February 18, 2008

Here and there...

The day after I returned from Mexico, The Misanthrope from Toner Mishap was in Wonderland, and we had a lovely dinner together -- six hours worth of talking, and plenty more to say. He is the first blogger I've met in real life who wasn't someone I knew prior to my blogging days. I hope he's not the last.

We seemed to share the same outlook on life, politics, sex, relationships, the media, and so on. The story of his day in court hit new highs in accounts of absurdity in government. He served as a juror, and wrote about it afterward. He was the foreperson of the jury, a job I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Although in Law & Order and all the other court TV shows, the foreperson is not addressed by name when issuing the verdict, he was. So the defendant, found guilty of a major felony, knows by name one of the people who judged him a criminal.

It hardly seems fair that The Misanthrope was subsequently called into court for writing in his blog about the way the justice system seems to have derailed. (Translation: expediency is not government's middle name, since it's civil service, you would have to go postal to get fired.) Apparently one of the alternate jurors found his blog and duly reported it to some official who had too much time on his hands.

Seems to me the judge owed him an apology and perhaps protection for having used The Misanthrope's name aloud in the courtroom while the defendant was present. Instead, he got a lecture.

The right to free speech doesn't apply when you're a juror. Thanks a lot, Big Brother. Ironic, isn't it? Reminds me of the husband of a former friend. He served in the Navy and was fighting for a Constitution that didn't apply to him. (Then there was the mug he gave me: "Navy: Earth Friendly." Sure, as friendly as a nuclear submarine could get.)

There's a reason why I blog as alice, uptown, and the players in my blog go by the noms-de-blog nicknames I've given them. That reason is privacy. Inasmuch as it is possible to separate the public from the private (okay, the right to privacy died at the end of the 20th century), I would never name online my lovers, my friends, the people I love and cherish.

Kayanna, my niece, is one exception. Since she just turned one year old, and her parents don't read my blog, and you don't know who alice is (don't try the phone book: alice, uptown has an unlisted number), there's enough distance that I can tell you who she is. Perhaps when she's older, I will give her a nom-de-blog for her privacy.

Migraine days, migraine nights

Over at The Daily Headache the question has been posed: is there a migraine personality per se? Offhand, I would disagree. I’ve known too many people with migraines and incredibly disparate personalities to agree with that. What we do share is a genetic predisposition to migraine, which, like depression, is related to how we process serotonin, a neurotransmitter.

Serotonin processing is also related to depression, another disease I no longer question. I’ve stopped asking “why,” and, when I have a major depressive episode, I just want it to go away, and I don’t care how, just don’t make me talk about it again. I have a chemical imbalance, period.

Joan Didion wrote an essay in The White Album called “In Bed,” about her migraine experiences c. 1968. I read it years ago, and it still resonates for me, particularly the part about major stress not correlating with her headaches. For me, it is relaxing that brings on those particular synaptic lapses.

Migraines are part and parcel of my life: after 30 years, I don’t care “why.” Instead, I look to my meds to see how fast I can staunch the pain. Those Imitrex commercials are full of shit. Give me those old-time opiates any day, thankyouverymuch. Some are available over-the-counter in Mexico.

(Alice knows where to obtain different drugs in many parts of the world. She could give you the Cook's tour of where to find relief from pain, infection, stomach upset, cough, allergies, etc., on five continents.) This would be one reason why people ask alice about all things pharmaceutical.

I was diagnosed with migraine at age 18 or so, and can recite chapter and verse all the so-called medical breakthroughs in the past 30 years. I’ve tried the latest and greatest, and not only are the newer drugs expensive, they don’t work at all for me. When I have a migraine, I want the old-fashioned tried and true, what's proven to work for me, regardless of any potentially addictive effects. It’s far too late in the game for me to care.

Cure my pain, and let’s be done with it. Forget about my personality: my head hurts; I can’t move; I get sensitive to light, sound, and scents; and the little man with the big hammer behind my right eye is having way too much fun. If I can’t kill him, at least I can knock him out long enough to make it through the night.

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Blogger The Misanthrope said...

It was indeed a nice meeting. I look forward to our continuing to talk. I hope you can work your way out toward the Pacific, and more specifically Los Angeles.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous teresa said...

I too met Mr. Misanthrope and found the experience entirely pleasurable, and though he lives on my coast, it is through your blog that I found him, so how's that for circularity?

The whole mental health connection, I think, is the primary reason the pharmaceutical lords see fit to put sedative in my otherwise quite functional migraine med of choice, because in that connection they identify "mental" as the common feature, not serotonin processing. Me, I would prefer to take their vascular constrictor, which works quite well for me, without heading straight to sleepyville, which does not work so well when one is trying to manage migraines along with gainful employment. They make daytime and nighttime cold remedies; where's my goddam Midrin A.M.?

4:25 PM  

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