Goodbye, Olympics

Some people hope that the Olympics will foster good feelings among nations, and I guess it does that. (Along with fostering bad feelings.) But I just hope that it’s an incentive for people to get off their asses. Step away from their phones and computers. Take a long walk, and then when you’re finished, raise both arms in the air as if you just crossed a finish line in first place.

Women’s Gold Medalist Gets Real About Not Being Able To ‘Get Over’ Her Depression

Sakshi Malik, the female wrestler who got India’s first medal

She was born in India’s Haryana state, where women were for some time not allowed to take part in wrestling events. The 23-year-old started training young, having gained support from her parents to pursue the sport. Media reports say locals initially berated her parents, telling them that their daughter would become undesirable to potential suitors.

But she went on to earn a silver medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and walked away with the bronze at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games…

Kevin Seccia @kevinseccia
After he won a couple of gold medals in swimming I was like “Whoa!” After twenty it’s like… “I don’t know, can you do any other stuff?”

Thinking of you, Louisiana

“Even for a state accustomed to natural disasters, this flood is like nothing they’ve ever seen before,” Debbie says.

She spoke to Wayne Norwood, who, with his wife, Debbie, owns an antiques museum that was destroyed in the flooding. The couple, both retired police officers, also had four rental homes damaged in the disaster.

“We have fire insurance, but we don’t have flood insurance because we’re not in the flood zone,” Wayne Norwood tells Debbie. “And that’s what happened to thousands of people.” …

I’ve been through some pretty bad shit in my time, but I’ve never lost everything, like the thousands of people in the Louisiana floods. Donald Trump is visiting today, saying it will be rebuilt. Trump probably sees the destruction as an opportunity for money to be made, while insurance companies are getting ready to fleece hundreds of customers.

Hurricane Katrina and now this, Louisiana? In 2005, hundreds of thousands of Katrina refugees flooded into Texas and surrounding states, but many of them returned to Louisiana. Why?

Seriously, if you live in Louisiana, you should think about moving. I thought Florida would be the first state to fall into the sea, but maybe it’s gonna be Louisiana. California’s not too safe either, as one earthquake could make the whole state disappear. (If you’re a Lost fan, right now you’re thinking of that one scene when the whole island disappears into the water.)

Where should we live, you ask? Colorado, of course. We should all move to Colorado.

Racism and the opioid “epidemic”

It’s not news that the medical complex discriminates against people of color in a variety of ways, including when it comes to treating pain. But what’s the connection between this well-documented phenomenon and the much-hyped “opioid epidemic,” which has disproportionately affected white America?

Adam Hirsh, a pain researcher at Indiana University-Purdue University, says that when people are confronted with data on black people getting less pain treatment that whites, they often offer a “silver-lining argument: that even if blacks have been unequally treated for pain, they have largely been spared from opioid addiction.”

In 2014, according to the article in The New York Times, “71 out of every million white Americans died of overdoses involving prescription opioids, compared with 33 out of every million blacks.”

But that argument doesn’t sit well with Hirsch, nor should it with anyone…

Hirsch and other researchers quoted in the piece say the pain-treatment discrepancy is more likely due to racial discrimination by white doctors. Not only are white doctors more likely to stereotype black patients as people who are using drugs problematically, they say, but they are also less likely to empathize with patients of a different race, and likelier to underestimate the severity of their pain. Only about 4 percent of practicing physicians in the US are black.

Another disturbing recent study from the University of Virginia found that fully half of white med students and residents believed at least one of a set of inaccurate and at times “fantastical” statements about differences between black and white people. The statements included the idea that “blacks have less sensitive nerve endings than whites or that black people’s blood coagulates more quickly.” …

Don’t be fooled

The new molecule targets the brain-mediated emotional component of pain. This allows it to kill pain just as well as morphine does, without the side effects of respiratory suppression and dopamine-driven addiction in the brain. (Regular painkillers target both the brain-mediated and reflexive response aspects of pain.) The new drug also causes less constipation and doesn’t affect spinal cord reflexive responses as traditional narcotics do, according to the study. The potential difference in addiction was shown in experiments involving mice…

