Fracture: The Paper Anniversary

Last summer, almost to the day, I fractured and dislocated my knee. Let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant. I was playing (soccer/football) and the tackle was “reckless and ridiculous.”

Here’s my post from a year ago.

So, on the anniversary of the tackle and an injury that sent my life in new directions, here are a few thoughts about recovery.

Sorting out the injury

Rehab was the first order of the day. I visited the Glasgow Royal infirmary on a regular basis. This involved squats and dips and stretching and rubber tubes.

A selection of exercises

Yes, the NHS is understaffed and overworked, but the physios were tremendous!

I also had to get the extent of the damage straightened out. The doctors (and I) needed to go deep. Cue the futuristic MRI.

Once I received the letter, a weight was lifted. I was getting to the bottom of the injury.

So, I prepped myself. I was not pregnant. Check. I filled in the questionnaire. Check.

I left my family at home. And got psyched. As a “citizen in need of medical attention,” I felt like I was visiting the Elysium cure-all machine:

I went to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for the test and took some pictures along the way.

And

And

After I was stuck in the deafening machine for 35 minutes on a Sunday morning, it was determined NO SURGERY was required. No need to go under the knife.

Disruption

As you’d expect, the injury caused a massive disruption in my existence. Yes, my whole freaking existence. Both my personal and professional life was affected.

For starters, I became more familiar with ‘pain.’ Regular, recurring pain. Others, I’m sure, deal with higher levels of pain all the time – and have done so for years. It was new for me, though. It didn’t go away. It stuck with me, niggling. Persistent. I realized that I’d have to be stubbornly optimistic, too.

On a personal level, the pain and physical restrictions impacted how much I could horse around with my kids. That sucked. I occasionally fretted about the long-term damage to my knee and whether I’d make a full recovery. There was anxiety, in other words.

On a professional level, the disruption wasn’t terrible. It helps that I’m a writer and teacher and don’t have to be on my feet all day. Were this not the case, I might have considered worker’s compensation. I had to cancel on a few people and events, which was regrettable. On the positive side, if I can call it that, the ever-present pain in my life pushed me to think about types of pain, the use of drugs to dull the pain, and the future of my own research.

Goals

After I got my knee sorted out with the MRI and determined there was no need for surgery, I could start focusing on targets.  But what kind of goals did I have?

I settled on (again) some personal and professional goals.

On the personal side, I wanted to make up for the lost playtime with my kids. So lots and lots of horsing around in the back garden!

I decided that I’d focus on some running. I’m closing in on 40 and thought it’d be cool to try and run a 10 kilometer race in around 40 mins. A 40 in 40? Or 40 at 40? Something like that. I’ve kicked off the training. Stay tuned!

Professionally, I sought to build ‘pain’ into my research agenda. I couldn’t ignore it over the past year, so I channeled it. I talked about it more than I have in years past. And I wrote about it far more, as well.

You can read about pain and drugs, for instance, in my new book Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs.

A Year On

It’s the ‘paper’ anniversary of my knee injury. It really was brutal. The bright side, I suppose, is I learned a lot about myself.

***

Knee Songs

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New Editors at Social History of Alcohol and Drugs

The ADHS is pleased to announce that the editorship of its journal, *The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs*, will be taken over by Prof. Nancy D. Campbell (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Prof. David Herzberg (Buffalo) and Dr. Lucas Richert (Strathclyde). The society would also like to express its gratitude for the work that outgoing editor, […]

via New editors for SHAD — Alcohol and Drugs History Society

ADHS 2019

The ADHS is excited to announce that its next bi-annual conference will be held between 12 and 15 June 2019, at the David F. Musto Center for Drug Policy Studies, Shanghai University, China. The conference will be organised by Prof. Jim Mills, of the University of Strathclyde and Prof. Yong-an Zhang of Shanghai University, who […]

via ADHS conference at Shanghai, 12-15 June 2019 — Alcohol and Drugs History Society

Big Pharma Round-Up V (#Cannabis edition)

https://twitter.com/DavidLenigas/status/948667879368642562

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Large Indoor Marijuana Commercial Growing Operation With Fans, Greenhouse, Equipment For Growing High Quality Herb. Cannabis Field Growing For Legal Recreational Use in Washington State

Sara Pascoe on #Resolutions

Sara Pascoe on resolutions

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/02/we-should-all-pick-achievable-resolutions-get-through-three-days-of-dry-january-and-youre-a-hero-to-me

For me it was a slang phrase that ruined it. A man was talking, and I was listening politely because he was a friend of a friend. “Friend of a friend” is an excellent expression, it passively clarifies: “I know them … but I don’t like them”. An “acquaintance” is someone we haven’t decided if we like or not yet. An “associate” is a drug dealer. A “friend of a friend” is an idiot at a party you must tolerate because apparently I can’t fulfil all Rebecca’s friending needs and she wants gatherings to be full of people from work and their boyfriends. This one was telling me that he wouldn’t move over from Sydney because that’s where his mates are. “Bros before hoes,” he says. A saying I thought even the most hardened misogynist used ironically. Of course, I admire the sentiment, saving our loyalty for friends over those we must tolerate because our genitals want to get to know them. But I was shocked that someone would speak like this. We were in a kitchen, not a poorly written sitcom. And then I became sad as I was reminded once again about the gulf of understanding that can exist between human beings even if they have a friend in common. And so already 2018 was ruined. Fifty-two minutes in.

