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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Parotid Duct Obstruction Treatment: Day Thirteen │ Mouth Bacteria and Infective Endocarditis │ Importance of a Family Doctor │ How IV Vitamin C Kills Some Cancers

On Monday when my wife Jack was last here from Vancouver, she had said that she might be back the following evening because she wanted to go and visit the Thai Buddhist temple (Wat Budhapanyanantarama) in Burnaby on Wednesday (today).

It would all depend on how tired she was.

Well, last evening I was geared up to get to bed well ahead of 11:00 p.m. Jack was not yet here, and it seemed like I was the only person in the house still up. So I went downstairs and locked the front door, and had no sooner come upstairs here to my computer to shut it down when I heard her unlocking the front door and coming in.

There went my plan to get to bed early.

I finally did get to bed when she was using the bathroom, but it may have been something like 11:39 p.m. by then. I donned earplugs, blindfold, and knotted the fleece-like hood over my head to hold in place my left cheek's wound dressing, and to also soak up the clear fluid that keeps dripping from the ribbon dressing stuffed into the infection cavity.

The condensed explanation of what I am speaking of is that since around February 1st, the duct of my parotid gland near my left ear had somehow become blocked, and the resulting swelling soon became infected and had grown to resemble a very large orange embedded in my cheek by the time I sought medical attention on February 10.

The abscess did finally break open at the surface the night of February 15/16 while I was in bed, but I am still getting antibiotic IV drips ever since that first day of medical attention.

I had a session scheduled this morning for 10:00 a.m. at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, so I had wanted to try for as much sleep as possible last night.

However, with Jack home and roaming about the house, it took me awhile to disassociate myself from her presence and finally drop off into sleep. I tend to use the toilet to pee few times a night, probably due to the body's need to keep flushing out the antibiotic and whatever systemic casualties there are from this war against the invading bacteria. That first visit was to be around 1:30 a.m., so obviously my first stretch of sleep was not very extensive.

I managed to get up this morning nicely ahead of 8:00 a.m. I may even have successfully avoided disturbing Jack. She knew of my appointment and would drive me, but I thought that if she was still asleep at 9:00 a.m., I would quietly leave and walk to Jim Pattison ─ it is located a little over a mile from where we live.

Nevertheless, that was not to be. Jack got up about 20 minutes or a half-hour after I did.

I got around to asking her if there was something special happening at the temple that was drawing her desire to attend, and she said that there was not ─ she just wanted to go because it was her birthday.

And then I realized that with all of my suffering this month, I had utterly forgotten that her birthday was nigh ─ today. This has not happened to me before.

Regardless, I do not drive, so I have been unable to do aught but get myself back and forth to medical appointments everyday since the 10th. Besides, I have yet no desire to be getting any more public that is required to walk to or back home from one of those appointments ─ at the age of 67, I feel almost sinister walking about with a hood to hide my bandaged left cheek.

But there would be considerably more attention with the bandaging on display.

So I just go back and forth to my various appointments ─ the only store in between in a 7-Eleven, and that is not somewhere that I would go for a birthday card.

Anyway, Jack got me to my appointment just after 9:40 p.m., but I didn't have to wait unduly before I was called in. Meantime, I think she came back home ─ she was not yet ready to go to the temple.

Once the ertapenem IV drip was over with ─ and this time the procedure was unusually quick ─ I had an 11:15 a.m. appointment to keep with my ENT specialist, Dr. Mark Miller. His office is on King George Boulevard, and roughly halfway home from Jim Pattison.

It was not yet quite 10:30 a.m. when I was back outside of Jim Pattison, so I walked the half-mile or so to Dr. Miller's office as slowly as I could; and then I loitered around outside for a bit.

It was actually rather chilly. When I had taken our garbage bin in from the roadside this morning, the handle was caked with ice.

I probably entered Dr. Miller's waiting room around 10:50 a.m., so technically my appointment was nearly a half-hour away.

But that was not how it panned out. Instead, I was called in early, and he only briefly looked at the wound. He wants me to see him one more time on Monday.

And I was actually on my way home before the scheduled time of today's appointment! You can't beat that.

No one was home when I got back.

I had myself a good first meal of the day comprised of fare my wife Jack had prepared on Monday, and then I was unable to resist having a nice nap.

I was soon to realize that a message had been left on the house phone's answering machine. It was from Irene, the nurse who had tended me today at Jim Pattison. I have my next and hopefully last antibiotic IV drip there tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., but she said that I am supposed to also have a 'blood work-up' first.

I guess they forgot to get me to have that done today, so she said to come in ahead of time to get that done. I had the experience once before ─ it is done in another section. And although all they will need to do is draw some blood ─ a process that takes a total of about two minutes once I was actually seen by someone ─ the wait to be seen was around 40 minutes!

Consequently, I will try and get there very soon after noon tomorrow.

It was almost 3:00 p.m.when Jack returned home. In response to my question, she had enjoyed herself at the temple. As she usually does, she had taken some food; she must have prepared this morning after taking me to Jim Pattison.

She did some further cooking to leave for us, and then she lied down on the chesterfield in the living room to try and rest. Not five minutes later, her youngest son Poté was home from work, and her rest was over.

