I keep thinking about that quote from Splash, where Madison tells Allen he can’t come into the bathroom because she doesn’t want him to see her tail. And when he finally breaks into the bathroom, she tells him she didn’t want him to come in because she’s shy. And he says, “You were shy?! after the car, and the elevator, and the bedroom, and on top of the refrigerator, you were shy?!” Because is it really so weird to be kind of an exhibitionist but still actually really shy?
I met Djuna at her high school graduation party. It was a costume party, but I was in scruffy jeans and a tank top. I was tagging along with Gary, who probably hadn’t been invited either, but I’d run into him at Bottega and he’d invited me along.
The party was at a cluttered, rambling Victorian in Piedmont. There were two girls dancing together in the living room. Both wearing lacy merry widows and long flowy skirts. One was tall and blond, classically beautiful, but looking cold and bored. The other with gelled back short bleach blond hair and and two inches of dark roots, dark lipstick and dark circles under her eyes, glitter on her eyes and cheeks and chest. She had a feral wolfish look, and I immediately knew that she was gay and her friend wasn’t. It was her party, and she looked distinctly unpleased to see Gary, and by association, me.
Gary retreated back to the dark of the kitchen to drink his 40. Every surface was covered with half-eaten food, including the stripped carcass of a roast chicken. I sat on Gary’s lap stealing sips of his beer and trying to look tough, though knowing that I looked like what I was, his latest underage girlfriend.
I must have drunk more than I though because I ended up kissing Viola, Max’s younger sister, against the kitchen wall. My arms boxing her in as I leaned down to kiss her. She was beautiful, in a very Berkeley way, dark brown hair dyed jet black, pale skin, red lipstick and dressed all in scruffy black. And it made me feel particularly debauched because I had already kissed her brother, who was nowhere near as pretty, but at least he liked girls, which Viola probably didn’t. Gary and I went back to Viola’s place for a while and drank some more and I somehow managed to get home.
A couple weeks later, I went to visit my grandmother and when I came back, Gary and Viola were dating.
Trying to put together the figures for my paper. Hours of trying to get everything the right font size and legible and clear (without compromising accuracy). I know it’s actually really important important, but it seems like a huge waste of time.
Feeling monstrous and alien. Bought some official maternity clothes a couple months ago, which are stretchy and form fitting, and now I am at the point where people are giving me slightly shocked looks, like Oh My God You’re Full of Aliens! Which is pretty much how I feel.
On Sunday, I heard another NPR piece about super high rates of opiate prescriptions to veterans by the VA (this seems to be the text of what I heard), and there were a lot of things that didn’t quite fit together in the story, and I am looking for someone who knows more about the situation.
I should preface this by saying that I think that the US has problems with both underprescribing and overprescribing of opiates. Research has shown that some kinds of pain respond well to physical therapy. But good physical therapy is expensive, and a lot of times insurance doesn’t cover enough PT for it to actually be useful. So people are given opiates long term even though they aren’t the best treatment. I would guess that something similar is happening with the VA — veterans need treatments, for PTSD and/or physical injuries, that are expensive and labor intensive, and the VA is overwhelmed and is using opiates as a stop gap measure, and apparently not giving people good overdose prevention tools (i.e. education and narcan). There is also an issue of managing prescriptions. Is someone escalating their use of opiates as they develop tolerance? Would a different opiate work better? Is someone being prescribed both opiates and sedatives in a way that is putting them at higher risk for overdose? But some people also have a lot of problems accessing humane pain medication and humane opiate substitution therapy.
The story made a really big deal about veterans being given opiates when they didn’t have physical injuries, and so I’m wondering if the VA is intentionally prescribing opiates for PTSD. Which might actually be a good treatment — the scientific research is kind of a mess in this area. Also, apparently, people with PTSD can experience pain more intensely, so higher doses of painkillers might be necessary.
There were also a lot of people saying that known addicts were being given opiates. But it wasn’t clear what people meant by addiction — physical dependency? DSM definition (use that is detrimental to family, intimate relationships and work responsibilities)? Is opiate maintenance or opiate substitution being lumped into “giving opiates to addicts”?
Clearly the VA is prescribing high dose opiates and people are ODing on them, but how much of this is a failure to give narcan and eduction? Is the VA detoxing people without appropriate overdose education? Would some people be better off on buprenorphine, which has a lower risk of overdose?
There were so many questions that the reporters didn’t address, that it left me really confused about what is actually happening.