As if the general vagaries of life aren’t enough, and a brief stint in chemotherapy hasn’t been a joy, I now get to deal with the side effects of a whack immune system. Back in July I remember saying to my friend, “The fucking insurance company decided I no longer need treatment. I guess permanent joint pain and paralysis isn’t a concern for them. The only thing that could put the cherry on this whole miserable cake is a festering case of MRSA.”
I really should learn to keep my fucking mouth shut. Guess what I have? Yeah. Like I always say, “This just keeps getting better and better.”
Sexy, sexy. Don’t you wish you had one just like this? Fuck shaving, I think I’m going to concentrate on avoiding gangrene.
Unfortunately, it’s not just on my leg. And you people all wonder why I never show any pictures of myself. I can’t live with the fear and pain I would inflict on the general public. MRSA can actually maim and kill if left untreated, and knowing this, UHC (my shitty fucking insurance) decided that it just wasn’t going to pay for the high-grade antibiotic needed to kill the infection. So, my doctor prescribed Cipro. I can get Cipro at the Wal Mart for $4 as opposed to the $200 needed for the other antibiotic (you know, the one that might actually work).
But I didn’t come here today to be a little Debbie Downer. Nope. I am writing today to point out that there’s a serious problem going on in America, or possibly only in Oakland, CA. The problem is people just aren’t having enough sex. I know that sounds incredible, but just hear me out. I have evidence. See, while waiting for the pharmacist to learn how to count to 20 so she could put the pills in a bottle, I had a chance to peruse the clearance section in the pharmacy. The items in there amazed and stunned me, as they will you.
Anybody want some discount lube? How about some condoms? Look, those fundamentalist idiots are wrong; you need to wrap it up every time. Anyone? Anyone?
Wet is actually decent lubricant. Now, I have to admit the newer formula is better, but hey, cheap lube. Who can’t use that? The only reason you couldn’t unload lube and condoms is if people aren’t having sex (or masturbating. Look I don’t judge and neither should you. When you masturbate you’re always having sex with someone you love). Anyway, that’s the not the only thing on clearance at the Wal Mart pharmacy.
Okay, this I can understand a bit better. When I think of vibrator shopping, Wal Mart is NOT the first name that comes to mind. That being said, I can’t wait to see the new line of Wal Mart dominatrix wear.
So, maybe there’s no demand for vibrators among the Wal Mart crowd. I’d like to think that people are just holding out until they can get to a proper sex shop with some heavy duty, diesel fuel powered equipment. It could be that this particular item didn’t sell because the typical Wal Mart customer probably searched for it in the hardware section and didn’t find it. It’s hard to tell. One thing that isn’t a mystery to me is the presence of this little item in the clearance pile:
Nothing screams romance like your genitals on fire. Isn’t burning in your genital region a sign that something is seriously, majorly, ickily wrong? I think I’ll pass on that too.
I learn something new every day. Most of the time, it’s stuff that I really didn’t want to know. I learned that the good folks at Wal Mart don’t like me getting creative with their discount sex toy display. I’m only trying to help. Maybe craigslist.org should start running adult services ads again, that way we can all find a use for those discount condoms. Hey, fuck if you got ‘em. The bad part is nobody really needs them. And that brings me to the last item on clearance. If you’re not having sex, you certainly don’t need one of these.
Here, sit around the fire and we can all tell gross stories. I’ll go first since this is my damn blog and I can carry on about whatever I want. Here’s something you never wanted to know about me: I have IBS. That’s Irritable Bowel Syndrome for the blissfully uninitiated. My friend used to call it the “Shittin’ Nerves.” Every time something strange or stressful happens, I can bank on spending hours in the bathroom. For those of you not familiar with IBS, here’s what it feels like:
That just about sums it up.
Now, if you suffer from IBS, Crohn’s, UC or a related disorder, I’m preaching to the choir here about the importance of always being prepared. One roll of toilet paper is not prepared. This is prepared…
Now that’s more like it.
