What the fuck, over?

I just got back from the clinic and pharmacy. Down the hatch with three different drugs, and let’s hope for the best! After entering day 7 or 8 of sickness (the days/dates are getting blurry), and enduring several straight nights of sleepless blood-spitting coughing agony, it was finally time to endure the American Industrial Medical Complex and seek treatment.

Of course, I’m uninsured. It’s taken me a couple years to really understand that my apathetic attitudes towards health-care have been engendered by a Canadian upbringing; it’s hard to get into the habit of being concerned about something which you have always been led to assume is essentially comprehensive and free.
The third clinic I tried this morning turned out to be the charm (one other closed, one other not accepting walk-ins). $75 for the doctor, $64 for the drugs: $139 for labour and materials. Not bad, if you compare it to any bill a mechanic, electrician, or other technical tradesman might leave you with. And really, I think that’s the best way to approach the doctor: like a skilled tradesman who is working for you, and who needs to perform to your expectations.

This time, as for the other 3-4 times I’ve been to a doctor over the past few years, was for bronchitis. I am now officially annoyingly familiar with bronchitis and pneumonia. A lifetime of asthma and several bouts of pneumonia have left me a bit of a pulmonary wreck. I might even qualify as an expert, as least with respect to my own lungs. As such, I find it very annoying when any doctor does a quick poke, prod, listen to the breathing, and dashes off yet another prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
I am against such prescriptions on principle; antibiotic use/abuse engenders “super-bugs” and is hard on your body. Antibiotics have their place in medicine, but are not the panacea many doctors seem to treat them as such. More importantly, the primary cause of bronchitis is almost always viral; only 5%-10% of bronchitis cases can be attributed to bacteria. Only one doctor I’ve ever seen has brought this fact up, asserting that antibiotics are generally useless against viral bronchitis.

This is just one of those things that people have a right to assert and/or question when at the doctor’s office. I think far to many folks go in scared or nervous, and unquestioningly accept whatever they’re told. I’m no medical expert, but I said, I know my body and I know bronchitis.
I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure about heading into a clinic (at least until my health was so bad that I really needed to), in no small part because I wasn’t relishing the prospect of butting heads with yet another abrupt antibiotic-slinging clinician. Luckily, the doctor I drew today didn’t baulk at my questioning. Yes, I ended up with an antibiotic along with everything else, but only after voicing my objection and being reassured that it was to guard against the strong possibility of a secondary infection (more than likely given how long I’ve been sick). The doctor also honoured my disinclination towards inflammatory drugs and steroids.

Well, lucky me… I’m still sick, but armed with pills, potion, and puffer, I’m hoping to be mended up soon enough. Still sick, but optimistic!

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Yes, I’m one of the ones who managed to somehow make it through Google’s mysterious vetting process, and after a 6+ week wait, have been invited to open a Voice account. I’ve had the account now for several more weeks, and am just starting to discover some of the more interesting uses.

First off, since I only have one actual real phone, the multi-ringing feature is lost on me. What I have been able to make good use of is the free texting and calls to Canada, and via Sprint’s conditional voice-mail forwarding I am now using Google Voice as my default voice-mailbox and handler.
For those of you who have no idea what this means, it’s like having Gmail for your voice messages. Recorded greetings/messages can be then embedded for sharing, etc.

Another fun thing is the call widget. Embedded widgets allow website viewers to connect to your account and to your phone; click, enter your number, and Google Voice rings both parties and connects the call. For free. Well, free in the US and Canada. Well, free inside the US and for US connections into Canada.

I’m going to try posting such a widget and do some experimenting; ideally, it should work out to be a “call me collect for free for everyone” button for my many Canadian friends.

Log notes

I’ve been slowly transcribing the Ship’s Log from Centaurea and publishing it to this site. The posts are in chronological order, and back-published to the days they were written on. To view them all, try this category link.

By request, a few notes for those of you not used to the format and abbreviations: The positions are given in degrees/decimal minutes rather than the older degrees/minutes/seconds. SoG stands for “Speed over Ground”, and is an instantaneous reading from the Maretron GPS. CoG is “Course over Ground”, also an instantaneous GPS reading, given in degrees true. Occasional reference is given to degrees “C”, which is a reading from the steering compass. This compass was never properly/accurately swung aboard this vessel, but seemed to conform to the usual 11-15 degrees of west deviation found in that part of the world.
Speeds are given as “kts”; knots, while distances are given in “nm” (nautical miles).

Our initial course was pretty basic: due north from St. Croix, passing through the Virgin Islands, then on a generally NNW rhumbline direct to the mouth of the Chesapeake. Of course, as you read through, you’ll see that we are diverted from that line towards Bermuda… A “rhumbline” is simply the shortest straight-line distance between a starting and ending point (actually, it’s a little more complicated, but this explanation serves for the purposes of this log).

The bits in [brackets] are added as i type this out, for some clarity. Passages marked [CJ] were Cory’s entries into the log. As I finish up transcribing the log, I’ll add in some further anecdotal information, as well as the transcripts from MSC Malaysia and RCC Bermuda.

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