Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Generic vs brand name. Is there a difference?

For many years I've been taking an incredibly amount of medications. When my various doctors write up the prescriptions, I have never once questions whether or not I'm going to get a generic vs a brand name medication. I've always figured that they were exactly the same. When a drug company's patent is no longer valid, it's formula is released for that drug and generic manufactures are supposed to recreate exact copies of the brand name medications. The point is that they can make those medications cheaper when they are not brand name. It's all supposed to work in concert, and you the consumer isn't supposed to feel any difference between a brand name medication and it's generic counterpart.

All those years of taking mostly generic medications believing that the drug companies were doing what they were supposed to, following a formula. Chump!

Last month I tottered over to my closest CVS and refilled a bunch of prescriptions including one for IC Furosemide, which is the generic Lasix. I believe the company that manufactured my Furosemide was Mylan.

Now, I take Lasix for a serious heart condition. I have congestive heart failure, and my heart is so stiff that it is unable to pump correctly, this creating a fluid buildup in my lungs. The more fluid I retain, the more labored my breathing becomes, the less able I am to move around, and the sicker I feel. Eventually I need to go to the hospital for diurisis to get ride of the fluid. Each hospitalization can last up to 5 or 6 days and it's expensive and uncomfortable. So I count heavily on my Lasix or it's generic equivalent to work.

But this past prescription just didn't work right. I took my usual dose of 80 mgs 2x/daily, but that wasn't clearing out the fluid. The more the month went on, the more fluid buildup I had. I started increasing the amount of the generic to 120 mgs, but that still didn't work. Doubling it to 160 mgs created pretty awesome muscle cramps as my potassium and magnesium levels got seriously out of balance. Those cramps hurt like a mother!

The fluid buildup affects my sleep, because when I lay down, I get almost a drowning feeling. My lungs can't clear the fluid, I start coughing, which produces a most disgusting pink foam from deep in my lungs. It is really really gross. And horribly uncomfortable. The more I'm drowning in fluid, the more I cough, and the more exhausted I get from lack of sleep. Which makes me grumpy and unpleasant. I know, hard to believe!

I saw my main cardiologist on Thursday and mentioned to her that I was really having trouble clearing my lungs and getting rid of the fluid. I told her I thought that the generic meds I got last month had something wrong with them.

So she wrote me a prescription for brand name, no replacement, Lasix. The first day I took it, it worked like magic. I was down 3 lbs. Today is the second day. I'm almost completely rid of the fluid, and down another 3 lbs. That's SIX pounds of fluid in 2 days. I'm guessing I've got another 3 or 4 lbs to go. Talk about your water weight gain!

I'm pretty ticked that this happened. I'm going to go back to CVS and have a rather serious chat with the pharmacist. I don't know where this generic drug came from, or why it didn't work, but it's not something that anyone else should have to suffer with. I think that batch of meds should be recalled before they kill someone. It's not the pharmacist's fault. They just order the meds from CVS central. But CVS needs to know that this particular batch of generics is either tainted or manufactured incorrectly.

As if I don't have enough in my life to worry about!

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It's all about me

I'm not a big meme person as you're probably aware. But blackbird posted this meme, and I also saw it on Peasoup. It's way cool. So I'm going to participate, but I won't make anyone else do it. Unless you want to, of course. Because it's fun and challenging and so pretty.

Created with fd'sFlickr Toys.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? margalit
2. What is your favorite food? right now? sushi
3. What high school did you go to? taft
4. What is your favorite color? green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Johnny
6. Favorite drink? mojito
7. Dream vacation? bora bora
8. Favorite dessert? strawberry rhubarb pie
9. What you want to be when you grow up? bookstore owner
10. What do you love most in life? my kids
11. One Word to describe you. tenacious
12. Your flickr name. margalit

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Friday, May 30, 2008

How to know for sure you're parenting a potential geek

Tonight the Boy had two friends over.... to watch the National Spelling Bee.

