Doctors

Doctor #1

Saw my neuro this week.  She doesn’t think I have MS.  Just because certain diagnostic tests don’t show the expected results, my flares have been documented.  I had one flare that lasted 6 months.  I was treated with the standard MS flare meds by IV for three days, every month for three months.  If that wasn’t MS, tell me what is, doc.

Yet she continues to treat me, because my diagnosis came from UCLA, which has a specialized MS program.  Still she has me coming in every six months.  When she asks me about new symptoms, she dismisses them as not MS-related, and therefore not her problem. I guess if I’m not blind or in a wheelchair, I’m not worth her time.   She will be replaced.  I can see someone else in that office.  Why did it take three days for me to realize this?  Why didn’t I say something to the Doc?

Doctor #2

I’ve been having an eye problem where it felt like my eyelids were sticking to my eye balls. This has been going on for a few months, and wasn’t getting better, but not a real big deal, eye drops seem to work. So brought it up to my GP.  So she looked a little more closely at my eyes, and had me read the eye chart. I’m really shocked. If you measure by number of lines of the chart, my vision has consistently been only one line apart; my right eye is a tad better than the left, which has an astigmatism. This time it’s 4 lines! I can only read the second line of print with my left eye. I’m a little concerned and say as much to my GP and she gets me a rush referral to the Ophthalmologist.  I really like her.  I want her for my new GP, my old one is moving.

Doctor #3

I couldn’t get into the Optho until mid-March, so they referred me to another office.  I call and get an appointment for the next morning!  Wow, cool.  The doc examines my eyes, pretty much a routine exam, I read the eye chart, he dilated my eyes. He seems thorough. He tells me that I have an issue with glands in my eyelids not working.  I never knew there was anything except lashes on my lids.  These glands are supposed to secrete oils necessary to keeping eyes naturally moist.  He gives me a script for Restasis, and gives me a list of three more eyedrops I’m to use everyday for the rest of my life.  Four different types of drops, basically I’m to put drops in my eyes about every two hours.  Ok, it’s inconvenient, but not really something I can’t adapt to.

That’s when I ask him, “What about the sudden decrease in the visual acuity in my left eye?”  He shrugs, looks at my chart and sees I got new a prescription in my glasses Nov. 2015, so I should wait till this November, when my insurance OK’s new glasses.  I’m not really thrilled, but I figure he’s the doc, I trust that it’s not a big deal.  I go home.

Then yesterday, I’m updating my calendar and find the doctor’s card, which I just grabbed and put it in my pocket as I left.  I only read his name, not his title.  This time I read the title.  He’s an optometrist.  I had a referral specifically for the ophthalmologist. When I made the appointment, I assumed since they knew I couldn’t see the ophthalmologist in my office until March, that I would be seeing theirs.  I could have seen our optometrist, who I’ve been to before.

It’s been two weeks using all the eyedrops and my vision in that eye seems to be getting worse. My vision seems blurry, colors seem to merge and shift?  Can’t describe it. Suddenly I can’t properly identify a certain size or shaped or colored object until I am two feet away. This is not normal for me.  I’m worried this is not the dry eye issue, this might be the Fuchs Dystrophy I was told I had 20 years ago.  It’s a slowly progressing problem in the cornea.  When it gets bad enough the only option is transplant, but that’s still years away for me.  I hope. (Hmmm.  How likely is it that Medicare will pay for that by the time I need it?)

Then I talk to my brother, who I haven’t seen in 25 years and he mentions one of my sisters.  Says shes going blind.  Now I’m worried again.  I haven’t spoken to A in 25 years either, but I’m going to have to talk to her.  I think since my referral is good for two visits, I’ll just keep the appointment in March with the ophthalmologist.

What the hell is wrong with me that I don’t notice these things?  I used to be so thorough.   But I never asked the office what type of doctor I was seeing, something I once would have made sure of.  I used to speak up for myself, and I honestly don’t know when that disappeared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resist- II

Since about October, I have struggled a little with balancing our new ‘reality’ with some of my Buddhist way of thinking. “Things are happening as they should and I need not interfere” is kind of the gist I came away with during my studies.  In fact I spend quite a bit of time with my therapist discussing that balance between life, and a fulfilling life.  You know, the whole Buddhist “root of all my trouble is wanting” idea.  Yet I want things to change.  So much.  So much more every day.

