Skepchick Quickies, 2.17


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. I just need a “safe space” to bitch.

    I’m having sleep issues. Nothing out of the ordinary. Why do people have to suggest acupuncture? And then when I say, “Not interested, no thanks” they act like I’m some close-minded idiot. “Western medicine isn’t the only way. ;)” Sorry folks, but it’s just a sugar pill and stabby form.

    /end rant.

  2. Am I the only one who read Oxycontin instead of oxytocin and was surprised to find out that “Some call it the “hormone of love.” ” before realizing the error?

  3. @marilove:

    Here’s what I do:

    1) White noise machine (or a nice white noise/pink noise/brown noise MP3 on your plugged in MP3 player of choice). Run all night long and at medium volume, it does help drown out small sounds.

    2) Nice hot shower before bed. You’re clean, so not sweaty or itchy. The process is soothing and the hot water loosens up tensed muscles.

    3) This one is weird, but I’ve told it to other people and it works: leave a light on. Not a glaringly large light, but put a soft bulb in your bedside table or use a booklight and read yourself to sleep. I say it’s your conscious tricking your unconscious into sleep (“Oh, you wanna stay up, do you? Well how about THIS sleep!”)

    4) And quite honestly, when I can’t sleep or I’m wakeful? A 1/3 to 1/2 shot of NyQuil does freakin’ wonders. Better than any ‘scrip any doctor ever prescribed. Just resist the temptation to go full dose or you won’t get to work on time the next morning…

  4. @Chasmosaur: See, falling asleep isn’t usually my issue, at least normally. It’s staying asleep. I cannot stay asleep to save my life. I’ve always been like this, but it only gets worse as each year passes. This week is a particularly bad one for me.

    1) I use fans. I don’t like music or anything that changes a lot (like CDs with storm noises). I have a ceiling fan and a floor fan, and I run both. I’ve always done this to drown out sound. :)

    2) I’ve tried this…it feels nice, but doesn’t do much good.

    3) I already have enough light in my bedroom, from the outside light that is directly in front of my window. I’ve had to put a curtain on my window to help block it. I don’t need more light, lol. I probably need less, but I also need enough air flow during this time of year, so there isn’t much I can do right now. During the summer months when I’m run the a/c 24/7, I plan on blocking out more light if I can.

    4) I avoid allergy and cold medications, even when I’m sick. I was sick last week, in fact, and broke down and took some NyQuil last Monday at 8pm, about 2 hours before I normally head to bed, because I couldn’t breath and it was driving me nuts.


    It breaks my sleep up even more, and I felt like CRAP the next day. I had to leave work early because of it. Not because I was sick, but because I had NyQuil head. I left at noon. I could still feel it.

    Benadryl is my worst enemy. It causes me to hallucinate as I sleep. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You’re frozen, can’t move, but you’re not really asleep … yet you’re dreaming, but it’s far more realistic than your average dream. I’m already susceptible to that sort of stuff, but antihistamines, and benadryl in particular, really up my chances of experiencing that kind of stuff.

    It’s awful.

    I really hate cold/allergy medicine. With a passion. It effs me up something fierce.

    I do not need to have any more odd dreams. :(

  5. Re: The Divorce Battle – As a victim of Catholic school, and as a friend to many practicing Catholics, I’m not really surprised. If the wife didn’t convert, then the Church won’t recognize the wedding unless she signed a promissory note to raise the child Catholic. If, as I suspect, she neither signed the note or converted, then as far as the Church is concerned, this isn’t a valid marriage. Her husband most likely has been hammered constantly by his family about the “illegitimacy” of their child and has been guilted into the baptism.

    I’ve seen this kind of thing before. It’s stupid, and sad.

  6. That father has no interest in the well-being of his daughter. He’s an attention-whoring, self-centered asshole, using religion as an excuse to take digs at his ex with no consideration for their child. The court order is flawed because it targeted the religion and not the behavior, but I would imagine this guy would have found some loophole no matter what.

    I really hope that lung transplant story has a happy ending.

  7. I don’t understand the problem with the calabash chalk being used for morning sickness. It’s all natural and so is the lead and arsenic that it is full of. If anything, we should be upset that they are trying to pass off a rock that they pulled from the ground as an herb.

