Tuesday, January 11, 2022

On Inequality


I see patterns. That’s what I do.


I see progressive rags that make you commit to submitting only one piece that has never been seen anywhere else, including a personal blog, and thus are great participants in welfare capitalism and identity and intellectual property theft.


I see “environmentally friendly” corporations that are still marketing us garbage that we could easily replace by making it ourselves and who support monocultures through their use of palm and other seed oils and neurological issues through their copious use of alcohols in things like soaps and shampoos.


I see the daily news cycle’s irresponsible delivery of incomplete and misleading news in order to generate ad revenue.


I see the government and its inflexible due dates resulting in illness and fines.


I see that the concept of procrastination has nothing to do with stuff that matters and that it is a way to make people feel insufficient.


I see that the elite think we should have to suck it up alone.
 
 
 
Red-Handed, cell phone photo with text overlay, NFS in any fashion



I see that capitalism and cancer are kissing cousins.


I see that capitalism, dementia and xenophobia are kissing siblings.


I see that religion and capitalism have become one in the same; tools of power and oppression.


To that end, I am offering this visionary artwork, Lies My Teacher Told Me, that I created without much help beyond the blood, sweat and tears of my husband who may have brought me a sandwich or two, kept a roof over my head, and let me spank him on occasion, for the modest sum of $113 million USD.


The proceeds will go to a fund to give air quality meters to people on Medicaid. We’re going to keep $2M for ourselves so we can retire, pay off our house, and get solar electricity.




Lies My Teacher Told Me, 4' x 5', charcoal and acrylic, $113M USD



Friday, January 7, 2022

Hey 'Cuz - You Ask Your Mom, Please



I’ve been doing genealogy for a hobby for about 12 years. That’s when my Dad first decided to take the plunge and get his DNA tested. I knew some other folks on the internet who were looking into nutrigenomics, and because of my background in science, I was interested in looking into that to see if it could help with my bizarro health problems. What I found was fascinating.


I have been trying to figure out how to share this with my closer family members in a way they can really get it. I can see where a lot of my health problems arose in my DNA. I have had periods of vibrant health, and other periods where I am not doing well. I am prone to a lot of the same health problems as my other family members. I didn’t choose my genes. Because of having periods of vibrant health, I’m not a genetic determinist per se, but I understand probably better than many doctors and maybe even some geneticists what “turns on” some of the problematic genes I inherited because of the ways my symptoms have presented with respect to my history with environmental exposures to chemicals and stress. I’ve had a heckuva time trying to avoid these as a mother in this modern world.


Much of my understanding of these factors has also been informed by what others have also shared with me regarding their diets and lifestyle, and health outcomes they have made me privy to. My own experiences, combined with what people have shared have helped inform specific thinking on patterns of addiction and how genetics and environment affect addictive behavior. My model takes into account something I have never heard considered in addiction research, which is specifically that alcohol can interact with the metabolism of other organic solvents in the liver. I believe that people who spend a lot of time around organic solvents know this intuitively and use alcohol to block the harmful effects of other solvents they have been exposed to. I think this becomes habitual.


My parents did not drink when I was a kid, and they don’t really drink now. We always had really intellectual conversations. It made connecting with other kids kind of difficult, because they weren’t interested in the kinds of things I was. I did have a few friends who lived close by whose parents also did not drink alcohol, however, and we found lots of creative ways to spend our time. My parents have lived in the same house they bought before my birth in the 70s. We did a home remodel in the 80s which added two bedrooms, a bath, and a den/office to the upstairs of the previously 764 sq ft home, but other than that our exposures to construction chemicals were minimal at home. I recognize that some mental health problems my mother and I experienced were probably related to the exposure from getting the second story, in retrospect, but we also both have erythropoetic protoporphyria and were exposed to a lot of fluorescent lighting in the educational system where she worked and I went to school, which is very toxic for someone with these defects in hematopoesis, but actually bad for anyone.


I do not feel like I had alcoholism. I had a friend who was an alcoholic, and she subscribed to the belief that the best way to get rid of a hangover was another drink. I connected alcohol with feeling poorly early on in college, so bouts of heavy drinking were infrequent. As a young person, I never drank on weeknights, and that is probably a big reason I was able to graduate from college in three years. Alcohol is a time suck. It doesn’t make most people more creative. I’ve had ancestors on both sides of this issue; on my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, my third great-grandmother was head of the local Ladies’ Temperance League. However, on my father’s paternal side of the family, a great-grand aunt stood trial for impersonating a military office and bootlegging in the 1910’s. My grandfathers were both alcoholics, and this is why my parents did not drink. They were very clear to my sister and I about that. The only alcohol we ever had at the house was a bottle of cherry kirsch that my mom had to buy to make some special recipe for a pot luck at church. In junior high they went to Las Vegas on a trip together and left my sister and I alone, so I invited my friends over, and we converted that kirsch into water, and my parents were none the wiser.


That being said, I decided to completely abstain from alcohol in 2019. We had some friends we would hang out with downtown, sometimes weekly. It felt a little bit like being in college. A few years earlier, whenever I had red wine I would wake up in the middle of the night with cardiac arrhythmias, which I think was from the estrogenic effect of the resveratrol. I had to stop drinking beer because of my intolerance to whole grains several years before that. So all that was left was sake and hard alcohol, minus gin, because I have a juniper allergy. Hanging out with these friends was really expensive, and although these shenanigans didn’t last long, I’m glad my kids got to be there for them, because we were always concerned with being responsible about driving and were honest about our level of intoxication, and taking care of each other. Hanging out with them felt very bohemian, part of a relaxed lifestyle, but I know that even though we are not speaking directly with those friends anymore, they also know the alcohol was an extremely bad thing for our health, because they are dealing with the serious consequences of keeping up that lifestyle.


So in those years of staying put, my parents developed a lot of community connections. When I got older, it seemed like all of a sudden people liked to tell me their secrets. I am told I have one of those faces (dimples, boobs). I know a lot of people’s secrets. It’s kind of why I started being vulnerable, because it was freeing to me to hear that other people were struggling with similar problems in their lives, and I wanted to help others feel less alone. I realized that people’s secrets were what kept them enslaved to patterns of self hatred and fear. I don’t want to share anyone else’s secrets. I’ll tell you why. Opening up about your own secrets is liberating. Having someone else reveal them for you is painful. We all make mistakes; that is the nature of life and learning. Unfortunately I have had to share some other people’s secrets to illustrate my points. I have tried to confine that to people in my family, and when I haven’t been able to, I tried to be vague so that the person wouldn’t be easily identifiable by our social circle.


I once spanked my daughter. I hated myself for it. She was four and I was tired and asked her to leave me alone. Neither one of us were ourselves when this happened. Knowing what I know now, it happened in the fall, and I am pretty sure our water heater was backdrafting. It was a lot like the story “Bad Luck Cabin” on The Love Boat, Season 6, episode 29, where every honeymoon couple who stays in it ends up arguing and breaking up. We may have been breathing methane, for all I know. I also know since I got my air quality meters that the CO2 level gets too high in my house, which can interfere with consciousness. That problem is probably pretty common, because modern houses are made to be air-tight in order to conserve heating and cooling costs. Anyway, I read a lot about the harm that physical punishment does to children, and I did not want to do it myself, so I am ashamed that I failed in that respect.


We all do things that we think are a good idea at the time and are later embarrassed about, even those of us without tattoos. I have spent a lot of time trying to dissect family trauma in order to better understand my own mental health issues. If you have found my blog because you are a DNA cousin match and want to know more about the family, there are a few things you need to know. The kits I administer match a lot of adoptees. The big punchline I got from studying genealogy is that “traditional family structure” is kind of a joke. And everyone’ s family has horny people in it who have trouble with fidelity. I have a whole family line on my Dad's side of people from Ireland who should have been from Germany according to the records we have. The connection to Ireland is inscrutable from the second cousin matches on this line which are probably due to an adoption in the late 1800’s in Pennsylvania before adoption records were kept, or some marital infidelity between our ancestors. I also have a fair number of interesting stories about the ways our family members were fighting the system, and the hardships they may have endured due to their sometimes non-traditional family structures, or ways they were seen as different. I found people who were activists, and also that several of my male ancestors were Freemasons or Odd Fellows.


I think there were a lot of gifted people in my family. It can be hard for intelligent people to get along with others. I was just reading in the book Gifted Grownups about how dark personality traits can be cultivated during childhood through the encouragement of academic potential while ignoring the emotional and spiritual side of life. Intelligent people need an outlet for their creativity, and if they do not get it, they will find harmful ways to use that intelligence. I think that is why fraternal orders have been useful to help direct intelligent men (and sometimes women) to use their abilities for good. I am thankful that I had opportunities to interact with the Freemasons and Optimists in my childhood; it was certainly good to see that there were secular organizations established for cultivating the good in themselves, even though I am wary of cults.


Working on genealogy, I run into a lot of people who seem like they just want to know if they are related to anyone famous, and it's funny because my favorite genealogical finds are the infamous ones. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone related to Charlamagne or Genghis Khan, so I really don’t find that particularly special or interesting. What’s interesting is that these tantalizing high profile connections are usually through infidelity, but people who like to tout these connections don’t often reveal that side. I won't tell the secrets of the living, but the dead are fair game. Some people worry about this, but I think it’s important to understand that our ancestors were human beings who made mistakes that impacted the future, and that some of them were victims of a broken system. Hiding these stories is a missed opportunity to see how our ancestors coped with the challenges presented to them. If we don’t address the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them in the future. I try to be objective in my analysis of the societal pressures on my ancestors in terms of cultural norms.


I did not find, so far, much evidence for significant wealth in my family history, with the pretty important exception that my father’s mother’s family were related to the Dutch Brouwers who colonized the land that became Trinity Church on Wall Street in Manhattan. My ancestor who was a member of the Temperance League was a Brouwer descendant.


I am interested in the stories of my ancestors' siblings who chose not to reproduce or live in traditional family structures. A lot of my father’s family came from New York in the areas where there were many utopian living experiments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over the course of the pandemic, my attention was brought to several instances of important romantic relationships outside marriage, which were not preserved in our family memories. I once tried to interest a close family member in what I had found about her family, and she said she would be more interested if I knew more about who the people actually were - what they thought and their interests - these are things we typically only learn with significant effort, unless people have taken time to make written records such as journals. So I would think that maybe this person might want to think about that for the future, since she also told her mother that she didn’t want to be the person to curate that stuff. I think she was hoping for stories about freedom fighting, but when your ancestors were farmers, the stories can be pretty boring, or at least centered around just trying to keep one’s crop going in the middle of the dust bowl, which is still fighting for freedom. We have some records to that extent from her 2nd great-grandmother, and if she took the time to read them, I think she would see that the 1950’s suburban life really was like Shangri-La, compared to that of being a farmer’s or minister’s wife where the exciting thing of the week was having enough blueberries to bake a pie, which that side of the family loves to glorify. Freedom is in the eye of the beholder, and whether urban or rural, it is still important. Everyone played a role in getting where we are today, whether it was a boring or exciting one, and also whether it was noticed or not.


I am also interested in the story of how our genetics made our ancestors more vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of the TB epidemic and the Great Depression. My grandmother lost a sibling to the flu. Furthermore, I am interested in the role that alcohol played in the life choices of my ancestors, and also occupational exposures to toxins. This information can be found in some of my other writing.


Sometimes stories of people I have known but am not related to are relevant, and so I will do my best to anonymize any information I present in a respectful way, if I can’t find a vague way to share it. I'm fortunate that the people I know don't really know each other very well. But my story is a web, my consciousness being constantly affected by the words and choices of people around me, and it is necessary.


And that gets to the heart of the matter. I considered myself somewhat of a people matchmaker once upon a time. I could never quite figure out why I could get along with others, but they couldn't get along with each other. It seemed to me that people generally had similar struggles and interests, but were too busy to connect with others. I felt like if people could connect, some of their struggles would go away, but I could never get people to be as interested in having friendships with each other as they were in spending time with me, and maybe they were offended thinking I was trying to pass them off on other people. That was not the case - it was always one of those things like, “Hey, peanut butter and chocolate!” I felt like peoples’ reluctance to trust each other was keeping us from collaborating on anything that would create any lasting change in our lives or community. Like we were just all talk and no action. I really do think, though, that we were all tired from family trauma, work, and the toxins in our food and environment. A lot of people I knew were aware of these things on some level, and did things that made their lives a little more conscious, without knowing how truly important what they did was.


If you're a cousin, I'm writing this for you, because our family has been dealing with hidden health problems forever which are relevant to what is going on in the world right now with respect to the COVID pandemic. In this polluted, busy world, our health requires more attention. On my father's side of the family I have outlived 3 cousins, maybe for this reason. We have some traits of classical autism. Alcohol may have been involved in the deaths of 2 of these cousins. Smoking and alcohol played important roles in my grandparents' stories. We don't communicate well with each other, and we never really have. While we didn’t lose anyone young on my mother’s side of the family, there were still problems with family communications and addiction. Both my husband and I had grandparents who were orphaned as children around the time of the Great Depression. So all this stuff going on in the world has not only been relevant to my personal and professional history, but also to the generational trauma in my family.