I want Trump–No.  Not impeached.  No, poor man is sick.  I’d like him put in a small hospital room for the rest of his life.  A soft room with bars and bullet-proof glass on the windows, the gentle light of a tv as it plays The Apprentice on endless loops.  I’m all for hiring the handicapped, but the man is absolutely certifiably delusional.

I know a little about delusional from personal experience.  I know he truly believes what he says.  I know he doesn’t think we’re stupid.  He doesn’t think of us at all.   He truly believes he is entitled to anything or anyone any time he wants.  He believes it when he says he thinks he’s doing a swell job, and accomplished so much in so little time.  His claims of being prosecuted.  The ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ fit in perfectly in the life and mind of the delusional.  You must buy into his delusion, or you are the enemy.

His brief press conference of yesterday has only hardened my resolve to be involved.  He thinks he’s a 5 year old and can stomp all over your sand castle if he wants, just because it was better than his.  He is still that spoiled, confused child.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a lot of sympathy, but just thinking about him that way makes me a little less angry, but a lot more scared.

I want us to get rid of Trump (and the rest of his swamp creatures if at all possible) as soon as possible.  It becomes obviously more urgent every day.  You did see at least some of his so-called press conference?  And still, there is this niggling feeling that I maybe shouldn’t interfere.  Shouldn’t be involved.  Maybe I’m just trying to find an excuse to stay in my own corner, complain and pass along worrisome memes.  It’s much easier not be involved.

Then today I read this article out of the Huffington Post:  They posed this question:

What can Zen Buddhism teach us about the art of effective activism in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency?

to  Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen master who has been a social and environmental activist for since his early days protesting the Vietnamese War.    This article addresses the issue of balancing Buddhist thinking with activism.

The article quotes from his book At Home in the World where he says:

“Mindfulness must be engaged.  Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action. Seeing and action go together. Otherwise, what is the point in seeing?”

“Nonviolence is not a set of techniques that you can learn with your intellect,” he goes on to say. “Nonviolent action arises from the compassion, lucidity and understanding you have within.”

 

This article finally set to rest my qualms over my level of involvement.  And I hope I can bring his teachings of non-violent protests with me.  I hope we all can.  So teachers, parents, and concerned citizens, arm yourselves with the knowledge of peaceful protest and let’s get to work!

 

Peaceful Protest

OK, people, looks like we are in it for the long haul, so we might as well learn how to protest.  Teachers, dust off those old Civil Rights films and show them TODAY.  We must not let anger get the upper hand.  Meet anger with passivity.  Shouts with whispers.

This needs to be done and done now.  We cannot let the new administration permit states from pushing through legislation restricting protests.  North Dakota is trying to justify murder of protesters in the streets.

Peaceful Protest.  We must teach people passive resistance.  Data gathered by Political scientist Erica Chenoweth, was presented in a TED talk in 2013.  Her studies have shown that non-violent protests are far more effective than violent ones.  You can find it easily on Youtube.

We need to keep our protests non-violent and non-confrontational.  The Trumpsters are so rabid, it takes nothing to set them on a tirade.  Don’t give them cause.  Don’t yell at the Trumpsters.  It does no good.  Whisper, and they have to lean in and actually listen.  Like the man said, “Talk softly, but carry a big stick.”  The Truth is our ‘stick’.  Let’s make it work for us.

I believe the press should ignore all so-called ‘press conferences’ of the new dictatorship.  All they get is a new lie and derision.  There is no information actually provided.  Take this morning’s sudden presser.  Ridiculous is too mild a word.  I appreciate the fact they are sticking with it, but we could be far more effective in our war against the dictatorship if we did not give it notice.  It’s pretty hard to be a dictator if no one is afraid of you, or cares what you may say or threaten to do.  And Captain Asshat won’t even know, since, if he can read, he certainly doesn’t read the news.  Since it’s all fake anyway.  Speaking of ‘fake news’ and legitimate press printing ‘lies’ about the new administration, why did Mike Flynn get canned over a news story?  Aren’t they all lies?

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Protesters

I copied this from Facebook.

The Ides of Trump.

Mark it down!

On March 15th, each of us will mail Donald Trump a postcard that publicly expresses our opposition to him. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm the man with his unpopularity and failure. We will show the media and the politicians what standing with him — and against us — means. And most importantly, we will bury the White House post office in pink slips, all informing Donnie that he’s fired.

Each of us — every protester from every march, each congress-calling citizen, every boycotter, volunteer, donor, and petition signer — if each of us writes even a single postcard and we put them all in the mail on the same day, March 15th, well: you do the math…

No alternative fact or Russian translation will explain away our record-breaking, officially-verifiable, warehouse-filling flood of fury. Hank Aaron currently holds the record for fan mail, having received 900,000 pieces in a year. We’ll set a new record: over a million pieces in a day, with not a single nice thing to say.

