Thinking of you, David Foster Wallace

In doing more reading on this author, I found out he committed suicide in 2008 — no doubt reincarnated as this lovely bee.

A spokeswoman for the Claremont police said Mr. Wallace’s wife, Karen Green, returned home to find that her husband had hanged himself. Mr. Wallace’s father, James Donald Wallace, said in an interview on Sunday that his son had been severely depressed for a number of months…

In contrast to the lively spirit of his writing, Mr. Wallace was a temperamentally unassuming man, long-haired, unhappy in front of a camera, consumed with his work and its worth, perpetually at odds with himself. Journalists who interviewed him invariably commented on his discomfort with celebrity and his self-questioning. And those who knew him best concurred that Mr. Wallace was a titanically gifted writer with an equally troubled soul…

His father said Sunday that Mr. Wallace had been taking medication for depression for 20 years and that it had allowed his son to be productive. It was something the writer didn’t discuss, though in interviews he gave a hint of his haunting angst…

James Wallace said that last year his son had begun suffering side effects from the drugs and, at a doctor’s suggestion, had gone off the medication in June 2007. The depression returned, however, and no other treatment was successful…

“He was being very heavily medicated,” he said. “He’d been in the hospital a couple of times over the summer and had undergone electro-convulsive therapy. Everything had been tried, and he just couldn’t stand it anymore.”

(Photo taken 5/25/2015.)

David Foster Wallace and my own little Walmart story

A big thank you to Mazinbriz for posting this link, which is a commencement speech at Kenyon College in Ohio by the writer David Foster Wallace:

There’s also a youtube version of the speech, and a movie coming out on July 31st about him called “The End of the Tour.”  (Thanks to princesschaos93 for the link.)

His speech starts out like this:

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

The speech is great, and it talks about how we choose to view things, like an average trip to the grocery store.  And it reminded me of a recent trip to Walmart…

Nobody likes going to Walmart.  In fact, many people make fun and look down on those who shop at Walmart.  But since there’s about a $3.00 difference in the price of Claritin-D between Walgreens and Walmart (and since the makers of Claritin-D have decided not to insert coupons this allergy season), I started buying it at Walmart.

Also, Walmart is the only local store that carries the freeze pops I like — Wyler’s Italian Ices, Berry & Cherry Mix.  (Only 60 calories per bar, fat free, and gluten free.)  But there aren’t many other products I buy from Walmart, so every trip feels like an extra, added weight to my grocery shopping.

However, people watching at Walmart is great.  All kinds, all colors, and lots of kids.  I see more dads with their kids at Walmart than at any other store.  And I love that about Walmart.

My latest trip to Walmart for Claritin-D was uneventful, but the pharmacist had a smile on her face and it didn’t take very long.  I’m one of those people who always returns the empty shopping cart to the store, because a long time ago, I had a new car that got dinged by a runaway shopping cart in the wind.  As I was returning my cart, a homeless man resting on the side of the store got up, met me halfway, took my shopping cart, and returned it to the store himself.  What a nice guy!

Well, I didn’t think a “thank you” was enough, so as I was driving past him on my way out of the parking lot, I called him over.  He look worried and concerned, but I smiled and told him I just wanted to say thanks, handing him the last two dollar bills in my wallet.  I said it’s not much, and I repeated, I just wanted to say thanks.  He still looked concerned, but he took the money, and said “Sorry.”  I don’t know what he was apologizing for — maybe for being homeless.  But I felt good about that gesture for the rest of the day, and wish I could have given him more.

As I said, nice guy. 🙂

They Said It On Marijuana, Quotable Saturday, Part LXI

“Pot smokers may be the largest untapped voting bloc in the country,” he said. “A hundred million Americans have smoked marijuana. You think they want to be considered criminals?”

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico.

Perhaps the same could be said of chronic pain patients.  It’s estimated that 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, although the figure is probably more like 60 or 70 million. You think we want to be considered criminals?

Who do you write like?

A link from (Thumbup and Buddha9):

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

Any text in English will do: your latest blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your unfinished book, etc. For reliable results paste at least a few paragraphs (not tweets).

Paste your text here:

I submitted a few paragraphs from my post on the fight-or-flight response (from 5/26/2015), and allegedly I write like David Foster Wallace, from Wikipedia:

David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, short stories and essays, as well as a professor of English and creative writing. Wallace is widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest, which was cited by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005… Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years.”

But when I analyzed my poem entitled “Invisible,” this website says I write like J. K. Rowling. Perhaps I have a split personality. 🙂

(5/23/2015) Local group seeks to raise awareness about death

Dare is one of many New Mexicans hoping to raise awareness about end-of-life options. She is a member of Compassion & Choices, a national organization with a presence in New Mexico…

Adrienne Dare, left, and Jean Berlowitz are both action team leaders for Compassion & Care in Silver City and Las Cruces. The two attended the NMSU Dean’s Health Symposium, “A Beautiful Death: What Will You Choose?” on May 1 in Las Cruces. There were over 400 in attendance at the symposium.

