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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What's Your New U.S. Doctor's Reputation? │ FDA Admits Dentistry-Related Fluoride Is a Drug Requring Regulation │ Hot Weather Tips

Bedtime for me last evening was 11:50 p.m.

I arose around 4:11 a.m. to use the bathroom, and returned to bed until a time-check revealed it to be 7:35 a.m. and I opted to rise for the day.

It actually took me maybe four minutes to actually get up, for I began to feel as if I could manage to fall back into another snatch of sleep.

It was to be a perfectly sunny day.

As I described in yesterday's post, I was determined to do some local shopping this morning, so I suspended all consideration of any exercising, and I also ensured that I did not get overly involved in work on the new post I began on Saturday at my website Siam-Longings.

It was not yet 9:40 a.m. when I set off for the No Frills supermarket no more than about four blocks distant in the Cedar Hills shopping plaza at 96th Avenue & 128th Street here in Surrey.

For the second consecutive visit, they have not had the 3-kilogramme container of liquid honey I wanted to acquire.  Our home supply now is such that I cannot wait until my next visit to that store with the hope that the product will then be stocked ─ I will have to buy liquid honey in a lesser-sized container in a different supermarket if I manage to get out on Friday to shop as I am hoping I shall.

It has been a fine day here at home by myself.

My eldest step-son Tho left for work early this morning; and his younger brother Pote is still away in Kelowna, and not due back until tomorrow.

Peace and privacy have reigned.

I of course got in some sunning on the backyard sundeck ─ over 70 minutes of lying there listening to CHLG-FM.  The station proclaims that it plays the rock hits of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

I don't mind that fare on occasion.  However, our stereo is unable to tune it in for whatever reason, so we can only listen on the portable radio.

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I want now to post an old photo belonging to my younger brother Mark ─ I had to scan it from the photo album where it has been glued.

The description beneath it is from the Google album where I have the scan filed away:

The photo was probably taken in 1974 or 1975 in Saskatchewan at the family home of my younger brother Mark's girlfriend of the time, Catherine Jeanette Gunther.

I expect that the lady wearing glasses is Jeanette's mother Marjorie, and the man seated in the chair beside her (and also wearing glasses) is her father Herman.

The lad seated on the grass was Jeanette's younger brother Grant who was to tragically die at the age of 16 in 1979 ─ I had thought that it happened well before then.

I am unable to identify anyone else, although the little girl seated on Herman's knee might be Jeanette's youngest daughter Pamela Susan Gunther ─ if it's not the eldest daughter Michelle Lee Gunther (the photo is too indistinct for me to be certain).
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I think physicians here in Canada are in the main shielded insofar as concerns the public being privy to any disciplinary actions against them.

That's my impression, at any rate.

In the U.S., it is very similar ─ but the following report about the situation there is still unsettling:

We all trust our primary care docs with our lives -- and, in most cases, have known them for years.

But if you've recently relocated, received a new insurance plan, or have been referred to a specialist, you may be putting your health in the hands of someone you don't know very well.

You might have been told that they're very qualified... perhaps "the best" in their field. But how do you know for sure?

The answer is that you don't. And the medical profession makes it as hard as possible to find out if your new doctor has been disciplined or is currently on probation.

Consumer Reports has just released its "Safe Patient Project" report, and despite the roadblocks in learning the truth about a doctor's background, they've found some ways to go about it.

It could be one of the most important things you do before picking up the phone and making that first appointment.

"You can find out more about the safety record of your toaster" than your doctor.

That's what Robert Oshel, former associate director at the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), has to say about checking on a physician's background.

You probably would never even think about things like a doctor being put on probation, but they are. Actually thousands of practicing doctors are on probation all over the country! And most are still allowed to see patients who probably have no idea about what's going on.

One California OB-GYN, for example, has been put on a seven-year probation for (among other things) surgically removing the healthy ovary from a 37-year-old woman, and contributing to the deaths of two young mothers.

But he doesn't have to breathe a word about any of this to his patients if he doesn't want to.

And he's not alone. The California Medical Board currently has a 32-page list of other doctors in California also on probation.

And that's just one state!

Also, while many malpractice lawsuits are filed frivolously, Oshel discovered that half of all malpractice payouts are because of just under 2 percent of the doctors in the U.S.

"When doctors have multiple large settlement against them, it can be a warning sign," he says.

So, the question remains, how do you learn more about a doctor you're planning to see?

Consumer Reports found that there's no central database for us to look this information up. The NPDB keeps such records (including malpractice settlements) but that's only available to select groups -- such as insurance companies -- and not the patients who need it the most!

And while there are some popular Internet sites to look doctors up on, they typically rely on user reviews.

So instead of just Googling that new doc's name, here are some investigative techniques that Consumer Reports suggests:
  • Start by going to docinfo.org and put in the doctor's name. If anything comes up under the "actions" heading, click on that link and see what you can find out. If that doesn't work, call your state medical board.
  • Check out your state medical board online. Some are very helpful and easy to use, such as California's and New York's, and others not so much. To see how your state checks out, look here. And for links to the medical boards in all 50 states, go here.
  • Last, but certainly not least, first impressions count. If you're put off by that first appointment, it may be the best reason of all not to have a second one.

