Archive for Interesting Medical Stuff

Gregg Allman Recovering From Liver Transplant Surgery in Jacksonville


Gregg Allman returned Wednesday to where his career started four decades earlier to get a new lease on life.

Hours after undergoing a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the Southern rock pioneer and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band said he was feeling “pretty good,” according to a statement released by the hospital.

Allman, 62, who lives near Savannah, Ga., has been getting treatment for hepatitis C since late 2007. But the damage to his liver had become so great that doctors at the Mayo Clinic placed him on a waiting list for a new liver in February.

The singer and musician, whose hard living turned him into an emblem for rock ’n’ roll’s excesses, has admitted to drug use in the past. But he has said he may have contracted the disease from getting a tattoo.

“I changed my ways years ago,” Allman said in the statement, “but we can’t turn back time. Every day is a gift, and I can’t wait to get back on the road making music with my friends.”

Get well soon, Mr. Allman! Your fans are pulling for you. Now about that tattoo thing….my momma is talking about getting a tattoo of a butterfly, and I’m going to use you as an example of why not to get one!

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SwampMan’s Surgery Is Over

SwampMan’s basal joint surgery was today. We arrived at 10:30 a.m. and were able to leave after recovery @ 5 p.m. Since SwampMan didn’t get to eat or drink after midnight, I didn’t get to eat or drink after midnight either (grin). As soon as he disappeared into surgery at @ 12:30, I lit out o’ there like my tail was on fire to grab some lunch. If y’all ever have a reason to be in Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute about lunchtime, I highly recommend the Cuban sandwich at Bones Cafeteria. I was probably making orgasmic noises as I munched that sucker over in the corner. The sweet tea was good, too.

SwampMan is, by nature, a tactiturn man who does not talk to (a) strangers, (b) women, and especially (c) strange women. People who meet us think that I’m the talkative one in the family because I have to do the talking for both of us, when in reality at home I am the quieter of the two. When I was brought into the recovery room, SwampMan told me that he had been babbling. “Babbling?” I queried. “Yeah, I can’t stop talking!” That was unusual. Usually I have to threaten him, with little success, to make him talk to people . What could he have been talking about? The weather?

His nurse stopped by to check on him. He asked if he’d been babbling. “Maybe”, she replied. On subsequent visits, she congratulated us on having paid the house off last year, that we drove old vehicles that were paid for, and that we had no debt to speak of. She knew that we had an 8-year-old granddaughter, a grandson turning 6 next week, and one that had turned 3 last week. She knew that our daughter had married a DamnYankee which earned a glare at SwampMan from me, and an apology from SwampMan, because that nice woman had a DamnYankee accent if I ever heard one. SwampMan had given her a colorful account of various relatives. She knew where I worked. She knew where he worked. She knew that he had named our daughter after his St. Bernard and that now she works with animals. If he told her how much weight I’d gained over the past year, she had mercy on him and didn’t reveal that knowledge. She asked him if he had to urinate. “No, and I don’t have to pee, either!” His nurse laughed. He looked startled, like he didn’t know that he had said it out loud.

His doctor told me that he was going to have a lot of pain tomorrow because his bone that was carved out was “HUGE”. Well. He does look like he has a lot of neanderthal in him. He’s in a lot of pain now and will have to sleep in his La-Z-Boy with his arm elevated. I will be sleepin’ in my La-Z-Boy (elegant living ain’t for us!) beside his so that if he needs anything in the night, I can get it for him. Then off to work in the morning for me, but not for him. He still thinks he’ll go Wednesday, but has arranged for a week off if he absolutely needs it. He’s SUPPOSED to be off for two weeks. He doesn’t even go in to get his dressings changed/cast put on for 10 days.

The babbling phase has ended, and SwampMan is alternately snoozing in his chair and watching the Hysterical Channel. I’m a little concerned because he’s not very adept at manipulating objects with his left hand, plus he has the basal joint arthritis in that hand as well. He needs help getting out of the chair and getting into the chair but perhaps that will be better by tomorrow. I hope. He can’t open his pain medication. When he takes it, he doesn’t remember that he has taken it, so I don’t want to leave it open, either.

I better get to sleep now because I think it’s gonna be a long night!

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Got a Relative on Dialysis? You Should Know What Obamacare Has Planned for Them

From Forbes:

Compared to the baseline wave (conducted in June 2009), medical directors report a significantly higher awareness of the ESRD bundle and have become decidedly more negative about the impact to patient outcomes. Close to three-quarters of the respondents now expect bundling to have a “negative” impact on patient outcomes, compared to 43% in June. An area of particular concern for the research participants is the inclusion of oral medications (phosphate binders and cinacalcet) in the proposed rule, which was released in September.

