Saturday, December 27, 2008

Winter Rain Storm Pain and Sleep

Joint Degeneration From Age Ten

I have had arthritis for decades now. In my early twenties, my knees were so rife with arthritis that I was advised by my sports medicine doctor, my general practitioner, and an orthopedic surgeon, that I had the joints of a very old man.

I skipped the surgery hoping for a cure, or some better form of treatment - hoping that the pace of medical science would result in unimagined ways to alleviate my condition.

Years before I even linked the word arthritis to the non stop joint pain, the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the feverishness, and the fatigue, I suspected it was going to be a lifelong malady. No matter how many anti inflammatory pills or hot showers I took the pain would return.

I could feel sharp jolts of pain in my neck, and my knees at first - and I'd run to the television to check out the radar screen, and would learn what I already knew, that a thunderstorm was coming. I soon realized that a storm could be a hundred miles away, and that I could still be affected by it. I couldn't believe that I was experiencing the same symptoms that elderly people often complained about on television programs and commercials.

As the years passed the joint degeneration spread to my fingers, back, shoulders, and hips.

In Search Of Pain Relief - Legal And Not So Legal

Some days the pain was so great that I would take ten to twenty ibuprofen tablets in a day and the natural result was ulcers.

I'd tell myself that prescription strength ibuprofen was one gram, and that directions for post operative pain was one pill every eight hours, and so I could safely take fifteen over the counter capsules - knowing that it wasn't a good idea - not in the long run.

Every once in awhile I would "score" some prescription pain medicine from a friend or relative. I'd take the medicine, and all the pain would go away. Tears would come down my face in relief. My body is so rife with crunchy joints that my brain simply must produce a great deal of its own pain killers, and this works relatively well, but the sensation I get when I take a powerful pain killer is this - it is like going back in time to when I was a child. My body feels good again - no pain at all.

The elation of feeling no pain is nothing short of ecstasy. This is how I felt up to my middle teens. And I ask myself why I can't just stay pain free, why I can't be allowed to stay on some powerful pain killer which would make my pain go away. Yet it isn't very long into such a feeling that I come to know my own nature, and decide it is best to feel the pain - that any pain pill yet devised would render me an addict - and thus I chose pain over slavery.

I have never asked a doctor to prescribe such pills, because I know what would happen. I know I'd end up abusing them for I have experienced the rapidity of tolerance. Take one pill at first, and soon I'm up to many more. That's the downfall of narcotics - anyone in pain will take so many that they'll eventually kill themselves taking such a drug to eliminate their pain.

I did once ask for a renewal on a prescription for a steroid I was taken for my back pain. The doctor told me that I would have to wait for several months before prescribing them again, so I never asked for steroids again, but I did start to look around for steroids over the Internet.

I soon realized that my craving to be pain free would drive me to finding, and purchasing steroids over the Internet, and so I stopped searching, and never bought it. Steroids are remarkable, but I've never known anyone taking them who hasn't had a personality change.

A Safe, Legal, Effective, Healthy Treatment For Pain - Fish Oil

In recent years I have found a pain medicine that is safe, with no known toxicity, has many positive side effects, very effective, and inexpensive. I'm talking about fish oil. Combine fish oil and glucosamine chondroitin and you have the perfect combination for joint pain. Fish oil can be taken all by itself, and it is such a remarkable anti inflammatory that you can take it for injuries, head aches, and arthritis.

Last night, feeling the shift in barometric pressure, and perhaps the lightning strikes from miles away, I knew I had to take plenty of fish oil, and so I doubled my daily dose to twenty fish oil capsules. That's eight grams of Omega 3.

Another twenty fish oil capsules (four more grams of Omega 3) today and I'm for the most part pain free (actually, that's not true) compared to what I would have experienced if I had not taken them.

I don't have to worry about damage to my liver from fish oil, nor the damage to my stomach that aspirin or ibuprofen would have caused - with the added benefit of reducing my triglycerides.

So with the intense winds, and freezing cold rain my major symptom was some low level pain in every joint in my body, and the overwhelming desire to sleep so as to avoid the pain.

In fact my entire family is asleep now, including our cats.

It's not like there would have been much of a loss - this cold dark horrible day, it's better to sleep through it, and pretend it never happened.

