Boomer Twilight

Mostly Humorous Observations of Most Anything, with a Boomer Slant

Archive for the ‘Medicine’ Category

I Went to the Animal Fair; the Germs and the Microbes Were There

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Many of you reading this probably attended the Maryland State Fair, or a fair or festival of some sort this summer; especially if you have children. Ours ran from August 22 through September 1st. It’s always the same number of days ending on Labor Day. My wife and I hadn’t been for several years. This year we were given free tickets from the car dealer where she purchased her auto. Oh boy, free! Gotta go, right? It’s free!!

The Sunday morning before Labor Day we went for a walk to get a little exercise. I enjoy our walks. It gives us some time to talk without interruption, and to share each other’s company. As we strolled I was trying to avoid the subject of the fair, because I really didn’t want to go, initiating conversation about anything I could think of just to keep the chatter going and suppress the thought of the fair. Even though I had agreed to go earlier in the week, it was not an enthusiastic endorsement. Then it came up. “What time do you want to leave for the fair?” she asked. “Do we really have to go?” I whined. “It’s kind of hot now, and later on, it’ll be too hot.” “You don’t want to go?” she asked, in that sort of wife way that tells you she’s annoyed, but not angry. “We don’t do much on the weekend,” she continued. The guilt honed-in and my love of hanging out at home was challenged. As a society we spend about a third of our life sleeping. Another third working. We spend a substantial amount of our income buying a home and equipping it with entertainment and furnishings so we can enjoy our stay. Personally, I want to hang out at my abode. But, I don’t want to be a creep and sloth of a husband, so I agreed to attend the fair. Fun, fun, fun. After all, the tickets are eight dollars each, and we have two, so we’re saving $16.

We left our home about 1:30 to drive the half-hour or so from Eldersburg to Timonium. In my mind I was singing “Our State Fair is a Great State Fair, it’s the Greatest Fair in our State.” It sounds hokey, but I really was (I bet you are right now, too). I’m just glad it wasn’t out loud, because that would be just too corny. Our drive was unimpeded and we made it with ease. The bowling alley across from the Fairgrounds was offering parking for $5.00. Another bargain. We pulled in and parked, and thus far our afternoon was thrifty.

If you are young or have children, the fair can be a grand time. There are rides, treats, animals to pet, things to see, and you can act silly, unencumbered by embarrassment. When you are older, without children, it’s hot, noisy, dirty, stanky, boring, expensive, and the food really isn’t that good. But, the tickets are free, so we become two Old Coots walking around the grounds hoping for some excitement. They don’t even have bumper cars, so what the hell was I supposed to do? “I know, let’s get some bad food.” And the fair has the baddest. Deep fried Twinkies and Oreos? You mean they are not artery-clogging enough, that they have to be dipped in batter, and fried in the grease pit called a fryer? Those cookers have never contained zero-trans fat anything, and I doubt the grease has been cleaned during the entire event, and we were there the next-to-last day. No, thanks. I’ll pass on the “treats.” My mind was tuned to the thought of some lamb. Mmmmm. I like lamb.

The adult food is stationed next to the petting zoo. Nice and sanitary. That’s where you’ll find the pit beef, pork stuff, burgers, turkey legs, chicken parts, and the lamb. There are sanitation stations nearby, and there is the assumption the “chefs” are keeping their appendages clean. One would hope. The food is cooked, even though there’s no guarantee once it’s in the “keep it hot” containers the temperature is high enough to prevent illness. The servers are using utensils, and some are wearing plastic gloves, in compliance with the lenient Board of Health rules. But, the tongs and gloves are used over and over, without cleaning or changing, so we have to trust the heat is high enough to kill anything living within the grub.

My desire for lamb got the best of me. I cozied up to the stall, paid my $6.50 for a lamb wrap (a Gyro in a spinach wrap, rather than a pita, with less sauce) and devoured it standing, while my wife joined the pit beef line. She did have a bite of my wrap to taste it, but apparently missed the bad part. I inhaled my wrap, because it was falling apart and I was concerned about losing it. She brought her $6.00 pit beef sandwich, along with her $2.00 coke over to a table (she’s more sophisticated than me) and we sat down for a short time. Next to us a couple planted their lard asses, violently shaking the table, and began eating a pile of deep fried Oreos. They were both wearing fanny packs, no doubt stuffed with goodies of some type. The wife used a napkin to sop up the food-lube, and I thought, “To what food group does that belong?

