My Takes

It's Just My Take

Archive for the tag “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!


Shut up and let me sleep!

They all start off the same. Falling into a nice deep sleep before the end of an episode of Modern Family.  By 1am, so deep in Lala Land I could be mistaken for a citizen or a Lalatian.  Unfortunately, like all the other nights, I get deported before I could even be considered a landed immigrant.
Last Wednesday night I fell asleep just after 10pm.   I was very tired so I had no doubt that I would be sleeping the whole night through.  Just before 3am I found myself awake and alert.  My mind sensing this, decided to start a conversation.  Oh there you are! Sucks about your friend dying eh?  So many people dying young these days. How is your health by the way? How is the blood pressure that you had tested?  How about work?  Let’s see what you have to do when you go in tomorrow. Or maybe I should say this morning.

My mind bombarded me with thoughts like those.  I chewed on some and dismissed some.  I tried to shut it off, telling myself I need to get some sleep but my mind wouldn’t relent! What time is it anyways?  Oh almost 3am.  Almost 4am.  Almost 5am…oh oh, someone needs to be getting up soon.  Aaarrrghhh!!




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!


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!

Have You Really Tried Everything?

As a little boy back in St. Vincent, there was this song that I heard that somehow stayed with me through the years.  The main lyrics were, “If you’ve tried and everything and everything failed, try Jesus.”  I haven’t heard or thought of that song in years but last week it came to me, out of nowhere and set my mind to thinking.  Sometimes when things are going bad for us, we say “I’ve tried everything.”  Doctors, shrinks, card readers, psychics, friends with bad advice, whatever, but did we really? Everything?

Back in St. Vincent, the wise old ones had a cure for whatever ails you.  Everyone had their own concoction, some bordering on ridiculous and some downright ridiculous.  I suffered from asthma and drank everything ranging from old water collected from a tree with mosquito larvae and all.  The next step was to drink the water from a boiled lizard.  Boiled live by the way, but thank goodness, my aunt balked at the idea and couldn’t go through with it.  Even though we were a strong christian family, no one thought to pray.  In fact it might have seem ridiculous at the time.  Even more so than boiled lizard.  Lying there praying to God when I could be drinking some fix-me-upper?  Well as Christians who believe their God can do anything, why wouldn’t I?  He works in mysterious ways so one really doesn’t have to literally lie there and pray.  Maybe we could ask him about the lizard and the larvae infested water?  Maybe he wants us to drink it.  It’s like asking your parents if you could eat the candy you found at the park.  Well somewhat.

If we can’t use God when we are sick and hurting, then seriously when can we use him?  Today, if you are ailing or facing obstacles that you cannot navigate through, why not give God a shot at fixing it?  If you are a non-believer, it could still work in your best interest because you really have nothing to lose, do you?  But you have everything to gain.   A win-win situation.  When your life is at stake, you deserve to try everything, so don’t shortchange yourself, try everything.  Try God.

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The Other Olympians

thQuick question, how many medals does Canada have in the Paralympics that’s taking place in Sochi?  Don’t know?  Don’t worry, I don’t either.  Do you care?  Again don’t worry, not too many do. 

The Winter Olympics in Sochi came to an end a few weeks ago. At least the games we love. We watched as our beloved athletes performed to the best of their abilities. Cheered them as they raced to a spot on the podium. How could we not? It was on every television.  We heard their stories, saw glimpses inside their private lives and for a while, they enjoyed their status as celebrities.  Some will enjoy this status for the rest of their lives.

These were the athletes that we sent to represent us with funding and assistance.  They leave with much fanfare and arrive with a hero’s welcome.  Stepping off their planes into the arms of throngs of well-wishers.  City streets and landmarks would be named after those who excelled.  For those who didn’t make it on the podium, it didn’t matter.  We love them.

A week after the Winter games in Sochi concluded, the real Winter games started, also in Sochi. In terms of glitz,  glamor and coverage it paled grossly in comparison .  There could be no better story than the stories these Olympians tell.  Overcoming mental and physical adversities to do what many said they couldn’t.  Yes, this should be what the Games are about.  Readers, this is the true spirit.  The stuff that dreams are made of.

