Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Review of Syllable on NewsForge

I've been published again. My recent review of Syllable OS 0.6.1 was just published on You can check it out here.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Still Frustrated with the AZ Republican Party

I'm not sure if I feel better or more frustrated. I while ago I ranted that the Arizona Republican Party created an immigration law with an employer enforcement section that was a joke. Well, I spoke with both of my state representatives (who I like and respect) about what happened with that bill. I was informed that what started out as a good bill was amended into its worthless state in order for it to get passed at all. They also let me know that the main proponent of gutting the effectiveness out of the employer enforcement section was the chamber of commerce (I don't remember if it was the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, local chambers of commerce, or some combination).

I had always heard about the power of special interests but to see it first hand was kind of a shock. What is going on here? Where do the loyalties of our politicians lie? What is their stand on illegal immigration? They claim to be against it but will gut legislation aimed at stopping it because the chamber of commerce told them to. Sure it's bad for business. Any business dependant on illegal labor would suffer. The question is: Is that a bad thing? What will hurt the state of Arizona more: a huge drop in the supply of low-wage labor (coupled with a huge drop in crime, strain on ERs and other medical services, less crowding at some of our public schools, less strain on our charities and social services, etc.) or the statu quo?

Well, we know what it's like with them here; what would it be like with them gone? Then comes the real question: Where do our elected representatives really stand?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kidney Stones are Bad - Part 2

So I thought I would be fine in a couple of days, however, 5 days later, I'm still not fine. The percocet is taking away the pain but it also wipes me out and makes me pretty useless. So I went to my doctor who renewed my percocet prescription and referred me to an expert.

So I went to see the expert. He explained to me how kidney stones work and had me get X-rayed and come back. So I got the X-ray and came back and they scheduled me to get the stone zapped the next week.

By this time I was having good and bad days. It seems that while the kidney stone is moving, it causes immense pain. However, when it stops moving, the pain goes away. So I had a few days where I felt almost normal. By almost, I mean I felt normal except that I was toting around my percocet just in case the pain came back. I felt like a drug addict or something. The other thing was that I was afraid to go to work still. If the pain came back, I would have to take the percocet and if I did that I wouldn't be able to drive. So I stayed home up until the day before my procedure. By then I had two good days in a row and I felt up to risking it. The day went fine and I still felt fine (and hopeful that the stone was gone) when I went in for the procedure.

Well, once checked into the hospital, they took an X-ray and the doctor told me he found it. Unfortunately it was too low for lithotripsy (where they shoot it with sound waves, it shatters into tiny pieces, and passes normally) and they would have to go in with a scope and a laser and zap it that way. Fortunately, I was unconscious for the whole procedure.

I woke up sore but kidney stone free. However, the doctor had inserted a stent (tube) from my kidney to my bladder that would have to be removed later. They said I could go back to work the next day but, due to some of the side effects of the procedure, I decided it would be best to work from home for the rest of the week (I'm lucky to have a job where that's an option).

About a week later, I went in to the doctor's office and he pulled the tube out. Basically, he stuck a scope up into my bladder, found the tube, and pulled it out. Not a very comfortable procedure (on many levels). However, within a half hour or so, I felt almost fine.

So now life is almost back to normal. I have to go in for a couple of tests to try to determine what caused the kidney stone so I can avoid getting them in the future (I'm very supportive of this), but other than that, I'm all done.

Once again, do NOT get a kidney stone. It's a cloud with no silver lining.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kidney Stones are Bad

My advice to all that read this: Don't get a kidney stone! I have recently recovered from one and will freely admit that it was one of the most painful experiences of my life.

It started on a Monday with what I thought was some pretty intense back pain that lasted a couple of hours and then stopped. Well, I've got an office chair that doesn't offer much back support so I thought that was the problem. I tried switching chairs the next day and thought I was doing well until about noon when it hit me again.

This time it wasn't going away so I went to my wife's chiropracter to see if he could fix it. The pain was so bad that as I was driving to the chiropracter's office, I almost had to pull over on the freeway to throw up. However, I was able to make it to there and, after sitting in a massage chair for about 20 minutes and then having my back adjusted, I felt pretty good. So I figured I was all fixed up.

Wednesday was the day I probably won't ever be able to forget. The pain started up again about noon and, once again, was just too much for me to bear. I called my wife to come pick me up (I had car-pooled that day) and take me to the chiropracter. I spent most of the time waiting for my wife (about half an hour) lying on the floor in my office as that was the position that caused the least amount of pain. Of course by "least amount", I mean pure agony as opposed to blinding agony.

When my wife picked me up, I simply curled up on the seat with my head on the dashboard (still seeking to avoid the blinding agony) and counted the seconds until we got to the chiropracter. This time, however, the adjustments didn't help at all and the best the chiropracter could do was to have me go home and put ice on it. Well I tried that couple with some tylenol (which brought the pain down from pure agony to merely intense pain) which lasted for about an hour. Since it was too early to take more, I tried some ibuprofin. That didn't seem to affect it at all. At that point and on the advice of my wife and my brother, I went to the ER.

The city I live in had just finished a new hospital and ER and I had read an article a couple of days earlier that said the wait times there were less than half an hour. Well, that was a lot better than any other ER or urgent care in the Phoenix area so we (my wife and I) went there. It was great. We were seeing a doctor within 5 or 10 minutes of arriving there. He asked a few questions like how bad the pain was (10!! most definitely a 10!) and a few other things and told me I had a kidney stone.

So they got me into a room and gave me some percocet. While I was waiting for that to kick in, they also took some blood. Now I have an aversion to needles. For whatever reason, the creep me out. However, this time I didn't even care. It hurt so bad that I don't think an epidural would have bothered me. Finally (about 8 hours after the pain started) the percocet started kicking in and the pain was reduced to a sharp kind of ache. At that point they did a CT scan which confirmed it was a kidney stone and said it was pretty small (4 mm) and that I should pass it in a few days. In the mean time, they gave me more percocet (which I asked for) and by the time I left I was pain free, feeling great, and had a perscription for more percocet.

I figured that my worries were over and that I'd be back to normal in a few days. Little did I know that when they said that kidney stones usually pass in a few day, they didn't mean me.