Why I Hate Texas

They’re right. This is totally Texas in a nutshell. Exhibit A for why I hate Texas. I have a problem with being told that I have to trust in their god. If I don’t trust in their god or accept their god as my god, I should leave.

This sign is 100% political posing. Christmas is a secular holiday, it is the requirement of the holiday being named Christmas and being placed on the calendar of a country that does not have an official religion. There is no controversy about the name of the holiday so it isn’t politically correct or incorrect to call it anything other than what the name of the holiday is. Don’t like it? Tough. That’s the way it is. That is the way that law works. The way that law is supposed to work, anyway. This is why there aren’t nativity scenes on public property unless there’s going to be every other kind of religious symbolism invited to sit right alongside it. The holiday isn’t about Jesus even though it’s named for the Catholic celebration of Christ’s birth. Christmas is officially the name of the secular solstice holiday in the United States and so call it Christmas and then explain it to the Trumpists as many times as it takes until it sinks in.

However, Texas is Trumpist land, which is why I hate Texas even though I still live here. Trumpists as a rule are prosperity gospel Christianists. They want us all to worship their capitalist god, even though that god can’t be the god that Jesus was talking about.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Matthew 19:24

If your imaginary friend (this guy you call god that rewards you with wealth for proper christian living) is not only invited to this party but is going to be put in charge of it; then I’d like to introduce you to my friend, the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). The FSM doesn’t have a problem with anybody, not even you. The FSM doesn’t need to be worshiped or even acknowledged. The FSM doesn’t have a Hell because everyone gets to go to his heaven that is stocked with beer volcanos and robot hookers at your beck and call. The FSM would like to be in charge though, if it’s all the same to you. So let’s pit our two imaginary friends against each other and see which one of them recruits more followers. I’m betting it’s going to be the one offering free beer and hookers.

spaghettimonster.org/about

The national motto is “e pluribus unum” and not “in god we trust.” Why? Because the United States is a secular country. You can try and destroy our country, Trumpists, and make it into the country you think it should be, a Christian nation, but you will do it over the dead bodies of the majority of your countrymen. You should think about the odds of that effort being successful before heading any further down this road.

You don’t salute your flag, you walk all over it:

Trumpists don’t support the troops unless they are protecting other Trumpists, and then only as long as it doesn’t personally cost them anything to be respectful. If respecting means paying for their medical bills or helping them deal with mental health crisis or making sure that they have a place to sleep and food to eat, then Trumpists will pretend those troops weren’t the right kind of troops and so don’t have to be respected.

How do I know that the sign hanger was a Trumpist? No one but a Trumpist would think this stupid sign would mean anything in the first place. I’m owning the libs. Sure you are. Keep talking buddy.

Beware the Woo: Nausea Relief Bands

Once upon a time there was a show that specialized in debunking the myths that surround us on a daily basis. That show was called Mythbusters. Unfortunately for those of us still trapped in the real world of today, Mythbusters only ran for 20 seasons and their last season was in 2016. The show ended the year where it seemed we needed mythbusting the most and the real world has only gotten more mythbegotten since 2016. Beware the Woo is a tribute to the science that was present in-between the explosions that were in pretty much every episode of Mythbusters.


The Wife handed me a set of flimsy little fabric sweatbands. On the insides of the bands there were these little plastic dimples. I just looked at her.

“Those go against the bottoms of your wrists.” She said. “They worked wonders for me when I was pregnant. Give them a try, please? It can’t hurt.”

She was right. It couldn’t hurt. Nothing else had worked for me so far in the vertiginous hellhole that had opened up and threatened to consume me since my Meniere’s symptoms had accelerated and started to occur almost weekly. So I placed the little plastic bumps in what I thought was the right place on my wrist and wore the glorified sweatbands around for weeks. It felt like weeks, at least.

