Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

We Interrupt This Blog For An Announcement.

You guys, Justina Pelletier's family has just filed suit against Childrens' Hospital Boston for civil rights violations and medical malpractice.  Here's the link. (It's a short story but there will probably be a press release later.)   If it were my petition I'd throw in negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium, gross negligence and reckless endangerment, but I'm sure the lawyers know what they're doing. (And I just have to say, I'd give a very valuable body part to be on that legal team right now.  Which one do they want?  We can discuss.)

I realize my point of view is a little jaundiced because I write about institutional stupidity, of which there seems to be no end, but still, thank God and it's about time.  (Though, I might have waited until Justina turned 18.  Just in case, you know.)  You shouldn't get to abuse a child for 18 months, threaten her life and her health, lock her up when she hasn't done anything wrong, and then just walk away like nothing happened.  I hope by the time it's over, the family ends up owning this hospital and the whole medical-kidnapping thing comes to a screeching halt because everybody's afraid to try it again.

If you missed my posts on this case, you can find them here, here and here.  I won't bore you with a recap.  Let's just say, I've done my own writing on this thing, and maybe something will come out of that and maybe it won't.  And I'm sorry the religious right has seized on this case and made it one of their pet issues (meaning you have to wade through a bunch of hysterical rantings from so-called "persecuted Christians" and anti-vaccination insanity to find out much about it) but since they have, maybe they've done something good for a change. Even Mike Huckabee, with whom I virulently disagree about practically everything, took on Justina's case as a personal cause of action.  And isn't that what we should be doing, us human beings (never mind us Buddhists)?  The right thing, even if we have to hold our noses and do it with people we don't like very much?

Meanwhile, back at the Flaming O Ranch, things are unusually copacetic. Calm, even, sometimes. We're almost done with the painting of our Spare Room, just the chair rails and the trim to go, and after we let that sit and "cure" for a few weeks, we can start moving back in. Finally.  I'll post photos.  I'm still rolling around on the floor fighting this sugar addiction thing tooth and nail, but nothing's really changed there; sometimes I win, sometimes the sugar wins. I'm paying basically no attention to the election except for stuff people post on Twitter, and I've stayed out of Yahoo chat rooms almost entirely since, let's see, January.  At which time my mood seems to have lifted. Coincidence? Probably.  Oh, and we marked the passing of David Bowie. Rest easy, Mr. Bowie.

Anyway, I'll try to come up with something substantive to write about next week.  Maybe some obscure point of admiralty law.  Or maybe Buddhism.  I think I'm supposed to be writing about Buddhism.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Medical Thing

While all that was going on, I had a medical thing happen. One that called for actual doctors and tests and stuff.  It was like this; I was on my way to an appointment when I started seeing flashing yellow and purple lights off to the right.  They sort of morphed over to the middle, and once they did that I couldn't see.  Well, I could see flashing yellow and purple lights, but not whatever I was trying to actually look at (the road, in this case).  One of the good things about being me is that when I see something that's not there, I know it's not there.  And I knew these flashing lights were not there, but darned if I couldn't see them anyway.
Yeah, like that, except only on one side.

The other thing that happened was that I couldn't talk.  Now, if you know me, you know that's pretty darn weird.  I can talk the ears off a rubber monkey.  When I started talking when I was a baby, they had to tell me to shut up within the first 24 hours.  Actually I could talk, but what I was saying didn't make any sense.  It was like a word salad.  I'd try to say something like, "Thanks, I'll see you later" and it would come out "Stop sign boxcar plant water bottle tornado."  So you can see why this could be the subject of some concern.  Whatever it was, though, it went away after about half an hour.

I happened to see an eye doctor not long after this happened, like I do every year to get a prescription for ever-thicker glasses. This time he asked me all kinds of questions about my blood pressure and my heart rate and suchlike and so forth.  I asked him why all the questions and he said the vision changes in my right eye looked like the sort of pattern he often saw after a transient ischemic attack, which is a small stroke (!).  So I mentioned the flashing lights, and he told me I needed to go see my Regular Doc, pronto.

So off I went to the Regular Doc.  I got as far as "flashing lights" and he dispatched me immediately to the hospital to get a CT scan.  I mean I was in the CT scan machine about a half hour later, which is lightning speed for things medical.  I gathered whatever they saw on the CT scan wasn't too bad, though, because they let me leave the hospital.  And a few days later I called my Regular Doc and was told they saw "no intercranial abnormalities." Oh, and that I do have a brain.

Which is great, of course, but it doesn't solve the mystery of the flashing lights.  I've actually seen them several times, though the aphasia was a new thing.  Last August, approximately, the same thing happened at work, and lasted about half an hour.  Before that, a couple of years earlier, again while driving (there is nothing scarier than suddenly not being able to see while driving).  But it's not like it happens every day, or anything.  Just once in a while.

Anyway, the theory we're working on now is a thing called an "ocular migraine." To quote,"Ocular migraines are painless, temporary visual disturbances that can affect one or both eyes. Though they can be frightening, ocular migraines typically are harmless and self-resolve without medication within 20 to 30 minutes." Which sounds about right. Naturally, the cause is unknown but is probably genetic. There's no treatment or cure, but they're supposed to be harmless, unless you get into a car accident. And unlike normal migraines, they don't hurt. (A plus.) The only thing you can do if one hits is go someplace quiet and lie down. I mean, you can't do anything else because you can't see. 

So I guess enforced rest every once in a while isn't so bad.  It beats having a transient ischemic attack all to hell. They're not sure why I would not be able to talk, but regular migraines sometimes come with aphasia, so maybe it's related.  Oh, and the loss of vision in my right eye?  Possibly caused by a cataract.  Yes, I'm 47 years old and I already have a cataract.  Joy.