Friday, June 29, 2012

Better Living Through the War on (Some Kinds) of Drugs

So I have these shoulder spurs.

And I've been to my PCP. And she's referred me to a surgeon (after jerking me around with steroids and other horrible "less aggressive" approaches for weeks).

The surgeon tells me he can't fit me in until August 2nd, which at that point was two months away. That's just for the initial appointment, the intake. Who knows how long after that we will have to wait before the surgery can be scheduled. (Yes, thank shit we don't live in Canada! Why, I might have to wait months to be treated there, with their evil socialized medicine!)

Meanwhile, my PCP says she can't prescribe pain medication for me anymore, since she has already referred me to another physician.

And the surgeon's nurse says they can't prescribe pain medication for me yet, since they haven't seen me yet.

"The fuck am I supposed to do?" I demanded on the phone to the nurse. Only more politely. I did not say fuck. I wanted to. "I'm in pain. I can't sleep. I can barely work. It hurts all the time. I'm not seeing you people for over a month."

The nurse repeated, like a robot, "The doctor will discuss pain medication with you in the initial appointment."

I know why this is, of course. Here in Arkansas, the local "problem" for the DEA is prescription drug abuse. That and meth. So they've been cracking down on the physicians, doing a witch hunt of anyone who gives out too many prescriptions for pain medication. Physicians who do give out too many scripts for pain meds are in danger of losing their licenses. And what does "too many" mean?

And someone like me who is in pain, and can't get medication? Tough luck, I guess. Collateral damage in the great War on Drugs.

It's all worth it, if we can JUST GET AMERICA CLEAN!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So We Can Fix You -- Maybe --

...but the cure will make you wish you were dead.

I'm actually off the steroids now, and have been for a solid week, but I'm still recovering.

Just head's up? If anyone ever suggests you go on these evil bastards, and you aren't actually dying -- which I understand they're good for people who are actually about to keel over -- just saying no.


Don't say no.

Say fuck no.

Although my physician suggests (tolerantly) that not everyone reacts to them as strongly as I did.

Which -- yow -- I should hope not.

I can still barely work. I have no energy. I lie about thinking cheery thoughts like, well, if I did get pneumonia from lying on my back too long, and I died, then I wouldn't have to deal with any of this stupid shit at school anymore, that would be so nice. I don't want to eat. I don't want to drink rum. I don't want to write. (Which -- if you know me -- those last two are just -- wow. I always want to write and drink rum.)

I hope this goes away soon.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

What Devilish Sort Of Science Fiction Is THIS?

So last night Dr. Skull and I went to see Prometheus.

It's hard to even begin on how much fail exists in this movie -- which, BTW, I so much wanted to like. I loved Alien and Aliens, though I do my best to pretend the other sequels just don't exist; and Blade Runner is one of my top favorite movies of all times, so while I didn't have great expectations, due to all the bad press it had been getting, well. I had hopes.

But my shit.

First of all, doesn't Ridley Scott know any scientists? Or if he doesn't know any, couldn't he arrange to find a consultant who could talk to some? Because I will just tell you, Ridley, this is not how scientists talk, this is not how they act, and it is not how they react. And I am guessing these are supposed to be among the best scientists of their generation, given that they got hired to do this way-cool scientific expedition out among the stars?

But they act like guys we've hired off the street to move furniture. Our "geologist," who claims at one point to "love rocks" wakes up here, two thousand light years from home, or however the fuck far it is, I don't know, about to land on a new planet, where no one has ever been before, and is he going o cool, I can't wait to see what the rocks are like? Is he saying, A planet! We're the first ones ever to land on a planet that isn't Earth! We can learn so much about rock formation from this!

No. He's saying, dude, I just came out here to make bucks. Fuck this job.

And once on the planet? He never once takes a rock sample or even looks at any of the rocks. That's right. Not once.

Same for our biologist. (Who, by the way, calls evolution "Darwinism.") When our intrepid explorers encounter the remains of the space aliens -- this would be, remember, the very first sign of any sort of non-terrestrial life anyone has ever found anywhere -- does our biologist want to have a look at it?

No. He barely glances at it. Then he wants to go back to the ship. Because dead bodies are scary.

Nor does he, ever, except for one time when it is vital for the plot, ever look at any of the life which is around him on this planet -- the algae, the worms, the other crawly bits -- nope. Not interested. Because scientists are like that.

And our main scientists, Mrs. Shaw (okay, Dr. Shaw, except I don't believe for one shitting minute she's a doctor) and her sweetie boo Charlie, who have convinced the head of Wayland Industries that if he spends a BAZILLION TRILLION dollars to come out here he will be made immortal (gah fuck?), they are just not scientists.

