Not Giardia? [en]

As many of you know, I’ve been ill this winter. It started out with what seemed to be a simple stomach bug in early December, but it turned out I had a giardia lamblia infection — probably brought back from India in 2015 (at least), and mostly dormant (well, with hindsight, there were subclinical symptoms) until tiredness of a new job with a demanding schedule and winter funk pushed it (me?) over the edge.

I relapsed after the first treatment, and the second, and seemingly after the third. A month of being unwell after the third treatment led me to repeat the analysis to make sure the nasty protozoan was still around.

It wasn’t.

Much as having giardia detected in December came as a huge relief (I hadn’t been dreaming this last couple of years that my digestion wasn’t great and that my tiredness wasn’t normal), this negative result left me nonplussed. If I didn’t have giardia anymore, what was going on? And if I did it now, and my third relapse wasn’t a relapse, what about my second relapse? And the first?

Doubting myself, again.

Thankfully, by the time I got the results I’d gone about a week feeling better. Lots of rice and no dairy, had said the doc. I’d been doing that since before the third treatment. Maybe my gut was finally rested enough that it had stopped misbehaving?

I don’t know if I had a third relapse and got over it myself. Though giardia can be really hard to get rid of, you’re also supposed to be able to eliminate it yourself. And a week or so after the end of that third antibiotic treatment, I found myself extremely tired and sleeping a lot. Maybe it was my body putting up the fight?

I’ll never know.

Now, things are quite good. Two weeks of holiday also helped. It’s hard to recuperate from a long illness when you’re working nearly full-time over an hour from home.

I can now eat cheese without any trouble. I’m going to take a second batch of probiotics (s. boulardii). I took the first early in my holidays, a bit less than three weeks ago. I’m careful not to overload my digestive system, particularly with raw veggies (salad) or dairy.

I’m much less hungry than I was. I can actually “stand” being hungry. I used to get frantic if I didn’t have food. It seems much better now. Was it giardia? Was it something else that all the antibiotics got rid of? How long have I had giardia?

Again, I’ll probably never know.

So, I’m less hungry, and eating less, and I can wear the trousers I couldn’t fit in last autumn again. I’ve lost weight, in between being ill and having less of a “stuff myself” drive. Maybe I’ll be able to reduce my grocery budget 🙂

Similar Posts:

Je dors [fr]

…trop.

Franchement, je pourrais me demander si ma copine n’accompagne pas la maladie du sommeil. Je fais des nuits de passĂ© 8h, Ă  la chaĂ®ne, et je me rĂ©veille comme si un camion m’avait passĂ© dessus. Avec 12h par jour environ loin de la maison, c’est vraiment mode survie. Je rentre, et en fait je pourrais aller me mettre au lit tout de suite. CFF, boulot, dodo. Mais je me fais quand mĂŞme un truc Ă  manger, hein.

Bref, heureusement que les chats vont bien, juste là. (Enfin, il reste des investigations à faire pour Erica mais elle est stable et semble OK côté symptômes.)

Alors, what next? La balle est dans mon camp. On va refaire des analyses histoire d’ĂŞtre sĂ»rs qu’on passe pas Ă  cĂ´tĂ© d’un truc, que la giardia n’est pas l’arbre qui cache la forĂŞt. J’essaie d’attendre un peu depuis la fin de mon dernier traitement (dĂ©but fĂ©vrier) histoire d’ĂŞtre sĂ»rs que si l’analyse est positive, elle est vraiment positive, et que ce n’est pas des “traces” de l’infection prĂ©cĂ©dente. Je me rends compte que je n’ai pas suffisamment d’infos sur les faux positifs par PCR pour savoir Ă  quel point c’est vraiment utile d’attendre.

Mais bon, lĂ , de toute façon, je ne peux pas continuer très longtemps comme ça. Sans compter que je suis supposĂ©e partir en vacances dans deux semaines, et on sait tout comment ça se passe, les vacances, quand on est malade pendant qu’on travaille mais qu’on “tient bon”.

Donc, aujourd’hui, c’est le jour oĂą je rappelle le mĂ©decin pour dire que “ça ne va plus”.

(Je prĂ©cise que si j’avais voulu, il m’aurait donnĂ© un traitement quand j’ai appelĂ© la semaine dernière. C’est moi qui me sentais assez bien pour continuer Ă  attendre.)

Similar Posts:

Giardiose: ma copine giardia lamblia [fr]

[en] My friend giardia lamblia has probably kept me company for a good couple of years. Two antibiotic courses later, looking at a third. If you have any kind of tropical parasitic infection, go see a specialist.

Je dis que giardia lamblia est ma copine parce que ça fait probablement deux ans ou plus qu’on traine ensemble. Oui oui, probablement chopĂ©e en Inde, mais ça existe aussi dans nos contrĂ©es (chats, chiens, et jeunes enfants).

