Friday, May 31, 2024

I See They've Fixed That

     "Labs" have become common in modern medicine.  At least once a year, you skip breakfast and go get a blood draw, and at your next doctor's appointment, there's a lot of serious talk about blood sugar, thyroid levels, and (at least for some of us)  that one is years past child-bearing age and has hormone levels that are out of whack (no, no, it's just mood swings, doc.  Yeah.  That's all.).

     At first, the doctor's offices did the blood draw, and sent the vials off to wherever.  Then the lab companies set up inside the offices of large group practices, and then they added external offices, usually near clusters of medical offices.  There were a couple of companies, at least around here, and in Indianapolis, you could count on finding one a short drive away.

     Orders -- the list of tests your doctor wanted done -- were computerized and you could usually go to any office.  They'd type in your name and everything would pop up on the screen, hey, presto!  It was quick and convenient.

     At some point -- I remember it as shortly before the pandemic -- one of the two big lab companies bought the other one.  They merged computer systems and a few offices closed.  Then the pandemic hit and they had to stay open, but with minimum staff.  They automated check-in, and all but the biggest offices ran with just one phlebotomist tech at a time.  The usual mask-wearing and social-distance rules applied, and they started to emphasize scheduled appointments over walk-ins.

     That was my most recent experience with them.  I avoided medical stuff as much as possible during the height of the pandemic, figuring the profession had enough to deal with.  Recently, the office of my latest doctor got put out of business; some investment outfit was buying up medical practices, got too big, too fast, and closed down suddenly in several states, including Indiana.  Surprise!  She absquatulated to parts unknown, needing to maintain employment to keep her bills paid, and I found yet another doctor.

     Ahead of my first appointment, they sent in a lab order.  "Nothing to it," think I, "Just black coffee for breakfast, a quick stop at the lab nearest the North Campus on my way to work, lose a few vials of blood and get some kind of delicious semi-fast food at one of the interesting places nearby afterward."  I was looking forward to it.

     It didn't work out.
     Item: That office is c-l-o-s-e-d gone.  The next closest is several miles away.  There are a lot fewer locations now.
     Item: It's pretty much all by appointment now, and their computer system has crashed: my test orders don't show up on the web site.  No test orders in the computer, no tests.  I called the doctor's office, gave them the fax number for the office I planned to go to, and they sent it in.  (Yes, a fax. In 2024.  I know.)
     Item: I am now stuck going to that office; they're the only one with my lab order.
     Item: If you do show up as a walk-in, the automated system slots you in the next open appointment.  When I did so, mine was two and a half hours away.  I needed to be at work.  I bailed.

     Okay, fine.  Gotta work the system.  I decided to do it Friday.

     I logged into the site early this morning.  The only open appointments were in mid-afternoon, when I needed to be at work.

     This lab isn't going to happen.  I'm pretty sure I can get the blood draw done at the in-office lab after or before my first appointment with the new doctor, and catch up later.

     But if I didn't have a couple of prescriptions that need to be maintained -- for blood pressure and some other old-people stuff -- I'd say to hell with the whole thing, and go back to using doc-in-a-box for anything that didn't clear up on its own.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

66 Years

     It strikes me as wildly unlikely.  Nevertheless, there it is: I have been on this planet for sixty-six years as of today.

     Here's to sixty-six more!  I don't trust the rest of you lot with this place; I'd like to stick around and keep an eye on you, just to make sure you don't mess it up.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

So, Saturday

    "Maybe I'll come up with something for Saturday," I said.

     What I came up with was to just about do myself in.  I've been chairing a small online writing-critique group for a local club since January and it meets for an hour starting at 9:00 a.m., one Saturday a month.  I can do that; there's plenty of time to grab coffee and a quick snack, shower and be ready with the stories all printed out and a "bingo card" of manuscript submissions and participants so I can be sure no one is left out.  The participants are all serious amateurs or aspiring professionals, and it's an orderly process.  Introverted though I am, I can handle it and only be a little tired afterward.  My cold is still lingering, with mild sinus congestion and a recurring, productive cough; not bad but annoying.

