Stop the Ride and Get Me Out of Here!

by Mark  

Alright...I've been on this ride for too long now.

Stop the ride and get me out of here!

A friend and faithful reader of Inside My Mind from Laughlin, Nevada relayed how her father lost a lung when he was around 20. He went on to lead a long, productive life. John Wayne, the star of Westerns and war films, lost a lung to cancer and went on to star in more movies. There are stories of many who have lost a lung and remained active and productive.

So what's wrong with me?

With my unique brand of chronic cluster headaches, which do not fit the normal mode, I am wondering what factor the clusters may play in my ongoing respiratory concern.

I learned last spring that I had lost all functionality of my right lung as a result of a non-specific bacterial infection. The doctors have not said I have been rid or cured of the infection. The doctors have not provided any type of antibiotic to attack the infection.

What was recommended was the removal of my teeth and tooth stubs, which were decaying as the result of a genetic condition. The issue in my mouth was suspected as being the source of the infection which attacked my lungs. The hope was that by pulling the teeth and getting dentures it would protect and keep the left lung safe.

What originally sent me to the doctor was the loss of 30 pounds of weight within a month, followed a couple of months later by another drop of 15 pounds in two weeks. Following surgery on my lungs and a three-week hospital stay, I continued to lose weight. I eventually gained back about 5 pounds. I stabilized a bit and gained another 2 pounds. Now, I am once more losing weight again. I have lost another 5 pounds or so in the last month.

The headaches have been extreme at times and beyond my ability to use my internal ignore button. The humidity has played havoc with my ability to take oxygen out of the air. The coughing and hacking seem on the rise. All of this feeds the depression with which I wrestle daily.

My pulmonologist has agreed that my best option, when I can afford to do so, is to get out of the Cornfield and to the desert where it is more arid and easier to breathe. For now, I am stuck on this ride, in the Cornfield, continuing to deteriorate.

What is going on?

Why have others had no problem after losing a lung, yet I seem to be going downhill?

Some have suggested I try acupuncture, a non-covered treatment by Medicare. I have had so many types of treatments tried and failed. I did, however, check with numerous cluster headache forums of others experiences with acupuncture. The general reaction from those who have been tried is that the treatment did not work and was a nightmare. Only one person spoke of minor relief, but short-lived.

It was innteresting to learn yesterday that reportedly the new Pope Francis also lost part of a lung to an infection. Yet, he doesn't seem to suffer from respiratory distress from what I could tell watching the news coverage.

How much of a factor are the cluster headaches, as the condition has been diagnosed, play into my scenario?

The vast majority of sufferers of clusters have what is known as episodic clusters. The clusters attack for a few months or weeks and are gone, sometimes for years before returning. In my case, the clusters have attacked for the last 18 years. I am lucky when I get one or two pain-free days in a year.

Unlike most who have clusters, where the cluster is centered in one place behind one eye, my clusters can attack the entire scope of my brain. I can have more than one attack going on at one times in separate lobes of the brain. My clusters also produce heart attack and stroke symptoms, leave me paralyzed in a part of my body from time to time, result in dizzy spells and major swings in blood pressure from moment to moment.

At times I am reduced to a blubbering mass in a corner. My speech can become slurred. There is difficulty in forming words, stammering, inability to remember my name or how to spell the word "a". I fall down unceremoniously when dizziness strikes as my blood pressure crashes from normal to near-death levels. Too many times I have literally fallen out of my chair, crumpling over and to the floor.

With all the false signals sent from my brain as the clusters attack, could the clusters also be shaping and intensifying the struggle with breathing?

All I know at this point is that I want the ride to stop and want to get out of here.

If something doesn't happen soon, not sure if I can find the will to keep fighting.

Today, The Work Begins

by Mark  

The anxiety and anticipation both are building. Today is the day the dental treatments begin to correct both my genetic condition that has destroyed my teeth and also perhaps stop the aspiration of infection that has destroyed my right lung.

At 2 p.m. (ET) I will sit down in the dentist's chair. The doctor will begin the extraction process. The process, including getting a new set of choppers, is scheduled over the next 8 weeks with a follow-up final on October 15.

