Monday, April 27, 2009

browser life exclusive: my review of "Life Disrupted" by Laurie Edwards.... 

The full title of the book is actually "Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties". The author, Laurie Edwards, is a blog buddy. When you get the chance, check out www.achronicdose.com.

Ms. Edwards, like many of us, has a constellation of ailments, but her most serious one is an extremely rare genetic disorder in which her lungs are unable to properly filter out mucus and infection. She must endure frequent hospitalizations and daily treatments to ensure she is able to breathe well enough to function. Because she was born with this disorder, she is a qualified expert on the subject of being a patient.

Ok, so technically, I'm not quite in the age group the book addresses. Doesn't matter. People in their forties or even fifties will find the topics familiar to them and will be able to relate to it, particularly if they developed a chronic illness while still in that age group, as I did.

The "getting real" in the title refers to learning to co-exist with an ailment or ailments as you go about your life. The nature and severity of illness affects whether or not you can work, go to school, the sort of person you date and/or marry, whether you can or should have children. Most twenty-somethings don't have to worry about frequent hospital stays, whether their love interest will be capable of also being their caretaker, or if they will even live to the age of 30 or 40.

Life through the lens of chronic illness is both more complicated and simpler than a healthy life. On the one hand, accommodating therapies, restrictions, energy levels, etc. can be an unwelcome intrusion. On the other, a person who survives and succeeds despite obstacles is able to prioritize what is really important in their life.

The book is divided into three sections: "Medical Life", "Public Life", and "Personal Life". The individual chapters are brief, which is good for people who have trouble reading lengthy passages. And the 44 chapters address a wide variety of scenarios a young adult with chronic illness might face; several I haven't seen in any other book.

The "Medical Life" section covered subjects with which I was well familiar, such as the trials and tribulations of getting proper diagnoses and medical professionals who are willing to listen, and subjects a bit more foreign to me, such as how to make frequent hospital stays more bearable. Laurie Edwards recognizes the tightrope most chronic patients must walk, that of being one's own advocate when necessary. On one side, blindly following doctor's orders when you suspect them to be wrong can in some cases lead to irreparable harm; on the other, if you put up a fight every single time on every single small thing, you run the risk of being labeled a non-compliant patient that no doctor wants to deal with.

One thing the chronically ill end up learning, usually early on, is that the word "patient" has a double meaning. Instant gratification is not something that happens with regard to finding the right doctor, the right medication or other treatment, and it definitely doesn't happen when waiting for an appointment, for tests, or even at times in the emergency room. I like how Ms. Edwards points out that you can tell who has spent a lot of time in waiting rooms by whether they have brought snacks and something to do.

I appreciated the chapter on how most of us with a chronic illness must accept a certain amount of intrusion upon our private lives in order to function. Luckily, mine is mostly limited to strategically placed pillboxes, eye drops, diabetes testing supplies, asthma inhalers, a neti pot and having something to drink with me at all times. But I read with amazement and amusement how the author endured her first home chest physiotherapy, which was quite painful and embarrassing, and how she must now conform her schedule to having this done at least once a day, every day.

Part One contains four consecutive chapters on hospitals, from a semi-humorous glossary of customary phrases (like the difference between a toilet and a commode) to how the author makes hospital stays less boring and more bearable. She also stresses the importance of speaking up when you are not given the treatment you need. Hospitals are busy places with constantly changing staff, and if you have a history of drug allergy or other potentially life-threatening complication, it is imperative that you (or someone on your behalf, if you are too ill) makes this known, frequently if necessary.

Part Two, "Public Life" is subtitled "Chronic Illness in an Otherwise Healthy World". Like it or not, there are times when the sick feel alienated from society or at least out of sync with it, either out of necessity or due to lack of understanding. Managing multiple diseases is in itself awkward, and it can lead to uncertainty when dealing with the public.

Ms. Edwards describes a sort of "culture shock" that can happen when moving between the world of the sick and world of the healthy. After spending time in the hospital or perhaps home bound for a prolonged period and dealing with significant issues like being able to walk or breathe, it can be quite jarring to try to interact with people whose most pressing concern is what color to paint their fingernails. But those same people can be a welcome distraction sometimes.

