February 2002 - I Wanna New Drug
RayzRealm (c) February, 2002

"One pill makes you larger,
and another one makes you small,
and the ones that Mother gives you,
don't do anything at all."
-Jefferson Airplane

Monday February 4

I had along chat with Doug last Saturday night, and it looks like he is planning on jumping ship from the Good Ship Lollipop (AKA America the dazed and confused). We also got into a long winded side chat about how the medical x-perts and drug companies are pushing the masses to take more and more drugs. I'm seeing more and more ads pushing cholesterol lowering drugs, uppers, downers, sugar control, appetite suppressants, All Shook Uppers, Love me Tenderizers and Blue Suede Ludes (the last 3 from Michael Nesmith's - Elephant Parts).

It's bad enough that Doug and I share the same condition where we have to take a witch's brew of cocktail drugs, supposedly to just maintain an even keel. The list of side effects from these alone would fill an entire monthly journal. So far, after 3.5 years, I have not suffered any of the devastating side effects (Yet!), but the effects are accumulative over time.

My chronic sinus condition took off into overdrive after Christmas, as it seems to every January through March, then my pollen allergies pick up where the dust and mold leave off. This year has been especially debilitating for me. My doc put me on a nasal steroid that made the congestion worse after a week or more, so I dropped it and have just used a bit of petroleum jelly to keep my nostrils from growing stalactites and stalagmites, and taking Motrin to ease the inflammation. I could also go on multiple sinus drugs, some costing about $7-9 a pill, but will hold out on that as a last resort. I spoke with a woman who also suffers with severe year round sinus problems and she told me she's on 2 different inhalers and 3 separate pills.

I tried picking up some medicinal leeches and eye of Newt at CVS, but they no longer carry these items, but I could get a much better pharmaceutical substitute for $15 a pill.

When I stop to think about it, the drug companies are drugging us all into submission, and reaping huge profits (poor babies). I just finished reading a couple of new articles questioning the wisdom of throwing Ritalin at every kid that's a little too fidgety. What will happen to these little cherubs after 5-10 or more years of having their nervous systems tweaked by one or more drugs. Add to that all the cholesterol and blood sugar controlling drugs they'll need to ingest from a lifetime of inhaling (sugar and fat filled) junk food.

I was reading yet another long article about the perils of NutraSweet and other artificial sweeteners. A number of years ago I had a severe reaction to NutraSweet and Sorbitol, and wound up with a bad case of ulcerative colitis, plus blinding headaches. The doc asked if I used "any" artificial" sweeteners and I told him I always kept a dish of sugar free hard candies at my desk at work, and drank diet soda (1-2 cans a day). He strongly urged me to quit sugar substitutes and within a week, the chronic ulcerative colitis and headaches vanishes. It makes me wonder about the people who guzzle a few liters of diet soda a day. And here I am "still" smoking cigarettes. I probably have a body burden of Plutonium and hell knows what other chemicals they dose those coffin nails with. As our environment becomes more toxic and poisonous to healthy living, rest assured, there will be a whole new raft of drugs on the market (with their own poop sheet of micro-print warnings and side effects) to help us adjust to living in an even dirtier environment....Yahoo!

Since I really don't have a life, will not go into details about my past week or weekend, save to say the temperature was frigid and I could hardly breath. I did venture into Harvard Square, wandered around for a few hours, browsing book and record stores. I noticed a huge Trendia Titanic SUV careening blindly through the square, that almost took out a couple of pedestrians. There were four occupants, and every one of them were on cell phones, including the driver. I wonder if they were talking to one another via cell phone, or were they each on their own critical mission from god.

I stopped in a cafe for lunch, and as usual the typical yuppie couple with their 2.7 perfect little clones of god/goddess were in tow. Their two SUV size baby strollers made it impossible to staff or other customers to get around, plus their dear spawn were acting like barnyard animals. No, wait a minute, barnyard animals are better mannered. If I acted up like that when I was a kid, the other diners would have hog tied me, if my parents didn't give me a dope slap and drag me home for the "licking of my life" first.

