Wednesday, November 29, 2017

One Voice Children's Choir and Uncle Scott

One Voice Children's Choir appeared on America's Got Talent. I don't think, though I could be wrong,  that they were judged overly favorably. They're awfully white-bread for a competitive national program of this nature.

One of the nice things about my frequently being awake during the twilight hours is that my Uncle Scott often has to be up during those times as well. He's usually waiting for something to happen so he can  leave the hospital, and has time to kill. We message, talk, or otherwise communicate.  I love my Uncle Scott.

Uncle Scott kills time when he's stuck at the hospital and there's too little time to go to sleep and he has nothing better to do by watching YouTube videos. He's recently gotten me started watching the One Voice Children's Choir, directed by  native Japanese BYU grad Masa Fukuda. It's a choir of (surprise, surprise, since it's based in Utah) mostly white kids. Some ethnic children are in the group as well. they sing like white kids. They sing the way I think children should sing. They don't over embellish. They sing their melodies and harmonies as written and directed. They dress in  the uniform of the day.. They don't look like a bunch of male and female Jonbenets. They don't draw attention to themselves unless they're singing solos, and do so only subtly even then. In short, they show appropriate choir decorum.

If you listen to them, you won't find them to be the most exciting group you've ever heard. Yet, as they age (it's a multi-age choir from ages five to eighteen) some of them start to show genuine talent. One of their either present or former singers,  Lexi Walker, is showing promise as a solo performer.

Lexi Walker, either Once Voice Children's Choir alum or present member, sings my favorite carol. My mum taught it to me in French when I was barely two. It brings back gingerbread feelings to me.

Most of these kids won't bowl you over with their voices. They sing at age-appropriate levels. The teens seem to be given a bit more latitude, or perhaps they're just given more difficult parts. They don't try to be junior Beyonces, embellishing melodies all over scales and beyond.  Some viewers will be put off by the whiteness of it all, but it takes place in  Utah.  Where is a prospective youth choir director in Utah going to find a majority of singers who have training in music fundamentals? My guess is, in Utah, that would be mostly among the Caucasian population. Other races are not excluded.

This probably isn't an example  the group's best song, mainly because the ending is anticlimactic, but it captures the essence, the age difference, the degree to which the choir takes direction, and the age-appropriateness of the group.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Perhaps if my name were something more along the lines of "Jenny Oaks Baker," SLC's local contingent  of Salvation Army-assisting bell-ringers would be less resistant to having me within their midst.

I probably shouldn't share as much information as I intend to share here, not that it's of an especially confidential nature, but should it be googled by the wrong person, it will out me. I have, however, outed myself in numerous ways, so it would seem I have relatively little to lose.

With essentially no pressure to participate because enough people are eager to kiss up and earn bonus points in any way they can, a practice affiliated with my upcoming clerkship rotation has associated itself with a particular bell-ringing charitable organization.  Oddly enough, it is through the auspices of a religious organization thoroughly unrelated to the bell-ringing [religious] organization that this is being undertaken.  Most of the physicians associated with the practice with which I will be affiliated and most of the non-MD staff are staunchly affiliated with this religious group.  The group doesn't drink coffee or alcohol. It's not the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to which I refer. You can probably connect the dots without the necessity of my being more specific.

The members of this medical practice are very much aware of my extended family's connections to their religious faith.  Faith is faith, however, and medicine is medicine.  We can work together. Furthermore, no one there knows my personal stance regarding anything related to their faith or any other religious matter. For all they know, I am anxiously awaiting an invitation to join them in some or any activity related to their church. As it happens, I'm not, but they don't know that.

I'll attempt to cut to the chase, which is something I do rather poorly. A message was sent electronically to everyone, myself included, who will be affiliated with the practice in the upcoming three weeks requesting assistance with this bell-ringing venture.  We were told to click on any specific dates that would work for us. I tried, but whenever I clicked on a date, the function malfunctioned on me and clicked on every date, indicating I would be willing to show up and ring bells each night for the next three weeks.

I emailed the person who sent out the message, explaining the dilemma. Her response to me was that my help is no longer needed. I thanked her for her response, and asked if I might have permission to show up at one of the other times at which someone else is signed up, bringing a musical instrument along to make the occasion more festive. Her response to this option was more direct, more along the lines of [not her exact words, BTW] "I TOLD you we don't need you with or without your cello or violin this year.  Perhaps next year something can be worked out, or perhaps it can't, but for now would you please just go away!"

This situation would be awkward under any circumstances, but the woman with whom i communicated is considered the lead RN of the practice and the manager of the office, and is married to one of the founding partners of the practice. I will work with this woman every day I work until Christmas break.

My first question: Perhaps it is customary for two people to be present at each bell-ringing session. Would anyone be harmed in any way if a third person were to show up with a musical instrument, stand several feet away, and quietly play innocuous seasonal tunes? I'm not suggesting that the three of us triple-team any passerby and shake the person down until he or she drops an acceptable amount of cash  or gold or whatever into the little red kettle.  I'm merely proposing that I could have stood off in the distance playing seasonally festive tunes in an inoffensive way. My second question: Is this in some way personal? Do these people dislike me because of my tenuous connection to their religious faith, or do they dislike me for reasons entirely unrelated? Or do they dislike my musicianship? My third question: Do members of this church ever consider how exclusionary actions might possibly  A) hurt the feelings of others, and B) ultimately drive people away from their church?

Members of this religious faith are fond of citing as a reason, whenever anyone leaves their church, that the person did so because he or she was somehow offended by the actions of someone at the church. This isn't entirely fitting in my case, as I'm not a part of their group and therefore cannot technically leave it, but I most definitely am offended by the exclusionary actions of this person in particularly, and presumably by those she represents as well.

Is it my violin-playing that they hate, or is it I whom they hate? I may never know for certain, but it's going to be a hell of a long three weeks, starting bright and early tomorrow morning. Perhaps I should bring my cello to the office, plant myself in the waiting room, and commence with playing Good King Wenceslas until someone calls security and has me forcibly removed from the building. That would be one way to get out of work.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Simply Have a Wonderful Christmas Time! Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, and Related Matters: A Non-Festive Look at a Topic on Which I Have a Very Personal Angle

It seems to me that each time the subject of sexual assault comes up, I make a personal and silent vow to allow this episode to pass without  commentary from me, Then I end up doing the opposite of what I intended to do, and I write, regardless,  about it as it relates to my own personal experience.. One stipulation my major perpetrator's attorney fought my attorney vigorously for was a non-disclosure clause. Those involved defendants represented by other attorneys in my case clearly felt  --  and rightly so in my opinion --   that their clients had far less to lose by anything I might have had to say about their own clients' personal culpability in the case, and about their clients' stories being naked and exposed for all the world, or at lest for the very limited audience would would acre enough to know of their own clients' share in any guilt or blame. Anyway, should I so desire, I possess, at least in the U.S.,  every legal right I could ever possibly hold  (except in the unlikely event that  our less-than-esteemed chief executive were to enact and somehow pass through both the house and senate  and manage to bypass the U.S. Supreme Court with some piece garbage of legislation prohibiting the victims of legally convicted or guiltily-pled defendants'  from the legal rights to tell their own stories in favor of the protection the rights of the guilty, which isn't quite so preposterous as it sounds considering the sources involved, though I will begin to distress myself about that sort of thing if and/or when it comes close to fruition) to share or sell the rights to my story to a movie production company, to a ghost-writer, or even to tell the story myself in my own words.. Much scrutiny would occur were such to happen, and much in-fighting would result as a result of the primary perpetrator's portrayal, but any story told on my behalf, were it not to be libelous, could be told from my point of view. I assume it's something my major perpetrator and his parents fear more than almost anything at this point in the incident, though it probably should be the very least of their concerns. The major perpetrator, to this point, once completing his legal sentence, has experienced little to no personal success or satisfaction in his life , at least as far as I have been able to observe.  Members of the opposite sex who would desire any contact with him whatsoever, or at least the ones whose Venn Diagram circles intersect his in the most peripheral senses possible, seem as far as I can tell to be practically nonexistent. Educational success appears to have eluded him. His family owns a business, which should provide him with steady employment though his skill-set is not ideally suited to moving up the ranks of the business to eventually assume control of the company. Much of what he might once have owned either now belongs to me or will. (Most of my financial settlement related to him was paid by his father, but, even at my personal expense, the judge presiding over the case adjudicated that a portion of the financial responsibility for his actions needed to be owned by him personally and not by his parents, garnished by wages legally documented through proper wage forms and other documents. Creative W-2 and W-4 forms aren't all that hard to come by, but at least someone involved is having to go through the motions and take the trouble to do so. Some of that is money I will likely never see  (though I believe it is exempt from any bankruptcy proceedings) but, for me anyway, it was a price well worth forfeiting for the sheer knowledge of continual inconvenience to the perpetrator and to his enabling parents.