I know. I know.

I'm so proud!

They arrived right at the start of Jeopardy, parked their tushies on the sofa, and proceeded to run through the board with aplomb. They all love Jeopardy. They discussed how the show couldn't possibly go on without Alex Trebek. I mentioned that Alex wasn't the first host and told them about Art Fleming. But it didn't matter. Alex is THE host and without him, no Jeopardy is possible.
Then the spelling bee come on. They picked their favorites. They hooted and hollered like it was the Kentucky Derby. They spelled along with the contestants. One by one they kids got shot down, until it was just the favorite and one other. Their favorite lost. There was no joy in Muddville tonight.

And that, my friends, is how you know you're parenting a geek.

Again, so proud!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

LOST Discussion Friday: There's No Place Like Home pt 2

I have to preface this post with a huge OMG, that was the best freaking season ever. I love this show more and more, but this 4th season has just been so good, with such great writing, and the acting is so wonderful and fresh that I honestly can't think of anything but superlatives. And this episode. So jampacked with action that I honestly don't have the words to describe it. It was that good!

However, my heart... my heart just can't take three full hours of Lost. Even if one is a repeat, three hours of Lost is just too intense. I had chills, I cried, I laughed, I cried again, and my heart kept pounding like I was having an anxiety attack. Honestly, this is beyond pure entertainment. This is interactive WTFtainment.

So now I don't know whether to jump up and down in excitement or cry into my beverage now that the final LOST episode of 2008 is upon us. Except that the 3 alternate endings will be posted tomorrow on ABC.com. I can't wait!

Now let's begin. First, a bit of a reminder from last week about who was where. As the credits rolled on the first part of "There's No Place Like Home," our castaways were split up and spread out all around the island. Locke and Ben were attempting to bust into the Orchid station, while Jack and Sawyer were on their way to rescue Hurley. Kate and Sayid were captured by the Others in the middle of the jungle. Sun, Jin and Aaron were on the freighter, and everyone else was still stuck on the beach. We were left wondering how the Oceanic 6 would possibly come together, and tonight we finally get our answer.

Part 2 begins right where the final season 3 flash-forward left off. Kate hears drunk/druggie Jack's call of "We have to go back," stops her car and confronts him.

She thinks he's nuts to even consider going back. She mentions the obituary for Jeremy Bentham, and explains that she knew he was crazy when he came to them. Jack, on the other hand, believed him. After giving Jack a smack across the face for not being there for Aaron, crying that she has to explain to Aaron why Jack is not there to read to him anymore, she tells Jack that he has no right to ask her to return to the island. She's not going back, nor is Aaron. Ever.

Back in "real time" on the island Sawyer and Jack find Lapidus handcufffed to the helicopter. Lapidus tells them that Keamy's army are at the Orchid station where they plan to kill everyone they find. So our brave Losties leave Lapidus with the tool box and go off to find the Orchid. When they arrive at the Orchid station they find Hurley taking a leak in the jungle. Nice!

Hurley zips up and tells our Losties that Locke and Ben went in the Orchid after Ben gave Locke instructions on how to get to the actual underground station. The three amigos find Locke hanging out in front of the Orchid. It looks like Keamy and his men have taken off with Ben, whom they captured and will keep alive according to Widmore's evil plans. Keamy wants to know just what Ben's importance to Widmore is, but our Ben keeps his mouth tightly shut. He's got a great look of amusement on his face though.

Meanwhile, back on the freighter, Desmond, Michael and Jin are trying to decide what to do about the hundreds of pounds of C4 Keamy left wired up to blow on the freighter. After confirming that the bomb is tied to Keamy's armband, Desmond tells the boys that they're screwed. He can't figure out how to disarm the bomb, and he doesn't think it is possible to do so anyways.

