Category Archives: My medical drama

Diary of a random white woman

I am probably one of the whitest people on earth. I did the Ancestory.com thing and learned I am 90 percent English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh and 20 percent French and Norweigan.

When people see me, they see a well educated, very articulate woman who grew up in an upper-middle-class area on Long Island. All of that is true. None of that tells the whole story. It is true that I had a lot of advantages from all of that. Advantages that have not always been afforded to people who are black or brown. These advantages have opened doors for me that might not have been opened for other people of other races.

Having said that, my life is not what people may think.

Here’s what that view of me misses:

Neither of my parents was really ready to have kids. My dad was a violent sociopath and my mother is a raging narcissist. After he cheated on her and was physically abusive, she left him. I cannot blame her for that but she left me, too.

She went to Iceland and I was left in an untenable situation. Not only was god old dad physically and emotionally abusive, no one wanted to take actual responsibility for me. We only had food in the fridge because I demanded it. I never had more than two pairs of pants because no one wanted to pay for clothes for me. I love my grandmother, Judy, but she always kept me in the newest tennis attire but refused to buy me clothes for school because “that’s your father’s responsibility.” You can guess what his response was.

Having only one or two pairs of pants is something they notice in the upper-middle-class area I grew up in. I was always the outcast. The teasing was unrelenting and horrible. By day I was teased non-stop (and it did not help that my parents were divorcing — Why are your parents getting a divorce? Is it because they hate you?) and by night I was abused by daddy dearest.

When I was 17, I moved out of my father’s house and in with my grandmother. He had tried to kill me (twice) and I didn’t feel safe. Years later I would wonder why that didn’t happen sooner. The real reason is that Judy didn’t want it to. I wasn’t her daughter or her responsibility. These are issues that haunt me today.

I am writing this from a beautiful house in Stony Brook, NY. My view is incredible. I have this house now because after I moved away from my father, he bought the house I was living in. To put a finer point on this, my grandmother sold her house to the man who had tried to kill me leaving me SOL. At the time, I saw the silver lining. Eventually, I would get the house.

Last year, my dad choked on a piece of meat and I got the house (along with a large mortgage). I feel like, in addition to the second mortgage I am paying, I paid for this place with blood, sweat and tears. I am grateful to be able to live here but this was not an easy row to hoe.

I am hurt when people say things like “white women are the worst” or when they look at me only through the prism of white privilege. I grew up isolated, alone and horribly sad. I am lucky in a lot of ways but my life is not what people think it has been.

not safe

We are less, not more, safe now

This is not going to be a nice post. This is an angry post. This is me asking all of you Trump supporters to pull your heads out of your asses. The lack of air is destroying your brain. When President Trump, never one to rely on empirical facts, said the United States was in a better position and Iran is weakened now, he was either lying or just as dumb as dirt. We are less safe now.

Here are the reasons we have emboldened Iran and made the world a much more dangerous place for Americans and American interests.

The Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, has said the military strike against us was “not enough.”

What does that mean? Iran could have hit the sites with much more lethal weapons. Why didn’t he? Because Iran doesn’t want a full-on war with the United States. To make that problem go away, they launch a less than lethal strike. Iran informed Iraq that the attack was coming so they could move people out of the way. Also, an Iranian commander has vowed “harsher revenge on the U.S.” Using the Don’s favorite medium, the supreme leader tweeted this:

How are we safer again?

But Iran doesn’t have the ability to attack the U.S.

How would they alone fare against the U.S? Not well. The problem is they are not alone. First of all, they have proxy groups all over the region. Their allies are all over the Middle East. Who are they? They have Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and others. What Iran may not want to directly, they have friends to do the job. Then, they can claim “we had no idea” and avoid that all-out war with us. This means the world in a much more dangerous place for us and our friends (Israel, I am looking at you.) Does that look like increased safety?

Let’s not forget about cyber attacks.

If North Korea can hack into Sony’s systems, leak unflattering emails and force a film to go directly to streaming services, you can bet Iran can do something similar or worse. This is one of the ways it works its terrorist mojo around the planet. Remember the entire U.S. intel community said Russia hacked a number of systems around our country. Check this out if you need a refresher course on that.

When we killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, we killed a national hero .

We also made him a martyr. We united a nation against us when they had been against their own government. From that Los Angeles Times piece:

“Religious leaders in Iran are extremely apt and capable in producing symbolism and creating a culture of politics in which they can incorporate nationalism and faith,” said Ali Akbar Mahdi, a sociology professor at Cal State Northridge. “They are utilizing all kinds of symbolism and tying it in sense of victimhood and how Shiites have suffered and now have to fight.”

