wwcitizen: (Dont Know)
Apparently, there are 12 surprising uses for Vicks VapoRub - there may be more! The 12 highlighted here are:
1. Decongest Your Chest
The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.
2. On Your Tootsies
Applying Vicks to your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Your cough will subside.
3. Achy Breaky Muscles
Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it over the aching area.
4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus
Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark—this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.
5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching
To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.
6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent
If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.
7. Headaches Be Gone
Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.
8. Humidify Your Sleep
Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long.
9. Paper Cuts and Splinters
To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.
10. Ticks and Bugs
If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.
11. Reek-free Racehorses
Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.
12. Go Away Mosquitoes
Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.


Sep. 5th, 2013 09:51 am
wwcitizen: (Steve - Demonned Face)
One time on a business trip sometime before 2003, I had a layover in Atlanta, which is pretty typical. I was still a smoker back then (I quit about 5-6 years ago) and airports were restricting smokers more and more. Atlanta was no different, of course, but they did not provide smoking areas in every terminal to my knowledge.

My plane landed in terminal C and I started walking toward the people mover near the front of the terminal. About halfway through, I stopped to ask a janitor where the nearest smoking section was. He replied, pointing toward an escalator, "B9".

I said, "Uh, pardon?"

"Terminal B, gate 9. B-9. That a-way."

I thanked him, turned, and smirked a little: How serendipitous was it to hear that the smoking section was B9.

Now, every time I go for my annual physical, having grown up with lots and lots of cancer in my family (mom, siblings, grandparents, and aunts...), I think, "B9."

My dermatologist confirmed for me this morning that the things he removed a month ago were all benign.  And, again, I thought, "Yup. B9!"  It might sound silly, but I think that it's a signal to the universe that I want to hear, "benign," for everything I get checked.  Makes me happy.
wwcitizen: (SteamPunk Stephen)
It was ever-present. It wasn't obvious at first, but it crept into existence. It got bigger and bigger quietly over the years. Then all of a sudden, it was the one thing that everyone noticed when they hugged me: My Family Mole.

Why "Family Mole"? Because everyone in my family has a version of the mole. Mine was only the largest of the entire family's moles. Everyone in my family has a mole in the middle of their back - just out of reach, almost proportionately in the middle of each person's back in my family. However, mine was about the size of the end of my pinkie. 

Years ago, I was told I should remove it because removing it would cause "an imbalance in the organ that is [my] skin". This was coming from a general practioner at Pfizer back when I was working for them.  I thought at the time it was a pretty quirky little myth someone had created and he was promoting it without any dermatological basis. But, I held onto that myth thinking, "Maybe he's right! I need to ask a dermatologist."

Well, yesterday I did just that!  And today I have no mole. It's gone. It's no longer a part of me. It's now bio-waste getting ready to be cremated somewhere and then become dust in the wind.  My family mole has thankfully preceded me to the Pearly Gates.

Now, I can hug without thinking, "Are they gonna ask what that little thing is?  Are they gonna stop hugging me when they hit 'IT'? Are they gonna feel strange about patting me on the back knowing 'IT' is there?"

All those questions would always run through my mind. Even when I removed my shirt on the beach, in a pool, or on the dance floor, I wondered how many people noticed it, pointed at it, and thought, "Ew. What's that?!" 

Thank goodness it never grew an eyeball or a little tooth and tongue. Who knows? It could have been the manifestation of my twin - finally finding a window to the outside world, trying to break free!

Alas, it was just a mole. A family mole. One mole that is no longer hanging from a snippable little isthmus, dangling there begging to come off. It took literally 30 seconds for it to be gone.

Why had I not had it removed earlier? All these years that I either had "off from work" or working from home, why didn't I set up that appointment to have it looked at and promptly removed?  Maybe because, simply put, it was a part of me.

Now, it's not. I did feel a slight, small, little twinge of sadness that it's gone. I do not know why. But, now, I'll no longer have those lingering questions or anticipations from society, friends, and family who constantly asked or acknowledged, "Oh, there it is!"  The mole is free. I am free. And, after that little spot heals, I'll be whole again.

A Snippable Little Isthmus
I had a family mole
That would only cajole
Inquisition, queries, and thought:
"What is it? He simply ought
Remove that big tumor
Like any good groomer.
It's gross, yet it's natural...
I could recommend several
Doctors, who'd wanna snip!
It'd be GONE!" They'd quip.

No, on my own time
And in my own way...
The mole in its prime
Would simply one day
Come to its demise.
It was totally wise!

My mole, my protrusion
That incited much confusion
Is no longer part of me…
It’s weird, but I can see
My back is now flat
So, I guess, that’s that!

A big apparent flaw
That seemed so bourgeois…
Misconceptions abounded
Apprehensions – unfounded!
No need for tears
Cuz I faced my fears
Of something worse that might happen.
But my mole’s grand assassin
Was my doctor, Dr. Lee.
He was happy to hear, very happy to see
That I was willing for him
With sterile scissors - not grim
To snip off my isthmus
After all, that’s his business.