     In the usual course of events, there's an hour break after the critique group and then the entire club meets, both online and in person, with a business meeting followed by an interesting speaker.  It's relaxing and about the most strenuous thing I do is second a motion or make an occasional note.

     Yesterday was not usual.  I had to work, downtown, starting at 11:00 a.m.  I wrapped up the critique group a few minutes after 10:00, shut down my laptop and lights,* changed to work slacks and put on real shoes, packed my coffee cup, teabags and a candy bar, and headed south.

     Getting into work on this particular day involves talking one's way past a police officer: where I work is right on the parade route and they close the cross streets.  Some years, the officer assigned to the intersection for the street my workplace is on hasn't been well briefed; other years, all I need to do is show my ID.  This was a good year; I flashed my badge and barely had to slow down.

     I was working Engineering support for live TV coverage of the 500 Festival Parade -- a job that, if nothing goes wrong, consists of looking at TV screens and possibly making small repairs.  It can get exciting if something big breaks, but we try to have ways around all of the likely failures.  This meant I could set up my laptop and listen in to the club meeting with an earbud in one ear while monitoring the parade with the other ear and both eyes.

     It worked until the meeting's speaker began his presentation, off-mike and a little mumbly.  I had a choice: try to follow him or do my job.  I logged out.  That bread is only buttered on one side.

     Through all this, low-key interactions with co-workers, hi, howya doin', remember the year so-and-so drove by the cop without stopping and almost got arrested? (So-and-so piped up to add to that story) and so on.

     I felt kind of sleepy once things were wrapped up -- only a few hours -- and took my time getting ready to leave, waiting for traffic to ease.  I stopped at the grocery store on my way home, shambled my way through picking up a couple days worth of food, and arrived home with relief.

     Got the groceries put away, had a conversation with Tam, and went back to the kitchen, finalizing supper plans.  I was standing on our very old plastic step-stool, the kind with spring-loaded wheels that settles when you step up on it.  I was on the top step and had just shifted my weight when it made a cracking sound, dropping a half-inch as my full weight came over a wheel -- and the knee I'd put my weight on gave way!

     I lost my balance immediately.  The fall was unrecoverable.  I was in front of the refrigerator, and it doesn't have handles that stick out.  I said, "Oh!" and slowed my fall well enough that I didn't land hard, but I ended on the floor, on my back, out of breath and starting to snicker.

     Tamara came running in, and there I was, sprawled out on the floor, wheezing and snickering too much to tell her I was okay.  When I finally could, she refused to believe me until I got back on my feet.

     Dinner plans were scaled back; I made yellow rice with (canned) chicken, pigeon peas, fresh carrots, celery and a few mushrooms, chopped up.  I sauteed the fresh vegetables and mushrooms in a little bacon grease from one strip of bacon, which I crumbled in with the rest of the stuff: fast, easy and tasty.

     But I went to bed immediately after dinner, about eight, and slept until nine this morning: I was completely worn worn out.  When I started to fall, I realized I had no real reserves left; I was headed for the floor, no matter what.  It's a scary thing to realize.  Between the remains of the cold, two meetings, work and grocery-shopping, I'd used up all my energy.
* During the pandemic, I set up my bedroom desk for videoconferencing, with a couple of mounted ring lights that have home-made diffusers.  It's been useful ever since -- and I don't have to show the chaos on my big desk in the home office.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Busy Day

     So, not much of a blog post.  Tomorrow will be busy, too, but maybe I'll come up with something.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lost And Found

     Still in recovery from the awful cold, I have been taking allergy pills and using cough syrup as needed.  This has had exactly the effect you might expect on my mental acuity.