Just hibernate, and wake up on one warm Spring day, crawl out of my den, and go eat some fish - love that fish oil.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Vistor's Guide

Guide To Welcome Christmas Visits

I thought I'd write up a list of suggestions which I feel would help everyone around the holidays. This list of suggestions is the result of years of experience of either having visitors over for the holidays, or in being a visitor myself. So here goes - JeromeProphet's Christmas Visitor's Guide.

Call Ahead - preferably earlier rather than later. Calling up at the last moment or actually showing up on someone's door unannounced is a really big no-no. Show your host some common courtesy around the holidays. Christmas can be a stressful and demanding day, and showing up unexpectedly can create havoc.

Stay Polite - If you're visiting try not to make smart remarks about your host's Christmas tree, or holiday decorations. Try not to make jokes at the expense of your host either. Don't turn your visit into a sit down comedy routine, or a "roast the host" event - it leaves a bad and lasting impression. Your host may smile and laugh at your snide remarks, but probably only out of politeness.

Reciprocity - Ask yourself if you ever invite your host over for the holidays. If you don't then there's probably an issue that your host is painfully aware of too.

Be Honest - If you find yourself feeling like you have to visit, then don't. Your host will know if you really don't want to be there. Breezing in, and out of a visit just for politeness sake is both apparent, and insulting.

Don't Be A Pig - Leave some food for your host after you leave. Just because they offer you the tray doesn't mean you have to empty it.

Don't Be A Drunk - This applies for how you show up, and how you leave. Don't show up at your host's door drunk, or even tipsy, And don't stumble out drunk either. If you're inebriated then you're more likely to be rude - no matter how funny you think you are. And if leave drunk you probably overstayed your visit, and probably broke every rule in this list I've prepared. Additionally, drinking and driving is against the law.

Don't Overstay Your Visit - Around the holidays your host probably has many places to go, people to see, and things to do - it can't all be about you. Remember that your host might have attended church the night before, or woke up early to open presents.

Keep Your Promises - If you say you'll visit then do. Sneaking into town, and visiting one friend and not another usually gets around - and if you promised a visit and blow it off under such conditions - it makes you look discourteous and contemptible - a big no-no around the holidays.

Be Consistent - Don't "play friends" up until November each year only to find yourself looking for a way to get a good feud started so as to eek out yet another year without having to do an invite for the holidays. Sure by February you'll be on "good" terms with your "friend" again, but after a few years it become painfully obvious what the truth of the relationship is. This includes the "Holiday Disappearance Act". If you're in touch with a "friend" ten months out of the year, but find yourself just "too busy" to send an invite, or to return that RSVP - it's obvious - there's a problem.

Holidays create false expectations and demands for how people are supposed to act. After watching hundreds of hours of holiday programs, and holiday commercials, most people feel that at the very least they are required to visit, or take on visitors. This ritual, while intended to reaffirm familial bonds and ties of friendship can create stress, and sometimes do more harm to relationships than good.

How do you tell an old and beloved "friend" that he's obnoxious and you use him only because you're bored, or tell your neighbor that he's a loudmouth drunk at parties, or tell an Uncle that you don't like him because he fondled your cousin? How do you tell your "old buddy" that he's below you socially, and that your old friendship now makes you look bad in front of your wife, and new friends? How do you confess that your husband can't stand her husband? How do you explain that you feel disgusted that your friend has gained weight, and that you're ashamed of him? How do you tell the truth about the way you feel, when you feel guilty about how you feel - especially during the holidays?

Relationships which may have hung by a thread for decades can be put into danger due to the expectation that those relationships be more than they'll ever be.

The bit tongue, the tense smile, the rushed glass of wine may work well in the short run, but without some rules guiding how hosts and visitors should behave feelings can get hurt, and territory can be invaded leading to regrets.

The key to JeromeProphet's Christmas Visit Rules is politeness. The Golden Rule is at the heart of politeness. When hosting and visiting for the holidays ask how you would want to be treated if you were in the other guy's shoes? Would you want someone to show up announced? Would you want someone to make snide remarks at your expense in your own living room? The answers are obvious.

Being a good host or visitor is all about respect. If you don't have it, then don't try and fake it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Writing With Priskers

Between my outstretched arms lay my cat Priskers. She has her left paw curled slightly so that her claws are gently pressing, anchoring, into my left thumb - but there is no pain. My left wrist pressed down ever so gently upon the side of her tail.

