Thursday, December 17, 2009

new blog

i just created a new blog. i decided that my students sometimes say crazy things, and these things need to be shared. "crazy things my students say." go sign up. now.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

students like to know about their teachers' lives

today we got to talking about things that are in food. i told them right out that when talking about food content is the only time they will ever hear me use the term "crap." there is a lot of crap in foods that don't need to be there. somehow the topic of my vegetarianism came up and they ask all kinds of questions about my health and they asked about protein and iron and stuff, and i told them i get all the protein i need from the veggies i eat, and that my iron counts are actually higher than they were when i was still eating meat.

one student says that she wanted to be a vegetarian, but her parents wont let her because they say she needs meat because she is still growing. i came to a conflict. this is so not true, and it could be considered my duty to teach them that this is not true and to tell them why. but on the other hand, you don't want to undermine a parent's authority with their children. so i did a quick calculation in my head and came up with "well, it is possible to get everything you need for this stage of your growth while not eating meat, but you have to pay a lot of attention, it's not easy. it requires a lot of work to make sure you're getting everything you need, and it could be expensive because sometimes, oddly enough, meat is just cheaper than veggies."

i did, thankfully, find that most kids know that it is not good to have red meat more than 2-3 times a week. so there is hope yet for this generation and their health.

Friday, August 14, 2009

our local town hall meeting

last night we went to a local town hall meeting. I'll say this first: nothing exciting like what we've seen on tv happened there. however, there were a few hints of nutsies. when we first sat down, there was a couple sitting behind us who were talking about the event at Specter's town hall, and before Hubby could finish texting to me "OMG Birthers!" the woman in front of us suddenly turns around and excitidly asked us "so why are YOU here?!" we gave a very boring answer, something like that we always go to these. she then tells us that she thinks she's at the wrong meeting, she thought this was going to be a "tea party" meeting, and will probably leave early. hubby and i shared glances as she turned around, i am sure we were both wondering if she was going to start trouble. but she did not, i don't think she even asked any questions, and she did indeed leave a little early, as i guess it was not exciting enough for her.

there was one woman who asked if our tax dollars were paying for abortions through planned parenthood. the state rep answered that no money goes to abortions, but some money goes to planned parenthood because of the social services they do there. the lady talks over him and says that all planned parenthood does is abortions and if any money is going to them then the money is paying for abortions. it took all my might and reason to not respond to her that planned parenthood does much much more for local communities than abortions. they do a large amount of work for women's health in general, and only a small portion of that are abortions. but i knew that if i said anything at all, it would only become some huge argument, and i am not the type to enjoy that sort of thing, whereas thats probably what the other person was looking for.

as for the people who are disrupting information sessions for the purpose of keeping information from getting out (because, really, who wants an educated public, right?) , well, they dont even know thats why they are doing it. they really dont know what their points are. i have seen interviews with these people, and they really cannot give a coherent response as to why they are doing this. thats just sad. these people are just "talking stains." the talking stain makes it quite difficult to hear what the message is, it doesn tmatter what the stain is saying, they're just mumbling words of anger at volumes slightly louder than the people with the information, in an effort to blur the message. Talking Stains, people. thats all they are.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Generic vs Name brand drugs

I'll start by stating that I used to work for big pharma companies, as well as a fairly big generic pharma company. that being said, I have seen both sides and I have no allegiance to one side or the other. I know that there is a very good reason for why the name brand drugs are so expensive, but I also know that, generally, generic drugs are just as good.


I used to take wellbutrin xl. it's an extended release of an antidepressant, designed to release the main ingredient slowly over 24 hours. it worked wonders. i was terribly stressed (my job was very stressful), always highly anxious, stayed awake for days at a time sometimes. then i started on wellbutrin xl, and not only was i more human, i actually had a sexual appetite. i felt normal for the first time in a long time. because i was working for the company that made the drug, and had a great pharmacy benefit for using their drugs, i always got the name brand. when i left the company to go to school full time, however, i didnt make a fuss when the pharmacist switched me to the generic version. when i got home to take it for the first time, though, i should have known something was wrong right away. the name brand wellbutrin xl is a tiny pill, its a high dose, but the formulation used to make it an extended release is from a special process, which i am not sure if i am allowed to get into, so i won't, just to be safe. anyhow - the generic version, budeprion, made by the same generic company i used to work for, was this HUGE horse-pill. i shruged and said well, its the same active ingredient, its the same amount of active ingredient, i guess they just needed to put a whole lot more filler in there? and i just "went with it."

tip #1: if you are ever switched from a name brand to a generic brand, and you see that the pill is more than twice the size of the original, think more carefully before making the switch.

so i went with it, and things started changing back. i was anxious, stressed, full-on depressed, barely holding on and barely worrying about eating. i lost a crazy amount of weight in the fall, then put it back plus some more in the spring! i had days when i did not react at all to the things i hsould be reacting to in the classroom, and days wheni broke down completely. i chocked it up to being in an intense graduate program and figured it would be worse if i were not on my meds.

a year later, i had my first teaching job, so things were different, more calm. but i was still not quite normal. i had just gotten so used to it by this time that i had not thought anything of it. then, due to some extenuating circumstances that i have not quite gotten over yet, i was yanked off the meds, with no step down process. just taken off of 300mg budeprion/wellbutrin without refills. i went through a short period of insanity, as could be expected for being yanked off a mind-altering drug. however, after that initial period of insanity, i was suddenly extremely normal. it was the first time i have felt this normal ina very very long time. 2 things are different here. 1 - i am no longer in the stressful environment that i used ot work in. 2 - i am no longer taking the generic budeprion. i am also not taking wellbutrin, however now that i am no longer working in such stressfuol conditions i do not need it. i am in the same place i was while taking budeprion, however. so really, the only thing I can point to as being responsible for my sudden recovery is the lack of budeprion.

