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Zappa:When Did He Give Up?

I once said that Joe’s Garage was when he just stopped caring about the music and instead became a joke, or at the very least, a parody maker.

I got a lot of crap for that statement because Frank Zappa liked to be funny all the time. I thought he was funny and brilliant, and I know I don’t have to choose one. I just like it when he PLAYS, not so much when he sings and maybe that’s why I’m slow to warm to his post-Mothers work.

He said in the middle of the album ” Burnt Weeny Sandwich” something to a heckler that I appreciated greatly. This was 1970. Maybe someone said something about the Mothers’ garb and he replied quickly “ALL of you are wearing uniforms, so stop kidding yourselves”.

Whew, that’s almost as telling as what happened at Altamont, isn’t it?

I leave you with Frank,  Flo, and Eddie. You suck badly if you don’t like this.

Lost In The Supermarket of Mental Healthcare

Some of these hospitals that deal with crazy-asses are by definition staffed with crazy themselves, so I say to them who work for them that I would point that pointy-finger at yourself  before you all point them at me and my medical condition trying to find out why your customer hates you so much.

Holy shit! The hospitals rooms all look the same. All the people are pissed off in the windows of the meeting rooms, and you figure that is your meeting because pissed off is what you are. You are wrong. Like today, I stumbled into the “dual diagnosis” room and it took me 5 minutes to realize that this particular room did not need me in it, at least did not want me there that day.

I’m sorry to report that nothing earth-shattering resulted in my meeting, except the reminder that the bipolar needs his meds, they aren’t just something you can or should kick. Yep. One hour, and two professional facilitators (I have a certificate to be one too so I got extra happy fun time watching them try to do it) to get one person to admit they are off the chain out of seven of us.

Well! Quite an accomplishment, bloated healthcare beast! How much did it cost you to find that patient is off their meds, how many salaries were kept afloat by finding that one person that morning?

All I can say is that I can’t wait for the GOP to see what happens to the country when they want to take a scalpel to American socialized medicine. I’m in the VA system now, I don’t worry-I worry about me. You all might want to see what Congress is trying to do and find out who your real enemies are in politics before 2012.

I’ll give you a hint, middle class-you are going down if you follow the elephants.

What Happens When A Bipolar Goes To Treatment?

This should be a funny joke. Regrettably, you have one default option when you get put in stir with a bunch of other patients.

1. You find out you might be God.

This smacks of bad idea-dom. Because everyone else on the ward is already firmly convinced that they run the ward and are God as well. Or the devil, a druid, a Jehovah’s Witness, a distant relative, perhaps a djinn or wendigo might show up and tell you these terrible things.

If recovery for bipolar disorder means this plus the happy drugs, then the bipolar community might want to rethink its steps to recovery. I don’t have a community yet, and do not think I want one since I have a psycho ward on my hands called a nuclear family.

That ought to keep me busy for a little while. But damn, it’s really not a good idea to put bipolars in the general population, because they will find other bipolars, playing some other religious characters or some stupid shit like that.

The thing all bipolars must understand is that those are only bit part players. Oh, they’re there to color in the drawings, and make pretend people for you to bump into. For the sake of gentleness, we’ll say that we all wound up at that stupid hospital for a reason, one or another. DO NOT extrapolate anything out of this phrase.  Stay away from people who say “everything happens for a reason” whenever they have tried to cheer you up. That person is up to no good and you should not, uh, trust anything they say because “their” reasoning is even worse off than yours is. Nothing happens for some invisible reason that concerns YOU as a little monkey.

Sounds like I hate religion-quite the opposite. If you had to give me a name, I’m still a skeptic, or some sort of Gnostic, still above all an atheist so I can remain critical and not biased. But anyway, getting religion was a perquisite for the honor of being stuck in the basement floor with a bunch of civil war reenactors and people in diapers. I handled it well.

So; here’s how to treat a bipolar, so I can be straight here: You treat a person like shit because they think they are God, and then you tell him that he is God or he is in him/her somewhere.

It’s your conundrum, idiots, not mine.

Medication Time!

Don’t you love that clarion call, those of you who have spent time in a ward? I just did. It was a long stretch for me (a few weeks), but the Veteran’s Administration has saved my life, along with my wife. Whew. That was a close one; I will bore you with the details  some other time.

Basically this God-Damned -Idiot wanted to get up in the morning a few weeks ago and take my younger son on a trip to buy a new car. Somewhere along the line I had the inkling that I wanted to get a new Social Security card for my kid so had something important in his wallet, but not before I vowed never to shop at Best Buy again because they don’t stand behind what they sell.