There are two back to back chapters on physical appearance and the chronically ill. For those with a visible illness, the tendency, particularly among younger people, is to try to cover up anything that might make you look different and try your best to look normal, sometimes at the expense of a great deal of time and energy. For those with invisible ailments, they must deal with dismissive or even hostile attitudes from people who won't believe anything is wrong because you appear so healthy.

In both chapters, the author hits the nail right on the head, which is impressive because some people are sick for decades and never learn these lessons. In "Why I Dress in Layers...and Other Tales of Embarrassing Insecurities", she states that the average person who doesn't know you is probably not going to notice signs of illness that you think are obvious, so it's better to just relax and enjoy life rather than worry what someone thinks of you. In the chapter "'Invisible' Illness Unmasked", she wisely counsels that when confronted with ignorant or even rude comments about whether or not you are really sick, consider the source and don't let other people's opinions define your condition.

Chapter 18 addresses rare conditions and how to explain them to others. Except in medical situations, most people are happy with a very simple summary. For example, I tell most people that Sjogren's is an autoimmune condition in the same disease category as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; I mention the other two diseases because most people have heard of them and so they will have a frame of reference.

Chapter 19 is about pursuing higher education when you are chronically ill. Most traditional undergraduate programs don't have much room for variation, so some creativity and flexibility on the part of both student and staff may be in order. For instance, taking a lighter class load to avoid flareups, scheduling classes during a certain time of day or year, online courses, putting together a plan for making up missed work, etc. can make the difference between flunking or successfully completing a degree.

In subsequent chapters, "Life Disrupted" moves into the workplace. It touches upon important issues such as when and how much do you tell your employer about your illness, adapting your career path to accommodate your condition, and dealing with financial fallout from switching to part-time or no work. And of course, of primary concern to most with chronic illness, acquiring and keeping health insurance benefits.

I like the chapter on asking for accommodations in public places such as restaurants. Like Ms. Edwards, I hate to be a pain and tend to be hesitant in this area, but I have to remind myself that I will be the one paying the price if I don't make sure I get what I need. Just smile and be pleasant while asking, and most of the time, that is sufficient.

Another good chapter is the one dedicated to those of us with multiple ailments and the difficulty of juggling medications, appointments and symptoms. Especially in the case of chronic pain, so much is competing for our sensory attention that we sometimes ignore signs of something that needs to be addressed. Sometimes we need to step back and analyze a new symptom from a healthy person's perspective (as in, would a healthy person go do a doctor for this?) and react accordingly.

The segment on "Sick Chic" was amusing to me, mainly because I gave up trying to be stylish years ago because I found it used up too much of my energy. But I could relate to the debate about comfortable versus cool-looking footwear. I do secretly still yearn for my purple suede pumps of yesteryear.

Part Two concludes with a chapter on acceptance of one's medical conditions and how this does NOT mean letting the disease "win". This is something I wish more healthy people could understand. There are times that in order to move forward with our lives, we must realize that we are probably not going to wake up tomorrow and magically be all better, so sometimes that means scaling back our activities or expectations today in order to be less exhausted the next day; in other words, we must learn to co-exist with our less than perfect bodies and less than perfect health and do the best we can with what we have to work with.

Part Three is all about our personal relationships and how chronic illness affects them. The chapters in this section begin with parents and siblings and move on to friends, dating, significant others and starting a family of one's own. The people who are the closest to us are also the ones in whom we confide when we're particularly ill, who may be called upon to be our caretakers, whose own quality of life can be linked to ours.

A chapter I enthusiastically recommend is "The Chronic Comic". I, like Ms. Edwards, use humor as a coping mechanism, particularly in social situations where not everyone knows you're sick. She notes that making light of your condition is fine as long as it isn't so pervasive as to constitute denial of it, which is an excellent observation.

