Gastroparesis: Sometimes you know more than your doctor

(American) society still seems to have this thing where doctors are revered and assumed to know this amazing amount of knowledge about things no one else understands (except on tv). It started hundreds of years ago with licensing and membership requirements to be able to restrict people who wanted to be doctors and it still hangs on… even though medical care in this country isn’t as good as other similar countries. Obviously the licensing is important and needs to be required. It offers protection. Not many people understand they must be honest and open with their doctors. Not many people understand that doctors should be willing to respect their patients. Doctors are not omnipotent gods.

All that said, people with chronic illnesses can end up knowing more than their doctors… or anyone they interact with who is a “medical professional”. Yesterday I explained gastroparesis to two different people in a medical field. The first was a dentist… I can completely understand a dentist not knowing about a GI disease but it’s still weird to have to explain. (See above.)

The second person was a dietician. I explained what my GI tests had found and in front of me she turned around to her computer and googled Gastroparesis. She printed out information from one site and then went over it with me. She kept on even after I realized it was a print out I had at home that I’d read through. She ignored the things I said like:

Information on gastroparesis varies between sources.
There’s only so much my doctor can help with because some things I just have to figure out on my own.
I needed lifestyle changes, not just diet changes.
Gastroparesis makes exercises difficult and problems with pain and fatigue make exercise harder.

Mostly she was happy about my weight loss. The weight loss I’d achieved because the gastroparesis limits how many calories I can consume at one sitting/in a day. One she was so happy was because she has to follow FDA guidelines. Guidelines that are for healthy people people not like me… people without chronic diseases that have no cure and aren’t caused by obesity. The only thing the dietician really helped me with yesterday was a little bit more understanding on how to approach monitoring my calorie intake – and how much fat, protein and carbs I need. Now that I think about it the only reason why I want to see her again is to see her response based on my additional weight loss…. I still can’t eat as much as my recommended calorie count for a day, so my weight loss will continue. (Hopefully I won’t add it back on later.)

The medical field in this country needs to change, but because our government’s views on medical care access are based on how much people deserve instead of recognizing that medical care access is a human right, we still have very far to go. This should also include changing the relationship between doctor and patient. People need to learn to advocate for themselves, which isn’t the same as arguing with their doctor that WebMD knows more. We need to learn to value our health and know that sometimes lifestyle changes are necessary.

Why I stopped shaving my legs

There’s a few obvious reasons and some would say I’m lucky. First, I don’t do anything like go swimming (or do porn?) that would serve as a functional reason to shave* my legs. I also don’t have thick dark hair. In general, a woman shaves her legs because she likes it, because she thinks she’s supposed to because that’s the way it is, and/or because her significant other/partner/spouse likes it.** That means when a woman doesn’t shave her legs she’s supposed to hide her legs. Women aren’t supposed to have hairy legs…. except everyone has body hair.

For a woman to shave her legs requires time, energy, ability, and money. It takes time and energy to shave your legs and it takes a specific amount of “product”… and special attention then is needed for caring for shaved skin. Yes, men shave their faces – except when considering in square inches, men have a lot less to deal with! Also, women’s products – like disposable razors – are often more expensive than men’s despite the product being virtually or completely identical. (The bathroom mirror also often has better light than the shower.)

Therefore the first main reason I stopped shaving my legs was because it means I get to spend that time, energy, and money on something else. It also means that I have less problems with dry and sensitive skin. I also don’t have to remember to shave my legs or decide when to shave my legs if I’m too stiff, tired, or in too much pain.

The other half of why I stopped was that I realized there no reason I needed to actually shave my legs – since I don’t mind my hairy legs. One day, perhaps reading Twitter, I realized that the western/American standard of beauty is based around the comfort of the viewer. There’s no reason why I should shave my legs just to make some stranger in the grocery store more comfortable when he (or she) looks at me. I’d rather be more comfortable not wearing long pants to hide my legs in the summer (Texas) heat. I don’t have itchy dry skin on my legs, or even a rash. It’s also provided me more freedom because it’s one less thing to do, remember, plan for, etc.

*Or use some other type of temporary hair removal product that requires regular maintenance and attention.

**Western culture, American culture, mainstream American culture is all I’m speaking of here.

Photoshopping in the wild

Maybe it’s me, but I doubt it. (Wow two blog posts in two days!!!)  I was on target dot com this morning checking on the status of an order and ran into a picture of women in bathing suits on the home page. My first thought was something along the lines of Oh Look! Bathing suits ALREADY. My second thought went something like this: Wow. That MUST be photoshopped. It’s kind of….unnatural. 