So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and see if your sincerest ill-wishes can pierce Donald’s famously thin skin.

Prepare for March 15th, 2017, a day hereafter to be known as #TheIdesOfTrump

Write one postcard. Write a dozen! Take a picture and post it on social media tagged with #TheIdesOfTrump ! Spread the word! Everyone on Earth should let Donnie know how he’s doing. They can’t build a wall high enough to stop the mail.

Then, on March 15th, mail your messages to:

President (for now) Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Not my original idea, but I think it’s a great one, and has energized me somewhat. Personally, I will address my cards to “Donald J Trump.”  No way am I calling that person President.

Remember: MARCH 15!  Maybe have a postcard-writing party?

 

For All You “Give Him a Chance” People

Yes, I’m talking about Trump.  He hasn’t been in office a week and this is what he has done:

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.

* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.

* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.

* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.

* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.

* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of “dishonest press.”

* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, period.

* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.

* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.

* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.

* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.

* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3 to 5 million people voted “illegally,” thus costing him the popular vote.

* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.

* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.

* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.

* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.

* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.

* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.

* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”

* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.

* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

And today: the wall and a Muslim ban.

Just how many more people can he hurt in the first 100 days?  Now imagine that over 4 years.  If you still don’t get it, you never will, and you are what is wrong with the world.

Cynicism

The state of mental health care in the US is atrocious.  Not as bad as when it was thought the ill were possessed by demons, and people were kept chained and naked in dank cells.  It hasn’t improved enough. People still treat mental illness as a personality flaw, something we could change if we only tried.  It is something many medical doctors, and ER staff do not recognize.

Most public hospitals prior to 1900 were operated by religious orders, and evolved from Almshouses.  As so many other things, hospitals were often as squalid as the Almshouse.   With time, hospitals became less of a place where paupers died and more of a place of improving one’s condition.  As more of those with funds chose to go to hospital, more changes were made.  Eventually public hospitals were cleaned up and money for improvements and new buildings became available.  Now, the people who would like to donate don’t have the money, and those with money don’t care.

When psychoactive drugs were introduced in the US in 1955, their use lead to increased discharges from mental hospi­tals. Over the next 50 years there was a dramatic decline in hospital beds from 560,000 in 315 hospitals to 53,000 beds in 230 hospitals.  Certainly doesn’t sound like much.  Currently, according to the Mental Health America, the prevalence of untreated adults with mental illness ranges from 43.1% in Vermont to 67.5% in Nevada.  That’s awful!  Mental illness can be as deadly as cancer.  Those with AMI (A Mental Illness) deserve better.

I discovered that the largest mental health facility in the country is in Los Angeles and is part of the county jail.  The article: Inside The Nation’s Largest Mental Institution (heard on Morning Edition, on NPR August 13, 20083:09 PM ET, by ) wrote, in part:

           The largest mental institution in the country is actually a wing of a county jail. Known as Twin Towers, because of the design, the facility houses 1,400 mentally ill patients in one of its two identical hulking structures in downtown Los Angeles.

The End Of Public Mental Hospitals

Until the 1970s, the mentally ill were usually treated in public psychiatric hospitals, more commonly known as insane asylums.

Then, a social movement aimed at freeing patients from big, overcrowded and often squalid state hospitals succeeded. Rather than leading to quality treatment in small, community settings, however, it often resulted in no treatment at all.

As a consequence, thousands of mentally ill ended up on the streets, where they became involved in criminal activity. Their crimes, though frequently minor, led them in droves to jails such as Twin Towers, says Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.

 

 

And yet, we do incarcerate the mentally ill.  All the time.  Because there seems to be no where else to place them.  It’s awful when the police become involved.  At a minimum the person with AMI will be dragged to the ground and handcuffed as if they had committed a crime before they are dropped in some overcrowded, understaffed county hospital.  There they will receive minimal care and a quick discharge.  In the worst case scenario someone with AMI can end up dead simply because they do not understand what the police are telling him to do.  Like drop a weapon, or to lie on the ground.  Just google “mentally ill man killed by police” and you will find hundreds of incidents.