You need decent quality toilet paper to get through the day with IBS. You can’t use “Hemorrhoid Ripper” brand and the paper itself should at least be two ply. There’s no sense in using some whisper thin shit ticket to wipe your ass when there’s a serious risk of accidentally performing a digital rectal exam. Now, once you solve the toilet paper issue, you have to get around the boredom factor. I always keep a full complement of reading materials in my bathroom. It’s not for you backed up people. No, it’s for those times when I’m compelled to stay. I will not have you hanging around looking up your horoscope waiting for the big splash when I’m out here hopping up and down on one leg. Look, if you’re constipated, the only thing you’re getting from me is a glass of Metamucil, 16 prunes and a suppository. Get the hell out of that bathroom and let the urgent cases go.
Oh no, not you. You stay right there. There is no escaping in this house.
Toilets are just damn awkward and ugly things. They’re damn uncomfortable after a few minutes too. How some people just sit there voluntarily for hours is beyond my comprehension. I’m especially mystified when I go to a public bathroom and somebody is in there taking forever on the damn toilet. Hello? Ever hear the expression “Shit or get off the pot?” What the hell are you doing in there that it takes 40 minutes? Even at my worst I get off for a breather, so to speak. I think the worst are the toilet talkers. Look, IBS forces me to multi-task in the strangest of locations, but the one thing I don’t really want to do is carry on a lengthy chat with someone while I’m taking a dump. I think those that do should invest in the Verizon Endoscopy Phone. It actually allows you to shove a small camera up your ass and transmit a colonoscopy to the person on the other line. After all, why deprive them of this special moment?
There’s no way to improve the appearance of the average toilet. Nothing, not even fresh flowers can hide why we’re all here.
Who are you kidding? That’s not recycling, that’s a reason to move before the property values drop.
I wonder how much time I’ve wasted sitting on the damn toilet throughout my life. I want to know, but I don’t want to know. I’m stuck here for the time being. There’s no cure for IBS, although a million websites sincerely want you to believe there is. Don’t buy into the miracle cure or potion of the hour. There are still snake oil salesmen out there, only now they operate in cyberspace.
Cures everything, including all those unnecessary fives in your wallet.
The moral of this story is Don’t Have Any Roommates. No, I’m not kidding about this. Look, if you can afford it (unlikely in America, but you can dream) avoid living with friends, family or roommates. Or, you could live with other people, but try to avoid sharing the bathroom. The thing is, you will go into the bathroom, take care of business and lo and behold, there’s only one sheet of toilet paper on the roll. You will scream in anguish, “Who the hell didn’t change the roll?!” The answer is always, “I didn’t change it because there was still toilet paper left on it.”
Still paper left on it? That’s not toilet paper on the roll, that’s one fucking sheet. I’d ask who the hell is that damn lazy that they can’t change the roll, but you all know the answer. In fact, you probably just looked over your monitor at the offending party just now. Yeah, you! One sheet is NOT toilet paper on the roll, you lazy piece of shit! Change the fucking roll, it’s not rocket science. Well, maybe it is for you, dumbass. To anyone and everyone who’s pulled that trick in their lifetime: Fuck you, asshole.
As soon as my ass dries or I get a hold of a tissue, I’m finding you and feeding you that cardboard, asshole.
I’m still here. I’d bring in a laptop, but knowing my luck it would catch fire, burn my lap and then I’d have one hell of a time explaining to the ambulance crew what I’m doing with third degree burns on my legs sitting on the toilet. Life with IBS is embarrassing enough as it is without adding insult to injury. I’ll just have to wait this out. You all know where to find me, only please, for the love of God, knock first.
I’m in the middle of an epic battle that will bring sweeping changes to civilization, or at the very least, my kitchen table.
My stack of bills looks exactly like this, as does yours.
No kidding, it looks exactly like that. Know why? Because insurance companies are fucking trolls. You will never run into a more brilliant display of stupidity, jackassery, douchebaggery and wasteful, thoughtless fuckery than you would at the average insurance company. These are the people to whom you send money in the off chance you get sick and need medical attention. They gladly take your money, and in return, decide that no matter how much you give them, you may not ever get paid for a claim. Since when has that been legal or ethical?
