Monthly Archives: April 2015

Why We Need to Scrap the Word “Millenial”

I am getting pretty sick and tired of everyone using the word “millenial”, as if people in their 20’s and 30’s are different from people who were that age 20 or 30 years ago. I am getting really sick of people telling me that being a millenial means I have certain needs that people who were my age 30 years ago did not have. That is complete and utter BS. How would my needs be any different if I was a 27-year-old living in 1985? I would still need healthy relationships and a sense of purpose. If by “different needs” you mean that social media culture makes it a lot more difficult to meet our innate relational needs, then say that. It’s the sociological climate that’s different, not our needs. I would argue that this “millenial culture” phenomenon is what perpetuates all the selfishness and entitlement in my age bracket that makes the older generations look on all of us with disdain.

Referring to people as “millenials” encourages prejudice. Any time you lump a group of people together, it’s bad news. Prejudice as letting fear or ignorance dictate our responses to things we don’t understand. By using one word to describe an entire sect of the American population, we are doing just that.

How to Wear Earbuds With Hearing Aids

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I listen to music with my hearing aids.  I used to use a device called a neck loop, which plugged into the headphone jack and then I wore it around my neck.  Unfortunately, I’ve had my neck loop for a several years and it’s officially deader than disco.  So then I tried a trick I found on a cochlear implant blog.  I took the regular old earbuds that came with my iPhone and tucked them up by my hearing aids.  This didn’t work too well for two reasons.  First of all, the earbuds didn’t stay in place if I walked around.  Second of all, I started having a lot of issues with my t-coil channel picking up ambient electrical signals after we moved.  That was purely a location thing, since it was never a problem before I moved.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do about using the phone, since that’s really difficult to do without using my t-coil channel, especially for automated menus like a clinic or pharmacy.  But I did come up with a solution to the earbud problem that didn’t involve shelling out for another neck loop or noise-cancelling headphones.

The secret is earbuds that have those over-the-ear hooks.  I bought a pair at the Dollar Tree and put them on my ears backwards, with the earbuds facing out.  The hooks keep the earbuds in place, and unlike conventional earbuds, I don’t have to use the t-coil channel to get decent sound!  I won’t lie, the sound is better if you can use the t-coil, but even if you can’t, the sound is still decent.

I cannot believe how well this worked!  Neck loops and ear hooks are seriously $60, and I paid $1 for this pair of regular over-the-earbuds!

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The Stigma Against Physical Illness and Traditional Medicine

As I’ve mentioned before, health and I have been having a bumpy ride the past several months. My endometriosis came out of remission last year. Along with that came free gifts of fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and asthma.

Last fall, I made the difficult decision to do a 6-month stint of Lupron injections, and then I saw firsthand just how stigmatized physical illness and traditional medicine have become. In the age of natural remedies and anti-doctor sentiment, people who choose traditional treatments are harshly judged and verbally attacked. The rheumatologist who diagnosed my fibro gave me an earful about how I never should have finished the Lupron course, and why did I even left them inject me in the first place? (Dr. F, if you’re reading this and wonder why you’re not my doc anymore, your lovely attitude may have something to do with it! Just saying!)

It’s one thing to have legitimate concern about side effects. Lupron came with plenty of them, and that was part of the reason I put off going on the shots as long as I did. But berating people for making informed decisions about a condition you don’t know crap about is WRONG. If you haven’t felt like you’ve been socked in the stomach or like you’ve been impaled with shards of broken glass, then you have no business telling someone they shouldn’t see a specialist or use narcotic painkillers as needed. (Yes, there are appropriate ways to use narcotic painkillers, and most people don’t lose the judgy pants long enough to find that out either.) If you haven’t been dependent on inhalers to jumpstart your lungs when they’re threatening to take a vacation, you have no business telling someone they shouldn’t put steroids in their body. Yes, that comes with a certain degree of risk, but letting asthma go untreated is much riskier. People don’t understand that choosing health treatments, whether traditional or alternative, is taking a calculated risk. You take a calculated risk every time you get in your car and drive somewhere. You could die in a car crash. That doesn’t erase the benefit to be gained from driving to work or to a social event or wherever.

It isn’t just traditional medicine that’s stigmatized. Illness itself is stigmatized as well. People often say that mental illness is no more shameful than physical illness, but honestly, I get more flak about my physical health issues than my mental health issues. Statements like, “You’re too young to be that sick” or “You must have done something stupid” or “G-d hates you” are signs that our society is not as understanding about physical illness as we’d like to think. The natural remedy fad is partly to blame for this problem, in my humble opinion.

I’m all for natural remedies that are safe and effective. I have a handful of natural remedies that can sometimes reduce or eliminate my need for heavier pain medication. But sometimes the natural stuff just doesn’t cut it, and it’s not always safe. Carbon monoxide is natural. It’s also deadly. It’s also possible to be severely allergic to natural ingredients. For instance, California Baby is a popular organic lotion brand. I have nothing against them, but I can’t use their stuff because it contains a plant called calendula, which is an effective eczema remedy for some people. Well, it turns out I am highly allergic to calendula, which I learned the hard way. So that natural remedy is out of the question for me, and people have had the gall to tell me I’m just being stubborn and I should try the calendula again. (I’m as stubborn as all get-out, no point in denying it, but I most certainly should not try the calendula again. I’m a fan of breathing and not breaking out in hives, thank you very much.)

So what do I want people to take away from all this? I guess I want people to listen more and talk less when it comes to other people’s health issues. (That’s the nice way of saying you all need to shut the frack up.)

Love-Hate Relationship

Sorry I’ve been so incommunicado. Health stuff has been kicking my butt yet again. There is so much I want to say about the stigma of physical illness and traditional medicine, but that will have to wait until I know which end of me is up.

I’ve been doing the “Love/Hate updates” when I want to write but have no idea what to write about. But lately I’ve been thinking about the things that I both love and hate at the same time, so without further ado, here is my List of Things I Both Love And Hate:

1.) My Hair

I love how it’s finally growing back after I lost a bunch of it to a medical treatment for my endometriosis. I hate how indecisive I am about how short I do or don’t want to cut it while the rest of it grows back. I hate how thick and rebellious it is. I could really relate to Merida in “Brave”, let’s put it that way.

2.) The mind-body connection

I love how practicing mindfulness has a positive effect. I hate how emotional stress kills my appetite and makes me want to toss my cookies.

3.) Traditional medicine

I love how my odds of dying of smallpox, scarlet fever, whooping cough, polio, etc, is slim to none. I love how there are more treatment options available than ever before. I hate it when doctors don’t admit they don’t know something. I also hate it when people who don’t know anything get paranoid about side effects when they don’t understand that sometimes diseases themselves are worse than side effects.

4.) Alternative medicine

I love how some alternative treatments can reduce my use of pain meds and other traditional treatments. I really love herbal tea. It’s my new coffee, since I can’t have coffee anymore. I hate how under-researched alternative medicine is. I hate that many doctors shun it simply because they don’t understand it and get all hung up on “non-FDA approved” and whatnot.

5.) Asthma meds

I love how they help me breathe. Breathing is a really really good thing. You don’t fully appreciate it until your lungs cop an attitude. I hate how every inhaler out there tastes like burnt rubber. We’ve created vaccines, invented lightbulbs, put people on the moon, and yet we still haven’t invented an inhaler that doesn’t taste like burnt rubber. Go figure!

Okay, that’s about all I have energy for today. Hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday!