Meditation On What’s To Come

I’m very depressed today.  In fact, I’ve been depressed for weeks.  I’ve been waiting for the usual release and often subsequent high, but it’s not happening. 

Maybe I’m in the dumps because my sweet doggie is slated to have a very major surgery this coming Tuesday.  She has to be completely opened up for a kidney biopsy.  In humans, a kidney biopsy is not such a huge deal, but dogs are made differently and it’s harder to get at their kidneys.  Also, the sample has to be a pie shaped wedge, rather than a simple needle biopsy.

There’s a 3% chance that the biopsy may turn out to be a necropsy, which is veterinary-speak for autopsy.  If I didn’t have to prove that her kidney failure is not due to anything I did, I would not subject her and myself to this ordeal.

But since the (fill in the expletive) woman who sold me this dog cooked up the outlandish tale that I somehow caused this dog to become mortally ill within hours of my acquiring her, when actually a couple of hours of observation were all that it took to come to a reasonable list of possible diagnoses, she asserts that I invalidated her contract and her obligation to make things right.

My loyal regular readers, to whom I am incredibly grateful, know that in addition to my bipolar disorder, I have ASD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder.  Now, in most respects I don’t consider being on the Spectrum a disorder.  It gives me many of my special talents, especially the ability to analyze things minutely and precisely, which is what makes me a superb clinician.

What I lack, though, is the ability to read people.  I read animals, because they are direct and transparent.  They are generally (with some notable exceptions) incapable of deviousness and deceit.

The human animal sometimes specializes in this.  There is a subspecies of homo sapiens called the “confidence man/woman,” whose talent is to appear so incredibly honest and empathetic that the person who is being duped places their confidence in this person, despite mountains of evidence that this person is a fake.

That is why I rely on a service dog to sniff out evil people.  They are very good at that. 

This time, however, the very service dog I thought I was buying, with money I cashed in from my life insurance policy, turned out to be a very sick dog, which I should have noticed due to her extreme emaciation.  I forget what the seller’s excuse for that was.  Oh right, there was no excuse.  I thought it was because the poor dog was loaded with worms that she looked so pitiful.  This I also found out after I had shelled out $12,000 for a “fully trained” dog.  OK, she knows “down, sit, heel, come,” and a couple of other useful commands, all of which I am capable of training, myself.  Pretty basic.  I could go on about this, but that’s not the point of this particular post.

So the long and the short of it is that I am now, after a month of test after test, facing a major surgery on my dog, who has no idea what lies ahead for her.

She looks much better now than when I bought her.

Her coat is glossy, her body responded well to plenty of high quality food and water.  She is still weak, and I have to watch her carefully when we play her favorite game: frisbee.  She leaps joyfully into the air to snatch the flying disc, and comes tearing back with it like a little kid: “Again!  Again!”

Anyone watching her would say, “Look at that happy, healthy dog!”

But after a few throws her hind end tires out, and I have to be careful to stop before she gets injured.  She would go after that frisbee till she collapsed, if I let her.  I don’t let her.

The whole thing seems like an impossible task.  I feel like I’m slogging through a lake of molasses.

So when this Ted Talk showed up in my email I thought, there’s nothing random.  Here it is.

A Bit Concerning

First there was Gen X.  Now there’s Gen Y.  What will happen after Gen Z?  Will everything go poof?  Will the clock turn over to “A”?  Or will it be, like, Z¹, Z², etc.?

Jeekers Crow

I feel like shite.  Part of it is the heat.  My bodymind does not do heat.  We run too hot anyway.  Have a tendency to boil over.  Don’t take the cap offa that radiator, darlin, you’re likely to get a gush of superheated water in your face!

Heat exhausts me, makes me grumpy and short tempered.  Even my service dog, whose job is to take care of me when things get weird–I crossly sent her off to her bed.  She keeps looking at me with big brown downcast eyes.  I feel for her, but not enough to invite her into my bed, directly under the air conditioner, which I normally can’t stand but I’m overheated and got to chill.  Literally.

Worse, my box of Rice Chex ® is staring me in the face.  The reverse side is staring at me, with this picture of people hysterically enjoying themselves, ostensibly because they ate Rice Chex®.  The woman is giving one of those huge open-mouth things that I think is supposed to be a smile.  These seem very much in vogue these days.  You know what?  First of all, no one ever really smiles like that.  Plus, the sight of someone’s tonsils makes me gag.  Yes, even if I’m gagging them on purpose so I can see whether it’s mono or strep, I gag right along with them.  Believe me, there are few other things in the body I’d rather not see.  Okay, hairy assholes dripping pus.  Right?  You wouldn’t want to see that either, unless you’re way, way off the charts.

