Friday, February 26, 2010

Another specialist...

Well, the knee doc can take his grumbling of "no pain meds" and stuff it. This morning I received a call from a pain specialist. At last, I'll be able to sit and discuss my pain issues with someone willing to actually formulate a plan, rather than me saying, "Just write for these meds," then walking out with a pain script.

I've discussed it before, but I think it's time to review my pain issues, as there's now some insight into what's going on in my left foot.

I have one REALLY big pain issue. That is, it encompasses about 80% of my exterior. Diabetic neuropathy causes a burning sensation in my skin about 99% or the time. When my blood glucose rises, the pain gets worse, almost to the point where clothing causes me to whimper.

Next, the complication of the complication known as neuropathy, Charcot's foot. Until the recent MRI revealing the tear in my knee, I thought it was Charcot's joint irritating my left knee. It would seem, however, that it is mostly my feet in which it's occurring. X-rays have shown my feet are already changing shape. I wish they were tranforming so that I'd have little bony wheels that would pop out on command and speed me along, but that isn't the case. In fact, I'm willing to lay odds Charcot's foot is responsible for the bone spur that has developed in my left foot, somewhere near the vicinity of the left great toe. My feet ache all the time.

Let's not forget the severe osteoarthritis in my right big toe.

Then we have my knees. Rumor has it that my right knee is okay. The x-rays and MRI revealed nothing...or so I'm told. But I'm experiencing similar pain in there as the left, although not as severe. My guess would be that there might be micro-tears in there, or at least one, and that's causing me minor discomfort from time to time.

Ah, but finally we have the left knee, with its tear of the medial meniscus. This has been discussed most recently, along with the literally bone-jarring relocation of my tibia when I straighten my knee from an extreme bend. (Idiot Rob isn't wearing his brace at this moment, and I've managed to sit like an idiot...again.) It's the repositioning of bones that has me convinced this will require surgery.

Now to the pain management stuff. Morphine and percocet have been my standbys for the last two years. I am not happy that it has come to this. I wasn't happy then, and I've become increasingly less happy over the years. The body adjusts to such meds, and in two years I've gone from a dose of 15 mg. morphine and 5/325 percocet to 60 mg. morphine and 10/325 percocet. For the latter, that first number represents the milligrams of narcotic in the pills. The doses have gotten higher, and my pains are still becoming greater. Something needs to be done.

But what? I can't receive steroid injections; they mess with diabetes control, which is already a fight for me. I've tried non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds, and reacted with acid reflux for my troubles. Surgery to correct the issues with my feet is dangerous. I don't heal well when it comes to my feet, (and it seems to be only my feet), and then there's the fact that attempting to reshape bones surgically can have no beneficial effect. The deformities can grow right back. What's more, the bones can become more easily infected when traumatized like that, and one case of osteomyellitis is more than enough, thanks.

Ultimately, I'd like to see myself on three pain meds, each with a specific goal in mind. First, I'd like to get the morphine reduced back down to my 30 mg. three times a day. I think I was good there. Continue the percocets specifically for breakthrough pain when it comes to my feet and the like. These two meds are very good when dealing with the physiological pain issues I have.

When it comes to the neuropathy, my best bet would be a drug called Ultram. I was on this stuff for 10 years before I had to switch over to the "real" narcotics, and my opinion is that it works wonders on neurological pain. For me, anyway. All this time, doctors have told me not to take all three painkillers at the same time. My opiate receptors would be dancing a jig inside me, since the Ultram is a NON-narcotic that still works on said receptors. The problem, however, is that I don;t think the percocets work as effectively on my neuropathy as the Ultram. Still, I've been told to take the former for all pains, and leave the Ultram out of the picture.

But I'll tell you a secret. (Some secret, posting on a public forum.) After taking my regular doses of narcotics this morning, I was still feeling neuropathy pain. Instead of taking another percocet, I took an Ultram. I am not pain-free, but I am far more comfortable at this moment than usual. The worst of my pains right now is my left knee, and that's to be expected. This, however, is how I'd rather handle my pain instead of reaching for a narcotic all the time.

Now for my greatest fear. I said a little earlier that the body adjusts to those narcotics, right? I also said I'm fairly certain I'll need surgery. Well, what's going to happen AFTER the surgery. How am I going to handle the pain of recovery when all the pills that can be prescribed aren't nearly as effective? I'll probably end up lying in my room, weeping and praying for death.