Almost half of the respondents indicated active or planned pilot programs to evaluate the impact of various clinical strategies under the new payment system. A majority of respondents anticipate a decrease in the use of ESAs through a shift to subcutaneous dosing, potentially lower hemoglobin targets and dose limitations in select patients. In bone and mineral metabolism, more than half of the medical directors suggest that a shift to calcitriol (from Abbott’s Zemplar and Genzyme’s Hectorol) is likely and a major offset to Amgen’s Sensipar is projected. And although an increase in the use of calcium based phosphate binders was deemed to be “not in the best interest of the patient” by a majority of medical directors, future market share projections indicate increased use of these agents in place of more expensive, non-calcium agents such as Genzyme’s Renagel/Renvela and Shire’s Fosrenol.

The third wave of this research will be fielded following the release of the final rule which is expected in the next few months.

Commentary from somebody who has a loved one on dialysis:

Did you get that? What the doctors have established as the best care for ESRD? They can’t give you that under Obamacare and they have been figuring out the minimum they can do on what they will have now that will keep you alive – barely. This is important for you to understand. This is real. It is happening right now under Obamacare. Am I reaching you yet?

What this is, is people who have been forced into Medicare by machinations designed to help the poor and unless they can pay for the treatment on their own without the assistance of insurance, because private insurers won’t cover it, because the government covers it … they are now subject to rationing. Was that clear enough? I can never tell. This is your future.

I don’t expect you to give a rat’s ass about people with a disease you’ve never heard of, getting ‘free” treatments when – if poor – they would probably be dead, so beggars can’t be choosers. I expect you to understand that the way this works is the way Obamacare will work and while it’s admirable to care for the poor, the people who are average, middle class workers are sucked under and their options are stripped from them. And. At the whim of the government. They are looking at a modern zombieland with no way to save themselves from the budget cuts. Their treatments will be cut from the more expensive drugs and care that keeps them active and productive, to just barely enough to keep them breathing and there is not a damned thing they can do about it unless they are rich.

This, my friends, is YOU in five years. Never has a Medicare cut demonstrated more clearly that the government, when given the power of life and death over people, will begin by allowing you to live – and thanks a lot for that, btw – and then when money is tight or priorities are different, they drop you into the abyss. You’re ability to find your own way – all avenues you might have used to save yourself are cut away because the private sector cannot compete, and WILL not complete with the US Government.

Starting in 2011, your life will be in danger from the Federal Government if you require dialysis.

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Oral Sex Can Cause Cancer

Well, not the sex, but the nasty little diseases that are picked up along the way. After all, you don’t know where that thang’s been!

DALLAS, Texas — Some dentists are sounding the alarm about oral cancer and young people. The number of cases is way up, and the problem isn’t tobacco.

Dr. Lee Fitzgerald can detect oral cancer lesions with a machine that uses various wave lengths of light. He blames the increase on HPV, a common sexually transmitted virus.

Dr. Fitzgerald is seeing more young people walking in with lesions.

“They need to know that a lot of different behaviors have consequences for becoming infected,” Dr. Fitzgerald said.

The numbers are real: Oral cancer kills one person every hour. If you survive it can be disfiguring.

A study published in the journal “Head And Neck” finds a link between HPV and the increase in cases of a certain oral cancer called nasopharynx. Read the rest here:

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Overweight People Live Longer

January 28, 2010 — Current body mass index (BMI) thresholds for overweight and obesity may be overly restrictive for older people, according to the authors of a cohort study published online January 27 and in the February print edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

“Obesity is a global epidemic that is prevalent in developed and developing countries; affects people of both sexes and all ages; and has negative health consequences (ill health, disability, and mortality), economic costs, and social implications,” write Leon Flicker, PhD, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues. “In industrialized countries, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in older people is a growing public health concern, particularly because sustained aging of their populations is expected to continue for many decades, and obesity and aging represent large components of healthcare spending.”

The study goal was to assess all-cause and cause-specific mortality associated with underweight (BMI, <18.5), normal weight (BMI, 18.5 – 24.9), overweight (BMI, 25.0 – 29.9), and obesity (BMI, ≥30.0) in an older population. In the Health in Men Study and the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health, 4677 men and 4563 women aged 70 to 75 years were recruited in 1996 and followed up for up to 10 years. The main study outcomes were relative risk for all-cause mortality and specific mortality related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.

