Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tears on the keyboard

Tears on the keyboard

Back at the end of July a funny looking, feisty 13 + year old 35 pound spaniel mix with the name Onyx came to live with Mitch, Nicky, Harley the cats the fish and also me. All 3 of the dogs he came to live with were larger then he was. He could actually walk under Nicky (a German shepherd) and Harley (a shepherd mix) Mitch is about 85 pounds but not that tall.

Onyx held his own with all three it was great to see Nicky and him play tug of war with one of those rope toys, Harley would try to step on him and he run under her Mitch would just lay down with him and relax. They all fit together fantastically.

Onyx soon picked up a new name "Little dog barks a lot" . He was a barker when he wanted attention. He'd just plop his butt down and bark. He was so low to the ground and a little over weight sometimes I couldn't tell when he was sitting.

He also taught me a lot about pride in who you are, who your family is and who your friends are. When we went for a walk his head and tail were straight up (unless he was sniffing) he was proud of himself and his new family and wanted everyone to know that. I remember one specific time in a parking lot just before the holidays it was just Onyx and myself stopping to get something on the way to visit my mother we walked thru that parking lot he seemed to be as tall as any German Shepherd or Great Dane he was so proud he was my dog and I was his man and he wanted the world to know it. The rest of that visit he was everywhere with me never showed any tiredness while he was around the other people, as soon as I put him on the front seat he fell asleep and I had to carry him into the house.

He was a joy to watch playing with his toys, in the snow romping thru the leaves. I was hoping to have him with us for a couple of years, it wasn't to be.

About the first week of April he started getting picky with his food and sleeping a little more and he had developed a small cough. He had been to a vet about 3 weeks before and they found nothing wrong. By the second week he wasn't getting better and seemed to be getting weaker. We tried to make an appointment with that vet but they didn't have one for at least a week so we took him to my old vet. On April 17, 2008 we found he was riddled with cancer, there was nothing we could do. The vet said he could go on steroids and antibiotics but they may only prolong his life without any quality he was going blind and would be in pain the whole time. I heard him bark for the last time that day when he heard my voice. My wife and I held him and kissed him goodbye and didn't leave him or let go of him until he was gone we were the last beings he sniffed and felt in this life which he left about 5:50pm on April 17, 2008.

On April 25, 2008 I went down to the vet to pick up his ashes. Onyx had his first motorcycle ride. His second should be when I die and all the ashes of all my pets and the soil from the graveyard some are buried in are combined with mine and put on the back of a bike and scattered to the wind.

Onyx I'll see you and all my friends who've gone before you and me when I cross the Rainbow Bridge to join you until then remember me because I'll never forget you.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Social anxiety disorder medication advertising lawsuit in the making?

Social anxiety disorder medication advertising lawsuit in the making?

I read a piece in the local newspaper about social anxiety disorder. It was quite interesting and absolutely frightening at the same time. This is strictly my opinion but the impression I received from the piece was the medical profession and the drug manufactures are not just in bed together but living together.

My take on the matter is that there were too many psychiatrists in the world today and not enough patients. This had to be rectified, that was simple enough just add new mental disorders. Not very tough to do just take the disorder and break it down into more specific disorders. Such as twitching your right hand was a different disorder than twitching your left hand or right foot and if one of your eyes's blinked that was a different disorder then if both eyes blinked during the twitching. Look at that in one sentence I just listed 5 new social anxiety disorders.

Now for the next step how do we treat all these new disorders? The traditional manner of an actual hour (50 minutes) of therapy isn't going to work who wants to around the patient that long it would almost be like working. Another point is that even though we have had to create work for these psychiatrists it doesn't mean they are any good. It also would be annoying to charge a patient 1 hour to stop their right hand from twitching and before you could charge them for the therapy on their left hand they may have figured they could use the same idea on the left hand. So the doctor loses money.

Enter the drug companies. They also need more money to pay their CEO's and other executives the money they feel they deserve. Where can they get it?

