All Clear

OK, so tests came back and everything’s fine.

Phew.

Everyone’s happy with the results. No need for further tests. And my dietary numbers look good, too. Well, not good, but better.

I’m still not allowed to exercise. Exercise may have contributed to the situation, actually. (Though my money’s still on the antibiotics.)

In any event, I’m good to go. I live…again.

UPDATE: And pardon my manners. Thank you all for being so supportive here. Means a lot, even though I wasn’t all that communicative about it.

Medicine and Technology

The Boy and I watched an interesting demo today on a device that monitors blood sugar continuously for 72 hours. I was a little disappointed by it, because I thought it was going to be something like a watch you could look at to see your blood sugar at any time. Instead, it doesn’t transmit the information at all. After the 72 hours you remove it and a computer reads the data.

How positively medieval.

This is all a come-on for an insulin pump. If I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Two extra trips downtown (one for the demo and sensor insertion, one to drop off the sensor later) for something I don’t think we’ll be using, but it was kind of interesting. The basic premise is simple enough: You wear an external device that acts sort of as a pancreas.

The pancreas does more than produce insulin but, hey, it’s a start.

Anyway, the boy raked the rep–who was, of course, cute and hot, as all such reps seem to be–and the doctors over the coals: What were the bugs? What could go wrong with the system? His syringes sometimes leak, what if that happened? What if his blood sugar dropped too low at night? How would he know what his blood sugar was at any given moment?

The technology is pretty good, though, and delivers small amounts of insulin over time rather than big loads, and apparently can actually do so based on blood sugar readings from the sensor. (Via wireless bluetooth! Now we’re talking! The rep said one guy had the readings hooked to his car GPS.)

Part of the appeal of this is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

But, you know, what if that’s how you got into the mess you’re in in the first place?

The Boy’s numbers are looking good anyway. In the two months since we started the diet his scores have dropped 20% (lower is better), and he’s started lowering his insulin again. (This time, theoretically, he should be able to keep the insulin lowered.)

The outlook for me is not so rosy, unfortunately. My numbers are rather dire and getting worse, and despite a checkout from a doctor, I’ll be having X-rays and bloodwork done tomorrow. So wish me luck. (Again.)

Well, That Sucked!

I basically lost April from that damned ear infection, which now appears to be cleared up. My ears aren’t right yet, but that’ll take longer.

I started doing the same nutritional program as The Boy, only a bit more severely. I’ve just finished two weeks without meat, sugar, white flour–you know, all the good stuff.

Perhaps surprisingly, this hasn’t been particularly hard. Despite Trooper posting pictures of pastry. (Hey, the best thing is still on the menu.) And I have eaten like this before, even if it was as a strident, organic-lovin’, tofu-munchin’, birkenstock-wearing post-teen.

Guess I should’ve kept it up.

Anyway, meat should be okay, at least in small quantities, after a while. And I don’t plan to always be saintly. But for now, I’m on the wagon.

Weep for me.

Ears and Links

About two years ago, the Barbarienne jammed her finger in my ear. Because of her age, her finger was just the right size to get into my ear canal; because of her strength, she jammed it in far enough to scratch my eardrum.

The resultant infection was so painful and persistent that I thought I might actually lose some hearing. It took weeks to clear up fully, but I was back hearing noises in that annoying 16-20K frequency range again in no time.

Which is a propos of nothing except that I recognized the problem sooner this time and didn’t let the infection go too far before going to the local “urgent care”. (Less than $100 and 30 minutes, with almost no paperwork.)

That, and I’ve been accumulating links from around the web but have been unable to cobble together much in the way of coherent posts. So here’s a round-up.

A reprint of a massive 1981 article on Love Canal, and a 2004 follow-up, both at Reason. Massive government screw up plus hysteria equals bad law.

Co-D&D creator Dave Arneson died. It doesn’t surprise me that there’s some rancor and controversy over who did what. Even if TSR hadn’t been dominated by a fairly shady couple, that might’ve arose. I’m glad the two did what they did. Of course, Gygax died at 69 and Arneson at 61, which might suggest the peril of too much gaming.

Vodkapundit tweeted this cute ad for–hell, I don’t even know. Sabre? Saber! Still don’t know what that is. One of these new “body products” they’re pumping out for men. I’m bad at this stuff. I have no products. (I kind of thought “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” was not awful, but I can’t imagine personally being more uncomfortable than had I been in that situation myself.)

These body product commercials amaze me, because there seems to be a common thread. In particular, there’s some severe exaggeration of the (formerly subtle) trope that women will pursue you if you spray this crap on you. (Pheremones! Science! 60% of the time, it works 100% of the time!) Like the Axe one where hundreds of women chase one guy on a desert island.