The people of Iran were mad at their supreme leader for a number of reasons. Reformers railed against him and wanted real changes to the way things are done there. If you believe the whole, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, you can see why killing a national hero is going to bring some backlash. If you think they all just hate Americans for the sake of hating Americans, you should do a Google search you can find reports of the candlelight vigils they had for us in the aftermath of 9/11. You can do some of your own research. Time Magazine put it this way:

For several months this fall and winter, tens of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets in giant protests against government corruption and against Iran’s dominance in their country, nearly bringing Iraq to a standstill and forcing Iraq’s Prime Minister Abd Al-Mahdi to offer his resignation; he remains as a caretaker head of government while the fractious parliamentary groups squabble over who will succeed him.

Vivienne Walt — Time Magazine

Iran has pledged to go “full speed ahead” on nuclear weapon development.

Sure, #ConDon has told the world that by withdrawing from the Iran deal, they have stopped but they just announced they are going back to it. When that deal was in force, they had stopped. What incentive do they have now? None. And if you think the money they received was some kind of gift, I reiterate my call to take your head out of your ass. That was money they had paid us for military technology they were buying but we never delivered because of the revolution of 1979 and the ouster of the American backed Shah. Look it all up. If you don’t believe something I write, I invite you to look it up. I am not making this up.

Iraq will kick our troops out of their country.

There has been a movement to get us out for a while and who can blame them after we assassinated a high ranking member of the Iranian military on their own soil. Do you think the Iraqis wanted to be stuck in the middle of a U.S./Iran war? Would you?

The war on ISIS has been paused making us all less safe.

In the first place, some Iraqis think it will harder to fight ISIS now that Suleimanu is dead. Did your jaw just drop? From the aforementioned Time piece:

The U.S. strike against Soleimani has handed the ISIS remnants an unwitting victory, by stoking anger among Iraqis against the group’s archenemy, the Americans, and diverting their attention from other grievances.

Vivienne Walt

Not only that but NATO has scaled back their work to fight ISIS and have paused their work on this Iraq completely. While Trump has proposed getting out of NATO in the past, this week he asked for their help and after his statements about article V, they don’t seem to be inclined to step in. Can you blame them? We have said we may not follow through on our commitments unless we are paid for it. That is not a good way to keep us safe either.

I am not going into the long American history of harming people in other nations to advance our national interests and assassinating political leaders with whom we disagree. (Don’t believe me? Do some research. There are many reasons we aren’t always trusted and sometimes hated.) We have not always been seen as the “shining city on a hill,” that Ronald Reagan spoke of but I think we strive to be.

When I think of America, I see that shining city on a hill. Assassinating people we don’t like is not something we should be doing. That is what dictators do. That’s what leaders of banana republics do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it best when she said, “This is not about how bad they are but how good we are.” I saw her say that this morning and am sure I butchered the quote but you can see the point.

Bottom line: Neither Americans nor American interests are safer today than when this saga started. This is President Trump’s tale/tail wagging the dog to get attention off the impeachment process.

What really should scare you

This week, the United States carried out air strikes against Syria. This was in response to the dropping of sarin gas on a rebel held town. I will get to that but I have something else I want to write about first. You see, a number of people I know are worried that the U.S. air strikes are going to lead to war with Russia (it won’t) and are upset with me. While that is their right, their fears are misguided and are, in my opinion, in the wrong part of the world.

If war is what you want to avoid, you need to be looking at Asia. During the campaign, President Donald Trump made a lot of statements about China and its access to the South China Sea. During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he echoed those statements. This did not go over well with China. That government went as far as to say they would send nuclear weapons our way should be continue to meddle in their affairs. This is clearly scary and had me up at night worried about the possibility of war with China. When I was getting myself all worried, I found the graphic

This is a map of where China would send its nuclear weapons, should it want to bomb us.

This is from a Chinese magazine. Now I am encouraged by what looked to be a good meeting between President Xi and Trump so maybe we have come back from the brink of nuclear war with them but then you have Kim Jung Un.