UHC can decide at any point in time that they will not pay your claim. It doesn’t matter if you were never late with a payment, if you never filed a claim before or even if you get prior approval from them to get the treatment you need. They don’t care. They don’t have to care. After all, it’s not their life, health or child, so why should they? Let me state this one more time: I can’t even get coverage on a pre-approved procedure. This is a procedure that was approved by them. Not me. Them. They approved it. Now, for whatever reason, they won’t cover it. WTF?
Don’t ever try to appeal a decision made by your insurance company. It won’t work, and most of us can’t afford the lawyers needed to make it work. Besides, this is the guy who runs the appeals board:
I'm sure he's very understanding. Picture of compassion, really.
I’m sure he’s a swell guy who loves his children. He’s a nice man who only drinks soda pop and never kicks his dog. However, if you encounter him on the appeals board, he will have no choice but to deny your claim and threaten to sue you ($117 billion in profit a year is a pittance, really, they need the cash) because you just won’t shut up, accept the decision and go away. Nope, you have no luck there. You can’t go to the state, the anti-regulation hysterics have bound their hands and there’s nothing they can do. Nope, looks like you’re now shit out of luck. Maybe you could try the public clinic.
Uhhh...okay, maybe death really is an option.
So, if you’re like me, you get shunted into the “high-risk” group. We pose quite the sticky wicket to the insurance industry. See, we don’t make enough money for any insurance company to cover us, we don’t qualify for Medicare, and there simply aren’t enough healthy people to prop the rest of us up. It sucks being high risk because you just don’t get the quality care others get.
It only looks scary. I'm sure it's perfectly modern inside.
I don’t hold it against them. We sickos deserve no better. After all, who the hell do we think we are burdening the system like that? We should all just go back to the damn TB ward we crawled out of and stop bothering the “productive” citizens with our need to live just long enough to get our kids out of high school. We are a bunch of selfish, insensitive pricks to be sure. I guess I can try one more chance at appeal. I have to say, I find standing outside this office more than a tad intimidating.
I'm sure everything's going to be okay. I'll take it one baby step at a time.
No luck. I guess I don’t get treatment this time either. Now, I know some of you are saying, “What is your problem? I don’t have any problems with my insurance company. I never had a claim rejected or had any problems getting coverage.” My response to this is generally: Then you never had to use it. Or, you used it for something so basic and mundane that there was never an issue. Or, you have VA, Medicare or some other filthy, commie form of socialized medicine. Well, I don’t. I have to struggle with a company I have handed thousands of dollars to over the years just to get a $100 lab bill paid. Even then they still won’t pay it. They can promise to pay it, but still won’t pay it. Now, you cheerleaders for the insurance companies go away and come back and talk to me after you’ve had to have chemotherapy, or major surgery or even an alternative drug for your condition because you were allergic to every other one you tried already.
Come and talk to me after you’ve met the head of the appeals board. I guarantee you, you won’t be so happy with them then. But if you think that’s bad, wait until you see the alternative treatment they actually decided to provide coverage for. Good luck.
Hi, my name isn’t important, and I’ve been a Remicade junkie for 6 months. I don’t know; it just kind of started as a desire to relieve pain. Not any kind of existential pain, just the kind of pain that occurs in your joints first thing in the morning and throughout the day until late at night. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get through the day, I couldn’t think straight at times. Now I’m here. I hit the pipe every two months. I am willing to let somebody I don’t even know stick a catheter in my veins and inject away. I’m not even sure if this works, but I’m willing to try anything at this point that has about the same effectiveness as a dozen ibuprofen and three shots of vodka a day. I’m hoping, wishing, praying, threatening nobody in particular that this better work.
I think it may work, but like everyone else, the one thing I wasn’t ready for, that nobody is ready for is…SIDE EFFECTS.
Every drug (and I mean EVERY drug) has side effects. Even if the side effect is to kill an infection, it’s still a side effect. However, in today’s wonderful world of pharmacopeia, it must be noted that some medications have really unusual, bizarre, annoying and occasionally deadly side effects. Let’s start with my nemesis, Remicade. These are the side effects as stated on www.drugs.com:
“Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with Remicade. Remicade can lower the blood cells that help your body fight infections. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Using Remicade may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer such as lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes) or autoimmune disorders (such as a lupus-like syndrome). Oh, and it can also cause malignant cancer.”