So, here they’re saying, well, you know this isn’t going to happen. What with the shortage of midichlorians on this planet and whatnot. You’re too smart to believe this stuff, right? But, you know, maybe it works a little. Can you afford to take that chance?

Reverse-double-secret psychology? If I thought they were aimin’ it at me, I’d probably be insulted. But, as noted, I don’t buy “product”.

Speaking of sexism, a bunch of people were tweeting this Naomi Wolf article on porn and pubic hair, blunting men’s appetites for sex. First of all, I swear I read this years ago. Turns out, Althouse was blogging how old it was two years ago. And its was just as dumb then. The only thing that can turn a man off “the real thing” is a woman. And she has to work hard at it. (Womens’ studies classes can give a gal all the ammo she needs, tho’.) And then the man is mostly not going to want sex with her in particular. That is, a man has to experience a lot of women like that to really be turned off sex. (I can only assume Naomi Wolf doesn’t know very many men.)

Well, okay, in fairness, entire cultures can probably gear down their people’s sex drives, by interjecting politics between Man and Woman. That might be what’s going on in the developed world. Then again, it might be some other physiological factor.

In any case–with all due apologize to FARK–it ain’t guys going, “She’s got pointy knees,” which is all Wolf’s argument boils down to. Guys put Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth up on their lockers 60 years ago, but they still got busy with Betty and Rita next door.

Twitter doesn’t allow you to tweet that much, so I just linked this delightful commercial. I almost expected a flame or two, but I’m not really on the radar of the perpetually outraged. (Advanced social studies study group question: Compare & contrast this commercial to the previous one, with special emphasis on how “personal products” are marketed to men versus women.)

Frank J asks the critical question of our day: Who is the more perfect leader? Obama or Kim Jong Il? The answer may surprise you. Then again, it may not.

Somebody I follow on Twitter, probably @thecardioexpert, linked this article on cholesterol. I like these kinds of things because the way our media presents things, it’s all “OMG! THIS IS DEADLY! AVOID IT OR DIE!” And it doesn’t matter if it’s salt or asbestos or alar or what. You don’t get a sense of the mechanics. And then you die because they didn’t warn you against eating broken glass.

I haven’t played with this site yet, but it’s about musical instruction and resources. What I really want is to be able to score a piece on the computer–full orchestra–and have it come out with those instruments. I’ve seen a few things that do this, but the output embarrasses me, it’s so bad. Obviously, there’s a limit to how good it can be, but there should be moments when it sounds like something other than a fleet of DX7s.

Then there’s the freaky bird here. Giant eyes–I mean, really giant eyes–are freaky. Reminds me of this guy who has remade Homer Simpson and Super Mario into their human selves. Also Jessica Rabbit, who doesn’t look that freaky. At first I thought, “Huh, typical guy.” Then I realized she’s not nearly as humanized as the other two, plus her eyes are mostly closed reducing the freak out factor.

Lastly, there’s this kinda-SIMS-y, kinda-The Movies-y, kinda-Playskool-y site where you can make your own 3D movies very easily. I haven’t tried it. But I’ve seen worse animation and voice-acting on TV.

Enjoy!

My Preoccupation…

You guys have left some great comments, much appreciated. I hope to address them in a bit when I catch up on things.

Unlike some quitters, though, I’m not going to be running away to worship God. (He pretty much told me he needs me on the front lines. I think I’m supposed to be fodder.)

It’s crunch time, diet-wise for The Boy. The doctor has reduced his meat intake dramatically, so he has little choice but to eat veggies or starve. (And starving’s not an option.) I’m showing my solidarity here, so I’m also downing the rabbit chow.

I’ll have a review of I Love You, Man soon. (Executive summary: Romantic comedy where the principles are straight males. Surprisingly charming and female friendly.)

Also, the refrigerator broke, distilling water is more complicated than it seems, the pilot light on the water heater keeps going out, and (on the positive side) I’ve apparently won Darcy.

No, don’t tell me it was April Fool’s Day. I don’t wanna know.

Drink Too Much (b)

I’ve been drinking too much water, according to the latest tests. (The doctor has advised and tested me on the basis of me needing to be alive to pay for The Boy. Smart!) I haven’t had any negative symptoms (e.g., headaches) but I’m reducing the amount of water I drink, and adding some fruit juice in.

The Boy, unfortunately, backslid a bit in the past two weeks. He’s been having trouble keeping track of his water bottle and I think his guesses were on the low side. He’s also got to start getting more aggressive as far as changing his diet. He’s been good about trying new things, but if he finds something he likes, he’ll eat it to the exclusion of all else. Variety is key.