L’histoire? Je vous la rĂ©sume, si vous n’avez pas suivi le feuilleton sur Facebook. DĂ©but dĂ©cembre, “gastro” qui tarde Ă  passer. Analyse de selles. Giardiose! Premier traitement. Rechute. Deuxième traitement. Rechute. MĂ©decin spĂ©cialiste des maladies tropicales.

Si j’ai un tuyau Ă  vous donner: la prochaine fois que vous avez un truc tropical, allez directement voir un spĂ©cialiste.

Des mots dudit spĂ©cialiste, c’est une “belle saloperie” pour s’en dĂ©barrasser. En fait ça me rassure et me soulage infiniment d’entendre ça. Il confirme que je me balade certainement avec depuis au moins deux ans. Oui, l’intolĂ©rance passagère au lactose, c’est ça. Les douleurs, ballonnements, gaz, et diarrhĂ©es intermittentes. Moi qui croyais que j’Ă©tais un peu trop relax avec le nombre de jour que je gardais mes restes au frigo (ou le nombre d’annĂ©es au congĂ©l).

Semblerait que dans nos contrĂ©es, ce sympathique protozoaire soit mĂŞme responsable de “mauvaises classes” chez les enfants. Celles oĂą ils sont fatiguĂ©s, pas Ă  leur affaire, absents…

Je n’ai aucune peine Ă  l’imaginer. Depuis des mois voire des annĂ©es (et maintenant, je me dis “depuis en tous cas octobre 2015”), je me trouve fatiguĂ©e, sans Ă©nergie, et Ă  la digestion souvent pĂ©nible. J’en ai mĂŞme parlĂ© Ă  mon mĂ©decin, on a fait des analyses sanguines, quelques mini-carences, mais rien de profondĂ©ment anormal. Et c’en est restĂ© lĂ .

On est toujours plus intelligent après: en gros, ça fait probablement deux ans que j’ai une infection parasitaire qui a un impact nĂ©gatif sur ma capacitĂ© Ă  ĂŞtre active dans ma vie. Con, hein.

Ce qui me fait penser ça?

Après le premier traitement (3x250mg de metronidazole par jour pendant 5 jours, un peu lĂ©ger en première instance semblerait-il) je me suis sentie plus en forme et pleine d’Ă©nergie que je ne l’avais Ă©tĂ© depuis “des siècles”. Digestion nickel, je dormais mĂŞme pas plus que d’hab, mais j’avais la pĂŞche. Et patatras dix jours plus tard.

J’ai vu quelque part (je ne retrouve plus oĂą) qu’il suffit d’une dizaine de ces bestioles dans un verre d’eau pour vous faire une belle infection.

Deuxième traitement, albendazole (400mg 1x/jour pendant 5 jours, bon choix en deuxième instance selon le spĂ©cialiste). Et moins d’une semaine après la fin de ce traitement, me voilĂ  de nouveau HS (vive les vacances de ski).

Au programme:

  • Ă©viter les produits laitiers pendant 2 mois (intolĂ©rance passagère aux produits laitiers)
  • si dans 10 jours j’ai toujours des symptĂ´mes, commencer mon troisième traitement d’antibios (histoire de se donner une chance que les symptĂ´mes soient dus Ă  l’intolĂ©rance passagère)
  • troisième traitement, dose de cheval: ornidazole 500 3x/jour pendant 10 jours, qui devrait liquider l’Ă©ventuel ami blastocystis aussi.
  • si dix jours après le traitement je pète pas le feu, je retourne et on relance les analyses.

Au-delĂ  de mon propre cas et des consĂ©quences de cette infection sur ma vie (qui est encore Ă  mesurer, une fois que je serai guĂ©rie, et que j’aurai un point de repère pour ce qu’est “aller bien”), ce qui me fait vraiment frĂ©mir c’est l’impact des infections Ă  large Ă©chelle sur des sociĂ©tĂ©s entières. Si giardia lamblia peut nous donner une “mauvaise classe”, on ose Ă  peine imaginer son impact sur les populations de pays en voie de dĂ©veloppement oĂą 30% des gens peuvent ĂŞtre infectĂ©s.

Ça ne m’Ă©tonne pas d’apprendre qu’elle a Ă©tĂ© largement nĂ©gligĂ©es jusqu’Ă  il y a peu.

Cette expĂ©rience me fait penser Ă  Unrest — de nouveau, on est Ă  une autre Ă©chelle de gravitĂ© que ce qui m’arrive, mais il y a des parallèles: le mari de la rĂ©alisatrice explique Ă  quel point il est dĂ©licat d’obtenir de l’aide. Si on dit trop peu, personne ne peut nous aider, et si on en dit trop, on passe vite dans la catĂ©gorie “patient psy”.

Que faire avec ces symptĂ´mes vagues ou sub-cliniques? J’ai mal au ventre, je suis fatiguĂ©e, j’ai des coups de barre digestifs… C’est vrai qu’Ă  force de revenir Ă  la charge avec ces choses qui objectivement ne sont “rien”, on finit aussi par se demander si on imagine des choses.

