Life as an Extreme Sport

insert bad Troi impression here

A friend and I were chatting earlier this week during the TV show House, and I did a quick math count of the amount of pain medication I have floating around my own house, at the maximum (right after I’ve filled my prescriptions) and what I have on hand currently. I mostly did this to show that the numbers they were discussing on the show weren’t as high as they were implying. Anyhow, it came up that I really have stopped talking about having and living with a chronic pain problem. I didn’t think this was true until I took the time to look through both journals, and yeah, I guess I have stopped talking about it. I suppose part of it is, really, what do I say? “Woke up this morning. Arm hurts. Got coffee. Dropped yet another mug, because at early’o’clock I can’t seem to remember to use

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The Return of House

House returns tonight, and I’m politely delaying this post for my West Coast friends. However, y’all are SOL after 12am EST. If you haven’t watched the show yet, don’t read the rest of this entry. Anyhow, the much anticipated return of House, and perhaps this year I’ll actually start making more thoughtful posts about it. I do seem to start the beginning of school optimistic that I’ll be intelligent and thoughtful about what I’m watching; always seems to devolve quickly. Of course, the difference is that I’m going to be taking a lot fewer credit hours now, not to mention not teaching or doing anything else – this should lend itself more to thougthful analysis. Tonight’s episode, for example, is an excellent illustration of cost benefit analysis and hospital administraion (Cuddy) versus doctor desire for treatment. Of course, since this is a television drama, at the end Cuddy bends and

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[The Daily] – Medicine or Miracle?

Medicine or Miracle? 2006-05-30 A recent episode of the television show House titled “House vs. God” dealt with the idea of faith healing, something that comes up a lot these days in medical journals. What is the power of prayer? Does faith healing work? Can miracles happen? As many are aware, there have been multiple studies that attempt to look at these subjects, the strongest being that of the effect prayer has on people. Unfortunately, even the people running these studies will tell you they are not well designed, and potentially flawed. This came to light recently when one of the most comprehensive studies on the power of prayer showed that prayer for post-operative cardiac patients actually appeared to have a slightly detrimental effect on the patient. Perhaps this is a reflection of my interdisciplinary training, but I think the much more interesting questions to ask are why miracles can’t

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The Daily [05-08-06] – Dependency vs. Addiction

If this looks familiar to some of the longer-time readers, well… it was a busy week. And besides, the original was pretty good in and of itself. Dependency vs. Addiction Publish Date: 2006-05-08 I meant this column to be about the idea of informed consent. It’s a subject both House and Grey’s Anatomy have covered in their last couple episodes; something I would call a coincidence if they hadn’t been doing this back and forth of show themes for two seasons now. But one evening I managed to find myself on the Television Without Pity Web site, in theory rereading the details of those pertinent episodes of Grey’s and House, when I decided I wanted to read recaps from earlier episodes. That decision led me back to a first-season episode of House titled “Detox.” The theoretical point of this episode was a teenager with bleeding of unknown origin, but the

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Faith Healing and the Body

Tonight’s episode of House dealt with the idea of faith healing, something that comes up a lot these days in medical journals. What is the power of prayer? Does faith healing work? Can miracles happen? I realize it’s a symptom of my interdisciplinary training, and perhaps of being under Phillip’s thumb in particular, but I think a more interesting question is why miracles can’t happen? After all, a miracle is just that which we don’t understand. As has been often remarked, our technically is magic to those who don’t understand how it works, as is often our medicine. The typical example is a cell phone in the rain forest, although I’d argue there’s an awful lot of technology and medicine that might as well be magic for our understanding – there is simply the belief, the faith that it will work, because someone is being told it will work. How

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