     So the early the day before yesterday, I went shambling around the North Campus, inspecting some of the outdoor infrastructure, a job I can do just fine even if I'm not a hundred percent.  I walked six hundred feet down a once-mown and slightly-grown path to inspect a couple of big gadgets, keeping my eye open for wildflowers (we've got a wide variety) and toadstools (ditto, including some genuine red-capped don't-touch-'ems) along the way, and at some point, dropped my car key without noting it.

     Comes time to go home, after coffee and routine have worked their magic and I'm way more alert.  I hit the door, reach for my car key, and...nothing.  No key.  Searched the building.  Nothing.  Retraced all my steps, including outdoors, very carefully.  Nothing,  Did it all again.  Nothing.  I finally gave up, called Tam and had her bring my spare key.

     Yesterday, I bought a spring rake on my way to work, figuring on walking my path again, dragging it behind me.  It was worth a try.  Arrived at work to find the lawn mowing guy had hit the place early before the heat (smart move, it's been in the upper eighties before noon the last few days).  But my key might have been destroyed or flung, or--

     I walked the path anyway, rake bouncing along behind.  At nearly the farthest extreme, I walked into a cleared area around one of the gadgets and there it was, sparkling in the sunlight, right in front of me, untouched: my car key.   Never needed the rake.  The lawn mowing had taken away just enough grass to make it obvious.

     And, hey, I've got a new rake for Fall.  A good thing.  The old ones had plastic tines and the bent ends were worn almost away. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Clippy Offers Advice


Generic LLM: "Uh-huh."

Paper clip with eyes: "I HAVE SOME BAAAAAD NEWS FOR YOU."

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Air Non-Conditioning

     The air conditioner froze up overnight, yesterday (if that makes sense -- I discovered it night before last), and I babied it along until I could get outside, take a broom to the coil, and then follow up with a portable vacuum.  That got it good enough to keep the house at 78°F when it was 89°F outside, and yesterday evening and through the night I kept nudging it down.  We're holding at 75°F, which is pretty good.

     I still need to take a hose to it and clear out the rest of the stuff in the coil.  This is a project, since the outdoor hose connection drips in use, thanks to a lousy install by an unsupervised plumber, years ago.  It's floppy, too -- all crimped together with PEX and the valve not fastened to the outside wall.  That was a two-in-one for that plumbing firm: first and last time I'll hire 'em.*  So I have to run a hose up from the laundry sink; done it before and I'll do it again, as soon as I have time.

     But for now, we're back in the cold-air business.  I just have to keep an eye on it.
* Some day I will fix this, but I want to get rid of all the PEX that guy put in.  It takes specialized, expensive tools to do properly, unlike most other plumbing systems, and I don't like being at the mercy of overworked professionals, especially given that quality of work within the profession varies widely.

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Rich Are Bad For Your Teeth

     I have written in the past that I didn't much care if the 1% were living like emperors, if that meant the rest of us were living like kings and queens.  I still feel that way -- the problem is, that's not how it has worked.

     The top one percent -- the top five percent or more -- are living better than ever.  The rest of us?  Not so much.  Oh, it's not as if most people in the Western World were suffering in grinding poverty; but from the middle class on down, most people count themselves lucky to be standing still.  It has held true in the U.S. for a long time now, no matter which party holds the Presidency and/or Congress.  It's fun to blame the ones you didn't vote for, but the evidence doesn't bear it out.  Most of them -- and their best pals and  contributors -- have got theirs, and to hell with the rest of us.  Some of 'em are better at wishing us, "Sucks to be you," all tied up in ribbons and bows and some are worse, but the outcome is the same.

     In that light, I cannot help but remember that the essential topic of the first great televised clash of the pundits between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. was not, "What is the proper function of government," or some other philosophical issue, but -- in the long-vanished economic egalitarianism of the 1960s! -- how government might best keep the poor from eating the rich.

     I guess the rich stopped worrying.  I wonder how that's going to play out?