Keamy and his men arrive back in the helicopter with Ben in tow, and are surprised to find Keamy with the toolbox trying to unhandcuff himself. Then they see Kate running out of the jungle. With their arms pointed at her, she lies that she's being chased by the Others, so of course Keamy prepares to blow Ben's crew away the moment they appear. He divides his men up into three flanks to face the Others. However, they're out of luck.

The whispers make a comeback, and suddenly the Others get the drop on the mercenaries with some surprisingly fancy weaponry. They've been upgrading, apparently. One guy falls out of a tree and kills a Keamy soldier. Another Other uses a foot trap to capture and kill a soldier. Kate kills one herself, and finally the only one left is Keamy.

(Aside. Does Keamy remind you a bit of Christopher Walken? They have the same vocal patterns and accent, and Keamy seems to base his character on Walken's often creepy characters.)

Kate makes it clear that this was all a ploy to rescue Ben as they escape. She tells Ben to run, and the two of them take off into the Jungle. Ben falls and Kate helps him up. But Keamy is closing in. Keamy continues to chase after them, but he ends up in a seriously violent brawl with Sayid when he leaps out of nowhere.

Sayid kicks ass amazingly well, but Richard Alpert has to save the day with a few bullets when Keamy is about to crush Sayid's windpipe.

Richard Alpert shoots Keamy in the back and Keamy appears to be dead as a doornail.

Ben agrees to let Kate and Sayid take the helicopter and let them off the island as thanks for saving him. They hesitate at first, not believing what Ben promised, but he reiterates that they can leave the island, and they hightail it towards the helicopter.

It's flash-forward time. Hurley gets a visit from Walt and his grandmother in the mental institution.

Walt looks like he's about 15 now, which Hurley comments upon. Walt's voice is so deep, too! Anyway, Walt says that he was waiting for one of the Oceanic 6 to come visit him after they returned, but none of them did. Jeremy Bentham was the only one to come visit him. Walt wants to know why they're all lying, and Hurley says it's to protect those people who didn't come back. People like Michael, Walt asks. Hurley hesitates and says "yes, people like Michael".

Back at the Orchid, Locke takes Jack aside and tells Jack that he thinks he should stay on the island.

Jack doesn't feel like taking Locke's friendly advice, but the man makes a convincing argument about the island being their destiny. Jack shakes his head no, and as Jack walks off, Locke tells him that he's going to have to lie about everything that happened since the plane crash, as it's the only way to protect the island. John thinks it's a special place that can create miracles, but Jack insists on being a man of science, not a man of faith. Jack says there aren't any miracles, but Locke tells Jack that in order to protect both the island and the people left behind, he has no choice but to lie if he leaves the island. Jack thinks about it as he heads back to the helicopter with Sawyer and Hurley.

Still at the Orchid, Ben shows up to talk Locke through the whole moving of the island thing. He tells Jack to get to the freighter within the hour. Back on the boat, Michael thinks he may be able to stop the bomb by freezing it with liquid nitrogen. However, they only have one tank, so once the C4 thaws they'll be screwed all over again. At least it's a way to buy some time. At first Jin and Desmond don't look thrilled as they both think they can follow the wires on the C4 and figure out which one to cut to disarm the remote control attached to Keamy's arm. But they all agree that the liquid nitrogen might buy then some time, although Michael explains that if the red light goes off, the only have about 5 minutes to get the hell off the ship before it blows up.

We're at the beach and Miles is eating from a can of Dharma peanuts. Rose walks by and asks Miles who gave him permission to eat the peanuts. He looks properly chastised and asks her permission to eat the peanuts. I just LOVE Rose!

After Daniel arrives back on the beach to rescue more people with the Zodiac, he pulls Miles and Charlotte aside for a chat. He tells them that they need to be on the boat with him the next time he leaves. Charlotte is ready to run, but Miles wants to stay. Miles tells her that he's surprised she's ready to leave when she spent so long trying to get back to the island. I have no idea what that means, and she looks surprised but not shocked by his comment. So hmmmm, maybe Charlotte is one of the original Dharma children born off the Island but brought there with their parents who were workers for the Dharma Initiative? Could that be possible?

