Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MS + TV + MD, = BS

Well, finally "House MD" explores more completely multiple sclerosis-- via, of course, the MOST RARE AND AGGRESSIVE FORM, so-called Marburg MS. Not only does our "hero", who nails himself to a cross per a promise between himself and God to spare his daughter from glioblastoma (that's a whole 'nother thing), have multiple sclerosis, but he has to have marburg, and he has to be offered only one of the potential treatments, and that is stem-cell transplantation. Because it is labeled in the show "embroyonic", the man has difficulty with this given his deep faith, so of course House tricks him. Click on the title of this post to go to the tv.com site.

I found the show a little weak, and lately as a whole the series has been repetitive and kind of slow-- not a lot of development and the "classic" only-speak-truth newbie vs House's "everybody lies, and apparently all the time" class is quite dull.

HOWEVER-- this was a moment where the writers could have demonstrated some sense in presenting and treating MS. That the guy grins maniacally (Pseudo PseudoBulbar Affect?) at all times in the throes of his Marburg-ness was ill done, IMO. I can understand why they chose the most dramatically effective one, but then it becomes a tool for House Vs God again. No discussion of potential other treatments, just the one seemingly most poised for dramatic effect-- and why would it have to be embryonic, other than for dramatic emphasis? Would Alemtizumab or Mitoxantrone be so much less dramatic? Would he have said no to them?

ARG! Weak writing, weak show for me for several reasons. Of course, now I do wonder who thinks MS is instantly, always fatal now. Well, such is TV-life.

Let's not even TALK about how the guy happens to be Latino. Why is it always my peeps who have the god-issues? (Yeah, I'm generalizing, damn it, and I have a license to.)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The autumnal ravings of a near-insomniac

Well, here it is, my favorite time of year, and I just so barkingly want winter to come so I can get a break from my job. For whatever reason-- OH! I know, the fact I didn't really get a vacation/ break this year from work-- I just am over the educational phenomenon in the US. It's been a bit mind-numbing lately, and also affected by my distraction due to Bear getting a BAHA implant underway.

Oh yeah. We are a multi-disability household! In the most recent test, his hearing is down to about 10% in one ear, with comprehension about as bad, and his left ear is at 40% hearing loss. The BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) sends the sound vibrating through his skull to his other ear, which has a conventional hearing aid. It's not a cochlear implant, but if things get worse it will become one.
How the BAHA works

It's a really interesting idea, even though slightly less than ultimate technology really. But get this-- his BAHA will have a plug in for a MP3 player! OMG!

The bad part is it's quite gross-looking. The surgery involves ***WARNING GRAPHIC!*** cutting a slit behind the bad ear, lifting the flap to remove all the follicles, scraping all the tissue and muscle out down to the bone, and drilling a titanium screw a bit into the skull so it can osseointegrate, then kinda sliding it all back together and attaching an abutment to the site, then bandaging it all up.

Pic of a well-healed site

So needless, perhaps, to say I'm alternating between basket case and mental defective, and really would like very little more than getting the hell out of my job for a few months. Of course, I'll probably end up teaching something, because we still need the money-- one of the big reasons to deplete the savings for the BAHA is that Bear really is unemployable without proper hearing, but likely not disabled enough for any type of disability and he's not of retirement age. Sigh.

So yeah. Good news is that the last MRI didn't show new lesions, just old scars. I have since decided "Scars on my Brain" will be my autobiography title. Bad news is that I still haven't found a way back to any form of my center or any state of relaxation and calmness. It's insane here, and I struggle to not dislike it so much more each day. It would be best if I cared less, but that's hard to do for me. ARG!

Why can't I lose weight rather than sleep, dammit?