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Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Today was the last day of the season for our neighborhood (outdoor) pool.  We’ve lived in the area since 2000 and I’ve never used the pool more than a dozen times in a single year.  Most years, it’s been less than five times.  Most years it’s been zero.  At any rate, I told myself: “Once I’ve retired, I’m going to use the pool.”  Well, this year I’ve been 94 times and only once was for less than an hour.  The vast majority of times I’ve only been treading water for the hour and then (maybe) doing a few lengths to stretch out at the end.  The last month, I’ve done breast stroke for the hour – almost exclusively.  I must admit I’ve really enjoyed both the treading and the breast stroke.  And now I’m looking forward to next year and hoping for a mild spring so the pool can open in early / mid-May…  Maybe next year I’ll learn how to free-style…
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On This Day In:
2017 And Some Of Us Have Books
2016 I See No Proof
2015 Whither Tea Party?
2014 Nothing Is Known Absolutely
2013 Decoration Time
2012 The Beatitudes
2011 Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
2010 Back On The Asphalt
No Sweep – Rangers Win Game 3 by 4 to 2
Greek Myths For Kids
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Today is the last day of my first year of retirement!
Things I’ve Learned:
1)  You need more money up front than you think.  Because of the way Social Security, retirement plans and private savings are set up, there is a “substantial” delay between when you retire and when you start getting your money on a regular basis.  In my case, I couldn’t make up my mind how much to draw down my personal / private savings until after I got my final payment figure from SSA.  This meant pulling in our belts more than expected (for a few months) until I felt comfortable making this decision – and then waiting for it to kick in and start paying.  Everyone’s situation will be different, but I saved four months of “working” net pay to cover the expenses and I probably would have been more comfortable if I had been able to save up six.
2)  Make sure you can cover your health care expenses!  This out of pocket expense has been significantly more than I estimated.  I made sure to cover the cost of insurance and prescriptions and a “normal” amount of routine visits.  I didn’t “really” budget for trips to the ER, colonoscopies, cancer surgeries, … and the list goes on.  This will remain a cost I will have to constantly monitor until we get a “real” national healthcare system which covers medical, dental and vision.  You know – all of “health”.  For us, this probably means Medicare when we turn 65 in a couple of years.
3)  You need to get organized and then try to stick with a flexible plan.  Even with all day, every day, if you aren’t eating the elephant one bite at a time, big jobs on the “honey-do” list will get away from you.  Most stuff is day to day, but you need to allocate time to longer term goals and what you want accomplished or they will drift and just not get done.
4)  It always ends up being more complicated than what / how you learn to do it on YouTube.  And usually more expensive, too…  Sometimes, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and pay a professional.  Do your retirement budget a favor and pay to get it done before you retire.
5)  It takes longer to adjust to a “non-work” schedule than you think.  I thought my body would adapt to a different sleep pattern within a couple of weeks.  WRONG.  It’s been twelve months and I’m still adjusting.  Sure, I can stay up later now, but that doesn’t get things done the following morning when you sleep in to make up for it.
6)  I wanted to read more books, learn to play an instrument, learn basic fluency in a foreign language and get in better shape (lose weight).  I am sleeping more.  I’ve lost weight and I’m getting more exercise.  I’m reading fewer books, because I’m on the computer a LOT more.  No progress on music or a foreign language.  (See #3 above…)
7)  Relax, smell the roses, and have a cuppa’…   About six weeks into my retirement (last November), I had to go into the ER / hospital to get my heart stopped and restarted due to my AFib.  So, once again I’ve been reminded I’m living on borrowed time.  (Hence the more sleep and trying to lose weight.)  It felt so un-natural to not have to get up for work, I think I let that (by itself) stress me out.  Now, I really am trying to take it a bit easier and settle into “being” retired.  LOL…  I think it might take me another two or three years, but I’m determined to get better at it.
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On This Day In:
2017 First Day Of Retirement!
2016 Revere And Criticize
2015 Global Climate Change May Test This Statement
2014 Adaptability Won
2013 Disappeared
2012 Fuller
Life On The Range
More Classics
2011 Stoned Again?
2010 Insubordination… And That’s Why I Love Her!
Losing – Week One

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Yesterday I went to the hospital for an Electrocardiogram (ECG) in preparation for my Lithotripsy today.  Basically, I need to have a kidney stone reduced in size so I can (less) painfully pass it / them.  The following is a description of the today’s procedure and is taken from the John Muir Hospital web site…

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Passing a kidney stone can be very painful.  Shock wave lithotripsy is a treatment that helps by breaking the kidney stone into smaller pieces that are easier to pass.  This treatment is also called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).  Lithotripsy takes about an hour.  It’s done in a hospital, lithotripsy center, or mobile lithotripsy van.  You will likely go home the same day.  This treatment is not used for all types of kidney stones.  Your healthcare provider will discuss whether this is the right treatment for the type of stone you have.
Image of Kidney during Lithotripsy
Energy waves strike the stone, which begins to crack.
The stone crumbles into tiny pieces.

