Tuesday 29 April 2014

Running out

I think of myself as a very secure person.  I endure a lot of stress at work, and despite sometimes overwhelming circumstances, I always manage to keep my cool.  I'm not trying to pat myself on the back by saying that, I assure you.  You don't want your trauma surgeon panicking.  Ever.  However, I keep my personal and professional lives separate, and I have no problem panicking outside work.  Here are a few things that can make me lose my shit:
  • snakes
  • swarms of bees
  • centipedes
  • sharks
  • running out of milk
Don't act so surprised to see that last entry.  When I see that the milk carton is almost empty and I realise that we don't have a backup carton in the refrigerator, I freely admit that I approach full-blown panic mode in exactly 4.1 seconds.

What will I give my children?  Water?  Juice?  Beer?  Ok fine, but when can I get to the store?  Should I just buy a cow?  Is unpasteurised milk safe?  What the hell is homogenisation anyway?  And what the hell will I put in my cereal?  AAAAH!!!

If that's my reaction when I run out of milk, imagine what my reaction would be if I were to run out something really important, like a medication.  I'm not talking about aspirin or ibuprofen here, I'm referring to medication that prevents you from really bad stuff like, you know, dying.  I like to think most reasonable people with an IQ higher than that of a cabbage would actually be worried about running out of medication, especially when it's something as necessary as insulin.

I guess Carla's IQ falls somewhere below "cabbage".

Carla (not her real name) came to the hospital when she was no longer able to stand.  She was pale, sweaty, and weak, and her blood sugar was off the chart.  No really - it was so high that the meter didn't go that high.  Her blood was dangerously acidic, and a test of her urine showed not only that her kidneys were spilling glucose into her urine, but ketones as well.  The emergency physician appropriately diagnosed diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal complication of diabetes which can happen when blood sugar gets and stays dangerously high..

"But wait, that's a medical condition, Doc.  Why the hell did they call you?"

Damn it, I was getting there.  In addition to being half-dead from diabetic ketoacidosis, she also had a tummy ache.  And as we all know, everyone who has abdominal pain needs immediate surgery . . . or so this particular emergency doc apparently thinks.  I suppose he missed Diabetes Day during his training or else he would have learned that abdominal pain is a frequent symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis.  Regardless, he ordered a full workup including an ultrasound and CT scan, both of which were shockingly normal.  And despite the normal results he called me.

"What exactly would you like me to remove?" I asked him.

He stared at me with empty eyes.  I've seen smarter eyes on a potato.  Needless to say I did not schedule her for surgery.

Two days later her blood sugar was under control, her abdominal pain had vanished (amazingly without any operation), and her medical team sent her home.  Before she left though, I asked her why she had stopped taking her insulin.

"I just ran out and didn't feel like getting more."

I tried to comprehend the words coming out of her mouth, but they made no damned sense in that order.  It probably didn't help that I knew I had to stop by the store on my way home and was reviewing my grocery list in my head.

Any guesses what was #1 on the list?

Thursday 24 April 2014


I don't claim to be anyone's hero.  My children may disagree with me, as may a few of my patients.  But to me a hero isn't someone who merely helps someone else, it's someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help his fellow man.  For my primary job (as a father), I provide for my kids and keep them safe, happy, and healthy, but that doesn't make me a hero - it's simply my job.  And in my side job as a trauma surgeon (yes that's my side job), saving lives is my profession (though babysitting drunk people is also often a large part of it).  Again, that doesn't make me a hero, it just makes me just good at what I do.  That's not modesty (or arrogance, depending on how you look at it), just honesty.  

In my line of work, I don't get to see many heroes.   I'm usually on the arse end of the deal, getting the halfwit who robbed a bank, stole a police car, and then crashed it into a tree, rather than the gallant cop who is injured trying to foil the bank heist single-handedly.

So do you want to know what a real hero is?  Just wait.  I'll ask again later, and you'll find out soon enough, so keep reading. 