But I wanted a car, too. A nice one, built for safety and performance.

I already have one of these.

Now if you are bipolar and you just read that, you went “uh-oh”. If you are not bipolar, you might have a shitty car and I probably can’t stand the way you drive.

I was unsuccessful in my attempt to get the car . Thought you might want to know, I’m home, and safe. Thanks to everyone who brought me back from that one.

Being An Atheist: A Hard Job Because You Have To Believe In Everything

Sounds funny, eh? But you know, if you think about it a little, not believing in one God pretty much means you have to believe ideas about EVERYONE’S gods and all possible realities. This is as close as you can get to having to believe in just one, and it may be more of a burden because you get the privilege of wondering about all of them. Doubt invites everything into play, and atheists often long for answers but just find more reasons to tell a religious person that they are full of shit. I don’t do this on principle, and in little ways I leave open the possibility that some stories may be true-ish. As a skeptic, I have no choice but to even be skeptical about what I believe, because falsity is everywhere and you know you are wrong about something somewhere and that is how you know that you might be wrong even about things you consider to be highly unlikely.

Let’s face facts; nature is behaving in a way that stupid modern humans have not seen in a while. Everything we know is out the door at the moment, save for a few fundamentals. All we really do in reality is watch it happen, and in no way does that mean we know any more about reality than we did the day before.

Who knows? Language has confounded us more than it has freed us as regards contemplation. There is every reason to believe that perhaps what is being said is true even if it sounds stupid. We simply cannot know what the world was like before language and that is that. I can’t even imagine what say, Sumerian society sounded like because I bet it didn’t sound like this one.  So, we have two ideas to consider; that we receive myth and what is absurd might be true, or we just say it’s a bunch of shit and move on. However, all languages are related to each other, and this may mean that we are giving some myths short shrift by completely finding them irrelevant. I’m not going to name any, because I would be making shit up. But as a ponderer, I have to wonder how life will be from now on. Which means, I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. That’s an unusual feeling, all of a sudden, to know the days and nights look different and there is no telling how things will proceed.

This means that at least as far as I am concerned, suddenly I am living in the present all of the time, utterly unsure of yesterday’s facts or tomorrow’s certainties. I have never felt so detached from what I know in my life. It is entirely possible that this has happened before in time, where you just had to start naming shit that didn’t make sense just so that your existence made sense. It has brought us to the mess we are in today, this mass acceptance of stupid shit that isn’t true. I have no choice to simply share it with myself and perhaps bounce it off this screen, thus limited to the possibility that I am only messing myself up by thinking this way.

Great, now I am confounding me. This is going great, I don’t even understand my own thinking. This is not something I am accustomed to. There’s something liberating in it, though, something that feels good almost all of the time. It’s like the universe and I have had an intervention and now I am getting all cosmic about the cosmos now, full of magical thinking and not minding so much. My medicine change is done, and everyone says I sound “great!”, that I sound “like myself” and yet here I am wondering about forever and if it is real.

Someone is going to have to decide soon whether or not I am getting better, but if I ask myself, I will say at least that I feel better, and this odd magical thinking is part of what comforts me. And typically, not knowing what is going on is NOT something I enjoy. There’s lots of bullshit out there from people in the self-improvement field or the therapy field that says all kinds of hog-dick about “flowing”, “accepting who you are”, etc.  Yet others take up other kinds of established magical thinking, like fortunes and astrologies and visions and heaven knows whatever else that has been conjured up to make stupid people think the world or God actually gives a fuck about your little life, the one you think is so special which is unlikely as well.

My magical thinking, I try to keep at a tolerable level. It is more like a nagging feeling, like me wondering whether I locked the car or left the bathroom light on. It doesn’t press-it pushes. Ordinarily uncertainty can drive a person berserk in a short period of time, especially for someone like me who has never known its opposite and it hurt. Now, suddenly uncertainty is certain and I guess my brain is making the natural connections to ensure that I can do the math to make “up” look like “down” and say that it’s OK.

What are we doing here? What am I doing here? Why am I here? The old questions have returned, although in a form I cannot define anymore.

Understanding American Healthcare

How do you properly assess a hospital visit in the United States without any health insurance?

This is not a set-up to a joke. The system is a joke, but there is nothing funny about the system.

Several months ago, I took a little ride in an ambulance to a glittering hospital. It was a majestic building; I had been to it before. It shines like the city of Oz at night. You would believe that great and powerful things are happening there. There must be: why else would I get a $7000 bill to sleep off a sedative overnight? But first, you have to have a crack ambulance team to get you to the ER. That ambulance team is probably on crack itself, because they had the police drag defenseless me across his own lawn because they assessed that I was a methamphetamine addict, unpredictable and angry for more drugs.  This was untrue. I had a toxic reaction to my antidepressant. They had my med bag. It was pretty clear that I had a psychological condition.