Sunday, May 19, 2024


     I felt so much better yesterday that I did a heap of laundry, hacked away the the back yard jungle, and cooked a big meal on the grill: pot roast with turnip, potato, carrot, celery, onion and mushroom, plus corn on the cob.

     By the time the after-supper dishes rolled around, I felt pretty awful.  I did one dish-drainer full and left the rest. 

     Today, I woke up tired and slept in.  Coughing and hacking a little.  And so it goes.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Dismal Science

     It seems to me that one of the biggest problems with macroeconomic theory is not the various and sundry theories nearly so much as it is the ability of facile politicians to slap the names of the theories on whatever crazy nonsense they want to try, which is usually ill-considered borrowing, austerity that somehow never touches the top ten percent, deficit spending, or running the printing presses overtime at the national mint.

     Having created a mess, they then point at it proudly or in alarm, and explain that it's "post-Keynesian metallism," or "nuclear chartalism," or "socialist capitalism," or some other high-sounding tag.  Afterwards, there's a rush of economists, some of them proclaiming, Oh No It Is Not, or pointing to the parts of the label they dislike most and explaining That's What's Wrong With This Fool Notion and even one of two trying to clear up that what actually went on was more like random meddling.  Nobody ever listens except for economics students, and most of them are thinking about what kind of bow tie they're going to wear for the TV interviews once they have a PhD and a best-selling popular-account book that explains why every other economist is wrong.

     Except for the one time in a thousand when politicians take economists seriously, and pile up heaps of corpses trying to make people fit the theory.

     And somehow, when we manage to dodge that, the rest of us end up doing the same old, same old, for the same old pay.  My only consolation is that there are very few rich economists -- and I can't help but suspect we might be better off if there were fewer rich politicians, too.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Seems Like

     Every time I blink, politics gets more stupid.  I don't understand the appeal, but we're not too far away from the Heinlein detail of public figures eating dirt sandwiches as "health food."

     Year of the Jackpot, indeed.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

No, Look

     I never have had much patience with Congress, but I always figured it was their job to try my patience: to crank the wheels of government around with all due deliberation, with plenty of lost motion and chances for each and every one of them to sing out, "Whoa, nellie!" at ill-considered legislation, and, yes, to dip their state or district's beaks into every new dollop of gravy in the trough, ensuring, at least over time, a roughly uniform distribution of the burdens and benefits.

     Well and good, and if it resembles a clown circus from time to time, them's the breaks.  It kept 'em busy annoying one another more than annoying everyone else.

     But that system keeps breaking down, and these supposedly highly qualified boys and girls all saw that Jimmy Stewart movie -- or, more likely, read the Cliff's Notes -- and they think they can aw-shucks themselves into The People's hearts and pocketbooks, by either actually being some kind of semi-folksy, semi-poisonous idiot, or simulating one so well we forget to look up their privileged, Ivy-League upbringing, or, in at least one case, by simultaneously pretending to be a Public Intellectual and a hard-handed Man Of The Peeeple, a kind of six-dimensional Zen Everyman with furrowed brow and sweaty muscles.

     It won't wash.  I don't care if you're a gilded-palm New Jersey sleaze, a Rhodes scholar carefully sprinkling "ain'ts" like a society matron sifting well-aged parm on her pasta carbonara or a genuine moron from suburban Poughkeepsie, Atlanta or Helena, if you're not willing to actually do the work and pass up a few of the photo-ops and fawnings, then GTFO.  I don't care what your party is or what kind of crazy ideas you came into office with, if you're unwilling to deal with the actual reality of a giant country with global obligations, a hugely varied population and way too many situations that call for finding a least-bad choice that no one really likes, then please leave and go try out for a "reality" TV show, because you are unsuited for real life and entirely unsuited to be one of the frickin' legislators trying to keep the chaos of the functioning.