In "Chronic Socialites", the author addresses a frustration with which most with chronic ailments can identify: that of having to cancel plans with family and friends due to our health, and often at the last minute. Rather than give in to guilt about it, she suggests altering our social schedules when possible and build in rest breaks if needed. Depending on the particular demands of the illness involved, some ideas might include: having people come see you rather than going out, meeting someplace close to your home, socializing at a time of day when your energy is best, talk via telephone when you can't do it in person, making sure that your clothing (especially shoes) will not cause undue discomfort, bringing a special pillow or your own food or whatever you need that will allow you to socialize longer without compromising your health.

Here's an issue that the chronically ill sometimes struggle with: being empathetic toward otherwise healthy people when they develop a minor, temporary condition that seems like a very big deal to them. It is incredibly tempting to say: "You know that cold you have? Multiply it by ten and you'll get some idea of how I feel every day!" But whenever possible, we should try to be supportive and listen to their complaints, reminding ourselves how often we require the same of others.

One chapter deals with whether or not illness is a deal-breaker in forming love relationships. It certainly can be for a healthy person, but what about the person who is ill? Some, particularly those whose ailments are life-shortening, avoid serious relationships to spare a potential partner pain, but is that always wise?

For those who do go forward with long-term relationships, the question becomes: when do you tell a potential partner about your illness, and how much do you say initially? Ms. Edwards calls this a relationship defining talk. She tells the story about the night she met the man she would later marry, how she broke her own "rules" by telling him everything, and how that worked for her.

Part Three moves on into the realm of chronic illness and dating, noting that severe disease flare-ups can test the mettle of a potential love interest. But knowing a person can handle even the least glamorous ailment and still wants to be with the sick person means a lot less of the ambiguity that can plague relationships between two healthy people. The sick person might wonder how their partner finds them attractive sometimes, but they seldom doubt their partner cares.

A wonderful chapter in this book is "Meltdown Mode". In it, the author says that even the most sensible, patient and tolerant person with chronic illness has their breaking point, and that they usually flip out over something minor because it's just one thing too many out of their control. She describes a temper tantrum she once had over salad dressing that had me laughing even as I acknowledged that I've had many similar moments.

The next seven chapters are dedicated to issues faced by married people when at least one of them is chronically ill. These really caught my attention because I have found so little material about this elsewhere, either in books or online. Those on the "inside" know the divorce rate among the chronically ill is high, but few seem eager to discuss why or to highlight what it looks like when the marriage is working.

Chapter 37 addresses the learning curve of the healthy person if they aren't familiar with your type of illness prior to meeting you. Ms. Edwards wisely advises cutting your partner some slack when they over-react or don't know what they can do to help you. Sometimes they are frustrated that they can't fix you and must learn how to handle this.

If there is something specific a spouse can do to help, the author suggests that the chronically ill person let them do so if they ask to. This can bring you both closer, takes some of the burden of self-care off the sick person, and allows the spouse to learn more about the illness. Learning more is a good thing, especially if there could be times the sick person cannot communicate with medical personnel and needs someone else to do it.

In Chapter 39, Ms. Edwards notes that while there is plenty of material available on planning a storybook wedding, pre-marriage counseling at church, etc., there is no manual on how to be a good spouse to a chronically ill person. And nothing on how the sick person should include the healthy one in making medical decisions. The only solution in this case is learning by doing.

Here's a scary statistic: among marriages where at least one partner is chronically ill, the divorce rate is 75 percent. But for those who are able to make it work, their marriage may in fact be stronger because they overcome more obstacles than the average couple and know they can withstand whatever life throws at them. In Chapter 40, the author discusses her own and her parents marriages and why they are successful.

When the healthy spouse becomes the caregiver for the sick one, who takes care of the healthy one? Chapter 41 addresses the importance of support for the caregiving spouse, whether it be family, professional counseling or just getting out with friends once in awhile for something fun and non-illness related. It is also reminds us that when the healthy spouse gets frustrated, it's often the illness they're mad at rather than their partner.

Chapter 42 is called "The Chronic Income Gap". It's an unfortunate fact that being sick is expensive, sometimes exorbitantly so. Add to that limitations on being able to work, and you've got some major financial stress on your hands.