The vertigo, nausea and vomiting happened anyway so I threw them away in disgust and went on to the next thing, which was probably dosing myself with meclizine if I remember my timeline correctly. Who can say? I really can’t say for certain because I had forgotten everything about those silly little wristbands until this post appeared on the subreddit a few days ago:

I was wondering if anyone else had tried a ReliefBand yet and what their experiences were.

r/Menieres

I didn’t understand the reference at first. I though they meant Sea-Bands, which was the sweatband with the plastic pimple on the inside. So I riffed on that subject for a bit before I even googled ReliefBand and discovered that it was basically a wrist-mounted TENS unit that sent electric shocks into the point on the wrist that the Sea-Bands just pressed on. A wrist-mounted TENS unit that costs a few hundred dollars. I would have sworn I’d never heard of them before. Then I googled a little further and I discovered that there was a Mythbuster’s episode on the subject:

youtube.com

…an episode where they not only tested the Sea-Bands but they tested a version of the ReliefBands and about a half-dozen other anti-nausea myths. The only thing that proved to work reliably was taking a ginger tablet when you feel nauseous. I drink a ginger beer when my stomach starts to give me trouble, so this result doesn’t surprise me. I probably picked up the idea of eating ginger for tummy troubles from watching this very episode and then forgot all about it.

In a nutshell the idea that you can quell nausea by poking the P6 spot on your wrist is quackery. There is no established (or establishable) mechanism for these bands to do anything at all, much less reduce nausea. The Sea-Bands that I was mistaking the ReliefBands for work on exactly the same (non)principle. The P6 spot is an acupuncture point:

This wrist acupoint is known by various names: the Nie-Guan point, pericardium 6 or, more commonly, P6. Look for the skin crease that denotes where your palm ends and your wrist begins, and go down the wrist two to three fingers’ width, and you will have found P6.

mcgill.ca/oss

…and acupuncture is a pre-scientific attempt to explain why people get sick by ascribing healing and or sickness causing powers to rivers and streams of Qi (Chi) energy that supposedly flows through the body, power that can be harnessed by doing an oriental version of bloodletting; now reformed into sticking needles into your body, although some practitioners will still practice a version of bloodletting in certain circumstances. (see cupping. –ed.) The premise that both these types of bands are supposed to work on is the same one as the acupuncture point they utilize. One type of band is just more expensive than the other and has electrical stimulation to make it seem more effective.

…On the other hand if you convince yourself that these bands work and that stops the symptoms then there is no reason not to keep using them. I mean, you’ve already spent the money, might as well get your use out of the device. Half of the problem of dealing with symptoms is just reassuring yourself that you are dealing with them, even if the thing you are doing is just reassuring yourself. There is no arguing with what works. However, if all you are doing is tricking yourself into a feeling of non-nauseous normalcy, you could also trick yourself with a free piece of string tied around the same place on your wrist. Or any old bangle that creates the sensation that you associate with preventing the nausea.

The Wife says I’m an asshole on this subject. She still swears the Sea-Bands worked for her. She swore that even after watching the same Mythbusters episode that I now remember watching with her and the children; although she did question the wisdom of a wrist-mounted TENS unit when I brought up the subject of the ReliefBand. Then and now. I’m certainly not going to buy one.

The price of these woo devices varies based on the misery of the group being pitched to and their relative level of wealth. Sports teams pay a fortune for the silly tape they put on players and that is every bit the same kind of snake oil that all of these bands are. Magic magnetic or electrical surface contact that alters the perception and makes the person who is being treated believe that something in them has altered. Which is, as I already observed, half the problem.

If there is any doubt remaining on this subject after the Mythbusters deft analysis is over, a Pubmed article should put it to rest:

Neither band nor placebo prevented the development of motion sickness, regardless of whether the bands were used correctly or incorrectly.

nih.gov

Save your money for the ginger beer. You’ll enjoy that more anyway.

Reality Challenged

I have a cold. I also have a sinus infection that makes my sinuses feel like they are on fire along with the throat that they are draining down (yuck) My intention to never catch anything communicable again foiled by the need for some people in this household to go out and work and interact with other, sometimes reality-denying, human beings. Some of those people are plague carriers because they deny the reality of communicable diseases and pretend to not be sick just so they can infect other people while doing their jobs.

I’ve been taking Xanax to keep the vertigo to a minimum. A lovely side effect of the stress of being ill is the Meniere’s symptoms that flair up along with everything else that gets inflamed when you are ill. Gotta love those chronic illnesses.

The person who ventures forth from our cave of solitude brought the infection back to the house with them and gave it to their parents, the immuno-compromised mother and father who stupidly didn’t alienate their own children for the sole purpose of making sure they moved out when they became adults. May our suffering be educational for all the other parents out there who think that loving your children unconditionally and wanting to see them happy above any other concerns, doesn’t have consequences. If you don’t want permanent roommates, piss your kids off every now and then and make them remember how much they hate you on a regular basis. May you enjoy your communicable diseaseless solitude if you are successful in this endeavor.

