You Forgot Poll-land!
Unless you have total recall for the doings of strangers, you will have forgotten, but the last DU heard about my Dad, he had been in the hospital for more than a month after a subdural hematoma, a seizure during which he quit breathing for a few minutes, a major heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
Since then, however, things have gone well. Granted, he has to go to dialysis three times a week, so rehab progress is slow. Granted I probably picked the wrong nursing home for rehab, so he had great equipment for physical therapy but largely indifferent physical therapists and 23 hours a day in bed the rest of the time. Granted, he's lost weight to an astonishing degree, from 200 lbs to 150, and he's 6'3". However, his mind is unclouded, his strength is returning, and his romance (with another 90-year-old) continues flaming bright. As soon as (I moved him to another nursing home and) he was given his own walker, he could suddenly go to the bathroom himself no problem. So he's about ready to go home, or rather to move in with his lady friend. We'd like to get his weight back up a bit and to get him a little stronger and better coordinated, of course. But it all gives Thanksgiving a special meaning, doesn't it?
Early this year, my dad had a bad fall resulting in stitches to his head. As of late May (specifically, Sunday the 22d) he was having great difficulty getting around and thought he might have developed Parkinson's. That same day he fell again and my brother William had to call an ambulance. At the hospital they did a CAT scan and found he had a subdural hematoma on his brain. They weren't able to operate on the Monday, but did on the Tuesday. We had a stressful time waiting, but were glad to see him again and to find him lucid and intelligent-- in short, still in there.
Two days later, the 26th and my birthday, he had a seizure and stopped breathing for 3 minutes. Nobody told me about until that afternoon so I got to enjoy the first half of my birthday, and he recovered quickly and was again lucid, so the rest of my birthday was OK, too.
My brother and sister, both living in Boston, were able to visit for a while, which helped a lot. (Also her son, my nephew James, and his girlfriend.) My sister had to go back to have her gall bladder removed. (The Dantzler family is just having a great month for health problems.)
Dad got out of ICU and moved to a normal floor for physical therapy. Unfortunately, the physical therapy never went particularly well, as he had continuing trouble with bodily function control. Fast forward to yesterday. I was visiting and he seemed quite well. However, his stomach was very unsettled and he couldn't stop burping. Later, he started coughing and breathing quickly. A nurse came to check his blood sugar and was concerned about his breathing, especially when she asked for a deep breath and he couldn't do it.
Long story short, he got oxygen and a chest X-ray and further tests, and was moved to intermediate ICU. During the evening, it was difficult to understand anything he said through the oxygen mask, but at least he was doing better according to all staffers. He had low blood sugar troubles again but they got that back up. A respiratory therapist came in and put him on a bronchial dilator briefly. I left about 10. My sister (also a doctor) was able to talk to the duty nurse, and also to Dad. Apparently, his breathing got a lot better after I left thanks to the dilator. The respiratory therapist indicated that he might not have to be on oxygen anymore as of this morning.
What seems to have happened is he breathed in some of the fluid he had been burping up. So far they aren't giving him any antibiotics as for pneumonia. I did give them both my phone numbers before I left, so if anything bad had happened I would have heard about it by now. I'm hoping for the best and holding my worries in check as best I can. Looking forward to seeing him this afternoon. Any prayers, well wishes or white light you can spare are always welcome.
The above was originally an email to my friends who aren't on Facebook. If it doesn't make sense as a DU post, you have my apologies. I'm a bit frazzled (obviously).
More detail on the blog: http://ungodly-in-olympia.blogspot.com /
We were somewhat flummoxed because everything was so pleasant. It was basically a gigantic dinner party for one or two hundred perfectly nice people (or a cocktail party where everybody just happened to be sitting down). We just couldn't figure it out. I suggested that maybe we were in the section for murderers and their victims and they have to spend eternity together. "But I'm pretty sure I didn't murder you and you didn't murder me," I said to my dad, and maybe to my brother, as he may have faded out by that point, as people will do in dreams.