We left the fair after a couple of hours playing Hop Scotch with critter feces, and seeing most of the livestock. I have to admit the babies are adorable, when there are a few. I see cows when passing a Chick-fil-A, pigs in any Walmart, chickens in the supermarket, and sheep when trying to go to sleep, so I don’t need to go to the fair. But, the tickets were free. Fun, fun, fun.

This was the beginning of a truly horrifying experience that was developing in my innards unbeknown to me. I’ve written posts about Parasitic Friends and pandemics One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but the two guys being given birth, although not considered the source of a pandemic, definitely are not friends. They were intent on mischief and evil.

That evening everything seemed fine. No problems. The next morning (Labor Day) my wife fixed a nice breakfast, which I enjoyed with a few cups of coffee. Still going well. Then around noon I started feeling a bit queasy as the incubation was beginning. I laid down for a nap, skipped lunch and reluctantly anticipated the rib steaks we were to have for dinner. I lounged around on the couch, dozing off occasionally, while trying to watch TV. Eventually dinner was ready, I had a few bites of the steak, wrapped it up as leftovers and went to bed. This was about 7:00; very early to retire for me.

Tuesday morning appeared to be a normal beginning. I felt a little under the weather, but not enough to stay home from work, so I got ready, had some breakfast, packed a lunch and headed to the office. There were a couple of bouts in the mid-morning with bathroom visits, but not an unusual number of sittings for me. Things seemed on par with daily life. At noon I had my sandwich at my desk, all the while feeling a bit groggy, attributing it more to age than illness. Around 2:00, the “boys” took over as I rushed to the latrine, in a state of emergency. I was feeling downright funky. After returning to my office, I packed up my things and left without saying anything to anyone, because I was feeling putrid. I drove home, clenching all the way, and made it to the potty (think Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber). My dog was sitting outside the door because I had not properly greeted her upon my entrance. Little did I know at the time, she was in for a lengthy stay with Daddy. I changed into my home clothes and laid on the couch for a nap, and Holly joined me.

The “boys” made it impossible to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time without a bathroom rush. I was popping generic Imodium like mints, but no relief was given. Eventually I read the label and realized the limit is four per day. Eight had already been consumed on Tuesday. The pill popping had to stop. It wasn’t working, anyway. I was drinking G2, Powerade Zero and water in “beer bong-style” gulps, hoping not to become too dehydrated, but it seemed nothing could stop the assault on my body. The exhaustion was overwhelming and frankly I thought I was dying. It continued into Wednesday.

Wednesday morning the first thing on my mind was Gene Upshaw (not to mention the wallpaper in the bathroom), who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Sunday, August 17th and died on Wednesday, August 20th. He was only five years older than me, so I was worried I might be next. The difficulty I was experiencing was worse than any other episode in the past. What little time I could muster to stay awake was used to delete files on my computer and organize my passwords for my survivors. The same routine (by now it was routine) from the previous day continued into Thursday.

Thursday morning I called my doctor’s office and they were able to fit me in at 4:00. By the time I arrived for the appointment, I was sweating profusely. The intervals were now about every hour, so I didn’t have an emergency situation in her office. While I was signing in, practically laying my head on the counter, the receptionist made sure I had my $10 co-pay. “No problem, I’ll give you my house for a cure.” After examination, “Doc” surmised it was something I ate, and she gave me a lab form to get the vials for samples. On the form she wrote the word Giardia, which at the time made no sense to me. I asked if there was anything she could give me to halt the deluge, but she said not until it is determined what was attacking me. So, I obediently went to the lab, got the necessary equipment (eight vials) and returned home to continue my suffering.

