Saturday, December 20, 2014

Creation

In the beginning there was God and God created the  heavens and the earth, (the universe, the multiverse all matter, energy, things and people in it and of it)
Was there God and building blocks?
Was there God and nothingness?
Or was there just God.
And God Created all from himself (Thyself).
The One became many.  The journey outward.
We are created in  the “image of God’.  That’s the “imagination of God”.
I remember Dr. Carl Ridd telling us that when he taught Literature of the Bible, at University of Winnipeg in the early 70’s.  I was struck by the ‘face’ of it.  Later I’d appreciate 'appearances'  as described by  the theologian, Owen Barfield.   The psychiatrist,  Dr. Carl Jung,  called the outer layer of our individuality  “persona’ ,  that face we showed to the world, the mask we wore.   Indian mystics meanwhile sung “I am the bubble, make me the sea.”
Asking the Burning Bush who he was, the answer came to Moses, “YHVEH”  That name of God, that could never be spoken, for to know God fully was to loose oneself, YHVH was later translated “I am that is who I am.”  Part of the great mystery is that only an approximation of reality in analog.
The depth of each of us, that very ‘beingness’ of each of us, the soul, that individual dream of God was, in deed, our very connection to the One Dreamer, or Creator.  The greeting "Namaste", means simply  'the God in me salutes the God in you." Jesus Christ translated means 'God Within", "God will come again". The meaning of the word Gospel, was simply the  "good news".
I am a child of God.  I am made of the same 'god stuff', the 'soul stuff' of creation.   I can think of God and know God because I’m actually "God thought"  or to use a term from  science fiction writer, Robert Heinlein,  "God grok".
The prime being, or prime number is 1.  There is an alternative beginning in zero.    The life myth in the east was more circularity while in the west linearity prevailed suggesting a possible gendered yin or feminine and yang or masculine masculine understanding of  matter or energy. Of course, the physicist, Albert Einstein joined them in his famous equation E=MC2  which connected the matter of energy and mass such that later we could think of matter as 'slow energy', or energy as 'fast matter'. It was really relative.
Because of the nanoseconds involved in human thought and the individual experiencing of experience, if God is "Number 1" then  I am "Number 2" ,despite how desperately I might wish to be  “Number 1’.  Hence the notion of  Humility as a spiritual concept like grace that follows the study of history where an endless stream of Nietzean supermen claimed they ware ’number #1” only to pass away like leaves of grass while the idea of God remained.  Even the atheists build on the platform of anti theism.
Martin Buber called the experience of God,  “I and Thou” in contrast to the essentially paranoid position psychiatrists  call  "I and It."  In one there is a sense of awe and wonder whereas in the other there is that primitive sense of fear and alienness.     In the  sense of not being alone, even in the depth of my aloneness, in that place that Kierkegaard called ‘existential angst’, I can retreat or stand and embrace.  At the essence of embracing there is the ultimate surrender,  some  call 'love'.
In prayer, especially that personal relational prayer James Houston describes, I build the path to that awareness. In calling out to the other, even in the Dark Night of the Soul,  in love, in seeking the light ,in turning outward from my own ‘morbid depression’, I ascend to that that place of  eternal lightness of being.  I am lifted then ‘as on eagles wings’.
And the journey home begins.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Addiction Intervention

Intervention refers to the active process of direct participation in the life of an addict. There are actual addiction intervention services and people with extensive training specifically in this process.  A television series of the same name was highly educational, not the only 'interventionist' approach, but certainly a well scripted example of a  acknowledged professional interventionist approach.

Before AA began Bill Wilson was being an interventionist in what would later be called '12 step calls'.  He himself was approached by Ebby who as an 'evangelical' Christian reached out to help his friend.

Personally, as a psychiatrist I have no difficulty with the notion of 'intervention'.  It can be a concern when abused as was the case in police states like Communist Russia.  When I was a member of the Psychiatrists against Political Abuse of Psychiatry we were advocating commonly for scientists incarcerated in asylums for disagreement with the political regimen of the day.

In traditional medicine a patient comes to a doctor with a complaint and the doctor prescribes a medicine which the patient takes or doesn't take.  Only in 'public health' is the intervention approach taken or in life threatening emergencies.  I remember a women walking in for a routine obstetric visit and me wheeling her up to the delivery room with the help of the nurse after my examination revealed she was nearly fully dilated.  She delivered a healthy baby in the delivery room within the hour. If I hadn't 'intervened' she'd have delivered in my office.

In psychiatry it is normal for me to sign a committal paper for a dangerously in sane person. Once I've done this the police will escort the patient to an asylum for their and the community's safety.

Generally speaking everything in medicine and psychiatry  is voluntary and driven by the patient. This is the same in addiction medicine. Patient's 'seek' help. They commonly admit that they've been told by their boss or family that they should see a doctor but their decision to see me is their own.

