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The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

[ Website | Edifice Rex Online ]
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My tweets [May. 18th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [May. 16th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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Ode to Pain or, Back to Agony [May. 11th, 2019|07:22 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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The "Joys" of Arthritis

My mother's right hand, photographed in April 2019.

It seemed a standard thrown out back, if a little long in the healing. But still, eight days in, Young Geoffrey felt well enough on Sunday afternoon to engage in gardening. Gently, carefully, bending only from a seated pose upon a stoop, he nevertheless pulled weeds, dug earth, planted bulbs.

And felt ... optimistic, as to bed he went on Sunday night, more flexible than he had been for eight full days.

Young Geoffrey awoke up on Monday morning early, bladder bursting, back more stiff and sore than it had been since the first day of his attack, now nine days prior. Five minutes he strove (ten, if his sweetie has the better timer) to exit his bed and — grunting painfully with every step — make his way to the toilet to void his bladder.

The pain was now not only in his back, but lanced like permanent lightning, from base of spine to right buttock, then along the back of his thigh to the knee. Agony beyond any he had known before ...

* * *

Ahem. Enough of poetry and rhythm.

Raven said we We're going to the ER, and I didn't argue for a moment. I've had back pain before, I've torn my hamstring, I've broken a leg (yes, I've had my right orbital bone shattered, too, but that didn't actually hurt much at all), but I've never felt such agony, at least none that lasted.

Raven called a cab, and I managed to make my way out to it unaided. Made the mistake of sitting in the back seat, no way to recline or ease the jolts from Ottawa's austerity-riddled roads.

By the time we reached the hospital, I let five month pregnant Raven heft the over-night bag I'd packed in case ER refused to let me go home that night.

Thank god, and as I'd hoped, the 8:00 AM Monday Emergency waiting room was sparsely populated. We waited no more than a couple of hours before we found ourselves assigned an examination room. Thank god it was a short wait for the ER doctor to appear, because my pain only got worse and worse.

He checked me out, tested me (lying on my back on the table) for strength in foot and leg and determined that, I had sciatica, a nerve problem in my right leg. But when I tried to turn and sit up, I ended up on my knees on the floor. I needed the MD's help, and Raven's, to get back up onto the table.

He told me I'd be getting a shot for immediate pain relief, and wrote out a prescription for a Naproxen/muscle relaxant combination (Vimovo 500&20MG, according to the label), and for not 5, not 10, but 15 god-damned 1 mg doses of hydromorphone, a full-blown narcotic. Yes, serious pain relief.

Meanwhile, before the initial shot took hold, I really had to pee. I mean, I really had to pee. I managed to get to my feet on my own, but the pain was so severe I couldn't take a step, and finally a saintly orderly found a pee-bottle and Raven held it for me so that I wouldn't piss my pants. First time for that indignity, but I guess it won't be my last. #GettingOldSucks

* * *

Anyway, to make a long story short, when the shot finally kicked in, I exited the room and soon enough the ER doctor (a youngish, middle-Eastern, or East-Indian looking man who was super sweet, he shook our hands three different times) sent us off with my prescriptions, and we limped towards a cab and home. Grabbed some breakfast, then Raven (who had called in to work and used one of her Family Days) went down to our local pharmacy (one of whose owners was on my soccer team this winter, strictly by the by) and filled the prescription.

When she came home, I gobbled my pills and limped up to my office. They hit hard, they hit fast and the rest of Monday was a blur.

Tuesday, I took two more doses (as prescribed), worked on the exercises the ER MDeity provided, and Wednesday, I only had one of the Naproxen/muscle relaxant combos, along with more reps of the exercises.

Thursday, though (as I had Wednesday) I awoke with a viscious "hangover" from one of the drugs, I felt well enough that I cycled close to 8 kilometres to my family doctor's office, for an unrelated appointment, sans any medication at all.

Friday, same. No drugs, no pain. Knocking the proverbial wood as I type this on Sunday, it's over.