My mole now fully gone
Before I said, “CYA, anon!”
I should’ve really named it,
Cuz it left a small pit
That Neosporin will soon heal.
I’ll strip my shirt with more zeal!

I’ll not worry nor fret!
But I’m also willing to bet
That someone somewhere
Is bound to say,
“When, see? I compare
This photo that day,
You had a big mole!
Where’d it go? Hey!”

I’ll say with a smile
It took me a while,
But my big family mole.
I gave it a new goal:
It had to go and be gone from my back
My doctor simply, steady went THWACK!!
All at once it was history.
It’s simply not a big mystery.
It was what it was
My back’s no longer abuzz
With strange looks and lost hugs
In 10 seconds, and NO drugs!
Now, there’s a small hole,
Where there once was a mole.

©Stephen Lambeth 2013
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
About a year ago, Matthew bought us an 8-cup ZeroWater filtering system. We had tried multiple filters over the years, but never really stuck to them. The absolute worst experience we had with the filtering systems was the PUR faucet filter. We threw it out within 6 months, I think.  We had been drinking the water straight out of our faucet for years and even did from time to time after trying out different filters. I had a Brita filtering system for years, but it was just a PITA, so we got away from it.

Test Scenario
This last month, I set up a test scenario because I wanted to know how much water we drank daily using the filter. I was also wondering why we were all of a sudden going through filters hand over fist - like two filters a month! The "test" was that each time we filled up the basin to filter water into the 8-cup pitcher, we ticked off a mark on a little pad.  We discovered that we drink at least 40 cups of water a day! This is, of course, including coffee, water itself, tea, and drink mixes (e.g. 4C drink mixes with Splenda). We also use the filtered water for steaming veggies and fish as well as for boiling things - even eggs! Who needs extra metals sneaking into our food?

Filtration & Measurements
The filtration system removes all sorts of metals and are certified specifically to remove lead and chromium, but also can remove chloramine, flouride, uranium, and other inorganic compounds.  The pitcher and filters we ordered and received came with a
TDS meter that determines how many "Total Dissolved Solids" are in the water before and after filtration. Prior to the hurricane last fall, our tap water was measuring in at around 230 parts per million. Our tap water now measures 350 parts per million TDS, which is substantially worse for some unknown reason. It is possible that the NJ water contains more chloramine than our neighboring states, which will substantially reduce the efficacy of our filters more quickly.

As a point of reference, Manhattan's awesome tap water is approximately 5-10 parts per million! So, as long as the tap isn't coming through lead pipes, the Manhattan water is really good. Our water? Not so much. The reported average TDS in our area of NJ is 100 (which I think is very wrong). Matt's sister's water about 20 minutes north of us reads at around 249 ppm. Once filtered through a brand-new filter, though, the water TDS measures in at 0-1 ppm.

When the ZeroWater filters are full of filtered metals, water still comes through them. After about a week or so of regular filtration, we start testing the water. We throw the filters out once the TDS reading is around 20 ppm because the water starts smelling and tasting funky. If the water filter actually breaks (internally), the filters dump all the metals they filtered out into the pitcher that we're going to drink!!  Seems like bad design or a design flaw, but we're now aware of it. Our tap water smells like chlorine and bleach to begin with and when the filters break, we usually know it before we taste it. Yes. We've tasted the water after a filter has broken. IT.CANNOT.BE.SWALLOWED. It's so disgusting.

Cost Analysis
The ZeroWater filters are not cheap. In the store (e.g. Bed, Bath & Beyond or online), they can be about $15 apiece! We get them via Amazon's subscription service, which replenishes our stores every three months at about $8.50 per filter.  But, frankly, part of our test was determining whether filtering our water using ZeroWater was less expensive than just buying bottled water. A couple of weeks ago, we had to buy bottled water (in gallons) because we ran out of filters before the subscription kicked us out a new supply.

We even tested the water straight out of the gallon jugs for the fun of it. Spring water from Maine measured in at about 25 ppm and spring water from Pennsylvania measured in at 50-65 ppm. And the amount of TDS differed from jug to jug on all accounts.  Poland Spring (from ME) tasted the best.

Bottled water here (natural spring water is what we chose) costs anywhere from $1.50-$1.75 per gallon.  For the equivalent consumption of 40+ cups a day, we're paying slightly more than half the cost of an equivalent supply of bottled water. We're actually saving money using the ZeroWater filters!!

Environmental Savings
We're also saving the environment from all those bottles.The problem I have always had with bottled water was the bottles or gallon jugs. They get thrown away. Even if there's a promise of recycling them,  the plastic is still around. The ZeroWater company provides a recycling program themselves. All you have to do is ship back the filters to the company's Texas facility. Then they send you coupons for your next purchase, which can be used at Bed, Bath and Beyond or on the ZeroWater online store.

