Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category

Today I am reading an account of the death of Dr. Rita-Montalcini, when I pondered the question: isn’t it interesting how nobody seems to doubt the validity of any Nobel prizes… unless it involves a noted political figure? I’ve seen the Nobel Peace Prize denigrated by many people when it was awarded to such luminaries as Al Gore (and the 2,000 scientists who gave credence to man made global warming). But, one is a surprise. President Obama couldn’t fathom why he was picked for the Peace Prize shortly after becoming the 44th President. The Nobel Prize committee gave eloquent defense for their pick… which probably convinced no one who are steadfast in their hatred for Obama.

Most Peace Prizes have been non-controversial. I can remember many over the years that merely raised awareness for their contributions to society. It is only lately, as the radical fringes raised their ugly heads, that recipients have become controversial.


This happened last Friday. I had gone to the library to access its computer and print out something. I felt what seemed to be an ocular migraine, which I had experienced many times before. I sat and waited for it to go away, but it persisted. I went back to my car and drove to the Grocery Outlet to buy a juice drink. I had seemed to have some results consuming something like that restoring my eyesight.

I spent some time selecting what I thought was a tasty drink (without high-fructose corn syrup of course). When I went to pay for it I tried to tell the clerk about my ocular migraine, but I couldn’t remember the name of it. I wasn’t alarmed at this time; I’ve often had temporary memory lapses before without any great consequences. The clerk was sympathetic saying he knew what I meant by the description; but he couldn’t remember the name either. I went outside and drank the drink. I stood there for a long time but the feeling of the ocular migraine morphed into something else. Gradually I couldn’t think clearly and I decided to get into my car and write down the words “ocular migraine”. But, I still couldn’t say it. I decided to try to recite a poem I knew by heart. I couldn’t get past the second or third line. Now, I was concerned and somewhat panicked. I noticed the Kitsap Transit busses were at the transfer center about a hundred feet away. I decided to ask a bus driver to help me. I approached him and said I thought I had a problem. I tried to describe it as best I could and added that I would call 911 but I didn’t know just what to tell the operator. Finally, he coaxed me into making the call. The lady on the other end of the line was very helpful and she helped me make the decision for her to call an aid car. I felt I needed to go to the hospital; but I knew better than to drive there. I had been tempted to approach somebody with a driver’s license and as them to drive me there in my car. But, I didn’t know anybody near there.

When the aid car came they did some quick checks and asked me if I wanted the ambulance, which had arrived by now, to take me to the emergency room. I replied that I guessed so.

I don’t remember what I talked about on the way to the emergency room. It isn’t probably relevant. When I arrived they wheeled me into a room to wait for health care professionals. They came in really fast and did the initial checks. I lost track of time and a doctor came in fairly quickly. He did a quick analysis and determined that I had had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). He explained, as best as I can remember, that a small amount of the plaque that had built up in the veins leading to my brain had broken lose and lodged into a narrower passage of vein on its way into my brain. I believe he said that beings I was in such good health other veins were able to circumvent the clog and restore flow to my brain before serious injury happened.

The doctor wanted to (exact words fail me) into the hospital to get the tests done. I asked for how long and he responded for a couple of days. I then exclaimed “Oh, no. I can’t do that I have papers to deliver and there is nobody else to do it for me.” He said we could do them on an outpatient basis at a doctor’s office… probably on Monday. I said that would work.

He left and my wife came in. It seems my younger daughter had called to get a ride someplace and when I told her what was going on, she called everybody and his brother (sister) to tell them how I had had a stroke. Probably the first one she called was my wife. I had talked to her on the phone and told her where the car was. She didn’t know how she was going to get over there, so I told her to ask the neighbor-lady to give her a ride over there. She must have done that because she got the car and drove to the hospital.

The doctor returned saying I could go to an urgent care facility the next morning between 8 AM and noon. The exact sequence isn’t firm. This is as close to what happened as best as I and my wife could remember.
To be continued…

Of a Conservative Perspective

I just read a column in today’s edition of The Kitsap Sun that compelled me to write to some of my dearest friends who have expressed a desire to stifle progress towards equal rights for those who have an orientation of personal physical tendencies. The column is by Leonard Pitts; and is accessible via the link to the Detroit Free Press’ on line edition, opinion. Other avenues are available via Google; this is the one that seems to be the most direct to this column.