Some of you asked about this program; I finally got the guy’s name right: Carey Reams. This is just the first thing that came up on Google, so I don’t know how accurate a representation it is, nor should it be considered a validation of other things on that site. (Or an invalidation, for that matter.)

Years ago I knew a woman with a mess of inoperable brain tumors who did this program and got rid of all of them. It took her a couple of years to go from “terminal” to a clean bill of health, but in the next ten years or so, she didn’t have a relapse.

I just remembered that; interestingly, there’s no connection between her and my doctor.

Stay tuned.

All You Need Is Loaf?

For February, The Boy’s blood sugar averaged 155. In the last two weeks of February, about the time we started with the water, it averaged 122. He seems to be keeping it in that low range, despite having cut his mealtime insulin by 25%.

This is good. The doctor reminds us that he’s not actually on the program yet. He’s just gearing up with the water and the green drink. (The “green drink” is basically a bunch of leafy greens fed through a juicer. Tastes as good as it sounds.) He’s been doing some changes in his diet, as well, though that’s been milder than it probably will need to be once we’re actually on the program. But besides blood sugar, he’s been sleeping well, and longer. The sickness passed last weekend, and he has only a mild nausea (also predicted by the doc).

As for me, well, the phenomena mentioned in earlier posts continue to persist. I didn’t really mention the energy thing because “I feel so alert and full of energy” is such a cliché, and easily the most placebo-influenced effect at all. (Really: Change up your diet and exercise and start a new plan, and you’ll find morale-related effects kick in immediately, even if the diet and exercise aren’t very good.) A very concrete effect I’ve noticed is that after a difficult night (which is not rare when you have a bunch of kids) that gets cut short, I can still function very well and without the mid-afternoon drowsiness. I’m still tired and I fall asleep in the evening if my sleep is cut short, but my awake time is not overwhelmed with the urge to go unconscious.

There are also things I didn’t mention because I’m not Titus. (Suggested in the title of this post.) Things have definitely improved in the area of his favorite subjects.

In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I just lost a tiny piece of a molar. No pain; it just came out while flossing. The tooth pain I described earlier that went away is still gone. (Hmmm, but this piece is on the same side so I need to get to a dentist to figure out what’s going on.) The mouth phenomena could be a complete coincidence.

Also, I’m feeling somewhat “acidic” at night, which, given the changes in body chemistry the water and juice might be bringing is worth watching. (The doctor wants me to do the full program at the same time, but I’m not sure I want to shift the focus away. On the other hand, the tests involved keep you from going too far one way or the other.) Come to think of it, though, this may be akin to the nausea the boy is feeling.

And, while it’s not easy to drink this much water and still eat enough to maintain one’s weight, I’m in there pitching. Still haven’t lost anything. Heh.

De-Talks

I wrote about fairness not long ago on these virtual pages and I wanted to point out that there is one area in which I’m particularly unreasonable on the topic: My children.

In an early experiment with one of the Boy Scout groups, The Boy entered a Pinewood Derby. Apart from shaping the wood with the power tools, which no one in his age group could do, I required him to do everything on his own. I was there to offer advice–not that I had much to give–but I wasn’t going to be sanding, oiling, talcing or whatever tricks they do for those things.

Which, on the day of the race was evident, were extensive and well researched by all the fathers involved. The disinterest from the actual boys was obvious but the guys my age? They were into it. Not even the vaguest premise of having the troopers do their own work.

This is a minor unfairness, and it had its own value in showing The Boy the way of the world.

A more serious unfairness is that The Boy has been sick for the past three days from drinking water and the vegetable juice. His blood sugars have been great, fortunately, and this is precisely what the doctor said would happen, but I feel bad.

I’m an old man (at least relatively) and somehow this stuff isn’t affecting me negatively at all. It’s just unfair that a 13-year-old should have to put up with it. His whole life’s been a lot harder than it should be. We do this on the hope that he’ll come out the other side better.

Which brings me to the subject of de-toxification.

Detoxification is a hot topic because every quack pedlling snake oil talks about “detox”. Like those foot guys on the television selling wasabi or kinoki or shinobi or whatever it is that, if I’m not mistaken, takes the dirty outer layer of skin off your feet and tells you you’re being purified.

The drinking of distilled water at regular intervals is done to provide the body with a basic, necessary resource to let it do its thing. (The vegetable juice is for minerals; these guys are crazy about the minerals! Later we add calcium.) The symptoms of this detoxification process are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, lots of phlegm in the lungs (with coughing), and even things like fever or some nausea. Even if you don’t understand how it happens, you sort of have to respect the predictability of it, given that there’s no conventional medical reason that slightly greater hydration should lead to it.