Better Health
Matthew and I have determined that by drinking more filtered water, we are thinking more clearly and sleeping more soundly than ever before. Our skin is also reaping the benefits of drinking better water.  We have paired up drinking more ZeroWater at close to 0 ppm with drinking less Splenda-sweetened drinks and removing all Aspartame (you make your judgement) from our diet; i.e. no drinks or food sweetened with NutraSweet or sweeteners containing Aspartame. We find ourselves drinking water straight more often than not now and can tell that our health is improving, which is an added bonus!

The end of the story is, use filters for your water, especially if you drink bottled water. It will save the environment from plastics.  If you have to choose a filter, Matthew and I recommend ZeroWater due to the better taste of the resulting, cleaner water, and its probable good health effects.

Fullscreen capture 4222013 104031 AM2
wwcitizen: (US Flag - WATCHING)
Last week on Facebook, during the Komen vs. Planned Parenthood vs. women vs. breast cancer upheaval, I posted a link to a CREDO petition to fire Karen Handel, who is (still) the Komen's Sr. VP for public policy. I repeat "PUBLIC" policy - not church-related, "moral majority", or any other oxymoron; "public". Public includes everyone, such as people from different religious, economic, moral, and social backgrounds. Here's how I posted the link, after I signed the petition:

"I was appalled (and still am saddened) that this whole thing transpired this week. Planned Parenthood is being bombarded for no reason, but thankfully, they now have more funding than they ever expected to get. Karen Handel, you're a disgrace to your gender, your industry, and your party."

A female friend of mine commented (and I received only one comment) with, "Does that mean all women who don't support Planned Parenthood are a disgrace to their gender? Is it mandatory that those who desire to see an end to breast cancer must give money to Planned Parenthood? Can one be pro-life and still be a woman and support breast cancer prevention. I can understand people's concern over this issue, but I don't think these two organizations must be in bed together in order to perform the functions of their individual missions."

Prior to my signature on the petition, I had thought about the implications, why I was doing it, and what it meant for both organizations. Here was my reply, which I didn't want to lose in the shuffle of future posts. My reply here also encompasses both my thought pre-signing process and my reasoning for posting the link with that blurb to my FB wall.

"Komen is a collection agency for the prevention of breast cancer. For them to decide to deny funding to the largest breast cancer screening agency in the country is ludicrous. Especially in these times when mid to low income women are faced with greater financial turmoil! Komen understands all too well the benefits of early detection. Their move was politically motivated and disgraceful.

People have been led to believe that PP is synonymous with abortions, which is a joke. PP performs 1000x more breast cancer screenings, along with other female-specific health care issues, than any other organization period and is the primary source for health care for middle to low income women. THAT is my issue.

I wasn't generalizing. I specifically said that Karen Handel was a disgrace to her gender. If you don't support Planned Parenthood for whatever reason, I (personally) could care less. Her organization under her direction specifically stated that because PP was under investigation by Congress that she (pretty much on her own and by herself, representing an ENTIRE organization that had supported PP before the investigation for YEARS) decided to withdraw funding. THAT was my problem. Furthermore, PP has been under investigation for over 6 months. Why all of a sudden would SHE choose now - as if it's a surprise that PP is under investigation - to withdraw funding? It was a political move in an election year. Period.

If the Komen Foundation doesn't want the funded clinics to perform abortions with their donated monies, then they can stipulate that in the transaction, and from what I understand, that's what they've done. "About 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the U.S. and 40,000 women will die from it." (from an article on PP's website) If another clinic out there did as much work on women's issues as PP and had as many facilities that were coordinated throughout the country, then this wouldn't be an issue at all - Komen could take their money elsewhere. I wouldn't have a problem with that.

The facts stand for themselves. I don't believe in politically motivated maneuvers that potentially put 1000s of women's health at risk. Komen has relied upon PP to perform screenings from as early as 2004. And PP hasn't changed their focus. The only issue now is that this is an election year."

I felt I had to capture this instant in political discourse. My non-US friends might not understand our country's need for Planned Parenthood, especially within those countries whose governments supply socialized health care. For women, this is a form of socialized medicine, especially for those who can't afford other forms of health care.
wwcitizen: (US - Gay Politics)
This post comes from an email sent to me by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.  I am posting this so that people can be informed that organizations like this exist, learn about this history and current status of HIV/AIDS in the US, and, if so moved, can donate to support the Fund's efforts.

"30 years ago the Task Force hired the first lobbyist in the nation to focus on AIDS issues. The Task Force ran the first toll-free AIDS hotline in the world early in the epidemic. In 1984, we secured the first federal funding for community-based AIDS service organizations. Today, the Task Force continues to push the federal government as we have for 30 years to ensure that community AIDS service organizations have the funding they so desperately need. We are pleased that the CDC recently granted 34 community organizations $55 million to be spent over the next five years to increase HIV prevention services for those most at risk, including young men of color, transgender youth, and their partners.

