Life Forensics:  Because the Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

April 3, 2007


Zicam is "tasteless," my ass.  Just like vodka is "odorless," I guess.  (Maybe they mean that it's tacky)

No, I don't even care if Zicam takes away my sense of smell. It's not as though I have one right now anyway, so if it takes it, I wasn't really using it at the time.  Plus, that seems to be from the inhaled version and I have the kind that dissolves in hot drinks and evidently, according to the most recent evidence, does not dissolve in cold drinks (like, for instance, pineapple-orange juice).

I am hesitant to even journal right now when I am in such a foul mood, one that fluctuates between suicidal and homicidal, depending on the degree of my misery and whether the cold I have is inflicting more of it on me than the people around me (or person, in this case).

So... lesseee.... where did I leave off?  Oh, that's right... happy happy Springy thoughts.  We got more snow one of those weekends, about two weeks ago yesterday, in fact.  It piled on about 4 inches, thought about it and piled on another inch or so, then proceeded directly into a good melt that I think will be our last of the year.  If more snows behaved this way, snow and I would get along ever so much better than we do.  It's those cousin snows that are stubborn and persistent and ill-tempered that get in there and muck it up for the good snows like this one.  The dogwood has not yet bloomed, so if we don't get more snow, it will actually be an anomaly, but it does *feel* done.  We bounced back up to near-Spring temps in the 50's and that's about where it has stayed. 

We had a wonderful Spring Equinox ritual with Jennifer; our first circle since October.  We planted beans in potting soil to represent each of the goals we are setting for the year, an old practice we used years before.  I chose 3:  continued financial prosperity, healthy weight loss and a joyful, healthy, happy year for Jen who has just been getting the crap beaten out of her lately.  Delena planted 5 things, but declined to share what they are.

On Thursday of this past week, Delena woke up with a good fever, about 102 and held onto it for 2 days, so she missed the last two days of school before Spring Break.  She went head long into a brutal cold. 

I went out to Olive Garden for dinner with the GFORCE ladies on Friday night (we had a great time!) and around 2am, woke up with a raging fever, so I had a feeling I knew where it was going.  I'd started dosing myself with Emergen C in hopes of warding it off, but evidently, it wasn't enough.  I spent all of Saturday dying in bed (except, of course, when, like Lazarus, I faithfully rose up out of my deathbed and went to sort and deliver the mail).  I also spent Sunday dying in bed (except, of course, when, like Lazarus, I faithfully rose up out of my deathbed and hauled my dying ass to TOWN to buy food for the family because everyone was starving to death).  Then, like Our Lord and Savior, I also rose from the dead on the third day (that's today and I hasten to add that even HE rested during those 3 days - grrr) because A) the mail needed to be delivered and B) Eric was doing his freak out thing that he always does when I'm sick where he picks a fight with me over my lack of productivity to mask the fact that he's afraid that this is the time that his old, rickety wife is going to punch the ticket and actually die.  So Monday was the first day I was actually up and around and then it was only under the gravest of self-preservation and duress.  The fever stopped sometime on Sunday and now we're down to this horrible cold with the sinus pressure on the roots of the teeth and the eyes aching and the ears ringing and lungs that sound like bubble and squeak and creak and the non-stop nose blowing and nonproductive hacking.  Around midnight, I was unceremoniously booted from the matrimonial bed on acounta "I can't sleep with all that hacking and coughing and turning going on."  Knowing fully well that midnight is an ideal time for a person to "pick their battles," rather than just wading in and defending my right to sleep in my bed (If you're waking me up to tell me you can't sleep, it means *I* am sleeping and *you* are awake, so haul your *own* awake self downstairs), I grabbed my blanket and came down to the couch.

The dogs are all uneasy with the change of weather and the fact that their lead bitch (that's me) is ailing, so they've been really apeshit.  Tonight, our neighbors across the road are evidently all liquored up or something because they're being kind of loud and that is just totally freakin out the dogs.  They've finally calmed down and gone to sleep (the dogs and I do believe the neighbors as well).  Meanwhile, between dogs, neighbors and being booted out of bed, *I* am now good and awake and can't breathe worth a damn, but at the same time, I'm exhausted and really need to sleep the sleep of the righteous.  (No real mystery why THAT is evading me).