Then I saw a girl whom I'd known in high school who in real life died in a horse riding accident shortly after we graduated (or were graduated if you prefer). In the dream, she showed her wrists to demonstrate that she had slit them. As in a dream you know everything(even if the everything in question has little relation to real life), I instantly knew that she had committed suicide due to the pain from an automobile accident. Her best friend was nearby. In real life, she had had her best friend die in the already mentioned horseriding accident and her young husband die in a boating accident shortly afterwards. (Also in real life, I ran into her some years later and she was holding up-- well, a lot better than I would have been.) In the dream, her presence led me to rule out that this was the Hell for suicides, as even asleep I knew that woman would never do it.
I never did get any explanation. I don't believe in religion or Hell, but in my sleep apparently I think it's a hell of a good party. This is probably what comes of reading too much about the sad end of Ernest Hemingway, his dad, his siblings and his granddaughter. That and the gluten-free beer.
This is just a bunch of links to my threads with pictures of (our kitten) Lily for my journal. Otherwise, they're all pasted into the journal full size and the page gets stretched wide most annoyingly. So I guess I should say, "Kindly ignore, unless you haven't already seen my kitten pictures."
She hadn't been eating for the last week, so this morning I took her to the vet. He ran tests and found that she was in end-stage kidney disease, also diabetic and also most probably had heart disease. She also weighed less than 9 lbs whereas it had been more normally 13. He gave her insulin and anti-inflammatories and about everything else he could think of and I took her home. Alice came home early from work and spent time with her, but it was clear she was failing (staggering walk, inability to go more than a few steps without lying down again, etc.) She did eat a little of the Hill's prescription canned food the vet sent home with me, and seemed to enjoy it, but didn't get much down (and threw it up later in the car, but I get ahead of myself). So we decided that rather than see her suffer (ie starve) that we would go ahead and have her put to sleep today. We took her back to the vet and were happy to be able to spend more quality time with her. The vet gave her the first injection to put her into a deep sleep (we left the room for the actual shot) and Alice was able to cuddle Madeline and sing "Let's Stay Together" to her one last time. When she was asleep and feeling no pain at all, the vet gave her her second injection and we stayed until she slipped away. It was peaceful and somehow strangely life-affirming, because she knew how much she was loved up until the very end. Alice had Madeline for eight years (and Madeline was much older than we'd thought according to the vet; more like 13-15 rather than the "around ten" that we'd been thinking); eight delightful, fun, high-flying, too short years. We told her that she'd been a very good kitty and that next time she'd get to be human, so at the Well of Souls, aim for New York City so in your next life you can be a deli owner. And yes, I know I'm mixing two completely fictitious religious traditions, but right now I feel good about it.
That's all I can say or I'll start bawling again. Alice is having a very rough Monday, but knows we did the right thing. But it was so sudden.
... and of course, please don't give up, period. The thread about my personal experience is here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
but it occurs to me that people who don't have celiac sprue are also going through this problem. And I wish I could put on a godlike tone and say, "This is the solution to all your problems," but the best I can do is (are?) a few mild suggestions. I can still shoot for the godlike tone if you like, though.
My story, in a nutshell, is that I was also having intractable digestive problems. Searching around on the internet I found that wheat was a likely suspect. (I got a lot of help from DUers, by the way, especially as I recall supernova.) I gave up wheat and the digestive problems went away and, more surprisingly (at least to me), so did my anxiety disorder. I'm still not absolutely sure I'm celiac, but to be on the safe side I gave up barley and oats as well and have been almost irritatingly happy ever since.