Many addicts and alcoholics simply curse everyone and leave.  This is called the 'geographical cure'.  Having burnt all their bridges they move on to a new set of potential victims taking their disease with them.  Geographical cures are notoriously inadequate treatment for serious addictions.

The disease of addiction and alcoholism is associated with minimization and denial.  Denial refers to the refusal to see that alcohol or drugs aren't the solution but rather the source the problem.  Denial is most apparent to a physician treating the myriad physical consequences of alcoholism and addiction, such as pancreatitis, cancers, ulcers etc.  I heard the statement "I don't have a problem with alcohol, I can quit anytime I want to" on liver failure ward from a yellow skinned 'flapper'. In end stage liver disease you ask a person to put their hands face up and over their heads and because of the associated neurological disease the patients hands 'flap'.  Commonly alcoholics in denial come into emergency vomitting blood whereas addicts will be picking bugs out of their skin and seeing CIA agents hiding in trees. Addicts in psychiatry wards  insist that all they need is to be released from the psychiatric ward to get a little more cocaine and that will stop the aliens attacking the world.  

In the days of Freud alcoholism was considered worse than schizophrenia because the alcoholic could have periods of lucidity that would fool them and those around them for a time into believing the person was cured.  In contrast schizophrenia was a steady deteriorating disease at the time without the episodes of apparent recovery.  The first reproducible 'cure' for alcoholism came in 1935 when the first 50 men in Akron Ohio remained sober following the steps that later would become the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Now we know that if a person developing addiction or alcoholism can stop their substance abuse in  the early stages (while they still have a job and some vestige of family left) then the success rate of treatment is roughly 80%.  End stage addiction and alcoholism associated with isolation and deteriorating physical disease have as poorer  prognosis.  This is to other  'end stage diseases' whether they be in mental illness like schizophrenia or physical illnesses like cancer.  In the last decades there has been considerable success in 'staging' alcoholism.  The well known John Hopkins University "Are You an Alcoholic?"  20 questions survey is less frequently used as a diagnostic tool today but it remains an excellent staging tool.

Some would say making the diagnosis of 'alcoholism' or 'addiction' is the first 'intervention' .  While I've never been attacked for diagnosing cancer which I've done frequently I've been physically attacked, repeatedly threatened, had my home windows broken and my car windows broken, and had multiple complaints to the College of Physicians and Surgeons for diagnosing addiction.

Because of the denial associated with the disease of addiction and alcoholism, Prochaska developed 'staging' for the 'readiness to change'  noting 'pre contemplation', "contemplation', "determination' , and "action' phases.  Making the diagnosis to someone in 'pre contemplation phase' is a potentially threatening scenario but thanks to a lot of trial and era and experience 'motivation therapy' 'interviewing techniques' offer some excellent tools for practitioners.

The complaints are never 'supposedly about' the diagnosis.  Alcoholics and addicts are not so direct.  All too often inexperienced, inadequately trained, or simply negligent 'complaints officials' have been royally duped.  The idea that  'one can make a diagnosis of addiction or alcoholism' without some patient getting angry is the greatest fallacy of the inexperienced and negligent.   My favourite forensic psychiatrist working in the jails after a life threatening attack said, "I'd always been told if I worked long enough in forensic pscyhiatry with the most dangerously insane people, there would come a time when I'd feel my life was in danger.  That was it."  The patient had been strangling the man with his own tie when his secretary intervened.

The joy for me working with front line workers in general is that they lack the ignorance and arrogance that is stinky and pervasive among the effete  Monday Morning Quarter Backs.   If you make enough diagnosis of alcoholism or addiction you will get a complaint.  Indeed the complaints department is increasingly one of the principal reasons for the collective failure of the medical system to address what has been called the 'public health crisis of the century'.

Diagnosing alcoholism and addiction, because of the stigma and the history associated with the disease, is commonly taken less favourably than diagnosis of cancer. When I diagnose cancer the patient may question the diagnosis,  express sadness and may well want a second opinion but they won't be  'angry at me'. If they are angry it's because I didn't make the diagnosis sooner.

In contrast with the disease of addiction and alcoholism the first reaction is commonly 'defensiveness' and the second is 'kill the messenger'.  Patients are commonly 'angry' at the diagnostician if only because they've been able to see a long list of 'enablers', negligent physicians.  Commonly the alcoholic or addict due to the psychopathic tendencies associated with progressive disease have been actively lying to clinicians and experience the 'diagnosis' as being 'caught'. A trained diagnostician will ask how many are "two beer" since 'two beer' is the knee jerk answer of the alcoholic confronted by the question of 'how many beer do you drink'.  "Two".  I suspect there are those who do drink 'two beer' and I feel genuine sorrow for them because they probably don't know that 'two beer' is alcoholic code for 2 'cases of beer".

