Friday, December 17, 2010

Some Thoughts, 12/16/2010


Thursday, December 16, 2010

I was thinking about when my sister wanted me to go in a nursing home in 2003, and I was, like:  “My primary care physician from Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Beverly Hills, Dr. Edward Riceberg says, “You can work and live independently,” and, “You will live 20 or 30 more years,” and she’s, “I talked to Dr. Riceberg,” and he denies it, “It was a bad connection.”  And psychiatrist Dr. Robert Newport lost his medical license, “I’m not a psychiatrist anymore, I’m a painter.”  Joan:  “Dr. Riceberg says you don’t have diabetes.”  And when I protest, “The nurse told me,” also false, seriously.

So if I’m supposed to get that all the medical was too expensive, with the Anthem Blue Cross PPO, meds, medical bills, the $60K/year for all my living expenses for being a jr. computer science major at CSUN having 3 emergency surgeries….    She wanted me to go in the nursing home 2 years after the surgeries and I was OK, doing fine.   The doctors and lawyers told me say no, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”  But she should have told me we needed to trim the medical expenses because I had spared no expense on the surgeries and I had doubled up on some of the specialists and never discharged the first ones, even tripled or quadrupled on some trying different ones, trying to find the best one for me, or the one I liked the best.   Laurie had told me that to select a psychiatrist, which is what they had told me to do when they asked me to find Dr. Newport, and I had not one doctor in the world, and needed none, is to try different ones until you find the one you like, and I did that with the colo-rectal surgeons for the colon resection for diverticulits.   Then they would want a new primary care, and I had 2.   I could have discharged the first one, gotten the medical records, gotten weaned off any meds if necessary, or had the prescriptions transferred to the new primary care.  Some of my meds were prescribed by the first primary care, and some by the second.  Jonathan had always asserted that he was the Richest Man in Babylon, and everyone believed him, those days; I could get in anywhere.  Maybe that was a 2-edged sword, since I was spending his money.   But we never communicated at all about the finances of the surgeries and many of the details.   Forgiveness is OK with me—nobody knew.   One day I was driving down the street, had a funny pain, went to the ER, and the next thing I knew I was set up for 2 emergency surgeries, an angiogram and an angioplasty for and a colon resection for diverticultis, at the same time, highly unusual, and I’m still here, hallelujah!  Even when I was a fundie, Pastor Dunbar preached, “If the healing line doesn’t take, I’ll find the best specialist in the world.”   A male nurse told me once at a party at Laurie’s law professor friend’s apartment “find the best [whatever] in Beverly Hills”.

