Nightmare

     Wordpress has a tool for writing practice called The Daily Post. WordPress gives you a word to write about as a post on your blog. The word today is the title of this post. I am reading a book called ‘A Tale For The Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki. It is a well written, thought provoking book. I am only 1/4 of the way through it. On page 25, Nao, a young woman, contemplates writing stories about her 104 year old great grandmother, Jiko. She notes, “I mean, if I thought the world would want to know about old Jiko, I’d post her stories on a blog, but actually I stopped doing that a while ago. It made me sad when I caught myself pretending that everybody out there in cyberspace cared about what I thought, when really nobody gives a shit. And when I multiplied that sad feeling by all the millions of people in their lonely little rooms, furiously writing and posting to their lonely little pages that nobody has time to read because they’re all so busy writing and posting, it kind of broke my heart.”

     A postscript to that final sentence is on the bottom of page 26. It is from ‘Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1980 by Milan Kundera. “Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.”

     Nightmare is figurative since I was wide awake when I read these passages. But nightmare is a figurative term for something worrisome or scary. Is this blog, or for that matter, most blogs, any more than a diary that only few people might be interested in, and then only if prompted by me?

     The photo for this posting explains my philosophy about the value of blogging. If we share ideas; if I visit your blog; if you write a comment on my blog; if I write a comment on yours; if our ideas help us understand the world and each other better…..It doesn’t have to become a nightmare. Perhaps it will become too time consuming. A truly interactive blog is likely very time consuming; not easy for a full time parent or worker. I’ll be working nearly full time again from September to January. No doubt, the blog will suffer. But I would like to carry it on. After January I hope to spend a lot of time on it.

 

Intoxicating or Toxic

Intoxicating

Or is it really toxic

Don’t trust willpower

 

     What are the main causes of illness? Genetics? Random disease? Poverty? Infections? Autoimmune disorders? Trauma? Aging? What is the role of Addictive Behaviors? With our now worldwide obesity epidemic, high rates of cigarette and alcohol related illnesses and death, sedentary lives of excessive screen time and other sensory stimuli, perhaps much illness is something we have control over.

      If obesity went away, many of the most “successful” drugs would sit in bottles on shelves gathering dust. If emphysema went away, then most people would just need oxygen that’s already in the air; not in metal bottles from medical supply stores. If drug addiction went away, then drug cartels might have to repurpose to community service agencies. If most people got daily exercise and could choose healthy foods, then the children and grandchildren would better learn what’s important for health from their role model parents and grandparents.

     What stimulates addictive behaviors? Anything that is pleasurable! Living is a Catch-22. We are programmed to seek pleasure. Pleasure seeking means survival.  Our ancestors had to constantly move and seek food to survive. The more rest they could find, the more fat and sugar food had, and the more possessions they had,  the more likely they could pursue and slay the next mastodon. We have not evolved beyond that quest for rest, food, and stuff. But the mastodon steaks are already shrink wrapped at the grocery store. We pursue them in our cars. Our stuff encourages sitting a lot.

The advertising industry is expert at encouraging us to seek pleasure. We are expert at seeking pleasure because it is pleasurable and we know all the secret passageways to getting there. We can get through the minefields of medical people, magazines, government agencies, relatives, and friends all reminding us to choose more wisely for our health. Nothing can stop us from taking a hit of dopamine whenever we want, such as anticipating and eating a piece of chocolate cake a la mode.

Dopamine is a chemical Pied Piper of brain neurotransmitters showing you the way to Emerald City,  Shangri-La, or your pleasure-of-choice at the moment. Dopamine is living in the past. It still thinks a saber-toothed tiger is lurking around every corner and wants you to be well fed, rested, and carrying the most modern shield and spear before encountering it. Dopamine means well. It has just become a little misguided.

     We don’t want pain either. Most people like to avoid a healthy amount of exercise because it is often rather unpleasant and causes soreness, especially if we smoke and are overweight. It also takes away time from the pursuit of the vast array of pleasures our culture offers us.

Most of us like the pleasure of false hope. However, there is no snake oil, or magic pill, or diet, or app, or 5 minute abs exercise that will give you a healthy body. But don’t listen to me. This article is just another land mine to avoid on your way to the pleasure center. You’ll find me there enjoying another bowl of ice cream.

 

 

 

 

HYPERTHYROIDISM

GRAVE’S DISEASE

 

Thermostat set high

Overheated and sweaty

Surprised eyes bulging

 

 

This is one cause of Hyperthyroidism. Hyper means excessive. The thyroid is a gland in the neck below the Adam’s Apple. Grave’s Disease is an autoimmune disorder named after an Irish physician, Robert Graves, who studied this over 150 years ago.

Antibodies attack the thyroid cells and instead of destroying them at first, they cause the cells to increase the production of thyroid hormone, the main supervisor of metabolism.

The resulting state of being “hyper” leads to elevated temperature, fast heart beat, sweating, jitteriness, and weight loss. Antibodies can also affect tissue behind the eyeballs and cause them to protrude somewhat.

Treatment is often Radioactive Iodine to destroy the dysfunctional thyroid gland followed by lifetime treatment with replacement thyroid hormone (a daily pill). Nowadays, it’s usually not such a “grave” disease.