Now, you'll notice that no doctor figures into this story. My dad is a medical doctor and my sister is a psychiatrist. I was born with a very serious birth defect and so I was under a pediatrician's watchful care for my entire early childhood. At Penn I lost a lot of weight and a doctor at Student Health told me I was anorexic. (She told me to gain 10 lbs in a month, I did, and that was the end of that diagnosis.) When I came home I saw an internalist who told me I had flat feet but as to celiac sprue, it never came up. So I guess what I'm saying to you is that you may have some underlying condition causing your anxiety disorder, and you may have a lot of difficulty getting a diagnosis. This is not to say that you should give up on doctors, but you do have to be ready to take a large part in finding your own solution.
One thing a doctor can do for you, any doctor and not just psychiatrists, is give you a prescription for an SSRI (Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, the artist formerly known as Prozac, etc.). They aren't ultimate solutions no matter how much the drug companies would like people to think they are, but they really help. I was on Paxil at one time and Luvox at another and they both helped clarify my thinking lots. They both also knocked me on my butt making me want to sleep 12 hours a day and both made me impotent, not surprising as these are known side effects also reinforcing the effects of celiac sprue. So I quit medications twice, but that doesn't mean that they aren't helpful.
Celiac sprue is considered quite rare, but wheat sensitivity and gluten sensitivity are probably considerably more common. The "probably" is in there because I can't find a lot in the way of medical research on them. Celiac sprue has a lot of unfortunate side effects, but the big one as far as the mind and emotions are concerned is vitamin B12 malabsorption. I mention it because I run into a lot of people who seem to have the same kind of anxieties I did and wonder whether they might also have some issues with B12. (Here's the Merck Manual Online: http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_m... Just type in "malabsorption" in either search box; unfortunately the link always comes back as frameset.jsp wherever you go there or I would have just given the specific page link.)
Also consider food allergies or other sensitivities as a possible source for your anxiety disorder. Here I'm completely out of my depth and can only suggest that you see an allergist. Similarly, if you suspect you may be celiac (more likely if you have Italian or Irish heritage), the recommended approach is to go to a doctor and have them run the celiac panel blood test. If this indicates you're celiac, they'll want to biopsy your small intestine. Me, I'm already convinced that I have it and am not going this route, but only because it also requires you to keep eating gluten and I think I've had enough damage already. However, I don't advise anyone to do it my way; going the medical route is always safest.
If you think you'd like to explore gluten-free living (say you just have piles of money and don't know what to do with it ) feel free to drop me a PM and I can offer a lot of suggestions. It can be very expensive, especially if you're intent on eating the same kind of things you ate before. (Eg, decent tasting gluten-free pasta costs a bomb.) Please do not just try to cut out gluten and live off nuts and berries or, you know, boxes of 10X sugar. (Oh wait, that's just me.) If you want to try gluten-free living but can't afford the expensive alternatives, know that you can live a long, happy life substituting inexpensive brown rice for most of your starch needs. If you're dying for sandwiches, Aldi (and practically everybody else) sells soft corn tortillas; I use them as my bread substitute and am very happy with them.
Forgive my blithering. I just held an informal memorial for a friend who died a year ago. He had an intractable anxiety disorder, and unfortunately self-medicated with vodka and cigarettes. He wound up in a homeless shelter a hundred-odd miles from here and when he died nobody even cared enough to tell me. I had looked him up to tell him about celiac sprue and that maybe there was an explanation for his problems, maybe a solution, maybe he could restart his life. Instead I found an obituary. He was 44. Maybe he had celiac sprue. Maybe he could have been helped. Maybe he could have been an attorney again. I'll never know.
I'm not actually expecting anybody here to help with those two questions, even though you are about the most intelligent peoples I've ever encountered. I actually want to ask for help with questions about the questions. Did that make sense? Didn't think so. Regardless, kindly look upon the following two paragraphs as rhetorical questions (but if you want to take a bash at giving answers, please have at it) and look to the final two paragraphs as the ones where I'm actually seeking help.
