LIVING WITH PAIN: DEEPLY ENGAGING SYMPATHY

My latest column can be read @ http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/living-pain-deeply-engaging-sympathy-8823552.html

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Assassination T-Shirts Amined at Gov. Cuomo

Cheap gunsels are now hawking t-shirts in NY showing guns and ammunition surrounding lettering saying “Cuomo’s gotta go.”

The cheap “law abiding” gunsels with their t-shirts skirting the edge of a call for the assassination, murder, of the New York governor shows just how law abiding these ignorant “defenders” of the 2nd amendment they really are. They are willing only to obey laws that they determine fit their stupidly warped “interpretation” of the 2nd amendment. We must keep in mind, it’s not the ignorant gunsels promoting this warped and false interpretation, it’s the ignorant running dogs for the firearm industry, who, arm and arm with reps of the gun and ammunition producers who interpret this amendment in the most extreme way that will never, ever broach any sane law(s) that have the capacity to injure the bottom lines on their P & L statements.

This is the unsaid mantra of these idiot gunsels from manufacturers, marketers, sales people right down to the “law abiding citizens” who own so many weapons: “Fuck injuries, debilitations, life long harrowing pain and disability, medical costs, murdered adults and slaughtered children, it’s our bottom line that counts & we’re really, really self-congratulatory that we’ve been able to whip up the passions of these half-witted gunsels to do our amoral wet work for us. We are a model of corporate America upholding our constitution.”
With the passage of “stand your ground laws,” concealed and open carry laws, especially here in downtown Chicago where I’ve safely lived, I’ve never felt such danger to my life since the confrontation during the Kennedy years with the Russians over their missiles in Cuba and ours in Turkey. Nukes and now assault weapons and large capacity ammunition holder for handguns. This isn’t hyperbole, I truly now feel threatened simply taking the elevator down to the street to walk around the corner to the pharmacy.
What about our rights for the pursuit of happiness. I feel no pursuit of happiness now, just a foreboding that one knuckleheaded gunsel after the next passes me on the street or waits behind me for my coffee at Dollops Cafe. And what happens this summer in my home town when gun play reaches it’s zenith each year? Will I feel safe walking just a few blocks with my wife to Millenium Park to listen to music with my fellow unarmed fellow Chicagoans? Of course not. Nor will you, unless you are of the class of “law abiding” weapon toting asshole gunsels, manfully carrying around your phallic weapons. I guess size really does matter, huh, Wayne?
Take a poll NRA and ask if we citizens now feel safer when borderline characters are running loose in public with death dealing guns. Any predictions, Wayne, on how many of us are going to not only feel safer, but be safer?
Mark Maginn, an emphatic life-long opponent of stupidity.
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LIVING WITH PAIN: J’Aacuse

My latest column spurred by the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman can be read @ http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/living-pain-jaccuse-jaccuse-8822995.html

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LIVING WITH PAIN: FEAR & THE WAR ON PAIN

My latest column on fear and the war on pain can be read @ http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/living-pain-fear-war-pain-patients-8822860.html

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RETAKING OUR FREEDOM FROM OUR GROWING TOTALITARIAN STATE

This article by Chris Hedges is something we should all read and ingest. Then we should all find ways to act on it.

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/are-we-witnessing-last-gasp-american-democracy-and-will-we-let-it-happen-our-watch?page=0%2C2&utm_source=Chris%20Hedges%27s%20Subscribers&utm_campaign=63cbebbe66-RSS_AUTHOR_EMAIL&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5543946b91-63cbebbe66-70267125

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LIVING WITH PAIN: ANESTHESIA IN DEEP CONNECTION WITH SORROW

Above my right ear was a long purple feather, above my left, orange; around my neck, a white plastic lei over a raspberry boa.

Deb, 12, coal black eyes set deep under auburn hair, studied my ridiculous presence with the loitering eye of an artist. I was the veracious mannequin that she unconsciously packed with… vaporous imagery? She’d back-filled me during the preceding week.

