Can’t Help Themselves

Ya know, some people just can’t help themselves. After my last post about my experience with monkeypox, most of my feedback was very positive. Of course it was, decent human beings being decent human beings, but there are always those few folks who just can’t help themselves. I write this post to support others vs any defense of my own actions.

I got the typical "are you ok" as an opener on several messages before the bombardment of code words implying some sort of shame or guilt. Ironically, two of them were twisting themselves into knots implying they weren’t referring to me specifically. Being a big boy, I flat out told them I got it at the tubs. And the person who exposed me reached out to let me know. Why? Because he was a responsible adult being a good human being. Duh! I was just unable to get the vaccine in time. The follow up level of backtracking was cute, albeit completely unnecessary. I’m a grown man, I won’t be shamed for my actions when I don’t feel I did anything wrong. Your opinion of my life and/or relationship is just that…yours.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never understood the fascination with shaming folks for communicable diseases. It stems from our institutionalized puritanical nonsense way of thinking, I know, but I’m just so shocked to see so many gay men still embrace it. You’d think after surviving AIDs we’d be better than that. But let you mention the rampant drug use in the gay community and/or the cottage industries built around it, and you’ve done gone too far! (Not that I believe drugs should be criminalized.)

I realize there are levels of compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance going on, but it gets old really fast. We are human beings. We like human touch and **gasp​** sex. We’ve dealt with communicable diseases practically since the beginning our existence and will likely continue to do so until the end of our existence. This puritanical idea of shame is nothing but a waste of time. It serves no purpose other than to establish "those people" in an attempt at disassociation. What has proven to work time and time again is timely intervention thru testing and available treatment. Removing this pathetic idea of stigma increases the likelihood of testing and preventing transmission.

Pox Upon Your House

I couldn’t catch COVID if I tried, but I managed to get Monkeypox right out of the gate. Go figure!

I’ve been exposed to COVID countless times in the last 2 1/2 years and either had it with no symptoms or just didn’t get it. Granted, I’ve had both shots and two boosters. The old roommate had it, the hubby had it, multiple work exposures, and nothing. One exposure to monkeypox and BAM! My case was apparently mild to moderate, depending on who you ask. I will tell you, it didn’t feel so moderate. In a word, it was shit. Not the worst I’ve ever felt, but definitely in the top 10.

I originally noticed a small rash in my armpit. I’m not prone to rashes so it set off alarm bells. There weren’t many places even available for testing so I ended up at the City Clinic. While there, they noticed a couple bumps in my groin area I hadn’t even noticed yet. They were mostly painless and small, but uniquely different than your average pimple. I now know why they call it a pox. The clinic tested me but testing was delayed due to a major influx of requests and the outbreak being relatively new. While they felt I had it, symptoms were mild so they didn’t offer treatment. The treatment drug, commonly referred to as TPOX, is from the national stockpile and in short supply. While they are using the COVID infrastructure to ramp up production, that doesn’t help those sick now.

I left feeling good and looking forward to a week off work. [1]Even though you primarily catch it through sustained skin contact, it is “possible” to catch it from surfaces. They did advise me to isolate.  Fast forward a few days later, the fevers, aches, & chills set in. They were quite unpleasant. The sores started out rather painless and mild w/no signs of spreading. By day four, they had become larger (about the size of a nickel) and little satellite sores were springing up. All of the lymph nodes in my groin area were swollen and very sensitive. Even pressure from laying on my side hurt. Apparently, the pox tends to attack/irritate the nerves and it played havoc with my back. [2]I have a minor bulging disc I manage w/chiropractic care  On day four, the aches/chills/back pain were so intense I’d had enough. I went back to the clinic to get treatment. Thankfully, they agreed my case warranted treatment, but only because I had a mild impetigo (staff) co-infection. This could potentially make me infectious longer and it was decided I was worth treating.