So I had 2 primary cares, 2 cardiologists, 2 colo-rectal surgeons, I don’t know how many psychiatrists, 4 opthamologists, an endocrinologist, 2 neurologists, and an orthopedist (sports medicine) at that moment.  I never got to trim the branches of my doctor tree to this day.    I got a stomach pain; UCLA ER triaged me, we went home, then went to UCLA-Santa Monica ER where I knew Dr. Mark Grossman from the Urgent Care on Wilshire.   I was in there for 5 days on IV Dilaudid to kill the pain for diverticulits, and I had to have an emergency colon resection—they almost did it right there, surgeon Dr. Schechter.    I saw a billboard for Cedars-Sinai Hospital near our friends’ apartment near Beverly Center shopping mall, called 1-800-CEDARS1, the referral phone number, and they referred me to colo-rectal surgeon Dr. Gary Hoffman on Canon and Brighton in Beverly Hills, across the street from Smith and Hawken.  He said, “Switch your primary care to Dr. Edward Riceberg downstairs before the operation,” and I did, but I never told Dr. Grossman for some reason that I was leaving.   Maybe I didn’t know I was leaving.    Also, at the same time I had gone to another ER for chest pains, been referred to a cardiologist near the Howard Hughes Center, missed the appointment, and they referred me to cardiologist Dr. Ravi Dave` at UCLA-Santa Monica Cardiology, right across the street from the hospital, on 16th.    He said right away he had to do an emergency angiogram and angioplasty in 5 days, but Joan said, “wait 3 weeks”.  Later Dr. Dave` said, “I wanted to do the surgery in 5 days.”  It came out unsuccessful; the particular physiology of my heart is such that they can’t get the wire through from my thigh to clean out the artery or put in a stent, “but we’ll treat it with medication”.   Everybody was worried, but I guess it’s working, because I’m still here, and the cardiologist says, “Your heart’s in good shape,” and also my high blood pressure went normal and I said, “Because of the vegan diet and exercise,” and he said, “Because of the medication”.     I ought to send this to all of my caregivers, because this is maybe a good way of communicating the kind of details I’m thinking I/we missed.  Maybe I forgot to say.  I thought they were talking to the doctors and surgeons, for some reason.  They said my dad died on the table during his angioplasty and revived, and there is a 10% risk of dying during the operation.    I was reading a lot of  “death” books by Stephen Levine and Ram Dass like Who Dies and One Year To Live  and, sorry—I was in a different space, just in case—it could have happened, I know.   Maybe some people mistook this that the doctor said I was terminal when they said I would live 20 or 30 years.  That’s why I quoted nurse Karen, “Think positive.”
After the operation I was supposed to go to the cardiac rehab to learn diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes for heart patients.  Clinton had a triple bypass and Dr. Dave` said:  “You will never need a bypass,” and I haven’t had one.   It’s important to avoid stress, a risk factor for heart disease and heart attack.    When he was President, they always showed him at McDonalds eating cholesterol (meat, dairy, and egg yolks). that clog your arteries.  Mine was probably metabolic syndrome, diabetes, a side effect of Risperdal.   I’ve always been, and still am, totally healthy, like Jack LaLanne.   Chaney was having heart surgery the same week as me, and my sister was Chairman of the Barbara Bush Literacy Campaign and Assistant Chief of Staff to Vice-President H.W. Bush in the Ronald Reagan White House, a Bel-Air lawyer.    I half-expected to see TV cameras come in with Joan to the Intensive Care Unit after the operation.   You always brag about your family to the doctors and the nurses, and my mother was on the San Francisco School Board for six years, two years as President, worked in Mayor Dianne Feinstein’s Office of Childcare, and was appointed to the S.F. Human Rights Commission by Mayor Frank Jordan, the former Police Chief.  I went to Yale before my sister, Class of ’71, Pierson College, Philosophy and Religious Studies Major, I’m a web developer, programmer, and technical support engineer for aNet Communications, an ISP in Los Angeles near Beverly Hills doing e-commerce solutions, web hosting, and web site design and a junior computer science major at California State University, Northridge.   My brother–in-law heads the Department of  International Relations at University of Southern California.    My father was a restauranteur with three restaurants in San Francisco and an institutional furniture salesman for Thonet and American Chair Co. in the Merchandise Mart on Market and 10th St.  He has a pacemaker and had several angioplasties.  [He just died at 88.  Mom’s going strong at 89.  Grandma died at 105 with our longevity genes.[which never meant much to me till I passed 60]   Jonathan’s father sold the bank he owned in St. Louis.