At the present, I have no deep and penetrating desire to become the Erin Brockovich of the world of sexual assault, and I cannot see any aspect of that changing at any time soon. Still, it causes me no suffering in the least that the major perpetrator may occasionally lose sleep in concern over this ultimately happening. Any anxiety on his part is something I view as karmic forces at their very most optimal.

When it happened to me late  that late September afternoon,  I was fifteen  -- a very slight fifteen-year-old, weighing in at about seventy-five pounds and still limping noticeably from a severe compound tibia-fibula fracture incurred he previous spring in a freak track and field accident. I would have been little match for someone my own size, much less for a male more the 2.5 times my size, plus the reinforcements he called in, including one female by herself more than twice my size. The attack was overkill, and perhaps was intended to be literally such. I'll never know.

My situation has relatively little to do with anything going on in today's news world concerning taking of one's sexual liberties. Still, when a related topic hits the news, I often feel both the desire and the technical wherewithal to weigh in on the pertinent situation as it relates to my own. In some cases, the propinquity is compelling. In other cases, it's tangential at best. Still, as a survivor of a rape attempt, I will interject my opinion into any related news story if it seems pertinent to me or even if it would seem in some manner to make me feel in some way vindicated to tell a part of my story one more time, from perhaps one more angle, sometimes for the sole reason that maybe just this once, in sharing it, I will be helped to understand my particular set of circumstances more fully myself and will somehow be made,  myself, to be more whole, more recovered, and less a victim of the trauma. That, for me, is my genuine intent in all of this: I wish, on my own terms,  to permanently renege on my status as a "victim."

Then again, perhaps I merely love the sound of my own voice, even in print, so much that I cannot relinquish the opportunity to tell my story when I have reason to believe others might actually pay attention to something I have to say, as opposed what frequently happens to the often puerile drivel with which I fill up this page on a regular basis. (I do so by choice, finding solace in the absurdity of the mundane world as well.) I can state with total honesty that I'm not in any way gratified by  the negative experience I endured because it  in any way causes people to have to sit up and to pay attention to my words form time to time. Had the incident never happened, my life would be better than it presently is in every sense of the word. I'm not an "everything happens for a reason" sort of person. This incident happened to me because a single person chose to exercise free will to commit evil, because others willfully aided and abetted him in his attempt to commit the almost ultimate evil act, and because one other individual in particular was  derelict in his responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect me from any ill that might have befallen me as a result of this incident, particularly when he had been guaranteed to my parent, in discharging her from her duties as a parent at the site in order to send her to represent the school district elsewhere, that he had assumed  personal protection of me.

I will not say unequivocally that nothing good can or will ever come of the incident.  I cannot foretell the future. In the evil of all that occurred -- the physical repercussions of the attack, the psychological ramifications of it,  the months of my life  lost in attempt to heal -- all of these things, while overwhelmingly negative and something no one --  young, old, male, or female -- should ever endure -- carry with them the potential to make me a stronger and more passionate advocate for anyone I encounter in or out of my career as a medical professional who might experience something of a similar nature.  At this point in my life, I lack the strength of spirit or the perspective to allow those experiences to help me in advocating for those in similar situations. I hope such is not always the case, and I did once actually agree to (and, more importantly, I followed through with the agreed arrangement and delivered a presentation on the topic) a speaking engagement both to peers and superiors concerning my role in the ordeal.

With many accusations being made in politics, entertainment, and elsewhere in the media, the subject of sexual assault, sexual consent, and all-out rape have been in the forefront of current news.  The stories concerning political polar opposites Roy Moore and Al Franken have caught my attention most recently, but all sorts of incidents from the Stanford bicyclist's clear  taking of liberties of an incapacitated female and subsequent almost unconscionably lenient sentence.  The Franken case seems to have been brought to light primarily to somehow justify the actions of which Moore has been accused, which is ludicrous. If Franken did that of which he has been accused (it's hard for me to believe anyone as intelligent as Franken would have allowed himself to have been photographed in such not merely compromising but outwardly damning poses, though un-doctored pictures rarely lie) I have nothing to say in defense of him. Often it's a he-said / she-said situation, in which case I tend in absence of other compelling evidence to side, rightly or wrongly,  with with the accuser, knowing from personal experience how very mortifying it is to report such an accusation even under the presumed anonymity supposedly afforded to alleged victims, which may or may or may not actually exist in protection of the accuser depending upon multiple circumstances, including where and when the incident did or did not take place, who else was present, the use of social media in sharing of details [including but not limited to photography/videography of the incident], the size of the community in which the event happened (or did not; I should at least try to be fair), the integrity of those who may have been witnesses, the integrity and/or objectivity of the supporters of the accused perpetrator, and even the integrity and/or objectivity  of those charged with investigating and prosecuting the particular case. Where Roy Moore's wife and her staunch defense of her husband is concerned, I consider it utterly immaterial. If I had a husband who was considered to be a rising star on the political spectrum who had been accused of the atrocities of which Moore has been accused, any defense I might offer of him should be seen only as self-serving.

Some of the connection to what has been reported in the news has been  superficially-at-most connected to anything that happened to me. I feel almost like a fraud -- perhaps a bit of a hustler -- in that sense of connecting my story to the stories of others whenever the remotest connection might exist, and maybe for, in part, the purpose of self-promotion and of making a greater [pen] name for myself each time the opportunity arises. Yet while I may [and in all honestly am] furthering my  personal agenda ad nauseum from each retelling of my story, I earn not as much as a penny for doing so. Keeping such in mind makes it much easier for me to stare at my image as I brush my teeth each morning and evening and however many times in between that the dental hygiene routine may happen.

I suppose I should now recount the basics of my personal rendezvous with sexual assault for the benefit of those who may have missed an earlier retelling.  The events leading up to my encounter were complicated. An essay authored by me was stolen from a teacher's personal file and was resubmitted by another student who, for whatever reason -- lack of confidence in the ability to produce work of his own at an adequate level, simple laziness on his part, perhaps even a desire for personal gain at the expense of or without regard to the time and effort contributed  by another student,  perhaps even a sense of self-entitlement that would cause a person to believe he had every right to help himself to work done by another, possibly by virtue of his status as a successful athlete and the entitlement afforded to him by such. I'll never know why he stole my essay.

Still, it would have ended there had an assistant football coach who was also a wrestling coach  -- the perpetrator was also a wrestler -- had not been shown a copy of the composition assigned to his athlete as a punishment to the athlete under his supervision and had he not chosen to submit the composition for an award of academic excellence. I find tremendous irony there.  The very idea that a written work  required as a consequence of having ditched a class would then be considered as a sort of justification for accollades of any sort is ludicrous.  Had this coach not shown such  exceedingly poor judgment, none of the events precipitating the ensuing disaster would have materialized. I haven't a clue as to where if anywhere this coach is now employed, but I hope he recognizes his role in setting these events into motion, not that such in any way lessons the guilt of any of the other perpetrators.

Even if the perp were given a truth serum drug [perhaps sodium thiopental, amitobarbitol, flunitrazepam, or a host of others; as effective as these pharmaceuticals are [they're not 100% effective or their results would be used conclusively in courts of law to settle cases of guilt; medical science is not there yet, though we one day may be] asked to provide reasons for his actions, he might possibly be one of those individuals so lacking in a functional conscience that even those measures would be unsuccessful in prompting him to provide truthful reasoning for what were his actions. In the end, we might never be closer to an answer than we presently are. Beyond that, sometimes I'm not convinced of the significance of  the why matter so much as the what in such cases.

The matter of whose authorship under the composition fell should have been not nearly so complicated as my school's administration made it. It was complicated by site the principal having recused herself from the matter, leaving the next-higher-person in the chain of command -- my own mother -- in charge of investigating the matter. My mother immediately recognized her own conflict of interest in handling the matter and called in the district superintendent,  Her major mistake -- and I'm not sure what she could have done about it, even had she known then what is now known --  was to have overestimated the competence, the integrity, and the personal responsibility of the district superintendent. Football game outcomes are important, after all, and so are those who make heavy financial contributions devoted to the purchase of athletic equipment and facilities.