I get that the drug was scarce but in that moment I was irritated at the idea of having to plead my case or with the thought of being denied treatment. The drug is actually used to treat smallpox and has been conditionally approved to treat MP. [3]The viruses are similar enough it works on MP as well.  My pox were spreading as there were multiple new spots coming up in various places on my body. I won’t lie, in that moment I was just grateful to qualify. I know other folks who weren’t so lucky and they had symptoms worse than mine and were initially denied treatment. Within 24 hours, the fevers/chills were all but gone and the back pain disappeared completely.

Fast forward again to today and I’m headed back to work tomorrow. All the smaller pox spots that sprang up are gone and have new skin over the 5 original spots in my groin that were the largest and most sensitive. You are considered ‘contagious’, even on medicine until the scab falls off and there is new skin. If you shower daily, that can lead to fresh scabs daily. Basically, you’ll notice the ‘pox’ look is gone. You can have red, irritated, and even bumpy skin, but as long as the pox itself is gone, you are good to go. I’ve missed roughly 2 1/2 weeks of work. Lawd, baby jeebus I am bored as hell! Video games and tv only go so far. Most people take 3-4 weeks to heal so I’m slightly ahead of the curve. I think only because I sought treatment.

Of course, the usual crew of judgmental queens are trashing people online for being “slutty”. Except it is not spread only thru sex like traditional STI’s. Many of the folks I know that were exposed and/or contracted it did not get it thru sexual contact. You can get it from any environment where you touch skin with someone. You can be in a bar, a party, a fair, etc. The incubation period is 2-3 weeks so you can have it, have minor bumps or pimples, and not even know you are contagious. For the pissy folks, all I can offer is a sound, “bless your heart.” As for me, what you think of me is really none of my business.

If you aren’t vaccinated, make an effort to do so. If you are in an area w/no outbreaks, it may take you awhile as the vaccine is in short supply. They will most likely prioritize high-risk folks first. However, supply is ramping up. It is recommended to get the vaccine, even if you start showing mild symptoms. Once you develop full symptoms, the vaccine is no longer necessary. You also do not need vaccination once you get over an MP infection.

The government has been a bit slow to ramp up response as it isn’t like COVID. The spread right now is mostly contained to the LGBTI community. And while it may seem like they are doing nothing, that is not the case. The system isn’t designed to mobilize until a certain threshold is reached for diseases like MP. While part of me knows that, it doesn’t help that the other part of me that suffered needlessly isn’t still angry. I do hope they realize due to globalization, the old slow method should be update.

The good news, is vaccine and treatment are both being ramped up. Don’t let the shortage now put you off from getting vaccinated. I can assure you, it is worth the effort. You do not want to go thru the symptoms. Keep checking w/your local sources, usually your health dept, City government website/phone line, and/or insurance provider.

As for me, I’m healed up now and grateful to be over it. I even missed work a little. The one additional downside, I missed a trip to see my two besties for one of their birthdays, which was a deep disappointment. I was borderline by the day of the flight, but I didn’t want to chance it. No on wants to be the one that brings the gift that keeps on giving… lol

Be well!

 

References

References
1 Even though you primarily catch it through sustained skin contact, it is “possible” to catch it from surfaces. They did advise me to isolate.
2 I have a minor bulging disc I manage w/chiropractic care
3 The viruses are similar enough it works on MP as well.

Pride…

…otherwise known as GHHD1 [1]Gay High Holy Day #1 is this month. And again this year we see people in a pissing match about changes to the Pride flag. It’s downright embarrassing at times. While I tend to avoid the keyboard warrior approach, after more than a few disparaging comments, I have a few thoughts….

Claiming the flag was designed in its original form to include everyone, while technically true, is irrelevant. If you actually knew your “herstory,” you would know it was changed almost immediately after it came out. It is not sacrosanct. And nowhere did the original creator say or even infer the flag should never be changed. The only constant in life is everything changes. The flag is what we make it.