My mom's side of the family is complicated. I found a book The Way We Never Were which is a sociological exploration of the myth of the nuclear American household. I feel like that's probably the best way to describe it. My mother's father was just a teen when she was born, so she was adopted by her grandmother and step-grandfather. Her grandfather had committed suicide when her mother was just 8 years old. Finding this out was one of those shocking moments I'll never forget. We had always been told that he died of tuberculosis (or tuberkilliosis, as my daughter who now has a deadpan sense of humor said as a child), but when his death certificate came, it reported the cause of death as a revolver shot to the head. As far as I can tell, he suffered from TB for at least six years, and apparently it was very difficult for someone with an active TB infection to get work. My great-grandmother was supporting the family as a book binder, and I think her mother had been helping around the house and taking care of my grandmother.


I saw that the vlogbrothers channel on YouTube has raised over $25M USD to build a teaching hospital in Sierra Leone. In the last video John did, he talked about the importance of access to hospitals and healthcare. I have not really had that kind of access. When we have acute health problems, it has almost always been on a Friday evening and I need to carefully weigh the cost of waiting vs. paying at least $1000 for an ER visit, since urgent care is not open at this time. I know things always happen on Fridays because of all the stress going on the rest of the week, so it annoys me that we do not have better solutions in our community which respond to the actual times when people tend to have incidents, rather than further gouging them for modern misfortune.


The news of my great-grandfather’s suicide was a shock to the whole family, because we had been told that he died of TB. Around the time I made that discovery, I also learned that my paternal grandfather had gone AWOL in the Philippines while in the Merchant Marines. I have some notes from my uncle that I still need to transcribe about this experience. My paternal grandfather and his sister were also orphaned when their mother left their father. I haven't been able to figure out for certain what happened to her, but supposedly she had Tuberculosis as well. I was able to find my great Aunt by using DNA testing, but my cousin doesn’t really know what happened, either, and had been surprised to hear that my grandfather’s sister had been in an orphanage. Additionally, sometime after my grandmother’s sister died of influenza, her father disappeared. The family was told that he died, but it turns out he was living with another woman and her son. So, you know, some people move on.


My understanding is that communication isn't great on my mother's side of the family, either. I think I understand why this is, and I think it may be genetic. We have a lot of metabolic challenges in the form of invisible illness. Through my mom's side of the family, I inherited the cystic fibrosis deltaF508 polymorphism. When I am not doing well, I have a lot of subclinical manifestations of CF. I think it causes my ears and sinuses to plug more easily, also making it harder to breathe. If I have chemical exposures or excessive stress, or do something silly like ovulate or menstruate, I tend to have issues with mucus. I'm also prone to issues with cystic tissues. I get reflux easily, and other conditions often suffered by carriers. I have a really sensitive stomach, so I don’t appreciate people meddling in my food choices. There is a quick test to diagnose Cystic Fibrosis which involves holding the hands in warm water and seeing how long it takes for them to prune (aquagenic wrinkling of the palms). In a non-carrier, it takes about 14 minutes, and for a carrier it takes about 7 minutes, and in a person with full-blown CF, it takes 2-3 minutes. For me, a heterozygous carrier (and I do not know if I have any other minor mutations), it takes about 7 minutes, and that is what first alerted me to the fact that Mendel’s theories might be bunk. Note that I have not been able to get my healthcare providers to take my carrier status seriously, and even though a child in my family had a positive neonatal test, no interest has been shown by my family in understanding the importance of how CF deranges the metabolism of unsaturated fats, or how that may affect the development of fibroses.


Cystic Fibrosis isn’t what many people think. Besides creating problems with mucus (it is also called mucoviscoidosis), it is a general tendency to develop fibrosis in organs. It causes deficiencies in digestive enzyme production, and impairs the ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins.


I recently learned that I have several polymorphisms in KCNJ5, which is a potassium channel. These are apparently rare and cause Familial Hyperaldosteronism Type III. I suspect they might be important in hearing loss. Hyperaldosteronism makes a person naturally a little more stressed out. I am finding that supplementing potassium is helping greatly. This type of Hyperaldosteronism is associated with dangerously low levels of potassium, especially when taking diuretics. I think the low potassium was causing some of my COVID symptoms. Low potassium was a problem for my maternal great-grandmother. I have not taken the time to figure out which polymorphisms I got from which parent, but both of my parents and my sister developed hypokalemia from their diuretic formulations, and hearing loss runs on both sides of the family, so it wouldn’t hurt to talk to your doctor about this if you recognize yourself having any symptoms, like too much testosterone.


I developed dangerous hypokalemia multiple times. It is no fun. Definitely check out the symptoms. It’s strange to know so many years later that I have those particular polymorphisms; I had low potassium after taking hydrochlorothiazide for pregnancy-induced hypertension for 9 months. At the time I was having a lot of the same problems with aphasia and visual migraines. I was also being poisoned by detergent from a dryer vent not being properly hooked to the outside of an apartment we were in temporarily. I am technically not supposed to use my consumer genetics kits the way I do. The FDA has not approved their use for such things. But without this information I would still be stumbling with respect to how to improve my health. I think it should be easier to have these tests validated.


The things I have found are potentially severe metabolic diseases and affect how I would be treated in an emergency in a hospital because they can cause reactions to medication. This may be why I bottomed out during anesthesia and after IV diphenhydramine. I know at least one other person who found they were likely a carrier of a severe metabolic disease which would be part of newborn screening now through consumer genetics testing and third party tools, but she has not had it verified. It doesn’t make sense that we pay these companies for their service and in the process give away our rights and our information without having some sort of useful results for the risks we took in participating in their research that we funded, and putting our cousins at risk of arrest. Cousins, this is your warning not to kill people.


I also inherited several polymorphisms in a calcium channel subunit, CACNA1D, which causes Primary Aldosteronism with Seizures and Other Neurological Abnormalities. I'm not sure which parent I got this from, either, but my husband also has it and I suspect it is part of the reason we have so many precognitive experiences. Or are prone to hypnogogic states? I think we are electrophysiologically prone to whatever it is.


Dopamine is an important antagonist to aldosterone. So this is a way that workaholism can be particularly bad for people in my family. My family member who does not know how to slow down has issues with high aldosterone.


If you're related to me on my mom's side, you need to know that she inherited two copies of a polymorphism in ferrochelatase which causes a rare disease called erythropoietic protoporphyria, which causes porphyrins to build up in the body when exposed to ultraviolet light. Melanin and beta carotene have been shown to be protective. I was able to get my carrier status validated through Invitae Genetics for a lot less than it would have been to have a porphyria panel run elsewhere. I do not have the skin blistering that some people with this rare disease get, and neither does my mother, even though she has two copies. I believe this is because we are hispanic. I always tanned easily, but as I have gotten older I make less melanin. I get a lot of epigastric pain. I take cimetidine on occasion, which is effective for some types of porphyria, and it seems to help me with mine. Some people find relief with charcoal, and this is yet another reason I take charcoal, besides trying to keep the excess gut serotonin down. Serotonin is primarily produced in the appendix through the fermentive action of gut bacteria. A lot of people don’t understand that this is what causes nausea, and that the expensive anti-nausea drug ondansetron is a serotonin receptor blocker. Instead, we take things to increase serotonin in this country, and wonder why we have an anxiety epidemic. (Please read about Serotonin Syndrome).


For the type of porphyria I have, it is possible to see red/orange fluorescence on the skin and around the gum line on the teeth with a UV lamp. While there are people in my family dubious about the vampirism, or about being a carrier being enough to manifest any signs of the disease, I have these positive signs when I look at my skin and teeth with a UV lamp. That being said, it is important to limit one’s exposure to UV, because that is what causes the disease. I think there is actually feedback between my different illnesses, so triggering one, like erythropoetic protoporphyria, can cause me to have digestive issues, which then can impact the cystic fibrosis, which causes changes in gut flora, which affects my cognitive function. It’s quite a tangled web. Cortisol produced from stress to local tissues can then increase aldosterone. It would make a person sort of anxiety-prone, if you know what I mean. And exposing them to more sun, vegetable oil, stress and chemicals would be torture to that person. Giving them extra fiber for gut problems is only likely to make them develop diverticuli, but that’s what modern medicine suggests for some of the gut symptoms I get. Furthermore, fillers approved by the FDA like cellulose, gums, carrageenan and silica create misery. The latter two are used by researchers to cause pain and autoimmune disease in animals respectively, so I do not understand why we would say these are okay for anyone in the population, let alone snowflakes like me. I am surely not living a “free life” when I have to be concerned that these monsters are in most convenience foods. Thanks for having my back again, Government. NOT.


I also learned recently that I carry several polymorphisms associated with von Willebrand Type I. I was hoping to get this confirmed with a hematologist, soon, but I am in the process of applying for Medicaid and it is my understanding that it is extremely difficult to get the government to approve visits to specialists. I do not know which parent I inherited these from, either, but it turns out this was a particular liability (unlike Cystic Fibrosis) for COVID patients. I found this out just in time, I feel, because it is a type of mild hemophilia. I also have coumadin sensitivity, which besides the Cystic Fibrosis was the only significant thing my consumer genetics test was allowed to report to me. Coumadin sensitivity is conferred by polymorphisms in vitamin K epoxide reductase, which is what converts the vitamin K1 to the active form, vitamin K2, which is important for proper blood clotting. People with this metabolic issue may also be sensitive to aspirin, and cannot tolerate large amounts of vitamin E, both of which I was taking, because I figured if I took enough K2 it would be alright, but I am not sure if it was enough to account for the von Willebrand. When I was younger, before we moved into this home and I stopped using so many polyunsaturates (which are high in vitamin E), I had really heavy periods. When I was a kid I had a lot of nose bleeds, and so did both my kids.


Besides not being able to tolerate aspirin without sufficient vitamin K2 to balance it, I could precipitate migraine by overuse of the cinnamon which is used in most products in the US, which is cassia cinnamon. It is high in a compound called coumarin, which is a natural analog of the blood thinner coumadin. One of my kids got petechiae easily, and my sister and I have had them, too. My son was really sensitive to food additives as a kid, and I was curious if a low-salicylate diet might be advantageous for him. To test my theory, I gave him five wintergreen mints, and he developed a big rash around his neck and throat. For a few years after that, I used a low-salicylate diet, and when I learned about vitamin K2, we started taking it regularly. My kids had mild pectus excavatum when we first moved into this house, but it resolved with K2, which makes sense because K2 is critical for bone mineralization, too, not just blood clotting. Years later a friend gave us some homemade birchbark beer (it’s a soda, not alcoholic), and my daughter became violently ill for a week. A similar thing happened when we went on a family trip to Vegas to see the museums. My parents had a time share after the aforementioned trip, and we were not really casino goers, but went because my parents also used to live there, so I felt like I had to take my kids to see the things I loved there once. I bought a big back of wintergreen mints because I wanted to share with my kids how they spark in the dark, and my daughter had too many. It doesn’t matter how nice the hotel bathroom is when it is covered in diarrhea and vomit.


So anyway, I use true cinnamon in the house, which is Ceylon Cinnamon and doesn’t have coumarin. And that helps me avoid migraine, usually. Vitamin K2 can help me tolerate the other cinnamon, but it’s just better if I can eat foods which don’t increase my need for other interventions. (Hospital food, I’m looking at you).


Anyway, these things are all diseases that wouldn’t play well with alcohol or toxins, especially in terms of glitchiness. Frequent remodeling is probably a bad idea, as is lots of stress. So if you’re my cousin, and you’ve been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, or struggle with depression, it might be helpful to look into these health conditions. They are things that might come and go and might be difficult for a doctor to find easily without a heads up, but knowing about them and how one’s lifestyle might need to be adjusted may relieve quite a bit of stress and anxiety.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

What I Need You to Know





Dear World,


Thank you for acknowledgement of the receipt of my message in a bottle. Yes, there is intelligent life here. I want to play with you, too, but it is not safe for me out there. It’s difficult living like a canary in a coal mine.


I once visited a country whose main export is fruit, and to protect their livelihood, they spray the occupants of the plane with pesticide upon arrival. They literally have the crew walk down the aisle in business class and coach fogging the occupants with poison. I really enjoyed the people I met there. We thought about moving there, but the fact is I was too sick to do that. And there were so many things about the way they live that contributed to my illness that it would be really difficult to adjust. I’m trying to find a nice way to say this; I don’t have the best genetics and people like me don’t fare well in third world countries. I don’t fare well in first world countries, for that matter. I got sick eating pork and drinking beer in Europe, too. I had to be near a toilet the whole time because my digestion was a wreck in Asia. I had problems with reflux for a year afterward that significantly impacted my sleep, as did a few of the people who hosted us on our trip, I found out later. It was weird because on the shuttle bus on the way back from our trip, I sat next to a guy who asked me where we had gone, and when I told him, he said, “Oh, I went there once and I got really sick.” My life is strange like this. Just when I think I am alone, the Universe gives me messages to the contrary.


