My Takes

It's Just My Take

Archive for the category “Health”

Making Trouble From Nothing

“Carlos, you are just making trouble out of nothing!” Our German International Student, Hanna, used to say to me when I stress over something that she thought was not worth stressing about.  She was, and still is, right though.

You see, I am a stresser, (not really a word). I like to, as Hanna put it, make trouble out of nothing.  I stew over things, no matter how small.  Sleeping for me is work time for my brain.  That’s the time when all of my day’s issues get solved or I devised other ways of dealing with them.  A presentation at work?  When I’m done with it at about 2am, it’s a finely-honed delivery without any hiccups, too bad my audience would never hear it, instead they were privy to the water-down version.  Well it wasn’t that watered down, since I actually did stew on it a few nights prior to the delivery date.  My nocturnal labor has solved worked problems that I was working on and even found lost items! I retrace my wife’s steps to the likely places she could have ‘lost’ her cell phone.

I am an avid sports fan, especially hockey.  When my team loses in the playoffs, it’s time for this fan to break down every what-ifs and near-miss scenarios.  What if the puck hadn’t hit one of our players?  We probably would have scored. How about the breakaway that he missed the open net on?

Maybe it’s a mental health issue and I need to talk to a brain sweeper to clear out the cobwebs that have been taking up residents in my cranial attic. (Wow! Did I just say that? That’s some serious lingo!) My wife insists that I should just shut my brain off and go to sleep. Easier said than done.  Maybe she has a brain switch but I wasn’t blessed with one.

You might ask why don’t I do all that stressing and over-thinking during the day and sleep at night?  Great question! Mind if I get back to you on that?  I just need to maybe…stew on it a bit tonight.

Just My Take!


Red Red Wine, Stay Close To Me

Red Red Wine

Red Red Wine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I usually take researchers’ findings with a grain of salt.  Well I used to until a study showed that salt was bad for me, even a little bit. Every day there’s a new study paid for by our hard-earned money in the form of Government grants that aim to confuse us by their contradictory results. Chocolates are good/bad, jogging is good/bad/good, nothing is safe from these pesky researchers. You like it? They will research it.

I took comfort in the fact that I could indulge in a glass of red wine when I needed to relax, as studies showed that it was not as bad as once thought.  In fact, it was great for the heart and whatever else! I don’t indulge but knowing I could was hearteningLike having a bodyguard around just in case.

So imagine my dismay when I recently read that red wine was not good for me at all!  Apparently previous studies were skewed, giving a false result and lulling people like me into a false security.

But don’t toss out that bottle of Merlot just yet, there’s another study that is still ongoing. Stay tuned for the results. In the meantime, let’s drink to your health…Oh never mind!


Pass Me The Avocado With Coconut Oil and Don’t Forget The Oolong Tea

A few weeks ago while shopping at my local Costco, I overheard a woman asking a clerk for help in finding coconut oil. Nothing wrong with that but it made me think.  Not that long ago, when I first came to Canada from the Caribbean, the very word ‘coconut’ was an island thing, something the tourists sampled to take selfies showing they were indeed on vacation. No one outside of the islands knew much about it.  No one knew that growing up, coconut was a regular staple in every household.  The branches made excellent cricket bats, the dried husks were great for starting fires, the coconut water was the perfect mix for alcohol, especially brandy.  Coconut jelly, which was the meat of a young coconut was eaten with a spoon made from the shell of the coconut, when dried, the meat was used to make coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a versatile product, but by now you know this.  it can be used for various recipes, healthy skin and even cure for ailments.  Heated, it was applied to my chest and back as a kid when I had a cold. That was many years ago. Now the benefits of coconut is filtering through to North America, just like the avocado, another island staple.

Next time you are looking for coconut, remember, I saw it first.



Best Customer Service Experience

Last Christmas my wife got me a Fitbit.  In case you don’t know what that is, it’s one of those electronic wristbands that tracks your sleep and your steps.  She was tired of listening to me complain that I never get enough sleep.  Throughout the year, I have had to contact the company for various reasons.  The first one was when I misplaced it. Fortunately I found it before they could intervene but I was still impressed by how ready they were to assist me.

My bands broke twice and after emailing them, received new ones within days.  Then it happened.  I lost my Fitbit, band and all.  Again I contacted the company but this time I didn’t want or expected anything. I just wanted to make a recommendation that maybe they should revisit the way they constructed their bands.  They asked me to confirm my purchase and address and promised to send me a gift card or a replacement after weighing my case.  A week later, I received a new Fitbit in my mailbox!

Working for a retail company and having years of experience in the industry, I know what it’s like not only to provide excellent customer service but also to receive same.  Most often than not, a good customer service experience goes unacknowledged.  A bad one you will mostly likely hear about it for a long time.  If you are one to complain when the receptionist at your doctor or wherever, is rude or curt to you, don’t hesitate to also share your when you find one who is nice to you.  With the busy shopping season in full swing, employees are working long hours away from their families to cater to us. Show them how much you appreciate it.

This place is already over-saturated with bad stories.  Everyone’s got one. A feel-good story is scarce.  Don’t believe me? Check your friends’ statuses on Facebook.  To the Fitbit company, thank you for your providing me with continuously great customer service. It’s not about the product, it’s all about you.

ALS Straight, No Ice

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known by its initials ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease.  There is a known hereditary factor in familial ALS, where the condition is known to run in families.  Early symptoms of ALS include muscle atrophy, weakness, difficulty swallowing and cramping.  Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel function and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually spared until the final stages of the disease.  And that is what ALS disease is, in a nutshell.  No need for the ice bucket but you could head on over to your nearest ALS foundation and donate whatever you could. Tell them I sent you.  Take the bucket with you if it helps.

As entertaining as some of these videos are of people taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, I think the message is getting lost.   ALS is a serious disease and needs all the attention it could get. In my opinion, taking ice bucket baths is just a distraction. But that’s just…

My Take.  Go ahead, take the Ice Bucket Challenge, I dare you!

If There’s No Fun In Your Life There’s No life In You

thEveryone has good days and bad days.  Of course, it’s human.  How we deal with the bad days is another story.  It’s what defines us.  Some have that ability to roll with the punches and stay unruffled while others allow themselves to be tossed about by the winds of their emotions.  They succumb to their feelings and let them govern their actions and behavior.  It’s all cool and dandy until this behavior interferes with how they react with the innocent ones around them.

We all know a fuddy duddy.  You know that one with the permanent scowl?  The scowl gets bigger when those around them are having fun.   Yes, they lurk in your workplace.  Perpetual grumps who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.  Well at least they act like they do.  Always seeing the cup as half empty rather than half full.  Yep, hate to say it but they have no life.  Really, they don’t.

What about those up and down grumps?  They are awesome to get along with when they are up but don’t go near them when they are having their stay-away-from-me day.   You’d better walk on pins and needles.  Jekyl and Hyde is in the house!  But yesterday they were so much fun.  What could have happened?  Is it something I said?  Or did?  Would the real person please stand up?

Life’s about having fun.  Making the most of every day and being thankful.  There are days when you are not feeling up to being a social butterfly but there are ways to deal with those days.  If you are celebrating life and having fun, don’t let the Debbie Downers and the Negative Nellys rain on your parade.  If you are the perpetual grump with a chip on shoulder, get a life.  Seriously, you need one.  Trust me, you do!  Well unless you are bipolar then you have a valid excuse.  So, are you bipolar?


Note:  There are those who have a genuine medical reason for being moody and maybe even grumpy.  This blog by no means trivializes these ailments.  I am also not endorsing anyone to be the office clown in the name of life enjoyment.  The overly-happy employee is sometimes just as bad as Mr. Grumpy Pants.

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Sorry Doc, No Pills

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et...

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et patch transdermique de clonidine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last time I went to see my doctor he asked me how a particular medication he had prescribed were working for me.  “Errr…well doc, I um…haven’t taken it in sometime.”  “Oh you missed a few doses?.” He asked. “Hmm…well a bit more than that.”  “A month?” He persisted.  I had enough of the game and blurted out, “I stopped taking it way back.”  He still was not satisfied. “Like how far back? Last month?”  “Try like almost a year ago.”  I watched as he wrote in my chart, ‘medication non-compliance.’

I have always hated medication in any form.  I am anti-vaccine and as a matter of fact, I am not that into doctors either.  Don’t get me wrong there are some great doctors out there who do a wonderful job keeping our motors running. They have saved many lives.  Some has taken many lives also.  I usually take what my doctor tells me with a grain of salt and some common sense.  “You should get the H1N1 vaccine for yourself and also your family.”  He once said to me.  I resisted of course.  Why take it when the common flu was way deadlier than H1N1?  I never take flu shots and have never had the flu.

When my blood pressure was in the keep-an-eye-on-it range, my doctor hastily put me on a range of medications without first discussing healthier alternatives.  He didn’t talk about how maintaining a healthy lifestyle could benefit me.  Our society’s growing dependence on the pill is alarming.  (Not that pill).  That magic in a bottle is the cure-all for what ails you.  Can’t sleep? Take a pill.  Can’t have an erection? Well duh, take a blue pill.   Feeling ok?  Take a pill in case.  It’s mostly all in the mind as studies have shown. The placebo effect?

Growing up in St. Vincent, even though the myth would say that as a third world country, diseases are rampant in those parts, I have never seen the various forms of illnesses as I see in Canada. As a matter of fact, I never knew anyone with food allergies.  Peanut allergy? Unheard of.  At least by me.  Now so many kids are allergic to just about anything. Good thing there’s a pill for that. If that fails, there’s always an app.

...but they didn't warn us about the rednecks....

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Doctors Of Medicines

imagesI went to the doctor today.  I hate doctors.  I think doctors are a hindrance to the body’s natural healing process.  I hate doctors.  I woke up with an unexplained sore ankle that hurt when I put pressure on it so my wife suggested that I paid the doctor a visit.  “But honey, it’s just a waste of time.  What are they going to do?  Give me pain killers and send me home?”  But like a good husband, I listened and I went to a walk-in clinic.  The doctor listened to my complain like a good doctor then said, “I think it’s gout.  Here is a prescription.  Anything else?”  See hon? Told you so!

