Category Archives: Health

Home Remedies

I got a phone call from Daughter the other night, breathless to tell me with great glee that her best friend’s dad, a rancher and veterinarian drug rep, had found the elixir for longevity. Yep. He decided somehow that dog de-wormer was the key to long life and disease prevention. He was taking a dose every day.

This doesn’t surprise me. Our region is noted for its high acceptance of alternative medicine. People who claim to cure all sorts of things by moving one’s cerebral-spinal fluid in the opposite direction with magnets thrive here.

My paternal grandmother believed that aspirin could cure insomnia. My father was a great believer in massive doses of Vitamin E.  I can’t tell you the number of bottles of vitamins and supplements we threw out after he died. He also believed that cherries would cure arthritis. He once ate a whole lug of cherries over the course of 24 hours.  My mother believed for a while that that drinking the colostrum milk from cows that had just had their calves would cure her Multiple Sclerosis. She said it tasted dreadful.  They both lived into their 90’s, so I can’t say that it harmed them. (I know for a fact, though, that had my father had a colonoscopy in his 70’s or 80’s he would have not died of colorectal cancer at 93. I don’t know why he never had one.)

What are your favorite home remedies? What are some of the more fantastical home remedies you have heard of? 

The Blues

Maybe not a breakfast topic, but what the heck!

Last Thursday I woke up in the wee hours and couldn’t get back to sleep. Even turning on my “go-to-sleep” movies didn’t help.  Then when I finally decided to just get up, I had a headache – an unusual occurrence for me.  I was scheduled to give blood later in the morning so spent a couple of minutes checking on Google if there was anything I could take for a headache before getting stuck.

Then I trudged into the bathroom and blew my nose. It was blue.  I’m not kidding.  And not just any blue, but aqua blue.  Bright aqua blue.  Disturbing to say the least.  Since I had the laptop all powered up, I headed back to my room and searched “blue ____ (fill in your favorite word)”.  I was not really expecting to find anything, but it’s the internet, so I should have known better.  Apparently there is a bacteria (Pseudomonas pyocyanea) that causes this blue output.  One of the other symptoms – headache! This infection doesn’t seem to be majorly life-threatening although a few websites did say if it went on for more than a day or so, you should definitely get to your doctor.  Great. So then I spent time trying to figure out if I should give blood if I might have this bacterial infection.  That I couldn’t find.

I was still struggling with whether I should cancel my trip to the blood mobile when I went downstairs. As I went to get Rhiannon’s morning pill on the kitchen counter, my eyes fell on the Ukrainian dye that I had stirred up the night before.  Purple and — wait for it — aqua.  The dyes are made up of really fine powder; I must have gotten some of it in the atmosphere and breathed it in.  Subsequent nose blowings confirmed the blue to be a one-time occurrence and not a continuing “infection”.  I felt like an idiot after spending at least an hour searching online.

Hypochondria isn’t an affliction that I usually count among my foibles, but after Thursday, I’m not so sure anymore.

Any embarrassing revelations to take the heat off of me?

Mind Games

Jacque mentioned yesterday that she thought Husband’s challenge for imaginary dinner guests was the result of filling time during Great Plains travel. She wasn’t far off.  Travel out here is tedious. People at the conference I attended were somewhat surprised to hear that we drove to Minneapolis, since it was “only” 500 miles from our home.

I listen to classical music on the radio, either streamed from MPR at home or at work, or else the Symphony Hall station on our car radio. I challenge myself to identify the composer and/or the name of the piece before the announcer says them.  I pretend I am in a competition. I listen to music whenever I can, so I do the challenge quite a lot. I have  a really good auditory memory, and I recognize pieces quite quickly. (I can always tell if it is the Concordia Choir on the MPR Choral Stream just by the sound.)  It is coming up with the name of the piece and the composer that is tricky. I find that the more pieces I recognize, the harder it is to sort out exactly what the name of the piece is. My brain is getting too full.  I am pretty good at recognizing pieces by Brahms or Schumann. They have distinctive patterns of harmonies and rhythms. Mendelssohn and Schubert can sometimes confuse me.  I always know Stravinsky and Prokofiev, but sometimes  late Prokofiev sounds like Shostakovitch

As I was in a wind band in college, I can identify Vaughan Williams and Holst and Grainger very easily, but distinguishing Molly on the Shore from Handel in the Strand is sometimes hard.   I am  somewhat embarrassed to say that I  can always identify the Polka and Fugue from Schwanda the Bagpiper and also know the name of the composer. It is so distinctive.

