Why Can’t I Concentrate?

OK, granted, the odds of remission of my idiopathic membranous nephropathy, after months of the proposed immunosuppressive treatment, a cocktail of steroids and chemotherapy-type drugs, my nephrologist admitted the other day, are about 50%.  Versus the odds of spontaneous remission, which has not been widely studied, but which seems to be in the 30% range, according to this footnote from a recent hospital study of the disease in Spain. [1]

There is also my root canal, which began more than two months ago.  Under the temporary crown there is more discomfort than I had when I initially went to the dentist. The dentist suspects the wisdom tooth adjacent to the root canal may be the culprit, suggests it might be best if the oral surgeon pulls it before a permanent crown is fitted.

The cat, who has one kidney, had very bad lab results the other day and was retested today.  Although he’s consistently hostile to me, he’s a good cat and I’m very fond of him.  Sekhnet adores him, and he adores her.  So that’s a worry.  

A bot from the fucking New York State of Health Marketplace, where unemployed people like me are obliged to buy their mandated health insurance under Obama’s admittedly imperfect Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, denied me the subsidy the law entitles me to, in January.  Donna Frescatore, the director of NYSOH, has a strict policy that nobody there may disclose her name. They also have no procedure for correcting their many errors, outside of a snail-paced appeals process.  I have so far overpaid, by over $1,000, the insurance premium the law says I should pay, with no end in sight, as I wait for a person with a below average IQ to call and conduct my impartial “telephone appeal” of their clear clerical error.

I have no idea why I’m so distracted lately, but I have unpaid work to get to today, so let me not dilly-dally any longer.

We went to see Amy Goodman, creator of Democracy Now!, speak at a nearby college on Friday night.   I love Amy for her integrity, courage, honest reporting and a strong facial resemblance to my beloved grandmother Yetta.  Amy spoke at The New School, one of these $50,000 a year museum-looking places for the children of a select economic class.  It was an inspiring talk.  Afterwards Sekhnet bought books for Amy to sign and when it was our turn I said “Amy, you’re an American hero,” which Amy accepted with a bland semi-smile.

We are 5% of the world’s population and have 25% of the world’s prison inmates, Amy reminded us.  I did the math in my head.  If we were an average country, we’d have about 5% of the world’s prison population.   At 25%, we have five times that, or 500% more in prison than the average country.   God bless these exceptional United States, our strictness with poor people’s morality and our innovative, corporately-operated, run-for-profit private prison system.

During the March for Science a few weeks ago, which Democracy Now! covered, Amy described a rainy, raw day.  The assembled masses shivered at the rally.   A week later, at the March for Climate Change Awareness (or whatever it was called) it was sweltering, the hottest day in DC on that date.   Amy suggested anyone calling themself a meteorologist should, any time extreme weather is encountered, mention that this is another sign of climate disruption.

They don’t harp on climate disruption in the mass media, she pointed out, because some sponsors would object.  She mentioned the rash, in recent years, of earthquakes in Oklahoma, a region that never had any.  This increased seismic instability is the direct result of hydro-fracking, a controversial and toxic method of extracting natural gas from deep in the earth.   Same deal with the “debate” over fracking, corporate sponsors are not going to stand by while somebody badmouths their lucrative product, which may, arguably, cause an earthquake here and there, in some armpit in Oklahoma where people with land are getting paid a lot of money for fracking rights.

I sat there rhetorically wondering why there is any “debate” about any of this.  Fucking pieces of shit in some board room are making a killing — only reason there’s any “controversy”.  This controversy/confusion is crafted by well-paid public relations geniuses who come up with a counter-factual narrative that is more satisfying to certain salt of the earth people who, not unreasonably, suspect that elites are fucking them.   These well-crafted stories, usually based on freedom and a sinister conspiracy by those who hate our freedom, are more satisfying to low-information types than cold scientific data and the academic and media elitists who spout it.

Inspired as I was listening to Amy speak, and reading her book afterwards, I still feel like hollering.  I lift my head and scream into the silence of cyberspace and wonder what the fucking use is of preaching to a half dozen people who wonder by this site and occasionally hit “like” or “follow” to encourage me to do the same for their silent screams.

Then I hear a sound bite from our diminutive racist Attorney General, wants to return America to the good old days when you could mass incarcerate nig… eh, bad hombres, for smoking weed.  “Good people don’t use marijuana,” said the smug little twerp a while ago, announcing his intention to return to the heyday of Nixon’s racist war on what the former president fondly referred to as “niggers”, “spics”, “kykes” and other enemy freaks who smoke pot and take other dangerous, morally degenerate drugs. 

What the fuck?  Are we really going to live through a remake of this hideous chapter from the toxic waste bin of history?  

“‘Make America Great Again,’ says right there on the hat, asshole.”

Got a lot of haters here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave who think that’s just fucking ducky, sure, fuck the n-words and their unAmerican friends — and keep your damned hands off our meth and prescription opioids.  Only job in town is over at the damned privatized prison—- “lock ’em up!  lock ’em up!”

Meanwhile, people like Amy Goodman are out there being true American heroes, fighting idealistically for what we should all be fighting for– a society that values human lives more than corporate profits, no matter how “free” we can make “free trade” sound.  Of course, there’s no real money in that, is there?  Heh, Catch-22.


[1]   Spontaneous remission is a well known characteristic of idiopathic membranous nephropathy, but contemporary studies describing predictors of remission and long-term outcomes are lacking. We conducted a retrospective, multicenter cohort study of 328 patients with nephrotic syndrome resulting from idiopathic membranous nephropathy that initially received conservative therapy. Spontaneous remission occurred in 104 (32%) patients: proteinuria progressively declined after diagnosis until remission of disease at 14.7 +/- 11.4 months. Although spontaneous remission was more frequent with lower levels of baseline proteinuria, it also frequently occurred in patients with massive proteinuria: 26% among those with baseline proteinuria 8 to 12 g/24 h and 22% among those with proteinuria>12 g/24 h. Baseline serum creatinine and proteinuria, treatment with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor antagonists, and a>50% decline of proteinuria from baseline during the first year of follow-up were significant independent predictors for spontaneous remission. Only six patients (5.7%) experienced a relapse of nephrotic syndrome. The incidence of death and ESRD were significantly lower among patients with spontaneous remission. In conclusion, spontaneous remission is common among patients with nephrotic syndrome resulting from membranous nephropathy and carries a favorable long-term outcome with a low incidence of relapse. A decrease in proteinuria>50% from baseline during the first year predicts spontaneous remission.

Hospital 12 de Octubre, Madrid, Spain.   source


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