Saturday, October 31, 2009

May the Great Pumpkin Bring You Much Candy

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures


open thread- what are you up to this all hallows eve weekend?

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Dangling on Friday

In the sci-fi novel I'm currently writing, my main character Pyosz has a growing love interest, Maar. I'm having a lot of fun shaping Maar into my own heart's desire. I've been aware that my buddy Blue, who is avidly reading/living each installment of the book, also has a desperate crush on Maar.

Blue called me yesterday to chat. After medical updates, amid kid interruptions on her end, I told Blue that Pyosz and Maar have been popping into my dreams, asking for action to proceed. I wondered if I could discuss a future plot point with Blue. I could hear the eagerness in her voice as she said "Absolutely."

So, in a serious tone, I asked if I should allow Pyosz and Maar to become fully lovers before Maar is tragically killed by leviathans (the monsters in my made-up world) or if it would be less cruel to have her die after they have shared only a kiss.

There was a ghastly silence over the phone. I couldn't keep from laughing, and confessed I was messing with her. Blue almost shrieked in relief and told me if she was near me she would smack me in the head for that. We laughed and laughed -- AS IF I'd do anything to my heartthrob Maar.

I can tell the lack of privacy and autonomy here, not to mention the constant doubt about whether I will be discharged before I can quite be safe on my own, is rubbing me raw.

The tech who comes at 3:00 a.m. to take my vitals throws open the door with a clatter, puts on the brightest light, and sings to herself loudly (and offkey) the whole time she is nearby. If I don't yell after her, she leaves my tray table (with phone, water and call button) out of my reach, the lights on and the door open. But when I do remind her, she acts offended.

I've tried to remind myself if how bored she must be, what the circumstances she might be contending with to make her so utterly devoid of empathy. Almost all the other night techs and nurses go out of their way to not awaken patients. However, at this point I simply hate her. I want her to never enter my sphere again.

There are too many people out there doing as much as they can to help me for me to actually feel sorry for myself. I have been saved in a spectacular fashion. But today is a hard day.

Yet another new PT just came to give me a workout. I'm now sitting up on a bedside toilet, waiting for lunch. I'm dizzy and sweaty. My abdominal binder is not in the right place and hurts a fair amount, but there's no point in trying to adjust it until I am prone again. I'm pushing my endurance as far as I can, to build it back. The PT says she will be back this afternoon to work on getting me to the point where I can wipe myself. Whether I can or not, no matter my endurance, it seems at least 50/50 that they will discharge me today -- the Good Doctor is off and the Evil Caseworker is seizing her chance.

We'll never have universal dignity and respect for individuals in our world until safety and well-being are uncoupled from income and class. Today I am sick and tired of being an object lesson. I want to lie down in the arms of someone who knows me and weep until I fall asleep, secure and seen.

Here's the nurse with a pain pill and lunch (fried fish, cornbread dressing, carrots). That will have to do for now.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Mama's On The Job"

The Nursing Home reviewed Maggie and said "No."

The Good Doctor is now (there was some question) IN CHARGE of Maggie. This Good Doctor makes the decision as to if/when Maggie will be discharged. Earlier today, while the Nursing Home was still up in the air he said, "If it were up to me you would not be discharged." Heh. Good things come to those who wait.

Once control of Maggie reverted back to the Good Doctor, i.e.: once the Nursing Home was no longer an option and thus the only option was keeping her in the hospital v. discharging her to home/the street, the Good Doctor took firm control and wrote orders consistent with his speaking earlier today (and the days before.) The wonderful part of this is, before it could have just been talk -- who knew, really? It isn't as if shining on a poor fat female patient costs you anything. To the contrary, with hospital finance breathing down his neck, the Good Doctor is putting his professional self at risk when he steps up and insists Maggie be cared for as if she were rich and had insurance. In doing so he demonstrates the value of the Hippocratic Oath. He's putting himself on the line for Maggie; she's a real person to him.

The Good Doctor wrote orders: 1. Maggie is to stay in the hospital till at least Friday (which not only means she can continue to get better, it means she can relax for a few days without worrying where she'll wake up the next morning); 2. Maggie is to have two (2) physical therapy sessions a day (double what she has now); 3. PT is to continue to note her ability to perform the functions of daily living (as she can't be discharged in the Good Doctor's view till Maggie can perform the functions of daily living...He said to her this morning, "I know you can't perform daily functions yet. If it were up to me you would not be discharged." And then everyone got the word it IS up to him *laughs* But really, thank the Gods it IS up to him. Just like University Hospital being on ER diversion, the Good Doctor being responsible for Maggie may well turn out to be one of those key turning points which we look back at and say, "This, this right here, this saved her life and/or made a HUGE difference in the final outcome"; 4. Reevaluate on Friday to see how Maggie is doing.

*is oh so happy*

Maggie requests a reliable person to run random errands in Austin; if you're that person, please contact Jesse Wendel.

Maggie's Mama has come through. 'Cause this morning we were damn sure either Maggie was going to a BAD nursing home (the one they were trying to send her to really blew; it was -- and is -- especially bad for bed sores and pneumonia. Not to mention it keeps screwing up patient meds and can't quite keep the sheets clean and sterile. All this according to the latest report I've read/of which I have a copy.) But charity-case Maggie wasn't good enough for the nursing home.

Or Maggie was going to be kicked out of the hospital entirely like to her home or the street and they didn't care where, which, given she can't even climb into bed after getting out to use the toilet and she doesn't have a bedside toilet, would have been an utter disaster. But that didn't happen either. We didn't (quite) panic. We kept cool and waited, waited for a miracle.

The closest we came to doing something is a) prepping y'all to make phone calls (thanks y'all) and b) when the Good Doctor stopped by yesterday while Maggie was on the phone with Liza, as Maggie got off she said, "That was Liza, a friend of mine from back East. She's checking in for this large group who want to know how I am." The doctor went, "Huh?" Maggie smiled and said, "Yeah. I'm a nationally known writer and blogger. People all over the United States are trying very hard to find out how I am. It's a really big deal." And then she dropped it and moved the conversation on. However, Maggie reports, she could see it got through. That was yesterday evening. And now today we have this. To be fair, he's always been the Good Doctor, being wonderful with Maggie, standing up for her. But in the last couple of days he's really come around, taking a clear stand for her in a way which he was not three or four days ago.

Maggie's in the hospital till at least Friday. *smiles -- is happy*

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.

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Maggie Jochild Wednesday Quick Report

Fast report.

This may be the only report for today, not sure…

The hospital has asked a not-great nursing home to accept Maggie; the nursing home is evaluating her (either via a records review or perhaps in person, we’re not sure) which will probably take the rest of today and maybe even into tomorrow. Till we/the hospital get a yes/no on accepting Maggie from the nursing home, she’ll stay in the hospital. The odds are well into the 90th percentile she’ll be discharged, either to the nursing home (if they say yes) or to her home/the street (if the nursing home says no) within at most 24 hours of the nursing home saying one way or another, which could be as early as later today but more likely will be tomorrow morning.

While Maggie has half her stitches out and healing continues to go well, and while this morning she managed to get OUT of bed on her own, she could not get back IN to bed. In no way can she perform on her own the tasks of daily living. We now know who has the discharge authority yes/no over Maggie. We are sure he is under enormous pressure to discharge her from the financial people, even though she is clearly not ready to be on her own. Even so we are NOT going with the massive phone call storm to the hospital (which I mentioned over at DTWOF), at least not yet. We’re still waiting to see what the nursing home says; Maggie being accepted to the nursing home is the best bet.

Thank you for the emails and subscriptions. Please keep them coming $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, mix and match. Maggie told me ten minutes ago to tell you how much she loves and appreciates you. And that she’s getting better each and every day. Later today she’s got a big PT workout. She has faith everything will work out.

For folks whom have asked about applications for welfare, Medicaid, and so on, good news (although it will take quite a while.) All of those applications are in or in the process of going in for Medicaid, welfare, and other appropriate programs.