The date on which I submitted the essay preceded the day on which the thug resubmitted it by more than seven months. That alone should have been considered key evidence. The topic to which I wrote was one directly assigned, and I addressed the topic to perfection. I'm not suggesting that my final product was, itself, a work of perfection; I am stating, however, that .I covered specifically and with precision the material I was asked to cover. My foe's assignment -- a make-up assignment for having unauthorizedly missed a class session --had been to write something by way of make-up-assignment that was in some way connected to American history. Between the dates and specificity of the topic as covered, substantial evidence existed to support me up as having been the rightful author of the work..  Furthermore, comparison of existing writing samples should have identified the work as having  been my own. Even had I copied the essay, which I did not, had I plagiarized it, from the consistency of my work, I would very nearly have had to have plagiarized from the exact same author each time I produced a composition for school. I could not have blindly and successfully scoured the Internet for pieces from which to plagiarize and have come up with such consistently linguistically similar written work. Unless I'd had a parent or close relative willing to do my written work for me (which i didn't; my parents and other close relatives were and continue to be busy people who lack the time to do homework for their offspring. They would offer advice when requested, which happened rarely on my part, but they weren't in any way willing to author compositions for either my brother or me, and even had there been one of us who needed such unethical assistance, my brother would have been the likely recipient. He needed far more help than I did. There were multiple times when I went to his assistance, though not by writing his papers for him but by helping him to reconstruct paragraphs or to re-think ideas.  Suffice it to say that I did not have a back-up source completing my written work for me, but had I required the assistance of one, it would almost have to have been the same source in each instance. At one point a linguist from our city's local university analyzed anecdotal evidence of my written work as a favor to the court, and the linguist concluded that my written work was all done by the same person.

Next, questioning concerning the content of the specific paper under consideration was conducted. I knew exactly what was in that essay, even though it had been composed more than seven months earlier,  because I  had been the one to have composed it. I answered any and every query concerning the paper with the direct confidence of the person who authored it.  My adversary had no clue as to the identity of Senator Joseph McCarthy -- the primary subject of the paper --  much less of any of the details covered by the paper.

The investigation to that point should have clearly and sufficiently identified me as the true and correct  author if the paper, yet the adversary's parents' and their attorney's unwillingness to give up on the idea that their son/client might have been the rightful author compelled his parents and their attorney to continually pose counter-measures to support their son's innocence -- even  going so far as to promote his  status as a victim  and mine as a villainess --  empowered their attorney to devise increasingly demanding propositions which were, even more, increasing;y futile on their part and only further underscored their son's/client's guilt.

Each of us was then asked to produce a sixty-minute essay on a topic that should have been clearly to my adversary's advantage.  The assigned topic related to the BCS method of determining the NCAA's annual national championship as opposed to allowing sportswriters' and others votes to determine the national championship team, which sometimes led to a disputed conclusion.   I was them and continue to be much more of an academician than a follower of sports. I had a clue as to what is happening in the world of major sports, but arising each the morning to check out the previous day's athletic statistics  in a newspaper, or even checking into them on my computer early each morning, was not a part of my daily routine. Primarily because of my father's, brother's, and extended family's somewhat extreme interest,  I have a foundation of  understanding of major sports, of conference championships, and of related matters, but I do not  live, breathe, and bleed sports. My adversary, on the other had, supposedly did and does. One might have expected his essay related to the BCS system for determining each year's NCAA  national football championship team should have been something about which my foe could have written with ease.  His problems, as I see them, are that A) he can write about nothing with ease, and B) he may have had strength of body well-suited for a defensive lineman's position on a football squad, but beyond understanding the basic concept of going for the ball at anytime someone on the opposing team held possession, his understanding of even football was limited.

My BCS-related essay produced on demand covered the very basics of how the BCS (BCS is an acronym for Bowl Championship Series)  was a distinct but flawed improvement over the previous system of eligible voters choosing each year's national championship winner.  I suggested ways in which participating teams into the tournament of sorts could more fairly earn slots into the competition, among a few other suggestions. I really don't remember all that I wrote: I remember primarily that I completed my essay in just over forty-five minutes of the allotted time. My foe, in the full hour allotted, completed one-and-one-half sentences in which he attempted unsuccessfully to delineate the words comprising the acronym of BCS. 

I requested to use the women's facilities at this point. Permission was granted. My adversary apparently utilized this opportunity to contact friends through text-messaging.  What may already have been in the planning stages was put into effect. Three girls arrived in the administration hall restroom almost immediately after I did. It soon became apparent that their presence was neither a coincidence nor anything that was intended to work in my favor. I was slapped and punched in the face, burned three times with a cigarette, knocked to the floor, had my not-quite healed fracture stepped directly upon by a girl much larger in size and greater in weight than was I.  It was at this point that my foe was also dismissed to visit a restroom. The bathroom he chose to visit was not the males' restroom directly across the hall from the principal's office, but instead, the women's restroom, which was maybe thirty feet down the hall and around a corner..  As the male entered, two of the three females barricaded the restroom door with their bodies. They also turned a trashcan on its side in attempt to wedge it in such a way as to block the door from easy opening. The third female, who had done nothing to come to my aid by this point, also had done no physical harm to me, The third female, against threats from the others,  forced her way out of the restroom.

The male asked the females to undress me from the waist down, which they did, again kicking my ribs and stepping on my not-yet-healed leg. I had a cell phone in my jacket  pocket, which, for reasons that don't need to be detailed at this time, was of the highly simplified variety. With that phone I was able to reach 9-1-1- and six additional numbers. 9-1-1- seemed at that time like my best bet. I dialed it and hoped that the 9-1-1- operator would hear that something was very wrong and would follow up on what she heard. I also knew that my cell phone was micro-chipped, but I had no idea how long activating such a chip might actually take.

My adversary removed his male appendage from his pants. I'm uncertain as to whether I was to be expected to perform services for him orally or vaginally. I'm not sure it would have mattered. Either would have been equally devastating for me.  The view of his nude penis and of how it would involve me caused me to vomit. This, in turn, cause the male to lose his erection. Despite having studied advanced biology by that time, which should certainly have covered the basic anatomy of the human erection, between shock of the circumstances and perhaps having blocked out anything I hadn't needed to know in order to ace an exam on the topic, I may have, due to lack of comfort of the subject matter and lack of emotional readiness to learn of it,   blocked out much of what was taught in class.  I was so very ignorant at the time of the physiology of an erection that  I was thoroughly unsure of what was happening and as to how the loss of the erection might impact me.

Angry at his lack of ability to perform the one or two functions that he had intended to perform using me as his object of hate, he directed a solid kick at my pelvic area with his steel-toed boot. Except to the extent that my body had been positioned by two of the three females who had participated in some way, I wasn't necessarily lying spread-eagled in order to accommodate his kick. This undoubtedly reduced the ultimate damage, though there was damage. He also  kicked my right flank hard, stepped on my ribs, and urinated directly upon my private places.

A meeting very important for administrators in our county -- in retrospect, it's tough to understand how any meeting for administrators anywhere could have superceded in importance what was happening at our school at that very moment -- had been scheduled to begin. The superintendent was already late for the meeting before the bathroom visit incident even set into motion the devastating chain of events. The superintendent's response to his pending meeting was to send my mother to the meeting in his stead. My mother now says the should have tendered her verbal resignation at that very moment, followed the next day by a written resignation. (Keep in mind, I had not yet been injured or even threatened.) Hindsight is always superior to foresight, though.  My mother had long been conditioned by educational administrative protocol to follow the chain of command. She agreed to attend the superintendent's meeting

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the female who had escaped the bathroom was running furiously though the halls of the nearly empty  building, attempting to get the attention of the adults in the building. She first succeeded in gaining a custodian's attention. While I did phone 9-1-1 and there was evidence that they eventually located the source of the call, without the aid of that third girl, the authorities may not have been able to arrive in time to be of practical assistance to me except after the fact.  Though she consciously made the poor choice to have become involved in the first place with the lower element responsible for  the near-tragedy, her involvement was indeed a blessing, and not a very heavily disguised blessing at that. Charges against her were dropped, due in part to my own family's attorney's involvement, and members of my family did what they could to help her to secure college financial aid. She'll never be someone I'll choose voluntarily with whom to socialize, but I owe her an amazing debt of gratitude, and I've told her so.  She's done well in university, and I think she will do well in life, though guilt can be a powerful antidote to success, and I sincerely hope guilt does not overpower for her what good she is able to accomplish in the world.

My father was out of state when the incident occurred.  After being photographed in my half-nude state, among other things, I was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, and spent that first night in the local hospital  undergoing the indignities of a rape kit. Though no actual rape had even allegedly occurred, there was transfer of body fluid with the perpetrator's having urinated directly upon my open  genital area, in addition to tissue transfer due to his boot's contact with my open genital area..  Injuries, both major and minor, had to be treated, and I was furthermore in no psychological state to be on the loose. My Uncle Steve and my mother spent the night in the hospital with me. The superintendent demanded that my mother report for work at her usual hour of 7:30 a.m. the following morning. She told him in no uncertain terms that he was free to go directly to hell, and not to pass Go or collect two-hundred dollars on his way there. He told her he considered that to be a threat. She told him to consider it whatever he wanted to consider it.  My Aunt Heather spent the night at my family's home with my brother Matthew. Matthew felt strongly about not wanting to be intimidated from sleeping in his own home by thugs. Consideration of the entire baseball team spending the night there was given, but it was ultimately decided that sending just one [very strong and capable] woman to fight off potential thugs sent more of a message to the perpetrators as to anyone's opinion of their power made a stronger statement than did reinforcing the house with a crew adolescent males. Police patrol was provided in a regular basis. Inexplicably, the juvenile perpetrators were released immediately to the custody of their parents.

