Hooked on Series

Two TV programs have sunk their hooks into me and won’t let go. The most recent one I began watching is House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. The story line intrigues me as I want to believe that our Congressmen are not as stupid and conniving as depicted. Because I love conspiracy theories this program gets my attention because it deals with behind the scene activity of our Congress. It highlights the politics of getting bills passed. More than that it highlights the amount of back stabbing and favor trading that goes on between congressmen. Spacey uses the trick of giving “asides” where he looks directly at the audience and explains what is going on in his mind during dialogues with colleagues in negotiations.

The second most watched series is New Amsterdam a story about New York City’s first hospital which treats all people. The theme is definitely pro-socialist medicine. What saves the show is the main character who is played by actor Ryan Eggold. He plays the part of Max Reynolds the hospital Director not as a stiff suited administrator but as a scrub attired doctor whose main mission is to help people.

I must admit that I have a penchant for medical drama dating back to Dr. Ben Casey in black and white television days. Maybe it is because I spent a big chunk of my life in hospitals as a patient, a parent, and a spouse.

Max is the perfect example of a positive thinking problem solver, and the writers do an exemplary job coming up with solutions to his many difficult situations. The only thing I don’t like about this series is the emphasis on socialized medicine. The stories are usually balanced between the staff wanting to help everybody against the Board of Directors who seem to only care about cost and payment.

Also, within the characters there seems to be an inordinate population of home-sexual medical staff whose personal relationships become the story. The program also highlights the difficulties encountered by hospitals during the COVID pandemic. The entire staff suffers from PTSD, and battle fatigue. Another theme that they do an excellent job with is addiction.

At third place is a program called “The Blacklist” with James Spader as notorious most wanted by the FBI character Raymond Reddington. The entire premise of this series is preposterous and unbelievable. First the most wanted criminal lives within the country yet never gets caught, second because the same criminal is partnered with the FBI in a special mission to catch criminals. Usually, the criminals on the black list are creative entrepreneurs who exist to aide other criminals. The series lacks imagination when it comes to story telling. Each episode is played off a standard outline and the entire story seems to be solved in minutes. The cast has some interesting characters such as the computer, internet expert Aram Mojtabai who can find information on anybody seemingly within seconds.

I Can’t Believe

When it comes to kids wanting to change their gender while still in grammar school, I cannot, nor will I, ever believe it is possible. It’s been a long time since I was that young, but it never occurred to me that I might want to be a girl. The subject never came up in our house. My brother is a boy, I am a boy, and my sister is a girl. We were satisfied with life as it happened. What I could believe is that kids who want to change their gender at age five or six have been brainwashed. Perhaps by parents who wanted a girl instead of a boy or vice versa. Kids just don’t think that way. They are too young to really understand the difference. Another thing I don’t understand nor believe is the medical industry that is growing up around gender change. There must be a lot of sick doctors who believe they can become famousl by supporting the physical surgery they implement to change a boy into a girl.

There has to be something in the food or water these people drink to make them believe in what they do. There is no other explanation. What is scarier to me are the laws that politicians are implementing to allow six year olds to undergo major body transformations without parental approval. Instead of giving parents the responsibility they have for bringing up their progeny the law pushes the right on to elementary school teachers. That is totally insane. In fact nothing about gender change is sane.

One of my theories is that the brains of these children have been infiltrated with garbled messages and the young brain just soaks it all in, and messes up the intricate linkages between mind and body. One way that occurs is by the constant repetition of thought processes that may occur during electronic games. All kids love playing computer games and parents use the games as a way to keep their child occupied and out of their hair. The games allow characters to morph from one person to another, they can change personalities with button pushes in instants. I know from my own addictions to electronic games that the desire to win and play is strong. One game I play is two deck solitaire. The stats kept by my computer show my win rate to be 16.2%. That is a losing statistic, but the desire to beat this game of chance continues. The same meter tells me that I have spent a total of 122 days, 23 hrs, and 25 minutes playing a game that I cannot beat. Yet, whenever I get near my laptop, I play another round. If that isn’t conditioning I don’t know what is. It is hard for me to realize that I have spent four months of my life playing solitaire, but it is a fact.

Statistics of populations world wide show that the number of people who are transgender varies between 1-5 percent. My math calculates that to be as many as 80 million people who have been born with their wires crossed. Is it our responsibility to convert these souls into their proper gender? I say no. We are still far away from having the smarts and the techniques required to make gender reassignment safely feasible. At this point we are merely performing experiments on kids to uncross their wiring. That puts us in the NAZI class of experimenting on humans because it is fun to do.

One day, soon I hope, these people who believe they can alter nature and revise gender will wake up and reverse the process. By that time we will be flooded with generations of kids who have been bodily re designed to think they are something other than what they are. The problem is they will have no way to reset to what is normal.

Gloom Versus Spasms

Today is a glorious sunny and cold December day, and we are making electricity. We just passed three days of gloom. How gloomy? Let me tell you how gloomy. Gloomy is when all of your light activated night lites turn on in the middle of the day. No joke that’s how dark it was. Then, to make my life more interesting I am living through the after effects of a minimally invasive procedure. Which involves a catheter and an unknown unheard of phenomenon called spasms. I’ve lived through some tough health problems in my lifetime but these spasms are the worst. I never know how to answer a medical person’s question: “On a scale of 1 to 10, where one is no pain, and ten is unbearable-excruciating pain, what level are you experiencing?” This time, my answer is that when a spasm occurs it is a bonafide 10. Thankfully, a spasm probably doesn’t last longer than 10-20 seconds, but it feels like a day. I think I have come close to child bearing pain. It is amazing that there are nine billion people in the world if the women have to bear that level of hardship.

If I had to choose between a month of gloomy days and three days of spasms, I’d choose the gloom. Over the last four score and four years I’ve experienced as many gloomy November and December days as God gave us, and I’m still here to talk about it. The only thing I will remember about these last three days are the spasms. The funny thing about my brain is that it likes to instantly remember the lousy things that happen, and push the happy, joyful things deeper into the abyss of memories. When I think about my two wives I never think about how we fell in love, or all the beautiful places we saw and the friends we made, I think about how much they suffered during their final years. Why is that? I have to consciously raise a memory of a particular trip or event to have happy thoughts, but gloomy, sad events immediately come to mind.

Happiness and sadness are very similar to positivity and negativity. We are programmed from birth to go negative automatically with our parents always telling us “no.” How many times did you hear something positive about your actions? The ratio is 100 negative to one positive. I was raised like that. As an adult I had to learn the benefits of positive thinking, and then train myself to become positive. At this age I feel I am very positive, but I often find myself reverting to the negative side of the situation. Just like these past days with the minimally invasive procedure, I should be thinking of all the easy times I will have during urination, but all I can focus on is bearing up to the “spasmodic TEN.”

My urologist has hinted that this healing process may take as long as three months. That is how long I have to continue the medication that did the job for the past ten years. I believe that if I did a payback analysis on this personal improvement it will come back with “not worth it.”

Minimally Invasive, Yeah

Today is the day I have been getting nervous about for the past six weeks. Most old guys like me have an enlarged prostate gland, and I have been taking medication to allow me to void. Back when I began taking the medication my Urologist told me that the medication is only good for about six or seven years and then the body no longer responds. That was at least ten years ago, and my time ran out. The options for improving the flow were not pretty. Along came a new procedure which I looked into and decided that if I ever have to do it this would be the one.

My instructions were to arrive 45 minutes early, which I did. Then I sat waiting for the entire 45 minutes before any activity occurred. In my mind I was rehearsing my termination speech for when I fire this doctor. They must have a whole semester of medical school dedicated for how to piss off a patient. One of the methods is making them wait for an appointment. This example is only out done by the pharmacy schools who teach young druggists how to staple drug information to the bag the drug is in, and then to staple the receipt on top of that. Not just once, but several times to make sure the drug container won’t fall out on the journey home.