Though I may make it seem like shootings happen 10 times a day where I live, they are actually relatively rare, and double shootings are even rarer.  After my triple shooting recently, I suppose the Call Gods figured I hadn't had enough and needed even more practice.  My pager went off several times in rapid succession, informing me of a motor vehicle crash and two gunshot victims all arriving in 10 minutes.  As I entered the trauma bay, my assistants were already setting up instrument trays to insert chest tubes "To ward off the evil spirits", they said.

Ha.  The Call Gods are not so easily thwarted. 

The car accident victim got there first, and he seemed relatively uninjured.  As I was doing my initial assessment, the first gunshot victim arrived.  He was 18 years old with a huge tattoo across his upper chest and a single gunshot wound in his left lower abdomen.  I saw the tattoo and my Inner Pessimist immediately said "Great . . . more gang violence."  I pushed on his belly and in return got a grunt and a soft "Ow."  Though he was clearly trying to act tough, his abdomen was hard as a board, a sure sign of peritonitis (aka "You need surgery 10 minutes ago").  I called the operating room and told them we were coming 10 minutes ago.  Before telling him that there was a good chance he could die despite my best efforts, I asked him his name.  "Marcus" he groaned (not his real name).

As I finished talking to him, the second gunshot victim arrived, a hysterical 37-year old woman with two gunshot wounds on her back.  Since she had no other pain anywhere else, it seemed to be just an in-and-out from one side of her back to the other.  I ordered a CT scan to confirm and headed to the operating theatre.  I was in such a rush I hadn't even gotten her name, nor the name of the car accident victim. 

The young man had holes in his colon and small intestine, both of which I repaired.  Yes, I left the bullet in.  I closed him up and went back upstairs to check on my other two patients.  The car accident victim was fine, and the CT scan confirmed a simple flesh wound for the other gunshot victim.  Since I had a few minutes, my Inner Pessimist decided to ask her what had happened.  "Probably some gang- and/or drug-related violence," it told me silently.

My Inner Pessimist is an asshole.  And it was dead wrong.

Through her tears she explained that she had been arguing with her husband about money (what else?).  They had several bills past due, but not enough money to pay them all.  As they argued about which to pay and which to put off, the arguing escalated to screaming, so she decided to take a break and finish putting away his laundry that she had just finished.  She turned around and picked up a pile of his underwear, and he apparently assumed she was going to throw it all out the window (because that would be any sane, logical person's assumption, right?  Right?).  Her back was turned so she didn't see him grab his gun from the bedside drawer.  Just before she heard him fire it, her son, who had been trying to keep the situation calm the whole time, pushed her out of the way.  She heard the boy scream and turned around just in time to see him fall to the floor.  A second later she heard a second gunshot, but he was rattled and his aim was off.  Instead of penetrating her chest as he intended, the bullet harmlessly went through the soft tissue of her back, and she felt the searing pain as it exited.   

All at once everything came together in my mind.  I paused, silently cursing my Inner Pessimist.  "What's your son's name?" I slowly asked, though I suspected that I knew the answer already.

"Marcus", she replied, her eyes tearing up again.  "I don't even know where he is," she sobbed.

I felt like an ass for my insulting assumption about Marcus, and for my equally insulting assumption about her.  I glanced at her name tag and immediately felt even worse when I remembered that large tattoo across Marcus' chest - it was his mother's name.

I explained to her that she was miraculously lucky not to have been seriously injured, and that Marcus had saved her life.  "He was brought here as well, and he was seriously wounded," I said.  With her tears freely flowing, I told her very carefully that I had just finished his surgery, it was successful, and I expected him to make a full recovery.  "You're also incredibly fortunate to have a son who loves you enough to sacrifice himself to save you," I said.

She smiled through her sobs.  "I know."

Now I'll ask again: Want to know what a real hero is?  


Saturday 19 April 2014

The 'F' word

I know I'm going to catch hell for this post, but if I really cared about naysayers saying nay, I would bother posting about controversial subjects.  Hopefully by now you know that I don't shy away from such things, but before you crucify me or make a comment blasting me into the stratosphere, hear me out. 

Pain is subjective.  I understand that completely, having suffered from chronic low back pain for years.  I've seen multiple doctors, tried exercises and physical therapy, had the full workup including an MRI, and everything is completely normal.  But goddammit my back still hurts, sometimes to the point where I can barely stand.  So I rest a moment, take some pain medicine, try not to exacerbate it too much more (which is difficult when my children want to treat me like their own personal jungle gym), and get back to my life.

