This series of posts from Tumblr brings into focus the whole idea of “maintenance”. It’s a concept we sometimes confuse with healing…


I started using Head and Shoulders ten years ago for itchy scalp and dandruff, and then for ten years I have not had itchy scalp and dandruff, so I thought “why do I still buy shampoo to combat itchy scalp and dandruff when I do not have itchy scalp and dandruff,” so I stopped buying the shampoo for itchy scalp and dandruff and can you guess I have now? Can you predict what currently afflicts me? It’s alright if you can’t because apparently I fuckin couldn’t either 


Cutting something out of your life because you think you don’t need it any more only to realize that it was in fact working as intended and preventing a problem that will return should you stop doing this is a good experiment to run periodically with something small like dandruff shampoo, lest you start to think it would be a good idea to do this with like let’s say public health and the social safety net and vaccines 


I had a liver transplant when I was 14 and like six months later I was chatting with my surgeon and he said “there’s gonna come a time, probably when you’re a teenager, where you’re gonna think, ‘I feel great, why am I still taking all this medication? I haven’t needed it in years.’ and you’re gonna want to stop taking all this medication. Guess what’s gonna happen then? You’re gonna go into rejection and your liver is gonna start failing, and you’re gonna be dying again, and we’re gonna have to find you another liver. So don’t do that.” And I said “why the fuck would anyone do that?” and he said “people are stupid.”

every once in a while when I get annoyed by a pharmacy or don’t wanna get out of bed to do my drugs I think “ugh, this is dumb, why do I do this?” and that conversation slams into me like a truck and I remember that I am, in fact, stupid


This happens a TON with mental health medications. It’s why so many bipolar and schizophrenic people go off their meds a lot and it’s very hard to get them back on because a lot of people still hold that “but it didn’t help/do anything” mindset after, especially with a potentially skewed headspace.

It’s very easy to start to think maintenance isn’t doing anything. Then people wonder why it “suddenly” starts falling apart when it stops.

I know a good number of people who take false pride in “not taking drugs” — by which they really mean they don’t take (or minimize how many) drugs they do take. The thing is sometimes we actually need to augment the chemical balance of our chemical factory (otherwise known as our “body”). And of course how much medicine we need has nothing to do with whether we are meritorious, virtuous, or macho — our health is more a matter of genetics, environment, and accident than being due to any specific behavior.

And the idea that we have been feeling great for a time whilst taking meds but now suddenly we get the idea that we no longer need them, that we have healed, ignores the whole concept of maintenance.

We don’t stop changing oil in our car because there’s not a lot of dirt in our oil. In machinery we seem to grasp the idea of continuous maintenance, but want to forget it with our health.

Admittedly the cost of meds might be a concern for many, but don’t chintzy yourself into serious health complications just because you want to be cheap!



Worth a few moments of consideration…


Came back from a lovely low-connectivity vacation in the mountains to 3 Asks and 2 DMs wanting to know all about the new Omicron variant that seems to be running rampant in South Africa and neighboring countries. So, some things ….

  1. Like I said, I just got back from vacation late yesterday afternoon. I was not checking the news on vacation. So the info that follows was gleaned from poking around here and there this morning sipping my coffee. So, like everything about Omicon at this point in time, it is very preliminary.
  2. It didn’t take the science types very long to declare Omicon a “variant of concern,” which is unusual. So there are 4 categories to keep in mind, representing levels of seriousness: “Variants Being Monitored” (VBM) which is a long laundry list of identified variants that never really caught on (anyone remember the “mu” variant? It’s in the VBM category now); “Variants of Interest” (VOI), a category which is currently empty; “Variants of Concern” (VOC), a category which until Friday contained only one variant – Delta. Delta has now been joined by Omicon as VOC’s; and the most serious category, “Variants of High Consequence” (VOHC), this is the “oh holy shit” category, a variant that is able to escape test results and/or can blow past our current vaccines. To date, there has been no variant in the VOHC category, thank the gods.
  3. The reason the science types immediately bumped Omicon up to the VOC category is because it exhibits a large number of mutations, some of which suggest significantly higher transmissibility than Delta and some of which suggest at least the possibility of potential “immune escape” (the ability to do an end run around the antibodies created from vaccination or catching and recovering from COVID). The science types are being smart by using words like “suggest” and “possibility,” because at this point we just don’t know. The fact that it’s being found in numerous southern African countries (with a small handful detected in Europe/UK in travelers returning from those areas) seems to strongly argue for the likelihood of increased transmissibility, but it’ll be a couple of weeks before we know how effective our current array of vaccines are against Omicon.
  4. Beyond that, we don’t know a hell of a lot.
    I’ll keep my ears open for any info on the daily calls I sit in on at my hospital and keep everyone current on any info that is cleared for public release. But it’ll be a couple of weeks before we have a clear picture of what we’re dealing with. In the meantime, you all know what things work to prevent catching any virus variant of any kind:
    Wear your mask.
    Wash your hands.
    Watch your distance.
    Operating on the assumption that current vaccines will be as effective against Omicon as it has been against the other variants so far, get vaccinated.
    And get your ass up and moving. Exercise to improve your metabolism and strengthen your immune system, so that if you are exposed, your body has a better chance of riding it out. Survival favors the strong.

“It was much better to imagine men in some smokey room somewhere, made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over brandy.

You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told the children bed time stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people.

It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was Us, then what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them.

No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.”

Terry Pratchett, Jingo

Them or Us






I know it’s silly