On that note, I’d like to mention at this point that I don’t do performative vocalizations. Not willingly. Performative vocalizations? Things like saying “fine” in response to inquiries about how you feel that day. You ask me a question, nine times out of ten you will get a thoughtful answer that may or may not be welcome, if what you wanted was a performative response and not a functional response.

I do functional vocalizations just fine. You want to know how things work, how to get something done, why something is the way it is, I’ll tell you. All you have to do is ask. Case in point, the miscreant that put an end to my three-year record of not catching anything communicable (might even have been longer, I don’t remember when I was sick last) came downstairs this morning and said “I’m sorry I got Mom so sick.”

This statement was responded to by my detailing out how we were going to avoid committing the same mistake in the future. Getting different masks for them to wear. Talking about hand sanitizing, safe distancing, etcetera. For this I was rounded castigated for having no feelings. I have feelings, I just don’t pay much attention to them. If they had just come up and asked for or given me a hug, they would have gotten the comfort they wanted. Words are not comfort objects, they are information carriers. It pays to remember this fact when indirectly asking me for comfort.

Functional vs. Performative vocalizations. They really only wanted to hear me say “it’s okay” even when it (getting us all sick) isn’t okay. It’s not okay, and I never even thought about saying that. I’m broken, I know.

Valsalva Maneuver

Today I learned that the way that I alleviate the feeling of pressure behind my eardrum has a name. That name is the Valsalva maneuver. I learned the name because the German version of the Wikipedia page addressing endolymphatic or cochlear hydrops recommends using the Valsalva maneuver to reduce the chances that you might end up with vertigo later in life. Doctors told me for years that this thing that I had done to equalize pressure after swimming or being up in a plane had no effect on the early symptoms of Meniere’s and that it was hazardous to even attempt it. Because of this advice I stopped doing it regularly.

Little did I know that apparently the Valsalva is the thing to do in Germany. Forcing air into the middle ear should have no effect on the fluids of the inner ear; and yet for some reason, this appears to be suggested with a straight face as a treatment for early Meniere’s symptoms.

YouTubeDoc SkinnerValsalva Maneuver- what is it, how it works, how to use it for training

Just watching the video makes me think trying this could trigger vertigo, and I have gotten vertigo when straining to get the bowels working (I’ve always wondered what properly working bowels are like. I’ve never had those) which is described as being a similar effort.

Meniere’s disease is an inner ear problem. Cochlear hydrops is an inner ear problem. The German Wikipedia page refers to the disease as a middle ear problem, which it isn’t. Forcing air into the middle ear can alleviate eustachian tube blockage, but you can also rupture the eardrum doing that so it can be hazardous to perform the Valsalva. You can also pass out if you are standing up, so don’t even attempt it unless sitting down.

Hydrops is a fluid imbalance of the inner ear. As far as I know there is no way to regulate that fluid pressure using the Valsalva. There is no mention of Valsalva on the English version of both the Ménière’s disease Wikipedia page and the Cochlear hydrops page. It isn’t mentioned on the MDIC archive. It can be prescribed for atrial fibrillation, so it’s not like the English-speaking world is unaware of the maneuver, it just isn’t a thing that is mentioned in relation to treatment of Meneire’s disease anywhere other than that German Wikipedia page. Why is the German version so different?

Reading the English translation of the German is liable to turn into a drinking game (snail hole versus oval window, for example) If I could drink, that is. I can’t so I might as well be serious here. In Germany it is understood that 10% of the people who have cochlear hydrops develop Meniere’s disease later in life. In the English speaking world there doesn’t seem to be a distinction drawn between people who have the beginning stages of endolymphatic hydrops and those people who have full-blown Meniere’s disease. If you have hydrops they seem to be just diagnosing it as Meniere’s even if all the symptoms of Meniere’s disease are not present yet.

It appears that the belief that the Valsalva or the Frenzel maneuver (Working the tongue in the back of the throat can produce a similar pressure change in the middle ear. It is harder to do but can be done with less risk.) can improve the health of the inner ear by introducing oxygen-rich blood and oxygen bearing fresh air to the oxygen-starved inner ear. I don’t know if this is true or not and I lack the professional knowledge to determine if it is even plausible or not. There was a very small study conducted in Germany:

 A total of 12 patients (26%) had symptoms of vertigo, but only 4 patients (9%) developed the typical signs of full-blown Meniere’s disease with the typical inner-ear rotational vertigo over the course of 10 years. 6 of the 12 patients with vertigo (13%) suffered from psychogenic vertigo. Another patient (1%) had benign and treatable positional vertigo, and another (1%) had undergone surgery for acoustic neuroma and had postoperative gait unsteadiness.

springermedizin.de

Those results look promising, but the study isn’t large enough to be statistically significant and should be duplicated several more times before it could be ruled as reflecting something approaching a true finding.

