This is a key reason why the Capitalist Right is wrong about EVERYTHING. Next they’ll sell off the National Parks! (‘Improved Revenue Model’). Thing is, these things DON’T BELONG to those bozos! They belong to YOU, to ME, to ALL of us! So-called ‘conservatives’ are people who simply don’t subscribe to the concept of DEMOCRACY!
How many times have you heard some GOP wise-ass say “America isn’t a Democracy, it’s a Republic!”? ‘Republic’ just means ‘not ruled by a king or emperor.’
Actually, America was conceived of as a ‘Representative Democracy’. There. That wasn’t so hard, was it? So take good care as to just WHO is your REPRESENTATIVE!
BTW: 5000 D-cell batteries is 7500 Volts. It always cringes me to hear about the ‘Terrors’ of Voltage. Volts ARE important, or OHM’s law wouldn’t work!
That whole, “we’re a republic, not a democracy” nonsense always irks me. I know, no one who has a proper 8th grade education could ally with supply-siders and racists in the first place; yet still something about this particular error grates on me. When I got my own 8th grade education, I found the stuff about forms of government remedial (having studied the subject years earlier in order to be a better dungeon master.)
Hearing a full grown adult proudly proclaiming his/her own ignorance just hurts. Then, if there is any dialog to be had, we get into the technical stuff about how “democracy” is a broad category of forms of government, while “direct democracy” is the correct way to articulate what the U.S. federal government is not. More than once online, I’ve tangled with people who seemed so incredibly stupid that they could not absorb the idea that a republic is a form of democracy. These tend to be people with many other strongly held misconceptions about government and politics.
Even though their ignorant participation is clearly worse for our society than taking an actual shit in a ballot box, they fiercely defend the positions right-wing propagandists have told them to take, and they are unreceptive to even this most elementary of civics lessons. I realize that not everyone is an intellectual, but surely we could do more to shame voters at the opposite end of the spectrum. If we could get a large chunk of those imbeciles out of the process, I’m pretty sure politicians who threaten entirely voluntary debt default or who endeavor to slash nutrition assistance programs would have a lot more trouble getting reelected.
The urge to intellectually justify cruelty and dominance seems rooted in the deepest primate subroutines. It’s fricking everywhere. I agree, it should be shamed and ridiculed at every opportunity, and never engaged with or compromised with in any manner.
Oh, I’m doing okay here. I finally got a little income, then a really good connection. Alas, this is a “friend of a friend” situation, and the intervening friend just lost his father as I was running out, so I’ve been reduced to eating my already been vaped material just now (that actually works, but even with judicious use of Nutella, it is not pleasant to ingest.) I’m sure in a week or two I’ll be able to acquire some more of the good stuff, and I can’t recommend the MFLB enough (very small and discrete vaporizer — definitely the cheapest such product to have a good reputation and a long term guarantee . . . though it does take some skill to use effectively.)
Also, I finally enrolled in Illinois Medicaid, which uncomfortably enough works by paying all the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for a private health insurer. Also, there remains a dispute about my status in May and June — the period when I was hospitalized and underwent major surgery. Because I did not apply for federal disability benefit until late June, and had to re-apply in July due to bureaucratic bullshit, the state disputes the assertion that I was disabled back in May. I have an advocate bombarding them with medical records that establish my severe heart failure diagnosis the day after I turned up at the ER, but for now I still must advise creditors to hold off on claims for services rendered prior to July 1st. The stress of dealing with them is obnoxious, but especially offensive in light of my condition and doctors’ orders to avoid stressful situations.
That said, my health has generally improved. In the hospital, I was given literature and shown educational videos that were all tailored for the typical CHF patient — someone in his/her late 60s/early 70s with a life expectancy of less than five more years. This gave me the impression that I might drop dead from spending too long outdoors on a hot day or trying to haul a basket of laundry up a staircase. The specialist on my case explained to me that, while I should get comfortable and rest whenever I have shortness of breath, I should not be afraid to try anything I did before my hospitalization. I may yet live to see another outdoor concert, spend another weekend camping out, etc. I am still on a severe sodium restriction, smoking is also off limits, and going up two staircases in a row is enough to require that I get a little rest, but I’m starting to appreciate that my youth and otherwise (mostly) fit body makes me far less vulnerable than a typical CHF patient.
On the downside, my first cancer treatment was not effective. Though round two of cryoablation was more painful, it was still easy street compared to anything like chemotherapy or radiological medicine (though my thyroid is a goner just from the radiation I endured getting so many scans and now having undergone three CT-guided procedures. Fortunately this is a very common condition treated with a single inexpensive hormone replacement drug.) The real downer here is the uncertainty. Everyone is confident the second procedure was a success, but they were pretty confident about the first one as well. Also, renal cancers can kill fairly quickly, so if there is any sign the tumor has grown at my next scan, it is likely they will remove the organ entirely.
