Had a brief moment where I remembered my month on high doses of prednisone…

Had a fleeting memory of my days on prednisone, and how I took on too much then had to pay the price 🙂

I had no idea when I went on 50 MG of Prednisone that it would make me crazy.  It also gave me a limitless amount of energy.  In those first days, I was literally sleeping less than an hour a day, so they put me on Ambien, but this allowed me to sleep only an hour or two, so they put me on ultrastrong sleep medication that put me down 4.5 hours a night almost to the minute.  Otherwise, I was almost nuts with energy. Some examples:

  • I had the idea that I could write a novel on my iPhone.  So while the family played games over Christmas, I sat nearby (I couldn’t focus on the game) and typed several chapters of a book on my iPhone.
  • I decided to coach my son’s basketball team. The problem was, the neighborhood already had a team. So I worked with the rec league director to recruit and create a new team of 13 year olds.  I read a book on how to coach, created a website, wrote about the games for the local newspaper, and kept a daily blog no one read about the goals and practice plans. 🙂
  • I volunteered to do marketing for my company.  I generated a newsletter, built a community forum, came up with an in-depth marketing plan and read books about marketing, all at night or on the weekends.  

These are just some examples.  The real problem was, when they started to taper off my meds, my energy went the complete opposite way – I had none.  Suddenly, I had no energy and was sleeping 12 hours a day and exhausted all the time, but still had to maintain all the things I’d volunteered for.  I gave up the novel, but was still coaching and writing for the paper and moonlighting as a marketing manager – it was hell.  🙂

Had a brief moment where I remembered my month on high doses of prednisone…

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

I am really very happy with how much our society has progressed in various transgender and sexual rights these past few years.  But I am nervous about the number of doctors who are very quick to prescribe hormones to kids to change their sex without digging into what else might be behind what is going on and without fully consider the  potential health consequences for trying homron therapy.  

Time was, it was a serious matter to change your gender, one that people took seriously and sometimes took years to progress to.  For example, Wife M had a friend whose roommate was a man turning into a woman, and she cross dressed for years before really making the change.  ALthough she was not on hormones, everyone treated her like the woman that she was, and it was a big deal for her to make that change.  

Now, I feel like a lot of kids are taking very serious hormones — which may have long term consequences to health — without really truly experimenting with what that means.  We are experiencing this, in fact, with our son R, who is experimenting with hormones without any therapy and after only one doctor’s visit; we asked him to attend therapy to explore whether that was the right decision for him, and even told him to consider dressing and acting as the other sex for awhile so he was sure, but he has leapt right in with the doctor’s blessing.  My concern is not someone’s right to experiment – but it’s the health consequences that may result long term if he changes his mind in a few months. 

In the 1980s, a lot of therapists and doctors started prescribing prozac like candy as a first act – they literally prescribed it to 100% of their patients.  It wasn’t all therapists, but it was enough of them to raise concerns.  (Also, prozac was quite famous at the time, and I am sure a number of people went into the therapist and immediately requested prozac).  It was only after some exposes discussed the concerns with this that this curtailed. Also, there were quite a few kids around 1990 on anabolic steroids, and it took social intervention (media, etc.) about the health consequences to end that fad.  

I have this feeling that this may be true now, with hormones.  Even a google search for me did not immediately find any discussions on whether it really and truly is the right case, but primarily how to provide/get emotional support during the transition.  For me, the most telling statistic is that kids who are on the autistic/asberger’s spectrum are 25x more likely to experiment with hormone therapy than other kids – which might indicate they feel different, and think hormones are the secret.  But, again, my concern is to the health effects.

I am biased on this.  I myself took a very serious drug — prednisone — to save my life, and it worked but it had long-term consequences for me that I am still living with, and may always have.  And I never took recreational drugs, and am going through a lot of pain right now because I am trying to stay off my pain meds.  So I am a firm believer in drugs as a serious item that need to be carefully weighed before taking, whether it is IBProfen or Prednisone or hormones.

Anyway, my two cents.  For better or worse, our son is 19 and has always been set in his ways when he makes up his mind, so we have virtually no say on this.  The bitter irony is, for years we were pushed by schools to put him on various medications to improve attention span, etc. but we absolutely resisted since M and I did not want to put our son on drugs.  He has also been diagnosed with anemia, but will not take medicine for that.  In a word, argh.  🙂

WIfe M and I start attending a parent group in a couple of weeks for parents of transgender kids. We want to do the best we can to be supportive but also realistic, and this group will hopefully help.

Nervous about the number of kids who are experimenting with hormones, which seems off the charts.

Thinking about John G – a horse’s ass who talked his way to Sr. Director at a large firm :)

Meet John G.  Five years the firm I was working at hired him as the Director of Operations, and put all of delivery and recruiting beneath him.  He had previously been an unemployed Tester before moving into Test Management a few years earlier.  Now, he was in charge of my delivery teams when I had a 7M book of business with several important clients.

From the get-go, he was a horse’s ass.  After two months, we had no clue what he was doing, he made no commitments other than it might take up to a year to see changes, and he was calling in sick at least every two weeks.  Then he started attending our three Partners’s weekly lunches, and everything began to change.

