Monthly Archives: April 2016

Get Rid of Old, Unused Drugs

As it says in my “About” page, I do drugs and get paid for it.  Drug safety that is.  As a general rule, I don’t write about it though.  Today is an exception.  Consider this a public service announcement.

In 2008, I had some minor surgery where I was given 60 — SIXTY — Oxycontin tablets for pain.  I didn’t need very many at all because I am tough.  Also because I don’t need to add drug addiction to the list of problems with this ‘temple’ of mine.  Plus I really don’t like that out of control feeling I get from serious painkillers.

Still, I ended up with about 55 highly addictive painkillers in a home where my the-15 year old son lived.  Jacob is a good kid, but hell, why tempt fate?  Ultimately, I managed to get rid of them safely and securely.  But not everybody is so lucky.  In some places, prescription drugs are what thieves look for when they burglarize homes.

As I said, while I don’t normally mix work with the blogging (except when I’m goofing off), I think this is something everybody should know about:

Ditch your unused drugs Saturday, April 30.

Tomorrow (April 30) is Drug Take-Back Day, the annual nationwide push to stop people from trashing or flushing their unused medications. The DEA has set up hundreds of drop-off centers all across the country to orchestrate safe disposal of drugs. That’s no small feat — in the past decade, the DEA says it has collected more than 5.5 million pounds of unused pills. It’s a continual concern, since drugs at home can cause accidental poisonings, and drugs in landfills can pollute water supplies. [From my Daily STAT Morning Rounds newsletter]

To find a location near you (sorry, it’s US only) click on this link and enter your zip code.

***

This song has nothing to do with drug disposal, but it’s a great song.

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The Birthday Boy

I’ve been explaining to Duncan for weeks, that starting today, April 27, 2016, he is a grownup dog.  That means no more stealing shoes (always mine), no more stealing socks (usually Jacobs and always dirty), and no more poop eating.

Because today is Duncan’s 2nd Birthday.

Oh GROW UPPPPPPPP, Duncan!

The Sock Monster

Duncan in Jacob’s Man Cave

So far today, he stole my boot, lunged for a pile of horse poop — Mom was too fast for you today! — and stole a clean sock from the basket as I took a load of laundry out of the dryer.  Dogs are gross.

Perhaps I should speak to him in French?

 

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Earth Day/Birthday Redux

You may have seen this before, but I tried to write something new about my sister Judy.  And, well, this piece really just sums up who she was better than anything I’ve come up with since.

She’s been gone now for 16 years.  Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t wanted to talk with her, laugh with her, or, alternatively because she was my sister, smack her.  There really isn’t a relationship like you have with a sister.  Even long after they are gone.

*****

Today, April 22, is Earth Day!  It’s the  Anniversary of the very first Earth Day.  Here  is Walter Cronkite’s report on the first Earth Day, 1970:

It would also be my late sister Judy’s 64th birthday.

Whoever made the decision to turn Judy’s birthday into Earth Day chose wisely.  Judy was a born environmentalist and recycler.

On the first Earth Day, Judy was a new, very young mother who believed in saving the planet.  She was the first “environmentalist” I ever knew personally, and well, I thought she was nuts.  There was a recycling bin in her kitchen for as long as I can remember.  And this was back when recycling took effort.  She believed in gardens, not garbage, and she made life bloom wherever she was.

I’ve got kids,” she’d say.  “It’s their planet too!”  

But years later, Judy took recycling to a whole different level when she helped people recycle themselves.  In the 1990s, Jude, who was then living in Florida, began working with the Homeless, assisting at shelters.   Then she actively began trying to help homeless vets food, shelter and work — to enable them to jumpstart their lives.

When she died in early 2000, the American Legion awarded her honorary membership for her services to homeless vets.  A homeless shelter was named in her  honor.  So she’s still doing good works, my sister is.  That would make her wildly happy.

Jude also gave me the Beatles.  So it is very appropriate that they wrote a song for her.

