October 2003 - Trust Us, We're Doctors
RayzRealm (c) October, 2003

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The Area51 Homeland Security alert level for October is...

Tainted Blood Red
Wednesday October 1

I've included the picture at the right hand Hiya kids! Hiya! Hiya! side of your screen for curiosity sake. I have seen this picture on a number of news sites and found it, shall we say, interesting. I found it curious when our beloved King said jokingly, shortly after moving in at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, that we'd be better off it America were a dictatorship, so long as he is the dictator. He's made quite a few amusing and interesting other statements, that have raised a flag in my mind. And then there is the rather snappy salute to whoever's viewing the picture. Now who else have I seen give a similar salute? Could it be the Klingon Ambassador from some Star Trek episode? Could it be Mister Rogers? Could it have been the Pope? I just can't quite remember where I've seen that pose before. Maybe he's just full of joy and spunk, "Hiya Kids! Hiya! Hiya!"

We're now entering the season of witches and monsters of all types. I began seeing Halloween candy and decorations in stores for the past few weeks now. Last week while on vacation I was bored and visited a few malls (the fave American spectator sport), but I never buy anything. A number of stores already were pushing Christmas (or Xmas for all you heathen out there in cyber-land). I have grown so tired of the perpetual bombardment by advertisers and stores to "But stuff! wave your flag! buy more stuff!" It keeps getting worse as time goes by. If they want to keep Americans in a continuous feeding frenzy of shopping, why bother taking down the advertisements and displays after each real or made up holiday passes. I propose keep the following real, as well as Hallmark holidays displayed year round; "Merry Christmas",. "Happy New Year", "Happy Easter", "Happy Birthday", "Happy Mother's Day", "Happy Father's Day", "Congratulations Graduate", "It's almost back to school time", "Happy Valentines Day", "Happy Labor Day", "Happy Memorial Day", "happy Anniversary", "Happy Bastile Day", "Remember 911 Day", "Happy Veteran's Day", "Happy Ground Hog Day", "Happy Chinese New Year", "Happy Chanukah", "Happy Quanza" as well as whatever uncounted ones I may have left out.

I have a small idea of what Hell its like; trying to get straight answers from the medical machine when you're in dire straights. The urinary infection, or whatever it is has continued to get much worse. Last week I spent most of my vacation in bed and one day decided to wander Harvard Square. I collapsed on the street from the pain. I still went to work on Monday, and finally broke down and called my doctor. After talking briefly with the nurse, she thought It might be a good idea for me to get to the emergency room ASAP and my doc would get the referral pushed through.

My old friend Noel has offered to be my health care proxy, so I called him to let him know what was going on. The only proxy forms they had in the ER were in Spanish and Portuguese. How silly and racist of me to think America was an English speaking country.

The triage nurse took my vitals and a urine sample, which got misplaced, so I was asked to squeeze out another sample or two. After about 4 hours of waiting I was finally called into what they call "The Core". Basically having an advance head's up sent to the ER does not get you any further ahead in line. If I had been shot, jumped out a window or been run over by a bus, I might get in sooner. I watched the ambulances pulled in and out like a never ending procession of customers to a bank's drive through teller on pay day. This is one of the costs of having your doctor associated with a major well known Boston teaching hospital.

The nurse asked me a series of questions

Him: "Any recreation drug use?"

Me: "Do cigarettes and coffee count?

Him: "I'm not being judgmental, any recreational drugs?"

Me: "No! none at all"

Him: "Alcohol?"

Me: "No, I don't drink"

Him: "Are you sexually active?"

Me: "No not at all, the Pope has a more exciting sex life than me. Does spanking the monkey count?"

Him: "Any piercings, Prince Alberts, tattoos, etc"

Me: "Ugh, makes me cringe just to think about that."

Him: "Are you a smoker?"

Me: "Yes"

Him: "How much?"

Me: "Around a pack a day, but since Bush took office it's higher."

Him: "That sounds normal. We've seen alcohol, drug and tobacco use increase a lot since Bush and 911."

Him: "Well there's your problem right there, not enough vices, you need more vices for some excitement."

At least he had a sense of humor, but I suppose an ER triage nurse has to have a sense of gallows humor to keep from going insane.

A number of doctors and interns came into the cubicle, asking the same questions, "so tell me what brings you here, in your own words." They all had the referral and intake summery. but reading takes time. A bunch of blood was drawn, then I waited for lab results to come back. They were also trying to get the urologist to drop by, who I was scheduled to see in a week, but this couldn't wait. Yeah they at least agreed that I had a groin full of golf balls, nasty very painful lymph nodes. They asked if I had pain during or after urination, the closest description I could give was it felt like I was pissing battery acid. And it felt like my legs were going to explode from the pain.

