Mamma Mia, here we go again.

I spent most of the afternoon with mom at the hospital.1 She’s planning on going to a rehabilitation/skilled nursing setting for three weeks when she gets discharged. Part of the reason is that she can’t get in and out of the front door easily because the drop from the threshold to porch is several inches, if not a foot.2 It’s too much strain for her right now. The other reason is that she is going through physical therapy & will still possibly be on IV antibiotics3 when she gets out.4

She will also have to undergo some heart tests when she gets out. Apparently the heaviness feeling went along with some EKG changes.5 Lab work said she hadn’t had a heart attack. The Doppler showed no clots. The cardiologist was concerned & wants to make sure she’s not got an underlying heart issue.6

She seems better physically than she was when she left for the hospital, but she looks and acts so depressed. I want to fix it because that’s what I instinctively feel/do every time she’s depressed.7

One doctor suggested that mom has osteogenesis imperfecta. I thought that sounded a bit ridiculous. If anything,89 I thought it should be a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos. Mom has always been a fall-er, but has only been breaking bones since I was a kid. Even then, she mainly had strains, sprains, and tendinitis.  And it’s only been in the last few years that the breaks happen with every fall. I suggested she ask the doctor about my idea. Maybe she will. 

  1. She broke her heel two weeks ago, had surgery the next week, got the cast off Thursday, and fell coming in the front door when she got home from that appointment. She busted her stitches and had to have them redone on Friday. 

  2. If my GoFundMe for home repair hadn’t been deleted, I would link to it here. 

  3. Her ankle may have gotten some dirt or lint in it, which could have exposed her to bacteria, so the two antibiotics are a safeguard thing.  

  4. One doctor said 6-8 weeks; another 7-10 days. 

  5. She just told me this today. 

  6. Other than the murmur, blood pressure, and other known issues. 

  7. Since I was an infant. 

  8. other than the known issues of Vitamin D deficiency & osteopenia 

  9. She’s on 600,000 units of Vitamin D right now. 

Review: 8 Minutes 

I cannot believe such a horrible and exploitative show was ever greenlit. Actually, considering that A&E has shows that publicly shame hoarders and addicts, it really isn’t surprising they would expand their dehumanization to sex workers. It’s also not surprising that they misrepresent prostitution with their assumptions that prostitution is always human trafficking or than all prostitutes have pimps. They also portray the women as being morally and emotionally weak. They’re also shown as being unintelligent, drug addicts, and bad parents. It seems that they (including the “advocates” who are former prostitutes who shame and yell at the “victims”)1 don’t view these women as being fully human because of their profession. That’s really gross.

The attitude of “Pastor Kevin” and his team towards prostitution, as well as the actual lack of resources that they provide to the women they’re “rescuing” is reminiscent of crisis pregnancy centers. There are grand promises they make to these women, but the reality of how they “rescue” them is a hotline number, a prayer, and a bunch of empty promises. None are trained to actually help or identify the people they claim to be rescuing. They coerce these women into talking about traumas and life stressors to at least two total strangers in the eight minute timeframe. They try to make these women trust them & seem shocked when they aren’t “empowered” to change. They seem shocked when they aren’t ready to leave a potentially abusive situation to go with a group of people who have emotionally abused you & lied to you in the less than ten minutes that you have known them.

Human rights and sex worker advocates have rightly called them out for doing more harm than good to these women & to the cause of ending human trafficking. And when there are even reports that the women that said yes are being reported to cops? Yeah, that really sounds like they want to advocate for these people. And their idea that they are saving these women or that all sex workers need saving really speaks more to the egos of the “savior” than it does the SW.

This show is messed up.

  1. I view the advocates as people who are dealing with Stockholm Syndrome. 

All the Interesting People Are Missing

Janet Morris, I liked this movie a lot. I ordered a copy of it here. Every other reviewer liked the movie. I think your very critical and nasty review says more about you than about the movie.

And so it begins…again.

You would think that my review was the single most vicious review in the history of the world. You would think that I encouraged people to sacrifice babies or virgins or something. Or that I declared myself to be a servant of the Antichrist, especially since I was pretty much accused of doing just that at one point.

What I did do was give a bad miniseries a one star-rating and gave it this review:

Like many other movies and miniseries about this topic, this work is horrifically bad. It was poorly written, acted, and produced. It is almost laughable how awful this thing is. This is worse than some of the bad science fiction movies that I watch for kicks. It sticks to a convoluted interpretation of the Christian apocalypse that opportunists like Kirk Cameron, Jerry B. Jenkins, and Tim LaHaye have used to line their pockets for years, but the overused plot not even the worst aspect of this thing.

