Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Eau Du Whackbonk Stick

Last week, Jen and I were fighting some kind of bug. It seemed to be some variety of tenacious, annoying cold bug. It wasn't debilitating in the least, but it was not much fun. On Friday afternoon, the boss lady at work told me to go home. This turned out to be sage advice. At approximately 9:00 p. m., the fever started. Grandma had picked up the kiddo after school, and brought him back to us on Saturday afternoon with a bag of goodies (soup, o. j., etc.). Jenni and I were sitting on the couch, sweating our way through the fever, and our son started shivering and chattering his teeth. He got up, and put on his coat, zipped it up past his chin, and continued chattering. So, I got up to check the thermostat. It was seventy degrees in the house. We took his temperature (like we needed to), I don't need to tell you what the results were.

So, our Saturday continued, and our Sunday followed suit. We have now exhausted most of the DVD's that we have purchased but not previously watched, and were waiting for that magical 8:00-moment on Monday morning so we could get appointments with the doctors. Once Monday morning rolled around, I was reminded of exactly why I hate the medical industry so much.

The last time we felt it necessary to go to the doctor (about two years ago), we found that our aged family physician had retired, and left his practice to a know-it-all, fresh-out-of-med-school, Doogie Houser. I mean to tell you, this kid was goofy. All of my co-workers had come down with a common upper respiratory infection. I was showing identical symptoms, and my wife was starting to show the same. The doctor though, let's call him Dr. Young, decided that it was allergies. I explained to him that my allergies had not bothered me since I was a child. I didn't go into a whole lot of details on this, but I believe that this phenomenon can be explained by several factors. The first being an adolescent prescription of Accutane. That stuff will permanently dry you out. It is a chemical, engineered with the specific purpose of permanently changing the size and shape of your skin pores, to make it more difficult for acne-causing bacteria to thrive. During my use of Accutane, I experienced no allergic reactions to mold, pollen, furry mammals, or anything. This, in contrast to my childhood, when I would spend months with red, swollen eyes, and a clogged-up nose. After the Accutane treatment, most of the allergen-related side effects stuck. I'm sure that outgrowing the allergies has something to do with it as well, but that definitely played a role there. Plus, as Jenni and I have avoided preservatives and chemicals in our foods, and eaten more raw sugars, and raw honey, the allergies have seemed to disappear.

Sorry. Enough of that tangent, and back to the previous one. So, Dr. Young prescribed a nasal steroid spray, and a cough suppressant. The cough pill was incredible, I have to admit that. I have never taken another medication that did what it was supposed to so thoroughly, without causing even the slightest side effect. Usually medicine will make me feel "mediciny" or it will leave a nasty taste in my mouth, or something. That pill was called Respa DM. When I took it, the urge to cough left, and stayed gone for about ten hours, and I didn't feel like I had taken anything. I can't even say that for ibuprofen, it leaves a nasty taste in my throat. Needless to say, the nasal steroid didn't do anything for me, because it's an allergy treatment, and not an antibiotic. A viral infection and a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract taste and smell differently. In fact, a bacterial colony has a very distinct presence in one's body, when it goes out of control. If I had suspected that it could possibly have been viral, I would not have bothered going in the first place. It was a bacterial infection, and Dr. Young should have done one of two things that he did not. He should have: 1) listened to his patient with enough credit to prescribe an antibiotic, or 2) run a culture to determine that the patient was not crazy and allergic at all, and prescribed an antibiotic. Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks that you should take antibiotics for everything. There's enough going on to cripple people's immune systems, and cause the mutation of super bugs as it is. Antibiotics are for serious bacterial infections, and antibacterial soap is for doctors and sick people. The rest of us need to let nature run its course so we won't get any more strains like this new antibiotic-resistant strain of staff. But, I'll get back to that point.

So, even though we have felt like hammered dog crap over the weekend, we didn't feel like going back to Dr. Young. Recently (very recently in fact), the new super-staff hit a little too close to home. A wonderful woman, in her prime, was taken home to live with God last week. We did not know her personally, but she was close friends with at least two of our otherwise unnafiliated friends (small world, huh?). So needless to say, when we started feeling like crap, immediately after hearing this news, we became paranoid. I called around to get a recommendation for a family physician to go to. On Monday morning, a 8:00 sharp, I started calling the most recommended doctor's office. On my fifth phone call to the office, at 8:26, according to the atomic clock, I was still getting the after-hours message telling me to wait until they opened at 8:00. Lovely. By 8:35, I was no longer getting the after-hours recording, but an eternal busy signal. At about 8:55, the phone rang. It wasn't going to the recording after three rings, and it wasn't the busy signal, but it was ringing. this was hope. All I really wanted was for a physician with a degree to tell me that we were not going to die of some exotic bacterial strain (even though it didn't seem bacterial), and the solid ringing gave me hope for the survival of my family. And then, Cathy answered the phone.