But that is not nearly enough. We must also put an end to the discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS, who are disproportionately transgender women, gay and bisexual men, and people of color.

Results from [the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund]'s National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that transgender individuals have a rate of HIV/AIDS that is more than FOUR times higher than the general population. And, tragically, the survey also found that 1 in 4 transgender African Americans live with HIV/AIDS. Discrimination and lack of education is the reason for this tragedy.

[People] can help to end discrimination against people living with HIV by urging your member of Congress to co-sponsor the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act which addresses the unfair use of criminal and civil laws against those who test positive for HIV. Today, 34 states have laws that criminalize transmission of HIV. It’s time to repeal ... harmful laws that demonize people with HIV. Call 202-684-2468 today and tell your representative that this bill needs their support.

[Personal Note: I do believe that, if you know that you are HIV+, you are committing a crime act by 1) not disclosing your HIV status to the other party(ies) with whom you are going to have sex, 2) having unprotected sex with others, if you are HIV+, and 3) not asking the status of people with whom you are going to have sex. Communication, education, and knowledge are two-way streets. For instance, if you send someone an envelope full of anthrax virus, you don't know if the recipient will get the envelope, open it, or get anthrax, but it's still a criminal act - same principle here without the sex bit.]

We honor and stand with those who have dedicated their lives to the fight against HIV/AIDS. We mourn everyone we have lost in the past three decades and we vow to continue working toward the end of HIV/AIDS. This World AIDS Day, join [the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund] in supporting the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act to reduce the stigma and fear of living with HIV. Take action now [by calling] 202.684.2468.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund builds the grassroots political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Task Force Action
Fund does this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation, and works to pass pro-LGBT legislation and other progressive initiatives. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the Task Force Action Fund are not tax-deductible.
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
I called from NJ - not sure if it'll have any weight, but my name's in the pot anyway. Please take a moment to make 2 calls and make a huge difference! Please hurry! We may only have 1 day left to do this. It was cool to hear that 1000s of people have been calling for the last two days and I was one of them!

This year's NY state budget eliminated long-standing pharmacy patient protections for people living with HIV/AIDS. GMHC is deeply concerned about the impact of these changes on Medicaid beneficiaries who are living with HIV/AIDS, severe mental illness and depression. As we know, a small change in medication can be life-threatening.

We strongly believe that ensuring access to appropriate medication and continuity of care should be the priority to serve patients who receive Medicaid.

Call Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver 518-455-3791
Ask him to please support A.8237 sponsored by Assemblyman Rivera to ensure that necessary patient protections remain in place for Medicaid beneficiaries during their transition to managed care.

Call Assembly Health Chair Dick Gottfried 518-455-4941
Ask him to please support A.8237 and move it forward to Rules to ensure that necessary patient protections remain in place for Medicaid beneficiaries during their transition to managed care.

This bill, also sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon, has already passed the Senate but we need your help to get it on the floor of the Assembly.

Thank you for your prompt and immediate action on this critical issue!

For more information please contact Lyndel Urbano at 212-367-1456 or lyndelu@gmhc.org
wwcitizen: (Open Wide-r)
Friends and family have been concerned that Matt and I on our low-calorie diet have not been eating enough or getting enough nutrition. Well, here's a snippet of our diet - an eating day in the life of Matt and Steve's 800-1000 calorie a day diet: breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. At the end, you'll see a breakdown of our nutritional intake.

For breakfast, we eat 7-8 oz of blueberries with low-fat yogurt. This ups our anti-oxidants and fiber tremendously and provides digestive enzymes to aid with digestion throughout the morning. This is a big bowl of blueberries and yogurt, which equals about 200 calories.

We love our coffee and have found a tasty alternative to the rich half & half. There are fat-free half & half selections, too, but they are typically about 5-10 calories more per serving and aren't as tasty. Two cups of coffee (20 oz of coffee plus 1/2 cup of skim milk) equals just under 50 calories (yes, we sweeten with Splenda).

For lunch (about 3-4 hours after breakfast), we'll have a 12-15 oz salad of mixed greens, cukes, peppers, and onions. We might throw a tablespoon or two of pickled jalapenos on our individual bowls for more flavor (zero calories), depending on the dressing. we typically use Walden Farms zero calorie dressings (ranch, thousand island, honey mustard, balsamic, or raspberry vinaigrette).

Matt makes homemade dressing from freshly squeezed lemons, olive oil, and spices - primarily to dress our steamed vegetables. With Matt's dressing on the salad, there's an added 40 calories due to the olive oil. If we don't use Matt's dressing for the salad, we always sprinkle on a little sea salt and pepper to increase the flavor of the salad. This salad with Walden Farms dressing is 55-70 calories (12-15 oz). It's TREMENDOUSLY filling!

For dinner, we try to eat mostly fish and steamed veggies. Of course, during the week, we will mix it up with either pork or chicken (Matt de-bones and de-skins the chickens and broils them flat with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika - AMAZINGLY tasty). Here is our dinner from last night of 12.5 oz of tilapia (2 raw filets @ 348 calories) brushed with Dijon mustard and broiled. We also had essentially two servings of steamed veggies (broccoli and carrots) because we had exercised quite a bit, which came to about 130 calories.