Question one relates to the enemy within: is there an inherent us vs them dichotomy within the human mind, and does this make war and conflict inevitable? A young Norwegian woman I met on a train in Denmark 20-odd years ago said no, that she had no enemy inside her mind. If I am to believe her, she is either the exception that proves the rule or the exception that invalidates it. Then again, she was with an American who was trying to get me to join the Nichiren Buddhists, so maybe her testimony is a little tainted.
The other question regards the history of human migration. What really fascinates me are the periodic explosions of migration that have occurred over the millennia, most usually from east Asia, but also from central Asia and northern Europe ("Bloody Vikings!") One would assume that these were the results of agricultural surpluses suddenly vanishing, leading to famines and mass migrations. But I don't know and I'm not absolutely sure that anybody does.
So the question I'm seeking help with about these questions is straightforward: what the hell academic disciplines am I talking about? In the first case, there's international relations, psychology, and brain physiology just for a start while for the second there's history, archaeology, geography, maybe a bit of biology for DNA studies, a little comparative linguistics, and uh, probably more than I want to know about the history of agriculture. I know that undergrads can design their own majors and put together interdisciplinary studies degrees, but I already have two diplomas and would probably be in a Ph.D type situation.
Orrrrrrr does anybody have any suggestions for how to become a professional perpetual student? Hell, I'm 45 years old already; I'd rather be a professional researcher rather than try to get the degree then fit in research with teaching and other responsibilities. Also as my two research interests bridge a few dozen disciplines I'd be out of luck unless I just call it anthropology or sociology or hang it and teach high school social studies. Obviously my thoughts are in flux at this time, but any suggestions would be welcome, and you have my thanks in advance.
Posted by undisclosedlocation in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Sat Jan 12th 2008, 10:39 AM
They do have a little money available to try to affect the outcome. (No, I'm not saying, "It's hopeless; give up"; just want to help better identify the enemy.)
I earlier asked whom was our dream nominee and Huckster ran away with it:
Just found out that one of my best friends died last January 26th. I still haven't found any details, but as he had been a heavy drinker, a heavy smoker and had compromised coordination due to falling down a gold mine in Ecuador (just don't ask), it could have been just about anything. The last chapter of my involvement in the sad, sad story is found here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu...
I wish I could have done more for him. If you want to join in the modified virtual Irish wake, just hoist one in his honor... and pour it the fuck out. Say what you will about cocaine, meth or heroin, but alcohol is a hell of a drug.
Posted by undisclosedlocation in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Wed Jan 09th 2008, 10:16 AM
Sort of an embarrassment of riches, really. The only one I fear at all is Romney, and he just lost in the state next to the one he just finished being governor of. Whattayathink?
If you have an intractable anxiety disorder & Irish or Italian ancestry, get tested for celiac sprue
(If we had longer subject lines, there would have been a "please" in there. )
Celiac disease or celiac sprue is an autoimmune disorder where a person reacts with gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, oats and barley; you'd be astonished at the range of products that covers. Bread, pasta, pizza, yes, but also beer, (probably) anything with caramel color, ricotta cheese (well I was surprised anyway) etc, etc, ad infinitum. Celiac sprue results in malabsorption, as it damages the small intestine.
If you're interested, my story is below, after the asterisk (*). It was originally here, but even I was finding it boring (also a little heavy with the bodily functions) so I moved it down.
It's a little hard to sort out the good information among all the crazy people on the internets (you are certainly welcome to regard me as among the latter), but it appears that a prime effect of celiac sprue is insufficient absorption of vitamin B12. It also sucks that symptoms vary widely. A lot of people suffer anxiety (I'm one) but only limited obvious digestive effects. Celiac is quite uncommon, but commoner among persons of Italian or Irish ancestry. The official medical advice (as in from doctors, not from me) is to have a doctor run a blood test called the celiac panel. If this indicates that you may be celiac, you would then have a biopsy of the small intestine to see if you have the characteristic damage from celiac sprue.