I took a screenshot of the image in question and highlighted the area in question. In my opinion that has to be photoshopped because no one looks like that. Notice how her figure is almost a vertical straight line? Everyone has curves, especially there. Her ribs under her breast line even look funny. Basically from the underside of her arm the whole way past her hip looks ‘off’.

This is a prime example of how touched up photographs/images/pictures are everywhere and we might not even notice – unless we stop and think about how human anatomy works. This is difficult to do when we are inundated with such images so often, so many times a day.

target dot com photoshop

Maybe Hobby Lobby Won, but Everyone Else Lost

This case “marks the first time that the Supreme Court has allowed companies the ability to declare a religious belief — a decision that could reverberate far past the Affordable Care Act to other laws and issues.”

I was dismayed this morning to hear that the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. because Supreme Court precedence is a powerful thing. I think part of me just assumed that SCOTUS would not rule in favor of Hobby Lobby because, well, it’s 2014 and I figured we were past that. Hobby Lobby has problems with causing abortions – but the birth control covered by the ACA does not cause abortions. Or at least, it does not according to everyone but Hobby Lobby? This suggests that we’re now allowing religious belief as a reason to declare what is or isn’t found to be medical fact. Cue the anti-vaxxers?

Beyond this ruling serving as another reminder that healthcare coverage should not be tied to employment, it has the potential to cause problems in a lot of ways.

1. I’ve already mentioned that ACA covered birth control has not found to be abortion causing. The ACA is attempting to open up access to this type of healthcare. In general, more access to healthcare is a good thing. There’s nothing to argue about here. Healthcare is important. It should be a right – just like freedom of religion. Remember, freedom of religion is one reason why these guys exist.

2. The obvious question. If Hobby Lobby can deny birth control coverage based on their interpretation of medical fact per religious beliefs….. what else can they do? Are vaccinations next? If birth control is not okay but vaccinations are, what’s the legal reasoning?

3. Is it really about religious freedom? Again, this seems to be another move made by the “conservative” and “Christian” citizens of this country – with money and time to spare. I’m beginning to think that the “conservative” people of the Christian religion are seriously hurting Christianity in general. Read this. There’s been so much back and forth in court cases and Congress over what religious freedom really is. We seem to be over-complicating it.

4.  What about simple employee rights? Health insurance is part of your compensation provided by your employer. So now, after you are paid, they still have control over what they’ve given you? Will this be a way to further limit health insurance for people not involved in a heterosexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex?

5. Again, the question of access. Ultimately, this feels like an attack on girls and women. I also think this extends to the quality of medical care received. You can argue that this only limits certain types of birth control so what’s the problem? Emergency contraceptives are used after rape. Providing less options for birth controls is more dangerous. It’s true, no argument. Based on my own personal options, if I did not have access to an IUD I would have resorted to sterilization based on surgery – which is immediately more dangerous for me for a number of reasons. I would think, that as a society, we would want to do everything possible to protect the health of society as a whole and limit the number of necessary abortions. (Abortion is necessary if a woman or her healthcare provider decides it is necessary.)

6. Most importantly, why are we allowing entities such as corporations the right to declare a religious belief? What’s next? When will corporations have a gender? Will cities be able to declare religious beliefs and evict anyone that doesn’t fit their code of morals? Why are corporations – which are not concrete things – more important than providing health care coverage to women and girls?

This SCOTUS ruling bothers me because it goes against previous rulings and because I fail to see how it will not cause more questions about healthcare coverage, religious freedom, and personal freedom to arise in the future.

We should be past the point of debating things like who gets what kind of healthcare coverage and for what reasons. We need to move onto more important things, like war, famine, and world peace. Oh, and paid maternity leave.

Observations after watching old TV episodes

I’ve been watching vanilla Law and Order on Netflix. Season 1 – Season 2 – we’re talking 1990-1991. I’ve noticed a few things as I’ve been sort of following along with the show. I typically have the show playing while doing other things in the same room.

More than once a character has said “…in this economy….” and I realized I was forgetting I was watching a show from over 20 years ago. The economy seems to always be crappy, at least for everyman.

In one of the episodes that played today, there was an Asian girl crying because she was called a kike but I didn’t blink. Even though I’ve never used this racial slur and can’t remember the last time I heard it, I still didn’t blink. How has television media affected the prevalence of racism?

