Saturday, March 13, 2010
Well, this has been a most interesting experience, and as with the old Chinese curse my use of "interesting" doesn't mean "interesting good." Since I'd shared briefly in my writing blog about some medical concerns, I thought that now the whole ordeal is over, I'd share what happened.

I'd been experiencing some pain in the area where the bladder is located, as well as feeling the frequent need to urinate, which was the cause of my concern in my previous post. My doctor ordered a urinary culture to determine if there was a bacterial infection, and also prescribed Levaquin, an antibiotic, as a precautionary measure. Fair enough.

When I picked up the medication (which wasn't at all cheap, especially for someone who's unemployed — $155 for 20 tabs), I went through the literature included with it, and there was a damned long list of side effects, many of which I found scary, especially when it starts with the phrase: "can cause side effects that may be serious or even cause death." I love it when death is listed as a side effect. It's rather terminal to be a side effect, don't you think?

I called my doctor's office, expressed my concern. No problem, they said, you can hold off on taking the antibiotics until the test results get back. Meanwhile, the symptoms I'd been experiencing had subsided (after eliminating Diet Coke from my diet).

Yesterday morning, I received a call telling me the culture was positive and to start taking the Levaquin. The prescription was for two 250mg tablets per day for 10 days.

A couple of hours after taking the second tablet, I started to experience pain, tingling, numbness in my right heel/ankle. The tingling and numbness went away, but it took a while to do so, but I still feel a little pain, which has subsided, thankfully. It felt similar to the plantar fasciitis I have (which has to do with a tendon that runs along the bottom of the foot), only worse. (Plantar fasciitis can be painful, but it's something I can treat myself at home and without drugs. Stretching exercises, basically.) Tendon rupture or swelling of the tendon (tendinitis) is another side effect.

Then, when I went to bed, I had trouble sleeping and nightmares and so got little sleep last night (these are also possible side effects of Levaquin). The nightmares weren't scary, just dreams that were stranger than usual for me (whenever I remember my dreams, that is).

The literature included with this medication advised to contact your doctor right away if you experienced those sorts of symptoms. This morning, I did so. Once I called, it took 10 minutes for a registered nurse to get on the phone. After talking to her and explaining in great detail what was going on and everything leading up to it, she said she'd call a doctor and call me back, and advised me that it's rare that doctors will change a prescription for an antibiotic.

Thirty minutes later, she calls back. Per the doctor, my urine culture was negative, not positive! He advised that I stop taking the medication immediately, said that the symptoms that led to my doctor's visit in the first place might be prostatitis instead (my symptoms were consistent with that, in fact), and suggested that I have a conversation with my doctor on Monday.

Now, I'm not upset with my doctor for the wrong information I'd received, as that came through someone else at her office, but she'll definitely hear about this. Absolutely! At the least, I'm very glad to hear that the culture was negative.

People Are Stupid, No. 2

Friday, March 05, 2010
So, I'm reading a news article about the ship in the Mediterranean that was struck by those waves and then I turn my attention to the comments that follow. The first comment I see reads:

And that folks is why this girl will never go on a cruise....

I guess it's impossible for any car, bus, train, or airplane which this woman graces with her presence to have an accident, even a freak accident.

Immediately following is another brilliant comment:

i like how they said they had 1,350 people on board, and they sent all 1,350 people back home. 2 people dies so should be 1,348

Why would the cruise line keep the dead? The bereaved aren't allowed to take their loved ones home to bury them? So far as I know, commercial cruise lines don't bury the dead at sea.

And then, of course, there was this magnificently enlightening observation:

i feel that they should have been aware of the weather, and had told everyone not to be out there, sounds like they just didnt care, as long as they got the money, and thats not right, they should be held accountable,

Of course, everything is predictable and nothing is ever unexpected, not even rogue waves. Nosirree! And the solution to everything, even if it isn't predictable, even if it is unexpected, is litigation. This comment was obviously made by an American.

Some undoubtedly will object to that last comment. Whatever. I'm British-American (American-born, but more than half-Brit by blood). I'll comment on whatever stupidity I see. Stupidity is no respecter of nationality, and neither am I.

I may extend this series, if only to provide evidence of the truth of these Harlan Ellison quotes:

The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.

And . . .

The world is turning into a cesspool of imbeciles.

That sums it up quite nicely, actually.