  8. @marilove: I hate to play the “it happened to me” card, but years of sleep problems including poor sleep quality to night terrors ended up with me being diagnosed with a magnesium deficiency (with mild hypomagnesemia). Diet alone didn’t work and my doctor ended up putting me on a supplement. Saved my sanity. If I stop taking the supplement OR let my diet slip, I get right back into that poor sleep pattern within a short period (like last week).

  9. Nah, caps lock means yelling… with bold I picture an unblinking stare as someone imparts something very meaningful to me in a serious and forceful tone.

  10. @marilove:

    Fair enough. Rebound is always a problem.

    And on a totally unrelated note, my Mom had a most excellent PET scan yesterday. No further metastasis, excellent headway on killing the fucking cancer cells that are there. Giddy is as close as I can come to my mood right now…

  11. @Ashley.Ele: I really need to see the doctor. One day I’ll talk myself into it. I’m just afraid they’ll give me drugs that don’t really adress the problem. I probably need a sleep study, but the thought of having people watch me sleep while I’m attached to wires freaks me out a bit. I don’t think I’ll sleep at all! I am a super light sleeper, for one, and anxiety just makes my inability to sleep worse. (Sometimes I wonder if it’s all anxiety related.)

  12. @Skept-artist: Well I do hate benadryl a LOT! And NyQuil. I ended up tossing all my NyQuil, because holy crap that was awful. The thing that sucks, though, is that DayQuil doesn’t work nearly as good at clearing sinuses. :(

    Clariton is the only allergy med that I can take without feeling like arse, but thankfully I don’t suffer from allergies. :)

    @Chasmosaur: Yay for your mom!!! *does the happy chair dance for you*

  13. And to add, I feel for people like Heath Ledger, who overdose accidently. I get it. He wasn’t trying to commit suicide and I don’t think he was taking pills to get high — he was trying to shut his brain off, trying for a moment to get some peace. It scares me, because I’ve been there, though not nearly to the degree of almost overdosing, but the fact that I “get” it freaks me out a bit.

    One desperate night, I took a xanax, two somas (muscle relaxers) and two large glasses of wine. I still didn’t sleep. It was awful. Most people would have been passed out cold, and I was still wide awake. It was completely frustrating. Thankfully my friend was able to give me a back rub, and it was a weekend night so I wasn’t so concerned about staying up (totally high but not sleepy) until 4am, until I could finally get some (emphasis on some) sleep.

    Even vicodin and similar medications crack me out instead of making me sleepy.

    I’ve been exersizing regularly, hoping that helps, but instead, I’m not only exhausted from lack of sleep, I’m physically worn out. It’s awful.

    This is why it pisses me off when people suggest shit that doesn’t work (acupuncture). Thanks, but no fucking thanks, I have no desire to waste my time and money on fake shit.

  14. @marilove: omg I had a friend suggest to me acupuncture for a pain in my right thigh that even doctors can’t fix (some say it’s a bursitis, some… are not sure). I guess I must’ve had a stronger reaction to her suggestion then I thought because she felt that I jumped at her throat when she made the suggestion and she advised me that in the future, she will inform me when something I say bothers her (she feels that I jump at her throat too often!).



    And then she told me god loved me! lol XD

  15. @Izzy: She probably takes any, “No, thanks” as jumping at her throat — she’s being overly defensive. Also, she’s trying to guilt you. The same way, “Western medicine isn’t the only way ;)” reactions to “Uh, no thanks!” are trying to do.

  16. @marilove: You’ve probably already done this, but make sure the DayQuil has pseudoephedrine in it and not phenylephrine- the former is the only one that will give good cold relief. It used to be that you could buy the pseudoephedrine version off the shelf, but in recent years they’ve moved it to behind the counter where they decide if you’re a drug addict or just sick before giving it to you.

  17. All of these stories were interesting, but I cannot get the one about the woman who is refusing the lung transplant out of my head. Her friends and family worked so hard to make this happen for her, and then this idiot religion (Jehovah’s Witnesses) tells her it’s better to live forever after you die then 20-30 more years here on Earth, so refuse the transplant.

    This is the embodiment of why religion is EVIL and WRONG. Denying reality, refusing life-saving science, to get a dubious reward AFTER YOU DIE, is absurd beyond belief. She is denying her children a mother, her husband a partner, all because of her new religion. A religion that misinterprets their insane holy writings’ prohibition against consuming blood to include blood transfusions.