You see, the night the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, it was MY turn to choose what we were going to watch.  And we were going to watch the second part of The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh starring Patrick McGoohan on the Wonderful Wide World of Disney.  My four (all older and MUCH cooler) siblings were furious with me.  But I was quite insistent.  You might even say that I threw a Class I temper tantrum over it, but I wouldn’t admit to that.  But hey, I was seven.  And it was my turn to choose.  Fair is fair, especially in a big family with only one TV.

Somehow, Judy talked me out of my turn.  She was always very persuasive.  Thanks Jude.

Hey Jude, Happy Earth Day-Birthday.

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Unusually quiet

You may have noticed that I’ve been unusually quiet about politics lately.

Ever since Donald Trump stopped being funny, well, my heart hasn’t been in it.

I will tell you that I miss candidate Barack Obama.  He inspired me, beginning before he was a candidate — when he made his 2004 speech to the 2004 Democratic Convention, I turned to John and said “Can we have him?”  In 2006, John and I spent our 20th wedding anniversary listening to the future president speak.  And in 2008 and 2012, we both worked for Obama’s election and re-election.

Hillary?  Bernie?  Eh.

In February I wrote that I’d decided to vote for Hillary:

Philosophically, I’m really in Bernie’s camp.  I’d love government-sponsored healthcare.  I’d love to make college free.  I would love to erase income inequality.

But I’m a pragmatist.

Even if Bernie could get elected (and I don’t agree with pundits that claim he can’t), well, I spent 10 years watching the sausage mill that is our government.  And I simply don’t think Bernie can do it.

Hillary Clinton has my vote because I think she will be a good president.  Because she’s smart and capable.  Because she knows the system inside, outside and upside and downside.

I didn’t know at the time that I would ever be quoting myself.

But this morning, courtesy of the Daily Kos, I found someone much funnier than I agreed with me.

John Hodgman.

You probably remember Hodgman from the Daily Show — the straight man.  Monday, in advance of the New York Primary,  he came out for Hillary for precisely the reasons I decided to support her.  He is much funnier, though.

I think her ambition is, and has long been, to be the President of the United States, like everyone else in the race, and also to make policy.

I think it’s reasonable to say based on her career that she likes making policy.

Moreover, I think she wants to make the best policy possible in an antagonistic-by-design political process that she has known and wrestled with for decades, and keep that policy in place.

Moreover, I think she wants to make policy that I largely agree with.

And I think she can do it.

Moreover, I think she can beat Trump.

At least I hope so.  New Zealand is so far away.

Hillary Aliens landing

Besides.  She has the aliens on her side.  Photo spotted at Daily Kos.  But my feet were on the ground.  Or actually on the coffee table, if you must know.

 

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Hey Doc? Your Education is Lacking

It used to be I was afraid of the future because of the GOP and the Pandora’s Box of hornets/hate they’ve unleashed.  But then I realized that there are, perhaps, other signs that the world has gone to hell in a handbasket.  Read on, and try to tell me I’m wrong.

***

Seven intelligent faces looked at me, blankly, their heads all tilted at a quizzical angle as if on strings.

Eagle3

Just because I’m saying “Who?” doesn’t make me an owl, ya know (Google image, natch)

 

They ranged in age from mid-40s to early and mid-20s.

At least I hoped they were intelligent faces.  Because they belonged to a team of seven doctors treating me during my recent (thankfully brief) hospital stay for Crohn’s.

I always draw a crowd.

But it wasn’t long before I questioned the intelligence of this group of gastroenterologists and medical students holding their noses and getting  through this rotation.  Because they seemed to have missed a major part of their education.

“Michael*” — the leader of the pack, put his stethoscope to my belly and listened.

“Not much noise there, Elyse.”  He let the others have a listen.

“You guys haven’t let me eat in days,” I said.  And then, as a person with a gut so noisy that it has a name (Ralph), I continued.  “I always feel like Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen!  You know, the scene where his stomach is gurgling?”

 

“Humphrey who?” one of them said.  The others nodded their heads in agreement.

“Bogart,” I said, with my eyes getting bigger as I realized that all seven of the people around me were tilting their heads at me in confusion.  None of them had a clue who Bogie was.

“I think I’ve heard of him,” one of the medical students ventured.  She didn’t look terribly certain, though.  “Wasn’t he in all of those musicals?”