See I told you I was out of sorts because of the heat.

Gotta go, my dog needs to “go out.”

Watch “Criminalizing Mental Health • This Is Crazy • Part 1 of 3 • BRAVE NEW FILMS” on YouTube

I am so glad to see this! 

This is a documentary about what happens when mental illness and police intersect.  This is the “weapon” we need, to fight ignorance by means of information and education. 

My personal psychiatrist spends most of his time in prison.  He is a prison psychiatrist.  He tells me that roughly 50% of the prison population have a pre-existing psychiatric diagnosis–and he gives me a sardonic smile as he says, “And the rest are undiagnosed.”

Whether or not you agree with that, I’m sure you will agree that beating, shooting, tasering, and incarcerating people who may simply be disoriented, delusional, hallucinating, or displaying side effects of anti-psychotic medicines such as stiff gait and slurred speech, is not only inappropriate and inhumane, but criminal.

If you agree with the message of this film, I urge you to go to the authors’ website and see how you can take action to promote crisis intervention training for police so that they can be trained in methods of de-escalating mental health crisis situations rather than treating them as crime scenes.

This is the first step in a long process that we must undertake, to protect our brothers and sisters who suffer from mental illness from the “justice” system that is supposed to protect us, not beat, taser, shoot, and incarcerate us.

The second step is to hold law enforcement and prison personnel criminally responsible for abuse of people with mental illness.

Currently, police officers and prison guards who maim and kill the mentally ill might get a few weeks of unpaid leave, or maybe even get fired.  But they don’t often get charged with criminal assault or murder.  This has to change.  We MUST empower and pressure our legislators to create a legal code that eliminates immunity for “law officers” who break the law–who torture, maim, and kill.

Please watch the video and share it widely, hit the Facebook and Twitter buttons, reblog this or write your own post, do whatever you can to circulate this effort to get the word out.  The authors have a petition going, and they have the Facebook pages of all the Presidential candidates so we can bombard them with the message:

LET OUR PEOPLE LIVE!

The Pain Game (for real)

When thinking about writing this post, the title was already in my mind, because of the content.

But I thought, this title is too obvious and catchy.  There must be a book by that title…something S&M related, surely…So I Googled it, and found, not a book, but a stupid reality show.  In Dutch.  There are probably English versions, but this one was in Dutch.

What I want to talk about, is, in effect, sadistic.  It causes a LOT of pain, and down the road it will cause even more.

It seems that from 1999 to the present, there has been a four-fold increase in the number of deaths due to overdose on prescription opioid pain pills.  This includes unintentional and intentional overdose on medicines were either prescribed for the person who died, or were obtained in other ways such as borrowing or stealing from someone else, or buying on the black market, or buying in other countries where some forms of opioids are legal over the counter.

These numbers are certainly shocking, and no one denies that the epidemic of fatalities needs to stop.

Now jump cut to my last visit with my spine doctor, a physiatrist, who, although I have seen her many times, has never laid a hand on me.  She did look at my MRI report, though, so she knows I have spinal stenosis.  I have bony growths in my spine that are squishing the nerves and my spinal cord itself, causing pain and clumsiness.

I did not share my psychiatric diagnosed with her, not wanting to muddy the waters (“somaticizing,” would then be the diagnosis, or perhaps “malingering”).

I went to her with the idea that I might get a new spinal pain control modality, which is a pump device much like an insulin pump for diabetics, only this one uses a tiny catheter that goes into the spinal canal and has an external pump that delivers an eensy-weensy continuous dose of morphine directly into the spinal canal, where it blocks the pain signals without causing any brain symptoms like grogginess, dizziness, addiction, etc.

Oooooh no!  She was adamant that she wasn’t going to prescribe morphine for anybody!  Instead she insisted that I get a steroid injection into my neck, with a not-insignificant risk of ending up a quadriplegic.  When that didn’t work, she prescribed a pill that made me so dizzy and uncoordinated that I fell down a flight of stairs, injuring my back and causing such a jolt to my neck that I literally wanted to cut my head off from the pain.

I had to beg for some Tramadol, which at that time wasn’t even a scheduled drug.  She grudgingly gave me thirty tablets, and warned me not to ask for refills.

Now jump cut to Laura the doctor.

I compulsively haunt the physicians-only version of Medscape.  I learn all kinds of interesting things.  Plus, I do maintain my medical license, in the vain hope that one day I will be healthy enough to return to medical practice (no danger of that), so I keep up on my continuing education hours.