The shaky camera style is reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, which fits well with the other poorly executed parts of the miniseries. If you are prone to vertigo, migraines, seizures, or motion sickness, especially if these have been triggered in the past by past movies or television shows, you might want to avoid this for health reasons. If not, just avoid it for quality reasons. It’s not entertaining enough to justify wasting so much time on it.

People focus so heavily on the first paragraph that they get a bit wonky and think I’m some evil heathen that wants them to join a God-hating cult.1 They don’t realize that the second paragraph is exclusively about the production value or that I say that it reminds me of a secular horror film that I hated. They don’t realize that I love religious studies, even if I’m not always good with religion itself. They don’t realize that I know the difference between the different apocalypse stories and that this one does actually fall in line with that opportunism. They also don’t realize that I wanted to watch the miniseries and I wanted to like it. But I didn’t. And when I didn’t, I felt it was okay to complain about it.

Clearly, I was wrong.

The first time I got flack over it was the day after I posted the review. It seemed so coincidental that the person would post a five-star review the day after my review went live, especially since it said:

Finally, a Christian based docudrama that did not have any negative political overtones. Do not fall for the “anti-Christian” reviews by others.

My review of the History Channel miniseries Revelations: The End of Days was the only one until this one posted.

Over a month after I posted my review, I got around a dozen comments from someone using “100% Christian” as their username. All the little things that I’ve said I’ve been accused of came from them. I reported their comments to Amazon and they actually deleted them. The person then commented on a comment I’d made2 on the second review saying, “If you aren’t 100% for Christ — then you’re 100% for satan. There is no middle ground.” Five days later, a different user said, in response to the same comment: “Janet Morris: The criticism against your review is valid, since you posted comments that were not relevant. Your comments about Tim LaHaye, et. al. lining their pockets had nothing to do with the movie and is not helpful in determining whether this is worth buying/watching or not.” I responded:3

Respectfully, I disagree with everything you’re saying, Mr. Ruhf.

I suggest that you look at professional reviews of works like Vampire Academy, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey. They’re compared by professionals to other works. They’re accused of trying to manipulate fan bases of similar works, as are so many other works. It is not uncommon or wrong to point out that trends in genres are used to make money off of fans of those genres, especially when the result is considered of particularly low-quality.

Now, as for what IS wrong, it is wrong to take a negative review and turn it into a way to personally attack the reviewer. The criticism that you say is valid involved not only this particular reviewer creating a review for this product for the purpose of calling me anti-Christian, but for the other commenter on this review to (before creating their comment on this review) create eleven comments on my review calling me a cultist and Satanist, and comparing me and my review to ISIS. Your calling sort of behavior valid criticism is really quite appalling.

I do appreciate your down-voting of my review and your time spent on telling me the errors of my ways.

Then I didn’t hear anything for while. In the mean time there have been 5 other five-star reviews4 and one four-star. The four-star is the most critical of them. But most of the others? Not at all. In fact, most of the others are barely long enough to be considered blurbs. It seems like someone is faking reviews for this miniseries. It’s possible that there were a lot of people who enjoyed it, but the timing is all very strange.

In the meantime, I wrote this to respond to “Amazon Customer” about their complaints of my “critical and nasty review”:

Then write your own review and leave me alone. People are allowed to dislike movies. People are allowed to be critical and my criticism was valid.

And, for the record, I’ve received quite a lot of hate (dozens of comments that Amazon had to delete because they were *that* bad) from fans of this movie, which may say something about its fans. Or it may just say something about people who like to use the internet as a bully pulpit. But I’m trying not to judge.

I know, it was snarky, but I am so sick of these student comments popping up from this godawful miniseries. And this sort of “hate commenting” mainly seems to happen on negative reviews for semi-religious books and movies. There are stans of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga who have responded with little hostility compared to the religion stans. That’s really saying something.

If it’s the makers of the miniseries that are so butthurt over my review, they need to get the fuck over it. If it’s just overzealous fans, which would also make sense given the topic, then also need to get the fuck over it. Like I said in the comment: “People are allowed to dislike movies.” Some people are going to love your favorite movies and books and topics, and some people are going to hate them. You need to be able to deal with that simple fact.

  1. I got accused of that, too. 

  2. I’m assuming, as there are only two reviews, that you’re referring to my one star review when you say “anti-Christian”. If you look at my review, it’s not actually against Christianity, but against the low production quality of this particular miniseries.