It was common among 'enabling' doctors for them to be the least competent clinicians missing the diagnosis sometimes because they themselves suffered addictions.  It was even joked that you only had a drinking problem if you drank more than your doctor, especially if your doctor worked in government services.  I intuited early a colleagues later diagnosed severe addiction because he never diagnosed addiction in patients I'd subsequently see with advanced disease of alcoholism and addiction but rather diagnosed them as Bipolar or Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

If you see a psychiatrist  he may even miss the diagnosis of alcoholism or addiction because of the overall poor teaching of addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry in the general programs.  The psychiatrist commonly  diagnosis 'depression' instead. In the workplace a person  with a diagnosis will be expected to take a medication and see a counsellor at most. However if you receive a diagnsis of alcoholism you can be denied work in safety sensitive areas, be required by union contract to attend a 1 to 2 month inpatient treatment centre, have 3 meetings a week of follow up and get random urine testing for any number of years following the diagnosis. Given the denial involved in addiction, the diagnosis of 'depression' by the negligent or incompetent or addicted physician won't have any effect on the alcoholism or addiction.  However if you receive a diagnosis of alcoholism or addiction from a caring and conscientious well trained clinician then the treatment will most definitely cut into your drinking and drugging.  So naturally the simplest thing to do is get a lawyer or make a complaint to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about the character of the doctor.

My favourite complaint of this nature was from a pot smoking pilot who swore at me and threatened me when I said that they would need to have a urine test for drugs.  They insisted they had a 'right to smoke pot' and I countered they might but that if they were smoking pot they couldn't continue by law to be a commercial pilot.  The proceeded to complain to the College of Physicians and Surgeons in an attempt to have my license rescinded.  The severity of their cannibis addiction was that they would rather destroy a physician and risk the lives of thousands rather than stop smoking marijuana. In their complaint which never mentioned their occupation or their chemical dependency on marijuana, they objected to being sent by Transport Canada to a psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist who had a Bible in his office. I had a Bible on my bookshelf beside the Koran, Bhagad Vita, Plato and countless other philosophical, theological and psychiatric texts.  The College of Physicians and Surgeons investigated me for a year about my religious affiliation.  Not long after a similiarly 'impaired' pilot caused an accident which took countless lives. Transport Canada said to me after the whole ordeal that they routinely had difficulties of this nature.

I was called 'too confrontational' whenever I made the diagnosis of alcoholism because "making a diagnosis of alcoholism" was synonymous with 'confrontational".   I was also called 'insensitive' and one woman alcoholic said I didn't 'listen" to them when they were insisting that their boss expecting them to come to work every day.  She wanted to talk about anything but her DUI and her addiction and thought that if she could just distract me to focusing on her boss "rigid' behaviour.  I listened and eventually it became clear that her 'solution' to her problems was for me as a physician to write her a carte blanche letter which she could use whenever she wanted because  she just "sometimes" (weekly or more ) needed to have a day off  from work after a heavy drinking session. It's discouraging to know how many colleagues would have provided just such a letter out of fear more than anything.

Intervention is the act of 'confronting' an alcoholic or an addict with their disease, how it's hurting their health, how it's affecting their work, how it's affecting their family and friends. The common intervention pattern (as seen on television) is a 'group' or 'family meeting' with or without professionals in which the person is invited to come and "listen'.  At this meeting each person expresses what they see, to the loved one, and then what the disease is doing.  With that the group or family asks for actual committment that the person will go to a treatment centre or rehab center or detox.  The cornerstone of the 'solution' is an actual 'action' taken by the alcoholic or addict, not just 'talk'. Addicts and alcoholics love to 'talk' about detox, rehab or treatment but usually a 'written contract' or threat of consequence is necessary before they will take action.  Some consequences that have been highly effective in the family have been "if you want to see your kids, you must attend treatment and have random pee tests.'

In the work place, treatment and 'accountability' go hand in hand. "If you want to keep your job, you must follow the treatment program and under go urine testing for a minimum of three years."   The best accountability measures are attendance at support meetings such as AA/NA/Smart, and active urine testing.  Sometimes it is set up that a person go direct to rehab on the same day as the family intervention.  When people generally speak of 'intervention' this is what they are thinking of.  I tend to use the word 'intervention therapy' more broadly. In any 'intervention' the person is being 'told' what is expected rather than it being only a 'suggestion'.   Intervention therapy is sometimes called 'accountability therapy'. Interventions are commonly associated with expectations of action and consequences or accountability.

