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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Is It Alzheimer's...or Lyme Disease? │ Be Wary of Mechanically Tenderized Meats │ Mental Health Awareness Groups ─ Fronts for the Pharmaceutical Industry?

My wife Jack did come home from Vancouver last evening to spend the night.

I had rather hoped that it was to be just one of her relatively brief visits, for I had wanted to make a government liquor store hike today.

I never joined her in bed until at least 1:00 a.m.  Unfortunately, I was to find that she had been thinking about the house, and how we might best retain it if my younger brother Mark persists in wanting to sell it after he has retired next Summer.

It is as if Jack is unable to retain the realization that I am now a retired pensioner with no realistic prospects of coming into any money; and with the house already mortgaged for the third time and a large line-of-credit built into the last remortgage, I no longer have any collateral or equity with which to obtain a big loan in order to buy Mark out.

As I observed here yesterday, I cannot afford the present monthly $1,600 mortgage along with the annual fees for utilities, home insurance, and property tax.

I sent out an E-mail yesterday to the chap who helped me redeem $5,000 from my shrinking RRSP in January of 2015 ─ I asked if he could help me redeem $3,000.

But he is no longer involved in the station he had last year when he was able to assist me.

All he could offer was that I either had to phone the investment team, or he could reach out to someone and have that person contact me.

I am not interested in having anyone phone me, so it appears that I will have to call blindly and see who takes the call.

At any rate, last night I had to distance myself from Jack's desperate projections, and try to bring a halt to the conversation.

I got the impression that she does not seem interested in having Mark continue to live here with us, but that is the only option in which we could keep the house ─ he would need to be tempted to stay here.

He wants to sell because he knows that once he is retired, he can no longer pay half of those various annual fees.

So what I think Jack needs to do is feel out her two sons.

If they are not interested in losing the house, then they are each going to have to assume a 25% share of the house-related expenses that have been split between Mark, and Jack and I.

If her sons balk at any such involvement beginning next Summer, then there is no sense retaining the house.

It is either they commit to help to the tune of 25% apiece, or we sell and Mark gets all of the proceeds remaining from a sale once the bank has been paid off.

Thanks to the two remortgages that I weakly allowed Jack to push me into, she has squandered the lines-of-credit on her two bids at Thai 'restaurateurship.'

Mark had nothing to do with those remortgages, and isn't privy to their details ─ the house is in my name alone, even though he is the majority owner in the partnership between he and I because he originally put forth a very large down-payment when we signed the ownership contract before I had ever met Jack.

So as far as I am concerned, Jack has already spent our share of a house sale ─ unless it was a ludicrously large sale amount.

Once the bank is paid off, Mark would receive whatever remains; and Jack, I, and her two sons leave here with nothing to show for it.

This is something her sons need to know.

We either make it financially attractive for Mark to remain living here; or everybody gets to move once the house is sold.

Anyway, when the conversation ended, I was so overwrought and distressed, I had a bad time of it falling asleep.

It might have been 2:00 a.m. or later before I did.

And then at around 4:45 a.m. or so, I found myself awake again.  Along with the wakefulness, came embroiling financial and relationship worrying.

It is always bad in the depth of the night ─ a person feels the most helpless then.

It may have been after 7:00 a.m. before a little more sleep at last did arrive; but the wait until then was agonizingly uncomfortable as I lay there in bed.

I have no idea how Jack was faring ─ probably not well, either.

I checked the time some while after 8:00 a.m. and considered rising, but held off and again slipped back into a little further sleep.

It was after 9:00 a.m. that I decided to rise for the day.

I think Jack managed to remain in bed until possibly 10:30 a.m.

Curiously enough, I found her to be in an unexpectedly good mood.

And whatever the reason, there was no further discussion about the house, either.

She had some errands to run, so she drove off for a couple of hours after having me take some photos of her out in the backyard ─ she had found a dress someone had given her when she first came to Canada in 2006, but which she had buried away in a drawer and forgotten about.

So she wanted me to photograph her by using her phone's camera, and then she left on her errands still wearing the dress.

The day has been almost exclusively overcast ─ it would have been a good one for that liquor store hike.

Jack did come back home; but before too long, she went out again ─ this time in the company of her youngest son, 18-year-old Pote.

It is 2:43 p.m. as I type these words, and the twain have yet to return. 


