Saturday, 16 August 2014

Constant sleepiness: Sleep apnea or pre-diabetes?

"So"  (as many people begin their sentences) "you may recall that I have an on-going problem with sleepiness". 

I often sleep at night  for up to eight hours without interruption.  Despite this good sleep, I am always sleepy throughout the day.  When, during the day,  I rest and relax in my comfortable arm chair I fall asleep at the drop of hat, and then fall into a deep sleep for an hour or more.

Earlier this year I spent two nights at a "sleep clinic" - hooked up as I was to all manner of monitors. The tests revealed that I have a very low level of sleep apnea.

The sleep clinic Doctor (whose bedside manner left much to be desired) recommended a CPAP machine.

I use it faithfully. Its' monitor records a low level of apnea (which most likely would be higher without the use of the machine).

Notwithstanding this, I continue to be sleepy throughout each day.

Upon hearing this, my very excellent Primary Care Physician ordered a major  blood test.

She also gave me a home-use kit by which I can measure my blood glucose levels three times each day.

The major blood test revealed that I am in good shape at just about every level  (e.g. sodium, triglycerides, good and bad cholesterol, potassium, calcium, albumin etc.)  (What a blessing!)

But my glucose levels are a bit high  - indicating "pre-diabetes". 

(My physician also ordered me to take six  daily self-administered  blood tests before and after meals.  These indicate slightly  higher levels of glucose throughout the day: - not enough to indicate diabetes, but certainly suggesting pre-diabetes).

So it seems that I have a bit of pre-diabetes, enough to engender frequent sleepiness.

With that in mind I will see my P.C.P. as soon as is possible, so that she can suggest some changes in my diet which might reduce my slightly elevated blood glucose, and free me from constant drowsiness.

I hope so!    "s..n..o..r...e"

A "must read" especially for people who misunderstand what scientists mean by "theory" and "proof".

Thursday, 14 August 2014

"Loving my neighbour" isn't easy. But please do not tell me that I am "good".

Faithful readers of this blog will recall my various and sundry encounters with the woman who lives next door, some good, some bad, some damned ugly!

She has been in and out of various hospitals and nursing homes for well nigh eighteen months. Most recently she has been in a very fine nursing home down in Venice, FL.  I tried to get to see her about once a week, mostly for the sake of her three brothers who live in Michigan.

The oldest brother, a retired Judge, called me last Friday to let me know that she had consented to receive hospice care - her end being somewhere in sight due to persistent congestive heart failure.

He asked me to find a lawyer so that she could make a will (not that she has any wealth [far from it], but to facilitate the disposal of her estate "when the time comes".

I got to see her last Saturday.  She was subdued, sad, and weepy, but glad to be at peace with her three brothers.  We talked about dying.  She grinned a bit and said "c'st la vie" (!). I assured her that bygones were bygones.

Later I contacted my very fine lawyer by e-mail (he was out of town) to set up a time when he could visit her to make the will.  Monday looked promising.

But by Monday when I visited she was so confused and dis-oriented that I had to call the lawyer and the brother to state that in my opinion she was not competent to sign a will.

Late Monday night she was "rushed" to the Venice Hospital. Her brother called me with this news on Tuesday morning, and I promised to visit her. (He and his wife had plane tickets to fly down on later that day).

Once at the hospital on Tuesday afternoon I discovered that she was receiving enhanced treatments to raise the oxygen level in her bloodstream.  She was restless and combative.

I called the brother (by now at the Detroit Airport) to report this.  When I said that she was combative he replied "that's new" (referring to her present medical condition).  I responded "That's new? I have been dealing with her combative spirit for eight years".    He could scarcely stop laughing!

Well, he and his wife got into town late on Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday they visited my neighbour (by now back in  the Nursing Home), and he talked with my lawyer to present all the details.

The Lawyer e-mailed me the basic and simple will that he had prepared. I printed it. The brother picked it up this morning and took it to the Nursing Home.

My neighbour was cogent and aware.  She signed the will with utter free will  (thank goodness that the Nursing Home has an employee who is a Notary Public, and was able to notarize the will).

Mission accomplished!

I will have lunch with the brother and his wife on Saturday  (they'd better pay!).  They will return to Michigan early Tuesday morning.  I'll do my best to provide on-going pastoral care to my neighbour, even though "Loving my neighbour" isn't easy.

But please do not tell me that I am "good".  I am simply doing the right thing, and there is no particular merit in that.