(5/28/2015) Unanimity on Death with Dignity

In February 2015, Canada legalized physician-assisted dying — a first among countries with common-law systems, in which law is often developed by judges through case decisions and precedent. The Supreme Court of Canada issued the decision in Carter v. Canada, and its reasoning and implications for clinical practice bear examination…

Physician-assisted dying is ethically and legally controversial, and few countries or states have embraced it (see timeline). Yet Canadians apparently overwhelmingly believe that its time has come. Strikingly, the Court’s nine justices ruled unanimously, without dissent…

Ruling for extubation, Lord Goff of Chieveley rightly foresaw “a charge of hypocrisy, because it can be asked why, if the doctor, by discontinuing treatment, is entitled in consequence to let his patient die, it should not be lawful to put him out of his misery straight away, in a more humane manner, by a lethal injection, rather than let him linger on in pain until he dies.”

In public health, this would be called a harm-reduction argument. And Canada’s Supreme Court is fond of harm reduction. Since 2011, unanimous judgments have invoked the Charter’s right to “life, liberty and security of the person” in legalizing supervised injection centers for drug addicts and brothels for prostitutes, because evidence showed that injecting drugs and selling sex are safer with oversight and shelter than without. Similarly, regarding physician-assisted dying, the Court reasoned that traditional methods of suicide infringed patients’ “security of the person” more than clinical methods pursued under a physician’s watch.

The justices then went further, observing that when the Criminal Code thwarts a person’s ability to make decisions about something so personal as his or her own death or bodily integrity, this deprivation of autonomy causes psychological harm and distress, infringing the Charter’s right to liberty. “An individual’s response to a grievous and irremediable medical condition,” the Court writes, “is a matter critical to their dignity and autonomy. The law allows people in this situation to request palliative sedation, refuse artificial nutrition or hydration, or request the removal of life-sustaining medical equipment, but denies them the right to request a physician’s assistance in dying. This interferes with their ability to make decisions concerning their bodily integrity and medical care and thus trenches on liberty.” …

The judgment probably portends changes outside Canada. Imitation is a feature of the common-law world, and if physician-assisted dying is litigated in England, India, or South Africa, for example, odds are high that judges would draw on the Canadian Court’s reasoning…

These developments will trouble people who instinctively find legalized physician-assisted dying repellent. But increasingly, society is acknowledging that denying people the right to die with dignity and safety is even more repellent.

Cancer Services of New Mexico

Legal, Insurance & Paperwork Assistance (LIPA) Program

Legal Assistance
Advance Health Care Directives
Aging & Disability Resource Center
Albuquerque Dept. of Senior Affairs
Cancer Legal Resource Center
Law Access New Mexico
Lawyer Resources for the Elderly
Legal Aid – New Mexico
National Cancer Legal Resource Center
New Mexico Statutory Power of Attorney
Senior Citizens Law Office
Wills and Estate Planning

New Mexico Resources
Disability Rights New Mexico
NM Department of Workforce Solutions
Federal Employment Information
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
U.S. Department of Labor

Social Security Disability
Federal Information
Social Security Administration
State of NM Department of Human Rights
State of NM – Governor’s Commission on Disability
National Association of Disability Representatives

There’s a lot of help for people who suffer from cancer, but for chronic pain patients?  Nothing.

Lawyer with cancer takes right-to-die battle to court

NASHVILLE — A lawyer, civil-rights activist and former political candidate who is facing a terminal illness has filed a suit challenging Tennessee law that prohibits assisted suicide.

John Jay Hooker contends that the law, which makes it a felony for a doctor or another person to assist in any way in someone’s death, violates the state constitution. He recites part of its first article from memory, focusing on one line: “Power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness.”

“If I’m in a state to die, it’s just a question of what day and what month and my happiness is involved. Do I want to sit there in bed and be the prisoner of that pain?” Hooker said. “Does the government have the right to tell me I can’t check out of this hotel? I say the government can’t tell the people they can’t do something that is in pursuit of their own happiness and that doesn’t involve anyone else.”

He also argues in his lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Davidson County Chancery Court, that a doctor taking away machines that support life and prescribing medications that end it are not different…

‘Right to die’ in hands of NM Court of Appeals

While both sides presented arguments in front of the Court of Appeals on Tuesday, the three judges did not make a decision. Riggs attorneys told News 13 that they think it could be about six to twelve months before a decision is made.

Four other states currently allow patients to take their own lives in the event of terminal illness including Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

California Single Mom Fights for Right to Die

Christy O’Donnell doesn’t want to die, but she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her good days fearing the painful death that awaits her as she struggles with terminal cancer, she said.

“The most likely way that I’m going to die with the lung cancer is that my left lung will fill with fluid, I’ll start drowning in my own fluid,” she says in a YouTube video posted this week by Compassion and Choices, the nonprofit aid-in-dying group that Brittany Maynard worked with before ending her life last fall. “If I get to a hospital, they’ll very painfully put a tube in. They’ll drain the fluid from my lung, only to patch me up, send me home and wait until the next time my lung fills up with fluid. And they’ll continue to repeat that process and drowning painfully until I die.” …

O’Donnell was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a lung cancer she explains is common among non-smokers. She said she’s a vegetarian, that she’s always exercised and that she’s never smoked. According to the lawsuit, she has been given six months to live. The cancer has spread to her brain, liver, rib and spine, and she is morphine intolerant, so it’s hard to manage her pain.

The former Los Angeles Police Department detective and practicing lawyer has said that she’s lived “10 people’s lives” in the last 46 years, and she’s not afraid to die…


“While playing golf today I hit two good balls. I stepped on a rake.”  Henny Youngman

“Isn’t an agnostic just an atheist without balls?”  Stephen Colbert

“I keep waiting to meet a man who has more balls than I do.”  Salma Hayek

(Photo taken 5/18/2015.)