Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Hit Some Sort of Record . . .

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. . .with the following review I posted after a visit to Sunrise Urology, where I go every four months to have a camera peer into my bladder in search of cancerous growths, which have been spotted and excised twice in the past three years. When none have grown, I undergo chemo therapy for three weeks after each visit.

Apparently hundreds of folks interested in Sunrise Urology have lauded the following.

Sunrise Urology, P…

8/1/18

It’s not easy to like someone who shoves a tube up into your bladder, but Dr. Lin and his team make everything work quickly and as comfortably as possible. ciao

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 24, 2021 at 5:00 am

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All Group Activities Cancelled . . .

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. . . for two weeks at Sunrise of Gilbert in the wake of three COVID-19 quarantines

in the Independent Living wing and reports of other cases elsewhere in the facility along with reports of the rising number of new cases out there in the world.

You could hear a huge sigh of relief whoosh through the building because someone has taken charge. There have been a couple of yowls about the cessation of the free-booze happy hour. But the inmates responded readily to the fact that everybody can do whatever they want, there just aren’t any group activities for this period other than meals in the dining room and bus trips for shopping.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 23, 2021 at 5:00 am

“I’m Allergic to Sex” . . .

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\

. . . I tell those standing around when I have a sneeze attack.

Then, after getting their looks of askance, I explain:

“I was just thinking about it.”

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 14, 2021 at 5:00 am

Posted in Health, Humor / Quote

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A Simple Torture . . .

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. . . has been devised by my urologist.

Once a a week, he places me in the hands — literally — of a pleasant young lady who proceeds to jam a tube up into my bladder to fill it with a half-cupful of a tuberculosis vaccine that also combats bladder cancer. Rather than put up with my screams in their office, I am told to go home and hold the caustic solution for at least an hour but no longer than two hours and to make sure I pour bleach into the toilet bowl right after I empty my bladder —

but no estimate on how many days he expects me to scream when I pee.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 13, 2021 at 5:00 am

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Coffee Worth the Break

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Coffee breaks are being recognized as more than just a brief respite from work.

Caffeine can be good for you.

Moderation matters in all corners of our lives but up to three cups a day can be healthy.

Critics warn that caffeine dehydrates your system, increases hypertension and the risk of heart attack, cuts down on your ability to sleep, is linked to gout attacks, raises blood pressure, and brings on anxiety, heartburn and stomach problems.

While coffee fans admit much of this may be true, there’s a growing list of benefits for those who drink coffee.

Surprisingly, it’s been discovered that an eight-ounce cup of java contains more disease-fighting antioxidants than a regular serving of oranges or blueberries.

Coffee drinkers reportedly have a lower risk of such chronic conditions as diabetes and heart disease as well as less cognitive decline as they age.

Researchers have found that seniors who have as many as four cups of coffee a day cut in half their risk of heart disease compared with those who take in less caffeine.

Medical experts point out caffeine interacts with many medications so go over your list of prescriptions and supplements with your primary care physician to make sure coffee is compatible.

Among the benefits being attributed to coffee is the ability to relieve a headache as well as protecting the liver and offering defense against strokes and cancer of the mouth and throat.

Coffee drinkers who get agitated or jittery after too many cups of coffee have found that drinking decaf soothes the nerves while providing the same benefits.

Cutting back on the milk and sugar also limits your calorie intake. If coffee straight doesn’t suit your taste, try adding such flavor enhancers as cinnamon that not only improve the taste but add healthy benefits of their own.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 20, 2021 at 5:00 am

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Traipsing Through Space Could Keep us Healthy

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Space exploration could be good for our health.

While it might be of faint benefit to you, the health and wellbeing of your great-great-great kids could depend on it.

It has to do with the fate of planet Earth and its residents. Will climate change make it unlivable? Will the globe become overcrowded with people? Will viruses and other critters overpower humans?

A means of escape and a place to escape to already are being explored as the road to survival for the human race.