While there I learned that we define third world countries as countries who did not officially participate in World War II. They just happen to be poor and not have much money for military defense. What I found most upsetting was how the West had moved technological manufacturing and other exploitative pursuits over to those countries without concern for the basic needs of the people. The pattern was certainly initiated by the attempted European conquest of these countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the mantle was picked up by worldwide corporatists. To be fair, the US doesn't feel much different than a third world country to me right now; my access to medical care has been poor, I have had to worry about access to potable water and clean air because of the wildfires, and the people around me haven't been given critical information about how to not be vectors for illness through proper mask wearing and mask fit, because instead we decided to have grandiose ethical arguments about whether or not to wear a mask at all, and whether or not the deadliness of the virus was a hoax. DH noted yesterday that although 300 times as many people have died from COVID than from the 9/11 bombings, we worried more about shoe bombers killing a plane of people back then than we do an entitled CEO encouraging the spread of COVID through poor business and personal decisions.


We’ve worked really closely with a company there for a little over a decade. There are constant discussions about the difficulty in finding quality employees in Asia. The company itself was trying to combat that problem through mindfulness and education. But the problem still persisted and persists, despite the fact those cultures have a long history of creative invention. One of the problems I deal with when I’ve been exposed to chemicals is lack of creativity. They have big problems with pollution over there since becoming industrialized. I believe that is why it was Asia that first started mass production of personal air quality meters; the environmental burden they took on to make the world's products was significant. I wrote about the issues with air quality due to the effect of the palm industry burning forest on social media. Most of their pollution would not be if it were not for the influence of the West. I am still pressed to find convenience foods at the health food store here that do not rely heavily on palm oil, and I learned that palm oil is an important source of surfactant for “environmentally safe” detergents. Surfactant is what keeps dishes looking “spotless” so as I told ProPublica in my note to them, I am beginning to see spot-free dishes much the same as I see dandelion-free yards - evidence of the hidden environmental effects of our first world 1950’s values.


Years ago I saw Carol Black’s documentary Schooling the World, which is about the harmful consequences of colonial education in Nepal. I feel like the important message in this story is what happens to communities that move from being people-centered to being economics-centered. I know there were a lot of problems with isolation in the US during the pandemic, and I think that is because we do not know our neighbors because we all live economic-centered lives. My neighbors don’t really hang out in their yards. We’ve lived here 15 years, and we know what our neighbors do, their political affiliations, and a little bit about their properties and families, but they are not people I hang out with. I have always driven other places to hang out with people. It means it’s hard to collaborate with them on anything long-term that improves our lives, and that our neighborhood is still more or less full of strangers.


I’ve been trying to think of ways to make my community stronger. It just doesn’t make sense to drive so much. I have been thinking a lot about the effects the gasoline-powered engine has had on the environment and our social history, and how it created an economic divide where there had not been one previously by granting certain individuals access to more resources. This was further encouraged by the development of the airplane. Both these industries widened the economic gap while totally polluting the air. Transportation is often a concern when it comes to quality of life; how long it takes to get to work can be a big factor in a person’s level of contentment, not just because of the amount of time, but also because of the exposure to dangerous vehicle exhaust. I have seen first hand the economic divide that transportation causes; a person can end up working many hours just to pay for the vehicle they need to get to work, and that’s primarily where people who work end up traveling.

 

On top of sometimes very long commutes, employees are rarely compensated for this time lost, and because of the amount of time and attention it takes to commute, it's difficult to use that time for one's own benefit. Furthermore, because of air travel, an employer can demand that a person travel to the other side of the world in a heartbeat, and before COVID, that happened to my husband during most flu seasons. When this happened, they never considered how dangerous and stressful this was for him or our family. We knew another tall man in this kind of situation who ended up with a deep vein thrombosis; employers rarely consider that a tall person is at much higher risk for these health problems from air travel, and if they are genetically smaller or unaccustomed to these differences because of their culture, they may not be inclined to consider that the shrinking size of coach seats could be deadly for taller people.

 

Plus, while the argument is made that spraying the occupants of airplanes is necessary to protect the fruit industry, people in business and first class are not subjected to this experience.


I have had to struggle with commutes before. That’s why I tried, when possible, to live as close to where my husband was working. We have had to travel dangerous stretches of highway to get to our places of employment. Sometimes these stretches of road were deadly because of the sheer volume of traffic with distracted drivers, and sometimes that was worsened by things like gusts of wind, heavy fog, ice, or torrential rain. That being said, I was mortified by what I saw of what the people of Penang, Malaysia have to endure to reach the industrial park where many of the world’s electronics are currently made. It can take nearly 2 hours to go to work. There is no safe place to walk or ride a bike, so some larger companies employ motor coaches to bring the employees to work, which causes further congestion, and also removes those employees’ daily autonomy. I wonder if the motor coach and truck exhaust they all end up breathing during the hellish commute are important contributors to the struggles employers have over there with employee creativity. One of the more creative guys we spent time with showed us his “Bat Cave” route, which was actually not legal to drive on. It was quite an adventure.


My husband sent me an interesting video graphic about worldwide fertility rates, and they begin to decline after 1900. I believe this has to do with the amount of chemicals in our environment because of the effects of the industrial revolution and specific industries focused on the production of things that are inherently antimetabolic for biological organisms, but make our lives more… fun or easy. But you know the saying, “It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out.” And, I’m going to argue that we have poked our eyes out and are blind to the negative effects of these things which have come to dominate our daily lives.


There’s another threat I learned about last year, unfortunately firsthand. And that is the danger of methane in the home. Methane is a byproduct of natural gas combustion. For years I had been suffering from symptoms of methane poisoning and I did not know it. Natural gas also releases formaldehyde and nitric oxide, so I don’t think it was just methane that was causing my problems. There was a pronounced effect on my cognition during exposure and for two days thereafter. Two days later, there can be digestive and mood issues. So it’s not really a surprise to me that I had diarrhea almost the entire time I was in Malaysia. Having a mild form of vampirism and being stuck in the sun much of the time probably didn't help.


Apparently spending lots of time in the sun is bad for vampires, and immortality is just lore.


Our clients had been trying to get us to move there for years. In order for that to happen, I had to visit first, but unfortunately because of the health problems the trip caused, I didn’t really want to go back. Ever. Furthermore, I do not do very well with Chinese food in the US, because of the excessive reliance on vegetable oil, which we developed in the early 1900s. Despite the palm oil industry which has made such a huge impact on their environment, everything over there is cooked in vegetable oil. Somehow, as part of our Westernization of their country, we convinced them that their own tropical oils (palm and coconut) were bad for their health. In return for this “wisdom” their country now has one of the worst rates of diabetes in the world. Food cooked in restaurants over here has the same problem due to the pervasive effects of the cooking oil industry, and I get just as sick eating in the restaurants here. That being said, I grew up being exposed to different ethnic cuisines, and I wanted the same for my kids because I think it is an important way to get balanced nutrition and stave off eating disorders, which are particularly risky for people with cystic fibrosis and porphyria. So if I did anything particularly gluttonous over the pandemic, it was trying to keep our pantry (and library) well stocked. I think food accessibility is important for mental health; or at least that has been my experience, because when I have been places where it's like water, water, everywhere and not enough to drink, it's rather depressing, and that is kind of what the world is like for us.


I just read a big list of famous people who passed away in 2021 on the NPR website, and included was the story of a famous journalist who retired to Hawaii and started a macadamia nut farm and ended up dying of glioblastoma. Hawaii is another place that when Westernized became overly reliant on our vegetable oils, and it shows in the health of the people. This is another place I visited and had difficulty maintaining my health, but not quite to the extent the problem I had in Malaysia, because I can navigate the typical pitfalls in American food, for the most part (albeit imperfectly, I admit). Anyway, macadamia and coconut are native to the island, but we have convinced them those oils are unhealthy and that they need to purchase oils from us that would not be sustainable to grow there. I wonder, additionally, how much carbon is created shipping our disease-promoting oils to them, while the enlightened people here prefer their oils. Macadamia nuts are one of the best sources of monounsaturated fats, and some of the longevity effects of a Mediterranean Diet are attributed to the high level of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats have only one “bend” in the lipid chain, and thus provide the structure for membrane fluidity in cells, without making them so permeable as to become electrically and otherwise dysfunctional like the greatly bent structure of a polyunsaturated fatty acid would.


Before the 1900’s, we did not have culinary oils derived from seeds and nuts. When I read about this years ago, I learned that most people during that period of time were suspicious of the oils, and that it took several decades for them to become accepted. The government did not make proclamations with respect to their effect on health until the 1970’s, when they were standardized due to the lobbying of a vegetarian government lobby.


I suspect these oils also have important effects on cognition, based on the effects I see in myself and my family members when we eat them. I get to test my theories regularly, thanks to Holiday and Social Trojan Horses often borne by people with superior genetics. Years ago I read some opinions in the natural health community that sushi is a junk food; I don’t think the sushi itself is, but certainly the Westernized mayonnaise that it often comes covered with is. Sushi made with actual aioli from unadulterated olive oil would likely not have the antimetabolic effects that vegetable oil mayonnaise used in restaurants has.


A person who struggles with mood issues and depression likely needs to cut down on oxidizable fats. I say this because I have seen them exacerbate mood issues in myself and the people around me, and the result is often quite unpleasant for everyone around that person. There has been concern expressed to me about the development of dementia in our fathers, but I see it in our mothers. It sounds like my in-laws are doing better since they started paying attention to their home air quality. It does not sound like they are concerned with the air quality while they are away from home, though, since they keep purchasing new RVs (yep, PLURAL) just like they like to make exceptions for potato chips in their diet. I think the formaldehyde and myriad other volatile chemicals in a new RV probably move through the body relatively quickly, but my understanding is that the half life of polyunsaturate in the body is something like 4 years. Man, I'm really glad I didn't get a job making RVs just to have some grandma put a fresh coat of formaldehyde and trichloroethylene over the hard work I did as soon as she bought it. How many people can really afford that kind of exposure or lifestyle, especially considering the ubiquitous use of carcinogenic forever chemicals in new products.


Polyunsaturate is an important component of triglycerides and also atherosclerotic lesions. Furthermore, it helps the formation of biofilms, which can contribute to myriad health problems, and are probably especially not helpful for people with cystic fibrosis, so it would be nice if people were alert to this, and the effect of chemicals on everyone's health.


The day after consuming polyunsaturated fats, they come right out in my skin. I think this has to do with being a cystic fibrosis carrier. I am guessing that most other people with CF are unaware of the accompanying derangement of polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, so this test might not work for them. I stopped eating the majority of polyunsaturated fats back in 2010, but had an increase because of travel in the years 2016 and 2017, after which my health deteriorated. I can tell it comes out in my skin because normally my skin will absorb water, but after I consume anything with a vegetable oil other than palm or coconut, my skin has a stickiness to it and repels water. It is not difficult to see how these sorts of lipids behave differently in the kitchen. Grease a cake pan with a vegetable oil, and you're going to need guns like Thor and chemical-laden detergents to scrub it off, but use butter or coconut oil, and it's much easier to clean. They impact my cognition around the same time.


Besides the pollution and polyunsaturated fat that seems to be a problem in Southeast Asia, I also saw they still have beliefs that keep people locked into their various class stations, and how our client company had difficulty deviating from that practice. I learned that they fundamentally don't trust people with dark skin there when they expressed they weren't certain they could trust an Ivy League educated black woman they were hiring. I don't recall seeing anyone of Indian descent working what we in the US would call a "white collar" job there. Also, there were things they thought they were doing to "help" but which were actually making things worse, like blurring the line between personal and work time through their corporate culture program, and refusing to understand that people and their families need time away from work. They also did not understand that only feeding the vegetarians on campus was not necessarily the best for everyone's consciousness. I had to deal with that problem at one of my previous employers while I was pregnant, meaning I had to be sure to pack a lunch or I had to drive to another town to get lunch periodically (I have several genetic issues that require the animal forms of vitamins, which I did not know at the time).


I really lost a lot of my autonomy when I did things with them because of my health needs. I think I would have been okay exploring Penang by myself if I hadn't been so sick, but apparently the women at the office were shocked that I decided to go to the WWII museum by myself. Maybe it had to do with all the signs about the presence of pit vipers. It was a scary place, I'll admit - knowing what went on there and imagining being imprisoned or beheaded by the Japanese. There are still major political tensions between the Chinese and Muslims there, and while we worked with both people we could see how it affected the area.


The year Trump was elected, the government slapped us with a surprise tax which majorly complicated my accounting work. We didn't have a choice about it, but had to figure out how to deal with it on our US taxes. We tried to use the Foreign Income Tax Credit, but we were unable to take the whole thing, and then the US Government removed the ability to recover what we lost two years later. There were multiple ways we ended up getting screwed. Negotiating with them was difficult because they were so frugal, and did not understand that we have to pay a lot more over here for both food and healthcare. It's possible to get a substantial meal for $4 USD there. Furthermore, at the end of every fiscal year, they would have some sort of "emergency" and say that they needed my husband to travel over there to fix some problem they created for themselves through trying to work harder, cheaper and faster, making these same mistakes over and over.