Most insurance plans do not provide adequate coverage for mental health, as if it is less important than someone’s physical health.  There are limits to the number of doctor visits, hospital stays are too short.  How does the insurance company know if you are healthy enough to leave after just 2 weeks?  It must be up to the doctors to determine when a patient is well enough to leave.  And what about someone who will spend their life institutionalized?  I’m sure most insurance plans do not have that covered.  There are not enough doctors and nurses.  There is just not enough.

My cynical side tells me that the only way we can make changes is with money.   Sure, there’s legislation, but that does not help people who cannot find a facility that will admit them.  There just aren’t enough beds.  That must change!  More mental health facilities need to be built.  MDs and hospital staff need to be made aware of symptoms of a mental health emergency.  Mental Health America is important to the improvement in mental health care and education.  Please support their #b4stage4 campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and take the pledge now to help make mental illness stigma free.

 

Well, That Didn’t Go Well (update)

Came home from dinner Monday night to find son sitting on the couch snoring.  Just like he does when he drinks.  We said nothing and went to bed.  He woke me at 2AM with the worst migraine.  Took him to the ER.  Sat with him for 4 hours while they gave him benadryl, compazine, and toridol.

He was in a rage on Tuesday.  I slept most of the day, not having had much sleep the night before.  He was still angry today.  Stupidly, I decided this would be the day I would give him a letter explaining how his addiction effects us and how much we want to trust him.  How much we want to help him.  Just how much we want our “old T” back.

My letter did not go over well.  We spent 1 1/2 hours yelling at each other.  Mostly Son doing the yelling.  That stupid letter I never should’ve given him.  He’s left just now, says he’s going to check into the hospital “to give us a break.”  We don’t need a break.  Things have been good for 4-5 weeks now.  I just wanted to know what happened Monday.

I’m so sorry I wrote that note and gave it to him.  Shouldn’t have done it.  It made things worse than just letting him be.

Going to go have me a good cry.  Then probably a nap.  Not up to yoga or tai chi today.  I think I’d rather wallow in a little self pity.

UPDATE

It’s 4PM and he’s been raging all damn day.  He’s talking about going to the hospital, but we are encouraging him not to go.  I know as soon as he checks in, he will want to leave again.  Plus it’s Christmas this weekend, we don’t want it ruined by him being in hospital, but then again, if he’s going to be in a manic rage all week, maybe it’s best.

I feel this is all my fault.  I know how he reacts.  But I was angry with him, and disappointed, and felt I needed to do something.  Unfortunately, for Son, it was the wrong thing.

NAMI

The National Association for Mental Illness is having an end of the year fund drive.  I normally don’t do this, but with Trump coming into office who knows what will happen to people who have mental health needs. It’s very possible the helplines currently out there will be cut or entangled.

Back in October 2016 (read article here) Trump was speaking to a group of veterans and commented on those with mental illness.  He stood there in front of soldiers with PTSD, those with depression, or those knew someone who committed suicide, and others who may have attempted, and called them weak.  “They can’t handle it,”  he said.  If he doesn’t even understand the basics of humanity and psychology, do you really think he will commit funding to the VA for improved care?

I don’t think he will.  I think he is going to sit in the White House and perpetuate myths and misinformation about depression, PTSD and other issues faced by returning vets.  He expects that a ‘strong’ person can beat their depression.  Like it’s a heavy bag, and punching it every day will make it go away.  It doesn’t work like that.  There’s medication and therapy.  Finding the right doctor and getting the right meds takes time and effort.  Often more effort to find help than to give in.

The man hasn’t an ounce of empathy in his body, do you think he knows how to help vets and others with mental illness beat the stigma?  No.  Obviously, Trump is going to re-introduce the myth that those with depression are just ‘weak’.  That soldiers who come back from combat with PTSD, as being “unable to handle it.”  What kind of assistance is he going to ensure the community continues to destroy the stigma and myths around mental illness.  We need to stand by NAMI, the VA and other support groups in making sure people have adequate access to mental health care.

Over the past 20 years, deaths related to substance abuse and mental illness have increased by over 1,000 percent in some areas.

This GIF Sums Up The Impact Of Addiction And Mental Illness On America  (click on graphic):

.  hp-gif

For the complete article:  Huffington Post

Here’s Mayim Bialik  making the plea for NAMI.

Thanks for reading.

It’s Getting Interesting

This thing with Russia hacking the DNC is starting to gain some real speed.

Electoral College Electors Demand Intelligence Briefing On Russia Election Interference

A group of Electoral College electors sent a letter Director of National Intelligence James Clapper demanding an intelligence briefing on Russia’s interference with the 2016 election before they vote on December 19.

Continue reading