Saturday, January 31, 2009

Moving My RANTS Right Along...Charmin Toilet Paper Commercials...

What can I say? It's been a week of CUI (Creepy, Unhealthy Interest) in all things BIZARRE (And, for the record, while I'm in the mood to discuss the oddities of life...the NAKED CLOWN CALENDARS are in!!!).

But (butt), it would be remiss of me not to mention the OTHER most unusual thing I saw this week (besides reading/absorbing myself in the Jonestown, California situation...see previous two posts for update). I'm talking about those red bear Charmin commercials that are flooding my TV screen of late. Here's a sample:

Alrighty...there is SO much WRONG with these ads, I simply don't know where to begin. But (butt), I'll give it a whirl:


Isn't THAT what Proctor & Gamble is REALLY trying to tell us in these sickeningly cute ads? WTF?!?

Now let me start somewhere at the beginning and why I rant. You see, I have survived the feminine hygiene product ads (Tampax...have a "Happy Period"), the Viagra ads (stoopid male musicians pretending to jam session together about their little, blue pill and erectile dysfunction), the Vesicare ads (weirdly constructed drainpipe people driving through the countryside following animals and unable to hold their bladders), the ads for dried up vaginas (KY Gel and massage oils), and even Beano (anti-fart pills). Good grief...I even survived Janet Jackson's Super Bowl Half Time wardrobe malfunction...and I'm still alive to tell about it. But(t), if I didn't know better (butt do I really?), I'd swear the people creating this recent rash of strangely peculiar commercials are high on weed or *ludes*...I haven't seen anything like these since Walt Disney came out with "Fantasia" (truly a stoner movie if there ever was one...or so I've been told...ahem).

I've got NOTHING against bodily functions and frankly, I rather MARVEL in the whole idea of the "forbidden" topics concerning our bodies...because I don't fully understand (probably my medical background) WHY these topics are forbidden in the first place. But(t), to talk about them in cutesy, little cartoons and highly bizarre song and dance steps is just WAY over the top!

Seriously...can't we have some adult conversations here? Or do you, Proctor & Gamble (among the other corporate offenders), think the American public simply isn't ready for that? Perhaps you think we are too STOOPID to understand your message if it is delivered straight forward? Well, maybe in Jonestown, California they are, but(t) not up here in the Microsoft/Starbucks capital of the world in Washington State, my friends! P & got some 'splainin' to do, and here are my questions:

2. Are the RED BEARS some kind of subliminal message we're supposed to equate to red, chapped a$$e$?!?
3. Why do the RED BEARS not wear any clothing, but(t) simply flag their bear (bare) a$$e$ around the TV screen with abandon? Is this REALLY the message you're trying to convey?
4. When was the "scientific research" conducted in which you concluded we (the Charmin-buying people) are walking around with bits of toilet paper plastered to our butts, aka, HUMAN DINGLEBERRIES, and WHY was I not asked to participate in this study?!? I have been a loyal buyer of Charmin for the past 25 years!! I'm feeling a bit left out here...
5. Who determined that my bare behind resembles that of running a piece of toilet paper across sand paper?!? Who's bare (bear) a$$ did you use as a MODEL for this determination? Remind me never to let them sit on any of my wood furniture please!
6. And finally, who determined the need to have my toilet paper woven to the strength of cables holding up a suspension bridge?!? WHY does it need to be so strong? I don't plan on using it as a rope to escape the top floor of a burning building...I think I was "good" with it BEFORE Charmin could stop bullets.

All this ranting today has plain worn me out...unfortunately, I'm scared to go lay down and watch prime time TV at this point out of fear the CHARMIN RED BEARS might attack! But(t) I will leave you, dear reader, with this one, final question about CHARMIN toilet paper.

Q: What does a piece of CHARMIN toilet paper and the Starship Enterprise have in common?

A: They both circle around Uranus searching for Klingons.

I rest my case...

Whatever You Do Kids, DON'T Drink The Kool*Aid!...

Great. Now, thanks to Jen over at MS Strength , I have visions of Jonestown dancing in my head!

I'm talking about Jen's latest comment on the previous post here on CHEESE, and her reference to religious groups DELIBERATELY using fertility drugs to populate their groups...and, unfortunately, she DOES know of what she speaks. Sigh..check out her website on the link up there if you don't believe me...oh, and also go to her site just in case you came to THIS blog to read about Multiple Sclerosis, only to discover I am currently in a rant about THIS issue in California and distracted from the MS world!

OK,, thanks to you, I've got an unhealthy, creepy interest in the California mother who gave birth to octuplets this past week. Which, by the way, there are NO known births of octuplets documented that HAVEN'T been caused by the use of fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization (but most likely fertility drugs...I so want to believe no doctor in their right mind would implant EIGHT fertilized embryos in ANY woman at one time via in vitro fertilization). And the "unhealthy, creepy interest" has to do with WHY on (this over-populated) earth ANY woman (in THEIR right mind), who has already birthed SIX children PRIOR to the new octuplets, would agree/want/desire EIGHT FRICKIN' MORE?!?! Even ONE more, to be quite frank. Unless...well...unless, and I'm just speculating here (due to creepy, unhealthy interest) one was "baby milling" them for reasons OTHER than that innate desire many women have to raise a family (and thank gawd that *desire* somehow genetically SKIPPED me personally!).

Can you spell C-U-L-T here, peeps? I mean, even the Catholic Church, known for it's past *every sperm is sacred* policy (stolen directly from Monte Python), now suggests REPRODUCTIVE RESPONSIBILITY...not birth control, but RESPONSIBILITY. Even the church known for its prolific policy on propagation thinks maybe...just maybe...we might be over-populating the world just a tad bit (this information comes directly from a recent conversation with a Catholic priest, while discussing the exorcism requested by someone I was "investigating"...but I may only be HIS personal views and I shant say more, lest I divulge protected HIPAA information!).

Really? Is there ANY good reason to deliberately and knowingly bring FOURTEEN children into an already over-populated-and-lacking-resources-to-FEED-society OTHER than absolute irresponsibility or GREED in this day and age??? Unless...unless...and just creepy-unhealthy-interest speculation have other "plans" for the children. And that is taking the idea of *planned parenthood* (not to be confused with the agency known as Planned Parenthood) in a totally WRONG direction.

