Saturday, April 12, 2008

Problems With the Mainstream Media

It's things like this that get people riled up at the news media.

* Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.

Thanks, CNN, for making sure we're not too critical of dictators. That might make them cry and we can't have that.

No Link Between Depictions of and Actual Half-Naked Women

Depressingly, a study confirms that there is no link between posters of scantily-clad women and real half-naked women. This has got to come as a major blow to men all over the country, though I'm sure they will not let this stop them from trying. Their perseverance is enough to bring a tear to my eye.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Torture Veil Continues to Be Lifted

Now we find out that members of the administration including Rice and Cheney sat in on meetings discussing specific torture techniques and how best to deploy them. I have to admit a little bit of surprise at seeing Powell and Rice on that list. I just lost a lot of respect for both of them and would have difficulty supporting either of them for any public office should they choose to run.

The Petraeus Testimony II

Obama has tough questions for the General and Ambassador Crocker.

Meanwhile, Fred Kaplan has a nice summary of the testimony from these two men.

If things in Iraq get worse, we can't cut back, lest things get worse still; if things get better, we can't cut back, lest we risk reversing all our gains.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.

Latest Readings

I finished reading Fahrenheit 451 last weekend with my daughters. I have read it before, but it was back in high school, I believe, so many of the small details had been forgotten. It is an excellent book, of course, and my daughters really enjoyed. I think the best part, though, came from the discussions afterward. We talked about censorship and the different forms it can take and why it is so bad. Coming from a home that is very rabidly pro-censorship, it was good for them to get a different take on things. I hope they will keep it in mind when they hear some of the garbage they do at home.

Master of Puppets

My sister made a comment on a previous post about all of the "needle sticks" I will have to give myself. That's made me curious how many it will be, so let's add 'em up.

3/day (21/week) - blood sugar tests
4/day (28/week) - insulin injections
1/day (7/week) - copaxone shot (MS)
1/week (1/week, duh) - avonex shot (MS)

That adds up to...57 needle pokes a week. Wow. I'm in serious junkie territory here. I think this calls for a Metallica music video, one of the greatest metal songs of all time and about the subject at hand.

"Master of Puppets"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Healthcare Fun

This afternoon was an exciting adventure in running around as no one seemed to be of much help.

I had a follow up appointment this morning because my doctor wants to closely monitor my blood sugar until I see the specialist Friday. He told me that my blood sugar level yesterday was 849. The normal range is 70-130 or so. One of the nurses I talked to said, "You're the one with the enormous blood sugar level. Some of us were talking and we couldn't believe you're still up and about." The glucometer again could not read my blood sugar level because it was so high so I had to give them a vial of blood. The doctor also said that he wants to treat the disease more aggressively now rather than wait for the specialist. He gave me a prescription to get a glucometer and supplies. He told me to go pick it up and sometime after lunch come back and he would have a nurse show me how to use it and give me a supply of syringes and insulin.

I went and picked up the glucometer and went back to his office a few hours later. The nurse told me she hadn't used them much, so she busted out the instructions and together we figured out how to operate the machine. We were doing fine until we pricked my finger and put my blood on the test strip. Suddenly the machine just stopped working. I told the nurse it was probably the massive amount of sugar in my blood; the machine couldn't handle it and just fizzled. She got another nurse and we decided that it was probably a bad battery or unit. They looked for one at the office I could have, but none could be found.

So, that meant a trip back to the place I got the glucometer. The girl who had set me up was cute and it was fun giving her a bad time about "giving the guy just diagnosed with diabetes and a blood sugar level over 800 a bad piece of equipment." She apologized over and over and got me another one. She worked on setting it up this time to make sure it worked, but admitted that she is not a "gadget girl" so she ended up calling my doc's office to talk to a nurse about what the settings should be. Finally, she got it figured out. She smiled and told me I could call her if it didn't work. She's probably got a boyfriend, though.

Leaving, I got a call from the nurse at my doctor's office that had been helping me earlier. She told me that another doctor at the office is diabetic and said she would make sure the glucometer was set up properly for me. I drove back there and waited around while she looked it over. Finally the nurse brought it back and said it was properly calibrated and such.

Now the problem is getting blood. I might have to mess with the settings on the skin pricker because I tried it four times on three different fingers and on my palm and I could never get more than a tiny drop of blood no matter how much I squeezed. It was never enough for the machine to read. I never thought not being a bleeder would be a bad thing, but what do I know? Maybe I'll just have to get my knife out and slash open a good vein somewhere.

I did give myself an injection of the insulin before I ate dinner and I have to say that I felt much better this evening. Of course it was probably the first meal I have eaten in weeks that my body was semi-able to process. Thank God for modern medicine, eh. Maybe I can start gaining some weight and not look quite so much like the anorexic white boy as some at work have dubbed me.

Captain Autoimmune

Perhaps this should be my new title. Or maybe I can just tell people, "Autoimmune is my middle name."