Manglik estimates that it will take multiple years for the compound to be tested in humans, noting the importance of such trials to learn more about PZM21’s addictive properties and safety. “The real experiment for a lot of these things is going to have to happen in humans,” he said, adding that addiction is “really a human disease.” …

This drug kills pain as well as morphine does? Don’t be fooled…

“brain-mediated emotional component of pain”

I may not be a neurologist, but I can read between the lines. Researchers are trying to go around the main areas of the brain that deal with pain to target the area that deals with the “emotional component” of pain. It’s my understanding that this is how antidepressants can alleviate pain, along with other drugs prescribed off-label for pain, like anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. It’s also similar to drugs used to treat addiction.

On the Wikipedia page for this new drug (PZM21) under “See Also,” I found this (which looks like the same drug):

Notably, it has also been found to be more potent in models of chronic neuropathic pain than acute nociceptive pain…

As an agonist of the κ-opioid receptor, cebranopadol may have the capacity to produce psychotomimetic effects and other adverse reactions at sufficiently high doses, a property which could potentially limit its practical clinical dosage range…

Google definition: A drug with psychotomimetic actions mimics the symptoms of psychosis, including delusions and/or delirium, as opposed to just hallucinations…

And on the Wikipedia page for cebranopadol, I found a link to norbuprenorphine.

I wish the research community was on the right path in the study of pain, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re following paths dictated by the funding they receive, which is anti-opioid. (In other words, we’re fucked.)

(2010) Translational Pain Research: From Mouse to Man.

Chapter 15, Human Brain Imaging Studies of Chronic Pain

The advent of non-invasive human brain imaging technologies provided the opportunity for direct examination of the human brain. This occurred about 15 years ago with the related expectation that we were at the threshold of a revolution in our understanding of chronic pain. This expectation remains largely unfulfilled, although much has been published in the topic. Here we concentrate mainly on our own work in the topic, arguing in general that the subject of brain mechanisms of chronic pain remains in its infancy mainly because of a heavy emphasis in the field on studying nociception rather than chronicity of pain…

Acetaminophen, Sugar, and Kids

Prenatal exposure to acetaminophen was linked with a subsequent increased risk of behavioral problems in children, even after controlling for multiple confounders, a small cohort from a U.K. study found…

If a child eats cotton candy, a chocolate bar or any other kind of sugary treat, will a hyperactive frenzy follow? While some parents may swear that the answer is “yes,” research shows that it’s just not true…

I’m a champion!

If champions rise, then I’m gonna consider myself a champion, having to rise above the pain every single minute of every single day. And to everyone who rises despite the pain, this is for you!

Biles told ABC News on Wednesday, “It doesn’t even matter if I don’t win a self-gold, after every meet I have pizza. Pepperoni pizza.”

Congratulations Simone Biles! You make gymnasts, women, Americans, and black people proud!

What do I see? Take a walk with me…

Shall we start with some cloud therapy?


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Do you think birds get lonely?


Angry cloud monster or Donald Trump?


I wish I was a plane, fully fueled and flying free.

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I’m sad and tired, tired and sad. (I blame Donald Trump.)

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Like a flower without petals.

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Like a discarded plastic toy (with a bug on her nose).

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Like the last rose of summer.


Like a cat (with an attitude) who used to be friendly…

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But would now prefer to hide.

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Look, it’s a sign! Does anyone speak stone(d) language?


I posed for this sign.

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At least I made another new friend.

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Isn’t he cute? Now that gay people can marry, maybe I should marry this dude.

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Looks like I’ve got competition. Maybe I should die my hair red.

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If (when) my new husband makes me mad, I can just make a purse out of him. That’s called being environmentally conscious.

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I used my favorite cinnamon roll recipe to make pepperoni and Colby cheese kolaches. It was a lot of hard work and it took me forever to clean up afterwards. (I found flour on the ceiling.) But it was sooooooo worth it! They are the best thing I’ve ever made. So soft and yeasty. Better than sex, I swear. Sorry I don’t have a photo — you’ll just have to use your imagination. 🙂

Protection or threat?