The media has been treating upper-space flights by Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon founder and ex-CEO Jeff Bezos as fun-filled fillips of flabillionaires. But these gravity-beating sorties by far-seeing individuals may be giving us a pee into what will save mankind.

The United Arab Emirates’ Hope reached its Mars orbit in February and is man’s first mission to study the possibility of humans living on another planet. Chinese and U.S. orbiters joined it shortly that. They’re collection of data to determine if it’s feasible to colonize the red planet is more than mere curiosity.

Extinctions have barraged the earth a handful of times, the last occurring some 65 million years ago after a giant asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico resulting in a catastrophic wipe-out of half of all marine organisms and a major chunk of land creatures, including the dinosaurs. There’s no certainty that a similar event can’t happen again.

Mr. Musk argues for making life multiplanetary to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something similar was to happen again.

“We need to get to Mars as quickly as possible,” he said, “to establish a base.” But he doesn’t expect us to stop there.

“One does not simply hopscotch to the stars on a whim,” he said. “It will take decades, if not centuries, to progress. We need to start now.”

The process actually began back in the ‘50s when the Russians launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. 

In the meantime, we enjoy a bundle of health benefits spawned by the space race. They include the development of memory foam mattresses and pillows that help us sleep better, more comfortable sneakers that ease pressure on legs and feet, and scratch-resistant lenses that keep our glasses clear so we can see better and avoid falling.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 18, 2021 at 7:15 pm

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Urban Sprawl May be Harmful to Your Health

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By Cecil Scaglione

Walking, which has been called the best exercise investment, can be helped or hampered by where you live.

While it costs nothing, can be done anywhere at any time, and requires no special equipment – except, perhaps, for a good pair of sturdy shoes – your environs could be less than walking-friendly.

If you live in a sprawling community, you’re more likely to weigh more, have higher blood pressure, and walk less than residents of more congested counties, according to an American Journal of Health Promotion report.

A research team from the National Center for Smart Growth indicated there is a strong association between your health and urban environment, which is of serious concern to older residents.

After accounting for such personal variables as age and education, they found residents of the most compact counties weighed more than five pounds less and walked almost 1 ½ hour more a month than people living in sprawling counties.

The team gathered information from more than 200,000 people living in almost 450 counties in more than 80 metropolitan regions. The areas were graded on their levels of sprawl based on factors such as the density of its residential neighborhoods, connections between roads, and the physical separation of homes, shops and workplaces.

Poor accessibility was the common denominator of urban sprawl — nothing within easy walking distance of anything else.

Those who say they have safe, convenient places to walk or to get other forms or exercise are most likely to be physically active, said a team of Georgia Department of Human Resources researchers.

Increasing the number of desirable location destinations within a 20-minute-walk radius might encourage older women — the least active population segment – to exercise, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Older women in the Pittsburgh region who lived within walking distance of a biking or walking trail, park, or department, discount or hardware store logged significantly more walking time than those who did not have similar facilities nearby.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

October 2, 2021 at 9:48 am

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A Disease That Sneaks up on You

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By Tom Morrow

Historically speaking, a 19th century malady that is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society is Parkinson’s Disease.

PD is thought to occur primarily with the elderly. That’s not necessarily always the case. There are no easy explanations and it can hit the young.

Males are more often affected than females at a ratio of around 3 to 2. When it is seen in people younger than the age of 50, it is called “early-onset Parkinson’s.”

I was 75 when I was diagnosed.

When young people like actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammed Ali, and singer Linda Ronstadt are afflicted, the age factor sort of goes out the window. Fox was 27 when he was diagnosed. Ali was 38 and Ronstadt was 67. Older victims such as well-known actor Alan Alda are more commonplace.PD is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor nerves. The symptoms usually emerge slowly, and as the disease worsens, non-motor symptoms become more common. The most obvious early symptoms are tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking and keeping balanced.