Yes, the pain is bothersome.  But what bothers me even more is patients like this next one. 

At 3AM Molly (not her real name) was on her way home from a tryst at Bob's house. I have no idea who Bob is, but Molly's husband, who came to pick her up later that night, was most definitely NOT named Bob.  But I digress.  Molly took a turn way too fast, went off the road, hit a tree, and passed out. When she arrived she was groggy and whiny.  Very groggy.  And very whiny.  I asked her where it hurt. 

"Everywhere!  Aah!"

I asked her to try to be more specific so I could tell the X-ray tech what to shoot. 

"Aaah!  Everything!"

I did my best not to groan audibly. 

There was not a single mark on her - not a drop of blood, not a scrape, scratch, or bruise.  I immediately suspected something else was going on.  I asked her medical history, and that's when she hit me with the "f" word. 


This disease is the bane of my existence.  It is sometimes known as the "invisible disease" because there are no tests, studies, or imaging modalities which can either confirm it or rule it out.  Because of this, savvy drug-seekers can claim they have it, and there isn't a thing we can do other than treat their "pain".  I am not in any way saying fibromyalgia doesn't exist (there is evidence that it is due to altered blood flow in the cerebral pain center).  What I'm saying is that fibromyalgia, as a disease, is abused almost as much as the drugs used to treat it.

The nurse and I gave each other knowing looks, and she murmured to me "I wonder how many pain meds she takes."

Molly listed her pain medications for us, including a relatively new one designed to treat chronic pain.  What she did not list, however, were any narcotics, which surprised me and made me think she may be telling the truth.  And that thought lasted all of about 2.3 seconds, because in a move that surprised exactly no one, she said she was allergic to all NSAIDs. 

Bingo. That was the red flag I knew was coming.  And of course her adverse reactions to all these medications weren't nausea or itching.  No, in another huge shocker they all happened to (supposedly) cause anaphylaxis, a potentially-deadly adverse reaction.  I'm sorry, but almost no one is actually that severely allergic to paracetamol/acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, tramadol, naproxen, AND ketorolac. 

We did a full workup which demonstrated (please, make sure you're sitting down) no injuries.  As I was looking through her scans, our security officer was cataloguing everything in her purse, including the bottles of Valium and oxycodone that she failed to mention to us.


A quick look at her prescription history showed 31 prescriptions for narcotics or benzodiazepines (a class of highly-abusable sedatives which includes Valium, Ativan, and Klonipin) from 7 different prescribers over the past 3 months alone. 

I explained to her slowly and carefully that she had no serious injuries.  As I started instructing her to follow up with her regular doctor (since I have no interest in inheriting a drug addict), she started sobbing uncontrollably. 

"Oh but doctor, I JUST run out of my hydromorphone this morning, and my next appointment with my pain doctor isn't until next week!  Can you PLEASE just write me for a few to get me through the weekend?"

"Hydromorphone?  Oh, but you didn't mention that one to me when I asked you earlier," I said in a grave tone.  "I suppose the 4 other narcotic prescriptions you've had filled in the past week written by 4 different doctors and filled at 4 different pharmacies will have to tide you over."

"But . . ." she started . . . and then stopped.  She realised she was busted.  The look on Molly's face initially turned to outrage (like she was about to argue with me), but it quickly changed to pure guilt.  I could almost see the negotiations for just a few pills forming in her brain, but I stared back with such a steely gaze that the bullshit idea immediately dissipated.  Without another word she stood up and started getting dressed without even a hint of the excruciating whole-body pain about which she had been complaining just 2 minutes prior. 

I truly feel bad for people afflicted with fibromyalgia.  But I feel nothing but disdain for those unscrupulous twits who take advantage of its existence for the satiation of their own addiction. 

Friday 11 April 2014


There are only 162 hours in a week, and it seems that some weeks I work approximately 161.5 of them.  Mrs. Bastard works too, so that leaves no one to watch my young son during the day.  Instead of letting him run wild around the house, we realised we have two choices 1) take him to day care where he will be constantly doused in snot, vomit, slime, and muck containing every virus and bacteria known to man on a daily basis, or 2) hire a nanny.

