Archive for the ‘Mental Floss’ Category.

Topomax SUCKS!

Just sayin’.

One of the joys of neuropathy is pain. A lot of it. Like stars behind your eyeballs pain. So one of my docs stuck me on Topomax (Topiramate). It’s not an opioid painkiller, like vicodin or whatever, but it’s an anti-seizure medications that also keeps the nerve endings from firing off at a random painful level.

Ever hit your “funny bone?” That’s the ulnar nerve. That’s one of the nerves affected by my neuropathy, so it’s like constantly having that pain of banging your funny bone against something.

This class of medication has always screwed directly with my physiology. When they first tried two other similar drugs, my eyesight went to hell. I could barely see. I came off the meds and presto! I could see again. Cause and effect. Remove the cause and the effect goes away.

So, after a while, another doc said, “try this,” and handed me a prescription for 30 days. Well, I’ll be damned if the pain didn’t fade to a dull pain (it never really goes away), instead of the eyeball-exploding kind of pain. And it didn’t screw with my eyesight. But it did have direct effects on my physiology. I dropped a lot of weight that I couldn’t spare already, and I started noticing some other minor stuff. That was maybe a year and a half ago.

Now, being Bipolar II, I take a couple of meds for it. I long ago decided if I had to choose between being in pain or being crazy, I’d rather be in pain. When you’re in pain, the only one that hurts is you. When you’re crazy, you hurt everyone around you.

A couple of doc visits ago, I told her that I was experiencing some additional pain. I guess I wasn’t paying attention or she didn’t mention it quite clearly, but she quadrupled my dose. QUADRUPLED! So, like the dumbass I am, doc says “take this,” I take it. I think most of us have that knee-jerk reaction to medical professionals, even when we know they’re patently crazier than we are.

Usually I’m just snarky, but over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that I’ve become more aggressive and angry all the time. I’ve always occasionally had cluster headaches (look it up), but I started having them constantly. Last Friday my wife and I discussed it, and I told her it had to be the Topomax, because I had started to note the doseage on my emergency medical information list, and was boggled by the difference.

I’ll save you the horrors of what happened Saturday at work (hint: it involved the po-po), but needless to say, I’ve stayed offline for a couple of days while I’ve waited for this crap to work it’s way out of my system, and get some of my usual zen-like state back. In the meantime, if I’ve said anything stupid online, I’m really sorry.

I’m not making excuses. Ultimately I’m responsible for my own actions, but at least now I’ve taken steps to get this under control. I take 1/5 of the insane dose now, and only just before bed, so my stupid doesn’t reach my keyboard or my waking work life.

Anyway, again, if I’ve been a dick to you the past couple of days, I’m really, really sorry.

Best fishes,


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Stroke Me

You are WAY too young to remember that, but it was a Billy Squire song from when I was in high school, and dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Anyway, yeesh, I thought I’d blabber more about the TIA I had. That’s a transient ischemic attack. Fancy name for a mini-stroke; a stroke that lasts from anywhere from 5 minutes or less.

I was by myself in a closed post office, and I remember just suddenly getting sleepy out of nowhere, then right behind it getting really, really tired, then next thing I knew, I was on the floor. Just like that. No warning, nothing. Just BAM!

Explosion by cyderak
Tia by JackDSRS

BAM! Not pictured; small, blue,
furry Marvel copyrighted character.


My cell phone slid out of my shirt pocket about three feet in front of me, and I couldn’t move my arms or legs, and it set off my peripheral neuropathy, so my pain receptors were lighting up like Christmas trees, and I thought, mind you, that I wasn’t dying, but, “Shit, this is how I’m going to die. It’s going to friggin’ hurt like hell, I’m not going to be able to move, and I’m going to be staring at my effin’ cell phone just out of my damn reach.”When I could wiggle my fingers, it took my 45 minutes to drag myself to my cell phone, and another 15 minutes to dial 911. Then, I kid you not, an hour for the EMT’s to come from literally from the hospital ACROSS THE STREET. Don’t have a stroke in Auburn, Washington. Just sayin’.

