21 February 2014

Meniere's Disease

“Eggs, milk, chocolate – it’s what’s for dinner,” my fb friend posted with a link; he should know.
WD’s repost, 7 Foods Experts Said Were Bad For Us Turned Out To Be Healthy is @ AlterNet. I didn’t know AlterNet. They say it’s, 
an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources. AlterNet’s aim is to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.
“Everything bad is now declared good and everything good is now to be utterly discarded!”, reposted fb Kristoph to WD.
For my part? I’m growing into my imagined dotage ~ Please, ma'am, wipe the drool from my mouth for me? ~ I re-post fb WD to say, “Not any more.” 
When my ENT, Dr. Leslie B----, K-town, TN, recommended I take a diuretic, triamterene-HCTZ, I was reluctant and she said, “Salt is in everything,” with charming understatement. And of course I thought, I know. My blood pressure is low and no history of heart disease in me or my family and I’ve been fortunate I could shovel in all the salt I want and I’m fortunate I’ve never had serious dietary concerns to require sustained changes.
Salt, sodium chloride (NaCI), which I now must manage, is target #1 for directly alleviating 2 of 3 Meniere’s Disease symptoms. These two are unceasing. Tinnitus is incessant. Ballooning pressure, it's locus at the inner ear, is ever persistent and manageable. My 4 episodes of vertigo still elude linear narrative sense. Sodium Chloride (NaCI) is in EVERYTHING in big-process food production chains and products; I imagine each product extruded. Dr. Leslie B----, of K-town, TN, I sense you recognize, name, and diagnose symptoms more frequently than anyone can imagine. I’m sorry for my reluctance in the face of your recommendation. I’m thankful for your Rx.
Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1991 Aug; 10(4):383-393.
I started label reading. Milk? I love skim milk. All milk, except from her udder to your mouth milk, contains some NaCI. It’s added. NaCI is 5%, 120 mg, of the daily-recommended intake (DRI) in 8-ozs of my big box store’s private label skim milk. Whole milks can be as high as 15%. I really like loca-vore organic vanilla ice cream. I don’t yet wanna know it’s compounded, for me, NaCI content. But chocolate? I love chocolate sauce. I recommend Santa Cruz ORGANIC Chocolate flavored syrup. One serving of it, 2 Tbsps. according to its label, contains 15mg of NaCI, 1% of NaCI’s DRI. Yum. Yum. It’s tasty.

In my Meniere’s case all big-process cured meat products are out. Excellent loca-vore cured meats produced in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, which I’ve enjoyed, are my worst triggers. The sensation of ballooning pressure in my inner ear as a my-hand-to-my-mouth-to-my-ear experience, as a result of NaCI intake, directly links 2 of 4 incapacitating & costly vertigo events. Vertigo is the 3rd symptom of Meniere’s. For some Meniere’s patients vertigo is ever present. I’d never experienced vertigo. I was terrified and I don’t recommend it and I don’t want the experience again.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
To help lower blood pressure, experts recommend that people consume fewer than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day—about the amount found in a teaspoon of salt. People with high blood pressure should aim for 1,500 milligrams.
I say NIH recommendation is high and it’s a free country and 1500 mgs is more like it. According to Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco,
“A very modest decrease in the amount of salt (only 3 grams, about ½ a tsp.)... can have dramatic health benefits.”
I’d be wise to give salt up.