The "good?" news was that the urine culture came back negative for blood, calcium crystals and they didn't detect any bacteria, but they agreed that something most definitely was going on. My normal blood pressure is usually about 120/70 or so, but it was 190/110 with a rapid pulse. As one doctor said, "you must be in a lot of pain." Of course the pure terror probably didn't help. When the CBC results came back I did have elevated white cell counts but they didn't seem concerned. I asked curiously, "since this has been going on for 3 months now, isn't this going to decimate my immune system, and what if the infection you can't find gets into my kidneys or blood stream. Isn't there a real hazard of dying?" The reply was, "if the symptoms worsen, you cannot pee, pee blood, etc, call for a referral and come back to the emergency room." I asked if they had any spare cyanide capsules or guns with one bullet lying around, "no sorry, we're all out of those right now."

I was hoping they would have kept me over night, but I was released with prescriptions for a narcotic pain killer and some pills to numb my urinary track, that would turn my urine bright orange. Shortly before I was released Noel called and asked to be put through, but the doctor took a message for me to call him as soon as I was let go or admitted. Of course my cell phone refused to work, so I called him back when I got back home. We had the usual long chat regarding America's broken, stressed out medical system.

I saw my doctor yesterday, and had tons of questions. He drew my normal ongoing blood for labs and insisted everything would be fine, but if things got worse, repeat the emergency room loop. I'm scheduled for the rectal surgery in 2 weeks, which has me worried enough as is. He said they can't do any more until I see the urologist next week. I asked if I'd have any answers then, and was told that the specialist would probably schedule procedures, maybe surgical from there. My head is spinning right now.

A couple of people have asked if I like and/or trust my doctor. Well he's been my PCP for going on 15 years, I've felt comfortable with him and he has an excellent reputation, but like the rest of the system, he's spread paper thin.

Now I have to wait a week for another possible non answer, but as time goes on I'm in more and more pain.

I've suspected this for quite a while, but I feel more and more that you don't go into the hospital to be cured any more. Hospitals have become places where get turned away if you cannot pay, go to die, watch other people die, have the crap scared out of you, be put through painful procedures that produce inconclusive results, fight for a parking spot and on and on.

Sorry that the first entry of the month isn't more light and airy, but this is where I am today.

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Friday October 3

I didn't sleep at all wednesday night, could not pee and the pain was getting unbearable. I drove into work in a fog and by noon, my boss and a coworker suggested I go home and call my doctor. I'm from the old school, infected with the Protestant work ethic, feeling guilty if I need to take a sick day. My boss is aware of my medical condition and said, "geee, go home, you never take a sick day." I called the nurse, leaving my cell phone number, in case they tried calling me back on my way home. I'm one of the few people who use my cell phone for one of it's best uses, emergencies, or to make long distance calls mostly from home, but 99% of the time it sits on the table or hanging from my belt turned off.

Shortly after I got home the nurse called (they're probably sick of hearing from me) and asked "what's up". She asked if I had started staking the Vicodin for pain, and the anti inflammatory yet. OK, so I'm a wuss, drugs of any sort (pain killers, etc) scare me. I have only taken a narcotic pain killer once, 20 years ago when I hurt my back for the first time, and stopped due to not liking the way it made me feel; I would not make a very good doper, since I do not like the feeling of being out of control, which is one reason I never took to drugs at all.

She also asked if I began taking the Bacrim yet to control the infection. I told her in the ER they told me to refrain from taking any antibiotics, since the first 3 didn't help much. She replied, "oh no no, go on the Bactrim, that will help control the infection. Do you trust me?"

Many times I'm hesitant to trust authorities, particularly medical ones. She insisted again that everything would be fine. The memory of how my friend Paul suffered from kidney cancer is still fresh in my mind. Paul was one of those guys who was never sick and hated going to see a doctor. When he began peeing blood, I told him to call his HMO doc right away. They never did any real tests, sending him home with pain killers and an antibiotic. Two days later I rushed him to the emergency room; they yanked a cancerous kidney out 2 days later. The hospital he was treated at (which I will leave unnamed) never scheduled any sort of periodic cat scans, labs or anything; they have caught up in a number of medical scandals and suits. Where's Patch Adams when we need him most.

I resumed the Bactrim, and took a Vicodin, which actually helped a lot with the pain. I'm just so terrified of all the hype surrounding people getting hooked on pain meds. I normally have a pretty high level of pain tolerance, so for me to break down to even take Motrin for pain usually means I'm hurting pretty bad.