All I can do is shout a warning to those EIGHT, little sets of developing ears (and to the SIX sets of already little developed ears in this alleged family)..."IF OFFERED, DON'T DRINK THE KOOL*AID, KIDS. IT JUST MIGHT KILL YOU"...
**Editorial Update 5:30PM**
This just in on the wire via ABC News: (And I plagiarize) It appears the grandmother of the octuplets (the mother's mother) filed for bankruptcy in March 2008, claiming her spouse (the alleged grandfather of the octuplets) was in Iraq working as a contractor. The plot thickens...
And, I just received a phone call (again, in outrage) from my friend/mentor wondering if the mother of the octuplets has issues with "hoarding" as a possible motive for accumulating so many children? I'm choosing to SPELL the condition "whored-ing" versus "hoarding", but that's because I've developed my OWN condition surrounding this story: Creepy, Unhealthy Interest or "CUI"!!

Are You Telling Me "Stoopidity" ISN'T A Crime Subject To Capital Punishment?!?

My dear friend and mentor called me today before I headed out to work. She wanted to clarify some "legal points" of the Washington State commitment laws and ask me if I had any jurisdiction in California? The conversation went something like this:

ME: "Hey, what's up?"

F/M: "So, can you go down to California to commit that woman that just gave birth to octuplets? She already has SIX kids at home, for gawd's sake!!"

ME: (After nearly choking on my own saliva) "What? What are you talking about?"

F/M: "That woman in California! The one that had the fertility in vitro done and now she's got FOURTEEN children!! That ought to be a crime and if not, SHE ought to be commitable! Can't you go down there and DO something?!?"

My friend/mentor was talking about THIS story...and she seemed quite agitated about the matter.

I calmly explained to her my "jurisdiction" only covered Washington State boundaries and I was also only designated in my particular county, and...STOOPIDITY was not a commitable offense! I even doubted that California's less strict 50/51 mental health law on commitments would consider STOOPIDITY as a mental matter how STOOPID a person's behavior might seem.

I went on to explain that, perhaps the MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT that encouraged such STOOPID behavior and allowed EIGHT in vitro fertilized embryos to be implanted in a young woman who already didn't know enough to stop having children after the SIXTH one (which are all different ages, indicating she also doesn't understand what CAUSES babies in the first place), should be subject to punishment under capital crime laws. I mean, seriously...what physician in their right mind would ENCOURAGE such behavior? What doctor taking the Hippocratic Oath would think this medically was a "good" thing??

I just don't understand. We fight to get stem cell research in this country for diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease and this is opposed by a religious "right" movement because this type of research is somehow seen as *tampering* with their "God's" laws...yet, it's perfectly OK to suck unfertilized ovum/eggs out of a woman's ovaries, fertilize them in a test tube, then stick them back into her uterus with a willy-nilly hit or miss chance one or more of them will become a viable fetus. Then, when the woman happens to carry multiple fetus' from this scientific experiment, risking not only the babies lives, but her own, suddenly we're back to some twisted sense of Pro-Life mentality? And let's not forget to take into account the GOVERNMENT (aka, you and I via taxes) will be charged with paying off the exorbitant amount of medical bills that will result in keeping 1 -2 pound babies alive for several weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit...and we'll probably have to FEED them as well for many years to come, because it is doubtful any single parent of 14 children (even IF living with her parents) will be able to afford food for such a brood. Then, if or when one of these tiny gems becomes an adult and commits a crime that IS punishable as a capital offense, this same religious "right" movement will rally behind a death penalty...I just can't figure out which end of the spectrum these folks believe is "pro life" in these matters? And, I just don't understand.

But I DO think the doctors who began this entire cycle in the above mentioned case ought to be subject to reprimand or the severity of capital punishment...or, if nothing else, committed under California State law...either outcome, I'm good with it. Because STOOPIDITY should NOT go unpunished...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Have No *Sympathy* For Black America...

STOP! Let me explain the title of this post before sending me racially charged HATE MAIL!!!

I discovered a long time ago that GOOGLE'S keyword search latches onto certain themes and words, redirecting people to various links based on blog post TITLES. For instance, if the words "Multiple Sclerosis" fall in the TITLE of a blog post, that post will make one of GOOGLE'S elite lists about MS. You may recall, I remain inundated with *hits* on this blog because of a certain blog post I wrote with the words "JESUS CAMP" in the title!

And, because I'm a MEDIA WHORE (said with tongue in you know, I RARELY put the words
"Multiple" and "Sclerosis" in any blog title because I DO know it is a cheap way to redirect people to BrainCheese...and I kind of want people to find their way here with a little effort), I decided to put a provocative title on this post so more people "googling" (particularly ANYONE who might be searching the title's ANY order...ahem) would come here to see this video (turn your sound up...this one's good):

A dear, "white"/Caucasian friend emailed this video to me this morning...and I found it so moving, I decided I had to share it here on CHEESE. But, I also want to talk a little more ABOUT the title of this blog post...BECAUSE IT IS TRUE. And, since you've read this far, I hope you will continue to read so I might explain.

I am "white"...pasty, Caucasian, lacking-any-color white. I was born that way. It wasn't a choice. It was pure genetics. My ancestors were "white" (minus that small amount of Native American, aka INDIAN, blood that got mixed in via an indiscretionary roll in the hay by an ancestor with a Pawnee tribal woman over a century or so ago). I grew up in a small, farming town of all "white" people and a handful of NAM (Native American, aka, INDIAN) folks around. I only saw "black" people on TV (Sammy Davis, Jr.) and my first IN PERSON experience with a "black" person was in college. My first experience with what it *potentially* could feel like to be discriminated against because of the color of my "white", pasty skin was in college...when my "black" friend took me home with her to the big city and I attended an all "black" church. I WAS the only "white" person there.

But even this first experience at an all "black" church lent me no access to the perils of discrimination...because I was immediately and lovingly ACCEPTED into the congregation, regardless of my skin color (or lack thereof)...BECAUSE I was my host's college friend and HER mother was the leader of the church choir. Sure, a few heads turned to look at "white-y"...but more so from suspicion of my motives in BEING there (until they learned my connection, which my friend's mother announced to the congregation!) than out of animosity due to the color (or lack thereof) of my skin.

You see, I HAVE no first hand experience of discrimination. There is absolutely NOTHING about me upon first meeting that lends itself to scrutiny of "other than". Anything about me that MIGHT be different in some way is carefully hidden...whether that be age, gender, sexual orientation, religious preference, disability, etc. When first meeting me, I appear to fit the (what was once) *majority* definitions in America. Oh GENDER might signal some to want to PAY ME LESS because I'm a female...but even THIS statistical evidence is less about discrimination than it is socio-economic status.

I specifically used the word *SYMPATHY* in this blog title (versus empathy) because *sympathy* implies I have had a similar experience, which has generated feelings upon which I can RELATE to another's experience. I'm "white". I have no similar experience of discrimination as has happened (and unfortunately CONTINUES to happen) to the MAJORITY of "black" Americans in this society. I CANNOT relate by experience, therefore, I CANNOT even LIE or IMPLY a feeling of *sympathy* (empathy, yes...sympathy, no) to what it feels like for any "black" American to live in this country now or in the past.