One day an article caught my eye:

“Heroin use up 10,000%!  (OK, only 400%.)  Many users are pain patients cut off from their pain meds based on addiction and overdose fears!  Prescription pain meds gateway drugs to heroin!

Huh?

People with chronic pain are being denied their pain meds because their doctors are:

1.  Afraid of being disciplined by their state medical boards, which have established Macchiavellian standards for how many opioid scripts any one doctor can write;

2.  Afraid of getting sued if someone does die;

3.  Genuinely convinced that treating genuine pain with opioids is dangerous.

So….

It happens that there is a large, cheap, and easily obtained supply of heroin in the United States at this time.  My son tells me it’s all the rage with the high school crowd.  That’s a scary thought.

But people who are in genuine chronic pain, who are either refused or cut off from prescription pain medication, will naturally seek relief where they can.  And if they can buy relief from the neighborhood heroin supplier, well, that is one way to relieve their pain.

Of course heroin has its downsides (irony font here).  I don’t have to list them; you know what they are.

For me, this is insult piled upon injury.  First they take away the pain meds, in knee-jerk fashion.  Then, when people desperate to get out of pain turn to heroin for relief, they shout, See, we told you!  Prescription pain meds are a gateway drug to heroin abuse!

Can someone please tell me how people with minimum eleven years of post-high school education cannot identify flawed logic when it’s biting them in the arse?

I’m grumpy as hell (if you haven’t yet noticed :-D) because my nerve pain is radiating all the way into my hand, and the Crohn’s Disease that was found on biopsy but isn’t “bad enough” to treat is acting up, and I do have a small stash of pain meds, but I’m saving them in case I fall when I’m out in the wilderness and break a bone.  That has happened to me twice already, and I’ve been glad to have the meds since the places I haunt don’t get cell reception, and it’s nice to have a little relief while trekking to the nearest hospital–that is, if it’s something I can’t splint up myself.  A bad habit, I know, but you can’t take the doctor out of the doctor….I can just hear my therapist saying, “What was that you just said about logic?”  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  And these are decisions I make on my own behalf.  I don’t penalize an entire population of people who need relief from pain.

Next edition:  Why are so many people hurting?  And why are so many people hurting so much that they’re dying?

Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse: It’s Time To Speak Up

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

With incredible candor, Steph shares her experience of dealing with having been raped by her father from ages 2 through 4. She is using her fierce and powerful strength to fight back.

Originally posted on Steph Mignon:

Horizonhawaii

When I was 22-years old, I came out of hiding. I stepped out of the darkness of the sexual abuse victim’s closet, and into the light.  I can’t say I haven’t looked back, because with something like childhood sexual abuse it’s impossible not to, but I can say my future has been a lot brighter because of my willingness to tell the truth.

With people like Josh Duggar and Jared from Subway in the news recently, the newest string of celebrity sexual predators, I’ve decided there’s no better time than the present to keep telling my story. With a 16-month old daughter, and possibly another baby on the way, the times is NOW. There are other people like me who need my strength. There are other people like me, and, frankly, I need their strength too.

I remember the night I first told someone. It was my best friend. We…

View original 948 more words

Herself

image

Here she is, the sweetest.  Look at that million dollar smile!  (Well, it was only $460 for today’s vet visit.)

We have been exploring the gulches that meander off of Cache La Poudre canyon, out of range of cell service, for five days.

Atina learned to play frisbee, and now she’s a frisbee maniac.  She’s one of those incredibly athletic dogs who will launch themselves into the air and snatch the flying disc out of it.

She tires quickly, though, and I have to balance letting her have a good doggie time with watching for signs she’s tiring.  I don’t want her to get injured.  She’s already got enough on her plate.

If you’ve read my previous Atina post, you’ll already know that she’s an 18 month old Belgian Malinois with kidney disease. 

She is so, so precious.  Even after a full day of tests at Colorado State University, after it was all over, and the senior vet student was sitting beside me explaining the results so far–Atina, who had been lounging in my lap while we waited for results–clambered into his lap and purred, as she grabbed at his hands with the amazing prehensile Malinois paws, insisting that he pet and snuggle her. 

Yes, I said “purred.”

When she is trying to charm someone, she grins and makes this deep rumble down in her chest.  It could be mistaken for a growl, but it’s a purr.  Really.

So today they drew so much blood she needed a transfusion (in this case I am joking, but when I worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, that really happened all the time).  She had an ultrasound and a chest X-Ray.  We got to meet a student, a resident, and a professor. 