Here's an idea lets sell a 1 pill fits all social anxiety disorder medication. An extremely high priced medication, the fact that the price is so high just to amass profits oh well. But how do we market it successfully. Doctors of course, wine, dine and gift the dear doctors. Suggest that these medications can cure all the ills of the disorder they just need to prescribe it. It benefits the doctors in that now they don't have to see the patient for the twitching on the right as well as they left for an hour each time and actually appear to work. They can see them for 15 minutes at a time and charge an hour to "monitor" the medication. Since they are only seeing the patient for 1/3 of the time they can triple their patient load and triple their income.

But how can we convince the patients they need this new medication wonder the doctors. Relax say the drug companies we will educate the population thru advertising on how at risk they are for these disorders. One manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline actually ran a $93 million dollar ad campaign under the guise of public awareness. Sit there with a straight face and tell me there is not an obscene profit in this medication when you can spend that much money just to start a campaign.

These drugs have all gone thru clinical trials. These trials are 4 phase with the first 2 lasting several months to a couple of years, the third and forth several more years. In all these steps the volunteers maybe paid. The physicians are paid and typically on a per patient fee. Wined, dined, gifted and now paid then able to triple their client base and income what a better marriage then the drug companies and the doctors.

Side effects? Of course. Everything has side effects. The FDA, the governmental agency that tests, and monitors all this says the side effects seen over several years in the testing phases are acceptable. I'm sure that computer models show that in the long term everything is fine. However didn't the FDA just come out and say that they were so understaffed with antiquated equipment that they couldn't do their job? How many other drugs can you remember that were approved yet in a matter of years sometimes less once they hit the mainstream market had to be pulled because of side effects including deaths after FDA approval? Then the lawsuits started. These lawsuits were against drugs used to treat long established and proven illnesses and diseases, and the damage awards were astronomical. Can you imagine what they would be for complications and injuries resulting from a self diagnosed "disease?" that the victims found out about from an ad campaign run by the drug manufacturer and endorsed by the physicians involved with the studies of the medications? It staggers the mind. If deaths or serious injury resulted I'm wondering if criminal action would be taken against individuals as well as the corporations.

I'd suggest at this time that the government step in and put an end to this type of what I perceive to unethical and dangerous behavior, but how can they when the agency responsible for it already approved this behavior?

With that in mind it is up to us the patients to question and verify the answers with 2nd and or 3rd opinions if necessary before we take any medication. Especially medications for "newly diagnosed social anxiety disorders" that we found out about in a Madison Ave ad campaign. In my mind no corporation is so altruistic that they would spend $93 million dollars to "educate the public" unless they expected to recoup it more than a hundred times over in sales.



Saturday, April 5, 2008

Two Party System?

Two Party System?

It is so sad that in a country with approximately 300 million people we can't find qualified candidates for the Presidency.

One candidate and his advisers don't have the experience for the job. They keep pushing change, change, and change without putting forth any solid plans.

One candidate could be Lenin or Marx reincarnated.

One candidate has so little control of his temper that 3 and 4 star generals have come out against him.

Why don't candidates with the qualifications needed to return the United States to greatness run?

I think for several reasons and they are as follows;

If we are a true democracy why are we locked into a 2 party system? I know some will say we have the independents but they are not a party (how can you be member of something when you are independent?) and the Green Party. But as far as the lobbyists and the money to run a campaign goes only the 2 parties receive these "donations". Our 2 parties are so entrenched in the government that no one else has a chance. We should do away with private funding of campaigns which only leads to favors owed to the contributors and have the government for all elections from local to federal put up the funds to candidates who come up with enough signatures. They would not be able to spend more than they are given. Surprise, a level playing field, you know our two parties won't go for this but I put it out there let's hear their excuses.

The media is a big problem as they now believe they are king makers and the voting public a group of morons who should do what the people on TV tell them too. The media also tells us what the candidates mean when they say something. Guess what I can hear, and think so I do know what they said I don't need a media spin positive or negative. If they like a candidate most everything is positive and when they don't like they candidate it's negative. Whatever happened to responsible objective journalism in all forms of media?

