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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

You Do Not Live in the Now │ Natural Remedies Against Alzheimer's Disease │ Dogs and Their Owners Can Be Mutually Beneficial in Coping with Stress

If I am recalling correctly, my wife Jack arrived home from Vancouver fairly late in the afternoon yesterday. She had come to spend the night, so she was soon involved in cooking.

Had she not been home, I would have gotten to bed around 10:30 p.m., for I had an 8:15 a.m. medical appointment to have the infection cavity in my left cheek cleaned and re-dressed. I am recovering from a parotid duct obstruction that swiftly became infected early this month. The abscess and associated swelling ballooned out to roughly resemble the appearance of a large orange embedded within my cheek.

That all started around February 1st, and I am still on antibiotics and having the infection cavity tended on pretty much a daily basis. Since first seeking medical attention on February 10, this past Friday has been the only day thus far that I have not had to keep at least one medical appointment.

With Jack home, bedtime is just about always delayed. I finally had to take the initiative and let her know of the appointment, and excuse myself to bed. I believe that it may have been 11:24 p.m. by the time I was settled in, with my cellphone's alarm set for 6:00 a.m.

I reckon I slept reasonably well; and when the alarm sounded, I stopped it after the second sounding. Although I cannot be certain, I think that I may have managed to rise and sneak myself and my clothes out of the bedroom without disturbing Jack. She is a very problematic sleeper. I wanted her to get all the sleep she could, and not be bothered thinking that she needed to be driving me to Home Health, almost two miles distant ─ they are located on the 13th Floor of a high-rise building attached to the Gateway SkyTrain Station here in Whalley.

Unfortunately, I had failed to have the foresight last night to get everything from the bedroom that I would require for that trek ─ I was missing a belt for my pants, and socks. I was compelled to resort to what I could find in my working younger brother Mark's bedroom, for I did not want to risk waking Jack by returning to our bedroom. I had seen that she had already spent some sleepless time during the night sitting here at my computer, for the browser tab I had left open last night was gone and another was in its place.

When I first came downstairs after getting up, both of my step-sons were readying to head away to work. Youngest step-son Poté is currently into his second week of some kind of management training downtown in Vancouver, He has to go to Robson Street, not too far from Burrard street.

His older brother Tho works somewhere in Burnaby. However, Tho is serving a driving suspension, so I do not know if Poté drives Tho all the way to work, or if he just takes him to a SkyTrain station.

Once the pair of them were away, I was free to do a little freshening up in the bathroom. I wanted to be all set to head off on my hike around 7:45 a.m.

When the time arrived, I was just about to open the front door to leave, when I heard Jack's voice saying something from upstairs ─ she had emerged from the bedroom. I went to the foot of the stairs and looked up to where she was standing, just about to enter the bathroom. She had asked what time my appointment was.

When I announced that it was at 8:15 a.m., she sleepily declared that she would drive me. I had to assure her that I was prepared for the walk, and had already done it on both Saturday and Sunday. She initially resisted my declination, but finally she accepted that I was serious about wanting her to get more sleep, and not be concerned about driving me anywhere.

Besides, it was too early at that point to be driven ─ I would have arrived much too soon.

So I exited the house, locked the front door, and set off.

It was supposedly around -1º Celsius, and I quickly discovered some so-called black ice on the driveway. And soon, I noticed minute flakes of occasional snow.

I made my appointment on time, but I was not to be ministered to by nurse Jodie (or however her name is spelled) as I was the two previous visits to this facility. Instead, I was summoned in by Grace, a somewhat matronly nurse who may have had an East European background.

What needs to be done with me is simple enough ─ the saline ribbon dressing stuffed into the infection cavity gets extracted, the cavity gets irrigated, and then a new saline dressing is inserted into the cavity.

And the whole are then covered over with an absorbent pad that is taped onto my cheek, for the end of the ribbon dressing wicks forth what must be lymphatic fluid that tends to eventually soak the pad ─ I have some spares here at home to use when replacement is required. It is undesirable to leave the skin around the wound constantly wet because maceration ─ the softening and turning white of the skin due to being consistently wet ─ is not at all conducive to healing.

Grace also said that I must not be withholding from occasionally removing the bandaging and washing the area ─ I have not washed it in several weeks, and have merely relied upon the surface cleansing that the area received whenever the wound was being tended by someone.

So now I know that I can do this. Grace even suggested running a razor blade over the cheek area surrounding the wound, clean-shaving it and also removing any dead skin and other debris that may have accumulated.

I was given a print-out of my next scheduled appointments, and my eyes ventured no farther than tomorrow's ─ it is at 3:30 p.m. I detest going anywhere that late in the day ─ it effectively screws up the whole of it.

Hell, I would rather have a 7:00 a.m. appointment!

I have said it before ─ this betrayal of my body sometimes brings me to frustration. I want to be done with it all, and start having back all of what little life I did have prior to this disruption of my parotid gland's functioning.

Anyway, as I headed on back for home, the snow was doing its best to become serious ─ the flakes were very large. However, they were not thick enough, and failed to cover the ground before they finally gave way to the lesser flakes.

I was actually back home by about 9:00 a.m., and pleased to see that Jack had indeed returned to bed ─ I had not undertaken the walk for naught. She did not in fact rise for the day until just about 11:00 a.m., and I was able in the meanwhile to get a decent start upon the edit of an old post at my website Siam-Longings.