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I have never had to live where the drinking water was treated with fluoride, but over the years I have used an incredible amount of toothpastes and mouthwashes containing it.

America's FDA has finally come out with a small admission concerning the substance ─ too, too small, actually:

Someone may want to check the temperature in hell -- because I think it just froze over.

For years I've been warning you about the dangers of fluoride in our water.

And I told you how it's been linked to everything from brain problems to cancer.

Now, for the first time, the FDA has finally admitted that fluoride is a drug... that it comes with serious risks... and that it hasn't been recognized as safe.

The only problem? This long-overdue confession comes with one BIG catch.

Lots of us have been waiting a long, long time for the government to go after the thousands of cities and towns pumping fluoride into our water.

But the FDA ended up targeting the folks who make fluoride drops instead.

Believe it or not, the brain surgeons at the FDA just dashed off a statement claiming that swallowing fluoride drops for cavity protection makes it an "unapproved new drug" -- and one that should require a prescription.

Even worse, they claimed it was "not safe for use except under the supervision of a practitioner licensed to administer" it.

You've got to be kidding me!

Our government is actually admitting that taking a few drops of fluoride could be dangerous for your health -- but they're ok with you drinking fluoridated water by the gallon!

Honestly, I don't think the FDA could find logic in a dictionary.

But they were sure right about one thing (even if they didn't mean to be). The idea that fluoride is good for our health -- or even prevents cavities -- is a giant myth. And it's one that's been force-fed to us for decades.

Close to three-quarters of the people in the U.S. are served up fluoridated tap water. But as I've warned you over the years, fluoride side effects are so numerous, that if it were an Rx drug it would be covered in black box warnings.

I'm talking about known side effects such as hypothyroidism, reduced IQ in kids, diabetes, hip fractures and even cancer.

On top of that, much of the fluoride added to U.S. drinking water is imported from China because it's much cheaper. And that Chinese fluoride can contain some extras such as lead, arsenic and aluminum.

Some studies have even found uranium in it!

The bottom line is, we should be taking in as little fluoride as we possibly can. And that's especially true for kids and seniors.

If your town is one of the many across the U.S. that adds this "drug" to its water, you should invest in a filter that can remove it. Many, including all those "activated carbon" filters don't.

You might also consider adding a filter to your shower head as well. Some studies have found that fluoride can be absorbed through the skin.

Along with those precautions, stop using fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwashes. And never let your dentist sell you on a fluoride treatment.

The FDA may have just spilled the beans on what it really thinks about fluoride, but to stay safe and keep it out of our daily diet is going to be -- once again -- up to us.
Three days prior to the publication of that reference, mercola.com published a related comprehensive article on the topic:


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Next up is a report with advice on how to cope with potentially deadly hot weather:

It can happen to anyone, of any age -- but as we get older the risk rises along with the temperature.

I'm talking about getting sick from the heat. And that can range from cramps and exhaustion all the way to a deadly heat stroke.

That's why it's urgent as the summer temps soar to know the signs and what to do.

Because how fast you act can literally mean the difference between life and death.

The summer may be young, but we've already been hit with some killer heat waves.

For example, in Phoenix last week the mercury reached 118 degrees, killing four.

Certainly, if you're outdoors biking, walking or just gardening, you're at risk from the effects of heat. But even being indoors -- if it gets hot enough -- can kill. The textbook example is the European heat wave of 2003 that killed over 14,000 people -- and that was just in France.

And most of those deaths weren't weekend athletes, either, but older people who lived alone and didn't have air conditioning.

You see, as we age the body isn't able to regulate our temperature as well as it once did. So even if you were always the one who was able to do things in the heat, slowing down and taking notice of how you feel isn't being wimpy -- but wise!

With that in mind, here are the three main heat-related dangers you need to watch out for:

Danger #1: Heat cramps -- this is an early sign that it's time to rest, drink and cool down. Heat cramps typically can affect your calves, arms, abdomen and back. They can be more extended than leg cramps you might get during the night, and involve muscle jerking or spasms.

Danger #2: Heat exhaustion -- here is where ignoring how you feel can turn deadly. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, pale skin, rapid heartbeat and profuse sweating. It's urgent that you get out of the heat right away and into air conditioning or at the very least a shady area. Remove any excess clothing and apply some cold cloths to your body. The best bet is to take a cool shower as soon as you can.

One good way to nip heat exhaustion in the bud is to take a tip from firefighters and submerge your arms up to the elbows in cold water!

If these precautions aren't helping, don't wait too long to get medical help.

Danger #3: Heat stroke -- this is the Big Kahuna of hot weather dangers, so don't take it lightly. If you ignore the signs of heat exhaustion, this can be the result. Heat stroke means the body's core temperature has gone out of control -- and it can reach the deadly zone quickly.

Signs can include a throbbing headache, dizziness or feeling lightheaded, muscle weakness, cramping, rapid heartbeat and confusion or staggering. Move to the inside or shade and call 911. In the meantime (especially if you're a first responder) the goal is to cool down, with methods such as icepacks to the groin, neck, armpit and back area.