Digging up dirt is another big issue. I believe that all people have skeletons in their attics. Most crimes have a statue of limitations so should how far you can look into a candidates past. I don't know a single person whose behavior, views or ideals are the same as a year ago or 30 years. We all grow and evolve and change our minds and positions as times, laws, and dreams change. So unless it's a felony conviction you shouldn't be able to go back more than 10 years with 1 exception and that is if they have been an elected official their public record would be open as far back as it goes.

I feel these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg as far as needed campaign reform goes. Hopefully these will be seeds that will lead to the taxpaying voters taking back control of the government and once again making the United States of America the greatest country history has ever seen.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is an age old problem that waxes and wanes thru the generations. We seem to be in one of the waxing cycles and the experts have their theories on it which are just that theories.

So let's add my theory to the mix.

I've already put forth some of my thoughts on this in a piece about kids and booze (located in this blog).

First off in my mind this is the "Excuse Generation". Nothing is ever a persons fault, there is always some excuse for it, lame as it maybe and the parents buy into it to protect their offspring "Oh no little Johnny/Susy it's not your fault that person's upset with you because you threw paint on their car, you're right they shouldn't have parked it there to tempt you." Why shouldn't the parents buy into it. It saves the parents from having to take a stand, develop a back bone, not be friend but be a parent in all it's responsibilities and duties.

The other reason is who is going to know about the criminal activities of their kids? Very few , the victims, the police, the courts, the family after that no one unless the family decides to publicize it, which they probably won't do. All this because the law shields kids from public shame and humiliation to a certain age 16-18. That sounds like a good idea why should a child who just destroyed or stole someone's property, or or committed an act of violence against another person or animal (serial killers start this way) or committed other crimes have to pay publicly for their criminal activities? I think they should and so should their parents. I think when little Johnny/Suzy gets arrested their mom and dads name and address should be right there in the police blotter with their criminal offspring's name.

Tough yes. Cruel no.

I remember reading about a judge in a small town somewhere in the heartland back in the '50s or '60s whose town was experiencing one of those waxing periods. Nothing as serious as today's murder and mayhem just vandalism, fighting, truancy crimes of that nature. He took action to curb this problem. If you were arrested and convicted in his court your name and your parents name and address were published in the local paper no matter your age. Your parents are now upset and embarrassed in front of employers, neighbors and friends everyone they know. So when little Johnny/Susy says "I'm going to hang out" the parents now want to know where, with who and what they are going to be doing since the last time their little darling went to 'hang out' their name got in the papers and they can't have that again so they started taking their parental duties serious.

As far as little Johnny/Susy went, they were sentenced to a term in the jail. Actually a special cell by themselves in the police station where they couldn't and wouldn't be hurt by other prisoners. Their sentence was carried out in a certain number of weekends, from when school got out on Friday until Sunday evening. Proms, dances football games, parties you missed them all and no visitors except mom and dad. If little Johnny/Susy served their time and didn't get in trouble again for a specified time period he erased their record, sort of a precursor to the accelerated rehab our courts now offer. Needless to say crime pretty much dropped to zero when kids and parents found out they could and would be held accountable for their actions.

Unfortunately now we don't hold people accountable for much of anything in their formidable years. Parents seem to think they are suppose to a friend rather then a teacher in how to live a good, decent, caring life where they treat other people as they would like to be treated themselves. The results of this negligence is printed everyday in the newspaper, shown every day on the TV news, murder, rape, senseless violence, drugs and alcohol.

I believe all it would take to bring the crime rate down a few percentage points is to have parents act as parents and learn that telling their child "NO" could be the greatest gift they ever give them. Since as the laws are written in today's society parents are only held responsible financially and most of the time insurance covers that. Since they are not embarrassed because no one knows about their child's crimes what reason do they have to change.

It maybe time to enact the laws that judge used years ago in today's society or maybe you can find an excuse not to. If you find that excuse and use it, the next time you hear of a school shooting, or senseless violence, rapes, drugs that happen to some stranger or someone you know and wonder why it happened and who let it happen, look in the mirror for your answer.