Kim is unstable. That is not my opinion, it is pretty much everyone’s opinion. He has developed nuclear weapons and seems hell bent on developing a missile that can hit, well, us. If he can’t get it that far, he has Japan and South Korea to hit. This is incredibly scary because of how crazy Kim is. China could do something but they a, don’t want a unified Korea and b, don’t want more refugees crossing their border. Trump has made statements that we should give South Korea nuclear weapons, because more nuclear weapons always makes sense. This is a scary situation made worse by an American president with no real foreign policy. For his part, Tillerson responded to a missile test by saying, “We’ve talked enough about North Korea.” What the hell does that mean?

Speaking of Tillerson, we are now back to Syria. During the campaign, and other the last few years, Trump has said we should do nothing in Syria. Last week, Tillerson said that the fate of Bashar al Assad is up to the people of Syria. Several days later, 86 people are killed with Sarin gas. Many people believe that Assad was under the impression that he had the blessings of the current White House to do whatever the hell he wanted to his people. That is why I think the strike against the airfield was not a bad idea.

The big question is what happens next. One thing is sure, it won’t be war with Russia but what happens in Asia is anyone’s guess and that is the scary thing.

 

Fire is scary.

This is the closest thing that I can find to what may have caused the fire in question.

So, it was a Saturday morning. The time was around 9:30 am when I heard the strange noise. I went outside to see what was going on and noticed smoke all around the house. I was living in a building that housed three apartments. The heat hit me when I walked out of the porch.

I looked up and saw it; fire was shooting out of the upstairs apartment. My neighbor, Eliot, shouted that I needed to get out as soon as possible. I ran in and grabbed my cat and my computer and left.

I was not the first to call 911 but I did call. It seemed to take forever for them to come. The fire looked to be over the front part of the house but was moving fast towards the area over my apartment. It was scary.

My apartment had the porch.

The good news is that Eliot and Andrew had taken their cat to  the vet earlier that day. I do not think the cat would have survived the fire had he been there. The bad news is that no one was going to be able to live in the building until it was totally repaired. The person from the Gainesville fire department said that she believed the fire was started with a problem with the toaster oven. Wow.

When all of this was happening, the landlord came by with the man who did any repairs to the building. After being able to get some stuff out of my unit, I was able to see that there was no damage to my apartment from the fire itself. There was some damage due to smoke and water but not from the fire. I was ok, Squirrel was ok and most of my stuff was ok. That is all good and I am truly grateful that no one was injured or worse.

This is the room where the fire started.

 

But, then it all became a total pain in the ass. I went to stay with my mother. She had an air mattress and a study and that is where I was staying. My back hurt. I liked my apartment. I started dreaming about it.

She offered to get a different air mattress but seriously, there is a ceiling for how comfortable that can really be.

I started looking for apartments and that grew sad. Some that I saw were way too small. I was thinking I would just find something for the summer but then began to see that the place I was in probably will not be ready by the time I would want to move in.

The landlord’s insurance is suing the tenants’ insurance. The fire was on February 18. Nearly a month later and nothing has been done.

There was a vine growing through this crack.

Luckily, I found a new place. That is good. I was back at the old place and saw this. You can see out from the inside and there was a plant growing into my living room.

Now, my new place is about three blocks from the old place. I have much more room and a nice porch. I even have a nice fireplace for cold nights like tonight.

Fire can be great. This fireplace makes me very happy.

The new place is nice and I am glad I found it. If you rent a place, please get renter’s insurance. Fire is scary.

Squirrel on her new porch, sitting in her cat tree.

 

Don’t think about bears

Flickr - Furryscaly - Not a Hypnotoad

Flickr – Furryscaly – Not a Hypnotoad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)  This has no connection to my post but WordPress thinks it is.

Note:  I showed my scans and the report to someone.  I do not have a tumor or cyst.  I still need a CT to rule out some scary options but the things that were causing my panic attack yesterday are off the table.

 

I dare you to try it.  For the next five minutes, don’t think about bears.

Hard to do isn’t it?  The minute someone tells you not to think of something, that’s all you want to think about.  At least that’s how it works with me.

If you think it’s hard to not think about bears, try that exercise with brain tumors.  That’s been my challenge since yesterday.  Last week I had an MRI (with and without contrast) and MRA (same) done on my brain.  The initial report was that the MRI was normal but the MRA too unclear so more testing needs to be done.  Then I got a call from my neurologist.  She said in her message that it was “critically important” that she speak with me.  When we talked she said she saw something on the MRA that “probably isn’t a tumor” but more testing needs to be done.  I am getting a CT angiogram next week.

Someone told me, “Just don’t think about it.”

Yeah, that’s going to work.