Daniel also tries to get Juliet to get on the Zodiac, but she refuses, saying that she's promised to get all of the red shirts off the island before she can leave. And so Daniel leaves with a full complement of red shirts and none of our BFF Losties. Unfortunately for Juliet, it doesn't seem like Daniel plans to come back.

Ben shows Locke which plant the anthurium is, which kept Locke from finding the secret elevator. He moves aside a metal door, and voila, it's the promised elevator. They both get in and go down down down and down some more. Locke asks how deep the Orchid Station is and Ben responds "Deep". He's not kidding.

Ben and Locke arrive in the bowels of the Orchid station.

John asks if they're inside the magic box, but Ben claims that they're not, and motions over to something that looks like a time machine out of Star Trek and says that is the magic box. To answer all of John's questions, Ben tosses Locke the Orchid training film.

John decides to try getting some answers from the Orchid orientation video, which we're all mostly familiar with by now. Dr. Halliwax explains that the DHARMA Initiative was doing experiments that involved putting a rabbit in a giant vault. The purpose of the vault was to send the rabbit 100 milliseconds ahead through space-time. I wish more shows were awesome enough to feature time traveling bunnies. As soon as the rabbit was placed in the vault, the tape stops working and Locke freaks out. On the tape it specifically says that nothing but organic matter can go into the vault. But Ben is tossing everything metal he can find into the vault. John is not a happy camper and asks for Ben to explain, but our Ben, being true to his character, doesn't say a damn thing.

In the jungle, Sawyer, Hurley and Jack arrive back at the helicopter. Having a criminal around turns out to be handy, since Sawyer knows how to break Lapidus out of his handcuffs. The entire gang jumps in the chopper, and I slowly countdown the moments until something horrible happens to Sawyer.

In the Orchid station, as Ben's tossing waste baskets into the vault the elevator door shows that someone is going down the elevator into the Orchid station. Ben hides with Locke in the dark as a very bloody, very much alive Keamy shows up to stop the party. He wheels around in the dark looking for Ben, who he thinks is alone down there. I guess that body armor of his worked better than we thought. After Keamy threatens to blow up the freighter if something happens to him, explaining that if his heart stops, the remote control will set off a signal to the C4 bomb, and then BOOM, Locke steps out and distracts him while Ben hits him from behind. Ben shanks him a couple times in the neck as revenge for Alex, and he doesn't shed a tear when Locke tells him that the freighter will now go sky high. In a classic Ben line, he responds "So??" Nice! And Keamy is dead. Again. But hey, the light is still green on his arm, so he's not really really really dead...yet.

While the boys on the freighter struggle to freeze the bomb, Lapidus notices that the helicopter has a fuel leak. The copter has been shot and gas is leaking from the bullet hole Crap. They're going to have to get every bit of extra weight off the chopper if they want to make it to the boat.

The copter still isn't light enough after they throw off some cargo, so Sawyer decides to take a dive into the ocean. He whispers something in Kate's ear and gives her a fantastic kiss before he goes. Luckily, he survives the fall and starts swimming towards the island.

I'm whimpering at this point.

In another flash-forward, Sayid assassinates some guy sitting in a car outside of the Santa Rosa Mental Health Clinic late at night. He sneaks into the hospital, finds Hurley playing chess by himself in his room, and tells him that he plans to take him somewhere safe.

Sayid tells Hurley that they're being watched all the time, and that there are bugs installed everywhere. Hurley tells Sayid not to appeal to his already in overdrive paranoia, and then Sayid tells Hurley about the guy he just shot outside the hospital. Hurley still doesn't want to go, but when Sayid tells him that Bentham is dead he gets worried. Apparently the mysterious "Jeremy Bentham" didn't actually kill himself. He was murdered. Hurley agrees to go with Sayid, still in his bathrobe. Just before leaving, Hurley makes a move on his chess board and says, "Checkmate, Mr. Eko." I cannot tell you the chills I got after that line. OMG, I can't handle this!