In general, the overt sexism and racism are not as rampant as I was expecting. The episodes concerning rape were not as bad as I expected. For example, one of the Detectives did have lines to support the victim and speak against victim blaming. Covert sexism and racism is definitely here. I don’t remember seeing a judge that was not white and male and all the other lawyers have been white. There was a Jewish lawyer once but that was just because it was an episode with a Jewish victim and offender. I suspect that the women who were lawyers at this point are overrepresented. Also, the only black man I can remember seeing in a position of power is the “token black man” in the D.A.’s office. The discussions that happen in the end of the show that are part of the formula are always among men despite the topics of said conversation often being relevant to anyone.

What I’ve noticed more is the abuse of power and privilege as well some ableism sprinkled in. There has been plenty of times where one of the lead characters (the white Detectives) push around another person – who might be guilty – just because they are cops and can do so. The (white males) from the D.A.’s office never expect to not get what they want either.

Finally, I cannot remember seeing any character in a wheelchair or otherwise showing as obviously disabled. <sarcasm> I guess New York City had a lot of healthy people. <sarcasm end>

Vaccinations: Why the debate?

Recently, I’ve come to realize that I actually feel rather strongly on the subject of vaccinations so it seemed like a great blog post topic. Jenny McCarthy* has helped to further the anti-vaccination “movement” even though the doctor who published research showing vaccinations caused health problems was found to be a complete fraud. Vaccinations seems to be a subject touchier than war, politics, or religion. It is so sad, now that we have eliminated so many horrible illnesses, that people’s ignorance leaves them in mortal danger – as well as so many others.

I guess in this age of the Internet and availability of any information regardless of source or legitimacy, people think they can research on their own with no guidance or suggestion from someone more educated or experienced. Just because someone says it is so, does not make it true.

I think anyone who does not vaccinate themselves or their children are putting themselves, their children, and every single person they come into contact with in grave danger. I have immune problems since I have allergies and asthma. I got a flu shot this year as well as a pneumonia vaccination. I’ve had no colds this past winter, let alone the flu. My husband also received a flu vaccination – for my protection just as much for his own protection. Secondary to his protection, and my own, he was also protecting his coworkers. But don’t get me wrong, I see nothing wrong with being educated and controlling what vaccines you receive – as an adult. There is reason why children – especially school age children – are required to receive certain vaccines. For example, while I have chosen to receive the pneumonia vaccine, it does not seem important at this time for my husband to receive it.

This is how herd immunity works. Everyone knows sick kids make more sick kids. Consider that the flu is more than just sniffles and lost sleep; it also weakens people so much that death is possible and has even happened in abundance this last flu season.

People who do not vaccinate supposedly believe that the vaccinations are not worth the possible problems/issues/etc. How is this possible? Vaccinations are medical care. All medical care that involves some kind of chemical will have some kind of side effect. It seems to me that if you’re going to research one aspect of medical care you should research all aspects of medical care. Furthermore, you should also research everything that enters your body because who knows who could be lying.

I would like to ask a person who does not vaccinate their child if they:

  • do not use over the counter pain medication for fear of poison or organ failure.
  • do not use pain medication of any variety during or after any kind of medical procedure since there are possible complications with anesthesia and strong (opiate) pain medicines. (Does the dentist numb you before drilling?)
  • avoid caffeine completely. Much has been done about the problems with caffeine. There’s research!
  • avoid alcohol completely. Again, research.
  • avoid recreational drugs completely.
  • avoid food dyes. Food dyes have been connected to autism, ADHD and a multiple of problems.
  • wear a mask in public to prevent the risk of infection. Again, more research.
  • avoid birth control containing hormonal chemicals because of the risk of stroke/other complications. Again, research.

Personally, I’d suggest being educated and listening to your doctor’s advise. Your doctor went through at least eight years of intensive training after all – something must have stuck! There’s nothing wrong with doing your own research – but usually it’s better to use research to better understand what more experienced and better trained people tell you. It’s also important to remember that your doctor has met more people than you know, he or she has heard more stories and knows what is medical fact and what is not. (Or at least he or she should!)

For example, I will continue to receive a flu vaccination because of how easy it is to get the flu. However, because I had a very strong adverse reaction to a tetanus booster I will likely only receive that booster if I’m at risk. No doctor worth his/her time would suggest I get the tetanus booster just for the sake of it based on my past history of reaction. This is why I discuss vaccinations with my doctors.

For these reasons, since those against vaccinations only seem to talk about the dangers of vaccinating, it seems that they also lack critical thinking skills. We should feel sorry for these people who seem to think themselves fit to control medical care for others. Maybe, one day, people who willfully put the lives of others in danger** will be kept separate from society for their safety and the safety of others because they obviously do not understand how society works.

*I’m not quoting sources here.

**Like people who are HIV positive being charged for having unprotected sex with others with the intent to knowingly infect them with HIV/AIDS.

