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Food & Health: Meals & Medicine

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Well, I wrote the other day that I hadn’t been admitted to the hospital in about 5 months, and then the day after I wrote it, I ended up with that same infection on my face again–it’s being caused by the nasal cannula. I’m a staph carrier. We know it. There’s nothing we can do about it. We have used the anti-stuff on the fingers and nose, bleached everything in the house, use Hibiclens to bath with, flush the nose with stuff. I’ve done it all. But when the humidity gets a little low here, the oxygen is dry and the nose gets little cracks or tears in it, and with the steroids and the immunity and poor health, it’s just a matter of time until the staph kicks in and flares up into an infection.

The good news is, this time, I knew what it was, because I’ve had it before, so I was able to get into the doctor before it got bad. It seems to be responding to the antibiotics. That’s not a guarantee I’ll avoid the hospital, but it’s a good sign. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be able to stay out of the hospital this time. (more…)

I’m Too Young To Die

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I always have a hard time finding titles to blogs, but as I was typing this, I’m watching an old episode of 21 Jump Street on the Roku, and there’s a song playing with this title: I’m Too Young to Die, and it seemed fitting to me, since I’d been staring at this blog post for a long time, trying to decide what I wanted to talk about today. Sometimes, if I just start moving my fingers, words start coming out, and I find a direction. I was hoping if I just typed what that song said, I could then start the blog post and find a direction. I could edit later. So let’s go with that impromptu prompt: I’m Too Young to Die.

I learned from my mother that a man who was once my counselor for a short period of time had died a little over a week ago. It had been literally twenty years probably since I’d seen the man, or close to it, anyway. I was shocked to hear he had died. He was so young! So I went to look up his obituary and it said he was 75. Seventy-five years old. He couldn’t possibly be 75. Then I realized, damn, I’m 42. I was just barely in my early 20s when he was my counselor. I will remember him perpetually as a man in his mid-to-late 40s. In my mind, you see, he will never be 75.

Then again, in my mind, I have a hard time believing I’m 42. My mother is in her early 60s. She’s young for her age, and she looks great for her age, and she’s in great physical shape. We are a weird family and we joke about things that others might find morbid or strange or mean. I was lucky enough to get to have lunch with her and her husband the other day at Steak & Shake (great burgers, btw!), and when we were leaving, she told me about this man dying. She told me also of a friend of hers whose husband had died and left her a wealthy woman, and then her parents died, leaving everything they had to her. She’s not much older than me, and she’s now set financially for life. I joked and said to my mother, “It’s too bad you’re in such good health… I’ll probably die before you do!” (more…)

Brave Bullshit–or–Brave, bullshit!

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The second time I was in the hospital last year, I had just suffered a repeated blood clot pulmonary embolism. I read in the news today, a man died from a pulmonary embolism because he sat too long with his legs crossed playing video games, got a blood clot, and it embolized. There’s a condition that is scarily and honestly called SUDDEN DEATH that is caused by a pulmonary embolism. If sudden death from a PE hits you, there’s really not much you can do about it. You just drop dead. That’s how it happens. so as bad as my health is right now, I’ve had three rounds of documented PEs and a few others we aren’t sure about, and I’ve survived them. No sudden death for me. I’ve beaten those odds. Even most of my doctors are surprised I’m still alive. The problem with that is, the PEs enlarged some heart valves, and caused pulmonary arterial hypertension and congestive heart failure–still better to be alive, right? Every time I read about someone dropping dead suddenly, completely unexpectedly, it’s pretty much a given they died from a PE or an embolism that caused a stroke, if there was no history of heart problems.

The fact it’s strange that I’m alive–even though I’m now on blood thinners and have an IVC filter to try to prevent any further problems from embolisms–it puts me in a strange place. I mean, I have perfect blood pressure, perfect cholesterol, perfect triglycerides, no arterial blockage in my body or heart at this point, but I have congestive heart failure. I’m only 42 years old. The doctors get confused sometimes on how to treat me. Congestive heart failure requires treatment with medication, usually a type of high blood pressure medication, but how do you give someone with good to low blood pressure medication that will lower it even more? They do it anyway, because keeping the heart from remodeling vessels and veins or something are important–but I have to be careful and take them early in the day when I’m up and around, or my BP drops too low and I get all dizzy. CHF is rarely if almost never caused the way I ended up getting it, so they are stumped. Leave it to me to make things hard. (more…)

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