Harper and her cortege will be walking this Sunday for the annual AIDS walk. 
If she brings in enough moola she wins a fabulous prize and all will be well. 

If she does not bring in enough $$ , she will be very unhappy, the angels will weep, and terrible things are will happen including the cancelation of “Big Bang” and Mr. Cruz becomes President. **

So if you haven’t clicked on Harper’s smiling face in the upper left corner to pledge, please please please do so. Every dollar is appreciated.

Stop the evil axis of Cruz-Harper-Ronald McDonald. 

Remember –  the one with the highest amount pledged wins this fabulous shirt-

Thank you !!!





** In Canada Mr. Harper will be reelected. In Europe Starbucks, McDonalds, and Chuck-e-cheeses will be erected on every street corner.

When I am sick I have no desire to eat or drink. My usual oh-so-good appetite implodes. “Force fluids” is a good idea other than I become the wicked witch of the west when it comes to wanting water.  However there are exceptions: I will get a fancy to eat something odd or outrageous. The rationale is at least it’s something. On his way to the grocery store, Someone asked me if he could get me anything. Yes, I replied: a tin of Spaghetti-Os and a tin of Chef Boyardee Mini-ravoli. My temperature was immediately taken to see if I had fever. No, I was not in a delirium.  Out of nowhere these comfort foods from my past sounded appetizing.

Mind! I haven’t had either of these delicacies since I was ten which is a good forty years ago. I wondered if they were still around, but they were. The cans were instantly recognized when they were unpacked.


There is something disgusting about canned pasta. I didn’t bother to read the ingredients but I suspect both are chock-full of sodium and hidden sugars. My nose is congested but I could discern just enough aroma from the opened tin to instantly remember the redolence.    I used to eat these things all the time, usually with grilled cheese sandwiches.  I was again ten years old sitting in the kitchen on Faircourt St.

The mini-ravoli had a lot more sauce in the tin than I recall. I suppose sauce is cheaper than ravoli. I put a few scoops in a microwave container and two minutes later I had a piping hot bowl of comfort. It tasted fair; this is not ‘quality’ food, but it was satisfactory.

As is my wont I read while I eat which leads to spills. Sure enough, I dropped a ravioli down my front. It hit the counter corner with a good ‘splat’ and landed on the floor, much to the delight of Harper, who was waiting for just that.

I hope by tomorrow I have recovered enough to return to work. I wonder if by then my unnatural cravings will have dissipated to the point of not wanting the Spaghetti-Os. The can now sits in the pantry, waiting to comfort me whenever I should be in need of such.


Man With The Flu Cartoon Clip ArtI have the flu; I am staying home.

This flu is especially vile, with fevers and chills, lung congestion, fatigue, and personal guilt. In hindsight it’s been developing for a few days. Last night the rockem-sockem roller coaster temperatures knocked me out like a sixteen ton weight had fallen on me. Nothing to be done, really but rest and push fluids.

I have not stayed home sick in years for to do so makes quite a mess. The office doesn’t open until eight, which is when the first patients arrive. The staff will have to deal with many disgruntled patients, some of them traveled a long way to make an appointment now canceled. I feel sorry for the evaluations which must be rescheduled. It is not uncommon for them to tell me they have been waiting two or three months to have their appointment.

Staying home sounds pleasant but I feel awful and I really can’t do much. I will be in Someone’s way. I’ve often wondered what he does while I’m at the office; now I can find out. His nursing skills are subpar, alas. What I mean is when I’m sick I want somebody to fawn and cosset me (after all I am a Cancer). Last night as I lay delirious with fever he was miles away in the next room absorbed in “The Big Bang”.  True there was nothing to be done, but I liked the notion the world can’t enjoy itself while I languish.

But it is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Today I can read books and blogs. I can write. It feels odd not working on a wednesday.  I will do my best.

Next week I was scheduled to get a flu shot.  The horse is out of the barn on that one.


The house is bewitched; there is no other explanation. Lately various household appliances become inoperable only to later regain their function. Last week the refrigerator water-dispenser mysteriously ceased working for five days; the ice machine did likewise the week prior.  We’ve been waiting for the electrician (or somebody like him) to show up to address why there is no power in the laundry room, but last weekend the juice came back on without fanfare. Even my cell phone is doing odd things. I’ve lost Scrabble and the email is being difficult.  There is no rhyme and reason to it all. A closet door, which had been nearly inoperable for over a year, suddenly slides with ease as if newly installed.

It is Hallowe’en; a poltergeist as explanation would be apropos. Henrik is normally not mischievous, so I doubt he’s behind it all. The intermittent functioning appliances are so far merely a nuisance. We’ve not had any major blow ups (or voices telling us to get out).  All the same, I wish it would cease. I am growing weary of turning something on and wondering if the wretched thing will work or not.

Yesterday a pigeon hit the dining room window with a ‘thunk’ loud enough to wake the dog and strong enough to shake the chandelier. My intuition tells this is tied into all of this somehow.  I’ve seen Amityville Horror; I know what goes on.