And why the #&!! do I keep putting the words "black" and "white" in quotation marks?!? Am I simply further trying to express an *other than* quality of discrimination??? The answer to the latter question is "no"...I have been putting the word "black" and "white" in quotations to emphasize "black" is ALSO not a COLOR in basic color schema any more than "white" is a COLOR. While (by definition) "white" is the absence of all color, "black" is the BLENDING of all color(s).

Look at a basic color wheel. Do you note "black" or "white" ANYWHERE on that wheel? In case you're too engrossed in this post to check, the answer is a resounding NO. Neither term falls anywhere within primary or secondary COLORS on a color schema.

I find the entire notion of skin pigmentation fascinating. And I find it extremely fascinating that the two (what used to be) largest populations of races in the world chose to define their skin pigmentations using words that are not even COLORS! I mean seriously...are "white" people REALLY "white" by definition? NO. My ancestor's (and self) skin pigmentation is more of a pinkish-olive tone on the color wheel...basic beige, for a lack of better qualifying color. And my "black" friends skin pigmentation doesn't even come CLOSE to being "black"...maybe a dark tan or even brown on the color wheel, but definitely NOT "black".

I would like to go on to say, I am not a racist...but I DO discriminate. Every day. We ALL do. We discriminate based on our past experiences and our preferences...whether THAT discrimination involves color/skin pigmentation or not. We discriminate between what we LIKE and what we DO NOT prefer...we DO judge a book by it's cover (unless we already know the author). We separate ourselves into groups we feel we belong to and groups we feel no affiliation with. We join with people who think in similar ways we do and DISCRIMINATE (by definition: "discern or single out") ourselves as separate from those who do NOT share our views or similarities. We DISCRIMINATE every day as individuals, groups, societies, and races. DISCRIMINATE only becomes a negative word when we ADD the term OPPRESSION with it...then the middle part of the word comes glaring out at us: disCRIM(E)inate.

I have no sympathy for "black" America because it would be morally wrong of me to claim I do...and would only serve to further add to a sense of self-righteous and pompous maligning pity. I cannot and WILL NOT ever know what it is like to be "black" or "African American" or anything other than a pasty Caucasian/"white" skin-pigmented individual. I simply do not have the same experiences and would NEVER want to negate another's experiences by attempting to align mine with theirs. I have NOT been discriminated *against* because of my skin pigmentation and neither have I been held in oppression. Likewise, I cannot apologize for the actions of my Caucasian ancestors...I can feel a sense of personal/genetic shame, but an *apology* would only again be a hollow attempt at feigned sympathy.

What I CAN do is work diligently to ensure NO race of people is held in oppression again in this country and that NO race is discriminated *against* as a MEANS of oppressing them.

I will NEVER have SYMPATHY for "black" Americans...and, but for the grace of "God" go I, I thank my lucky stars that, to date, I never HAVE had those experiences that lend me *sympathy*...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Morning Addiction...

OK...God doesn't actually HATE me, but I DEW hate mornings!

Nuff said...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Because "god" Hates Me...

...I now have to be at work at 8:00AM this week! Surely the fires of hell would be a more suitable punishment...

So much for remaining "JOYOUS"...I am NOT a morning person. I am a sunset gal...a night owl! Now, I will be forced to eat before noon AND convert my usual communion with the porcelain god from early afternoon to *run-to-the-potty-before-I-crap-myself* by 10:00AM (Hey! Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a REAL disorder people!).

This is going to call for extreme action. Like caffeine overdose and a whole lot of hiding under my desk. Sometimes, I am simply not meant for human least not before noon...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Confessions Of The Most Humbling Kind...

Yesterday, (Friday) was my BPOC day..."Big Patient On Campus". I met with two, much larger groups than anticipated at Club Med to present my *one patient show* called, "A Patient's Perspective On Privacy"...Subtitled, "My Point, And I DO Have One". I was glad I had showered and put on clean underwear at Dawn's Crack in the morning as I had not anticipated (nor prepared!) on speaking to THAT many people. I had, quite frankly, thought in the back of my mind that Club Med was simply providing me a small and brief stage in hopes I would eventually SHUT THE #&%% UP and slither away!

So, at the last minute, in the wee hours of Friday morning (after working until midnight Thursday), I finalized an outline of my presentation, got some stuff downloaded on a thumb drive, and packed my crap to head off into the bowels of Club Med (oops...heading down that metaphoric fecal talk again)...hoping only to NOT have to remove rotted vegetables from my hair/clothing after what I anticipated might be a *pelt fest* from a less than welcoming crowd. I must admit now, neither was true...Club Med was highly gracious/welcoming and ALL of their attendees were well-mannered and gave the appearance of interest (basically, no one fell asleep, so we'll call it "interest").

But THAT is NOT my "confessions of the most humbling kind" and this post is NOT about my interactions with Club Med yesterday...I only bring them into this post as a point of reference to explain my week and a circumstance that moved me to tears today.

You see, all last week I was riding DELIBERATELY a joyous ride. On the eve of the swearing in of our 44th President here in the States, I made a conscious decision to allow NOTHING to bum my voyage for an entire week. I know, I know...on the surface that does NOT sound like a lofty be "joyous" for 7 days. For many of you, that state of mind comes NATURALLY and there is nothing deliberate about being joyful. But for me, lately I have encountered far more reasons to feel more *joyless* than *joyful*, so this "voyage" contained some hidden LANDMINES in it's waters! And I was ever-watchful for something/someone trying to sink my battleship (I loved that game as a kid!). I may have seriously FRIGHTENED some of my coworkers. A few referred to me as "manic", like that was a BAD thing. But I kept holding the mantra of our new President in my head: "We are the change we seek." And I managed to feel and remain pretty darned *joyous* throughout my week, in spite of a few scary sharks and underwater mines on my course. I even managed to truthfully convince MYSELF that I felt joy AND that I was physically feeling perhaps the best I have felt in 5 years (since going off all DMD meds for MS last month).