So far, I am NOT enjoying Spring Break and the only good thing about it is that my kids did not have to miss school by being this sick.  Delena just wandered out a bit ago and has ANOTHER fever.  Dylan came down with it on Sunday and yesterday, Nathan laid around on the couch and had a fever by the end of the day, so I have all sick kids too.

A little over a week ago, I had yet another experience that made me narrow my eyes to the seemingly uneducated world of modern Western Medicine, showing me yet again how our professionals are so damned indoctrinated (or indoctorated) that they are completely incapable of forming independent thought or expanding their minds beyond the tiny little box of "see your doctor."  Having worked in clinics and ERs for years, I can't tell you how frustrating this is for medical staff people to be tying up medical time with conditions that are easily treatable at home.

A week ago Friday, I'd promised the kids I'd take them to the first showing of "TMNT" (the new Ninja Turtles movie).  WHAT a fun film!  Anyway, we're in the movie waiting for the lights to go down and I notice that Nathan's eye looks like he took a good poke to it and is oozing goo.  Shit.  Pinkeye has been rampant at their school for 2 months and I figured I'd managed to dodge that particular bullet if it hadn't shown up by then.  I went out and got a handful of napkins and told him to dab at it with them as he needed to, then to put the used napkins in an empty drink cup so we could dispose of them without anyone else touching them.  He did (of course, MY eyes started to promptly itch and water after seeing HIS eye), we watched the movie and then I went to Rite Aid (drug store in California) and had him wait in the car while I conferred with the on call pharmacist.  I explained that my 7-year-old was symptomatic with conjunctivitis and since it was Friday evening and I was not likely to get a doctor's appointment any time soon (I did not explain that those two facts had nothing to do with one another), did he have any suggestions for homepathic or OTC remedies for comfort measures in the  meantime?  I barely had the words out of my mouth before he said, "Oh no, you have to take him to the ER and get treated."  ??!!

The ER?  For PINKEYE?  Was he CRAZY?  I had researched pinkeye a month or so earlier when the teacher thought Nathan had it (he didn't that time and my pink eye info was a few years old, so I wanted to update it) and knew that you keep kids out of direct sunlight, limit TV, use warm or cold compresses for comfort and basically just let the body work it out.  Viral versus bacterial, the treatment is pretty much the same and the recovery time, like with a cold, is about the same whether the kid has antibiotic drops or not.  Evidently, pharmacist #1 was unaware of this.  I suggested that surely there must be some treatment just to make him comfortable for now and I was told that no, there was nothing I could do and he needed to see a doctor.


So I acknowledged (inwardly) that he was an idiot and blessed him in his nonexistent quest for a medical broadening of the mind and went on my way.  I then went into K-mart, which had a product called, 'PINK EYE DROPS,' bought it, dropped it into his little eyeball in the parking lot and after a weekend of "Pink Eye Drops" and Emergen C, he was fine and ready for school on Monday.  I told his teacher (who is also the principal) exactly how his symptoms had progressed and she said, "If he doesn't have goo in his eyes, he's good for school."  He hasn't had another symptom since (of pink eye, anyway).  So much for pharmacist hysteria.  It reminded me of that scene in "Raising Arizona" where Holly Hunter and Frances McDormand start fussing about how Jr "just has to have his dip-tet RIGHT NOW!"

I was also listening with some degree of frustration to the outcry from the public in response to the recent recommendation that not all women need to have routine mammograms and that it should be, like other testing, determined to be necessary on an individual basis between a woman and her doctor.  The early detection folks are really upset about it, but to my mind, it makes sense.  I do understand their point which is that if you put 100 women through this demeaning and uncomfortable test and 1 woman out of that group of 100 has a cancer detected early enough for it to be manageable, then it was worth it, but isn't that basically saying that the public does not trust a woman's doctor to make good decisions for her preventative screening care? 