I talked with Doug in Chicago for a couple of hours yesterday, mostly talking about medical stuff, the neocons and Rush getting a dope slap for his vulgar behavior. I called my mother's closest friend, a nurse that she used to work with, who asked me to keep her informed about what's going on with me. She told me that she has also had life long problems with urinary infections, and she concurred on how painful they can be. It seems God, or whoever he subcontracted to design the human body added tons of nerve endings to the urinary track; sadistic if you ask me.

In conversations with both Doug and Noel we talked about hoe a lot of doctors are very uncomfortable with patients who do their own research, my primary care doc isn't threatened, but quite a few I have talked with are. When I was in the ER, one doc seemed almost angry that I would dare read up on medical conditions, "how dare you, a mere mortal, read sacred medical texts!" The head ER doc got into a conversation with me about doing web research on urinary problems. I told him I had read a number of articles linked from the NIH web site, "great site, a lot of good resources", he replied. Stay tuned for the higher ranking gods of the medical machine and drug companies to pressure the Bush administration into blocking all access to medical information on the web for the unwashed masses.

I talked with Bob up in Maine, who I haven't chatted with in a while, mostly talking about his career change from software engineering to being an aspiring chef. Of course we also discussed the current political climate, and both pray that the neocon temple of lies may be finally unravelling. I wonder how long it will take for the neocon controlled media to wake up and finally report the truth; one more down, Rush got the boot from ESPN.

I took my boss's advice and took today off just to rest. I took a Vicodin before going to bed last night, reading a couple of chapters from "The Matrix and Philosophy" before drifting off. I've been told that pain killers can cause strange dreams in some people. I did have a bizarre dream about being in a virtual cave, with a mouse pointer leading me along. I'll be seeing a urologist on Monday, hopefully he'll have some ideas. Here is a small late harvest crop of news links and journals

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Saturday October 4

I did manage to remain relatively pain free yesterday without needing to take any pain pill, but the burning and pain is still there, just not as intense. I'm hoping the antibiotic is finally doing it's job, but I've been here four times before with the other ones, looks like it's working then stops. I probably could have driven, but opted to catch a bus into the heights instead. At least I'm hungry now, after having breakfast this morning I woofed down two coffee rolls at Panera with a large iced coffee, Still feeling good, I continued on to the mall and picked up a copy of "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" by Al Franken. I also found a cheap copy of "The Postman" starring Kevin Kostner and a used VHS copy of "The Hours" for $5.99.

I watched "The Hours", not a light hearted movie at all, but very powerful, good acting, with the sort of multi level story line that captures my attention. Ed Harris, who I've usually seen playing a cop, hero, etc did a great job in the role of a late stage AIDS patient. If you haven't seen "The Hours" I won't say any more so as not to spoil the plot, but there are interesting connections between the three generations of women and Ed's character in the film; whew!

Bob from Revere called to see how I was doing, and said he watched a show about medical malpractice where doctors mis diagnosed people; one guy had his dick but off and a woman lost both breasts when she didn't have to. He said, "get a second opinion, this has been going on too long and sounds like they don't have a clue." Hmmm, having my manhood cut off; I'm not using it for anything except peeing and as a hood ornament in my jeans, but the thought of having them hack it off is pretty scary.

While I was in the heights yesterday I stopped by my chiropractor's office for an adjustment.I usually entertain the staff and patients with the same rhetoric that appears in the flight recorder. I was ranting about the medical system when the receptionist broke in, "I was a med student at Stanford and dropped out after I saw how broken and corrupt the entire system is, and I come from a long line of family doctors (3 generations). It's all about money and getting as many people in and out the door as possible. Western medicine no longer heals but aimed at keeping patients chronically ill. it made me sick to be a part of this, so I dropped out." This got a rousing discussion going about everyone's mistrust of the American medical "industry".

I've talked with a number of doctors (the ones who have a conscience) and off the record they agree with her observations.

I have come up with a couple of predictions, Arnold will become the governor of Cali-fornia and Bush will be reelected in 2004 by a landslide. If his ratings keep sliding Rove will whisper in his ear,

"Mr, Resident, we need another 911, but much bigger. It would also help your approval ratings to tell the American people we have found and captured Osama, Saddam, Hitler, Whitey and Jimmy Hoffa hiding in the rose garden."

I just know in my heart that they will stop at nothing, smears, scandals or worse to get what they want. The globalist corporate brown shirts are counting on Dubya, or someone very much like him to continue their rape and pillage of America and the world.

I'm beginning to believe what the Bible predicts more and more, this push for a globalist agenda is taking the power away from the people and giving it to a small circle of amoral, greedy, power mad bastards. If this continues (and I firmly believe it will unless the sheep wake up) the new Babel can't be far behind.

