Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Views from the edge

This was taken early this morning, peak gust was 50 mph at about 3:45a.m.

This was taken about 8 a.m. wind at 30mph. It was hard to stand.

This was the only damage I found. It was next to the house behind my mom's. Just missed a Propane tank. Couldn't tell if the other house was damaged.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Charlie the Seagull

This is Charlie, the Sea Gull. He has been a fixture (figuratively) at my late mother's house for almost 30 years. He's easily identifiable by a "scar" on his neck. First, my step dad was trained to feed him hot dogs by hand. After my step dad passed, Charlie went away for a couple of weeks, but then returned. After a breaking-in period, my mom & Charlie came to an agreement where she was allowed to hand feed him. After a couple of years, my wife and I became apprentices who Charlie would SOMETIMES allow to be fed by. During this time he seemed to have a girlfriend he brought along who was named Charlene. After my mom died, Charlie again went away for a couple of weeks before returning. This time he seemed to have become a vegetarian, rejecting hot dogs in favor of bread. This lasted for about 6 months. He's back on hot dogs, but does not wish to be fed by hand. I think he doesn't want to get attached.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What if I didn't say something?

It's getting so I'm feeling like an old know it all, giving advice where none was sought. (Refering to comments in other's blogs) I'm afraid I haven't found the "OFF" button in my brain after 30 years of analyzing the possibilities and probabilities for given input. But I'm haunted by the possibility of something really bad happening if I stay silent. Every year around this time it seems like there is a family wiped out by Carbon Monoxide poisoning. "If only" are words that haunt emergency responders. I guess it'll take awhile longer to get those old responses out of my system. Maybe I should get a part time job.

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Gluten Intolerance story, or a cure for insomnia

To start with, Gluten Intolerance is not an aversion to large butts.

Gluten Intolerance, or Celiac disease, can have many different manifestations and may show up at birth or anytime during one's life. It is thought that some people are genetically predisposed to having this. It is NOT an allergy, rather it is an auto immune response to a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and millet. They guesstimate that the incidence is about 1 in 133 people, although many people may not be symptomatic.

My particular "brand" is called Dermatitus Herpetiformis. My onset was about 8 years ago. I have read some papers that theorize that some onsets may be caused by stress and/or infections kicking the immune response into hyperdrive. I was both highly stressed and coming off an infection. The symptoms were very itchy, watery pustules on my knees, elbows, scalp and rear end. The literature describes the itchiness as "unbearable", but I found it to be only very uncomfortable.

After a LOT of testing, I was diagnosed. My initial reaction was that I could not give up pizza, sourdough bread and chocolate chip cookies. I was given a prescription for a drug called Dapsone which is also used to treat Leprosy. (That made me feel good!) The dosage was increased over time while my blood count and liver function were being monitored weekly. The side effect of Dapsone is that it "ages" your red cells prematurely. The goal was to give the highest dose possible without putting me into anemia. I have to say that the lab's blood count level for anemia and mine seemed to be different, and I felt very weak and tired even though I was above the threshold.

Another effect I felt was diminished mental function. I'm usually pretty good with logical thinking and retaining trivial facts. I felt like I was developing Alzheimer's, and I did not know that this was a side effect of the gluten intolerance.

I discontinued the Dapsone when I could no longer stand the anemia. I tried to become gluten free. The deal maker was reading that not being gluten free increased my chances for colon cancer by a significant amount. Going gluten free was harder in the days before labeling laws were strengthened. I was helped greatly by online lists of forbidden versus acceptable items.

For instance, who would immediately realize that licking of stamps and envelopes would now be verboten? Or the use of some kinds of medical tape? I never knew that Soy Sauce was made by fermenting in wheat. (There is one made with oats available in health food stores) Imitation crab meat-no go. Many ice creams (mono & Di glycerides- may be a wheat product) Label reading has become my life.

It's been a learning experience. Eating out is a challenge. I still have a better situation than many. On a scale of 1 to 10 for severity, I would say I'm about a 3. Some people are SO sensitive that eating a burger cooked on a grill where a bun has been warmed will give them severe reactions. I have accidentally eaten a bite of flour tortilla and all I got was an itchy rash on my stomach for 2 weeks.

Tests for gluten intolerance have gotten better and cheaper. I had to have 2 different pencil eraser sized hunks of meat taken out of my knee to be sent to UCSF for testing. I don't think they do that anymore. They used to do intestinal biopsies for other kinds of celiac testing, and I don't think that is necessary now.

I have read papers that theorize all kinds of things being tied to gluten intolerance, Crohn's disease, schizophrenia, arthritis, learning disabilities, autism and more. If you or a loved one has a problem that you can't get a finger on, or just want to try another way, I recommend a gluten free diet for a couple of months and see if there is a difference. What could it hurt?

Click on any of the Celiac sites on my sidebar to learn more.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Torturing people in menial jobs

It's not right, they are people too. I've responded a number of times to a telemarketing center for medical emergencies. It's not a place you'd want to be . It seemed very high pressure, lot's of junk food, out of shape people, heart attacks, hyperventilation, diabetes, seizures etc.

Having said that, this is pretty funny.