He hired a random consultant to start generating reports.  Suddenly, what used to take a few minutes, took 15 minutes since we had numerous fields we had to complete.  Then he had us go back two years in the system to implement changes. I complained to the owners, stating I was trying to generate revenue, not reports.  We started getting data, but no improvements to delivery.

Then he implemented twice a week meetings, took away my dedicated Sales Engineer, and realigned all of delivery so they had specialties, which made 1 or 2 people happy (the ones with good specialties) but alienated the rest of delivery.  Then he started changing our pricing structure, which impacted my sales efforts.

Then he took away my consultant (one that I hired) and assigned to one of his projects, but in doing so he alienated my clienbt, and this client canceled our project. Then, a month later, after I told this John G point blank not to give pricing to my client he did anyway, and because sales is a finesse game where you have to build credibility over time, he spooked the client by presenting a large price at once and they cancelled the budget.  

I complained to management, but nothing changed. Still, everything might have been okay, I probably could have gotten rid of the guy, except I was diagnosed with lung disease and put on prednisone in the midst of all this.  Now, what I didn’t realize is how much prednisone messes first with your brain, then with your energy, and suddenly I was too foggy headed and exhausted to think clearly although I could see whwat he was up to.  

Frustrated (the entire staff was actually) by his destruction, and probably because I was stoned on prednisone, I quit. THe next week, I’m certain because I’d left, they whacked several members of the delivery team, primarily the ones I’d endorsed.

In the near term, of course, profits skyrocketed.  After all, they were still billing for my clients, but no longer had to pay my compesnation.  But that was temporary, of course, and before long John was in hot water.  But leveraging his trumped up success at this company, he somehow talked himself into a Sr. Dirctor position at a midmarket firm before he could be fired. Two years later, he is still there, in no small part I am sure because he is spending his time keeping his job rather than providing value.

The lesson here is a few fold.  Primarily that good things can happen to bad people, although some day it might catch up to him.  And that in Corporate America, it is not necessarily about working hard or being valuable — it is about positioning.  WHich is part of the reson I am loving my current role working with a specialty and smaller firm — far less politics and backstabbing.

Thinking about John G – a horse’s ass who talked his way to Sr. Director at a large firm :)

It is a challenge to not remember what I read but on the plus side I am always getting to experience something anew :)

For most of my life, I was a *very* slow and highly-selective reader, but remembered everything I did read.  I not only remembered nearly everything I read, but often could recall the page and location on the page of where I read something, plus the date and where I was when I read it. But there were two keys:

  • I had to be interested in what I was reading.  Luckily I was interested in many things, such as history, science, literature and human interest stories.  But I wasn’t interested in anything technical or mechanical, biology, or my teachers’ odd obsession with Hinduism (it seemed like every year we studied Hinduism).  Ironically, because I was a slow reader, I often did not read what I was assigned in school, but rather flipped around to read what I was interested in.  For example, the class might be studying about President Taft but I would see a piece about Abraham Lincoln, so would read the Lincoln piece instead).  
  • It coudn’t be read to me.  For whatever reason, I have a hard time comprehending something that someone reads to me unless they are a professional or trained reader.  Story hour for me has always been hell. 🙂

I always loved reading comprehension tests – I was always the last person to finish but generally scored in the top percentile.  I didn’t really have to try — it just happened. But…

Since coming off prednisone I am struggling to remember what I read, most astoundingly numbers and years, which I was especially good at before.  I really have to work at it, and have to keep reminding myself of what I read.  Honestly, it makes it challenging, and dips into how much I can learn, since I am always having to review what I re-read.  Is this what it is like for the average student?  If so, no wonder so many kids hate school 🙂

But I refuse to give up – one thing for sure is if I stop reading, it won’t get better — plus in some ways it is nice to keep reading about a topic I am interested in and always learning something new when doing so 🙂 

It is a challenge to not remember what I read but on the plus side I am always getting to experience something anew :)

Glad to be living in the modern age!  I’d be pretty ugly — and dead — 200 years ago :)

I can say without fear of contradiction or bragging that I am a reasonably physically attractive person.  But if this were before the modern ages, before surgeries and healthcare and such, I’d actually be pretty hideous — and, in fact, quite dead.  

Why?  First, I’ve had corrective lenses since I was 3, which means I’d be almost blind pre-glasses/contacts.  Second, I lost a tooth in 1999, which means I’d be missing a front tooth.  Third, I had a major surgery in 2003 to repair a birth defect in my throat that didn’t surface until adulthood, and without it I’d have a pretty nasty growth on my throat.  Fourth, I had a severe break in my arm when I was 10 — from throwing a ball, not realizing it was broken so playing football with it, at which point it snapped like a twig (yuck) — which means my arm would be severely damaged (it still troubles me sometimes 30 years later, although it did also give me a strange freak strength in that arm for a number of years).  Fifth, my hair is nearly uncontrollable due to cowlicks and without the aid of hair gel and a talented hairdresser it would be pretty comical. And last, because prednisone literally saved my lungs and my life, I would have died a few years ago without the benefit of prednisone, which was only invented a few decades ago.  

So, although there are many things I don’t like about the modern world, I (and probably my wife, who has to look at me every day 🙂 ) am pretty grateful for the modern ages.  

Glad to be living in the modern age!  I’d be pretty ugly — and dead — 200 years ago :)