Oh also, as long as I’m on this medical rant, my blood pressure continues to run high, often producing “hypertensive crisis” numbers when I’m actually at a hospital. Since I’m already taking large doses of three different blood pressure control medications, this is cause for concern, though at least it is not a painful condition. My heart has gone from an ejection fraction of 10% to 30% (with 60% being normal and anything under 50% considered heart failure), but the gains made through medication and diet could be lost if this high blood pressure problem can’t be resolved. Long story short, I’m still a sicko, but I’m finding the extent of my disability is less than I was originally led to believe, and there is some chance (though no sure thing) that I might get 15 or even 20 more years out of this ticker, by which point hopefully trying to win the organ donor lottery will not be my only means of continued survival.
I just wanted to say, I’m still kinda new at this whole “serious medical problems” thing. Obviously, the physical limitations, massive consumption of pills with no recreational applications, and possibly dying in my 40s is all pretty rough. However, it also sucks when old friends ask “how are you” and get a response like the above comment. I’m going to have to learn to keep small talk small as I adapt to my new reality. At least a couple of times, I’ve done something similar face to face or on the phone.
The details do not bore me. You are one of my favorite people, and while I don’t like to think of you in fear or pain, I consider the information important and welcome the discourse.
That being said: Shit! Crap! Fuck! There was at least some good news bits in there. Glad.
If the human race wasn’t being always warped by the conservative arm around its throat trying to drag us all back into the primate pit, we’d have conquered the solar system by now and you’d already be cloned and bouncing around at a Who concert.
Can we clone The Who too? There’s got to be some viable DNA of Keith Moon still around unless he completely obliterated it through overly intensive living. The living guys could use some help too. Daltry’s vocal chords need some stem cells quick. Good thing Pete is ageless.
BTW, I saw my heart failure specialist today, and now there is no doubt I’m getting the best care available despite my poverty. In about a month, I’ll be getting a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted. The procedure looks to be a little painful, and I hear its no picnic if the defib. function ever activates. However, medicine and diet have only restored my heart to EF 30% after seven months of dutifully following doctors’ orders (with 60% being the baseline for a healthy cardiac muscle.) That makes me a candidate for the kind of sudden death that claimed the life of the guy who played Lorne in Joss Wheden’s Angel. In turn, that makes me a candidate for such a device, which has a high chance of saving lives imperiled by sudden cardiac arrest.
The gizmo alone costs $100,000. Also, battery life is finite, so I’ll be getting a new one every 4-5 years. The procedure is suprisingly dangerous, because they actually thread an electrical lead inside the heart and attach it to the interior wall of a chamber (if my rhythm was worse, I might have needed a 2- or 3-lead device, but a single lead device was selected for me, since my weakened heart still beats with a very steady rhythm . . . must be the musician in me.) Because the bit where they insert the lead (which need not be done again just to deal with a depleted battery) is risky, the cardiologist who originally diagnosed me was also brought in to provide an opinion on this procedure.
If I want to beat the odds (which put CHF patient life expectancy at under five years after diagnosis), this device is a sort of insurance against the sudden cardiac death likely to be my eventual killer. I got the impression that the doctors don’t make such an effort with patients who continue to engage in risky behaviors or ignore the importance of medication and doctor-ordered restrictions. However, I’ve been sticking with the proverbial program, so they are hauling out the big guns in the quest to give me as long a life as is plausible given my failing heart. America is still extremely barbaric, but days like this Thursday remind me that I’ve got support now, and I am truly grateful to be getting basically the same care a rich old man would receive for this condition.
Demonweed: Sounds like you’re getting the care you need. Good for you! When I had a stroke late last year, I was impressed by the quality of care I received. Despite some inevitable mobility and coordination problems, I’m doin’ OK. One adapts.
Just do what the Docs tell you and don’t push your recovery too much… so we can all continue to trade blues licks into the indefinite future!
I really do appreciate the continued reporting on your condition, DW. My Dad had one of those sudden events at age 63, right after losing a tough racketball match to a guy a decade older. Sat down for a breather and checked right out. Where’s the justice?
I don’t always do everything my cardiologist tells me to do, but your reports make me think I should be a little more attentive to her advice. “1 lead” sounds like one more that I want to have threaded into that delicate region. Really sucks we weren’t designed with a backup.
On the subject of cardiological health, I’m pretty sure vaporizers are of immense benefit to any kindred spirits out there. When I was told “no smoking,” I did not dissent, but I also didn’t get any clear instruction regarding herb. On further investigation, the real issue for people with heart difficulties is the (sometimes rapid) changes in blood pressure. Though an ideal combustion reaction ends entirely in carbon dioxide and water, real burning of vegetable matter tends to produce all sorts of nasty compounds, from lots of carbon monoxide to traces of benzene. Because of this, generally speaking, smoke is a strong vasoconstrictor, shrinking vessels and thus driving up pressure.
Many forms of heart disease will be made worse whenever blood pressure is elevated significantly. Though it means saying goodbye to the head rush of a nice thick bong hit, a proper vaporizer is a gentle path to the same destination. As an added bonus, you get most of the good compounds, being oily and readily heated to vapor, with ~5% of the irritating particulate matter in smoke and much lower levels of various carcinogens too. Perhaps a very infrequent and low dose consumer isn’t being all that irresponsible smoking with a heart condition, but eschewing all smoke in favor of vapors and edibles seems to be the most medically sound approach to the stuff.