One place where this bothers me most is the privatization and consolidation of essential human services; privatizing water supplies (greed driven) and other utilities, prisons and health care. When I was a kid a city may have had a number of independent hospitals with names similar to Saint Luke's, Saint John's Saint Joseph's, Saint Mark's, (city name) General, All Saints, but now that health care is designed by MBA's, every hospital is becoming McHospital. if WalMart ever enters the health care market, be afraid be very afraid, "Always low prices".

"Good morning Mr. Smith, we will be performing your cancer surgery tomorrow, but first let me introduce you to your nurse. This is Juanita, a Guatemalan peasant. but don't worry, she successfully injected an orange with saline without harming the orange, and was able to unplug a couple of toilets without supervision."

"Buenos dios senior!"

"And let me introduce your surgeon. Apu was a farmer in India, but he has read Doctors and Surgery for Dummies. plus has watched every rerun of every American medical drama since Saint Elsewhere, so you're in good hands. Lastly your anesthesiologist will be Booker, formerly a Harlem crack addict, but an able assistant."

"Hey my man, was hap'nin, gimmee some skin"

"Try not to worry Mister Smith, you have a very busy day tomorrow, get some rest."

Don't mind me, I'm just running off at the fingers, probably driven by anxiety. I was talking with my foreign correspondents Doug (Chicago) and Paul (Vegas) who still feel I should keep writing, if for nothing more than catharsis. I hope that whoever reads this may find some entertainment or other value.

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Sunday October 5

I went to bed early last night, a bit of pain, but not enough to take an infernal pain pill, but I did take the prescribed dose of Bactrim. I woke up pain free, but shortly after I was up and about the urinary burning and groin pain returned. I'm getting scared since they suspect/know it's an infection, but are not sure what's causing it or where it is. My internal Woody Allan voice keeps whispering, "maybe it's a tumor. That's it! I know it's a tumor."

I attempted driving into Boston early this morning, figuring there would be parking spaces, but was wrong. Everywhere I looked cars were circling like vultures for the first available space. I know that there's a Red Sox game today, and since the Sox are on a winning streak, the city is suffering from Red Sox fever. Even if the Sox get all the way to the series, John Ashcroft and Karl Rove won't let them win because Bostonians are naughty, didn't vote Republican, and anyway Boston is a favorite overnight stopover for terrorists. Actually if the Sox lose, it will be because of the unbroken Bambino's (Babe Ruth) Curse.

I reluctantly turned tail and headed back home, but I didn't want to be cooped up on such a dreary and drizzling day, so I grabbed my umbrella and caught the number 77 bus into Harvard Square. My first stop (as usual) was Au Bon Pain, where I found a quiet corner and called Noel.

Him: "Where are you buddy, I hear noise in the background (street musicians and traffic)"

Me: "I'm in the Square having coffee, then it's off for my regular book browse and people watching."

Him: "Ahhh, well we're talking on the public air waves, so there's probably someone listening."

Me: "Oh yeah, Ashcroft, the FBI and such. I'm sure John's sitting there in his jammies right now recording our every word."

Him: "Probably! they're triangulating your location now."

Me: "Should I keep in the move?"

Him: "Be a good idea, probably Tomahawk missiles heading your way as we speak."

(laughter on both ends)

We chatted for a while, until both of us had to go about our business, "so see you tomorrow about 10, right."

I was in a "set random wander" mode, making my way up Mass Ave toward Central, stopping in a Buddhist tea house for tea; I just wanted to relax. From there I stopped in a small custom furniture store, that had the most beyooootiful hand made furniture from the finest solid woods in my favorite styles, Mission, Shaker and Prairie. I got to chatting with the shop keeper, "this is so beautiful, but way out of my range. Is it made in China by slave labor?" He laughed, "you are one of the few people who is aware I see. No, all of our furniture is made up in Maine by families who have been making fine furniture for generations."

New England has a long tradition of making some truly great furniture; up in Maine and New Hampshire and out in Western Mass, but it's top shelf stuff, way out of my league, but glorious to the eye and touch.

We wound up getting into an hour long conversation about the pickle our beloved country is in. He was about my age, also a vet, and shared my sadness and fear for America.