I personally like the original version only for its simplicity. It calls to me with the meaning and design. I also originally liked the idea of keeping it the same, but I listened, I learned, and I understand better now. [2]Not so hard really  And considering how co-opted the flag has become by corporations, who just want our money, I also like the idea of the new variations.

And I’m about to step on some feelings here, but it’s meant as tough love. Exactly why is it most of the complaints are coming from cis white gay men (CWGM)? Mmhmmmmmm? If you don’t like the variations of the flag then use the one you like. No one is forcing you to do otherwise. Like seriously, how are you in any way harmed? [3]The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything. 

A lot of CWGM feel attacked anytime someone calls out how often our PoC, Trans, Non-binary cousins etc aren’t as accepted in our community. And it’s good you still feel uncomfortable, it means there is still good in you. But, it is time to stop pussyfooting around and own our part. I say our because I am a CWGM. If I can learn and grow so can you. Channel those feelings in the pit of your stomach into something useful. And a word to the wise, you can disassociate any personal involvement because you’re not one of the bad gays, but that doesn’t erase the issue. You can do better by just closing your mouth, taking a seat, and listening.

You have to ask yourself, is it any real surprise many groups in our alphabet mafia [4]lovingly borrowed from TikTok don’t feel included? CWGM have spent decades using phrases like “no fats, no fems, no black, asians, straight acting only, etc“. How can you be shocked these same groups do not feel recognized? We don’t want lesbians in our bars. We don’t want trans men in our play spaces. We don’t want fem men virtually anywhere, except drag. Come on! Deep down you know why. These stigmas persist even today all over this country.

Being gay didn’t erase racism or the privilege many CWGM are afforded in society. And while you can’t always control that, it’s ok to acknowledge and accept it. You don’t need to get your knickers in a twist just because someone calls it out. Let that uncomfortable awkward feeling guide you to do better. If we did a better job making others feel included instead of “less than” us, maybe they wouldn’t need or want their own version of the pride flag. Frankly, collectively they outnumber us so be grateful the shoe isn’t on the other foot.

So… I humbly ask anyone reading this to try a different path. Instead of complaining about what the flag should be, just accept that no one person owns the Pride flag. Nor does any single group in our community own the flag. You don’t get to tell others what the Pride flag means to them. You don’t get to tell them they can’t make changes. Instead, use whatever version you feel connected too and let others do the same. /rant

*

I’ll most likely be working on Pride this year. While I have my issues with the commercialization of Pride, with recent events it is clear we still very much need it. I volunteered for the field detail overseeing medical dispatch for the fair. I have worked it for years prior to the pandemic. After the lockdowns, I’m now eager to be out there again seeing the sea of faces.

Whatever your path, I wish you a happy, safe AND inclusive Pride.

And as always, hope springs eternal….

References

References
1 Gay High Holy Day #1
2 Not so hard really
3 The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything.
4 lovingly borrowed from TikTok

Nose Knows

I’ve needed a medical procedure for my nose for years now. I’ve been putting it off, but the necessity finally came due and I went thru with it. It didn’t help I had a deviated septum and naturally very narrow passageways combined.

I first noticed the problem after developing an unconscious habit of sniffing to breathe. I guess my body was compensating for the reduced airflow. [1]Shawn was convinced it was more habit than reaction  I also snored more. Throw in the additional effect of allergies, it would get so bad at times I’d lay down for a nap and my nasal passages would completely close up. (My allergies were more constriction than congestion.)

After a while I started using Afrin to help open up my airways at night so I could sleep better. It worked great but wasn’t really a permanent solution. And then…the pandemic hit. Between lockdowns and procrastination, I kept putting off the surgery. That didn’t work out so well. Apparently, Afrin enlarges the prostate. (Who knew?) So, the time came to bite the bullet and “get’ter done.”