Overweight participants had lowest mortality risk, with risk for death for overweight participants 13% less than for normal-weight participants (hazard ratio [HR], 0.87; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 – 0.94). Obese and normal-weight participants had similar risk for death (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.85 – 1.11).

Across all levels of BMI, being sedentary doubled the mortality risk for women (HR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.79 – 2.41) but was associated with only a 28% greater risk for men (HR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.14 – 1.44).

"These results lend further credence to claims that the BMI thresholds for overweight and obese are overly restrictive for older people," the study authors write. "Overweight older people are not at greater mortality risk than those who are normal weight. Being sedentary was associated with a greater risk of mortality in women than in men."

Limitations of this study include observational design, measurement of height and weight only once at study entry, use of BMI as a surrogate measure of body fat, reliance on self-reported height and weight, and lack of generalizability to older people who are frail and at risk for death.

"A greater risk was found for extreme obesity," the study authors conclude. "Mortality risk must be balanced by the potential loss of physical function associated with obesity…. Overweight older people are not at greater mortality risk, and there is little evidence that dieting in this age group confers any benefit; these findings are consistent with the hypothesis that weight loss is harmful."

Overweight people have a greater bone density/mass than underweight people. A big factor for mortality in older people, especially women, are hip fractures. Older people with life-threatening illnesses that are thin do not have the nutritional resources to carry them for a prolonged period of time. Sedentary older women’s higher death rate can probably be attributed to the fact that weight-bearing exercise builds bone mass.

So, if you are of an age where you don’t give a rat’s ass how you look in jeans, go ahead and eat that fried chicken. It could save your life one day.

All of these fat phobic people really ought to look at some old photographs and paintings if they think that being “overweight” is a recent phenomenon. What is ridiculous is these Hollywood “beauties” that are terribly bony and underweight with collagen lips and silicone breasts. And even those are photoshopped to make them appear even thinner!

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GI Anthrax Diagnosed in New Hampshire Woman, Or What the News Leaves Out

I read this account last night about a woman contracting anthrax (which is rare, but cases have occurred from handling unprocessed imported hides).


STRAFFORD, N.H. — Investigators are trying to determine if a woman who took part in an African drumming circle got anthrax from her drum.

The woman from Strafford, New Hampshire got sick earlier in December, and is now in critical condition in the hospital.

State officials believe she may have breathed in anthrax spores, which can occur naturally in animal hides. Officials are asking anyone who attended drumming events at the Waysmeet Center between October and December to contact them.

She breathed in anthrax spores? That would mean that she has inhalational anthrax, right?


CONCORD, N.H. — State and federal authorities are searching for the naturally occurring (Editor’s note: Naturally occurring? Says who?) source of anthrax that has left a New Hampshire woman in critical condition.

State public health director Dr. Jose Montero says the woman from Strafford County became ill in early December. Authorities have confirmed she is suffering from gastrointestinal anthrax and are investigating whether the anthrax spore came from an African drum she took to a drum circle event at the United Campus Ministry at the University of New Hampshire.

Montero says investigators are testing the drums because two recent anthrax cases in New York and Connecticut were related to animal hides. He says anthrax is not transmitted from person to person and the public is not at risk

Hunh. She clearly didn’t “breathe in” spores that caused her case of GI anthrax.

Disease from exposure to anthrax spores comes in three forms: Cutaneous anthrax (from spores entering the skin through a cut), inhalation anthrax (inhaling the spores), and intestinal anthrax (swallowing the spores in undercooked meat from diseased animals). Unless she was chewing on the drum or had recently been out of the country into an area where anthrax is endemic and eaten diseased, undercooked meat contaminated by anthrax spores, I have to wonder about the etiology of this. I also have to wonder about the sloppy reporting that gives the impression that inhaling spores causes GI/intestinal anthrax.

Per the CDC:

While the biowarfare and bioterrorist development of anthrax has focused on inhalation, ingestion has been considered as well. The Japanese experiments in China during the 1930s and 1940s included attempts to poison children with chocolate impregnated with anthrax (31). More recently, the apartheid government of South Africa had developed biological weapons, including another attempt at anthrax-containing chocolate (32). Given the large community outbreak of salmonellosis caused by an intentional contamination of restaurant salad bars the in United States by the Rajneeshees (33), awareness of the potential for GI anthrax due to bioterrorism is important.

