Saturday, September 23, 2017

Seasonal Affective Disorder

While I do not dwell on the fact, I am subject to periods of depression.

I take a type of antidepressant called an SSRI, that is, a Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor.

Historically I do well through most of the winter, spring and summer.  Fall bites me in rearmost parts of my anatomy.  October is my undoing.

I think it is like many biological processes; it is triggered by the shortening days.  Deer and sheep start cycling for spring fawns/lambs based on decreasing day-length.  Trees drop their leaves based on day-length.  Animals in temperate and arctic regions toggle between summer and winter plumage/fur based on lengthening days or nights.

The traditional literature suggests that SAD is caused by lack of light, that it is worst in December and January and February.  Perhaps it is so for Napoleon and Hitler.  Not so much for me.  Maybe I am the outlier.

I started taking my SSRI yesterday.  One of the nice things about planning ahead is that I can avoid most of the side effects by starting with a half dose.  I simply split the pills.

People on large doses who experience SAD might consider starting on even less than half.

The typical protocol when starting a patient on an SSRI is to yank them off work for two weeks.  The purpose is two-fold.

One of the reasons is that SSRIs make you sleepy.  Not a good combination if you drive to work or if you use heavy equipment at work.  Cutting the dosage means you will sleep like a log but will, likely, be able to function at work and on the highway.

The other reason is that many SSRIs, especially the older ones like Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Zoloft (Sertalin) take three or four weeks to reach their full, therapeutic potential.  This is not necessarily a bad thing because missing a dose of the older SSRIs is not the end of the world.  These older SSRIs are great choices for patients who might not have the support structure to ensure total med-compliance.  A couple of examples are of somebody who has Attention Deficit issues and might get distracted.  Another example is of a young person who might be subject to, um, romantic distractions where they are deflected from their normal routine for a few days.

Some of the modern SSRIs kick in much, much more quickly than the old SSRIs.  Notably Escitalopram and Paroxetine.  Discontinuing them, unfortunately, results in a quick loss of antidepressant activity.

One doctor told me of an Emergency Room visit by a patient.  The patient was so debilitated by anxiety and depression that he appeared to be a boneless puddle of sobbing protoplasm.  Due to the dire situation, the attending doctor chose one of the faster acting SSRIs.  The next weekend the former patient brought a friend into the same Emergency Room for an unrelated issue.  The former patient was affective, gregarious and happy.  The former patient recognized the doctor and gave hime a double thumbs-up!  What really caught the doctor's attention was that the turn-around was much, much faster than the three-to-four weeks that is typically listed.

I figure I will run at half dose for a week and then bump it up to the full dose.  I intend to make the next transition during one of my "weekends".  Then, it will not be a big deal if I take a nap in the middle of the day.

To quote Red Green, "We are all in this together."

Not a good day for the air conditioning to stop working

Image from Accuweather
Yup, you guessed it.  The air conditioner at home is down.

I pulled a panel off the furnace which is down in the basement and am running in fan mode.

This morning the basement was a 66 degrees and the upstairs at 73.

The upstairs temperature is now at 75 degrees while it is 91 degrees outside.

Nightly lows are predicted to be in the lower 60s so we will open windows and ventilate with a fan to chill the walls.  The "cross over" when the outside temps are lower than the inside temps will be about 10 PM.

Seasonable temperatures are expected to return on Thursday.  Until then it will be good swimming weather.

If I get ambitious tomorrow I will check out the air conditioner unit.

One upmanship

A man died leaving three proud, competitive sons.

At his wake each one approached his coffin one at a time.

The first one made a big show of pulling out $10,000 in one hundred dollar bills.  "This is for you, Pops.  Have a great time up there!" as he stuck the bills in the coffin.

The second one pulled out $20,000 in one hundred dollar bills and said, "Dad, remember that I love you twice as much as Billy."

The third one approached the coffin, whipped out his checkbook and wrote a check for $130,000 and slid it into his dad's hand while scooping up the $30,000 in cash.  "Really going to miss you, Dad.  Thanks for all the life lessons."

Trucks, weather and work

Yesterday was my weekend.  I took food to my parents.  Then I picked up Kubota and we looked at used trucks.

Kubota got his license last week and is seriously in the market.  His major issue right now is that he has Dom PĂ©rignon tastes and a tap water budget.

We looked at a clean 1996 Chevy half-ton.  Two wheel drive.  Good tires. 350 cid V8.  Air conditioning. The engine has 150K on it and the rest of the truck has 330K miles.  The asking price was $1500 and Kubota wanted nothing to do with it.

I wonder if showing him trucks is a waste of time.  It is hard to know if the disconnect between the market and his budget is getting through to him.  Or maybe he is just not ready for the responsibilities, and costs, of owning a vehicle.


Images from Accuweather.
Today is going to be a scorcher.  I expect that I will be in-and-out of the buildings with more time outside than inside.  As bad as it is for me, I am glad I do not have to wear "turn-out" gear like a firefighter or body armor like a cop.

Today is also my long day.  I figure it will be just like running a long distance.  Listen to all of the parts of my body and slow down when they start talking.  If they keep talking, slow down even more.

You know you have been working when...
Your hands are stiff and puffy.  My day off was much appreciated.  I feel better today.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fake News Friday


The real reason for the mass extinction of amphibians.  Fast forward to the forty-second mark.  Frogs watching pron star Anne Lida do her thing...nNo longer eating or mating, populations plummet.

You read it here first.  ERJ FNF

Hat-tip to BigheadRob

Small considerations

We had some power fluctuations at work.  Lights would dim.  Breakers would pop.  At least I was out of the sun.

I have been there for a little more than a week.  Yesterday I was part of a crew that performed a task that is loud.  It is not so much that the job is loud as the fact that the noise is unpleasant and the task is an all-day job. That was the same task I did the first day of work so I planned ahead.  I put some hearing protection from home into a ziplock bag and used a magnet to attach the bag to the equipment.

One of the women on the crew seems to be pretty introverted.  She likes her space and seems to be more comfortable with a small, non-verbal nods than with a big "How are you doing today?"

I got a smile and a "You bet." out of her yesterday when I asked her if she wanted some hearing protection.  I started to tell her how to roll them up before inserting them when she told me, "I know how to do this.  I participate in 'shooting sports'."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A couple of short interactions at work

Yesterday the boss gave me a list of things to do.

One of those tasks was to remove some items from storage and install them in a certain location.

I noticed that the items were pretty grubby as I pulled them out of the dark storage area so I added a task to his list; clean items.

The boss caught me sitting at a picnic table outside scrubbing the items down and sluicing them down with rinse water.

"Whatchya doing?" he asked.

I told him.

"Thanks for doing that outside." was his reply.  Then he motored off to his next "check".

Later that day
I was working with one of the "kids".  He is really quiet, is as strong as an ox and has the work-ethic of a honeybee.

I found out that he reads and likes history.  WWII is his favorite period.

He is also a conservative.  He attributes it to his study of history.  "It is different this time." does not wash with him.

He does not have any expensive hobbies or vices.  He is saving up for a used Ford Ranger.  He has a German Shepherd and does not need a lot of room.

Oh, and he was home schooled.