The first time through, everyone gets turned down. But on the second application we are told, Maggie should be approved without much trouble.

The hospital is working closely with the person handling Maggie’s finances while she’s in the hospital, to see that this happens successfully. (It’s the only way for the hospital to get paid at all. They have a good track record with this as their own self-interest is at stake, so I’m quite optimistic in the long run.) In the short-run, Maggie has no money, no job till she’s well, so for the next two months we and the donations we raise for her are ALL that she has. *sighs*

Next time some damn Republican banker tells me that donations are the answer instead of government aid, I’m taking him to Austin and showing him Maggie as exhibit A. After two weeks of asking and begging and with Maggie being relatively well known nationally as these things go, we’re still only at half what she needs. And now the Republicans & Sen. Joe L (Ind-CT) are trying to blow up the Public Option on Health Care. Arrrrrgh!

Next update no later than tomorrow; sooner if there’s a major change. In the meantime, please contribute $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, or in any combination.

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swapping Class Lessons

Entitlement is a concept which has been misunderstood and criticized in feminist/liberation ideologies. It’s an attitude we are born with, as is altruism, but just as altruism has been distorted by American mythology into “self-sacrifice,” entitlement has become conflated with selfishness and arrogance.

An authentic sense of entitlement, however, is not selfish. If you believe there is enough to go around for everybody (which is possible when capitalism and Christianist lies are snipped from your brain,) and if you have achieved enough emotional maturity to love yourself/your community without depending on power imbalances for security, expressing entitlement is an act of mass social empowerment.

Unfortunately we have meager examples of what this actually looks like in our current government or pop culture representation. Those of us trying to define it for ourselves -- say, a fat crippled family-less poor dyke currently receiving high-level care as an indigent -- must stay in continuous conversation and exploration with those we trust to keep identifying the next best refinement of definition.

And of course the major obstacle to clarity about entitlement is class conditioning about which America is in deep denial.

I have been/am being kept afloat daily by a network of middle-class institutions, working-class smarts, and a few specific individuals who will not let go my hand.

One as you all know is Jesse Wendel, raised middle-class Mormon who used the military to escape LDS paranoia and family violence. This is not the most obvious ladder to use, but someone who can manage to stop panicking at the sounds of hounds in his own head long enough to carefully select the next solid-looking hummock can pick his way across any bog. Plus there is a basic Mormon value of service to the deserving, and if you buckle that onto a new template of who is “deserving” you get the Gilliard kind of liberal that Jesse is. His instance of my value was in my head when I finally staggered to the phone last week in the middle of the night and gave myself up to the machinery of possible public humiliation and loss of autonomy. I left the Gillchrist Peninsula; I hitched a ride west from the 9th Ward, into the care of strangers. But I knew Jesse would find me wherever I landed, and I acted like I mattered to everyone I met. To do so meant completely betraying my class training and my families’ choices.

Equally crucial has been Martha Chesnutt, my friend since 1980, who is handling all the finances and working on getting me disability long-distance from Atlanta. Martha and I lived together years ago and she has been the older sister I would have chosen for myself. Our ancestors arrived in North America via Jamestown, and our shared southern roots are tangled. Her line had been as consistently owning class as mine has been poor. But we came out into the crucible of lesbian-feminism where, despite revisionist rhetoric to the contrary, many of us learned to deal with class and race in a way I do not see being done as well now.

Martha is a class ally to me whom I trust more than anyone else on earth. She’s done the work, keeps doing it, translates across the boundary as earnestly as I do, and for over a year she paid my rent, until her own difficulties kept her from doing it any longer.

Martha and I also bore witness to one another as we each in turn fell in love with and partnered to women who, despite all efforts, became abusive. We stayed close friends as these long-term lover relationships degraded us and challenged our ability to self-love. Imperfectly, mentally, we figured out how to just have faith in one another despite watching the other make self-destructive choices. We somehow kept returning to “any difficulty I have with your difficulty is still my difficulty.” The friendship survived where all other connections did not.

I can tell Martha anything. However I use this gift sparingly, because I see the wound in her when she faces some of my reality.

Martha has refused to ever give up her sense of entitlement. She blazed a trail in that regard and continues to often take a machete to the underbrush a few yards ahead of me.

I once wrote in an essay that I felt like my family and I had been left for dead. I still feel that way about them – I mean, they are all dead now.

But because I’ve chosen to reassess every class lesson handed on to me by my people, rejecting toxic beliefs for those of the middle and owning classes where I could see the sense of it, I’m the survivor.

About a month before I called the paramedics, Martha said to me, with all the courage she could muster, that she was afraid I was repeating my mother’s pattern of hopelessness about individual survival. It was an extraordinarily difficult talk, but I have to admit the seeds she planted helped me call those paramedics instead of dying alone.

Thank you, Martha, Jesse, Liza, Genia, Kat. Thanks for getting close enough to see/hear my truth and letting me see yours so I might learn from it. Thank you out there who believe I matter.

And thank you to my family, for taking me as far as they could before their own sense of shame dragged them underwater.

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog as dictated to Jesse by Maggie.

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Maggie Jochild Still In Hospital Monday, Barely

Windows Netbook Donation Needed. Financial Donations Report!

Just a quick report as I’m in so much pain in my right hip I’m not at work today (this was written Monday afternoon, even if I’m posting it Tuesday morning.) Hurts to sit up, hurts to write. Hurts to do anything but sleep.

Maggie was NOT discharged over the weekend. One of the great things about the hospital she is in, is they apparently are big believers in what is called the TEAM Concept of Care. This means that in this hospital -- the best surgical hospital in Austin where the rich folks go for their surgeries if they don’t fly in their G-Vs to Houston -- unlike all the other hospitals which are not nearly as highly ranked nationally (oh yes, this hospital is NATIONALLY RANKED; what, you thought I’ve been pulling your chain, polishing your knob, yanking your Petunias, these last 10-12 days when I’ve told you Maggie is in the BEST surgical hospital in Austin? Oh, say it isn’t so Gentle Reader…)…unlike the other, not nearly as highly ranked nationally hospitals, the hospital our dear Maggie Jo lies recovering in, does everything in TEAMS. A Team consists of everyone involved in the medical care of a patient, plus a representative from the financial side of the house. Everyone gets a fairly equal voice in what should happen. This method of care compares to the less successful hospitals (so far as patient outcomes go) where the Doctors and the Finance People (and more and more it’s the Finance People) make the calls on what happens. Not so in the nationally ranked facility where Maggie is working so hard to recover.

That Maggie is working SO damn hard impresses the hell out of everyone. Today for example she walked 50 feet with a walker, her PT person right next to her to try and stop a fall just in case, but she made it! Totally wiped her out, she told me as 50 feet is an amazing (and very tough) distance for her to walk… Her stitches remain in (nope, the surgeon changed his mind last Friday and left them in. And today he decided to leave them in till at least Friday this week) with the Binder which is like a large corset still constricting her abdomen tightly keeping the surgical site intact, the stitches from coming out, and everything all good and clean and perfect.

Because Maggie is working so goddamn hard, because she’s working harder -- in the judgment of her nurses and the PT/OT and respiratory folks – all of the aforementioned TEAM members and even some of her doctors are all LOUDLY saying, do NOT discharge Maggie. Why, they say?

“Maggie has no support, no one to take care of her. If we discharge her for, let’s face it, financial reasons” -- and they glare at the financial guy who is pretty much coming around to see things from our side anyway, but they still glare at him we’re told – “we’re only going to see her again inside days to a week when her sutures come loose, the incision bursts open (the surgeon gets all stuffy at this point), she gets a massive infection and that’s if her insides do not spill out all over the floor, and of course with the massive infection she’ll get an even larger fever and become dehydrated. Hell, she isn’t even able, no, scratch that, she is UNABLE to even get in and out of bed by herself let alone make it to the toilet. Without any money to hire a nursing aide, no charity bed for rehab for the hardest working most deserving patient any of us have seen in forever. How can we possibly expect Maggie, with a Foley Catheter in place no less, to take care of her self all alone? It’s impossible! Hummph!”