Ah, but if it leads to less pain in the end, I'll endure. I have in the past. I just hope the surgery is as simple as I imagine it, because if this requires the removal of the meniscus, I'm going to be in absolute agony. And pain and I...? We're not friends. Never have been, and never will be.

Monday, February 22, 2010

And now for some rage...

Talk about insulting!

I received a phone call this morning from the nurse of the orthopedic specialist I'm scheduled to see. Her message was simple. "You will get no drugs here."

Mind you, I was understanding and courteous when I first received the call. But as the hours ticked by and the more I thought about it, the greater my anger. I mean, in all the years of seeing various doctors for one problem or another, I had never EVER received an advance call like that. I had no intention of asking for narcotics; I have enough, thanks. So what would prompt a doctor to have his staff do such a thing?

Well, my angry call to his office revealed that he had apparently seen just enough of my medical file to know I've been receiving narcotics from my PCP. But did he bother to even look at why I might be coming to see him?

His staff seemed no brighter during my call back. "Does the doctor think I somehow managed to tear my meniscus on purpose in the hopes of receiving drugs?" The nurse managed to stammer that she had no idea what I was trying to say.

I'm trying desperately to do the math on this. It boils down to the simple fact that the doctor didn't really look at my medical file to see what the problem is. He got as far as my regular prescriptions for percocet and morphine and stopped. That's when he decided I must be a drug seeker and had his staff call me. Had he used more of that supposedly highly educated brain, he'd have known to look at the MRI of my knee and kept his presumptions to himself. And whatever was on his mind should have stayed there until he either read that I also have severe osteoarthritis and Charcot's joint and saw good cause for such meds, or until I got to his office to tell me he wouldn't prescribe narcotics.

Right now, I'm ultimately insulted. For the second time, I am being treated like a drug addict. (The other time was by an ER doc who ended up causing serious infection in my foot.) I find it highly insulting. And if this is how he treats other patients, I don't know how the man has remained in medicine.

For the moment, I'm keeping the appointment. I need this leg fixed, and it's the closest appointment I have. But I also have a call in to my PCP's office. If I can get another appointment with another doctor in as little time, I will do so. I will also give this advice: "Before treating me like a drug seeker, read my medical file and look at the damned MRI. Then, if you still think I'm just looking for drugs, THAT'S when you can call in advance and tell me I won't be getting drugs (that I wasn't going to ask for, anyway). Otherwise, until I arrive at the office, don't be an ass and keep your mouth shut."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Precautionary measures

It's a statement to how much I want to go to the meet-up in TN. It shows how much my friends mean to me, and what I'm willing to endure for them. It's...It's...THE DREADED KNEE BRACE!

Years ago, I did something to my knee and required a knee brace for a few weeks. I'm not even sure what I did all those years ago; it wasn't that serious. But I held onto the brace for other incidents, and it made it with me to KS. Now that I know what's going on in my knee, I felt it time to immobilize said knee to prevent further damage. And just how does a guy who sits around all day further damage an injured knee? Well, I applied a similar question to the initial injury. How the heck did I tear my meniscus to start with?!?

The most viable answer would be what friends have called "the Chicken Dance." It's my habit of standing up and kicking my feet backwards toward my butt to put my kneecaps where they belong. I've been doing this for YEARS and have never had a problem before. Alas, I think this is one of those times when age has caught up to me, and my left knee couldn't handle even that menial task.

So that's one thing the brace will prevent me from doing.

The other is sitting like an idiot. That is, I'm rather fidgety while sitting, and one of the positions I invariably end up in is with my left foot tucked under my right thigh. Just after word of the injury came in, i was still doing that...and discovered that getting into the aforementioned position wasn't a problem. Staying in it and getting out of it was. The ache while my leg was bent was annoying, to say the least. Straightening the leg...now THAT was painful, along with the bone-shaking pop-n-grind of my tibia (or patella) returning to it's proper position.

I'm honestly not sure I'm helping things at all at this point, but I don't believe I can be doing any harm. The damage, as far as I know, has been done. Cartilage is some tough stuff. You don't tear it easily. Heck, I don't think it was torn when I was hit by a car when I was 18.

Oh...did I not tell you folks about that one? Well, that's easily remedied.

