1. Surgery

    Tomorrow a surgeon will perform video assisted thoracoscopic surgery on me. She’ll remove the tumor. It will be biopsied to determine any additional treatment.

    A tumor? (Yes Arnold, a tumor)

    Last Tuesday I attended a pre-op clinic to have some blood work done for the anesthesiologists and had a positron emission tomography (PET) scan with fludeoxyglucose contrast taken. It’s likely they used the standardized uptake value of the fludeoxyglucose contrast from the scan to determine that the tumor is potentially malignant. The worst part of this hospital visit, however, was having to watch an encore of what was undoubtably a Cubs loss while the contrast made its way through my body.

    And why were you getting a PET scan?

    The week prior I met with a thoracic surgeon to discuss the results of the CT scan my physician ordered. She referred to what was my new found tumor as ‘a thing’. It’s ~3.1cm and sitting near my lung. Surgery was scheduled because it is not welcome. Freeloader.

    Ok, and the CT scan?

    Days prior, my physician received the results of the second blood test, still positive, and the reading of the chest x-ray. There were no signs of the original exposure on the chest x-ray, where it would typically, but not always, present, but there was a mass in my chest worth taking a closer look at. An x-ray computed tomography (CT) scan with an iodine-based contrast was ordered to do just that. It’s true what they say, it’ll feel like you peed your pants; you didn’t, it’s just the contrast fluid.

    Yeah yeah, and the chest x-ray?

    Ah, the x-ray. That was ordered after testing positive on the first blood test. Having no symptoms and living in a country where there is typically very little concern with exposure, my physician was in a bit of disbelief and ordered the chest x-ray, typical next step after a positive test result, a second blood test just to be sure, and an HIV test (also typical given the potential limitations of the blood test for those who may be immunocompromised). That test would come back negative, just as it had in a prior STI panel. Just fyi.

    A blood test for what, exactly?

    In volunteering for years at five hospitals around the state of Illinois, there are typically two requirements that must be met each year: a flu shot and another test. This is typically a small injection under the skin and a return visit to have it read. At this hospital, however, they decided to skip that and just administer a QuantiFERON Gold blood test. I’m not bothered by blood draws in the least and it meant I wouldn’t have to return for an additional reading or two. Convenient.

    Days after the test, I was called and informed that I tested positive. For tuberculosis. Despite my efforts to quickly get a chest x-ray to clear me for my upcoming hospital visit, it was not to be. I’m now cleared to volunteer again, diagnosed with latent tuberculosis and not active tuberculosis disease. In order to minimize the potential for developing active tuberculosis, I’m on nine months, yes months, of antibiotics. If you want to take me out for a drink around January 9th, 2015, I’m sure to be a cheap date. You know how you shouldn’t drink while taking taking antibiotics, but you probably get away with a couple drinks? Yeah, with a nine month treatment, including periodic liver tests, staying dry is a real requirement.

    Uh, should I get tested?

    Probably not. More than likely I was exposed during my many visits to the hospital. While tuberculosis is rare in this country, just take a look at this prevalence map, people that do have active tuberculosis tend to visit, well, the hospital. I’ve never had symptoms and thus was never contagious, so relax. If you do want to get tested, CVS or Walgreens offer them for like $30.

    Lucky me though, I won’t ever have to take another skin test as I’ll always test positive. Yay?

    Oh, and lucky me, being exposed to tuberculosis has lead to tomorrow, when I’ll have ‘a thing’ removed from my chest using a small camera and some tiny tools. Crazy how these things work.

    4 months ago  /  0 notes

  2. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish


    Your story was and always will be a bit of a mystery. Had it not been for your folded little ears, likely attributed to the cold weather you were found in, and not genetics, you would have been just another cat looking for a home. Because of those ears you were special. Because of those ears your new home was going to be with us.

