All Good Things Must Come to an End

I'm going to miss his lovely face.

I’m going to miss his lovely face.

After two years of working at the local cannabis clinic, my interests have lead me elsewhere.  I will miss meeting all the people who came in:  the miracle stories, the walking wounded, and the chronic pain sufferers and even the slackers.  They all had their stories; some of them were horrific, some amusing, some were inspiring, but all very human.  When I first started here, I was dubious about the efficacy of marijuana, but after seeing real results, I have now changed my mind; I even got up and made a speech at a city hall meeting to defend our need for a local dispensary.  Anybody who knows me understands I HATE speeches and how much this experience has changed my attitude toward the much maligned cannabis plant.  So it is with mixed emotions that I bid farewell to a controversial field and start some trouble of my own!

I know I mentioned several years earlier that I was having trouble putting aside my camera for good.  I gave away so much because I was “done”.  Since writing that blog, I have had several gigs for friends, mostly as a favor or a trade and I have stumbled upon a cool sideline, doing social media, to include my photography, for local businesses.  These are not what I would consider paying gigs, as so far, I have been doing it for trade.  I get food credits for Cafe Luna, and cheese credit for Wheyward Girl, (no, Wheyward Girl does not reflect my images or my handiwork  – yet!) and honestly, I think I’m getting the better end of the deal on these!  I’m now focusing my attention on other local businesses that are running on a shoestring budget but need the help.  What better way than to offer a trade if cash money is tight?  Let’s keep it local, right?  And you are buying local, correct?!  I won’t get on that soapbox today, because I am guilty of making weekly trips to the closest Wally World for those super economical deals – damnit!vanilla latte socks with two colors

As for my other loves, knitting and crocheting, that goes without saying that they’ll be in my life.  I will continue to make designs, review patterns or tools of the trade and bitch about my latest disaster, be it knitting or crocheting – never fear.  I am currently ignoring a pair of socks, using the basic Vanilla Latte Socks pattern, my fave.  The pattern is free, so snatch it up!

See you in the funny pages!

Post Script:  I just published it and noticed all the links I have in this article – oops!  They’re good references, but you’re off the hook if you don’t want to follow them.

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I Love My Job

I will start this post by admitting that it has two distinctly separate thoughts with a fine thread that connects the two. I think, technically, that it could qualify for two separate entries, but we’re not going to do that. I’ll start with the whole reason that compelled me to write this poorly composed thought…

To begin with, we’re all guilty of running on auto-pilot from time to time, especially at work. You get caught up in the daily routine of small details, and not so small details, that go into working at an office. Detail checking needs to be improved, more files need to be scanned, get the credit card machine fully functional, and discover why the picture taking apparatus works on a sporadic basis while making appointments, setting up new patients, updating returns, blah, blah, blah….you know, work.

Then something stops you short in your tracks to remind you why you’re doing this.

And that happened on Thursday, July 30.  Our last patient.*  She was running late and we’d had a slow day.  You know the situation.  When she came in I thought she looked familiar.  I took care of her input information and noticed the picture we had of her from last year.  Did not look like the same woman; haggard, tired and sick.  This year, she wore make-up, had done her hair and looked good.  I checked some details and found out last year, she was going through chemo, wore a handkerchief over what was probably a bald pate at the time and she had stage IV lung cancer.

I checked again.  Stage IV?  I have included a link to the American Lung Association so you may read for yourself the grim survivability rates are at this point.  I have known people with lung cancer, and I’ve known for quite some time that lung cancer, usually because of when it’s detected, is fatal.  And it’s fast.  Technically, the patient shouldn’t have been here, but against all odds, she was.  And even looking healthy.

When her visit with the doctor was over, I had to speak with her and her caregiver/daughter.  They came out all smiles and I had their recommendations printed up.  I told her how happy we were to see that she was here and what a great thing this was.  Her daughter described the desperate days of last year when she didn’t think her mother would make it and how she became very aggressive with the cannabis oil treatment.  And here she was, downgraded to Stage I lung cancer.

