SAD, CISD, RLS, and other wonders of the world of modern medicine.

March 28, 2008

I think I have SAD, RLS, and CISD… it looks like my medical costs could get pretty expensive…

WARNING! This is a rant! Doctors, people studying to be doctors, and people who are easily offended should RELAX before reading this post (it is, after all, intended to be humorous)!

Has anyone noticed that anything and everything that goes wrong is now a medical condition? I was struck the other day when I stumbled upon some information about “caffeine induced sleep disorder”… it turns out that doctors have decided that this is a real medical condition affecting a huge number of people… the cause? You guessed it! Drinking too much caffeine before you try to go to sleep! Heck, if you’ve got a bad enough case of CISD, you can even be medicated for it! And here I thought that the easy fix for this one was the advice mom gave me when I was 3 (“If you drink all that sugar and caffeine before bed, you won’t be able to sleep, and when you finally get to sleep you’ll piss the bed!”).

Next up: SAD. This gem stands for “Seasonal Affective Disorder”… If you have SAD, then you feel normal for the whole year but get depressed in the winter… they even have “reverse SAD”, where you feel normal the whole year but get depressed in the summer. I definitely have this. As a matter of fact, anyone who lives anywhere that has a winter has this. If you live in Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, or any other northern state and you don’t have this, you are either a total weirdo or a real jackass (sorry, I refer to people who like Ohio’s winter as jackasses). I thought that the explanation was that winter sucks. I’ve usually dealt with SAD by going out with my friends, getting drunk, having a conversation going something like “Man, winter sucks… I can’t wait for summer”, getting up the next day and going about my business. It turns out that this approach is all wrong… evidently I need medicine. Let’s face it: Winter is no fun, and you better damn believe that medicine designed to make you feel better will make you feel better, so why deal with a shitty winter ever again?

Finally, we have reached my favorite… RLS. “Restless Leg Syndrome”, or perhaps better known by its common name of “The Jimmy Legs”. This is another one that I have had since I was about 3. I thought it was from consuming too many “Monster” energy drinks, 3000 calorie burritos, and “nuclear” squirms (sour gummy worms, my favorite) and not being able to keep my hyped-up legs still. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and continuously move my feet, and I seem to be unable to stop… a sure sign of the dreaded Jimmy Legs. I used to treat this by running, jogging, or lifting weights, a sure fire way to burn off the excess energy that I have always thought caused the Jimmy Legs… but it turns out that I need medicated for this one too! They even treat this one with opioids, such as oxycodone and methodone (what the hell?!!)! Ironically, CISD can be a cause of RLS!

Another interesting fact: the occurrence of autism has increased drastically since 1980. Has the prevalence of autism actually increased? Doctors are divided on this one. But they can all agree that the medical community has broadened the definition of autism, which by default will raise the prevalence of the condition.

Here is my point: If we try hard enough, we can probably qualify anything as a medical condition. I wonder what made-up conditions will be affecting us next… I can see the headline now…

Have trouble getting to work on time? You may have CLTW, or “Chronically Late To Work” syndrome, caused by depression associated with having to show up at the same place at the same time everyday.

It may not exist yet, but I can GUARANTEE that some sort of chemical reaction takes place in my brain at just the thought of work, and it ain’t too different from depression, and it is only a matter of time until a doctor or drug company capitalizes on this.

Do we really need all of these “conditions”? I’d be more comfortable to know that my kids will grow up knowing that winter sucks, just like I did, rather than thinking that they have been “afflicted” with SAD. And that is not to mention the rising cost of health care… could it be partly a result of insurance companies having to “pay up” for people affected with the Jimmy Legs?

What is the world coming to?!?

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Are we there yet?

January 22, 2008

One of today’s news headlines reads “Death Penalty Out if Marine arrested in Mexico”.

For those of you who haven’t been reading the news, here is a brief summary of the happenings in this story: In December, Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach (pregnant) went missing. A couple of weeks ago the police identified the primary suspect in the case as Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. To make a long story short, they have compelling evidence to convict this guy, but he is now believed to be in Mexico.

Why flee to Mexico, rather than many other countries? It turns out that Mexico refuses to extradite suspects who may face the death penalty in their country. As a matter of fact, we are one of the only ‘developed’ countries to still use the death penalty.

A brief list of countries that have abolished the death penalty:

Mexico, Canada, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela, French Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, EVERY COUNTRY IN EUROPE except for Belarus, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, and Australia. In addition, it is abolished except for in times of war in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Heck, it is even abolished in practice in Russia and most african countries!

Now a list of who we share this fine distinction of STILL USING THE DEATH PENALTY with:

Guatemala, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, India, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, UAE, Oman, and Mongolia.

Is it right to punish someone for killing another person by committing the same act ourselves? This is the classic question of ‘do two wrongs make a right?’ Many supporters of the death penalty site its effectiveness as a ‘deterrent’… do those who site this effectiveness know that research shows that most criminals who commit crimes punishable through capital punishment are actually SAFER and have a LONGER life expectancy on death row?

Ironically, many supporters of the death penalty identify themselves as members of the ‘religious right’ side of politics… are they aware of the Catholic Church’s official stance on the death penalty? For those Catholics (I am not one myself) who are unaware of the church’s official stance, in 1995 Pope John Paul II stated that execution is only appropriate “in cases of absolute necessity, in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvement in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” He went on to say that “This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God’s plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is to redress the disorder caused by the offence. Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people’s safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.”

To all who support the death penalty, I ask you to read that statement carefully, and carefully consider the FACTS regarding its effectiveness before deciding on the right way to deal with violent criminals. Anytime something as terrible as murder is being discussed, it is easy to place one’s emotions before critical thought.

Is a society that condemns the act of murder, yet uses it as a form of punishment truly civilized? In the case of the U.S., we have come quite a way, but it seems we may still have a long way to go.