I found this article on Alternet, which is a fitting commentary to my latest dining adventure Screaming Me Me's After lunch decided to head back home, put the humidifier on and crash with a good book in bed. And NO, I did not join the other 200 million Americans who sat zombie like watching the Super Bowl. I knew that the New England Patriots won, because at about 11PM, I was woken up by a 20 minute procession of loud car horns, air horns, hooting and hollering from the street below me. When I left for work this morning there beer cans and bottles scattered about on the sidewalk....must have been a great game.

Sunday February 11

The volume of spam I've been getting has reached Biblical proportions,18-30 a day, which consist of get rich quick investment schemes, off shore banking, tax shelters, makes millions while at home in your jammies and bunny slippers. Then there are the offers of dietary supplements, Viagra and other drugs by mail, plus miracle cures for everything from AIDS, and cancer to male pattern baldness. And oh yes, the occasional offer from Zelda the Whip Lady and Zeke the cigar smoking trucker to view their live sex cams for a mere $19.95 a month. I might be bored, but not that bored.

I visited Noel and Ellen yesterday who have also been suffering through record breaking sinus problems. It has to be something in the New England Winter air. My sinuses usually make me miserable every January through Mid-March, but this year is the worst on record. Noel has offered to pick me up, wait and return me home from my upcoming colonoscopy. He's no stranger to the test himself and refers to it as the "big wazoo". I told him I was trolling for a reason to wuss out on my appointment, but he insisted, "you need this, we're both over 50 and you have had colitis. You n-e-e-d this test."...."OK OK I'll talk, I know where the micro-film, weapons and terrorists are hiding. Anything, Anything! but the big wazoo."

I was feeling miserable last night, so turned on the humidifier in my bedroom and read until 10PM. I had a strange, but not unpleasant repetitive dream last night. I was sitting at my desk at work writing and debugging code. I've been working on some active server pages for reports at work and have been having a hard time getting them to do exactly what I and the user wants. In my dream, they were behaving perfectly. I should have stood and looked over my shoulder and taken notes in my dream.

Today was gray, drizzly and dreary, but I felt better than I have in weeks. The added moisture in the air has temporarily cleared my sinuses, "thank you Jesus, I can breath, Hallelujah!" I drove into Boston this morning, had a giant iced coffee and scone at Au Bon Pain, then walked through the Fenway neighborhood, stopping to watch the bush bunnies frolic. My my, no matter what season, they remain frisky.

After seeing enough of the wild life show, walked over to Newbury Street, and noticed the new mammoth, long awaited "Virgin Mega-Store" just opened in the same site where the once fabulous Boston Tower Records once stood. It was open and airy, a vast prairie filled with aural and visual opiates to delight the senses, very high tech, huge selections of stuff in all departments, but doing the comparison math in my head, way to pricey for my liking."

What ever happened to the dance music I knew and loved? There were zillions of 12" disks from the 70-80's that kept the kids hopping in the cities, Provincetown, Fire Island, Key West and beyond. The only music that still seems to be in print from that era are the main stream standbys, Boogie Oogie Oogie, Hot Stuff, Electric Dreams, the Bee Gee's, etc, "now on 5 giant CD's or cassettes, every disco classic ever released."

There was row after row, aisle after aisle of Electronica, Trance, Acid Trance, Apocalyptic Trance, Techno, Rap and Hip-Hop, but one tiny section devoted to those "As Seen on TV" disco classics. I hardly recognize any of the generic pop artists of today. Most all seem to sound like Brittany Spears or the Back Street Boys. Generic music for a generic generation.

I walked a few doors down to Newbury Comics, where I have shopped for over 20 years. The store is small and crammed with stuff and usually shoulder to shoulder with people, but today it was like a ghost town. I chatted with one of the sales staff, and wished Newbury "live long and prosper" in light of it's Mega neighbor's opening. I always like Newbury Comics, funky, knowledgeable and friendly kids who work there, and I have always managed to find some rare nugget that the mega stores blow off, and at much lower prices.