"Thank you for calling" I didn't even catch the middle part, "this is Cathy can you hold?"

So, I said, "Hello, Mrs. Canyouhold," and then I realized that she hadn't waited to hear my response, and I was listening to hold music. They had something piped in from a local radio station. I heard a little ditty about Jack and Diane, two American kids in the Heartland, whatever the hell that means. I really hate that song. That was a pretty common formula for popular music from a microcosmic point in the progression of pop rock, I suppose. It was a dark, dark time. Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye. And now I'm praying for the end of time, to hurry up and arrive. Cause if I've got to spend another minute with you, I don't think that I can really survive, or some crap like that. After I listened to the crackly, over-gained hold music in my handset for about twenty minutes, I started to wonder whether I should be making an appointment to see the doctor, or requesting that a song be played, and to have the dj dedicate it to my girlfriend for me. Because, my Monday experiences were reminding me of attempting to call the radio station as a young adolescent - old enough to want the girls' attention, but still too young to pick them up in the car.

After what seemed a span long enough for several galaxies to have been born, and then collapsed upon themselves again, Cathy Canyouhold came back to the phone. I told her that I wanted to get an appointment with the recommended doctor. She explained that she was very sorry, but he was not taking any new patients right now. I chuckled, and said that it must have been a pretty good recommendation, after all. I asked if any of the other GP's in the office could see us. She explained that none of them could see any new patients today. So, I thanked her and put her on hold. Really, it was just as well. I want to be able to go to a physician that there isn't an obstacle course of incompetent help to hurdle to get to see.

So, I did a Google map search on "family physician" near my hometown. I saw some names that I had heard mentioned previously, and picked one to call. I had slightly better luck at this next office. The receptionist answered the phone promptly, and told me that the requested physician was booked up for the day. this was an improvement. I asked if any of their other physicians had an opening today, and she asked if we could be there in fifteen minutes. I said that we could. So, we all hobbled out to our nimble car, the healthiest member of our family, like a clan of the undead, and ran to the clinic.

The doctor took one look at us, and said, "You people have the flu."

"The flu?" we said, "Are you sure?"

"Well, I could run a test, but it's not fun, and I don't really see the point." he answered, "This is the most textbook case of the flu I've ever seen."

I never thought I would be so happy and excited to have the flu. It had probably been fifteen years since I caught the flu. I don't get the influenza vaccination when it comes around for several key reasons:
1) I don't like shots. Call me a baby, I don't care. I'm a brave guy. I would not hesitate to go into bare-handed combat with wild beasts to protect my family, but please don't stick me with a little needle. That's where I draw my damned line.
2) Vaccinations contain mercury. Apparently nobody has told the medical industry that that crap is highly toxic, and should stay out of the human body.
3) I don't get the flu. Like I had just said, it had been a decade and a half since my last battle with it. The flu vaccination makes you sick. that's how it works. When you get your shot, you will be sick for two to three days. If you extrapolate that by once a year, with my working record, that would be about 38-days sick with the flu over the fifteen year plan, versus my method where I just lost the gamble with will mean five days sick with the flu for the same duration. I like my odds better.
4a) Admittedly, for the sick and elderly, influenza is a serious medical risk. Some people have health poor enough that they really should get the shot because the other gamble could be that they die. which leads me to my final reason:
4b) The flu vaccination is for old people. I'm not at risk of dying over the flu. Sometimes, there is a shortage of vaccinations. I don't want any old lady dying because she couldn't get her flu vaccination, because I got it, because it was free, even though I don't need to get vaccinated. That's stupid, selfish, and liberal.