I know that Baboons have various areas of interest. Mine is classical music. I hope that my classical habit helps keep my mind alert and healthy.

What are you doing that keeps your mind active and healthy. How are you at identifying the names of musical pieces and their composers?

Language Acquisition

We had a lovely time in Brookings visiting our son and his family. Our grandson is 17 months old. His language development really took off within the last week or so. Our daughter in law said that one day he wasn’t really talking, and the next day he was jabbering away. I notice that sometimes boys’ development is choppy, while girls have a smoother and more gradual developmental trajectory.

Our grandson signs, too, and he signed and made animal noises and tried out many new words as he went through the weekend.   I was tickled  as I wheeled him in a cart through the grocery store and he started making snorting noises as he  pointed toward the ceiling.  He had spied a pig balloon, and he  let me know that was what pigs said.  He also has a fine command of the word “No!”  and told us so quite a bit.

What were you told about your early development? What were your first words? What were your favorite first books?



My Favorite Food

It seems that whenever Husband and I go to the grocery store our cart is full of dairy products. We are big milk drinkers, and we use lots of butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, yogurt, and skyr. I put half and half in my coffee.  Thank goodness I don’t have lactose intolerance.  I even have read reports recently that whole milk and full fat dairy products may help to prevent heart disease. Our son and daughter-in-law are instructed by the pediatrician to feed their son whole milk. I was told to offer 1% milk when our children were young. Things have changed.

One of my favorite memories of living in Winnipeg was attending the Winnipeg Folk Festival. I loved the music, of course, but also some of the non-musical acts like the poet Peter Paul Van Camp. He is an Ohio native and was a regular on the Canadian folk festival circuit and lived for a while in Winnipeg.  He writes and recites some wonderful and clever poems. I wouldn’t be surprised if most Baboons know of him, but if not, I am happy to introduce you.  It was really something to be at the Winnipeg Festival out under the stars and hear several thousand people shout,  “DAIRY PRODUCTS”, until he began his recitation. The following YouTube clip was filmed at a smaller venue:

What is your favorite food? Write a haiku for hot dogs or a sonnet for soup.

Caregiver Update

The orthopedic office was busy but inside the treatment room, it was pretty quiet. “In 99% of these kinds of breaks, we put on a cast and they heal up on their own.”  I was momentarily elated.  Then he turned to YA and said “Unfortunately, you are in the 1%.”  Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

She is in better shape than a week ago, but both ankles are still quite swollen, sore and hideously discolored, so for the most part she is hanging out on her bed, using my studio chair to roll herself down the hall to the bathroom and back. For the two doctor appointments this week, she literally had to scoot down the stairs on her backside and then use the crutches to get to the car.  This takes quite a while.

Even if she gets downstairs, she’s not stable enough on the crutches to do anything, so all meals are being prepared by me. I’m doing all dog and cat duty as well as YA’s other chores (vacuuming, garbage/recycling, poop patrol in the yard, mopping) as well as her laundry and, it goes without saying at our house, her dishes.  In addition, because her dog (Guinevere) has a teeny tiny bladder, I’ve been going home over lunch every day to let the dogs out.  I’m also the go-to for discussions of workers’ comp, insurance, appointments, etc. None of this is physically taxing work but I’m tired anyway.  When the alarm went off this morning, only the knowledge that my alarm clock is a fancy-dancy expensive thing kept me from sweeping it off the nightstand!

My kudos and admiration to everyone who has ever had an extended period of care-giving. Real heroes in my book.

Have you ever had to be a care-giver? Been the care-give?