Similar Posts:

Some Podcasts to Listen to [en]

[fr] Des podcasts Ă  Ă©couter.

Here are some episodes I recommend you listen to. There’s more to say, about these, other stuff, and life in general, but it’ll have to do for today.

By the way: if you use the Apple Podcasts app, like me, you probably also cursed the dreadful last update. Amongst other things, there’s no way to see what episodes are in my “play next” queue. I had high hopes when I saw there was a “recently played” list, but at least for me, it’s polluted by dozens of episodes supposedly played “yesterday”, at the top of the list. Thankfully, further down, there are the latest podcasts I’ve actually listened to. Which is something I’ve always wanted to be able to see.

So, here we go. A first batch on sexism and harassment at the workplace (you didn’t think I’d spare you that, did you?). Listen, particularly if you’re a man. Or if you think all this #metoo stuff is way overblown.

Then, about animal rights activists’ craziness. Remember the photographer sued for the “monkey selfie”? Well, listen to all the work he put in before thinking he’s benefitting from “animal labour”. (I’m leaving aside the discussion on the deeply flawed thinking – from a philosophical point of view – that underpins a lot of the antispeciesism animal rights ideology. Francophones might enjoy this piece by lawyer MaĂ®tre Eolas on animals as subject vs. object of the law.)

99% Invisible is a podcast I didn’t think I’d like. But I do. It’s fascinating. Here’s a selection of stuff I’ve recently listened to, and that you should listen to too:

If you haven’t heard it yet and are up for a serial, you shouldn’t miss S-Town. And one of my favorite podcasts these days is Heavyweight — true stories, true people, going back to where things went wrong and trying to untangle things. Beautiful storytelling.

Happy listening!

Similar Posts:

They Chose Tears [en]

[fr] Aimer un animal, c'est choisir les larmes, parce qu'on sait qu'on va le voir mourir.

7 years ago today, Bagha.
In less than two weeks, it will be a year since Tounsi’s death.
I don’t know how long Quintus has got. I hope it’s longer than I fear.

I’m not big on the whole “pet parent”, “rainbow bridge”, and “mommy” thing. My cats are my cats, even though there is a kinship of caring for children and pets. I don’t believe in anything outside of this material world, in any god or afterlife. I’m also not into lengthy quotation posts. But this tale tells a deep truth about loving a pet: it’s choosing tears.

THE LOVING ONES by Anne Kolaczyk

The little orange boy stopped. Behind him, kitties were playing, chasing each other and wrestling in the warm sunshine. It looked like so much fun, but in front of him, through the clear stillness of the pond’s water, he could see his mommy. And she was crying.

He pawed at the water, trying to get at her, and when that didn’t work, he jumped into the shallow water. All that got him was wet and Mommy’s image danced away in the ripples. “Mommy!” he cried.

“Is something wrong?”

The little orange boy turned around. A lady was standing at the edge of the pond, her eyes sad but filled with love. The little orange boy sighed and walked out of the water.

“There’s been a mistake,” he said. “I’m not supposed to be here.” He looked back at the water. It was starting to still again and his mommy’s image was coming back. “I’m just a baby. Mommy said it had to be a mistake. She said I wasn’t supposed to come here yet.”

The kind lady sighed and sat down on the grass. The little orange boy climbed into her lap. It wasn’t Mommy’s lap, but it was almost as good. When she started to pet him and scratch under his chin like he liked, he started to purr. He hadn’t wanted to, but he couldn’t help it.

“I’m afraid there is no mistake. You are supposed to be here and your mommy knows it deep down in her heart,” the lady said. The little orange boy sighed and laid his head on the lady’s leg. “But she’s so sad. It hurts me to see her cry. And daddy too.”

“But they knew right from the beginning this would happen.”

“That I was sick?” That surprised the little orange boy. No one had ever said anything and he had listened when they thought he was sleeping. All he had heard them talk about was how cute he was or how fast he was or how big he was getting.

“No, not that you were sick,” the lady said. “But you see, they chose tears.”

“No, they didn’t,” the little orange boy argued. Who would choose to cry?

The lady gently brushed the top of his head with a kiss. It made him feel safe and loved and warm – but he still worried about his mommy. “Let me tell you a story,” the lady said.

The little orange boy looked up and saw other animals gathering around. Cats – Big Boy and Snowball and Shamus and Abby and little Cleo and Robin. Merlin and Toby and Iggy and Zachary. Sweetie and Kamatte and OBie. Dogs too- Sally and Baby and Morgan and Rocky and Belle. Even a lizard named Clyde and some rats named Saffron and Becky and a hamster named Odo.

They all lay down near the kind lady and looked up at her, waiting.

She smiled at them and began:

A long long time ago, the Loving Ones went to the Angel in Charge. They were lonesome and asked the Angel to help them.