I have a photo I wish to post.  The description beneath it is from the Google album where the photo is presently housed.

I can only guess that this photo might have been taken during the decade of the 1980s.

The reverse of the photo has this written:

"Vi Alex and me"

I vaguely recall that my mother Irene Dorosh ─ the woman at the right ─ had a friend named "Vi," but I don't have a certain memory of "Alex." 
My mother's husband's name was Alex, but that is not he, of course.

That's quite the bonnet of hair that Vi is sporting, isn't it?


Kris Kristofferson is 80 years old?  I didn't realize that.

Nor did I hear before today that he thought that he was sinking into dementia ─ he was even taking medication for it:

Musician and actor Kris Kristofferson thought life as he knew it was over.

For years doctors had told him he had Alzheimer's disease. He had a medicine cabinet full of drugs and even started writing a song about losing his memory.

Then, one of his doctors decided to test Kristofferson for Lyme disease.

Not only did he test positive, but after completing a three-week antibiotic regime, "all of a sudden he was back," said his wife, Lisa.

Kristofferson was one of the lucky ones. He trashed his Alzheimer's meds and has continued to improve.

But there are countless seniors with Lyme disease who have never been properly diagnosed -- and many are losing their memories as a result.

And if you or someone you love is suffering from memory loss, this may be the most important health alert you've read in a while.

There's certainly no shortage of reports about how America is planning on fighting the war against Zika.

But it looks like a far bigger threat to our health -- not to mention our memory -- can be found right in our own back yards. And it's all from a tick bite that can transmit a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi.

And Lyme disease, which has been called "the great pretender," can masquerade as lots of other conditions.

It's said to mimic diseases such as MS, ALS, lupus, fibromyalgia, and, you guessed it, dementia. That means lots of people are either never properly treated for Lyme, or they get round after round of dangerous drugs for conditions they don't have.

And these meds "all have side effects," said Lisa Kristofferson.

When it comes to Lyme disease, the symptoms aren't always obvious, and don't think that "bullseye" rash is a given, either. Another problem is getting a false negative on a Lyme test. That's something so common that even the CDC says patients should be treated based on "objective signs and known exposure."

In other words, don't rely on a negative Lyme test to think you're in the clear. Experts say that blood tests should be used for "supporting evidence" only.

That's why the Lyme Research Alliance recommends that you keep a log book of your symptoms. Common ones include fatigue and joint pain, but the disease can literally hit any part of your body, including your brain.

When it comes to getting tested, here are some other tips the Alliance suggests:
  • Ask for both the ELISA and Western Blot tests. The group feels so strongly about this they say that if your insurance will only pay for one, you should consider paying out of pocket for the other.
  • You can also ask your doctor about sending the blood tests to more than one laboratory. Apparently results can vary widely from lab to lab.
  • Also ask to be tested for co-infections. These are tick-borne illnesses such as Babesia, Ehrlichia, Bartonella and Mycoplasma.
Of course, the best way to "treat" Lyme disease is to not be exposed in the first place. That's something that's not always easy, as nymph deer ticks are only as big as a poppy seed. However, there are still some good precautions you can take:
  1. If you've been in a wooded area, walking in tall grass or even just mowing the lawn, always change your clothing and check yourself for ticks afterwards.
  2. If you'll be spending time outdoors, instead of spraying your skin with toxic pesticides, spray your shoes and socks with a repellent containing 30 percent DEET.
  3. Get any ticks off of you ASAP. The longer they stay attached, the greater the chance of transmitting the Lyme bacteria to you. And never squeeze a tick or use chemicals to get it off. Lift the body up and pull it out with your fingers, a tweezer or tick removal device.
To be honest, I cannot imagine living in tick country ─ I would be too worried to walk in the woods, or to even own a dog or cat.


The state of our commercial meat has become more than a shame ─ it should be criminal.

Margaret Lamkin will never forget the day she ordered a medium rare steak at an Applebee's restaurant.

The 87-year-old Iowa woman was struck down a week later with acute diarrhea that wouldn't let up. But what happened next will be with her for the rest of her life.

The steak she ate was contaminated with E. coli 0157, something that destroyed her colon resulting in surgery and a colostomy bag.

It would be sad enough if that was a fluke or just bad luck.

But the kind of meat that Margaret ate -- called mechanically tenderized
-- is sold in stores and served in restaurants all over the country.