My family doctor is not that much better.  Either he’s a spiritual healer or a quack.  He doesn’t touch me but make a prognosis based on what I tell him my ailments are.  “Your head hurts?  Must be a migraine.  Here’s a prescription for Tylenol.  Other than that, you are one healthy young man.  If there’s nothing else, I’ll see you later.”  But doc, how about a complimentary pressure check?  These doctors are redefining the term, Doctors Of Medicine.  They are Doctors of medicine.  Prescribing meds for every complain, without even asking if you are on other medications that may cause interactions.


Between you, me and the computer, I take their prescriptions and I toss them in the closest garbage.  Been doing that for years.  I think I got it from my old Grandma.  She is 101 years old and she’s tossed more doctors prescriptions than the town drunk tossed his cookies.  Maybe it’s not a good practice.  Maybe I should heed the doctors’ advise and not discard of their prescriptions.  Maybe I shouldn’t quit taking a medication unless advised by my doctor to do so.  Nah!  Sorry doc, you are not going to make your quota on this patient.  Don’t worry though, there is an old guy in the waiting room carrying around a pill-box containing about 30 different pills.  I’m sure you could talk him into adding another one to his collection.  That’s all, doc!

Don’t Waste Food. Someone Somewhere Is Starving!

Oxfam East Africa - On the edge of Dadaab camp 01

Oxfam East Africa – On the edge of Dadaab camp 01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While out for an evening stroll, I had to duck to avoid getting wet by  a sprinkler that was hydrating someone’s grass.  I guess I was bored because I started thinking, “Look at that.  Watering lawns while people in Africa are dying for lack of clean drinkable water.”  Then I thought of all the ways we waste precious water.  Washing our cars, brushing our teeth and showering while the water runs…Then I thought of something else that we waste.  Food.

Remember your parents warning when you didn’t eat your food and they had to throw it out?  “Don’t you know that in Africa someone is dying from starvation?”  It didn’t really change anything, did it?  We are still wasting our food.  Been to a buffet lately?  One of the biggest examples of food wastage right there.  (I still love a good buffet.   I call it unconditional love).

Wasting food and water is a relative thing.  We have lots of it always available when we want it so why ration it, right?  We are lucky to live in a country where we can eat and drink what we want when we want.  We can also take baths or showers whenever.  When such abundance is at our fingertips, it’s harder to not waste it.  You take a bite of steak and it’s not to your liking and you throw it out because you know what a good steak tastes like and it’s not like this.   Some don’t have that luxury but can you we be blamed?  I think not really.

Should we stop watering our grass, stop washing the car, take less showers and conserve water?  Maybe if you want to.  Would it help?  It might be as effective as those one-day gas boycotts.  Should we still throw out food?  It doesn’t matter the answer, we will always throw out food.  Let’s be real here.  So then what can we do?  People in Africa are indeed dying for what we are throwing out.  Heck, people down the street are in dire straits for lack of food.  But if I eat that piece of steak instead of throwing it out, how would that curb world hunger?  It’s not like someone in Africa owned the cow.

So what the point in talking about it if we are still going to waste resources that people are dying for?  Respect.  Yes, how about we respect what we have?  Our water, food, etc.  If we respect them then we would finish that steak but vow to make it better next time.  We would shut off the water when while we brush our teeth.  We would perhaps use a bucket instead of a hose to wash our cars.

If you don’t care about the dying Africans or the guy down the street, at least we should be thankful and respect what we have.  Ultimately, we might inadvertently be saving the lives of those dying for what we are wasting.

Just my take.

Note:  Even the Pope is feeling me.  A day after I drafted this blog, the Pope released a statement saying that wasting food is like stealing from the poor.

Be Heart Smart This Holiday Season

Last week, our babysitter’s dad had a heart attack.  It was freaky as he is only about 50 years old, still young.

While getting ready for work, he felt a bit dizzy and experienced tightness in his chest.  The ambulance was called and he was found to have a 100% occlusion!  One hundred percent!  Any hesitation on his part could have resulted in death.  He is lucky to be alive.

It’s interesting to note that he did not exhibit most of the ‘normal’ symptoms we have come to associate with heart attacks.  No tingling sensation or numbness in the arm etc.  It also makes it a scary scenario in that many of us would have chosen to sleep it off.  I would.  Lie down for a while and it will pass.  Thank God he didn’t.

For this holiday season, take it easy with everything you do.  You don’t have to be an old fogey to have a heart attack.  Don’t do anything too strenuous and watch what you eat.  Hey, even watch your dance as a 46-year old man and father of three, died of a heart attack from doing the Gangnam Style Dance at his office Christmas party.  Go figure.

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday!  Get well soon, Mike.

Please read:

Middle-aged men warned to say away from Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style Not My Style

Gangnam Style Can Cause Death!

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