Hmm . . . tough choice.

We love our nanny - she's wonderful.  She truly loves my son, and she cares for him as if he were her own.  She reads to him (in two languages), she plays with him, she paints with him, and she chases after him when he runs out of the house naked.

Best if you didn't ask about that last one.

It can be very difficult to find a nanny you can trust with the care of your children, who are (or at least should be) the most precious things in the world.  We got incredibly lucky with ours.  Some people aren't quite as fortunate.

The theme of this particular trauma call day seemed to be "falls".  Everyone was falling down for one reason or another - falling out a fourth floor window, falling off the back of a fire engine, falling down while gardening, falling while shopping, falling off a bar stool.  Sandra (not her real name) was no different than the others who dutifully followed the theme - she was found at the bottom of the stairs.  She was in her late 50's and a nanny for the 4-month old daughter of a local family.  Her husband called her in the early afternoon to let her know that he would be picking her up around 3 PM after he ran a few errands.  Incidentally, is running the only way to do an errand?  Can you walk a few errands?  Amble a few errands?  Mosey a few errands?

Anyway, when he arrived at her employer's house and knocked on the door at the appointed time, Sandra didn't answer.  It was a beautiful day outside, so he figured she was taking a walk with her charge and decided to wait in the car.  About 15 minutes later her boss came home, and they entered the house together, only to find Sandra crumpled in a heap at the bottom of the stairs in a pool of blood.  The infant was screaming in her crib in the next room.

The medics were called, and a few minutes later they brought her to me.  She was breathing, but she was a mess - she was unconscious, unable to talk, and her face was covered in blood.  Based on the overall picture, I was convinced that she was bleeding into her brain.  I looked over at the on-call list and noted the name and phone number of the neurosurgeon on call, since I had a sneaking suspicion I would be calling him just as soon as I saw her brain CT scan.

Then as I leaned over her head to find the source of all that blood covering her face, a familiar scent hit my nose.  It was vaguely familiar, but I hadn't smelled it in a while.  I just couldn't place it.  What was that smell?  It took me a moment before I recognised . . .

Ok fine, I'm lying my ass off because at the time I just couldn't believe what my nose was telling me.  I didn't want to believe it.  I refused to believe it.  Surely my nose was deceiving me . . . but no, it was clearly the pungent odor of alcohol.  A LOT OF IT.  I leaned in again and inhaled deeply.  Yes indeed, she smelled like she had bathed in vodka and then used tequila as deodorant.

I did a full head-to-toe examination, and I quickly discovered that the blood had come from a tiny laceration on the bridge of her nose.  I looked at her brain CT as it was being done, and I felt a feeling of relief when I saw a completely normal brain.  By the time the scan was done, her bloodwork was back, and my relief was quickly replaced by a sudden rush of anger.  Her blood alcohol level was 0.47, nearly 5 times the legal limit for driving in most countries (6 times the limit in some).  Unfortunately there is no legal limit for Taking Care Of An Infant While Intoxicated.

As I gaped at the computer screen with my jaw on the floor and my eyes surely bugging out, I imagined what my reaction would be if I had come home and found our nanny in such a state, with my son screaming in the corner.  Fear, rage, shock, fury, or some combination thereof.

I went out to the waiting room to talk to her husband, and he was unaware of his wife's drinking problem.  I told him that many people would be dead with a blood alcohol level that high, so this was most definitely not her first time drinking that heavily.  Her brother called in later and confirmed that yes, she drank heavily.  Often.

That she got blindingly drunk while supposedly "caring" for a helpless, innocent baby made me irate, but the fact that she was devious enough to be able to hide such a vice from both her employer and her husband made me even angrier.  But even more than that, it scared the shit out of me.  I'm not generally a paranoid person, but this made me want to buy 218 security cameras and set them up in every corner of every room in my house.