We shook hands, "truly great talking with you." then I continued along Mass Ave, stopping in another store front furniture store that sold futons, tables and chairs. Yahoo! a store that still carries Papasan chairs. I have a 15 year old pair of Papasan chairs that are like curling up in a womb, except due to age, the cushion has lost much of it's cushiness and the frames are beginning to give way. All of a sudden a bolt of pain shot through me, "are you all right?", she asked, which lead to another hour long conversation with her and the other woman she ran the shop with about our broken health care system, mutating on to globalism. She asked if I had ever tried a butterfly chair. I have seen them but never sat in one. It was like being gently cradled in a soft hand. I said, "ahh his is Heaven, wake me after the 2004 elections are over, unless Bush gets reelected, then make sure I don't wake up...ahhhhh." More laughs all around followed.

We hugged as I left and I promised I'd be back to pick up a pair of new Papasans after all the medical madness blows over. You can get a standard size Papasan chair for between $100 and $150, if you can find them. The two women had them for $100 (mental note to self: return to store later this year).

I was getting hungry, and since I was not too far from Johnny's Luncheonette, headed that way (oops, mile long line waiting to get in, come back later). My next stop was a store front, used and rare book store. I go into yet another long winded rag chew with the shop keeper, mostly about world affairs (store specializes in that sort of stuff).

It's funny, but all the people I enjoyed talking with today are in my age range and fondly remember an America that was to be loved and cherished; now everyone is scared shitless of it. Back in the 60's when Uncle Sam invited me to take extended pleasure cruises to exotic far away places, returning home was like sitting in a giant Papasan chair, warm and comforting. Times have changed for sure, America has become like a parent drunk with greed and power, who doesn't care about the smallest of her children, and keeps them in a perpetual state of fear, "don't you give me any sass back boy, I'll wup your ass. You talk back to me or ask questions, I'll send you to Guantanamo, ya'll hear boy. You don't like the way I run this house, go live with Osama and see how you like it. Now eat what I put on the table in front of you and shut up."

I bought a copy of a Quaker periodical and headed back to Johnny's. The crowd had thinned out, so I got a table right away. I was in the mood for their tasty broiled ground sirloin smothered in mushroom gravy, with those creamy (real) mashed potatoes and fresh peas. On my way out, I stopped to tall the owner, "excellent! as always." He smiled, "always glad you enjoyed your meal, come back again soon."

I always try to make a point of patronizing "Mom'n'Pop" operations whenever I can instead of big chains. I tend to find the prices as cheap or cheaper than the well known national ones, as well as better quality. If you stop to think about it, the little guy is what made America what it is, and what it should be, bit some cold, faceless owner from somewhere else, who's only concern is the bottom line.

After eating, I made my way back toward Harvard Square to catch a bus back home. I'm finding that the pain I'm having is much worse when I'm sitting. As I exited the bus at my stop, the strangest feeling came over me, it was a sick nauseous feel, the world began spinning and I had to grab on to a parking meter to keep from falling over. After the dizziness passed, every single bit of pain was gone. It was like a clog had been removed from a drain, very refreshing from what I've been enduring since late June. My head and body felt totally clear until I began walking, only to have the intense urinary burning and pelvic aching return.

I don't know what's come over me, but for the past couple of days I've almost felt driven to write. If anyone still reads this stuff, you can probably see this is all rambling horse shit, similar to the sort of writing it did on Usenet back in the mid 80's. It's going to be a quiet early night tonight, curl up with a book in my ageing Papasan chair, then go to bed. The perfect Saturday evening for a lonesome traveler on a cold rainy night.

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Friday October 10

It has been a whirlwind world this week. I took Monday off since I had an appointment with a urologist in Boston; mostly more non answers. He did say I probably have a low grade infection in the prostate or thereabouts, but my prostate felt normal, and so was my most recent PSA. Now here's a bit of advice he gave me that will give Mother Superior at "Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows" Catholic school cause for alarm; he told me to have at least 2 to 3 orgasms a week, to help clear out the prostate and increase the blood flow. It seems the PH level in my seminal fluid had become as acidic as battery acid due to whatever is going on,

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I touched myself in an impure manner 150 times this past month. I know I spilled my precious seed that killed billions of innocent babies. I know that this is a most heinous sin, right up there with walking into a shopping mall with an assault rifle and killing 1000 people unless I did it in Iraq or Afghanistan where all those heathen live. I know that one of those innocent sperm that I so thoughtlessly wasted could have lead to greatness; another Joseph Stalin, Hitler, Osama, Saddam, George Bush, Karl Rove, Jerry Falwell, Dick Cheney, Peewee Herman or Hulk Hogan. For this I humbly repent, and will advice the urologist to seek redemption at the nearest drive through confessional booth."