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes today. For the last few weeks I have had some symptoms that I was sure were not related to my multiple sclerosis. I have lost a lot of weight (20 lbs or so), had constant thirst, frequent urination including a few times a night (my daughter, Erica, asked me if I had an enlarged prostate because she had seen a commercial about it), extra fatigue (to the point I was literally shuffling around at work by lunch time), and a sharp increase in blurry vision. I researched the symptoms myself and was pretty sure it was diabetes.

Sure enough, when I went to see my doctor today, he said it was diabetes. He wanted to admit me to the hospital since my blood sugar is so high, but I was disinclined to acquiesce to his request. I talked him into giving me some small doses of insulin until I get in to see the diabetes specialist on Friday. He also wants me to come in every day to get my sugar checked and make sure I don't collapse and go into a diabetic coma or something.

The doctor told me that having one autoimmune disease such as MS makes me more likely to get another. I have two now, so maybe I should start planning for which one I would like to get next. Perhaps I can get one that won't require shooting up. As excited as I get about injecting myself with drugs, I think two diseases requiring it is enough. The next one can have meds in a pill form and I'll be cool with that.

Now that I've been through this twice, I think I can easily say what the absolute best part of being diagnosed with a disease is. It's not when the doctor comes in and tells you what's wrong with you. No, it's when he leaves the room and you're left sitting there alone. You are all alone struggling to grasp what you have just heard. Everything around you seems to fade away. Neither of the diseases I have are life-threatening, but they do change your life on a certain level. That time spent sitting alone in the room after you've heard the diagnosis, but before you can leave, is the worst part of the whole trip. It's so easy for your brain to run wild and start coming up with horrible scenarios.

I admit to being somewhat depressed today after hearing the news. I'm sure it will continue off and on over the next few weeks as I come to grips with this new disease. It's natural, but I know that I will come through. I believe that everyone is tested in their own way and I think this will be one of mine.

I'm up to the challenge.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Petraeus Testimony

General Petraeus will be testifying before Congress Tuesday and Wednesday.

Some Pentagon officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, had hoped to continue the drawdown in order to relieve the strain of repeated combat tours on U.S. troops and their families. But Gates recently sided with Petraeus on the wisdom of a period of "consolidation and assessment" expected to last at least several weeks, and possibly months. Gates and Admiral William Fallon, the outgoing chief of the U.S. Central Command and Petraeus's direct superior, have expressed concern that leaving 140,000 troops in Iraq will continue to erode U.S. military readiness. But President Bush, mindful of the centrality of Iraq to his legacy, has made clear that what Petraeus wants, Petraeus will get.

The problem is that neither Petraeus nor Bush have answered the question of why the surge is continuing when the stated goal of the surge - space for political reconciliation - has not been met. It doesn't matter how safe we make it in Iraq if the Iraqi government does not come together and form a functional body. Bush has done nothing concrete to pressure Maliki to make something happen. If Maliki has no incentive to form a coalition government, then he can screw around forever and our troops could be there for "one-hundred years." Is that in the best interests of America.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekly Secret


Weekly Music Video

The awesome Van Halen with "Hot for Teacher."

I wonder if the almost daily stories of inappropriate conduct between teachers and students can't be traced back to this video. People do seem awfully inclined to believe most of what they see on TV. Not that I think we need to get rid of this great video, though. That would be a crime against humanity. Rather we should teach people to use their damn heads. That is a Herculean task, but one that needs to be undertaken.

Charlton Heston Has Passed Away

Charlton Heston, well known for his larger than life persona, has passed away. He was in so many great movies from Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments to Planet of the Apes and Soylent Green. It's too bad he couldn't come up with a miracle to save himself. He will be missed.

Oh, I'm Dead Serious

I feel like I have a relatively good grasp of the female mind, as good as any male can have anyway. I've been surrounded and outnumbered by them all of my life. When it comes to dating them, though, I feel clueless.

I've asked two girls out in the last couple of months. Both situations were remarkably similar. Both girls had flirted with me a lot, not the mild flirting that happens all the time, but the kind that goes beyond that in word and deed and to me anyway indicated an interest in something more. I asked both girls out. Both said in the aftermath, "Are you serious" and then told me they had boyfriends.

I, of course, felt stupid afterwards in both cases, though I know I shouldn't have. Neither had a ring on their finger or ever said anything about a boyfriend. Both flirted very heavily and it wasn't just me thinking it. I had other people comment on it. In my view, both were giving off signals that they were interested in more than flirting, but as it turns out they really weren't.

So, is this normal? Is that how ladies of my generation act? Is it just me or do other men out there have similar stories?

Clinton Is At It Again

How many times are people going to give Clinton a pass for lying. This time it's about a mother at a hospital. I used to (way back when) defend Clinton to some of her rabid detractors. I can't anymore. She just keeps sinking lower and lower without shame. I'll be glad when the primary is over and she is out of the spotlight for awhile.