Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Give me bilaterally reduced breath sounds! Give me persistent cough with green sputum! Give me pleuritic pain of two days' duration! Give me decreased blood oxygen saturation and fever! What does that spell? Pneumonia! Yaaaaay! I mean, hrgh-haaaaakkk-hrrrrrrghh!
The day at work passed relatively quickly, if only because I was fever-high enough to stare at the computer screen for minutes at a time before realizing that I was supposed to be looking up patients' information, or that the facesheets I'd been waiting to get from the printer had long since emerged from the machine's maw, and were now sitting--cold and desolate--in the out-tray.
So how does a healthy 22-year old woman get pneumonia? Short answer--she doesn't. It's immunocompromised people--whether because of extreme age/youth, chronic illness, or, hmmm, OVERTRAINING--who have problems with it. So what am I gonna do? Gonna take me my Zithromax and steroids, take a toot of that albuterol, grab some chik'n noodle soup and an Eddie Izzard DVD, and lay my ass down. On second though, screw the soup and the DVD. I feel like I may actually be dying (that or the room suddenly tilted by 90 degrees, which is pretty cool considering nothing's fallen off my bookshelf). I think I'll just go to bed.
So what was I for Halloween? A bioweapon. I licked your toothbrush last night after you went to sleep.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I'm really hoping my interview next week goes well. I have a tendency to freeze up a bit in those situations--I find that I'm suddenly unable to form a coherent sentence, much less follow a line of thought across multiple sentences; I sweat so much that I can literally feel a stream of water running down my spine as I sit in the 'hot seat.' I've seriously considered taking, I don't know, an airplane-sized bottle of Jack Daniels with me and guzzling it before the interview. Alcohol frees the tongue, after all--in vino veritas. Just not TOO much veritas, please; total lack of inhibition can be just as unattractive as crippling self-consciousness. As in, "So, what's the medical school's policy on students sleeping with faculty?" or "Where's the nearest gay bar?" or "How much would I have to pay you to get a good recommendation to the committee? No, I'm not trying to bribe you. I just want to know what the price of your soul is."
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
I just got these from the library, and these are some of the best books I've gotten hold of in a long time.
Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein. This book will save lives, I have no doubt of it. Some of her alternatives may seem flip, but the introduction alone (which discusses dealing with societal oppression, homo/transphobia, the bully culture that encompasses not just middle-school sluggers but corporations and governments, depression, and a lot more) is worth the price of admission. Her alternatives to suicide include seven self-evident steps suicidal youth/outlaws can take...calling a suicide hotline or a friend, going to an ER, visiting a therapist or alternative medical practitioner, or joining a support group. After that, things get both more playful and more difficult: she suggests making art to express feelings, meditating, asking others for help, providing help for others, accepting your own sexuality (and having sex--orgasms are great mood-boosters!)...but also more self-destructive options that she specifically labels as last resorts. For example: drinking, doing drugs, starving yourself, or cutting. Anything that keeps you alive. Of course, she encourages her readers to try more loving versions of self-care first, but as someone with a history of these sorts of difficulties (suicidality, eating disorders, etc) it was really validating to hear someone say, "I've been there. I've cut. I've been anorexic. I've done drugs. It kept me alive, and that's good. And if it keeps you alive, that's good too." Buy it for you, for the troubled teen you know, for the twenty year old woman you know who was born a man, for the depressed communist omnisexual you do shifts at the co-op with. This should be required reading for everyone who is, or works with, or loves, an adolescent.
Second, Persepolis, a graphic-novel memoir of Marjane Satrapi's childhood in Tehran during the Iranian revolution. It's several years old, and there's a Persepolis 2 on the shelves now, too. Simultaneously poignant and hilarious, thought-provoking and entertaining, this book looks at larger sociopolitical issues like revolution, poverty, religion and war through the eyes of the author's young self--through the eyes of a kid. We often forget that big geopolitical conflicts affect human beings; that each casualty, civilian and soldier has a human face. Persepolis is the perfect antidote.
Last, The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical Christians are Winning the Culture Wars. Let me just say for the record that I think James Dobson is a total douche. He doesn't shout crazy shit from the rooftops like Falwell or Pat Robertson; he tries very hard not to give the impression of being politically involved. The image he projects to the world is that of a loving, patient but firm therapist/father figure who wants what's best for his "children" (ie listeners and those who read his books). In reality (says Anne, who hated him all through middle and high school but didn't have the tools of theoretical feminism in order to mount a proper critique and explain to herself exactly what her dislike stemmed from) he's an old-school Nazarene Patriarchy-Man who suggests that women are happiest as wives and mothers ("It's just biology, the way God created women, and it's a beautiful thing," he says, simultaneously putting women on a pedestal so they can't escape and encouraging subservience to husbands, fathers etc.), that parents need to break their children's wills as early and as completely as possible (in his book Dare to Discipline he opined that spanking with a belt or a switch on occasion was not only acceptable but often neccessary; the belt should be left on prominent display in the child's room as a reminder of the consequences of 'disobedience.') My parents had copies of Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child, both by Dr. Dobson; I for one hold him partially resposible for my mental f*cked-upedness. Since when is a strong will a bad thing? What is the purpose of exercising such control over one's child? Preparation for them to submit to the powers that be after they've grown up, ensuring they never rebel against oppression? For mere convenience, so that parents don't have to deal with childhood exuberance? I won't even get into his stance on homosexuality, but suffice it to say it's SO last-century. Read this book to see what all he's up to; he's a secretive little bastard with a lot of influence in Washington, and the great thing (for evangelicals) is that a lot of folks outside the hardcore Christian community have never heard of him, and so have no idea who or what they should be protesting.
Those are the recommendations for now; more personal stuff to follow.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Never mind that The Secret focuses a lot on acquiring THINGS--abundance, which is a watchword for "money and material possessions;" a job with greater prestige or better pay, etc. Furthermore, the emphasis is solely on the individual. In fact, in one of the Secret videos, a self-help guru proclaims, "It's not your job to change the world; it's your job to go with the flow of the Universe." In other words, you have official permission to stop stressing about the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the 40 million uninsured American citizens, the global warming crisis, or on a smaller scale, the fact that your next door neighbor just lost her job and is going to be having a hard time buying Christmas presents for her kids this year. She wasn't thinking positively, and it's not your job to help her out. The universe helps those who help themselves; leave those other losers in the dust and focus on getting yourself a corner office and a new car. It's the height of self-centeredness and lack of empathy.
It's a Trump-esque philosophy--take what you can from the Universe, get ahead as you're able--wrapped in the trappings of a "genuine" spirituality. What about the primary tenet of ALL major religions (to my knowledge), which is that the most important things in life aren't things, but people? That love will beat covetousness any day of the week? That relationships, whether with other people or with the Spirit, are the supreme good? So, yeah, I know The Secret, and I think it's bullshit.