And it can make you just as sick as Margaret. It can even kill you.

But now there's a quick check that will let you know if meat has gone through this potentially contaminating process.

It will only take a second, but it could save your life, or that of someone you love.

The meat industry had hoped that mechanically tenderized beef would stay a deep, dark secret. Meat doesn't look any different, so unless you worked in the industry, there would be no way to know.

But too many people started getting sick to keep it hidden any longer. The CDC reports that there have been six major outbreaks because of this kind of beef, but a consumer interest group says that it's more like 100.

And experts say that for every "lab confirmed" case of E. coli, there are 26 more that aren't identified.

Mechanically tenderized beef undergoes a process that punctures raw meat with blades or needles to make it tenderer and to seem like a premium cut. But that can also take pathogens, like E.coli and push them deep into beef -- a location that typically doesn't harbor bacteria.

And unless you cook the heck out of that piece of meat, that bacteria will say alive and very capable of making you very sick.

Those needles can also pump into meat what's called "digestive juices," or what the industry would prefer you refer to as a marinade. That can make the cuts even more dangerous and prone to contamination.

Now, you wouldn't think that putting two little words (in small print, no less) identifying what meat has been processed this way on packaging would be such a big deal.

The beef industry, however, has been fighting it tooth and nail. It's taken years to even decide what those words would be!

And you'll only get that two-word warning when you're buying meat in the supermarket. Restaurants aren't required to say a word about it.

But despite all the protests, the USDA went ahead and finally ruled that mechanically tenderized meat must be labeled. And not only that, but it moved up the deadline a full two years from 2018 to right now.

Will wonders never cease?

Costco, however, started voluntarily labeling its meat four years ago after a big E.coli outbreak. So obviously it could have been done nationwide a whole lot sooner.

Look, it's not what I would call the best warning in the world, but it will at least tip us off about what to avoid.

So here's what to watch out for on a raw meat label:
  • Mechanically tenderized,
  • Needle tenderized, or
  • Blade tenderized
The USDA also recommends that after cooking meat to the "proper" internal temperature (also listed on the label), you let it "rest" for at least three minutes to make sure any leftover pathogens are killed.

And when eating out, it's a crapshoot. So if you're going to order meat in a restaurant, the safest thing to do is to make sure that it's thoroughly cooked. Which means that rare or even medium rare meat dishes should be a thing of the past!


I wonder if there are any mental health awareness groups that are utterly independent of the pharmaceutical industry?

Maybe not....

For years Big Pharma has been pushing to get as many Americans as possible on antidepressants and other brain meds.

But this might be their most devious trick yet.

There's a major "public health" campaign underway to get more people talking to their doctors about mental health issues.

But the entire effort is being secretly funded with millions of drug company dollars you were never supposed to know about.

And what this campaign is really trying to accomplish could put you and the people you love right in harm's way.

With May being Mental Health Awareness month, you may have seen stories or events that used the slogan "Stop the stigma of mental illness."

And I fully agree.

The only problem is that campaign wasn't formed to really help people. It's all about selling drugs, lobbying for laws that will sell more drugs and getting pharma's foot even further inside the FDA's door.

The Stop the Stigma campaign originated from an organization called the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

And if you go to the NAMI website, it says that the group is now the country's "largest grassroots mental health organization." One that started with concerned families meeting around a kitchen table!

You can't get much more grassroots than that, right?

But it turns out that NAMI has been seeing more green from Big Pharma money than from grass.

It's been funded to the tune of over $41 million drug-industry dollars. Top donor Eli Lilly forked over close to $3 million, most of which was to run the marketing campaign to "end discrimination" against those with mental illness.

Translation: Get the insurance industry to lower the bar in labeling someone as having a mental illness to keep those prescriptions rolling for even more patients.

Then there's the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. This pharma-subsidized group (Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly are major players) calls one of its "achievements" getting "anxiety disorders" into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a genuine mental illness.

And you know what happens in this country when an illness is made official...

In the next five years almost $900 million was plunked down on sedative-hypnotic drugs for anxiety. Nine years later, sales were off the charts for these meds at $1.2 billion.

And there are scores of other pharma front groups, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Children and Adults with ADD, and Mental Health America, to name a few.