Oh, and they stuck a needle into her belly to collect a urine sample.  Don’t worry, I used to do that on little babies all the time.  Didn’t hurt me a bit.  Actually it did.  Atina didn’t seem to notice it much.  She’s one tough cookie.

In fact, we just got out of jail.

Quarantine, actually, but same thing.  At least they let you do home confinement here, rather than sticking your dog in the pound for ten days.  In our case it was camper confinement, which was claustrophobic, to say the least.

Oh right, I haven’t told you how we drew the “go directly to jail” card.

She bit somebody.  In the face.  Badly.

He deserved it.

Nine o’clock in the morning, this dude at a campground is already fucked up (Colorado), sees my dog, who is tied up to the door handle of my van, goes up to her, gets down on one knee next to her, his arm around her chest, his face next to hers, and says:

I saw you yesterday, she had a Service Dog vest on.  What kind of Service Dog is she?

Normally at this point I tell people very politely to fuck off, but for some reason I said, She’s a PTSD Service Dog.

So this idiot starts yelling at me,

PTSD!  PTSD!  That’s the most over-diagnosed–

Atina had started growling–not purring–as soon as she felt the vibe, and as I started to dissociate it got louder and I said to the jerk,

She’s growling
Stand up and back away
(Through my growing haze.)

But he only shouted,

What’s she growling for?
What’s she–
Aaaagh!  She bit me!
He is on his knees, pouring facial blood. 

I went to see.  He wouldn’t let me look at him, staggered off.

I knew what was going to happen when he got to the ER.  You know, police, dog bite report, dog officer shows up and takes your dog.

I went into my van with Atina, locked the doors, and slammed into a full blast anxiety attack.  I was so far gone, I couldn’t even remember about the whole bottle of Ativan sitting in the cupboard for just such occasions.

The dog officer showed up.  I left Atina in the van and slunk out.  I knew what had to be done.

Fortunately, the dog officer was a sweet guy with a terrible stammer, which endeared him to me.  He explained the local custom of home confinement–out only for bodily functions–so I signed the paper and he went away.

The creep who got us into that mess returned after the dog officer drove away, and proudly showed off his amateur suturing job.

Yep, that’s right, he sewed himself up.  All cattywampus and crooked, too.

This time it was me screaming:

You didn’t go to the hospital!  You need to go to the hospital!  You’ll get an infection, etc, etc.

Well, he didn’t, and it ain’t none of mine.  His face is going to be a whole lot uglier than it was before.

We got out of jail on Tuesday, and celebrated by playing frisbee some more, and dabbling our toes in a glacial creek.  Atina did.  I kept my boots on.  It’s been in the 30’s Fahrenheit) at night at 8,000 feet, so I conserve my toe heat.

Now it’s a waiting game with the vets.  Results from the specialty labs will come trickling in next week, and if we don’t get our answer there, then it’ll be biopsy time.  Fun.  But we will do what needs to be done, for this wiggly snuggly angel (just don’t fuck with her, or me) who has landed in my lap with all four paws on my bladder, of course….

The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

You need to know about this.  In fact, everyone needs to know about this.  It’s a travesty, a crime against humanity itself.  So why does the world turn its back on the truly horrible situations of Palestinian Arabs who have been maltreated, some in truly ghastly ways, within Arab countries?  The numbers of the killed and totally disenfranchised are chilling.  And by the way, this is no secret to those who live in the Middle East.  We have been trying to bring it to the attention of the U.N. without success, because it’s much more politically correct to point the finger at Jews than to undress the emperors, these Arab countries who are committing wholesale genocide while the world shakes its finger at Israel.

 

The Secret Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians.

Fear and Guilt Will Keep You in an Abusive Relationship If You Let Them

Such an incredibly important article for those of us who grew up in emotionally abusive households, and especially for Adult Children of a Narcissist (ACoN).

Taking breathing time for yourself, just to feel who you actually ARE and not live in the prison of the Narcissist’s defined role they’ve assigned you, can give you a taste of the freedom you’ve lacked, perhaps all of your life.  Then you’re going to have to face the incredibly tough question, “Now what am I going to do?”

 

This is where your therapist comes in.  Having the right therapist is vital, because you are going to literally be reborn when you cut the cord that binds you to your abuser.  Make sure your support system is in place, and prepare yourself for the possibility that until you begin rebuilding your life, your only support might be your therapist–because the Narcissist will make sure all your family and friends think you are a lowlife creep who abandoned them.  And since a Narcissist thrives on praise and adulation, they often occupy positions of high responsibility in their communities, are always the first to jump to the aid of extended family members in need, and are generally idolized by all.  Their position of power makes it easy to demonize anyone who defies their dominance.  This is what keeps so many of us locked up in the prison of great, the fear of the consequences of being ourselves.

