Hello, I am still here.

22 October, 2009

Really.  I am.  I have viral pneumonia brought about by a bout of the flu (?) or my fall mold-spore allergies (no, I take that back — that would be bacterial pneumonia which I do not have (so it would be influenza / rhinovirus related).  I am exhausted (and heavily medicated) and will respond when I am able.

Carry on.

Or carrion.

Take your pick.



  1. Hmm, that’s too bad. Hope your job is such that you don’t have to go back until fully rested. Good luck.

  2. Actually, I haven’t been taking that much time off — I haven’t been (other than coughing (and being exhausted)) that visibly ill. As a federal worker, I get what all workers should get — paid sick leave — so all is good there.

  3. Maybe this vid, I did, will cheer you a bit BUTTTTTTT every five years I take 30 minutes and spend $40 for a pneumonia shot.


  4. Tor: Thanks, but I prefer Arlo Guthrie’s live version. And the pneumonia shot wouldn’t have helped — this was/is not pneumococcal (bacterial) pneumonia, but a continuation of an existing viral infection. I get the pneumococcal vaccination about every 10 years also (due for one next year (along with my tenus shot (oh, joy and happiness unseen))).

  5. When I was a kid we lived in Ethiopia, and for a while every time you left and returned to the embassy grounds you had to get the entire series of shots. Luckily we lived in another compound, but I don’t know how the people who had to travel stood it. Went through it a time or two, and have really enjoyed a certain antipathy to needles ever since. That was even before I went in the army myself, which loves the needle.

    Monday before this past I had surgery again, and I really had some pain. Unfortunately for me, the things they tried had the exact opposite effect, so they asked if I’d try accupuncture.

    As I was experiencing what I can only discribe as an ice cream headache from hell that went from the top of my head, down my left side to the small of my back…coupled with a toothache and some electrical shocks, I indicated why not?

    The ‘practitioner’ also used massage and heat, and I was surprised to find that the pain was actually reduced. Not completely gone, but bearable enough so that I could sleep.

    Doctrinal diffrences, though…he was talking about ‘chakra’ this, ‘chi’ that, congealing blood in this location’ the next which I regard as utter horse shit, but I said nothing. I indicated that I played the harp in a locked dementia ward and that the staff said they figured that I was about the same as three hours of medication. He said he’d read the “healing harps” literature, but thought it was all crap. No way anything like that could work. If I hadn’t hurt so much I’d have laughed at the absurdity.

    A friend who visited me and brought me back home said that several of the guys on the ward had observed that treatment (for some reason he hadn’t pulled the curtain), and when the guy started with the massage they said to themselves that they, too, would inquire about it.

    Then, when they saw the thing with the needles, the changed their minds. I guess I looked like a porcupine.

    Feel better soon, for all our sakes.

  6. Sarge: I’m working on feeling better.

    When I was down in New York City after 9/11, my knee swelled up to the size of a cantelope (from walking on the concrete for 16 hours a day) and I was ready to be demobed. My SECM suggested I try the free accupuncturist and, despite my severe skepticism for anything smacking even slightly of woo, I tried it.

    The accupuncurist was actually a student. I asked her how it works. She said, “Honestly, I don’t know.” She told me about ‘pain meridians’ and admitted that there is no physical structure. Additionally, different accupuncturists use different pressure points. All she knew was that, for more than half of her patients, it helped the symptoms. What the hell, stick me.

    It worked. I came back for treatment every two days and was able to finish my three weeks. And different accupuncturists used different points and they all worked. My swelling went down, the pain diminished, and, if that’s what it takes for me to self-hypnotize, I’m game.

    Now if I could just get something done about the torn muscled in my back (from coughing). Just pain pills and muscle relaxants for that.

  7. I will include you in my prayers. God will heal you.

  8. What the hell are you doing out of bed, reading this?! Go bundle up and drink hot-toddies.

  9. Matthew: Thanks.

    Postie: Sitting up is actually (sometimes (but not always)) more comfortable for my chest than lying down (though lying on my side seems to work pretty well) and standing is really comfortable but I’m to tired to stand so I end up sitting and when that gets too tough I just go back to bed which is what I’m doing now.