For dessert, we most often have a Skinny Cow caramel truffle ice cream bar (100 calories). Our evening snack last night was half of a "bambino" (or baby) watermelon, which is around 16 oz of watermelon for 136 calories.

So, for yesterday, this is our nutritional breakdown:

Oh, and in the last week (since Monday, June 13), I've lost 14 pounds, which pisses Matt off, who's lost about 3 pounds. And we've done the same exercising and eating all week. Well, I might have eaten a few more calories in tomatoes than him, but it's practically equal. I'm feeling GREAT!

If we're feeling peckish, we'll cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, or raw fennel bulbs for munchies - with a little salt & pepper or zero calorie salad dressing for dipping (we don't tally the celery, cucumbers, or fennel. We consider those veggies "negative calories" since more calories are used during digestion than they actually contain). One other thing is we eliminated alcoholic beverages. We haven't bought any Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi for the house, either; if we're out at a restaurant, Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi is our go-to drink. But at home, we make our own caffeinated and caffeine-free teas, which are refreshing and diverse.

Here's to two more months of strict dieting (except for one dinner out in July and the week of Bear Week). I want to be much more svelte for our European cruise in August - for pictures and general flexibility.
wwcitizen: (BowlingSteve)
Sciatica is mean. My bouts of sciatica have occurred more frequently over the last 2-3 years. In fact, I don't remember ever having suffered distinctly from sciatica until a few short years ago. This round of the pain has been quite protracted, and my guess is that playing Xbox for 20+ hours straight over the course of 3 weeks in one position or spot isn't good for your lower back.

Last week, I finally made it to the doctor for a check up and medication prescriptions. He was very excited to see the progress of my weight loss. I specifically asked for a strong pain medication, like vicodin, that might help me get some sleep. He prescribed Flexiril (a muscle relaxant), Naproxen (an anti-inflammatory), and Nucynta (a new pain medication). Nucynta is so new, the pharmacy had to special order it, which took two days!

Taking all the medication at once is something I do just before bed so that I maximize the effects in order to get a better night's sleep than in previous weeks. It's been working! Until yesterday and today.

Monday night, Matt and I got together with friends for a newly established, once-a-month bowling outing. I forewarned everyone that I wasn't going to be able to bowl because of my sciatica. I had also unfortunately forgotten to take any of my medication. Matt bought me some Aleve (OTC lesser equivalent to Naproxen for inflammation) and took that. Before long, though, seeing everyone else bowling (except for Matt) got the best of me. I simply had to bowl at least one game. I ended up bowling three games and was barely beating my lowest score. By the time I got home around midnight, my lower back was stiffened up, my middle right finger was immobile (those balls were heavy), and my legs were achy.

Nucynta really does help with the back pain and, frankly, any other pain I might be experiencing. ;-) I didn't realize the relief till yesterday because up till then, I'd taken the Nucynta at night with the Flexiril and Naproxen just before going to bed. Yesterday's pain dictated a day-time pain relief. After about 30 minutes of taking the Nucynta, my head felt like a fish bowl. I couldn't keep my mind focused on the end result of a sentence or use the best words to get my points across. Problem was, I was still working when the side effects hit. Monday night proved to be a night of insomnia, so besides being pretty out of it from lack of sleep, I also got VERY tired and sleepy because of the the drugs I took.

So, be forewarned: If you need a good, strong pain medication, get Nucynta. Just don't expect to be of much use at all, except for a good laugh or two from anyone around you.

wwcitizen: (Open Wide-r)
Matt and I had date night last night. We don't spend enough time together. (For those not in the know, this is a very sarcastic commentary on our lives - we're around each other 24/7...) We're actually doing really well on our diets - even though we had fantastic, big dinners for our 7th anniversary back to back with Valentine's Day dinner. Those nights we even indulged in a martini or two, but didn't overdo it. So far, I've lost 30 pounds since Christmas! Matt's lost about 36 so far.

Eataly was on our places to experience since we heard it was opening up in Manhattan. It's directly across from the Flatiron Building on 23rd and Broadway. The place is basically a big food court with little shops around it. It's pretty disorganized and seems very haphazard. In a way, I suppose that makes it VERY Italian. Maybe for the simple fact that we went there on a Saturday night or that there were so many Italians and frat girls walking around with their FULL wine glasses, but we were ready to sit, have something to eat, and leave. We definitely want to return - DURING THE WEEK - and experience the pizza and seafood places.