We were in the Kid’s Korner.

Fluorescent lights in the cavernous pier castled uneasy shadows while painting us in a skittish pale glow, a glow that whispered, “something’s wrong here…something’s wrong.”

Yes, something was certainly very wrong, Pearl Harbor wrong.

It was the third week of September 2001 and it was my first day having moved from volunteer to supervisor. The first paid job, though part-time, I’d held since force-retired in ‘95 because of disastrous pain. But several surgeries later, I could work again, even if very part-time.

We were located at the litter slogged foot of 51st street in the north end of one of Manhattan’s cavernous piers on the Hudson River. The piers were huge low slung metal structures hunkered along the river rented out at top dollar by the city for industry shows of all sorts.

It was mid-morning with knurled grey clouds troubling the river and washing family after family against the guarded gates on 11th street.

Trauma, too fresh, haunted the serpentine line.

Sitting on a child’s chair I held still as instructed by my 12 year old artist. As a child therapist, I performed as directed.

The Korner was a part of the vast Family Center run by the city, state and feds to provide relief for those families and individuals whose lives were blown loose by Bin Laden’s cataclysmic reach.

 

People who came for help dropped off their kids with us while they gathered in new lines for services to stitch their lives back together.

The Korner wasn’t just a day care center. We had volunteers experienced in working in a variety of ways with kids while being good at relating to children who were stuck in traumatic circumstances.

It was my job to advise the volunteers on how to work with spooked kids and how to relate to their over stressed parents.

I also taught them on how to recognize the accumulating stress in themselves in reaction to what they were seeing and hearing. I advised them about secondary post traumatic stress disorder and let them know when it was time to leave the work behind and care for themselves.

When a volunteer identified a child she or he thought might be in trouble they referred the child to me as I had specialized in post traumatic stress disorder.

After Deb was referred to me, I observed her play for a time with the volunteer with the idea of either advising the volunteer, or, if needed, gradually enter, as I did, her play sphere and gradually take over.

As I got to know her, Deb included me ever more deeply in her art work. Fortunately, this didn’t require much physical work from me as my body in those early months at ground zero was still rattling around at its.

Mostly, it was the pain that would several years later be diagnosed as arachnoiditis in my lower spine as well as the degenerative disease in my cervical vertebrae in addition to fibro.

All Deb required of me was my quiet, still presence in a small wooden school chair where she could apply all of her artistic talents to express who knew what as applied all manner of gewgaws to my head, doing so in a manner that everyone could see me.

The rest of my body, my pain, disappeared.

I was simply her medium, a medium feeling its way deeper into the presence of an unexpressed horror, an unnamed agony.

But always the accouterments were attached ever nearer my eyes gradually tunneling my vision forcing me to see…what?

Each hour spent with Deb was like spending an hour in a anesthesia chamber where I was bathed in an opioid mist: I felt no pain as my vision tunneled ever more narrowly. As her agony brushed its cold fingers across my heart my pain receded further.

After two weeks her parents told me she’d lost interest in school and was fighting uncharacteristically with her younger brother. She’d been alone watching the attacks from their apartment just south of the towers but had never spoke of what she’d witnessed.

After building trust over several weeks I asked Deb to tell me about that morning.

Alone in the back of the Korner, sitting across from me preternaturally still holding my eyes with hers, draining me of all awareness of my pain, Deb spoke in a low steady voice.

Instead of slowly circling her story, she stepped directly into it’s center as if she’d been waiting all along for me.

“They jump.     I watch them all the way down.     Some jump from the flames…together holding hands.”     With no change in emotion, Deb added, “It sounds like giant pumpkins exploding…when they hit the street, I mean.” Her pupils pinpoint.

My heart stilled: present tense. PTSD.

After a long pause: “The worst?” I asked, holding her cold hand.

I could feel her tears pulse where no child should have to feel what she saw.

 

My body ceased except for my tears piling waves against my watery eyes.

“Hanging on the street lamps,” she whispered.

Time had collapsed for Deb.