The Angel took them to a wall of windows and let them look out the first window at all sorts of things – dolls and stuffed animals and cars and toys and sporting events.

“Here are things you can love,” the Angel said. “They will keep you from being lonesome.”

“Oh, thank you,” the Loving Ones said. “These are just what we need.”

“You have chosen Pleasure,” the Angel told them.

But after a time the Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge. “Things are okay to love,” they said. “But they don’t care that we love them.”

The Angel in Charge led them over to the second window. It looked out at all sorts of wild animals. “Here are animals to love,” he said. “They will know you love them.”

So the Loving Ones hurried out to care for the wild animals.

“You have chosen Satisfaction,” the Angel said.

Some of the Loving Ones worked at zoos and wild animal preserves, some just had bird feeders in their yards, but after a time they all came back to the Angel in Charge.

“They know we love them,” they told the Angel. “But they don’t love us back. We want to be loved in return.”

So the Angel took them to the third window and showed them lots of people walking around, hurrying places. “Here are people for you to love,” the Angel told them.

So the Loving Ones hurried off to find other people to love.

“You have chosen Commitment,” the Angel said.

But after a time a lot of Loving Ones came back to the Angel in Charge.

“People were okay to love,” they said. “But sometimes they stopped loving us and left. They broke our hearts.”

The Angel just shook his head. “I cannot help you,” he said. “You will have to be satisfied with the choices I gave you.”

As the Loving Ones were leaving, someone saw a window off to one side and hurried to look out. Through it, they could see puppies and kittens and dogs and cats and lizards and hamsters and ferrets. The other Loving Ones hurried over.

“What about these?” they asked.

But the Angel just tried to shoo them away. “Those are Personal Empathy Trainers,” he said. “But there’s a problem with their system operations.”

“Would they know that we love them?” someone asked.

“Yes,” the Angel said.

“Would they love us back?” another asked.

“Yes,” the Angel said.

“Will they stop loving us?” someone else asked.

“No,” the Angel admitted. “They will love you forever.”

“Then these are what we want,” the Loving Ones said.

But the Angel was very upset. “You don’t understand,” he told them. “You will have to feed these animals.”

“That’s all right,” the Loving Ones said.

“You will have to clean up after them and take care of them forever.”

“We don’t care.”

The Loving Ones did not listen. They went down to where the Pets were and picked them up, seeing the love in their own hearts reflected in the animals’ eyes.

“They were not programmed right,” the Angel said.

“We can’t offer a warranty. We don’t know how durable they are. Some of their systems malfunction very quickly, others last a long time.”

But the Loving Ones did not care. They were holding the warm little bodies and finding their hearts so filled with love that they thought they would burst.

“We will take our chances,” they said.

“You do not understand.” The Angel tried one more time. “They are so dependent on you that even the most well-made of them is not designed to outlive you. You are destined to suffer their loss.”

The Loving Ones looked at the sweetness in their arms and nodded. “That is how it should be. It is a fair trade for the love they offer.”

The Angel just watched them all go, shaking his head. “You have chosen Tears,” he whispered.

“So it is,” the kind lady told the kitties. “And so each mommy and daddy knows. When they take a baby into their heart, they know that one day it will leave them and they will cry.”

The little orange boy sat up. “So why do they take us in?” he asked.

“Because even a moment of your love is worth years of pain later.”

“Oh.” The little orange boy got off the lady’s lap and went back to the edge of the pond. His mommy was still there, and still crying. “Will she ever stop crying?” he asked the kind lady.

She nodded. “You see, the Angel felt sorry for the Loving Ones, knowing how much they would suffer. He couldn’t take the tears away but he made them special.”

She dipped her hand into the pond and let the water trickle off her fingers. “He made them healing tears, formed from the special water here. Each tear holds bits of all the happy times of purring and petting and shared love. And the promise of love once again. As your mommy cries, she is healing. “It may take a long while, but the tears will help her feel better. In time she will be less sad and she will smile when she thinks of you. And then she will open her heart again to another little baby.”

“But then she will cry again one day,” the little orange boy said.

The lady just smiled at him as she got to her feet. “No, she will love again. That is all she will think about.” She picked up Big Boy and Snowball and gave them hugs, then scratched Morgan’s ear just how she liked.

“Look,” she said. “The butterflies have come. Shall we go over to play?”

The other animals all ran ahead, but the little orange boy wasn’t ready to leave his mommy. “Will I ever get to be with her again?”

The kind lady nodded. “You’ll be in the eyes of every kitty she looks at. You’ll be in the purr of every cat she pets. And late at night, when she’s fast asleep, your spirit will snuggle up close to her and you both will feel at peace. One day soon, you can even send her a rainbow to tell her you’re safe and waiting here for when it’s her turn to come.”