During the procedure

• You get medicine to prevent pain and help you relax or sleep during lithotripsy.  Once this takes effect, the procedure will start.
• A flexible tube (stent) with holes in it may be placed into your ureter, the tube that connects the kidney and the bladder.  This helps keep urine flowing from the kidney.
• Your healthcare provider then uses X-ray or ultrasound to find the exact location of the kidney stone.
• Sound waves are aimed at the stone and sent at high speed.  If you’re awake, you may feel a tapping as they pass through your body.

After the procedure

• You’ll be closely watched in a recovery room for about 1 to 3 hours.  Antibiotics and pain medicine may be prescribed before you leave.
• You’ll have a follow-up visit in a few weeks.  If you received a stent, it will be removed.  Your healthcare provider will also check for pieces of stone.  If large pieces remain, you may need a second lithotripsy or another procedure.

Possible risks and complications

• Infection
• Bleeding in the kidney
• Bruising of the kidney or skin
• Blockage (obstruction) of the ureter
• Failure to break up the stone (other procedures may be needed)

Passing the stone

It can take a day to several weeks for the pieces of stone to leave your body.  Drink plenty of liquids to help flush your system.  During this time:
• Your urine may be cloudy or slightly bloody.  You may even see small pieces of stone.
• You may have a slight fever and some pain.  Take prescribed or over-the-counter pain medicine as instructed by your healthcare provider.
• You may be asked to strain your urine to collect some stone particles.  These will be studied in the lab.
I had the procedure done twice before back in the 1990’s while I was living in Liverpool, England.  Hopefully, I’m good for another 20 – 25 years.  (LOL)
A big shout-out to the office staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital – Concord, CA, campus!  You were all terrific and I felt VERY well cared for!
I am home and resting comfortably.  And, another shout-out to my lovely wife (Hil) for driving me back and forth and looking after me in my recovery at home!   💖
Just a side note:  my weight at the hospital yesterday was 332lbs.  My weight today (at the hospital) was 330lbs.  2lbs difference.  My weight at home yesterday was: 325lbs.  Today it was 324lbs.  A 1lb difference.  I was wearing virtually the same clothes (shoes, shorts and underwear).  I was wearing a change of underwear, but they were the same types of briefs and V-neck T-shirts.  I just thought this was “interesting”.
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On This Day In:
2017 Never Forget
2016 It’s All Greek To Me (Well, Latin Actually)
2015 Truism
2014 Thank You
2013 Really
2012 Ordinary Five Minutes Longer
2011 The Wealth Of Sons (And Daughters)