    You were given a new lease on life; a nearly two decade lease. And in return, we were provided countless memories, unlimited cuddles, and endless, sometimes obnoxious, purring. You even managed to convert a ‘dog person’ or two. Thanks.

    While you certainly lived quite a long life, you could never have been around long enough.

    We’ll miss you Razzle.

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  3. 99, 100, 101, and 102! #magic #chicago #luriechildrens (at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Of Chicago)

    99, 100, 101, and 102! #magic #chicago #luriechildrens (at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Of Chicago)

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  4. Gays have “the right to live the life they want” but they should not be “coming to our Legislature, demanding we change our state laws so they can feel good about their chosen lifestyle,’’ Smith said.
    David E. Smith, prick, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  5. So many good lines. So much truth.

    I might not be the same
    But that’s not important
    No freedom ‘til we’re equal
    Damn right I support it

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  6. Legally Recognized Hate

    As White House petitions go, this one has gotten quite a bit of signatures. It’s call for action is brief and worth re-posting.

    Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group:

    This group has been recognized as a hate group by organizations, such as The Southern Poverty Law Center, and has repeatedly displayed the actions typical of hate groups.

    Their actions have been directed at many groups, including homosexuals, military, Jewish people and even other Christians. They pose a threat to the welfare and treatment of others and will not improve without some form of imposed regulation.

    I’m no constitutional scholar or political science major, but there are glaring issues with the idea that we could legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.

    How do you subjectively define hate? How do you determine that the Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group, but the Catholic Church is not?

    I’d argue that the Westboro Baptist Church is far less harmful than the Catholic Church to society. They’re a small group of people that most would have no problem defining as crazy. We’re talking off their rockers crazy. So while it’s vile and disgusting to protest the funerals of service members or the deaths of children, the vast majority of people have no problem writing them off. Their position is not acceptable. Their actions are deplorable. No one takes them seriously.

    The Catholic Church is the exact opposite. Here we’re talking about a significant number of followers. People that accept the actions and beliefs of the church enough to attend mass on a regular basis. The Catholic Church is against gay rights, women’s rights, and is similarly rewarded with 501(c)3 status. They are just as careful as the Westboro Baptist church to not run afoul of the IRS rules regarding political involvement. And yet they’re extremely powerful. Your gay friend that can’t get married, or can but isn’t recognized by the federal government, has had his life more negatively effected at the hands of the Catholic Church than the Westboro Baptist Church. Your female friend who finds it difficult to access birth control because her employer refuses to cover it, or the pharmacist refuses to fill the prescription, same thing. What we teach our children in school and how we punish bullies, same thing.

    I think the Westboro Baptist Church is just as disgusting and vile as the next sane person, but you’re kidding yourself if you think they’re the real problem. They can easily be written off, the Catholic Church and other large religious organizations can not. The Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, and Christian churches of other denominations that have worked tirelessly to limit rights and freedoms they disagree with pose a much greater threat to the welfare and treatment of others than the Westboro Baptist Church could ever dream of.

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  7. The Company You Keep

    I originally wanted to start this off with a reference to the phrase ‘guilt by association’. But, given that I very much enjoy calling people out for their flagrant use of logical fallacies, I thought it’d be better to take a different approach.

    You’re only as good as the company you keep.

    While ‘guilt by association’ makes a direct accusation of guilt, and references only a general relationship, ‘you’re only as good as the company you keep’ seems to imply that the relationship is one you actively maintain. And that, while this relationship may not directly confirm guilt, it can certainly have unintended consequences.

    So where am I going with this? It’s an election week, so I’m leaning towards politics. It’s difficult in this country of only two parties. They disagree, to some extent wholeheartedly, on nearly every single issue. A third party doesn’t fair well. But you still have a few options to choose from. To that end I find it downright crazy that anyone would want to keep the company of current Republicans. Here’s why.