My daughter and I are from San Francisco, on vacation, traveling through the Southwest. Today we were driving from Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon in a Toyota Camry we’d rented from Fox Car Rental in Las Vegas. In Williams, Arizona, as I exited Interstate 40 to head north toward the Canyon rim, I was pulled over by an AHP officer who’d been tailing me for a couple of miles. I hadn’t been speeding, so I wondered if perhaps the car had a broken taillight or something. I rolled down my window and waited.

Suddenly, the officer rapped on the rear passenger side window with his pistol. My daughter, who was sitting inches from the barrel of his gun, jumped with fear as the officer yelled at me to roll down the front passenger window, his service weapon pointed directly at me. I knew something was terribly awry and I tried to remain calm, keeping my hands visible as I slowly fumbled for the window controls in an unfamiliar car. My daughter rolled down her window and I explained that we were in a rental car, that we had no weapons, and I was having trouble figuring out how to roll down the front passenger window from my driver’s side door. The officer didn’t listen, and kept yelling louder and more insistently, ordering me to comply with his request as he leered at me down the barrel of his pistol. My daughter panicked and tried to get out of her booster seat to reach forward to roll down the front window, and the officer screamed her at her not to move as he pointed his pistol at her…

Then, as I had my hands in the air, he yelled, at the top of his lungs, in a voice I will never forget, as my daughter looked on in terror, “Get your hands away from your waist or I’ll blow two holes through your back right now!” My hands were high in the air as he said this, and I was not in any way reaching for my waist. I was utterly terrified…

Why was I arrested? The car I was had rented had previously had its front license plate lost or stolen, so the car rental company reported this to the Nevada DMV. The Arizona highway patrol officer, who looked up my plate number while he was tailing me, misinterpreted this Nevada DMV report as meaning that I was driving a car with a stolen license plate, and somehow this prompted him to approach me at gunpoint and threaten to kill me in front of my little girl…

If you are a person who has ever looked skeptically at the claims of Black Lives Matter, or others who talk about police violence, I urge you to consider what happened to me and put yourselves in the shoes of others. I just survived a bizarre gunpoint situation in which I was as innocent as Philando Castile, who was not as lucky as I was…

Under comments:

Oneal Isaac: I’ve a B.R. policeman pull a gun on me when I approached him to ask for directions. I was on my way to yoga class. Once you are facing a gun, it changes how you see things.

I’m not sure anyone can understand this kind of terror unless you’ve experienced it. I’ve never had the barrel of a gun pointed at me, but I have been threatened with a gun by a police officer. And it does change how you see things.

At that moment, you realize that as far as society is concerned, the bully’s life is far more important than yours. That he could use that gun to end your life, make up some story about how he felt threatened, and everyone would believe him. Really, your life means nothing, especially to a gun.

Being threatened with a gun is like finally understanding that your life is meaningless and could end in an instant — a hair-trigger of an instant. That life isn’t precious, it’s precarious. That life is chaotic and violent, so aptly illustrated by the presence — and under the threat — of a gun. A gun says, “You don’t matter. The End.”

I guess to those who like guns, they represent protection and sport. I can understand that. But for me, guns will always represent violence. Violence and death.

When no one believes you

Like PROP, the foundation’s main goal is to reduce opioid prescribing. It is named after Steve Rummler, a Minnesota pain patient who became addicted to opioid medication while being treated for a back injury.

After several attempts at addiction treatment, Rummler relapsed and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 43.

“He struggled with the pain for a long time,” said Judy Rummler, Steve’s mother and chief financial officer of the foundation. “He had what I think later was figured out to be some damage to the nervous system around his spinal cord because he had what he described as shooting electric shock-like sensations that would shoot up his back into his head and down his legs into his feet.”

Steve sought help from many doctors, but never received a treatable diagnosis. He started taking OxyContin for pain relief. “Once he was prescribed the opioids in 2005, then he didn’t care about getting answers anymore,” his mother said.