     If you're one of the nasty few who got into office to try screwing the whole thing up or lining your own pockets, then there is no hell hot enough for you, and I sincerely wish your peers would put more effort into rooting out the rot.  The House and Senate have Ethics Committees, but they appear to mostly spend their time tut-tutting instead of checking for cheating and incipient Caesarism.

     And if all this sounds harsh and unfair to my readers, well -- it is.  We've let Congress get away with far too much for far too too long, and they've gone from sneaking cigarettes and reefer in the cloakrooms to all manner of slacking off and genuine vice.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024


     While I have been sick, the mess in Gaza has continued, as has its spillover into domestic politics, both on college campuses and in the Presidential campaign, where Horseshoe Theory is alive, well, and spitting mad that the incumbent President hasn't Done Something.  As near as I can figure, one side of the extreme ends of the horseshoe thinks the President runs Israel, or at least can call their government to heel, while the other end thinks either the Israelis or the Jews run the President, except for the large group that thinks we should be pouring arms into the region so they can get their End Times on.  Meanwhile, the cognitive dissonance of the vast overlap between the "Jews will not replace us" idiots and the solemn Congressional morons (and their fans) lecturing college presidents about anitsemitism seems to pass with little notice.

     And none of it -- not one bit -- serves to reduce the mountain of dead adults and children in and around Gaza, nor does it help to feed and house the survivors.  I suppose all involved over here get to bask in the warm glow of having Done Something, and I guess we'll see peace in the Middle East once everyone over there has killed off everyone else in the region.

     It brings to mind what Mark Twain had to say about the common or ordinary fly.

     For the bloodlessly intellectual types, Lanchester's Laws say interesting things about the defender's advantage in warfare, but I'm finding the math difficult to work, what with all the crying.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

...Back To Doc-In-A-Box

     The official diagnosis for what's wrong with me is, "Some cold viruses just linger like that.  Treat the symptoms, get plenty of rest, and eat a balanced diet."

     Okay.  I've been doing the first, doing lots more of the second than I really should, and as for the third, I'd eat a darned gyroscope if I thought it would help.  For tonight, soup and a salad instead, I think.  Also, they suggested OTC allergy pills, which I will totally start up again as soon as I get home.

     Chest rattles, cough, sniffles, exhaustion, aches and the occasional temperature spike notwithstanding, I am pretty sure I was worse off last week, so if the trend continues, maybe next week will be better.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Going To Try It

      A full day of work?  I don't know, but I'm going to try.  This low-level exhaustion is frustrating and I'm tired of it.  Am I sufficiently over it?  Have to run the experiment to find out.

Saturday, May 11, 2024


     Well, here I am.  The cure's about as bad as the ailment so far, except I sleep better.

Friday, May 10, 2024

The Doctor

     Yesterday -- finally -- I went to the drive-through doctor.  This was the one I used to go to, three miles away; they're practical and...  Um.  Last week, I went to the closest one, under a different company, and they looked at my nasty bruise with the ol' Mark I medical eyeball and sent me on to a fancier place -- but played diagnostic-code bingo in their billing and scored nearly a grand overall, mostly from my insurance.

     (Okay, fine; I don't know how much deeply-informed, serious doctor-type thinking went on and I wouldn't have the least notion what a fair price tag for it looks like.  It seemed like hyper-Cadillac medicine to me and I am okay with a used Chevy: most of the things that go wrong with us were diagnosable by 1925 and treatable by 1947, so firing up the chrome-plated hovercraft and its onboard quantum computer might be a bit more than is called for.  I paid the bill and I won't be back.)

     After a nightmarish drive past sidewalk-repair crews working in the rain, I walked my wheezy, coughing self into the quickie clinic, masked for the benefit of anyone downwind, and they did the usual: vitals, listen to my breathing (we both discovered I could not cycle a deep breath without a coughing spell), history of the complaint.  She called it for severe bronchitis and some other stuff, and wrote me for heavy-duty cough syrup, a Z-pack of antibiotics, and, initially a steroid.  She switched that to a rescue inhaler after checking my chart: Prednisone (isn't that a radiator fluid?) has a very bad effect on me.  Elapsed time, slightly longer than it takes for your blood pressure to settle down.