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The start of day forty-three…  And I only made it to noon.
Morning weight:  319lbs.  No change…
I am still down “54/61”.  As in, 54lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 61lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started Juice Fast I): 380lbs.  Today’s weight is no change from yesterday when I gained 4lbs from my cheat evening (the night before).
Considering yesterday was the first day I EVER registered over 20 miles in steps (over 45K steps) on my FitBit, I was hoping for some kind of decrease.  But, it was not to be.  In all honesty, while not bloated, I do feel like I’m still retaining fluids from the cheat.  Which is what should happen when you suddenly re-introduce salt and / or sugar into your system.  I did both on Thursday evening.  I guess I just wasn’t able to clear them out enough to register a loss by this morning.
Bottom line:  I’ve decided to end this fast for now.  I’ve fasted for a total of 42 out of the last 43 days on a fast which was meant to be a 7 day fast.  Six weeks!  That’s a continuous fast of 41 days plus one more after my “slip / cheat”.  Eleven days longer than the four other “longest” juice fasts I’ve ever done (all those were “only” 30 days).  So, as Joe Cross would say: “Good on ya, mate!”
Reaction:  I have two main reactions, 1) I feel 10 years younger, and, 2) this evening, after my dinner, as I am writing this, I feel slightly bloated.  I did NOT end according to plan.  The plan was to spend six(6) days easing back into food.  I definitely have NOT done that!  I’ve jumped back in with a big salad for lunch and another big salad for dinner.  For dinner, I also had a sausage, a half cup of rice and a cup of pinto beans.  And I washed it down with 24 ounces of water with lemon slices which had been sitting for 24 hours.  When I say “slightly bloated”, it’s my tummy which is just full enough that I am not hungry, but I’m not stuffed either.
Other notes:  I’ve gone from a 54 inch waist to a 48 inch waist.  I’ve gone from barely being able to touch my two middle fingers behind my back to being able to grab either opposite wrist with the other hand (again, behind the back).  I am comfortable doing 5 to 7 laps (5×25 yards) in the local swimming pool in a nice slow breast stroke with minimal stopping time between turn-arounds.  At the start, I could barely do one lap.
So, what’s next?  Well, this week we are planning to join Costco.  While it is a little farther away and less convenient than Safeway, we believe we’ll be able to get a healthier selection of fruits and veggies at a more reasonable cost (even though we will have to buy substantially more at one time).
That’s takes care of the “sourcing”.  But, what’s the plan, you say?
We are currently planning on a modified Dr. Fuhrman, “Eat To Live” two-week plan.  Week One is hard diet (no meat) and week two is the softer (slower weight-loss) diet (meat is included).  We are flipping the weeks to start: soft and then hard; and then we plan to re-cycle through.  My wife will have whatever she wants since she is not strictly joining me on the diet.  She says she will try to stay with me, but no promises.  I said that’s fine.  Every dinner will be a large fresh salad, a half cup of rice and a cup of beans.  We may also have an optional cooked vegetable depending on her mood.  We may also have optional flesh: meat, poultry or fish.  I can only have 4oz of flesh at any meal.  In lieu of “flesh”, if she is making something else for her meal (usually a pasta and chicken dish), I can have a half cup of that.
Lunch will be a medium salad, a half cup of rice, and a cup of beans.  There may also be “something” for a change.  We are not sure what those somethings will be, but we are leaning towards veggie-patties or maybe a bean / beef / oats burger.  Again, the bulk of any meal should come from the salad and the beans.  I like pinto beans (because that’s what I was raised on), but we will alternate / rotate with black-eyed beans and kidney beans.  We will try to keep the salad different by using the various dressing recipes Dr. Fuhrman provides in his book.
Breakfast will primarily be oatmeal made with water or almond milk.  I will add fruit (dates, blueberries, black berries, strawberries and raisins) and nuts (walnuts and / or almonds) instead of sugar.  I will alternate that with the occasional fruit bowl (melon / mango / strawberries / other berries).
Snacks:  My go to snacks will be fresh fruits (apples and bananas or whatever is seasonal), nuts (walnuts, almonds or cashews), or raw veggies (mainly celery and carrots).
Fluids:  I will also use fruit and veggie juices for snacks.  I will try to drink at least 32oz of water (with a little lemon concentrate) – for my kidney stones, cranberry and pomegranate (again for my kidneys), and black cherry juice (for my arthritis).  I will occasionally also make veggie juices for between meals and for evenings.
Finally, cheats:  I am not “planning” a cheat schedule (yet), but I understand human frailty – particularly my own – so I fully expect a “small” cheat once a week or so and a “large” cheat once a month or so.  I expect this will work out over time and will depend on how much I’m losing and how eliminating salt and sugar from my diet progresses.  I do not feel I can / should completely eliminate salt, because I will still need iodine and electrolytes, but I am going to try really hard to minimize the sugars.  We’ll see…  Day by day.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers.  Namaste!
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On This Day In:
2017 And Second By Second
2016 Bakeries And Coffee Shops
2015 Spirit Not Form
2014 Sometimes Even Kneeling Seems Insufficient
2013 Hobgoblins
2012 Got Sleep?
2011 Not Another Barren Corner

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The start of Juice Fast II…  Day 1.
Morning weight:  319lbs.
I am now down “54/61”.  As in, 54lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 61lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started Juice Fast I): 380lbs.  Today’s weight is a 4lbs increase from yesterday’s 315lbs.  My prediction after my “cheat” yesterday (gain 3lbs) was almost correct.
Today would have been the end of day 42 (6 weeks!) of my juice fast except for my cheat yesterday afternoon / evening.  When I got up, I decided to try to make it a hiccup and just start over.  The immediate goal remains the same:  day by day veggie juice fast with the current short term goal of 310lbs and a medium term goal of 299lbs.  At the moment, the plan is to stop the juice fast at 310lbs and diet to (and beyond) 299lbs.  The real goal remains to change my relationship with food and to get healthier by both a better diet (eating plan – NOT continuous dieting) and to vary my activities to be more active.   To modify the old weight loss axiom:  I need to “eat better and move more“.  If there is a silver lining to this “hiccup” it is there is no more need to count each day from the middle of the day.  I started “today” when I woke up.
I know a man called Michael Finnigan,
He grew whiskers on his chin-igan.
He shaved them off but they grew back in again.
Poor old Michael Finnigan, begin again.
So Day 1…  I begin again.  Day by day and / or 9lbs to go…
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On This Day In:
2017 Good Blogs, Too
2016 My Prediction For #AmnestyDon
2015 Worth A Try
2014 I’m Feeling It
2013 May I Have A Little More, Please?
2012 Increasing Doubt
2011 You Can’t Touch This

