Saturday, March 22, 2014

3 years ago today: Subanesthetic Ketamine Infusion #2

originally published 3/22/2011 -- republished to honor fred

I'm pretty blue, pretty exhausted.  Can't think of a reason why yesterday's treatment should be behind either of those states, but heck... who knows?

They upped the dose to 90 mg and infused it in about 2.5 hours.  It was not pleasant but I apparently did a good job hiding that from Fred.  The nurse somehow knew I wasn't having the time of my life, and gave me a pep talk at discharge about how finding the right dose takes time and then several treatments at that dose, or higher.  Monique, her name was Monique.

Without saying much, she said a lot.  Like how this may be pissing into the wind because I am starting so long after onset.  Nine years.  Nine years.  Nine years of this.

She wouldn't use the port (that's right -- after all we went through to get it in before the second infusion -- the doctor having said he would refuse to treat me if I showed up without one...) because it was so new, the site very... raw.  It's swollen, bruised, and just not healed at the "edges."  I could see Fred eating his outrage before bending to his book.

Instead of sitting by my side, he sat in the wheelchair at the foot of the guerny, so as to stay out of the way of the nurse and tech, who do vital signs frequently -- like every 15 minutes.  He was beautiful to behold, at least in my tripping mind -- standing out against the bleak fluorescence of the hallway, a silhouette I've come to love, a faithfulness I surely do not merit.

I remember crying. My legs spasming, relentless.  The i.v. tubing, the blood pressure cuff, the oxygen monitor --each thing assumed terrible proportions just by tapping against my skin, each tap scathingly painful. I remember thinking that so long as I didn't open my eyes, I'd be fine.  That's probably why Fred thought all was well, thought I was sleeping through it.  Not so.  Not even close.

I asked for my purse there toward the end.  I had wanted to take a clip of the statue in front of the hospital.  Instead, while completely out of my mind on ketamine, I took a video of the ceiling in my cubicle, the curtains surrounding my cubicle, the empty hall near my cubicle, and...

...the most comforting of comforts, perched in the wheelchair there at the end of everything, my sentinel, my guard -- the best argument, the best reason I know for opening the eyes...

Next week, an even higher dose.  Then, the following Monday, an assessment and decisions.

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"I have saved all my ribbons for thee...."

from My Morning Cup...Refilled

Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

Like a baby, stillborn,
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"

Oh like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.

"waiting on an angel..."

okay, first of all, i am not fine.  this is perhaps the most pain, and the longest run of spasms/dystonia/cramps/body-jerking-without-benefit-of-work-out-by-love-making i've experienced since the onset of crps, back in may of aught-2.  put a loaded gun within reach and i'd not hesitate to eat the barrel, pull the trigger.

i know, drugs are my best bet.  i already tried that.  not for killing, just for a TKO.  the pain and the spasms/dystonia/cramps/body-jerking-without-benefit-of-work-out-by-love-making broke through, leaving me prone to falling and dropping pills in the bed, on the floor, terrifying me for fear that the animals might eat them.  so i've asked fred to vacuum.  and make coffee with loads of milk.  my stomach is bleeding.

days of mail to read, and i am afraid to read them.  but i looked at the first email in line, it was from the aforementioned fred and consisted of this:

he found a website, a blog, something on the web in the form of a britney with the acronym AFPE, standing for anti-feminist, pro-equality.  standing in front of me and mine tears, he raised britney to the status of that saint / whore mary, a woman of good sense and finely honed hatred of her extremist sisterhood.  oh, the holes in fred's head.

last saturday, i did beaucoup baking and, in that exquisite process, burned the heck out of the side of my index finger on my left hand.  it hurt like holy hell, then stopped.  started up yesterday, and is now turning rapidly from blisters to ulcers.  what kind of burn takes a week to do its ugly business?

oh, for a hole in my head.

so britney's blog is HERE.  i don't much appreciate it, but, as i said, it fills a niche, and one of those niches is fred's antipathy for the extremist militant lesbian feminist existentialists, the alpha-wimmin at his sunday morning go-to-meeting place.

he just brought me coffee with loads of milk.  my stomach is bleeding again.  i forgot to post my POLST paperwork to this damned hospital bed, forgot, too, to put a cheerful DNR sign.  that last bit was a lie.  i think fred might flip out from looking at it.  also, if you ask me to verbally acknowledge the DNR order, my brain makes my mouth say "NPR." i imagine that might cause some confusion.  i'm a fundraiser for "all things considered," unto the end of my days.

