Tuesday, April 26, 2005

UTI follow-up



Went to the Urologist yesterday, no infection at this point in time. I’m sure I had one at the point I started my last round of antibiotics, although not totally positive that I had one when I did my two day cranberry extract/d-mannose every two hours regimine.

The doctor prescribed me what he calls an “anti-bacterial.” (Generic for Bactrim DS, Sulfamethoxazole/TMP DS TAB) I kept referring to it as an antibiotic, and he kept specifying “anti-bacterial,” although he agreed that it was essentially an anti-biotic. I never did quite figure out the distinction he was trying to make 😉

I’m supposed to take this stuff every time I have sex. I expressed concerns about negative impact on the immune system taking antibiotics so often, but the doctor confidently assured me that it only effected bacteria in the urine, not in the blood stream, and there was nothing to worry about. (He’d never heard of d-mannose and seemed non-plussed at my description despite that I noted it had worked successfully for me for a year and a half)

A quick search by Patri showed that there is definitely far less a concentration in the blood stream with this antibiotic than with most.

However, this stuff is also used to treat infections of the fluid that surrounds the brain (meningitis), ear, and lung infections, which means that it is indeed traveling through the blood all over the body.

Patri had never heard what I’d taken as common knowledge that antibiotics effect the immune system, so we looked into that and there really isn’t concrete evidence one way or the other. There is plenty of evidence that prolonged (normal) antibiotics are bad for you. I guess the intestinal tract is what tends to suffer most.

Plan of Attack: I’m going to make taking the cran/mannose extract every morning part of my daily routine in hopes that it will work preventively. It didn’t last long when I did this with d-mannose by itself before, but this stuff from tastes like kool-aid to me, so that might help 😉

Plus of course it seems much more important now: before having d-mannose every few hours if I had an infection worked, but it doesn’t anymore and I don’t know if the added cranberry extract will make a difference.

I’m going to feel very silly going back to the doctors office in a few weeks with a UTI if this doesn’t work, but it definitely seems worth one last try for the non-antibiotic stuff, although I’ve decided that regular antibiotics won’t be the end of the world 😉 On the bright side, he sent me home with a couple of urine sample cups, so if I get an infection all I have to do is fill one of those and bring it in (the place is only 2 miles from home), and they’ll process it and phone in a prescription on the spot. Beats the hell out of going to emergency rooms or waiting at Planned Parenthood during their short hours of operation.


Thursday, May 15, 2003


Something I overheard at work 😉

“I’m a bad driver. […] I’ve been in seven accidents, but only one was my fault.”

Not a bit of tonal irony expressed either 😉 Something that’s probably obvious to most people whom have been around a while, virtually no one seems to think that an accident is their fault. After many years of hearing the “innocents” bemoan the situation, is now very plain to me why insurance companies raise the rates of both the “at fault” driver and the “not at fault” driver: I would bet that nine out of ten the insurance company has it right: both are at fault. For example, one driver is speeding and/or driving too fast for the conditions, and another takes a turn without looking carefully and gets hit. I don’t know what the verdict would be on that one, but each could, and probably would, easily blame the other. Of course, there are those times when one person was genuinely not at all at fault, but the insurance companies, like good economists, care about averages: the amount it would cost them to find out the exact outcome in each individual case would probably cost them so much that _everyone_ would end up with higher rates in the end.

The companies look at the statistics, such as the girl who has 7 accidents and is only “at fault” in one, and estimates how much at fault she likely is in reality for the rest, by comparing her statistics with those of all of the other drivers they insure. It would be rather interesting to get an average of what percent an “at fault” driver’s insurance goes up verses a “not at fault,” hence get an idea what the insurance companies studies conclude is the typical division of fault.

Of course, I may regret voicing these observations when I myself get into an accident someday and what to lament about it, but se la vi 😉 Accidents really are awful. You make one little mistake, and end up owing more than your entire life savings. Or with a very serious injury. No one want to have to pay their entire life savings just for driving a little fast, certainly they don’t deserve that! And someone who ends up with a very serious injury which is going to cost them their job and perhaps much more, will feel that they most definitely deserve to be paid well for the harm. Most anyone can get behind the wheel of a car, think about how much more death and destruction is caused by bad drivers than by heroine junkies! 🙂 Although I’m sure there have been a few, I don’t think that many accidents are caused by drivers on heroine. I haven’t seen any studies so I don’t know if this is actually valid or not, but I’ve heard that drivers who are tired are more dangerous than drivers that are drunk. I can certainly vouch for the dangers of driving tired. Will go into those stories some other day ;P