Treatment centres and rehab centers are one in the same. They are an 'active intervention' in a person's life. Their first and major effect is to remove the alcoholic and or addict from their 'environment' of addiction.  Alcoholism and addiction are a 'culture' of addiction. There's 'ritual' involved. There's the 'friendly ' bar tender, the 'dealer' on speed dial, the using friends and the drinking buddies.  The initial intervention involved in going to a treatment centre was for 28 days, with treatment centers providing counselling, group therapy and recreation and even work without the added drug or drink.  This 'inpatient' process with drug testing and 'rules' and 'conventions' 'normalizes' the routines of addicts and alcoholics.  They are socialized into a 'healthy lifestyle' beginning in rehab.  This can go on for 1 to 6 months.

An intervention which ultimately involves a recovery house where a person lives with other addicts or alcoholics in a clean and sober environment with expectations to attend groups and even have urine testing not uncommonly can go on for a month to 2 years sometimes more.

Interventionist therapy was used for children kidnapped and 'brain washed' with crazy Jones type religionists or jihadist radicalization. Removing the individual from the source of the 'insane thinking' was recognised as a first step to the person 'resocialization'.  The effectiveness of the 'interventionist approach' has been by those who see drug and alcohol abuse as a 'disease' and that it is indeed 'highly contagious'. Those who are most successful at staying abstinent for five years or more are commonly associated with a group of non using or non drinking individuals who support their recovery and abstinence.  In contrast to highly effective interventionists there ware the minority of politically correct wishy washy laissez fare drug and alcohol counsellors who consider drugs and alcohol a 'life style choice'.  The key to good intervention is knowing clearly the outcome planned and desired and having everyone on board to this clearly stated goal.

In motivation therapy the initial contact, best by a clinician, is an expression of concern and a question such as 'do you think you might drink too much.'  "Do you feel marijuana might be the reason you can't hold spit in your mouth today but used to be a straight a student?"  Family members and friends can ask but if denial is strong the person will wave off the question but only become angry if one persists.  Intervention is usually saved for a person careening out of control or with multiple relapses or one whose going through money rapidly, risking their health, beginning to be on the verge of losing their job or any number of signposts.  In intervention it's obviously beyond the 'question' stage and the individuals, family and work all know there's a problem with alcohol and drugs whether the individual knows or not.

Intervention has been lifesaving for many.



Sexuality and Love

Sexuality is the term related to the physical expression of sex in relationship.  It's not 'love' perse but definitely an aspect of the umbrella term love.

CS Lewis talked of 4 loves , sibling love, friend love, love of parents and eros or sexual love.
The truly single distinguishing feature of marital relationship is sexuality.  I have relationships with many in life but only have one or a few of the totality as 'lovers'.

Sexual Medicine is a division of psychiatry and medicine which addresses sexual difficulties. The DSMV has an extensive list of sexual dysfunctions such as 'hypo arousal' and 'premature ejaculation. In this world sexuality is considered in the context of the pillars of science: determinism, materialisms and empiricism.

Love is more often scene as a matter for the 'arts' , something more 'poetic' when indeed there's long been a 'science of love' in the relationship studies of psychiatry and psychology.  There the term 'love' is exchanged for such things as 'bonding behavior', 'mating behaviour', 'object relations'.  There's all matter of scientific study of 'love' but it's not called 'love'.  Sex in contrast is definitely a matter of study with scientific journals being devoted to the top of sexuality and sexual behaviour.

Sex is about both procreation and recreation.  The 'pleasure' of sex is considered by scientists of a particular school to be the 'reward mechanism" for reproduction.  The two are definitely not linked solely in this matter so sex is not solely for procreation.  Homosexual sex seen in many species of nature is clearly not related to procreation in the traditional way of thinking.  Neither is masturbation which is so pleasurable that actual 'taboos' are found against it in many religions and cross culturally.

 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thank you God for Christmas Season

Thank you God for Christmas Season. Thank you for the old hymns I’ve heard since childhood. Thank you for the memories of my mother’s sister visiting us at Christmas, the turkey, the gifts under the tree, the tobogganing, hockey, skating on the frozen river. Thank you for all these childhood family memories that come back at this time of the year. Thank you for nostalgia.  Thank you for church today. Thank you for advent and Gilbert. Thank your for candles and love. Thank you for the choir and the ritual and the celebration. Thank you for the faces I know and the people I know.  Thank you for Kevin and AJ and the god children and lunch with them.  Thank you for family and fun times.  Thank you for chocolate. Thank you for books Thank you for work .  Thank you for vehicles. Thank you for the sunshine today.  Thank you for my boat and the dogs and the dock. Thank you for the ocean. Thank you for movies. Thank you for all the blessings you bring.  Thank you for sunshine and the dawn and dusk.  Thank you for light and air and breath and scents. Thank you for this world, this creation. Thank you.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Commercial Drive with Gilbert