Dammit, Keamy still isn't dead. How many times are we going to have to call time of death around here? Keamy tells Ben that no matter where he goes, "he" will find him. Keamy finally kicks the bucket (for real this time, I swear), and the light on his arm turns red, and on the freighter as well, meaning that the bomb comes alive. Michael tells Desmond to run while he and Jin attempt the deep freeze. Desmond runs towards the deck. Of course, this is the moment when the helicopter decides to land. Desmond tries to warn them, but Lapidus lands anyway.

The crew frantically works to get some gas in the chopper so they can take off again. Sun doesn't want to leave without Jin, and Michael also tells him he needs to flee as quickly as possible.

Just as Jin is running up to the deck, the helicopter takes off without him. Sun screams for him, but Lapidus thinks it's too dangerous to go back, and flys off with Jin waving his hands and Sun totally freaking out on the chopper.

Right after Michael's tank runs out, he hears the whispers and Christian Shephard appears. Christian tells him that he can go now, and the freighter explodes while Sun screams her head off.

Tears folks. I'm now dripping tears down my cheeks. Goodbye Jin. Goodbye Michael. RIP.

Sun can barely be restrained as the helicopter flies away from the wreckage. Everyone is convinced that Jin is gone, but I'm still holding out hope that he jumped off the boat at the last minute.

Sun then flash-forwards to a confrontation with Charles Widmore in London. Little Ji Yeon is old enough to speak on the phone, so this must be a few years later.

Sun is waiting outside a restaurant talking to her daughter and mother on the phone when Widmore exits the restaurant with a bunch of other black coated business men. Sun walks up to him, introduces herself as a representative of Paik Industries.

Widmore asks about her father. He is pretending to not know who she is. But she confronts him and doesn't let him get away with this. Sun tells him that they have common interests and hands him a card from Paik Industries.

She mentions that they're not the only ones who left the island. Widmore looks very uncomfortable. She tells him that they'll speak again. By the way, Yunjin Kim is ridiculously awesome in these business scenes and deserves a frikkin' Emmy nomination.

Back in the Orchid, Ben blows up the bunny vault by turning it on while the metal is inside.

On the beach, Juliet is sitting on the beach with a bottle of Dharma Rum. She looks up and is surprised to see Sawyer swim up from the ocean all glistening and shirtless.

He asks her what she's celebrating and she motions to the ocean and tells him that she's not celebrating anything. That's when Sawyer notices the smoke from the freighter out in the distance. The explosion is so large that they can see it from miles away.

Ben puts on the parka that we saw him wearing in his flash-forward. He says that he's going someplace cold, and also explains that whoever moves the island can never come back to it. This is the job that Jacob has chosen for him.

He tells Locke that he's meant to be the leader of the Others now, and that they will welcome him and listen to him and do what he wants. Locke looks mighty pleased to hear this. Ben says his goodbyes to John and apologizes for making Locke's life so miserable. But Locke doesn't look so miserable right now. Ben takes off and Locke then heads to Othersville and is welcomed with open arms. Richard Alpert is there and is the first to welcome the new leader home.

Ben crawls into a tunnel behind the vault inside the Orchid, drops down through some ice (causing the cut on his arm), and arrives in a frozen area. Apparently the island can be moved by pushing a giant wheel buried in the wall. That's definitely not as complicated as I imagined. At first the wheel won't turn, so Ben has to chip off the ice and really force the wheel to move.

As Ben starts turning the wheel, there seems to be some type of heat and then fire underneath the wheel.

Then everyone on the island experiences a blinding purple flash like the one in the season 2 finale.

