Browsing Tag: health

    Miscellany

    Health Care Reform & Leadership

    March 22, 2010

    July 4, 2006: Independence DayTwitter has been a waste for the past 18 hours or so. Republicans are crying and Democrats are gloating, but to me both sides come out looking bad because politics and government shouldn’t be about one side winning and the other side losing.

    It seems to me that politics in the US has become just another sport. It’s us vs. them. One side tries to “push through” its bills and pet projects, just like an NFL team tries to push through at the goal line and score a TD. The other side tries delay tactics, like an NFL team calling time out right before a game-deciding kick or a baseball manager going out to the mound to slow down an opponent’s rally. Both sides use the media to advance their own agendas and spin things for their own good. And the public laps it all up on their cable TV channel of choice, like rabid animals desperate for confirmation that they’re rooting for the Good Guys and the other team is Pure, Unadulterated Evil.

    Meanwhile, there’s not a whole lot of leadership and governing going on, is there?

    If it were up to me, we’d toss out the president and every member of both houses of Congress. Tomorrow. And we’d start from scratch with people who want to lead a country, not people who want to win an election. We’d limit the amount of time they’re allowed to spend on TV, radio, and talking to the press. We’d limit how much time they can spend trying to get re-elected. We’d require them to vote against their own party at least 25% of the time. We’d force them to focus on being leaders, and do whatever it takes to get them to stop being politicians.

    I don’t know if the Health Care Reform bill is Good or Bad, but like everything else that comes from government, I suspect it’s got some of both. I was just reading this article, and I like this part here about the changes that are coming in 2014:

    • Insurers will be required to take all applicants. They won’t be able to turn down people in poor health, or charge them more.
    • States will set up new insurance supermarkets for small businesses and people buying their own coverage, pooling together to get the kind of purchasing clout government workers have now.

    In the two years that I’ve been buying health insurance on my own for the McGee family, our premium has gone up 24.4%. That’s ridiculous. I love the idea of being able to pool together with other individuals to get better rates.

    On the other hand, back to the real topic of this post: leadership. I understand that this bill doesn’t cover the president or members of Congress, all of whom will continue to enjoy an apparently much better health plan than the one they just voted for the rest of us to get. What does that say about how great the bill is? More than that, what does it say about how broken our system of government is that the people deciding things like this aren’t affected by their decisions?

    obama

    No. Reform and change will only happen when we have more leaders in Washington, DC, and fewer politicians.

    Miscellany

    Lose It? I lost it: 21 pounds in 52 days

    February 27, 2010

    Is it okay to brag for a little bit? Hope so. I’ve been waiting to share some good news — and a tip — about the diet I’ve been on, and I decided I’d post something when my weight loss reached 20 pounds. Well, I woke up this morning and skipped right past that to 21 pounds. Wooo-hoooo!

    It all started when I woke up on January 6th and weighed more than I ever have in my life. I’d always told myself I’d get in shape and lose weight someday when I had more time to exercise, but this was a tipping point. Figured I had to make time to exercise, and it was now or never.

    My plan: No fancy diets, just eating right and getting more exercise. I mentioned last month that a new fitness club was opening up less than a mile away, so everything was perfect.

    lose-itI have to say that I had a little extra help in the form of an awesome iPhone app called Lose It! This is a screenshot of the home page, but there’s so much more going on.

    With Lose It, I set my weight loss goal at the start: 26 pounds over six months. Seemed attainable and not risky. Lose It then told me how many calories I could eat each day and still lose that weight — it gave me a food target, which was a huge help.

    Every morning (or as often as I want), I input my daily weight and it charts how I’m doing. After every meal, I also input what I ate and it tells me how many calories I ate and how many I have left. It has a lot of foods in its database, but I also have to “create new food”(s) when I eat something that’s not in there, and that’s easy to do (and kinda fun, I dare say).

    When I exercise, it tells me how many calories I burned and those get subtracted from what I ate — in other words, credited toward my daily calorie allowance. It has all kinds of exercises in its system, all the basics that I do when I workout at the gym, and it even has stuff like yard work, hedge clipping, lawn mowing, etc.

    This app has been a huge help. Thank you, Lose it!

    I haven’t quite reached my goal — five more pounds to lose for that. When I get there, I’ll actually be at the same weight that’s listed on my driver’s license.