When did yours go wrong? I wonder if you felt annoyed for expecting anything to be different? It all started out great with hugging and music, then at 1am you saw the Uber surge price was in double figures and wept as you realised: it got me again. Hope. We think newness can save us, we don’t realise that we haven’t changed – only the date has.

Big Pharma Round-Up II

Here is a snapshot of the past week in Big Pharma news.  This is coming at you a little early because of the Christmas slowdown. Happy holidays.

To kick off:

The drug industry spent big!

Here’s another one on the lobbying money spent over the past months and years…

https://www.statnews.com/2017/12/19/pharma-lobbying-spending/

A lot of money was splashed out. ‘“Does that surprise you?” said Billy Tauzin, the former PhRMA CEO who ran the organization a decade ago as Obamacare loomed. Whenever Washington seems interested in limiting drug prices, he said, “PhRMA has always responded by increasing its resources.”’

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In Canada, there’s efforts to reduce “sticker shock” when purchasing drugs.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/drug-cost-surprises-1.4454803

“A Toronto family doctor thinks she has a prescription for the nasty surprise many patients experience when they go to the pharmacy and learn just how much their medications will cost.”

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What about other countries besides the US? Say, Poland. It spends a lot on pharmaceuticals – but on the right drugs?

http://www.euronews.com/2017/12/18/poland-spends-billions-on-drugs-but-are-they-the-right-ones-

Then, more on opioids. Ravaged by Opioids!

Away from the young, and to the old: could drugs slow ageing?

“Some pharmaceutical companies are exploring whether [certain] genetic traits could be used to create anti-ageing drugs.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42273362

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And in BC, Canada: illicit placenta and stem cell therapies were seized!!!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/illicit-placenta-and-stem-cell-therapies-seized-from-b-c-beauty-shop-1.4459518

‘The drugs confiscated from Before & After Beauty Lab on Hazelbridge Way “may pose serious risks to health,” according to a Health Canada press release.’

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There was a also mysterious double murder in the world of Big Pharma!

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Here at Strathclyde, CMAC welcomes Pfizer as newest partner…

https://www.strath.ac.uk/whystrathclyde/news/cmacwelcomespfizerasnewestpartner/

“CMAC (Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation), a pre-competitive consortium led by the University of Strathclyde to accelerate progress in pharmaceutical manufacturing, announces that Pfizer Inc has joined as a strategic member, alongside GSK, AZ, Novartis, Bayer, Takeda, Lilly and Roche.”

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Lastly, St Thomas University (Canada) is hiring a cannabis/marijuana scholar. As the cannabis industry consolidates and the medicine is refined further, the job is a useful chance to contribute to the discussion. And it looks spectacular.

2017-12-15 Final REVISED Cannabis HRC advertisement

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Here is a flyer for my book on Big Pharma! Cheap, cheap, cheap.

Richert_Flyer_2017

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Scream

Arthur Janov, the pioneer of Primal Scream therapy, recently passed away. Here are some thoughts about the context in which developed his therapy…

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Fifty years ago, in 1967, the California-based Arthur Janov was operating in a strange mental health environment.

That year Scottish therapist R.D. Laing published The Politics of Experience, which questioned orthodox therapies. Psychologist Timothy Leary’s psychedelic experiments were publicly called out in the pages The New Republic. In 1967’s The President’s Analyst, James Coburn played a psychotherapist more than willing to seduce his attractive female patients. Disenchanted, he eventually leaves Washington, D.C. to settle in a hippie commune. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) was finally acting on the 1963 Community Mental Health Act. In 1966, the first Community Clinic opened. By 1967, 53 more opened across the country.

Arthur Janov, with degrees from UCLA and a PhD in Psychology from Claremont Graduate School and sporting a shock of curly hair, created Primal Therapy in 1967. Tapping into the California counterculture and appealing to celebrities with his avant-garde approach, Janov created an unconventional therapy that resonated throughout the 1970s and beyond.

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Antiestablishment undercurrents challenged the American love affair with mental health expertise at this time. Debate was rife. It took place over psychiatric nosology (a fancy way of saying the classification of mental illnesses), scientific legitimacy, and the value of evidence-based diagnosis. The debate focused on the forces of modernization, psychopharmacology, (de)institutionalization, and social psychiatry.

There was significant chatter about mind control: The Manchurian Candidate. LSD brainwashing. MK ULTRA. This latter state-sponsored and well-funded CIA project, of course, included trippy research on behavioral therapy, chemically-induced brain concussions, brain wiping, hypnosis, extrasensory perception, cutting-edge polygraph techniques, sleep research, and on and on and on.