     They called in the prescriptions and I went over to the North Campus, close to my drugstore, figuring the place needed a walk-through and I needed a sit-down.  Once there, my phone binged with a depressingly-distant ETA for the medicine -- and an offer to jump the line, if I needed the stuff sooner.  I pushed that button on first sight, caught my breath, did the walk-through, caught my breath, and before too long, I was in the line at the pharmacy drive-up, which took a mere twenty minutes to get through.  Even before COVID, the expansion and collapse of the drugstore business had things messed up, but they are starting to catch up. 

     I'm feeling better, but exhausted.  The strong cough syrup makes me dizzy and my lungs and sinuses are emptying and emptying; but I slept in a couple of solid four-hour chunks last night, less-tormented and deeper than I have managed for a week.  My knees do still hurt, but the other joint aches are fading.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Don't Got It Today

     Kinda reached my limit early and don't seem to be recharging.  Hit 99.5°F earlier, so there's that.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Hey, Kids, Did You Know...?

     A couple of medical researchers won a half-share in a Nobel Prize in 2015 for work on the use of an Ivermectin-family drug against parasitic infections in humans.  No, it's true; their work was on river blindness and elephantiasis, but the stuff works great on parasitic worms in general and bodily infestations like scabies.  The link goes to the Nobel committee's website, which we can take as definitive.

     However, this family of drugs still doesn't do squat for viral respiratory infections -- and that's been shown by controlled experiment.

     This is in response to the same lunatic who keeps returning to my comments section like a dog to its vomit (that's Shakespeare), and whose falsehoods can be refuted in seconds with access to a decent search engine or even a recent encyclopedia.

     Y'know, it's one thing when people believe fringe stuff that is difficult to look up or figure out, wacky quantum theories or whatever; it's one thing when people choose to believe religious mysticism that is inherently impossible to refute.  But opting for comic-book level crap that makes zero sense, pushed by blatant quacks out to profit from the credulous, years after the rug's been yanked out from under it by genuine, verifiable science -- why?  As some kind of banner of group affiliation?  Give it up, loser.  It's just one more dead end, right down there in the slime with the Stars & Bars and the horrible hooky cross.

     Fun as it is to mock this kind of deliberate ignorance, this is his last appearance, even as an offstage source of goofiness.

Oh, Fer Theluva....

      Made a nice big breakfast, hacking and a bit dizzy, sat down, ate about half of it...and my temperature spiked.  Badly.  Sweat just pouring off.

     So much for the whole "fever broke."

Monday, May 06, 2024

Maybe I Broke

     Still having a little of the up-and-down, hot-and-cold sweats and shivers, but far worse, I'm still sneezing and coughing up eech.  So I'm still home.  No point in spreading that if I can avoid it, and I certainly don't want it coming back around with a new set of mutations.

     I did get a couple of fairly solid chunks of sleep last night and this morning.  One of them was over three hours!  That cats have about had it with me; Holden spent a little time sleeping at my feet last night but eventually gave up because I couldn't keep still.

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Fever Broke

     The fever broke for me about three a.m., leaving me sweat-slick and weak but in the moment.  I still felt sick, but I felt normal sick, not like a puppet being alternately dangled over the cookstove and the icebox.

     It's both better and worse; being so much more present means accepting that I feel like I have been beaten up, or maybe tried to run yesterday's mini-marathon and collapsed.  I'm sore all over, joints and ribs especially, and I'm still coughing and sneezing.

     But it seems as if an end to this cold is possible, as opposed to the last two days of grimly hanging on.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Oh, Fun

     Not only am I still sick -- last night was miserable, though slightly less so than the night before -- I'm still getting comments from the Ignorant Peasant contingent.