Now, back to Club Med and why I even referenced them here, in what is turning out to be a longer post than I anticipated (and I'm sure you thought scrolling down would have been over a LONG time ago, too!).
One of the points I brought up (and usually bring up whenever doing any kind of talk/inservice to health care staff) was my PERSONAL mantra I have always tried (or at least thought I had) to live by: "People will often not remember the words you say to them, but they will ALWAYS remember how you made them feel." I like to drive that home like a bulldozer smashing into a straw hut. If participants get NOTHING else out of listening to me blather, THAT is the one thing I genuinely ALWAYS want them to take they can remember to be mindful of their presentation with patients. And, on the heels of that statement (yipping like a small dog), I often segue into how important it is to "SEE THE PERSON BEYOND THE _______". You can fill in that blank with words like *behavior*, *smell*, *nasty attitude*, etc., and to recognize there IS a person there (not just a patient/problem/behavior, etc.)...sometimes well-protected and hidden by attitude or behavior or diagnosis...but there is ALWAYS a person there, with a need.

I take great pride in my professional self in striving to daily live up to my own mantra...and I think "professionally", for the most part, I often do. When one works in the mental health field/social services, sometimes it's hard to set clear boundaries around WORK time and PERSONAL time. It's sort of like being a massage therapist and your friends always wanting you to "just rub this or work on that muscle a bit" (not mentioning any friends NAMES here, but YOU know who you are!) gets PAID to do that for a living and usually "one" doesn't want to do anything remotely resembling work when OFF DUTY. The same is true in mental health...I'll just say "I" typically don't want to resolve other people's conflicts, hear problems with requests for solutions (a difference between just talking amongst friends), solve crises, or offer some stranger advice about their crazy-a$$ed relative while flying on a plane! PAY SOMEBODY for this advice/ear please...unless I'm on duty and GETTING paid...then go ahead and ask me.

Often times, in my free time when wondering around the city, I bump into patients I recognize, see people in crisis, and pass the homeless on my way to this errand or that. I won't say I actually IGNORE these folks, but I also don't go out of my way to make my presence known. I tend to only give street panhandlers food rather than money (if anything at all...because too often I see them later intoxicated when I'm at WORK!) and look the other way when I see someone high on crack/ETOH/meth because I don't want to be duty.
There is a term called, "compassion fatigue", and this can happen very easily to someone who can't *shut off* their mental health radar when off duty...rendering them USELESS when ON duty because they've literally just given too much of themselves. Anyone working in social services knows there will ALWAYS be someone needing of food/shelter/clothing/time/money, etc., and it is impossible to end this societal dilemma...we simply try to make a dent in it when ON duty each day and preserve ourselves OFF duty so we can face life's harshest realities when at work.

Today was my day off. Saturday. Finally a day to sleep in and run necessary household management errands to maintain the hut and the P.O.D. (Princess O' Darkness, aka, my cat). And so it was, that I headed out this afternoon on a somewhat muted sunny do a few things to take care of MYSELF on my day away from work.

I realized around 1:00PM (while walking errands..."running" is such a lie) that I had not eaten anything before I left the Hut Compound, and I was getting a bit hungry. So, I pulled into a small shopping area where I often stop to grab a quick sandwich or refreshing beverage...when I parked, I made note of a man sitting slumped over on the sidewalk, a hat turned over like a pocket, and he appeared to be soliciting change from anyone willing to notice him. He was on the left-hand side of the sidewalk and I was heading to the sub shop on the right.

I went into the sub shop and ordered my sandwich, sitting alone, away from a group of somewhat loud 20-something girls (they become "girls" versus "young women" by definition when they giggle too much), and freely associated whatever was on my mind. I ran through my talks at Club Med, some funny events that had happened during the week, the Inauguration of President Obama, and my deliberately *JOYOUS* week...I honestly can't recall any of the details of my freely associating mind, only that it was running wild with ideas and thoughts.

When I left the sub shop, I headed to the convenience store just down the sidewalk to the left, passing in front of the figure seated on the cold concrete, his head bowed, dressed in dirty clothing with a "funk" smell, and noted the small amount of change someone had thrown into his hat...a few pennies, a dime, and two nickels. He never looked up...I imagined he was used to people ignoring him or deliberately looking away and probably thought it too much of a bother to look up. I also thought perhaps he was intoxicated, either on alcohol or drugs. He might even be asleep. Or, worse yet, he could be one of the hundreds of homeless MENTALLY ILL individuals roaming the streets of Seattle.

Just as I stepped past this man, being careful to avoid stepping ON him, I was hit by something so strong, it felt as if someone had plunged a metaphoric knife into my gut. My own words screamed in my head: "See beyond the behavior/presentation and find the person". I was suddenly so intensely ashamed of myself for stepping over what was obviously a PERSON in my path that I couldn't even move. I was overcome with such horrible shamed by my own thinking/behaviors, I felt tears well up in my eyes...much like when a child knows they have done something displeasing to a parent. Often this FEELING alone is far more "punishing" than anything a parent might say or do in response to the child's bad behavior. I reached in my pocket, fiddling for loose change.

And, it happened again. My own voice shouted at me to "See the person beyond the behavior", followed by "We are the change we seek".
I was NOT being called to FIND loose change in my pocket for this man, but rather BECOME the "change". I felt forced to turn around, kneel down, and address this PERSON. Don't get me wrong here...I didn't WANT to...I was COMPELLED to. And this is where the "Confessions of the most humbling kind" come in.

Just as I was kneeling down (and trust me, "kneeling" isn't an easy thing for me anymore!) about three feet away from this man, he looked up abruptly. I had startled him...but he smiled through a dirty bearded face anyway. I managed to mumble something like, "Are you doing OK?" which he answered rather *joyously*, "Yes! The sun has even come out a bit today."

I noted this man was sitting in the shadow of some steps, well out of any sunlight (which wasn't exactly WARM anyway today...40 degrees), and I commented on this and asked if he was warm enough? He replied, "Oh sure. I have this coat on." It was a dirty, somewhat lined, jean's jacket.

I then asked if he had eaten today? He began to tell me all about having a "wonderful lunch of macaroni and cheese at the church" and launched into how the meals are always quite delicious there, but the church was planning on moving and selling their building sometime this spring, so he wasn't sure how much longer they would be serving meals for the "needy". He talked about how nice the people were at this church and that Saturday's meals were always really good.

I asked him if I could go inside the store and get him anything? He told me, "No, I just ate and anything you'd get would just spoil". He then proceeded to tell me how he has been staying in a friend's garage in a recliner with three sleeping bags..."One is good for up to 15 degrees and the other two are good for below freezing. I hardly want to get out of them at ALL sometimes, they're so nice"...he said his friend allows him to stay in his garage in a reclining chair to sleep and to "keep an eye on his Cadillac".

I asked him if he ever stayed in the shelters in town and he very adamantly told me he wouldn't EVER go there because too many people get "stolen from" and "if you want to catch something, stay in a shelter...half the people are sick with something". I had to admit, he was correct.

He went on to talk about President Obama taking office this week, and last week's airliner landing on the Hudson River, and I asked him where he gets his news?...he was clearly quite oriented, alert, non-intoxicated, and...*joyous*.