My father caught the next plane out of his east coast location and made it home by nightfall the next evening, by which time I was discharged from the hospital. It was a very good thing that he was there, as that night, a group of two of the three original females, the perpetrator, and an additional male friend chose to drive to our home between the hours of two and three a.m. and to use a strong slingshot-like device to propel a brick through my bedroom window.  Due either to instinct or to inside source information, the school's head varsity football coach, who lived just around the corner from my family,  knew something was up and was prepared to act. He and two other neighbors immediately blocked the perpetrators' truck in so that no vehicular escape was possible. They chased down the responsible parties.  I wan't physically harmed by the brick or broken glass, but the emotional upheaval was severe. My family no longer owns the home at which this took place, but it took months to sell the place. In the interim, I never spent another night in that bedroom. I don't think I ever even went inside the room again.

There are more specifics I could detail, but I feel that I've said all I want or need to say for now.  Due to mechanical malfunction, I'm nether a rape nor an oral sodomy victim. I'm not sure how much difference would have been made in the grand scheme of things  had I been, but I am very glad that the decision as to when, where, and with whom to have my first sex was left to me and not to the physically overpowering force of a thug. That matters immensely to me. Control is crucial where a woman's sexual life is concerned.

I'll end with a few ideas. Women are told that their anonymity is protected at all costs. We all know such not to necessarily be the case. In some cases, women voluntarily go public in revealing their identities under the [arguably correct] assumption that  a face and name attached to a victim can create the benefit of strengthening a case.  Others feel that they may never be able to get on with their lives even under the cloak of anonymity, much less with a public persona.  I cannot judge anyone for either decision. Furthermore, I should make it clear that, as most of us are aware, not all victims of rape or any other form of sexual assault are female, nor are all perpetrators, real or wrongly accused, male.

Regardless of  however stupid, stoned, inebriated, innocent by way of ignorance, or whatever adjective anyone cares to apply here, consent is consent. No means no, and everyone, barring those with the severest forms of cognitive disability, who, if they're truly so disabled, belong behind bars and razor wires,  knows what is means and has known since roughly the age of eighteen months. The involvement of a few hormones changes nothing.

And, in finality, if i ever have to wonder whether or not this really happened to me or was a bad dream or a figment of imagination, I need only look at my right arm above the elbow, where, despite regular and repeated application of topical Mederma,  a scar from the worst of the three cigarette burns remains.

I do not own this video. I thank its rightful owner for having allowed it to appear for however long it remains here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Over the River and Through the woods: A Change of Plans and a Change of Prostate Strategy 9though not personal; I HAVE non Prostate)

The course of my plans has not been altered dramatically in any way. I still plan to be roughly the same place this time next year that I would have told you last week that I would be at that point in my life. 

My day today, which was technically yesterday, however,  did not proceed quite as planned for me.  My maternal uncle by marriage had an only semi-expected surgery. The surgery, known as a TURP (short for "trans-urethral resection of the prostate") was expected, though not quite so immediately or urgently  as it went down. He experienced a complete urinary blockage, which could quite easily have quickly progressed to complete renal failure. Fortunately, due to being in a good place at a good time, renal failure for him was not in the cards.

Because I was traveling through the general vicinity in preparation for Thanksgiving Day, I ended up at the hospital where and when my uncle had surgery. My aunt -- his wife -- was there with him,  but a spouse of s surgical patient more often than not both appreciates and benefits from moral supoort or even simply company during the procedure It probably was not a productive use of recovwry time for my eyes, but sometimes the world does not have to revolve around what is good for my eyes or for any other part of me.  Because this surgery was originally scheduled to have taken place in roughly four weeks, no other relatives were with my aunt and uncle at the hospital.  I drove myself the two hours to the hospital where my uncle's surgery was to be performed from where I had been stationed previously. I, along with my aunt,  met with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other pertinent medical personnel. I introduced myelf as the fourth-year medical school student that I am. I highly doubt that even one person to whom I introduced myself as such took me seriously to the slightest degree. I doubt that I came across as eloquent or necessarily even knowledgeable. The others probably thought I was, at best, a pre-med undergraduate student, or, in possibly a even more plausible scenario, a high school student considering medicine as a possible future career. If such were the case, I would have been far from the first person to have verbally enhanced my position or qualifications, not that my present qualifications are that much of which to boast. I have been told recently, though, that I am maturing in a physical sense and that, for the most part, I no longer look like a high school student. Some women in particular totally get their rocks off on being told constantly how ridiculously young they look. I am ot one of such women. I am noy one of such women. I consider it a compliment to be told that my chronological age matches or comes close to matching the age I actually look.  If I'm startting to look my age, it's high time, and I've worked hard to earn every laugh line or other indication of age as related to appearance. I do not claim to look like a thirty-five-year-oold woman, but neither am I any longer turned away from R-rated movies when unaccompanied by another adult.

In any event, I'm reasonably certain that even if the medical personnel I met for the first time today  took anything,  much less everything I said about my status as a medical school student with even a grain of seriousness, they didn't care in the least. Furthermore, had I been in their position and they in mine, I might have felt the same way. My status as a med school student ay my facility gave me no status as a student or member of their staff. For that matter, it wasn't eve a teaching hospital at which my uncle was treated.

At one point, though, they ventured onto territory that was too familiar for me to sit back and be the know-nothing relative. My uncle's surgery produced conditions, including unexpected gravel-like struvite urinary calculi that quite legitimately caused staff members to fear the results of infection. Antibiotics were prescribed, as was appropriate. Additionally, my uncle's system was flushed (with H2O) more aggressively than might have been consideted typical.  This elevated my level of concern. My uncle's father experienced a similar though not identical medical phenomenon thirty-some odd years ago. He, too, was found to have struvite gravel, and with it, the likely presence of infection. The increase of watwr created used to flush his system creaqted an imbalance between the body's  appropriate hydration level and the balamce of electrolyes. in his system. This resulted in cardiac complications that, while it didn't kill my uncle's father right there in the recovery room, caused longer-term complications that ended his life within a few months of the surgical event. The man was not, at that point in his life,  the healthiest creature to walk the face of the Earth, but neither was he expected to be dead within two months of what had been considered to that point to be a fairly straightforward prostrate reduction surgery. 

If the significance of water/electrolyte imbalance seems unimportant or irrelevant, try for a moment to recall a radio station contest from several years ago where a young mother lost her life by drinking too much water too rapidly in a radio station's ill guided promotional attempt of awarding a game system of some sort to whomever who could consume and keep down the greastest quantity of  to water in a given period of time. The poor, sweet mother so desperately wanted an X-Box or Playstation or some similar device for her offspring that she made the ultimate sacrifice in order to obtain it for them. (In retrospect, my heart bleeds for this family. I can say in all honesty that had  I known of their plight and of the harm the mother would cause to hersef in order to provide this gift to her children, I would have emptied my bank account of its contents to just buy the damned game for them, but I didn't know, and the point is therefore moot.) Of course the mother would not have done what she did had she had the remotest of clues that the end result even possibly might have been lethal, not would the radio station had come up with the contest had they possessed the slightest clue that such could have been the end result. It seems safe now the presume that the radio station and /or its insurers are now paying out the sum of thousands of x-boxes to the survivors of the woman, but that the woman's family scarcely gives a fling rat's ass about the money. Up to that point, few of us other than medical professionals gave any thought to the idea that dirnking too much water could be fatal. (The radio station was far from my home area. My dad commented after th fact that he was a bit surprised that a medical professional from within range of the station did not, after hearing the contest's promotions,  call and offer the advice that the contest was a poor idea from a safety standpoint. Perhaps someone did actually make such a call, and the radio staion ignored the advice, or perhaps all the doctors and nurses who heard the promotions for the contest assumed someone else would make the call. I for one will never know.) Likewise, medical professionals, who should and usually do know better, can forget that balance in the human body is essential, and tht flushing a system with even something so seemingly benign as water can produce devastating consequences.

My aunt remembered the electrolyte-imbalancing events surrounding the death of her father-in-law, as did I , though I'd only heard by word of mouth; the incident took place before I was born. Thus, when the treatment plan was presented to her and to me in a small conference room directly off the surgical suite, she paled noticeably. I had a good idea of the cause of her concern; she seemed unable to speak coherently, so I spoke for her in the way I best could. 