I don’t suppose there is time to get in an exorcist or shaman before the weekend guests arrive this Friday. It would be rather unsettling for them to witness the dishes flying across the room. Perhaps tonight I will light a few candles and say a prayer to the spirit(s) and ask them to lay off at least until next weekend. Then they can bring the house down for all I care.  We are known in the neighborhood for our fabulous Hallowe’en decorations.

257473017_newpeople_xlargeThis weekend I was approached not once but twice by men in a bar* who, upon eye contact , smiled with the radiance of a brilliant sunrise, came over, and said hello! I remember you!  I recognized the situation at once:

“The man coming towards me recognizes me from the past. He remembers me but I haven’t the foggiest who they are. Think fast, rabbit!

This is not a rare event. Sometimes they are patients**, but most of the time they are not. I have only a few seconds to decide whether to bluff my way long enough to connect the dots and recall who they are, or admit I’m at at loss. It is never the other way around viz. I recognize someone but they don’t remember me. I hope they remember some positive attribute rather than I made an ass of myself.  They don’t explain how or why they remember me and I don’t ask.

The first gentleman was a bartender from a bar where Someone and I used to go on Sunday afternoons to hear show tunes, before the bar changed generas. Considering we did not go often or drink much I fail to understand how he does this. In his defense he didn’t recall my name, but he remembered I was the one who wanted a ‘proper manhattan, no rubbish’.  So there it is.

The second gentleman was with his partner. He remembered me (of all things!) from a July 4th BBQ which occurred two summers ago. This is a tad unsettling for I have only a vague memory of being among a crowd of strangers and not saying much or staying long.  They were nice fellows; we exchanged information on the possibility to get together sometime.

I suppose I should be flattered, but it worries me. I can’t blame old age (yet) or memory loss from intoxication (hopefully) nor acting idiotic in public (hopefully not).  I wish I had better recall of people’s names, or at least that I have met them before. I hear tell you can take a course from Mr. Dale Carniege who assures me I will be a wiz at remembering everyone I meet at the next bake sale.

The other concern raised is a failure to keep in touch. Every time I encounter one of these types they remind me there was a brief attempt at forming a friendship but it fizzled.  After a decade of living in Arizona I haven’t been very successful at making local, lasting friends. I suppose this requires time and effort – and perhaps some sacrifice of other endeavors.

I plan to call the second gentleman caller and spouse and propose we go out for supper or a beer. It would be nice to be more than memory.



  • Not only did this double encounter occur in the same bar on different nights,  it is not in a gay bar either.

** Patient have the advantage they remember the ‘beard and bow tie’ combination, which are worn on most social occasions, like Saturday night.


After a week of non-stop work and long hours, I am spending this Saturday morning sitting in a medical conference. I am pow-wowing with my fellow wizards on the topic of opiate prescriptions. I don’t prescribe opiates or directly manage pain but I have a lot of patients who take medications for such conditions.  It’s important for me to keep abreast of the news.

The treatment of chronic pain is (pun intended) a pain in the neck. To be blunt, doctors don’t want to deal with chronic pain. It’s a complicated disease; despite its prevalence doctors receive little training on the topic. Patients with chronic pain are often needy and time consuming.  They come often with disability papers; they want pain medications. Thanks to unscrupulous physicians and bad-seed patients, prescribing adequate pain medications is bogged down with ever more regulatory restrictions making both the prescriber and patient feel like criminals.

So I am hear to today to try to sort out the science from the hysteria.

Sitting waiting for the lectures to begin, I sense negativity in the audience. The demands and paperwork and regulatory problems surmounting treating pain has made many docs who treat pain burned out.  I hear a few grumbling about ‘negative reviews’ patients have given them online about ‘inadequate or bad treatment’ when the doctor was sensibly setting limits or refusing to give out vicodin upon request.  **

It’s a complicated problem.

Many doctors feel a relief they don’t have to deal with mental illness, but I feel a relief I don’t have to directly treat pain. All the same, I need to know things; I am a physician first and a psychiatrist second.


** There is some evidence “patient satisfaction surveys” are raising the use and abuse of pain medications. If a patient gets a Rx for such they are more likely to leave a satisfactory review ‘they had their needs attended’ AND negative review if pain pills were not given.

I’ve fallen down the rabbit-hole; I’ve not had time (again!) to properly blog. I worry when I am away from blog-land all sorts of significant events happen of which I will discover long after the fact. The irony! I am usually always on time for everything. I suppose someone has to be at the end of the conga line of congratulations or condolences. I only wish it wasn’t always I who acts as caboose to the comments. 

When I have a time to write a proper entry (probably Sunday) I will tell you all the dirt and updates*. Meanwhile, here is a ‘back up’ entry:




Dante writes in his Inferno hell has levels, like Dungeons & Dragons. I like the concept. I fond of the expression ‘There is a special place in hell for…” for people who are particularly rebarbative or nefarious.