This opinion is slowly gaining weight in the TEAM approach. *smiles*

On the other hand, finance still wants her out, although he’s being less adamant about it all. That said, there is a genuine, real chance Maggie may be discharged Tuesday. No promises or predictions one way or the other. It could go one way or the other. *sighs* I’m not going to panic. We will see and what happens will happen. But I think (and hope and pray) we have enough medical weight on our side, that with the TEAM being pretty damn pissed off at this point about Maggie’s overall condition, that a discharge won’t happen till Maggie’s truly ready. Furthermore, Maggie is ready to very respectful and appreciatively, strike, should anyone try to kick her out before her body is at least able to handle the basics of living alone: getting in and out of bed without ripping her stitches out (including NOT straining her abdomen which her PT person insists upon, as does her surgeon); since she doesn’t have a pull thingy above her bed to haul herself in and out of the bed with, that will be hard; cleaning herself; going to the toilet. Also walking to the kitchen; watching back from the kitchen; making a meal; feeding the cat; going all the way from her bedroom to the front door, getting groceries, taking them to the kitchen and putting them away before the cold stuff rots, then getting back in bed, all without falling over and hurting herself or ripping out her stitches or splitting open her abdomen.

If she can not do ALL these simple acts of daily living, she can not go home. Are they going to send her to live on the street under a newspaper? Seriously; what do they intend to do, send her to die, now that they have saved her life?

As she keeps telling people, “I live with a cat but she can NOT change my Foley.”

Financially Maggie and I and Martha (who is handling the money) deeply appreciate the money given so far. We are roughly at half-way. So far slightly under two-thousand dollars have been donated. We need to raise four thousand. $4K allows Maggie two months off work, the medicines she needs, some healthier foods, some (but not all) of the durable medical equipment she needs such as a pull thing above her bed. Plus paying rent electric, water, food, cat food, taxi rides for outpatient, a little home health care, and so on. The absolute bare minimum with zero margin for error and no reserve (and ya always need a reserve; this number doesn’t have one) for the bare minimum she’ll need if everything goes perfectly (and there are always fuck-ups (this assumes no fuck-ups at all) is $4 grand cash in emergency donations/additional subscriptions. It does NOT include any subscriptions/donations existing prior to Wednesday 12 days ago when Maggie went to the hospital. We’re assuming all of those remain intact. If any of those get canceled, we’ll need more money. On the other hand, half way there, pretty much. So hey, far out and good work everyone! And we have a little room to breathe. It isn’t as if we need to have all the money tomorrow. We needed a bunch of money last Friday as we thought she was being thrown out Friday or Saturday, which would mean we’d have to hire a nursing aide right then as we had no bed for her and there was no way she could go back home. So we were going to put her, well, never mind. The point is, we now have a little more room. So please, take a deep breathe, congratulate yourself and everyone else on the great job we’re all doing so far.

Then, dig down and please donate more. We’ve got $2,000 and change to go. *laughs* If you haven’t donated yet, heh, opportunity! We're asking people to contribute from as little as $5 to $10 monthly, to $20 or $50, and for a few of you, all the way up to $100 or $200 a month.

Coming up still today, another post from Maggie. It’s amazing. I think one of the best pieces of writing she’s ever done. (I feel like a link in a chain, smuggling the writings of a renowned Russian writer out of the prison camps to the West. And honored to take her dictation.)

Ahhh… Maggie needs a Netbook Computer. She has NO Internet access. Getting her a Netbook so she can surf, email, and write whenever SHE wants to, not have to write by hand and then dictate to me, is able to check in on her friends and their posts, can check in at GNB and Meta when she wants… She’s cut off from her WORLD. It would mean the world to her if we can get her access restored.

Can someone please, please, pretty please with love and strawberries and real sugar on top please donate an inexpensive Microsoft compatible Netbook to Maggie? (Not even a laptop. She doesn’t have the strength to hold a laptop.) It needs to be SO light that really only a wireless-enabled Netbook will do plus also a Netbook is the right form factor. Even a very light-weight laptop would be too big; she wouldn't be able to balance it, and a telephone would be a new OS to learn plus you really can't browse on them. She needs precisely what I'm requesting and not anything else. Please.

Note: I don’t mean to offend any of y’all whom are huge Mac fans. -- I’m writing this on a MacBook and can hardly stand the wait till January for the new Apple Tablet, but that’s not important right now – I also don’t mean to offend fans of other OSes such as various Unixes. The thing is Maggie only knows Windows. Period. Full stop. In her current mental state -- able at her current best to think two perhaps three hours ahead when she isn’t physically wiped out which is much of the time, and she can handle perhaps five minutes ahead then -- I am NOT absolutely NOT pressing her in any way not critical to her health. An OS holy war is not critical to her health. OS discussion ends here.

Maggie needs a Windows-version Netbook computer. Having one will give her autonomy in a major way. This will make an ENORMOUS difference for Maggie in her physical recovery as well as her mental recovery (having to work with the keys will help her physical recovery; working with the thinking and writing and her peeps and writing again will deeply assist her mental recovery.)

If you can donate a Netbook, please email Jesse Wendel.

Thank you.

Again, please donate and get your friends to donate. Please contribute $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, or in any combination. If you have a blog or know people with blogs, get the word out about Maggie. Link, link, link.

Anything I can do to help get the word out, be in touch.

Thank you all so much for your support. And bless all of you for that support. You mean the world to Maggie and myself.

Knowing you are there has on many a day, gotten me up and out of bed, I tell you true. Often it seems strange to me that me, big bad-ass Jesse, who walked through the toughest ghettos in the United States for almost a decade with nothing but a med kit, backboard, oxygen bottle and defibrillator, and a gurney. And my 90 pound gurrrrl partner (who could kick YOUR ass any day, twice a day on weekends, three times on pay-day weekends) could be brought to bed by pain. But it never, ever, ever stops. Even when I take LOTS of drugs, even then it doesn’t stop; it is simply overwhelmed and then the drugs usually overwhelm me also. It’s impossible to find positions not also painful. The best is this wonderful chair at work. In it I can sit for many hours and work and work and work. At home on my bed I’m able to roll this way and that, and to watch comedy shows which by making me laugh, reduce the pain. Sometimes I can sleep and then I don’t hurt, briefly, till I wake up, which I do every three hours around the clock to take pain meds. No, I don’t set an alarm. The old meds wear off and that wakes me up.

Here’s my point. In the midst of this, especially in the last two and a half years since my friends and I started Group News Blog, some days what has got me up when normally I’d have stayed in bed and wept, stayed in bed and tried to sleep, stayed in bed and watched television, or stayed in bed and read or done anything but moved a fraction more than I absolutely must (on what I call a BAD pain day, like today for example when I didn’t go to work as it felt as if someone had stuck a steel bar deep into my right hip and was bouncing bouncing bouncing up and down on the bloody thing with the blunt end quivering deep in my hip bone to the point where the scale I balance on is overdosing my meds v. screaming) and on some days precisely like today when normally I’d simply stay in bed and weep and pray for the day to end, on some of those days over the past two and a half years I have gotten up because I knew YOU were there, waiting for me to write, waiting for me to post, even just waiting for me to go check the PO Box and pick up a letter I knew was coming. So I got up and got to it. Sucked it up. Because of you.

You readers are the gift who quite literally, day after day after day, I get out of bed for because of you. If not for you, just as years ago when I was suicidal, then it was my four children whom I lived for, now I get out of bed and go enter into life because to do otherwise would be to fail to serve you.

The last eight to ten months (since shortly after the inauguration) have been very hard for me, physically. And I’m not fully back by any means.