After Steve’s death in 2011, the Rummler family established the foundation with the goal of helping others who also struggle with chronic pain and addiction. It was PROP’s founder and chief executive, Andrew Kolodny, MD, who approached the foundation with the idea of joining forces…

“Basically as the fiscal sponsor we accept donations and we manage the funding. We don’t set any policy for him,” Judy Rummler told Pain News Network. “Obviously our missions are similar. We are very concerned about the overprescribing of opioids. Yet I know if my son were alive today he would probably be telling you what you hear from so many other pain patients; that he couldn’t live without them. But the problem was he died as a result of it.

“I know there are a lot of people who are going to be hurt by cutting back on the prescribing, but I just think a lot of them are addicted as my son was. Yet he would have been the first one to scream and yell about having his pills cutoff.”

The Rummler Foundation calls this tug-of-war between opioids and addiction “The Dilemma.” It advocates for wholesale change in the treatment of chronic pain, emphasizing “wellness rather than drugs” and the use of “a wide array of non-opioid options.”

Opioid medication should not be prescribed for chronic pain, according to Rummler…

Poor Steve. So desperate and in so much pain — but he had nowhere to turn for help. He was being treated for addiction, not chronic pain. His chronic pain was ignored, even though it was the constant pain that caused Steve to become addicted to pain relief in the first place.

(Let me just say that I’m not sure Steve was suffering from addiction, but that is what he was being treated for.)

I’m sure that most chronic pain patients understand Steve’s desperation. Personally, I’m beginning to think that desperation is my middle name.

It was his pain (environment) and his DNA that made Steve susceptible to addiction. (DNA, by the way, he got from his parents.) A part of his addiction was probably caused by low self-esteem due to the censure of his loved ones and the shame all drug addicts feel (also his environment). There’s no shame in suffering from cancer, but those who suffer from addiction and chronic pain are weak and morally corrupt — according to the anti-opioid lobby. According to the drug war.

I consider it hypocritical and ignorant when anyone claims there’s no evidence that opioids work for chronic pain. (I also find the medical industry’s use of the word “evidence” to always be suspect. After all, I’m not a mouse. And my intractable pain is as unique as my DNA.) You can’t tell me that opioids don’t work — I took them for 10 years. You can’t tell millions of chronic pain patients that opioids don’t work — they’ve taken them for years, too.

Denying reality has always been helpful when fighting on the side of the drug war. #DenyingReality #ItsAllAboutFear (#DonaldDrumpf)

To all you hypocrites:  How much unbiased “evidence” exists that shows antidepressants or cortisone injections work for chronic pain? Denying adequate treatment for those in constant pain is the definition of torture. So, when someone advocates against the option of opioids to treat chronic pain, then that person is advocating for torture. (It seems there’s a high percentage of masochists within the 200 million people who don’t suffer from chronic pain in this country.)

Grief can motivate a person to do great things, but the reverse is also true. Rich, grieving parents, too blinded by their own pain to see anyone else’s. Like their grief is so raw and overwhelming that it destroys any empathy those people may have had for anyone else. Like their pain is more important than anything else. Like they’re more important than anyone else. (#TrumpSyndrome)

Let’s get this straight: Steve was not your average chronic pain patient. (To learn a little more about Steve’s story, click on the link below.) But, Steve is an example of the suffering that pain patients, who also suffer from drug addiction, go through. If you have a history of drug addiction, no one believes you’re in pain. And I know many chronic pain patients can understand what it feels like when no one believes you.

When You’re Blue

Feeling blue and devalued?


Living life without a clue?

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Do colors appear subdued?

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Are things tilted and askew?

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Are you afraid to say boo?

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Seeking that kind of glue

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you can really hold onto?

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Think of kangeroos and rendezvous
macaroons, barbecue, and Irish stew
tatoos, home brews, and cashews
canoes, fondue, and honeydew

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(too bad chocolate doesn’t rhyme with blue)