i need money.  my relatives in lincolnton are bilking my bio-mother for big bucks every week, and i want, sometimes, to add them to the extra-judicial execution list, but don't.  i need money badly, but hell if i am going to wade through the ari genetic cesspool to take a sick old woman's money.  she needs it more than i do... but the overarching principle is that it is HERS.  they all assume that my stock-market-whiz of a father left me some imaginary fat sum.  he left me nothing, which was the absolutely right thing to do.

i have wasted a life, and every day i remain alive is more waste of air, food, and internet space and time.

don't believe in angels, but decided i do have one.  i loved him with every bit of my heart, soul, body, and mind, when i was between 19 and 24.  my family never met him, and the friends i shared him with are scattered in true randomness.  like my father, his name was bill.  he was beautiful and joyous. i lost him my first year in grad school, told no one.  burned his pictures.  then asked his mom to send me one of him, healthy and happy, and she sent me the beautiful boy framed by sparkling blue waters and a pier.  it was the summer, she said, and he kept up his snow-skiing skills by water skiing bare foot. tan, with drops of water on his face and chest, a wry smile, wet hair still obstinately curly.

i decided to just take my bill h. koptis as my angel, as i have so often dragged him into my sleep, a last measure against pain and being alone, his body a perfect fit to mine.  singing in my ear.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Question with boldness..."

The perils of religious correctness, The Economist

When you just can't argue any longer...
When your assertion that the "founding fathers" might well approve of independent thought and -- gasp -- the notion of change meets with eye-crossing intolerance...

Enjoy this compendium of "founding fathers" sage advice and observations, posted over at Daily KOS by Tolerant Libertarian:

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)
"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)
“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
- Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1758)
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776)
Note: You can read Paine's whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
- Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
"Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
- James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
- George Washington, address to Congress (1790)
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
- James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nuevo Rostro

"Portement de Croix," Francesco Laurana, 1458?
michelangelo, pieta detail


La noche borra noches en tu rostro,
derrama aceites en tus secos párpados,
quema en tu frente el pensamiento
y atrás del pensamiento la memoria.

Entre las sombras que te anegan
otro rostro amanece.
Y siento que a mi lado
no eres tú la que duerme,
sino la niña aquella que fuiste
y que esperaba sólo que durmieras
para volver y conocerme.


 Terry Goldstein, Pain

Frida Kahlo

Monday, March 17, 2014

McConnelling: The Current Top Four

Viral Video Turns Senator Into a Silent Comedy Star

WASHINGTON — When Senator Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign released two-and-a-half minutes of video footage featuring him wordlessly smiling, it was most likely hoping to provide a friendly “super PAC’ with high-quality images of Mr. McConnell to use in ads. 
Instead, the campaign got a viral video sensation that exploded on the Internet last week, and even spawned its own term — “McConnelling.” 
The phenomenon started on Tuesday when the campaign put out a web video filled with genial images of Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader: Mr. McConnell smiling at the camera; Mr. McConnell smiling at his wife; Mr. McConnell walking with voters and, of course, smiling. 
Because campaigns are legally prohibited from coordinating with super PACs, they are increasingly publishing what is known as B-roll footage of their candidates, which is available for public consumption, including for use by friendly outside groups. But in the age of memes and GIFs and viral videos, the McConnell web ad proved to be yet another cautionary or quirky tale (depending on one’s perspective) of what can happen when the online world decides to subvert even the most carefully crafted of messages. 
Mr. McConnell is perhaps known as much for his dour and jowly appearance as for his political acumen — one campaign ad recently compared his visage to that of a turtle — and the Internet rallied to make him an online star. Videos that edited his smiling face into famous sitcoms from the 1980s and 1990s began popping up, with Mr. McConnell making cameos in the opening credits of everything from “The Cosby Show” to “Full House” to “Who’s the Boss?” (In “Full House,” the credits helpfully explain that Mr. McConnell will be appearing as “Uncle Mitchy.”) 
“The video may have become the laughingstock of the Internet, but it does do an adequate job of highlighting why so few Kentuckians have any personal affinity toward McConnell,” said Matt Canter, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “His awkwardness and out-of-touch demeanor comes shining through.” [Read the rest of the story HERE]