People Are Stupid

Tuesday, March 02, 2010
I'm wanting to buy myself an air purifier. Some, obviously, come with ionizers installed. Some of the reviews I've been reading are nothing less than pure idiocy, saying things like "This model has an ozone producing ionizer."

If ionization produces ozone, then someone had bloody well better turn off all the fucking lightning storms around the planet! Good, strong lightning storms leave the air smelling and feeling clean and fresh because of the ionization caused by the lightning. There are too many ill-informed comments in reviews on air purifiers that contain ionizers. Your body ionizes the air you breathe, believe it or not, so the process called ionization can hardly be considered unhealthy.

What is ionization? It's a process whereby electrically neutral atoms are converted into electrically charged atoms by the removal or addition of electrons or other electrically charged ions. Admittedly, ionization is one means by which radiation is detected, but the ionizing of air particles has nothing whatsoever to do with the ionization of radioactive isotopes except for the fact that they share the process called ionization. We should be grateful for ionizing radiation, or we would not be able to detect it (with Geiger counters) and would suffer from more cases of radiation sickness. Radioactive isotopes have to ionize because they are, by nature, unstable, and the process of ionization produces stability (radium-226, for example, decays until it becomes lead-206). In this case, ionization produces equilibrium.

In air purifiers, ionizers act like a magnet, attracting to them the things you want removed from the air and they do this by changing the electrical charge of the particles in the air (which is exactly what happens with a lightning strike in a thunderstorm, and thus why the air after a thunderstorm smells and feels fresher and cleaner).

Plus, the simple fact is, we are always surrounded by ionization as it is always going on in the environment in many natural ways, some good, some bad — those that are "bad" are "bad" only because they can cause health problems (as with the ionization of radioactive isotopes — you know, radiation burns, radiation sickness, etc), but they're still natural because radioactive isotopes occur naturally.

There is too much nonsense going on and being said in the name of what is "healthy" and what is "natural" that those terms themselves have practically become corrupted. For example, the organization Greenpeace once campaigned to have chlorine eliminated from the economy (and probably still wants it done, even though not all processes that use chlorine are necessarily harmful). Sure, chlorine can be dangerous, but it's on the goddamned Periodic Table of Elements for Christ's sake! How do you eliminate something that's part of Nature? Any group, no matter what or how honourable their creed, can often drift into utter lunacy, and that's exactly what Greenpeace did in the case of chlorine.

On the other side of the fence, we have those in Dentistry and in the health industry (here in the U.S.) claiming that flouride is good for dental health. I have a problem with this. Water flouridation in Canada is a very contentious issue. Only 3% or less of European countries add flouride to their water supply. The history of water flouridation in the U.S. and its connection with the atomic bomb is, well, nothing less than astonishing. Why is it added to anyone's water supply? Why ignore that flouride was the key ingredient in the production of the atomic bomb? Why ignore the diseases known to be caused by flouride poisoning (higher rates of cavities, cancer, dental flourosis, osteoporosis, and others)?

And then you have those who have great concern over radiation and the danger of cell phones, etc. We are surrounded daily by radiation, like it or not. If we want to avoid all radiation, then someone had better call God and ask him to shut off the damned Sun.

Do you have electrical power? Then the power lines leading to your house, the power lines in your house, and every electrical device that you own is showering you with electromagnetic radiation. So much for your computer. So much for your MP3 player. So much for your flatscreen TV and your home theater system. Get rid of them all!

Do you use gas to heat your water, heat your home, cook your food? Heat is a form of radiation, and it can be dangerous, too. Get rid of it! Too much radiation!

Do you have a microwave oven in which you heat your food, reheat a cup of coffee? It does so using radio waves. I used to maintain microwave radios. Where the hell do you think the term 'microwave' comes from? The length of radio waves can be measured. Yes, they have a physical length. This is why there are short wave radios. Well, there are also microwave radios and the 'micro' in microwave means that the length of that wave is very short. Your food is being heated with a radio transmitter at a frequency of about 2.4GHz and at a power of at least 700 watts (or, more likely, 1000-1200 watts). (The microwave radios I maintained in the Air Force transmitted at a power of only 1-5 watts, by comparison.) Get rid of it!

No doubt you have lights in your house. Not only have you got electromagnetic radiation there (the electricity required to power the lights), but you also have the visible radiation called light! Get rid of it! It's radiation and all radiation is bad! Right?