I am always trying to enjoin my fellow citizens in a civil and thoughtful dialog on a number of issues. Many of the issues I am interested are somewhat academic because they are removed from my personal life. I have only an interest in matters of civil rights for various minorities as a caring citizen.

Mr. Pitts’ column should awaken those minds that are not too far asleep to reason that challenges their preconceived notions. I have to interject that I often revisit my long-held ideas and notions to grow in knowledge and wisdom.

Another friend who is serving in the Washington State legislature would probably find this column and its sources interesting because he has shown a very much lively intellectual quest for more knowledge and wisdom. If he reads this he knows who he is. For the rest of you his name is Drew.

For him and any other of my friends who don’t agree with my progressive views I would relish a response.

Once in while it behooves us to stop and ponder whether what we are doing is important; or whether we should turn our attentions to other, more pressing priorities. I did just that a few moments ago as I read an article by Christopher Dunagan in this morning’s Kitsap Sun, “Sediment flow at old dam site watched”.

I am often checking my motives for reading the articles by Mr. Dunagan, thinking I might be doing this because he is the wife of my grandson’s head start teacher; and he helped us move from our former residence. While this might be an underlying motive, I think what is more important is my desire to be aware of my environment and the features, live and ascetic.

So, would I have everybody to be this zealous of his own awareness regarding what’s happening? The short answer is, “yes”. In fact I would (metaphorically speaking) surgically remove a non-reader’s senses, one by one, so they would understand the importance of being aware of one’s environment and community.

I also believe that those who ignore their environment and community ultimately fall into a pit of ignorance and lethargy. Once they do this they are almost sure to become morose and depressed; to the point of drinking to stop the feelings of emptiness.

I would also offer this community awareness as an alternative to music to spur mental activity and slow the fall into Alzheimer’s.

“Those who don’t read are no better off than those who can’t” is a very good expression of my reasons to read. Yes, one should balance reading non-fiction and fiction. The first is a direct connect to the world, the later is a good backdrop that enables us to more fully understand our world. If one accepts gaining knowledge as an ongoing education might even accept the idea that reading, thought it is not the only way of gaining knowledge, is important in its being a more intensive way to gain knowledge than hearing or viewing sources.

Now, I have to offer a slight departure from this radical approach. I see my grandson, who is high functioning autistic, getting a lot of mind stimulation from watching certain shows on TV, and movies. I would offer that some minds are stymied by the challenge of converting the written word to mental images. The quest to alter this is worth pursuing, however. If the non-reader were to mount the challenge to improve reading comprehension, he/she would gain another important avenue of improvement.

“An informed citizenry is essential to a functioning democracy” is also a great reason to keep informed of one’s community. I would create multiple copies of signs to accompany displays of local print media. Of course this is a chauvinistic approach that ignores the truth that the print media is not the only way to become informed. It does imply that the print copy that is available to the reader is the best; and draws the prospective reader to access it, either by purchasing it or visiting the library (that temple of knowledge in most communities) and reading available issues there.

Years ago, there was a radio drama on KVI AM radio. It was called “Theater of the Mind.” I believe Jim French hosted it. I especially remember one episode that Jim wrote.

It was about a guy who woke up from a deep sleep on a battlefield. There were bullets flying, bombs exploding, people getting shot and many dying.
Suddenly somebody yelled “cut” and everybody stopped fighting and started to walk off the field. Our hero, I’ll call him Bob, asked somebody, “What’s going on?”

The reply was, “This is an action serial on TV. To satisfy the audiences’ desires for realism they are shooting the battle scenes with real bullets, bombs, etc. See that guy over there with the sergeant’s helmet? He’s the hero and won’t be shot. That is he won’t be shot as long as the director, a woman, wants him. You see, he’s the director’s boyfriend. When she gets tired of him, she will have him written out of the script and he’ll be killed. Of course, she will choose somebody else to be her boyfriend…until he doesn’t satisfy her anymore.”