 

For the risks that we took with our careers, connections and time, and the access they had into our personal lives and our time and attention, my husband was not compensated adequately. He was aware of this, but kept negotiating every year. While it is certainly not an entitlement, they did not pay us enough to have access to Eastern medicine here, which quite a few other people I knew whose husbands were employed at similar levels in companies here were able to afford, and which probably helps people to be able to carry on at a grueling pace. Furthermore, they did not pay us enough to afford to pay for services we needed and still be able to retire, but I think that is common. It may not be common for people who had as much responsibility as my husband had, which is unfortunate because it meant he had to do things which put his health and life at risk because we could not afford to pay someone with better experience and expertise. Also, I was treated somewhat like a coworker and had to know too much of their business for not being compensated. The open-eneded nature of the relationship with my husband took our time and attention away from our own kids at important times. Because we got to know parents over there, I worried that this was the case for them, too. I heard that their wives were often irritated. I think they forgot that these wives did not marry their husbands because they were Yes Men, but because they were in love. I think they also forgot that these people are trying to raise children who appreciate their own family traditions and culture, and that corporate culture is a barrier to healthy family dynamics.

 

There are three consultants who work for them in the US, and we learned from the Vice President of the company that even though these people have been crucial for the success of the company and do not have overlapping functions (and it has been VERY successful financially), he chooses to rank them against each other annually and give the poorest performer no increase. It has been difficult to get them to keep up with the rate of inflation, and we had to really fight to get them to compensate us for the lost benefits from not working in an office, even though they were able to reach into our lives at all times of the day. One thing people who work from home do not think about is that their water, electricity and heating and cooling bills will be higher working from home, so in that respect it actually costs a company less and and an employee more to work from home. They were incredibly understanding when we were having health problems, though, maybe more so than employers here would have been, even though they decided to penalize my husband for our misfortune last year. And I'm going to say it was misfortune because we had no control over COVID, nor however long it was that our water heater was backdrafting, nor the behavior of our in-laws.

 

Early on, and several other times of the years, they taunted my husband with the prospect of opening an American branch so he would have some people to work with locally, but it became clear after they built a huge new campus in Malaysia and started taking the whole company on trips that this was an empty promise. We realized that the time developing the relationship with them for the purpose of lifting ourselves out of our own financial struggle and helping our community repair from the unemployment that happened after the IP was transferred to them had been a waste. The people we know who were experts eventually retired, and we know very few people our own age with the skills needed to support the technology they were developing here. They lured us in and then dumped us, just like narcissists and sociopaths do. Businesses make progress by stepping on the less fortunate. Even the companies who are started by people in our financial position end up doing that, it seems. When a company gets big enough, it seems the allure of the unsustainable hockey stick graph becomes a reason to devalue the humans who helped the company ever achieve that. I understand from things they have done that their intentions may on some level be philanthropic; however, I recognize elements of their business practice in common with what the Lester Brothers and George W. Johnson (of the Square Deal) tried to achieve in Broome County, New York, which threatened to overtake the lives of private individuals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.



If you want to break a brilliant person, this is how you do it. You make false promises year after year, then pacify the angry masses with something that looks like a gift, but further enslaves them, and then when they are sick and at the end of their rope, flash the Bulgari watch you just got "for cheap at the Vienna Outlet Mall." Then tell them they underperformed the year of the pandemic when their estranged father passed away and they were having to deal with their family's lack of emotional intelligence while their own nuclear family was recovering from being chronically poisoned and having vaccine reactions which the medical establishment and the people in their social circles refuse to admit exist. I guess we shouldn't have expected more from a manager who is a "professional alcoholic," due to the amount of stress he lives with because his boss a frugal engineer just like my own father. At least my own father didn't try to market himself as an environmentalist during the time he really wasn't. Austerity often backfires. Sorry, Dad. Stubborn men who think they know how everything and everyone should operate have made life far more difficult than it needs to be for people less able and time fortunate than they are.


These folks really need to read Alexander Deming's work on Total Quality Management. Of course Deming would have been opposed to their whole industry, because he believed that product quality went up with better procedures and work environment more than it did with increased surveillance. Our client required so much of their employees' time that it concerned me that it dangerously bordered on surveillance. We were concerned that one employee over there was suffering ill health from working too much. If they knew that Deming's work was critical in the success of postwar Japan and also the American automobile industry, maybe they would change their business and practices significantly, and maybe they would have less trouble retaining talented employees. For that matter, if they knew Japan's success was also largely due to the fact that the Marshall Plan gave them an even better Bill of Rights than we have in the US, maybe other leaders in Asia would change their own constitutions. In the US it is also illegal to discriminate against anyone in the workplace on the basis of  race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information. In order to travel to see our client, just to enter the country we had to choose a religion (we were atheist at the time). In addition to there being very few dark skinned people in white collar jobs there, we also saw very few people with disabilities, and very few women in decision-making positions, and the makeup of the company did not reflect the population of the country in the least. What people do not seem to understand about discrimination based on genetics is that there are different genetics that determine things like appearance, intelligence, infectious disease resistance, and fertility, so it is possible (as it was for my ancestors) to easily attract mates, reproduce, and solve complex problems, but then be incredibly vulnerable to viral illness, and that you can't tell this by looking at someone, or even running standard medical labs. Yet, people try to conflate appearance with these other genetic qualities all the time, and are often fooled by it.


But what do I know? I haven't had to dance a fine line between crooked politicians and angry spouses.


We cannot rule out the possibility that they were illegally surveilling us, due to what happened with our AI over the years, how our ideas seem to get stolen, and how the day after I called our client out on their use of Buddhism to guilt their employees into working more and harder, my Indonesian, Chinese and Hong Kong internet blog traffic disappeared suddenly. The island of Penang is small, and it is also the origin of 1MDB. I haven't figured out how it nucleated. In my life RPG there were too many associations that would be capable of doing something like this. I have not ruled out Y Combinator from the time I went to the Business Innovation Factory Conference, our experiences with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the very small degrees of separation I have between me and liberal billionaires through happenstance (this may be the strangest though about my life), or my artist associations and witchy interactions with the collective consciousness. Maybe it will be clearer when I finish reading Billion Dollar Whale, but I know that the only thing I really did "wrong" was to try to write honestly about my life. I mean, if Low Taek Jho had influence over royal families, Hollywood and the US Government, why wouldn't he be able to mess with our AI? Or what is to keep the Malaysian Government from surveilling its people and their business contacts and those peoples' affiliates? I can't get over how many ties there are to the Wharton School and criminal behavior. The stories of excess I have seen from upper level management and government are hard to stomach, I'll be honest. I wonder if that was the kind of indulgence my inlaws desired. I hope not, because it is gross.

Also, Mr. DiCaprio, it's hard to see you making movies about people not listening to scientists about climate change while hanging out with these sorts of selfish fools. But dang you folks in Hollywood sure are hoofing it these days. Thanks for the big giant black mirror. I wonder if people are ever going to get the message. Seems like we shouted loud enough.

I was raised to be “nice” to people, but I see now how my inability to identify the toxic and harmful behaviors and distance myself from them was not just a detriment to my own future, but that of everyone around me.

No more. My health, my brain, it’s all I have.

I'm glad I still have an imagination and can keep myself busy at home. McCarthy is still trying to censor me from beyond the grave, but that won't stop me from writing about these very serious threats to freedom that capitalism, communism and fascism are. I want corporations and nations alike to do better for the earth and it's people.


Sincerely,


Your bitch, Amy

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Life in the Big "Moral" City


I am concerned with the molecular challenges to equanimity. I would define equanimity as everyone being free. I would define freedom as living without pain, and in a state of creative contentment. Is this as elusive to other people as I think it is?

I consider myself an art historian and genealogist, and someone who fights for the little guy. Sometimes this can be bad when I point out to people they are not the little guy. I can see these things because someone took the time to point them out to me, and I am thankful for that, because they are ways I had enslaved myself.


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Christmas cards are an important tool for capitalism through engendering envy and greed. I think there are ways to share holiday cards that don't do this. I know an English teacher, for example, whose humility and humor is employed in a legendary way through holiday greetings. I appreciate that kind of intelligence.


Public displays of wealth at this time are a serious indicator of a person’s lack of concern with respect to how COVID affects people unequally, and also with what it means to be a responsible citizen. They also are demonstrative of a lack of basic understanding of the very real effects of climate change. I understand that before this crisis hit us, many of us were like Bunny Foo Foo, hopping along thinking that our consumerism and vices played little part in the struggles of others, but supply chains are fueled by the labor of people who make a lot less than many of us do.


People who live in areas that have been affected by wildfire and also have air quality problems who refuse to curtail unnecessary fuel consumption due to boredom, and not just because they need to pay the bills, probably actually need mental health services.


The government is misrepresenting the effectiveness of rapid tests. First of all, it is possible to have a false negative. Second of all, as another person pointed out, five days after a positive test is not adequate sequestration. I just talked to a guy whose only symptom was a cough and mental confusion. He had a positive test, but went back to work, which I find confusing. As I said in other writing, I would like to believe that this is just an innocent error in judgment on the part of our elected officials, and that they simply don’t understand the science behind these things, but as the situation continues to worsen, I wonder if they may have other agendas. I will not elaborate at this time, but if nothing is done to curtail unnecessary exposure and spread of potential psychiatric sequelae in the population, I will elaborate. I feel like this is an assault on consciousness.


It is likely that homes which have higher levels of VOCs are more likely to burn in a wildfire. When I read reports of wildfires, I always hear stories of homes that miraculously were spared. Sometimes it is because someone had time to wet the property, but not always. A campaign to study this would not be a bad idea. It would also not be a bad idea to study the relationship between the VOC levels in a home, proximity to large streets, and per capita spending. For that matter, it would also be a good idea to study the relationship between VOCs and vaccine reactions. I believe there may also be a relationship between VOC exposure and mental health. Additionally, I think a relationship between VOC exposure and COVID sequelae is likely.


If you are unfortunate enough to have a serious vaccine reaction like I did, you’re hard pressed to get anyone to believe you or help you. Furthermore, you end up being bullied by the glitchy people on both sides of the issue. And if seriously disabled by COVID or the vaccine, the harsh reality is that a lot of people are going to find out that our disability system is not set up to be a support for capitalism for anyone receiving it, despite the nasty stereotypes. You can’t get disability if anyone else in your household makes money, so in a world where it takes at least two people to afford even the least expensive housing, it means one person is stuck doing all the work for money, and that person really needs to at least make a middle class wage. I am fairly certain I am disabled, but I do not know how I am going to get a diagnosis. My situation is so weird. I feel like it is Functional Neurological Disorder. I know how to treat it, but it prevents me from driving. I need to wear a respirator when I am out on the road.

 

I am going to have to renew my driver's license, and I feel like it is unsafe to require people to remove their masks indoors to get a new picture. I think the government should allow people to use a previous picture for their driver's license, or provide an extension until COVID is better managed.


It is a fallacy that this problem has been caused solely by the elite. As consumers, we create the demand, and they respond to it. We have just become so easy to control that they can hypnotize us into wanting things, even when we do not need them. We wanted easy solutions to the pandemic, so they gave us vaccines, and now that they are not working, they are trying to figure out how to unload their waste without getting stuck with the cost. They are also trying not to bring attention to the fact the vaccines are no longer working in people who are already vaccinated, and that our heroes failed us, maybe even making the situation worse than it would have been if we had been honest about how our material neediness was going to be our species’ Achilles Heel.


People who have not suffered infection at this point or for whom infection was mild may not consider the seriousness of participating in spread for selfish gain. Also, in some people infection may manifest just as brain fog or fatigue, and may impair a person’s memory about even being sick. These otherwise asymptomatic people are probably still capable of spreading the virus. The virus can increase anxiety which may make them feel that they desperately need to work on something, when what they really need to do is rest. They may try to seduce or guilt others into connection in some codependent way.

 

We keep having this happen - we know a homeschooling family that is still not vaccinating, but also won't wear masks, and keeps asking my daughter to meet up. I have explained to the mother how significantly infection has harmed the other people in our family neurologically, and she just can't seem to get it through her head. I told my daughter that none of the rest of us support her getting together with them anymore, and that she needs to communicate to them that she will not be getting together while there is an active increase in infections, and also not until they either choose to wear proper masks and have immunity from a COVID infection or vaccination. I also expressed my concern earlier last year that she needs to be honest with other people she gets together who are vaccinated and wear masks that she sometimes meets with these people. I am really frustrated right now that my daughter doesn't understand biology (and that her friends and our extended family don't, either). I've already been through this. Yes, I had vaccine reactions, and they weren't just a day long, they were weeks long, but it was so much less severe than having COVID before I was vaccinated.

 

The breakthrough infections I had were a nuisance, and I certainly don't want to have anymore, but those are preferable to having a native infection without any vaccination. So my recommendation to the wary would be to get the Moderna vaccine, and report any reactions you have to VAERS. Be honest about them, and don't exaggerate. I had what felt like Guillain-Barre, which I believe was swelling of my nervous system that seriously aggravated sciatica and other spinal cord injuries I have had, but once the inflammation went down I was mostly okay. Any remedies that you think are going to work on COVID (the mother explained that the government was hiding cures, and that we shouldn't be afraid) should also work on vaccine reactions, and if they don't, well, they probably weren't going to work on COVID, because the vaccine is mostly a hamstrung version of the virus. I did run across the questionable information being peddled by certain "natural health practitioners" and I haven't had a chance to evaluate their treatments yet, but I can say that I don't see any reason why some of these MLM products they peddle would work to support metabolism in such a way as to make up for the ways COVID damages it.