But with Maggie needing me, with readers from GNB all of a sudden writing me and my needing to write them back, with other GNB writers suddenly writing again and the blog starting to pick up again (as I’ve said all along it would start to do about a year before the 2010 election) and with the joy of my writing posts for GNB all of a sudden descending upon me like grace from above, like how I feel after a wonderful bicycle ride with my daughters or son, I can only say that for the last eleven to twelve days, as totally wiped out as I’ve been each day, as utterly drained as I’ve been each day, I’ve been more ALIVE this past almost two weeks than at any time in the past eight to ten months of lying in bed in pain. Now I’m up and about (and in pain) but at least I’m about and out in the world (and in pain.) The fucking pain part does not change. But at least I’m out and in the world and alive.

Thank YOU (all of you, but I really mean YOU, the one reading this right now) for the wonderful gift to me which you are. And for everything which you are to Maggie, and for all which you do to her.

Speaking of which -- because this is how all posts right now must end, *smiles* -- please subscribe/donate to Maggie as much as you can afford: $200, $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, mix and match.

Also, I request you, Gentle Reader, donate a Windows Netbook for Maggie within 24 hours. Contact Jesse Wendel.

Thank you.

Oh yeah… Within a hour, a post from Maggie. *grins*

 Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tachih Nádáh

The Bullshit In Arizona WAS NOT Anything Native American

My heart goes out to the families of those who died. My deep rage and anger goes to the charletans who used a sacred ritual to bully and maim and kill others.

I hate going to Sedona. All manner of "New Age" hucksters and grifters have sullied the visual magic of a glorious place.

John McCain fits right the fuck in there.

You can go to Sedona and pay lots of money to people who channel dolphins, find "vortexes" of energy, and you can even find white people who for lots of fucking money will teach you all about Native American stuff.

Here's a quick way to tell if the people who are doing this are really into it. If you go to an Apache Haattaallii, healer, or spiritual guide, the only payment they will accept is tobacco, food, or blankets. Never. Money.

A quick google or Craigslist search will turn up people who are conducting sweat lodges all over the country. Sometimes they will ask for a little money to help them defray the costs involved with conducting the ceremony, fires need fuel and stuff like that. The honest folks who are doing this would be delighted if you showed up with a tank of propane instead of twenty bucks.

Here is a post of mine from over three years ago. If the experience of your sweat lodge isn't like this, you have my permission to run the fuck away screaming.

This ceremony is common to almost all north american native cultures. There are as many variations as there are among people. There are many more similarities than there are differences.

Let me remind you that I do not believe in the supernatural. I do not pray in the sense that I expect a god somewhere to listen and give a damn. I still go into the lodge with people. I talk and follow the forms of the traditional prayers. When I leave, I feel better. That's enough. No jealous sky demon has ever acted like it was going to strike me down. I don't get into all of that. There might be some Jungian tribal memory thing going on, I dont care.

We meet in the early afternoon at clan cousin's house. (Apache family connections are byzantine in complexity and I won't go into that here) They have a semi permanent lodge set up in their back yard. They are far enough out in the country that it is quiet and we won't be bothered by city noise or prying eyes. There are eight of us tonight, equally divided between men and women. Some cultures have a total ban on men and women doing this ceremony together, some wear clothes. We tend to be more pragmatic about things. After being hunted for the better part of two centuries by the Spanish, the Mexicans, then the Americans a lot of separation of men and women got discarded because there simply weren't enough of the people (indii) to keep things workable. Sometimes we have problems when those from other cultures that have these barriers come to visit. We will warn them about our customs but we don't try to adapt to them any more than that. Warrior societies are like that.

Many of us fast on the day of the ceremony. I will drink fluids but I don't eat. It's just a personal thing. I know people who do the whole dry fasting thing and I have done it before but mainly since it would mean doing without my coffee and having a raging headache before the dehydration sets in I choose not to.

We start by covering the bent willow framework that forms the shell of the Tachih (sweatlodge). It's about five feet tall at the peak and makes a nice circular dome. We are covering it with a combination of blankets (nothing special for the blankets, just old blankets is all) on the first two layers, followed by elk, deer and buffalo hides on the outside. We are looking for something that will be light and waterproof. There are sheets spread out on the floor of the lodge, mainly this is so we won't get all crusty mudded up while we are trying to cleanse ourselves. When we are finished we all go inside the house.

We gather in a circle in the living room and the leader (ha'taallii) welcomes us to the ceremony. We go around the room and introduce ourselves. We use our "medicine names" here. That is the name we use when we are in ceremony. There's a whole involved structure around naming, there's the name that it used in the state records, a medicine name, a name given by your warrior society, a sacred name that is never spoken aloud, and then there's the name everybody calls you by. Again, it's pretty alien and hard to explain. My medicine name translates roughly to "Singing Snake." We pass around a smudge bowl with a combination of sage, cedar and lavender. We let the smoke waft around us, fanning it with an eagle feather. If there is anything specific we want to look for inside the lodge it is stated at this time.

The leader takes out his pipe and puts it together. He (it can be a woman but tonight it is a man) takes a small pinch of tobacco (actually, it's a mix of stuff that grows out in the desert mountains and I am not going to go into the ingredients beyond saying that there is nothing in this pipe that would interfere with my program of drug and alcohol abstinence but when I am talking about tobacco I'm not talking about the Virginia leaf) and begins to fill the pipe a pinch at a time, saying the appropriate prayers for each pinch. When the leader is done the pipe and the pouch go around the room and we each add our own pinch and our own prayers (these prayers can be said out loud or be said in silence). When the pipe is once again with the leader he begins to smoke and pray. He smokes to the four cardinal directions, above and below, the center of things. Then he calls in the powers of nature and the world. It's long, intricate and involved. For me this part is like the sermon they make derilicts listen to before they get fed at the soup kitchen. I maintain a respectful silence but I'm not really all that into it.

Once the leader has finished his job the pipe again goes around the circle and we each smoke a little bit and say our own personal wishes for the ceremony. Then we get naked and go out to the lodge.

The entrance of the lodge is facing to the east. You stand before the entrance and the leader brushes you with sage smoke and a fan made from the wing of an eagle. When this is done you kneel down, touch you forhead to the ground and say "ahéhe'e shik'iihi" (thank you my people), then you crawl slowly around the lodge until you reach your place. There is one special position in the lodge that is right next to the firepit (which is roughly north northeast). The person that sits there is the last to pray each round and tries to keep themselves in tune with the flow of the ceremony. They are also there to aid the leader in any way that might be needed. I like to sit in the slight south west position. When the water hits the hot rocks the steam billows up and across the dome of the lodge right on top of you. I like it hot. During this part of the ceremony we remain silent, focused in our own thoughts.

When we are all in the leader enters and asks for the fire tenders to bring four rocks, one at a time from the firepit. We are using rocks from a dry river bed that have been baked for a couple of days right after they were gathered. River rocks hold the heat longer and seem to get hotter. If you don't put them in a 200° oven for a couple of days there's a chance that when the water is poured on them they will explode. I've been in a lodge when this happens and it's no fun at all. As the rocks are brought in they are sprinkled with fragrant herbs and flowers and the appropriate prayers and welcome is made. Then three more rocks come in. Same thing is done. After the first seven rocks are in more are brought in two and three at a time, the leader uses an elk horn to arrange them in the pit, the person sitting in the northeast begins to sing a song in Apache until we have a total of twenty rocks. The flap on the entrance is closed and we are in darkenss except for the glow of the rocks in the pit. The leader pours twenty times on the rocks, saying the ritual prayers of welcome and calling in the powers. Then one at a time we go around the lodge and say our prayers for ourselves. There aren't any real hard and fast rules on what to pray for. The form is to address the god or power you are intending to talk to and introduce yourself by your medicine name, you clan affiliation, and any honors from battle you might have be given. Then you pray for yourself. I pretty much follow the 11th step of Alcoholic's Anonymous here and tend to pray that I be given only the knowledge of what god's will for me might be and then have the power to carry out that will. It's enough. Sometimes people will ask the leader to give them a medicine name or change the one they've been given before. When everyone has had their turn the flap is opened and there is a slight respite from the heat.