We’re sitting at the JJBean. Busy shopping Saturday. Very few parking places on Commercial Drive.  Decided to stop way down this end because Gilbert likes to walk on the Drive. Lots of other dogs and great pee pole possibilities.  I’ve just been coming here for years.  Always think I’d like to rent in this area for the atmosphere.  Funky ethnic, students, the buzz on the drive, a favourite street of lesbians, apparently. Some well dressed women whatever the reason.
When my friend lived here though, she didn’t like the drugs.  Described needles and paraphernalia in her car park each morning. I wouldn’t like that. Whereever there’s drugs there’s theft.  And stupidity.  And arrogance.
Commercial Drive is diverse.  I’ve always liked that.  Once so Italian with the international soccer game bars.  I’ve always liked the coffee shops.  People watching is the best here. Gilbert likes the eau de dog butt.
I’m sitting across from the Royal Canadian Legion. New blue paint job and golden writing beside painted red poppies. Lest We Forget.  I tell people that it’s not just about fallen soldiers. It’s the fact that the elephant in the room is every nation is an arms producer or consumer. The fact is that the west is just better at making weapons.  That’s what raised us to such prominence.  The irony in anger management is that we don’t want citizens en mass to embrace passivity but rather that they only use their anger in answer to the call of the nation.  I was in the Peace Movement and worked with Veterans Affairs.  I think a lot of very silly and stupid people would like to forget history and live in a haze.  I love real politick.  I love the saying, "if you want peace, prepare for war."  I probably have been working on the street too long knowing too many sociopaths in high and low areas.  I believe in Peace.  This is the season for Peace.  Peace on Earth. Good Will to All. But the lesson of Meteora and Cappodoecia is the same lesson that Tibetans learned when faced with the machine guns of the Chinese.
People stop to talk to me on the street here, mostly visitting Gilbert.  It’s cloudy but not raining. I was at the boat earlier checking on it after the storms. I'd been down one evening to check the mooring too.  All’s well. The neighbours said they’d been there for last nights blow and one of the docks had been lifted out of it’s mooring.
I stopped at MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop).  My hiking boots I’d had with the othotics are losing their sole. I was pleased to replace them with a set of KEEN’s that seem right enough I won’t need to wear the othotics. My injury has healed sufficiently that hiking is less and less painful.
A new overcoat shell is light weight enough that I think it will be the trick for traveling where flying is involved.
My friend is coming into town to visit family in the hospital so I’m planning on meeting up if only to provide support. I'd been planning on hunting but Gilbert’s being sick all Thursday night and lethargic yesterday made me wait a day.  He’s recovered fully now so I could have gone hunting but caution is best.  He certainly gets me to work each day.
Aim and Marc are off to Australia. Aim has a position as professor at University of Sydney in political science.  It’s hard to believe but we’ve all been friends for 5 years now.  Laura and I interviewed her to work as my assistant that long ago.  She was doing her phD at UBC and welcomed a day of work.  Thanks to her Joanne and Hannah followed and now she’s trained Angel.  I’m so very thankful for her contributions.  She's such a brilliant good spirited young woman of such high character.  Laura accompanied me to the dinner and we all laughed recalling Aim's life with Gilbert.  “I’ve never had a dog’, she said.  Gilbert only a handful of love when they met was glad to teach her all there was to know.    He lead her all over the neighbourhood pulling her behind him on 'their' walks.  We’ll all miss her.  Marc’s friends were there as well. It was  their last night in Vancouver with everyone wanting to see them one last time before they left.
The big news this week wasn’t on CBC.  Apparently Obama was supported by Warren Buffet who has billions invested in the railways that move the oil now in the US.  So Obama’s not favouring the Keystone Pipeline isn’t about the environment but more about political patronage.  The cost of transporting oil by train is $30 a barrel versus $10 a barrel by pipeline and the pipelines are a whole lot safer environmentally. Meanwhile Russia continues to insist it’s in the Crimean Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians.  Well no one would not think that maybe Russia is motivated financially by the hugely important Crimean Port system, here in the west people really  think ‘idealism’ is only what the ‘environment movement ’ is about.  I just ask everyone to 'follow the money trails'. I don’t care that environmentalists are extorting millions or billions on behalf of the spotted owl, or some other cuddly creature, it’s just the hypocrisy and dishonesty that offend me.  I work and I do pro bono work.  I give to charity and church.  It’s just the way the adult world works.  The real work goes on despite the drama.  Naturally if I want to sell windmills I'll knock the  oil generators. It's not rocket science and life goes on. Meanwhile the propaganda folk play the masses like the sports casters promote their teams and play with the passions of the masses.  Team sports prepare the kids for war and finally now that women are playing hockey they're not so gullible politically. One day they'll wake up and understand how 'sexual harassment' concerns lost the citizenry all the gains since Magna Carta. It's not about race or gender or any such distraction. It's about power and money and the smart investors invest in both teams.
It’s Advent though and I’m really happy to see a painting of a mother and child being sold by a street vendor on Commercial.  Hallelujah!  I say that it’s better to celebrate those things one most appreciates than to denigrate those that one doesn’t. I’m thankful for Aim’s present of the biography of Prime Minister Harper. I really did like him when I met him.  I liked Prime Minister Turner too.  We've been very fortunate to have the high caliber of leadership we have in Canada.   I’m  now looking forward to reading the life of our country’s leader.  He's a regular Goreski, Hadfield with a little bit of Lenard Cohen and Russel Peters and Celine Dion added to the mess.  Canada rocks.
A car with a Christmas Tree on top just went past.  There is a certain festivity on the street. I loved the Santa Claus going by on the motorcycle.  A couple of stylish girls have adorned their heads with antlers.  I’ve not put much money in the parking meter so will have to leave soon.  My MEC jacket is certainly as comfortable as the new shoes.  There’s not much colour in the coats and hats that people wear but their running shoes are dayglo psychedelic.  Oh well time to move on.  IMG 7235IMG 7227IMG 7239IMG 7241IMG 7236

