Tag Archives: Medicine

My Ticking Telomere Timebomb

DNA Final

By Jack Edwards

Dr. Oz says that my telomeres are fraying, and he’s very worried about them. This “fraying” is apparently caused by stress. Sadly, now that he has alerted me to my telomere fraying problem, I have discovered a whole new level of stress.

Let me explain. Every Monday I read a column in my local paper supposedly written by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen. I say “supposedly,” because with Dr. Oz spending all that time in the make-up room at his television show, creatively named “The Dr. Oz Show” and with Dr. Roizen busy doing real medical work as the chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, I figure that the column is really written by one of Dr. Roizen’s third year residents, that or one of Dr. Oz’s assistant make-up artists. It takes a lot of time to knock out a weekly column. I should know, and mine doesn’t even involve any research; let me emphasize this – NO research whatsoever. In fact, all my comments here are based on a single casual reading of this week’s column in which I may have missed the entire point due a mishap of spilling a glop of cereal onto what may have been the most crucial paragraph in the column. On top of that, I was still very sleepy.

Let me further explain. My usual Monday routine involves reading the morning paper, which as I have said includes Drs. Oz and Roizens’ column, and then committing myself to following their advice for the remainder of my natural life. I hold fast to this new, deeply held commitment until lunch. Then I remind myself that I’ve lived okay so far with my habit of, for example, basing my diet on animal fat and empty junk food calories, and ask myself why I should be listening to medical advice from Dr. Oz’s assistant make-up artist anyway.

Back to telomeres. Besides being a popular children’s television show, telomeres are the “caps” on the ends of our DNA. The longer your DNA caps the better. They help you ward off ailments, including heart disease, diabetes and, as I understand it, the danger of becoming a zombie or even a vampire. (I just made up that last part for your amusement – the part of about becoming a vampire. It really does help from becoming a zombie.) These telomere caps “fray” and get shorter as you age, but, BIG PROBLEM ALERT HERE, stress can accelerate the fraying! Naturally, I figure I’m already down to the nubs.

For those of you unfamiliar with Drs. Oz and Roizens’ column, they sneakily divide it into two parts. In the first part, they scare the hell out of you telling you that you’re doing everything all wrong (like not eating enough kumquats) and that it’s unlikely you’ll survive the day, and then the second part, which always begins with the word “fortunately.” This column did not disappoint.

“Fortunately…” the column continues, and goes on to list ways to reduce stress. The list includes mediation, deep breathing, time with friends, music and what they refer to as “just chill.” (Notably absent was the suggestion that people stop reading their column.)
They explain how to do “deep breathing,” and I have to confess that I was a little disappointed by the description. You’re supposed to breathe in through your nose counting to four, and then out through your mouth slowly counting to eight. Here’s how they describe the big payoff: “You’ll instantly increase the oxygen level in your blood by up to 3 percent. Not bad!” They actually say, “Not bad!” Three percent? Honestly? It sounds really bad. Terrible, in fact.

So, after considering my options, I’m going to focus my telomere saving efforts on music and “just chill.” In fact, I’m going to make them a permanent part of my lifestyle. At least until lunch.

Whole Foods Market Answer to Xanax

Whole Foods Final

Life can be stressful.  Thankfully, there are a number of healthful ways to combat this stress, like exercise, eating well, and taking a daily regimen of psychotropic medications.  (FDA approved, of course.)  If we can be certain of anything, we can be certain that the health of the nation is the number one priority of the pharmaceutical industry.  Gotta love those guys.  But as much as I admire the ethics and trust “Big Pharma,” as I affectionately refer to them, I recently stumbled across an alternative.  It may not be for everyone, and it may not even be less expensive, but in the spirit of providing YOU, my faithful readers with OPTIONS, I will now share my recent discovery.

There are a plethora of self-help programs out there, like the one that giant Tony Robbins is always rambling on about.  Everywhere you look people are advertising themselves as “life coaches.”  My discovery, however, has nothing to do with “life coaches.”  (Side note: “Life coach” is code for: I’m lost and confused, but maybe by helping you screw up your life and charging you an outrageous fee, I can finally find myself).  My alternative does not involve fancy programs or life coaches.  My alternative is spending quality time in Whole Foods Markets.  Not buying their produce.  Not eating at their deli.  Just walking around inside them.  I’m not sure if eating organic, sustainable food is any better for you, but I do know that the simple act of walking into a Whole Foods Market makes you feel better about yourself.  Not just as good as everybody else, it makes you feel better – better than everyone who is not shopping at Whole Foods (i.e. the so-called general population).  As you enter carrying your reusable shopping bag, suddenly your posture gets a little better.  You perk up.  You feel alive and engaged.  Try it.  But first, as before engaging in any new activity, you need to stop and take time to learn, understand and appreciate the nomenclature:

  1. Organic.  In the Latin, this translates to, “Wow, this apple has a worm hole in it the size of the Lincoln Tunnel.”
  2. Sustainable.  In the original Greek (not the modernized version), this translates roughly to: “Brace yourself, this asparagus costs four times the price as normal.”