I’ve discovered a few “anecdotal” or unofficial side effects as well. For example, since I’ve been taking Remicade, I noticed that I have a really strong craving for ketchup and condiments containing vinegar. No kidding. That should earn this drug a black label lest the entire world be deprived of Heinz 57.
Ketchup, the other, other, OTHER white meat. I'm drooling just thinking about it.
Another side effect is insomnia. I have trouble sleeping through the night, but I can’t stay awake during the day. I keep getting vivid dreams and nightmares. Of course, nights of insomnia can get rather hazy, so I’m not sure if I’m actually having nightmares, or just remember hours awake at 3:00 a.m. watching this bullshit:
The Shamwow guy. Oh yeah, you know you want some. Nice shirt, wonder if he bought it off Ron Popeil?
Wasn’t this guy arrested for beating a hooker? You’re gonna say “Wow!” every time you smack dat ho down, bro.
I also seemed to have developed a sense of smell akin to that of a bloodhound. Now, this sounds like it would be neat to have. I mean, who doesn’t want super powers, right? WRONG. Just try walking through the supermarket when the person who attempted to end it all by drowning himself in Axe body spray or the woman who sincerely believes there’s no such thing as too much $4.99 Opium knockoff is there. I groom my dog every two weeks, and I swear she starts stinking like a dog approximately 15 minutes after I’m finished trimming her. And don’t even get me thinking about the food scrap recycling bin. I need my keyboard to be fresh, clean, vomit free and sparkling, thanks.
Ask your doctor about vytorin. Better yet, ask him to give you as much oxycontin as Rush Limbaugh gets. They both do about the same for cholesterol.
Remicade is not alone in its insidious quest to wreck your life one side effect at a time. There are a million drugs on the market, and each is like a special little snowflake–a special little toxic snowflake. At the very least you’ll always get a headache. At worst, if you’re an American, you’ll pay what amounts to $In-fucking-sane for a drug that may not actually work. Remember Zettia? Remember Vytorin? Here, maybe this will jog your memory:
These two aren’t the only culprits in this category. The newer cholesterol lowering statins are proving to not be all that effective unless you’re a white male over the age of 50 who’s had a previous heart attack. Wait, I thought you were supposed to take the damn Lipitor before you had the heart attack. The whole white male of retirement age is a really limited demographic. Did the manufacturer just happen to overlook the fact that maybe, just maybe, a woman or person of color may want to lower their cholesterol without throwing a $40 co-pay down the crapper every month? Forget the black label; maybe we could put a more appropriate warning on useless meds:
WARNING: This medication won't do shit for you.
Now back to side effects. I’m a big fan of full disclosure, and believe me, if the doctor told me the drug he was about to prescribe would eventually cause cancer, I’d probably pass. Of course, I will need to wait a few years to see if I get a zillion skin tags and/or melanoma. The poor folks on SSRIs get instant gratification on their side effects.
I’ve taken my share of happy pills, and I can tell you the electrical shock sensations that fry your brain every 30 minutes or so are no picnic. I also know that these things also mess with your sense of smell, give you a fat ass and make you completely indifferent to the world around you. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad. I was just…there. I mean it’s great that somebody can hammer a nail through your hand and not faze you at all. On the other hand, dude, somebody is hammering a goddamn nail through your hand you’re just sitting there for Chrissake.
I think happy pills need an extra special label, and there’s only one person who can get the message across. Let’s bring this guy out of retirement:
He just about sums it up. Please call 9-1-1 in the event of an actual overdose or accidental ingestion.
Maybe all this talk about depression and pain has got you down. It makes you want to chug a fifth of Jack or step outside for a cigarette to calm your nerves or something. What? You’re trying to quit? Well, you may want to avoid this one too:
If you're dead, you ain't smokin'.
Let’s bring the good folks at www.drugs.com back for a second round:
“Chantix can cause drowsiness, which may impair your thinking or reactions. You may also have mood or behavior changes when you quit smoking. Until you know how Chantix and the smoking cessation process is going to affect you, be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be cautious and alert. Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any mood or behavior changes or if you feel agitated, hostile, depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.”