Something is very wrong in the world.

 

*And when did doctors start going by their first names??  Did I miss something?

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Ancient Shit

It seems that while there is nothing new under the sun, there’s a lot of new stuff in bogs.  New-ish stuff.  New-to-me-and-you stuff.

Sometimes it’s just horse shit.

But sometimes it’s special.  Special horse shit.  That, apparently, is a thing.

You see, some folks dug up some old shit and decided they know who put it there.

Hannibal!

In a study published Monday in the journal Archaeometry, researchers argue that new evidence in the form of some very old poop might hold the key to solving this mystery once and for all.

Yup!  Using ancient horse shit, scientists are pretty sure they’ve figured out Hannibal’s route over the Alps.

They say that microbial evidence suggests a “mass animal deposition” (a.k.a. poop) occurred in the Col de Traversette pass in 218 B.C. — just when Hannibal was making his journey to Rome. By digging around in a peaty bog along the pass, the researchers found what they think are microbes usually associated with horse manure.

“Over 70% of the microbes in horse dung are from a group known as Clostridia and we found these microbes in very high numbers in the bed of excrement,” study author  of Queens University wrote in an article for the Conversation.

Hannibal and poop

I’m afraid I don’t know these guys personally, But Fox News tells me they are from Queens University in Belfast.  And who am I to doubt Fox?  This may be a FoxNews photo, too.  But I got it from Google.  I love you Google.  Fox?  Not so much.  I do love the Alps, though.  Does that help?

Now, you might ask, where are those legendary elephants?  I don’t know.

Here’s what they say:

Horses trudging through the Alps are suspicious, but solid evidence of elephants in their company might close this case for good. Until then, Allen and his colleagues will have to keep probing the poop and surrounding areas for more clues.

There are also reports of horsey tape worms.  But I do believe that that is a subject for another fake medical expert’s blog.  It’s bad enough that I did two poop posts in a row.  This is becoming a pattern.

Oh, and I personally have experience with horse poop of the European variety.  See:  https://fiftyfourandahalf.com/2012/05/24/me-and-julie/

Sometimes, a woman just has to accept her fate.  Shitty though it may be.

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I Really Don’t Look for this Shit

Yeah, I know you don’t believe me. But I don’t go looking for this shit.  Really.

It’s just that, well, I spend a lot of time reading the news.  Because after all, you depend on me to let you know which way is up.  Or which way is down.  Or maybe just getting flush with it.

Because you see, a new museum has opened up, and we all need to get our asses over there.  — Mark, are you paying attention????

National Poo Museum opens doors on Isle of Wight

Just in time for you to plan your summer vacation! Can you imagine a better reward for your children, who suffered through the British Museum, the Tower of London and Madam Tussaud’s,  than the prize at the end of the tunnel than the National Poo Mueum?  The National Poo Museum, you will not be surprised to learn, is a museum dedicated to excrement, with examples from the animal and human world.

And it’s just opened up!

There are 20 kinds of poo captured in resin — who needs to bury or flush?

Poo Museum 1BBC Photo.  Because who else would claim this picture?

Because I couldn’t possibly make this up, I will just let you know exactly what they are producing at this museum:

The exhibition at the Isle of Wight Zoo features faeces from animals such as elks and lions as well as a human baby.

The National Poo Museum has been created by members of the artist collective Eccleston George.

“Poo is all around us and inside us, but we ignore it,” said co-curator Daniel Roberts.

Twenty illuminated resin spheres show off the different types of faeces with facts hidden behind toilet lids on the museum walls.

Poo Museum 2

They have handsome men offering fun activities.  Look!  Weigh your poo!  (But I promise you, this is a contest I would win.)

There is old poo and new poo.  Dino poo.  Seriously, if you have ever dreamed of dinosaur poo, this is your golden opportunity to see it.  Well, it’s probably more like black gold (Texas tea).

And I truly believe that what they say about poop is true:

“Small children naturally delight in it but later we learn to avoid this yucky, disease-carrying stuff, and that even talking about poo is bad,” he said.

“But for most of us, under the layers of disgust and taboo, we’re still fascinated by it.”

This is why I blog.

 

 

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