That condition was not produced by methamphetamine. Oh, I suppose the three beers I had might have exacerbated my condition, but even my most fucked up friends do not go stark raving bonkers after half a six pack. Meth addicts were common in my area, so I can sorta understand why it at least occurred to them that I might have been one of them. I was packing my house up to move, so my clothes may have said “I am a dangerous dope fiend”. There as also a can of compressed air atop one of the boxes, so they may have reasonably thought, “This is a dangerous dope fiend who huffs air for laughs”.

I’ve never understood the excitement that comes from hyperventilating. I never even tried to hold my own breath when I was a kid or play the “You Strangle Me First And Then I’ll Do It To You” game with anyone. I would breathe the air, and my brain would singsong to itself, “I like this stuff. I think I will continue to enjoy it at the present rate of respiration”. Only during locust season would my brain say, “Perhaps life is overrated. I think I will have my host run very fast, elevate his rate of respiration, and then we will have less of this air and maybe we can die before the locusts eat us.”

When your brain says these things to itself in a ten-year old body, you, the host,  go into mild shock as those little fuckers hiss and buzz around you and the little poor bully kids would pick them up and put them on girls and every step you took sounded like you had just crushed a pack of Grade A eggs underneath your feet because not only do locusts hiss and buzz, they also die and shed their pupas at an astounding rate. The locusts really don’t know it, but nature is telling them to go live somewhere else, terrorize school children, and then wait over a decade to terrorize a new set of children who have never seen them before.

I must admit, at 38, I wish I could be a locust, and my first target would be the ambulance crew that picked me up that night. Because it hadn’t yet occurred to them that I had bipolar disorder, and I was having what we bipolars understand to be an “episode”.  What’s so funny about this, is before my mom called the ambulance on me(she was helping me pack to move to Georgia), she had been hyperventilating. She had become tired of Colorado. She had been there for days, packing up all of our belongings while I tried to sell anything that wasn’t nailed down. She wanted a plane ticket IMMEDIATELY after we were finished. I told her there was a monstrous snow storm on the way and that there was no way in hell anyone was going anywhere once this thing hit. I looked at it on radar; it was the size of China and its tail was about to hit the storms’ fourth quadrant. We were in that quadrant, deep. The wind began banging doors; dogs began to howl. Neighbors who knew well enough what could happen in a storm left quickly to get batteries and wipe the staple shelves of the local supermarket clean as long as their food stamps could hold the balance. My poor sick mother was having none of this. She insisted on a plane ticket. She became very angry when I told her we would not get one.

“HAVE THEM HOLD THE DAMN THING!!!”, she hyperventilated. I went to the plane website. Tickets for the minute I arrived at the screen were going for thousands of dollars a seat, coach class. I looked at the weather again. The China-sized blockbuster was moving west, which is to say that the eye wall was closing in on us.

Rain fell in sheets. My mother was still screaming for a ticket. My sick mother did not know it at the time, but she was suffering from altitude sickness, the kind that takes about two months to get over if you continue to live near a three-mile high mountain. When you are up this high, every step counts, because you are a lot closer to the moon than you should be. So I took my sick mother outside. The rain was falling in a cool drizzle, and I was thankful for it. I began to walk my mother down the street, which had a downslope. There was a small alley that led down to a dirty reservoir ditch. I brought her down there, despite her protest that the ditch was scary. I suppose one could say that about the alley when it was dark, but only young, harmless juvenile delinquents would spend time in there, playing, going down into the reservoir tunnel to throw rocks at the reservoir, or spray paint the tunnel. Evidently, a tiny delinquent had found out that the devil’s number is “666”, and proceeded to make a record of his parental neglect by spray-painting just that on the reservoir tunnel. This is nothing but mild amusement to me. If my mother, who is highly religious, had seen it, she would have given me a reason to chase her across the reservoir, which I was not going to do. The reservoir bed is made of sand, and the combination of the moon and the sand (isn’t that a band name? They probably suck) would have stopped her.

Anyway, the twenty feet or so that we went down was enough to calm my mother. I felt like a hero, having saved her from an anxiety attack.  We went back inside. The ticket prices had gone back to normal. Whew. The weather stopped flipping out. Curious, I checked the weather.

We were inside the eyewall.