During the rounds of the sweat lodge no one goes in or comes out. If someone gets in distress from the heat they can ask that the flap be opened for them to leave but the round is then started over from the beginning.

The leader asks for six stones, he can ask for as many or as few as he wants, it's pretty hot in there tonight, the steam is scalding and feels alive. We don't need a whole lot of it.

The flap is closed again and this time the prayers that are said are for others. People pray for family, friends, whatever. As long as it is not about you. The flap is opened again.

Some folks drink water in between the rounds of prayers. I don't but that's a personal choice that I made. It's not mandated one way or the other. I just feel a bigger ceremonial connection by having the time in lodge be about stuff going out

This time he asks for nine stones to be brought in. The flap goes down and we begin the "give away." Here we give away the things in our life that are not serving us well. You might have noticed that I am not going into any specifics about what I pray for in the lodge. It's very personal. It's very private. It's between me and what ever power might be out there, not between me and you. After everyone has taken a turn we do another round where we give away things about ourselves that we give to the people and society as a whole. The good things that we bring. After listing all the stuff that's not that great and isn't working it's good to identify what is good and doing the job.

The flap comes up again and he asks for seven stones, one at a time. They again get sprinkled with herbs and flowers, the flap goes down and while the leader does the twenty count prayer and pours twenty horns of water we are dreaming. Trying to be open to any message or emotions that be out there for us.

The flap is opened and one, at a time, in reverse order of entrance we leave the lodge. We stay in silence. Some people use an outdoor shower that is set up, others lie down on towels and stare up at the sky. We are coming back into this world slowly. I finally get up and douse myself with cold water, and start to drink some gatorade that I brought. It takes about forty minutes for us to get in the present enough to go inside and get dressed. Then we attack the pot luck buffet that has been set up. I am still drinking deeply and ravenous. The food tastes great. I am tired, but full of energy.

After the meal we gather again and go over what we felt in the lodge. The pipe is smoked and then put away. We stand around talking quietly about little things. The big things are through for the night. One by one we give gifts of tobacco and a small token of thanks to the leader, the three people that tended our fire, and the hosts who graciously opened their house to us. Then we drift away into the dark night. Cleansed in body and spirit. Part of this world and some other place I can't really explain. There is a thread in this ceremony that runs through us all the way to the beginning of time.

We aren't real hard core about keeping this ceremony all to ourselves, there have been outsiders invited to join our circle. It's rare, but it is not unheard of. I will leave you with the words from an old prayer

biihill hishash aaii diji jooni (may i walk today in beauty)
yexahiidella go, deya, tc'indii (having been prepared, he walks, they say)

good night.

There are many honest seekers of truth and spiritual connection out there. Many of them have been welcomed into our circles. I remember some German kids that my friend Silas and I found wandering in the Superstitions all lost and stuff. We took them in, invited them into our sweat lodge. They found themselves at home.

Please my friends, be careful who you follow. There are also a lot of greedy assmunches who are only after your money. The worst of them will take your money and watch you die. If, at anytime, your guide insists that you give up your personal autonomy and demands that they be given the power to make basic choices for you, you again have my permission to run the fuck away screaming.

Autonomy is a big thing among the Apache. Anyone who tries to take yours away is not teaching you about us, he's getting all white about shit.
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Friday, October 23, 2009


“Once, in Israel, God appeared in the doorway, and we were sore afraid.”
Annie Dillard

Let us now set aside
our profane belief
in corpus control
and embrace sacred humility
With yeast and egg
seed and must
Let us bow our will
to that power beyond our texts:
How our mucus membranes
will repair themselves
Flesh will knit
oxygen will
hop the metro of our corpuscles
It takes dozens of muscles
tiny or bovine, from may regions
to evacuate our bowels
an expertise we possess at birth
Let us mumble our ignorance
Of bile and synapse
Why some tumors are checked
How our watery sacs constantly
adjust valves to keep us
one step shy of liquid or
sicca again sayonara
We are deluded
We are sore afraid
Let us join fingertips
with the love we can only express
by life itself
which is another word for love.

© 2009 Maggie Jochild
October 23, 2009, 8:20 pm

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog as dictated to Jesse by Maggie.

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“This is Las Vegas. We have our own way, and we just let people be how they are.”

This statement was given to me by Grace, Nurse of Nurses, here in the PCU. To be honest, Grace, or Amazing Grace as we call her behind her back, is one of two Nurse of Nurses here. The other being Extraordinary Emily. But for today I am blessedly in the hands of Grace for a third day in a row, sandwiched between two nights under the care of Ray-Ray, Grace’s best friend and the kind of man you wish was your own best friend.

But I digress. Easy to do here in Vegas.

The PCU is a netherworld between ICU, where gossamer threads of mortality are nearly visible in the always florescent glare and must be brushed by as delicately as Shelob’s Lair, and “The Ward,” the rest of the hospital. (In my Tramadol soaked brain I just commented “Ward, I’m worried about my beaver,” cracking myself up.)

Here on the PCU we are one firm step up from the ICU toward the remainders of our days but still dealing 24/7 with heavy damage done to us by other human beings or organisms which lack negotiation skills. Grace tells me she has three patients besides me and I’m the only person on the entire floor who is coherent. Which makes me something of a road-side attraction. In the midst of my extremis I’m having some profoundly human connections here in Vegas.

I saw half my abdominal incision today, about four inches of it. It’s grotesque but I touched it gently and reminded my belly I love it, all will be well someday. I did that for my Mamma after her surgeries, and now must love my self without her here.

Except, of course, she never left me.

More stories to come but hydrocodone, heparin, Protonix, potassium, mag sulfate, and levaquin await.

Thank you for being mine out there.

This post is about Thursday, October 22, 2009. Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog as dictated to Jesse by Maggie.

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Baking Bread, Means Dad is Home

view from the place I stayed for the Netroots Convention

Apropos of Nuthin

I'll start off with some quick impressions of the NetRoots...

  • I would rather spend three days on a train than three hours in another fucking airport.
  • Sarah Robinson is charming, smart, and damned cute.
  • Ian Welsh is a witty, whip smart, engaging man.
  • Sir Charles, Litbrit, and Stephen Suh from Cogitamus are great people to share a wonderful view with.
  • I kept walking into rooms full of people, all of them focused intently on their laptops.
  • Next year's convention is in Vegas, that's MY fucking town yo.
Now, on to bread baking. I have been able to spend the last few days with my new doctor daughter, my son, my daughter's two fellow interns, and a whole host of family and Arizona friends who took the time to drop in on us.

When I became a single parent things didn't start out all that smoothly. I had three young, scared kids. All they really knew for sure was that through no fault of their own the adults had turned their lives upside down. For all that they were concerned, I was this dude who showed up every three or four months to yell at their Mom for a couple of weeks before taking off again.

When I took (or had it forced upon me by the court) custody, I made some very drastic changes in my life. First off, I was clean and sober for the first time since second grade. I decided that I would concentrate on providing some kind of reasonable facsimile of a home and family life for the kids. I quit touring altogether. Instead I scuffled and scrambled for studio and jingle gigs. At first money was very, very tight. As I began to understand the game better, things got better. Instead of schlepping from studio to studio I began to record my stuff right there at home.

I tried to keep things like fresh homemade breads available. One of the things I remember best, and loved the most was when I would gather my kids from the school bus stop and see the looks on their faces when they would come into the house and smell fresh bread, or pie, or cookies, or what ever stuff I had made for them. My new doctor says that those smells are what convinced her that things had really changed for them. That I meant what I said when I told them that I was going to stay home, maybe even learn how to be a parent or some square shit like that.

It's been a real joy to watch Dr. Ga'age Biitsahkesh walk into the house, smell the fresh bread, and get that same satisfied, joyful look on her face.