I also know from experience of being a medical transcriptionist for years the incredible number of false positives and the stress factor around such a test and I firmly believe that stress is one of the leading causes of cancer.  I believe that the rampant epidemic of cancer is rooted largely in our Western fear of dying and our approach to health care from a position of fear rather than strength.  It's not that I'm opposed to preventive health care at all.  It's the energy that surrounds it that I feel is causing the problem.  With the ongoing doomsday cries of everything from heart disease to stroke to high blood pressure to diabetes to cancer to aids to avian bird flu to the common cold, we are constantly barraged with the long grocery list of Conditions That Are Going to Kill Us.  We are goaded into a constant state of fear and crisis and THAT is why people live at the ER.  They are taught that every little symptom is an indicator of some grave disease and that only a doctor can give the right blessing (and antibiotic) to make it better.

Again, I am a firm advocate of the medical profession, having worked in it in many capacities over the past three decade and seeing first hand the good it can do.  I can tell you, though, that it could do a lot MORE good if people would heed their body's advice and just lay low, drink lots of fluids, let the fever burn off the virus and rest when they have a cold instead of glutting the doctor's offices.  A doctor once gave me a very good bit of advice.  He said, "If you have a cold, you can come to my office and I can give you antibiotics, antihistimes and Tylenol to treat the symptoms.  Your cold will be gone in about 7 days.  If, however, you stay home, drink lots of fluids, rest and don't come to the doctor, that same cold is likely to last a whole week!"   

So that's my rant.  People get sick.  People catch colds.  People get Pink Eye.  You rest, you drink fluids, you feel like shit and you move on.  Usually, your body gets sick to tell you that you need to slow down, take a break and take better care of yourself.  For me, I can feel that yes, I needed a break.  Some people feel more comfortable going to a doctor to monitor their 7 critical days of illness (although an old wives tale says 9, "3 days coming, 3 days here, 3 days leaving) and others, like myself, just hole up, emerging to deliver the mail and grumble and whine and about our lot in life and then crawling back onto the couch with our cup of bitter self-pity and a dose of Zicam dissolving in it.  Rant off.  I'm getting better (I think) and that's all that needs to be said about that.

BEFORE I got sick, I took some photos for you of the crazy crap between here and town (yes, more crazy crap).

This gorgeous structure is a tree about 2 miles from my house.  Just past this tree is where Joey drove off the cliff a couple of years ago.  The tree is moss covered year round. I call it the "Twat Twee."  Why?  Not only does it look like a person who is buried upside down to their waist with their legs extending out, but look at this:

On the left "thigh," is that not the most completely vulvular thing you've ever seen in your life?

That red bit is always there too.  Now say "Twat Twee" 3 times fast and see if you don't smile out loud.

Lords of Dogtown, anyone?

See the boulder (it's about 6' tall, btw)?  See the big tree behind the boulder?  Now look...

...there, in the middle.  See the little tree growing OUT of the boulder?

This deer was actually racing my car down the road (deer won).

So up Logan's Grade, we drive drive drive and go around that corner
you see way up ahead and kabam... the side of the cliff on the right (this photo sucks, I'm sorry)...

...there is a door.  Now above this door, you can see the cedar branches and they are on a cliff that goes straight up... fact, this is the road that runs directly in front of the door in the hill.  So Logan's Grade forms a corner with this little road and the door is just outside of the camera range to the left of the photo.  The door is just in the hillside like a Hobbit door.  The door is wooden.  (I'm afraid to try and open it, honestly, because I don't want my ass to get sucked to Narnia or whatever)  On top of the cliff, there are no houses.  There are no houses anywhere near the door.  This road is never plowed in the winter and no tracks are ever seen going in or out of it in the snow.  That road goes waaaay back into the woods.

And that is my crazy town.  Now, it's almost 4am and I think I'll try and sleep. 

Be Particular,