By 2015, it was estimated PD affected more than 6 million people and resulted in about 117,400 deaths globally. The average life expectancy following diagnosis is between seven and 15 years.

The cause of PD is unknown but both inherited and environmental factors are believed to play a role. Those with a family member affected by PD are at an increased risk of getting the disease, with certain genes known to be inheritable risk factors. Other risk factors are those who have been exposed to certain pesticides and those who have had head injuries. Cognitive and behavioral problems also may occur with many victims suffering from depression, anxiety and apathy. Dementia can become commonplace in the advanced stages of PD. 

Boxers, such as Ali, and those sports figures who have sustained a number of blows to head often have developed PD. Football players often are victims.

Football organizations at all levels lately have established a number of rules and procedures to minimize head trauma.

Those suffering with Parkinson’s also can have problems with their sleep and sensory systems. The motor symptoms of the disease result from the dead cells in the mid-brain leading to a dopamine deficit. The cause of this cell death is not very well understood. Diagnosis of typical PD cases is usually based on symptoms when motor skills difficulties are the patient’s chief complaint.

The bad news is that there still is no known cure for PD.

For those of us with PD, treatment can reduce the effects of the symptoms. Initial treatment is done typically with medications such as levodopa or dopamine agonists. As the disease progresses, experience has shown these medications become less effective.

Actor Fox has greatly increased the public awareness of the disease. After diagnosis, Fox embraced his Parkinson’s in television roles, sometimes acting without medication to further illustrate the effects of the condition. He has appeared before Congress without medication to illustrate the effects of the disease. The Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to develop a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

Professional cyclist and Olympic medalist Davis Phinney, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s at age 40, started the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2004 to support PD research, focusing on quality of life for people with the disease.

Boxer Ali showed signs of PD when he was 38, but was not diagnosed until he was 42. He has been called the “world’s most famous Parkinson’s patient.” There continues to be debate on whether he actually had PD caused from boxing.

At the time of his suicide in 2014, actor-comedian Robin Williams had been diagnosed with PD.

A physician initially assesses PD with a careful medical and neurological history. Focus is put on confirming motor symptoms and supporting tests with clinical diagnostic criteria being discussed by a physician and PD specialist.

Multiple causes often mimic PD, making it look similar to the disease. Stroke, certain medications, and toxins can cause “secondary parkinsonism” and need to be thoroughly and properly assessed. Parkinson-plus syndromes, such as progressive palsy and multiple system atrophy, should be considered and ruled out appropriately due to different treatment and disease progression.

For those losing their motor skills, such as walking and difficulties in keeping balance, swallow your pride and use a walker both indoors and out. The results of a bad fall can be worse than any disease.

The above information on PD is just that … information. It is a complex disease and should be thoroughly discussed with your physician and a PD specialist to make sure you get the correct information and treatment.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 16, 2021 at 1:19 pm

The ALS Journey

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Imagine a slope.

You’re standing on it. But something’s wrong.

You’re sliding. You try to dig in your toes and your heels. You try to walk backwards or to turn around and get back up. But you keep sliding.

You don’t feel any texture, you just keep sliding. You’re in total blackness. There is no light. There is no breeze or draft or odor. You’ve never been here before.

You can’t see where the slide bottoms out. You can’t see if it levels off. Or if it undulates up and down.

And you keep sliding.

You realize there’s someone beside you. “Are you OK,” you ask.

The response is quite close. It’s a bit slurred. Like a person who just tumbled out of bed. Or has had a bit too much to drink.

You touch an arm and follow it down to the wrist and hand. The hand accepts yours. It feels cool and smooth — a bit like metal — but it’s soft and flaccid. Instead of gripping your clasp, it sort of shakes it to let you know it’s there.

You’re still sliding. Both of you. You don’t know how fast. You start wondering if you’re going to bump into or trip over anything.

There’s a sound you don’t recognize. Their hand slips out of yours.

