Sunday, April 24, 2011

Weekend Super-Workout

So… last year I was prescribed some dreadful heart medication that not only didn’t treat the heart condition successfully, but it made me gain 30 pounds in a 60-day period. So after two months of feeling like an appliance with dead batteries, I junked the heart meds and felt a lot better a week later. After about six months of moderately-intense exercise, I lost 15 pounds of the 30 pounds that the meds made me gain. I’m starting to almost feel “trim” again.

Lemme tell ya: I think most doctors these days are pill pushers because they are afraid of getting sued. I’ll take a prescribed medicine if it actually works, but if the side effects are worse than the condition it’s treating, I junk it.

This weekend, I walked 14.4 miles on Saturday at the NCR trail, and I did 14.4 miles on my bicycle today. Over a 7-day period, I’ve done a little over 3,000 calories worth of exercise. Obviously my heart can’t be in that bad a condition if I can do all that! Screw the pills!

I currently weigh 195 pounds. My vegetarian diet also got my blood pressure down to normal range (so maybe I don’t need the pills anyway!)  Before the meds, I weighed 180. At least I have my stamina and metabolism back. My goal is to weigh 180 again by the end of summer. I am pretty sure I can do it since I have pretty high willpower.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If you believe in the Rapture, why can't I have your cash?!

Apparently the latest "doomsday" for fundamentalist Christians is May 21, 2011. I've seen billboards all over town. Seriously! It even says "the Bible guarantees it!" So, I thought to myself, "Self? I'll bet those churches have a lot of money that's going to simply go to waste starting May 22, 2011". After all, I figured, the churches won't have any parishioners or clergy left. They'll all be up in Heaven. What's a Wiccan like myself to do?

I came up with what seemed to be a logical solution. The churches that believe in the Rapture could send me all their money via PayPal, with a preset transaction date of 5-22-2011. After all, they won't be here and we Pagans will be. And given that Pagans and Wiccans are the true stewards of the Earth, I figure that I could plant a whole lot of trees and flowers with the unused cash being hoarded in the Rapture-believing churches. I would also be able to properly care for my mother (also Pagan) who is dying of a terminal illness. And aren't Christians supposed to care about the sick and the dying?

So I wrote to the pastor of the local Rapture-believing church that had put the doomsday signs all over town. I politely explained that I, as a Wiccan, won't be getting scooped up to heaven in six weeks but would certainly look forward to doing some ecological renovation in the Baltimore area -- if only I had the financial backing. And I pointed out that the pastor and his flock *certainly* wouldn't be needing all that money in heaven!

Would you believe that the pastor turned down my request? Really! He dismissed the idea right out of hand. One might think (and surely only the most cynical of minds would think) that perhaps the pastor doesn't really believe that every Christian is going to get an Escalator To Paradise in six weeks. Oh Reverend of little faith! I'll bet that he hasn't stopped doing weekly collections on Sunday either. Maybe he thinks he can take the money with him, ha ha!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The blows keep coming

There isn’t really a roundabout way to say this.I spoke to my mom two days ago and she told me  she plans on killing herself soon. She has been terminally ill for three years. Her doctors originally gave her six months to live when she was diagnosed with COPD three years ago. I am grateful for the fact that she has had 2.5 years more than I had thought she would have. But that extra time has worn her down. She is very ill, very frail, and she said that she is coming very close to the limits of her endurance for pain, sickness, and relentless fatigue.

I will not, of course, blame her if she chooses to end her life. She has nothing to look forward to other than more sickness, pain, and fatigue. Her condition can only get worse.

I just don’t understand how my brother and sister can still smoke cigarettes after seeing how sick it has made our mother. I just don’t get it. She is dying a lingering, horrifying death and yet those two keep lighting up. It’s just unbelievable.

It frustrates me so much to know that mom is so sick and there isn’t a damned thing I can do about it. She smoked two packs a day for 40 years and drank a quart of vodka per day for 40 years. And this is the result: incurable lung disease, congestive heart failure, edema, and the beginning stages of renal failure. I wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy.

It also frustrates me that the people who most desire to help mom (that being my brother and myself) have few resources to offer. My brother and I are not doctors, nor do we have jobs that pay very much. We are unable to help mom financially either. She has to receive food stamps and housing assistance. I feel deeply ashamed that I usually have less than $20 in my account by the time we pay our bills. I get my bills paid on time, but there is so rarely anything left. I haven’t had a raise in three years. My brother is in a similar position.

The flip side, of course, is my knowledge that there are two family members with the resources to help but refuse to lift a finger to help my mom. I have an uncle who is a millionaire and he has literally not parted with a single dollar to help mom. Yes, that’s right, he is willing and able to let his own sister subsist on food stamp vouchers and Medicaid instead of paying for better food and better physicians. What a fine Christian he is. Then there is my sister. She had been helping mom with mundane tasks like shopping and errands. But she decided to abandon mom on Christmas Eve so that she could go back to Tennessee. No one has heard from her in four months. Personally, I don’t care if I ever hear from her again.

I’m not sure how my brother and I will pay for mom’s funeral. Fortunately, mom decided that she wants a cremation. But it is a forgone fact that my uncle won’t part with a penny to help pay for the funeral.