This little stroll through alternative medical treatments for chronic illness has taught me a whole bunch of names for things that I didn’t know had names, whether or not it has informed me of valid treatments for my chronic illness. I’m going to blame my ignorance on the fact that I don’t speak German, don’t fly jet aircraft, don’t deep-sea dive or power lift. Yeah. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it. I sometimes inhale across the vocal cords (I think that’s what I’m doing) causing a vibration in the back of the throat that can sometimes work loose blockages in the eustachian tubes, too. Does that have a name, I wonder? I mean, other than the reaction of “gross!” or “that’s disgusting!” that making the noise generally produces. Probably not.

Human Barometer

This study provides the strongest evidence to date that changes in atmospheric pressure and humidity are associated with symptom exacerbation in MD. 

Otology & Neurotology

A hat/tip is due to the blog Meniere’s and Me for bringing this finding to my attention. The Wife has called me her human barometer since I was first diagnosed with Meniere’s. I try to laugh with her when she says it.

This was first published on August 30, 2019. I’m going to try to remember to move this post up when the conditions reoccur. We’ll see how that works out. The next time I thought to do this was March 17, 2022. It definitely wasn’t the next time it happened, it’s just the next time that it’s been quite this bad:

barometricpressure.app – Austin – March 17, 2022

November 2022 – The month started out troublesome from a weather perspective and stayed troublesome all the way through the beginning of December. There was the sudden cold spike, very unusual for Texas at this time of year (the Fall colors are great, though. Almost never see those) followed by nearly a month of blustery, cool, wet weather. As I sit here typing on December 3rd there is fog outside my window, the second or third day of fog in Austin. Weird weather for almost a month.

When I went to check the barometer app, that familiar dip pattern is visible over the last three days. It’s been like that, off and on, all through the last month. There’s been a few good days here and there, but all in all I pretty much just sat the entire month out.

Reddit

Gesundheit

The sun comes up and I start sneezing uncontrollably. Five, six times in repetition. Now, I can’t see the sunlight, but the sun is just coming up as I look out the window.

I’ve been sitting in the same place for hours now. No sneezing. The only thing that has changed is the sun is coming up. This isn’t the first time I’ve been hit with these sneeze attacks while sitting at my desk working or loafing. Suddenly, seemingly from out of nowhere, I’m hit with the urge to sneeze my brains out for a good four or five minutes.

I know that the sunlight hitting you for the first time can cause you to sneeze. I’ve heard of that condition before. Never heard of the sun coming up, your not seeing it, and it causing you to sneeze. Is the sun evil and must it be stopped, or is it the mold that hates me reacting to the sunlight? I think I’ll go for the latter explanation. I’ll go for it right after I go for a generic Claritin and Guaifenesin. The sneezing must be stopped first.

Pixel Problems

More from the ongoing saga of trying to stay connected to friends and family in the dog eat dog capitalist hellhole that is modern day America.

When we last checked in on our cellphone adventurers, they had given up on Tinging it on the cheap and had switched to T-Mobile:

Meanwhile the Wife had grown tired of the endless bitching about LG phones and had demanded that the author of these missives go out and get himself a phone that he liked instead of a phone that the cellphone carriers wanted to give him. So he bought himself a Pixel 3XL. The power buttons being the weak link of failure on three subsequent Nexus phones was not enough to make him give up on Google as a hardware vendor. Always a stalwart Googler, he was determined to go down with the proverbial Google ship.

One might be tempted to think that the doom that lay in store for him might have been avoided had he simply not taken up Pokémon Go and the similarly mapped game from Niantic named Ingress, but the truth is that the doom was unavoidable. It was unavoidable because he really wanted that Pixel 6 and the place to get Pixels was not T-Mobile but Google Fi. The Pixel 3XL just couldn’t keep up with informational demands. It logged itself out of everything when not in focus, generally forcing a complete restart every time a previously opened app was brought back into focus. It was too old, too slow. It needed to be a Pixel with a bigger number next to it.