Part of the reason I kept putting it off is the docs’ always said it’s an “uncomfortable” procedure, which is code for painful…and it was. However, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It’s outpatient so I wasn’t expecting a huge ordeal. You pass 50 and suddenly everyone thinks you’re made of glass. During my pre-op with my regular doctor, they were concerned about a small defect in my heart. I’ve had a slightly irregular heartbeat for over a decade and it causes me no problems. However, now that I’m over 50 you’d think my heart was about to give out. And this is a week prior to the surgery. Of course, this also requires a negative covid test, which has to also be scheduled separately and I can’t use a home test.

I managed to get the appointments in time. I show up and they can’t get my heart rate over 140 for a while because…*drumroll*…. I workout 4-5 days a week and my heart is more than used to the stress! After 10 full minutes of speed & incline increases every minute, we finally get to a point where I’m in an all out sprint running uphill. And I’m expected to keep it up for a full two minutes. I won’t lie, the incline made a huge difference, but I made it. The techs were cooing over how awesome my blood pressure was the whole time. Needless to say, I passed the effin’ test. D

Due to timing of the first covid test, now I have to go for a second one prior to the actual surgery. Joygasm!

The surgery was roughly 2 hours and I’m out the whole time, of course. The staff and docs were all great. I have zero complaints about my care. Naturally, the anesthesiologist didn’t give two shits about my very minor heart defect and was bewildered as to why I even needed it. Shawn came to get me and after-care was relatively simple. [2]He was tickled by my apparent incoherence as I slowly shrugged off the haze of anesthesia. The pain was manageable with hydrocodone the first night and day after, and by the third day I was just using Advil. Luckily, they don’t do the bandage-stuffing anymore. (It’s often messy and adds to the discomfort.) Instead, they inject foam which dissolves on its own over time. Shawn totally dodged that bullet! Heehee

They tell you to expect random bleeding and they weren’t joking. The bleeding was minor if not incessant for the first couple days. Afterwards, it was just an annoyance. I had two stents put in and taking them out a week later was an experience on its own. One got stuck and he had to “work” that thing like a male escort at a Republican convention. Ironically, the other one hurt more. It came right out but I thought he was pulling my brain out through my nose for a second. As soon as they were out, no more pain, just a mild throbbing discomfort.

Fast forward a week and a couple days, the nose is still swollen inside and a bit gunky but I am noticing a difference. The doctor was very happy with the results. In my case, it may not be a 100% fix due to the aforementioned narrow passageways; however, any improvement is good at this point. I’m eager to see how it affects my breathing at night without the Afrin. Shawn says I’m already not snoring so it’s looking good so far.

Hope springs eternal…

References

References
1 Shawn was convinced it was more habit than reaction
2 He was tickled by my apparent incoherence as I slowly shrugged off the haze of anesthesia.

Twit

Thoughts on 3lon buying the blue bird?

For myself, I barely use Twitter anymore so I’m not trying to necessarily pick a side here. I am deeply concerned about how this will unravel though. He has plans to fundamentally alter Twitter IMO. Like it or not, Twitter has become a household name. It is a mass communication tool with global reach.

I’ve already seen folks within the #alphabetmafia applauding his purchase. I wonder if they’ve thought this through. Twitter will now be privately owned, which means he can do whatever he wants with it (within some limits). He can dis(allow) any content he deems (un)worthy. He could try to monitize it thru more than just ads. What happens if he does and decides porn is no longer allowed? Can you say “Tumblr?” You may not care if porn gets the axe, but LGBT+ issues are routinely flagged as “adult material” online.

He may be the new sole owner but he leveraged that purchase and he will want a return on his investment. Keep in mind, this all started because he was censored for spreading conspiracies. Who will keep that in check now? I mean Twitter wasn’t doing a bang up job before, but there was some effort to keep it honest.

I have no idea how this will play out. I don’t have any immediate plans to delete my accounts. I also wish I could say I don’t care, but I do. The ramifications of this are breathtaking.

A single man just bought a social media company with over 300 million users. What does that kind of wealth say about our society? What does it say about our future?

Zombie Rage

If ya know me, you know I’m not a religious person. In my opinion, organized religion has become a cancer in society. It should be excised from daily life or discussions. Like your private parts, it should be shared only when asked. . .