And if I take any lesson from the whole ordeal (other than that I need to strengthen my core), it is this. I remember a close friend who has also had back problems, telling me that he had to take to the streets to find pain relief. No Emergency room would dose him. But I imagine that when he visited an emergency room, he was alone. Me? I was well-dressed, and accompanied not just by my doting wife, but by my pregnant doting wife.

Would I have received the scrip for fucking narcotics without her prescense? No way to know for sure, of course, but I have my doubts.

And that's the story. If you're ever in need of serious pain relief again, dress well and, if you can, bring a respectable-looking woman with you.

This entry was originally posted at https://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/297360.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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My tweets [May. 4th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [Apr. 28th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Sun, 11:40: RT @MattBors: Getting out of twitter jail this morning. I got banned for “celebrating violence” by commenting on this meme I was sent where…
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My tweets [Apr. 25th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [Apr. 22nd, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [Apr. 21st, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Sat, 16:49: RT @ggreenwald: Now this is a massive story that has enduring consequences for the US & deserves far more attention: both parties pushing f…
  • Sat, 16:53: RT @JenAshleyWright: Here is a heartwarming video where Elmo meets the dude who murdered his father for stealing his prostitute and his sis…
  • Sat, 16:54: RT @JenAshleyWright: Are you referring to the Soviet "night witches", the female aviators who dropped 3,000 tons of bombs on Nazis? Or the…
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LJ 20th anniversary - and more than 15 years since I hopped aboard [Apr. 20th, 2019|08:43 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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Sweet Jesus, has it really been 20 years 15 and a half years since I signed on to this strange and terrible (and wonderful) site? I guess it has ...

You can get your own card here!

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My tweets [Apr. 20th, 2019|12:00 pm]
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My tweets [Apr. 19th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [Apr. 18th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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My tweets [Apr. 17th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Wed, 00:46: RT @WorksWithWords: Today I will be carefully collating a full list of everyone who has never seen an episode of Game Of Thrones. It is vit…
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My tweets [Apr. 16th, 2019|12:00 pm]
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My tweets [Apr. 15th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Sun, 17:47: RT @schemaly: What hostile sexism looks like: Dr. Katie Bouman’s reputation is being battered across multiple platforms. Her Wikipedia prof…
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The Other Side of Privilege [Apr. 14th, 2019|10:16 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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Not white privilege, but marital privilege or,


I picked up a Naloxone kit today. You can too, if you live in Ontario, for the price of about 15 minutes of training. People are literally dying on the streets. I think it's worth doing.

Last time I talked about privilege it was as a social phenomenon, the unwarranted credit I expect to get for being a hands-on (in a good sense) father. But there are other kinds of privilege (such as my white skin), and also economic privilege — of which I have not had much in my life, but some of which I am enjoying now, though to through little effort of my own.

Raven has found a position in the federal civil service, and as her (ahem) husband, I am reaping the benefits. Not just because she makes nearly twice my salary, but because — especially because! — I get to share in her "benefits" — those sometimes vital supplements to Canada's far-from perfect public health system.

In 2017 and 2018, I spent literally 10 percent of annual income on my health. Mostly dental work, but also drugs (medically necessary drugs, you cynical bastards!). This year, towards the end of July, Raven's benefits kicked in and suddenly I was paying for only 20% of my medication costs, and getting similarly discounted dental care. (Pity the dental bills were so much smaller this year! Well, not really, but you know what I mean.)

Anyway, the kicker came back in early January, when I had my biannual visit to my arthritis doctor. If you've forgotten, I am blessed with a case of psoriasis, for which I've been getting treated for the past 20 years or more. (By god but time flies. But I digress.)

At least, my symptoms have been getting treatment. Various ointments for the scaly skin over the years, with an increasing dosage of pain-killers (acetaminophen in recent years) to deal with something I didn't even know was a thing until five or six years ago: psoriatic arthritis! It seems that psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder that doesn't just attack one's skin, but can also go after one's joints (not to mention eyes, which thank god has not been a problem for me yet!).