In conclusion, GI anthrax is probably greatly underreported in rural disease-endemic areas of the world. The spectrum of disease, ranging from no symptoms to death, has not been fully appreciated. Awareness of anthrax in a differential diagnosis remains important in disease-endemic areas and also in settings of possible bioterrorism.

So, GI anthrax is rather rare even in rural disease-endemic areas of the world (where it may be underreported) and, when it appears outside those areas, we need to consider bioterrorism. Just how rare is it?

BACKGROUND: Bacillus Anthraces is a non-motile, rod like, gram-positive and aerobic bacillus that produces central oval-shaped spores and characterized by rough, irregular and often comma-shaped colonies in blood agar. About 95% of human anthrax is cutaneous and 5% respiratory. GI anthrax, a very rare type, has been reported in less than 1% of all cases. We thus report a case of GI anthrax with autopsy findings. CASE REPORT: A 15-year-old young adult man was admitted to our hospital with history of fever, abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea from 48 hours after ingestion of half-cooked sheep’s meat. In endoscopic exam of upper GI tract, the esophagus had been filled with fresh blood without any varices, stomach showed evidence of hemorrhage and had multiple erosion but no ulceration of duodenum. Penicillin G 24,000,000 U/day IV was started but unfortunately severe upper and lower GI hemorrhage developed, leading to hypotension and death. In autopsy, ascites, paraaortic and mesenteric lymphadenopathy was accident with some of them being hemorrhagic. The spleen was slightly enlarged with hemorrhagic congestion in some parts of it. In the blood sample drawn from the spleen, the filamentous bacillus was successfully found. CONCLUSIONS: Because of the fatal nature of the disease and the similarity of the signs and symptoms to the other gastrointestinal diseases, we should consider it as one of the probable differential diagnosis in the patients with upper and lower gastrointestinal bleeding with fever esp. in the endemic areas.

Less than 1% of anthrax cases are GI? Very rare indeed. The case listed just above became ill just 48 hours after ingestion? I suppose that would vary from person to person with the amount of infection present in the meat/spore count. The CDC, in investigating cases of GI anthrax in Thailand, found a mean time between ingestion and symptoms of @ 42 hours. Children in Africa that ingested undercooked contaminated meat in another case perished in @ 24 hours after ingestion.

So, how big of a risk could drums really pose for contracting GI anthrax? Not much, unless she ate the drum.

How is anthrax transmitted?
B. anthracis spores can live in the soil for many years, and humans can become infected with anthrax by handling products from infected animals or by inhaling anthrax spores from contaminated animal products. Anthrax can also be spread by eating undercooked meat from infected animals. It is rare to find infected animals in the United States .

Am I at risk for anthrax from animal hides or hair, or from making a drum from these products?
Animal hides pose a low risk of cutaneous (skin) anthrax, and an extremely low risk of inhalation anthrax. Exotic animal hides may pose a higher risk for exposure than domestic (U.S.-origin) hides. The risk of contracting Bacillus anthracis from handling individual hides is believed to be very low; however, the industrial processing of hides or hair has historically been associated with increased risk of anthrax. Such industrial handling of large numbers of hides or hair from multiple animals results in prolonged direct contact with contaminated materials, often in enclosed or poorly ventilated settings. Among the 236 cases of anthrax reported to CDC from 1955 to 1999, 153 (65%) were associated with industrial handling of animal hide or hair. Only 9 of the 153 cases (6%) associated with industrial handling of hair or hide were inhalation anthrax. (Editor’s note: Apparently none of those cases were GI anthrax.)

Am I at risk for anthrax from my souvenir animal hide drum?
The risk of acquiring anthrax from an animal hide drum is very low. Of 236 cases of anthrax reported to CDC from 1955 through 1999, only one case of cutaneous anthrax was associated with a goat hide bongo drum purchased in Haiti . No cases of inhalation anthrax in the US have ever been associated with animal hide drums. The New York patient’s exposure occurred when he was making and finishing drums made from untanned animal hides, and was not associated with playing finished drums. His exposure was similar to that experienced during industrial handling of hides, which has previously been associated with an increased risk of anthrax. CDC does not currently recommend prophylaxis for persons who have had contact with animal hide drums. However, drum owners or players should report any unexplained fever or new skin lesions to their healthcare provider, and describe their recent contact with animal hide drums.

Recent cases of anthrax in USA related to importing untanned hides from Africa for drums (September 2007).

Mayor Mark D. Boughton of Danbury said the house was being used to store untanned animal hides obtained from areas of the world where anthrax is known to be common.