 

Furthermore, a one day down tick in positive tests does not mean we are at the end, and it's important to stop believing that hype, because positive cases seem to "decline" every weekend. People are more motivated to get tested during the week so they don't spread whatever they have at work, but on the weekend there's no need to have to tell an employer you can't come in. Case numbers usually jump back up by Monday evening.


There is an important difference between taking shots at a person for things they can’t help about themselves (lack of wealth, time, space, weight, neurodiversity issues), and pointing out ways they uphold the status quo and systems of inequity through participation in managerial-class value displays.


It is messed up to give people food one knows makes them sick, when it has been discussed over and over, and especially when people are trying to stay healthy in case they get exposed. Another infraction, and I will elaborate. Poisoning people with one’s values is unkind.

 

Furthermore, if it is possible to smell the breath of a low-carb dieter or juice faster (ahem) from 15 feet across the room, 6 feet was probably not far enough.

On that note, Michelle Buteau's Buteaupia gave me the laugh I really needed!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What is a "Good Scientist?" Secret Hitler and Aunt People


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Please note that this piece was initially composed on December 7, 2021, and that in the past few days Fauci has been having to backpedal on his advice to live it up over the holidays, because of the disaster that has ensued.


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I am a scientist, but think a lot about family roles and their psychological impact. I am a wife and a mother, and much has been written about those particular roles. I am also a daughter and a sister. I did a lot of work examining those functions of mine earlier in life and determined that my sister and I were probably not going to be close in our adult lives. We both recognize how much we have in common, and we enjoy our connection. But as a family doctor she is a clinician, not a researcher, and that often puts us at odds with each other, because I was the latter. Things that are found in research aren’t used in clinical practice for a long time (except for vaccines, ahem). Weaknesses in the medical system have had a great impact on my life, and these are systemic fallibilities that we both recognize, but the two of us have different levels of risk involved with questioning the established system.


I think this is putting extra strain on our relationship, beyond what we feel from being mothers of twice exceptional kids, while likely being twice exceptional ourselves. She probably had a lot more information about neurodiversity than I did when she became a mother, since she was a doctor. Everything I learned, I had to uncover on my own, carefully noting how it aligned with what I learned studying neuroscience. There was quite a bit I didn’t understand about psychology and the way the mind works, particularly my own mind, which made it difficult for me to understand the puzzle of health in a way a physician with clinical mental health training would. It also made for an incomplete understanding of neuroscience.


My sister shared with me how overwhelming it is to be a doctor right now. She actually doesn’t have to keep her job - we live in America. Many people who are unhappy with their jobs are quitting right now. Doctoring was always a moral thing for her and the money happens to be good. She has complained about her work to me as well, but the relative amount of my attention that has taken is low compared to other things we discuss, and also, and she never seemed to be soliciting advice, just telling me what was going on in her life. She didn't repeat herself much, so I got a good picture of the situation and felt like she was being realistic. What I have discovered about my own health has been difficult for her to process because the approach I take relies heavily on nutrigenomics, and I arrived at that approach through a lot of trial and error and unhelpful expensive doctor visits.


Our mother has always been very intent on my sister and I being friends. I was there for the births of both my niece and nephew, and my sister was there for the birth of my daughter. In both cases, we provided critical information to each other’s care team which may have saved our lives during childbirth. We respect each other greatly, but we don’t have much time for each other, and I have never had free childcare to accomplish what I do. I think she forgets that most people don’t have that luxury. We don't have time for actual friendship, and that was something that was a factor in our relationship long before she became a doctor. She made it clear early on through her choices that “superfriends” were more valuable than sisterhood, and I think she was probably right. Sisterhood locks us into family trauma and the past in ways only superfriends and quality community connections can heal. We are both heavily invested in the values we try to embody in our lives, which don’t always appear to align from the outside, and it’s painful when we have these realizations.


We are both Aquarians, and have simultaneously had the realization that we need to keep our circles small. She doesn’t study astrology, but I took it up a few years ago as a curiosity, and found specific interest in Harvard history professor Richard Tarnas’ studies on astrology and the development of western consciousness. Tarnas’ initial study was of the archetypology of the planet Uranus, which he equated with the Promethean urge in the mind of man. It is a fascinating read, and I recommend it to anyone trying to grasp the study of astrology. Part of his hypothesis has to do with the awakening of the conscious scientific mind in mid-life. He found that around age 42, uniformly, great minds like Plato, Aristotle, Galileo, William James, Freud, and Jung, who were all born when the planet Uranus was conjunct (very close to) the sun. Additionally, all were simultaneously struck by major epiphanies that informed their work exactly when Uranus was halfway through the 84 year transit that it takes across the sky, when it was directly opposite from where it was on the day of their birth. He documents his evidence carefully.


The ceiling in Area 57.


Both my sister and I have strained relationships with 3rd Wave Feminist in-laws who still control family matters. These are the women we saw get to have everything they wanted when they were our age, and they still need it that way, it seems. They are unable to relinquish control of our attention at the holidays, even if we are not physically present with them. In my case, it took a pandemic to break the stranglehold, but even so and despite our asking years ago for them to stop making surprise visits to our home, they insist on turning our attention to them and their materialism in some way over the holiday by playing Santa. We are burdened by stuff. I am the only one who takes things to the thrift store. Giving unnecessary gifts to children is a burden on caregivers, primarily women. I am frustrated that these women do not seem to understand how they constantly make life more difficult for me by giving us things that have little utility or even sentimental value. What I find most upsetting about this whole situation is the obvious fact that what these women were fighting for with their version of feminism was essentially matriarchal fascism centered around Lilliputian ideals. That is as bad as the patriarchy. I know that sounds like loaded language, so let me explain.


It’s no secret that everything is twice as expensive as it was for our parents because the economy adjusted to women going to work. Since I was a kid, Christmas has gotten out of hand. In my family growing up, we just spent it as a nuclear family. It was a respite from all the church services we participated in because we were part of the choir. Early on, when people talked about keeping God in the holidays, I was like, “Well, yeah.” I didn’t really understand the insidious effect materialism has on the holidays in the context of an extended family.


When I was growing up, I did not have a close relationship with my aunts, uncles or cousins. We did not spend the holidays together. Nor did we spend all of our summer and winter breaks together. That didn’t cloud my view of them - the breaks, holidays, or family. I assumed they were having their own similar celebrations. My sister had even less of a connection with them, because I at least corresponded with some of them by snail mail for a time. The number of times I wrote was maybe a handful; just enough to give me a sense that we were connected, but certainly not enough to actually know them. I almost never received material gifts from them, and it was never assumed that any of them had the financial wherewithal or energy to do that sort of thing, nor was it expected.


During the resulting private nuclear family holidays with just my parents and sister, I rarely had to hear people complain about work. Or at least, I should say, the complaining did not lead me to be excessively concerned for the person’s wellbeing or their effect on the people around them. I think that is part of the reason I am an optimistic person. Furthermore, my parents’ attention wasn’t divided trying to entertain a bunch of people, so we actually connected during those times. This is how I imagined the holidays being for our own family, but they were often abbreviated by large holiday celebrations with extended family with a lot more bellyaching, manipulation and gluttony, enough for me to see the difference and know my preference. My holidays spent with only nuclear family, as a child or an adult, have been more grateful in nature. I suppose I should have realized how the holiday dynamics in my family life would be different when my in-laws regularly hosted holiday Open Houses which included their business contacts, that deep connection with their nuclear family was not their priority when they were raising their own children.


We all feel like we are taking one for the family team at the holidays. Perhaps it is so our mothers-in-law can repair the psychological damage done to our siblings-in-law due to the loss of their fathers to mental health issues. I know this is the case with my sister’s mother-in-law. She made an edict that all Thanksgivings would be spent at her house because that’s when they get together to remember their lost family members. It’s terribly inflexible. Sometimes we need to just move on, or pick a day that doesn’t interfere with our grandchildren’s lives with their family and friends. I know my sister and my husband's sister felt that way, too, at times over the years. I spent a good deal of time over the last decade mourning the loss of the dream of a simple life over the holidays - a dream I had when I got married and bought a house. Both mothers-in-law attempted to circumvent any efforts for independence by opening their homes to whoever wanted to come, but failed to recognize how family dynamics shape the entire experience, and that others might not feel so comfortable, especially when there is not enough seating, or the food gets put away too soon because of a compulsive need to appear perfect.


Holidays did not feel like an obligation at first, but that feeling certainly grew.


For many years in a row, I witnessed my husband’s sibling family dynamics and noticed how they subconsciously talk louder and louder over each other to get their points across. I got the sense that things must have been pretty chaotic in their house when they were young. From the stories I heard, it certainly seems so. DH likes to remind me of how he felt like my sister and I were overly competitive at board games. I realized when he said that more recently that my sister and I might be so focused on beating each other that we forget other people are involved in the game. We’re always just trying to play our best game; not cheat. It may have felt like cheating to him because my sister and I have a psychic connection and drive each other to do better by learning from each other. No shouting is necessary; we just play the game intelligently and fairly, and listen.


Note that my sister organized a huge mask-sewing campaign in the beginning of the pandemic when I was dubious about the effectiveness of varying qualities of masks. They do not all have the same effectiveness, and encouraging this behavior before we had characterized COVID’s behavior felt irresponsible to me. I felt like we needed to slow down rather than speed up, and this is generally a way that my sister and I live our lives differently, so I can imagine feeling stuck was a particular frustration she was concerned about that I wasn’t so much. I wasn’t sure she was being a good example when she did what she did, but I know that she made it so people could socialize more safely before companies could respond with other solutions. Furthermore, she was able to quickly mobilize an army of mask-sewing women where she lives, and provide them with instructions for something that was probably more effective than what I witnessed people wearing around where I live. To my mother, she looked like a hero. I was worried she was encouraging reckless behavior by encouraging mingling so early on, but I didn’t know how to express this to her at the time. I was worried she wasn’t being a good example, and that her particular bias and tendency toward busyness and heroics was clouding her better judgment at a time when circumstances were indicating an important need to slow down. I never said anything to her directly because I did not want to hurt her feelings, but inside I was a mess. She does things that scare me. I homeschooled, and I am sure that scared her, and that there have been many things she has had to bite her tongue about because I question everything. Nevertheless, I have spoken with another person who noticed a physician behaving less carefully than others by encouraging large community gathering (albeit socially distanced) quite early on. But I was still scrubbing all my groceries because I have never had any good reasons to trust anyone to use the obvious and necessary precautions regarding any sort of infectious disease. Everyone I have known has been pretty laissez-faire regarding personal responsibility in this department, and I think that is still true because of all the misinformation we were given over the course of this thing by the people we trusted to help us. Perhaps what I am writing is too little, too late, because with the misinformation being circulated now by the media and our government, I don’t know how the truth will ever survive.


In my family, we were expected to get along, and disagreements were not tolerated. My husband pointed out when he read a draft of this piece that it was not healthy to do that to children; but neither is totally divorcing oneself from any responsibility for their behavior, and whacking them with a wooden spoon carried around in the back pocket when they get too loud for Mom or Dad’s migraine. How we discipline our children has permanent effects on their psychology. I do think my parents’ intolerance of our disagreements when we were young had the effect of helping my sister and I be civil and respectful with each other as adults, and generally get along well with others, but it made both of us internalize our conflict which isn’t good for our health. I think the same happens with neglect, or at least that has been my observation in the other situation I describe in this paragraph.


We both have had personal struggles with how to approach discipline with our children since like most people, our parents were imperfect. Ultimately, we want to encourage them to be healthy in mind and spirit. It would have been helpful to know more about childhood development before I became a mother. I was as permissive a parent as you can get, and allowed my children to learn from their mistakes like an organism would in nature, without my intervention. I did give opinions and supporting evidence for those opinions, and tried to point out potential safety issues when I could, while acknowledging that bad outcomes often have silver linings, so it’s not like I was absent. I treated my kids like little scientists, which had its own set of benefits and drawbacks, because I tended to approach emotional issues in pragmatic and material ways rather than through listening. I fell into that approach naturally because my kids and I were so sensitive and connected, and also because I have mirror touch synesthesia and couldn’t tolerate their discomfort for very long, which meant I felt an impetus to pacify them. Other forms of control often used by other parents ended up feeling traumatic to all of us. We weren’t good about identifying our feelings, possibly due to neurological issues from chemical exposures and head injuries, which may be fairly common. I now know after reading a bit about the neuroscience of trauma that continued exposure without appropriate expression of emotion compounds the problem of trauma-induced aphasia, and that is why I continue to "do the work" even though I am essentially putting others on trial in identifying my sources of trauma. Not all of it comes from the past, so it behooves us to identify ongoing sources and have better boundaries, lest we lose our ability to speak of these things forever. For this reason, if my kids need space, I give it to them. We try to do many right-brained activities here (or we are drawn to them); art and music are particularly therapeutic for encouraging self-expression. Other people rely on physical activity to encourage right brain connection, but if attention is not paid to the amount of time spent in catabolism, it can have the opposite effect on speech and language due to how consciousness is affected by metabolism. This is a phenomenon I think many people and even many doctors do not understand. Doctors’ understanding of metabolism and nutrition are poor at best because of the way they are trained.