When you walk into Eataly, you're not greeted by anyone, because, after all, it's a food court/mall sort of thing. There's no map of the place that we found or could readily see and it's PACKED. Espresso scents waft around the entrance. The first "shops" are filled with chocolate, preserves, honeys, and jarred goods. Then, walking back toward the more open area, you find the charcuterie, cheeses, a wine bar (which surprisingly is also a restaurant). There are dining tables everywhere, hostess stations everywhere, shopping areas everywhere amongst the tables and hostess stations, a bakery, a book area (filled with Lidia's cookbooks, of course), a butcher counter, and pizza ovens (the two big gold boobs here).

Here are some pictures from our dinner, which was wonderful.

White Piemonte wine (very fruity with hints of citrus and honey):

Grilled bitter greens with pinenuts, currants, parmigiano, and aged balsamic

Raw vegetable salad with lemon citronette (prepped with honey) and sea salt

Fennel with parmigiano frico, stewed tomato, onion, and Taggliasca olives

Roasted acorn squash with black lentils, cipollini onions, and aged balsamic

We left Eataly and ended up at Ty's after stopping by Rockbar and chatting with the always friendly and handsome Barry.
wwcitizen: (Default)
This last week or so, Matt and I have started walking around the neighborhood more. It's a daily walk that takes at least an hour or so. We walk about 1-2 miles, depending on how cool the day is, our level of energy, and the presence of a camera.

The first day out, I brought my camera, but forgot the SD card. Feh. The second and subsequent days (almost every day of the week), I made sure to have SD card inserted, battery charged, and camera in pocket. Good thing, too. I got some great shots of things:

Our building:

Some flowers:

And some of my favorite, cute little houses in the area (they look like something you'd see in kids' story books - except for the square stucco one):

Oh, and the other day when I was out at the grocery store, I actually turned the car around to get a picture of these guys working on laying a pipe. I mean, who doesn't like hard hats, Carhartt, and work boots?


May. 25th, 2010 01:41 pm
wwcitizen: (Default)
For the last 2 weeks I've been having ordeals with 1-800-CONTACTS because they initially sent me the wrong contacts prescription - the complete opposite prescription than what was on the optometrist's original prescrition a year ago. I didn't think to check the boxes to make sure they were correct. Never had a problem with 1-800-CONTACTS before. My then douchebag optometrist was the culprit.

It's all worked out (after getting a new prescription yesterday), but in the process discovered that I might have the makings of glaucoma. That would suck, except that medical marijuana is now legal in NJ. Score! LOL I'm not a pot smoker at all.

When I mentioned that fact to the optometrist, she said, "Well, the effects only last for 20 minutes. The drops are better, but you'll still need to get checked every year if you have it." Great!

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wwcitizen: (Steve - Jupiter Pool Face)
After almost 3 hours of good sleep, I was jolted awake by sharp, searing pain flaring up in my left thigh and tingling in my feet - as usual for the past 14 days or so. No position I took, stretching that I did, or prayers I screamed in my head over clenched fists did any good.

So, alas, I'm up for a bit on a hard-ass surface till the FOUR Motrin kick in full steam. I've tried all the doctor-approved remedies with pillows, no soft chairs, Motrin, slight stretching, and the stuff's working, just a LOT slower than I want it to. For instance, the time it takes for the inflammation to go down is much less time now. At the beginning of this bout of sciatica, I had to wait around 2-4 hours for the pain to subside, and now it's less than 30 minutes or so. Then, I can get 3 hours of sleep!

The Catch 22? If I lose about 10 pounds, the pain goes away. I can't exercise to LOSE the f*cking 10 pounds right now. Sooo, I'm just trying to eat sensibly, but that just takes longer. I want results YESTERDAY!

Screaming at one's body only makes one seem crazy. Right?

Happily, during the day yesterday, I chose to ignore the pain and work around it without relying too much on other body parts. It worked ALL DAY LONG! Even when I took a quick nap here and there. So, that'll be my mentality today and tonight, too! Here's to good results!
wwcitizen: (BlackBerryFanatic)
I took this from a friend's post (lj user="cajuncountry">) this morning to post on my blog in the hopes that these words put health care legislation into perspective. My friend pulled this blurb from the comment section of CNN concerning Health Care's Latest...

Written by - sushidoctor

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Department of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service, and then drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post on CNN about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right!
wwcitizen: (AnxiousFace)
We're sick. The kiddies at Disney carried lots of goodies, including many foreign germs!! I can't remember how many kiddies standing in line behind their parents grabbed my hand thinking I was "Daddy". Who knows if they'd just sneezed or coughed on their hand? Can't ignore the fact that the temperature didn't get above 45 degrees but for one day and one day was full of torrential rain all day long when we were at Hollywood Studios. I'm glad that none of this hit till we were back.

It's a head cold moving into the chest. Our sinuses are killing us and there's pressure in our ears. I've not gotten a continuous 2 hours of sleep in about 3 days now. My hearing's being affected, too, because of the pressure. UGH!

Lip balm has become a necessity. Peppermint tea is great. Oh, and I remembered another thing about me that not many people know:

I love paper products!