They had some conversation in Thai. And then just after 4:45 p.m., she had left us to return to Vancouver. I don't know if Poté thought to get her a card at least, but maybe they'll do something together tomorrow ─ she said that she plans to see him where he is getting some on-the-job training downtown.

I sure wish she and I had a better life and marriage than we do. I miss the cheery, funny, and playful woman that I know she can be. But we've just got too many stresses in our lives, with debt being at the root of most of it.

I took no photos today, but Google continues to be active with an album of photos from 2013 containing photos from when Jack had gone home to her family home in Nong Soong ─ approximately a 15-minute drive from Udon Thani ─ to visit her mother and other family members and friends.

Google created this collage to commemorate this day in 2013, but the photos were likely taken on February 23, 2013, for I am confident that Jack's camera's date settings were unchanged for the trip ─ and Thailand is presently 15 hours ahead of us here in our part of Canada:

I will now post the original photos, starting with the column of three at the left. Whenever the timing of the actual photos, there was some sort of celebration taking place. In this first photo, from the left we have Daisha, one of Jack's oldest friends; then Jack herself; and then we have Jack's oldest sister Lumpoon and her husband:

I only learned today that Lumpoon is about 10 years older than Jack.

The young man in this next photo is Mark, Jack's nephew ─ Mark is the son of Jack's only living brother, Santi; the little boy is Daniel, another nephew; Daniel is the son of Jack's next older sister (by about five years) Penn:

In this photo, from the left we have Daisha again; Jack's brother-in-law again; Jack; someone I never met before; and Jack or Jak, another of Jack's oldest friends:

And again from the left, Daisha; the stranger (to me); my wife Jack; and Jack or Jak:

My wife Jack has many Gay friends; she is in fact the only actual woman in that last photo.

Finally, Jack's two nephews, Mark and Daniel:


Hopefully you will never have to become familiar with a condition called infective endocarditis:
It is an inflammation of the inner tissues of the heart, the endocardium, usually of the valves. It is caused by infectious agents, or pathogens, which are largely bacterial but a few other organisms can also be responsible. Before the age of modern antibiotics it was almost universally fatal.

The valves of the heart do not receive any dedicated blood supply. As a result, defensive immune system mechanisms (such as white blood cells) cannot directly reach the valves via the bloodstream. If an organism (such as bacteria) attaches to a valve surface and forms a vegetation, the host's immune response is blunted. The lack of blood supply to the valves also has implications for treatment, since drugs also have difficulty reaching the infected area.
That quote is from the Wikipedia article I linked to.

It has been learned that a common bacteria in our mouths is able to cause this condition which "is fatal if left untreated, but even with treatment, the mortality rates are still up to 30 percent."

A study has revealed just how this specific bacteria is able to cause the disease. Here are three reports if you want to learn about it:




It's great if researchers figure out a means of defeating Streptococcus gordonii's ability to grip onto heart valve proteins; but as that first and especially the last report stressed, preventive measures to best ensure that the bacteria never get into our bloodstream from our mouth is something we must not be lax about.


Would it surprise you to read that people ─ especially seniors ─ who have a regular or family doctor are much less likely to find themselves hospitalized than are those seniors without that medical anchor, and thus who never know which physician they may have to see when it comes time for a visit to a doctor?

These reports tell of the study that bore all of this out:




It is being demonstrated that intravenous vitamin C actually does seem to be able to destroy certain cancer cells ─ specifically, those cancer cells that produce low levels of an enzyme called catalase. Such cells are unable to cope with the hydrogen peroxide that builds up as vitamin C breaks down within the body.

Our normal cells are easily able to handle the hydrogen peroxide because their high output of catalase completely neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide.

I will leave you with these reports concerning that finding:





There is nothing in this for the Pharmaceutical Industry ─ they won't be making money if vitamin C starts getting general use in treating cancer patients. Consequently, I anticipate some sort of sabotage will get worked into this beautiful and inexpensive potential cancer cure.


Just before I close for today, I want to say something about my ENT specialist Dr. Mark Miller.

I saw patient reviews of him, and they are primarily negative. But I have only found him to be effective; and despite adverse reports, a good listener.

He is constantly taking notes, and this is one of the criticisms levied against the man. He is hard at that task when a patient is ushered into his examination room; and he is back again at it while the patient is readying to leave.

But I found him intuitive, and he is undoubtedly caring.

How many doctors today would give a patient his cellphone number? He gave his to me the first time I saw him with the massive swelling at my left cheek.

I in fact did call him one evening ─ the evening when the swelling had formed a large white area about the size of a large fingernail, and when it was clearly threatening to burst open. 

I was unsure if this was a good thing or not ─ to my mind, it seemed possible that due to the size of the abscess, its breach might have merited medical supervision.

Dr. Miller answered my call at the first ring. He assured me that there was nothing to be concerned of; but if it was especially bothersome to me, I should go to the nearby hospital emergency section.

There wasn't any undue pain ─ I was just ignorant on the protocol of the huge abscess breaking open here at home.

So I covered the dressing with a large gauze-like pad, and went to bed with the pad securely affixed to my cheek.  

On another occasion ─ Dr. Miller's day off ─ he phoned me at least four times as he made an effort to set up a local CT scan for me.    

Each time I have seen this man, he has never failed to offer me a firm handshake in parting.

So in my opinion, he merits all stars in whatever ranking system we might be speaking of.
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