Sorry, but I couldn't resist; once a Catholic, always a Catholic. Every sperm is sacred. Now with that our of the way, the urologist extended the Bactrim prescription to 9 weeks instead of 3. Ah-Huh! this agrees with some of the more reputable medical web site diagnosis and treatment recommendations for my neve rending problem. Before he had me get dressed, he did something none of the other doctors did, checked me all over for hernias. I found out that I have 2 of them, smack dab in the middle of my crotch, which may account for some of the pain I've been having in my groin. He also wrote me a script for a low dose of Valium to be taken at bed time to calm down the muscle spasms I'm having below the equator. He asked if I have any trouble with "erectile dysfunction" and I told him no, but sex is very low on my list of priorities. I could have walked away with Viagra to boot, "nay on the Viagra doc!"

After I left the urologist I stopped at Au Bon Pain in the heart of the Brookline/Longwood Ave medical megaplex of hospitals and clinics. Strange, but an iced coffee was almost 20 cents more expensive than in other parts of town. I browsed in the Harvard Medical Coop book store to kill some time. They had a nice assortment of doctor toys on display. I should have picked up a stethoscope to wear around my neck for those times when I have to venture into the heart of Boston's medical jungle. It would make me feel so much taller and doctor like, except doctors don't walk along Brookline and Longwood wearing faded Levi jackets and jeans or a tee shirt with "I used up all my sick days, so I called in dead" printed across the front in big bold letters. I have three favorite tee shirts that I wear when I have a medical appointment on a day off.

"Out of Body, back in 5 minutes"
"I used up all my sick days, so I called in dead."
"No user serviceable parts inside, refer service to a qualified technician"

I walked back to Mass Ave and caught the #1 cattle car into Harvard Square, where I had an early dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cole slaw at Johnny's Luncheonette. Boy, I really like that place for abundant and good tasting cheap eats.

I've been busier than Osama bin Laden running from cave to cave at work all week, mostly with business rule and program logic changes. The pain and burning come and go, but for now, far from the excruciating level I had been living with for most of the Summer.

I called the surgeon who will be doing "hell knows what" to me in a week and left a message. She had told me to feel free at any time to ask any question I had. I gave a thumbnail sketch of the urinary problem, plus the new revelation of twin matching hernias, asking if this will require postponing of my surgery. I got a long voice mail message back in return from her saying she would make a decision the day before surgery when I face a medical tribunal at the hospital for my pre surgical evaluation. Maybe they'll fix the hernia first or do a twofer, hernia and rectal nuking at the same time...ugh! Double the pain, and from both ends, not just one. I would have to sleep standing up, or in a zero G environment.

I'll say as little as possible regarding Arnold becoming Cali-fornia's governor. I knew deep down for some reason, long before he announced his candidacy that he would replace Davis. I'm convinced that there is a supernatural force behind the Republican Neocon power grabs and it's certainly not Jesus. Either the American people are a lot more stupid than I give them credit for, or society has been blanketed by a spiritual force that has an agenda, like a thick cloud of anesthetic gas, and it's not peace, liberty and justice for all where all men are created equal that's the goal. If Arnold runs for president I wonder if he'll pick Sylvester Stallone as his running mate.

I saw my doctor today for a lab follow up and consultation after seeing the urologist, prior to my surgery a week from today. I am getting so sick and tired of driving into Boston from work, fighting late afternoon traffic getting there, playing musical parking spaces, and paying $20 to park in the closest available garage (about 6-8 blocks away), for what amounts to about 2 hours in total. My doctor was as surprised as I was about finding two hernias. He will talk with the surgeon to see if she can do a "twofer" on the same day. The impression I got from here was depending on my pre surgery exam, she may postpone one or the other. At this point I just want to get it all over and done with. With all the time compression, cost cutting and bean counters dictating how long I'm allowed in the hospital, they tell me I'll be in by 9AM and out by 5PM, dead or alive; sounds like a dry cleaning establishment.

At least this is a holiday weekend for me, Columbus Day. Everyone knows Columbus didn't discover America, Al Gore did. I'll conclude today's blather with some articles for you to chew on. Reading is better for you than sitting on the couch watching reality TV, with a big bowl of Cheesy Poofs, a six-pack of brewskies and remote control in your lap.

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Thursday October 23

Everything with the surgery went quite well, not nearly as much pain as I had been warned about and anticipated. I've been napping a lot, probably my body's way of telling me I need some rest. Dammit, the urinary symptoms seem to be returning, plus I came down with a cold. As it stands now, I plan on returning to work on Monday, the 27th.