I nodded.

She paused, dreamy, eyes falling away.

“Meat,” she whispered hoarsely, “meat.”

I held her hands, her hands, hands…

I didn’t feel my body until late the next morning.

 

***********************************************************

 

Connecting with the depth of the emotion of another is the best anesthesia.

I’m not special, we can all try this.

It changes what and who we are.

Volunteering if we can, on suicide or other hotlines is among the best anesthetics. The anesthetizing effects lasts hours, the effects on who we are, longer.

So, so much longer when we reach deeply beyond ourselves.

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Financialization and Incarceration

The hollowing out of inner city neighborhoods has many causes: racism, draconian laws and sentencing, mass incarceration and more. The following article sheds more light on this complicated process and points out what we need to do to reverse this process. Please read http://www.alternet.org/corporate-accountability-and-workplace/how-wall-st-turned-america-incarceration-nation

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LIVING IN PAIN: REACHING OUT AT GROUND ZERO

http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/living-pain-reaching-ground-zero-8822438.html This column sent back to me by my editor surprised me as I hardly remembered writing it last week. When I started reading it I wept all the way to the end.

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Opioids and Looking Like Uncle Festus

Opioids and Looking Like Uncle Festus

(This will be posted to The Pain Community Blog on Facebook this November)

Several years ago I began taking opioid medicines to combat the hideous pain I’d been living with for decades.

It worked and I began to experience the happy diminution of pain throughout my body.

But–there’s always a “but” in happy stories–a few years ago I switched to another opioid after developing tolerance to the first medicine.

While the new medicine worked well I quickly developed dry mouth that I dealt with on my own; I wasn’t about to let a little sub Saharan dryness diddle with my improved pain.

Yet it’s in the interstices of muting pain and acidic Saharan Zephyrs that brews disaster in the mouth of the blissful unsuspecting.

Yes, brewing calamitous enameled weakness.

It started with a ham a cheese sandwich where in my second bite I crunched something much too hard. Fishing it out I held on the tip of my finger that which could only be a chip of tooth enamel.

This dolorous calving of my teeth repeated itself over and over in the following months.

Dental care became a must.

However, my tale of ending up like uncle Festus flamed up as if accelerants had been hidden in those increasingly edgy spaces between my individual teeth: my unemployed wife, my inability to work, our son still at university, dwindling savings and the conspicuous lack insurance.

But we all know too well that dental insurance is…well…laughable.

Denial fell like a blackout curtain across my reason: The loss of enamel, like calving glaciers, would certainly end soon; I could ride it out.

I couldn’t.

And neither can you.

Denial crumbled like my teeth when I saw the gaps, the lost teeth, the decay.

Uncle Festus in the mirror.

Eventually, I sat in a dental chair for days over months at the University of California-San Francisco being worked over by a student dentist from India.

I got good care, though the out-of-pocket expense was, and is now stunning.

Now living in Chicago with my wife employed and after selling one of our apartment buildings at the hands of eminent domain in Utah, we now have the thousands, I mean thousands, necessary to hammer, pick, extract, fill, bone transplants implanted perfect imposters.

I now look less like uncle Festus and more like my aging self.

The moral of this posting?

There is none. We’re trapped between the Scylla of delicious opioid relief and the Charybdis of disastrous decay.

What’s to be done?

Change, if you can, the medication. Consult a dentist privately or at a University if possible. Drink more liquids than you can possibly stand. Suck sugarless mints. Mouth wash, mouth wash, mouth wash. Floss daily if you can or use a waterpik. Rinse your mouth especially after eating; rinse, rinse, rinse.

Oh, yes, contact your legislators and agitate for better dental care insurance.

Any suggestions from sub Saharan veterans is sorely welcome.

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Living with Pain: The Fallout from Rescheduling Hydrocodone

My latest column on my reaction to the FDA rescheduling hydrocodone analgesics can be read at http://americannewsreport.com/nationalpainreport/living-pain-fallout-rescheduling-hydrocodone-8822119.html

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