“I would like that,” the little orange boy said and took one long look at his mommy. He saw her smile slightly through her tears and he knew she had remembered the time he almost fell into the bathtub. “I love you, Mommy,” he whispered. “It’s okay if you cry.” He glanced over at the other pets, running and playing and laughing with the butterflies. “Uh, Mommy? I gotta go play now, okay? But I’ll be around, I promise.”

Then he turned and raced after the others.

Similar Posts:

Le ronron du vieux chat [fr]

Dimanche 23h

Je voulais me coucher tôt, parce que demain sonnez clairons à 5h pour aller à Fribourg, après près de 10 jours de maladie.

Mais je ne dors pas, parce que sitôt la lumière éteinte avec Quintus contre moi, j’ai fondu en larmes, parce que bien sûr, si je suis en train d’apprendre tout ce sur quoi je peux mettre la main au sujet du diabète félin, de surveiller sa glycémie comme un aigle, de me demander comment je vais gérer les injections d’insuline à 6h et 18h tous les jours, c’est bien pour ne pas sentir combien je suis triste à la perspective de perdre Quintus.

L’anniversaire de la mort de Tounsi approche à grands pas, et je suis tout sauf sereine face à son absence qui s’éternise.

Aujourd’hui Quintus aurait pu faire une hypo. Il en a peut-être fait une, petite, sans signes cliniques. Hier et samedi soir j’ai veillé pour vérifier qu’il ne descendait pas trop bas, et frémi en voyant les mesures se rapprocher des valeurs préoccupantes. Je l’ai trouvé fatigué aujourd’hui. Hier aussi. Peut-être ce grand huit de la glycémie qu’il nous a fait. Il y aurait de quoi. C’est plus facile d’imaginer qu’un vieux chat va mourir quand il ne fait plus que dormir et semble n’avoir plus d’énergie.

Alors je ne dors pas. Il a fini par quitter mon lit, boire un peu, il m’a fait peine à voir, il a dû s’y reprendre à deux fois pour trouver sa gamelle, puis il est sorti direction le couloir, où est la nourriture. Je l’y ai amené, j’ai sorti l’écuelle de la gamelle à puce, parce que je commence à voir que ça le retient un peu de manger et que la pâtée un peu sèche ne le dérange nullement.

Après avoir bien mangé, il est revenu d’un pas plus assuré, a sauté sur le lit pour s’installer sur l’oreiller.
Et soudain, alors je m’occupe à ne pas dormir ni trop sentir, j’entends ce bruit régulier que j’avais cherché en vain aujourd’hui et une bonne partie d’hier: il me regarde et il ronronne.

Il n’a pas dit son dernier mot.

Vous pouvez suivre le grand huit de la glycémie en temps réel.

Similar Posts:

The Speed of Time [en]

[fr] RĂ©flexion sur le temps au travail et le temps Ă  la maison, les chats malades et l'hiver.

Routine is settling in. As I have mentioned, my time seems to be shrinking. Or speeding up. It’s a good sign when time flies by, but it scares me. I look at my colleagues, some of whom have been in the same position, doing pretty much the same job, for decades — and try to imagine waking up ten years from now, getting up at the same time in the morning, going to the same place, doing the same thing with the same people. This is the life of many, but there’s something scary about it for me.

A year has passed since Tounsi started being ill. It was early November. He had his MRI early December. He died January 1st. It still feels very recent. His ashes are still in a little box in my bookcase — I haven’t felt ready to spread them in the garden yet. I think I should just do it.

Quintus hasn’t been well lately. I took him for a checkup before starting my new job. He has pancreatitis, and developed diabetes as a result. He’s on insulin now (it’s been 10 days) and we are hoping to get the pancreatits under control. He’s been improving, slowly, with a bit of back and forth. But I have to face things: he’s an old cat, going on 17, and we’re lucky he’s still around. I treasure every extra week I get with him, and hope it will be months. But there are no certainties.

And so I face another winter with the prospect of possibly losing a cat. Bagha died just before Christmas, too. I don’t believe in magic, so I’m not scared winter is “more dangerous” for my cats than any other time of the year. But it does mean that I have had some difficult winters — including the one following my mother’s death when I was a child.

My preoccupation with Quintus makes me feel my hours away from home with a particular awareness. My days at work don’t feel long, but my time at home feels short. A week is a handful of waking hours. I’ve become somebody who doesn’t want to spend any more time away from home than absolutely necessary.

My professional ambition right now is a job that allows me to come back home for lunch. That would be just wonderful.

 

Similar Posts:

Un chat c’est CHF 2000.- par an [fr]

[en] A rough calculation based on the 20 years of cat-life in my home tell me that in Switzerland, one should budget roughly CHF 2000.- per year and per cat, food and meds included. It's an average. But knowing this might help us see less people in Facebook groups saying they won't spay their cat because it's too expensive (hey, kittens are expensive too!) or can't take their sick cat to the vet because they don't have the money.

En moyenne. Sur une vie de chat. A la louche.