    So, enough bragging about weight loss. Just wanted to share and, in case anyone out there in Readerville is also trying to or thinking about losing weight, offer some advice and info about the Lose It app. I think you’ll love it.

    Music

    8 Great Workout Songs

    February 13, 2010

    I’ve been working out pretty consistently for the past six weeks or so. And by that, I mean I’m going to the gym about 4-5 times per week. My workout usually consists of a little weightlifting, some situps, and I’m now up to 45 minutes on the treadmill. That’s where the music comes in.

    I’ve got a workout playlist on my iPod with 24 songs. Here are the best workout songs I’ve found so far:

    “Chocolate” by Snow Patrol

    Such an ironic title for a workout song, but this one has the perfect drum beat and rhythm. I’ll let me treadmill time go a little long when this song comes on at the end. It’s too perfect. Unquestionably, the greatest workout song ever.

    “Politik” by Coldplay

    Another one that’s great because, depending on how fast you’re walking, each step hits at the same time as each drum beat. There are some slow parts in this song, so it’s pretty good at the beginning when I’m just starting the treadmill session.

    “When We Were Young” by Whipping Boy

    Great, short song from an Irish band you’ve never heard of. I’ve never seen this video until just now when I went searching on YouTube (since LaLa doesn’t have it).

    “Hysteria” by Muse

    Perfect song for the middle of a long treadmill session. “Uprising” is another great Muse workout song, but I like this one better.

    “First Time” by Lifehouse

    Remember this song from the Dodge TV commercials a couple years ago? It was good then, but even better for a workout. Again with the consistent drumbeat that you can walk to super easily.

    “The Secret” by Vib Gyor

    Another one I couldn’t find on LaLa, so here’s the video. If everyone listed to this song first thing every morning, there’d be no need for coffee runs. Wait ’til the drums kick in at the 15-second mark, and then you’re off.

    “Bad” by U2

    You knew there’d be U2 somewhere on my workout playlist, didn’t you? I’m still searching for good U2 songs to include, but the live version of “Bad” is winning so far. It’s kinda slow in the beginning, but builds up over the second half of the song. It’s good at the beginning of a walk, and also at the end for winding down.

    “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows

    One of my all-time favorite songs. It’s a great, great driving song and also works in a workout. Pretty good wind-down song since it’s not super fast.

    Okay, enough of my workout song list. If anyone has their own favorite workout songs, drop a comment so I can build my playlist!

    Miscellany

    U2 Fan? Dizzy? One guess what the problem is…

    June 25, 2009

    After dealing with this spinning head stuff for about a month now, I was finally able to get in to see an ENT specialist today. Saw the same guy who did ear surgeries on both my kids when they were wee little ones and had lots of ear infections.

    So, if there’s one condition that would just be too perfect for a U2 fan to come down with … a condition that involves dizziness and spinning heads … what condition would that be? I’ll give you one hint:

    Yep. Unos, dos, tres, get dizzy. I’ve got Vertigo. Technically, I have Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo:

    What are the symptoms?

    The main symptom is a feeling that you are spinning or tilting when you are not. This can happen when you move your head in a certain way, like rolling over in bed, turning your head quickly, bending over, or tipping your head back.

    BPPV usually lasts a minute or two. It can be mild, or it can be bad enough to make you feel sick to your stomach and vomit. You may even find it hard to stand or walk without losing your balance.

    That pretty much describes it to a “T”, but I’m lucky to have not had any vomiting or nausea. Everything else – been there, done that. The doctor gave me an information sheet that also talked about feeling lightheaded for several hours at a time, which is how things were at their worst a few weeks ago — couldn’t get anything done at all.

    On the bright side, it’s really not terribly serious. The most common treatment is nothing. There are some procedures that can be done to minimize the dizziness, but most people learn to live with this. As long as I control my head movements, I should be okay. Driving isn’t a problem. Yardwork has been okay. Playing with the dogs, the kids, doing the shopping – all good.

    I’m supposed to monitor my dizziness for the next week — which way am I turning my head when I get dizzy, what position am I in, etc. And I’ll see the doc again late next week and we’ll decide what, if anything, needs to be done.