Our intrepid adventurer discovered (Oh shiny!) that he could get a Pixel 5a for free if he simply signed up for Google Fi. Thus his doom was sealed, because the Pixel 5a, while equipped with a very fine camera, was prone to overheating every time he turned it on and tried to play any online game, listen to a podcast and used the camera all at the same time. Three simultaneous activities that were bound to occur at least twenty times a day on any given day.

If there is one thing more maddening than having to restart your phone every time you want to change apps, it is your phone telling you to turn it off or it might catch fire in your hand, metaphorically speaking, every time you use the camera. Every time you use the camera, not just those times that you are using the camera, listening to a podcast and playing a game simultaneously.

The adventurer sought the advice of many wise sages, none of which had anything of merit to say on the subject:

Your phone can get warm if you:

* Play media, like stream shows over Wi-Fi or 5G, or play downloaded videos.
* Make video calls.
* Record high definition videos.
* Tether your phone or use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
* Download or upload a lot of data over a mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.
* Do any of the above while your phone charges.

To keep your phone from getting too hot:

* Keep your phone away from excessive heat, like inside a hot vehicle or outside in direct sunlight.
* Don’t leave your phone in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas, like layers, small pockets, or bags.
* Keep your phone in the open air.
* Use only cases or covers made for your specific phone.
* Reduce your phone’s display brightness

Tip: You can remove the case until your phone cools down.
If possible, use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data.
Learn more about how to help keep your Pixel phone from feeling too warm or hot.

How your phone protects itself

Your phone may start to limit some functions when it senses that it’s too hot. It could slow down, turn off your camera’s flash or camera, or partially or fully turn off your mobile data or Wi-Fi, including 5G.

If your phone’s temperature continues to rise, it could show a warning and turn off. The phone turns off to keep you and your phone safe. If your phone turns off, let it cool down and restart it.

Indeed, the phone did shut itself off. Many times. In desperation, the adventurer appealed to the gods of the Google Fi support line who granted him the boon of a second Pixel 5a. Both of them shut themselves off after filming videos that were longer than sixty seconds. They both grew very hot (over 110° F) to the touch. An unacceptable performance spec for any device that is presented for use as a video platform. In despair the adventurer turned to the open market and purchased a Pixel 7 at the low, low price of his own soul and the blood of his firstborn child. The Wife and the Daughter are going to be pissed at the cost.

Meanwhile there is a lonely engineer locked in a cubicle farm somewhere that foretold all of this in a scroll that he composed many years ago while testing the hardware that went on to become the Pixel 5a. “The camera produces too much excess heat. Recommend that we use a different camera.” The floor of his cell would probably be permanently stained with the tears of his regret if he hadn’t been so well compensated by the Google gods for his life of endless toil in that forlorn place.

Our adventurer can smile as he sets off on his daily journey now, as long as he doesn’t think too hard about the missing child and the soon to be missing wife, who will go in search of the Google gods in order to slay them and return said daughter. The doghouse will be cold at night, but at least our adventurer will have entertainment while he slowly freezes to death.

The dog’s not very happy about sharing his space.

I’m baaack. (11/28) finally feel up to writing again.

Histamines & Allergies

I’ve been plagued by sinus infections for most of my life. My long struggle with these upper respiratory infections is what masked the symptoms of Menieres for me for many years. My first vertigo attack was triggered by my aggressive attempts to clear what I just knew had to be an ear infection from my head by running water into the ear that was giving me pain, the ear that felt like it was a full balloon of water about to burst inside my head.

I didn’t know what part of my head had an infection in it, I only knew that the pain was always in the left ear. When I would go in to see doctors they would either discover that I had a sinus infection, or they would give me antibiotics because I insisted on having them when the symptoms would occur. Later on, when I would insist it was an ear infection, the doctors could never find evidence of an ear infection.

I eventually fell in love with:

Until the insane war on drugs took away my favorite allergy treatment medicine, that is. The federal and state governments know exactly how much pseudoephedrine I still take because they make me sign for it and track my usage every time I buy more. Guaifenesin I can buy by the truckload. When it comes to pseudo I have to count pills and make each one count. Forget ever seeing my beloved green gelcaps again.