At least one of the patients is believed to have contracted cutaneous anthrax from working with the hides, Mayor Boughton said. Local and state officials were examining the patient’s house in an effort to pinpoint the source of the anthrax, Mayor Boughton said.

It is the second time in two years that African drummers in the metropolitan region have contracted anthrax.

In both cases, untanned hides for drums were believed to be the source.

These cases were cutaneous anthrax.

To recap: It would appear that if the woman got anthrax from banging on a drum, it would be either cutaneous or inhalation anthrax. No cases of GI anthrax from drum banging has been reported. The most commonly contracted form of anthrax, cutaneous anthrax, was acquired from drumming. People working with/storing hides have come down with inhalational anthrax. Let’s review those causes of anthrax again:

In humans there are three possible forms of the disease anthrax. Historically, the most common form has been cutaneous anthrax, in which the organism enters through a break in the skin. The cutaneous form begins as a papule at the entry site that progresses over several days to a vesicle and then ulcerates. Edema, sometimes massive, surrounds the lesions, which then develop a characteristic black eschar. The patient may have fever, malaise and headache.4 A small percentage of cutaneous infections become systemic, and these can be fatal.

A more serious form is inhalation anthrax. Here the victim breathes in the organism and develops a severe respiratory disease. Systemic infection resulting from inhalation of Bacillus anthracis has a mortality rate approaching 100%. Initial symptoms are vague and flu-like, progressing to hypotension, shock and massive bacteremia and toxemia. The severe symptoms are believed to be the result of the bacillis exotoxins. Early antibiotic treatment is an absolute necessity and should be started during the incubation period if a person has been exposed.5 After acute symptoms have appeared, antibiotics can kill the organisms, but will not destroy the powerful toxins that have already been formed, and the person commonly dies in 2-3 days from respiratory failure, sepsis and shock.

The third form, intestinal anthrax, is contracted from the consumption of contaminated meat. In industrialized countries this is not usually a risk, although rare exceptions have been described. In August 2000, the Minnesota Department of Health was notified that Bacillus anthracis had been isolated from a steer on a farm in Roseau County. The infected steer was one of five dead cattle found in a pasture. On the basis of identification of the bacteria by phage typing of isolates cultured from tissues and blood samples by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, anthrax was confirmed. A report of this incident described the management of and public health response to human exposure to meat contaminated with anthrax.

So, instead of chasing drums, shouldn’t the question be “where did this woman eat anthrax-contaminated meat”? If she didn’t eat anthrax-contaminated meat, where did she acquire this disease? Until such time as the source of anthrax-infected meat is identified, this should be presumed to be bioterrorism. It should also be presumed that there are/will be more cases unless she was in an anthrax-endemic country shortly before becoming ill or ingested undercooked meat originating from said anthrax-endemic country. I certainly hope that hospitals/physicians have been alerted to BOLO for additional cases.

If you work with untreated hides imported from anthrax endemic countries, do yourself a favor and get the anthrax vaccine.


Concord – Two African drums stored at the University of New Hampshire United Campus Ministry have tested positive for anthrax, public health investigators confirmed today.

The young woman with gastrointestinal anthrax who attended a drum circle at the Durham center remains in critical condition, state Public Health Director Jose Montero said.

The state has closed the Campus Ministry, which is unaffiliated with the university, continues to test drums and is asking drum owners who attended the events to call in for possible testing.

Montero said the state lab has sent some samples, including DNA samples, for further testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

About a half dozen attendees have contacted the state health officials, when more than 50 people may have attended the most recent drum circle. Thirty or more drums were stored at the Durham building.

Montero said the unidentified Strafford County woman brought her own drum, which was a synthetic drum, and not one of goat animal skin used in a typical West African drum.
Investigators are probing other possible sources of contamination, including soil, drug and food the woman may have ingested.

1. Her drum was made of synthetic materials.
2. Two African drums stored at the University where the drum circle took place tested positive for anthrax spores (if drums are made of hides imported from Africa or Haiti that are haired or untanned, they have a pretty good likelihood for being positive for anthrax, something that the immunocompromised should be aware of but probably are not).
3. Other people that were at the drumming circle (last month!) are being given antibiotic prophylaxis, although none have showed any symptoms.
4. The mean time between ingestion and symptom onset is @ 42 hours with a variation of 1 to 7 days. The longer periods of time between exposure and symptoms are for inhalation anthrax.