Ça paraît beaucoup, hein?

En faisant ma compta 2016, je me suis amusĂ©e Ă  extraire mes frais de vĂ©tĂ©rinaire. C’Ă©tait une mauvaise annĂ©e. La première pancrĂ©atite de Quintus, la maladie de Tounsi.

Un jour, au guichet après une consultation, je mentionne le chiffre Ă  l’assistante. Elle n’est pas Ă©tonnĂ©e. Et elle m’en donne un autre: le montant que j’ai dĂ©pensĂ© chez eux, depuis 17 ans que je suis leur cliente.

Alors j’ai fait des calculs. Sur 20 annĂ©es de vie de chat en moyenne, Ă  la louche, en rajoutant un bout pour les consultations d’urgence hors du cabinet, les spĂ©cialistes, le Tierspital. Bagha, Safran, Tounsi, Quintus, Erica, une poignĂ©e de chatons. Ça comprend les croquettes (mĂ©dicalisĂ©es parfois) et les mĂ©dicaments. Les vaccins, les bobos, les grosses maladies, les accidents, les mystères.

Et Ă  la louche, un chat, ce serait sage de budgeter CHF 2000.-/an.

Certes, il y a des annĂ©es qui ne coĂ»teront pas grand-chose. Et des chats qui ne coĂ»teront pas grand-chose. Une moyenne, c’est une moyenne. Mais je me dis que se rappeler qu’un chat c’est 2000.-/an au budget, ça Ă©viterait les gens qui se plaignent sur Facebook du prix d’une stĂ©rilisation (les chatons ça peut coĂ»ter cher aussi, en passant), ou qui “n’ont pas les moyens” d’amener leur chat clairement malade chez le vĂ©tĂ©rinaire.

Le jour où on a un souci sérieux avec un chat, on est vite dans les grosses centaines de francs, et facilement dans les quelques milliers. Il vaut mieux y avoir pensé avant.

Pour ma part, je me dis que deux chats, c’est un nombre sage pour moi.

Similar Posts:

Lutter vainement [fr]

[en] The fight against self-scanning systems in supermarkets is... useless.

Cet article devrait ĂŞtre un long article. Et je suis presque en train de ne pas l’Ă©crire Ă  cause de ça. Je repousse. Je suis un peu trop mal rĂ©veillĂ©e dans le train pour exposer clairement une problĂ©matique complexe avec plein de ramifications.

Alors cet article sera incomplet et imparfait et suscitera des rĂ©actions que j’aurais voulu prĂ©venir en Ă©tant exhaustive dans mes propos. Tant pis.

L’autre jour, je vois passer un appel au boycott des scanners Ă  la Migros. Parce qu’on voudrait pas remplacer les caissières par des machines, quand mĂŞme. La discussion va bon train sur le mur de la personne tentant de lancer ce mouvement (le lien ci-dessous vous amène directement Ă  mon premier commentaire), puis sur mon propre mur oĂą j’ai partagĂ© l’histoire.

Le manque de perspective historique et de pensĂ©e “systĂ©mique” dans ce genre de discussion me consterne. Durant la rĂ©volution industrielle, les luddites n’ont pas rĂ©ussi Ă  stopper l’avancĂ©e de la technologie en brisant les machines. Le plus gros employeur de Stockholm n’est plus la fabrique de glace, et nous avons l’Ă©lectricitĂ© et des rĂ©frigĂ©rateurs dans nos foyers. Les lavandières ont disparu. Le conducteurs de fiacre aussi. Nous avons tous un tĂ©lĂ©phone portable, mĂŞme ceux qui ont dit “moi, jamais”.

Personne ne contrĂ´le les avancĂ©es technologiques et les bouleversements sociĂ©taux qui vont avec. Tout au plus pouvons-nous exercer une influence. Je prends le parti de mettre mon Ă©nergie lĂ  oĂą sa dĂ©pense n’est pas futile.

Je reproduis ici mon commentaire initial et quelques autres extraits choisis.

Grand angle: le monde change, en permanence, et la technologie a toujours remplacé les humains (tout en ouvrant d’autres possibilités). On ne voit plus de conducteurs de fiacres, qu’on peut imaginer s’étant soulevés contre l’invasion des voitures. Il n’y a plus de fabriques de glace, avec son réseau de livraison: à Stockholm, la fabrique de glace, plus gros employeur de la ville, s’est battue pour interdire l’électricité dans les ménages privés, car cela permettait aux gens d’avoir des frigos et ça les rendait obsoletes.
Grand angle aussi: alors que certains métiers disparaissent, que fait-on (au niveau société) pour requalifier/réorienter/former les personnes qui en font les frais? C’est là qu’il fait mettre de l’énergie, plutôt que dans un boycott aussi futile qu’inutile, qui s’apparente au « clictivisme » tant décrié.
Je vais aller déterrer le reportage sur la fabrique de glace et un autre sur la prise en main (aux USA, imaginez!) des travailleurs dont le métier disparaît.
Et regarder quelqu’un qui est à la caisse en se disant « s’il n’y a plus l caisse, que va-t-elle faire? » je trouve ça d’un snobisme insupportable.
Réfléchissons et agissons là où ça a une chance d’avoir un effet, plutôt que de s’agiter vainement. L’absence de perspective historique derrière ce type d’initiative me désole.