Finally, five minutes before my formal appointment time a nurse called me in. Her job was to administer an anti-biotic drug in the butt before anything else began. “Are you allergic to anything,” she asked? (I had previously filled out a medical information questionnaire, and boldly listed that I was allergic to penicillin). Oh well, she was just being cautious I thought. “Just penicillin, the name of the drug you mention in the instructions ends in a ‘. . . cin’ are you certain that it is not in the penicillin family,” I asked? She smiled and left the room with the syringe in hand. She returned a few minutes later. “Now I am certain,” she said. I presented my buttock and she speared me with the needle. It is the first time that I got a shot that burned like fire, and kept burning for the next few minutes. “Go back to the waiting room, and I’ll call you when we are ready.”

I finally got called, and the following thirty minutes was spent breathing nitrous oxide to calm my nerves while the so called minimally invasive procedure took place. I’ll skip the details because it is too much information for a blog post. When it was over I looked at the urologist and asked him if I would get a discount for training the young assistant that shadowed the process. Then I turned to the nurse and accused her of not turning on the nitrous tank because I really didn’t feel calm at all. Then I turned to both of them and said, “who ever labeled this as a minimally invasive procedure is nuts.” I had an ultrasound wand up my butt and a tube the diameter of a nickel inserted through my urinary tract into the prostate. If that isn’t totally invasive, I’d like to know what is. Of course the term is a euphemism used to mean no cutting involved.

The kind nurse helped me get dressed and gave me instructions for how to take care of myself after I leave the office. “Be sure to make an appointment for tomorrow so we can remove the catheter,” she emphasized.

My grandson drove me home, and I spent the next hour on the throne with diarrhea.

The cell phone rang and I answered. “This is Doctor XYZ’s office calling to tell you that your appointment has been changed because we are not in the office tomorrow.” In my opinion, this doctor may know what he is doing medically, but he doesn’t have a clue about how to run a business. Why wouldn’t they know about a major change in office hours sooner? Like before I made an appointment.

All I can say is that it is over, and now the period of healing must take place, and I have to keep this MD on my payroll until I am healed whether I like him or not.

Tips From a Teen

I received this essay from my grand daughter. I know she is smart, but her essay convinces me that she is a lot smarter than I thought.

You Are Not Alone

This world needs you. Mental health is one of the most important things in my life. There are very few topics that ignite such a flame in me as this one does. I am actively spreading awareness of the importance of prioritizing your own mental health. It seems so simple, but it is single-handedly, one of the hardest things to do. Your mind will make you feel “selfish” or “conceited” just for taking care of yourself; however, it is so far from that. I know what it feels like, I was there and I still am there, but it is possible to get better. You are not alone in it. 

Mental health is normal. Every individual has a mind that can become overloaded with thoughts that can be hard to handle. Some people can manage it well, while others cannot. This does not make an individual “weaker” than the other, rather it shows how human they are. Humans are far form perfect, thus why needing help should be routine; however, society has stigmatized asking for help. I will admit, I struggle to ask for help, I am very stubborn. Even when my health is struggling, I do not like relying on someone, but there comes a time where it becomes unhealthy. As Lindsey Spencer explained, “The pandemic has shown many of us that asking for help is vital.” (Spencer). In the desperate times of need, we have grown to see that needed help is okay. “In a study by the American Psychological Association, it was found that referrals received by psychologists doubled (from 37% to 62%) from 2020 to 2021, and that 68% of psychologists reported an increase in the number of individuals on their waitlists.” (Spencer). In this period depression and anxiety were at new highs, and people realized help was the only option. The stigma behind anything comes from two kinds: self and public stigma. Although these related closely to each other, they vary. Public stigma is stereotypes about mental health and therapy. Spencer explains, “We find ourselves avoiding counseling because of the negative markers being applied to us.” (Spencer).  Self stigma is the self doubt and labeling ourselves as “worthless” or “unwanted”. These stigmas are the reason people don’t receive the help they need. I think the most important thing that can be done is changing the narrative about mental health and therapy into something positive. Although mental illness can be horrible and hard to handle, knowing that there is a possibility to manage it better should be the way it is looked at. Making the conversation about mental health more common will make this “uncomfortable” topic normal.

