Sunday, September 28, 2008

Last week was quite a mixed bag

My world:

I remember something a friend of mine said to me a few years ago. We were in the television production business together, although not exactly together. He was in it and I was in it, but we weren’t working together at the time he made this comment; this comment wasn’t, by the way, something he crafted on his own, (I had heard it before), but it was strange because of when he chose to say it. The commercial business at the time was weathering a “kind of a storm”. It was changing; there was a lot less commercial television work, but many more people wanting to do it. As a result, there was a lot of underbidding on the available projects. If you wanted to work, you often had to underbid. If you stood your ground and refused to low ball jobs, you’d eventually be out of business, and many did just that.

So it was during this time I asked my friend that age-old question “how’s business?” He replied: “If it’s good for you, then its good for you”. I knew what he was saying…he was glad that he was working. He had a small company and was able to underbid jobs and still make a profit. He was working; it was good for him. I couldn’t help thinking though of all the other people I knew who weren’t working…not so good for them. Not so good for those whom either couldn’t afford to bid a job for less, or refused to underbid for what they believed to be ethical reasons, and in their mind what would bring about the eventual diminishing or demise of the business as we knew it. That was in 2001, and the business did change, it will never be what it used to be. If the industry had taken a stand together to refuse to underbid commercial productions, recognizing that while a few would be able to do this and still make money, that generally most companies would not be able to do this, bringing about less creative options in the end, and a business that to this day is extremely hard to make a profit in. Today everyone in the TV commercial production business lives the results of those decisions in 2001.

Greed is what changed things. For a short period in time, a sector of the business was grabbing the cash. In doing so, they helped dilute the overall strength of the industry, and in the end everyone in the industry paid the price.

There is always a fork in the road, the fork for the television production industry was to decide to band together and support each other, and not to bid jobs beyond a certain low, or allow price to become one of the most important criteria on which to judge which was the best company/director to produce a job. If the industry had come together instead of fracturing, the outcome might have been quite a different one.

The Lesson: One, when it seems like it’s so good for you but so not good for others, it may not be that good. Two, beware of things that seem too good to be true, they probably are just that…too good to be true.

Sound like something familiar?

This is such a confusing time. This election, this financial crisis, this war, all of this…is not good for my health.

I’m thinking of the dawning of a new day. Aren’t you?

My Health:

I had an appointment with my Head and Neck surgeon (Dr. ENT); he was part of the surgical team that operated on me last October. It’s been almost a year since I had surgery and I’m still having a lot of…lets just call them issues with my sinuses. My sinuses were the road, on which my surgeons traveled to get to my brain…a road is not traveled without leaving any sign of passage. In my mind I thought the conversation would be something of a casual chat about all that I had been through since we had last seen each other, he would look into my nose and ears…notice that I had a raging sinus infection, prescribe me an antibiotic. I’d be off on my way, and in a week or so, all my sinus “issues” would be gone…forever.

It went more like this…he asked me how I was doing. He didn’t seem to know that I had had radiation. I’ve been keeping in touch with my neurosurgeon (Dr. IAmKing), but I would have thought that they somewhere along the line in this past year had discussed my case. I let Dr. ENT know I had radiation…he said “oh yes, I do think I remember hearing that”. Hmmmm…he seems to remember. What playing field did I just step on to? What game are we playing? He said that he was glad to hear that I was doing well. He looked into, or should I say up my nose and said that I didn’t have an infection. That the symptoms I was suffering, were probably due to the radiation. I said that these were problems I had before radiation. He seemed to ignore that, and went on to elaborate that radiation near where I needed to have it changes the function of the sinuses…forever. “FOREVER?” I say. “Yes, forever”. “What about antibiotics?” I continue to ask. “No, you don’t want to start taking antibiotics, it won’t help, you will gain a tolerance to the antibiotics, and if taken too regularly, could change an infection into a fungal infection…which you could die from. But you should keep on using the saline stray, and use it about 15 times a day”. I asked half joking “is there enough time in the day for that? You mean to tell me in 2008, the best there is to offer is salt water?” He chuckles “yep, best thing”.

He checks my ears, looks down my throat, tells me I look good, then tells me to stay in touch and keep him posted on my progress. He tells me that they (doctors I guess) hear about how wonderful Proton Therapy is…that it is being touted as good for everything from cancer to radiating your food. Is this a Proton joke or is it a Proton snub? He goes on to say, they hear about the success cases, but not about the failures. Oh, I get it now. This was the game of Radiation vs. Surgery, and he is routing for the home team…but of course he wishes me the best.

This was so not the way I hoped things would go, but I wasn’t all that surprised. If my surgeons had seen the value of Proton Therapy they would have suggested it. What about the patient’s role in this game? I felt a bit like the ball. Depressing.

Time to go to the drugstore for a year’s supply of Saline Spray.

On the brighter side:

I ran into a grocery store last week in pursuit of a bottle of canola oil, I felt a need to make a pumpkin bread…yes, a need. Fall brings on a craving for a pumpkin bread. This was ambitious of me, given my energy is still not all there…but a craving is a craving. I grabbed my oil and went to stand on line. There were three cashiers, each had at least 4 fully packed carts already standing alongside their people on line. I picked a line. Let the positive thinking begin. I stood behind a woman, who looked at me and my one item. I could see her thought process. She thought, I’d ask you if you want to go in front of me, but that won’t really help you out, since you will still need to wait behind two other wildly packed shopping carts. She said to me instead “can you believe they only have three cashiers?” I said, “It’s unbelievable”. I also knew that I was not leaving without my oil. If I had to wait it out, I would. The thought of this though does start to daunt me. I begin to think what I can lean on, since I don’t have a cart. “Should I try and grab a stray cart to help prop me up as I wait out this line?” In my scanning, I catch the eye of a man who works at the store. “Could this be a possible cashier?” We make eye contact; I nonchalantly wave my one bottle of oil, while also trying to convey my lack of stamina. It worked! The man motioned me over to the empty register, to pay for my one item. He also invited the lady in front of me to come over. The woman behind me (who had been the woman in front of me) said, “I’m sticking by you, you bring the luck”. I thought to myself “you have no idea”. This day had the earmarking of a great day.

Then on Friday of last week I decided that I would sell my tandem kayak (a two person kayak). I had bought it for Rachel and I to kayak in together, but she is more of a solo gal now, and so am I. I would buy a new or new/used single as well as a new roof rack with the proceeds from the sale of the tandem. I decided to list it on Craigslist. Things went smashingly. I got several inquiries right a way. On Sunday someone came with the cash, paid me what I wanted for the boat, and off it went with it’s new happy owner. All things should be that easy. I love Craigslist! Now I’m thinking of all the other things that I can sell.

Last week was quite a mixed bag.

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