About 3:00 AM Friday morning I collected the samples, and started searching on the Internet for Giardia. It is such a common parasite, I’m surprised I had escaped its wrath until now. Based on my symptoms I self-diagnosed that my doctor’s suspicion was correct. Since she couldn’t prescribe anything, the Imodium wasn’t doing the trick, and a large cork was out of the question, I searched for natural remedies. Goldenseal Root and Garlic were mentioned in several different articles. After making my lab delivery around 10:00 AM, I mosied on over to GNC and bought a bottle of Goldenseal Root for $15.99 and Odorless Garlic for $12.99. And guess what? By Saturday morning, I started feeling better. Now, many of you may think it just ran its course. Everything I read indicates Giardiasis untreated lasts about two – three weeks. I’m convinced I “nipped it in the butt” with a natural remedy.

Here‘s the best part. My doctor called me on Wednesday — which was five days after dropping off the samples — to give me the results. “Which do you want first, the good news, or the bad news.” she joked. “I guess the bad news,” I replied. “Well, you have two things, Giardia and Clostridium difficile (C. diff).” I knew about Giardia because I had just researched it, but the other condition was puzzling. “So, what’s the good news?” I asked. “We have one pill that can get rid of them both,” she said. “If you were older the C. diff could have been an even more serious problem. And you must have gotten both from the State Fair.” C. diff is sometimes rampant in hospitals among older patients. I guess I was lucky. Now, I’m taking Metronidazole three times a day for ten days.

The next time you want to attend a fair to see cute and cuddly animals, keep in mind the possibility of illness. I probably won’t go again, but if we are fortunate enough to get free tickets, I’m going shopping for a new outfit. Since this fair cost me $42.48 net (plus time off from work), I’ll have to factor in the cost of the new clothes for the next event.

I should’ve had baked fish.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

September 13, 2008 at 6:32 am

One Flu Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

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My wife and I were sitting on the couch the other evening watching TV. When I got up to get a soda, she noticed what appeared to be a blister on my butt. Immediately I screamed, “Oh no!! It’s Smallpox! It’s Bubonic Plague! I’m gonna die!!!” It turned out to be just a contact lens we thought was lost forever.

My panic attack was probably caused by just having watched Episode 6 of Season I of Deadwood, which was dedicated to the Smallpox epidemic that swept through the town during its infancy, not to mention a general fear of dying from one of the Pandemics we seem to hear so much about these days.

My intention is not to ridicule the seriousness of various ailments in our history. The Black Death killed more than 25,000,000 human beings throughout Europe from 1347 – 1352; an average of 5,000,000 a year, which was 1/3 of the population. One of every three people someone knew at the time keeled over. That’s kind of scary, and kept the Cadaver Patrol quite busy. It is estimated that worldwide up to 50,000,000 people expired from the Spanish Flu of 1918. Probably more people died from that outbreak than smoking. The Asian Flu of 1957-58 caused the death of more than 70,000 in the US. Asian Flu is still around, but hasn’t circulated in humans since 1968. That means if it reels it’s ugly head again, no one under 40 is immune. Pandemics are devastating. Many people die, and many more become seriously ill.

What should we do? Wash our hands more often? Kill our neighbors if they seem ill (or are mowing on our side)? Wear a surgical mask 24 hours a day? What? My suggestion is just “Go with the flow.”

I’m not picking up any dead birds on the street. And, I’m not planning to pal around with any sick chickens (we still don’t know why they cross the road). Avian Flu is real and the most troubling strains start within fowl. My precautions are warranted, because our feathered friends are here on earth to kill us all. Influenza A viruses use wild birds as their host. Unless the virus undergoes Antigenic Shift it is harmless to humans. When it mutates we are at risk.

How many of you get a flu shot every year? And how many of you who felt immune got sick, anyway? I’d venture to guess more than should, considering we tend to believe the innoculation is the shield. Is it really? The immunization contains three strains of flu to protect you. Influenza genes are composed of RNA, rather than DNA, and are more prone to mutation than DNA. When Antigenic Drift occurs after the vaccination, it is ineffective.

Personally, I don’t trust science over viruses. Germs, squiggly things and potentially deadly microorganisms have been around longer than humans, and their ability to adapt to hostile threats is far more superior than our own. Birds evolved from dinosaurs; they were here first. We can’t win.

I just hope Home Depot carries plastic bubbles big enough to cover my house.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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What’s That In Your Pocket?