If it ever happens again, God forbid, I should throw in my brother is a licensed acupuncturist in Sedona, Arizona.    After the angioplasty, Dr. Grossman handed me a bottle of nitro and said, “If you get any chest pains take one, wait 5 minutes, if they’re still there, take another, wait 5 minutes, if they’re still there take a third (put it under your tongue); if you still have chest pains after the 3rd nitro go to the nearest emergency room to make sure it isn’t a heart attack.”  Then they use the paddles and say, “Clear”.   If I was OK and they sent me home, Jonathan would hit the roof.   He said, “Every time you take nitroglycerin and call the ambulance to go to the emergency room for chest pains, and you’re OK and they send you home it costs $4000 for nothing.  Try not to do it except in [something like the direst emergencies].”   He doesn’t understand there’s no way of knowing.  It’s doctor’s orders.  If you’re OK the ER doctors and nurses and your doctors will always say, “Better be safe than sorry,” and, “Don’t take chances.”  It’s a standard procedure they all know and take for granted, he has no comprehension, and they refuse to speak to the doctors, claim they did, and make up bad things the doctor never said that offend both them and the patient and the nurses badly.  A doctor lost his license in a fight!   Maybe if I’d gotten the car they promised, showed me, took, and reneged, and I’d finished cardiac rehab I would have learned how to invest them, my family and caregivers, with this essential information that even nurses and EMT’s, and they are PhD’s, understand.  I say it’s their responsibility; I’m the one on the table going under the knife.  The caregivers are not supposed to be killing the patient to steal the insurance money.    I didn’t need 2 primary cares, and I didn’t need to keep a ritzy primary care in Beverly Hills…I was planning to move up where my friends in Seattle lived anyway.  I never really told Dr. Schechter about Dr. Hoffman—I don’t know.   The colon resection was totally successful, no problem.  Since first I moved my colo-rectal surgeon from UCLA-Santa Monica to Cedars-Sinai, and he wanted me to move my primary care, I got a referral to cardiologist Dr. William Mandel at Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California from Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills, so I had 2 cardiologists.  I never told them about him because they were always yelling about the nitro, they probably never talked to the doctor, they refused to listen to me and let me talk, and I doubt they understand it to this day.  I was imminently going to Washington anyway when she brought up that nursing home bullshit, so it didn’t matter,  I was going to discharge both of them anyway, a tremendous saving!    My friend had invited me to come up years ago and then pushed the date back to April, 2003, the exact time Joan hit me with nursing home.  (The friend was a social worker.)  My plan was to look into just finding a job and staying, seeing if Laurie wanted to come up and stay if she liked it, and telling my family to keep the $60K except for meds, medical bills, and Blue Cross PPO.  I put that on the computer somewhere and Joan and Pete must have read it because when they told me they were stopping the $60K (actually, first Dr. Stubbeman said stop $30K but match every dollar u earn; they said stop the other $30 K except for meds, medical bills, and [Anthem] Blue Cross PPO premiums).
It suggests to me that they got the idea from me and did it to me before I had a chance to go.   It really seems unforgivable.    The orthopedist (sports medicine) guy in Westwood near the UCLA campus who diagnosed the diabetic neuropathy (and X-rayed my back once before) was now unneeded and needed to be discharged.    Laurie (where I lived) graduated from UCLA in psychology.    I was going to check out with all the opthamologists, neurologists, the endocrinologist, Dr. Hohnichter from Cedars-Sinai on Rexford St. in Beverly Hills, and the psychiatrists when I moved to Washington, and find new doctors up there.  My license had just been renewed after a year’s suspension and I was preparing to rent a Budget rental car to drive up, I got a new silver Ford Focus the time before.   The reviews said they had good brakes, which is true.  So I can see that I maybe was spending too much money, on the medical, but it’s not the answer to throw it in the doctors’ and the patient’s face.    We still may be paying for unneceessry things by not discussing it out front.   The caregivers insisted on ignoring the doctors’ orders; they wouldn’t even listen.   “[The doctors] are wrong” Joan has said many times and they are not.   I say she’s wrong.    Or, “Dr. Fine didn’t say that,” when that’s exactly what she said, or put words in their mouth that they never said, couldn’t possibly have said, because she was greater, she was the ruler.
I was discussing with Tina yesterday a psychology book I read at Yale, maybe in Psych 1A and am planning to re-read, Man’s Search For Meaning by psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl.    He survived Auschwitz or one of the concentration camps in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, came to America, an invented a whole school of psychiatry, I’ll fill in the name:.

  For plain text computers:   The landmark bestseller by the great Viennese psychiatrist remembered for his tremendous impact on humanity, Man’s Search For Meaning.  Internationally renowned psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps.   During, and partly because of his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy.  At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. 