He told me he goes to the neighborhood library every day and reads the fact, he was sitting outside in this spot to try to collect enough change for bus money to get to the library in the University District today...he "liked" that library the best as opposed to the gorgeous downtown library...people were "nicer" to him in the U-District.
I asked him again if I could purchase anything for him from the store?...he replied, "no, I don't need anything" and thanked me for stopping to talk with him...and I started to walk away. My knees were hurting from squatting so long and I was growing colder by the minute.

I took about 3 steps away from this man, then reached inside my pocket, found two, loose one dollar bills, and turned around to give them to him. I asked him what it cost to ride the bus these days and he told me he thought it was "a dollar fifty". I apologized for not having correct change, but explained I wanted him to get out of the cold and to the library, where he could read the newspapers and warm up...still skeptical he would actually USE the two dollars for bus fare and going AGAINST my normal *I-don't-hand-out-money-to-the-homeless* tactic. He thanked me again for stopping to talk with him "on such a nice day".

I stood a moment longer pondering my words before telling this man, "No, thank YOU for stopping to talk with me" and that I enjoyed our conversation...he then told me, "that is the nicest thing I've heard today".
I watched him from inside the warm convenience store as he got up, walked down to the corner, and stood to wait at the bus stop. I paid for my purchases in the store and heard the sound of a bus sparking the wires overhead on the of the many electrically wired bus paths in Seattle. When I emerged again from the store, he was gone, hopefully riding the bus on his way to the library north bound.

"We are the change we seek."

Sometimes life's lessons have a way of ironically turning the tables on was such a day. In my *superior* and *righteous* attitude of somehow being "better than", my own words got twisted around and used to teach ME.

"See the person beyond the behavior."

Which is EXACTLY what this man, who's name I may never know, did for me...he saw ME beyond MY behavior...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ahem...Testing, One, Two, Three, Testing...

So, among other bizarre and unusual twists of fate in the world of BrainCheese, I am scheduled to provide two inservice staff meetings for staff at Club Med. Yes, I know...this sounds peculiar. No, I have NOT become an employee of Club Med.

I haven't written much of late in regard to my Tysabri billing battle with Club Med that spanned the good portion of nearly 6 months this past summer/spring/early winter...that's because I haven't been writing much at ALL here on CHEESE lately. No worries. My lack of anything productive to say seems to have been replaced by a need for incessant rambling once again! But, back to the above topic...

OK, I am far too lazy at nearly 2:00AM to back track and create links to the many posts I made spanning the months of July through December regarding the multi-level encounters I had with Club Med (my current medical establishment provider) surrounding my rapid fire complaints and concerns over the cost of my (at that time) Tysabri infusions. But suffice it to say, I met with the top brass (is that where the term "blow hards" comes from? Top brass horns? Lisa? Anyone? Am I making a random connection here?!? LOL) of Club Med December 5, 2008, and during the course of that meeting I VOLUNTEERED my time to provide educational opportunities (among other things) in an effort to be a "team player" and ASSIST with the many problems I had encountered with the Club Med system.

One of those "volunteer" efforts I suggested was to provide an inservice/patient perspective regarding privacy and the importance of maintaining such in the health care setting (you may recall or tried very hard to forget I held a HIPAA violation over the large head of Club Med as a means of "encouraging" ongoing discussions of Tysabri billing practices). Well, it seems the collective *they* of Club Med took my volunteering notion seriously and have invited me to do two presentations on Friday to various staff within the Club Med Registration department...either that or *they* STILL fear I might change my peaceful tactics and report *them* to the HIPAA Gods of Rule. Whatever *their* rationale, I WILL be providing two talks on Friday - one at 9:30AM and one at 2:30PM.

I am also pleased to report the Club Med Clinic where I see Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named has FINALLY popped that all-important *letter* in the mail to all of their Tysabri patients, offering assistance in understanding the transition from receiving Tysabri infusions at the Clinic location to the in hospital setting AND the GINORMOUS jump in cost this created. Perhaps I settled too soon on this issue, but I am keenly aware of the "art of war" and this was one battle I had to reach a compromise on...the *letter* was that compromise. Since my goal at the outset was patient education (knowing it was an absolute lost cause to try to convince a corporation they were billing too much) and providing patient CHOICE in care, I feel the compromise and offer made to patients in the letter was sufficient in meeting this goal...patients have now been given the opportunity to meet with a clinic representative to discuss their personal insurance (or lack there of) issues AND will be offered information on alternative sites where they might be able to receive their Tysabri infusions at a more reasonable cost/copay for essence, Club Med has agreed to NOT withhold this information from their patients AND educate them.

I am fully aware (because I was neither born yesterday nor with half a brain...although, if the MS keeps raging away, that half brain theory might just pan out!) this offer to have me come in and "present" inservices to staff is most likely a *smoke and mirrors* approach at placating me. After all, the privacy violation(s)/HIPAA issues were the least of my concerns and ONLY brought up as leverage to "encourage" ongoing discussions about Tysabri billing. Yeah, I'm just paranoid and skeptical like that at baseline.

But whatever *their* rationale, I have agreed to do these presentations and, as my mother always said, "If you're going to do something, do it well". So I have been spending a great portion of my free time putting together information and giving serious thought to exactly what I feel would be most useful and memorable to a group of Club Med staff members who most likely will resent I am there anyway...or, the opposite could be true, and they might be grateful to be taken away from the routine of their jobs for an hour to sit and drool freely while formulating their weekend shopping lists. Either way, it's doubtful I will be seen as a "welcome" addition through their eyes.

So I've decided to present the grand finale of all privacy issues: The Internet and my "Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid" post/information (do a blog search if you are totally lost what I am talking about here...that is the name of the post/information I am referencing). That's right...I'm going to demonstrate first hand just how UN-PRIVATE the world can be on the Internet by having a volunteer give me their name and date of birth. I will proceed to show them their home address, any legal/court issues they may have encountered, an actual view of the front of their home (via street view on Google maps), and any other vital statistic information I can ferret out on them just using basic search engines and sites on the Internet. And, barring a willing participant, I have already let the head of the department know I WILL be using Mr. CEO as my volunteer...I'd like for them to be able to SEE where he lives and wish him a happy birthday on the proper day of his birth! That's right, Mr. CEO if you are still reading CHEESE...YOU just volunteered yourself as a wonderful staff educational opportunity. Oh, and surely you KNOW I've already researched this information...just like I KNOW you've been reading BrainCheese and most likely pulled my health care record for review prior to our 12/5/08 meeting. Again, that being born over 4 decades ago and having more than a half brain theory should be at work here. LOL

Wish me luck...I'm going in. And I'm used to playing to hostile crowds...I DO work in the mental health field after all...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A New Day Has Dawned In America...Let Us Get Back To The Basics...