I agree with the antibiotic prophylaxis for the people at the drum circle because it can take 60 days from exposure for pulmonary anthrax to manifest, although people that have contracted pulmonary anthrax from drums were making drums and/or had multiple anthrax-spore-infested hides on the premises, and were exposed to a much higher spore count than what the average drummer/participant would be subject to. While the chance of infection from such an event is *very* low, the fatality rate is very high, and the prophylaxis is inexpensive.

I still wonder how it is that this woman (with the synthetic drum) is the only person that became ill. Did she (or anybody else) have an open drink at the event? Were anthrax-spore-covered cookies served afterwards? If so, how is it that only her drink/food were sufficiently covered in spores so as to cause illness?

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Cocaine Cut With Levamisole


Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, and even more so when laced with another drug that’s commonly used to deworm opossums. Federal agents have found that 69 percent of cocaine shipments seized entering the United States contain levamisole, a veterinary drug linked to serious weakening of the immune system in humans. Here’s the real funny part: no one knows why.

This comes from a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the immune system condition, known as agranulocytosis. The paper tracks 21 cases from New Mexico and Washington State linked to cocaine, including one death, but cautions that many more cases have probably gone under the radar of public health officials.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also noted that 69 percent of cocaine shipments seized as of July 2009 contained levamisole. The CDC has since launched a national surveillance effort to continue monitoring the levamisole link to cocaine.

Perhaps as a sign of the times, the toxicology report from the death of DJ AM in August revealed that the celebrity’s body contained both cocaine and levamisole, along with a lethal cocktail of other drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Benadryl.

Levamisole is an anthelmintic (dewormer) that has been listed as a category C drug in human pregnancy. I suppose that anybody that would be snorting cocaine while pregnant would not be overly concerned with the health of the fetus anyway.

Levamisole also does not mix well with alcohol, so snorting cocaine and drinking is a no no.


SIDE EFFECTS: This medication causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, loss of appetite, stomach pain, change in taste and smell, muscle aches, fatigue, dizziness, headache and skin rash. Notify your doctor if these symptoms become bothersome. Notify your doctor if you develop: flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, weakness, sore throat). If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

PRECAUTIONS: Avoid use of alcohol and alcohol containing products while taking this medication. Severe stomach upset, flushing and headache can occur. This drug is not recommended for use in pregnant or nursing women or in children.

I would think that our politicians are all on levamisole-tainted cocaine but, since they’re all parasites, it seems like they’d all be dead by now. Note to drug lords: Perhaps you should mix cocaine with a stronger dewormer. Much, much stronger.

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Got My H1N1 Shot Today

I haven’t developed odd neurological symptoms, started baying at the moon, or had any other side effects. Didn’t even feel it.

Update: I feel that sucker today! No pain going in, but a sore shoulder today.

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Step Away From the Slim-Fast!

All Slim-Fast canned beverages have been recalled. If you have ’em in the fridge or are planning on drinking them for breakfast or lunch, you might have a temporary weight loss from nausea and vomiting.

Hunh. Maybe I should go out and buy as much Slim-Fast as I can find, and drink one can per day until the new year.

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Sweat Lodge Claims Another Victim

A third person who fell ill during a sweat lodge ceremony near Sedona died Saturday, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Minnesota resident Lizabeth Neuman, 49, died at Flagstaff Medical Center.

Neuman had been in the hospital since more than 20 people who were in the sweat lodge were taken to area hospitals on Oct. 8. It was part of a five-day retreat led by self-help guru James Arthur Ray.

Neuman’s family members last week said she was in a coma with damage to several organs. No other details were released.

The two other people who died, Kirby Anne Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y., and James Scott Shore, 40, of Milwaukee, were laid to rest on Saturday.

More than 100 people attended the funeral for Brown at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Otisville, N.Y. She was remembered by a longtime family friend as a spiritual seeker.

Autopsies were pending on Brown and Shores.

The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether a self-help author who was running the retreat or his staff was criminally negligent.


All of the victims were from the northeast, a place where the citizens don’t normally worry about death from extreme heat and dehydration. The fact remains, however, that people up there get ill and die from heat wave temperatures that we in the southeast and southwest would consider to be normal working conditions in the hot season.

These people put their lives in the hands of this man and trusted that he knew what he was doing. That proved not to be the case.

Do not trust other people with your physical safety or economic well-being. Ask questions. Examine your options. Get second and third opinions before you commit. If something feels wrong to you, stand up and walk out (something that I’ve never had a problem doing, but I understand that other people think that it is rude).

Health clubs advise a maximum period of time in the sauna as 20 minutes for a reason, folks.

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