Ex-patient groups, whose members referred to themselves as ‘survivors’ or freed ‘slaves,’ garnered more attention. All this tumult was regarded as a “child of its rebellious, anti-establishment times.” Yet intra-professional restlessness was far from new, and it carried into the 1970s.

A majority of mental health experts recognized that the system was in disarray, a jumbled mess that President Jimmy Carter had to reform. To this end, Carter, who embodied for many the limits and austerity of the era initiated a presidential commission to investigate mental health in the U.S.

The term radical fluctuates from era to era and individual to individual, but this historical moment was definitely unique. Thinking about the 1960s-1970s probably conjures up images of Bobby Seale and Huey Newton’s Black Panther Party, which was organized in October 1966 and challenged the status quo by activating and channeling African-American disenchantment – in addition to forming coalitions with domestic and foreign organizations. Yet, the 1970s also calls to mind the Weather Underground, a homegrown terrorist organization intent on fomenting revolution, and which detonated a series of bombs in 1970.

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Biopsychiatry, antipsychiatry, and a host of alternative therapies rose against this backdrop. Amid these changes, Arthur Janov pioneered and championed primal therapy with his 1970 book, The Primal Scream: The Cure for Neurosis. It was a form of therapy in which patients entered extreme emotional states to allow for the jettisoning of any deep-rooted “Primal Pain” experienced in childhood. In addition, the method was often accompanied by shouting and screaming. These “post-Primal” patients would attain a genuine normality, thereafter occupying healthy, neurosis-free bodies.

As indicated in the title of his book, he did not shy away from the curative and indeed the transformative nature of his therapy. In a series of books between 1970-1972, including The Anatomy of Mental Illness and The Primal Revolution, Janov contended that patients who concluded his therapy effectively would overcome the diseased state common to most people. He suggested, too, that his therapy offered physical cures. Repression, in Janov’s estimation, stunted physical development, and successful Primal Therapy would enable the natural growth of breasts, hair, and hands.

Janov, born and raised in California, had worked as a psychotherapist for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and Veterans Administration, among other places, when in 1967 he developed his theory. It was an atmosphere of questing energies and transformation in California, and one that also gave rise to Transactional Analysis and other New Age ideas.

Janov’s therapy struck a chord with the countercultural set and other Americans hungry for alternative approaches to the mainstream establishment. Finding the limelight, he went on mainstream television programs, called traditional psychiatry a hoax, and told how of how the establishment scorned him. His papers could not get published, and his colleagues walked out on his presentations. The press hated him, too, he said. Undeterred, Janov pronounced “Primal therapy is THE therapy, nothing can stop it.”

He cagily played around with themes of intergenerational antagonism, repression caused by postwar society, and the ways in which physical experiences and emotions as trumped neutral reasoning; more than that, he touted altered states of consciousness and the more specific view that personal (and perhaps national) liberation depended upon the violent overthrow of corrupt systems. These altered states, however, did not include pot, LSD, or MDMA, and had to be reached without any artificial aids. Janov fully rejected the use of illegal intoxicants, uninhibited sexual activity (“free love”), and transcendental meditation.

Seeking out altered states was not a pathway to fulfilment in his view but rather an unconscious compulsion of an unwell mind. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who of course experimented with many substances, underwent Primal Therapy in 1970 after The Beatles disbanded —and, along with a “primal concept album” John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (1970), helped popularize the therapy.

In assessing the mental health landscape and Primal Therapy of the 1970s, Alfred Yassky, the Executive Director of the American Psychotherapy Seminar Center, based in Manhattan, held that the tectonic plates of mental health shifted. Americans were different. The therapeutic geography had perceptibly altered. As he put it, Americans are becoming alienated and are hungering for a sense of meaning, identity, happiness, and even salvation, we are wanting more from therapies and therapists. One way of putting it is that in many ways psychotherapy has taken over the function of religion. Therefore, the therapist is supposed to take over the function and roles of shaman, guru, wiseman, minister, rabbi, or priest. We are expected to help with spiritual matters on the one hand and scientific on the other…

Primal Therapy, which shone brightly until the 1980s, helped to fill that gap.

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The mental health arena in the 1970s witnessed several new entrants, with the rise of patient groups, new therapies tailored for mass consumption, and the continuance of psychedelic psychiatry. Patient-consumers could dip toes into New Age medicine, and draw from the fountain of naturopathy and homeopathy, as well as Eastern-influenced medicine or teachings from sources like the Esalen Institute in California.

They might sample alternative mental health therapies, including Primal Scream Therapy or Transactional Analysis, or find psychic solace in the form of new religious movements. Primal Scream, in short, filled a void for many Americans. It let them shriek and wail to their heart’s content.

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For more short pieces on strange therapies and radical mental health, see below.

This piece is about radical psychiatry and pacification in the 1960s

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/hiddenpersuaders/blog/agents-of-pacification/ 

This article is about Transactional Analysis and its founding in the 1960s

https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-30/september-2017/harnessing-fierce-energy-counterculture

Slightly different, this piece is about heroin and end-of-life discussions in the 1980s.

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/189/39/E1231.full.pdf+html