The world is forever changing and adapting. Society today has made progress in regard to mental health, especially in recent years, but COVID-19 took a heavy toll on many individuals experiencing loss, anxieties of health, and depression from isolation. Accepting that mental illness is real became more and more common because according to Mental Health America, “20.78% of adults were experiencing a mental illness in 2019-2020.” (MHA). The cases of mental illnesses grew exceptionally, however, with this growth in numbers there are not enough accessible care options for all. Although the knowledge of mental illness is prevalent in many families, it is very stigmatized in other households. This, therefore, inhibits these individuals to receive the help and care needed. Mental Health America also states, “Almost a third (28.2%) of all adults with a mental illness reported that they were not able to receive the treatment they needed. 42% of adults with AMI reported they were unable to receive necessary care because they could not afford it” (MHA). Making it nearly impossible to receive mental healthcare for everyone proves the conversation about mental health is even more important. Providing more accessible mental healthcare is possible by improving the training and collaborations between primary care doctors and mental health professionals. The majority of individuals visit the doctor a few times a year, so providing that direct connection to mental health help makes the process so much easier. In addition, telehealth or teletherapy creates a more accessible option, especially in the media-driven society we live in today. This was especially useful during the pandemic. The last way to improve is through schools. Schools like Columbia, provide on-campus therapy sessions with a licensed therapist. This aspect of the school is amazing, however, it lacks in numbers and diversity. Providing a resource that is supposed to make all individuals feel safe when it is lacking in diversity is harmful. Columbia is a large school, therefore should accommodate the number of students needing mental health help. These are a few ways to improve mental health care for everyone. 

No one should feel alone. My goal with this writing is to reach those around me that struggle with mental health. With so much change around us, it is valid to feel overwhelmed with how to manage it all. Mindfulness is used in a lot of school “workshops” and activities and may seem redundant, but it truly is so important. Small outside factors can majorly affect your mental health. For example, making your bed in the morning can jump-start a productive day. Similarly, having a clean room or living space will allow your mind to focus on important things rather than the mess around you. These are a few of the many simple ways to improve mental health, but sometimes mental illness takes more than that. Something I am passionate about regarding mental health is de-stigmatizing taking medication. Medication does not and will not make you weak. Coming to terms that you cannot handle it on your own shows more strength than fighting alone. I have been taking medication for my mental illness since I was in sixth grade. At first, I was embarrassed, I did not want anyone to know, however as I got older I realized how okay it is. It is okay to need extra help, especially when it improves your mental health. In addition to this, seeking help through therapy needs to be de-stigmatized. Although therapy does not work for everyone, it is so beneficial even to those not struggling with mental illness. I believe everyone should try therapy at least once. It is comforting to have a set time to have someone listen to you and help you through whatever it may be. There is so much to mental health that not many people talk about and, with this writing, I hope the reader learned something new. I hope the reader will take what they learned and apply it to their day-to-day life. Being more mindful and empathetic to those around them in order to make those around them feel less alone.

This needs to be written about because winter is upon us. As stated in the text Key Concept, “We have to time it by thinking about all the other circumstances.” (KC 82). Speaking from my personal experience, winter is a hard season mentally because of the sun going down sooner and the cold weather making me rather stay inside. I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. My own family struggles a little more and so do my friends. According to the Nami Howard County, due to reduced sunlight, serotonin drops and results in depression. Even from a chemical standpoint, mental health is being affected. I think that in this season is it especially crucial to have accessible and timely therapy care for all.


‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories

Online Counseling Options:

BetterHelp: https://tinyurl.com/3z8w3vr2

LGBTQIA+ Specialty Counseling: https://tinyurl.com/mrys958r


Mental Health Emergency Hotline: 988

Emergency Hotline: 911

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services availablebetween 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Or, just dial 988

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741

For even more hotlines and resources: https://www.psycom.net/get-help-mental-health

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org


Mental Health Americahttps://mhanational.org/. 

Spencer, Lindsey. “Breaking the Stigma around ‘Help’.” The Michigan Daily, 8 Apr. 2022, https://www.michigandaily.com/opinion/columns/breaking-the-stigma-around-help%EF%BF%BC/.