The Best Burger?

I’ve been craving a cheeseburger for the longest time, so when this video popped up in my YouTube feed, I was like, hello there, lover!

I can’t believe that Fuddruckers hamburgers only got an honorable mention. I’ve tried most of the hamburgers on this list, and Fuddruckers has the best, mostly due to the awesomeness of their fresh-baked buns.

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The walls of Fuddruckers have been saturated every day with the scent of baking bread, which you can smell before you even walk in. Everything is fresh, unlike at most of the fast-food places on this list.

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And don’t get me started on their spicy fries and onion rings…

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I think my neighbor is cooking hamburgers for dinner tonight…

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Can you smell it? Because I can smell it. 🙂

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Repealing opioids when there are no replacements is ignorant and barbaric

http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/01/21/central-maine-patients-fear-medication-weaning-as-they-struggle-with-chronic-pain/

(January 21, 2017) Central Maine patients fear weaning off opioids as they struggle with chronic pain

And while patients concerned about medication limits may be able to qualify for exceptions, two of the people interviewed weren’t aware of exceptions and already were being tapered off their medications by doctors. Another said there’s scant information available about how to apply and qualify…

New patients are limited to a dosage amount of less than 100 morphine milligram equivalents, or MME, of opiates, and those already taking medications above the limit must taper to less than 100 MME by July 1…

About 16,000 patients in Maine are prescribed more than 100 morphine milligram equivalents, according to Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association. About 1,300 Maine patients are prescribed more than 300 MME.

“Even at 200 morphine milligram equivalents, you have a 1 in 32 chance of dying within the next two-and-a-half years,” Smith said. “That’s a mortality rate that’s very, very high.” …

This sounds like something drummed up by statistics, which the medical industry is relying on more and more. I’m always amazed at how easy it is to bend statistics to your own belief system. Thing is, patients are not statistics, and to think of us that way is a huge mistake.

“I hate having medicine legislated,” said Steve Diaz, chief medical officer for MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. “I believe as a profession we physicians should be policing ourselves and have the wherewithal to provide guidelines. But I think the issue here is the opioid epidemic was getting worse, and there was no national or state medical response to rein it in.”

No national or state medical response? Like, the opioid war? Where the fuck have you been, Mr. Diaz?

Smith, of the Maine Medical Association, said that “help is coming” for those who are tapering off. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can prescribe suboxone, a narcotic that is used to treat addiction to pain relievers, beginning in February. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services also announced $2.4 million in funding used to create 359 additional medication-assisted treatment slots across the state that began Jan. 1…

Here you see the government’s answer to the epidemic of chronic pain — treat us all like drug addicts. (The stock price for the maker of Suboxone is currently up 13 points. How many of those involved in advocating for the opioid war own stocks in addiction treatments?)

While the use of opioid medication for chronic pain may be common, it’s not necessarily the best form of treatment. A growing body of evidence shows that long-term opioid use actually worsens chronic pain, as well as depression, ability to function and overall quality of life, said Dr. Stephen Hull, director of medical pain management at the Mercy Pain Center in Portland.

“They work very well for dampening down activity of the nervous system in relationship to pain,” Hull said. But the drugs also activate the immune system within the brain and spinal cord, making the brain more sensitive to pain. So although opioid patients experience short-term pain relief, the activation of the immune system results in even higher pain levels as the drug leaves the bloodstream. At the same time, as patients build up tolerance to the drugs, they require higher and higher dosages to feel the positive effects and stave off the heightened pain levels that come with withdrawal…

Dear Dr. Stephen Hull: You’re a dickhead who makes no sense. Are you a graduate of Trump University?

“What we’ve seen at the Mercy Pain Center is that those folks who are willing to come off these medicines succeed at high rates and report not only that their pain is better but that their cognitive functioning is much better,” Hull said. “We’ve come to feel that not only is it appropriate to get under that 100 milligram equivalents of morphine, we are telling our patients that it’s appropriate to get them off opioids altogether.”

Are we in a doctor’s office or a church? Are you a doctor, a priest, or a judge? I feel sorry for your patients, Mr. Hull. How many have left your practice?

Physicians can prescribe opioid medication above the new legal limit for pain related to cancer treatment, end-of-life care, treatment for substance abuse and palliative care. Palliative care, as defined by state law, is patient-centered care that aims to optimize quality of life by anticipating and treating “suffering caused by a medical illness or physical injury or condition.” …

Well, this is new. An exception for the treatment of substance abuse. Is that a nice term for addiction or does the government now consider every chronic pain patient on opioids to be suffering from substance abuse? Does that also mean that every chronic pain patient is also entitled to palliative care? I’ve never been to a palliative doctor, but I’ve heard they exist.

My comment:

Isn’t it funny how doctors say one thing, then patients come along to prove them wrong? After about 10 years on prescription medications to treat intractable pain, I was forced into a cold-turkey detox. That was over 5 years ago. Tell me, Dr. Hull, when will my pain get “better”? Because I’m still waiting.

Since you claim to be an expert in treating intractable pain, your clinic must be having a hard time keeping up with demand. Tell us, Dr. Hull, how many patients have you lost or abandoned since you decided that opioids are not appropriate to treat chronic pain? What’s the annual suicide rate for your patients and how much has it increased within the last 5 years?

Just like it’s stupid and cruel (willfully causing pain or suffering to others) to repeal Obamacare without an adequate replacement, it’s likewise ignorant and barbaric to repeal the use of opioids to treat chronic pain without having adequate replacements. Of course, there’s always a gun, which is now easier to buy than pain medication.

Might as well use the opioid war to start the conversation on the right to die. If doctors refuse to treat my pain, I should have the right to humanely end my suffering. Animals get that right, so should humans.