I was 18 and working at the Leow's Theater in Levittown, NY. I was at least a two mile bike ride home from work, and through a variety of stupid acts, I didn't have my driver's license yet. (Really...What parent takes their kid for a road test with an unregistered vehicle? (My biological mother.)) While I hadn't closed the theater, it had been a late night, so I was cycling home when I'd reached the intersection of Old Jerusalem Rd. and Wantagh Ave. (If you look at a map, you can see that the former moves through onto Gregg Ct., but almost no one pays attention to that fact; hence, it is viewed as more of a T intersection. I was traveling south on Wantagh Ave., and "Mary" was in a car traveling north. Mary, however, decided to make a left onto Old Jerusalem Rd.

back then, when I was on a bike, I was usually taking in everything with my eyes. I would pull some stupid stunts during daylight hours, but at night, my eyes were everywhere. So I saw Mary at the light, signaling, and I thought she saw me, with my bike reflectors all being in place and whatnot. If fact, I'm sure we were both aware of that little law that says "pedestrians have the right of way," so I thought it was okay to continue through the intersection.

I was wrong. Mary did NOT see me, and made her turn just as I was entering the intersection.

This could have been a very messy accident, with the front of her car mowing over me, breaking many, many parts of my insides. But I was young, fit, and on the bounce. (Cookie for the reference. =P) When I saw her car moving, I started to turn with it to avoid the deadlier front end. Instead, I collided with the side of her car, rolling onto the hood.

The immediate results, from what I could see, was a bent front tire on my bicycle. While I straightened it, Mary jotted down her insurance information, and then we went our separate ways.

Yes, I biked the rest of the way home after getting hit by a car.

My father came home shortly after I did and asked me how my evening was.

Me: Oh, not bad. Got hit by a car on the way home from work, but not bad.
Dad: Are you kidding?!?
Me: Nope. Here...Look.

I showed him my lower left leg, which looked as though someone had opened my skin, inserted a golf ball, and then sealed me up as neat as can be. He wanted to take me to an ER right away, but I guess I was still feeling the adrenaline of the accident. I told him it didn't bother me that much and promptly went to bed.

Come the next day, I was singing a different tune. Something in my lower leg hurt, and walking on it was difficult. But by the time we knew something was wrong, it was no longer considered an emergency...not by insurance, anyway. So I went to an orthopedic specialist, who took x-rays and saw I had a hairline fracture on my fibula - the smaller bone in the lower leg. It would not require a cast, just crutch walking for a few weeks.

I would love to say that that was the extent of my injuries, but my knee slowly became an issue over the next few years. I eventually had two arthroscopies on it. The first revealed nothing, which seemed odd to me, as the second involved the removal of what was called "free floating matter" as well as a lateral release. (By age 20, a tendon off to the side had become so tight that it was pulling my kneecap out of joint every time I bent my leg. The tendon had to be cut loose.)

This is why I can say that I'd prefer an arthroscopy. I've had one twice before, (three if you include my right shoulder), and I know the recovery is relatively quick. If I can convince the doc to do it in March, I'll recover through April and be able to make my travel plans in May for the end of June.

Oh, but wouldn't it be nice if I didn't have to deal with such drama at all?

Meanwhile, I'll be a "brace-wearing fool" in an effort to see myself in Johnson City, spending a long weekend with some of the greatest people on the planet Earth. =)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Relief and pain, all at once.

I can stand knowing something is wrong, but not knowing what. Now I know what, and I'm relieved as far as that goes...but it still hurts a heck of a lot!

After several phone calls to my doctor's office, the MRI results are in. I have a torn medial meniscus, which is the cartilage padding between the knee and tibia. (The tibia is that big bone in the lower leg.) This explains why my entire lower leg feels like it's popping back into place when I straighten my knee.

Now, I had a feeling it would be something like this. I was already of a mind that surgery would be required to fix it. Lo and behold, most information on the web says that the only way to repair such a tear is surgery. The severity of the tear will dictate how invasive that surgery is.

I'm hoping for the least of the surgical options, which is to simply remove the torn bit. Take it out and wait for it to heal. This can be done athroscopically, meaninf they poke small holes in my knee, fill it with fluid, then use surgical extensions to go in and take it out.

The other less invasive procedure would involve trying to suture the tear in the hopes that it will heal properly.

But the one I fear most, and pray will not even be an option, it to remove the entire meniscus. That will probably involve opening the knee completely to take the whole thing out. Very invasive, very painful, and promises a long recovery.

That last one...Well, I'm hoping beyond hope that that doesn't become the case. I mean, I'm dealing with a specialist. The soonest they could book me was March 4. With any kind of luck whatsoever, the surgery will take place before March is out. Take the month of April to recovery as completely as I can, given my pre-existing medical conditions, and then go to the GitP meet-up. Because I don't want anything standing in the way of that.