Giving my children space, not using corporal punishment with them, and encouraging their interests helped them to be naturally more self aware than other kids we knew. Enough people in my circle do mindfulness meditation now that I notice many of them being more self aware (even the historically problematic individuals who are now doing things like drinking less alcohol). With people being less dependent on me for emotional validation, I have more time to pursue my creative pursuits. I have this constant dialogue in my head, so I just write it out and it’s therapeutic for me, helps me figure things out that I often can’t, and I can share what I learned so it helps someone else. (This medium poses challenges for people who are not sighted or do not have the privilege of time like I have had, though). I try to edit quite a bit to make things concise, but I do know that themes and vignettes can recur in my writing on occasion. I try not to do it that often. I massage the resulting record of my stream of consciousness until I feel that it is clear, post it on my blog - voila! I guess that is what being a writer is like. Some people have difficulty with conversational tone in writing, while others have difficulty with technical jargon, so I try to strike a nice balance which is approachable by most people. I don't have time to write for special audiences right now. It is the information that is important. It bothers me that I have to explain any of these things at all. This is a blog. It is amazing the sorts of things people will use to discredit a person’s perspective, typos and access to editors notwithstanding.


When I was a kid, the author Sandra Dallas started a library at our church and I volunteered to help. In her recent newsletter, she discussed not quitting one’s day job and writing a little bit every day. Technically, I have been doing this, I just was never paid for the majority of the work I did. (And that applies to my work as an artist, too). I feel like I have faced a lot of unfair judgment for never having a paying job, and that a lot of my family members viewed my writing as a passing fancy rather than anything important. The way they treated me with respect to my time certainly reinforced that perspective for me. They always acted as though their own time was more valuable than mine, but did not understand that there was no way for me to come up with more energy or time to hold a paying job, even after quitting most of my volunteer activities. They were things I carefully fit around supporting my own nuclear family allowing me to remain flexible in my care duties, and I did not really have time to provide emotional support for my sibling or my husband’s sibling while trying to do these things, especially over the holidays. Neither did our household really have energy for the continual babysitting of the younger cousins of our working sisters. I understand how older cousins can be revered, but I also understand that it can be a burden if they aren’t getting their own needs for intellectual stimulation or mature emotional connection met. And with kids who are trying to transition to adulthood who need to have their wits about them to do schoolwork and learn how to drive, we really don't need exposure that doesn't directly benefit us somehow.


My mother’s favorite animal is the goose. Both my husband and I heard at some point in our lives that geese mate for life. It dawned on us that maybe this was another one of those “scientific facts'' that were actually just rumors, and it turns out that is true. Only 44 percent of geese are monogamous. Monogamy in geese usually fails when the pair are unable to create a successful nest together. And they don’t even have to passive-aggressively argue with in-laws over how to spend the holidays for eight weeks out of every year! If the holidays are what makes a home, how does constantly having to be at someone else's nest or answering their needy texts affect our own? What if negotiating that annually becomes a mark on the calendar that now feels like a cancer because the waves of drama circle out around that date for weeks and monopolize our time and attention? It erodes my desire to write as I become increasingly flabbergasted by people’s choices to feed into that drama dynamic and their blindness to the ways they use others’ attention for minutae to fill their own emotional needs. (Hint: You have to *be* Transphobe Voldemort to know Transphobe Voldemort, and you have to be a copyright monster to know one). Creativity is not so limited that we need to own it, and it is wrong to pretend that the origin of something creative does not ever involve the influence of others who might not receive credit. It’s rather more important for our interdependence in society that everyone feels safe, has enough, and can express themselves without fear of being bullied by someone who thinks they should be disproportionately rewarded for their particular contribution to the collective consciousness, which always involves standing on the shoulders of giants. Ahem.


<cough, cough>

 

My sister-in-law works redecorating vacation homes for the wealthy. Much like with the friend I had who was a hair stylist, I have been privy to the stories about the horrible behavior of her wealthy clients; because of her continued occupational exposure to trauma, she requires a lot of emotional support. She has been saying the same thing for the last 9 years. My sister-in-law doesn’t like what she does, and she doesn’t know how to change jobs this late in life while raising a child. I feel that. But listening to her complain for all these years certainly did not help my view of the wealthy, and it made me detest any effort on our part to emulate wealthy people. Most wealthy people become wealthy by taking advantage of others somehow; they undercompensate people for their time and ingenuity, keeping the underclass of creatives unable to pay others for the same sorts of labor. When I learn about the industries her clients work in and how they make their money, and hear her talk about how she is treated by them, many things about the way greed corrupts people in this country become clear. And it’s not something I care to mourn while repeating their errors. Maybe she would feel better if she could take a real break from all that, but just like being a doctor, the cost of art school is insane, so one ends up having one’s life potential derailed by sunk cost. I feel that, too, even though the cost for me was just time (graduate programs in science and engineering pay students - a pittance, but it’s something).


I think particular lifestyles tend to make people focus more on what the potential salary is for a profession than if it is a good fit, which leads to even more unhappiness and a need to claim ownership of anything that might make it big - even single words like “Meta.” All of the professions my sister-in-law talks about going into have one thing in common - they are high paying careers - not necessarily things she would enjoy or be good at. Life is not about salary, but because of the values of people we keep close in our lives we can become imprisoned by thinking it is. The government has a useful website with salary information for anyone who wants to take that single-minded approach for choosing a profession. There is no need for people to make themselves unnecessarily vulnerable on Reddit, though salary discussions are important, as is a dialogue about what psychologically humane work looks like in a capitalist post-pandemic world. When looking for new employment, it is a good idea to compare any offers against this database. Please note that the government website does not include the value of benefits packages. Companies have been trying to use people’s ignorance with respect to salary negotiation against them, particularly in Colorado, so this data is a particular public service to us.


Beyond that, trying to get free career answers from people who don't have those answers makes no sense. I believe a lot of what is going on with respect to salary insecurity and also the pandemic has to do with the way Boomer holidays are celebrated engendering jealousy and materialism, and a reluctance to “do the work” on ourselves to change the system for the better, in lieu of socialization. Scheduling pressure from the educational calendar creates a feeling of scarcity that permeates the national ethos with fear of missing out; industries like medicine and religion are particularly prone to acting as amplifiers of that fear and drastically influencing the behavior of the authoritarian herd.


Our sisters and we didn’t have radically different parenting values, but they were different. Because of our homeschooling, we generally learned to turn inward when everyone was out of school because we noticed that stores were more crowded, people were grumpy on the road, and the flu was always going around. They of course had to use this time to live their lives, because that is all that the system allows when one is in it. Very little time is left to question authority when one is a slave to the academic schedule. So there was a lot of pressure for us to go against our better nature as a nuclear family and get together because of the time scarcity schooling families felt during the holidays. No wonder it is Capricorn season - Kronos, its ruler, is the God of Time.


I feel like there was a subconscious impetus for my sister-in-law and her brother to try to appear like the best aunt or uncle. I think it is a confusing thing for kids to receive inappropriately large gifts from people who did not have time for them during the rest of the year, and who don’t really know them as individuals. It ends up being a platitude easily payable by the wealthy, not a gift given because of any real connection, and perpetuates that sort of materialism. Moreover, the way the holiday was celebrated, I didn’t get to know my in-laws in a way that made me want to spend more time with them. They didn’t share much about their childhood or thoughts on deep subjects in all the years I spent with them; because of this I tended to give them alcohol as gifts because I only knew they seemed to like it a lot. I only got to know that they were very wealthy or that they had expensive taste, so if that is the message they were trying to send, they were successful in conveying it. They were so intent on avoiding discussion of what made them who they are today that I suspected there were things they were hiding, and because I am a genealogist, I found out that was true, and that it was uncomfortable stuff that they hadn’t really addressed in their subconscious behavior. Their fixation on selectively remembering the past as positive seemed like a subconscious effort to hold on to family when faith was falling apart. A wise person would understand that personal faith, especially under these psychological conditions, is much more important than any illusory material family bonds. Furthermore, I learned that everyone in their family who appeared wealthy didn't actually own much; they just had a lot of loans.


I have informed my kids that they are under no obligation to spend holidays with me or each other. I think it is awful to be continually disappointed by sibling and parent dynamics we may have gone to college specifically to get away from, and if there is anything like that in our family, I want them to feel free from it. Why do Boomer parents subconsciously enable dependence? Did their parents do that?


During a pandemic, especially, we need to take care of our mental and physical health, and the perpetuation of family holiday trauma is certainly at odds with that, because this year’s COVID situation is no better than last year’s. After a year it should be evident to everyone in the US that waves come two weeks after holidays.


“They” are telling me it’s going to be a “perfect tsunami” this time. I get messages from the collective. This is another way I have been marginalized by modern medicine’s ignorance of what neuroscience, psychology and physics understands about consciousness. In western medicine, we pathologize psychic phenomena, but certain branches of neuroscience and physics have been trying to make sense of this for a long time. Nearly everyone who has made a contribution to this knowledge has been persecuted by religion. Prometheus the Awakener, besides being a record of the evolution of human consciousness, is a record of the global fight to understand the nature of God and how we are all connected throughout history. Scientists who do not understand their own stream of consciousness have contributed to the intolerance directed toward those of us who *know* but do not have the words. The goal of enlightenment is to know, be able to recognize, and use this connection to help change the course of human destiny for the better. It is an ability that comes only through slowing down and noticing the transcendental, and is forced into hiding when we are hurried and under duress, so the societal systems we have in the manner they currently operate are a direct obstacle to this consciousness that connects us all. I am fairly certain the connection is metabolic due to studies of insect communication and my own experiences with my family members, animals and the natural world, but that is not what this writing is about.


How our leaders are handling the holidays feels like a capitalist conspiracy to avoid taking the time to speak the truth, even if it was just ignorance. Certain populations seem to be blindly following recommendations for boosters, specifically - wealthy Neoliberals who want to feel that the industry they supported for fighting infectious disease didn’t play a even a small negative role in the pandemic through encouraging risk-taking behavior over the holidays. These people have also failed to consider that there are less fortunate people who have difficulty getting time off work to renew their driver’s license, let alone get boosters and deal with brain fog and sleep deprivation every 10 weeks. On that sort of schedule, it’s important to note such reactions as adverse events. Is anyone else going to stand up against this classist and eugenicist dogma with me, or am I going to remain alone until the virus has mutated enough that my kidneys and heart give out because there seems to be no way to adequately protect myself? This is so discouraging. COVID does not treat people equally. I think people without children or whose kids have moved out of the house have no idea what kind of stress families are under. As of October 2021, the CDC reported that 140,000 children in the US alone had lost a primary or secondary caregiver to COVID. Disproportionately, this has been children who are minorities, with the largest risk being in the Alaskan and Native American ethnic groups. I am part of the latter. Furthermore, my husband's and my families were both impacted by losses due to the Flu and Tuberculosis pandemic as well as the Great Depression. The losses our family incurred impacted our parents' upbringing significantly, because they all had parents who were orphaned. So THIS IS MORE THAN PERSONAL. According to The Archibald Project, the foster care system is under tremendous invisible pressure right now, and this is not something I hear anyone talking about, and it's our country's future. The conservatives I know say they are all about protecting personal freedoms, but they do not realize how their refusal to take responsiblity for their own actions is a terrible burden on the people around them, especially children. Furthermore, neo-liberals unwittingly increased the burden on families further by adding to the pro-corporate pro-consumer anti-family effect of capitalism when the weak whose backs ordinarily help perpetuate system were unable to keep up. Capitalism clearly runs on the bones on the weak, and it is gluttony, greed and ambition that keep that monster in charge. What better way to perpetuate it than further enslave us to bourgeois ideals?


This is a sore spot for me, because my family got sick from our extended families who were part of the school system or child care often enough that it was a nuisance long before COVID was a twinkle in Dr. Charles Lieber’s eye. I lost a lot of time and energy battling infectious illness because of the carelessness of others, often having the finger pointed back at me for my own weakness, when it turns out that I am a carrier of multiple invisible genetic diseases. When I was pregnant with my first child, another one of my work colleagues was pregnant at the same time and we both got the flu twice during our second trimesters from coworkers whose young children were in daycare, significantly increasing the risk for our unborn children. There is new research coming out about the risks to children who were gestated during the COVID pandemic. I even had a woman in a playgroup when my son was little say that breastfeeding must not matter because it didn’t seem to protect us from illness which we often picked up from her daughter. It turns out genetics are probably a large factor in susceptibility to COVID sequelae. The genetics of the virus itself matter, as does how those genetics interact with that of the host. This is true of any environmental interaction. So it’s possible to be someone who doesn’t show a lot of outward signs of illness to still carry that illness, transmit it, and be more susceptible to something like cancer or dementia. The development of those conditions are increased by the same environmental illness; but the effects can go unnoticed by the sufferer. They are no less deadly.

 

When the going gets rough... the navel gazing becomes more intense.