The bad part (apart from the whole getting cut on aspect) is that you have to keep eating gluten to get accurate results. So the crazy-guy-on-the-internet advice is to try going gluten-free. If you notice anxieties and digestive difficulties clearing up after three days, try to make it two weeks. If you still feel different (ie better), you can of course just stay on a gluten free diet for life. Common sense, though, says that this is a good time to go to a doctor. (If I could afford it, I certainly would.)
If you're interested in a gluten-free diet, I have a number of suggestions to make it easier. Just PM or reply below and ask. I've only been at this a little while; there are folks all over the internets with great ideas, too. In short, it's pretty easy, but easier if you live in a metropolitan area; don't expect to be able to eat in too many restaurants though. Don't try just to cut out wheat, barley, barley malt and oats; it's still just as important if not moreso to maintain a balanced diet. Seek substitutes. Rice, potatoes and corn are all superb.
Sorry for the unloungy PSA nature of this, and I won't be the least bit surprised if it plummets straight to the archives. It's only my duty to tell you; it isn't yours to listen. And if the mods want to lock it as medical advice, I won't be upset or offended either.
*In my case, I came at this from the other direction. In my early 40s I started having trouble with the other ED, explosive diarrhea. As you can well imagine, I was more than a little concerned. Eventually I figured out that I was lactose intolerant; I'm embarrassed to say that this took about two years. I was a little bewildered, though, since lactose intolerance is quite uncommon among people with Northern European backgrounds. Except for a Jewish great-grandmother, my forebears were all Northern European, so I chalked it up to the Jewish great-grandmother. But now it appears it was the Irish great-grandmother that got me instead. (Celiac sprue AND being raised Catholic; THANKS A BUNCH, GREAT GRANDMA! )
I couldn't help but notice that I was still having bouts of diarrhea, even when I took Lactaid, and this was especially true after visiting the local pizza buffet. So I looked up wheat sensitivity, and there was my picture. (Not really, but it did seem a good fit.) I quit wheat and suddenly all my assorted and groundless and unnecessary anxieties just evaporated. Man I was happy, but they came back. Sooo I considered the possibility of celiac, with thoughts in my head along the lines of "That's different, man! That's a disease!") and eventually came around to the acceptance that I should at least try going gluten free. As of so far (only a few weeks), it's working out for me. For the first time, I feel capable of fulfilling some of my extravagant potential. (Oh, and in the intractable anxiety disorder department, I should mention that I tried a wide array of medicines prescribed by a couple of very good psychiatrists. The best were Paxil and Luvox (at different times). While each made me feel great (and also sleep half the time), neither made me feel able to get up and get going like I feel now. We'll see how it turns out.)
Around here, one of the cats (the one who looks like Tiggy, perhaps not just coincidentally) goes very very attentive every time the video plays. The other cat is not too interested. It's strange, because I don't even think it sounds like a cat (more like a two-year-old) but the cat sure thinks so. Comments at Youtube indicate that we aren't the only people whose cats feel this way.
So far, her orders seem to be as follows: run around like a crazy cat, and attack the new chicken fryer (still in the box, so I'm pretty sure it's safe for all concerned).
I mentioned some time ago that I thought I was sensitive to wheat. Since then, I've become increasingly sure that I'm in fact celiac, ie no gluten never. I'll probably post about this ad nauseam sooner or later, but in the meantime, I give you:
He's a celiac/ CELIAC I'm sure/ And he's gluten free like he's never been before...
Ducking, running away
I, Rearrangement Servant http://wordsmith.org/anagram / is always good
I dunno; I kind of find this threatening. (By the way, this is no joke. Went by the ATM and it was closed, with the Diebold truck there. And on the side was the slogan...)
Here's a shocker; yet another DUer named after his cat. As I used to be undisclosedlocation, at least I'm no longer to be confused with a felonious vice president.
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Member since 2003 before July 6th
Ever notice that many DUers don't read their own comments, so they're cut off in the middle like thi
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