August 19, 2008

google mail can cure me!

i have a google mail account and use it to do useful things like correspond with guest quiz writers. if you have gmail, have you ever noticed that their system scans the body of your emails and targets you with "relevant" ads? it creeps me out. their software doesn't just look at the titles of your emails, no, no, they go for the content. the heart of the matter. your private correspondence is their ad fodder.

for the last monday quiz, frida and i wrote each other several emails. you can see from this first screen shot image that the ads were geared toward our shared experience of back pain:

in the next round of emails, we got similar ads and also, inexplicably, one for a rear support harness for dogs (insert comment here). we got suggestions for "distance healing," a site that heals "people, pets and places" and other places to send our money. but it was on our final round that the ads lurched into the bizarre chronic holiday zone wherein frida received notice of how to deal with "severe black magic" (not just the run of the mill everyday stuff) and i have the very special "vibrational energy technology" among others:

i'm afraid frida may have succumbed. in her last email to me she wrote:

"Facing Severe BlackMagic? Try a Neck Pain Relief Pillow. Let's try gmail advertising advice!"

oh, google, what did we ever do without you?

August 11, 2008

monday quiz: the spinal edition

i'm very pleased to introduce you to our fourth guest quiz writer, frida, whose blog fridawrites is a smart take on disability, gender and writing. take it away, frida:

Jigsaw Puzzle

Sometimes in a fit of curiosity, people ask what's wrong with my spine. I stand there for a minute, stumped, because I really don't know where, or if, to begin. I've thought about making up giant business cards perforated like jigsaw puzzles, one diagnosis on each piece, and carrying them around with me. The pieces would include:

Frequent fractures, severe idiopathic osteoporosis/low bone density, scoliosis, muscle imbalances, whiplash, herniated and bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, nondiscogenic lumbar pain, pseudosciatica, sacroiliitis, piriformis syndrome, cervical radiculopathy, neurological lesions and high bladder pressure/ incontinence from spinal cord impingement, sinus tachycardia, low blood pressure from pain, psoriatic arthritis, spondyloarthropathy, ankylosing spondylitis.

If all that sounds confusing, it is. Usually, I only have time to give people a piece or two of the puzzle, not the whole picture. That leads to odd advice that just takes into account the acute symptom at the time, such as osteoporosis or herniated disc, or, more generally, fatigue or pain.

I've received quite a number of unusual suggestions to relieve my spine pain...

Which one of the following suggestions has NOT yet been made to me to relieve my spine problems?

Prolotherapy: injections of dextrose into the hypermobile ligaments around my SI joints

A visit to hold the healing dirt from the hole in the floor of the Catholic chapel in Chimayo, New Mexico, known to cure people of chronic conditions

Drinking ayahuasca and sanango tea in shamanic ceremonies in New Mexico to cast out my demons and increase my serotonin uptake

Divorce and possible job change because studies reported in Newsweek suggest the vast majority of back pain is caused by psychological issues

IV chelation to detox heavy metals, NAET allergy therapy and counseling for unresolved emotional issues

Free polls from

In the meantime, I recently decided I should consider becoming a medical transcriptionist like my sister and earn a partial living by transcribing my own medical notes.

thanks, frida, for sharing a bit of your story with us and for the excellent quiz. is it the demons, the dirt or the divorce? how about the needle or the tea? puzzle it over and make your best chronic choice. after voting, look for the answer in the comments section.

August 7, 2008

i'm still here!

wow, what happened to july? i've been in a bit of a chronic fog and, all of a sudden, we're well into august. this is just a quick note to let you know that i shall return! there's an excellent monday quiz in the works; plenty of cool vintage ads standing by and people haven't stopped saying quotable things to me, believe you me.

in the meantime, should you need something to amuse yourself, why not try this? i hear it can be quite therapeutic.