Over the years, I felt like people who were vaccinated (particularly against influenza) used that as an excuse to behave cavalierly with respect to infection, and I fear the exact same thing happening with the COVID vaccine. The way vaccines have been marketed to us has been disingenuous in that the phenomenon of asymptomatic carriers is uniformly ignored, which is an important reason why COVID is still spreading. I just talked to an insurance guy who had a positive test but went back to work because "he only had a cough." He did let it slip that he had been having cognitive difficulties as well. It bothers me that people aren't being more transparent about that, but I suppose some people are accustomed to feeling that way semi-regularly, even before COVID. That was common for me when I was on a low carb diet and can be when I don't get enough sleep or have too much stress. Then there's this woman on a recent airplane flight. The promotion of the prone to false-negative rapid tests, and the new recommendations to cut quarantine in half after a positive test are certainly not going to help (EDIT: Thank you to the CDC for budging a bit, and at least on the website underscoring the importance of mask wearing). I saw some really dirty stuff from people who were unable to be honest about their children’s or their own health because of their fear of missing out. Over the years, I tried all sorts of strategies to avoid catching whatever illness my niblings would have at Christmas from being in school. I eventually figured out that because of the timing of when school lets out and how people do their shopping, that Christmas celebrations have often had people either getting or getting over something while they were still infectious, so even if they weren’t outright lying about the health of their children, the children were often carrying some ailment.


With my own extended family I settled on mid-January for us to get together to avoid this issue. That’s when “birthday season” starts for us, anyway. My inlaws’ birthday season is November, so the pressure to gather is near constant through flu season, which has never been effectively controlled by vaccines alone, despite the industry’s attempts to convince us otherwise. Blow me to Bermuda, indeed. Neither side of the family budged in such a way as to let up the pressure on us; our self-employed in-laws leave town in October and usually roll back in for birthday season, expecting attention, typically within a day of their return. In the past they have given us an ETA before leaving, and just when we are starting to get back into the groove, they return early. This is slightly better than what they used to do, which was show up at our door unannounced. We spent the first 11 years of our oldest child's life living away from relatives, so that kept their visits confined to a discrete period of time over the holidays - but after they moved closer to us, that's when we lost our autonomy. My decision to not celebrate with my own family until January came as a necessity, because there just wasn't enough energy to give to them after my in-laws had their way with us. In fact, what happened for several years which led to my decision that something had to give was that my daughter developed appendicitis, my husband had kidney stones one year, and a grand mal seizure that broke his shoulder another, and I had a hypertensive crisis, and those events all happened in January after my in-laws hopped back into their RV and resumed their business lives. In some years, we made the executive decision to avoid seeing the niblings over Thanksgiving, and those were the few years we were able to avoid illness over the holidays, because of our mothers' and sisters' tendencies to downplay or minimize the symptoms of runny nose, cough, and sleeplessness. What's really frustrating about this behavior is that they have expressed that they wish to stay in their home as long as possible as they age, disdain for assisted living, and they assume my husband will be available or well enough to care for them when their cognition continues to decline. Furthermore, upon their death, because of the way they choose to handle their finances, there will be no estate left. They seem to be expecting the care they need in their old age to not cost anything, and that it is something my husband will do because they are nearby, when their relationships with his sister and brother have been a lot more reciprocal and respectful, and his brother has gloated about all the resources he has (he complained to me that he was sad that he never liked any of his work despite making "four times the average household in the US").


It used to bother me that they weren't around to help us through the hard times, but when my husband had his seizure, I got to see that they did not know how to help. Their help amounted to hanging out at our house and instructing us on all the ways I needed to optimize our credit cards. They did bring us food, but they ended up eating more than they brought, and drinking a lot more. I know now that was exactly the opposite of what a person recovering from a seizure and their actual support people need. In the years that followed, both my mother and father-in-law had seizures over the holidays, but they fortunately did not break any bones. Out of curiosity, in 2019 after I spent three weeks ill with panic attacks and aphasia after my mother-in-law hosted my son's college graduation party, I looked to see how much time we had spent at their places using my Google Maps timeline, and it was significant. There was no time or energy to spend with anyone else, it became clear to me. My depression suddenly had an identifiable source. Their house was constantly being remodeled, and they hosted so many people there is no way there was enough oxygen. Their house does not used forced air, so there is no way to bring fresh air into the space they entertain in. I learned that commercial spaces have to use very strict calculations for return air to avoid making people sick, and that large amounts of people are not considered in the construction of residences. So fourteen people in such a small space might actually suffocate people with underlying metabolic issues like mine (and that might make them prone to gloating about their income).


There are many benefits to not doing things in lock step with the school system. Everything is less expensive and less busy during the school year. That is one of the ways people in the system are at a disadvantage, and how by participating in the educational system, the way it is currently scheduled, they help perpetuate that disadvantage. If the school system did not require everyone to operate in lock step, the ability of corporations to artificially raise prices would be lessened. But the way the school year works, for consumers, it is like shooting fish in a barrel for corporations. I believe that this has the effect of making holiday seasons into an important component of Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work in economics. It works against families and educators. It works against all of us. I see that although it appears the vaccine and boosters are totally ineffective against the spread of the omicron variant, advertisements for travel are permeating the collective consciousness. While we were extremely privileged to be able to travel, and internationally at that, when we did it was the cheapest time when it wasn’t a pandemic, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise. We often had help with the cost. In a post-pandemic world, we should be mindful of when we travel. Air travel during flu season was never intelligent; it’s less intelligent now. Regardless of the cause, it is true that the Airline Pilots Association saw only 6 deaths in 2020, and 109 just through September 2021, and that those deaths were likely related to COVID in some way because an increase that large is a statistical anomaly. To outsmart the virus, we actually have to be smart and not do things when everyone else is or because they are. Is that possible? Can the educational system become a participant in the solution? I think it can, but not the way it currently runs. In a system where children learn at their own pace, this might be possible.


I have had this weird sense that social darwinism has been at work in my life for a long time, so the issues with COVID vaccination feel personal. I made a piece of art two years ago based on some pages I tore out of a dictionary. I had never torn a book before for the purpose of making art. I chose two facing random pages where the dictionary opened naturally, and they happened to be from the S section, spanning many terms that I would find to be important over the last two years, including social darwinism, which I had not heard before. From Merriam Webster:


social darwinism n (1887) : an extension of Darwinism to social phenomena; specifically : a sociological theory that sociocultural advance is the product of intergroup conflict and competition and the socially elite classes (such as those possessing wealth and power) possess biological superiority in the struggle for existence

 

Butterflies, a collaboration with National Geographic and Merriam Webster, origami and acrylic on canvas board



I have not been quiet about the way the holidays have affected my family’s health over the years. We are the canaries, and every day I find a new person who, at the most basic level, thinks we don't deserve to exist because we are "snowflakes." A burden. My whole life, I have been getting the message that I am a burden through others’ actions because I am slow due to aphasia I suffered on and off over my life and probably Asperger's. It's mean. I am done with it.


“They” are telling me that what happened in Nazi Germany was around this very subject - people of "genetic superiority" not wanting to take part in systems of equanimity. Thinking they weren’t like the rest of us, when maybe they were. Not wanting to slow down for the rest of us. Dragging unvaccinated children along on holiday travel when even in the adult population, protection against transmission is poor at best, rather than using our educated voices to speak out against that insanity. Really, people? I do realize that many people made their travel plans during the summer when we were lured into feeling safe. I noticed all the perfectly timed travel advertisements, right as the vaccine program was gaining momentum and people were feeling more confident about going maskless outside.

 

Vaccinated twice with Pfizer in March 2021; two three week long vaccine reactions. Out of commission for over 3 months from either COVID (one case before vaccination, and a breakthrough case in Fall 2021 and maybe another now). @CDC @FDA #notdeadisnotgoodenough #disposablepeople #lifesucksthenyoudie



Last week my husband told me that "Democrats steal behind your back and Republicans do it in front of your face.” How the vaccination program was handled felt just like this between the two administrations. This is totally evident right now in what is going on in the news. There is no evidence that the original vaccines protect from contracting omicron, and this is repeatedly stated in the media. This morning my husband read me a report that in an Oslo gathering of people who had two doses of vaccine and had tested negative just before, 80 out 111 contracted the omicron variant. Yet, even embedded in that news is flawed reasoning for getting boosters. The data clearly show that vaccination reduces the risk of death and hospitalization much more for unvaccinated people than it does for previously vaccinated people, yet Fauci and the FDA are simultaneously encouraging consumption of those doses as boosters, and now by 16 and 17 year olds who already have a minimal risk of death or hospitalization. This is just another plot to sell the waste product of our corporations to us rather than give it to other countries to whom it would be of greater benefit. An article I read yesterday was on NBC.com and was useful because it outlined the contribution of T-cells to immunity and the limitations of focusing on antibody-mediated immunity, claiming that we may have immunity longer than we thought, but then the video at the top has Fauci encouraging boosters, which clearly are not effective against the spread of omicron at all (the evidence for my argument is getting stronger every day!). This is irresponsible journalism; perhaps mass media reports should be written by scientists who can recognize these logical discrepancies. Another example is in an article I read this morning where it is possible to see the FDA CDC director Rochelle Walensky promote boosters for 16 and 17 year olds, while simultaneously admitting we don’t know how they hold up against omicron. She even says “As people gather indoors with family and friends for the holidays, we can’t let up on all the preventative public health measures that we have been taking during the pandemic.” Did she forget to mention masks on purpose? I am not providing links to these articles because the specific articles aren’t important - it’s the myopic view of a booster program and the avoidance of encouraging proper mask wearing and social distancing I am trying to address by pointing out the specious and duplicitous arguments that are currently being used by specific people in the government. I hope the people making these recommendations do not have conflicts of interests, because people have lost their lives. Nowhere in either of these articles is the discussion of spread mentioned, or the fact that to curtail spread masks are still critical. Is this intentional social darwinism? My only conflicts of interest are the ability to speak my mind, breathe and be free of the neurological and cardiac sequelae of this infectious monster. I am entitled to no more. Can I have at least that?


It was easy to see the potential connection between the antimaskers and social darwinism, but the connection between the now vaccinated people and eugenics is one that was created by the vaccine industry, the US Government, our religious, medical and educational systems, and the vaccinated themselves through complicity and authoritarianism.


I so desperately wanted to believe in the goodness in everyone… I have been saying between the lines that having the vaccinated stop wearing masks when our vaccines were experimental at best was basically genocide. They say never to attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance, but I cannot unsee what has happened due to the overconfidence in and misrepresentation of the effectiveness of vaccines, and it disappoints me. Another scientist I know pointed me at rationalized, science-based reasons for not wearing masks anymore and letting COVID wipe out the weak and unvaccinated. I am mortified to see scientists and people in our government who are supposed to protect us become Goebbels like they apparently have.


None of us have any reasonable personal reasons to need that particular outcome, and people in upper middle class who are retired or work from home generally have masks and access to more than most of the world. The CDC website I linked to above said very few people actually quarantine for the full recommended 10 day period, and for folks who don't have to work, I still wonder what it is that makes them so antsy to leave home. I am not going to stop standing up for the little guy. The discussion with the other scientist and my husband arose from frustration about what is going on with COVID in Africa because of the way the rest of the world hoarded vaccines and obstructed Africa’s attempts to get them. We gave boosters to Boomers before we sent anything useful to Africa. Even Paul Offit thinks this is stupid. It is good to see him being more pragmatic, especially because of the venomous diatribe of some people who are only partially educated in these matters (most people) and seem to see vaccination as a way to sort the weak from the strong - seeing the weak who have vaccine reactions or breakthrough infections as simple fodder for the rest of society. While the effectiveness of boosters is currently being questioned, it is prudent to wear effective masks, and educate others about covering their snoots, since the current vaccines are less effective against the new strains, and none of them appears to be as effective against spread as we hoped. A decrease in one’s personal risk of death is certainly a reason to have had a vaccination in the first place. But it’s important to keep in mind the questionable effect on spread of infection and be mindful of that. Getting a booster is not a license to go maskless in public, or with people who don't live with us. COVID is in the animal population; masks are therefore in our indefinite future. Get over it. We should have been wearing them a long time before COVID, especially in the winter, to protect ourselves and the vulnerable from influenza (which are apparently also going around now).


At the beginning of vaccine development, the scientific community knew that coronaviruses mutate quickly and share many of the same characteristics as the common cold. We also knew they were potentially zoonotic. We knew that the quick mutations would make it difficult to make vaccines effective, and that our past attempts to do this for influenza, which mutates more slowly, have been poor at best.


What's interesting is these people who talk about not wearing masks and letting the virus spread unchecked would never say those things in a public venue lest they be seen for their obvious cruelty. It actually makes my stomach upset.


I would like to point out that we were all discouraged from wearing respirators, and respirators essentially do the same thing as the vaccine right now; they protect the user, but not others. In the link to the CDC's mask guidance (which has been archived), they did not recommend N95 masks for anyone but healthcare providers, but I see now those are the only sorts of masks working very well against omicron. Traditional respirators might actually protect the user from illness better than vaccination. Neither of these solutions particularly protect children who cannot be vaccinated very well, and since the virus is in the animal population, this feels like a directed effort against weak children in particular. I hope that was not the intention, but if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be the first time something awful arose from a technology developed to help people. My point is the solution our government is currently advocating took a long time and a lot of money to reach, and it is no better than giving everyone respirators. I understand the chances of getting a Nobel Prize for getting respirators to everyone is pretty low, so maybe that’s a reason this immediate and effective solution was overlooked. The situation was certainly ripe for attempts at heroism, even misguided. Perhaps it would have been less of a zombie apocalypse had efforts to provide a respirator been considered. Plus respirators address other strains, other viruses, and chemicals, too. They are the most equitable and sustainable solution. What we have now is neither. I understand that respirators have a psychological stigma because they invoke images of what is actually happening now. But guess what? It happened.