"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."

~(Luke 6:30-36) Holy Christian Bible

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat . . . We must find each other."

~Mother Teresa

"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

~Mahatma Gandhi

"Verily your deeds will be brought back to you, as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment".

~MUHAMMAD The Prophet of Islam

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

"Human beings must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it."

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

"Play nice amongst yourselves."


Monday, January 19, 2009

Sprucing Up The Hut...

There's been a lot of activity going on here at BRAINCHEESE WORLD HEADQUARTERS HUT ...thus my absence in the blogging world. Well, that and I've been listening to the gentle breeze of many mindless thoughts blowing through my brain with nothing more important to report than a daily passing of flatus. I also spent way too many hours at work last week...and, although the overtime/comp time pay is good, let's just say being at work rather than being in my bed continuing my Rip Van Winkle lifestyle of snoozing my life away just ISN'T my idea of a *good time*.

I noticed today my almighty "stats" have declined...hardly ANYONE has been coming to BrainCheese in search of their *stage name*, or *Jesus Camp*, or *normal MRI spines*, or...well, searching for anything MEANINGFUL. Which I kid myself in saying ANYONE comes to this blog in search of meaning. LOL

I really HAVE had an incredibly busy week and my typical late night rendezvous with my keyboard has had to take a back seat (isn't the *back seat* typically where rendezvous TAKES place?!?)...I've also been sprucing up the hut and doing some updates on the "news room", where all the earth-shattering and provocative posting takes place inside the compound of the BRAINCHEESE WORLD HEADQUARTERS HUT (except for the posts I do from the comfortable luxury of my bed via laptop...ah, like NOW).

I finally (and I DO mean FINALLY...3 1/2 years was long enough doncha think?) purchased a new computer chair to replace the slatted-butt folding chair I have been sitting on, which left permanent crease indentations on my backside as my fat arse oozed through the thin strips of wood I precariously balanced upon. My new LUXURY padded, high back, adjustable with arms chair (which I practically STOLE from Orifice Depot, combining three coupons and walking out for 1/2 the price! WOOHOO!) is so comfortable I am now having to periodically slap myself in the face to keep from falling asleep at my keyboard. And (oh, the excitement doesn't end here), I just set up my latest LCD monitor with new speakers on my limping desktop, "Old Faithful", to go along with my comfy-butt chair! Dear Lord...I can now SEE my computer screen. Who knew?!?

The Board Of Directors at BRAINCHEESE WORLD HEADQUARTERS HUT has also approved the upcoming purchase of a new computer desk so that its dedicated Editor and Chief might have a better ergonomic keyboard surface (tilted and padded...nothing but the best for the newsroom) upon which to type. The current *I've-had-it-since-grade-school-desk* I type from just hasn't been doing my neck and arms any favors. If this keeps up, I imagine the purchases I am making will most certainly be a major catalyst in turning our country's failing economy around (yes, Wall Street...I WOULD like the honor of ringing that opening bell).

I had no IDEA a side effect of going off my Multiple Sclerosis medication would be to become "spendy and trendy"...whatever. I'll be back this week in the newsroom. I'm just giving you fair warning...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bags...And NOT Of The Tea Type...

I feel like a stranded passenger of a wayward Continental Airlines flight, stuck at a carousel, and watching strange baggage pop out of a shoot that is NOT mine!


I'm talking about just discovering the giant-sized BAGS that have formed under my precious windows to my brain, aka, my EYES! When did this happen? And why have I not noticed this aging process before?!?

Good grief...I swear I have enough sagging skin under my lids I could make some pretty decent sized draperies out of them! WTF?!? I mean seriously...I do NOT consider myself a vain person (get real...when you have my physique and body type, it's pretty hard to sport any type of vanity and pull that attitude off without rolling on the floor laughing at yourself!). But these luggage carriers I've just discovered hanging from my bottom eye lid and balancing on my cheek bones are a bit frightening.

I really expected incontinence or dark chin hairs before I thought THIS would happen...geez...the fun of aging never ends. OK ladies (and gentlemen, because I KNOW there are a few of you male readers who can offer beauty tips!)...any suggestions short of botox or cosmetic surgery to lift these bags from under my eyes and place them back on the luggage carousel where they belong??? Anybody?? Anything? LOL...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If You've Been Looking For Me...

Ah, yeah...I'm still here. Not hiding...just busier than a divorce lawyer in Hollywood, that's all! I've also been spending far more time than ever SLEEPING (WooHoo!) AND feeling remarkably well. I know, I know...what's THAT all about?!?

I'd like to say this flight into wellness is the result of pure and healthy living...but since I spent the day at a local Casino with two friends, I'd be hard pressed to make a case for the *healthy* part of that living. LOL I'd also like to blame my *feeling-better-than-I've-felt-in-a-long-time/possibly-since diagnosis-of-MS* situation on the fact I've stopped all DMD treatments. No steroids, no Tysabri, no shots, no "nuthin", but my own faulty immune system pulsating around in my veins. But I'm quite certain if I made THAT claim/hypothesis public, I'd be found floating down the Duwamish River, either with a cap popped in my a$$ by a shady representative from one of the major drug companies OR Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named...both are staunch believers in the benefits of *better living through chemistry* approach.

Whatever the cause, the point is (and I DO have one) I'm feeling somewhat full of energy and as if I am getting some LIFE back in veins. The month of December nearly killed me (literally) with my dreaded bronchitis/laryngitis/pneumonia episode AND there were a few rather low points in the past 5 weeks where I rather WISHED December might just choke the last breath out of me! I hate feeling that physically ill with no remedy or end in sight. It took every ounce of my mental strength just to get out of bed each day, attempt to breathe, AND go to work (I did miss some time from the workplace unfortunately)...let alone fight the throws of Mother Nature dumping arctic air and snow in the Puget Sound region.

I've received many emails of concern and care over the past several weeks...I DO always try diligently to answer/respond to any emails I receive...granted, not always in a TIMELY manner, but a response nonetheless (for whatever THAT is worth!). A few of you have inquired about my foot burning/ankle pin-pricking episode that started right before the LUNG DEATH GRIP got a hold of me...what I can report is, the pain has subsided oddly. The balls/pads of my feet have now simply gone *numb*...can't feel a darned thing like temperature or pressure, which is quite all right with me! I'm just strange that way...I'll take numb over pain any day (which may be why there was that low point in my early 20's where I drank too much...but I digress. LOL).

