Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Whatever do you mean?

It has been a while since I've been here. I've kept up with reading all those special blogs, which seem to make me feel even more inadequate and boring than usual. But I don't want all my loyal readers (all 6 of them) to give up on checking here, so I thought I'd ramble on a bit, random micro thoughts indeed.

Didn't I suggest that Hurricane Katrina might not be the last this year? I also think there's plenty of time for yet more hurricanes, Rita being content with munching on Galveston and Houston instead of the Big Easy. Did I mention that these late ferocious storms are quite consistent with global warming? Well, if I didn't, I should have(*see addendum).

I am currently reading an excellent book about Dissociative Identity Disorder, called The Myth of Sanity by Martha Stout. I think she's been listening in on my therapy sessions, her descriptions and explanations ring so true. Whenever I'm faced with bits of life I don't understand, my instinctual response is to search for a book about it. The things I hear seem to go to one part of my brain; the things I read go to another. I need both to understand. I don't want to air all my personal problems with having DID, alters, whatever, but I do want to recommend Dr. Stout's book. As a therapist herself, I can also better understand why my first therapist eventually wished me well and sent me on my way, bewildered and at sea. I feel that in some sense he manipulated me into agreeing to stop therapy with him, and that I should have spoken up before the end and expressed my fears. Anyway, the book is providing lots of food for thought, so if you, or someone you are close to, sometimes "becomes another person" that is wildly different from their "everyday" person, you might want to give this a read. DID is a lot more common than people believe.

I'm having a lot of physical problems right now, and my new doctor is doing lots of testing to help figure out what's going on. I really expected to last longer than this before I started to fall apart. I don't want to be one of those middle-aged women who spend all their spare time going to doctor appointments and complaining about their health. But Damn! I take 6 to 8 different meds every day, don't you think that should cover pretty much everything? Now they tell me I have liver problems and kidney damage. Sheesh!

I've been doing another round of laboratory safety inspections and I'm finding it fairly discouraging. In lab after lab, I find dirty dishes and silverware in lab sinks (ugh!), eye washes that have been disconnected from the sink because they were "in the way", safety showers with the handles tied up to the ceiling so they won't bump people in the head (and so no one in an emergency will be able to find and climb a ladder to activate them), and on and on. I write it up and send it to the appropriate admin., but I can't MAKE anybody do the right thing, I'm not a policeman (although I'd love to pass out citations so the fines would ding them where it hurts). Probably it will take a serious accident or a death to get everybody serious about lab safety. The most common accident in a lab isn't chemical accidents, or radiation accidents, it's fire. And people burned in fires are a hideous way to say "pay attention" to safety.

All the horses are doing fine and enjoying the cooler weather. One of the indoor cats has discovered the pleasures of the great out-of-doors and now watches like a hawk for any chance to scoot out between your feet and head outside. Why the outdoor cats are being so tolerant of this trespassing I don't know, I figured they would whup his sissy ass the first time out, but they just watch as he skulks around. Hopefully he'll give up on this eventually, it's getting old playing do-si-do every time we go in or out. Especially carrying in groceries.

*Addendum: It's true, as commented by Steve below, that even the experts don't agree that global warming is contributing to the recent weather show Mother Nature has been sharing with us. It is true, however, that since 1970, global mean ocean surface temperatures have risen one degree, as has global air temperatures. Two weeks ago, Science published an article that said although globally there has not been an increase in frequency of hurricanes, a team of scientists did find that while the number of Cat 1, 2, and 3 hurricanes has fallen slightly, the number of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes has risen dramatically, from an average of 10 per year in the 70s to an average of 18 since 1990. In Nature journal published last month, a scientist looked at 4,800 hurricanees in the North Atlantic and North Pacific over the past 56 years and found that although the total number did not increase, their power, measured by windspeed and duration, had jumped 50% since the mid 70s. All of the speculation about cause-and-effect is not straightforward, but it is also true that warmer water and higher air humidity helps fuel storms by feeding them the energy that fuels their intensity. There are cycles to these events, and our ability to correctly interpret the data, and to collect the data in the first place, is radically better now than it was in the 70s. Any scientific debate that is also intensified by the politics of global warming and environmental damage is bound to gather adherents on both sides of the question. I guess the real debate is, if we ignore mankind's contribution to the greenhouse effect, will we have time to fix things if we are wrong?

