Are you sleeping enough?

One of the services that I use to monitor the “world” of the internet is Stumble – I click on the Stumble icon in my browser, and it randomly jumps to a new website based on general categories I’ve indicated an interest in. I also periodically get a newsletter where they highlight some sites I might like based on reviews I have written on their previous recommendations.

One recent newsletter caught my attention with an article about SLEEP. Probably because the last couple of years I’ve had a real problem with getting enough. I am certain that I haven’t slept 7 consecutive hours in over 3 years, and there are whole months that go by (especially in spring) when migraines and arthritis pain tag-team to force 2 or 3 tries at sleeping to reach an accumulated total of 6-7 hours.

Anyway, this article was worth a careful reading to me, and I thought some of you might like it as well.

http://time.com/4672988/the-sleep-cure-fountain-of-youth/

Funny math story . . .

I was just talking on the phone with my daughter, who called to wish me a happy birthday.  Yep, it’s today.

But, it got me to thinking.  I remember an incident back when I was 10, when one of my aunts asked me what age I thought was when a person was “old”.  My answer at the time was 18.

Well, it turns out I have now officially lived 3x that long.  18 x 3 = 54.  So if 18 was old, I’m ancient now.  But, an interesting side note is – I was 18 when I had my left leg operated on for a bone tumor.  Coincidence?  Hmmmm…….

Image

Saturday Posts . . .

Organic CarrotsImage is a side view of a bunch of carrots still growing in the ground.  The text is a quote from organic farmer Mary Jane Butters, which says, “I think we need to take back our language.  I want to call my organic carrots ‘carrots’ and let (other farmers) call theirs a chemical carrot.  And they can list all of the ingredients that they used instead of me having to be certified.  The burden is on us to prove something.  Let them prove that they used only 30 chemicals instead of 50 to produce an apple.”

While I still can . . .

I have a confession to make.  The reason I haven’t been posting much the last few months is that I am having a rough time with this arthritis in my left hip.

Remember a while back when I posted the story about how the bone tumor in my left leg was found?  It was caught VERY early because I am so tuned in to how my body feels that the onset of the tumor was enough to trigger severe pain and keep me from walking on the leg.

So, imagine being that sensitive, and living with actual problems that have shown up on x-ray and MRI tests for a couple of years.  Ok, those problems wouldn’t normally bother even me so much, but for the last 3 months we’ve had rain or storms in this area every day – except 4.  I’ve counted.  Sometimes they are east of us, as far away as Springfield, Missouri.  Sometimes they are south of us as far as Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Well, you get the idea.  Keep drawing a circle – Broken Arrow, OK, Chanute, KS, Ft. Scott, KS, Nevada, MO.  Any storm that has yellow and red coloring on the Weather.com radar image and is as close as any of those places will cause me enough discomfort that I can’t sleep.

Here is what the VA said about my hip when I (finally!) got the results of an MRI that was done at the beginning of this month:

1. Mild degenerative changes in the left hip joint.  
        
       2. Minimal inflammation involving the proximal vastus lateralis
       and gluteus maximus muscles adjacent to the greater trochanter.  
        
       3. Mild cellulitis in the subcutaneous fat overlying the lateral
       hip.  
        
       4. Subcortical lesion in the posterior left femoral head is
       stable in size back to May 2012 CT with signal characteristics
       suggestive of a small enchondroma. Consider followup MRI in one
       year to insure stability.

See – according to them, even though there are 4 problems going on in the same hip, they are all mild and merit only being monitored.  But, as I said before – my sensitivity is such that these are interfering with my sleep.

And that is my real problem.  I’m down to only sleeping about 1.5 to 3 hours at a time.  Add to that this – I absolutely can’t sleep at night because the heat has been so bad during the day that I am forced to do laundry at night, and only 1 or 2 loads per night.  As I’m writing this, it is just past 0500 (5:00 am) here – and the temperature is 79F degrees with a heat index of 83F.  The sun hasn’t even started to come up yet.

I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be thinking clearly enough to do these blogs, so this is a head’s up.  I’m going to pre-schedule as many Saturday Posts as my WordPress account will let me, and then hope for the best.  But, to keep from sounding like a broken record, I won’t keep updating you all the time about how bad the weather is or how my arthritis feels.

 

Interesting surprise . . .

When my wife goes out grocery shopping on the weekends, she frequently includes a visit to one (or several) thrift stores.  Especially one called “The Doggie Bag” which supports the local Humane Society with the profits they make.

On a recent visit she picked up a pair of black denim shorts for me.  When she got home with them, I tried them on.  They were VERY tight, but she assured me that the tag the store had put on them said the waist was 36″.  The good news was that I did manage to get them on, fastened, and zipped.  The bad news was that I stood there debating for several minutes about whether or not I would want to wear them for a whole day.

When she noticed that the shorts had pleats in the front, that was the death blow.  I don’t like pleats, because they exaggerate my already large middle area. So, I took them off and she agreed to return them.  But, as she was folding them back up, she took a look at the manufacturer’s tag inside – which said “waist size 34”.

It was a good surprise.  Keep in mind that less than 2 years ago I was wearing 38″ pants, and they were getting tight as my actual weight climbed over 245 lbs.  Now, thanks to my finding and (most of the time) following the Paleo Diet, I’m under 200, putting on some muscle, and for 3 minutes I was wearing 34″ shorts.

This is getting interesting.

On another note: you know the weather has your number when the OVERNIGHT LOW for your area has a heat index number attached to it.

Soylent … green?