I love new rolls of paper towels and toilet paper. Even more fun is opening up new boxes of tissues for different areas of the house. Before I moved in, Matt had maybe one small box of tissues in the bedroom. When I moved in, I put a box on the coffee table, near the kitchen table, in each bathroom, on our nightstands on either side of the bed, and in our office. At any given moment, there are probably 6 open boxes of tissues (Kleenex brand - can't stand the others). Matt now realizes how wonderful it is to have tissues close by at any given moment - especially if you're sick!

So, we've been eating chicken soup, making chicken broth tea, chamomile tea with honey & lemon juice, and ordering out. We have little to no food in the house from our week away. Happily, we're ordering pizza tonight! YIPPEEE!
wwcitizen: (AnxiousFace)
Matt calls me "Kal-El" (Superman's Kryptonian name). I've been taking Tamiflu since Wed. at midnight and I feel like I'm about 90% better (and I have about 3 more days on Tamiflu, which is supposed to strengthen me against the flu either for the season or for a couple of years!). Almost back to full on fall happiness and seasonal readiness! I typically get one cold or one flu per season and I'm VERY excited that this might be THE ONE AND ONLY!

Matt, on the other hand, has to take Tamiflu AND something to ward off his lung infection that started almost immediately. Having had pneumonia a couple of times in his pre-Steve's caring-taking past, his respiratory system tends to move to infection more promptly than mine, even though I smoked for many years.

Thanks to everyone who has wished us well ([livejournal.com profile] mort_83, [livejournal.com profile] arktos62, [livejournal.com profile] squirreltot, [livejournal.com profile] texwriterbear, [livejournal.com profile] martini_tim) among other friends over the phone and on FB!! It's amazing what good will and positive energy does!

Matt is on the mend, but slowly. I can tell in his mood. His laugh comes easier, though muffled with coughs and hoarseness.

I haven't been able to touch him in about 6 days - for realz. This is the kind of flu/cold/bug that makes the skin hurt to the touch, which is extra cruel. I had the same feeling for about a day and hated the thought of him not wanting to touch me because it would irritate my skin. I have touched him much as I can, though I know it pains him physically, but the human touch (in my personally authored doctor's manual) is so important to healing. So, I do hug him for as long as he can stand it. I put my hand on his knee when we're watching TV till he can't stand the irritation anymore. It's so awful! He's so sad to tell me not to touch him and it makes me wanna hug him and kiss his cheek!

Can't wait till he's all better. His sense of humor is returning and he wants to laugh, which is MUCH better than this past Tuesday, when he didn't even want to look out the window. Granted, he's a Cancer, but still he does like the sun and daylight, unless he's sick. Then he wants to sit in a darkened room with the shades closed till he's better. My poor baby.
wwcitizen: (Uuuuuuh)
OK, so yesterday was the first day back from Memorial Day. OK, so my GP has Tuesdays off and comes in on Wednesdays at 3PM. OK, so, I called my Gastro-doc yesterday to postpone/cancel my colonoscopy and never heard back from that other office - all day - because they "were so swamped with calls" all day, the entire day, without a break - all day.

Can you imagine being in an office where the phone rings without a break all day? I can't! And, I noticed it DOESN'T HAPPEN at that office! I was there when they said that to a patient, and the phone hadn't rung for at least 10 minutes while I was filling out paperwork.

"Wanda will call you today or cancel your appointment and let you know." I never got a call back from any of them. The nurse at my Gastro-doc's office didn't call me back as promised, but canceled my colonoscopy. Meh.

I called today - 5(fives) times - and finally got the thing rescheduled for the end of June.


I called my GP - YESTERDAY (Tuesday) - for a call-in prescription for my BP meds (which I hope to be off of after Hawaii - we're planning this whole "get back to the diet and lose weight before Bear Week" thing, which we can soooo do next week). I called in the afternoon to check that my GP was going to get the message. The nurse reminded me (a little rudely) that my doctor is off on Tuesdays and comes in at 3PM on Wednesdays.

I called this morning (Wednesday) once to make sure that my doctor was going to call in my prescription. The nurse said, "Yes, Mr. Lambeth, the doctor has the note on his desk to call you about the prescription," then asked for other information: I gave THEM the phone number to my pharmacy to call in a refill, my home phone, and my cell phone since we were going to be out all day running errands. I called the office at 5:01 OH NO!! TOO LATE!! Everyone goes home at 5:00 PM on the dot!

Answering service. UGH!
Called the pharmacy. UGH!
No prescription was called in. Meh
Called a different pharmacy I used to use to see if I could "re-use" a refill from a couple of years ago - nope. They didn't have my current info and my GP hadn't called them. Blech.

I called the answering service and told them that my doctor (who had a note) didn't call in my prescription as requested for the last two days - that it was an emergency, since I have no more pills and I'm leaving for Hawaii TOMORROW. They TOOK my phone number, NEVER called back, the doctor called in the prescription, I confirmed it with the pharmacy later, and I picked it up. Neither the doctor NOR the answering service cared to call me back to let me know that the prescription was filled. On TOP OF THAT, it was the wrong prescription!! The basic active ingredient at the right strength, but I have usually take a different prescription that contains Hydrochlorothiazide; the one I got from my doctor didn't have the HCT. MEH! It'll be fine for me take it... and I suppose the upside is that I won't have to pee...