Ah, but I should head for that very thread and let them know what's going on. No all Playgrounders come to read my adventures here, and keeping them in the loop would be a kindness...No?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New nicknames...?

Hmmm..."Gravity Master"...? No, I'm a victim of gravity, and certainly not a master of it. "Air Tripper"...? Well, I often joke that all it takes is one stubborn air molecule to trip me. How about just plain old "Crash?" Because no matter what the cause is, the result is me crashing into something.

I plan on keeping folks apprised of my medical status, as I'm waiting on some MRI results, but last night was...interesting.

I was on my bed and moved to stand up. My left knee refused to accept my weight and gave out on my. It did so painfully, so I yelped and I collapsed in the direction of the nearest wall. That's where Ray found me, leaning at the angle I'd stopped the fall, on the cusp of tears. Ray offered to help, but I was rather stubborn and said that I was able to extricate myself from that position.

I did...then reached for my crutches, which Ray helped me reset to my glorious height of 5' 8". Then, as I tried to get around the house on them, I realized that the narrow hallway of our trailer is not conducive to crutch-walking. Cane-walking it is!

I'm without it today, and I sense that may only be temporary. I'm convinced that something in my knee ripped or has worn itself down to nothing. What that something is, I haven't a clue. That's what the MRI was for. In fact, they took pictures of BOTH knees, since the right isn't in great shape either. I spent close to an hour and a half in that MRI tube, reading a book, and trying not to have...ummm..."naughty thoughts" about the MRI technician, who was both very cute and very married. (Oh, I had started to flirt, only to notice the GIANT rings on her left hand, and gave up swiftly.)

But...yeah, my left knee is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. It's reducing my ability to get around, even when I simply stay home.

And staying home is NOT what I want to do, especially with the warmer months coming up. You see, I just KNOW there's going to be a GitP meet-up in TN coming soon, and a part of me wants to go rather badly. Being in a slightly better financial position, I have every intention of getting a motel room all to myself, because I have yet to successfully end some of my bad habits...or bad HABIT, singular. And I want to show off how good I smell with my new bottle of Red Shirt. "Smell like there's no tomorrow!" Hehehe!

Still, there's been no thread about the pending meet-up. They usually start planning these things months in advance. I tried to reach out to my Hippie friend, but he probably didn't answer my call because it was an unfamiliar phone number. Oh well. We shall see.

Meanwhile, I need those MRI results. I'm in pain. Walking is becoming less than a secondary skill. And if I keep taking these painkillers as regularly as I have been, I'm going to wake one morning to find a hole on the left side of my torso and a note, written by my liver. "I'm sick of your abuse! I'm leaving! Don't try to find me."

"Liverless." It sounds both unique and...death-inspiring.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Still PRACTICING medicine

Since my life has become filled with doctors, the phrase "practicing medicine" has become a bit disturbing. One is left to wonder: when they will stop practicing and get it right?

Well, it's not today. You see, I had my monthly doctor's appointment today, and I received the complete radiology report on the x-rays of my knees and feet.

My knees - Seems there's nothing to see on an x-ray. The bones appear to be exactly where they belong, with nothing noteworthy. Thus, I am actually going for an MRI on each knee tomorrow. The pain has to be coming from somewhere, and I'm determined to find out where.

My feet - this is where medicine takes a turn for the stupid. I received a card in the mail declaring that the x-rays were normal. No part of my was willing to believe that, and I've been telling just about anyone with ears that the x-rays were flat-out lying. I mean, the nurse practitioner I see monthly could see something was wrong. *I* could see something was wrong, and I'm not trained to see it at all. So SOMETHING had to be wrong.

I received the full report at the doctor today. Lo and behold, the report was actually an exercise in dumb. According to the NP, the report started out with a summary that said there was nothing abnormal with my feet. The detailed notes, however, ran down a list of bones that were malformed. I even have a bone spur right around the middle of my left foot that, blessedly, hasn't been bothering me. Despite the laundry list of bones with various defects, the summary managed to say, "No abnormalities."

The whole thing makes me wonder what doctors are learning while in med school. Imagine, if you will, walking into your doctor's office, and the following conversation occurs:

You: So, doc. What were the test results.
Doc: It says exactly what I thought ut'd say. It's still cancer.
You: Wait a minute. I have CANCER?!?
Doc: No...It's STILL cancer.
You: You idiot! You didn't tell me I had cancer to start with!
Doc: Oops. My bad.