     Hey, I get it: you jerks are so full of yourselves that you cannot conceive that you might be wrong and hundreds of thousands of actual experts in various fields of study might be right; I understand that you believe your stinking, unwashed thumb is one standard inch wide and no icky centimeters need apply.  But the reality is, you're wrong, you're annoying and you need to go away.

     You had your chance and you blew it, not once but thousands of times over.  You showed yourself to be prejudiced dupes.  You turned your back on the Scientific Method and the Age of Reason.  Go howl in the darkness, losers, and not at me.  Your way brings nothing but terror, pestilence and early death.

     (And for the aghast few, wondering "Is this me?"  The answer is easy to find: do you think vaccines work?  Do you think we had a real, actual global pandemic?  Do you think our elections are generally honest?  If so, it's not you.)

Friday, May 03, 2024

Call Me "Lucky"

     Yes, Lucky.  Not only have I picked up a cold or flu, I have now got a commenter who wants me to know that since "pharma did not fix you," the obvious next step is (drumroll, please!)....

     Horse dewormer!

     Yeah, no, and here's why:

     It doesn't work.  It got serious study by serious medical types, in actual double-blind studies, and it did not work.  And do you know how we can tell that?  Because if it worked, the pharmaceutical companies would have fiddled up proprietary versions of it, patented them and sold them to you, me and everyone for big bucks.  Not because they're eeeeevil but because they are morally neutral and exist to make money, period.  And they can't make a single skinny dime from a "miracle cure" they are suppressing.  Dead people don't have health insurance.  Dead people don't write checks.

     If you've got horse worms and you are the kind of cheap-ass who values saving money over risky treatments, then by all means, take the veterinary medicine and good luck. You may find the dosage is a little high.  Your judgment may improve once you get those worm cysts out of your brain.

     As for "pharma" and the flu, every year's formulation for the flu shot represents the expert best guess about what varieties we will be facing in the coming year.  It's a gamble, and not only is there an occasional big miss, there are small misses every year, limited-circulation special editions of the virus.  I might have one of those.  I might have a bad cold.  I might even have COVID-19, though I doubt it.  Hell, maybe I'm a lunger and the TB has finally flared up so bad I won't be able to ignore it.  I will find out using a classic medical approach endorsed by doctors the world over when they haven't any "silver bullet:" The Tincture Of Time.  I'll either get better (hooray!) or I won't (boo).  If I'm not on the mend by Sunday morning, I'll inflict myself on a telecdoc of some flavor and go from there.  But it's 2024, in one of the most advanced nations on Earth, and I have access to decent care.  The odds favor getting through this with nothing more than OTC palliative relief.

     Last but not least, my clever correspondent breathlessly informed me, "kind of odd that the year of Covid was also the year of no other flu...."  Nope, it wasn't odd at all.  It was predictable.  The measures we put into place, however imperfectly (looking at you, would-be commenter) of distancing, masks, handwashing, isolation of the sick and so on are exactly what you do to control the spread of a respiratory virus -- like, for example, the flu.  It worked so well that we appear to have wiped out one strain of Yamagata Type B.  What, did you think these blind biological robots knew which ones we were trying to control, and all the rest were olly-olly oxen free?  That is not how it works.

     I can't stop you being an idiot and I wouldn't even if I could.  But all your attempted comments are going to get here is mockery -- if they get even that.

     Science works.  Medicine works.  Prescription drugs work -- they may charge you all they can get away with, but they had to prove the the stuff works or they wouldn't be allowed to sell it.*  It's not some kind of scam deal where you pick the scammer who best appeals to your preexisting prejudices.
* In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, they got to jump the line based on promising early results and the magnitude of the threat -- but approval was conditional and they still had to keep on running the process of proving the vaccines were safe and effective.  Which they did, hooray, and yet still the idiots try to cast aspersions.

