Paralysis by Urinalysis

doctor-with-urine-sample-via-shutterstock-615x345Paralysis by Urinalysis

If I fail a urine screen I am then discharged from treatment by my doctor.  This has become an all-too-common practice at many .. practices. Isn’t this ridiculous?  I mean, hypothetically, if I decided to go to an all night 70’s disco cocaine party and decided to partake (hypothetically) then I am in danger of losing the services of my orthopedic surgeon who is helping to mend my back after a near-paralyzing car accident?  Ridiculous.  A joint to help me sleep?  Say goodbye to my recovery from spinal injury.  Is there even a justification for this?  I will play devil’s advocate and try to defend the indefensible here.  Note:  Any position that isn’t mine is indefensible.

We can’t be providing opioid medications to patients who are themselves drug users.  There could be dangerous interactions and other irresponsible behavior that would cause them to harm themselves.  They would need a doctor.  They should be discharged from my (doctor) practice.

We have to test their urine frequently to be sure that we are not contributing to a patient’s drug problem or addiction issue for which they should be seeking professional help.  They would definitely need to see a doctor if they had an addiction problem.  These patients definitely should be discharged from my (doctor) practice.

By testing our patients’ urine, we can see who is a complicated patient so we can quickly discharge them from our practice, thus leaving us with the simple patients who quietly come and go, pay their bill on time, and allow us to pack in more patients (more money!)  Complicated patients take up too much time and cost us too much money (not to mention effort).  Money and effort should never be expended needlessly in our line of work.  Just tell them we can lose our license (an incredible irony when you consider that by KEEPING them as patients and TREATING their destructive tendencies by way of referrals or their addiction we would be acting MORE like doctors and thus be MORE worthy of our licenses) and keep having them make the walk of shame from bathroom to waiting room holding their leaking urine vials.  I became a doctor to get rich not to treat people who have unhealthy habits or dangerous behaviors.  Those people should go get their heads examined.  …by a doctor, I guess.  I’m confused.

Doing drugs is unhealthy although often a lot of fun.  If you choose to do something this stupid (awesome) then you should not be in danger of losing the services of a competent medical professional.  It should be noted, however, that if your doctor discharges you for failing a urinalysis, subjecting you to both withdrawal and the care that you deserve due to an injury or illness, the maybe your medical professional isn’t so competent after all…

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Badflower’s Soap makes Me Think of Alice In Chains’ Dirt

badflowerband

Alice In Chains took the slow and low feel of Black Sabbath and added the disaffected voice of the Charles Bukowski, Jack Kerouac, Kate Christiansen ilk to produce a sound that rocketed them to pop status without losing the dedicated support of the underground.

Lo and Behold the beautiful and long-awaited band Badflower.  Their EP Temper on Republic Records is a tribute to this sound while representing the next iteration of the disaffected and self-loathing that may be the next big thing.  It recalls the birth of Nirvana or the first few chords of Rooster when you first heard both and realized that it was not just OK but cool to be depressed, sad, and pissed off.

Listen to their song Soap and wait for the chorus.  The slow melodic descent into the single-line chant of “I need to get my mouth washed out” will quickly bring to mind the same dark imagery of Electric Funeral, Dirt, or even Dam That River.  The restraint shown in the lyrics doubles as a dedication to their singular image of a man who “cannot be respectable” and knows that they are but a dirty person in need of cleansing.  It’s hard to not think of Alice in Chains and the title track from Dirt.  I didn’t contrive this irony, but realized it today as I received concerned looks from other drivers while lip syncing to the Badflower track.  It’s hard to keep still when that chorus riff hits.

It has been a long time since I even considered comparing any band or song to Alice in Chains.  Their sound was so idiosyncratic that few bands can pull off their genuine desperation without sounding rehearsed.  But this track Soap does just that.  Here is my impression of the song overall:

The song starts with a pulsating bass line quickly joined by a 8-shot drum staccato that melts into a Alice In Chains – like minor chord progression that provides the hook for the verse.  The verse is two lines … One, really.  Badflower manages to pack in the emotion and escalating desperation in these few words when sung by Josh Cole Katz.

“Sometimes I cannot be Respectable… It’s hard when you’re looking so delectable

HEY!”

Then comes the aforementioned riff.  Ahhh.  It would make Jerry Cantrell proud and inspire the addictive wail of Layne Staley.  Thus I am presented with another basic irony.  Namely that Soap reminds me of Dirt.  So if you like Alice In Chains or just good music created by people with instruments, an increasingly rare product in the music industry, I know. you must listen to Soap and to Temper.

Then please tell me if you agree that it sounds like the 90’s have made a comeback.  We can only hope, right?