If anyone wants employment as a nanny, contact me.  I have a strong feeling there's a job opening here.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Common cold

I have a cold.  I have a god damned cold.  I realise everyone hates having a cold, but I HATE having a cold.  I can't take sick days, so I have to fake it and pretend that everything is just hunky dory.  But I can't decide what my least favourite symptom is -
  • a sore throat that feels like I'm swallowing razor blades 
  • that dry, hacking cough that keeps me (and Mrs. Bastard) up for nights on end
  • nasal congestion that makes me feel like I'm trying to breathe through a pillow
  • the general feeling of shittiness like I want to crawl directly into a coffin and close the lid
Despite thousands of hours of medical education, I still can't figure out how or why a cold makes me feel like such shit.  I weigh billions of times what a virus weighs.  How the hell can such a tiny virus take me down?  Granted, there are millions of them working and only one of me fighting them, but I should still be able to fight it and GOD DAMN YOU ADENOVIRUS YOU FUCKING EVIL PIECE OF #*(&!@^$)@%&#

Ahem.  Sorry about that.  Where was I?  Right, my cold.  At work I do my damndest to keep myself presentable and not snozzle on my patients.  Yes, "snozzle" is the technical term.  Unfortunately I suppose I wasn't doing a good enough job of faking it, which prompted my patient to turn the tables and give me some helpful (yet unsolicited) medical advice:

"Doc, you should go get some Oscillo!  It works great whenever I have a cold."

She must have seen the blank look on my face (though I may have just been daydreaming of my impending death), so she said, "You know, oscillococcinum.  It's wonderful!"

Oscillo?  The name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it.  Was it a brand name of a new cold medicine?  Had I seen an advert somewhere for it?  Had I taken it as a child perhaps?  I thanked her for the recommendation, and on my way home I stopped at my local apothecary/pharmacy/drug store/chemist to have a look and find my salvation.

I walked down the "Cold and Flu" aisle and saw the usual suspects, the medicines with the long, unpronounceable names which had become my best friends since my plague began - phenylephrine, guaifenesin, pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan, doxylamine.  And then . . . I spotted it.

Aaah!  Yes there it was, shining up at me like a beacon from a lighthouse directing me to shore!  At last, my relief!  My cure!  My . . . wait just one goddamned second, does that say "HOMEOPATHIC"?


I think I actually said "FUCK!" out loud when I spotted it, much to the chagrin of the elderly lady behind me looking at the selection of laxatives.  For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, homeopathy is based partly on the outdated and wholly-unscientific concept of "similia similibus curantur", or that like cures like (in case you forgot your Latin).  In other words, if you have an ailment, it can be treated by giving a small dose of the causative agent.  Hippocrates (yes, he of the oath) is said to have started the practice by treating mania with small doses of mandrake root, which can also cause symptoms of mania when give in larger doses.  Samuel Hahnemann expanded the idea in the 1800's when he ate some cinchona bark (which was used to treat malaria) and developed symptoms similar to those of malaria which the cinchona was supposed to treat.

In a brilliant feat of psuedoscientific flatulence, Hahnemann postulated that if small doses are good, then smaller doses should be better.  He began diluting things like salt, arsenic, and bushmaster snake venom by factors of 100 (which he oxymoronically called "potentisation") and then striking the solution against an elastic object in a process he called "succussion" (his object of choice was a wooden board covered by leather and stuffed with horse hair - yes, seriously).  He would then dilute it by a factor of 100 again.  And then again by 100.  And again.  And again.  And . . . you get the point.  Followers of homeopathy believe that despite the dilution, the water somehow "remembers" the property of whatever is being diluted . . . which of course is physically impossible and firmly enters the realm of magic.

As I remembered this information, I looked at the box to see what the ingredients were, and what I saw actually made me laugh.  I may even have uttered the word "LOL" aloud by accident (the lady behind me was still choosing her laxative).  Directly from the box:
Active Ingredient: Anas Barbariae Hepatis Et Cordis Extractum 200CK HPUSTo Reduce the Duration & Severity of Flu-Like Symptoms
What the hell does that mean?  Well if you had paid more attention in Latin class (haven't we been through this already?) you'd remember that "Anas barbariae" is a type of duck, and that "hepatis et cordis" means "liver and heart".  To prepare this concoction, they first take...

