Friday, November 30, 2007

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Playin' With Pain...

So, one of the things to come out of last night's game is not only a refreshed disdain for NFL referees who blew a few calls, but Brett Favre came up lame and spent much of the game on the sidelines settling into the uncomfortable role of cheerleader.

Essentially, what I've been able to gather is that Favre has one hell of a knock upon his funny bone which lead to some confused nerves in his million dollar throwing arm.

If you'd like to know how this feels, find yourself a ball-peen hammer and take a good solid whack at that odd little spot which drives everyone nuts when it is bonked. When I played football in high school, I got a knock on my funny bone in kind of a similar way, and I spent the next several day weeping like a little girl with skinned knees and a basket full of stolen biscuits (or cookies. Or heroin).

Now, most NFL players would start planning for a week off with that sort of injury. Brett Favre, on the other hand, will probably use his other hand for all his yard work and whatnots and be back in the lineup next Sunday. Or, at least it would if it wasn't for the other injury he suffered on the notoriously botched play: a separated shoulder.

I've had one of those too (yes. I played on a dreadful high school football team, and I got my ass kicked pretty much every Friday night in fall for three straight years).

A separated shoulder is kind of an odd injury. For example, mine didn't really hurt (unless someone got the bright idea to poke me there), but, for some odd reason, my hand sitting there at the end of my arm suddenly became too heavy for me to lift. So, ladies? If you find your hubby has a bit of a drinking problem, and you'd like him to stop, give him a couple of separated shoulders and watch as he just sits there staring at a bottle of beer that's suddenly become too heavy for him to lift.

Anyway, Brett Favre's injuries will lead to one of three things:

First, he may break his record streak of consecutive NFL games started. However, considering Favre, in his weird working-class mind, has this odd notion that, even after all these years, and the in spite of the countless accolades he's piled up in his seventeen years as a quarterback, he still believes that he's got to fight to keep his job.

Second, he may play and he may absolutely descend into the depths of a sheer and inescapable suckitude, the likes of which, humanity has not seen since Rob Schneider stopped making movies.

However, even in his wounded state, the potential amount of sucky suck being splattered around the turf will still not be 100% Brett Favre's fault. His offensive line will overplay in an attempt to protect their quarterback (a problem with which I am wholly unfamiliar, unfortunately). This will only lead to panic, blown assignments, haste, stupidity, cats having mad sex with dogs and god knows what else. Every Sunday, from here on out, could easily become a sort of gridiron armageddon with bodies and yellow laundry flying literally everywhere.

Then, there's the third thing which could potentially happen. And, when looking at Brett Farve's long career, it's clear that this is the most probable thing. He will play, and he will play phenomenal.

When it comes to playing with any sort of pain, Brett Favre is unique. He's played with more than most people can possibly handle. With the death of his father, the death of his brother-in-law, and any number of heartbreaks, he's played through more emotional distress than the band on the Titanic, and he played better than usual.

Aside from the emotional torment, Brett Favre has also played through more physical pain than most folks could comprehend. I've seen him coughing up blood on the goal line after taking a hit while running in for a touchdown, and his broken thumb with a screw sticking out of it lead to one of the best years of his career. His personal favorite story is pointing out that he had his wisdom teeth yanked with no anesthesia or pain medication whatsoever, and shortly after the violent and painful extraction of those molars where most people would be rolling on the sofa wrapped in the warm fuzzy blanket of an opiate-induced haze, Brett Favre was probably putting a new roof on his house, splitting wood, or getting kicked in the giblets by a bull moose. The list of injuries he's played through simply goes on and on, extending through the Hall of Fame and straight into football lore. Quarterbacks suck as Payton Manning or Tom Brady can put up unbelievable numbers, but I wonder if they could put those numbers up under the same conditions Favre has had to deal with?

And that's the thing. A wounded Brett Favre is a very dangerous Brett Favre, and I have a feeling the numbers and statistics he's going to be putting up in the twilight of the 2007-08 season will lead fans, sportswriters, and even players on opposing teams to simply stop and watch with mouths gaping as he plays through more pain than most people can handle. The man is an inspiration to many, and I think should he take the field next Sunday, his teammates will rally around him, and no matter how beat up they get, they will take chances and they will find a way

Oh yeah... He also does all this with absolutely no pain medication whatsoever. That's, umm... crazy.