Your car radio. You enjoy listening to the radio now and then, yes? When you're not listening to your MP3 player, that is. Perhaps you like to listen to the new digital radio. Same thing as microwaves, but it's in a different part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It's radiation, baby, and those transmitters are on 24 x 7 x 365.

Face it. Every day we are bathing in radiation, both natural and man-made. Get over it.

Cell phones. This is a radio, too. How else do you think you're able to call people without the aid of wires? What? Do you think this is fucking magic? Get a grip on reality, dude.

Some claim to have suffered from brain cancer because of their cell phones. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand that the transceiver in a cell phone is smaller than the phone itself. Your phone has a speaker, a microphone, a battery, a keypad, a display, camera circuitry, an MP3 player, and is in many ways a miniature computer. Just how big do you think that radio transceiver can possibly be?

I'll tell you this, the power output of a radio transceiver is directly related to how big the transceiver is. Your cell phone's total power output is less than one watt. The power output of the cell site you're connected to can be an effective radiated power (ERP) of up to 500 watts per channel, but more frequently is about 100 watts. Cell sites have several directional antennas and they have to be all over the place if you're to have any hope of making a phone call wherever you happen to be.

Do you make your calls from inside your car? From inside your office building? What does that tell you? Radio signals can penetrate walls. They can only penetrate so much, however, because if there's a hill between your cell phone and the nearest cell site, you can kiss that call good-bye.

Now, keep in mind we're talking one watt or less for your cell phone and the supposed idea that cell phones can cause brain cancer. I want you now to consider that the transmitter that sends signals to the radio in your car is transmitting those signals at a power of probably 50,000,000 watts! (50 megawatts or millions of watts) And, at night, the power is likely to be more (because of Federal regulations). But is anyone suing them for brain cancer? Hah!

I'm trying to paint this as obviously ridiculous, but part of me wants to acknowledge that many people walk around with phones (nevermind Bluetooth headsets) attached to their ears constantly, and if anyone is to blame for brain cancer from a cell phone, why should it be the cell phone provider? You wanted the phone, right? You use it all the time, right? You're the one holding the damned thing to your ear, right? No one is twisting your arm to do this, right? (Do you really need to be on the phone so often? In the car? In the supermarket? Walking down the street? Sitting on the shitter? Why the fuck are you on the phone while taking a shit, anyway? If you call me while I'm on the can, I'll hang up on your ass. I've got other things to take care of, if you know what I mean.)

Obviously the public demand is there or the cell phone companies wouldn't've littered the landscape with cell sites so that you could make a call from out of your ass if you wanted to (and some of you probably want to). You want want want, but when things go wrong wrong wrong, instead of taking responsibility for your own actions and choices, you blame blame blame. Dumbass.

People are stupid.

Garrulus' Travels

Canada ::: England ::: France ::: Germany ::: Greece ::: Guam* ::: Ireland ::: Italy ::: Japan ::: Philippines* ::: Portugal ::: Scotland ::: South Vietnam* ::: Spain ::: Thailand ::: Turkey* ::: Wake Island* ::: Wales :::

Greece — countries where I've lived
Portugal — countries I've visited
* — airport layovers

Goals 2010

  • Find a Job
    date hired: —

  • Lose Weight
    GOAL: 150-159 lbs (68,0 – 72,1 kgs)
    current weight: 192 lbs (87,0 kgs)

  • Write 250,000 words
    53,177 | 21.27% compl.

  • Mythology Course
    date started: Mar 31
    date completed: —

  • Read 30-40 books
    — 20-27 must be fiction —
    11 — fiction
    7 — non-fiction
    18 — TOTAL READ

  • Learn Portuguese
    Complete Hugo Portuguese course
    date started: —
    date completed: —
    vocabulary words: —
    verbs: —

  • Life Goals
    goal achieved: —

  • Folding Bicycle
    Dahon JetStream P8
    date purchased: —

  • MacBook Pro
    13" 2.26GHz MacBook Pro
    date purchased: —

  • Manual Typewriter
    Corona Sterling/Silent of 1940s
    date purchased: —

  • 4 x 6 Index Card Cabinet
    date purchased: —

  • Metal Bulletin Board
    8 Umbra 12" x 12" Tiles
    date purchased: —

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