My uncle's father's medical history had been entered into records, but the significance and similarity of  his father's history with what seemed to be unfolding before us seemed lost on all but my aunt and myself.  I reminded the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and a patient advocate of my unce's father's situation. As the other medical personnel - or should I more correctly say the sole other medical personnel present -- in such a setting, I'm not necessarily even considered medical personnel, period. I'm a mere student, and because I'm not their medical school student, even my status as a student is tenuous at strongest.

Still, this was my uncle -- an uncle by marriage, for that matter, but my uncle just the same. His only other avocate at the moment was his pale and shaken wife. The oldest of his offspring was in Newfoundland on military duty. His second child was attempting to arrive at the scene of the surgery while simultaneously preparing for her engineering final exams at a university across the continent. His youngest child was at the mercy of an automechanic attempting to repair the starter on his vehicle nearly five hundred miles from the location of the surgery. Other relatives would arrive in the coming hours, but action was needed at tht precise time. My aunt tried to explain her concerns buy had litte success in describing the incident involving her father-in-law more than thirty years ago. The only real voice for my uncle at that time was mine. I'm not certain how interested I would have been, had I been the medical personnel present, in hearing my not-quite-twenty-three year old voice.

There are times to embolden one's voice and to embellish one's knowledge and one's experiences with hope that bravado might possible increase authority. At other times, bluster serves only to decrease what little credibility one possesses in the first place. This seemed to me to be one of such times. As humbly as i could while still attempting to convey some sense of confidence, I related what was already in my uncle's medical records, but reiterated that neither my aunt nor I wanted the same result as what had happened so many years earlier to my uncle's father. I conceded a need for elevated hydration while calmly [as I could under the circumstances] advocating  for a a more moderate and measured aprroach to the system -- for modest-as-practical  hydration, for use of the safest antibiotics, and for a chance for my uncle's body to heal what a body can often heal on its own when left to minimal interference.

My uncle drank 7-up and ate soda crackers a few hours ago. He'll be taking moderately heavy pain medications for a few weeks, as he had a few nasty struvite calculi in addition to a grossly enlarged prostate. Did I miracuslously save my uncle's life? In the most likely scenario, no. He probably would have survived whatever reasonable course of treatment that was ultimately chosen had it not involved the use of leeches or the relying upon of the services of an exorcist. 

Still, I was able to be what too many times in my career I will not be,  which is an advocate for a patient. The role of patient advocate should be a part of every doctor's job at the back of his or her mind at all times even if it's not his or her primary job. The job of advocate will not look the smae from whatever angel it is approached, but still, the idea should be there -- that if no one else is present to advocate for the patient, the job ultimately must fall upon the doctor, who must advocate without regard for what is beneficial to the hospital's administration or reputation or what is good for the insurance carrier's bottom line. And we, as medical professionala (I'm once again calling myself a medical professional prematurely in this sense) need to forget that every patient deserves an advocate, and  on rare ocasions the patient has no advocate unless the doctor steps out of his doctor shoes and into the role of advocate. 

I wsn't entirely the most diplomatic advocate, not was I entirely as humble or as reasonable as I might have been. I have time yet to work on those skills, and I have faith in my ability to improve in those areas.

It's late, and I still have, along with the proverbail promises to which I'm obligated, many miles to travel before I'm givn the luxury of the opportunity to sleep.  I have a review -- which i'm looking forward to writing for my friend Craig. I haven't done my poor and ailing eyes any favors today. My eye muscles were so weakened by the day;s acivities activities that I was unable to drive my aunt home; we took Lyft instead. Both of our cars remain in the hospital's valet parking section, whih=h leaves then their in excess of the time upon which we had agreed to leave them. We'll deal with them tomorrow. A generous tip mends fences where most of such things are concerned. We arrived at her home safely. which was and should have been our major objective.

My sub-internship has been a bit of a bust. Injury, illness, and real life sometimes get in the way of the best-laid plans of mice and medical school students, or at least did in the case of this particular medical student. I haven't burned any bridges as far as this sub-internship is concerned; my supervisors have been pleased with what work I have completed for them. There just hasn't been enough of it from where I stand. Fortunaely for me, I have a urology clerkship rotation I can scratch in place of a fresh sub-internship from mid-January until mid-February.  Meanwhile I'm off duty until Monday, when I will begin  a new rotation in hematology. The career of no doctor of whom I've ever been aware was every harmed by extra knowledge of the field of hematology. 

Plans go awry from time to time. We as prospective physicians and as prospective adult humans must learn to adapt or to go with the wind a bit from time to time.

My guess is that both Davey and Goliath would be fully in agreement with my new plans. Furthermore, should it not work out, the remake of Davey and Goliath may need a new studio musician, which I personally could be if all other options were cut off to me. Options are a nice perq for just about anyone, I'm not sure anyone benefits form them more than do medical school students.

Most likely this time next year will find me in a residency somewhere in the Great White North, but even if not, there are other great places to be and other whorthwhile things I could be doing.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, all!  Remember that much is expected from those to whom much has been given, and for most of us, in one way or another, a whole lot truly has been given.  Soon, for me, I will travel over the river and through the woods to my aunt's and uncle's home for a sumptious meal and a few extra hours of blessed and much needed rest. I wish everyone wthing rading distance the same.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Literal Biblical Interpretations: Davey and Goliath, Claymation, Gumby, Pokey, Mr. Bill, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Pat Boone, Texas Fundie Nutcases, and Same-Sex Weddings

My dad took me to IHOP at my request tonight, and didn't complain when I was only able to finish about six bites of my meal. I don't know what Mum threatened him with, but it must have been potent. Then again, perhaps his previously nonexistent  conscience finally kicked in.

On an unrelated note, I have a friend who has worked and continues to some degreee to work in the entertainment industry. He now proposes new shows and participates in filming and/or producing pilots. I don't know if any of the newly proposed shows have come to fruition. I haven't a clue as to how the timelines work where such things are concerned.

Along those lines, I propose some sort of remake or update of the 60's Lutheran-produced children's program Davey and Goliath. I'm not certain as to what direction or angle the update or remake should take. Maybe the claymated version of  Emma Stone (who portrayed Billie Jean King in The Battle of the Sexes -- the real Emma Stone -- not the claymated version) could be Davey's girlfriend. Or maybe Billie Jean King herself can be Davey's girlfriend or concubine. Billie Jean already looks a bit claymated. (Sorry Billie Jean, and if I live as long as you have lived, chances are that I won't look as good as you do now.) Despite the excessive with-no-attempt-whatsoever-to -camouflage unabashed push for Biblical morality, the show was pretty damned terrific as originally done. 

I, for one, would not upgrade the animation. Claymation was as about as consummate as animation ever got or ever likely will get, and I'm not sure why anyone would choose to "improve" Davey and Goliath with today's technological animation advances.

Perhaps, trite as this sounds, one upgrade angle could involve including  other claymation characters, including but not limited to Gumby, Pokey, or Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live.  (Let's keep the Godawful California Raisins out of it, however; even tackiness has its limits, or at least should.) These characters could take on traits of Biblical characters, or perhaps not. Maybe Mr. Bill helping the mother who couldn't find her diaper pin or tape for the disposable diaper or whatever it was she was missing when diapering her baby and decided to help out with the staple gun would go right along with Abraham being told be God to sacrifice Isaac. 

Please note that I have lost no fervor toward my resolve to be a more devout follower of Christ. I'm merely suggesting that not every single word or story in the Holy Book was necessarily placed there with what would have been or be best for humanity in mind. The Abraham/Isaac story was a classic a disaster waiting to happen. Mental illness existed in Biblical times. Surely had Yahweh been dictating or writing the entirety of His or Her own story, He or She would have considered that such a passage as that one might easily have been miscontrued, ending up with, hypothetically, some psycho fundo father in Texas encouraging his clinically mentally ill Haldol-withdrawing  wife to reproduce as often as was physically possible, then to homeschool her too many children, ultimately resulting in her drowing them consecutively in the family bathtub. 

Anyway, Biblical characters could be claymatized  -- I recommend Samson and Delilah, or perhaps little Zaccheus and his sycamore tree (I confess to not having read that part of the Bible; was it really a sycamore tree into which little Zaccheus climbed, or was it some random tree but "sycamore" was inserted into the song because it scanned better than did "pear tree" or "holly tree')  -- but the characters in the remake need not be limited to those featured in the Bible or even in the Book of Mormon.  Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump would make excellent updated claymated  inclusions, as perhaps would  Kellyanne Conway, Camilla Parker-Bowles, or perhaps even Pope Francis.