 

But in order to actualize ourselves, break away we must.  This article, and the resources it quotes, will help you get started on your journey to your genuine self.

The article comes from the incredibly helpful website, The Invisible Scar, which is directed toward adult children of emotionally abusive parents.

 

Fear and Guilt Will Keep You in an Abusive Relationship If You Let Them.

Gender, Culture, and Freedom (or not)

http://m.clarionproject.org/analysis/life-under-isis-where-sexuality-marks-women-s-total-value

First, I must remark that having OCD is not always a bad thing.

For instance, in order to be a thoroughly thorough physician, a mild-to-moderate dose of OCD helps me obsess over whether I have searched all the hidden corners of a client’s (excuse me, I ABHOR the demeaning word “patient,” to be discussed in a future post) case are probed, whether the records are clearly in order, whether the instruments and supplies in the exam rooms are exactly as they should be, so that I can simply reach blindly into the cupboard and have my hand land upon the exact tool I need, because that is where I determine that it should always be; and my assistant knows that I will not be happy of things are not just so.

In a similar vein, OCD has made my editorial life quite simple, as I can spot an error in usage, grammar, punctuation, etc., without particularly looking for it.  My OCD just sets off a loud clanging in my head that will not turn off until I correct the error.

For this reason, I must prelude this excellent article from the Clarion Project, on a heart-rending topic, with an editorial note:  the author means “gender,” not “sexuality.”  Certainly there is plenty to discuss regarding sex and sexuality in radical Islam, but here she is writing about the fact that people with two “X” chromosomes must shroud themselves from head to toe, even in the throes of labor, or even indoors in the company of all women.

Now, I am going to reveal a secret about myself.  Mind you, this pertains only to myself, and cannot be generalized to anyone else: it is a most personal thing.

I like being veiled.

Not the black heavy burqa/niqab type of veil-wrong culture, uncomfortable, conspicuous.

I like to wear what my acupuncture professor, Dr. Joseph Helms, once called “Flowing Robes,” as in, “and NO Flowing Robes.”  (This was directed at me when our class of 300 new graduates-to-be was being briefed for our final practical exam.  I wore my Flowing Robes anyway.)

Not only do I love my colorful, comfortable Flowing Robes, but I like to wrap beautiful scarves around my head.  It keeps my brains from exploding.

And when I go out into public, I long to throw a diaphanous length of silk over all, so that I can see out, but they can’t see in.

Who is they?

The male factor, of course.

I don’t want men looking at me.

It gives me the creeps.

Too much trauma over too many years.  I need my space, my privacy.  I need freedom to be in my own world.

But.

This is my comfort zone.  It does not translate to anyone else.  It does not form the basis for generalization.  I just feel comfortable traveling around in my own cloak of invisibility. 

However, this is not how it is for the women who are forced to bear the uniform of gender-based slavery–for slaves they are, with no freedoms whatsoever, no shred of self-determination, no voice, and no face.

What is our face?  Why were we given a face?  What do faces do for us in life?

Did you know that dogs have more facial muscles than humans?  Why do you suppose that is?

Ethologists, who are scientists who study animal social behaviour and culture, tell us that animals use their faces to communicate with other animals.

Have you noticed the slight lift of the dog’s upper lip, when it is lying quietly chewing a chewie, and another dog of the household comes in?  That means, “I love you, but if you come any closer I’ll rip you a new one.”

What if that dog were wearing a niqab?  And an eye-veil too?

The other dog would have no idea what the first dog was thinking.  It might make a mistake and try to join in the chewie fun.  Uh-oh.

Or: how often, as mothers, wives, partners, daughters, friends, etc., do we, by the slightest twitch of a facial muscle, communicate something profound, something known only to the members of our inner circle?

I believe I have made my point, so I won’t belabor it: forced veiling dehumanizes a class of people, namely homo sapiens possessing two “X” chromosomes.  It strips them of a critical necessity common to all mammals: the ability to use the faces God gave them, not just to be “pretty faces,” but as means of communication.

It not only dehumanizes them, but objectifies them to the level of pods that exist only to do the will of their male owners.

This, my Muslim Bloggie friends will (I hope) agree, is not Islamic.  It has nothing to do with modesty.  It has to do with control and power, and…fear.

For woman is the source of all power.  She is the genitive principle.  Without woman, life does not endure. 

And if this extraordinary principle of creative power is given a chance to blossom and bear fruit….?

I leave you with that question.

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