I made a brief trip this week to a local Costco to replenish some provisions, get Halloween candy and picked up Michael Moore's new Book, "Dude Where's My Country?", "Matrix Reloaded", "28 Days Later" and the Steven Spielberg series, "Taken" on DVD. So far, I have really enjoyed the chapters I have watched from "Taken" (thanks Tom for the tip) and didn't realize that each one runs about 90 minutes. An interesting saga indeed, sort of like the "killed after first season" TV series, "Dark Skies". Anyone who's interested in the UFO/Alien abduction phenomenon "should enjoy "Taken.

I woke up this morning and when I looked out my window, it was snowing fairly hard. Something tells me that we're in for another "buckle your seat belts" Winter, Bah!

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Saturday October 25

Last night I finished watching the last of all 20 hours of "Taken". Once I watched one chapter, I had to view them all, it was habit forming. The series was sort of a mix if ET, Close Encounters, Dark Skies and The X-Files, and chronicled the lives of three families across three generations. It's definitely the sort of DVD collection I would queue up a chapter or two over and over in the future.

The story begins with an air battle over Germany during World War II, when the Foo Fighters appear, going forward to the present. I won't say anything more to avoid any spoilers. The alien craft looked remarkably like something I saw while in the Navy, without all the colored lights. Queue up X-Files theme music to set the mood...

There was a saying in my Navy days;

"What's the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story?"

"I dunno, what's the difference?"

"A fairy tale begins with Once Upon a Time and a sea story begins with This Ain't no Shit!"

I had done my time in A school, a tour of duty off the coast of Viet Nam, back to Norfolk and then we were off to a carrier qual cruise to the North Atlantic. I was an airborne radar and computer technician on board aircraft carriers, working mostly the night shift when we were out at sea.

When we were not in an actual war zone, most of our time was spent on updating skills, practice drills, keeping the birds in a ready state and hanging out on the ship. Many nights after running diagnostics and if there was no hardware to be repaired, we read, listened to music, worked out in the gym, ate and slept, sat around the lab talking, or when there were no flight ops going on, we could go up to the flight deck to stretch our legs and get a breath of fresh air.

We were out somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic. It was in the early Fall under a clear cloudless sky. It was after midnight and everything was quiet. A group of us told the shop chief we were going topside for some air, grabbing our coffee cups on the way.

The night sky is really beautiful and peaceful when there are no city lights to obscure the stars. We were leaning over the catwalk looking across the water, when one of the guys pointed to something off to starboard. At first we thought it was one of our escorts, a thousand yards or so away. The moon reflected off it, and it looked metallic and big. Most of our escorts were running behind us, and whatever it was seemed to be suspended over the water. We kept staring out over the water and noticed a bright search light come from the bottom of the craft, scanning the water below. Maybe it was a helicopter, but no, it was way to large and not shaped right. From our vantage point (profile view) it looked like a long metallic cigar. We could not hear any sort of engine noise, any noise at all.

As we watched the search light went out and whatever it was began to emit a faint blue glow, slowly turning our way. The next thing really blew us away, it quickly picked up speed, sweeping across our bow in an arc. That's when we got a better look at it as it noiselessly swooshed by, ascending at an incredible rate of speed until it became a tiny dot in the night sky and disappeared. Whatever it was, it was definitely disk shape, no noise, no running lights, just a glow that seems to shift color as it accelerated, and it was BIG whatever it was.

We all ran excitedly back down to the shop, "chief! chief! we just saw a UFO!" He gave us a cynical look sitting at his desk, "sure ya did! what have you meatballs been smoking this time?" A few minutes later, we could hear a couple of jets being catapulted from the deck. We were in a "stand down" condition, with no flight ops scheduled, which made it all the more curious. You could always tell when planes were being launched or retrieved, as you heard and felt it all over the ship. For the remainder of our shift the craft we saw was the major topic of conversation, maybe it was some sort of experimental plane we were testing, yeah that was it.

The next day we were given a lecture by the chief, we were not talk about this again, and if we did, we'd be seeing the old man (our squadron commander). We never did talk about it again, but we all knew that whatever it was we saw it was classified. The cover story was that a man had fallen overboard and a search had taken place. Well whatever it was, it looked and awful lot like the craft in Taken.

So there's one of my sea stories, take it or leave it. People have asked me over the years if there was ever a Philadelphia Experiment. If there was, I was not privy to it, but used to hear stories about an ongoing project to make a ship invisible to radar.

I took a ride into Boston early this morning, had my usual coffee, and wandered around in the shopping district on Washington Street. I needed some new Fall/Winter clothes, mostly sweaters, rugby jerseys, etc, but nothing really caught my eye. Perhaps I'm getting old, but why is it that almost every sweatshirt, jersey or jacket I see in the stores has to be plastered with logos and slogans. Another fashion trend that bugs me is the way casual clothes have that "hand me down" look, like they were picked from a Salvation Army collection box, and they are not cheap, even though most all are made in Third World countries, probably by slave labor. I left all the department stores empty handed. I do not need to be a walking billboard for some brand or other.