And about the "A Mighty Fortress" trumpet theme; do we stick with it as the iconic Lutheran theme, or are Lutherans so schismed- out by now that not even they remember that "A Might Fortress" is or ever was their iconic theme? And should we choose to stick with it, do we retain the trumpet version, or go with a heavy metal guitar rendition, or even have Kanye West come up with a rap interpretation (that would surely suck; if rap is the selected genre, an artist with more talent than Kanye West would be required)? 

Or do we go with one of those modern Christian anthems - 10,000 Reasons or something of that genre, maybe done in grunge rock style? Perhaps Pat Boone's claymated incarnation could perform it. But would that be before or after the claymated creations of Pat and his son-in-law Gabri Ferrer (son of the late great Rosemary Clooney and lawfully-wedded spouse of Pat's daughter Debby Boone of one-hit-wonder "You Light Up My Life" fame) went to battle with slingshots or swords or other primitive weapons over theclaymated Pat Boone's objections to the claymated ordained Episcopal Priest Gabri Ferrer's willingness to officiate at same-sex wedding ceremonies?

I won't even go into how different the tragedy of Pat Boone's grandson Ryan Corbin's traumatic brain injury that occurred as a result of having fallen through a roof skylight might have resolved in a  dramatically different manner with claymation in the mix, because a body made of clay would tolerate the effects of such a fall with much less trauma than would the standard human body. Whoever it was (besides Yahweh, who in some way had a hand in forming everything and everyone, though His or Her influence would surely have a less direct impact where claymation was and is concerned: Yahweh created humans, who then created claymation) who formed Gumby, Pokey, Davey, Goliath, Mr. Bill, and the rest could simply have reshaped the young victim Mr. Corbin into his original image, or perhaps into an image even more perfect than had been the original. I won't go there, though, because doing such might be perceived as being tasteless. The very last thing I would ever wish to be perceived be would be to be tasteless.

Damn it, I really hope I can get off Prednisone soon. This excessive wakefulness cannot lead to good things.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Slow Learners Are Better than NO Learners - In 'N Out Burger Is the BEST!!!!

This is seriously my idea of a gourmet restaurant. If I ever get hitched for real, I kid you not, I will have the reception catered by the good people of In 'N Out Burger. (It might save you a few bucks, Mum and Dad.)

Some people are rather slow learners, but at least they learn at some rate. My dad drove to In 'N Out Burger to get my dinner for me tonight. I'm reasonably certain that he was motivated at least in part by having to smell but not getting to taste any of my meal from last night. I only ate half my burger, but I took the rest outside to the trash to ensure that he would not in any way benefit from my reckless drive.

I'm available if your name is Philip Phillpis (and you're the REAL Philip Phillips).

God, this prednisone is killing me, or at least is wreaking havoc with my sleep.  I stay awake for sixty hours straight, then go into a coma for the next twenty.  I would be really worried about the situation ezceopt that what the prednisone is doning to me is not all that much different  that what the medical school and intern schedule is done and.or will do to my sleep schedule anywy, so it's probably pointkess to worry about it -- six of one or half a dozen of the other, to be overly trite, which I seem to be lately.

Regarding beginning this post with the word "God," I may be giving the wrong impression. I've decided to give the idea of following Jesus a more concerted effort. It would seem that, in light of such, not beginning a post by breaking one of The Big Ten (numero dos in the Catholic sequence and numero tres in the Protestant sequence; I haven't yet decided which if either I more closely align) would be a step in the right direction. On the other hand, in my interpretation (I've yet to find a single theologizan who agrees with me, but since when has that sort of thing gotten in my way?), God is not His  (or Her) name. It's a title. The name is Elohim or Jehovah or Yahweh  or something along those lines. Just as, once I become an MD, assuming I make it that far, Doctor will never be my actual name unless I I go through the steps of legally changing it to such, which would be ludicrous. but rather, a title, God is not the name of the Supreme Being but rather a job descroption. Nowhere in any of The Big Ten does it say not to take God's or anyone else's job description in vain. If you find it disrespectful or irreverent to say the word God when you are speaking of anything or anyone other than The Supremem Being, by all means, refrain from doing such yourself, but I would appreciate not being condemned to Hell for not taking the same approach.

I've digressed in a most egregious way, though.  The point of this post is not to enucleate my new religious fervor or to delineate my own interpretation of The Ten Commandmanets, but to declare my undying love for Philip Phillips. With all due respect to any and all men (if truth were to be told, there haven't been all that many) I've ever dated, may be presently dating, or may date in the future, were Philip Phillips to call me at this precise moment to propose marriage to me, I would almost certainly accept the proposal with or without a prenup.

Reverting to my initial declaration of religious fervor, during this Christmas season I may, in a manic rage or display of religious devotion, post of recording of myself singing a religious, most likely nativity-oriented, hymn.  If I do this, it will not be to share with the world at large, or, more correctly, with the miniscule readership who appear here from time to time, that I have been gifted with a marvelous voice which warrants being shared with the world at large in a return of gratitude for the great gift with which God has blessed me. Rather, the point would be that the Bible states somewhere (I don't claim to be a scriptorian by any stretch of the word though through some statistical anomaly I am somehow a  two-time graduate of LDS seminary) that a joyful noise to the Lord should be made.  The resulting sound will be somewhere between the ducet tones of Knotty and the less dulcet tones typiclly produced either vocally or by clarinet by The Stormin' Mormon (truthfully, i'll probably sound a bit more lite The Stormin' Mormon)..  If one keeps his or her expectations low, he or she may find that he or she is neither excessively disapoointed nor too rolling-on-the-floor-unable-to catch-his-or-her-breath-due to-uncontrolled-laughter hysterical by the end result.

In the end, it may or may not happen, and, if it does happen, the result will not be a thing of beauty. It will be a pure offering of devotion to Jesus, though. Let me warn you:. my singing voice has yet to mature and probably never will.

And Philip Phillips, email me if you want my cell number.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Blind Driving the Blind

It's not that I care a great deal, but I cannot help noticing that both readership and comments are down in droves. I've done what I can.  Chuck, whose comments apparently made readers here uncomfortable,  no longer comments here,  The problem apparently lies in the fact that my life is boring even to people other than myself.  C'est la vie. The life of a medical school student on too-frequent medical hiatus is not the stuff of California Adventure Land's most exciting roller coasters.

My kind and gentle care has packed up and moved on  to San Francisco. My Uncle Steve and Aunt Heather had been here with me, providing my every need and want for the past two days. Now they've gone off to the city, and my dad has replaced them. Tonight I wanted an In 'N Out Burger for dinner. Dad said that was ridiculous because there was plenty of food in this house for me to eat. He pointed out a shelf full of breakfast cereals, a freezer with bread, and pantry with peanut butter and jelly. When I rejected his suggestions and he rejected my request for transportation, I reached for my keys.

"You really shouldn't be driving," he admonished.

"I have no legal restriction against driving," I responded.

I drove slowly and carefully the two miles or so that it took to get to the nearest In 'N Out Burger. The drive-through line was a minimum of twenty-five cars long. I parked in a spot that looked like it wouldn't be too tough to get out of. One has to be careful when parking at In 'N Out Burger because the drivers in the drive-though line often will not let the parked customers back out of their spaces. It could be a two-hour experience if one is not careful where one parks.

I got my burger and root beer  quickly by going inside the restaurant. Once I returned to my car, the car that had been parked next to it had moved, and the lighting had altered slightly. I could see that I was standing on diagonal yellow lines, indicating that I had parked in a handicapped spot. Worse still, as I circled my car in incredulity, I saw a ramp directly in front of my car. Even the handicapped were not supposed to have parked there. It was the access for cars on either side to get from the sidewalk to the parking lot.

I managed not to be ticketed.  I didn't feel particularly guilty about having parked in a spot reserved for the handicapped (even if even  the handicapped themselves weren't really supposed to have parked there) because how much more handicapped could a person be than to not know he or she had parked in a reserved spot? I did feel bad about anyone I may have inadvertently endangered with my imperfect vision, and drove home very slowly and with great caution.

I take responsibility for my role in this fiasco that could have been much worse, but does my dad? Apparently not. He had the nerve to complain that I didn't buy anything for him to eat. At this rate, send me back to Dr. Juvy.

Charlie Manson May Be On His way Out Of HERE!

Major news outlests are reporting that Charlie Manson has been hospitalized in Bakersfield, California, which is a relatively short distance from the California State Prison, Corcoran, where Manson had been incorprated. I would have been preferred that he be transforerred to the tylare regional medical Center, which is presnetly non-operational due to financial crises. I would have been happy to let him take his chances with revocevery or palliative priocedures there. As far as I know, only security personnel are on duty.

Manson has had ore than enough time on theis planet to accoplish his evil work. The good people at Mer cy Hospital in Bakersfield (where one unconfirmed source has listed him as having been admitte3d) have enough deserving patients for whom to care. Charile deserves none of their time or attention. Give him the same mercy he directied his minions to give their victims.