I posted a pic of the hubby and I to FB this past weekend of us at the park enjoying the day. It was the Hunky Jesus celebration that usually happens every year in SF for Easter. [1]Excepting covid years. We had a friend in town and wanted to hang out with him. Since he wanted to go to the park, we tagged along.

Anyway, Karen proceeds to send me this long rant on FB Messenger telling me how offensive it is to refer to Jesus as a Zombie. So I replied, “1) it’s a joke, 2) I don’t believe in your Jesus, 3) I don’t care.” I had neither the time nor inclination to discuss the hilarious ironies she was so clearly missing.

That apparently REALLY set her off! *giggle* She went on an even longer rant about how evil and perverted gay people were and basically nailed every broken stereotype possible to try and offend me. Rather than waste any real effort on this gem of a human being, I replied, “perhaps you should look up the Hunky Jesus contest in San Francisco ma’am.” She apparently did and came back with a short but varied list of our evils and horrible ways I was going to die.

Moral of the story? Don’t troll random people on the internet because of “your beliefs.”

References

References
1 Excepting covid years

Right

I had a female scream at me a week or so back after I almost hit her with my motorcycle when she walked out in front of me at an intersection. She launches herself full speed into the intersection right in front of me. On a side note, I actually encounter this question a lot in my job too.

My first reply was, “even if you were right, would you rather be right or dead?” That, of course sent her into another screaming fit of “the pedestrian always has the right of way,” which is wrong. I didn’t have time to keep screaming back so I drove away leaving her screaming like an idiot.

The pedestrian has first dibs on “right of way” at an (un)marked crosswalks. [1]California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers  If neither party has committed to the intersection, the pedestrian always gets first dibs. The latter is where most people get confused. If a vehicle(s) enters an intersection from either side, pedestrians do not have the right of way over the vehicle.

Now, does that mean the vehicle is free to run you over? Of course not, the statute spells out the requirements to slow and proceed with caution. On my incident above I was fully in the intersection crossing and almost into the opposing crosswalk when Karen decided to launch into it. Yes, I had enough time to slam on the brake and not hit her However, another foot closer and she would have been sticky putty under my wheels.

So, now you know. Don’t be a Karen, More importantly, don’t let the epithet on your tombstone be, “he had the right of way“.

Now…get off my lawn you crazy kids!

References

References
1 California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers

V-Day

Yet another made up holiday is fast approaching. Whether you are single or not, please do not let it get you down. Way too much emphasis is spent on some randomly made up day to show “your love.” If anything it’s just another commercial scam to increase consumerism. Frankly, if you truly love or care for someone, you shouldn’t need a day to tell/show them. More astutely, it is and should not be some sort of signal you are less than others simply because you are not currently coupled.

While I am currently in a LTR, Shawn and I do very little for the holiday. We basically acknowledge it and move on. There is no pressure, expectations, or obligations for either of us to “demonstrate” our affections. We each find our own way to show each other we care on a regular basis.

So if you are dreading the adnauseam ads and displays, I’m with you. Hang in there, it will be forgotten the very next day.

hugs and tugs

Tinkering

This thing has been running awhile without much tinkering on my part. However, as everything keeps getting upgraded, some old plugins have been depreciated or abandoned by their creators. It is time for me to start updating and replacing older plugins w/new ones.

You could care less, I’m sure; however, the blog may display unexpected delays or errors while I work on it. For you subscribers, I’ll turn off the auto notify feature so you don’t inadvertently get spammed. One of the plugins being replaced has to do with hidden or private posts on my blog. My concern is after I remove the plugin the other one may suddenly see new posts and try to blast out emails. A small but possible error. I rarely most my daily/weekly journal updates simply because they are many and very tedious. I’d hate for the site to start blasting hundreds of those out. lol

So if you visit and notice errors, downtime, or random stuff is missing, don’t fret I haven’t gone anywhere.