“Are you OK,” you ask. “Yesshh,” you hear. It’s still close but the source seems somewhere.

You reach out and around and touch an arm. You try to help them stand up but there’s no cooperating strength or self-help.

“Can you stand up,” you ask. You’re told they can’t feel their feet and their legs won’t move.

You keep on sliding.

Then you hear coughcoughcoughcoughcough khaaaccccch coughcoughcoughcough. You reach out to help but you can’t reach them. You didn’t realize it but they’ve slid somewhere out of reach. There’s nothing you can do.

You both just keep on sliding. The coughing is sliding with you.

Then you hear a different sound – short gasps. “Ican’tbreatheIcan’tbreathe” they’re trying to shout but they start to choke. It sounds like they have a plastic bag tied over their head.

Your foot hits something so you reach down to pick it up. It’s feels like a sandwich. Food. It smells like ham and cheese.

Then there’s a new sound. “I…can’t…swa…llow.” You feel guilty but you have to eat. It’s difficult to push it through that knot in your stomach. You have to stay strong to try to help them.

And you keep on sliding and sliding and slid…

 

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 17, 2018 at 8:56 am

Bev’s Being Battered . . .

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Finally getting back to work on this venue after being blocked out by some cyberspace quirk. Had to use Beverly’s email address in settling for whoknowswhat reason so anyone responding to messages will have to do it on this site or address it to cecilscag@gmail.com.

Much has happened since we were cut off from posting last December.

The most devastating has been the medical blows landing on Beverly.

It all began early this year when a neurologist diagnosed three possible problems for her rapid loss of motor facilities: a neurological disease, cancer and/or ALS. Specialists were recommended and visited.

The first diagnosis was cancer in her left breast and two malignant tumors in her spine. Bone-building IV every four weeks was initiated immediately and radiation and chemotherapy were both prescribed. Bev started a five-days-a-week radiation treatment for three weeks and the thousands-of-dollars’-a-month’s worth of chemotherapy medication was arranged without cost through the efforts of a patient advocate/support worker at the cancer clinic.

Both prescriptions were disastrous.

The radiation launched a serious coughing problem that racked her for hours and hours and still attacks out of nowhere. After her ninth of 15 scheduled sessions, she told the doctor she wasn’t taking anymore, and why. She also told the oncologist she was dropping the chemo medication because it made her sicker.

By this time, she also was diagnosed with ALS so both doctors (radiologist and oncologist) agreed with her so her life will be more comfortable. She’s still getting the IV every four weeks and has blood drawn monthly to monitor the progress of Lou Gehrig’s disease. All we can do is try slowing it down and help her maintain some level of comfort.

She was told she probably has had ALS for the past half-dozen years, leading family members to speculate on whether or not she needed the spinal surgery that was performed in San Diego to stop the deteriorating use of her right arm and hand. A possible trigger was son Ross’ death.

She now uses a walker and no longer drives. Through contacts made at the first of her quarterly clinics with the ALS doctor, she has received a transport wheelchair, toilet support bars and large-handled eating utensils from the ALS Association. A doctor’s prescriptions also got her a respiratory machine to assist her breathing and we’ve yet to make an appointment to get fitted for toe braces prescribed to keep her toes lifted so she doesn’t trip and fall, which would be crippling.

We’re also talking with home-care workers and hospice/palliative care organizations to identify pathways to take as the unknown continues to happen. The ALS Ass’n is scheduled to deliver a power chair this week so she can get around more easily.

Despite being unable to perform such everyday actions as driving five minutes to visit the grandkids and opening bottles of water, she still erupts into her solar smile when someone calls or her favorite horse wins.

Her birthday was June 6 and she had a good day opening a pile of cards, phone-chatting with new and long-time friends, swapping plans with daughter Heather who came to visit and then elevatoring downstairs for dinner that ended with balloons, a cake and sing-along greeting.

 

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 15, 2018 at 7:59 am