08 February 2014

'Nite Prayers

There’re times when I fear to go to sleep; most often I’m not; but at times, yes. Vertigo and Meniere’s Disease have recalled this within me. I awoke in extreme vertigo and it was costly. Dread wells up within me, within my soul. Yes, I do have a soul, and I tell each of you I know you have a soul. And I worked decades to name it, that is, my soul, and my dread. It’s emptiness and useless unless I do name it; name it and claim it and someone can help you name it and no one can do it for you. My living and being has not removed my experiences memory.
Claire Filipone, my aupair, taught me early and well, though her leading me was early in my experience and was just as natural as our nightly tender bedtime ritual for any little one. Claire nailed a haloed Mary glow-in-the-dark icon to the wall near me and I could see haloed Blessed Virgin Mary in my darkness, which kept me, on one side, from rolling out of my bed. In time my desire was linked to my Roman Catholic 1st Communion and hence to continue to my Roman Catholic Confirmation. Prayer memorizing and recitation was the outward and verbal sign of the sufficient inner grace to progress to & through these rites. My little boy pilgrim’s progress I took seriously, though, again, I was unconscious of this. I sensed my father and mother thought them valuable. In reality they were the only rites of passage my two parents insisted upon and attended with me.
I was nervous at my 1st Communion and when the wafer, the Body of Christ, was placed on my outstretched tongue by a resplendently arrayed priest at the altar rail within the grandeur of St. Thomas Roman Catholic Church and backed by so many well-wishers seated behind me, I heaved up Christ, barely keeping Him in my clamped mouth and swallowed again and heaved again and swallowed again. I was a horrified little pilgrim. I could barely sip His Blood. I had no sense anyone noticed. I never spoke of this to my father and mother in my dread and my shame and my horror of upchucking Jesus and His Blood would’ve displeased them. Now I feel my experience hilarious… and my dread is real but small and lurks in the dark, sometimes, as I breathe in and breathe out and watch my thoughts turn into images and I go into my sleep. It's rare for me to not sleep.
Dread is natural and not rare enough and I still use my ‘nite prayers.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
 hallowed be thy Name,
 thy kingdom come,
 thy will be done,
 on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our trespasses,
 as we forgive those who trespass against us.
 And lead us not into temptation,
 but deliver us from evil.
 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
 for ever and ever,  Amen.
Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death,  Amen. 
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest
 all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who are
 all-good and deserving of all my love.
 I firmly resolve, with the help of
 Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin,  Amen.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
 I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
 If I should die before I wake,
 I pray the Lord my soul to take,  Amen.
I like these prayers and its rare to not sleep.

03 February 2014


Dad, Mom, Tara, Tom, & Bill, West Hartford, CT., 1952
Maybe my Father liked squirrels; I’m not so sure. He mythologized Jerry Squirrel bedtime stories; sat on the edge of my bed and while he rubbed my back and whispered Jerry had seen me do such and such and I drifted into sleep. So for his little #2 son, numerating a la Charlie Chan style, my dad knew what I’d done. Jerry Squirrel was his informant. I saw squirrels everywhere ‘round my High Farms Road house so Jerrys stories were natural.

I grew into the #1 pet caregiver: cat, dog, another cat, hamster, canaries, guinea pig, Easter chick, and the final Easter rabbit. Harvey Rabbit grew large in his wire cage and we gave Harvey Rabbit to Horace The Negro Man my mother used and my father swirling his scotch and water and ice in his highball tumbler joked Horace The Negro Man made Harvey Rabbit stew. My father was a story teller swirling his scotch and water and ice in his bucket glass.
I caught a baby squirrel with my homemade shoebox-stick-string-food trap. I picked Jerry up and he bit me! Dropped ‘im, right away, shock bolting though me. Hmmmm, odd, just now I feel that, sweat bustin’ out in my armpits. I just saw Jerry, trapped Jerry, befriended Jerry, kept Jerry, my pet Jerry. I don’t think my father taught me how to trap Jerry. I know my furry memory smeared hope shock betrayal disappointment quick so fast ran away. Someone, probably an au pair, less likely my mother, tended my bit bloody finger. Jerry’s control didn’t.
According to #1’s legend, my father liked to put a number on everything. “Put a number on it,” I imagine his command, said #1 son about our father as #1 & #2 ruminated. I never heard this from him, but I sense its probable #1 did. It resonates his memorial verisimilitude and more so for #1’s desire to recall the father whom he created and felt and needed. “Put a number on it,” was my father though. It was early ‘60’s big-manufacturing quantitative he wrestled and squeezed from green eyeshade Delco Products people. Now in my ‘60’s I can sense he was so unhappy. He was too extroverted for those green eyeshade & armbands, calculating sort of things. Generous Motors, what my father called General Motors, retired him. He was lost.

My father lived his sobriety and invested Generous Motors promise. He gave what he knew and I gave just enough… to feel what I already knew and could see while my father gave.