During my lovely three day stay, one of my worries was that I was going to get kicked out of the deviantART Anime-Catgirls group because of non-participation. I also had two projects in the works I had promised I was going to finish, and I couldn’t even hold a cup of water, much less type.


the cat sleeps tonight... by Giorgiacosplay
Totally worth surviving a stroke.


I got back to work after a week, and was hassled about calling in sick, which came as no surprise, so I had my documentation all ready. It’s just the nature of being a grownup and working for a bumbling government bureaucracy.So, got my brain magnetized again. I’m planning on making a portrait of one of my MRI images for my desk just to disturb people. I’m fine. I was lucky. The TIA hit the area already damaged by my existing genetic disease (SCA), so it’s not even noticeable, and I’ve got a disturbing amount of brain cells to spare.


The Madman\'s Brain! by JackDSRS
Despite all of your suspicions, there’s still a brain in there.


We do know that certain parts of the brain control physical functions, but there’s many documented cases of functions being rerouted through other areas of the brain, and of course, individuals adapting and overcoming their disabilities. I think those few of us on dA who are combat military vets know all about “adapt and overcome,” eh?And…there is no truth in terms that one side of the brain controls the type of thinker you are: logical or creative. What can impact you is mental illness. Fighting with my bipolar illness has been more of a struggle than this physical stuff in terms of creativity. I can be unmedicated, extremely and wildly creative, but suicidal; or medicated, stabile, functional, rational and a nice human to be with, but as creative as a brick. That, my friends, is the real fight in terms of maybe something more applicable to art and creativity.

Anyway, back to whatever: Jack. Stroke. Survived. Not fun.

First test comes back. I’m malnourished. What? Okay, so I’ve lost 60 lbs. in about a year and I have no appetite while this stupid disease whittles away at me. Now I have to drink protein drinks for breakfast, eat lunch, which I usually do, and force myself to eat a dinner.

Weight Loss by JackDSRS

Oh, c’mon! Exaggerate much?


Quit smoking my pipe. I said, “Well, you can take that off the table right now.” The doc and my wife started squawking and I said, “One, there’s no empirical evidence that pipe smoking contributes to a stroke, especially compared to cigarette smoking. Two, it decreases stress, which decreases blood pressure. My blood pressure is insanely low. Three, cigarette smokers do not have card carrying clubs with lounges and pins. They huddle in anti-social clusters, shivering in the cold, hoping their bosses don’t see them. Four, pipe smokers have their own international holiday. Five, pipe smokers have competitive slow smoking championships. Six, the three pipe smokers in my family lived into their 90’s.” Hey, I’m already dying from a genetic illness. You are not messing with my pipe.

PipeClubLogoSmall by JackDSRS

Does that say Seattle Cigarette Stinkers?
Clearly it does not.

Not sure why I’m sharing, other than strokes suck, I survived, once you have one you’ll probably have another, and I refuse to die until I make it to Sakuracon, for which I already paid. I refuse to miss girls in cosplay, and hitting my credit limit on manga, anime, figurines, and posters that I have absolutely no room to put up but looked really cool in the booth. I’ll be in a wheelchair this year, so my secret goal is to convince young ladies I’m harmless and innocent, and get them to sit in my lap so a friend can take pictures. Moohahaha…

Leetle Girl by JackDSRS
No, really, sit on my lap. I’m in a wheelchair.
Perfectly harmless…

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Stress Leave

Bipolar mindFor those of you who didn’t know, I’m Bipolar II and have PTSD. That’s another post best saved for another day. Anyway, it’s no secret to anyone in my post office, or that I’m medicated to deal with it.

We’ve had a tough few months at the ol’ PO, and I’ve also been dealing with some mobility issues. So anyway, I don’t think it was one sudden thing, but a cumulative effect.

So there I was…in trouble again. My temporary Station Manager was doing an Investigative Interview on me as a precursor to some sort of hand-spanking. I’ve been through these before by much tougher people. Had the Postmaster call me a “fucking liar” once, to which I replied, in that oh-so-delicate demeanor of mine, that he should go fuck himself.

