Again with the apologies, and I’m sorry. Sorry to be scarce around here, sorry to be always apologizing for it. Monday afternoon I seem to have been struck down by an illness, and I’m not sure what it is. Might be allergy-related; this year has been an absolute mofo for pollen. It reminds me of the ear infection I got the last time I swam before I made wearing earplugs a regular habit, but my ears don’t hurt (yet). I considered going to a strip of doctors’ offices nearby and walking the halls until I found a nurse with an otoscope. But then the low-grade fever rose again, and I decided to go back to bed.
So that’s me, today. Alternating chills and sweats and really not wanting to do anything other than watch “The Great British Baking Show” from the couch.
Instead, I have links. They’re old links, because I gathered them on Monday, but maybe you haven’t seen them yet.
Check out the rocket trail on this chart, tracking overdose deaths in the U.S. Appalling. Wait until all those Trump voters realize they voted away their health care. This New Yorker story is instructive:
Michael Barrett and Jenna Mulligan, emergency paramedics in Berkeley County, West Virginia, recently got a call that sent them to the youth softball field in a tiny town called Hedgesville. It was the first practice of the season for the girls’ Little League team, and dusk was descending. Barrett and Mulligan drove past a clubhouse with a blue-and-yellow sign that read “Home of the Lady Eagles,” and stopped near a scrubby set of bleachers, where parents had gathered to watch their daughters bat and field.
Two of the parents were lying on the ground, unconscious, several yards apart. As Barrett later recalled, the couple’s thirteen-year-old daughter was sitting behind a chain-link backstop with her teammates, who were hugging her and comforting her. The couple’s younger children, aged ten and seven, were running back and forth between their parents, screaming, “Wake up! Wake up!” When Barrett and Mulligan knelt down to administer Narcan, a drug that reverses heroin overdoses, some of the other parents got angry. “You know, saying, ‘This is bullcrap,’” Barrett told me. “‘Why’s my kid gotta see this? Just let ’em lay there.’” After a few minutes, the couple began to groan as they revived. Adults ushered the younger kids away. From the other side of the backstop, the older kids asked Barrett if the parents had overdosed. “I was, like, ‘I’m not gonna say.’ The kids aren’t stupid. They know people don’t just pass out for no reason.” During the chaos, someone made a call to Child Protective Services.
At this stage of the American opioid epidemic, many addicts are collapsing in public—in gas stations, in restaurant bathrooms, in the aisles of big-box stores. Brian Costello, a former Army medic who is the director of the Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services, believes that more overdoses are occurring in this way because users figure that somebody will find them before they die. “To people who don’t have that addiction, that sounds crazy,” he said. “But, from a health-care provider’s standpoint, you say to yourself, ‘No, this is survival to them.’ They’re struggling with using but not wanting to die.”
We are all West Virginia now, or soon will be.
In 2018, the GOP strategy will be all about the media. I wonder if those of you who don’t work in this business know what it’s like to be universally loathed by the general public. I expect you do, because you’re in similar fields. We just keep doing the job, as strange as it can be in these times. I was doing spadework on a story a few weeks ago that was put on the shelf until the whipsawing in D.C. leads to a coherent policy, if it ever does, and this week I’m doing the same – working on something that could be overtaken by events before, like, Friday. And I’m sick, too. Woe, woe is me.
I don’t think it’ll be overtaken by events, though, because the event we’ll all be watching is the Comey Show, starting tomorrow.
I believe J.C. flagged this on Monday, but if you didn’t see it then, I wish to do so again: A teacher deep in Ohio’s coal country tries to school his students on climate change. This guy’s a hero.
Finally, Neil Steinberg wrote something elsewhere, on the science of falling. Interesting.
Back to bed for me. OK, no. I’m actually in bed. But back to work, anyway.