"Knowledge is power -- if you have the manual."

Carry on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


My mare colicked again. This time we called a different vet, and he was considerably more aggressive in treating her, and now she seems fine, five days and counting. He was concerned enough to tell us that if this continued, he recommended hauling her to Ohio State vet school for abdominal surgery, but to be completely frank, I couldn't justify $10,000 in vet fees for a very iffy outcome. It's not like she's a prize brood mare carrying the next Kentucky Derby winner. And it's a five hour drive to Columbus from here; if she went down in the trailer and we couldn't get her up it would be a very nasty situation. Not like a dog you can pick up and carry into the vet. Anyway, all looks OK now; we may never know what the real cause of it was.

I'm having more trouble again with depression, and have been going for daily sessions with the therapist and psych doctor. I can think of more enjoyable ways to spend heaps of money; of course I don't have the energy to do them either. Usually my worst time of year is the winter, when everything is cold and grey and overcast, or cold and dark. The full-spectrum lights seem to help with that aspect, I just wish I knew what the deal is now. Fall is my favorite season of the year, the cool crisp days, blue skies, and brilliant foliage. Every turn in the road reveals a new picture-perfect view, and I feel so lucky to live full time in such a beautiful place, when so many people have to make do with "two weeks in the mountains". Now if we only had an ocean too.....

A friend of mine just got a new puppy, a Shih Tzu (I'm sure that's not spelled right). It's a cute critter, looks like a long-haired guinea pig with a tail. I'm not a big fan of little dogs -- So many of them look like you ought to tie them to a long stick and use them to dust under the bed -- but all puppies have a special attraction that I'm sure is some hard-wired response to helpless things in our psyche. My last dog was a Newfoundland, a real sweetheart. She's been gone since 1998, and as much as I would like another one, the heart pain you go through when they die is so hard. Why can't our companion animals live longer? It doesn't seem fair. Maybe after I retire, when I can spend lots of time with it, and get all gushy and weird like my parents did before they died. Only their dog was a poodle, which hardly qualifies as a dog. They dressed him in "outfits" and he actually sat at the table with them when they ate. On the human dishes. And he got served first. Yeah, I want to be like that.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


If you are, or have been, a horse owner, the word "colic" strikes fear in your heart. Monday night my 11 yr old mare colicked; that is, she was sweating, rolling on the ground groaning, wouldn't eat (!) and in great distress. I called the vet, and then the three of us took turns walking her, to prevent her from rolling and risking twisting a loop of bowel (torsion), which is generally fatal. She seemed much improved when the vet left, some three hours later, but I stayed home Tuesday to watch her. She seemed uncomfortable--only nibbled at hay, pawed and pawed the ground, laid down, got up, laid down, over and over. No rolling, no sweating, no temp. The same on Wed. Wednesday night I called (another)vet, described the whole scenario, and he suggested she may be in season and experiencing cramps! I've owned horses for 30 years and never heard of that! Live and learn, I guess. Anyway, we gave her Bute (horse aspirin)last night, and so far today (touch wood)she seems back to normal, packing the hay in, quarreling with her brother across the fence, minimal pawing and no laying down (so far). Husband is home today (Yeah!) and will keep a close watch on her.

Last night a neighbor came to the door, all worried because he was target practicing with his bow, lost an arrow, and then saw the mare flat down on her side! We quickly reassured him we were aware she was having problems, but thanks. He was greatly relieved.

Horses are so much fun, you know? A thrill a minute. One vet bill, $130. Sigh.

I wanted to post more on the awful mess in the South, the lack of leadership in handling the crisis, the humiliating embarrasment of the way our own citizens are being treated, simply because they are poor and black; of my suspicions that when the reconstuction occurs, it won't be for these poor displaced people, and that certain industrial and construction entities with, shall we say, close connections to the White House, will come out multi-billions to the good from this. But frankly it makes me so heartsick, feeling so helpless, angry, disgusted, that I am without words to convey it all. There are others, wise and articulate, who have said all this and more; so all I can add is that we need to be careful and LEARN from the mistakes made, don't swallow the news stories without taking a good look at what their sources are, and don't let this migrate to the last page of the paper when the immediate turmoil is past; that's the time to really pause and consider all that happened, all that should have been done and wasn't, who was responsible for those failures, and who is profitting from the misery of many.

And remember in November.