Anyway, my doctor has been asking me at each visit whether I had private medical insurance. And for the first time, I was able to answer the question with an optimistic "Yes."

And so he introduced me to something called Otezla, a medication that costs thirteen thousand dollars a year. Yes, $13,000.00 per year, not $1,300.00.

You can imagine how my initial excitement at the prospect of a more effective medication quickly soured, when I calculated 20% of $13,000. Two thousand six hundred dollars per year would require some serious thinking, especially since there's a baby on the way.

But wait! quoth my doctor. What's your annual household income? I guessed it at around $85K and he said, "I'm pretty sure you'll qualify for a subsidy. Why don't I give your information to the company? They should call you within a couple of days."

Naturally, I said yes, and so it came to pass. A very friendly woman called me no more than three or four business days later, asked me a handful of questions, then told me that, yes, I qualified. They would send me a month's supply by courier, Raven's insurance paying for 80%, the drug company covering the rest. Young Geoffrey? Nada, nothing, zip, zilch.

And so far, now about three months into the experiment, it seems to be helping. A lot. My skin looks considerably better and my pains are so greatly reduced that I think I've taken only one pain-killer in the past ten days.

All of which is great for me, of course, but it sure as hell begs some questions.

  • Such as: Just what kind of profit margin does the drug company make on this medication? Presumably it's still making a profit on my prescription, despite the subsidy.

  • Such as: And how much (if any) public money went into the research and development of this drug?

  • And such as: Why are so many Canadians denied dental care, eye care and life-changing and -saving drugs in a wealthy nation that likes to brag about its "universal" public medical care?

  • And (lest we we forget): How is it possible that a country as poor as Cuba keeps its citizens at least as healthy as Canada's?

Of course, I am happy as hell with my privileged position here, but it only makes the fundamental injustice all the more clear.

I can't help but be reminded that an empoverished country like Cuba has a longer life-expectancy than the United States, and one comparable to Canada's. When comes the damned revolution, anyway?

This entry was originally posted at https://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/297062.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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The Trouble With (an) Old Space Opera [Apr. 14th, 2019|07:58 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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I don't remember for sure when I first realized that stories were written by actual people, by writers. Probably, it was a gradual process that led to my understanding that stories didn't just exist, like lakes or forests or mountains, but that they were made.

I do remember when I realized that television shows were also written by actual people. That came about when I found a paperback book, one that featured a colour photo of William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, wearing a harassed expression while up to his shoulders in tiny furry animals that us cognoscenti knew as tribbles.

That paperback carried the name of my favourite episode of Star Trek: The Trouble With Tribbles. The author was called David Gerrold, and the book was a memoir of sorts, the story of how Gerrold came to write the episode and what he learned during its production.

At the time — I'm going to guess it was 1974 or 1975, which would have made me nine or ten years old — I thought it was both a bravely honest and an insightful book, and it's been so long since then that I won't argue with my younger self. Certainly it was interesting enough the I happily found the wherewithal to purchase his follow-up, The World of Star Trek, and both books have a warm, if by now pretty vague place in my long-term memory.

What strikes me as strange, is that — though I read a few of his short stories because they were in an anthology or magazine I'd purchased anyway — I never sought out any of Gerrold's fiction. Considering that "The Trouble with Tribbles" still holds up as good television writing, and that it was an episode I'd loved as a kid, I can't really explain why I didn't, unless it was a bit of subconscious snobbery that saw television as a lesser order of literature than prose.

(If so, maybe I was actually displaying pretty good critical judgement; even the best television drama of those days — and well into the 21st century — was simply too formulaic to rival the best of literature. But I digress.)

In any case, a chance finding of an almost 40-year paperback has finally seen me sample Gerrold's fiction, a novel that nevertheless had its initial origin as a rejected proposal for an episode of Star Trek, a novel first published in 1972, then revised for a second lease on life in 1980.

And what an oddly dated novel it is.