    Thanks to all who emailed after the last post about this. Really appreciate the thoughts and support. Now if you’ll just tell my daughter to stop walking around the house singing, “Hello, hello, you’ve got a disease called Vertigo,” everything will be much better!

    Music

    The World I Know

    June 19, 2009

    Collective SoulI tested myself last night (Thursday). I hopped in the car and drove three hours to a remote part of Idaho to see Collective Soul do a tiny, little warm-up gig before their main tour starts next week. They advertised the show as being in Coeur d’Alene, but it was actually closer to Worley, Idaho, about a half-hour south of CDA.

    I’m still fighting the spinning head thing, but mostly in the mornings. (I see an ENT specialist next week.) Usually I’m doing pretty good by about 11 a.m. each day. At the show, I didn’t have any dizziness issues … but my McDonald’s dinner wasn’t agreeing with me, and since I decided to join the crowd and rush the stage during the third song, I was surrounded by people, getting very hot and sweaty, and extremely thirsty. I left the mob at the front after the band’s main set and found some ice water. Then went back and watched a bit of the encore before calling it a night and leaving early. (No, I’d never leave a U2 concert early.)

    That’s a six-hour roundtrip drive to watch about 80 minutes of live music. And it was all worth it because I got to hear “The World I Know” live — surely one of the best 4-5 songs ever written. I could listen to that 20 times in a row and not get tired of it. In fact, if you check my Last.fm profile, I probably have listened to it 20 times in a row!

    Other than being a little tired from the long drive, and having a small headache, the test went well. But hopefully they’ll play somewhere a little closer next time.

    Here’s my full set of Collective Soul photos on Flickr from last night.

    Miscellany

    Guy with the Spinning Head

    June 6, 2009

    “Vertigo” was too easy to use as a title, so I chose a relatively obscure U2 b-side from almost 20 years ago as the headline on this post, and then edited it since I’m a guy.

    This has been one of the strangest 10 days I’ve ever had. There’s something wrong with me, and I have no clue what it is. It’s very possibly nothing more than a virus, and deep down I think that’s the case. But it could be something entirely different and more serious, too. Hope not.

    A couple Wednesdays ago, while I was reading with T before she went to bed, I suddenly got dizzy, felt faint, and my head banged against the wall in her room. It settled down after about 10 seconds and I just chalked it up to being tired and the hot weather we were having. Then it continued the next day, and the day after that — dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, etc. Then it got better for a couple days, then it came back again, and that’s when I finally went to urgent care.

    The doc there didn’t seem too confident, but he thinks it’s some kind of inner ear imbalance/infection, combined with allergies (even though I haven’t had allergies since I was a kid). So I got a couple prescriptions from him and have been taking them for three days now. I’m still waking up dizzy and groggy in the mornings, but the past two days I’ve felt pretty good in the afternoons and evenings. And here I am writing a blog post after midnight, so that’s a sign that maybe things are returning to normal.

    I had to cancel plans last week for a quick trip to Seattle with the family (although this dizzy stuff wasn’t the only reason), and canceled plans again this week for a conference in Seattle I was supposed to attend. I’ve already canceled a webinar I was supposed to give in a week or so, and I’m wondering if I’ll feel up to driving to Coeur d’Alene on the 18th to see Collective Soul.

    I’m not even sure why I’m posting about all this. There are several people I know, some very close to us, who are dealing with much more serious health problems (think cancer) and I’m not looking for sympathy. I think there’s a two-fold purpose to this post:

    1. To ask for patience from friends. If you’ve been waiting on an email from me over the past 10 days, or expecting me to finish/continue some project we were talking about or working, I’m now way behind on everything. Up until the last couple days, I’ve only been able to get in front of the computer for a couple hours at a time before things would start to spin.
    2. To publicly flog myself for not having a personal doctor. Yep. That’s why I had to go to urgent care. It was either that or the emergency room. Either way, I’d be seeing a doctor who’s never met me before. That’s not exactly helpful when it comes to diagnosing things. I’m 40 now. I should’ve found a personal doctor years ago. Maybe this post reminds me to go out and do it. Stupid, stupid, stupid….

    Anyway, not trying to make a big deal out of anything or look for sympathy. Just felt like talking about this craziness that’s been going on. And felt guilty about not writing a blog post here in more than two weeks, too.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.