Balloon Chasers

I was limping along the sidewalk (taking pictures of balloons) when I thought I heard someone say, “Watch out!”  There are a lot of cyclists in Albuquerque, so I thought I was in the way.

Turns out, it was Balloon Chasers, just saying hello as they drove by. There was a group of them in the back of the truck having a rowdy old time. Even though it was the crack of dawn, they were obviously having a lot of fun. When I was startled, I put my hand to my heart, and they thought scaring me was pretty funny. But their laughter was infectious. 🙂

And… I miss fun.

Once the envelope is inflated and the balloon is in the air, the chasers live up to their job titles and follow the balloon to its landing site. Once upon a time, chasers “literally just watched” the balloons to determine where they would land. Now chasers and pilots communicate over radios so the response is a bit more coordinated…

(Photo taken 10/7/2015.)

According to the psychiatric industry, I’m a drug addict

10/8/2015, Opioid Epidemic Is Driven by Prescribers

Jeannie Sperry, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. who specializes in chronic pain care, offered ideas for alternative types of strategies that physicians and patients could learn. “We need to teach [patients] mindfulness-based practices such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi. We need to teach them to gradually increase physical activity and cognitive techniques to self-manage their pain.”

Mayo Clinic offers a 3-week pain management program in which patients are gradually tapered off their opioid medications. “We teach them to use skills, not pills,” she said. “There are other programs like ours, but not nearly enough.” …

My comment:

“One thing that has to be considered [during patient care] is a history of addiction and a family history of addiction,” he added. “That needs to be taken really seriously and screened for at every visit.”

This is just another barrier to adequate pain management, treating everyone as a potential drug addict. I took the most frequently used test for addiction and it labeled me as having a high potential for addiction. And yet, after I was abandoned by my doctor and forced into a cold-turkey detox (after 8 years on prescription medications), I haven’t sought out or taken any prescription drugs. It’s been three years, but according to the psychiatric industry (that uses research which can’t be replicated), I’m a drug addict. The addiction industry wishes to thank Dr. Seppala for furthering its financial potential.

I’ve read posts from pain patients about the Mayo Clinic’s 3-week pain management program, but they were mostly complaints. If the Mayo Clinic is having success with non-drug treatments, let’s see the results proven in valid research. Let’s see if these non-drug pain management programs can show as much “success” as addiction treatment centers that rely on abstinence. Just like the failure of Project ECHO in New Mexico (and the similarity with Dr. Katzman’s addiction clinic disguised as a pain clinic), I have a feeling that the Mayo Clinic’s success rate is very limited.

States Continue Welfare Drug Tests Despite Underwhelming Results

More than a dozen states have approved welfare drug testing programs of one kind or another since 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the proposals keep popping up, even though the results suggest that most of the people applying for benefits don’t test positive for drug use.

ThinkProgress reported earlier this year that welfare applicants appeared to be using drugs at a lower rate than the general population, based on the rate of positive drug test results from welfare testing schemes in seven states…

Have you been drug tested for welfare benefits? Filled out a screening questionnaire? Tell us about it — email Please include your phone number if you’re willing to be interviewed.

Thinking of Brittany Palumbo and Wesley McKinley

The Sarasota County School District in Florida has agreed to pay $200,000 to each of three families whose teens died after a principal hypnotized them.

It’s the end to a bizarre case that started in April 2011, when North Port High School Principal George Kenney admitted that he hypnotized 16-year-old Wesley McKinley. The teen died by suicide a day later…

According to the Herald-Tribune, Palumbo’s parents said Kenney diagnosed her with anxiety and hypnotized her to help improve her SAT scores. Her parents said she died by suicide not long after finishing her college applications, according to ABC Action News.

There was no criminal link between Kenney’s hypnosis sessions and the deaths, but the principal was charged in 2012 with two misdemeanor counts of practicing therapeutic hypnosis without a license, according to ABC News. He pleaded no contest and spent a year on probation…

Endometriosis: the hidden suffering of millions of women revealed

Far too many women are turned away by their doctors and told they must put up with the pain or even that they are imagining it. A Guardian online call-out to women for their stories got 600 responses in one day. A recurring theme was: “The doctors thought it was all in my head”…

Endometriosis can be mild or so severe that it takes over a woman’s life. Former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Dolly Parton and Anna Friel all have endometriosis. So does Booker Prize-winning author Hilary Mantel and actors Susan Sarandon and Whoopi Goldberg. Marilyn Monroe is thought to have become addicted to the painkillers she took for endometriosis, which resulted in her death…