Cited in Dr. Frankl’s New York Times obituary in 1997 as “an enduring work of survival literature,” MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING is more than the story of Viktor E. Frankl’s triumph; it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and “an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day” (Gordon W. Allport). 

“Perhaps the most significant thinking since Freud and Adler.  Unconditional faith in an unconditional meaning is Dr. Frankl’s message to the reader.”—The American Journal of Psychiatry


This mysteriously popped up while I was googling

Wanta yak with the Capn? Click on:

Give them what they want. Give them their money's worth.
-- skypilotclub motto


Here it is, a week after the operation, and still recovering. Up and on my feet with some help. They didn't tell me beforehand how bad the pain would be afterwards, nor how swoled up my balls and dick would be nor about the bright red color that scared even me, yeah, I know, I shoulda took a pic so everyone could see, but I was too down and out and besides I asked for Percodan for pain and the drugstore would only give me a generic brand which didn't do shit but luckily I had some Oxycodone left over from a back mishap, and I took those until I was in happy happy dreamland for a few days then eased off and lived with the situation, getting a little bit better every day, until yesterday I was good enough or so I thought, to drive into town and visit the doc for a post op checkup and he assured me I was doing fine so I came home and hit the couch and the pain pill for that trip plum wore me out, but I'm not going to let this thing get me down, no it's out into the corn field and chase away those crows who think they own the place since they haven't seen me prowling around peeing in the corners to establish my ownership, they can crow all they want, I still got the persuader, the old twelve guage, you betcha.
I was splitting wood a week or so ago and suddenly had a pain in my right nut so I thought I better get it checked out. First thing the doc said was, "It's not cancer, you're too old for that." He took one look and said, "Hernia."
It was an iguana hernia, a protuberance along the right side of my groin. Got more painful as time went on so I decided to get it taken care of. It's an hermaphodyte. He's Henry when he's a boy. When she nags she's Henrietta. Piece of cake to repair, according to the surgeon. In and out in one day. One long day in hell.
No one said it would hurt so bad for so long afterwards. And try to get real Percodan and not some half ass generic. Oh well, better that than nothing. And it's getting better every day. I got to admit it's getting better. Getting so much better all the time. Take another pill, Ken. Thankee, think I will.
Stay attuned.

Got a good email from Jeffrey Newman. Here's some of what he said with my responses.
Jeff: I am a35 year old guy, been a member of whatever the "movement" is called now-a-days, since I first heard the Grateful Dead on a Memorex tape in the summer of 1987... I hold to the rather non-humble note that I still remain true to the spirit of what the Pranksters were about.
KapnKen: I still listen to cassette tapes and have a radio cassette deck and tape songs off of the radio, over and over on a cassetted. No, not the same cassette, whatever one is in the deck at the time, so I get different songs when I play the tapes.
Jeff: The Pranksters are the closest to coming into what I believe, live, try to be... They represent the bridge between the Beats and the Hippies and are the best (and sometimes the worst) of both of the worlds.
KapnKen: Ha ha. Bestest and worstest. Kesey and I fell in the crack between the beats and hippies. Too young for one, too old for the other. Neal Cassady was the bridge. He also drove the bus as we careened into Beatdom and then Hippiedom, carrying the prankster banner.
Jeff: At times, I still feel like a failure cause I do work the white collar 9-5 and yet, and yet, my heart is still free.
KapnKen: Hey, everyone has to work the daytime job to do the offjob play but you must realize the real work takes place all the time, both at the daytime job and during the night time play and the real work is to be a force for love peace and happiness even while going under from sex drugs and rock and roll.
Jeff: I wonder what might have been... What happened? Nothing is Black and White, everything is a shade of Grey, and I still wonder... What happened?
KapnKen: Lots of people do. Leary says if you can remember what happened then you weren't there. Ha Ha, more humor which is good, keeps your mind straight. What happened is what always happens. The pendulum swings one way for a while then the other way, it's like breathing in and out. You breathe in, store the oxygen, breath out, do some work. Same is true on the big scale. We had a great run in the sixites and are still enjoying the results. Forces of greed came in and battered everyone but now more people are wising up.
Jeff: You can't ever change the world, you can just change the world around you. So I do that as best I can.
KapnKen: There you go. You are doing the work. Know that others are too. I get lots of emails from people saying the same things you are and they lament they are all alone but I tell them, no, we are many but we have learned the secret of invisibility so we don't call attention to ourselves. That way we can work unimpeded.