    • And thank you for not throwing my prayers for your health and your soul back at me. Openmindedness is nice. For a change.

  10. I get a flu shot every year.This year the Dr. tells me I will get two,reg and swine.He says do it,I do it.Also being north of the 49th there’s no charge.

  11. FYI re. the efficacy of acupuncture for pain relief: BMJ published a meta-analysis this past January that basically supports the hypothesis that acupuncture functions as a placebo.

    M. V. Madsen, P. C Gotzsche, A. Hrobjartsson (2009). Acupuncture treatment for pain: systematic review of randomised clinical trials with acupuncture, placebo acupuncture, and no acupuncture groups BMJ, 338 (jan27 2) DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a3115

    (It always bears repeating that the plural of anecdote is not data.)

    In any event, hope you’re feeling better soon.

  12. Dax: But, but, but, Canada has non-Insurance company death panels, right? Seriously, I envy the rest of the industrialized world.

    Ildi: The weird thing is, for a placebo to work, the patient needs to believe in the effcacy of the treatment — I came into it with a great deal of doubt. Not going to complain because, though probably a placebo, my symptoms were alleviated (didn’t do squat for the ripped MCL, but helped the pain and swelling).

  13. The “Placebo Effect” is not to be dispised.

    In Viet Nam in event of a terrible injury that the usual pain killers that the medics gave you didn’t work there was a further treatment.

    My youngest, who I told about this, told me that this medication was still used.

    He is a navy medic and served as a field medic with the marines in Falujah, and he and others (whose father’s had mentioned it, or heard it from “old timers”) also managed to obtain this miracle of science, and actually used it.

    An injured person is not responding to pain treatment, begs for something more. Medic considers, tells injured man that he does, in fact, have such a medication that is very powerful, not to be discussed, and he can only use it in extreme situations or he (the medic) might get into trouble as this is a highly controlled thing. This is an “accountable” item and if it’s used there better be a damn good reason.

    Patient begs, medic tells him OK, warns that this is one pill, it is very bitter, but he’ll have to get it down, so swallow fast. The patient will probably have a very bitter aftertaste. OK, get it down… and so it goes.

    And it works. I’ve seen it done in Viet Nam (laying in triage, I saw it and was let in on the secret) and both my son and an army medic I know tell me that the more bitter the person being treated seems to find it, the more effective the treatment. They said it works for Americans and non-Americans as well.

    This “wonder drug” is an M & M.

  14. I hope you are recovering quickly. And have good drugs, and lots of whiskey for the hot totties.

  15. I deal with chronic pain as it is, and a doctor, not all that long ago, told me that pain was “subjective”, and “notional”, was not actually quantifiable, and so was on of interest to him. It was “anecdotal” and that was it.

    When I was leaving, my cane swung and hit his knee. As the tip is “loaded” with between six and eight ounces of lead (more denizens than residents where I live, so one requires a bit of an edge. Comes in handy)so there was a satisfying “Thwock”.

    Strangely, he was distressed! was quite annoyed that I didn’t appreciate his pain, which bare minutes before he’s discribed as something that wasn’t worthy of real notice. My lack of sympathy seemed to inply a purposeful act.

    It was, in fact, an accident, the cane had swung on my arm, was not in my hand. If I HAD done it on purpose it would have been with some force and aimed right at his fork.

    Odd thing: his pain was “real” and “severe”, mine was “subjective” and “notional”.

  16. Sarge’s story about the M&Ms reminded me of an incident from my long-ago youth. In the early ’70s an entrepreneurial acquaintance made a ton of money selling a white powder that he put into gelatin capsules and referred to as “white lightning” when he sold them on the street. He had a lot of repeat business from people who swore it was the best acid they’d ever dropped. The white powder? Carnation powdered milk. The power of suggestion is a wonderful thing.

  17. I hope you’re feeling better!

    I was going to post this on your last post, but the comments section scared me away! We just got two new pets from the SPCA. While Peeve would have been a great name, we now have 4 cats named Clio, Calliope, Maia and Smokey (two Greek Muses, one Pleiad, and…um…Smokey)

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