"Wait wait wait.  Duck liver and heart?  What the fuck are you on about, Doc?  I thought this was supposed to be a flu remedy?"

Ok, let me explain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.  You see, Joseph Roy, a French physician practicing during the 1918 influenza pandemic (which killed about 5% of the world's population) looked at the blood of flu victims under a microscope and saw some oscillating bacteria which he called "oscillococcus".  He postulated (incorrectly) that this was causing the flu (as well as rheumatism, measles, cancer, and tuberculosis).  He then continued his search for a cure until he found the mysterious oscillococcus again, this time in duck liver.  Operating under the premise of "similia similibus curantur" he prepared a remedy by serially diluting bits of duck liver and heart.  Now other than Dr. Roy, no one in the history of mankind has ever seen this oscillococcus, so I don't know what the hell he thought he was seeing.  Regardless, we now know that the cold (and flu) are caused by a virus, not bacteria.  As ridiculous as it is, it at least lends a whole new meaning to the term "quack", though.  Har har.

Anyway, I looked back at the description of Oscillococcinum.  See that "200CK"?  That means it's been diluted by a factor of 100 not once, not twice, but 200 times.  It is so dilute that you would need to take 2 billion oscillo tablets to even get ONE MOLECULE of the "active ingredient", which doesn't even have any medicinal property anyway!  Then I took a look at the ingredients on the back of the box:
The inactive ingredients are sucrose (that's table sugar) and lactose.  Each tablet, which weighs exactly 1 gram, contains 1 gram of sugar according to the box.  SO THE WHOLE FUCKING TABLET IS SUGAR.

But wait, it gets more absurd - go back and look at the "drug" facts.  It warns against giving a pure sugar pill to pregnant or breastfeeding women.  It also recommends consulting with a doctor before giving a sugar pill to children under 2.  Since when do we not give sugar to pregnant women or children?  My daughter would be heartbroken if she could never again eat M&Ms (which have exactly as much medicinal properties as oscillococcinium, by the way).

And it gets even worse.  The box says it "Works Naturally with Your Body", is "Non-Drowsy", has "No Side Effect:", and has "No Drug Interactions".  OF COURSE it won't interact with anything, put you to sleep, or have any effect whatsoever.  It is, quite literally, a sugar pill and nothing else.

I put the box back on the shelf with no intention of wasting my money and went home.  When I got there I started digging a bit deeper, and I realised it gets even worse.  These tablets are available for sale on Amazon for the low price of $15.21 for 12 tablets in the US,  CDN$33.94 for 30 in Canada., or ¥1,731 for 30 in Japan.  Sadly, they are not available (on Amazon, at least) in UK, France, Australia, Germany, China, Austria, or Spain.  Yes you read that correctly - they are actually MORE expensive than actual cold medicines which actually DO have actual active ingredients (ie medicine) in them.

The absolute worst part is the comments people have written about the product:
  • anything homeopathic is good
  • excellent flu remedy
  • NO medicinal negative side effects (because it's homeopathic)
  • It sounds to good to be true, but this method as been used and refined for 2000 years in countries far older than our U.S.A.
  • Placebo Power? Maybe, but it seems to work for me.
  • Homeopathic meds remember memory of water basically.
  • Oscillococcinum is a life saver!   
It is extremely disheartening that there are so many people who have been duped into buying this garbage.  People's understanding of basic science has deteriorated to the point where too many people actually believe that a product like this has any chance of doing anything therapeutic.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a coffin to crawl into.

Tuesday 1 April 2014

April Fools' Day

Christmas is ok.  New Year's Day is satisfactory.  My wife and children's birthdays are fine.  My birthday is usually tolerable.  My wedding anniversary is alright.  True, those are all mornings when I wake up in a fairly good mood, knowing that the day will be full of metaphorical sunshine and rainbows.  But none of those is my favourite day of the year.  Not by a long shot.

Yes my friends today, April 1, is my favourite day of the year.  Think about it - when else can you say or do whatever the hell you want and get away with it just by yelling "APRIL FOOLS!"  It's great!  Pranks, jokes, and puns abound.  Sarcasm is the theme of the day.  What could possibly be better?

So to celebrate the day, I'm going to review a few of my favourite all-time pranks, starting with . . .