The policeman said "It's like a war zone"

Iraq? Afghanistan?
No, this is a policeman in Ferguson, MO.
I say again  - this is a policeman in Ferguson, MO
Is this the new norm?  Is this O.K.?   Is this something we should accept as being acceptable in a constitutional democracy?
It was maybe some twenty years ago that, late in the afternoon, I returned to my office at St. Stephen's Parish on Allen Street in  Pittsfield, MA and saw the policemen.
They stood on the roof of the Pittsfield Police Station, (also on Allen St) just across the road from St. Stephen's. They were heavily armed. They were dressed in black. I was highly disturbed.
It turned out that this semi-militarized Police presence was in place to provide "security" after  drug raids in Pittsfield's "West End".
I thought back then that the semi militarized Police presence was a matter of over-kill. 
I also thought  that this armed Police presence posed a danger to the children who were in and out of St. Stephen's that afternoon,  My reasoning was this: "if there is clear and present danger on Allen Street, why did the police fail to alert us about  it ?"'
I registered my concerns/complaints with the Pittsfield Police Dept. the next day. My words were received with a polite response.
So let it be,  until we understand that the increased and increasing militarization of local police authorities has led them away from their highest ideals,  (viz: "to protect and serve"), and towards the emergence of local police as agents of governmental repression.
See for example these pics of the Ferguson, MO Police  as they responded to the protests after their unlawful killing of Michael  Brown.
Are they Police personnel  seeking to "protect and serve"?, or do we see militarized cops? I think the latter! 
Here is what one of the cops said:
"It's like a war zone".

He, of course, saw a war zone because the police are being trained to become America's domestic security army.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Monday, 11 August 2014

Broccoli Soup ( A man has to do what a man has to do)

I bought a 1lb bag of frozen broccoli the other week -  simply because it was "on sale".  That purchase inspired me to make broccoli soup today.
Healthy eating?  Maybe - until I added about 8oz of leftover sour cream.
Tasty?  You bet your life.
I will eat it cold for my lunch on the next three or four days  (with some good ciabatta bread).
Here is the recipe (sans sour cream)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sleeping in Church/Super Moon/Smashing Cheese

Sleeping in Church/Super Moon/Smashing Cheese

Sleeping in Church

I visited another parish this morning -  not my regular home, but a place where I like and care for many of the people.

But, "oh dear"  I twice drifted off to sleep during the sermon. 

This had little to so with the sermon. It has to so with my continuing problem of intense sleepiness throughout the day.

A couple of  my Doctors think that this sleepiness is rooted in sleep-apnea.  I am not so sure.  I use the CPAP machine on a regular basis.  Its programme records very low levels of apnea.

So I will be back to my Primary Care Physician soon (after submitting blood for testing) - then she and I will try to figure out why I frequently  fall asleep at the drop of a hat (and mostly when no hat is in sight).

Super Moon

The internet (at least in North America) is filled with the "news"  that we should expect another "super-moon" tonight. 

I am certain that tomorrow my Facebook page will be filled with photo's of the big and gorgeous moon. 

My response is BLEAH.  

Many damn fools with internet access and a decent camera will post pictures of the super-moon as if they alone knew about it.

Excuse my cynicism, but I will not have the slightest interest in these photo's. I want to see it for myself.

Thus, I'll be happy to take my own gander at this moon if our Floridian clouds allow, but I also wish that I could have a sense of awe and wonder not because "the internet told me so", but because I encountered it all by myself.

Smashing Cheese
I confess that I wanted to alliterate, hence my use of the British/English word Smashing  rather than repeating the word Super.  That being said, here is another confession. 

The very expensive Springbrook Farms Reading VT made cheese which I bought a few days ago at Whole Foods is so utterly good.  It is a worthy substitute  for the now unavailable but gorgeous French "Morbier", but it is very expensive.

My confession is that I bought some more today.

I bought just under half a pound @ $15.99 per pound. Damn, that is  expensive!

But this "Vermont made unpasteurized cows milk cheese"  is  so utterly delicious that I abandoned all thoughts of frugality, and splurged without shame.

I will try to use it on special occasions rather than eating it as a "snack cheese".  (Fat chance!).

If my American cheese loving  friends find that their taste buds are being teased (and they should be) I can tell you no more than that this cheese is available at Whole Foods with no special name -  it is  marketed by Whole Foods under the label "Springbrook Farms Reading".

I hope that my splurge will bring some benefit to the hard-working Dairy farmers of Vermont.