I know I have Charcot's joint, with my feet currently being affected the most. But I had these x-rays taken to find out if it was progressing. Obviously, it is. But the idiot doctor making the report shouldn't be reporting it like it's old news. These are my freakin' feet. They're the only set I've got. To report deformities like I should be okay with that, expecting it to just get worse, instead of hoping for it to at least stay status quo, is a level of stupidity that erases the fact that this person received MANY years of higher education.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

...and a furry ball of hate.

One thing I've failed to update people on is Nike's status here in the land of other cats. I thought it would be all-out war, but it seems to have turned into just an ongoing grudge. Nike doesn't like the other cats, and the other cats don't like Nike. It all works out evenly.

This was known to me. Nike doesn't like other animals. Period. But what has taken me off guard is her dislike for my housemates. In fact, she doesn't seem to like anyone who comes here. Hecck, it's possible she's simply tolerating MY existence.

None of us, however, will let her get away with being a grumpy kitty. Cody seems to find it most amusing to pick Nike up, cradle her, and declare, "Let the torture begin!" Then, much to my cat's dismay, he pets her. You would think he was twisting her ear, the way she meows her displeasure. And while vocalizing her anger, she does almost no fighting whatsoever. She lays there and takes it, with her greatest "fighting" action being that she looks around for some kind of aid.

I've been no help when it comes to her pleading eyes and howling. In fact, I often join in on the "petting her to death" method of torture, often telling her, "Yes, it's horrible. Someone who isn't your papa is giving you love, and it's agonizing." I usually toss in the line I've been giving her for years. "It's rough being a kitty."

But she's adjusted as well as anyone could expect. She still growls and hisses at the other cats, but she can finally be in the living room without reigniting the war. She occasionally chases after the smallest cat, Random, simply because she can. For the most part, though, Nike can be found in my room.

I have a theory about that. I mean, Nike will spend time lying in front of the door inside my room, positioned as she used to be when I would keep the door open in my Phoenix apartment. It's as though she's on guard duty, keeping my home free of any other animal invaders. And that, in her little kitty mind, is exactly what she's still doing. To her, my room is the "apartment" she and I share, and the rest of the trailer is "outside." Thus, she is confused and often needs me to escort hr to the kitchen, where her food bowls are. She just can't understand why I've put her food outside our home.

*sigh* I needed to give a lighter report that dwelling on the Julie situation. I want to call, but I am determined to give her a few weeks to cool down. While I remain adamant that I did nothing wrong, her perspective is that I did, and I will apologize...just not right now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Advancing toward the rear."

Such is the alternative name for a "retreat." And today, after a visit to GitP, that's exactly what my brain did.

I went to peek in on the Depression Thread, as I often do, although I don't reply nearly as much as I used to. While various living conditions have changed for the better, my medical and psych problems have changed for the worse. It's an uncomfortable cycle. I am mostly a witness to my body's ongoing rebellion and malfunctioning. When my feet ache after a simple walk through the local Wal-Mart, I often am psychologically exhausted, as it becomes a fight not to break down in tears after I think, I'm 42, my body aches like I'm 70, and all of these beautiful women I'm passing wouldn't want to be with a guy whose body doesn't work properly. And the ladies are just part of it. Some part of my mind still wants kids, yet I don't believe I'll ever have any at the rate I'm going.

The one person I've been most comfortable letting down all of my defenses was Julie. Our friendship transcends what other people call a friendship. Even the closest people tend to have a number of secrets from one another. Julie and I have VERY FEW secrets.

For example, I might joke with my friends that it's been so long since I've been intimate with a woman that my virginity has been refunded. "Yep...Got a certificate in the mail claiming I was a virgin again." This usually gets a laugh, which it's meant to do. But Julie knows even MORE about my woes when it comes to intimacy...details you just don't share when you're shooting the bull with your buddies.

My last post was a rather feeble attempt at distraction. I don't want to dwell on the fact that Julie exploded on my last call to her. What I did to check on her well-being should have been obvious. I love her in a way that transcends mere friendship, is very much along the lines of love of family, and teeters on the cusp of romance without actually falling on the other side of that line. Julie even told her current husband, (number three, for those that are counting), "I come with a Rob."

Now, things have been going on in my life for which I need my Julie. And although it came out angrily, it would seem that there have been events in her life for which she could have used her Rob. Despite all of my efforts to contact her, there was no reply.