I should add here for you postal people, that I’m a supervisor so the Weingarden Act doesn’t apply to me, and not a member of NAPS (because the represent mostly jackasses),  so I don’t have NAPS representation, but I can still request legal representation. I was denied that option by the Station Manager, and repeatedly menaced that failing to cooperate with a postal investigation could result in my being removed from the postal service. ELM 666 appropriately.

I’m not a novice at this thing. As a supe for 10 years, I’ve managed to rack up 4 Letters of Warning, and a 2 Week “paper” Suspension. So I don’t know why, but suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath, and my hands started shaking more than they already do. I mean really, really badly.

I tried to stay as calm as I could but as we were wrapping up, I knew there was no way I was going to make it. I had a huge meltdown about 5 years back, and this was exactly how it started, so I told the manager I was going to have to leave at that point.

“You’re going out on stress leave?” So-called stress leave is the guarantee that for the rest of your career, you’re going to have your chain jerked by management. It’s usually an angry reaction by an employee as “retaliation” against whoever is pissing them off. So it’s pretty screwed up when you actually are mentally ill.

I clarified, “This is not stress leave. I’m having an anxiety attack. Listen to my voice and look at my hands.”

“So it is stress leave!”

dumbass“No dumbass, it’s a severe anxiety attack. I have to go. Now. Straight to the doc’s.” I know a panic attack, and I sure as hell didn’t want it to go as bad as it did 5 years ago.

He initially refused to let me go. Several times. I asked nice. I asked not so nice. I finally told him I was going and he’d have to deal with it. I then actually got lost on my way home.

I couldn’t get an appointment with the doc until the next day.

I talked to the doc and he literally told me that I would have to take the rest of the week off. This is a shrink, by the way, not a general practitioner or family doctor. He said to take extra anxiety meds. He also told me to hold off on sugar and caffeine for the week. Yah, right. Right now I’m just unsafe to myself. No sugar and coffee, and I’ll be a danger to the general public. Besides, he has a candy dish in his lobby. Scored some unhealthy sugary stuff, and went home.

Anyway, he said that the disorientation was part of the flight-or-fight status of PTSD. Rapid breathing as your brain tells you to bring in more oxygen. Trembling of hands as one part of you needs your fist, while the rational side says that you don’t, resulting in a tremor.

So I got my FMLA packet today, and I’ll set up an appointment with the doc to fill out the paperwork. I swear to god, for a severe anxiety attack, the red tape is enough to make you go out on stress leave.

Anyway, not sure of the point of all this, except that there are things that you can tough out when you’re mentally ill, but you have to recognize the symptoms when you start to go in a tail-spin, and know when it’s going to be more than you can handle alone. For your own safety you have to know the difference between what you can handle and what you can’t.

That, and a reminder that calling something “stress leave” in the postal service means the rest of your life with that management team, you’re going to be on shaky ground. And that’s even if you’re a member of management. Like the line on Serenity, “We’re all just folks now.”

God only knows what will be waiting for me when I get back Tuesday. Firing squad (“Blindfold and a pipe, please.” Should stall for about 45 minutes to an hour), retaliation, whatever. I figure I’m covered by the ADA, FMLA, EEOC, and being denied representation, the ACLU. Fuckers. 🙂

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And just when you thought it was safe to be Dutch

Bar RectumInterior viewIf you’re thinking of opening a bar, think mainstream design. Otherwise, you might hire an architect like the Dutch artist Atelier Van Lieshout, who gave us BarRectum, a long and winding rendition of the human digestive system, with the “tongue” at one end and the “sphincter” at the other. It is/was open for business outside a Vienna museum. Problem: Most patrons have to sit in the “rectum” area. Problem: The emergency exit is the poop chute.  Boing Boing

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Ridiculous . . or Ingenious?

I bet the 3 of you that actually follow this blog have missed me. Fortunately, the spammers have kept me company.

HovisNews from my hometown: Thomas Hovis Jr., 52, fleeing deputies in Albion, Ind., thought he had found a nifty hiding place where they’d never think of looking. He was wrong. They found Hovis standing neck-deep in a manure pit in the outbuilding of a farm. WANE-TV (Fort Wayne)

Oddly enough, this man looks sad and embarrased. Imagine…

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