It’s bad enough trying to quit cold turkey. Imagine if you tried to quit and the only thing it achieved was you trying to kill yourself. On the flip side, this makes you wonder. Maybe this is what the manufacturer intended. After all, if you kill yourself, what are the chances that you’ll be able to light up again? Yep, just bury me in my coffin with a Virginia Slim between my fingers and a nicotine patch on my forehead. I think the funeral-goers should have full disclosure too. Besides, I could never get through a viewing or a funeral without needing a drink, or a smoke or at the very least my crazy drunken relatives making the least appropriate comment about the deceased at precisely the most awkward time imaginable.
I think the most evil side effects of all the medicines we take has to be their social cost. Americans don’t have universal health care, don’t want universal health care, don’t need universal health care and clearly don’t mind paying the most money for health care in the entire world. The worst side effect of over-priced medication, repeat doctor visits, blood tests, more doctor visits for refills and eventual rehab:
Keep your damn government hands off my health care. I LIKE it here.
BANKRUPTCY, HOMELESSNESS, DESPERATION
More Americans go bankrupt from outstanding medical bills than job loss, too much credit card debt, the McMansion they couldn’t afford or outstanding student loans. My current cost for each Remicade treatment, with insurance, is around $4000 a piece. You don’t know how important health care reform is until you’re here in the trenches. Maybe some day we will get it.
Future home of my ultimate dream mansion. All I need to do is add my custom-designed cardboard box.
He’s not the only one, trust me. Some day we may all be there. In the mean time, there’s no reason to mess with a perfectly fucked up system. Only in America will you gladly shell out a $40 co-pay to voluntarily make your life miserable.
I think it’s about time I had a frank discussion about the thing plaguing inboxes everywhere: Viagra. Now, quick confession here, I personally have never had erectile dysfunction. It could be because I’m just that fucking awesome super bad, or it could be because I’m a woman. The jury is still out. I do know that if I placed about 90% of my self-worth on a single body part, I’d want that body part to work and work WELL. So, I am not without sympathy in this department. However, I have little to no sympathy for the annoying fuckers that peddle Viagra and its “all natural” herbal replacements.
I receive at least one email per day shilling Viagra. That little blue pill is ubiquitous: I can’t go five minutes without seeing a commercial, receiving an email or hearing a joke about it. Since it has become a staple of the American diet, I think we all need to take a closer look at this wonder drug that works wonders (NO. That is NOT aspirin. Get with the program.) Here’s a little something for you history buffs. The rest of you can skip ahead to the part about how it can cure the common cold.
Viagra’s compound name is sildenafil (compound UK-92,480 if you’re looking it up in the Merk). UK chemists originally wanted to make the latest and greatest high blood pressure/angina medication. They noticed that when patients took the drug, their blood pressure didn’t come down, but their penises went straight up. Pfizer filed for a patent in 1996 and the FDA approved the drug for treatment of erectile dysfunction on March 27, 1998. They put the little blue pill in a bunch of overplayed, annoying advertisements and by 1999, Pfizer’s sales of the drug was $1 billion, give or take. (Man, I loves me some Wikipedia.)
Clever marketing + exclusive patent = over a million boners served and a pharmaceutical company raking in assloads of cash. It also creates a whole shitload of imitators, spammers and outright frauds. I can see why. Viagra is truly a miracle drug. It can give a 90 year old man that probably shouldn’t even be looking a porno because it could cause a major coronary a stiffy big enough to satisfy even the most desperate $25 hooker. It can make an erection, save a troubled relationship, provide hours of recreation for the nice, young gay couple living down the street and even cure the common cold. Oh yes, you heard me correctly. Viagra can cure the common cold. Let me explain.