Furthermore, I hope, not for the rest of the patients, but for the sake of Charile, that the most incompetent staff ever assembled is on duty tonight.

May he not rest in peace.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Red Eye at Midnight, Ophthalmologist's Delight*; ROID Rage or Just Extreme Pain. This may be it for me, or maybe not.

This was the closest approximation of my eye I could find on google images, and I wasn't up to taking a selfie.  The similarity ends more or less with the discoloration and sweling,  I don't have the fullness of face for the resemblance to  extend further. but I expect neither the discoloration nor the swelling to go noticed by children I will encounter by in the work setting to escape theur comments or questions to me or to their parents in front of me. I'm prepared to deal with their questions and comments,
*I was making a silly rhyme here as opposed to offering sound medical advice; a person might actually be better-served with a painkiller and a strong cup of coffee.

Life is a series of ups and downs. We've all experienced both. Right now I'm in a down of major depths, the likes of which I haven't experienced since either the compound femur fracture,  though even with my flair fir drama, I must concede that thi current misfortune,  while it could have ended more tragically than did my either of my previous catastrophes.

I've called everyone I could call in my home area in effort to call in favors in terms of obtaining painkillers legally. The doctors who treated me in southern California knew quite well that over-thrr-counter pain relief would not be sufficient for pain management for this scleritis or sclerosis or whatever it is I have  (I cannot see well enough to read the form) and should have prescribed something for me while I was there. Now the doctors who saw me are off for the long weekend, and due to new rules, a prescriptions can no longer be called in for Level II restricted substances. If I were willing and able to make the trip to southern California and back, they would likely be happy to give me the meds I need. Since the previous trip there and back, however, very nearly killed me and half of those into whose paths I ventured,  Furthermore, no one I've asked is willing to drive me. We have adequate medical care here is the reason given of the eight people I have asked already. I'm in no hurry to repeate the adventure. I'm in no hurry to repeat the trio, however. Jake probably would be willing to transport me, but he has a work shift that is non-negotiable in another state.

I've called my father in Boston and my mother in wherever Rice University is.  My assumption is that my dad warned my mom dad after I spoke with her that he would soon be hearing from me. Both offered lukewarm words that might have been taken as sympathy.  Both claim (perhaps righfully so) that there's really no way they can help me right now. Neither is in a positio to hop into a car and drive me to LA and back , not am I totally in condition to make the trip even as a passenger.  There are scads of doctors my dasd could have called who woukld,  despite the current war against vicodin, have been willing, based in my dad's request alone, to have written a script for easily enougb vikes to get me thourgh the weekend until i coud be evaluated by a local physician or surgeon,  to concure that the need for further meidcation. Had that been asking to much, tons of doctors would have been willing to breifly evaluate me before giving me the prescription. My dad has done siilar facors for many of them. I don't understand his reluctance to ask any colleagues ti return favors.

Furthermore, why is it that, though I am an adult at very nearly twenty-three years of age, whenever I have done anything of which either of my parents disapprove of anything I have said or done, they feeel most free to speak using both tone and words of rebuke to me, as a parent might  to a minor child, yet when I need something from them I'm an adult and on my own, and they're already doing far to muc for me is it stands, and I need to learn to stand on my won two feet and solve my own problems? Had the worst happened and had I suffered a fatal accident coming down the Grapevine, I suppose it would have been my own responsibility to order my own coffin or arrange the cremation. Mty parents want to have things both ways: they want to be able to yell at me and discipline me verbally as though I were a child, but then they want no responsibility  in assisting me when I have a real problem, sometimes not even of any fault of my own.  Does anyone blame me for feeling as I do? Incidentally, Matthew would admit that he is not treated in this manner.

If something here seems totally out of place, as in even more out of place than what appears in my usual posts, please blame the assistive technology upon which I'm relying to get this post done. I've never dictated a post before (except when my brother was acting as my personal secretary) and at would seem from the way things ae going now that I do not speak with particular  clarity. I would think that dictating would produce fewer typos than does my typical typing, but such is not the case.

The eyes were  diagnosed with sclerosis, or at least I think that's what my paper indicating the diagnosis said. Or might have been scleritis. Either way, it's apparently bad. I had issues while attending a medical conference . I received prompt at free medical care, but those in charge did something they really should not have done, which was to have rolled me in a wheelchair out to my car.  I was less qualified to drive than what I would presume would be the average person with a back of 0.15.  People continually honked at me on the freeway, and I assume it wasn't because they though I was hot.  If they made obscene gestures, I was unable to see them.  I pulled over in a little city of Castaic, found what appeared to be a respectable neighborhood, and napped for maybe half an hour. Things seemed briefly better for a short time, but then it was back to where I was before. When I reached Lebec, I pulled over and booked a hotel room. I should have booked the room for a weak but didn't want to be considered AWOL as far as my job was concerned. I had an 11:00 am checkout time. I set my alarm for 10;30 and had everything essentially ready to go except for putting on real clothing, packing up my toothbrush and throwing my alarm clock in my suitcase.

I knew once I was on my feet that I was not good to go but felt I had little choice but to go.  I dragged my suit case to the car, locked myself into my car, and slept for almost three hours.  I then departed. It was a distaster compounded by a fiasco increased by a debacle. Only those little bumpt between lanes let meknow when i had crossed into someone else's lane. k know I was endangering others besides myself. for that I feel most huilty but wasn't sure whay else to do. Had I called 911, they probably would have tossed me into the drunk takn rather than sending me into the hosptial, and I probably would have been arested rather than sent to the hosptial despite a blood alcohol od 0.00 and no prescription painkillers in my system,  The war on painkillers has grown so virulent that it's damned tough to get the good stuff even in real need. if you ever have open-heart surgery in California pray for a compassionate surgeon, because otherwise you're not likely to  be prescribed  anything stronger than Tylenol.

People honked at me a lot. I tried to politely wave.  They probably thought I was attempting to flip them off but was too limited in range of motion to have possessed the motor coordination to stick my middle finger up by itself.

I pulled off periodically when things were at their worst, but all it really accomplished was to delay the agony of the inevitable. I stayed in the slow lane that has that sand-papery stuff on the right. Also, at least people only on one side of my were in any danger from me. I stopped and called several people, thinking maybe someone would understand the danger I was posing to others even if they didn't care about me, but no one picked up.  I seiously considered calling 911, but was more fightened of ending up in the drunk tank than  of death itself, and,  while this speaks horribly of a me as human being, even than of causing the injury or death of another person. I tried to minimize the chances of injury or death to others by driving slowly, driving with my emergerncy flashers on,  remaining in the right lane, and pulling off at the very worst times. Still, I took foolsih risks with the wellbeing of others, and you may lecture me about my self-centeredness and inexcusable negligence if you wish. I get it;  I was inexcusably negligent. Through nothing short of the grace of God  I made the normally six-hour trip that took me closer to eleven hours. It's odd to me that in the roughly nine of eleven hours that I drove with my flashers on, no one called, or at least no CHP responded to the call. I've lost some faith inthe California Highway Patrol. not that their inaction excuses my poor judgment in any way.  I'm not sure of the exact time. I can only estimate. I dragged myself and my suitcase and my body into my condo at around 1:00 a.m.

Within a few hours I made it up the stairs and into my bedroom, where I remained for I think twenty-six hours, at which time I felt that I needed a change of scenery, plus it was time to take my steroid, which needs to be taken with food in order to avoid acute gastric distress. I decided to watch TV in order to distract myself from pain and misery. The romote control device was nowhere to be found, which is not an unusual situaion. Matthew, who isn't an ordinarily creative preson, can think of more creative places in which to stash a remote control than Da Vinci could ever have come up with to create the subtle nuances of his murals.

I dragged myself, with considerable effort,  upstairs to retrieve the remote from my TV.  It did not work on the downstairs T.  I went to Matthew's room to find his remote and try it. It didn't work, either. In a fit of anger than may have been roid rage or may have been just insanity on my part, I pounded Matthew's remote cotrol against the coffee table until the romote broke. It made me feel a little better; not better enogh, but a little better all the same, although the level of my anger frightened me.  It may have been roid rage or it may have been latent insanity waiting for an opportunity to come out. In the end, maybe it doesn't matter. Perhaps I'm not sufficiently sane to do this job or even to continue to function as a human,

No one with the authority to issue a painkiller prescription is answering calls or texts. Assuming I don't quit medical school and, thus, never achieve the status af having the authority to write prescriptions, I shall remember the kindness offerred by each person I called and will reciprocate if given the opportunity. My dad, who cannot prescribe for me now because he is out of state, and precriptions must be presented in hard copy, suggested that I am depending too much upon prescription meds to solve my problems.  I wish for him the worse case of scleritis or sclerosis (whichever it is) as soon as possible, and I wish that no one will give him anything stonger than Tylenol for the pain.  And if he were to have a simultaneous 1.4 millimeter kideny stone, that would be icing on the cake.