I mentioned in my entry Wednesday in my personal blog, Inside My Mind, that the anxiety was starting to get the best of me. Last night as I was trying to watch "Necessary Roughness", I went through a panic attack. Thankfully, it was short-lived.

My fear is that when I get to the dentist's office and as he begins, I may have another one of my attacks.

Not sure how many teeth or stubs will be extracted today. Not sure if he will apply a local anesthetic or knock me out. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the latter.

The hope is that in 2 months from now I can proudly display my new teeth. The hope is that this does indeed nip the infection in the bud which turned my right lung into a dried up sponge and threatens my left lung.

With all this going on for the next 8 weeks, I will try to stay up with my daily routine. A lot will depend on how I am able to cope with the pain from the procedure. Adding what I know will be some misery to my other conditions is going to make for a testy time. Sure hope my ignore button is in good working order.

There's so much happening over the next couple of weeks that I want to be able to comment on or give my view about, but will I be able?

The Republican National Convention begins on Monday. A week later the Democrats meet to give the nod to the President for a 2nd term. So much expected to happen, but taking care of my dental issue must take priority.

From Mark's Den, the anxiety and anticipation builds.

Just about 3 hours from now the work begins.

The Cornfield OOPs! File - August 4th

by Mark  

Sometimes we all say or do things we wish we could take back or do over. But life, especially in these days of Twitter, smartphones, 24-hour news, the blog-o-sphere and social media, captures almost any and all flubs, slips of the tongue, missteps, hijinks and bad behavior.

Today's edition provides 2 more entries. On the 1 had we have an election committee based in Congress having to say, "Mea culpa". On the other hand we have a state party disavowing the winner of its own primary for not towing the party line on all issues.

From the "Did I Say That" department we have the story of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee having to backtrack after making an accusation against casino mogul and Republican money man Sheldon Adelson.

The DCCC said in its retraction:

"In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused."

Of course this was after Adelson's attorney had sent a letter to the DCCC and threatened to sue.

The letter, dated Monday, asked the DCCC to remove all allegations surrounding Adelson from the DCCC website, agree not to republish any allegations surrounding Adelson and release a statement retracting and apologizing for "false claims."

"Breaking: House Republicans' Biggest Donor Approved 'Prostitution Strategy' in China" was the headline of a June 29 statement from the DCCC and a July 2 statement asked what House Republicans will do when their "Chinese prostitution money comes from billionaire Sheldon Adelson."

Politifact, an independent fact check organization, delivered a "Pants on Fire" for the DCCC point that recipients of Adelson donations were receiving dirty money, a fact seized upon in the attorney letter.

"As you and the DCCC surely knew when you spoke, the charges you made are outrageous and completely untrue," Clayton wrote in the letter. "Mr. Adelson does not tolerate prostitution - let alone, as you have said, make money from it. The fact is that Mr. Adelson has consistently objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution, a commitment that extends to his personal life."

Following the DCCC apology, an Adelson spokesperson offered this response:

"We are gratified that the DCCC has acknowledged it error.  More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee - that this is a very slippery slope."

The allegations came from a filing in Nevada state court in which Steven Jacobs, the former president of Sands China Ltd, alleged wrongful termination and asserted that he had seen documents in which Adelson "personally approved" what he called "a prostitution strategy" at the company's casino operation in the Chinese special administrative region of Macau.

In a July 16 letter to the DCCC, attorneys for Adelson, 78, demanded that the committee retract the allegations and apologize to Adelson.

"Mr. Adelson does not tolerate prostitution, let alone, as you have said, make money from it," the attorneys wrote. "The fact is that Mr. Adelson has consistently objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution."

On July 20, Adelson filed suit in a Florida state court, claiming defamation against Jacobs and seeking unspecified damages for statements that his suit said "impugn Mr. Adelson's integrity and harm his reputation."

Wonder if any other Democratic statements will be retracted between now and the November 6th election.

Now we have from the "He's Not My Candidate" department we have a stiuation where the Tennessee State Democratic Party is disavowing the candidate who won the most votes in the recent primary for US Sentate.

The party of Cordell Hull, Estes Kefauver, and Al Gore Sr. and Jr. won’t have a standard-bearer — or at least not one it can stomach — in Tennessee’s next U.S. Senate race.