My wife found the following website, and sent the link to me:

https://www.soylent.com/

FYI: it is advertising a new product, available in the US and Canada, that looks to me like a milk substitute, based on soy protein and oils.

My personal consideration about it is the use of soy protein – I’ve read enough research to realize that soy is converted by the body into estrogen.  For women, it is likely to be a primary cause of fibroids, endometriosis, and breast cancer.  For men, obesity, “moobs”, and prostate/testicular cancer.

There are three hormones at play here: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.  Women need a careful balance of estrogen to progesterone; while men need to keep estrogen and testosterone in balance.  Perhaps “balance” is the wrong word, because the amounts needed for optimum health are far from equal.  But the point I’m trying to make here is that when you consume something that your body converts to estrogen, it absolutely WILL throw out those ratios of hormones your body produces naturally.

Something to think about.

Well, I think it is about time . . .

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog about my frustration at my primary care doc at the VA trying to push me onto statin drugs for my cholesterol.  In her comment on the blog, my good friend Anita pointed at the Mark’s Daily Apple website ( marksdailyapple.com ) and said it is her Paleo Diet guru.  I’m also on the Paleo Diet, but hadn’t seen this site, so I went to take a look.

My chief frustration with the site (at least at first glance) is that it is typical of sites that specialize in fitness – they don’t have anything to say that doesn’t include a fair amount of healthy exercise.  If I want to use his program, I need to be able to follow the program.  But, after a bone tumor in my left femur in 1980, the femur can’t handle that sort of activity.  The permanent limitations I was given back then included: No walking over 1 mile per day TOTAL, No jumping of any kind (like parachute jumps), No pushing pulling or lifting over 30 pounds.

Every time I have ever exceeded those limits, there has been a price to pay.  Stress fractures around the site where the bone tumor was have ensured that a week on crutches each time was the minimum price I’ve paid.  I actually have a pair of aluminum ones in a closet that I’ve used for years.

But – I had an idea today.  My doc asked me on that last visit if I’d thought about getting a hip replacement.  I half laughed and said I might get it someday, but when I do we’d have to replace the whole femur because of the bone tumor that caused all this trouble.

It may be time to do that.

Why?  Because I’m actually only 53 years along.  If I do get a hip/femur replacement, I would have to do physical therapy, and then I’d be free – FREE – to start exercising in earnest again.  Keep in mind – before the tumor I was a candidate for the US Army’s Special Forces training.  A hip replacement before this summer could mean that I’m able to start training for a half-marathon by the time I’m 55.  I can almost get excited just thinking about it.  If I also get the migraine headaches under control, I might even be able to go back to work, part-time at least.

It is something tempting to think about.  Especially since I just had a short phone call with the Veteran’s Choice program, and they are setting me up with an appointment for a primary care doctor HERE IN TOWN.

Veteran’s Choice update…

Because I live in Kansas, one of my US Senators is my father’s close friend & neighbor, Jerry Moran.  Because I’m a constituent, I’ve elected to receive his email newsletter.  Here is what he recently had to say about the Veteran’s Choice program:

Pressing the VA to Fix Choice Act Implementation

On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss the proposed VA Choice Program Consolidation Plan. This plan addresses how the Choice program will function in the future, but Kansas veterans continue to struggle right now with access to care in their communities through Choice. This is because of the flawed implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act).  Many of our VA medical facilities in Kansas are only open part-time, or do not have a full-time medical doctor on staff, causing those who have sacrificed for our nation to struggle to receive needed medical services.

During the hearing, I had the opportunity to press Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson on the eligibility requirements for the Choice program, and whether they are being interpreted and implemented correctly. Common sense tells us that if you live within 40 miles of a VA facility, but that clinic cannot provide you with the services you require, or does not have a medical doctor on staff, you should be able to receive care closer to home. I am pleased that Deputy Secretary Gibson agreed that those veterans living within 40 miles of a clinic open only part-time are eligible for Choice. Additionally, Sec. Gibson committed to providing more information on those eligible veterans so we can make certain they are aware of the resources available to them. Veterans deserve a VA worthy of their service and sacrifice, and I will continue to push the senior administrators at the Department of Veterans Affairs to fix the problems within the Choice Act today so we can make certain Kansas Veterans have access to timely, quality care.

_______________________________________

One thought that immediately comes to mind is the observation of how politicians use language to mask realities.  Sen. Moran said there was a failed implementation of the Choice Act – but having read the act myself (and as one who has tried to use it without success) I can tell you that the Choice Act was so specifically written that it was DESIGNED to fail exactly the way it did.  It wasn’t an implementation failure, it was a design flaw.

Self-reflection . . .

Continuing the introspective examination I’ve been doing of late, I believe I have discovered a way to achieve more of a balance to daily livingness.

Well, I don’t think I can actually take credit for this entirely, as it is a program that was known well to ancient peoples.

The primary weakness that intellectual people face is one of physical weakness.  A strong mind is good thing to have, but it lends itself all to quickly to the neglect of your body.  That is what happened to me after I left the military.  My focus shifted to study, and I did not continue some form of activity that would require the mental dedication to physical conditioning.  The result was that my disability did, in just a few years, become the dominate force in determining my physical health.

The way to combat this, especially for those who are gifted with a strong mind and burdened with a disability, is to have an active physical discipline.  Something along the lines of yoga or martial arts.  Life requires balance, and imbalance expresses itself as a disruption of optimum health.

Please, if you are the parent or guardian of a gifted child, do them a HUGE favor and guide them into a lifetime activity that conditions and strengthens the body as much as you aide them in training their mind.