Here’s my choice list;  Spo-fans are welcome in the comment section to nominate their own special somebodies.

Special place in hell for:

Whoever invented strip malls

People who throw cigarette butts out or the car, especially in AZ with our drought.

Folks on cellphones going through a grocery checkout, making no conversation with the check-out person, and generally slowing things down as they are not focused. 

Her sister:  she gets to the end and says ‘Oh! One more thing” and runs away to find something way in the back of the store.

Insurance companies 

Gun lobbyists 

Whoever invented Black Friday sales


Telemarketers who call at supper time. 

Whoever thought “anonymous comments” was a good idea. 

Speed-bumpkins viz. people who exit the theatre only to stop right outside the door to gab, making the exit impassable.

Radio programmes who play “Don’t Stop Believing” every two-three hours.

Opera directors who think avant-garde settings are cool and clever (or who don’t drag Don Giovanni down to hell properly).

Whoever canceled “Star Trek the Next Generation”.

Most Fox News commentators. 

The woman in front of me in the airport security line who is shocked and argumentative  she has to remove her ponderous amounts of metallic jewelry.  

and a special place in hell for:

Whoever invented auto-attendent phone system.


* Actually not much. 

The death of Betty S. makes me think about making a difference. Many people are satisfied with accomplishing the basics: being a good mate, a good parent, and good family and local community member. Then there are the people who did more than the basics; they made a difference for many. History is full of such examples: Gandhi, Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Malala Yousafzai.  Their accomplishments often met with opposition from authority.  They were/are the true Warriors.

I wonder how many people want to truly make a difference. Some (most?) only want to get as much as they can out of life. I want to be more than a consumer; I want to be a contributor. I am not content with just being a good spouse, someone loved by family and a small network of friends.  I want to make a difference – somehow.

Some would argue I do make a difference via my job. After all I’ve spent over twenty years as a physician trying to heal mental anguish and restore meaning and direction to people’s lives.  But I don’t know if this truly counts for I get paid for it. Imagine Mother Teresa if she was on salary for helping the poor.

Betty inspires me to do more than be a good man and a competent doctor. She got involved; she made differences. When did I last volunteer, or join a protest, or assist in a clinic? Not in a long time I’m afraid.  I just go to work.  In my time off I do harmless introvert things.

I think my memorial to Betty should be more than a comment on FB and a yesterday’s blog entry. Perhaps the AIDS clinic she attended needs some help. Perhaps this Red States’ democratic party needs a volunteer. Where does Arizona stand in the battle of human rights?

It’s time for action; it’s time to make a true difference.

At my funeral I want more than ‘he was a good man/doctor/family member”.

I want to be remembered as“A friend of Betty.”


Today while reading my blog-list, I learned of blogger-buddy Betty’s passing.

Tributes are pouring in on FB, at Joe.My.God., and the blogs of people who knew her.

She was one of our Warrior Queens, and will be sorely missed by many.

I will not forget her; when my spine needs stiffening, I think of her and she gives me strength and comfort.

I feel oh so sad.




This evening I went to the local museum to meet Linda Ronstadt. In order to stay awake I drank a cup of coffee. This worked, but it was foolish: it’s past midnight and I am alert and there is no going to sleep. It gives me the opportunity to contemplate the cosmos or write a blog entry. I have no comment on Life, The Universe, and Everything, and I don’t have much upon which to write.  Being alert without inspiration is a cruel combination.

Last week work was noteworthy that several patients brought gifts. One brought me a zuni bear; another gave a bow tie.  I am not supposed to receive anything from my patients lest the APA secret police bust down the door and drag me away for violating contemporary professional standards. You tell me how to tell a patient to take it back.   Speaking of work, next weekend I attend a seminar on pain pills. There are new draconian laws about prescribing opiates. I fear the audience will be in ill-tempered and resemble an orchestra of scorched cats as the remonstrate they and their patients are being treated more and more like criminals.

Speaking of gifts I sent the nieces and nephews (AKA the niblings) some Hallowe’en treats but only one of four sent a thank you. I don’t expect a handwritten note (although that would be nice) but an email/call/smoke signal would fill my need for proper manners.

Speaking of Hallowe’en I am slowly getting out the props. I have a small tree designed to resemble a black dead oak.  Every day I hang a new ‘halloween ornament’ making it an advent calendar.  One of my relations is telling one and all via FB Hallowe’en is Satanic and/or Papist (she gets these confused).  I personally don’t see the connection between giving M&Ms to 8 year olds dressed as princesses and sacrifices to Beelzebub.

Which reminds me, I need to find the Hallowe’en costumes and trimmings to see if I want to show up to work dressed as one of the Directors Here at Spo-Reflections.  The repeat patients won’t mind but the ‘first timers’ could develop heart failure.


Sponsor Harper for AIDSWalk

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October 2014
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Spo-Reflections Years 1&2


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