I used to be a medical assistant for a family practice here in Northern California. I would see a patient, generally a middle-aged man about 47-50 give or take. I would go into the room and begin to ask him all about medical history, current symptoms, problems, etc. The man would typically tell me, “Well, there’s not a real big problem, I just have a bit of a cold.” He may also have “a bit of a sore throat,” “a mild case of the flu,” “a little bit of a bug,” “just feeling a little under the weather,” or maybe he “just thought he’d come in and get checked up, because, well, it never hurts.” I would take his temperature. It was 98.6° F (37° C). I would check his pulse. It was fine. I would check his blood pressure. Sometimes it was normal, it was usually a little high. I would go through all the first assessment procedures, find nothing and remark to myself that a doctor really can’t do anything for the flu or a cold, and unless the man is spewing green and yellow pus like the girl from The Exorcist, there’s nothing that can be done for a sore throat. I’d leave the room and go out to the front desk.
The doctor saw each of these patients behind a closed door. This is the law; we can’t invade their private space. Ten minutes after seeing the patient, the doctor would step outside the examination room, close the door and say to me, “We have another. Can you go to the sample closet and get another Viagra kit?” I can only conclude from the dozens of times I did this that Viagra can cure the common cold, quite possibly the flu. That and men don’t like to talk about their limp dicks in front of a 26 year old, no matter how nerdy she actually looks. (I’m a scientist and a blogger, not a model. Sue me.)
Speaking of limp dicks, how many of you have seen this limp dick bastard?
This is “Bob.” Bob has plagued my television set for about six years now. Bob has a happy wife at home and a spectacular business relationship with North Korea thanks to “all natural” Viagra substitute, Enzyte. I don’t know what the hell Enzyte is, and I don’t care. All I know is that it claims to do the same thing as Viagra without all that pesky scientific development, FDA approval and prescription business. I also know that Bob is annoying and his wife has a shitty hair-do. However, since taking Enzyte, his dick is now at least 18 inches long and can pound through a brick wall. He’s now known as “Super Cock.” Seriously, I don’t know whether to envy him or just throw his ass off that building. Of course, if he lands on his super hard dick, he might drill clean through the asphalt and I might just have to fight him for the oil rights.
Bob isn’t the only one beguiled by “natural” Viagra. There’s Turkish Viagra:
There’s Italian Viagra:
I’m no expert, but it may be best to NOT accept imitations. That’s all I’m saying. Maybe the men who bought those things are now drilling for oil themselves. Then again, maybe they just have a nice party mix or the beginnings of puttanesca.
Viagra is a great party drug, too. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and I can tell you that this drug is a God send to young homosexuals looking to party all night long. (You know which “party” I’m talking about, and there ain’t no balloons and cake.) I watched an interview with a Southern pharmacist that won’t sell birth control pills because they’re dangerous and promote promiscuity, but will sell Viagra because it promotes loving, healthy relationships. Oh, my sweet, naive man. Whose loving relationship is that? And who, pray tell, will raise all the children created by a man who, by all statistics, will drop dead before the kid gets out of high school? Viagra is the biggest recreational drug abused by the homosexual community. I think I’m going to smirk while the pieces crash gently to earth in your fundamentalist universe.
Okay, the tinkling sound has stopped. I take only one issue with the existence of Viagra, and it is this:
Yeah, if you take Viagra (at the age of 24 apparently, when by all rights you should have no need of it barring some catastrophic physical condition) you will score a supermodel with huge tits and be able to bang her for 48 hours straight without pause or re-hydration. This is what the distributors of low-cost/generic/imitation/fraudulent Viagra are selling. This is the essence of about 25% of all spam emails received by the general public. Buy their generic or “all natural” Viagra and you will get a model with big tits. There’s a 100% money back guarantee on this. I get these emails constantly, and it never ceases to amaze me that: 1. I still really can’t use Viagra. 2. I too could score a supermodel with ginormous tits.
Viagra is cheap in Mexico:
(Oh, shit. Hussein was hanged? Where am I when all the good stuff happens?)
I need to drive directly south and get me some. After all, if I scored a supermodel with ginormous tits, I’d sell her to the first man who asked. It’s not that I don’t believe in feminism, it’s just that I know a diamond opportunity when I see it. It’s just too damn good to pass up. To hell with Bob and Enzyte, just pass the supermodel. I can feel my “prospects” soaring…