As the details unfolded, I thought of my Uncle Bill who died recently, and how studies in the specific brain tumor type he had showed great results when treated very aggressively with the cannabinoids found in marijuana.  Unfortunately, he’d been in Tennessee when this happened, and the doctors he and his immediate family consulted were concentrating only on traditional methods.  What a waste.  Then I looked at the patient in front of me, happy and given a fighting chance at living out the rest of her life without the immediate threat of cancer looming over her.  I ducked my head, wiped at my eye  and murmured something about having to print up something(yes, just like that), while my co-worker, Wendy, was openly crying, dabbing at her eyes with a kleenex.

Did the marijuana help or was the patient going to improve anyway with the chemo?  I don’t know.  I related this story to my general practitioner and his tone was very neutral when he said that was really unusual.  I understood his position.  Doctors in California have to be careful about their stance on marijuana; it’s not covered under any insurance, the federal government does not recognize its legality here or in other states and they have to consider the general consensus of what their patients think of it.  Most doctors with a private practice can’t afford to jeopardize their standing in the community, medical or otherwise.

But think about it:  A plant that has medicinal qualities, never caused a death from overdose, and even has the venerable AMA wanting to do clinical studies and the federal government has it classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  I know, I know, I think I’ve talked about this before and until the issue is resolved, I’ll probably talk about it again.  When you have a documented case of stage IV lung cancer being reversed in an elderly patient, wouldn’t you want to how much of this was the traditional medicine, how much was the marijuana, how much was genetics?  So why is the government dragging their feet?  How many more people have to die?  And WHY?

Inhale deeply. Hold for 10 seconds.  Exhale.

Ok.

The doctors who are usually associated with cannabis have mixed motivations as to why they are practicing this.  Most of them are employees of a larger company with the protection that comes from having a group; kind of like

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

an umbrella.  The stories I’ve heard from some of the patients about their experiences at other clinics are appalling.  Patients packed in tiny waiting rooms, overworked staff and a quick how-de-do with the doctor.   No real information is given and definitely no rapport is gained with the individuals.  The three of us who work up front definitely try to make the experience go smoother, and the doctor who works here is in it for the right reasons, as far as I’m concerned.  He is a favorite for many around here and wherever he works, they’ll follow.

When his birthday rolled around this year, I thought I’d make him something special.  I put

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

aside my shrug (yes, I’m still stuck in the monotony of knitting 46 inches of pure stockinette!) and quickly whipped up a hat.  I tried to make the leaf look realistic, but in the end, I freehanded the Rx to leave no doubt as to what kind of plant was being depicted.  It took me awhile to get the plant graphic down, as I used an image of a real leaf.  Nature is not symmetric!  He accepted the gift with aplomb and said that definitely, he would wear it when he went skiing.  And no, it didn’t escape my attention that I was giving him a knit beanie on the hottest day of the year.  Oh, well.

 

*Patient names not used to protect identity.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

 

Looking like an old hippie - LOL!

Looking like an old hippie – LOL!

I was just going to go to work and back home. It wasn’t a patient day, just time for the office help to get caught up and set up a new computer.  So why not wear the tee? And don’t bother with makeup or doing the hair- just put it in a braid. It was appropriate.

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Most of the shirt…

As much as I am an advocate for medical marijuana, I don’t use it,  and when you live in a small town, you have to tread carefully. So what do I find myself doing? Going to the local grocery store and pizza place. Yea. Treading carefully. If I was to judge by the looks alone, I’d say I was doing the butterfly stroke!  Oh, well.  No pussy-footing around any more-  the cat’s out of the bag!

Quick Clarification About My Job

There appears to be some misunderstanding as to what a cannabis clinic is, and what is my role there.  The cannabis clinic I work at is NOT a dispensary; it is a doctor’s office.  Real doctors with real life experience working with regular people.  They see patients on an individual basis, just like when you see your family doctor.  There is no marijuana (that I’m aware) in the office, unless patient’s who need it on hand bring it with them, and even then, this is just a guess for me, because I’ve never seen any.  No one has yet to whip out a joint and blaze one up in the office!

We also recommend holistic approaches to pain management such as massage, acupuncture, meditation and so on.  We’re all aware that some of the people who come in are most likely abusing the privilege, but this is something that also happens with pharmaceutical medications.  For the most part, the patient’s who come in are using marijuana for legitimate reasons.

And no, I do not use cannabis for medical or recreational reasons!

Any questions?