The doctor prescribed Tamiflu and some narcotic-based cough syrup. Monday afternoon, the pediatrician prescribed liquid Tamiflu for the kiddo. After about two hundred dollars in prescription co-pays, we went home with our meds. The Tamiflu is pretty amazing stuff. the fever, body aches, and woe-is-me feeling all went away nearly immediately. The cough syrup was another matter altogether. Of course, I already mentioned that I don't like feeling drugged. If you don't like feeling drugged, narcotic-based cough syrup is not for you. If I had a little more clarity of thought at the doctor's office, I would have said something. Maybe I should have requested Respa... If I had been thinking clearly at the pharmacy, I probably would have just not filled the cough syrup prescription. And, that was the pricey component of all of this. That sucks, but life goes on, I suppose.

At this point, we're all feeling tons better, but Doc said that we'll still be contagious until Wednesday, and that's assuming that we're fever-free until then, which I have been. Honestly, I can't wait to get back to work. The only other thing that's really bugging me right now is the smell. Three sick people sure can stink up a house quickly. It smells like something dying in this house. There is one exception to this. Our home office smells nice. We haven't spent much time in there, but have only gone in to get our boots of put them away, so instead of smelling like sickness and death, it smells like leather, and electronics, and gun oil. Lord, if somebody could bottle that smell, they could make it a cologne. You could alternate wearing that and something that smelled like single malt scotch and fine aged cigars, so you wouldn't make the same mistake as those candy-smelling fools that have been wearing the same scent non-stop for so long now that they make other people's eyes water. No, dude. She doesn't think you are beautiful. She just can't breath. Back off, and use one spray from here on out, and take a shower between.

So, that is the story of our battle with the phage. I'm pleased to report that the war is nearly won. I fully expect to return to my regular duties tomorrow, and subsequently return to my regular leisure activities, instead of all of this insufferable laying around the house in our own sickness. I'm a doer, and I hate not doing. I hate doing nothing, and I'm glad to see that coming to an end.


Ladies and Gents,

I have been informed that this blog entry is "dangerously full of inaccuracies." So, I decided to put this little disclaimer in as an afterthought. The thoughts and opinions in this blog entry are just that - thoughts and opinions. - no, on second thought, beyond being mere thoughts and opinions, they are feverish rant. Please don't base medical decisions which may affect your life or the lives of your loved ones on the rantings of a sick individual that you read on the internet. This blog entry tells a true story of my sickness. That's all. If I were citing enforcing true facts beyond my personal experience, I would have embedded links to support articles through the entry. I hope this clears up any misconceptions. Thanks for your time and energy. Loves and kisses!


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Siamese Mauser

Part of my inheritance from my Grandpa was three rifle actions. I didn't really know anything about them at the time, but I knew that they were big, and a real novelty. Now, I know more. What I have here are three Siamese Mauser actions. Now, for the background story...

At the end of the nineteenth century, firearm technology was progressing from black powder, to the new-and-improved, more powerful, smokeless powder. This demanded a far more stout gun to handle the increased power. Thus, gun manufacturers started designing beefier guns. Mauser took the lead, and broke the mold with their brand-new Model 98 action, which was stronger, and yet smoother than anything else produced.

The Siamese government contracted them to produce a modified version of this action for their own military use. This was an even beefier, stronger version of the Model 98, which became known as the Siamese Mouser. This has been a popular rifle action for custom rifle projects for the last half-century now.

The original ammunition that these guns fired is now obsolete, but this action can be easily modified to fire .45/70 ammo, which is very powerful. A custom, Siamese Mouser rifle is commonly used for big game, as well as long-range shooting. I personally, will probably only target-practice with it until I get my hunter's safety certification.

So, with a little knife-making under my belt, it looks like it's time for me to step up to gun-making. I will take these actions to the gunsmith to see what they need, and then I will be shopping barrels and exotic woods for stock material. Needless to say, I'm a little anxious. I hope they don't need a lot of work prior to my integrating them into new guns. But, it looks like I have a new project to tend to.

OBTW, here's a link to some pics:

Mystery Action (Carbine?)

My Son's Problem

This evening, my son revealed to my wife and I that he does not have very many friends at school, and that this bothers him. We reassured him that there is nothing wrong with him, but third grade is just kind of rough. Also, he's a gifted kid, and that doesn't help matters any. During the discussion, he popped out with this gem in his anguish:
"I know that God has a purpose for me," he said in a quivering, grief-stricken voice, "but I don't know what that purpose is, and I wish I did."
That was a couple of hours ago, but my eyes are still wet from it. I could not be more proud. That is a good, eight-year-old kid that I've got, and he's quickly turning into a good man. That's all I have to say about that.