Added to this was the fact that Julie has had a troubled past. She's been married twice, and both men did what seemed to be an excellent job at hiding their true nature until after they were wed. The first was physically abusive. The second was psychologically abusive. So extended silence from Julie can only result in me developing nightmare scenarios for what's going on in her life. The worst of which involved her current husband, an ex-special forces military man, losing his cool and bringing her SERIOUS harm. As her silence went on, my imagination just got worse and worse.

I have no other way of reaching her, other than by phone. I have no printer with which to print a letter. My handwriting has gotten worse over the years from neuropathy, which is compounded by the fact that I can't grip a pen for long; a letter is practically out of the question. Thus, in my desperation, I called upon the police, those civil servants that look out for the well-being of the populace, to do a wellness check. Although I was willing to accept that things might not be "well" in her neck of the woods, I wanted to let her know that I was worried, and that I was willing to go to extremes to make sure of it. I didn't ask the police to call me back, but they did, and let me know that she was okay. I was ultimately relieved.

How things fell apart after that doesn't make sense to me. How this is being viewed by ANYONE as me having "called the cops on her" is baffling. I can repeat this until I'm blue in the face, "I did NOT call the cops ON her. I called them to do a wellness check. That's it."

...yet the reply posts on GitP all seem to say the same thing. Several people have made it out as though I called to rat Julie out on something illegal, or that I was trying to control her in some way. If that had been the case, I could have manipulated the courting of her newest husband and kept her all to myself, instead of working rather hard to see them get together.

Then to learn via emotional explosion that things have not been good, and at no time did she make an effort to contact me to let me know. It's not my DEMAND that she keep me in the loop, but it would certainly have helped to let me know so that I would know she was alive...struggling, but alive. I love her, probably more than I love any other friend, and it's upsetting to now know that she didn't deem to keep me in the loop - to leave me wondering - when she should know by now that I am available to her day or night when it comes to venting her woes onto me. In the past, I was her go-to guy when it came to such difficulties. My advice often offered up another perspective, and I was usually capable of bring a smile to her face. But since our last enjoyable call, I seem to have been relegated from "Best friend she has in the universe" to "some guy she knows in KS."

At least, that's how it feels right now. Between the emotional upset I feel over this, and people shoving the idea that I'd "called the cops on her," my brain, once again, shut down on me. I retreated to my room, turned off the light, and slept for many hours, smack in the middle of the day.

Odds are good, or so I hope, that this will all pass. If our friendship is as strong as advertised, one will call the other and we will talk it out. Do I expect her to drop everything to call me? Of course not. I'm simply not that selfish. She has a family, with great responsibilities to go with it. But I'm hopinh she can make a little room for her Rob again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Star Quest: The Blessedly Lost Episodes

That's the working title of what is becoming a group project. And let em tell you, with the amount of upset I've been suffering from the fallout with Julie, I'm glad for the distraction.

I'm not exactly sure how it started, but one of the regulars here at our home is a guy named Wyatt, and he's decided he'd like to be captain of a starship. Like, Star Trek kind of starship. What's more, he's been making everyone he knows an officer aboard his vessel. And on top of that, absolute NONE of the adventures will be serious. It's all silliness and the like, crammed onto a space fairing vessel, with a crew seeking out the next great encounter that they can screw up completely.

I don't want to give away the many ideas that have been streaming out of our heads during brainstorming sessions, but it has been completely decided that I am to be the Chief Medical Officer. We've come up with an alternative name for the medication I'll be administering, but basically it's morphine. Allow me to clarify. As the CMO, I'll be treating EVERYTHING with morphine.

Crewman: Doc, I have a sore throat.
*KSSSST!*
Crewman: Oh, wow...Well, I still have a sore throat; I just don't care about it.
(Then I use the hypospray on myself as well.)
*KSSSST!*
Me: I don't care either.

Mind you, that's just one gag of about a hundred that seems to come to mind every night.

And why mention this little shtick at all? Because there's talk of making it into a bunch of web videos to share with the world. It will likely be filled with all kinds of adult humor, from crude sexual jokes to theme of violence and drugs. And how do we get away with this kind of thing while borrowing directly from the world of Star Trek? Well, it would seem the captain has issues a firm rule aboard his vessel: "Don't tell Starfleet."

Oh...and to further distract me, since I'm the one with the screenwriting program, I've apparently been drafted as the official writer of our "show."

We'll see how it goes. If it works out, I'll share what I can. And if it doesn't work out...well, I'll still share what I can.

Be well.