Laurie Edwards is very honest, funny and wise in "Life Disrupted", her first book. I recommend it to anyone under the age of 50 who has a chronic illness or knows someone who does. The very existence of the book is proof that a disrupted life doesn't have to be an empty one.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 26, 2009: 

You mean I was RIGHT to keep my old turntable? Robert sent me this link about the resurgence of vinyl....

In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback

Of course, these days, I have a turntable that lets you burn albums to CD, which I then add to iTunes. Works for me.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 22, 2009: 

This one made me laugh so much my stomach hurts! Thanks to Pete for the hilarity....

Due to the climate of political correctness now pervading America, Kentuckians, Tennesseans and West Virginians will no longer be referred to as "HILLBILLIES." You must now refer to us as APPALACHIAN-AMERICANS.

And furthermore ....


1. She is not a "BABE" or a "CHICK" - She is a "BREASTED AMERICAN."

2. She is not a "SCREAMER" or a "MOANER" - She is "VOCALLY APPRECIATIVE."

3. She is not "EASY" - She is "HORIZONTALLY ACCESSIBLE."



6. She is not an " AIR HEAD" - She is "REALITY IMPAIRED."

7. She does not get "DRUNK" or "TIPSY" - She gets "CHEMICALLY INCONVENIENCED."

8. She does not have "BREAST IMPLANTS" - She is "MEDICALLY ENHANCED."

9. She does not "NAG" you - She becomes "VERBALLY REPETITIVE."

10. She is not a "TRAMP" - She is "SEXUALLY EXTROVERTED."

11. She does not have "MAJOR LEAGUE HOOTERS" - She is "PECTORALLY SUPERIOR."

12. She is not a "TWO-BIT HOOKER" - She is a "LOW COST PROVIDER."


1. He does not have a "BEER GUT" - He has developed a "LIQUID GRAIN STORAGE FACILITY."

2. He is not a "BAD DANCER" - He is "OVERLY CAUCASIAN."


4. He is not "BALDING" - He is in "FOLLICLE REGRESSION."



7. He does not act like a "TOTAL ASS" - He develops a case of "RECTAL-CRANIAL INVERSION."

8. He is not a "MALE CHAUVINIST PIG" - He has "SWINE EMPATHY."

9. He is not afraid of "COMMITMENT" - He is "RELATIONSHIP CHALLENGED."

10. He is not "HORNY" - He is "SEXUALLY FOCUSED."

11. It's not his "CRACK" you see emerging from his pants - It's POSTERIOR CLEAVAGE."

Please use your best judgment when referring to these people, so as to make it more comfortable for the rest of us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Adult" meme..... 

Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids? Here's questions for the people who are a little older... Copy and paste into your own note, then answer the questions. Finally, tag your friends including me, please!

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Trash removal. When I lived in Denver, it was free.

2. Do you miss being a child?
Yes and no. I miss all the learning and creativity, roller skating, weekends at my grandparents' mountain cabin, cross country road trips. I do NOT miss the cruelty of some of the other kids, especially in elementary and junior high school when they wanted to kick my ass for being smart.

3. Chore you hate the most?
Most of the worst ones I am no longer physically able to do. Anything that involves scrubbing, especially if I already have back spasms, is not pleasant.

4. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Indian restaurant, I think it was for our anniversary. I find dinners more romantic when I am not exhausted from cooking them.

5. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
How cruelly I turned down a person's request for a date when we were in high school, all because I was hoping someone else would ask me. Even if I had not wanted to go out, I could have been nicer about it.

6. Name of your first grade teacher?
Mrs. Logan. She "retired" mid-way through the year due to complications from pregnancy and polio.

7. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Visiting someplace I haven't been before, preferably with a camera.

8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
It changed frequently. Photographer, writer, lawyer, actor, DJ, etc. I guess I never did decide because I never grew up, lol.

9. How many colleges did you attend?
Just one. Could barely afford that one as it was.

10. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
Because it promotes the website But You Don't Look Sick.

11. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
Because I don't drive much anymore, I'm not that affected. I'm much more concerned with the cost of food, utilities and all things medical.

12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
Didn't set it. Didn't get up this morning, either. First thing I thought of when I woke up this afternoon was that I'm still wiped out from helping out at church on Sunday.

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Thinking of items I want to add to my spiritual website.

14. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Past or present? If past, I'd love to chat with Jesus in person instead of interpreting his life through a centuries old book. If present, I'd have a great time chatting about trashy pop culture with Stephen King as well as his and other people's book.

15. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
Yes, but only minor ones not involving injury. The times I have been injured in accidents have been caused by OTHER people crashing into ME, usually while I was stopped at an intersection. I've been in SIX injury accidents.

16. If you didn't have to work, would you volunteer?
If I were healthy enough AND didn't have to work, heck yeah. Before I got sick, I had been thinking about helping homeless women get their GEDs.

17. Get up early or sleep in?
Getting up early literally makes me ill, sometimes for multiple days afterward.

18. What is your favorite cartoon character?
As a child, I liked Underdog. I guess now maybe Brian the dog?

19. Favorite thing to do at night with your SO?
Go to sleep holding hands. Doesn't happen much anymore because has to go to sleep so early now.

20. When did you first start feeling old?
Emotionally, I have NEVER felt old. My body started acting old 12 years ago.

21. Favorite lunch meat?
Don't eat it because I don't eat sandwiches. Closest thing would be lean ham that I usually cut up and put in recipes.

22. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. Too crowded, and I despise the way their employees are treated.

23. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Perhaps. It's not the answer for everyone. But it's a nice ritual, and it worked well for me.

24. Favorite movie you wouldn't want anyone to find out about?
I own a set of four Ed Woods movies, and I actually like them.

25. What's your favorite drink?
Mango lassi. It's basically a shake containing yogurt and mango juice. Had to give up a lot of drinks because of their carb content, and this one probably has too many carbs as well, but it might be a little healthier than a regular shake.

26. Who[m] from high school would you like to run in to?
Unlikely that I'll run into them in person in South Dakota, lol. But I did go to two reunions, which was cool, and several people are on Facebook.

27. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
Whichever station wasn't playing a commercial last time I listened. I usually alternate between the "rock" station and the "we play anything" station.

28. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Desperate Housewives. Not interested in the mob, and don't understand the fascination with it.

29. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
Getting married the first time because I thought it was time to settle down (or in my case, settle) and quit the random dating thing. Oh, marriage in general wasn't the mistake, it was just that I picked the wrong person. Oh, well, at least I got it right the second time.

30. Do you like the person that sits directly across from you at work?
When I was working, most definitely, because I sat directly across from my husband! LOL!

31. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purposes?
Not me personally, but my neighbor ran in my house and grabbed it for me (I couldn't run fast enough) because another neighbor's lawn mower blew up and caught part of the garage on fire.

32. Last book you finished reading?
"New Moon".

33. Do you have a teddy bear?
A purple lilac scented one, and a ginormous black bear I named Fozzie. Both were gifts from my husband.

34. Do you go to church?
Yep, but I'm not always able to attend regularly.

35. How old are you?

Rave of the Day for April 21, 2009: 

Updated one of my pages on my Inspirations site....


Have been meaning to work on my sites a lot more, but it seems to be lost in that endless to-do list that I can't even remember half the time, heh heh. Maybe if I stopped time-consuming stuff like eating, showering, resting, etc. I would get to everything. Actually, I strongly suspect I'd accomplish at least a bit more if I wasn't goofing around on Facebook so much.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 20, 2009: 

One of my Facebook friends posted this interesting article about how our drinking water is now contaminated with traces of common medications. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising....

Tons of drugs taint U.S. water

I remember quite distinctly that within moments of my mom being pronounced dead, the home hospice worker flushed all the meds down the toilet. She said she was required to do this. And I had always been told to flush anything expired or anything that could be stolen and/or misused.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 18, 2009: 

Got this funny from my in-laws. It's cute....