Early on in the pandemic, respirators and n95 masks were reserved for people on the front lines. So even my sister, who is a primary care physician, did not have access to the personal protective equipment she needed to do her job, and ended up contracting COVID by April 2020. Moreover, when I went to the Emergency Room in November 2020 with tachycardia from COVID, they tried to turn me away, but saw me because I had my sister talk to them over the phone and she convinced them to run a D Dimer test on me to make sure there wasn’t damage to my heart. I had to be on a beta blocker for several months afterward, and it ended up taking a long time to unravel my tachycardia. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I had been turned away. How many other people did the emergency room at Medical Center of the Rockies turn away? My ER physician told me while I was being cared for that they felt safer in the Emergency Room than they did out in public. I can’t make this up. Meanwhile, after her own experience, my sister has been foreseeing a wave of long haul patients that the system is doing very little to stop, and so have I. It was a situation created by the way our leaders and the pharmaceutical industry have responded, and they continue to make the same errors in judgment. They have not had our backs.


I think it should be a fundamental human right to have a respirator in this world, since clean air is so elusive. People deserve a right to feel safe from infectious disease, too. I feel like this right is more important than a right to accumulate so much wealth that you can build your own escape to another planet while encouraging people to breed and consume like rabbits while picking on their intelligence. What are these oligarchs thinking?


My sister and I had an ethical argument years ago about the Hippocratic Oath and "do no harm" when I tried to educate her about vitamin D (she later became a proponent). We have tiptoed around vaccines, but it is now an unavoidable subject, due to the incidence of vaccine reaction and breakthrough infection, which was the risk in using vaccination to thwart COVID. It was an approach that risked revealing the cracks in vaccination as a form of infectious disease control. In meditating on the subject of the Hippocratic Oath, it came to my attention that it was also Hippocrates who said, “Let food be thy medicine.” The Oath itself is somewhat of a sham - or maybe just something to strive for. Interventions rarely come without some sort of negative side effect, and that can be true of regular whole food, too, for many reasons.


I felt over the years that I had to walk on eggshells at my and my kids’ doctor’s appointments, and with other scientists, not knowing if they would believe that my son, husband or dog had vaccine injury, and I know these instances were never reported to VAERS even though they affected our lives drastically. I was not always treated with respect as a caregiver, which before my husband had his vaccine reaction eroded the trust he had in me at times. Taking the children to the doctor should not contribute to marriage problems. I’m pretty sure that counts as harm.


It means we have gotten substandard care, because doctors were generally not well-informed about the knowledge that neurological lesions (which are more common than one would think) make people more likely to suffer vaccine reaction. The release of vaccine information and vaccines themselves has not been held to the same scientific scrutiny as other fields. I have been suspecting for years that there is a level of acceptable loss included in industry and government calculations and that I am part of that acceptable loss, so to continually hear and see that through the actions of the people in our support network, especially from physicians, scientists and engineers who consider themselves shining examples of ethical behavior is discouraging. As far as I can tell, politicians are thoroughly unaware of people like me and our struggles with the government’s clumsy attempts at infectious disease control. I have called vaccination a pogrom in the past; I wish I were not correct. Even if that is not the intent, that is the effect.


I’ve written about my interactions with my conservative next door neighbor in the past; it turns out he got COVID last month. Another conservative neighbor had to put his 90-year old mother-in-law in long term care because her health deteriorated so badly from infection. A 77-year old vaccinated member of a local Unitarian Church recently passed away from COVID. And as of Tuesday, December 29th during my final editing of this piece, we heard about a person about our age who was not vaccinated, three degrees removed from us, who passed away from COVID. We have been saying COVID is not a joke. When will people get it? This didn't stop my daughter's anti-mask anti-vax friend from reaching out to get together, unfortunately, and I am tired of trying to educate the people in my close circle. I am at a nexus of opposing beliefs and it sucks.

I am tired of being the wealthy’s guinea pig. To get care for vaccine injury, you actually have to have a physician who believes you. Are there any? Will there be any effort to explain that vaccines may still carry some of the risks of the diseases they try to protect us from to our doctors, or will the Harvard Study I linked to above just fall by the wayside while more of us become zombies?


The rest of us are supposed to be careful to protect these wealthy or healthier (in their eyes better) people while they continue to globe trot unmasked, and not effectively vaccinated, because they somehow believe they deserve it. The wealthy do not have a right to spread the virus. I can't believe how tone deaf people are. It's seriously disappointing.


Non-Believers like me have a difficult time with the bible, but like all creative works out there, it is just prophecy from the collective consciousness, from what I can tell. Christ seems to be a metaphorical construct, and for that consciousness to exist, we, and especially our authorities have to embody it. Our healers are also our teachers and need to be good examples and I am not seeing that. It is much more difficult when a person is over scheduled and under stress. If they have to go back into work 5 days into a COVID infection, especially considering that infection involves brain fog and anxiety, the system is going to have a lot of problems. And if the rest of us do not take steps to curtail our snot swapping, we are at fault. I cannot believe that someone in the WHO hasn’t said something about any of this. (EDIT: the WHO made it very clear that masks and social distancing will be more effective than boosters, and that hoarding of doses by wealthy countries has created further inequality in third world countries where there are still large numbers of unvaccinated individuals).

Some people have said that “the biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” During my time in quarantine and just before I spent quite a bit of time reading about consciousness research, and realized that my job as a scientist was to essentially “protect the light of consciousness.” After much meditation on the subject, I have determined that means identifying those things that are life-giving, and fighting the things that work against consciousness. Every day we are presented with multiple opportunities to make this choice in many ways. Consciousness includes the ability to listen and recognize it and its foe which have been unrecognizable throughout history because we have not had a good definition for what it is and isn’t (see this twisted video from the 1990's as an example). Supporting policies and behaviors that spread an antimetabolic virus that causes dementia is supporting a decline in societal consciousness. We need to think about this when we are listening to media reports - we are already going to have a dementia epidemic on our hands. Thank you, non-neuroscientists in charge of things.


From my vantage point, in my own town, there was a big rally against quarantine because of how it interfered with work. I feel like the restaurant industry had a huge negative influence; way more negative than positive. Arguing for rights to work in an industry that does not adequately compensate most of its workers makes no sense. It would have been better to pay these people to stay home, and probably cheaper than bailing out the cheaters at Goldman Sachs for a 50th time. Furthermore, there are myriad health threats to restaurant workers that medicine ignores, including exposure to fumes from gas stoves and deep fat fryers. The argument for keeping restaurants open so that people can eat is erroneous because the cost of eating restaurant food is inflated by a lot of overhead. Furthermore, there are many things in restaurant food which increase a person’s risk of COVID sequelae, like excessive vegetable oil and fillers. The FDA has been ignoring research on how various foods affect the gut biome and mental health, and this is an important part of COVID survivability. Air quality has also been tied to COVID outcomes, and they don’t talk about that, either, likely because of the drastic impact it would have on the economy. People who work in restaurants often have to eat the same low-quality food they have to serve or prepare on their breaks. It is impossible to wear a mask while eating, and this is precisely how my teenage daughter caught COVID - outdoors - and also how I got a breakthrough infection in early Fall. We knew exactly what our exposures were because we stayed home. I did not like how restaurants were there to tempt people. They should have remained shuttered until we figured everything else out. That was the industry that needed a bailout if there was one. Why we continually bail out luxury industries and let the essential ones like the postal, grocery and education industries, which serve us all struggle, is a question we need to ask our government. Our attempts to keep things going when we should have slowed down has created chaos. 


Rest is an art in this skinsuit.


I try to mind my own business, but for some reason I still end up hearing what people are doing, and it boggles my mind. Seriously. I can't believe how materially needy wealthy people are. It is yucky. And I can say this stuff because yeah, I am guilty, too. But a whole damn continent? We can't slow down for a whole damn continent? We can’t put our travel plans on hold for a season while we pull together and take care of Africa? It makes less sense to give boosters to people with an already low risk of hospitalization and death than it does to save those doses for the unvaccinated. Nevermind the specious arguments some people are giving about why not providing Africa with fresh doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is somehow Africa’s fault (a friend with a PhD in biology went there, I am afraid). I’m beginning to see people who are running to get boosters as selfish. Especially people who seemed to be concerned about civil rights and inequity before. I cannot underscore how many people have expressed to me how proud they are of how they were able to uphold the status quo over the last year; where they traveled, what they bought, and without any concern for people whose lives were lost or greatly impacted because nobody would slow down. Someone we know who particularly aggravated me with his behavior (because it was at his place that I got a breakthrough infection) currently has COVID. He thinks he got it in a popular restaurant in our town (though from what I hear I am doubtful he was able to conclusively link it to that because it seemed like he was really getting around).


It is really strange to see what happened to me happening to so many other people. My sister said that after the Thanksgiving holiday her patient population of women my age with my symptoms suddenly jumped. I’ve had to deal with people thinking my neurological issues were all in my head for the last year, too. I was experiencing symptoms of Functional Neurological Disorder and had kidney scarring linked to hypertension long before COVID came around. I have had to learn to treat it myself (and I was successful thanks to my wonderful education and persistence) because I was never able to communicate to my physician in a succinct way what was going on with me and get a referral. It just so happens that COVID makes all these symptoms worse, and treatment is sort of an ongoing thing, because I keep getting knocked down. At this point, I just want to geek out with the neurologist and get my dopamine and serotonin levels tested; I don’t have any immediate needs. Apparently the wait to see a neurologist is very long right now because of this, though, and it's difficult to get specialist referrals on Medicaid (what is everyone going to do?!). I am working on writing up my protocol, but I don't know who to share it with.


I do not think I have a solution that cures the neurological, cardiac and nephrotic symptoms, I only think I have found solutions to mitigate or slow the damage, and they are largely but not entirely nutritional in nature. Many are environmental, and they are fairly low cost. They are things with established uses in medicine with good safety profiles, but they are not financially lucrative for medicine or even snake oil salesmen.


I have often been ahead in terms of being able to solve medical puzzles, and that has been emotionally difficult. I have been criticized by my sister about and have heard other doctors disparage “Dr. Google.” What she does not understand is that I had to really know metabolism for my research, and I was working on a real and relevant problem to my own life. Furthermore, the hydrochlorothiazide my doctor had prescribed had caused my potassium levels to drop to dangerous levels, which I believe contributed to my receptive aphasia. I would not have recognized the connection except having had the same thing happen when I had been put on blood pressure medication for pregnancy-induced hypertension in the mid 2000’s. Moreover, I try to read as much primary research as I can. Jesus, I would have a terrible bedside manner. But I do understand how things work. I think it is possible that sometimes a scientist might be a better diagnostician than someone with more clinical experience because of entrenched beliefs about what is perceived to work in the patient population, and a tendency to overlook outliers. These beliefs are based on a misguided definition of health as being just “not dead” or, at “best” - “able to hold a job” and also not really knowing one’s patients as whole individuals with dreams.


I get the sense some other scientists feel aspects of this, too. It is so difficult fighting the standard of care and also having the time to evaluate research, when our physicians do not have this same luxury. It is strange, years later, to have things come around to my way after having traumatizing experiences with medicine. To finally have the CDC, AMA and others recognizing the things that have happened to me as not in my head is surreal. I have been dealing with these things for the better part of a decade. I mean, there was and is some low consciousness stuff going on going on in medicine. I guess that's the way it always is. I am lucky that I have established a good track record with being correct on scientific matters, so the people around me who are also well educated don’t just see me as obstinate (probably just annoying). It was like that for a while, and it was difficult.


A lot of what was going on with my health was subclinical and episodic, and I certainly wasn’t going to figure it out in a system that is incapable of listening, requires appointment scheduling so far out that a woman’s symptoms might not show, and where doctors are run so ragged they are forced to follow recipes more than listen or use their intuition or curiosity. It is a cruel way to make them work, and I think that it is a stretch to call it a healing profession the way it is currently working.


This is what I really wanted to tell my overwhelmed sister. And why I want her to know that our relationship has been up against the impossible and that I love her. I can’t imagine being a doctor right now. I know it’s not what she hoped for when she went into medicine. I can’t imagine what it is like to see the thing you believed in to create equity in the world make it more complicated. We are faring worse than we did with the 1918 Flu Pandemic, which ended due to a death of natural causes; the virus had mutated to what my family and I are calling a “less killy but more spready strain.” Less killy doesn’t matter if our people can’t think, and it’s too early to know if omicron is “less killy” or how its cognitive, neurologic, cardiac and nephrotic long-term sequelae differ from other variants. Sufferers are being stripped of their livelihood and humanity. Anyone who truly cares about personal responsibility and not infecting others should be interested in this perspective. Everyone else is just playing Secret Hitler.


We need the Long Range Vulcan Mind Meld. Lo siento, hermanita.