i just read an article (Self, June 2009) that suddenly gave me the "aha!" moment. i hadn't really thought much about all this until i read the article. it turns out that the main difference between the two formulations (welbbutrin xl vs budeprion xl) is the extended release formulation. the big name company has two different patents for the drug, the active ingredient was approved before the extended release (probably because the active ingredient was discovered first, then made into a regular pill, then firther developed into this extended release muc later), so the active ingredient patent was expired before the extended release formulation patent. this means that the generic company could use the active ingredient, but were not allowed to use the same extended release formula, so they had to engineer their own. this explains the huge difference in the size of the pill. the stuff the generic company uses actually releases four times the dose right away, andf then the rest of it very slowly throughout the day. this huge of a dose all at once is what is responsible for making you crazy at times and then the complete opposite at other times.

so where is the fda in all this? well, they approved the 300mg dose based off the info they were given by the generic company. the generic company gave them info that was actually for the 150mg dose, though. so, they approved something not knowing they were not given the correct information for it. yes - the fda should be more vigilant. the fda also used to do on site inspections any time a new approval was sought, no matter how small the change was. now, they dont go nearly as often as they used to. in my ten years in pharma, between generic and name brand companies, i saw fda inspectors on site twice. i can tell you i have seen a greater number of applications than that in ten years.

tip #2: if you are going to try a new drug, lean toward trying the name brand first, this way you know what you are "supposed" to be experiencing. after a couple of months, then switch to the generic brand, if there is one, to save money. this way if there is a sudden change, you ave a better chance of figuring out that its the formulation of your generic pill.

tip #3: ask the doctor if there are reported differences between the generic and the name brand of that medicine. if she says there is, ask her to denote "name brand only" on your prescription. then double check at the pharmacy that the pharmacist didnt miss it.

the differences between the drugs are not so huge for most types of drugs, but for things like heart meds, seizure meds, anti-depressants, and anti-acne meds, keep an eye out and be on top of what you are taking.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Parent Autobiography

as part of the adoption process, we both need to write up an autobiography detailing our childhood: how we were raised, who raised us, what they were like, how they disciplined, how they fought and settled disagreements, etc. if you know me, you might have an idea as to how difficult writing this has been for me. i never thought i was the type of person to hold a grudge, i always said i wasn't. then i read over my writing to do some edits. it wasn't the writing itself that got me thinking, but my thoughts to myself as i did the reading. i thought, with a wry grin, "should i die soon, this should be read as my eulogy, as a reminder to the people who would be there to cry for themselves and their guilt. a reminder of the harm they did me and that they have only themselves to blame for that deep guilt they would be feeling." thats when i caught myself. maybe i am the type to hold a grudge, after all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"See you in September..." and adoption stuff

Today i have everything finished, the room is cleaned, the books are put away and covered, all my resources are taken home so i can work on the lessons for next year, my paperwork is in and things are signed off. the only thing i have left to do is turn in my keys on Monday. the only thing i am debating now is whether or not i should take home my plant. frankly, i think the plant stands a better chance here all summer than it does at home with the cats. then again, i could just put it out on the porch... hrm. yes, i think i will do that.

Hubby Bear's playing wing man tonight for his friend, and i am planning ... *PLANNING*... on mopping the floors at home. this warm, muggy, rainy weather is nasty and brings out all the yucky smells in things. everything just smells really stale and gross. not pleasant at all.

we had another adoption training on Wednesday night with current resource parents. if you are the caretaker of a child who is in the system (not adopted yet), you are a resource parent. it was good to hear about their experiences. it really made me feel a lot better about the possibility of doing foster-adoption. there's still the "legal risk" that they will be reunited with their bio parents, but it rarely happens. the main benefit is that there are less moves for the child. if you do straight adoption, where you wait until a child is free for adoption before being placed in your home, not only do you wait longer and have a harder time finding younger children, but that's at least one more time they are being uprooted. the only benefit to it is that there is no legal risk. i personally think the benefits of fost-adopt outweigh the risk, i think Hubby Bear is there with me. i also feel better about keeping our age range lower at 5 and under. i would consider older children if we go through this again, but for right now, as first time parents taking on two at a time (and possibly more, depending on the sibling group), i feel better looking for younger children.

i got an invitation the other day to a baby shower for Hubby Bear's cousin who's expecting this fall. i got a little sad because i thought "gee, there's one bit of normalcy we wont have." i mean, so you're a new parent for the first time, so it makes sense to have a baby shower. but somehow you get the feeling that adoption just isn't the same, and they wont be new born babies (not likely), so does that make it even less of a thing to get excited over and have a baby shower for? i talked to a coworker and he said we could call it a "toddler shower." i kind of like that idea, actually. initially i thought maybe calling it an "adoption shower" would be nice, but then i thought that would be another label that would put them in a different category other than "your children." another thing i wondered about was timing. you get placed, you're still dealing with visitations with the original parents, and it could be some time before the rights get terminated. so WHEN do you do a shower? i see it as something that is supposed to help you get started with the stuff you'll need as parents, so it wouldn't make much sense to have it two years later, when you are finally a family legally, but is it too presumptuous to do it early?

at the meeting, i asked one of the parents if they had a baby shower, and she said "oh yes!" she said that the other resource parents did too. they had theirs a week after placement.

so, now i feel better about doing things just like you normally would do it. having a baby shower is OK, and having it soon after placement is pretty much expected.

today, since i have nothing to do but still need to be here until 2:40, i am going to work on that novella called a resource parent autobiography. i am sure i will be utterly depressed by the time the day is over.