Less than 24 hours after a man espousing conservative and libertarian views surprised the state’s political scene by winning the Democratic nomination, the Tennessee Democratic Party disavowed him, saying he’s part of an anti-gay hate group.

The party said Friday that it would do nothing to help Mark Clayton, 35, who received nearly twice as many votes as his closest challenger in Thursday’s seven-candidate primary, winning the right to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker in November.

“The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself,” the party said in a news release. “Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support.

“Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.”

Seems that Clayton is not following the party line. He is against same-gender marriage. The group he is associated with in Washington DC promotes opposition to the issue and has been cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, which Clayton denies.

Democrats are being asked to vote for the write-in person of their choice in November.

From the Cornfield, may the gaffes, the flubs, the misspeak and stupid actions roll on...otherwise I will have nothing to write about.

Government Motors (GM) in a Slump

by Mark  

Government Motors aka GM is in a slump. That's not good news for taxpayers who own a substantial percentage of the company and have a multi-billion dollar loan out.

Mitt Romney may have gotten it wrong.

He's been running ads bashing President Obama for car dealerships that were forced to close after the General Motors bailout and bankruptcy restructuring in 2009. But GM's bigger problem may be a stock price that's in retreat, prolonging the day on which U.S. taxpayers will get back their remaining $26.5 billion investment in the company.

GM is a vastly better company than it was three years ago, when massive losses forced it into an unusual Chapter 11 filing, with Uncle Sam providing much of the funding needed for a fresh start. But the automaker has hit a rough patch this year. Second-quarter earnings tumbled 41 percent from 2011, and overall revenue fell, too. Losses in Europe are the biggest drain on GM's profits.

But the huge automaker has also stalled in its home market. North American car sales are up 14 percent so far this year, but GM's sales have risen only three percent. Its market share has fallen from nearly 20 percent a year ago to less than 18 percent. GM's stock price, which enjoyed a nice runup for the first three months of 2012, has since fallen back to about $20, leaving it flat for the year.

The downshift seems to have scotched any notion of the government selling its stake in the company prior to the November elections, since that would amount to a taxpayer loss of roughly $17 billion, and a major embarrassment for Obama. The government can hold onto its shares as long as it likes, and sell when the price is high enough to get all its money back. But the stock would have to hit about $53 for Uncle Sam to break even—a threshold that seems a long way off.

While both candidates slug it out over who was right and who was wrong about GM, the taxpayers just want to know when or if they will be repaid.

From the Cornfield, with so much invested in GM, it is good for the American taxpayers if GM can shrug off this slump and start climbing out of the hole it is sliding back down into.

Liberal Profs: We Will Discriminate

by Mark  

Conservatives will nod in agreement and shout, "See we told you they were hypocrites." Why? Because of a new study that is coming out in the September issue of Perspectives on Psychological Science. In that issue, liberal professors admitted they would discriminate in hiring practices against conservative scholars and employees.

It’s not every day that left-leaning academics admit that they would discriminate against a minority.But that was what they did in a peer-reviewed study of political diversity in the field of social psychology, which will be published in the September edition of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Psychologists Yoel Inbar and Joris Lammers, based at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, surveyed a roughly representative sample of academics and scholars in social psychology and found that “In decisions ranging from paper reviews to hiring, many social and personality psychologists admit that they would discriminate against openly conservative colleagues.”

This finding surprised the researchers. The survey questions “were so blatant that I thought we’d get a much lower rate of agreement,” Mr. Inbar said. “Usually you have to be pretty tricky to get people to say they’d discriminate against minorities.”

One question, according to the researchers, “asked whether, in choosing between two equally qualified job candidates for one job opening, they would be inclined to vote for the more liberal candidate (i.e., over the conservative).”

More than a third of the respondents said they would discriminate against the conservative candidate. One respondent wrote in that if department members “could figure out who was a conservative, they would be sure not to hire them.”

Generally speaking, the more liberal the respondent, the more willingness to discriminate and, paradoxically, the higher the assumption that conservatives do not face a hostile climate in the academy.

Does this study confim the conservative perspective?

Is it true then that liberals are on one's side only as long as the opinion and perspective is in lockstep with their own view?

From the Cornfield, perhaps this is why I get such grief for not seeing things the same and accused of going against my own interests when I do not have the opinion of those on the left on many issues.

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