 

La technologie a toujours remplacĂ© l’homme. Regardez la rĂ©volution industrielle… nous ne vivons plus dans le mĂŞme monde. Tous les mĂ©tiers qui pourront ĂŞtre remplacĂ©s par des robots (machines) le seront Ă  terme. Restera pour l’humain les tâches cognitives complexes qu’on ne peut ni modĂ©liser ni recrĂ©er, et… le relationnel, le lien. Ce qui touche Ă  l’humain.
C’est pour ça, en passant, qu’on fait mieux de mettre notre énergie à défendre un RBI qu’à boycotter des scanners. Les luddites n’ont pas gagné l’histoire.

Notre vision de l’histoire est myope: on regarde « notre » histoire (qu’on appelle le présent) avec beaucoup moins de distance que l’histoire « historique ». Pour les personnes de l’époque, ce qui se passait était très semblable à ce que l’on vit aujourd’hui. Notre présent n’est pas, historiquement, si exceptionnel que ça. Plus proche de nous, les téléphones portables ont rendu quasi inutiles les cabines téléphones. On ne s’est pas ému du sort des gens qui les posaient, parce qu’invisibles (au contraire de la personne à la caisse à qui on dit bonjour en la regardant dans les yeux). Mais ces gens ne posent plus de cabines téléphoniques. Toute l’industrie qui les produisait a rétréci.
Est-ce qu’on va jeter nos smartphones à la poubelle pour recréer ces postes?
Est-ce qu’on va boycotter l’e-banking et retourner faire la queue au guichet? Idem pour acheter nos billets de trains (pas d’automate, de grâce, pensez à la personne qui gagne sa vie en vendant les billets au guichet!)
Ce que nous vivons ici est complètement banal, historiquement, et l’histoire nous dit comment ça finit.

En Inde, il y a près de vingt ans, j’ai Ă©tĂ© choquĂ©e de voir des gens sous le soleil brĂ»lant Ă  casser des cailloux au bord de la route. Je disais “mais y’a des machines pour ça! c’est les travaux forcĂ©s, ce que font ces gens!” — et on me rĂ©pondait: oh, mais si on les remplace par des machines, ils vont faire quoi comme travail, ces pauvres gens?
C’est comme ça qu’on justifie l’exploitation de son prochain…

Je doute qu’une action concertĂ©e, toute pleine de bonnes intentions soit-elle, est capable d’avoir un poids plus fort que les avantages qu’amène une innovation technologique.
Et je pense aussi que l’innovation gagne toujours et a toujours gagnĂ©, tout au cours de l’histoire. PlutĂ´t que lutter contre le courant et l’avancĂ©e inĂ©luctable du “progrès” (je dĂ©teste ce terme car il y a un jugement de valeur), je prĂ©fère me pencher sur comment on va “faire avec” ce nouveau monde que nous crĂ©ons au fil du temps.

Similar Posts:

On Anger, Harassment, Sadness, Forgiveness, and Outrage [en]

[fr] C'est tellement plus compliqué que "les hommes bien, les porcs sexistes". C'est tellement facile de se donner sans retenue à la colère qui rejette en bloc, de juger les autres sur le pire acte qu'ils ont commis, aveugles au fait qu'on vient de passer de l'autre côté du miroir.

My heart sank when I read Quinn’s post. I’ve known, since the outing of a string of VCs, that soon it would be not just people who were one step away, or direct connections I had scant contact with, but also people I knew and liked.

Francine expresses what I feel the best. I’m not as close to the Scoble family as she is, of course. But I like Robert. We used to bump into each other at conferences. I’ve followed his struggles these last years from afar. I’ve met Maryam a couple of times.

The second part of Quinn’s post really resonates with me. About restorative justice. About not demonising people who do bad things. I’ve written about this, obliquely. Sadly, the pile-on in online media is going to be about “yet another tech pundit sexually harassing women”.

So, here are a few thoughts.

Sexism and harassment need to be fought

Does anybody have a doubt about this? The question is how. I see three levels: culture, institutions, people. You cannot deal with one without dealing with the others.

  • Culture is the way we raise children. Movies. Billboards. What is “socially acceptable”.
  • Institutions are laws, processes, systems that promote gender inequality.
  • People are humans who make choices and behave in certain ways.

Using a broad brush here. But these are the three levels at which I see we can act.