Our Hero

Our Hero has crawled out of bed.  He is wearing a camel coloured tshirt with an IDAA Palm Springs logo. The bed was king sized with an electric blanket.  He will think about crawling back into the bed many times that morning.  Keeping his options open, he didn’t turn off the electric blanket.
It had been a long time since he carried poison on the off chance he changed his mind about living.
There were exotic women in his life in those days.  Impossibly sexy women whose lithe bodies captured rays of moonlight them hostage for eternity. Fifty such women, some more beautiful than the others and some definitely far wiser.  He remembered them all fondly, like family, like goddesses.  If he could crawl back into his past it would be to those warm places where such angels made nights bearable. That was before he knew the joy of the electric blanket.  He suspected though he might well have sacrificed too much for security.
Our hero hadn’t made it far. Only as far as the toilet. He emptied his bladder reflecting on privilege and the average size of his satisfactory penis.  They’d been discussing racism in the cafe the night before. A mixed group of post grads and other intellectuals. They were dissecting the recent police shooting of a black man with little to go on but the comic book media stories and other farcical renditions of reality.  Our hero had begun to expect that in the not too distant future the news would be given as musicals because it was simply that time  they came back around, especially in the fashion of entertainment.  Then the robbed business man could express his angst and joy at rescue by the junior policeman who might just do his part on point in tutu while the black man  died white faced singing a  monty python song or whatever else the ratings would suggest.
Our hero had wanted to counter the discussion about ‘privilege’ with his own idea that white men and oriental men especially, and even the brown men, simply envied the black man for his outrageously huge cock. Our hero had known cocks. Not necessarily the way the scandalized reader might think but rather from working in an inner city morgue. Even after death there was little doubt that the black man was more often superior.  And that is where the word 'privileged' had come to mind.   How the cafe crowd had pattered on about privilege in terms of wealth and materialism when he’d been thinking about averages.  Everyday our hero reflects on his personal inadequacy. If there had been no globalization, or for that matter, porn, he’d have grown up happy in his hobbit like existence thinking average was okay in a vanilla sort of way.
Now especially after the photographs of Colonel Hadfield he felt small and insignificant, and vulnerable.  What if an even more superior race lurked just outside the galaxy waiting to invade.  He'd not even lost his perfect ex wives to black men.  The truth be known, he'd lost them like others lose their keys or drunks lose their cars. Sometimes he our hero in his cups  couldn't remember who he'd come to the party with.  Still he thought with envy, what if  a superior race of golden men with a better set of jet pods and mansion cribs in worlds with three moons were just waiting for him to let his guard down.  What privilege was it to forever be ready to protect any one of the impossibly beautiful  women that didn't even know he existed today from invading aliens with huge slongs and love potions.  But that was what he lived for.
When he finished pissing in the centre of his own private indoor tiny pool, the product of thousands of years of civil engineering experimental hit or miss, he felt  thankful at least for the steady stream. His was a thoroughly robust waste disposal unit.  All systems go.  He didn't even need Saw Palmetto, yet.
 Our Hero next sat down to meditate, still wearing the camel coloured t shirt but now noticing the red and black plaid flannel pyjamas bottoms.    Cross legged, on the divan (translation:couch) ,  he focused his mind on the centre of the universe, the creator, god of gods, all or nothingness, nada, the supreme, number one, zero, all being, love, peace, Jesus Christ  and countless other matters divine and transcendental.  He always hoped for a lift off, some sort of transcendental fireworks, burning bushes or angelic choirs, speaking in sophisticated foreign tongues, or even nirvana.  He wasn't greedy. He just wanted a tiny bit of paradise, like that flavoured candy that burst in back of one's  mouth after you bit into it  or those fireworks that kept fire working blossoms of light after the first big bang.  Admittedly he wanted multiple orgasms like a girl but he wasn't really sure about big black cocks.
Besides he couldn’t get the jar of Kirkland roasted  cashews out of his mind. He'd seen them on the table just before  he closed to eyes to leave the physical and contemplate the spiritual.  The cashews even displaced thoughts of young girls and black cocks and childhood candies till that was all he was thinking about and opened his eyes.  He truly savoured the first after meditation cashew, chewing slowly and swishing the fragments of ecstasy about his mouth before swallowing.  
Then he lay down on the couch. The bed seemed too far away, despite the promise of the electric blanket. This was  perfectly fine inviting  black leather couch (translation: divan) Pulling the white Hudson's Bay blanket over his head our hero thought maybe lying down was as good a way to meditate as sitting up.
Lying on his side facing away from the light and door,  he thought about old battles, schoolyard bullies by the dozen,  the same ruffians morfed into  judges in courts with sheriffs and Glock sidearms, loud mouthed university cretins became journalists with poisoned pens,  military units and swat teams surrounded him, muggers in foreign cities accosted him. .  He tried to still his mind with holy names but instead thought of the Count of Monte Christo and Bruce Coburn with a rocket launcher.