    The only part of my review that referenced the religion is actually backed up by many religious scholars (and members of various Christian denominations) who point out that a Pre-Tribulation rapture, which is at the start of this miniseries, has only existed for the past two hundred years; and that there are people who have used this new belief in an exploitative way to make money. 

  3. Duh. 

  4. Four posted in less than 48 hours with one-named reviewers–three on April 25. 

Boundaries, Get Some

Yesterday morning, mom’s nurse came by. My mom updated her on my strep and the Keflex allergy. This time the nurse didn’t suggest that I should try colloidal silver, but she did say a lot of stuff about how medicine is bad and that it causes more problems than it helps.1

Anyway, this visit she focused on the blood tests that were ordered. I made the mistake of saying an RPR had been included in my lab work. She didn’t know what that was, so I explained that it was a test used to find syphilis. She then asked if I had been having sex. That is not something that I really want to talk to her about. It really isn’t her business. I can’t really stop my mom from over-sharing about my health.2 I could have kept from mentioning the test when she asked, but I was trying to be nice and just kept answering whatever questions she had. But I didn’t like telling her.

I disliked her asking more, not only because it isn’t her business and she isn’t my nurse–my issue with answering is that it doesn’t matter if I did or didn’t. The infectious disease specialist, whose business it could be, didn’t ask about my sex life. She ordered the test because the symptoms could fit syphilis. They could fit a lot of things, including infections that aren’t transmitted sexually, cancers and autoimmune disorders.3 And the tests help rule those issues out. And the tests aren’t even 100% foolproof. Obviously when I’ve had inconsistent strep test results recently, as well as positive skin tests in the past on things like tuberculosis45 or the saline6 control test for allergy tests, it’s quite clear that a positive test doesn’t always mean the worst. So I’m not freaking out about the possibility that I could have an STD because I’m pretty damn sure that I don’t.

Having her ask that really frustrated me, but I guess that until I explain that I’m uncomfortable with her being so interested in my health, it really doesn’t do any good for me to be upset with her. Until then, I’ve just got to smile and nod and be polite. I may scream the next time she tells me to gargle with salt water, though.

  1. Oddly, one of the legit medical uses of silver is silver sulfadiazine. That is classified as a sulfa drug–a classification which also includes Septra, to which I am allergic. 

  2. I’ve tried. She doesn’t respect that request. 

  3. aka things that don’t happen when you smush your naked body against someone else’s naked body 

  4. Every time they test me. And that makes sense because the CDC fact sheet on test says, “Once you have a positive TB skin test you will always have a positive TB skin test, even if you complete treatment. Ask your doctor for a written record of your positive skin test result. This will be helpful if you are asked to have another TB skin test in the future.” 

  5. I had to have the first one done before my parents could be approved by the state for foster kids. I’ve never had TB. I’m just an odd duck who reacts to the skin test. 

  6. I inherited a salt sensitivity from my father. My skin can break out it rashes or hives when exposed to too much. My mouth can break out in ulcers. 

Anaphylaxis and You

I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t nervous about taking the Keflex the Infectious Disease specialist prescribed. I was. I think everyone was, including the doctor. It’s only natural when you have multiple drug allergies1 to be cautious with this sort of thing. 

I started joking about how I was noticing red splotches pop up within a few hours every time I took it. I was, but gingers and anxiety patients can sometimes end up with rashes and hives for little or no reason. So I just kept an eye on them and tried not to worry. 

Until last night. 

Last night, about 60-120 minutes after taking the Keflex, I noticed my throat was itching and that I could actually feel my uvula. I thought that I was probably just being nutso. Even when I realized breathing was starting to get especially hard–and I’d used my rescue inhaler. Even when I noticed that my lips were slightly puffy last night. Even when all of those things lessened after using Benadryl. 

You know how people have suggested in the past that I might be a hypochondriac or have another sort of factitious disorder? I always understood that sort of thinking because I tend to think my problems are no big deal–if it’s “physical”, I think it’s in my head; if it’s “mental”, I think I’m just being ridiculous.2 

Anyway, I figured that maybe I really was nuts and that I should just ignore it. 

This morning I took the Keflex again. About the same length of time passed before I noticed the same symptoms popping up. This time I casually mentioned it to my mom.3 She didn’t take long to call the ID to find out what we should do. The doctor’s office called back. I was to immediately discontinue the Keflex. If the swelling got worse, I was to report to the ER. She was going to figure out what to do next. She apparently didn’t figure it out today. 