As to how I discovered I had other serious health problems? A funny thing happened on the way to the chiropractor one afternoon. Caught in traffic one hot summer’s day. Livid at the delays and the time away from my beloved architecture practice I finally screamed my way into the parking lot and stomped into the waiting room. The nurses tried calming me down at that point so they could check my blood pressure before starting the rituals of chiropractic quackery. Then they tried calming me down again and they tried checking the blood pressure again. Then they called someone else over to check it a third time. They couldn’t figure out how I hadn’t had a stroke already with blood pressure as high as the readings they were getting said I had. They wouldn’t even let me leave their office without taking something to bring the blood pressure down.

So it was goodbye pseudoephedrine for me. High blood pressure is deadly and pseudo can kick up your blood pressure. No more decongestants of any stripe, which made dealing with allergies and sinus infections into something akin to slow torture. This lead almost directly to my first attempt at surgical intervention.

I underwent septoplasty with turbinate reduction about five years after giving up my daily pseudo doses, right after the weekly vertigo attacks started. The thought at the time was that getting the sinuses to work properly would help with the allergies, and that would help with the vertigo. Sadly, it had little effect on the Meniere’s symptoms but it did ultimately solve many of my issues with breathing and chronic sinus infections.

Even after I had discovered that Meniere’s disease was a thing in 2003 I still thought that my allergies had to have something to do with the manifestation of my symptoms when and where they did. They seemed to correlate to a degree that simply defied any explanation that wouldn’t create a shared cause.

Meniere’s, as I’ve explained many times on this blog, is basically idiopathic endolymphatic hydrops; which means that it is a fluid imbalance in the labyrinth of the inner ear that cannot be explained by any known cause. One of the suspected causes is immunological disfunction, which is why I’m talking about Meniere’s at all in this article about treating allergies.

An allergic reaction produces an inflammation of the skin or other tissues of the body. It is caused by your immune system attacking an invader in your body that isn’t something that the immune system should waste it’s time on. Inflamed tissues swell, changing fluid pressures in the body as well as cutting off airways and doing other nasty things that make the sufferer’s life shorter and more miserable.

Betahistine has a histamine interaction that is not well understood and that is why it has an effect on Meniere’s symptoms for some sufferers, or so it is thought by people studying it. As the title of the post suggests, histamines are all tied up together in allergic reactions that I just barely understand myself.

reddit

Histamine is a chemical, known as a biogenic amine. It plays a role in several of the body’s major systems, including the immune, digestive, and neurological systems.

The body gets all the histamine it needs from its own cells, but histamine is also found in certain foods.

healthline.com

I only passed high school organic chemistry because there was a nerdy girl that I befriended in class who was willing to help me pass the class as long as I didn’t bring her grade down by screwing up the experiments. I did my best not to screw up her averages, and she managed to get me through that class. I still only barely understand what any of it meant.

I just know that I have allergic reactions to many things around me and that the Meniere’s treatment that has produced the most effect for me is a treatment that alters the bodies histamines in some way that works for me. That’s it. That’s all I know about it. I’ve had every test that I and my various doctors can think of that might point towards a cause for the symptoms I’ve suffered from for decades now. All of them have come up negative, which means I have the symptoms but not any of the known causes.

One of these days they will come up with a test for some other autoimmune-related ototoxic reaction for which there is a new treatment, and that test will be positive for me. When that happens I will have a name for what ails me and a cure for it too.

I often wonder these days, what might have happened with my hearing if I had started taking Betahistine twenty or forty years ago instead of just three years ago? Would my hearing be better? Would I still have a job? Would I still be the asshole I was back then? Hard to say.

I still take guaifenesin and Claritin on bad allergy days. Flonase and azelastine sprays in each nostril twice a day. (Those two are my latest allergy treatments) They seem to help with keeping the sinuses clear. I wear a mask outdoors even though masks annoy the hell out of me. I take Betahistine 3x16mg every day.

I also rinse my sinuses semi-regularly with a neti pot.

reddit

The saline rinse for your sinuses can be made at home. you don’t have to buy it pre-made and measured from the neti pot manufacturer.

To make your own saline, mix the following in a clean container:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon non-iodized salt, such as pickling or canning salt (iodized salt can irritate the nasal passages)

Pinch baking soda (added to prevent burning; you can increase the amount as needed)

1 cup warm water (distilled or previously boiled water)

Then, place the above mixture in a clean Neti pot or sinus rinse squeeze bottle, or draw up into a nasal bulb syringe. The most convenient way to perform a sinus rinse is in the shower, but may also be performed over a sink.

verywellhealth.com

Just don’t forget to shake the mixture. I’ve done that a few times. When the salt crystals hit your sinuses you will realize your mistake but then it is too late to prevent the burn.

