock market was expected to dive even further (based on the futures market over last weekend)
  3. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named was still in the White House (which explains a LOT about items #1 and #2)
  4. We had the freakin’ time change to Daylight Savings Time to mess with our heads.
  5. There’s a Friday the 13th today! (I’m 100% ***NOT*** superstitious, truly, but hey, sometimes an omen is an omen, know what I mean?)

CONGRATULATIONS! We all survived it!

With all of that “doom and gloom” on the horizon, no one was even warning us that the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, NASCAR, MLS, and every other capitalized sports acronym on the planet was going to pull the plug.

Hell, Disneyland is shutting down! I believe that’s actually mentioned in the Book of Revelations as one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse.

There might not be toilet paper in the stores (there probably is if you just bother to go to the smaller stores instead of Costco) but there are a gazillion alternatives – if you don’t believe me, read the words of someone much more erudite than me.

Let’s be smart as a society, even if we have a world class moron as a “leader.” Ignore what he says and listen to the actual doctors say. A key is going to be “smoothing the curve,” spreading out the growth of COVID-19 so that people who get really badly infected and need ICU beds will have them over four to six to twelve months instead of all needing them at once in four to six weeks. It’s not rocket science.

Wash your hands.

Stay home if you’re sick.

Help others in need.

Then wash your hands again. Seriously.

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Filed under Health, Photography, Sports

Waiting Room Observations

There are a LOT of hungry, cranky folks in the gastroenterology waiting room.


Snake, garden hose, and alien probing jokes are not so funny here. At least, no one’s laughing and this is some of my best material. Where’s Dennis Wolfsberg when you need him?


On the other hand, being decked out in full Chiefs gear is a great conversation starter. Especially great is one older, shy, Hispanic lady. I suspect limited English, but I catch her glancing over at me and she finally says only, “Mahomes,” and gives me a thumbs up. GO CHIEFS!


As always, the television in here is annoying as hell. At least they’re not playing one of the those truly horrible and soul sucking talk/reality shows that litter daytime TV, but this home renovation thing on cable is no bargain. Why can’t we get cartoons, like some Looney Tunes or something? This place could use some cheer.


Oh, god, they could have the Impeachment coverage on! I love this home renovation show, it’s fantastic, great, engaging, enrapturing! Don’t EVER change that channel!



In recovery: Apparently there was a memo that any staff who wanted to could relax the recommended dress code a bit for today if they wanted to wear purple and gold or something Kobe Bryant related. They’re everywhere!


And we’re good! Mission accomplished. It’s been a year (not me, I’m just on chauffeur duty) and with luck it will be another.

Back to the salt mines!

 

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Filed under Health

Before You Freak Out Over The Coronavirus…

…get your flu shot!

It’s indicative of how we’ve lost all ability to do any kind of sane risk management. The new Chinese coronavirus has killed 170 people, which could actually be ten times that – but it’s in a country of over a billion people. There are five, maybe six people in this country who have it and it’s front page news. They’re cancelling flights to China for weeks. Every news hour shows folks coming into US airports and being screened and quarantined.

Five, maybe six people.

And yet the flu kills, on average, over 8,000 people a year in this country.

Not five people. Or six. OVER 8,000. And in a bad year that can double.

Not sick. Dead.

Did you get your flu shot this year?

No?

Then STFU about coronavirus.

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Filed under Death Of Common Sense, 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.

GROW A SPINE! TOP IT OFF WITH A BRAIN! GET A FLU SHOT!!

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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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Filed under Health