If you are looking at this from anywhere from the Leeward Islands to Cuba, you know not to take comfort in calm weather after you have been whooped by a hurricane. Storms on land act just like storms coming from the African cape. The only difference is that storms gain exceptional power as the Earth spins them over the ocean. They hit land like 300 trainloads of bricks, shit gets broken really bad, and then people wonder why they still live on a beach. Dumbasses. Lazy rich fucks slay me;  they buy a view, they insure the view, and then they have to nail and tape up their view when nature decides that your particular view is no longer necessary. What an amazing waste of time.

The time and money that is spent in the United States trying to live in an area that does not want you to be there is staggering.  The rich get the coasts. The poor get the gulfs and the islands. Great setup. Fuck, I hate this country sometimes. It is A-OK for the destitute to have their homes swept away by the earth’s anger, but it is not OK when someone’s beach property is crushed because you decided to live on a latitude that is in line with the Cape of Africa. Insurance companies love this setup.

Land storms, on the other hand, are beholden to certain atmospheric anomalies. It is why they happen in the first place. Once one gets going, then it has to obey “fronts”.

Oh, fuck it. I am a storyteller, not a weatherman. I have probably gotten most of this wrong anyway, and I do not care. Everyone thinks I have this storm wrong anyway, because there was plenty of “sunshine” in that are after that monstrosity left the area.  That’s because we got a break, and Mr. Storm went to the mountains where only a few rich fucks got their due, and even they probably survived because the storm preferred the top of the mountains to dump its precipitation on. This is why so many people love living in Colorado. That is why the Indians liked it. We liked it more, so we killed the Indians. We are so cool!

Frank Zappa once said in a song, “You know what, people? I’m not black but there are a lot of times I wish I wasn’t white.”

I feel this way every day.

This bitch of a storm was certainly not done with the general area. Looking at the weather, I realized that its eye was moving again. Towards us, again. My sick mother began screaming for a ticket out of this god-damned place. She began calling people she knew, wondering why I would not let her leave and why would I do this to her. She said I was behaving strangely. I’m standing there, listening to this shit, thinking I am the only one who remained in control here. So, to mollify my mother, I took an extra antidepressant, a childish way of telling my mother to fuck off and that I was fine.

Not a good move. The antidepressant began to make my head spin. In order to remain conscious, I decided it would be a good time to let my body spin. I must have looked like a deranged Sufi. In my head, I knew that all I could do was either spin, or pass out. This was the final straw: my mother dialed 911 on me. I’d have done it too. But not before I knew what she was suffering from. I mean, I should have had her checked for anxiety due to altitude sickness- if anyone was going to call 911, it should have been me. But I had lived in Colorado long enough to know what happens to people when they do not live in Colorado. It can be painful if you don’t wait for blood adjustment to go away. So I did what I was supposed to do-bring her to a lower altitude. She was fine. What she didn’t understand was what was happening to me.

Like I said, I was dragged by the cops and shoved into an ambulance and shot with sedatives. I find out later that you NEVER do this to someone on antidepressants. They tied me up after I had a petit mal seizure and accidentally popped a female ambulance worker in the hip. Then I received more sedatives and I heard them saying that they had never seen a meth addict take so much sedative and stay awake. They put so much in me that I almost had a heart attack, which at least the dumb bastards stopped me from having. I go to Oz, where they drip Benadryl into me until I nap.

I wake up the next morning, still in the ER and not the loony bin or the ICU. That was good; I was stable after all that stupid crew had done to me. I was released after I told the psych examiner that I had been terrorized within an inch of my life by the ambulance and the police.  She understood. She signed the release papers and I was free to go home.

I go for the door, but first I have to stop at “payments” before I can leave Oz. The lady asked me for $150 before I could leave.

I had had enough of being hurt, but I kept my shitty thoughts in my head lest someone take me away again. How in the holy fuck does a hospital think they are going to get money from a man who was taken to the ER against his will?

Think about that for a minute. I am mistreated badly, and I owe the hospital money. She gives me some papers about how to pay for my visit and I leave.

Yesterday, I received a “how was our service” card from the ambulance company, (who wanted $1000 for their opportunity to poison me), the kind you might find at IHOP but the card is too sticky with blueberry syrup for you to bother.

I am happy with what I told them, and I will mail it today.

In the comments section, I wrote that they treated a bipolar like a drug addict and they should be shut down. They will get this card, but there will be no check forthcoming.

So, if anyone thinks that American healthcare needs no improvement and there is no benefit to pooling knowledge and services, I would like to tell you to go fuck yourself so hard that your dick comes out of your eyeball. I am angry, and will remain so.

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