Gmail Paper

Those jokesters over at Google advertised a service where your emails would be printed and mailed to you for free.  To defray the costs, adverts would be printed on the back of each page in bold, red 36-point Helvetica font.  Ha ha ha!  Great, right!  Well if that is good enough, how about . . .

Squeez Bacon

I will readily admit that I got more than just a little excited about this product when I saw it.  I started drooling at the prospect of squeezing bacon-flavoured goo all over anything and everything . . . until I remembered it was April 1.  Yes, ThinkGeek had tricked me for at least 2 seconds, and I truly felt duped and disappointed.  But it's April Fools' Day! It's a day for trickery and deception, not sadness and melancholy, so we move onto . . .

Vaccination Information Network

And then there's this little gem from our friends over at the Vaccination Information Network, those intrepid truth seekers who only want to rid the world of vaccines and expose how evil vaccines actually are and will tell whatever lies and half-truths they have to in order to expose us malevolent, corrupt doctors for trying to, you know, prevent deadly diseases and stuff:
kj..... mike said.... Hi, remember me? I posted an angry message a few months ago and I had been pro-vaccination... Until recently. I have been receiving payments via several of Big Pharma to try and promote questionable new drugs... But after having recently received a vaccination for a bad case of Dutch Elm Disease - one of the worst cases the doctor had ever seen - my doctor says i am now showing signs of autism. Please forgive me, i didn't know the extent of their corruption.

Haha!  It's hilarious, right?  Dutch elm disease is a fungal infection which only affects trees, and it's just hysterical that an adult is showing signs of autism after getting a vaccine for a tree disease!  Hahahaha I just laughed my ass right off!  I at least had to give these idiots credit for trying to make light of an otherwise sensitive subject.  Good on them for a bit of self deprecation.

And then I read the comments, and I immediately felt the blood drain out of my face:
  • Samantha Norris: Joking is fine, but this isn't even funny & autism isn't something to joke about - especially autism caused by vaccines. But that's just my opinion.
  • Kelly Renee Bryant: Hmm I was about to give heartfelt encouragement n tell fellow believers don't be a troll-now I see this is made up? Sad to joke about. Why? Aren't there real cases to be sharing? Wow??!!
  • Ali Burleson: I think it's funny that I had an ACTUAL POST over a week ago, seeking REAL information, and it never got posted....but this sarcastic, condescending bullshit gets posted. I realize it's an April fool's troll. But anti vax families have a hard enough time finding support and dealing with ignorance and stupidity, and it's shitty as Fuck for this page to post stupid shit like this. Call me a kill joy but some things aren't funny. 
  • Elizabeth Mathiak: Wow- so sorry it took you being injured to realize it. But now you're in a great position to spread the word! Thanks for your honesty!
And my personal favourite: 
  • Ryan Ciantar: I'd go get vitamin C and B-12 IV therapy stat, cut gluten out of your diet completely as well.
Yes, seriously.  This rocket scientist not only failed to realise it was a joke, he actually suggested that Vitamin C (which can cure alcoholism, arthritis, ruptured discs, diabetes, and cancer, according to Natural News) could also be used to treat a fake tree-to-human disease that also somehow causes autism in adults.  I understand that people are clueless, but there are others who are so off the mark they may as well be living on Venus.

But this is antivax.  This is who they are and what they do.  These are people who think vaccines are not only ineffective but also cause everything from autism to diabetes to cancer, and many of them believe Vitamin C, homeopathy, a chiropractic realignment, and a gluten-free diet can cure anything.  They don't bother with silly things like science and reality, instead relying on fear-mongering and the advice of online idiots who wouldn't know a fact if it whacked them in the face with a bag of golden rice.

Now for those of you downtrodden folks who actually like the idea of Squeez Bacon and feel like crying, fret not my friends, as I now present you with this:

Feast your eyes and bask in all its bacony glory, for that is an actual real squeezable bacon-flavoured cheese spread.  You're welcome.  Enjoy!

Happy April Fools' Day!

Not dead

I'll start this post by answering a few questions that may or may not be burning in your mind: No, I'm not dead.  No, I didn't g...