Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Clock is Ticking


Lately, it's been more difficult to breath. When I was discharged from the hospital in December, I was surprised how well I was doing after I was through with the pneumonia. I'm finding out now that the secret was the high dose of prednisone I was on. I was discharged on 60mg- now I'm down to only 20mg. With each tapering down of the drug every two weeks or so, my breathing has become progressively more labored. Now, I'm using oxygen more than I was just two weeks ago. I'm becoming exhausted from doing things as simple as putting on my clothes and making my bed, things that I had difficulty doing immediately before I was transplanted back on November of '08.

It's not quite as bad as it was then, however. My weight is better then it was. Right now, I'm about 113lbs, where I was about 95lbs before the transplant. I wonder when my doctor's are going to actually mention re-transplantation...

When I was first told that I had chronic rejection, amazingly, I wasn't depressed. The biggest questions on my mind were what was I going to do with whatever time I had left, and how was the family going to react. That has always been difficult ever since it became my responsibility to break bad news concerning my health to people, watching their frightened and anxious responses, and fielding the questions. How do they treat it? Can you be re-transplanted? What are the odds that you'll get matched a second time? And the crying and worrying. It sounds like a dick thing to say, but I don't mean it to sound like Oh great! They're crying. but I, in particular, have always had a hard time knowing how to react to that, then compounding my anxiety is that I don't have anything honest to say that could ease their mind. In between it all, sometimes I feel like I don't have the time, nor the right, to be upset about it. Lately, though, I have been.

During my pneumonia I spend a lot of time listening to The Beatles' "In My Life" and regretting how I've failed to make more of my relationships. I also felt like I hadn't been brave enough in pursuing my goals. Granted, I didn't really know what those goals were. Things have become much clearer to me now, but I may not have the opportunity to do anything about it now. I can only hope.

I figure, if I am fortunate enough to be transplanted a second time, I owe it to myself to do something brave and dangerous. I don't mean physically dangerous like jumping out of an airplane or climbing the side of a sheer rock wall without a harness. I mean dangerous like go off with whatever money I may have, whatever possessions I can carry, and try to make it. I only got about 2 solid years of health of out this transplant (granted, they are two years I would not dare trade). I don't know what will happen if I get another new set of new lungs. I figure, I need to make me happy and I don't want to die not having tried. understandably, I played it safe; assuming I had more time than I did. Not again, though. Not again...

There are two things I desperately want to do if I get the opportunity to- Write a screenplay and finish my associates degree in journalism and then go on to study either biology or physics (OK, maybe three things). Plus, I need to quit worrying so much about being myself. I care about my family and their opinion, and that's normal, I'm sure; but, I can't afford to continue on like I've been. I think I've earned the right.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why Does Newt Gingrich Hate Americans?

I think this may become a regular staple of my blog: Why does X hate America(ns)? Public figures like politicians and commentators love to couch matters in these simplistic terms in order to vilify the opposition, so I figure that it's time we turn it around on them.

First in line is Newt Gingrich, who recently said thus during a speech for the Institute For Policy Innovation:

"I think, for example, you can solve much of the post office's problems if you simply start hiring new postal workers at a market wage and you find the market wage easy. You advertise for vacancies and find out what people show up for and you'll find out it's about a third of the current cost. And I think we just have to be honest and clear about this and I also hope the House Republicans are going to move a bill in the first month or so of their tenure to create a venue for state bankruptcy, so that states like California and New York and Illinois that think they're going to come to Washington for money can be told, you know, you need to sit down with all your government employee unions and look at their health plans and their pension plans and frankly if they don't want to change, our recommendation is you go into bankruptcy court and let the bankruptcy judge change it, and I would make the federal bankruptcy law prohibit tax increases as part of the solution, so no bankruptcy judge could impose a tax increase on the people of the states (emphasis mine)."

To paraphrase: All of you little people who've worked for years to earn the right to retire comfortably, fuck you. You don't deserve it. The rich have to eat too, you know? And the more you have, the less we have. Now wipe my ass and you can take home a can of green beans for your kids; and you can keep the can this time. Consider it an early Christmas gift from Uncle Newt.

This kind of thing really just blows me away. Adding to it, is that Gingrich doesn't even try to hide the fact that this is a partisan motion on his part. During the speech he referenced Reagan and his response when asked what his goal was for the Cold War: "We win, they lose."

So who wins, and who loses? The rich win, and the working poor (formerly known as the American middle class) lose. So our economy is in the tank, the unemployment rate is around 9.5 percent (if I remember correctly, in any case, it's pretty damn high) Americans don't have insurance, and now Republicans are trying to overturn the meager victory the middle class won with the passing of the health care reform bill from '09, Social Security is likely going to be targeted, potentially even by the Great and Holy Barack Obama, and If Newt has any say, the benefits and pensions of public employees will be getting slashed. But I doubt he'll be losing any sleep over all of this.

What really saddens me is that a not insignificant portion of Americans are probably entirely OK with this. Americans have become so comfortable and entirely removed from the conditions that made necessary the New Deal and the progressive social reforms of the early 20th century, that now they want to repeal them in the name of lower taxes and "smaller government" (but don't touch the "defense" budget!). Sadly, while this is happening, the nation is slowly (or maybe not so slowly) allowing the government to strip the public of its civil rights while it vests further power in its policing powers. Many of the people who are running around screaming about restoring the constitution are willingly allowing these injustices to continue. Before Barack Obama was president, mainly the left provided the only vocal opposition to these measures; however, now that the Commander-in-Chief has adopted Bush's own methods, much of the left has fallen silent in terms of the growing police state.

Even worse is that a great deal of this is taking place completely outside the view of the public, who generally rely on the lackadaisical mainstream media to inform them. So you're left with the propaganda network, Fox News, the increasingly irrelevant CNN, or MSNBC which is pretty shitty as well, though their commentators like Olberman and Maddow do a fair job covering the news, but often with a too friendly air towards the left.

Here's the Original Salon story that inspired this post
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