This is my favorite white bread recipe. I think I found it in one of Julia Child's books, but can't really remember. It makes great sandwiches, killer french toast, and is one of the best all around breads I make.


7 cups bread or all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and let stand for ten minutes, or until creamy.

Mix, on lowest setting, 3 cups of the flour and the salt until smooth. Add in the remaining 4 cups of flour and mix until dough is smooth and elastic.

Add in the softened butter. At first in the mixing stage the dough ball might fragment and fall apart. Keep mixing and it will come together beautifully.

Turn out onto a floured hard surface and knead the living shit out of it for at least ten minutes. If your arms fall off after five minutes, duct tape or staple them back on and get back at it. It's the kneading that distributes the gluten and determines whether or not your bread as a nice even consistency.

Place kneaded dough in a large bowl that has been liberally buttered. Turn the dough ball so that it is completely coated with the butter. Cover with a cloth and put in a warm place (not less than 90° and not more than 100°) for an hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the risen dough, shape into two loaves. Place the shaped dough into two buttered loaf pans and let it rise, covered, for another forty five minutes.

Bake at 375° for thirty five minutes. Cool on a rack until you can handle the bread without raising blisters. Rub the outside of the loaves with more softened butter and allow to cool on the racks completely.

*****Informational Tidbit, free of fucking charge.......**********

The vacuum sealer thingie fucks your fresh bread all up. I thought it would be a great idea to put some bread up for the kids to enjoy when I'm gone...oops.

As a parting thought, I've been listening to the folks on TV and in Washington talk on and on about health care. Except they aren't talking about getting folks into doctors and hospitals, they're talking about insurance.

We asked for health care, they're talking about insurance.

I don't think they understood what we said.
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One Week After Emergency Abdominal Surgery Maggie Jochild Is Still In Intensive Care

Donations Desperately Urgently Needed or
Maggie May Be Sent Home and Tough Luck
Instead Of To Surgical Rehab As Needed

Bottom Line: Maggie Desperately Needs YOUR Donations Now
For Reals, No Kidding, This One's for All The Marbles

The alternative is Maggie may literally be kicked out of the hospital with a big surgical incision in her stomach which isn't anywhere near healed, unable to walk (even to the kitchen or the bathroom) and sent home. If this happens her surgical wound WILL split back open, become infected, and if we're really really lucky, the worst that will happen is Maggie will get sent back to the hospital where it will all get fixed.

Those of you whom remember Steve Gilliard remember that he was out of heart surgery, was talking and recovering, and then the hospital pushed his fat black poor ass out of its expensive ICU bed because he had no insurance, threw him to a non-monitored cheap-ass ward bed...where Gil promptly got a major infection which killed him, even after they returned him to the ICU and did surgery to try and save him again.

If the hospital had only kept Steve in the ICU for another week he'd likely have lived. If he'd had insurance -- if someone would have PAID for that expensive medical shit -- then Gil would for sure have been left on the ICU no problem. And in the ICU a) he likely wouldn't have caught the damn infection to start with, but if he had, b) they'd have been all over the damn thing within 3-6 hours of it starting and BOOM, knocked it on its ass right away. 'Cause that's what they do in ICU, catch 'em small and knock 'em down. Instead, Gilly was on the ward, they missed it for days, and by the time they caught it it'd spread all over his body, thus he died.

We talk (more or less privately) how Gilly's death was partially caused by racism. Let's be even more blunt. It was caused by classism. If Steve had been a black man with money, a fat black man with good health insurance and a decent job, he'd likely have lived. He died because the hospital was not being PAID to give a shit.

We are facing down the very same problem with Maggie.
It's the money, stupid.

Maggie is alive.
And dead broke.
We need your help, for reals.

Maggie is in totally wonderfully amazingly health (with respect to her recovery that is; I'm not comparing her to an Olympic champion) in one of the best major surgical recoveries I've ever seen.

If you'd asked me two weeks ago if what has just happened could happen with Maggie would happen with Maggie, I'd have told you not only no but hell no, and listed 20 major problems which no doubt would go wrong during any major hospitalization/surgery time frame for Maggie. Yet here we are.

Two ways it all can go:

1. Get Maggie into a good Long Term Acute Care / Rehab facility.

a) This will require both a charity bed from the facility and/or donations from various sources in Austin. We have LOTS of sources working to make that happen. If any of you have high-level contacts in Austin who might be willing to help, please email me directly.

b) We'll also need SUBSCRIPTIONS & DONATIONS from y'all. Thousands and thousands of dollars both in ongoing monthly subscriptions and current immediate donations. Both are needed. If you need to choose, I'd prefer you choose to subscribe for a monthly lessor amount. How much you subscribe for monthly is your business.  The current highest monthly subscription Maggie receives is $200 month; two people currently subscribe to Maggie at that level. Furthermore, both of those people sometimes donate additional sums when money is short. Money goes to the very basic needs of life: food; Maggie's food budget is $160 per month. Rent. Water and electricity, Internet, cat food, medicines (prescription and OTC), clothing. The pure basics.

2. The bad route: Maggie gets sent home alone to heal.

a) In rehab yesterday (Thursday) it was a triumph when Maggie stood for ten minutes immediately next to her bed WITH TWO PEOPLE HELPING HER. She is unable to walk to the bathroom ten feet from her bed. (She uses a rolling toilet next to her bed with two attendants and a nurse with her at all times as she's backing out a big one. The attendant rolls away and cleans up the toilet afterward. As for peeing, she still has in a Foley cath.

Question: At home, when she can't get out of bed without help, how is she to crap, pee, cook food (when she can't stand), wipe her bum, keep her incision clean (no attendent is going to come to her home for a home health care visit; she has no insurance and no financial aid or support to get a home health aid.) And so on and on. She's recovering wonderfully but she will need massive support and assistance around the clock for the next 3-8 weeks depending. (I'm not yet clear myself, nor are the doctors. The best numbers I've been able to get are, three weeks to two months of FULL-TIME care depending on how she does, part-time support for several months afterward.

Bottom line: She either gets #1 above, the Charity Bed or she'll become a lying in her own sickness infection case and the only question will be, will she become to infected to quickly to dial 911 in time? As part of #1 above we'll need enough donations from y'all to keep her home handled, lights on, cat taken care of, all the basics. If we can manage the basics for her then we're good.

Moving on...

Even though it is way early, because there's such a concern about money, her surgical team is removing her surgical staples TODAY (Friday) while she's still in the ICU Stepdown with ICU Nurses 24/7, Internists and Surgeons doing rounds twice a day, the entire intensive care setup but with the focus on rehabilitation, not purely on critical care.

Maggie has a history of her abdominal surgical wound breaking wide-the-frack open -- technical term: dehiscence -- and taking months, infected, pain-filled, pus-dripping agonizing months to heal. *shudders* Throughout the last two weeks, much much more than dying, dehiscence and cancer have been Maggie's major fears.

The good news is Maggie had Cancer. Because she was accidentally taken to the rich people's hospital in Austin -- the indigent people's hospital was on ER bypass when she called 911 -- she got the best surgical, anesthesiology & OR Team in Austin in what is without question the best hospital in Austin. And the #1 surgical etc. team (as I just said) decided her case was interesting enough to take it on themselves.

Came the day before her surgery when her surgeon asked her if she wanted a "surgical weave" to hold the abdominal organs in place afterward or not. The benefit would be it would allow him to do an appendectomy as well; the problem is, it would cost an extra twenty-thousand dollars. Maggie told me "I looked him dead in the face and said, 'Use the surgical weave and do the appendectomy. That's one less possible emergency abdominal surgery I'll never have to have. As for the $20 grand, it's fine. I'm dead broke and am never going to be able to pay for any of this anyway.'"

"The surgeon blinked for a moment, then started laughing, caught himself -- it was as if he admired my guts -- and said, 'Alright, we'll use the weave and do the appendectomy.' And walked out of the room."