So why is it that these olympians who deserve to be treated as equals to their abled counterparts are not?  How come they are given just a passing mention on the evening sports news even though they are doing exactly what the real ‘others’ did, represent their countries? Don’t they deserve a bit more? A lot more?  They are like the ugly step-sister, an after-thought.  For them, there are no ‘darlings’ of the Games, no ‘Queens’ of the ice.  In fact, there are no faces to remember. 

Just My Take.

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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No Grace, No Compassion

thWinnipeg’s Grace Hospital sounds like a place where you would like to go if you took ill, doesn’t it?  I mean, they wouldn’t name it ‘Grace’ if they did not at least try to live up to the name now would they?  Well if you have been keeping abreast of the news, grace doesn’t seem like something this hospital serves up.  At least not lately.

On December 30th, a 78 year old man was dishonorably discharged from the hospital and sent home by a cab after doctors proclaimed him fit enough to go and not ill enough to occupy their beds.  They thought he was so healthy that they did not think twice of sending him home in a cab still wearing his slippers and gown.  It didn’t matter that it was -38 degrees outside.  After all Winnipeggers are tough. Turns out that the elderly gentleman wasn’t that tough after all or sicker than the doctor thought.  Good thing cabbies always make sure their fares get inside their house before driving away.  Oh wait a minute, they don’t.  The cab door was barely closed before the cabbie drove away, leaving the scantily clad man to walk to his door alone.  He never made it inside, dying on his doorsteps.  To make it worse, he wasn’t found until the next day.

Within a day or so, another patient, same hospital, same process, same outcome.  Without Grace. Again, the cabbie was not around to see them safely inside on a cold night in Winterpeg.  Of course not. Not when the threat of losing their place in queue was at a risk.  Forget compassion.  This second patient never made it to a warm building.  Dying on the sidewalk.

Almost a year to the day, at another Winnipeg hospital, a discharged patient also collapsed and died on her doorstep.  She was not deemed ill enough to stay at Seven Oaks General Hospital.  Now while all fingers are pointed at these hospitals and rightfully so, I have to question the selfish and less than humane acts of the cabbies who dropped these people off without even a backward glance.  Who leaves a scantily clad old man outside in -38 weather without making sure they make it inside safely?  In fact, who lets out an elderly person from their vehicle without assisting them to their doors?

The cab drivers are just as guilty as the hospitals for failing to provide basic care.

Click on links below to read complete story.

Man dies on porch after release from hospital

2 Winnipeg patients die on doorsteps after being discharged

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So Why Aren’t We Living On Mars?

thThis week, the news that the city of Winnipeg, was colder than it was on the planet Mars was met with shock or sarcasm.  By me at least.  Yes we were mired in a cold snap that was taking its toll not only on Winnipeg but also the rest of Canada and most of the US.

I hate cold.  Always did and always will.  And don’t ask me why I am living in this cold tundra if I am such a winter hater as I don’t really know either.  The day in which we were compared to Mars, our temperatures dipped to -48c, with the windchill it translated to -53c.  Apparently the Mars rover location was reading a balmy -29c at that same time. Yes, we were colder than Mars. Handshakes all around for my fellow Winterpeggers.

With that comparison, it begs me to wonder, why aren’t we living on Mars then?  This week, our temperatures were showing numbers like a broken thermometer.  Yet on every one of those days, I still made it to work on time.  I was expected to.  Everyone else did.  I worked for 8 hours. I wasn’t sent home because it was too cold. In fact, the boss barely noticed that the temperatures were not conducive for work.  It was work as usual.  In most cities in North America, this would have called for emergency measures to be enacted.  Actually it would have taken less than that to shut down cities.  But in Winnipeg, the energizer bunny was at it.  Keep on going and going and going.  Cold? What cold? Bundle up and get out!

So if we could cope and survive here in this cold snap,  (And I use the word ‘snap’ loosely because unlike the other cities beleaguered by this weather, it is the norm here). why aren’t we living on Mars?  So what if it plunges to hellish lows at night?  We are from Winnipeg, it wouldn’t stop us from getting to work on time or walking our dogs or getting the mail.

Anyone up for Mars?  Go without me.  I’ll be somewhere closer to the Sun.


Winnipeg colder than Mars. (

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