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the girl who was talking, was her ending note: “the lady whom I hit (in the at fault accident) is suing me for $30,000. I don’t know where she thinks I’m going to come up with that kind of money.” The girl expressed this with obvious remorse or guilt. Almost as scary as some stories Janie has told me, but at least in her case I know that she literally does qualify as insane (as stated, she’s been committed for it). She told me some stories about how she used to play games, where she’d intentionally run red lights to see if she could make it. Got into several accidents that way, of course.

So, what is there to be done about these sorts of things, if anything? In most areas of the US, functioning without a car would be hell. This is why most bad drivers get behind wheels. They’d probably rather not endanger the lives of others along with their own in most cases, but not many people can afford to live in a plastic bubble.

Its all an ugly game of averages and statistics. Some suffer for the net gain of the masses, that’s how it is and probably always will be, although it is possible that we will evolve far enough to get past this with time. Anyhow, it really is better this way than the alternative: without adjusting for the masses then everyone would be worse off, at least in this system, even the those who are unlucky in monetary verdicts still have life, and are still able to maintain enough of their paychecks to enjoy it some.

We’re all just here, looking out from our own eyes, and seeing the world from our own points of view, perhaps often wondering how others cannot see the importance of this view, or it appears in some cases, assuming that everyone else does, and being surprised when others do not behave accordingly 😉 I’m adding empathy, along with economics, as the two of the most important things in life not taught very well in school 🙂 It seems that schooling really is the best if not only place where one could make a significant impact on the state of the world. However, to get to a position of power in that particular chain of bureaucracy would probably require dictator-like power. Perhaps someone with a significant enough pocketbook could pay his way through in a smaller country to start an example based revolution 😉

Okay, out of the armchair for today… I’m laughing at the irony in that I hardly ever write economics based journals, and right after writing that saying I was going to get out of that mode couldn’t resist writing this, but well, I guess thinking a lot about that prior entry has put me in the mind set 😉 Anyhow, perhaps I’m rationalizing, but this actually does seem the sort of thing that might actually be valuable for me to be voicing. The unfortunate part is that if someone is one of the few who take responsibility because of greater insight, it often puts them at a great disadvantage to those who don’t.

“I just wasn’t thinking about you” does relieve most people from feeling at fault. And it certainly does seem that they should be less at fault than one who saw it and did it anyway. But is it really fair that observation should bring one more responsibility and grief? That one who cares and takes the time to think about things should bear the brunt for another’s childishness? I honestly don’t have an answer, its another case of the phenomena described above. Depending on which pair of eyes you look out of, the answers are quite obviously different. One just didn’t think to look, people don’t bother to think about things all of the time, why should they have to pay the cost of the intense suffering it happened to cause another in this case? And on the other side, one does look, and has gone through great effort and pain to self to save others pain and suffering by consciously avoiding such things, at cost to self. Is it fair that they should pay for another’s negligence? And of course, nearly all of us go from one side of the coin to the other constantly.

I guess the short of it is simply that life just isn’t fair 😉 Something awful on a grand scale and terribly unfair is bound to happen to all of us, be it an accident, an abusive relationship, an early onset terminal illness, etc. So much slips away with this one bad move or finding.

But, well, there’s no reason for us to expect differently, its only in movies that one knows life is supposed to be ideal, this _is_ reality, like it or not. So, the most rational thing to do is to accept and move on, take whatever joy from it that you can, help those you love and care about to do the same, and to improve the world in whatever ways you feel able. Obviously I’m a firm believe in tough love, where it is necessary, and self really should come first in most cases. Someone cannot care without having a self from which to care. Hence, don’t give too much, because the needy will just take it and not even really be better off themselves for it, but do in the least have empathy. Understanding goes a long way. Despite my rage at Simon, I really do pity him and feel a bit bad for going off on him, despite feeling that he had it coming. But for most everyone else, I am finding that being kind is most definitely my preference. Perhaps only in sympathetic expressions in most cases, but even that makes me feel a lot more in touch with the world, and a lot better about myself. Whether to my advantage or not, I am developing my understanding of people and my empathetic side more and more, and will continue to do so, and wish as much on the rest of humanity 😉