Now, I will rant for a moment...

Personally, I wish a was a little more like Favre. Since my infusion has been cancelled due to the corruption, inhumanity and greed of my insurance provider, I'm in a fuckload of arthritic pain and misery. Last night, I got two hours of sleep before waking up with a knee that, rather than function as a knee would, just sort of sat in the middle of my leg screaming with an insane stabbing ache. Then the toes started hurting, followed by the fingers, and, finally, the realization that the sleeping aid that is my bottle of whiskey was down a gruesome number of stairs from me, all I could do was put a pillow over my face in the hopes of starving my brain from the oxygen which was keeping me painfully awake.

It didn't work though. So, I made coffee and gawked at the TV and prepped myself for what will be a very long and heartbreaking stretch of painful inactivity until someone with a medical degree can tell me what to do next which is in accordance with some ass-sucking insurance suit somewhere.

So, yeah. Unfortunately, for me, things will get worse over the next month. First, the arthritis will flare and flare, sucking whatever energy and concentration I have as my body betrays itself and painfully gnaws upon whatever soft tissue I have left until it's no more. Then, while that's going on, the skin will start blazing with burning spots as the psoriasis once again rages back to cover 70-90% of my body with bloody, itchy welts beneath piles of dead skin.

Sure, the doctors tell me that I need this treatment, and it's very important I get this treatment. It's the key to that locked door before me that is a "normal, productive life." However, some brainless, inhumane, apathetic pile of toad shit with a name-tag has decided that, regardless of what more than twenty well-educated physicians say, I really don't need this treatment as it is a waste of their precious money.

Welcome to American health care. Indeed, to quote Obi Wan, "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." If you get chronically ill in America, trust me, you're better off dead than to descend into the interminable hell of greed and corruption of this poorer-than-Third-World system. And, this disease I have will gut your life and leave you scrambling to make sense of the crumbling walls around you as you bleed yourself dry financially, emotionally and physically. It's chronic, and I don't care how great you think your insurance is or how safe and protected you feel you are, trust me; either your rates will sky-rocket to the point where food becomes a luxury beyond your means, or they will drop you once they realize that cash is gone and the light at the end of the tunnel doesn't exist.

Now, the miracle cures are out there. I've seen the commercials with the happy people beaming and remarking on their happy, normal lives. Of course, I'd be happy if they were all overcome by a horde of rabid badgers to have their faces chewed off in a bloody rampage. But, I apparently have strange definitions of happy.

So, where am I?

I'm idle, dangling in some sort of bizarre medical-insurance limbo while doctors with the cure are not allowed to prescribe the cure. But, I don't feel sorry for the doctors. They have turned into a collection of gutless whores whose ambivalence and spinelessness has inevitably lead to increased pain, suffering and death of patients they half-heartedly took an oath to protect.

In other words: "Do no harm" only when the insurance companies tell you that you can. Otherwise, fuck 'em.

Pretty much the only certainty for me right now is that I will end this year in a blistering rage. I don't mind since I've been through this nonsense more times than I can count. I had a nice year while I was on these infusions. I had fun. Unfortunately, I'm simply left to scratch my head as people feed me bullshit reasons to justify their greed and corruption...

Ah well... I'm going to go sulk.

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 11/30/2007 10:07:00 AM


  1. Dan, your "he's played through more emotional distress than the band on the Titanic, and he played better than usual." was certainly worthy of John Feinstein. Good job on that one.
    Sorry to hear of your health insurance problems. I spent thirty years as a CFO in a hospital and fought many battles with Blue Cross, Aetna and other companies in order to get funds to keep the hospital afloat. After twelve years of retirement from that position I do sympathize with any one who gets caught up in wars with the insurers. My only advise is to keep pressure on the doctors and the company and do not give up.
    Good Luck, Bill

  2. May you get your infusion soon.  Or another equally-effective cure.  It does suck.