When out in the sun you should also:
  • Wear cool, light-colored clothing and a hat or use an umbrella.
  • Shun alcohol and caffeinated drinks and drink water instead.
  • Take regular breaks, even if you're just out in the garden or on a leisurely walk.
Remember, should your power go out during a heat wave, don't try to suffer through it at home. Call the local police and ask where the nearest cooling station is.

And don't forget our dogs are also vulnerable to heat-related dangers. That's especially true of pups with short snouts, such as pugs, as well as older pets.

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I wish to close off now with this entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

That precise day exactly 41 years ago was a Saturday, and I was about to leave on a hiking/camping trip that would span two nights above the snowline in the mountains out around Chilliwack/Hope

My companions were to be my younger brother Mark, his girlfriend Catherine Jeanette Gunther, a chap named Charlie Little, and Mark's adventurous German shepherd Daboda.

I honestly only ever thought that we spent one night, but in checking over the entry concerning the trip, it seems that there were two nights.

I crammed my report of that trip into one entry dated June 28th; but since it really related to three days beginning with that day, I am only going to present the details that related to each individual day as if they were written as individual entries.

So here is what I wrote for that first day:
SATURDAY, June 28, 1975

I began the day just before 5:30 a.m.

It looks like another of mixed weather; what a day to begin a wilderness week-end.  

I am still bloated from Bill's smorgasbord treat.

Anyway, I've mailed Ron's letter.  From here on will be recordings of my activities in the mountains.

The two cars came.  Mark came and aided carrying my stuff to Charlie's car; Charlie had barely slept, drinking with Nell's bunch, including Randy.

We started out in rain, each car carrying 6 beers to drink along the way.

Our big stop was in Chilliwack for a couple items, including shells for the 30/30 Charlie had been talked into taking by Nell & Earl, but we weren't immobile long.

Nearing our turn-off, we had, if we cared to, opportunity to take a roadside quail or grouse.

Anyway, we drove as far as able, to the start of the trail.

A family of 4 succeeded our arrival, but started off ahead.  

Then we got going; the grade proved very fatiguing.  Charlie had the worst time, even throwing up; we later learned the poor guy's load was the heaviest.

Eventually I and Daboda took the lead.

At the halfway creek, the family decided to camp.  We continued, learning this stretch to be worse.

We were all damp from continuing showers.

Cathy and Charlie began to despair somewhat, especially when the snow patches grew larger.

The trail grew less distinct from disuse, and dangerous from dangerous pathways ─ such as along wet legs.  

But we finally surmounted the peak, following footprints in the snow to the lake which proved to be mainly frozen over.

We built a fire, and set camp.

That night was a cold one for me as Charlie and I slept under his plastic near the fire....
And from there, the narrative blends into morning details, so I shall leave further posting about it until tomorrow.

My old friend William Alan Gill had treated me early the previous evening to a feed at the Family Smorgasbord (if I am remembering the right one) located in a shopping plaza at Eighth Avenue & McBride Boulevard in New Westminster.

Often at smorgasbords, I would fill up my plate three times, and eat all but the bones.

So I had eaten myself into incapacity, yet Bill insisted afterwards that we go and visit Mark and Jeanette where they were renting a home together on Bentley Road in Whalley.  The house was in behind an elementary school that now no longer exists, but very near to 108th Avenue & King George Highway.

It was all I could do to get two beers down that evening ─ I was so ridiculously full.

Charlie Little showed up, and announced that he had been unable to get access to four life-rafts that he had thought he would be able to procure for the trip ─ a good thing on two counts, too.  They would have been added burden that we definitely did not need; and the lake was mostly frozen over, making the rafts basically useless.

It had been a late evening, and it was 12:50 a.m. by the time I got to bed after Bill drove me back to my room.

Poor Charlie, though!  He was staying with my maternal Aunt Nell Halverson and her household of partiers.  And since it was a Friday night, they no doubt would not let Charlie alone to sleep, so he had to sit up drinking with them until who-knows-when.

I mentioned that Randy Halverson ─ Nell's oldest son ─ was with the gang because he and his wife Sandy were renting their own home elsewhere.

Anyway, Saturday morning arrived, and I managed to get out to mail a letter to Ron Bain ─ an American pen-pal I had ─ before the two cars showed up to take me off on the mountain experience.

That's interesting that each car had a half-dozen beers for its two occupants to enjoy on the drive.  We'd never risk such a thing today.

We also had four bottles of liquor to enjoy in the mountains.

I don't remember Charlie bringing along a .30-30.  It must have belonged to Nell and her common-law husband Earl Primrose ─ it was very kind of them to insist Charlie bring it.  I expect they were concerned we'd all otherwise be victimized by bears and cougars.

It's going to be rather interesting for me to read tomorrow of just how we spent the next day if we couldn't actually use the darned lake we had come to probably fish in!  What else did we find to do, then?

I don't read ahead in my journal ─ I appreciate surprising myself after all of these years.      
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