One of my main issues regarding “snake oil”–a term I use affectionately about a time period before the government locked up medicine–is that the theories behind them may be completely whack. That doesn’t mean the medicine’s no good.

My canonical reference is Ignaz Semmelweiss, who didn’t know why washing your hands before surgery helped, he just knew that it did. Likewise, ancient astrologers (sorry, guys, they were astrologers at the time, not astronomers!) could map the motion of the planets in the sky, even though their understanding of said bodies was fanciful at best.

And so I take that approach with medicine. (Alternative or otherwise. You don’t get a free pass from me just ‘cause you can prescribe drugs.) I’m utterly unconvinced by the theories behind mood-altering drugs, and in every case I’ve seen them used, they’ve failed.

And then there are the enema guys.

You know the enema guys, right? They have a long, storied history going back to the Kellogg brothers of Battle Creek, Michigan. And, oh, my, they have pictures! Pictures of twisted intestines, all gnarled up by residual fecal matter and, heavens, it’s quite awful.

But the enema guys have a problem, I think: We now have footage of the insides of people’s colons, and they don’t appear to be the messes that the enema guys predict. I haven’t thoroughly researched this, mind you: I’m just going by the shots that I’ve seen which show the walls of the intestines to be pretty clear. (And by their own literature, the enema is necessary to clean said intestines out, the drink you get before a colonoscopy shouldn’t be sufficient.)

I’ve not seen any benefits from enemas that couldn’t be explained by the rapid infusion of caffeine into the blood stream. (Enemas are often done with coffee, and the lower intestines are way more absorptive than the digestive system from top-to-bottom.) And this absorption factor makes enemas potentially dangerous, too.

But now watch this sleight-of-hand: I’m totally willing to let the enema guys be, because, hey, I could be wrong. And people need to have the right to explore these things on their own. That’s just how I roll. As it stands, right now conventional medicine is being hampered by government regulation. And, predictably, politics–more than science–seems to be the big factor in what gets made available.

An effort to make things fair always seems to make things even more unfair than ever.

Up Till Now, Everything Was Okay

It is a characteristic of men that they are stoic. Not to say that all men are stoic, and certainly I know some who play up minor illnesses and injuries in a bid to win sympathy from their significant others. But stoicism is a manly feature. To the point of stupidity, even: Men will let health conditions go too long, until they’re untreatable.

Up till recently, I’d not thought of myself as particularly stoic. I’d noticed a few things and I attributed them to getting older. Unlike, say, Instapundit, I’m not particularly concerned about death, but I’ve always–especially when younger–wondered which features normally attributed to senescence were not due to some other factors.

In my case, apparently, a lot. But until I started drinking the water, I didn’t know how many.

I mentioned stiffness and morning vision blurriness, but in a week I’ve noticed that the occasional tinnitus, digestive issues, farsightedness, fatigue and a few other things I just assumed were me “getting older” have rolled back.

As I said, stoic to a fault: It’s one thing to endure and another to be so accepting you never try to improve things.

We’ve started to add in some juiced leafy greens, which isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The Boy’s blood sugar has been coming down but it’s still not quite under control. He’s had to undergo some dietary changes, and I think he’s somewhat depressed about that, though he is being a good sport. A big change is that he’s waking up faster: Most of my kids have a “need that first cup of coffee” kind of wake-up cycle, The Boy especially so. The doc attributed that to low morning blood sugars. The water’s made a big difference there.

I’ll keep posting on it, as the story progresses.

Skin and Bones

I don’t want to get in the middle of the fat-battle between Trooper York and Freeman Hunt, but my attention was directed to this Sports Illustrated “models taking their own pictures” post.

Some of these women strike me as too thin, where “too thin” is a purely aesthetic consideration. My friend (mentioned in the Stacked Decks post linked above) was very thin, too, and used to fret putting on five pounds here and there. But, in person, she didn’t look too skinny in person, usually. Meanwhile she had some other friends from back in the day who were the opposite type (shorter and curvier), who were clearly on the higher end of the BMI scale. They also looked fine in person.

I know “the camera adds ten pounds” but it also can subtract ten at certain angles. (There are angles on Chris Reeves in the Superman movies where he looks positively skinny, e.g.)

I’ve been thinking about weight lately because I haven’t lost any. (I lost about ten pounds last year just due to changes in lifestyle, but none since I started doing the treadmill.) I suspect if I keep drinking water I’ll lose weight, though. It seems to change your sense of taste and fullness.

Should be interesting.