The surgery happened. Along with all the stuff which saved her life, an utterly routine appendectomy took place. In addition, an utterly routine D&C took place, as Maggie's had long-lasting issues with cervical cysts rupturing. The question for 20 years has been, should she get a total hysterectomy to avoid the substantial risk of cervical cancer. One of the major questions considered in this surgery was, 'Should we do a full hysterectomy?' A GYN/Oncologist was brought in on the case precisely to answer that question. After doing a full work-up on Maggie, talking with the primary surgeon about the seriousness of the primary surgery -- it was a MAJOR threat to her life and time-of-surgery, e.g.: how long she was under anesthesia, as well as length-of-incision, e.g.: if a total hysterectomy had been done the surgical incision required would have been triple its current size, the dehiscence Maggie is worried about (which has not yet happened) would have been flat-out unavoidable, infection would have set in, rehab would have been measured in six months to a year... and that is if she had lived to get off the table, given the longer OR time and the additional insult to her already badly damaged system.

Maggie and I decided against it. Her surgeon, and her GYN/Oncologist recommended against it. What they did suggest instead was a full D&C during the surgery along with a biopsy, as well as an examination of the uterus and other reproductive organs, visually (if possible), by touch, and through biopsy.

What you need to understand is Maggie has had cervical cysts rupturing every few weeks/months for decades. The pain is a 9 out of 10 with 10 being screaming then dropping to the floor writhing banging your head trying to knock yourself out. Nine is just short of that, all you can do NOT to totally lose it.

I speak as someone who has gone all the way to 10 more than once. Dropping to the floor, first screaming, then sobbing in agony. Almost everyone around me getting away from me. One good friend came over and helped me to my car; I drove myself, somehow, to my doctor's office where I stumbled in (without an appointment; ha!) and they instantly took me back where I was seen within 90-120 seconds. Hours later I was in the hospital being admitted by a neurosurgeon for the next four days, emergency neurosurgery two-three times, morphine drip, unable to form words of more than two syllables or speak past a four-year old level...for four days due to the pain.

THAT is a 10 (in case you're ever asked how bad it hurts 1-10.) If you can talk about the pain while you're in the pain, it ain't no 10. *smiles*

Maggie's been living with a 9 for 2 to 3 days every few weeks to a month for the last 10-20 years. Plus the fear of cervical cancer. With no health insurance, she's had NO way to find out; she's simply had to ride out the pain with Advil, and ride out her fears alone.

The physical examination during surgery was unremarkable. Which is good. Of course, it's the biopsy that tells the story. Two days ago (Wednesday) the biopsy of Maggie's D&C came back. Nada. Nothing. Clean. Her GYN/Oncologist came by and explained... as Maggie told me, he said this means because Maggie is in menopause, she in no longer a cervical cancer risk. She made it through the danger zone and out the other side. Done, complete, fini.

The biopsy results also came back Wednesday from the appendectomy. Remember, the routine appendectomy that almost didn't get done and only happened because Maggie insisted they spend an extra $20,000.00? Cancer. Malignant cancer. The Oncologist came by... as Maggie told me, he said you got lucky. The margins on the cancer were clean. That means we got ALL of the cancer. It didn't spread anywhere. It was just growing there in your appendix. Because we took out your appendix, the cancer is all gone. You don't need any special treatment, any checkups, nothing. It's handled.

Maggie told me, "I pushed for being treated like a rich person. 'Twenty-thousand dollar weave & an appendectomy.' That's the price-tag on my life. Well, one of them."

Had Maggie NOT had this surgery, she would have died, three different ways that I am SURE of, and that's just so far. My guess is, by the time this all gets sorted out, between her doctors, nurses, rehab team and myself (as a retired paramedic) we'll come up with six to seven certain issues which would have killed Maggie for sure over the next five years, another five to ten which might have killed her over the next five years, plus another ten ranging from would have for sure to probably to would have/might have got around to killing her 5-25 years if the other shit didn't get her first. *smiles sweetly*

Shorter me: Rich people live longer than poor people. Maggie Jochild is a brutal demonstration. She would have been DEAD RIGHT NOW (within a week of when she called 911) in an ugly, ugly way... from gangrene/peritonitis of the bowel/abdomen. Followed by lots of other crap shortly thereafter, ranging from heart to appendix to cancer of the appendix to other abdominal organs being strangled to hernia's rupturing to the stomach literally exploding to intestines dying to kidneys dying.

Maggie was a dead woman who could barely even walk. Now she's going to a Nursing Rehab facility IF someone gives her CHARITY, if y'all can cover her personal expenses so she still has a home and a cat to come home to afterwards.

They treated Maggie like a Rich Person (she says; I say, like someone in the middle to upper class), someone like me or Sara or Evan or Jen, someone with INSURANCE.

If they'd treated Maggie like someone with no insurance she'd be dead right now. If she'd waited one more day (maybe), two more days (for sure) to dial 911, she'd be dead.

If she had insurance she'd have been seeing her doctor all along and ALL this crap would have been caught 8-10 months ago and NONE of this would have happened. Or to the extent that it did happen at all it would have been caught early on, the surgeries would have been done early, and Maggie's life would never have been at risk. As it was when they put her under last week, there was a VERY real chance she was not going to wake up. I placed the odds at 80% survival which means there was a 1 out of 5 chance of on-the-table mortality. If she'd not been in a Rich People's hospital -- simply because the poor people's hospital by the grace of the Gods was on ER diversion that night -- I'd have given her 60/40 maybe even 40/60 odds depending on who was operating and who was doing anesthesia. As it was, instead of a 60% chance (3 out of 5) of dying on the table, it was 4 out of 5 of her making it in the Rich Person's hospital, and she wouldn't have even had that risk, not anywhere close, perhaps 1-100, if she'd had health insurance all along and had been being treated properly from the jump.

But Maggie's dirt poor. So she's screwed. What she needs now, desperately, is money. Her food budget for an entire MONTH is $160. Seriously. Her entire MONTHLY budget, rent, medicine, cat foot, electric, phone, water, everything...comes to $1200 bucks per month -- and she doesn't always hit that. When she misses and me and her other close friends can't make it up, she goes hungry. Yes, you know someone who goes without food on a routine basis because she has no money. And yes, she almost just died because she didn't have the money to see a doctor.

About half of her monthly income comes from GNB/Meta Watershed donations, the rest from her work as a Medical Transcriptionist. Due to her many disabilities, working from home very part time is all she's been able to do for quite some time. (And yes, I am working on the design of a company in which Maggie would be able to be able to make a real living, have insurance... but starting a start-up is tough anytime; it's especially hard at the moment when I'm wiped out physically myself. *sighs*) For the next 4-10 weeks here, she won't have any income from her work. We need to raise roughly $2-3K (obviously more would be better) to fill in the gap; the extra goes for extra medicines she must have, plus additional medical supplies, and healthier foods during the healing process.

Any donations or monthly PayPal subscriptions anyone is willing to make to help us support Maggie Jochild, are most gratefully appreciated. (None of the donations go for administrative expenses with the exception of PayPal transfer fees and the like. All of us supporting Maggie are donating our time and efforts completely, our phone costs and so on. We're not recovering costs.) Like many of the completely poor Maggie has no one else whom to turn; we are her insurance, we are her support system.

Please help as much as you can. The hospital has saved her life. Now let us help her financially so that she still has an apartment to return to when she gets out of rehab, so that her cat has food to eat, so that her electricity is still on and the water still flows. The doctors and nurses have taken care of Maggie's internal organs. It is up to us to finance her voice.

Study links 45,000 U.S. deaths to lack of insurance

Not Being Insured Will Probably Kill You

1. A post from Maggie will go up by Saturday morning.

2. Here's a poem Maggie "wrote" days ago, working on passing gas:

Forgive me
For not eating the plums
That were in the refrigerator

They looked so cold
And delicious

But if I had
My stomach would have exploded.

     Apologies to
     William Carlos Williams

Go to Meta Watershed and SUBSCRIBE or DONATE for Maggie.
Do this now.

