Archive for January, 2009



Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

My dog just chewed on my iPhone. I literally had my back turned for a brief moment. It still works, everything but the home button. So to switch applications, I need to turn the iPhone off and then on again.

Step 1) Get muzzle for dog. He can’t be trusted any more.

Step 2) Go to Apple store and beg for this to be covered by my AppleCare extended warranty thing I bought.

Any guesses as to how this turns out?


Thank You All

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Thank you all for your kind words and shared stories these past few days. I’m home now, recovering. The surgery was a success, and at least for now they expect everything to return to normal for me in a matter of weeks. I’ll let you know if my condition changes, and I suppose I’ll post my post-op MRI’s once I get those done.


Happy Robert Burns Day

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I tried ordering haggis and a Scotch from the hospital cafeteria but I was denied…


Hospital Sama

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Posted by ShoZu


Surgery Update

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

So I’ve been out of surgery a while. Feel pretty good though I’m still experiencing some bleeding through the nose. They’re saying I could even go home early.


Pituitary Adenoma

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

So I intimated that I had a medical issue in my New Year’s blog post. I have a tumor on my pituitary gland, technically called a pituitary adenoma. You can Google it if you want technical literature, but basically it’s a benign tumor. About 6% of people have them, but usually they grow to about 1mm in size, and then shrink back down to nothing. Mine, by contrast, is about 1cm in size, and is causing some mild problems.

Basically, the tumor was discovered accidentally. But it can effect the optic nerve and the endocrine system. My endocrine system is showing some VERY mild dysfunction, and I’m having some VERY mild vision loss on my peripheral vision. By VERY mild I mean it’s only detectable in detailed medical tests. The MRI scans don’t show that it is growing, but it is pressing up against my optic nerve, and if it does grow further could potentially cause blindness. Hence the procedure to have it removed.

They go in endoscopically, through the nose in a similar manner to which the ancient Egyptians used to remove brains when mummifying corpses. An ENT will get the instruments into place, and then they will drill a hole through the back of my sinus cavity, and the neurosurgeon will remove the tumor. I should be in the hospital for 2-3 nights, followed by recovery at home. If everything goes well, I’ll be back to normal in no time. However, here is a list of the following things that could go wrong:

  • The sinus cavity could fail to heal properly and cerebral spinal fluid could leak out my nose. This would require going in to re-seal the wound, and in rare instances, they will put a spinal tap into my back to let it leak out there while the healing process finishes in my sinuses. There is a possibility of contracting meningitis should the wound get infected, which would require antibiotic treatment.
  • A blood clot could form where the tumor resides, requiring a second surgery to go in and get the blood clot out.
  • The pituitary gland could cease to function. Since the pituitary gland regulates all hormonal functions, including the reproductive system, the liver, pancreas and kidneys, I would need to take a series of pills for the remainder of my life to in effect manually regulate my endocrine system. Apparently, this involves taking up to 4 pills a day, depending on the degree of dysfunction.

That’s about it. I suppose someone could always slip up and kill me or something, but from every neurosurgeon I’ve spoken to, and I think that’s about 4 now, this type of surgery is about as routine as neurosurgery gets, and typically goes without a hitch.

I happen to be lucky to have an ENT in the family, who did his residency at Harvard and could recommend who he believed to be the top endoscopic neurosurgeon in Boston. But apparently, there are still neurosurgeons out there doing this non-endoscopically, which I gather involves lifting the face off the skull and doing other things which sound horrific and nasty. The endoscopic approach was pioneered and perfected by the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, so it’s been around long enough for doctors to be familiar with it. Which just surprises me that there are apparently doctors out there who haven’t caught up with the less invasive procedures yet.

Along those lines, of having difficulty finding a good doctor, I feel I ought to point you to this article which discusses how difficult it is to find the right surgeon. I wish I had some public policy type recommendations regarding this but I don’t. Surely there ought to be a more systematic way to evaluate a surgeon’s efficacy before you go under the knife than by word of mouth, but apparently that’s the best there is.

In any event, if you want to have fun looking at my MRI scans, they’re here for the downloading. By the time this posts, I’l be in the process of being wheeled into surgery, which should take roughly 3 hours. I’ll be sure to let you know how things go as soon as I can get back on a computer.


The Anti-President

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

An anti-pope is someone who claims that the man residing in the Vatican in Rome claiming to be the pope is not entitled to the job and therefore claims the title of the Papacy for himself. So here’s a question for you: If there can be anti-popes (and there are), then why can’t there be anti-Presidents?

Today’s “flub” by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts was a likely attempt to create an opportunity for there to be an anti-president. The constitution, Article 2 Section 1, reads that “Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”” This is superseded by the twentieth amendment, which reads, “Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin. ” I would interpret this to mean that had Obama just followed Roberts’ lead and misread the oath, he would not have entered office, though his term would have begin.

Such a situation would have surely lead to multiple claimants for the office. Conceivably, Roberts may have had an candidate in waiting, ready to read the oath correctly as soon as the ceremonies ended. This would have lead to the creation of an anti-President, with competing claims to the Presidency.

Good thing Obama was on the ball and caught Roberts in his “slip-up“. Otherwise, who knows what may have transpired…

UPDATE: Actually, it looks like Obama didn’t read it exactly right after all!!! Oh no…

UPDATE 2: It appears that Obama was re-sworn in, just to make sure. I guess there won’t be an anti-president after all…


The Word, “Mister”

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

So I’m at the Whole Foods this weekend, and I notice that the cashier’s name tag read “Mr. Clifton.” “Mr. Clifton,” I said, and the man smiled. “I like that. Everyone today feels free to address everyone else by their first name without an invitation to do so. I like the fact that you’re willing to use Mister on your name tag.” The man kind of laughed, and I surmised he put it on there as a joke.

But I wasn’t joking. I get seriously irritated whenever customer service reps or worse, salesmen, feel free to call you by your first name as if you’re best friends. Nobody calls each other Mister or Missus or Miss any more. My father told me that in his office (and he retired in 1991 for reference sake) his secretary called him Mister, and even other employees a certain distance from him would call him Mr. Sama, though colleagues at the same level of management would use first names. And as a kid, I remember calling all my friends’ parents Mister and Missus. Never by their first names. When I encounter friends’ parents, I still feel inclined to call them Mister and Missus. Today, I think parents often invite their children’s friends to call them by their first names. This irritates me.

It irritates me in no small measure because our title for the President of the United States is Mr. President. George Washington came up with that title, in response to suggestions such as “Your Highness,” “Your Excellency,” “Your Majesty”and other royal-like titles. The use of Mister was at once common and yet polite. It downgraded the office while maintaining the right degree of formality.

But today, the title seems to exude the same sorts of feelings of grandeur as the old royal titles did, and that’s largely because of the decline in the use of the title Mister. When newspapers all printed pictures of Obama the day after the election with the caption “Mr. President”, they were exemplifying the phenomenon, in effect saying “Behold the grandeur”. Yes, there was also a point of saying that a black man will hold that title, but the emphasis on the title is wrong, it seems to me. If Washington were around today, he may not have suggested Mr President in today’s culture. He may have said, “Just call me George” or something. I dunno.

Of course, there is an alternative to all of this, namely to start using the titles Mister, Missus and Miss more often. It would restore some needed formality to our culture, and I think foster more respect between strangers as well. And, of course, it will be a step toward ending the cultural reverence of the presidency as an imperial office.


Brief Reflection On Bush

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Let’s get one thing absolutely clear: Bush was an incompetent who surrounded himself with bad advisers from the Nixon/Bush I years. And he took their advice WAY too often. Moreover, he split the Republican party apart by relegating free marketers to hangers on and elevating evangelicals into the true core of the Conservative movement. It will take years for the party to recover from the damage he has done.

But for all of that, he still didn’t deserve the vituperation and hatred spewed at him by the left for the past 8 years. J.R. Dunn gets to the point in a piece that is otherwise far too laudatory to Bush:

As in all such cases, Bush hatred involves a number of factors that will be debated by historians for decades to come. But one component that cannot be overlooked is ideology, specifically the ideologization of American politics. It is no accident that the three most hated recent presidents are all Republican. These campaigns are yet another symptom of the American left’s collapse into an ideological stupor characterized by pseudo-religious impulses, division of the world into black and white entities, and the unleashing of emotions beyond any means of rational control. The demonization of Bush — and Reagan, and Nixon — is the flip-side of the messianic response to Barack Obama.[...]

For the country as a whole, the prospects are bleaker. The left is convinced that hatred works, that it’s a perfect tactic, one that will work every time out. They have already started the process with Sarah Palin, their next target in their long row of hate figures. They’re wrong, of course. In a democracy, hatred is not a keeper, as the Know-Nothings, Radical Republicans, segregationists, Birchers, and many others have learned to their eventual dismay. But the process can take a long time to work itself out — nearly a century, in the case of racial segregation — and no end of damage can occur in the meantime.

I couldn’t agree more. Anyone not on the left who shows promising signs of achieving popularity will be smeared, denigrated by and defecated on by the left and their mouthpiece, the media. And we all know who will be leading THAT charge

Obama’s Presidency will be a welcome breather. But the hatred will be back in spades should he lose congress, reelection, or should a Republican be elected in 2016.

Previously: Magnanimity


So Help Me Dark Lord Cthulhu

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Apparently, Washington did NOT add the phrase, “So Help Me God” to the end of the Presidential oath of office.

Worth noting…