Thanks to the men who support women

I scanned the faces of the crowds at the women’s marches and I saw plenty of men combining their voices with ours. And I just wanted to say thanks. We appreciate you. 🙂

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/famous-male-feminists-men-support-women_n_5564005.html

At a 2006 Equality Now event, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” creator and “The Avengers” writer [Joss Whedon] took a creative and impactful approach to his speech. He discussed the frustrations of always being asked the question, “Why do you create strong female characters?” In the speech he gave numerous responses, including:

“Because, equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition.”

Having witnessed his father physically abuse his mother as a child, Patrick Stewart gave a riveting speech for Amnesty International UK in October 2009. Remembering the impact the abuse had on him as a boy, he spoke to the responsibility men have to end this violence: “Even if she had [done something to provoke my father to hit her], violence is a choice. And it’s a choice that a man makes. We can choose to stop it.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-01-21/on-the-march-in-trump-s-capital

More signs from the women’s march:

“You’re orange, you’re gross, you lost the popular vote!”

“I’m not usually a sign guy but geez.”

Will exercise decrease your pain?

I recently looked up POTS, a medical condition that I’m unfamiliar with:

Wikipedia: Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS, also known as postural tachycardia syndrome) is a condition in which a change from the supine position to an upright position causes an abnormally large increase in heart rate, called tachycardia… A variety of treatments, including exercise and medications, can improve symptoms for the majority of people with POTS…

Okay, so while your heart is doing jumping jacks in your chest, it’s time to exercise? It seems like doctors suggest exercise for almost every medical condition. And it’s true, we don’t get enough exercise, but…

http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2017/1/22/even-a-little-exercise-is-better-than-none

They measured the physical activity of 1,600 adults with osteoarthritis in their hips, knees or feet; and found that just 45 minutes of moderate physical activity a week improved their function and reduced pain…

Osteoarthritis is a specific medical condition that can cause varying levels of pain and disability, but I don’t think that every chronic pain condition will respond the same to light physical activity.

In a study of 131 older adults who have osteoarthritis, participants attended 45-minute chair yoga sessions twice a week for 8 weeks.

Researchers measured their pain, pain interference (how it affects one’s life), balance, gait speed, fatigue and functional ability; before, during and after the sessions.

Compared to a control group enrolled in a health education program, the chair yoga group showed a greater reduction in pain, pain interference and fatigue during the sessions, as well as an improved gait. The reduction in pain interference lasted for about three months after the chair yoga program was completed…

When I lived in Houston, it was too hot and humid to take walks. I only started taking walks after I moved to New Mexico (and got a camera). At first, I lost some weight, which was a good thing. But the weight didn’t stay off. Part of the reason for that was my inability to find and afford quality medical cannabis. I’ve gone through periods of stability that have lasted for months — both in the legal and underground markets — but they always come to an end, interrupting any progress I might make.

Since I moved here over 3 years ago, I’ve been more physically active than I have been in the past. I’ve also taken up baking (which includes more cleaning), and that’s also increased my physical activity levels.

So, has all this increased physical activity helped to decrease my overall pain levels? It seems logical that it would. Maybe in a group of patients who suffer from osteoarthritis, you would see the majority of them achieving benefits from exercise, including a decrease in pain levels. Would the same be true of a group of patients who suffer from TMJ or Trigeminal Neuralgia?

I hate to go against logic, but as I sit here thinking about the connection between my level of physical activity and my pain levels, I can’t say that the increased physical activity has made any difference in my pain levels. Sure, sometimes a walk can increase my pain levels, but usually, my level of physical activity doesn’t appear to be related to my pain levels. I know that doesn’t make sense, but there you have it.

Celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade

“In New York and cities across the country, women marched.”

This is a quote from “Makers: Women Who Make America,” a 3-part documentary that I just watched on YouTube. I highly recommend it. The quote is from the 1970s.

Let’s look at how long the battle for women’s right has been going on, shall we?

On October 11, 1972, Sarah Weddington, a 26-year-old lawyer from Texas with very little experience, argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. At that time, the Supreme Court was made up of nine white men.

Forty-four years ago today, on January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade was decided. I celebrate that day.

The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in 1923. It wasn’t until 1972 that it passed both houses of Congress. But in the end, the states wouldn’t ratify the ERA, partially due to the advocacy work of white, religious women. It was a backlash against Roe v. Wade and the women’s movement. And then Reagan was elected president. Reagan used his high-profile, government position to advocate against abortion, helping to stop the women’s movement in its tracks.

I don’t know why anyone would think that the potential life of a fetus is more important than the life of the mother. That’s like saying that the woman’s life doesn’t matter. That she’s not allowed to make her own health care decisions. That her body is not her own. That the most important purpose of a woman’s body is reproduction.

I wonder how men would feel if we treated their bodies in the exact same way. Where every single sperm was considered potential life, and men had to constantly fight for the right to control their reproductive health care.

There is nothing more important for a woman than to have control over her own body. Men have total control over their reproductive organs, and so should women. And when I talk about control, I’m not just talking about reproductive rights. I’m talking about all kinds of health care.

Male or female, as adults, we should have complete control over our own bodies, including the choice of medical treatments. Our own health care decisions should not be taken away from us by the government, insurance companies, or doctors.

I should not have to experiment with one drug just because it’s cheaper, when more successful drugs are available. My access to certain drugs should not be restricted just because I see one doctor over another. Just because one doctor believes that certain reproductive health care options (or treatments for pain or addiction) are sinful and against their beliefs. That’s not practicing medicine. That’s forcing your beliefs on your patients.

One of the reasons I watched this documentary was in the hope of finding some clues on how pain patients can fight for their rights. Media attention was important back then, just as important as it is today. It appears that pain patients have lost the media war. But I was just wondering… Have we already lost the opioid war?