Wednesday, September 29, 2010

UGH. Returned to the back surgeon today, two months after my surgery (to fuse my facet bones together at L4-5 and L5/S1). It wasn't good news. Since I'm still in considerable pain, he took more x-rays.

Then he said that my L5/S1 vertabrae are "collapsed". He says I could have a complete fusion, with hardware and also some cutting away of the bone to make some space between the vertabrae. However, he also said there is no guarantee that this would stop my back pain, and there is a possibility that it could make it worse. Not good news.

He recommended that I just stay on medication management unless (until?) it gets so bad that it pinches a nerve and I start having pain in my legs. This is really a pain (no pun intended). It makes it very hard to look for a job when you have to take pain medication every day. I asked the doctor if he could reduce my medications. He had me on a fentanyl patch, which you wear all the time and change every three days, meaning you are medicated 24 hours a day. Now he reduced it to pain pills, so at least I can take them only when I am actually in more pain than I can handle. Though it sucks not having the patches, which helped a lot, I feel more in control of my medication, and if need be (like an upcoming drug test), I can choose not to take them and just be in agony for a week. I think. I've tried it before, and it's not easy being in agonizing pain when you know there's an easy solution right in your medicine cabinet. And then I didn't get the job anyway, after all that suffering. Bummer.

Oh, well. It is what it is, and I'll just have to learn to live with it for now. I'm still considering trying out the surgery, but he didn't sound very optimistic about it working, so I'm not considering it that hard, but still thinking about it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

License renewal time

I had to renew my driver's license yesterday. UGH! Besides the 5 hour wait in the office (I'm not kidding), there is now a whole new set of rules about what documents you need to bring with you. Thanks to Homeland Security. And all the prices doubled on the first of September.

They probably could have put more people behind the empty windows to speed things up, but that would have taken a job away from the guy whose whole purpose was to walk around with a stamp in his hand, or the lady whose job it was to check the fax machine every ten minutes. I really want a job there. I even tried to find one online today, but it seems there is no place to find a list of jobs at the DMV. I guess they don't need any more people walking around holding stamps.

I had to bring my original birth certificate or passport, and my original social security card, and two pieces of mail addressed to me at my house. No post office box address allowed on your license. If my name had changed, I would need my original marriage/divorce decree/court order. Luckily I had everything, though it took me a long time to find my social security card. I mean, who uses that thing anymore?

Supposedly this paperwork requirement is supposed to keep illegal aliens from getting driver's licenses, so now I guess more of them will just drive around without licenses or insurance. So that solved that problem.

Oh, well, at least I got my license (yes, the picture is crappy) and I don't have to deal with it for another eight years.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Civil Rights

What is wrong with gay marriage? Why are so many people opposed to it?

The first question is easy to answer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. As a matter of fact, I feel that trying to oppose gay marriage is unconstitutional. According to the constitution, ALL persons are created equal and we all have the same rights. It seems inconceivable, especially to those members of society who are too young to remember now, that only 40 years ago an inter-racial couple was forbidden to marry by law. This was changed, and rightfully so, because it is a civil rights violation to treat people unequally. I believe that the laws against gay marriage should be struck down according to the same civil rights violation. And I don't want see any silly compromise, such as, "well, you can have a civil union, but you can't have the rights accorded to heterosexual couples" (i.e., spousal health insurance benefits, right to inheritance, ability to adopt children as a couple, right to file taxes together, social security benefits, right to make medical decisions for your spouse, etc.). I want to see married gay couples given all of the same civil rights as are given to any other married couple. It's just the right thing to do. It is time for our legislators to 'come out of the closet' (so to speak) and stand up for their constituents.

The second question is much more difficult to answer. I understand that some people may be opposed on religious grounds, but one group's religious beliefs do not make another group's civil rights just disappear into thin air. Even aside from religious beliefs, just how does a gay couple getting married hurt anyone else? I really can't figure out the answer to this question. I mean, I would think that even conservatives would value the commitment and stability of marriage, no matter if that marriage is heterosexual or homosexual.

I just look forward to the day when this country's citizens will look back and wonder how we could ever have denied civil rights to a group of us who are deemed equal to everyone else under the constitution. And to the day when it seems so unbelievable that my grandchildren will ask me if this was ever really true.


Monday, September 06, 2010

School? At my age?

Thanks to giving almost 25 years of my life to a company where I thought I'd work until I retired, and then being laid off due to outsourcing to India, I have nothing but a high school education and lots of job experience that only means I'm either "over-qualified" or "under-qualified" for the few jobs that are even out there. So.......

I'm thinking about going back to school. Seriously. Even the most menial jobs out there now are requiring a college degree, apparently because there are so many applicants for every job that employers feel they can get whittle down the stack of resumes on their desk by requiring degrees. I've even seen ads for receptionist jobs asking for college degrees. What??!!??

I'm sure I could receive financial assistance, so I'm not too worried about cost. But I am worried if it would be worth the time, at my age.

I thought becoming a substitute teacher would be rewarding, but after checking I found that it requires a bachelors degree. Well, forget that. By the time I got out of school, I'd be 57 years old, and then who would hire me? Plus, I don't have 4 years to spare before I can begin earning an income.

Then I thought about technical schools. Being a pharmacy technician really interests me, and can be be completed in just one year. (It does involve LOTS of math, though.) Then I started looking at the job-search sites for pharmacy techs. Oops, not much demand for employees. I might just go to Borders and buy the textbook, start studying, and check to see if job opportunities open up a bit before plunking down money at a technical school.

Think, think, think, what kind of job would I enjoy doing that would only take one to two years of training? Looks like I need to do a lot of research and soul-searching.

Or am I just crazy?