Cross-posted at Meta Watershed and Group News Blog.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dirty, Dirty, Evil Hit

Dante Wesley Ejected After
Vicious Illegal Hit on Clifton Smith

I couldn't quite see if Fair Catch was called but it doesn't matter. The point is, Smith didn't have the ball. Fact, he was nowhere near the ball. Wesley is an EIGHT YEAR VETERAN, a Special Teams master -- precisely the guy you want settling the rooks down, not jacking everyone up with this kind of unsporting treacherous truly evil fucking hit -- whom was trusted by his teammates, his coaches, the opposing players and their coaches, and by the officials, to play fucking football.

This wasn't football. This was an assassination, an attempt to take a helpless man standing fully exposed and hurt him for life and/or kill him. It was an evil, vicious, predatory intentional move made with full awareness. There is NO excuse for it. None.

After further review today in the Commissioner's Office, Wesley was suspended without pay for one additional game. I would have thrown his ass out for an entire season.

Smith was on the ground totally unconscious for an entire minute. One whole minute. The odds of him dying early, of Smith having early onset Alzheimer's Disease, hell, of just getting a minor concussion which he plays through and doesn't dare tell anyone because he's afraid of being fired -- NFL players have the crappiest contracts in all of professional major league sports, not to mention those contracts are year-to-year (if I remember correctly) -- just went sky-fracking-high.

And Wesley's punishment for maiming Smith is one game without pay. For which Wesley absolutely will get major bonus money this coming year come contract-renewal time, all in exchange for having intimidated the hell out of the opposing team. One man's next 30-40 years (if he lives that long, and if he does he'll only live it in massive pain and/or with brain damage and/or unable to know what is even going, all due to this one hit Wesley put on him this past Sunday) all in order for one team to gain an ongoing advantage in professional football.

It wasn't an accident. It was an assassination.
Eight-year special team's veterans don't have accidents at that level.
Period. Full stop.

The NFL is really pushing hard with its officials to stop letting its ball handlers get knocked out, especially the high-priced talent such as quarterbacks and receivers. Hit a QB after he's got rid of the ball and you are D-O-N-E. Hit a kicker after he's got rid of the ball and it'd be better for you if he'd kicked that ball up your ass. Same with hitting a receiver on a crossing pattern all stretched out up in the air (totally vulnerable) before he touches the ball. You can hit that stretched-out receiver (or QB or kicker), but if you mistime it so you even breathe on him before his fingers touch the pigskin, pack. You're done.

Problem is, the league has not yet put in that PUSH when it comes to Special Teams. That said, these officials handled this incident damn fine. From breaking up the fight between the teams, to making sure the fight didn't get worse, to reviewing what happened and throwing Wesley out of the game.

I don't know if the officials could have done anything before the game to stop the incident -- perhaps have laid down the law with both teams as to their expectations regarding hits on people when they didn't have the ball -- but I don't see as to why they'd have done that, if only because what Wesley did was SO FAR FUCKING OUTSIDE THE GODDAMN RULES that No One saw this coming.

Wesley hit Smith at least a full second before the ball arrived. The punt landed on the ground after Smith was already down on the turf unconscious and not moving.

It was a slaughter, an attack, an intentional attempt to hurt Smith for good. That Smith was unconscious for over sixty seconds tells you how damn close Wesley came to succeeding.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

My Version Of Palin AP Press Release

I am sure you can figure out which comments are mine...

MILWAUKEE AP- Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will speak(CANCEL-NOT-SHOW-UP-QUIT) in a Milwaukee suburb next month as part of a (FEARMONGERING)program presented by Wisconsin "Right to (CONTROL WOMEN)Life."

Officials say no tickets will be sold(TO SANE PEOPLE) at the door of the Nov. 6 event at Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Wis.(UNLESS YOU PASS A WINGNUT EXAM AND SIGN A LOYALTY OATH)

General admission tickets are $30 with a limit of four (TOWNHALL-CRAZIES)per order.

Palin's (CANCELLATION)stop in Milwaukee comes 11 days before the former Alaska governor's (AND HER LAZY HUSBAND'S GRAVY TRAIN PRESS TOUR)memoirs(USING THE TERM LOOSELY) will be released.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled media spin-programming.

crosspost from FL
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I'm Your Huckleberry

That's What We Will End Up With, After, Of Course, The Usual Long, Strange, Trip

Jesse put out a call to those of us who are supposed to be writing and posting here. We need new posts to increase traffic, to help raise some money for Maggie's recovery. I am a subscriber to her cause, I also kicked in some extra. I encourage you all to please do the same. Every little bit helps right now.

It made me feel inadequate and ashamed. I've been very slack, no, fuck that, I've been wrapped up in my own shit and more than neglectful. For that, I apologize.

I've partly been hellish busy. I've spent since the middle of September on tour. No, I won't post about that. I intend to work beyond this tour and there are folks that would hesitate to hire me if they thought that I'd be writing about what goes on.

I also hit a rough patch in August. Things were actually going great. I was getting ready to tour with somebody I not only make beautiful music with, it's somebody I adore as a person.

To sweeten the whole deal I got a call from the folks at Line6 who said "Dude, we're coming out with a new, hotter model of Variax, we'd like to send you one to try out and tell us what you think."

Even with all that good stuff happening, even with many of my money problems easing, I was in a funk. Nothing could hold my attention, or my interest. One of the things folks in music industry really admire about me is my intensity and my deep preparation. I found myself having to fight for the will and the energy to practice.

That's when I know that it isn't events or situations around me in play. It's depression. I got my ass in to see the doctor and with his help I've been able to claw my way back into a mood that is more closely tied with the events around me.

My girlfriend of long standing and I have known each other for the length of my sobriety. AA is where we met. We had known each other for a while before we ever datried dating or anything like that. One of the first "dates" we had was to go see the movie "Tombstone."

There's a great line in that movie where Val Kilmer, playing Doc Holliday, answers a challenge for a gunfight by saying "I'm your huckleberry."

Since then, all April and I have had to do to reduce ourselves to giggles and trigger the gag reflex in our friends is say that to each other.


April: Honeyman, would you like to fix me dinner?

Me: I'm your huckleberry.

(cue giggles and gagging)

This pie could be made with huckleberries, but since they are widely available I've substituted blueberries.

Ingredients (for two pies)

Pie filling:

6 lbs blueberries

1 1/3 cup white sugar

grated lemon peel and juice from one lemon

2/3 cup all purpose flour

**2 tablespoons cornstarch, if needed**

crust for two pie shells

Cinnamon crumb topping:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 half cup softened unsalted butter

Vanilla Extract (to taste)

In a big bowl, put all the filling ingredients.

Mix gently but completely. Allow to stand and macerate for at least two hours. There will be a lot of juice coming out of the berries. If it is too thin, and looks too liquid, pull out a cup of the liquid and mix in the cornstarch. This will allow your filling to set up nicely during the baking.

Roll out and line two big (9") pie pans with bottom crust. I usually roll this a bit thicker than I normally would for a different pie, that's to accomodate the juicy berries and stand up well to the filling.

Put all the topping ingredients in another bowl and squish up by hand. You can add in more butter or more flour and brown sugar as needed. You want a soft topping that will crumble easily into chunks about the size of peas.

Fill the shells with blueberry goop. Sprinkle the topping over that.

Place in a cold oven, making sure to have baking sheets under the pies to catch any drippings.

Set temperature at 375°, bake for 50 minutes.

Cool, and serve. This is great with ice cream, whipped cream, or plain.

For a thoroughly decadent and downright sinfull breakfast, heat a slice of pie in a bowl, douse with cold milk, 1/2 & 1/2, or give in to the indulgence completely and hit it with cream.

We wrap our tour up this weekend. I promise to write more. Really.

One of the highlights of this gig was that I played and epic practical joke on my dear friend and employer. I will write that one out.

Get Better Soon Maggie!

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