Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

A Brief Respite

Last week, with the help of a couple of doctors, I realized that stress and despair are not conducive to good health. So I determined to reduce the stress in my life. Since most if not all of this stress stems from the results of the recent election, the appropriate remedies were clear.

So yesterday, Saturday, instead of watching the news, I watched Gameday and a couple of football games (Nebraska won handily) and a volleyball match between Nebraska and Iowa (Nebraska swept in three sets). I also watched a couple of movies–a procedural with Morgan Freeman and Spielberg’s Lincoln (no doubt this last choice says something about my unconscious).

Kicking back seems to have worked because my blood pressure was a few points lower last night. Now I just have to figure out how to reconcile a paradox: how do I get as little exposure as possible to the Hairball and his Thug minions while staying informed enough to know when it is time to pack up and move to California?


Read Full Post »

Thanks, W.

Well we have another thing to hang around Bush’s neck: well-trained soldiers who served in Iraq, two of whom were, for whatever reasons, disaffected enough to murder policemen en masse. These guys knew how to plan and stalk and shoot, and, thanks to conservative legislators, they were able to get their hands on the same weapons they were trained to use by experts.

And Bush dances at the funeral.



Read Full Post »

It Can Be Fixed!


Lumbar stenosis affects old folks. When you see one of us olds leaning forward while using a walker or grocery cart, that older person is probably trying to ease the pain of lumbar stenosis.

As we grow old our spinal canals can narrow, thus pinching the big nerves that serve legs and feet.  This is happening to me, although, luckily, so far it flares up only occasionally. But when it does announce its presence, lumbar stenosis makes a big entry. All last week I was able to sleep only in short stretches, being woken up by numbness and pain in my feet and legs. This happens because the narrowed spinal canal cuts off the nerves that serve the lower extremities. The on-the-spot remedy is to get up and walk around, which can be tricky depending on just how far awake one has become. And there’s absolutely nothing on TV at those hours.

After one such hard night, I called my chiropractor. Now you should know that this woman is a genius. Hell, she is a goddess. She agreed to see me yesterday, and a half-hour or so of her work on my backside, the effects of the stenosis on my legs and feet seem to have disappeared, at least for the time being. I slept peacefully through the night, and the only after-affects this morning seem to be a certain soreness in the back muscles she prodded so expertly yesterday. Which is to be expected, given that these don’t get much of a workout otherwise.

The biggest benefit, though, is emotional. The MD who diagnosed the stenosis took a sort of “you’ll have to grin and bear it” attitude, beyond giving me a couple of exercises to do (which have since proven ineffectual). So I was pretty down about my condition, thinking that I’d have to live with it for the rest of my days. This suspicion was reinforced by the fact that my sister, who is 87, also suffers from lumbar stenosis (although at her age she can insist to her docs that any possible long-term damage done by pain meds really doesn’t factor into the treatment equation. So her mantra is “Bring on the Tramadol!”).

In my case, though, it’s a great relief to know that the pain of stenois can be alleviated, if only temporarily.  Some years ago I wrote a rather scathing post about chiropracty on this yere blog.  But thanks to Desert, who introduced me to the goddess, I’ve learned that in the right hands (literally) this discipline can confer real benefits on patients who suffer from structural ailments.  Huzzah!

Read Full Post »


Root-CanalI went to see my dentist last week.  I had had a persistent pain for about three weeks prior but it was so small and intermittent that I asked her to do a thorough cleaning.  Surely, I thought, I take such good care of my teeth these days that there couldn’t be anything more serious than something hiding and festering away in some small crevice.

The dentist did a thorough cleaning and found nothing visibly wrong.  But a couple of days later the pain returned, so I went back to her office.  This time she did a bite-wing X-ray that disclosed a huge infected site above a tooth, near a sinus.  She knew immediately that I needed a root canal, which she is not equipped to do, so she referred me to an endodontist.  Luckily, the endo schedules “emergency time” each day so I got in to see him the next afternoon.  (Who knew that a sufficient number of people require emergency attention to warrant setting aside time every day in which to see them?)

