atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1988: Damn this cold

STILL I am sick. I've now had this cold for five days. I had scratchy throat Thu and Fri of last week, so technically I suppose I've had it for more than a week. But I get scratchy throat all the time.

Most of the symptoms have declined in severity. I'm still hacking up gunk and still suffering congestion and my tonsils still hurt ffffuuuuu.....

Today I feel a bit better than yesterday, and yesterday I felt better than the day before. But "better" is not "good".

* * *

Latvia's government has collapsed. No idea what this means.

I don't even know where it is, and at first I thought, "Latvia? Isn't that where Dr. Doom came from?" (No, that was Latveria. Dork.)

Wikipedia on Latvia. A tiny ex-USSR nation in northeastern Europe. I now know something I did not know before. See? The Fungus is educational and stuff!

* * *

Anarchists are upset at an anarchist who is no longer anarchist enough to suit them. Apparently in the hard radical leftist world you deserve to be attacked with baked goods for having even the tiniest moment of sanity.

* * *

They found the Russian lunar rover.

I learned, recently, that the Russians tried launching a moon rocket and it exploded. Apparently the people in charge of the program had left the bunker to watch the launch firsthand, and were killed in the explosion.

Yeah, sure. More like, the KGB got rid of anyone who knew there were people aboard that rocket. The cosmonauts became unpersons, of course.

Me, paranoid? Dude, this is the freaking USSR we're talking about. They did that kind of shit six times before breakfast.

* * *

As of April 16 of this year, Walgreen's stores in Washington state will cease accepting Medicaid patients.

Why? Because Walgreen's is a heartless giant corporation in league with Big Pharma and Big Insurance? Because Walgreen's hates the poor?

You bet your ass!

It has nothing to do with Medicaid paying Walgreen's less for a particular prescription than Walgreen's itself must pay to buy the drugs and dispense them; oh no. Anyway profit is evil and Walgreen's should be required to participate in Medicaid regardless of profitability!

...and you can bet your ass: that day is coming. We're getting ObamaCare this week, and it's the foot in the door. Once the Democrats have that, it's only a matter of time.

I hope you're ready for everything to hit the shitter.

* * *

City folk don't understand any damn thing. The victim moved to Alaska from Pennsylvania in August, went out jogging, and got mauled by wolves.

God damn it, how freaking stupid can people get? When I go out into the woods around here I get nervous about wild animals, and for the most part my biggest actual worry is a raccoon. There are some nasty critters up in the northwest!
The community had recently been on alert for wolves on the prowl nearby, said Johnny Lind, president of the village council.

In the last week, school children were being accompanied to school and armed snowmobile patrols had been on the lookout for the animals, he said.
But I don't need to carry a gun with me or anything! Oh no! Guns make you into a killer! I would never want to harm another living creature!


Via Og.

Earth is not one big safe park, damn it. There are plenty of creatures out there who don't care how you vote; they only care about the fact that you're made of meat and don't have any pesky natural defenses to worry about. We evolved these big fancy brains for a reason; why don't you morons try using it?

* * *

Mike Flynn makes some interesting points on global warming here.

* * *

As for me, I currently have no sense of smell. I am hoping my sense of smell will return, but I have no prior experience with this. My parents and my aunt once had colds so bad they lost their sense of smell. Every other time I've ever had a cold, I kept my sense of smell throughout. Right now, though, I can't smell Vick's Salve even when it's coating my nostrils. Jesus.

To my surprise I could still tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. Not the nuances; only that one had more acidity than the other. Dinner was General Tao's chicken, and that was just "spicy/sweet/salty" with a hint of "sour".

There may be one time, now that I think of it, that I lost my sense of smell. I don't remember that; I just remember thinking to myself how rotten the entire world smelled once my nose unclogged. So maybe there's still hope for my career as a wine taster...?

Losing my sense of smell would probably not be much of a handicap. But I'd miss the flavor of various foods, and there are things I rely on my sense of smell for. How could I detect a gas leak? How would I tell whether or not transmission fluid is burned? Hell, what about milk going bad? How would I know?

There probably isn't a lot anyone can do about it, one way or another.

In fact, one of the most depressing things about this entire illness is how utterly helpless modern medical science is. All they can do is give you things which alleviate the symptoms; and I have to wonder how wise it is to interfere with the body's defense mechanisms. But I've been so miserable I've just taken the NyQuil and body's defenses be damned.

There was a science fiction story written by one author or another who I don't much care for. It was set on Halley's Comet, and it was about the crew of people who were trying to capture it and bring it to Earth to mine it for various resources. One of the characters in he story was this one guy who had made clones of himself who didn't have the histamic response. This guy was in charge of making tailored virii which made people immune to all the cyanogen gas that came from the comet, and one of the problems was that the virii made everyone have colds all the time. So this guy's made his clones so that they didn't sneeze when their bodies were resisting the custom virii.

Anyway, I keep thinking that's not such a good idea. Look: we have these responses for a reason; the theory of evolution pretty much requires that you respect our defense mechanisms (however inconvenient they may be) as the best possible solution under the circumstances. A person without the histamic response would probably die of an infection by some commonplace organism because he lacked that defense mechanism. It'd be a disease no one had ever seen before but it would only kill that guy, and eventually someone would do an autopsy and discover, "Holy crap, it's aspergilis niger!"

(Aspergilis niger is the mold which gives black dirt its characteristic smell. It is everywhere; you cannot escape it. I picked it because of its ubiquity; but there could easily be ten thousand million others which are just as commonplace and just as deadly to someone missing one of the normal denfenses of the human body.)

The histamic response isn't just sneezing, anyway; it's inflammation, and runny noses, and a bunch of other things. A bunch of other things you need if you don't want to have to scrub every scratch--no matter how minor--with iodine to prevent infection.

So: at least this cold has given me occasion to think about how well-designed the human body is. Because all that crap--the snot, the coughing and sneezing, the sore throat, the congestion, all of it--is the body's first line of defense against invasion. Think about it: that shit is keeping you alive. Without it, the virus would spread right through your entire body and you'd die in a matter of days. Think "ebola", only probably without the hemhorraging. The common cold would kill you dead if you didn't have the sneezing and the dripping and the coughing and the fever and....

All of that stuff isn't the cold virus; it's your body's own mechanisms. The scratchy throat, for example: the immuse system senses that cells have been infected with a virus, and it sends out cells which emit enzymes that kill the infected cells dead. They pop like balloons. It gets the non-infected cells next door, but the immune system doesn't have enough information to be picky. It just screams, ACCEPTABLE LOSSES! and hoses down the infected cells with the cellular equivalent of an M60. Losing a layer of cells like that doesn't feel good to you; it releases enzymes and things which our nervous system has been designed to detect and interpret as "damage". (It is damage, after all.) "Damage" is signalled with pain.

All the other things work the same way. Congestion is the mucous membrane stepping up to the plate: it increases its secretion of goop to mire the invaders in sludge, and the sludge itself has elements which are toxic to invaders anyway.

Coughing is your body's way of discharging mucous from the lungs and throat. Mucous loaded with trapped invaders is expelled from the body.

Of course, plenty of microorganisms rely on these responses for propagation. When a cold makes you sneeze, you're launching millions of virus particles into the air, and some of them will end up in someone else's nose. This is why it's polite to cover your mouth when coughing and your nose when sneezing.

So doing away with these mechanisms is not a good idea; we need them. Even though they suck.

...and in fact I could feel them stand down--"return to standby"--in my chest a couple of days ago. I'm still waiting for that feeling to come to my head.

How does it feel? You know how it is when there's something making an irritating noise, but you didn't really notice the noise until it stopped? It feels like that: like someone shut off an AM radio, one not tuned to a station with its volume all the way up. A sudden cessation of noise. A relaxing sensation.

When a fever breaks sometimes you get this feeling of being cold. Well, I can tell that the mucous membranes in my head are slowing down the guck production: they're drying out in spots and it hurts. I guess they need to figure out what "normal" is supposed to be. But of course it could be partly the virus' fault, because it makes me sneeze.

* * *

I don't know what happened with DirecTV. XM/Sirius went away. I don't know if the company changed its name or if they got a new music provider; all I know is, the channels got reordered and renamed, and the playlists are inferior to what they used to be like.

Anyway, listening to their generic "New Age" channel the other day I heard a song by Ray Lynch, from his Deep Breakfast album, which I had not heard in literal years. It gave me a hankering to hear the album, so I searched my hard drives for it.

No luck.

...I ended up going to Amazon and buying it. I tardily realized that I had never downloaded it. In 1992 I'd made a cassette from a friend's mother's CD of it, but I never actually bought a copy of it. Rectifying that oversight didn't even cost $10.

A lot of the music I listen to is hard to find in any non-Internet outlet. You can't go to the CD store at the mall with the reasonable expectation of finding Bluetech or Pitch Black [NZ]. You'll be lucky to find a few compilations of that stuff over in the dimly lit corner that hasn't been dusted for a few weeks. Ray Lynch was hard to find even in his heyday; what about now?

There used to be a huge record store near here. It was a big one, and they had just about everything. Of course they went out of business, with all that inventory. *sigh*

Anyway, so it Deep Breakfast was exactly the sort of music I wanted to listen to. I couldn't really take anything with a beat, not the way I was feeling.

* * *

FlashForward resumed, and I was happy with the 2-hour episode they resumed with. There are some interesting things going on, and the plot is thickening. It seems as if the show is well-received, so there will have to be a second season. This means it's likely we'll never know WTF is going on, not before the series ends entirely. Oh well.

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