An odd side effect…

November 26, 2005 at 9:13 AM (Music) ()

Due to my mix of difficulties, clinical depression sometimes among them, I miss music. [short note: my depression is biologically based, and has had some serious situational whacks in the past, but I view it like a broken leg or a cut. The chemical mix in my head needs periodic adjustment and tune up, period, thats it. Any snarks about “it’s all in your head” or similar dismissive ideas will be deleted from comments.]

Those who’ve known me awhile know that I sing. I was a performer. I also have what they call absolute or perfect pitch, which about 1 in 6000 people have. I was astonished to learn in my junior year of high school that every one else couldn’t “hear” the exact starting note of their part in a choral peice in their heads…it explained a lot…

I enjoyed singing all the way through until my late twenties when other difficulties began appearing in my life.

The regimen I’m on for the depression is working very well and I have only one part of my head that seems to stay rather defiantly unbalanced in a specific situation.

If I hear a piece of vocal music (any style) that I enjoyed in the past, about 85 percent of the time my emotions just flood all over the map, quite suddenly and I literally have to turn it off. Instrumental stuff only seems to have that effect when the piece is clearly associated with a bunch of emotion (Some, not all, holiday music has that effect.)

I can listen to and enjoy any music that was created after about 1993, or that I heard for the first time after that year, but anything else from classical to big band and popular music on up to the early Nineties? It’s a gamble to listen.

Reason I’m posting this is not a pity party request. I need some strategies. I want to listen to, sing and enjoy these pieces again, and the medical psychiatrists, humorless intellects that many of them are, have been no help.

I also miss performance, because good stress used to make me physically ill just as much as bad stress did…but that part is changing due to other medicine for another condtion….after the first of the year I’m going to try that again.

Any thoughts on coping with the above annoyance would be appreciated.

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A list of thankfuls

November 23, 2005 at 9:01 PM (Holiday)

In honor of the US Thanksgiving, here’s a list of things I’m thankful for.

1. I’m working.

2. Friends and family, though I’m not seeing them in person this season.

3. Losing 20 pounds.

4. I have healthcare coverage. (Well sorta. Have to pay cash for my meds till February. The amount of cash required to keep myself in necessary pharmaceuticals is truly staggering)

5. No one in my house has to cook tomorow.

6. Since I’m working, seeing the occasional movie or buying the occasional book is now guilt free.

7. MSNBC’s ‘Countdown’ with Keith Olbermann.

8. The Cleveland Browns *HAMMERED* the Miami Dolphins last weekend!

9. Books, books, books at the local library.

10. A friend I met for the first time yesterday, who has actually created a number of great positives, while transitioning from an inaccessible home to a nursing home. (Greater socialization, more outings than she was able to do from home, interesting activities, etc.) She has nothing but good things to say about the place, a refreshing perspective, if an unlikely one.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

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New definitions

November 23, 2005 at 8:29 PM (Institutionalization) (, )

Katrina and Rita have (at least temporarily) forced the national eye to gaze at poverty, elder care, thousands of dispossessed people, and to consider seriously actual eradication of one of our oldest and proudest cities, New Orleans.

People with disabilities have had thought provoking discussions about just how and where we must be present in emergency and disaster planning going forward…

Unfortunately, in a quote from the link above, the disabled, infirm and elderly now have a new label that has actually been spoken aloud:

Hilary Styron is the director of the Emergency Preparedness Initiative. She writes:
“When I talk to emergency managers, as recently as last weekend, in Orlando, I was told that this population is acceptable “loss and collateral damage.” I asked a major in the army national guard how his mother was doing in the nursing home. Oh, she’s just fine. Congratulations, you just killed her because she’s an acceptable loss. This has happened for too long.”

I am “acceptable loss and collateral damage,” during a disaster or attack.

Better get that will dusted off….

Write up your beneficiary lists, and hide ’em in triplicate…so that your heirs won’t be troubled with identifying themselves.

Identifying you? ah, well, all part of that collateral damage thing.

Our parents, grandparents, and ill or disabled friends, associates, or family members *should not be given the same label as war casualties*

My maternal grandfather would have gotten into quite a tizzy if he thought that during his last months of life in the nursing home where he admired his fellow residents and watched tv and listened to good music, a label of “acceptable loss and collateral damage” would have been attached to him.

The language of the conflicts in the Middle East has now bled right into the middle of our community.

Better make sure your affairs are in order, ’cause if that earthquake or flood hits, or terrorist cells take a special liking to your neighborhood, well, we as first responders are letting you know that you’ll be the first collateral damage that’s crossed off our list.

Oh, *he!! no!*

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Important Information for U.S. readers

November 20, 2005 at 10:08 AM (Medicare)

Via the Justice for all Listserv:

There is important information about the new Medicare Part D. prescription drug benefit here.

If you want to download the information from the linked site, when you get to that webpage you need Adobe Reader to read it once you have it. It might be helpful to

right click and “Save Target As” to save bandwidth and speed download time.

The information below is *not* guaranteed to be exactly correct for any particular patient or plan and I do not implicitly or explicitly warrant it as such. It’s my concerns from a quick scan of the document:

Read the *whole thing.*

That said, these are what I believe to be the most important aspects of the benefit:

1. Comparison shop, both within the traditional Medicare options and the privately offered Medicare Advantage Plans in each state, and any other coverage you might have. What are the premium costs of each? Deductibles of each? Cost sharing of each (known as copays and/or coinsurance in the private insurance industry)
Are your medications on a particular plan’s list, also called a formulary? If not, what options does your physican or yourself have to obtain those drugs?

2. Read the sections on

“coverage gap”

“Dual Eligibles”

“Extra Help”

and the sections on outside assistance and premium surcharges.

There will be no quiz, but you may have less headaches in transition.

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Regarding Henry

November 17, 2005 at 7:26 PM (Uncategorized) (, )

I’d like to sit in an office with the ad wonks that wrote the latest series of Radio Shack ads….and then ****-slap them around a bit.

There’s a bright red chair and various diverse types sit in it and earnestly discuss what sort of tech gadget would make their holiday special.

One spot brings us harried businessman Henry with some gadget named the All In One. He’s wobbling around on a single crutch and trying to loop carry this All In One thing in one hand.

The entire spot is taken up with his gradually losing control of the load altogether and increased panic and attitude…he then staggers offscreen so that his eventual tumble is heard and assumed but never seen.

It’s not about the coolness of the gadget at all. It’s about watching this person lose his balance, his dignity and his high tech toy all at once.

It’s selling uneasinesss, frustration and stress, and reinforcing an unwelcome stereotype…

And they didn’t have to do it, either.

I enjoy the rest of the red chair spots. I think they’re clever.

But now I have this picture of a boardroom full of ad wonks and/or executives grinning like maniacs watching an advance copy of this ad while Henry looks foolish.

Not funny.

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