What would Arnold Schwartzenagger, Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson do, even if they were white guys with only average penis size, given the galactic dimensions of the universe.  He'd just watched Brad Pitt in Troy and didn't want to think about Brad Pitt.  Only yesterday he'd heard physicists postulating a parallel and opposite universe to account for the Einstenian unidimensiality of time.  By that formulation there were still two Brad Pitts and two Angelina Jolies.  In no equation was our hero, the writer going to get the leading lady even if he was Seinfeld or Woody Allen.  Humanism itself had that dirty kleenex scent of masturbation that made the Mystery that much more palatable if only in a Monty Python dead parrot kind of way.
Our hero's  dog found him in a fetal position and licked his cheek.
He got up and let the dog out watching him pee for an eternity on the same long suffering bush that clearly hadn’t considered the dog in it’s seedling choice. of real estate.
Our hero is something of a European hero.   Not at all the Robert Redford hero of America. There was no clear vision.  He’s was a man who was going anywhere.  There was no manifest destiny.  He was Canadian.  He was caught in an Existential angst of history and rewrites with lamentation.  If he'd been truly European his mothers might be the impossibly desirable Angelina Jolie which would  explaining in some weird Frankfurt School way  Alexander the Greats conquest of history. How different things would have been for the young man if Ellen Degenes had been his mother. Or he'd been born in Quebec and his mother had been Celine Dion.  In any of a vast array of possibilities,  he might well have ended up sipping lattes in a Roman suburb with a fat mink of a lover not at all interested in charging elephants on Arabian horses.  Meanwhile Ghengis Khan and his brothers obviously never heard of sex addicts anonymous.
Our hero has made himself a cup of coffee on the gas burner stove and  reflected, in a European style, not quite  Russian Doystoyevski but almost,  on the subject of  Ethical Beans. Even as the black aromatic substance boils he  wonders if Unethical Beans wouldn’t faste more savoury. If he were a business man he'd definitely start an Unfair Trade Unethical Bean company knowing with certainty he'd become rich in this world of cosmic losers
It’s the Christmas season.  Our hero told a friend in the Downtown Eastside drop it shelter that it was That Season again.  The celebration of drunks and bad driving.  He'd commented on how people react to yawns by yawning.  Now daily he found himself thinking of picking up a drink of yuletide misery.  He’d never wanted to drink like a gentleman.  A single glass of spirits had no real appeal.  Our hero had always had  hard drinking Humphrey Bogart  as his hero.  He truly loved his saltry long legged lover and  hard drinking companion Lauren Bacall.  The black and white era of television never captured the Kodac truth of the vomit technicolor on the urine stained porcelain altars hard drinking men and women worshipped.
 In the Yuletide season our hero never  remembered the time the  flying saucer beds and rooms,  guts aching with dry heaves. Instead he thought of white table clothes and black bow tied waiters and  the song “Tiny Bubbles’.
Now our hero is now looking down at his fat white belly thinking of the old time images of success envisioned in  Hugh Heffner mansions, Los Vegas casinos, Metallica stadiums and Willie Nelson smoke filled rooms are today replaced by men and women of wealth, power and significance are taking selfies at the top of Everest or jumping out of planes dressed in elephant suits.  There are no more after hour parties at the lounges.   Winners wake early and flock to the gym. The fall of Wallstreet sounded the death rung on Cocaine.  Sweat lathered bodies make now love like porn stars with the stamina of stallions.  The whole generation of our hero is wasted in old folks homes re encountering their youth in IV’s and better living through chemistry.
No one cares if he the Troudeaus smoke dope or Colorado sold it's Rocky Mountain High to new corporations of pot smoke.  Doctors encouraging mothers in posters to smoke to make smaller babies are lost on the new generation of stoned 'medical marijuana' users   It’s not like anyone in Canada, Jamaica or Colorado or Washington for that matter is  going to be climbing moutnains or jumping out of planes. The baby boomers have long gone to seed and listen unthinkingly to the ranting paranoia of David Suzuki delusional about climate change denial as if anyone ever doubted the rain.  Why not lie on the couch all day?
Finding our hero curled up on the couch again in a fetal position the dog has brought him a squeaky toy in hope of cheering his master up.
The new Pope, Pope Francis,  has declared animals go to heaven.  Our hero is now at a loss.  All his life he’d thought that animals weren’t welcome there.  He didn’t want to go anywhere that didn’t welcome his dog. But now that heaven was a place for more than saints he reflected on changing his ways.  He'd always known he was welcome in hell, especially given the authority with which his ex wives spoke of the institution.  He'd even known many who’d gone there before him.  Having taken to reading the mortuaries in hope of seeing the names of old enemies he'd seen instead the names of long forgotten friends.  But now that animals were welcome in heaven maybe he might have to re consider his life. It was the season for that.  A child was born, they said.  Maybe there was more to life than shit and bones.  He couldn’t go on sniffing asses forever.  What was this place called Heaven anyway.
With that our Hero tossed the squeaky toy for the dog to fetch and reached for the jar of Kirkland cashews.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thank you God