That Duck Dynasty Douchebag

I’m hoping the drama from the Duck Dynasty douchebag shoving his foot in his mouth calms down this week as Giftmas Christmas hits. Then people will want to talk about the stuff received, right?

Anyways. If you actually don’t know what I’m referring to then go Google it. I’m not linking his shit. I’m tired of looking at it.

I’ve run into a few things and it’s all ridiculous. This douchebag – regardless of his age – does not have a leg to stand up. That leads me to the first argument – he’s old. Bullshit. If age is an excuse then where’s his wagging tail? Old age is an excuse for an old dog who accidentally shit in the hall because, he’s, well, old.

Next thing. Free speech. There’s free speech and there’s being a hateful fucking idiot. You do not need to broadcast* your religion in a hateful fashion. It doesn’t help anyone. Everyone knows you don’t talk about religion or politics with most company – other things too. Anyone who’s had dinner with their parents knows as much.

Extension of free speech – the douchebag was unrightfully suspended** from his employment because he pissed off his employer. Everyone knows you have free speech but if you walk up to your boss and tell him/her exactly what you think of him/her you might very well be fired for your words.

Next, it’s part of his religion and so it’s religious discrimination – or some such bullshit. There’s a difference between faith and hate. I don’t consider myself Christian and haven’t read from the Bible for over a decade but I’m fairly certain that Jesus did not counsel anyone to hate or otherwise mistreat other people for any reason….*** You can discuss your faith and share your beliefs without comparing certain parts of the population’s behavior to inhumane, cruel, and illegal behavior. Or did I miss that day in Sunday school?

Finally, the popularity of the show does not matter. There are a lot of people who do not watch cable. If this douchebag losing his second job is causing you to lose sleep at night or not be able to eat dinner – well maybe you should skip dinner so you remember what it’s like to go hungry – just like all the children in the country (world) who don’t get enough to eat every night.

*If my use of broadcast confuses you, here you go:

**Otherwise known as being let out of his fishbowl but that’s a whole other discussion.

***I’m leaving out references to crime here since crime does not figure in here.

I’m not bothering to turn off comments for this post because I don’t want to go searching and I’ve already got comments sent to be moderated first. Spam and trolls probably make baby Jesus cry.

Taxes & this WSJ graphic with the made up people

I find this horrible graphic so horrible I’ve decided to list the problems I have with it.

1. All the people are sad. If I was making six figures a year I would not be sad. Technically the clip art people don’t even need to be here. With out the illustrations there could be more data, which leads me to #2 on the list.

2. It’s misleading. Based on the mention of deductions they are actually referring to Adjusted Gross Income but just say Income.

3. Why is there race here? It’s not necessary. The single person appears to be vaguely Asian and the retired couple is Black. Was the Wall Street Journal afraid to make the single parent Black? Is that why she’s blonde?

4. The Wall Street Journal must sit in some kind of interesting niche as far as its readers go. On what did they base these examples? I seriously doubt the average family with two parents is going to have FOUR kids. In 2005, before the economy got even worse, $167,000 and up was the top 5% of household income distribution.

5. How did these pretend people make so much in investment income when the market is still so volatile? I have a very small amount of investments in stock as well as rather small IRA, I’ve seen both lose lots of money in the past 5 years, like a roller coaster.

6. The household median income in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011 was $52,762. This is not even in the same tax bracket as the lowest income pictured here ($180,000). Furthermore, from 2010 to 2011, income inequality increased. (page 10)

7. What percent of retired couples actually have income over $100,000, let alone at $180,000?

8. What about people in poverty? Doesn’t the Wall Street Journal think its readers should be informed? In 2011, that meant, officially, 46.2 million people were living in poverty. (page 13)

9. The Wall Street Journal caters to the top ten percent of our country, obviously a very specific class of people. In 2011, 9.1% of households in the country had income of $150,000 or higher. (page 31)

10. I have no interest in reading the Wall Street Journal even though I’m rather well educated with my bachelor of arts and masters of science. My education makes me one of the 28.2% with a bachelor’s degree or higher in this country – as of 2007-2011. I did graduate with my masters in 2011 and received my bachelors in 2009. Also, I researched these statistics in less than a hour while writing this post so it would definitely not be hard for an employee of the Wall Street Journal to find the same information. This is one of the powers of the Internet. Just one.

11. Finally, this entire graphic looks like it’s relying on scare tactics. “If these people are sad, what is it going to do to me?”

Being Social on the Internet

I’m reading an article* from 2001 titled the “Social Implications of the Internet” and it’s a little amazing how things have changed in a decade. The authors review literature in 5 categories: inequality, community and social capital, political participation, organizations and other economic institutions, and cultural participation/diversity. (taken from abstract which should be available on google scholar)

Now where does me blogging about this…and posting on twitter about it… fit into the research?

