2015-02-09 Recently Read

Subtraction: Color Grading Movies
How digital color manipulation of a movie can drastically change the tone and meaning of the subject.

The Morning News: The Books
A long and fun essay on the subject of a couple combining their library after having lived together for sometime. One of the things Stephanie and I have never done is combine our books. Mine are in the library and hers are in the dining room, although both of us have books that spill out to other rooms of the house. My organizational automaton has toyed with the idea of combining our books and getting them all in order, but it’s a daunting task, and one filled with emotional pitfalls.

The New York Times: The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland
The emotional fallout of a teen boy who set a trans teen on fire on a bus in Oakland, California.

the head in: Chet Baker Sings
Baker first sang “My Funny Valentine” in 1954, and the rendition – a stark, melancholy one – was released on Dick Bock’s Pacific label two years later on the record Chet Baker Sings.

The Economist: Inside the box – How workers ended up in cubes—and how they could break free
Other cubicle-related health problems have taken longer to emerge. Because cubicles provide only the illusion of privacy, not the real thing, they do nothing to stop infectious diseases. Sharing an office raises the chances of getting more than two colds a year. In 2011 Danish scientists found that workers whose offices held at least six people took 62% more sick leave than those in private offices. And last year Swedish researchers studying the link between office layouts and illness found that people who worked in open-plan offices had the highest risk of becoming ill. The reason, they concluded, was more than just the easier spread of infections. Stress caused by lack of privacy and workers’ inability to control their surroundings played a part, too.

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According to WebMD:

Costochondritis is an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join with the cartilage that holds them to the breastbone or sternum. The condition causes localized chest pain that you can reproduce by pushing on the cartilage in the front of your ribcage. Costochondritis is a relatively harmless condition and usually goes away without treatment. The cause is usually unknown.

Relatively harmless? Perhaps, but it hurts like bloody hell. This is the current working theory for the health issues I’m having lately. It feels a bit different than the pleurisy that I previously had reoccurring over and over, although when I look back at a couple of those blog entries, I realize some of them were this instead.

And it’s a bit maddening because the symptoms closely resemble a heart attack or heart difficulties, so the first couple times I went to the emergency room (believe me, if I could have avoided out of going, I would have) both I and the doctors freaked the hell right out until it became apparent that my heart is just fine. More from WebMD:

Costochondritis is also considered as a possible diagnosis for adults who have chest pain. Chest pain in adults is considered a potentially serious sign of a heart problem by most doctors until proven otherwise. Chest pain in adults usually leads to a battery of tests to rule out heart disease. If those tests are normal and your physical exam is consistent with costochondritis, your doctor will diagnose costochondritis as the cause of your chest pain. It is important, however, for adults with chest pain to be examined and tested for heart disease before being diagnosed with costochondritis. Often it is difficult to distinguish between the two without further testing. The condition affects females more than males (70% versus 30%). Costochondritis may also occur as the result of an infection or as a complication of surgery on your sternum.

(Emphasis mine.)

This is the fourth time I’ve had this occur, and each time, the emergency room doctors spring to action, and then when they realize I’m not having a heart attack (my EKG is normal, and subsequent testing shows I’m fine) they act kind of disgusted with me for causing a fuss, and then send me home referring me to follow up care with my primary care physician.

By the time I can get in to see my physician, the pain has subsided, and they don’t do a whole lot to try to figure out what the issue was. This time around, I decided to change the game and made an appointment with the doctor first. My regular PCP wasn’t in, but the on call doctor got to see first hand how much pain I was in; enough to want to send me to the emergency room. I explained to him I had had this happen 3 times before and they decided there was nothing wrong with my heart (the most recent time, my cardiologist actually eventually ordered a cardiac catheterization that definitively proved the issue wasn’t my heart.)

This time, the on-call doctor was able to see all that in my charts and put it together. He made me go to the emergency room to rule out a blood clot in my lungs, and once they did that, I went right home, but the emergency room suggested this “Costochondritis” or “chest wall syndrome” as the cause. I need to follow up again with – my PCP.

The gap in my health care is between my Primary Care Physician and the hospital – they like to play a game of hot potato with me. The PCP wants me to go to the hospital for anything they can’t figure out, but the hospital only wants to rule out anything life threatening and send me home without further investigation, so no one ever solves the problem or follows up on anything.

And as far as I’m concerned, I’m so sick of doctors and hospitals and gowns and waiting around with Stephanie — who is as stressed out as I am about the whole business — that I want to avoid the whole thing unless I absolutely can’t function, so I’m not motivated to figure out what the hell is going on, either.

At least this time I’m closer to understanding what’s going on, but no closer to getting anything resolved. I’m loath to keep asking for pain medication because I don’t want to be dependent on it, but without it, I’m completely dysfunctional.

All of this is driving me completely crazy, too. I’m just tired of the whole mess.

Continue ReadingCostochondritis

Who Is Sick?

(original link, no longer active – http://whoissick.org/sickness/) Who is Sick? is a Google map-based application where you can enter data detailing the symptoms of your illness, add it to a map of your location, and see who in your particular area is also sick. Kinda interesting, especially in my neighborhood.

Who Is Sick Database
Who Is Sick Database
2022-03-17 Update:
The site didn’t survive. I wish I could go back and look at what info they gathered. In the third year of the Corona Virus pandemic, this would have such interesting ramifications.
Continue ReadingWho Is Sick?