I am sick of reviews that are almost entirely synopses, so I won't be providing you with one here. Suffice it to say that Yesterday's Children (now titled Star Hunt) is set in a far future remarkably similar to the Trek universe. Earth is the centre of a interstellar federation of sorts, called the United Systems. The US is involved in a long-running war that, if it is not losing, is certainly taking its toll, including maintaining as operational starships which are overdue for decommissioning.

Enter the USS Roger Burlingame, a decrepit warship with a demoralized, poorly-trained crew and a captain who spends most of his time in his cabin, leaving the day-to-day operations to First Officer Jon Korrie, an ambitious man who longs for combat and the glory of a successful kill.

An enemy ship is spotted, the Roger Burlingame gives chase and the game is on.

Yesterday's Children is a tightly-plotted story: a cat-and-mouse piece of military SF and a psychological mystery, as it gradually becomes clear that the enemy being chased might, or might not, be real. Until the very end, Gerrold keeps the reader wondering whether they are reading a straight-forward war story or a riff on The Caine Mutiny.

And on both those levels, it is a story pretty well-told.

But I said it is also a very dated novel, and it is. In the first place, the narrative voice and the psychological aspects echo not the 1970s, when the novel was written, but the 1940s and 1950s. With the elision of the very occasional "fuck", it would not have seemed out-of-place as a serial published in John W. Campbell's Astounding.

Jon Korrie is, or believes he is, a mentally superior human, an adept of something called psychonometrics, a hand-wavium which permits him to manipulate his crew (or to believe he is manipulating his crew) with cold calculations that can be brutal. Suffice it to say that I found psychonometrics about as plausible as Asimov's psychohistory: a conceit I could accept for the sake of the story, but not one I could believe was actually possible.

What is even more dated about Yesterday's Children (and something that I suspect would make it simply unreadable for a lot of readers under, say, 35) is that it includes not a single female character.

Granted that first world militaries of the 1970s were pretty much all-male, especially on-board the real-world equivalent of starships, but Gerrold cut his writer's teeth on Star Trek, so the idea that women might belong onboard a starship wasn't exactly unheard of in 1972, nevermind 1980, when then book was re-published in an updated edition. In 2019, it seems merely bizarre to read a novel in which women are simply absent.

Despite that absence, I enjoyed Yesterday's Children well enough. I wanted to find out what would happen next and whether or not Korrie was sane, but it's not a story that will stay with me over the long term. Even a week after I finished it, the details are fading fast.

This entry was originally posted at https://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/296937.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.

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My tweets [Apr. 14th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Sat, 12:03: RT @ggreenwald: If a nation hostile to Trump - such as, say, Venezuela or Iran or Palestine - has its hackers break into Trump's accountant…
  • Sat, 21:40: RT @ggreenwald: Everything MSNBC and Malcolm Nance claims here is false even if you believe every word of the indictment. Nothing in the in…
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My tweets [Apr. 13th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Fri, 14:25: RT @evagolinger: Former Foreign Minister of Ecuador who oversaw Assange’s asylum responds to his arrest: https://t.co/gCGIVIerfT
  • Fri, 17:20: RT @Snowden: Images of Ecuador's ambassador inviting the UK's secret police into the embassy to drag a publisher of--like it or not--award-…
  • Fri, 17:20: RT @jeremycorbyn: The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed…
  • Fri, 17:20: RT @ggreenwald: The actual left in the UK, US, Latin America & Europe has largely denounced US Govt's indictment & attempted extradition of…
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My tweets [Apr. 12th, 2019|12:00 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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  • Thu, 13:46: RT @ggreenwald: No. Democrats are craven authoritarians who want to see Assange imprisoned for one reason & one reason only, even if it mea…
  • Thu, 17:14: RT @ggreenwald: This turned out to be one of the most prescient and important (and creepy) statements of the Trump presidency: from Chuck S…
  • Thu, 18:26: RT @ggreenwald: Many corporate US journalists hate Assange for 2 key reasons: 1) professional jealousy: he published stories of massive glo…
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