*For my independent study topic for this semester.

More from Game Addiction: The Experience and the Effects

(Online) games are similar to reality in that they are consistent and always on. They also offer a sense of chance.

Games “approach the texture of everyday life” and are real because they have real people in them.

Good quote: “Once we take games online, what happens isn’t going to be simply good or bad. It’s going to be human.”

So far I’m definitely glad I purchased this book in that so far it’s taking an objective approach to explaining why games are the way they are. For example, it even discusses multitasking for a bit…. which is actually your brain switching back and forth between tasks.

I’m intrigued by this book so far

I’m reading Game Addiction: The Experience and the Effects and chapter 2 starts with this quote:

Human beings are unique to other species in that we live in a world that is created by the stories we tell. Most of what we know, or think we know, we have never personally experienced; we learned about it through stories. – George Gerbner

(the book has a citation but I have yet to figure out how to easily view citations while reading a book in kindle format)

Plz to be shutting up now, kthxbai

This idiot makes me sick.

Freedom of religion does not mean freedom for any who claim membership to a Christian faith to practice their religion, other we wouldn’t call it freedom of religion. We’d call it something like freedom for Christians…. or a national religion of Christianity.

Why do so many people think that all Muslims are the same? Many American Muslims have more education, are more civic minded, and more involved in their community than many “American Americans.”

Tea Party members should consider the idea that perhaps some Muslims have moved to America so that they might practice their religion with more freedom and less fear.

Good part of the article I think:

Of course, community leaders in Tennessee are not alone in their inability to distinguish between violent extremists and most Muslims. In recent statements on Twitter and to Fox News, politicians like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich have objected to plans for an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, not far from the site of the World Trade Center.

Names Shh-names

I can’t decide how I feel about Blizzard’s decision to change their policies and have their customers use real names instead of screen names. Kotaku had a decent post about it and the issues it includes… as did the writer of the Eating Bees blog, who is also a must read for anyone who games on PC.

I know as a female, on the Internet, (gasp! There are no women on the internetzzz) I’ve run into creeps, slimeballs, and trolls who attempt to troll just because I *am* female. I’ve also run into some really nice people in the Internet. Granted the assholes out-weigh the husband material…. but that happens irl too.

I know this whole thing makes me very tempted to resub my WoW account, watch, and take notes.

/end sociology nerd

Edit: That’s amusing. Right after I hit publish… I see this:

We changed our mind.

This is perhaps the most important part:

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

The wording there suggests to me that people don’t completely understand what Blizzard is attempting to do. Myself included?

NBC announcers for 2010 Winter Olympics

First of all it’s been awesome to be able to watch the winter Olympics even though we don’t have cable.** But, anyways. Seriously NBC???

“You’ve come along way baby!”

WTF! What would you show regarding a 17 year old athlete who was male as compared to female? I bet you would say something else. I bet you would have something more than her as a 3 year old in skates. I bet you wouldn’t credit her successes to that of her parents. gah!

It’s totally awesome to see a 17 year old (from any country) at the Olympics, especially a woman*. These athletes deserve respect. And “You’ve come a long way baby!” is not respect.

*Rachel Flatt of the US

**Fixed missing words. I r gud with words.

What will Apple do about biology and health text books?

This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I’m all for removing apps that are degrading to women. I’m fine with that. However. Apple doesn’t know what that is, especially based on the SG app being removed. And. They are doing it *now* when the iPad is on it’s way? That’s just marketing, that’s not caring. That’s Unilever selling Dove AND Axe.

Also, are we going to have a kid-friendly iPad for school and a not-intelligent-adult-friendly iPad instead? The iPad is supposed to have books. Well, we can’t have anything that just might be arousing. So, that means, let’s see. No comics. No graphic novels. No romance. Not a lot of sci-fi. And none of the porn disguised as books like some of the things Laurell Hamilton writes.

I like my macbook pro, a lot. It’s great for being a student, it’s great for someone who does research, it’s lighter than the DELL laptop – with a smaller screen – that I used to carry around. I mostly like my iphone. I was planning on getting an iPad for the functionality of iPhone apps and an ereader (and a music player and etc) all in one. (I don’t have an ereader like a kindle right now.) This crap makes me hesitant.

Is this reflecting the general Puritanical nature of American mainstream society or is this someone at Apple being stupid and not thinking this through? And I’m not even going to go into the whole Internet and porn thing. One last thing…

How many upskirt pictures have been shot with an iPhone camera?