Two Little Boys

After a hardy rainstorm filled all the potholes in the streets and alleys, a young mother watched her two little boys playing in the puddles through her kitchen window.

The older of the two, a five year old lad, grabbed his sibling by the back of his head and shoved his face into the water hole.

As the boy recovered and stood laughing and dripping, the mother ran to the yard in a panic. "Why on earth did you do that to your little brother?!" she asked as she shook the older boy in anger.

"We were just playing 'church' mommy," he said. "I was just baptizing him...in the name of the Father, the Son and in...the hole-he-goes."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter 2009! 


Friday, April 10, 2009

PSA of the Day for April 10, 2009: 

Can't rightly call this a rave because I'm posting these links more as a warning than for entertainment. My father-in-law had emergency surgery today for retinal detachment. The scary part is that he waited NINE days to seek treatment, so it may be too late for him to get all of this sight back. But the good news was that the doc was satisfied with the surgery, meaning that there is hope he will fully recover his vision in that eye.

Wanted to know the causes of retinal detachment, so I did some research. Found out to my surprise that I am at much higher risk for this due to my diabetes, history of extreme nearsightedness and subsequent LASIK vision correction. Therefore, I need to be on the lookout for the symptoms too.

Here are two of the articles I found:

Nearsightedness and Detached Retina Risk

Retinal Tears and Detachments

Take good care of your eyes. Yes, you've got two of them, but you need 'em both.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bonus Rave of the Day for April 7, 2009: 

Magnificent. All the performers are deaf, relying only on visual cues. Thanks to Dr. Karen for sending it my way....

Rave of the Day for April 7, 2009: 

Truly amazing story. Got this via one of my Facebook friends....

Dog overboard found four months later

Don't think I would last three days in the wild. Had a fun day with friends on Saturday, and now I feel like death warmed over. Guess I'd better not venture out on a boat, heh heh.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 4, 2009: 

More evidence that fibromyalgia pain isn't imagined. SPECT imagery was used in this small study on fibromyalgia patients....

Scans Reveal Brain Abnormalities Associated with Fibromyalgia

Am hoping that someday, SPECT scans and/or fMRIs will be widely used as diagnostic tools. Speaking of which, here's an article about a study using fMRI on chronic pain patients.....

Chronic Pain Disrupts Resting Brain Dynamics

It's no wonder people with fibromyalgia suffer from cognitive dysfunction: they're in too much pain to think straight! I hope that in the future, this will more strongly motivate the medical community to treat pain more aggressively in its earlier stages to prevent possible permanent damage to the brain's processing.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Bonus Rave of the Day for April 3, 2009: 

Came across this article in the CFIDS newsletter. In it, a Japanese women tells of her experience.....

Personal Profile: Ms. Yoko Mitamura:"What CFS Gave Me"

It's sobering to realize that it's not only in the U.S. that CFIDS is misunderstood and patients are accused of just being lazy. Not that I was ever an overachiever, but I'd much rather spend my life earning money, learning new things and doing fun things with my husband instead of resting 12 hours a day.

Rave of the Day for April 3, 2009: 

Thought I'd pass along Michael Moore's newsletter article about the firing of the head of GM. I have to admit I was surprised about it too....


Nothing like it has ever happened. The President of the United States, the elected representative of the people, has just told the head of General Motors -- a company that's spent more years at #1 on the Fortune 500 list than anyone else -- "You're fired!"

I simply can't believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless for the past two days. I keep saying, "Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that? Really? Well, damn! What else can he do?!"

This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business. John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, "What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?" Senator Bob Corker said it "should send a chill through all Americans who believe in free enterprise." The stock market plunged as the masters of the universe asked themselves, "Am I next?" And they whispered to each other, "What are we going to do about this Obama?"

Not much, fellows. He has the massive will of the American people behind him -- and he has been granted permission by us to do what he sees fit. If you liked this week's all-net 3-pointer, stay tuned.