The last time I saw the endo was in 2007, when I had the second of two implants put in place.  I barely recognized my picture in his computer files, given that my hair was not yet grey then, and I weighed nearly fifty pounds more than I do now.  That’s not all that was strange–he used a dam like that shown in the photo.  As you can see from the photo above, this gizmo covers the entire mouth except for a small hole encircled by a clamp which tightens around the affected site.  There is also a brace (which can’t be seen in the photo) that keeps your mouth open so you don’t have to.

When this device was first applied I suffered a small bit of panicked claustrophobia–the thing can ride up over your nose–but I soon saw its usefulness insofar as it keeps water and debris from sliding down your throat.  The entire procedure took nearly an hour, and it was painful despite all the numbing agents the endo needled into my mouth.  (Query:  why do dentists and dental assistants always talk about what they had for lunch while they poke sharp objects into your mouth?)

Afterward the endo prescribed an antibiotic and a painkiller.  He was adamant that I take all of the antibio without skipping a dose, because infections like mine can be serious if they get into surrounding bone.  He also pointed out that if I had been feeling unwell, which I had–tired and sort of fuzzy-minded–that this was no doubt due to the infection.

By the time I got home the pain was singing out loud, so I took one of the painkillers and went to bed, but not before I set an alarm to be sure I took the next dose of the antibio on time.  Pain was still intense the next day, so I took another painkiller, which was a mistake–I barfed it up along with my breakfast.  Barfed again at lunch–while on the phone with Desert!  Failure to eat at a given time poses difficulties for a diabetic, so I spent some time figuring out how to balance that requirement with the need to eat enough to keep the antibio down.  And stopped taking the painkiller.

But I got through it, and finally, four days later, the pain has abated.  I also feel much better, which suggests that the infection was indeed draining my energy.  How did people manage to deal with such things before the advent of modern dentistry?





Read Full Post »

The Wages of Sun

Got a spot removed from my arm today.   It looked suspicious to the skin doc when I went for my semi-annual checkup, and she said “Let’s just take it off and send it away for analysis.”  I’m always uneasy when a doc uses the first person-plural.  But this spot looked and felt suspicious, so I agreed.

I’ve been lucky so far.  I am a very white person whose genetic heritage is chiefly Irish–so much so that I have redheaded nephews and grandnephews.  So all those sunny days running rivers and skiing down mountain meadows have gifted me with a lot of skin damage.  But so far the damage has been cosmetic rather than dangerous. Fingers crossed.

Read Full Post »


15584118-emoticon-with-nauseaSorry I haven’t posted in a week or so.  I’ve been sick with a flu, or flu-like symptoms–fierce headache (my hair even hurts!), body aches, stomach upset–the works.  These appeared the day after Inky bit me, and I worried for awhile that was the cause.  But now the malady is behaving more respectably like a flu.

I’ve been lucky insofar as the flu is concerned–maybe forty years of teaching rendered me immune to some germs.  But I’m having a seasonal bout more regularly lately, so maybe my immunities are wearing off.  A flu shot is on the agenda–I’m off to see my doc this morning.

Cue thoughts about the barn and the cow.

Read Full Post »

hobby-lobby-500The owner of Hobby Lobby believes that God has ordained its success.  Ergo, store policy should follow God’s law, which means to him, apparently, that his employees may not have health insurance that covers contraception.

When I heard him say this on the teevee I got out my bible to look for a place where Jesus says “Thou shalt not provide health insurance that covers contraception for employees.”   Let’s see–sermon on the mount?  Nope.  Tossing the moneychangers out of the temple?  Nope.  The last supper?  Nope.  I did find stuff like “love thy neighbor” and “care for the sick,” though.

Maybe Jesus didn’t say this.  Maybe it’s in the old testament instead.   Moses could have broken a tablet that said “Use ye not contraception.”  Or maybe when God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden, he locked up all the abortive herbs inside the gates?  And then they grew through the fence so that women could use them?  (Nature plays a little trick on God–hee hee).

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »