Monday, April 28, 2008

16 Vials of Blood read that right, I gave 16 vials of blood today so my new rheumatologist could get a good read on what is going on.

Of course, I had forgotten that I was supposed to be I did my morning routine...placed the bowl on the table with the silverware, cereal box, orange juice...began doling out my meds...then the thought hit!!!

I had also eaten at 3 am, which would place me at about 1 pm at the earliest to get my blood drawn...thankfully, I was busy today and didn't have much time to think about my gradually weakening state...until I got to the clinic and she started pulling out handfuls of empty, greedy vials...

So...holes in both arms and a package of teddy grahams later, I walked out with loads of sympathy from the ladies.

Dr. Brown tomorrow...we'll see if I can reduce my prednisone dosage...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dred Scott Thinking

"Reverend" Jeremiah Wright (see below if you've had your head in the sand) made me think of an essay I wrote awhile ago concerning the condemnation of our founders as racists...and those who attempt to interpret the Constitution according to the intent of the founders.

So, Scalia and Thomas are both racists (Thomas being a self-hater) because they interpret according to "strict construction" or simply attempting to discern what the founders meant when they said what they said, then applying those principles as best they can to current issues.

The Clinton Dynasty

From my friend, Glenn Shrom, author of Getting Past the Culture Wars: Regarding Intelligent Design:

Chelsea Clinton, if I am correct, will be eligible for the Presidency in 2016 (over age 35). Can you imagine a Clinton in the White House again?

Picture this: Bill 92-2000, Hillary 2008-2016, and Chelsea 2016-2024. Ouch!

Bill said he had a hard time adjusting to life outside of the White House, so imagine if this were his plan for the three of them to live there for 24 years of their lives, even with there being a two-term limit (per person, not per family).

Yikes...though I doubt President Chelsea would have dear old dad living in the the Lincoln Bedroom...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nuclear Energy - "Why America Needs It Now"

If you've not considered the importance and safety of nuclear energy, watch this video of Skip Bowman at Concerning the waste, here's an excerpt:

To put it in a little bit different way, if you and I received all our lifetime electricity from nuclear power from day of birth to age 70, the amount of waste contribution from our use of nuclear electricity would weigh about two pounds and would fit into a coke can. So you have to put this a little bit into perspective. I am not trivializing what must be done with it but it's not bigger than a bread box.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


As someone who enjoys sports, there has been a void in my life since I've been on coumadin. Nosebleeds are generally considered to be a negative thing when you're not sure if the blood flow will stop prior being drained completely!

Well, at least I can still play ping-pong! Wrong, my friend...the ball disappears as it approaches the paddle! Oh well, at least I was never any good at it!

Doctor's Vists - the comedy of it all...

Doctor's Visit #1 - two weeks ago sometime...

Scenario - Kate and I enter the empty office of a rheumatologist, are admitted without incident and a very nice man takes us into his office and interviews me concerning my condition, etc.

He takes me through a thorough exam, says there's nothing obviously wrong with me, then begins to record into his digital voice recorder my history...

Dr: "He (referring to me) first experienced vision loss last year...[continues speaking]. Presses stop.
Me: Actually, I first started losing sight fall of '05. [repeats what I told him during the interview]
Dr. [rewinds the tape] begins he's speaking he says, "he was on coumadin for a period of three months...
Me: No, I was on coumadin for a year with no incident, then came off in August of '07, then three months later had an incident, then was put back on at that time while I was in the hospital. Came off the coumadin about 4 weeks ago, had another incident 2 weeks ago, then was put back on...
Dr: [with a somewhat glazed look in his eyes] So, you were on coumadin with no incident for a year?
Me: Yes
Dr: [rewind]

This went on for some time as he, Kate and I reviewed the details that we had told him during the initial interview.

Long and short of it...very nice man, very not helpful. The most he did was recommend that I take an additional medication that I have no intention of taking.

Dr. Visit #2 - last week
Kate and I enter a completely empty office in the basement of a large house with very bright and attempted kid-friendly furniture. The pictures on the wall displayed a decidely odd taste and many of the messages on the wall were written in poem form that I assume were written by the man himself as they made you feel bad for the author who is so proudly displaying his sense of humor. Reminded me of the socially awkward high school kid that cracks jokes and thinks that people are laughing at his jokes.

We were ushered into a labyrinthine corridor and stationed in a small, windowless room with the typical 80's tripe being piped in through an unseen speaker. Claustrophobia begins to set in...

After a short time, a typical, doctor-looking person enters the room.

I will not write out the conversation as I will just try to capture the arrogance that he carried with him as best I can...just think of that same kid who nobody likes, but thinks they do, mocking you because you don't have any friends. You're not sure whether to punch him in the nose or just feel sorry for him.

So, in the course of the conversation, he belittled (some in a kind, doctorly sort of way, but most in a disgusted, "they are most definitely morons" sort of way), me, my wife, my wife's friend, Lyme disease doctors, any allergist that would consider that diet would have anything to do with inflammation, hollywood actors that have famously tried wacky alternative medicine, my doctor and one of his patients who thought that maybe her daughter had allergies. I may have missed one or two...

After a bit, I found myself nodding and agreeing with everything he said just to get him to stop talking...

Upon reflection, we should have just got up and left, but of course, I'm much more pro-active in my "should've" life than in my "in-the-moment" life.

By the way, you should meet me in my should've life! I am so witty and good at kung-fu!

Oh, and in the middle of all this he says..."we can do an allergy test if you want...but it would just confuse the situation." The conversation was also sprinkled in with gems of advice like, "you really need to be careful what you read on the internet" [Oh, thank you, font of wisdom, for I am a poor, lowly sap that doesn't know the difference between reliable and unreliable websites, as you surely must!] and "I don't know really what to recommend except to get another doctor".

So, we left the office after having wasted $40 and a couple hours. But, at least I got a blog post out of it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Typical Double Standard

From Commentary Magazine:

In an article today, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post cites various media figures–from Tom Shales of the Post to Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher to Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News to MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann–who are outraged at the performance of George Stephanopoulos and Charles Gibson during Wednesday’s Democratic debate. The ABC News duo’s performance, we are told, was “despicable,” “shameful,” and “disgraced democracy itself.”

And what did Stephanopoulos and Gibson do to earn this scorn? Why, they asked Barack Obama some probing questions, including one about his past relationships with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Jr. and a former leader of the Weather Underground, William Ayers.

Consider this thought experiment: Assume that a conservative candidate for the GOP nomination spent two decades at a church whose senior pastor was a white supremacist who uttered ugly racial (as well as anti-American) epithets from the pulpit. Assume, too, that this minister wasn’t just the candidate’s pastor but also a close friend, the man who married the candidate and his wife, baptized his two daughters, and inspired the title of his best-selling book.

In addition, assume that this GOP candidate, in preparing for his entry into politics, attended an early organizing meeting at the home of a man who, years before, was involved in blowing up multiple abortion clinics and today was unrepentant, stating his wish that he had bombed even more clinics. And let’s say that the GOP candidate’s press spokesman described the relationship between the two men as “friendly.”

Do you think that if those moderating a debate asked the GOP candidate about these relationships for the first time, after 22 previous debates had been held, that other journalists would become apoplectic at the moderators for merely asking about the relationships? Not only would there be a near-universal consensus that those questions should be asked; there would be a moral urgency in pressing for answers. We would, I predict, be seeing an unprecedented media “feeding frenzy.”

The truth is that a close relationship with a white supremacist pastor and a friendly relationship with an abortion clinic bomber would, by themselves, torpedo a conservative candidate running for president. There is an enormous double standard at play here, one rooted in the fawning regard many journalists have for Barack Obama. They have a deep, even emotional, investment in his candidacy. And, as we are seeing, they will turn on anyone, even their colleagues, who dare raise appropriate and searching questions–the kind journalists are supposed to ask. The reaction to Stephanopoulos and Gibson is a revealing and depressing glimpse into the state of modern journalism.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain.

-Thomas Sowell

Johns Hopkins no more

I was planning on going to Johns Hopkins..had an appointment scheduled and everything...but they don't accept my insurance, not even with a preauthorization. "That's curious", I thought, "why would a hospital not accept insurance payments, even when the insurance would gladly allow me to go out of network?"

"They either don't pay, or the process is so torturous that they don't want to be bothered with it...but more likely the former", I replied to me.

So, what to do? I'm getting advice from a doc and beginning to pursue something that neither of us are sure will go anywhere, but at least it's something. I'll let you know if it works.

Interesting article in WSJ today on health insurance as the middleman hiking prices. The comments on this related blog post are very good and insightful, especially for one newly coming to the realization of the fiasco that health insurance has become.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Dylan's a talk show host

As he reaches his 65th birthday Wednesday, the rock
'n' roll poet is carving out a new role as a part-time
radio disc jockey. His weekly "Theme Time Radio Hour"
airs 10 a.m. EDT Wednesdays on XM Satellite Radio,
with Dylan as both curator and narrator.


And catch this opening to that show on mothers:

"Going to pay tribute to that bountiful breast we all
spring from, mother dearest," he said. "`M's' for the
many things she gave me. `O' is for the other things
she gave me. `T' is for the things she gave me. `H' is
for her things, which she gave me. `E' is for
everything she gave me. `R' is for the rest of the
things she gave me. Let's talk about mothers."

Bob Dylan is secretly silly. Who knew?

HT: The Dangerous Perhaps

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Commemorating our shift to a democracy...

Tam, at View From The Porch, talks about an important shift in our Constitutional structure:

On April 8th in 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution went into effect. ...In the years since 1913, the effect has become all too obvious. Treaties are ratified based on pressure from the media, not their agreeability to the sovereign states that are bound by them. There is no longer a legislative brake on popular fads or the whim of the moment. We've bounced from New Deal to New Frontier to Great Society to everything short of the Great Leap Forward...this nation became a democracy, for good or ill, with the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment.

Constitution IQ

What's your Constitution IQ? Take the quiz to find out...I'm embarrassed to say that I missed more than my fair share on the long quiz...not telling which ones I missed!

"Milking the Messianic Moo"

HT: Hairybeast at ConstitutionClub

Monday, April 7, 2008

Vision Loss Redux Part X

Rheumatologist. I never knew what that meant or what they did and I found out today...not least in my case. I went with some expectation of getting some answers but was sorely disappointed. But, it brings another professional in on my it's another perspective, so I suppose that's a good thing.

He's not convinced of the efficacy of the steroids, and frankly, neither am I. It's effectiveness really seems to have worn off, and I keep accumulating poundage.

It's one of those deals where I look in the mirror in the morning...and go to call the cops...then I notice the cleft in the guy's chin and realize that I am one of the only people I know with two pair of buttocks!

Writing Has Begun

Amidst all the hustle and bustle of losing vision and hearing, I've taken advantage of a weekend away to begin writing my book on understanding the Constitution. I think it will be written in a parable-like manner that will make some fairly obtuse concepts easily least that's the goal.

I've got the first draft of chapter one complete and beginning on chapter two. It's an interesting thing writing in this style, simply because of the high probability of falling on my face!

Writing's an adventure, you're never really quite sure where you're going until you get there!