In fact, all those "grassroots" started growing over 30 years ago as a way for doctors and researchers in the National Institute of Mental Health to have a more effective way to lobby Congress and get more funding.

But over the years these organizations have branched out to do even more things to help the drug industry, such as:
  • Fighting a federal law that prohibits schools from forcing parents to drug their kids with ADHD meds in order to attend class.
  • Opposing the FDA's black-box warnings about the suicide risk of antidepressants for children and teens.
  • Opposing warnings on ADHD drugs about how they can damage the heart and cause strokes.
  • Supporting mental health screenings for all school kids. That's something that would immediately translate into billions in drug sales.
And a lot of what we know about these groups comes from U.S. Senate investigations into how these organizations operate. That's where we learned that in just a two-year period, Big Pharma gave NAMI $23 million.

And to think they're also asking us to open up our wallets for them, too!

Certainly, we need to stop the stigma of mental illness.

But we also need to stop Big Pharma from being able spend millions to support its agenda from behind a closed curtain.
Here is a related report about this insidious pharmaceutical industry infection that has spread  throughout the fabric of society:

I came across a study concerning much the same thing that was published back in 2001 and titled Pharmaceutical Industry Agenda Setting in Mental Health Policies ─ the paper can be found both here and here.


My wife Jack and 18-year-old Pote arrived back home with some fanfare ─ Jack exuberantly proclaiming that the lad had at last passed his driver's test.

He's had at least one previous failure.

She also quoted the figure $75 ─ I hope he paid!

She was still in a very good mood.  I sure never expected it after the exasperation of our conversation in bed concerning retention of the house.

It was 3:38 p.m. when she at last drove off to  make her return to Vancouver.

It has come time now for me to close with an entry from my journal of 41 years ago when I was 25 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster
MONDAY, June 9, 1975

A sunny day.

Mom & Alex had been at a picnic yesterday, so she didn't know we won $100; she went out and bought a Province after I told her.

In the mail I had an Armstrong letter, and an ad for a book on some purported arthritis cure, and my third Western Lottery ticket.

I had a disappointingly starchy lunch; I got mom to agree to cooking a chicken pie Wednesday if I bring the fowl.

Mark apparently wants me to leave dad's address on my door so he can pick it up after work tonight; it's to do with his air control requirements.

Mom got me to go thirds (with Alex) on another Olympic Lottery draw ticket for September; I bought and mailed for it on my way home.

Going to mom's earlier, I encountered a fabulous mini-skirted female just past Townline; I really felt deprived.  I wish my state was different.

My weight is still below 190.

Bed by 8:30 p.m.
At least twice a week, I tried to hike out and visit my mother Irene Dorosh off in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey.

That little house no longer exists, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue.  From where I lived  in New Westminster at Ninth Street & Third Avenue, the hike would take about 1½ hours at a fast walk.

My mother's home was my mailing address, so I had to keep abreast.  But also, I would go for the food!

She and I had split on the price of an Olympic Lottery ticket that had just the day previously won us $100 ─ I had watched the draw on T.V.  I tried to phone my mother to tell her, but there was no answer.

Evidently the results were published in The Province newspaper, so she rushed off to buy one to confirm our win. 

The "Armstrong letter" I had in the mail was from the Worldwide Church of God.

From the perspective of this late date, I now do not understand why my younger brother Mark wanted to visit our father Hector concerning Mark's "air control requirements."  Mark didn't know where our father was living because our father had moved not 10 days earlier.

The gal in the miniskirt I had seen on my way to my mother's home  must have stirred and unsettled me, making me feel so very fringe and unworthy.  I must have seen her when I was walking along Scott Road, just past 96th Avenue (Townline Road).

My weight had been into the 190s (pounds) for quite awhile, but I now don't recall this.  For most of my adult like, I weighed in the low 180s.

If I found myself living alone again, I would return to an early bedtime...I think.  

The only reason I might not hold to such a schedule would be if I had more disposable income remaining from my pension than I do now, and I had taken to drinking at bars or with people I was coming to form friendships with.

I have no friends near ─ not anymore.  I have not had a drink with anyone but my brother Mark since we had a couple of guests here overnight for Christmas.

Prior to that, it was in June of last year when Mark and I overnighted at a cousin's property during a big party she and her husband hosted off towards Chilliwack

But I am rambling now ─ time to call it a post and publish it.
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