I was talking to this guy today about how Dr. Auerbach wrote a note to get me out of the draft.  He said, “You should ask for an honorable discharge”   I said, “Yeah, I’ll email President Obama, for whom I      campaigned and to whom I contributed.”  The Selective Service System, SSS, the draft, was so unpopular it was abolished around 1975, the fall of Saigon, and we don’t have a draft to this day.   People were going to ‘Nam and coming back in wheelchairs like the man in the film Born On The Fourth Of July.    It was my Dad’s idea, I was living at the Hog Farm in Llano, and they never would have found me, but people were shooting themselves in the foot, wearing dresses to their draft physical, and running away to Canada.  In 1976 President Ford pardoned them all and said they could come back home to America to live, work, and start families.    I’m going to ask Obama for a Presidential Pardon.   I told psychiatrists Dr. Lisa Fine, who I saw regularly for five years, UCSF-Mt. Zion Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Richard Shadoan, who I saw for several years and sent me off to UCI with 100K/year from Dad calling me a “success story”, and clinical psychologist Michael Bernath I think it’s a misdiagnosis because UCSF psychiatrist  Dr. Moishe Feldman said,  “ You don’t have schizophrenia,” and Mike said,  “Go to a clinical psychologist and get retested and rediagnosed.”   All of them seem to agree with me, and that I am as sane as anybody.
The guy today also said, “You should tell them about the Arlo Guthrie album Alice’s Restaurant where he tries to get out of the draft telling the draft sergeant, “I wanna kill!   I wanna kill!” and he gets out for being a psycho.  Probably with a 4-F classification, Unfit For Military Duty, like me.     That was a big prize for those guys in those days, if their number came up in the lottery.  I never sweated it.  If I’d stayed in Llano, I doubt they’d have come looking, and if they had, they never would have found me.  I’d taken the draft notice, marked “No Such Person At This Address”, and put it back in the mailbox.   No form of law enforcement ever came up to the Farm, except once, I remember.   A State patrolman was there for about 20 minutes, just standing by his car on the road.  He wanted to know if anybody had seen Linda Kasabian from the Manson Family, said to be hiding out in a New Mexican commune, which we hadn’t, and he took off.    Strangers weren’t too welcome in those days, it was overcrowded. stayed 3 days at the most, and that was hard, and really, who would want to stay longer?    A winter there, with no electricity or running water, was brutal. “Winter was so hard and cold/Froze ten feet neath the ground”   You had to be prepared with plenty of warm clothes.  “Snowed so hard the roof caved in/Delilah Jones went to meet her God” like Jack London and the St. Bernard in To Light A Fire.     I said, “I was a conscientious objector [“CO”] in high school.  Maybe I could contact those organizations like War Resisters League, Central Committee For Conscientious Objection, Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Friends Service Committee (after a year at Yale I spent a semester at a Quaker school, Friends World College, in Westbury, NY [Long Island]), etc.    I’m pre-law; draft law should be easy since there is no draft anymore.  You’re right!”


Eric Abrahamson, B.S.C.S. (candidate) Yale University Class of '71 Pierson College P.O. Box 1112
2057 University Ave., Apt. 29, 94704
Berkeley, CA 94701
510-356-8083 (mobile)
510-809-1369 (home)
510-845-7382 (work)
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