I had a late lunch at Clerys pub, walked through the South End then decided it was time to return home. Another Sunday night, sigh! "Mister President, I am happy to report that America has returned to normal. Everywhere in Boston, people are back to be rude as hell, drivers have returned to their old impatient psychotic habits and cell phone zombies are out in even greater numbers than they were before 9-11. Everyone looks zones out and pissed off....God Bless America!"

Tuesday February 25

"National Geographic Presents", a Colonic Expedition. Well I'm still here and breathing a heavy sigh of relief and giving thanks to God for renewing the lease. I managed to drink the entire 4 liter jug of colon blow cleanser last night with no ill effects and managed to get some sleep despite all the angst and a few midnight sprints to the bathroom. By morning the only thing exciting my butt was water that was almost as fresh as a mountain spring.

My old friend Noel picked me up at 8AM and we headed to Beth Israel Hospital for my 9AM checkin. The staff was very pleasant. After checking my insurance information (most important, right), a nurse took my vitals, then led me to a waiting area, until a second nurse sat and talked with me for a while, attaching a little catheter to my hand. Then it was back to the waiting area until my procedure time

After what seemed an eternity (about 1/2 hour) another nurse led me into the procedure room, hooked me up to a heart monitor, took vitals again and began running a glucose IV drip. After another eternity (about 1/2 hour) the doctor and a nurse arrived and we talked for a while. He was concerned about my family's history of colon cancer, but said he'd know more after the exam was done. He then asked if I was ready to proceed.

The nurse injected two syringes into the IV line. I was mega nervous about the ordeal, then suddenly I could have cared less if they were conducting below ground nuclear tests in my butt. I remember seeing the safari make it's way up my colon on the video monitor. The next thing I knew he was withdrawing the scope and telling me it was done, and that my colon looked totally healthy, except for two minor hemorrhoids which was nothing to worry about. There were no polyps or signs of cancer. I asked him if he saw Osama bin Laden during the procedure, which got a chuckle from him and the nurse.

I lost about 1/2 hour. For all I know a group of little gray alien doctors could have been changing the batteries in my nasal tracking device, installing a satellite transmitter in my butt or a Delta Force team could have located and captured Osama bin Laden up there. For me there was no discomfort at all except for the catheter sticking out of my hand. He handed me a printout of the results and said, emergencies aside, they'd see me in 5-6 years.

We talked for a little bit more, and he was happy to hear that my diet is colon friendly; lots of fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, whole grains, plenty of water, don't drink, red meat in small doses, don't drug, am definitely not overweight, etc. If our bodies are temples, I got over treating mine like a flop house 15 years ago. He was also surprised to hear how much I knew about my inner workings. He said most people have no clue how their own bodies work. I once heard a guy claim, "did you know if you stretched your intestines end to end, they would reach to the moon and back 5 times." If this were the case, a 50 year old would just now be pooping out the baby formula they were fed as infants, unless the digestive tract incorporated some sort of warp drive.

I was wheeled into a recovery area where a chorus of us were passing vast quantities of gas. After another half hour I was allowed to get dressed, walk around and brought out to Noel who was in the waiting area. The nurse said not to drive or operate any machinery for the rest of the day and that I could go out and eat a normal meal; ahhhh food. I treated Noel to lunch at the Arlington Diner, and had pot roast. Their pot roast is not the best in the world, but tasted like ambrosia. I'll just take the doctor's advice and veg out for the rest of today. Geeesh, it's 64 degrees out there, more weather for late April than February.

Last week I picked up a very interesting book at the Harvard Coop, "The 48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene. I recommend it to those who are interested in seeing how people, corporations and societies and their power structures tick. That's it for today. Right now I feel like Woody Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters after he learns he does not have a brain tumor. For all the fear and loathing, I'm glad I finally had the test done. Now it's back to worrying about the ongoing other death defying medical stuff I deal with daily, but after almost 17 years have taken a licking and keep in ticking stronger than ever.

Wednesday February 27

My gastrointestinal tract is slowing rebooting after yesterday's ordeal, but the doctor said it might take a day or two to return to normal. I'm just glad now that I got it out of the way for another 5-7 years, barring any unforeseen developments.

At this point I will close out the February flight recorder. I have dug up a handful of interesting articles that I'll make reference to next month.

Shalom, Ray