Often the girl runs an errand or two when she is home like this, but she never went anywhere today. She did a major job of cleaning out the fridge interior, and got around to doing some more cooking.

Had she not been home, I would have napped. I grew quite tired once I had eaten around 11:30 a.m., and never managed to pull from that underslept state.

Jack was finally to leave me right around 1:30 p.m., returning to Vancouver with the farewell that she would see me again next week. I'm not certain if she intends to be that much of a stranger or not.

After she was gone, I had to seek some time back in bed. But within an hour, just as I was into some needed sleep, my cellphone rang. It was Home Health, confirming that I had the 3:30 p.m. appointment tomorrow.

And that was that. My nap was killed.

Just how stupid am I perceived to be that I would not realize the time of my next appointment when it is the very next day?

But getting back to the weather, the snow has become an impossibility. Supposedly, tonight's temperatures may not sink any lower than 5º Celsius, and we are in for several rainy days with this sort of mild weather. Perhaps we have seen the very last of any further snow this Winter.

Let's look at something far warmer ─ three photos that my wife Jack took last Fall when she charged the airfare so that she could return to Thailand to visit her mother after more than 3½ years since last seeing her.

The family home is in the large village of Nong Soong, which is roughly a 15-minute drive from Udon Thani.

I think Jack and some family and friends may have gotten together for a special meal at a venue attached to a large pond that clearly has fish ─ as can be seen in these photos that may have been taken on November 5 (2016), fishing seems to be actively engaged in:




I have little doubt that one must pay a fee to fish there. Maybe whoever manages the large pond is involved in an outdoor restaurant, and staff actually catch the fish that customers or diners are going to be enjoying as part of their great meal.   

But I was not there ─ I am merely speculating.

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I do not meditate, but I would love to have the sort of leisurely debt-free life that would allow me to practice it assiduously.

Just recently I read a rather interesting short article about meditation ─ I don't want to reveal just what it delved into, but you may be able to get some idea from the article's title:

LifeSpa.com

Were you even aware that you were not living in the precise or exact now?

I gave one shot at trying out the "One Minute Meditation" described in the article, but I got absolutely nothing of value from it. The first part of that bit of meditation required the participant to take 30 "bellow-like breaths" ─ in and out ─ though the nostrils.

Well, I don't know what that author's idea of a bellows is, but I was dizzy after about 10 of my bellow-like breathings, and I then had to slow them down so much that performing all 30 probably took me the full minute, if not longer.

Then when I had my eyes closed after that ─ supposedly for 30 seconds ─ I was so focused on keeping track of those 30 darned seconds that counting occupied all of my attention.

How can anyone lose their conscious awareness in an exercise like this? I would have needed to pass out during the bellow-like breathing phase.

I was not impressed.

Other than that, the concept that each of us are never aware of the true present is an intriguing one.

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I suppose that there are people who perk up anytime mention is made of research into a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately for them, however, the latest news involving efforts by the Pharmaceutical Industry to discover a cure is only bad news:

Medscape.com

Reuters.com

FierceBiotech.com

HSIonline.com

If the topic concerns you at all, then definitely have a look at that last report ─ it mentions quite a number of natural therapies that have been demonstrated by other researchers to be effective in dealing with this heart-breaking disease.

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Dog-lovers ought to find this of interest ─ this quote is from NewMarketHealth.com:
If you've ever had a dog by your side, putting its furry head on your knee when you're feeling down -- or wagging along with your good fortune -- this study is for you!

A team of Austrian researchers that studied the relationship between a hundred dogs and their owners has found that we can mirror each other's emotions -- particularly when it comes to coping with stress.

After measuring heart rates and levels of cortisol (considered a biological marker for stress) in both humans and pooches after responding to a perceived threat, the research team concluded that your stress can be easily passed on to your pooch -- something that goes far beyond a psychological state and can manifest in real, quantifiably physiological ways.

The good news is that if your dog is happy-go-lucky, your perky pup can also help you become more relaxed and cheerful in turn.

I know, that's a lot of studying to find out something most pet owners already knew!

But that's not all, because other research into the benefits of canine companionship has found that owning a dog can cause some measurable physical changes in your body as well, such as:
  • raising serotonin and dopamine, which can help with relaxation, as well as oxytocin, the "love" hormone,
  • lowering triglycerides and cholesterol, and,
  • helping to lower your blood pressure.
So, if you don't have a dog in your life now, maybe it's time to visit your local shelter and think about adopting one.

Saving a life that can help yours as well is certainly the ultimate win-win situation!
I searched around and found a couple of other reports about that first-mentioned study involving cortisol:

BBC.com

ACSH.org

That second report links to the actual published study in an 18-page .pdf format, but it won't be the easiest read for a layman.

I found another recent Austrian study that was a little easier to handle that is very much related ─ it is a 17-page .pdf document: Current Perspectives on Therapy Dog Welfare in Animal-Assisted Interventions.

Sometimes information like this makes me feel that I am missing out by not having a dog in my life.

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We began getting some on-and-off rain fairly late in the afternoon.

That walk of mine this morning is going to be my exercise for the day. With Jack home for as long as she was, I did not have the opportunity to undertake anything else. And by the time she left to return to Vancouver, I was just too weary. I only wanted that nap.

Tomorrow is another day, though. I will make amends.
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