The latest round of allergy tests altered my understanding of my allergies. I have always assumed I had seasonal allergies because there are clearly seasons with my allergic reactions. This appears to not be the case after all.

From what I currently understand, I do have allergies but they are year-round allergies that are exacerbated by the crap that gets in my borderline asthmatic lungs every Spring and Fall. Simply wearing a mask twenty-four hours a day will eliminate the seasonal appearance of my allergies. This has been roughly confirmed over the CoVID years through direct experience, much to my utter disgust. So the masks are here to stay for me.

It’s also CoVID that has underscored my belief that my core issue is immunological. Every vaccination that I get makes me sick. The pneumonia vaccines were just the start. The CoVID vaccines have all been multi-day pain/fever sessions that I gladly endure, just as I do for flu vaccines, gladly endure in exchange for not getting deadly infections of those viruses.

The first Shingrix vaccination made all my joints hurt for almost a week. The second one was a breeze by comparison, causing almost no pain but still causing fever, lethargy and borderline vertigo for a few days. Vertigo I get with almost every vaccination; whether this is stress related from worrying about the needle or is directly connected to the hacking of my immune system remains unclear.

What is clear is that my reactions are more severe than those experienced by most people given these shots. I really wish I knew why this happens, then I might know what causes Meniere’s for me.

Disabled by Disability Red Tape

I can relate to the lamentations of the disabled person in this podcast:

The Indicator from Planet Money – Jobs Friday: The problem with disability support – October 7, 2022

I spent nearly five years trying to get disability myself:

1 in four people will have to go on disability support before retirement. That means of the four or five people who might be reading this right now, one or two of you will need to be on disability in the near future. As this blog is read more frequently by disabled persons, that number is probably even higher and many of the complaints aired in the above episode probably echo with their own experiences.

I quite literally could have died during the five year process it took to get disability and it would have done nothing to demonstrate the need for support that my family and I needed at the time. The amount of fraud in the system is miniscule and yet the harm that is caused to disabled people and their families by delaying disability payments can be demonstrated time and time again. It is a black mark on our country’s moral ledger that this harm continues.

Once you have qualified for disability it then becomes a constant irritant, this need to demonstrate a need for continued support as if chronic illness is a thing that you recover from, or that the lasting effects of years of illness would not in themselves merit some level of support from the government. Rather than being something that you had to demonstrate a need for, disability payments should be a benefit that is granted automatically to every person who is not working. Granted automatically so that loss of housing, food and security isn’t a thing that the newly unemployed person suffers from.

If there are shirkers living off those easy benefits then it’s a simple matter of getting those people the mental help they need to get back out of their houses and get back to work doing something. You won’t live long sitting around your house doing nothing. Twenty years of disability has proven this to me. The only thing that keeps me alive now is getting out and engaging with the world on a near-daily basis. Something that I’m not allowed to charge anything for if I want to keep my disability payments.

Universal basic income would solve this problem, but I don’t expect we’ll be seeing that anytime soon no matter how feasible it might seem to the economists who support it. In the meantime if you aren’t working, can’t work, then you shouldn’t be facing eviction and eventual starvation because of it. It just shouldn’t happen anywhere that calls itself civilized.

Sweeney Todd

I’m now solidly into my third year of giving myself haircuts rather than trusting someone else to not give me a communicable disease while trying to cut my hair, much less kill me under the guise of giving me a haircut.

I didn’t even know there was a thing called Sweeney Todd until I sat down and watched it with the Wife a few years before COVID struck:

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

I had waited long enough to watch it by that point. It starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, I really did need to see it even if the subject matter itself made me want to run away and hide. I don’t remember a thing about that movie. Not one moment aside from the blood shooting everywhere in a couple of scenes.

I can still remember how the barber in my hometown used to love to torment me with the buzzing clippers. I never got used to other people touching my hair, much less letting them near me with a straight razor. The one time a barber used one on me it was all I could do to stop myself from running away from the man who was just trying to clean up my hairline. Then I became aware that Sweeney Todd was a thing. Now I can’t stop thinking about him when I think about letting someone else cut my hair.

Yes, I screwed up my sideburns again. At least I won’t cut my own throat with the clippers.