    Sorry for the rant, this kind of story just makes me crazy. Also, the Jehovah’s Witness minister who convinced her of this should be punched in the face. Often. Bastard.

  18. Re: Lung Transplant
    I was glad to read to the end of the article and see that she finally decided to relent on the J.W.’s blood thing and go for the operation.

    If one is determined to have a religion, and you have a plethora (iwuvsdatwoid) of religions that claim to give you a orgasmically pleasant afterlife why not do some comparison shopping? Pick the one that has the most bliss with the least knee-scraping and sacrifice? [reads article about various groups still practicing self-flagellation] Oh… Nvm.

    Re: Sleep
    The whole sleep thing is so personal. What helped me was to think through every factor that prevented sleep or caused issues and trying to address them one at a time.
    I personally helped it by getting a firm latex bed (springs poked me), removing all forms of “light pollution,” not eating late, and avoiding activities that get me “wired” too soon before sleep. Once in a while I take half a dose of Ambien before bed, but rarely enough to not get dependent.

  19. OH JEEZ.

    So I told the person that suggested acupuncture that I don’t think a placebo will help, and she replied with: “Oh. I just remembered you work for a drug store. That explains it. Heh…”

    *eye fucking roll*


    For the record, I actually work for a booze warehouse that distributes booze (and other beverages, but mostly booze) to all its AZ retail stores. I don’t even work for the retail side, nor do I have anything at all to do with the retail side, let alone the pharmacy.

    But, you know, because I have critical thinking skills and am a huge skeptic of acupuncture and other placebo therapies, but happen to work for a pharmaceutical company (even though I have nothing to do with the pharmacy side), I must be a big pharma shill!

    *bangs head on wall*

  20. Sure would be nice to charge the JWs with attempted murder. This was not one of their own, but someone who they recruited knowing that she’s a woman who is dying while awaiting a transplant, and converting her would kill her.

    They didn’t think that there was a better way to heal her. They weren’t offering her an alternative. They were offering her death, and nothing else, during a time when she was scared and confused and vulnerable. I don’t know what that is other than an attempt to kill… well intentioned or not.

  21. Tangent rant:

    What’s with the confusing, archaic and misogynistic practice of referring to one person, the male, by last name in an article about two (well, actually three) people with the same last name?

    Is it just journalists so used to referring to people by last name they can’t see how monstrous the sentence “Reyes’ wife, Rebecca Reyes, is Jewish.” is on multiple levels?

    Or is it still so ingrained in American culture that the last name belongs to the husband that people don’t even notice the potential ambiguity of such usage?

  22. @marilove:

    You know, if you keep banging your head against the wall, that might help you sleep ;)

    Thanks for the chair happy dance. I had to go out and walk around for a while and get a celebratory Hershey’s bar…

  23. @Bjornar: Also, take a look at how such things are handled in our politics. George W. Bush is almost always referred to as “President Bush”. Bill Clinton is almost always referred to as “President Clinton”. However, Hillary Clinton is almost always referred to as “Hillary” — not Mrs. Clinton, but Hillary.

  24. @Elyse: The bat shit crazy deluded JW ministers and their minions would lead me to regrettable public confrontations if it were a relative of mine they were messing with.

  25. @James Fox: Yeah, it got a lot better after she got a job, but during the elections it was always “Hillary”. Male presidential candidates are rarely referred to by first name.

    Same thing with Sarah Palin — it was Sarah (and still is) quite a lot.

  26. @marilove:Yeah I have nothing helpful to add. I could give you blah blah about my years of not sleeping but really the only useful thing I ever heard I will share with you now….”That fucking sucks.”

    Also yeah I totally got the wrong oxy too! Damn them makin my brain all confused.

  27. @Elyse: I agree. There should be a way to prosecute these douchebags. I mean, her husband was prepared to divorce her if she went with the JW’s. Pretty drastic, but I don’t blame him. So glad that reason won out. It took courage for her to say:

    “I began to think how much I loved my children, these marvelous gifts from God,” she explained, gulping for air as tears rolled down her face. “God loves. He does not demand that we follow rules. The rules are ours.”