She and I are pals, we're family, we're warmth for each other on this frigid cold night, a night with howling winds so rough that they could kill.

Priskers always seems to know the best place to curl up, and positing herself just in front of the keyboard forces me to either push her out of the way, or to adjust to her presence.

She's a nice cat.

Oops, she is up now, and heading to her water bowl which I just refreshed an hour ago.

And now, it is time for me to crash.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

World Economy on the Edge of Disaster

I don't believe many people understand just how close the U.S., and world economy, is to the edge of a very deep drop into what could turn into a protracted recession. When I say that I don't mean to sound like an expert, because I'm not, and I'm also aware that the U.S. has already been in a recession for a year now, but from everything I've read it looks like the most serious economic crisis in my lifetime - nothing compares - short of the Great Depression.

What really drove this reality home was watching a documentary made by, and broadcast last week on, the History Channel of all places. After months of personally talking with hundreds of people from all across this great nation of ours tell me how bad things were where they live, and after reading hundreds of articles dealing with the economic decline the truth came together watching the History Channel's, Crash: The Next Great Depression, an excellent documentary which compares the Great Depression with the situation we currently find ourselves in.

In fact the situation is so frightening that I don't believe most people know just how dire the situation is.

For several years I've shared my opinions about the Bush Administration, and how the economy was a "sham economy", and I knew eventually something had to give. I formed that opinion several years ago while watching an early morning CSPAN broadcast in which a writer took calls after a long discussion of Bush Administration economic policy.

The general message was clear, our economy was in high gear, and everyone was happy for the moment only because a flood of foreign investment was financing the Real Estate Bubble. The question was put - as to what would happen if that financing ever came unraveled, and at that time it was clear that no one even wanted to consider what would happen.

We now live in the worst case scenario, a scenario in which banks no longer want to loan out any money.

And at this point no matter how much money has been used to bail out these lending institutions, nor how low the prime interest rate is - no one wants to part with their cash - for fear of loaning money to an institution, company, or individual which might not be capable of paying back those loans.

And thus, the economy itself is grinding to a halt. We haven't seen it yet, but if not for the actions of the federal government the U.S. economy would completely collapse.

And that is not an exaggeration - which is scary as hell.

Stomach "Flu" Floating About Springfield, Illinois

First of all the term "flu" to describe an intestinal parasite or virus is a misnomer, but that's how I'll refer to it in this post. Starting early last week my teenage daughter said she wasn't feeling well. We suspected it was a hangover, but after several days when it wouldn't go away we suspected either a bacterial or viral infection.

My daughter being sick is nothing new. Her party girl lifestyle being what it is has made her our family's "Canary in a Coal Mine", and so if something is floating about Springfield, Illinois - she's had it.

And so when she started puking her guts out and missing school, and after we eliminated hangover, we suspected a virus or bacterial infection.

It has been here, at least in our household, ever since.

I've felt it deep within the pit of my stomach - or is that an ulcer, and I've felt it in my sense of fatigue - or is it just stress, and in the lingering tingling sensation of warmth upon my skin. Yet for the most part it has subsided without doing any damage to me. I suspect I must have been visited by this bug before, perhaps in another strain, but that I have some degree of immunity to it.

However, this morning my wife has been sick as a dog. It is probably related to her experience of having to worry about her daughter coming back home last night, and then dealing with a drunken, high, and abusive teenage girl. That's a lot of stress to handle at five in the morning.

My prior post relates our story of having to wait until four thirty in the morning for our teenage daughter to show up home after a night of drinking and pot use - and - realizing that this party girl drove back from her latest motel party while under the influence of alcohol.

So now my wife is showing all the signs of this stomach flu, and it has proven to me that this intestinal flu was just smoldering, and waiting for a chance to rear its ugly head again.

My wife has called a pharmacist for some quick, free, and unofficial medical advice, and it turns out that other folk in Springfield, Illinois have been hit with this stomach flu too.

So folks make sure to keep your stress levels down, get plenty of sleep, and wash your hands before putting them in contact with your mouth or anything that is heading that direction.

It might be an airborne pathogen so I'd suggest some other measures as well - but it involves not kissing on the lips, turning your vents on to bring a greater level of fresh air into your house, and generally acting like a germ freak, which probably beats hanging out at the toilet with diarrhea, and vomiting a lot.

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