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Now, don’t snicker when you read this. I’m here to discuss a serious matter. It’s not the end of the world, but to some men it may seem that way. Macho no mo’ is not a reason to jump off a bridge, or drive your car into a wall. There is hope. You can get assistance from several sources. Medication is available; although it’s quite expensive. And, not covered by Health Care plans. They consider it a luxury drug, meant to solve a luxury-less problem; unnecessary in the eyes of those determining what to allow. They’re probably not getting any, so it doesn’t matter to them. Spending all their waking moments finding ways to deny coverage leaves little time for romance.

Research indicates there are several causes of libido malfunction: smoking; diabetes; high cholesterol; too much alcohol (when was the last time you were drunk and the man?); high blood pressure; venous leak; depression; and a tiny wee wee. There are several other reasons, and most likely some yet to be discovered. Basically, any condition causing restricted blood flow can be the culprit. After all, it’s an organ, not a bone.

Much money is being made providing chemical solutions to men suffering from this traumatic experience. The drug companies developed at least three pills, and many herbal enhancements to keep the motor running. There are creams, devices, implants, and other remedies to make it possible for afflicted males to enjoy continued activity with the “love of their life.”

The most interesting, yet frightening remedy is a potential cure based on the venom of an aggressive and extremely deadly creature . . . . the Brazilian wandering spider. Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me to inject poison or any other potentially paralyzing agent into the body for the sake of six or seven minutes of “Oooo, baby, baby” is a bit risky. Pass on the spider toxin. Temporary rigidity isn’t worth chancing permanent paralysis.

If you are having difficulties, and the woman in your life is becoming frustrated with your inability to be her ideal mate, see your doctor or therapist for relief. They’ll gladly give you samples of medication and a prescription. Don’t be embarrassed to ask. The pharmaceutical companies give the samples to the doctor to be handed out. They want you to be hooked on their new miracle drugs. No one is complaining about the cost of the product, because they don’t want to admit they’re users. It’s like the first time a guy thinks of a vasectomy. The thought goes through his head, “Will this be the end? Will I be impotent from this procedure?” Guys have difficulty thinking they are less than virile. Either you take something, or continue making love with a rope.

If you need it, just ask the physician. Maybe they’ll even give you a badge to wear proudly to proclaim your allegiance to taking care of business. It is estimated that 30 million men suffer from this syndrome. During football season it grows to about 40 million. The increase is most likely caused by excess alcohol, over eating, lack of attention, and many other conditions resulting from six months of College and NFL football TV viewing (including preseason games).

Well, I gotta run. The game’s on, and I need to pour a cocktail so I can take this little blue pill. She’s waiting for me, and both should have kicked-in by halftime.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

January 3, 2008 at 5:40 pm

The Quils vs. the New Stuff and How Ice Changed the World

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Have you recently tried to buy any original NyQuil (introduced in 1968) or DayQuil (1974), or the generic brand of the same product? You have to give your name and address, possibly show identification and sign for it; if the store even carries the stuff. Most of it has been replaced with a non-pseudoephedrine containing impostor. If these new products were tested on anyone, I want the phone numbers of those people.

The New Stuff doesn’t work, especially the new NyQuil. They have replaced pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine in DayQuil, because methamphetamine is manufactured by Speed Freaks using pseudoephedrine as a key ingredient. It has been eliminated completely from NyQuil. Now the rest of us have to suffer through severe colds with inadequate medication. We are forced to purchase a lesser product containing phenylephrine so Crank Heads don’t have their faces eaten away by the sores that develop from their addiction. Let’s save them all! It’s the humanitarian thing to do! There are several street names for methamphetamine, including: crank, crystal, meth, ice, speed, glass, and chalk. You can read more about the reasons for the changeover at new stuff.

Original NyQuil worked. It flat out did the job. I could take it at night before going to bed, and wake up feeling myself. With The New Stuff, I wake up feeling like crap. The same goes for original DayQuil. It worked great during the day, when you wanted to avoid drowsiness. They simply removed one of the ingredients, doxylamine succinate, from original NyQuil when producing original DayQuil, which is the antihistamine that makes you sleepy. Both pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are nasal decongestants, but the newly formulated NyQuil doesn’t contain either of them, and the new DayQuil, which does include phenylephrine doesn’t work as well as original DayQuil. NyQuil is now made with acetaminophen, which most people know as the ingredient in Tylenol, dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), and the aforementioned doxylamine succinate. New DayQuil contains all those ingredients except doxylamine succinate, and pseudoephedrine has been replaced by phenylephrine. Confused yet? I am. The final result is we now have another inconvenience caused by illegal activity.

