Category Archives: health

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 96. On Health.

To your health! we toast sometimes. But what kind of health are we toasting? Good health, bad health, mental or physical health? It’s a kind of superman or woman who has excellent physical and mental health. Nearly everyone of us has something wrong within our bodies or minds; it’s a fact of life (and, unfortunately, death).

But the trick is not to overly concern ourselves with every nook and cranny of the wondrous machine we call our body. Most of the time it will take care of itself, with a little help from ourselves, of course. Just don’t overdo it.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 92. On Mothers.

Unless you were born in a test tube, you have a mother. By and large they’re in a class of their. Not everyone has a great relationship with their mother, so I consider myself fortunate and indeed blessed that my mother an I get on well.

So when a 70-year-old woman tells her 46-year-old son that he should spend less time surfing the net and drinking copious amounts of coffee, and more time looking after his health and getting proper sleep, you know he should really listen. After all, if your mother can’t have your best interests at heart, who can?

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 62. On Pleasure.

For those of you who are not sure, there is a distinct difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure exists in the here and now, for the most part. It consists of those little moments of bliss, such as winning the lottery, typing The End on your first manuscript, and going on a date that ends with many moments of pleasure over an extended period.

But these moments are transitional and do not in themselves constitute total happiness. They contribute to it, certainly, but happiness depends on more than just having a good time between the sheets or winning some cash.

 

 

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 26. On Insomnia.

I remember a time when it was a badge of honour to stay up all night without sleeping. I wrote all night many a time, thinking that the wee small hours of the morning would bring out the best in me. Coffee kept me company as I plowed through my manuscripts.

Now I want my sleep to return. I want to come home from work on a Saturday night, switch off and go asleep. But I can’t, and I know why.

Coffee is my constant companion from morning ’til night. I should know better but don’t know when to stop.

 

From Little Acorns Grow…

LifeRing Ireland

It all started in a dining room of a house in north County Dublin. Present and correct were two men, two women and two dogs. I can’t speak for the dogs but I know for a fact that the four humans were (and are) recovering addicts, mainly alcoholics but there was some drug abuse, too.

LifeRing had arrived in Ireland.

Tonight, in St. Patrick’s Hospital, Dublin, we had two groups of 19 people, each recovering (or hoping to recover) from whatever their drug of choice happens to be. People from all walks of life, looking for hope, support, and camaraderie. The St. Patrick’s group is one of three active meetings in Dublin. The other two are located at the Methodist Mission on Abbey Street, and the Stanhope Street Alcohol Treatment Centre. The last piece of the jigsaw, St. John of God’s Hospital, will fall into place within the next month or two.

LifeRing has arrived in Ireland.

It’s a recovery program without a program. By this I mean there are no Steps, no Higher Power, no powerlessness over our addiction. The choice to whether or not drink or use is put in our hands. We alone are responsible for picking up a drink or drug. End of story. Sure, we’re powerless once we do — that much is obvious — but if we chose not to, that choice empowers us. That, in essence, is what LifeRing is all about. We keep it secular and leave our Higher Power (if we have one) outside the room until we leave. We chat to each other, we cross-talk, we laugh, cry, but ultimately we’re all about positivity. Our “drunk-a-logues” and “drug-a-logues” are a thing of the past. Our “war stories” remain just that — stories. We talk sobriety in the here and now. We ask each other: “How was your week in sobriety?”

It is an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous and its Twelve Steps, and without becoming all preachy, LifeRing offers the addict a different forum from which to draw strength. Some addicts can’t “get” the AA approach, so LifeRing shows them another way. It has worked well in the U.S.A. and the signs are that it will work well here in Ireland, too.

Zen and The Art of Cigarette Smoking

…or not, as the case may be.

I’ve been taking Champix since last Tuesday and something strange is happening to me: I’m not enjoying my cigarettes as much as I used to.

Champix is a non-nicotine medicine which is designed to help smokers quit the dreaded weed. It works by suppressing nerves that are stimulated by the nicotine from tobacco products. It’s also an anti-depressant that has some severe side-effects for a small proportion of its users (though not this one so far, thankfully). I can smoke for the first two weeks while taking these pills, then it is suggested that I stop completely. If I have the will to stop – and I believe I do – and I follow the correct procedure and dosing instructions, I have a better than fifty-fifty chance of finally quitting.

Champix also fucking expensive. A month’s supply of little blue and white pills costs €150, a price not to be sniffed at. But when I figure out that I probably spend that and more on cigarettes, it’s a price worth paying. Let’s face it, people, I’d like to live as long as I possibly can and if a pill is going to help with this ambition, then I’m ready to follow my doctor’s advice. There’s a first time for everything.

Reading through the leaflet, I came upon this rather interesting side-effect. The manufacturers state that some users of Champix may find themselves acting more assertive than normal. What this means for me is I could find myself in situations where I might ‘voice’ my concerns and complaints more aggressively. This might not be ideal as I’m not the most patient of people, especially at bus stops and shop queues. The next person who decides to pay for a pint of milk with their Visa card may be in for an earful from yours truly, if they’re not careful.

I can’t wait.

Doctor in the House

It had been three years since my last visit to Dr. Kelly. He told me so, after looking up his records. I said I’d been busy. He didn’t reply, but I knew what he was thinking…

So, how did I get on? If you read my recent post, you might want to know. Then again, you might not. No biggie.

I brought a book with me to the surgery. I’m reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, I’ll explain why at a later date. A friend messaged me earlier, suggesting ways to bring my blood pressure down. I did what she suggested, concentrating on me and my surroundings – but not the child running riot in the waiting room. (I can’t get away from them, can I?) I relaxed myself and focused on Ms. Rand’s ramblings on architecture and Objectivism. And focus I did; so much so, I nearly missed hearing my name being called.

After I refamiliarised myself with the good doctor, it was straight down to business: I cupped my balls and coughed.

No I didn’t; I jest. He weighed me and I came in at a svelte 65.5kg, a full1kg weight gain in three years. I’m ten stone nothing, the weight I have been for most of my life. My Body Mass Index is set at 22.5, meaning I’m the perfect weight for my height. Fist pump!

Seriously, if you don’t want to read anymore, I’d understand.

My blood pressure is spot on. I have no problems there. Yippee!!

As to my lung function, I blew into the pipe and came out trumps. There appears to be no immediate damage to my lungs; but I pressed Dr. Kelly about suggestions to help me quit smoking. He introduced me to a product called Champix, an anti-depressant drug that inhibits nicotine craving. He wrote me a script.

The doctor also scheduled me for a full health screening, as there is history of heart disease in my family. My father died of a heart attack, aged 58. He and I share the same dodgy affliction, polycystic kidneys. I’m to give blood samples next week, after a twelve-hour fast, as well as a urine sample.

Come on, don’t be giving out to me. It was your choice to read this far.

I went on my merry way but before I headed into town, I decided to check the price of Champix in my local chemist. Let’s put it this way, if I can get them cheaper on the Internet, I will.

Before I go, the first pop/rock concert I ever went to was by The Thompson Twins. Listen, laugh – but enjoy. I’m off to have my Horlicks.