Thursday morning. I ‘m over the hump in the week of work. I’ve survived seeing more people with body lice, the coughs and the sores of general practice.  I resisted scratching for a while but finally did.  The crawling starts at the back of the scalp.  It was only for a moment.   A brief moment of insanity.  A dissociative experience of the scores of scabies infested children I treated years ago.
When people yawn we tend to yawn with them.
 Now that’s over.  I loved the shower and the soap and was thankful again.  Thank you God for the simple blessings of hot water and soap.  Thank you for the warmth of my bed last night too.  The storm with rain and chill went on late but I was cuddled deep in down.  It was a good night Lord.  I’m truly blessed.  I dreamed fond dreams of friends.  My ‘stout’ friend and I felt obliged to do sit ups on waking in my dream. Now here I am and truly I should be doing sit ups to address the Christmas girth but no I’m sitting at another desk.  Desk jobs. Executive functions.
I miss the sea and wonder about trade wind sailing and the healthy daily exercise of moving with the boat and waves.  It’s enough that I’ve been hiking mountains on weekends in search of the elusive buck deer.  All week though I sit in my office. At night mentally exhausted I come home and watch tv and eat, good food, but more food than I really need.
I hear of people hibernating and complaining about that as I complain about egg nog.  The luxuries of affluence and mental illness.  Isolation is not an option elsewhere as it is in the decadent west. One learns loneliness in crowds not in empty rooms.
 Cooperation is  matter of global concern but here in my  locality it’s not a thing we speak of.  I’ll drive to work in a bit and run the gauntlet of men and women walking in the middle of the street playing suicide by commuter or just not caring.
I’m thankful for my car. My little Miata. I’m thankful for the ITunes University and the ability to listen to lectures coming to and from work. This week it's been history, philosophy and theology.  Over the years, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of medical lectures.  For decades I  religiously ordered weekly audiotapes that I played wherever I drove, thereby staying abreast of family medicine and internal medicine while practicing my own speciality.  Then it was pod casts.  I miss the mini cassettes I got from the Medical Library on loan.  The CD’s I used were mostly for talks on  addiction. Thank you God for my new book, Psychiatry and Addiction.  It was a few years coming.
  The years pass. The retooling of an old mind for the new tasks.  I’m a constant learning machine.  I enjoyed reading physics yesterday, hearing the words of Max Planck once again. Reading the scientist Madame Curie was fun too.  Maybe one day I'll have the time to read Louis Pasteur again.  I read these greats first a quarter century ago.  They were dead by then. The "new" sciences were called new long after those who’d created them had passed. It makes me wonder what the "new" science is today. It will only become clear after we’re dead.  Life is movement. Creation is creating.  Im in the thick of it today.  Living in the present.
Richard Rohr has been good to read. My morning meditation often with Emmett Fox. I'm looking forward to hearing the Bach Cantatas again.
 I’m looking forward too to Turkey.  More churches, more art and mosques this time.  I’ll see architecture and people and have a taste of history and the world will be a little closer.  I’d set out to bicycle through Istanbul in the 70’s but the mountain passes were closed early by snow so we’d headed south to Morrocco.  Now I’m doing a leg of an ancient journey.
There’s porridge and coffee and yoghurt to eat.  Then I’ll shower and dress. I don’t have to shave.  I’ve a regular Santa Claus beard for the season.  Gilbert has his little bear coat too.  Thank you Lord for family and friends. Thank you for all your blessings. Help me do the next right thing. Help me help others. Thy will be done, not my will.