Archive for June, 2006

I'll blog 'til my fingers bleed

Well, that didn't take long.

My dermatologist tells me I have psoriasis, or maybe atopic dermatitis. Common suffers are babies, children or adults. It effects mostly the face, scalp, arms, legs, hands, and/or feet. The cause is genetic and/or environmental.

Thanks a lot Doc! Why not just cut the bullshit, and say “In my professional opinion your fingers are fucked up. Put some of this grease on 'em”

I was given a prescription for Taclonex, and a handful of samples. It's a corticosteroid, vitamin D, and 99% petroleum jelly. My insurance company laughed at my request to have it filled. Cost: $425/20g I'll do the math for you: 18% greater than gold by weight (as of last week.) BTW: If you need additional evidence that most pharmaceutical reps are aging frat-boy douche-bags check out the level of discourse on the (CafePharma)[] forums.

I've been using the samples… After three weeks I'd say it might be more effective than petroleum jelly by itself. The tips of 5 of my 10 fingers are split open to reveal the red juicy bits. It's been getting progressively worse over the last two years. (At least both of my pinkies are symptom free!)

Next appointment Tuesday. Maybe I'll get a better form of snake oil.


Peter visits Pittsburgh (Weekend Wrap-up)

Busy but unproductive week at work thwarted my plans to post about this earlier.

A month or two ago, my friend Peter informed me that he was leaving Chi-town and moving to Philly. The move was scheduled to happen over the Memorial day weekend. That's a pretty long drive (especially with another Alfa in tow) so I suggested that he could break the trip in two, and stay the evening at our place.

Friday finally came, and Peter called me from the road near Toledo to give me ETA. A few hours later I got another call… His Chevy Suburban was giving him trouble near the PA boarder. The truck, filled with all his clothes, an assortment of Alfa, his tools, and pulling a trailer at speed was causing the transmission to overheat.

We discussed options. There really weren't many to consider. It was late on the Friday of a holiday weekend. Neither of us are all that familar with the workings of automatic transmissions… Alfas rarely have them, so why bother? We concluded that the worst that could happen was that the transmission would fail before he got to my place, but on the plus side he'd be closer. If he could at least get it here, he'd have a place to stay while we sorted out the transmission issue.

An hour or so later we realized, that we had grossly underestimated what was “the worst that could happen.”

I got a call asking for a ride… His truck was engulfed in flames. I wasn't sure exactly what to say… It's hard to put the destruction of most of someone's belongings (all the ones he didn't entrust with the movers) in a positive light. Deb and I immediately hopped in the car, and headed for the turnpike.

He had made it within a few miles of the Pittsburgh exit, so it wasn't long until I approached the area where he had pulled over. It was easy to find as I could see the raging inferno from quite a distance. Because it was the turnpike we had to just keep on driving until we could turn around at the next exit.

We arrived shortly after the Unity fire company. The truck was still quite hot. We just stood back and watched them do their job… since steel doesn't burn that easily there wasn't much left for them to put out. Peter hoped that maybe his laptop hardrive had been spared…

…needless to say it wasn't. With the exception of some tools in the back, everything had been destroyed. The trailer & Alfa survived, so we came back in the Dodge to tow it home to our place.

It was almost 3am by the time that Peter, still smelling of burnt tire, finally got to our place. The next morning we had some food, and began considering our options. Peter still needed a way to Philly, and so did his Alfa race car. I remembered that U-Haul trucks had trailer hitches… if we could luck into a spare truck on Memorial day weekend, he'd be able to get his stuff (what was left) + the trailer to Philly in time for the first day of work. He could also claim the rental fee as a moving expense.

The next morning we picked through the carcass of his truck, and fortunately found the only set of keys to his other car in addition to some tools and misc Alfa parts. Sadly the more choice bits were totally destroyed. We had a wedding to attend, so we loaned the truck to Peter so he could get some clothes and needed supplies (but not before I jokingly snuck a fire extinguisher on the passenger seat.) Sunday we gave Peter a tour of Pittsburgh, and by the end of the day I think he was finally beginning to accept his fate. Monday, we wished him luck and he headed for Philly. (In spite of his luck he arrived safely… although his initial appraisal of his new neighborhood suggested continued safety might be in question.) I can only guess that in a past life, Peter kicked Buddah square in the nuts… otherwise he'd certainly would be running a healthy kharmic surplus by now.

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