I'm noticing more and more cell phone zombies, everywhere! I'm beginning to feel like Donald Sutherland in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" when he begins to realize that everyone in the city is turning into pod people, blank expressionless faces devoid of any emotion, careening through the streets like they are the last man/woman on Earth; it's getting very creepy.

I was thumbing through a new book in Barnes and Noble about the epidemic of joyless, angry, obnoxious, self centered people that has become the norm since the 80's. I made a note in my little pad to add this title to my future "consider buying" list.

I headed over to The Living Center for lunch, then up to Newbury Street and bought a DVD copy of Naqoyqatsi. I was not aware that it had been released on video and as usual Newbury Comics had it for a good price. I now have the entire Qatsi trilogy, and interesting audio/visual documentary on the world we live in. I would assume most people would find these films boring and not get it at all, but I was hooked from the first film, Koyaanisqatsi, "Life Out of Balance".

I casually made my way back to the South End where I was able to find a "free for all on weekends" parking space. The boys of Summer are no longer on the street sporting tribal tattoos and nipple rings. It's a bit to cold for them to be taking their nipples out for an airing anyway. When I got up this morning the outdoor thermometer registered 27 degrees and we had a few hours of snow in Thursday. It's too early for Winter, but my bones tell me we're in for another nasty one this year.

Aside from a bit of prostate or whatever it is pain, I'm feeling pretty good and will be returning to work on Monday, a week earlier than projected. I was getting tired of just sitting around, napping and doing nothing all week anyway. My last day of recuperation will be spent just vegetating.

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Friday October 31, Halloweenie


I went back to work on Monday, a week earlier than they were expecting me, but I functioned just fine. There was (of course) a lot of catching up to do. Other than the prostate or whatever it is problem from hell, everything else is fine. It's almost as if I never had surgery. My GI track clock is just about back to normal too.

I watched "Matrix Reloaded" and honestly did not like it; two hours of explosions, car chases, fun fights, Kung Fu and special effects, but very little substance compared to the first Matrix movie.

I borrowed "Core" from the book/movie sharing area at work and watched it last night. Science Fiction is going downhill. As if a bunch of scientists are about to build from scratch a revolutionary device for boring into the Earth's core with a manned crew and set of a gigaton nuclear device to jump start the planetary magnetic field again. It seems that the earth's core got a bad case of gravitational constipation and needed quick relief before the entire population met an untimely end. The story lines get more and more ludicrous, like "Armageddon, where we send crews in space shuttles to land on an asteroid to blow it up before it gets us first.

It figures, but the character I seem to like the best, always winds up getting killed beforE a movie is over, even though he or she is one of the heroes, and it always seems to be a character who is African American. I think it was Will Smith or Chris Rock who said in a movie who's name escapes me, "oooh no, the black dude always dies first in the movies." Well anyway, the character I enjoyed most in Core was an eccentric black scientist who invented an impossible new alloy, "Unobtanium" that made the trip to the earth's core possible.

Of course they can never kill off the lading man or woman, and if the guy has a nicely muscled body, there always seems to be a few scenes where the hero is shirt less or less, all oiled and sweaty, even if the scene takes place in Antarctica. Enough on movies for now

I'll tell ya, Mother Earth is out to get us, so we had better kill her before she kills us. The current administration already knows this, so that's why they're destroying the environment to choke the old wench to death. And all those trees and forests, they are all in cahoots with Al Qaeda sleeper cells, just waiting for the word to fall on us or catch fire. Send out all the big lumber companies to cut'em all down before they wipe out the human race.

I've had a few conversations with unnamed individuals who I have had a number of heated debates with regarding the Bush cartel, they are all....or were, staunch Bush supporters. I was surprised when 4 of them said to me, "don't get me started on George Bush." It seems now they all hate the guy and are planning on voting Democrat in 2004, but didn't want to go into any details. Now they they feel he's a two face, lieing evil bastard....and just when I was thinking of inviting Dubya and friends to Chez Bigboote for a few frosty O'Douls and pretzels.

I took today off as a vacation day (no I don't celebrate halloween) but it turned out to be a very nice almost Indian Summer day, so I took an early morning bus into Boston, partly just to wander, but also had some business to attend to with an ASO. On this note, I'll conclude the October flight log.....not just to sit and wait for all the little buggers to start ringing my door bell.Trouble is, last year there were very few little ones, most were teenagers!!!

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Shalom, Ray