    • The majority of Republicans would love nothing more than to over turn Roe v. Wade. For nearly four decades this has been their goal. There are no signs of letting up. In the process they’ve seemingly re-defined rape any time it’s convenient. It’s nothing short of disgusting the amount of control they want over the medical decisions of women.
    • Despite studies and evidence to the contrary, Republicans insist on preaching the failed lessons of abstinence only sexual education. Safe sex involves contraception and their god of choice forbids it. All forms of it. Not only is it absurd that they should feel the need to force their religious beliefs on others, this is an archaic rule that the majority of believers tend to ignore outright themselves.
    • Republicans routinely, and often proudly, reject science. Evolution, climate change, sexual orientation, etc. Seemingly no amount of evidence or facts can change their mind. They don’t just keep the ignorance to themselves. They introduce and pass legislation permitting the teaching of creationism as science and that the theory of evolution is just a ‘theory’. As if they weren’t ignorant enough, simply misunderstanding the use of the word theory in the context of scientific discovery seals the deal many times over. They prevent governments from addressing climate change and promote myths about clean fossil fuels. They block or end subsidies to cleaner solutions but fail to end subsidies to ones that are poisoning people on a daily basis. As if that wasn’t enough science bashing, Republicans have even been known to introduce legislation preventing teachers from discussing sexual orientation. This has the potential of an entire civil rights movement in this country being omitted from history class. The word ignorance is simply an understatement.
    • While we’re on the topic of sexual orientation, the entire party, save a handful of people who have recently decided to distance themselves from their parties bigotry, has worked to ostracize a significant percentage of American citizens. It’s bigoted and intolerant. Laws to prevent LGBT citizens from being fired for being born that way are regularly blocked by Republicans. Laws to include sexual orientation and identity in non discrimination clauses are opposed as well. The benefits of legal marriage are denied on a daily basis across the country. Republicans are proud to proclaim their support for amendments and laws preventing same sex marriage and all of the rights that come with it. Benefits like child adoption, hospital visitation, death benefits, insurance, and tax deductions. They have no justification for these actions but their bible and tradition.

    I could go on, but I won’t. The number of issues that history will deem Republicans to be woefully wrong about is long. The amount of damage they’ve caused this country and will continue to cause this country is immense. This is not about the economy, or jobs, or foreign policy. This is about a party that has no interest in standing up for the rights and equality of the citizens they want to govern. This is about a party that proudly ignores scientific fact on a regular basis. These are not the actions or beliefs of a group of people that have the best interest of this country in mind. This is not about Mitt Romney or Barack Obama. It’s bigger. It’s about a party off its rocker.

    So, while voting Republican may not make you guilty of redefining rape, of scientific ignorance, or blatant bigotry, it does reflect on you. When you cast your vote for a party that will, without a doubt, one day be remembered for criminalizing the medical choices of women, ostracizing LGBT children and adults alike, rejecting the science that can and will continue to improve our lives, remember, you’re only as good as the company you keep.

    1 year ago  /  1 note

  8. "…entertain the idear."

    The video below is an old one, from December 2011, but I think it illustrates nicely an idea I’ve had floating in my head for a bit. It’s not an original idea by any means, but one I’ve been trying to figure out a hook for. And here it is from the primaries last year.

    Video: Gay Veteran talks to Mitt Romney - ABC News

    After telling Bob Garon, a gay veteran, to his face that he didn’t think he should be treated as an equal human being by Romney, Mr. Garon references Obama, who, at the time, was in the closet, if you will, about same sex marriage.

    At least Obama, uh, will entertain the idear. This man is, ‘no way jose’.

    And there it was.

    As a Republican, Romney has to toe the religious line. There is neither debate nor discussion when you tie a political issue with religion. How will this country ever make progress when things like abortion, any and all forms of birth control, same sex marriage, gay rights, and education are tied to outdated, intolerant, bigoted beliefs and not reality?

    I think Barry Goldwater summed it up almost 20 years ago when he said the following:

    Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.

    We need to take the religion out of politics now more than ever.

    2 years ago  /  0 notes