    Not far from where I live there is a huge JW hall and so many times as I’ve walked past there I wanted to run in and do this:


    Can I get a witness? ;-)

    @Bjornar: Just for the record, I noticed in the lung transplant article that the writer referred to the patient numerous times as “Perez” and her husband as “Lorenzo.” I think the habit is often to use the last name of the major player in the article and full (or first) names of ancillary people. This seems to be a common practice, but I could be wrong.

    OTOH, there is @marilove: the Hillary thing.

  28. My ex’s #2 wife tried to take my son off to Catholic Sunday School. He called to inform me of this intention [‘Mommmmm – she wants me to believe in the Pope!’]. I got his [raised secular Jewish] father on the phone and suggested, in my most dulcet tones, that he reconsider this, lest an unnamed party perform a phallectomy upon his person. Turns out, he didn’t even know what she was planning. [And how, you ask, did a practicing Catholic marry a divorced man? Apparently, our civil ceremony didn’t count, what with God not being mentioned or invited to the ensuing pizza party.] No mention of Sunday School was made thereafter.

    Marilove: You might want to get a blood panel done; I began sleeping better after some major vitamin/mineral deficiencies were seen to. [My haematologist asked if I lived in a cave and ate nothing but bread and water.]

    SF author Joe Haldeman was once visited by JWs. He asked them to come back after he’d had time to read their literature. When they did, he’d prepared a considered rebuttal, chapter and verse. They fled, never to return.

    Living, as I do, in a largely gay city, it is seldom we get the religious at the door. I think they’re afraid teh gays are contagious. Yay!

  29. Having been raised as a Witness for the first 16ish years of my life I was very glad that Perez ended up getting the transplant.

    I wonder, statistically, how many deaths there are in cases where JW’s refuse blood during an operation. I doubt there’s an easy way to track that though…

  30. @DominEditrix: Ha! I once did the same thing to a couple of JWs. I told them I didn’t believe the Bible to be true, and mentioned a couple of contradictions off the top of my head. They left me a book, and told me to read chapter 7: “Does the Bible Contradict Itself?”

    I read it, then typed up a 1141-word response to every major point discussed in the chapter. They showed up long enough to take their book back, take a copy of my response, and promise to return again to discuss. Never heard from them again, strangely enough.

  31. @marilove:

    I feel your pain – both on the sleeplessness front, and on the lucid dreaming front. Nothing quite like tossing and turning your way into a pathetic state of sobbing desperation, then turning to drugs in the hopes of a decent nights sleep and winding up in a rather impressively realistic hallucination for your efforts, eh?

    I’ve never experienced night paralysis along with the lucid dreaming, I would simply “wake up and bring the dream out with me” – not particularly pleasant, or safe, considering the vast majority of my dreams were nightmares. Happily, both nightmares and bouts of lucid dreaming have been all but vanquished by the Adderall I take for severe inattentive ADD.

    The sleeplessness (it took me over an hour on average to get to sleep and I slept very lightly and woke often) wound up being a symptom of Fibromyalgia. I’ll echo others here and suggest you talk to your doctor – magnesium supplements have helped me push the Adderall crash into a fairly decent sleep schedule. *smiles*

    Also, I’ve gone and joined Stemming – http://stemming.org/users/weofui

  32. Many years ago my mother was a social services worker in Canada. She had one case of a blue baby born to a JW couple. A Blue baby can be treated with a blood transfusion, but will likely die without one. Of course they refused, so my mother had to go to court to get custody, get the baby the transfusion, and then return him to the parents.

  33. @mikerattlesnake: Nail. Head. You.

    Many child care agreements have clauses on religion. One of my friends was just as upset about the mom insisting on Judaism to the exclusion of other possibilities. I almost agree, but if that’s what has legally been decided, then I’m more inclined to stick with the attention-whore as Bad Guy in this scenario.

    He might as well have marked his territory by peeing on the girl(please don’t kill me!).

  34. Sleep problems can be caused by so very many things, and what works varies from person to person. I will share what has worked for me if people ask, but I don’t presume it’ll help other people. Admittedly, my problems weren’t medical, so a form of sleep training including my own placebos worked. But I knew that the things I was doing were just helping me relax and set up rituals – I didn’t seriously believe that my teas and yoga and such were altering my chakras or restoring my pH balance or anything like that.

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