I guess the crystal-meth manufacturers are pretty smart, even though some of them are blowing up their homes making their batches. How do they even extract the pseudoephedrine from the medications to produce their drug? I can’t imagine any of them have degrees in Pharmaceutical Engineering. But, criminals are usually more genius at whatever activity they pursue, than those pursuing them. And, they seem to have more resources to use in their ventures than those assigned to put them out of business.

Apparently the decision was made to stop the manufacture of crank by taking away the source of pseudoephedrine, and give us ineffective products in return. How did we end up being the bad guy? I didn’t ask for the cold. I am sure the criminal minds will figure out a way to produce ice using phenylephrine, Drano, rat poison or whatever people are willing to consume.

Well, I have to run. My cold is killing me . . . . and I need to buy some chalk.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Aging In America

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What exactly is a Boomer? The official designation goes to those individuals born between 1946 and 1964. OK, that’s fine. Although my preference is to think of a Boomer as someone born between 1945 and 1960, I am positive being born in 1950 qualifies.

Many of us were Hippies. Many, many smoked pot (many still do). We watched black and white televisions as children. Leave It To Beaver and Andy Griffith were hilarious (then). Zorro, Johnny Yuma, Superman, Batman, The Cartwrights, and Wyatt Earp were some of our heroes. At our Elementary schools we ate grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup on Fridays. The year 2000 seemed like a fantasy, and we thought 50-years-old was a foot in the grave, with the other foot on a greased ice block. Now 60 is just around the corner. 70 is likely. 80 is not an Impossible Dream. So, where are we now?

Most of us are overweight, with High Cholesterol, HBP, Diabetes, ED, Prostate Cancer, Hormone Therapy, Cataracts, and we walk funny. Our AARP card is drawn like a gun at the movie theaters, hotels, restaurants, or any place we can save a dollar or two. We have angst over our retirement. We feel guilty bitching about our neighbor’s kid’s loud music, yet we still attend Stones concerts. Mowing the lawn is now a chore, rather than a joy as it was when we were new homeowners. Fiber is no longer an afterthought. Having a toilet seat break under the weight of our asses is now an accomplishment (at least we’re going). We were shocked when they started saying “ass” on regular TV. Shopping at Walmart no longer feels like an assault on the local small business (we’ll be vying for the Greeters’ jobs soon).

Now we are “Seniors, Hear Us Roar in Numbers Too Big to Ignore.” The 2008 election is coming, and the Presidential candidates are lining up. They’ll start kissing our behinds and making ridiculous promises they’ll not keep. They will hope we die before they have to deliver. But we are viable numbers, with viable needs. Portability this, Entitlement that. They talk a good game when their jobs are on the line. How’s the new Prescription Drug Plan working for you? Have you been to Canada recently? Have you obtained an online medical evaluation from Almost-A-Doctor so you can buy drugs? Don’t worry, they’ll vow to fix all that. At least up until the Inauguration of January 2009. Then we’re stuck with whichever Loser wins. But aren’t most of the candidates Boomers, too? Shouldn’t they be sympathetic?

I want to be able to off myself if there is no hope of recovery from whatever devastating disease I have in the future. I don’t want a politician standing by my bedside preventing my wife from pulling the plug. What the hell does the politician know about me or any of us? We are a vote or a no vote. That’s it. Sure, they preach they care. But, we know they don’t. When we’re at our Senior Center Dance, maybe they’ll come by to shake our hands, eat a cookie and wiggle their booties to the music . . . . . . . . because there is an election on.

So, let’s all gather ’round for the candidates to give us a big kiss. Some of them will pinch our cheeks. Some of them will slap us on the butts. But, they will all look at us through rose-tinted glasses and wish us well. And beg for our vote. Think carefully about who will get yours.

With Love,

Bake My Fish

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Written by Bake My Fish

February 14, 2007 at 2:00 pm