But seriously. Does a patient need to commit him/herself SO much to their own health and doctor's attention? Wow.

I understand that doctors need to spend as little time as possible with each patient to make it profitable to see patients with health insurance. The health care system in this country REALLY needs an overhaul - and such an overhaul would NOT make this country or our health care system socialist.
wwcitizen: (Rainbow Flag)
So, yesterday was the NYC AIDS Walk 2009. By the time I arrived at 10AM, about 3/4 of the people had already left and all the fanfare and jubilee (that to me is really so unnecessary and over the top) was finished. I was able to walk right up to the registration table, get my packet, walk quickly over to the refreshments area for waters, chips, and fruit, and then begin walking. The walk itself wasn't nearly as packed as in previous years, but I was one of the more than 45,000 people who walked raising (so far)


How exciting!! (And you can still donate, if you haven't!! Many thanks to all who have already donated.)

The day was quite gray and overcast. There was a thunderstorm forecast, but thankfully, because of my trusty umbrella, THAT never happened!

I left the house at 9:15 AM, and got home at 2:45 PM. All in all a great day of walking, sightseeing, and photography (I used my little point-and-click that day because of a previous "theft" during the walk that I won't go into here...). Here are a few pictures documenting my trek (on Picasa - you can watch the slideshow here, or click on it to read through my comments of the photos.).

wwcitizen: (Open Wide-r)
When I worked at Pfizer, the FDA shot down so many adverts within 3 years about Viagra, it was ludicrous. There were other ads, too, that the FDA had Pfizer reformat. Companies are ALWAYS trying to better their products, even when they suck or there "have been studies to prove" whatever claims they're making. In fact, the other day Olay showed a doctor describing clinical studies on a wrinkle-reduction product, with his credentials proudly displayed below his name. The very next screen had a disclaimer under two or three women TALKING about how beneficial "the" product was; the disclaimer stated, "The claims this woman is making are not about the product in this ad." Matt and I looked at each other and our mouths dropped. How can they do that? Blatantly LIE about their product - in front of consumers. It's because people don't always look at the TV, don't always listen closely, or don't ask follow up questions like, "Really? Does that really work?" Check this out about Cheerios from a Men's Health e-mail alert on 5/15/09:

The FDA questions the cereals' health claims

If you’re eating Cheerios because you thought they were good for you, you’re only part right. But you could also be a sucker.

This week, the FDA warned General Mills about its claim that the cereal is “clinically proven to help lower cholesterol 4 percent in 6 weeks.” It refers to a clinical study conducted in 1998 in which people who ate 3 cups of Cheerios a day lowered their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7 points.

The FDA said a product has to be approved as a drug before manufacturers can make such specific health-related claims.

MH has always thought the cereal’s claim was a little flawed—our Fitness Insider, Adam Campbell, wrote about this in January of last year. First of all, the folks ate 3 cups of Cheerios a day. You’d probably have to drown in O’s to see any difference. And it’s no certainty that a 7-point drop in LDL is even significant.

That said, Cheerios is a good choice, as breakfast cereals go. It is low in sugar (only 1 gram), contains a mere 2 grams of fat, and has 3 grams of fiber per serving. Anything made from whole oats is not bad.

Whether you eat Cheerios, eggs, or yogurt with granola, make sure you eat breakfast every morning, and make sure it includes some protein. Studies show breakfast eaters eat fewer calories throughout the day and are sharper and more alert."
wwcitizen: (Default)
My dad sent me an email today with this information in it. I wonder how many of them are true. Granted, there are quite a few that are completely obvious (the Elmer's Glue, Listerine for blisters, Bounce on the dog), but others I scratch my head thinking, "Really?" Has anyone tried these to see if they actually work?

Eliminate ear mites. All it takes is a few drops of Wesson Corn Oil in your cat's or dog's ear... massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Kills fleas instantly: Dawn Dish-washing Liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor: Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Did you know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately-without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional pain relievers?

Did you know that Colgate Toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose. (BTW, a tablespoon of wasabi WILL NOT help a stuffy or clogged sinuses nose, as much as you think it might.)

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 tablespoon horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as a massage oil for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly-even though the product has never been advertised for this use.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes: Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus: Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine Mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection: To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear Nail Polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Formula 409 cleaning liquid as a bug killer: If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly. (Makes you wonder about the safety of the cleaner around kids and animals!)

Smart splinter remover: Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue- All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin . The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's Tomato Paste boil cure: Cover the boil with Hunt's Tomato Paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters: To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine, a powerful antiseptic.

Vinegar to heal bruises: Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief... it's not for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.


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Stephen Lambeth

May 2017

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