Just as he predicted the hero was eventually killed. By that time, the director had picked our hero, Bob, as her new boyfriend.

Bob was sure that his initial introduction was true and that he would eventually meet the same fate as the previous ex-boyfriend.

How would he escape the same end? He found out where they kept the script after it had been written. When he sensed the director was tiring of him he gained access to the script and read it. Sure enough, there it was in black and white. He was slated for termination the next day.

I do not remember how Bob avoided his elimination; but he did. How I relate this to reading the daily newspaper is it is the script for what befalls individuals who haven’t a sense of right and wrong. Beings this sense is only common to those who grow up in a specific culture. Their culture conflicts with the law because of the way some legislatures create laws to accommodate the moral orientation of the majority within a community. Ok, so I cannot locate the quotation extant from The Tyranny of the Majority; is that important? Well, yeah. I would like to be able to extract the full sense of the term.

Common sense is a cliché phrase that people use to brand “truths” that they understand; and believe that anybody who doesn’t know them are clueless and don’t have any common sense. These ideas are so self evident that they stand without supporting evidence.

A good example of common sense for me is that lack of sleep causes any number of mistakes and errors of judgments. The latest headlines regarding air traffic controllers going to sleep when they are on duty is an example of how “common sense” escapes those who ignore what seems to me much publicity about the importance of adequate sleep. I can remember bits and pieces of an article about sleep and its citing of Bill Clinton’s disclosure of the reason for the bags under his eyes: lack of sleep. The article goes on to blame his lack of sleep contributing to his lapse in judgment in the Monica Lewinsky debacle.

I can certainly understand how certain influences can cloud one’s judgment; but my own chronic short sleep pattern puts me on the alert to my fallibility… or not. The effects of lack of sleep are insidious. I am reminded of my bad choices that lead to unintended consequences almost daily. The other influences are noted by me when I analyze the reasons behind silly paths. I am not talking about paths to enlightenment – the frequent results of random rambling (a. k. a. serendipity). Actually I am a believer in serendipity. Good consequences have followed my rambling paths. Lack of sleep can spawn excellence in the arts and even sciences. But when it comes to tragedies following sleep-induced incompetence, there is no good resulting from any of them. You might argue that bringing to light the propensity for falling asleep by air traffic controllers is a good from a series of bad choices. I would counter that as an unnecessary progression from bad choices.

Maybe budgetary decisions are the main sources behind the tragedies in today’s news headlines. Repeated attacks on guards in prisons, alone without backup, follow budgetary decisions to short staffing levels. I will add these supporting my beliefs that government budget-cutting hawks are destroying our society.

The latest news about the Earth Quake in Japan and its effect on the nuclear power plants there has the plants developing into a major catastrophe. The removal of workers pretty much eliminates stopping the ever increasing seriousness of the disaster.
It is this development that makes me wonder why they can’t develop robots to enter and make the necessary actions to stop the problem. If someone says that nuclear radiation disrupts electronic circuitry I say use multiple duplicate circuits that continuously compare with each other and automatically decide which is correct. Alternately, use the latest developments to counter the effect of nuclear radiation on electronic circuits. Circuits operating from light signals rather than electronics would be one resolution.

Why Not See Sicko

Posted: July 1, 2007 in Health and wellness

I probably won’t go see the documentary Sicko. It’s not that I don’t have a high regard for Michael Moore; his previous offerings – Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 – are well worth the time I spent viewing them. I just believe there are significant differences in the subject matter and how it is covered in this type of movie that Michael’s latest is not worth the time.

My opinion is based on my belief regarding how illuminating individual incidents are of an issue compared to observations of a wide body of evidence. These individual incidents, while they are entertaining and do shed some light on health care, do not offer any potential fixes because specific occurrences don’t make a case for reforms that substantially change the way health care is provided for.

So, now that I have exposed my bias maybe I should go see the movie; if for no other reason, to get examples of how the incidents fail to help us offer reforms that improve health care in America.