So, yay. I have now flummoxed an infectious disease specialist. I am a statistical anomaly in the medical profession.45 It’s so fun being a freak for the medical community. I just love being the person whose charts allow them to learn all about weird shit. I love how it leads to unnecessary tests and stress. It’s just so fun.6

Now I wait for an absolution that will never come.7 

  1. including two related to Keflex 

  2. Discounting one’s own suffering & health issues can actually be a sign of things like PTSD. 

  3. Imagine casually mentioning to another person that you were showing signs of anaphylaxis. 

  4. Even when allergic to other cephalosporins or penicillins, at least 90% of people can still take Keflex. Those who can’t aren’t usually allergic to most other antibiotics. 

  5. The rapid strep test & culture from last week coming back positive and negative is another example of my anomaly-ness. Of all the people who have inconsistent rapid test/throat culture results, only three in one study had results like mine. And there is no known reason why that sort of thing happened. 

  6. If you can’t detect the sarcasm, I’m sorry. 

  7. It’s a Titanic reference, dude. 

Review: While It Lasts

While It Lasts (Sea Breeze, #3)While It Lasts by Abbi Glines
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As I mentioned in my reviews for Breathe and Because of Low, I had been boycotting books by this author until recently. I hoped that maybe I had unfairly judged Abbi Glines and her books. I figured out with Breathe that I wasn’t wrong. And I figured out that Because of Low followed the same pattern of book badness. Still, I thought that maybe I hated Because of Low so much because it featured a more misogynistic male lead. I thought that maybe womanizing Cage would be a bit more compassionate and less of a hate-filled horror show.

I was wrong.

They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I don’t think that fully covers it. This book inspired me to re-define insanity:

Insanity, n.: reading book after book by a particular author and expecting to make it through one without some level of degrading comments toward a particular gender, biological sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, level of ability, class, etc.

In other words, this book is so degrading toward women that I seriously started to worry about all the hate being shared. What if this sort of writing inspires more internalized misogyny? How does that help anyone? There is some serious hate going on toward Eva and all female characters. For example, the continued usage of the term “female” or “females” to degrade any woman in the book. It is used specifically and generally. No similar usage of “male” or “males” exists. What’s so bad about “female”/”females”? It’s a scientific term that reduces an organism down to sex. It dehumanizes women by classifying them only by their reproductive organs, it excludes the trans community and those who are not biologically female, and is used solely as a way to speak negatively about one or more female characters. There’s also the grammatical faux pas of using female as a noun; it’s an adjective. That’s why it is 100% cool for me to say “female characters” and 0% okay for a writer to say things like “with the females”–which was actually used in this particular novel.

Cage, who I semi-respected in Because of Low, is a misogynist in this book. He makes his first ignorant observation on the tenth page because she doesn’t respond positively to his flirting. I don’t know why this kind of behavior is presented as acceptable for a male love interest to exhibit, but it really isn’t. If a guy treats you like crap in the real world, get away from him. He’s a bad dude. And if he hangs out with a group of extreme misogynists and does not call them out on it, get away from him. Quickly. This sort of thing isn’t sexy behavior. He doesn’t respect you, he hates you.

Eva was okay. She was a bit judgmental towards all other women her age. Her cruelty toward her female friends was appalling–even in the instances where it was exhibited solely through the narration.

There was very little respect for her personal issues that resulted from the loss of her ex-fiancé. Her grieving and behavior was presented like most of the other mental health issues that Glines tackles: like it’s a character flaw. That still bothers me. And it should bother others. Any writer who suggests things like depression, grief, anxiety, trauma, suicide, drug use, alcoholism, etc. are simply signs of personal weakness is promoting ignorance and stigma. That makes struggling with these issues harder on the real patients who have them.

I did have a least favorite minor character. Eva’s ex-fiancé’s mother, who is also the mother of Eva’s best friend, was condescending and I could not sympathize with this woman. She is so self-serving. She tears the relationship between Eva and Cage apart, which I would have supported if it had been based on legitimate factors–not Cage being poor and having a DUI. (Poor-shaming behavior is another thing I’ve come to expect in these books.) It strained not only Eva and Cage’s relationship, but the relationships that Eva has with other individuals.

The writing in the book is horrible. Aside from the continued grammatical issues and the choice of uneducated rural phrasing, there are fact issues in this book that I would think an NCAA fan would have picked up on; especially one who is an SEC sports fan. The premise of the story is that Cage is on Eva’s dad’s farm as punishment from being picked up on a DUI. Who bailed him out? His baseball coach. A baseball coach, a booster, or any individual associated with the university cannot give money to a player, nor can they use their money on behalf of a player. Doing so would lead to an NCAA investigation and could lead to fines, loss of eligibility, a coach being terminated, and other not-so-great things. This flaw in the premise lowers the overall quality of the book. And, as you can probably tell, the quality was not high to begin with.

Another issue with the book is that there is a lack of depth to the story. You have a bad boy who seems like he can’t hurt a fly and a good girl who is sexually and emotionally inept. In other words, you have the same exact two leads that you’ve had for the previous books in this series. Reinventing the wheel is pretty lazy. The shallowness of the story, as well as it’s predictability, makes it so freaking boring that I was often looking for things to distract me from reading. Readers should be headed toward a book to ease boredom, not headed away from it.

I’m confused about why the Sea Breeze books are classified as Young Adult. They are quite sexually explicit. They’re very descriptive of anything and everything sexual in nature. They also promote some mistaken beliefs about female sexuality: (1.) that the first time always has to hurt, (2.) that every guy can tell when the woman that they are dating is a virgin or not, and (3.) that a virginal woman is 100% naïve about sex, orgasms, etc. It’s not realistic. At all. Another reason they aren’t fit for YA: binge drinking. The characters in the book have a tendency to binge drink when stressed, including underage characters.

I’m sure that some people will enjoy this book, but I really think that if you’ve had a problem with any book by this author that you’re better off just avoiding this book.

View all my reviews

Not Dead Yet

I went to see the Infectious Disease specialist today. I told her about the month of strep throat and the two months of fever. She was more concerned about the fever; she said strep could sometimes take two or three months to go away. She’s prescribed Keflex 500mg two times a day, which is related to two of my drug allergies.1 I have to take it for a month, unless it kills me before then.2

The ID doc also ordered lab tests. One was a blood culture,3 which required two bottles4 per arm. The other tests were rapid plasma reagin (RPR)5; a “sed rate”, which is short for erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)6, Immunoglobulins A, G, & M (IgG)7, CD4 and CD8 tests8, HIV (types 1 and 2), complete metabolic panel (CMP), C-reactive protein (CRP)9, and a complete blood count. Luckily, the person who drew my blood today hit it right off on both sticks. I’m a little flustered by all of the STD tests, but since the doctor doesn’t know me or my sexual history, and the tests seem to cover more than just the STD it’s usually used to diagnose, I’m not upset by them.

While I wait around for the test results, I get to maintain a fever diary. I have to measure my temperature randomly once a day and record it to see what my temperature is doing throughout the day. I have an appointment to go back next month to see if I’m getting better and to report the findings of the fever diary. Fun stuff, right?

I still haven’t heard back from the throat culture test yet. I’ve also noticed that the negative result on the the second rapid strep test has been removed. Its date and result have been changed, which seems quite sketchy to me. The summary report from that appointment have also been altered. Again, this seems sketchy. I wonder if they’re trying to cover their asses or what. I think I’m actually more worried about my chart being altered than I am about waiting on the blood test results.10

  1. Ceclor and Penicillin 

  2. If I have a reaction, I’m supposed to go to the hospital and to let her know. 

  3. Blood cultures are used to detect the presence of bacteria or fungi in the blood, to identify the type present, and to guide treatment. It can also identify septicemia/sepsis. 

  4. one for anaerobic bacteria and one for aerobic bacteria 

  5. It’s a syphillis screening test, but a positive result can occur with Lyme disease, pneumonia, malaria, pregnancy, lupus, other autoimmune disorders, tuberculosis, or IV drug use. 

  6. It monitors inflammation and can be used to diagnose various autoimmune disorders. Accuracy can be impacted by anemia, pregnancy, high cholesterol, and kidney problems. 

  7. IgA, IgG, and IgM are types of antibodies. Levels can be used to diagnose autoimmune hepatitis and immunity status on diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and varicella. They can also determine if you’re immune deficient or have an infection, autoimmune disorders, cirrhosis, chronic inflammation, multiple myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, nephrotic syndrome, protein-losing enteropathy, kidney failure, diabetes, and some fairly rare illnesses. 

  8. They are most often used to monitor HIV. They can also be used to diagnose lymphoma and blood cancers. Levels can be off in people with Sjögren’s, vitiligo, type I diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases. 

  9. It measures inflammation levels; and it can indicate an infection or an autoimmune disorder. 

  10. I have the notifications set so that I get an email every time that something in my chart changes. Oddly, I didn’t get an email when it was changed.