I Am So Sick

     I have no idea with what.  Probably not bird flu; the 2023-24 flu shut included protection again H1N1 family viruses, which it is.

     Tam has been coughing and achy for nearly a week, and had blamed it on kicking off the covers on a cold night and getting super-chilled.  I'm not so sure.  Based on my experience last night, that might have been an effect, not a cause.

     All day yesterday, I was kind of achy and coughing a little.  But it's allergy season and that's what happens, so I ignored it.  By the time I was home and in the thick of Trash Night -- policing the refrigerator and freezer for me, plus changing two litterboxes -- I was miserable.  Slogged my way through it, took acetaminophen and went to bed.

     Nodded off and woke a half hour later, freezing.  Teeth chattering.  I added a blanket and went back to sleep, tucking it under.  I was tortured by joint and muscle aches.  After an hour of that, I gave up and changed to heavy flannel nightgown and managed to fall asleep, waking every few minutes to try for a more comfortable position.  But hey, I was sleeping!  Kind of.

     Started to warm up, hooray!  Except it went past comfort to too hot.  I peeled back covers and sweated.  Took off the nightgown and pulled the sheet over.  Nope, too hot.  Finally fell asleep uncovered for a couple of hours.  I never ever sleep that way.  I can't.  I get too cold.  But there I was.

     Woke up chilled.  Added a blanket.  Nope.  Put the heavy nightgown back on, pulled the quilt over and fell asleep, waking every hour to try to find a better position where I ached less.

     All this time, I'm coughing, clearing my sinuses, and so on.  As you might guess, once again, I woke up too hot (not as bad as the previous time) and adjusted covers, ending up with none.  I managed about three hours sleep straight through before waking-up time.  I fed the cats and went back to bed.

     The only way though this is going through it.  I got every shot recommended for old folks and something slipped by.  I haven't had any majorly feverish episodes for some time and I am alternating aspirin with acetaminophen, but the sore throat, dripping sinus and aches continue.

Thursday, May 02, 2024


     I've been clumsy this morning -- dropping a nice thin slice of ham intended for my breakfast sandwich, spilling coffee and generally off-balance.  I seem to have picked up a touch of whatever Tam's been ailing from and that's not helping.

     To make matters worse, there's a project planned for work today that could go very wrong, and as a matter of practicality, I will be nowhere near it.  Instead, I'll be at the midpoint, between either of two locations where I might be needed.  It could be exciting, or not.  Here's hoping it works as planned.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Not Gonna Do It

     In response to my post yesterday, pointing out that everyone involved in the current round campus protests and responses are more-or-less hapless boobs, coping as best as they can figure out, I got a couple of comments -- comments singling out one group or another as particularly pitiable or despicable.

     That wasn't my point.  It's not even close.  It's just about the opposite.  And I'm not going to debate it.

     Nobody involved is, in actual fact, in Israel or nearby, kicking in doors, taking hostages, breaking heads,* bombing people, animals or buildings, killing or being killed, maiming or being maimed.  The protesters think there should be less damage and killing (and are trying to ensure the institutions they are attending, working for or bothering are not enabling it) and, surprise, so do many of the university administrators and police, only not quite as strongly.  Their clash is over means, not ends.  Or maybe it's over whether you should watch the fire burn or try to put it out, however futile your efforts.

     Many of the people directly involved in the actual conflict think they can kill, maim, kidnap and bomb their way to a better tomorrow -- a plan that has piled up millennia of not working especially well in that part of the world, though who am I to tell 'em?

     I've got about as much right to do so as any random college student in this country.  Or as you.  They're probably not going to listen.
* With the possible exception of yet another group (not students, college staff or police) in California, where it appears thugs attacked protestors at UCLA with blunt-force weapons.  Reports have not named any group taking responsibility, but does it matter?  Initiating force against people who have not done so to you is immoral and unacceptable. Wave your own damn signs all you like, but you don't get to hit the other sign-wavers over the head with clubs.