I write this letter to you in memory of the hundreds of thousands of workers over the past 25+ years who have been tossed into the trash heap by General Motors. Many saw their lives ruined for good. They turned to alcohol or drugs, their marriages fell apart, some took their own lives. Most moved on, moved out, moved over, moved away. They ended up working two jobs for half the pay they were getting at GM. And they cursed the CEO of GM for bringing ruin to their lives.

Not one of them ever thought that one day they would witness the CEO receive the same treatment. Of course Chairman Wagoner will not have to sign up for food stamps or be evicted from his home or tell his kids they'll be going to the community college, not the university. Instead, he will get a $23 million golden parachute. But the slip in his hands is still pink, just like the hundreds of thousands that others received -- except his was issued by us, via the Obama-man. Here's the door, buster. See ya. Don't wanna be ya.

I began my day today in Washington, D.C. I went to the U.S. Senate and got into their Finance Committee's hearing on the Wall Street bailout. The overseers wanted to know how the banks spent the money. And many of these banks won't tell them. They've taken trillions and nobody knows where the money went. It certainly didn't go to create jobs, relieve mortgage holders, or free up loans that people need. It was so shocking to listen to this, I had to leave before it was over. But it gave me an idea for the movie I was shooting.

Later, I stopped by the National Archives to stand in line to see the original copy of our Constitution. I thought about how twenty years ago this month I was just down the street finishing my first film, a personal plea to warn the nation about GM and the deadly economy it ruled. On that March day in 1989 I was broke, having collected the last of my unemployment checks, relying on help from my friends (Bob and Siri would take me out to dinner and always pick up the check, the assistant manager at the movie theater would sneak me in so I could watch an occasional movie, Laurie and Jack bought an old Steenbeck (editing) machine for me, John Richard would slip me an unused plane ticket so I could go home for Christmas, Rod would do anything for me and drive to Flint whenever I needed something for the film). My late mother (she would've turned 88 tomorrow if she were still with us) and my GM autoworker dad told me in the kitchen they wanted to help and handed me a check for an astounding thousand dollars. I didn't know they even had a thousand dollars. I refused it, they insisted I take it -- "No!" -- and then, in that parental voice, told me I was to cash it so I could finish my movie. I did. And I did.

So on that March day in 1989, as I was driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, my 9-year-old car just died. I coasted over to the curb, put my head down on the steering wheel and started to cry. I had no money to take it in to be repaired, and I certainly had nothing to pay the tow truck driver. So I got out, screwed the license plates off so I wouldn't be fined, turned my back and just left it there for good. I looked over at the building next to me. It said "National Archives." What better place to donate my dead car, I thought, as I walked the rest of the way home.

Though it wasn't easy for me, I still never had to suffer what so many of my friends and neighbors went through, thanks to General Motors and an economic system rigged against them. I wonder what they must have all thought when they woke up this Monday morning to read in the Detroit News or the Detroit Free Press the headlines that Obama had fired the CEO of GM. Oh -- wait a minute. They couldn't read that. There was no Free Press or News. Monday was the day that both papers ended home delivery. It was canceled (as it will be for four days every week) because the daily newspapers, like General Motors, like Detroit, are broke.

I await the President's next superhero move.

Michael Moore

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Rave of the Day for April 1, 2009: 


In honor of this most prestigious holiday, heh heh, I thought I'd post a few funnies from Pete. Some are probably re-runs, but, hey, recycling is trendy these days....


1 grapefruit

1 slice whole wheat toast

1 cup skim milk


1 small portion lean, steamed chicken
1 cup spinach

1 cup herbal tea

1 Hershey's kiss

Afternoon Tea
The rest of the Hershey's Kisses in the bag
1 tub of Hagen-Daaz ice cream with chocolate chips


4 glasses Mountain Dew

2 loaves garlic bread

1 family size Meatlovers' pizza

3 Snickers Bars

Late Night Snack
1 whole Sarah Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

Remember: Stressed spelled backward is desserts.


My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.


The best way to forget all your troubles is to wear tight shoes.


Just when I was getting used to yesterday, along came today.

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