I have not forgotten you, my preciouses...I also have not gotten around to reading YOUR blog posts, but I intend to do so just as soon as time permits. I have a bit of a "hellacious" (Is that even a word? My mother used to say that...closest she EVER came to swearing, which is probably why I remember it!) work week ahead of me with a 16 hour day on Thursday. My employer is insistent everyone who drives one of our government vehicles takes a 4 hour defense(less) driving course (which I actually prefer to call "offensive driving course", because I find it offensive that, after nearly 30 years of driving and a squeaky clean DMV record with only one speeding ticket in 1991, I am REQUIRED to NOW learn to drive?!?).

So, as you can imagine, in between sleeping like a hibernating bear, putting in extra work hours this week, and rubbing Dr. SWWNBN's nose in my puddle of NEENER because I am feeling so incredibly well and energized in spite of speculation I might be comatose by May without SOMETHING disease-modifying altering my basic chemistry, I *may* not get around to all y'alls blogs this week. Heck, I *may* not even get around to posting something trashy and completely uninteresting on THIS blog this week!

Please bear with me...this feeling ALIVE again is just taking up so much of my time. I've nearly forgotten what a time suck ENJOYING life can be...LOL...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I've Become A Whore...For Sleep...

It's true...since the onslaught of my latest viral/bronchitis/pneumonia episode, I just can't seem to get enough of it. Sleep, that is.

As a chronic insomniac (because of pain issues, sleep apnea, PLM otherwise known as Periodic Limb Movement, and a host of other "issues"), I have recently found myself spending more time with my eyes closed than awake whenever possible. It's been wonderful, quite frankly. Getting 8+ hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is a new phenomenon for me and one I had only read about in *health* magazines and fairy tales until recently!

And my dream life has become FAR more fascinating and productive than my awake time. I have been meeting with world leaders, flying around the world (without a plane, mind you...just my arms), not afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis, running long races through the countryside, etc. Who, in their right mind, would EVER want to give this up, i.e., WAKE UP?!?

Oh sure...some *skeptics* (hehe) might say my active dream time is simply the product of substance-induced, mind-altering chemicals that I take to PUT me to sleep. Naysayers. Whatever...I don't really CARE what is causing this latest fast track into the wonderful world of Disney Sleepland. I just don't want it to end. And if it weren't for the responsibilities of a job and a four-legged feline scratching at my bedroom door each morning to awaken me, I probably would STILL be dozing away in peaceful bliss!

But alas...the responsibilities of the awake and living world around me whisper in my ear, disturbing my wonderful Rip Van Winkle time and I must now turn my open eyes toward the business of my day. But as soon as this day ends, you know where you can find me.

I'll be walking Nightynight Lane, leaning into the open car windows of any sleep John who will have me, and selling my body and soul for those few precious hours of blissful delight. I'm not sure a Sleep Whore is supposed to enjoy her job...but it sure is a plus not to hate it...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Going Al Naturale... would kind of figure I'd follow a naked clown post with yet another post titled, "Going Al Naturale", huh? But THIS post has nothing to do with nudity and probably isn't that much of a laughing matter.

I don't speak Italian, but this post title would be more suitingly called, "Going immunita naturale", or extremely loosely translated, "going with natural immunity".

I had an appointment today with Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named. It was *supposed* to be my Tysabri follow up appointment. But, since I pretty much decided in December I wasn't going to be TAKING Tysabri any longer, the appointment segued into something else.

If you can recall (and why WOULD you recall, really?), back in December when I saw Dr. SWWNBN about the new onset of burning feet/tingling ankles, there was a question whether or not the Tysabri was holding me anyway in between infusions. And I had just had what felt like a knock down/drag out meeting with Mr. Club Med CEO and cohorts on December 5th regarding Tysabri billing costs. You remember, right? LOL

Well, anyway...I had more than enough time to do some thinking while trying desperately to satisfy my craving for OXYGEN during my respiratory illness over the past few weeks. And the conclusion I came to was this: No more Tysabri.

Here's the deal. I'm just SICK of being SICK and SICK of taking drugs that are supposed to keep me from being SICK, but generally causing me to feel SICK instead. I have been on EVERY disease modifying drug, EXCEPT Rebif and Betaseron. And I've never been on those two because they are reaction to Avonex (development of very high fevers and longer and longer flu-like recovery time of 3-4 days post shot) disqualified me from trying/taking those. I've "been there, done that" when it comes to current standard MS treatments (barring some of the newer experimental drugs and/or bee stings, LDN, and a few others). I'm tired of treating my MS...SICK and tired.

The cessation of Tysabri also came on the heels of cost realization...if I were to continue taking the infusions via Club Med, I would be eating away my maximum life time insurance benefits...which has already surpassed $120,000.00 of my 2 million dollar life time limit. At a little above $92,000.00 a year for the cost of the Tysabri, I would most likely exhaust my benefits BEFORE I exhausted my ability to remain gainfully employed. And that is IF I had no other catastrophic illness/event on top of the annual infusion costs! When weighing this out, the drug simply didn't/doesn't seem worth it to me at this juncture in my life. AND, Club Med has been in no hurry OR support to make any changes in this cost, which I also cannot support or condone by continuing to receive the medication. Call it a "hunger strike Tysabri style" if you will, but I just CANNOT morally justify this expense in my life. Insurance companies (I believe) are soon going to be *third tiering* (moving the medication to a 3rd tiering table, making the patient become responsible for more and more of the cost via copay) this drug anyway, pricing it right out of the market for anyone with a private insurance carrier such as myself. But THIS issue, my friends, is a MUCH larger battle than any waged by dear ol' BRAINCHEESE...and one I'm certainly not up for fighting over.

So...the current *PLAN* of action for me is inaction. Yup...nothing. No medications, barring those I use to deal with symptoms. No major disease modifying drug pulsing through my tissues. I am going "al naturale". I am giving my body a break from the SICKNESS the medications cause. "Que sera sera"...this is my new motto. Sorry to change languages on you from Italian to Spanish, but you get the drift..."whatever will be, will be"...again, very loosely translated (in spite of Doris Day's insistence in her song that this is the literal translation!).

I WAS successful in getting the radiologist's interpretation of my cervical/thoracic spine MRI in December...Ooooo...not so good. NOT MS-wise...just not so good structural-wise. It appears (and I quote) "...moderate to moderately severe, multilevel mid cervical degenerative disk disease...subtle, T2 hyperintense, nonenhancing area in the right cord at superior to mid C4..." Basically (and loosely interpreted in English...I just KEEP switching up languages here. LOL), this says my neck IS falling apart from structural disease, but my cervical lesion is NOT getting any worse and actually looks BETTER than it did 5 years ago when first discovered. Of course, Dr. SWWNBN had to point out, "you neck looks like $#!+"...but, short of surgical intervention (which I am NOT doing, thank you very much), there is little that can be done, other than treating symptoms the structural changes cause. Which, in my case, is MAINLY PAIN! I needed a seven thousand dollar MRI to tell me THAT?!?