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The end of day forty-one and the start of day forty-two…  Not quite.
Morning weight:  315lbs.
I am now down “58/65”.  As in, 58lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 65lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started the fast): 380lbs.  Today’s weight is a 3lbs decrease from yesterday’s 318lbs.  Only four more pounds until I reach the weight I “adjusted” back up from (re-taken ground).
And then I crashed and burned.  (Again, with the “drama queen”?)  My wife had coconut curry last night and had some left-overs in the fridge when I got back from some morning chores.  It was staring me right in the face and I weakened and had two tea spoons.  My God, it tasted soooo good!  The onions, mushroom and small piece of chicken seemed to explode on my taste buds.
And worse was yet to come…  My daughter is running for an elected position (on a community college board) and we were hosting her first “meet and greet” house party for the campaign in our home.  I was good at the kick-off party a few weeks ago, but I lost it today.  Psychologically, there are lots of reasons – in my own home, with family, nibbles (cheese, crackers, salami, and cookies), but the bottom line is exactly what my drill instructor used to repeat to me in Basic Training:  “I will listen to your reasons, but I will not accept your excuses!”  I didn’t go crazy and stuff myself, but over the course of the three hours I had a few samples of each.
And the lesson is: expect weakness and carry a bottle of juice at all times or lay out a portion of veggie finger food (celery, carrots, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes) in case of a weakness of will power.
So now I will need to make a decision if this is going to be the end of the fast and I will transition into a diet tomorrow or if I will get back on the wagon and just consider this a hiccup.  I have enough veggie juice, ginger / mint tea, and watermelon juice to get me through the weekend.  I’m assuming with all the salt and sugar in the various nibbles that I’ll retain at least a couple of pounds of water (plus the weight of the actual solid food), which means I will probably regain the 3lbs I lost from yesterday.  Still it would be nice to reach my short-term goal of 310lbs if not a medium term goal of 299lbs.  The first was the goal I hoped for at the end of this fast and the 299lbs was the next goal I was hoping for from the first few weeks of dieting.
Alfred the Butler (speaking to Bruce Wayne):  “And why to we fall, Master Wayne?  …  So we can learn to get back up, again.
At the end of the day, the thing to remember is the fast (and a specific weight) is not the goal.  The goal is to continue trying to get to a healthier relationship with food so my weight comes down as my health improves.
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On This Day In:
2017 Sharp-Edged Beauty
2016 Start, Keep, Finish
2015 Lifetime Friends
2014 Acknowledgement
2013 Longevity, Tenacity and Diversity
2012 What Reagan Really Cared About
2011 Seeming Sane (Or Not)

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The end of day forty and the start of day forty-one…
Morning weight:  318lbs.
I am now down “55/62”.  As in, 55lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 62lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started the fast): 380lbs.  Today’s weight is a 2lbs decrease from yesterday’s 320lbs.  Only seven more pounds until I reach the weight I “adjusted” back up from (re-taken ground).
This is the third day from my drinking the bananas / beans fruit juice blend and I am feeling a lot less crazy for “food” in my system.  The juicing fluid(s) seem to be quite enough today.  At least I’m not constantly dwelling on thoughts of stuffing my face ( – as opposed to merely eating a healthy portion of a healthy meal).

Image of Hands On Wrist 2018/09/05

Hands On Wrist 2018/09/05

About two weeks ago, I posted an image of my hands palm-in-palm behind my back.  Today I am able to reach beyond my palm and touch the wrist of my opposite hand (still behind my back).  When I began the veggie juice fast back on 27 July, I could only touch the finger-tips of my middle fingers on each hand.  Also, when I got the FitBit watch I am wearing in this photo, I could only wear it on my left wrist and only on the very last hole.  I can now wear it (uncomfortably) on the fourth hole and all day on the third hole.  The watch now fits on my right wrist and I can wear it all day on the second hole.
Progress!  Day by day…
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On This Day In:
2017 Heart Vision
2016 A Labor Day / Pre-Election Hope
Trust Me, Too
2015 Without Hope
Things Known And Unknown
2014 A Wall Too High, A Bridge Too Far
2013 Glory = Danger
Chicago Magic
Feelin’ It
2012 How Did We Get Here?
2011 Labor Day Weekend Mishmash
More, More, More

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