Everybody does bad things

People are fallible. People are broken. People can be trapped in behaviours they fail to change. Being a victim sucks. Being an abuser sucks too. I’m not putting them on the same level: but there is a difference to be made between a psychopath and somebody who hurts others as a way to survive, or because they don’t know any better. (And… it isn’t even that clear-cut for psychopaths.)

Systematic lynching of all Bad People (TM) (otherwise known as Good People who do Bad Things) will get us nowhere. Yelling at people who are trying to mend their ways, imperfectly, telling them apologies are not enough when apologies are already a hugely difficult step, will get us nowhere.

I get the anger. I cannot stand behind the outrage. It’s easy to be angry and club people to death. One thing to learn, when learning about one’s anger, is that anger is often anger that cuts people out. It’s much harder to be angry and continue caring. And stick around. When anger means outright rejection, then that is all the more reason to stay silent and hidden.

We are judging people based on the worst thing they have done. Now think of the worst thing you have done. Does it define you?

(I know I’m going to be lynched here for “defending the perpetrator”. So be it.)

People’s actions have context

We don’t exist in a vacuum. Powerful men who harass women do it because the institutions and culture enable it. It doesn’t make them blameless, far from it. But just as we women have to fight against a system that puts us in a place we don’t like, so do men. And that place might very well be the place of power and abuse.

I think we are well aware of the systemic issue here. I would like to question how much going after individuals really solves the systemic issue. It’s a real question.

Nobody is a harasser 

This is something that became very clear to me I was harassed a few years ago (not sexually, counting my blessings, but it was bad enough). The main perpetrator in my story did not see his behaviour as abusive, or see himself as harassing me. He saw himself as the victim. He was an ally of women. He was defending himself against me.

Nobody is ever the Bad Guy, in their eyes.

Coming to terms with the fact one is an abuser requires a 180 flip in how one sees oneself. It is no easy feat. Just as you can’t convince an anti-vaxxer that vaccines are safe by pounding your fist on the table and telling them to open their eyes and look at the science, which will only entrench them more in their beliefs, I don’t think publicly shaming people is the final answer to getting them to recognise their bad behaviour.

This should also be a cautionary tale to us when we feel justified in our anger and outrage. Anger is useful. I often encourage people to use their anger when something bad is being done to them. Anger is what will help you slap in the face the guy who put his hand on your butt. Anger is what will give you power to stand up, walk to HR and put your fist on the table to say “this is not OK and has to stop”.

But when anger leads to outrage over situations you are not part of, when you pile on Justine Sacco because she deserves it or on a “sexist pig” because he deserves to see his life destroyed, on which side of the harassment divide are you?

Trauma doesn’t have to destroy you

The fact I feel like I have to keep on saying “this is not what I’m saying” is testimony to how trigger-ready many are on these topics. But I’ll still say it: this is not me telling victims to “just get over it already”.

But.

Trauma, in a way, is a part of life. It sucks all the more when it was wilfully inflicted upon you by another person. But it doesn’t have to destroy you. Or define you.

I have thankfully never been raped. Of course, #metoo, I’ve had to swat away unwelcome hands or back off from grinding groins (wonder why I don’t like the dancefloor? look no further). I’ve stayed speechless in the face of comments on my sex life from colleagues or “friends” – though lately, each time less speechless, as I’ve decided to strive towards a zero-tolerance policy for casual everyday sexism around me. Easier said than done, but getting there.

My mother died when I was 10. This trauma was not anybody’s fault, granted. It’s had an impact on my life. Contributed to making me who I am. More or less broken like everyone, more or less functional despite it.

Many things that happen to us in life shouldn’t happen. We must work towards preventing those we can – and lecherous men in positions of power are definitely on that list. But we must work also on not letting trauma take over our lives and reduce us to a heap of fuming outrage.

Nothing is unforgivable

I talked about apologies earlier. Forgiveness is the other side of the coin. My title is provocative: you’re all thinking of things are unforgivable.

Remember when Snape kills Dumbledore? He uses an unforgivable curse. And it is an unforgivable curse. But is what he did unforgivable?

I would like to make a distinction between something being unforgivable and something one cannot forgive.

There are things people have done to me that I cannot forgive. I have broken (a handful) of friendships because of such situations. But these are not unforgivable actions per se. They are actions that I am unable to forgive.

Apologies are important. Because an important ingredient enabling forgiveness is the recognition by the perpetrator of the harm done. Apologies may be hollow, or insufficient. But they are necessary.

I am not saying we have to forgive everything. And we are not all Hector Black. But our world needs more compassion and forgiveness, and less outrage. When I say we need compassion and forgiveness, I’m not saying we should leave anger aside. Anger is there. But we can choose how to use it.

What else?

There is more to say, and I will certainly say more. My feeling right now is largely of sadness. Sad for my friend and his family, sad for the hurt he caused, sad for all the broken people we are, sad for the broken system we are caught in, sad for the deafening outrage, drowning out the much more difficult conversations that need to be had.

If you’re going to comment: please leave your outrage at the door.

Similar Posts: