Friday, December 8, 2017

Brain Plasticity

Ted Talk, Dr. Merzenich -- viewed on 12/7/2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

3-D technology in orthopedics

Dr. Samuel Adams successfully completed a 3-D leg implant.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Reynolds Price and Doctors

p.13  ..." at 5 o'clock on that second day, i was lying on a stretcher in a crowded hallway, wearing only oe of those backless hip=length gowns designed by the standard medical-warehouse sadist.  Like all such wearers I was passed and stared at by the usual throng of stunned pedestrians who swarm hospitals round the world... two original doctors bound up the hallway with a chart in hand...all I recall the two men saying in that instant was "the upper 10 or 12 inches of your spinal cord have swelled and are crowding the available space....we recommend immediate surgery.

i could hear they were betting on a large tumor..they mentioned the name of a surgeon, suggested I go  back to my room and await his visit.  Then they moved on, leaving me and my brother as empty as windsocks, stared at by strangers...What would these two splendidly trained doctors have lost if they'd waited to play their trump till I was back in the private room for which Blue Cross was paying our mutual employer, Duke, a sizable mint in my behalf?

p. 40 - 41 "the presiding oncologist by telling me, with all the visible concern of a steel cheese grater that my tumor was of a size that was likely unprecedented in the annals of Duke Hospital -- some 50 years of annals...he'd ended with the kind of doctor's omen I was now too familiar with.  If a large dose of radiation was given me, I'd bear a small but significant risk of losing the use of both my legs -- say a five percent chance....Don't tell me that; driven as I've always been to stand in the winner's circle, I'll surely land in the five percent.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

John Steinbeck

     I just watched the A & E biography of John Steinbeck.  Such a brilliant, sensitive man.  The Grapes of Wrath pretty much made him a household name.  The people back home in Salinas, however, made him a pariah for calling landowners "greedy."  In his later years, when he was nominate for the Nobel Prize, the world rejoiced, everyone, that is, except the critics, who continued to say Steinbeck was sentimental.  After that, Steinbeck never wrote another word of fiction.

     Instead, he turned to Hollywood, writing scripts like East of Eden, after his book of the same name.  By that time, had grown to hate his second wife, who had told him she'd never loved him, and that the son they had together probably wasn't his.  Some of the things she said were untrue, however, Steinbeck was deeply wounded.;

     Steinbeck's son, Thom, said the book mirrored their family life. In the book, the mother shoots her husband, opening up a world of angst for their son.  East of Eden had James Dean in  the starring role.

     Late in life, Steinbeck had the desire to cleanse his soul and decided to write a travelogue called Travels With Charlie.  Charlie was his large black poodle, who became one of the best known dogs in literature.

     After Steinbeck's death in 1968, his hometown decided to build a museum in his honor.  Steinbeck would have preferred a "moderately priced brothal," or a bowling alley named after him.  The Steinbeck museum cost 10 million dollars.   Today, Steinbeck is the most respected American author.

     You can view the documentary here --  (45 minutes)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Last Binge

     I had my last binge with food Friday night.   An impulsive stop by Whole Foods to return some reading glasses led to a $25.00 refund.   What would I spend it on?  Hmmm, the organic tortillas display in front of me looked tempting, especially with the free samples.  Gluten free, grain free, sounded pretty healthy.  But what did they substitute for the grain?  Heaven knows.  I was hungry so I grabbed a few.  Then a package.  The plan was to go home, have a small plate, and chill.

     But first I went over to the mall to see what movies were playing.  I'd been wanting to see The Battle of the Sexes, and yes, it was playing at the Silverspot.  It was past five but I decided to catch the last half of it.  I'd watched a documentary on Billie Jean King and was impressed.  Plus, the tennis match between her and Bobby Riggs was hot ticket in 1973.  The match was held in Houston at the Super Dome.  I saw the whole thing on TV, along with 90 million other viewers around the globe.

     There were only two other people in the movie theatre as I settled down to watch the film.  And eat and eat and eat.  Finished off the bag of organic tortilla chips, along with a small container of hummus.  These foods are slippery for me and I should avoid them entirely.  Bad impulse to go to a movie on an empty stomach.  But heck, in the dark theatre, no one could see me stuff myself with all the food.

     By the time the movie was over, I looked down to see the remnants of the chips scattered all over the floor.  Shame set in because two women had just entered to sweep and clean. We exchanged smiles, but I was afraid they would discover my secret.  I slipped quietly out of the theatre and drove home.

     Compulsive overeating is a serious illness.  I'm forced to look at the consequences and feel the effects, which are horrible.  I prayed that "just this once," I can recover from another binge.

     Thankfully, I didn't use laxatives, tho I thought about it.  The past two days have had me making numerous trips to the bathroom, feeling awful, and feeling angry.  Everything made me angry:  my demanding cat, the pile of dishes, the laundry to be done, food plans to be made.  I hate planning meals, but they sure do keep me clean, and keeps the obsession at bay.

     I did come crawling back to OA, and calling people.  Calling people eases the craving.  So does taking things one day at a day.  I returned to Step One earlier this year and just stayed stuck on it.  For months.  All through my surgery and recovery.  I was using food to comfort myself.

     Back to the steps, starting with Step one:

Step one Questions and Answers
1.     Write a history of your compulsive eating beginning with the first time you can remember food related events. Discuss how much weight you’ve gained and lost, what medical attention you’ve sought for the problem and your attempts at maintaining your weight losses.
My compulsive overeating began when I was about 5.  My dad had been an alcoholic  tho I never saw him drink.   My parents would fight a lot or maybe it was just my mother fighting.  She ridiculed him constantly; they didnt  sleep together.  I would go in the closet in my bedroom ( I shared my mothers  room).   There was a play kitchen in the closet and I would go in there and drown my sorrows with peanut butter crackers.  I never had a weight problem tho until my pregnancy. My marriage fell apart and we divorced in the first year we were married.  I overate a lot and put on too much weight.
I  was always thin and called the bottomless pit because I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight.  However,  I put on 40 pounds in my pregnancy and it took a year to use 10 pounds.  I was 130 after I gave birth and used Herbalife to lose the 10 pounds.  Which came  back while I was in grad school and then I tried Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and fen fen, a diet pill.  Got down to 115, my ideal weightput it back on tho. 
Discovered OA in Tarboro thru Greenville meetings in 2002.  Tho I kept on eating sugar and drinking caffeine up until I met you in 2011.  I began in earnest to lose weigh, down to 115 by 2012got abstinent from sugar.  Ive lost 40 to 50 lbs. in OA.
Medical attention:  ruptured diverticula in 1994, life threatening.  Id  been binging on junk food the night before.
Georgia doctor who gave me phen phen around 1995.
But the overeating kept coming back, so that I was about 157 pounds when my son was a h.s. senior in 2002.
Went to the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in 2002 and lost 10 pounds, down to 130. Funny, they didnt even mention the addictive nature of overeating or 12 step programs. I had tried some crazy diets too.
Im truly done with overeating.

2) Read Step One in the OA 12 Steps. Discuss and reflect upon the effect food has had upon you over the years. Do you truly see yourself as a “compulsive overeater”?   
“Do I really see myself as a compulsive overeater?”
Amnesia sets in, especially at night.  It’s been my “annus horribilus.”  Horrible year.  Pain, surgery, frustration with a missed diagnosis.  Certain feelings/situations create the urge to eat more – this was a real problem during my recent hospitalization/rehab.  Food – ice cream at rehab, chocolate, provided some sort of sustenance for me, so I thought.  I felt like I needed something,  sweet perhaps.  But the better choice would be discipline, honesty, God, meetings, the tools.

Actions of overeating harm me, I can see that.  I overeat, feel terrible about it, guilty. So I’m back to honesty, acceptance.  Yes, I;m a compulsive overeater but not a bad person. 

Third day of not eating compulsively. Planning my meals, emailing them to my sponsor.  Today,Wed., Nov. 7th, 2017. I had my "gruel" :  oatmeal  drowned in soy milk, small chopped apple on top, mint tea.   I feel achy everywhere:  knees, fingers, toes, shoulders.  Will do my Qui Qong now for 20 min.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Immigration and Naturalization Services

     Last night, i watched a documentary, Elian, on Elian Gonzales' ordeal during his time in the U.S.  A Cuban boy of 5, his mother and a number of relatives. escaped Cuba.   Sadly, Elian's mother and a number of others on the boat, also perished.

     Elian's father wanted his son back in Cube.  The incident caused an outcry among Cuban Americans who wanted the boy to stay in America.

     In 2000, the Oregonian won a Pulitzer  for investigative journalsi

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Old Blood and Guts"

A piece I did for the Daily Southerner several years back from an oral history of a World War Two veteran I interviewed.

Remembering “‘Ole Blood n’ Guts”
by Dana Lee Stone
     “It was his blood, and our guts.”  George Osborne of Tarboro laughed as he recalled his experiences in Patton’s Army during World War II.  “He was the greatest general and his men loved him.  They respected him, and he respected them.  He wouldn’t ask his men to do anything he wouln’t do.  He was our greatest leader, and had no fear.  I saw him three times up at the front.  At the Rhine River, he led his men across, wading in front of them.”
     George Osborne is 94 now.  Originally from Wallace, North Carolina, Mr. Osborne was drafted (“my wife wouldn’t let me volunteer”) into the Army during World War II.  He served in France, Germany, and Austria, part of the 65th Division, 565 Signal Corps.
     During his first days in boot camp, Osborne said there was a particular sergeant who came into the barracks to give the men a little advice.  “Boys,” he said, “there are three things to do in the Army, and if you do ‘em, you’ll get along fine.  Keep your bowels open, your mouths shut, and don’t volunteer for a damn thing.”  Osborne earnestly admitted, “I’ve stuck to that pretty well.”
     He continued, “they sent me to Camp Shelby in Mississippi where I had basic training, then to New York to get ready to go overseas.  They put me on KP.  I noticed they had some hams hanging up and I asked, ‘what’s that, horse meat?’ 
     “They said, ‘no, that’s beef.’ And I said, ‘no cow ever grew that big!’ 
     He was warned not to say anything about the horsemeat, because “the boys wouldn’t eat it.”  Osborne recalled how he looked over to see a soldier eating it: “hey, buddy, that’s pretty good horse meat, isn’t it? Someone in the background neighed like a horse, and don’t you know that boy put his plate down, and wouldn’t eat anymore.”
     Osborne continued his story by describing his deployment.  “We got shipped to la Havre, in France.  They had supplies for 3,000 men and here 30,000 came in on this convoy.  They put us in these tent camps.  For the first two weeks, the only things we got to eat were a spoonful of powdered eggs, a half a canteen of coffee, and a piece of bread.  They had garbage cans for the trash, but no garbage ever went in them.”
     As a driver, Osborne covered a lot of territory during the war, covering most of France, Germany, and Austria.  He told me about on his most memorable experience in Germany, when he encountered German SS troops.  “We were out in the woods and they asked for volunteers.  Me like a crazy fool, I volunteered…We were out crawling through the woods when a shot came through.  BLAM!  I felt the heat when it went across the back of my neck.  I looked around from where I saw the flash, and I didn’t even take aim.  I shot.  The bullet hit him in the head…This experience broke me from volunteering.  I don’t volunteer for anything anymore.”
     Osborne elaborated on one of the most controversial incidents of the War, the famous “slapping incident” that involved General Patton.  “I didn’t see it,” he explained, but this boy was laying out and Patton slapped him.  I think the boy was scared, mostly.  Patton slapped him in the face with his glove.”
     The incident led to Patton being reprimanded.  Osborne offered, “a lot of people think it was the worst thing Patton could have done, to slap that boy, but I don’t think so.  I think it brought the boy to his senses.”
     Recalling the death of General Patton, Osborne reflected:  “he was killed in a wreck.  He wanted to go into Russia and we all thought that the CIA was behind the accident.  That was really a sad time, when Patton died.”
   Osborne is obviously proud of his experiences during World War II, even though he claims not to have done “very much.” 
     “Our Division went the furthest and the fastest of any Division over there,” he said.  Surely these memories went with him on a trip several years ago to West Point for a reunion of the 65th Division.  “You know,” he said, “I may be the oldest one in it now.  I was 92 then, and I’m 94 now.”
    Nowadays, George Osborne can often be found at the Roberson Senior Center in Tarboro, where he goes for lunch and to socialize with his many friends.