Just as the helicopter is about to come in for a landing, they also see the blinding light and then see that the island has completely disappeared.

It's totally gone. I mean GONE.

While my brain explodes at this turn of events, Lapidus realizes that they now have nowhere to put down the chopper and they also have no more fuel. There isn't a ship, there isn't an island, all there is left is ocean. A lot of ocean. Lapidus tells them to get their lifejackets on and toss out the liferaft. Just as the raft hits the water, the chopper runs out of fuel and crashes into the ocean.

Much to my surprise and delight, Lapidus survives the chopper crash. I really like this character. Desmond, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. He is the only one that hasn't make it to the liferaft on his own. He looks like a floater, but the gang pulls him onto the raft, Jack performs CPR in the liferaft, and thankfully Desmond makes like Charlie in season 1 and springs back to life.

In a flash-forward, Kate gets a call from someone who sounds like they're talking backwards. We couldn't make out a word of what the caller says, but she springs out of bed and rushes in to check on Aaron, who gets older by the second. And who does she see with Aaron? Claire!

Oh yeah. Claire the ghost tells Kate absolutely not to take Aaron back to the island, and then Kate wakes up in her bed, because this was all a dream sequence. She goes to check on Aaron and he's fine. But that warning from Claire scared her.

Jack, the eternal realist and denier, still isn't convinced that Locke moved the island, despite seeing it with his own eyes. He knows that the island disappeared but there must be a logical explanation for the bright white light and the complete disappearence of the island. OK. While they're chatting up the possibilities, the gang sees boat lights in the distance. Jack quickly tells them that they're going to have to lie about everything that happened on the island. Kate doesn't think they can pull it off, but he says he'll do the talking.

In what may be the greatest, most emotional moment of the season, it's revealed that the ship, called the Searcher is actually Penny's. Desmond sees her on board as the ship pulls up and starts yelling "Penny."

She hears his voice and starts yelling "Desmond."

He climbs aboard the Searcher and grabs her. They reunites share a kiss that's been a long time coming. I sob uncontrollably because I am such a girl!

Penny tells him that she found him thanks to his phone call and her tracking station in the Arctic. The rest of the group hops on the boat. Desmond introduces them all, one by one. Penny is thrilled to meet them. But Jack tells her that they have to talk and Jack prepares the gang to spin his web of lies.

Penny takes the gang 3000 miles to the island of Membata, which is where the rest of their story begins. Lapidus and Desmond will be staying behind and hiding out elsewhere. Desmond will remain with Penny and we don't know what Lapidus is going to do. But the O6 jump into a Zodiac and pretend to row with broken timber up to the beach where they are rescued by the local people. It's almost like a happy ending, except totally not.

In another flash-forward, Jack is bearded and going back to the Hoffs/Drawlar funeral home. I completely forgot about the person in the coffin after all that island excitement. He breaks in, opens up the coffin, and gets a glimpse at Jeremy Bentham before Ben sneaks up behind him.

Ben asks Jack if he knew that Ben was off the island. But Jeremy Bentham had already told Jack and Kate that Ben was off the island, and also let them know that terrible things happened after the Oceanic 6 took off. Jeremy also told him that it was all Jack's fault, and that he had to go back to make the wrong things right. Ben claims that the island won't let Jack return by himself -- they ALL have to go back. And by all, we think he means just the O6, but then again it might mean Desmond and Lapidus as well.

We're not sure who all is, but Ben knows how they can return to the island. Of course he does.

Finally the camera pans over to the dead body inside the opened coffin. Surprise (not!) Jeremy Bentham is actually John Locke. The last thing Ben tells Jack is that they have to take Locke back to the island too.

And that's it until (sob) January. I don't know about you, but I plan to watch this entire show, all 4 seasons, during the summer. And probably again right before it starts up next winter. In the meantime, I'll have a lasting image of Locke in that coffin, all fat and bald and smooth. See you all again in January, fellow Losties!

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