First, Elizabeth Shaw tells us she "chooses to believe" that the "engineers," which is what she calls the aliens, have created mankind. (She's come all the way out here to meet them and ask them why they created us.) Does she have evidence that these "engineers" created us? No. None. (Or at least none we're told about, and none the movie presents us.) So -- she's operating on faith alone. Yeah. There's your scientist at work.

All through the movie, clutching her cross, she operates this way -- moving on faith, not evidence. At the end, for instance, why does she trust David? Who has, after all, done nothing but betray them all, over and over? Including that charming bit where he killed her husband (the movie clearly shows that she guessed that) and tried to force her to carry an alien fetus to term? I'm guessing it's faith. It can't be sense, because there is no rational reason behind it.

(While we're on it, when Elizabeth Shaw goes to have the med pod remove the alien fetus, WTF is with calling that a Caesarean, and not an abortion? I guess it just goes against her faith to say the A-word? My hell.)

Mind you, there were some good bits to the movie. The little mapping drones were very cool. And I liked some of the byplay among the crew. And the opening scenes, where David is minding the ship, those are fun.

Not enough to carry this crap of a movie, though, sadly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Exiled From the Academy

So we're driving home from the Harps, my child and I, last night, one of these long sunny nights in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with storm clouds on the horizon, but no actual storm clouds, talking about the issues we talk about, art and being artists and trolls on the internet and the latest iterations of QC and I was telling the kid about how much I too loved the smell of books and how one of the happiest moments of my life was the morning I got off the bus onto the campus in Fayetteville, Arkansas, after three years working a 9-5 job, and in the cool fall morning I caught the scent of books coming clearly from the basement of the library -- which vented right there by the bus-stop -- and I knew I was back in the academy.

"Back where I was meant to be," I told her. "The happiest moment of my life so far."

She burst into tears.

"What?" I said. "Baby, what?"



"It's a real university! I miss going to a real university!"

"Oh, baby-cakes. I know. But you'll be at a real university again some day. I promise."

"Fort Smith isn't anything like a real university!" she sobbed. "The buildings are so ugly! They don't have any Greek and Roman influences at all!"

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Shoulder still Hurts

So it's four days now (I think, though math is not my best point) and the shoulder is still killing me.

Drugs ain't helping, IOW. I'm half convinced they're making things worse. Last night was the worst night yet.

In alternate new, my American Epics class is going well. We're on Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here now, his book he wrote because he (like many Americans in 1935) was terrified that the People Yes! were about to rise up behind a powerful progressive leader (specifically, in Lewis's case, behind Huey Long, down in Louisiana) and America was going to turn into something like Hitler's Germany or Mussolini's Italy.

Of course, he had no idea (probably) how bad Hitler's Germany was going to get.

Still, he's unfair to Huey Long and to the working class in It Can't Happen Here -- he gets,in more than a few places, more interested in writing a polemic than in writing a novel. I think 1935 must have been a really frightening time to be alive.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Trying to be Zen, But...

...the election in Wisconsin has me eating my nails.

And the steriods I'm on are helping exactly nothing, I am sure.

Voter turn-out is up, which conventional wisdom says favors Democrats. OTOH, Nate Silver is predicting a win for the Evil One, Scott Walker, and Nate is almost always right.

OTOH, no one was expecting this level of voting. So...?

OTOH, RW is already wailing about fraud. So we can expect challenges even if the Evil One is cast out.

OTOH, how many millions of dollars did the RW Corporations pour into Wisconsin, basically buying this election? Whereas the Democratic Party refused to chip in anything?

Because -- frankly -- unions, the working class, the middle class, the rising up of people who want to take this country back from the oligarchs and plutocrats -- why should the Democratic Party care about or encourage anything like that?

You see how I've been stewing and fretting all day.

Monday, June 04, 2012

My Shoulder

I know you've been waiting for an update.

I saw my physician, who I love to pieces, by the way. She's great. She put me through an exam, being very careful with my poor wounded shoulder, and then gently told me we couldn't take a scalpel to the bone spurs this afternoon, which was kind of what I was demanding.

"We need to follow a more conservative path," she said. "We'll try two weeks of steroids and anti-inflammatory medication, and re-evaluate-"


No, not really.

Really I gave her my wide-eyed astounded look and said, appalled, "Two weeks?"

Because, seriously. Two hours more of this and I will be climbing bell towers.

But we compromised. She gave me some nice pain medications and I am going to sob quietly to myself after they run out, which will about six days from now.

Friday, June 01, 2012

More Whining

I called my doc and whined enough that my appointment has been moved up to Monday afternoon.

I might make it until then.

Although I am seriously considering going to the doc in the box this weekend -- or maybe today -- and seeing if they can't shoot something directly into the joint. I don't know what sort of thing might get shot into the joint. I just have this dream (a reoccurring fantasy, in fact, at this point) of a physician shooting a giant needle filled with I do not know what, liquid ice or something, into the joint, and the pain stopping for just one minute.