Watch Badflower’s SOAP

Spectator and Specimen – New Poem by Cody Peters

Spectator and Specimen
By Cody Peters

Bright light where every blemish ever suffered shone like a dark
ray from a broken star in heaven paints the canvas of twilight in another lonely moment
I am alone in this and words to a wordsman are futile messengers and vessels
As a rendering of this everything I seek to leak an account
Pain is a way that direction is delivered and courses corrected
In the hands of some it is a weapon wielded for reasons a spectrum can tell.
It is the most vile of nasty life parts, but second to only one subpart of pain
the worst suffering in the world is pain, but worse than that
I suffering pain with no clear genesis and
without a name.

The world floats in venom behind an illusory pane of glass
when I stray into nights made for sleepers I am joined by little terror goblins
because my mother told me that she was going to do suicide tonight
this happens a lot since father tried to exit the world by refusing medical help
as he slept in pools of perspiration and lost his mental staminaut
His braing inevitably exploded and the told you so gambit meets the
how could you do this to me ruse while what a tragedy is somewhat obscured
by other faces like a train station in Venice always going somewhere but you know better.

There is no name for the terror that has evolved into nameless suffering
I have had doctors shed a tear at my virus of a story
the collective docket of answers asks me the same question and it is
How can you endure? How do you soldier on?
I always smile because I remember the answer as it is supposed to be
and what it really is
It is supposed to be because I believe in a better tomorrow and do my best
but it is really something more childish and silly
I think that I have a unique opportunity to study, from the inside, the life of a man
who has been stricken with so many ills of life that it has become a curiosity to see
exactly how this will turn out and so the true impetus for my apparent strength
is childish curiosity and awe
I am simply amazed at how terrible my life is turning out
and awestruck by the complete absence of any fortunate turns or luck
I have made so many downward turns that I am now heading upwards
I am punch drunk and thrilled
Both as spectator and specimen.

I should be there for them, I moved home to support family while we endured tragedy
My mom told me she is going to kill herself tonight.
I am the cause of her suffering and disarray. I sleep too much and break too easily.
When Dee Ann Rothman suspended me from law school for stealing a phone I didn’t steal
(and actually own said phone myself – it’s identical!)
I collapsed, breathless on the black portion of the parking lot.
When they called for a paramedic I waited for my chance then lept into my car
I had to escape Newark. But the trauma was unbeatable. I began to cry so hard my throat hurt.
I could make it through law school for almost a year when my father was in a coma
But this whimsical charge by Dee Ann Rothman would collapse my house of cards.
I was not able to grip this grenade lobbed by the circumstance.
I was committed to NY Pres.
I was a danger to myself.
I broke and this time is was serious.

One month has passed and today mom told me that
She has “no idea” why I couldn’t continue taking classes and just appeal my suspension.
She told me that she and dad were shocked and disturbed by what had happened
Oh, and she wants to kill herself.
I asked her what I could have done better. She doesn’t know I was passed out and the throat crying stuff.
She thought it a challenge and yelled at me that she didn’t know and why should she always
Have to deal with this. Why did I do this? They can’t believe it. How could this happen?
(read: you’re obviously not telling us something because this is impossible. You know how
you can get.)

Back to verse, and in time for a sweeping muse to collect me and drive
since narrative pales in comparison to fun, I will put away and then I
and pick up my darker skies ripped into a cascading sunrise although part of it left unannounced
and without sufficient plain-clothes security to beckon day 2 of this riddle chain of disappointment

I am the cause
I sleep too much
I smile too much
I leave cups in weird places
I ate too much bread
I didn’t eat enough dinner and don’t know how much this costs and by the way owe mom and dad
70 thousand dollars for raising me – oh little things like helping me pay for books, my car, and lending a hand with those pesky doctor bills that were another luxury my parents afforded me which of course should be paid back with a generous 0 percent interest despite the fact that said debt goes back to 1992 when I was 14 years old and starting to become a real financial burden but lucky for me there was a benevolent bank of mom and dad to loan me the money I needed for all the luxuries in life and that they had a wonderful records system which would keep track of every dollar borrowed secretly until an opportunity came along to collect the money which of course is rightfully that of the parents because I ASKED to be BORN and asked to have a cold and well, the world is tough so you better get used to it, you’ve been a burden ever since you were born and here’s the bill son, here’s what it cost to raise you, here’s what you owe us for feeding you and clothing you and all those thing SPOILED children get because when I was a kid I walked everywhere and worked since I was a fetus and no one ever gave me anything but grief and that’s the way the world is and you have to just get used to it but get used to it after you pay us back 70 thousand dollars for being your parents then you can consider yourself current on the 17 year line of credit we have opened for you because we are good parents. Pay up. The money is compensation for injuries suffered in your jaws-of-life car accident? So what, we want our cut.
So what, we want our cut.
So what, we want our cut.
So what, we want our cut
So what, we want our cut

My mom is downstairs complaining to my father about me
I am a burden. I am broken. I am a failure.
I am the specimen
and the spectator.

You just don’t get better seats to a tragedy than this.
Aren’t you curious about how this will turn out?
Here’s a hint:

Someone is going to die
Soon.