So, here we go kids...keep your hands in the moving car at all times and no standing until this ride comes to a complete stop. The BRAINCHEESE world is about to go *rogue*...I haven't been off MS meds in so long, I'm not sure my body will know what to DO with itself for the first few weeks. Oh, sure...there was a 3 month wash out period here and there in between medications, but nothing long term. I'm actually excited about the prospect of NOT having to schedule my life around shots or infusions or SICKNESS or...

Let the ride begin!...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Coulrophobic...And Even I Like This!... unnatural/abnormal fear of CLOWNS. I don't know WHY I have this (and my fear of glass eyeballs, too). It's sort of a chic thing to say, "I have Coulrophobia", so maybe THAT'S why. I rather enjoy having DESIGNER disorders. LOL Too bad Multiple Sclerosis isn't considered one of those "designer" disorders/illnesses...maybe I'd feel more inclined to go around shouting to the world, "I have MS!", if it were.

BUT...speaking of clowns and MS (which I WAS rather loosely doing above)...I have stumbled upon a true BRAINCHEESE GEM find today! Naked clowns and multiple sclerosis.


Yes, it's true. And even I (coulrophobic and all) found this website and project to be DELIGHTFULLY worthy and HI LARRY USLY funny!!! It's the Naked Clown 2009 calendar to benefit the Judy Finelli Fund , which, in collaboration with the MS Society of Florida, serves to provide advocacy and research for MS...and also scholarships for those WITH MS wanting to pursue their desires to "clown around" in the performing arts.

"So, WHY naked clowns and Multiple Sclerosis?" you ask. Well, hit the link up there about the Judy Finelli Fund and you will quickly learn a little bit about her life as a clown/performer/juggler, her diagnosis of MS in 1989, and what she is doing today...paraplegic and all, WITH MS. She's legit and so is the fund...I checked it out.

I don't usually DO any kind of advertising or promotion here on CHEESE, but THIS was just too good to pass up. It made me laugh out loud in a maniacal, surprisingly BRAINCHEESE-ishly way! Those of us with MS NEED to laugh once in a while...sometimes, at the expense of the illness...sometimes, just for the sake of increasing our endorphins to stay ALIVE. And this calendar does both for me...because I'm just SICK of "Joining the Movement", and "Finding a Cure", and "I have MS, but it doesn't have me", and...well, most of you KNOW what I mean. This project brings MS Awareness down to MY level: Outrageous, wickedly funny, and mocking! The photos say nothing about Multiple Sclerosis, so even those with a denial and great passion to keep MS a "serious" disease, will find it hard NOT to laugh at this project (this said for all of the "blowing MS sunshine out my a$$" folks).

I just ordered 5 calendars for myself...I plan to give them out to several of my twisted friends and keep one for my office desk. They are listed as $10.00/calendar with a $2.00 shipping/handling fee for each (5 costs $60.00...even I can do THAT math!). The site says "100% of proceeds go the the Judy Finelli Fund". It appears the Judy Finelli Fund does not have the same ADMINISTRATIVE OVERHEAD as some of our more known and "national MS funds" (I don't me a skeptic...actually, call me whatever you'd like. Most do.).

Since I'm doing shameless promotion of this calendar on CHEESE, I took it upon myself to STEAL/SWIPE/BORROW off the Internet my FAVORITE calendar's from the month of May and here's a sample:

I'm hoping this calendar may provide some kind of IMMERSION therapy for my coulrophobia...who knows, if I laugh enough at these naked clowns, I might just be able to attend a CIRCUS at some point in my future! Better yet, maybe I'll LAUGH my way right out of my MS...
**BRAINCHEESE was paid no fee whatsoever to post this. As a matter of fact, the blog editor may be fielding legal calls for copyright theft in the near future**

Friday, January 02, 2009

Rumor Has It I May Actually LIVE Through This...

OK, I only FEEL like Sigourney Weaver staring down the throat of the Alien...but I still SOUND more like Brenda Vaccaro doing those Tampax commercials in the early 80's (or was it Stayfree Maxi Pads?!?).

Yes, a special brand of laryngitis/bronchitis/pneumonia STILL lurks in the deep recesses of my lungs, giving me a deep, raspy and throaty phone sex operator voice...but, before I go and change occupations completely (don't phone sex operators make a LOT more money than someone working in social services?!?), I'm going to give these antibiotics a few more days as they DO seem to be working on "whatever ails me" (that last quote is a *Pegism*...or better known as something my mother would say).

2008 left without fanfare as 2009 sneaked its way into my mundane life. I suppose had I felt well enough to acknowledge the winter holidays in December, I might have NOTICED 2008 leaving. But, as it was, November blended into December, I lost track of time, and... ~POOF~ Here's 2009 sitting on my doorstep like an abandoned baby somebody left behind, expecting ME to raise it!

I'm hoping to feel well enough soon to stop ignoring CHEESE (although most of you I imagine have probably ENJOYED the blather break) and return to my regular exploration of all things microscopically unimportant in my life. It's rather interesting (or at least to me anyway) that, while down and out with this respiratory illness, I was giving serious contemplation to calling a cease fire here on the ol' blog...frankly, I had grown SICK of my own drivel and lack of humor in my life. And FORCED humor writing is as transparent as fake burps...there's just no surprise in that.

Soooo, I was silently considering a blog escape. And then, I received this wonderfully written email from an unknown CHEESE reader telling me they (generic privacy here) were LEARNING something from reading my brain fart posts! WHOOT?!? How could it be so? But that's what the email said...and it inspired me (I'm sure by now the REST of my two readers are wanting the email address AND home phone number of this email-er so you can beat them over the head for EVER inspiring me onward!). A total stranger had been lurking on CHEESE and *learning* something...

One *might* think if someone is "learning" something by reading CHEESE, that the blog author *might* try to up their game a bit and widen that learning curve? Yeah, one *might* think that...but, I'm here to assure you (and disappoint you) there will be NO changes here on CHEESE. That's changes and no new, big words. 2009 will be filled with the same old potty humor/bodily function humor/MS angst/MS crap/Mental Health issues/Rage against Big Pharma that CHEESE has ALWAYS supported...since March of 2006. We can all just sit back, relax, and pretend 2009 is just one, big, long extension of 2008!

And, rumor has it, y'all may actually live through THIS another year, too... :-)