I recognize the fact that this is not the fault of anyone out in cyber land. I texted a friend from across the continent who was in a poistion to offer nothing more than moral support and who typically might respond (not definitely, but might) but he was apparently too busy either to notice or to respond.  I have to accept the idea that I am twenty-two -- amost twenty-three-- now, and my problems are now mine and no one else's. I cannot expect everyone else to come running eiher physically or through the Internet, anytime I have a hangnail or a case of scleritis. Still, I'm having a hard time with parents and aunts and uncles I considered to be close to me not caring when I am in pain and distress. Maybe when I reach the magically mature age of twenty-three, I will suddenly possess the emotional strength and maturity to deal with extreme pain and nothing at my disposal to help with it. For now, I am lacking in that capacity. I don't even know if I care to live another day. Ironically, I haven't access to a single vicodin tablet, but there is probably enough acetaminophen to off me and a dozen others in no time in my medicine cabinet even as I type.

I HATE, with a passion beyond my capacity to express, every doctor in my jursidiction with the oower to prescribe narcotics.  I feel that not one of them, nor anyone else, for that mateer, cares in the least about my pain or anything else about me.  If this sounds like self-pity, it is. I'm feeling extremely sorry for myself now.

I'm now in the waiting room of  the E.R. and am exposing myself to every germ breeding in the central coast in order to prove that I am not a drug seeker beggin for my next fix. With any luck, someone in the E.R. will recgnize me as a clinical rotation med school student and might possibly accelerate me through the process.  With my typical luck, however, I  will be here until sundown at the very least. It's very important to keep the drug-seeking medical studente away from the goods for which they went into medical school in the first place to gain access.  Perhaps most of them  know what we don't, which is that selling drugs on street corners would have required far less of our time in terms of education and would have paid us a hell of a lot more.  Situations such as this current one in which I am mired, cause me  gravely to question why anyone with even  half a brain ever bothers doing anything the correct and ethical way.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A Most Untimely Valentine's Day Post

Is it really worth looking like this for just one day . . . 
                                                             I do not own this photo.

in order to wind up with THIS a few years later?
In fairness to the bride pictured above, to the best of my knowledge she hasn't spawned as much as a single crib lizard yet in the four-or-so years since she's been hitched, and even had she done so, her situation wouldn't be accurately portrayed in the chaos pictured immediately above. Her presence here is rhetorical and because she's beautiful.

A friend of mine recently called my attention to a country song, "Merry Go Round," recorded by artist  Kacey Musgroves.  The video was nicely done, and the point of the whole thing seemed to be that too many [particularly young] people are rushing off into marriage and reproduction, only to find themselves miserable.  One only has to take a brief walk through one of the housing developments in which married BYU students live to see the wisdom in what the song is trying to convey.

Yet I'm uncertain that marriage or even marriage with children inherently must be a state of gloom, despair, and agony (to borrow a term from Hee Haw).  I think my parents are happy in their marriage. One never knows these things for sure, but I've been aware of very few serious arguments between them. They've suffered through their share of adversity, with losing twins at twenty-three weeks, with my mom having gone through Graves' Disease and the ophthalmological complications, with my dad nearly losing my mom to leukemia, with having to experience being related to my father's family, and, quite frankly, with having to raise me. I wasn't, as one might have imagined, the female reincarnation of the Christ Child in my younger years. Serious trials in marriage, I've been told, either draw a couple closer or tear them apart. Adversity appears to have bound my parents more solidly than they otherwise might have been.  Then again, what the fuck do I know? Perhaps they're  preparing to submit divorce papers as I type.

Largely, my family on both sides comes down heavily on the side of "until death do you part." That doesn't mean they're any happier than any other couples, married or divorced.  It's just that a combination of religious practices, of not wanting to be the one who breaks the mold, and the old idea that what is available on the market probably isn't all that much better than the spouse with whom one is already stuck keeps most of them together. In at least some cases, though. I assume they're well-matched, have  perfected the art of compromise, and are genuinely happy most of the time. No one is happy all the time.

I have one first cousin on each side of the family who has permanently split from his or her spouse. In one case, it was actually annulled. In the divorce that happened on my mom's side of the family,  if the groom's parents have any idea what came between the couple, they've not shared the information with the rest of us. The situation is such that the former couple is no longer comfortable being in the presence of one another. The groom's family, while presumably recognizing that blood is thicker than water, try to be there for their former daughter-in-law just as they are for their son. Her parents are no longer on the planet.  If it's the former daughter-in-law's turn to have Christmas with the children, the grandparents celebrate with them as well. The son goes to the house of one of his siblings for the holidays. The reverse happens if it's the son's turn for Christmas with the kids. (The ex-wife has no siblings.)  It's far from ideal, but is probably making the best of a bad situation.

My aunt's and uncle's son's annulment after three weeks, on the other hand, was Utah's version of the war between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The wedding never should have taken place, or at least not when it did. The groom's sole employment at the time (and to the present, to the best of myknowledge) was as a newspaper deliverer, and he demonstrated no particular ambition to upgrade his employment status.  With his parents' assistance and without the knowledge of his former bride's parents, he snuck her out of her parents home on the morning of her eighteenth birthday (the bride shares complicity in this situation as well; no evidence of a gun having been pointed at her head was ever introduced) and spirited her off to the Manti Temple for the wedding. The former bride's parents, temple-recommend-holding Mormons, were not even told of or invited to their daughter's wedding.  Initial arguments over how to properly hang toilet paper morphed into fights of greater significance, the most compelling, which resulted in domestic violence on the part of the former groom, having been over whether the couple could afford expanded cable service on her salary at an entry-level job as a bank teller and his earnings as a paper carrier. The couple had been living in a small apartment above the bride's parents' garage. The groom was evicted, an order of protection was served, and annulment proceedings were set into order. The marriage for time and all eternity was, in short order, for neither..

These are extreme examples in my own family. Every family, as does mine, has both their extreme examples of marriages that should never have been, marriages that somehow survived despite no particular happiness on anyone's part, and marriages that might have been ordained in heaven. In all probability, most of us will fall somewhere in the middle when our time comes. It's probably important to remember that those who authored the Bible were not God or Jesus themselves.  Perhaps I'm in for a big surprise when my mortality ends and I approach the pearly gates, only to be allowed through or to be turned away, but I seriously doubt that anyone's divorce itself will play much of a factor in what happens in anyone's afterlife. (How one treated a spouse either during the marriage or during the divorce might be another matter entirely, though. Be kind and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.) Life is really not long enough to waste a huge portion of it on it in a marriage that seems like what hell might be like. This is not to say that one shouldn't try to work out problems in a marriage, but when a relationship is kaput, it's probably time to pull the plug.

Then again, who in hell am I to tell anyone how to live their lives or to conduct their marriages? I'm not yet twenty-three years old (I'll be there in less than one month, though!), I've never been married, I've been in three actual relationships, and it would probably be more than a stretch to say that any of them could be considered serious. I'm like the marriage counselor at BYU who has never been married, or the sex therapist who is a virgin in every sense of the word (except that I'm not necessarily claiming to be a virgin).  If your relationship is suffering from serious issues, seek the advice of a professional. Don't pay any attention to me.

As to the person who directed me to the "Merry Go Round" song, I sometimes wonder about him. He's been married for decades and has adult offspring.  He's told me it's unwise to remain in a marriage in which either party is unhappy to the point that the happiness cannot be repaired.  I don't talk with him about his own marriage because it's none of my damned business.  I assume he and his wife are still in love even if not in the way they were when their relationship began.  He's spoken without being specific of all the things a person will eventually tolerate in a spouse throughout the course if a marriage. He's spoken, again without being specific, of heated exchanges in which both parties say things that would have been better left unsaid,  He said you apologize and get over it. Still, with the advice he has given me personally,  my assumption is that he never would have remained in a loveless marriage.

Perhaps that's the way life is with any marriage,  You argue and say things in the heat of the moment that, even if you really do mean them as you say them, you know you should have kept the thoughts  to yourself. If your relationship is strong enough, it survives. If not, divorce is an option.  (Note to Scott Peterson: murder is not an option.)  I've heard of couples who have been married for up to seventy years who insist they have never had as much as an argument. I call bullshit on that. If they haven't had an argument, and it's a very big IF, it's only because one spouse or the other automatically accedes to the other's wishes.  As little as I know about marriage in general and happy marriages in particular, this seems to be no way to live.  If there cannot be give and take in any relationship, it's not really a relationship, or at least not one worth having.

I don't own this video. I thank the rightful owner for allowing me to borrow it for the time it remains here.