And finally,

  1. Locally sourced.  This is a relatively new term in the American lexicon, and means, “If the cheese maker down the street needs a root canal, guess whose fettuccini alfredo just skyrocketed?”

But never mind all that.  Who can put a price on good mental health?  There is just something about eating a chicken raised in a petting zoo that makes you feel better about yourself.

So there you have it.  The Whole Foods Market alternative to Xanax.  Of course, you don’t have to use the Name Brand.  You can go with the generic:  Trader Joe’s, Nature’s Market, or Tom’s Corner Organic Healthy Stuff Market.  Consumer activists say they are just as effective.  They have the same active ingredient.  At least that’s what they say….  Or, to be on the safe side, you can just go to Whole Foods.

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Like a Starbucks Latte with that Heart Attack?

ER Cure

A monumental problem has perplexed citizens of the United States for three decades.  That is, of course, how to find a cup of coffee for under three bucks.  But the Starbucks’ racketeering scheme is not the focus of today’s column.  Today’s column is about hospital emergency rooms.  Let’s begin by breaking down the meaning of the word Emergency. “Emer” which is Latin for, “My spleen has ruptured”, and “gency” which translates in the Greek to, “Can’t this ambulance travel any faster?!”  Every day across America, people stream into hospital emergency rooms who are desperate, in need of help, lost, and in pain.  And the cause of their distress is the hordes of patients demanding their attention.  This has resulted in average wait times of four to six months and bills that rival Nicaragua’s annual gross domestic product.  Let me triage their plight, and identify a comprehensive solution.  Here is the Dr. Edwards’ two-step cure for what ails America’s ERs:

Cure 1.  Eliminate waiting areas.  Get rid of them completely.  Lease the space to Starbucks.  If someone can survive an hour in a waiting area, there is no emergency.  It doesn’t exist.  Instruct the person to vacate the premises immediately.

Cure 2. The average emergency bill is roughly $1,500.  For this, you get a paper gown that exposes your hinny and 4.5 seconds of a bleary-eyed doctor with a vast 14 days’ of experience checking your throat and telling you to go home.  Under the Dr. Edwards’ plan, we will switch to a metered system.  The receptionist slaps an electronic meter around your neck at check-in.  Every time a nurse, doctor, or anyone wearing a smock, actually pays attention to you, they push the meter’s “on” button.  When they walk away from you, they push the “off.”  (Or….. maybe we could put a device on the staff which did this automatically?  Nooooooooo.  Nix that.  Doctors and nurses would be zigzagging around like roller skaters on the rink trying to pick up time.  We go with the neck meter).  You only pay for the attention you get.  You want to improve service?  You want to feel cared for? Medical personal will appear from the woodwork hanging on you from the second you hit the door.  Let’s just say coffee consumption and back room gossip sessions will quickly become a thing of the distant past.

There you have it.  Two simple changes.  They can be implemented as soon as we get Starbucks to lease the empty space.  Then we’ll all be able to afford those $3 coffees.

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Check out these great books for gifts:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness at –

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Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

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Celebrating Diversity, One Glass of Kombucha at a Time

Kombucha (2)

My New Year’s resolution is to be more tolerant.  I am going to celebrate diversity, even if it makes me vomit.  Case in point, my sister.  I was recently helping her move some stuff out of her car when I came across a bottle filled with yellow liquid.  My first reaction: My sister has turned into one of those urine drinkers.  You have to know my sister.  She puts the “alt” in the term alternative medicine.  I confronted her with the bottle, and she gave me some cover story about it being a concoction called Kombucha.  It’s supposed to be good for your digestive track.  I told her it was okay to admit she was drinking her own urine.  I wouldn’t judge her.  I was going to celebrate diversity this year.  I told her that I might even put one of those annoying bumper stickers on my car.  But she stuck to her story.

I popped out my iPhone and asked Siri to give me the scoop on urine drinkers.  According to Wikipedia, urine may be the best thing since the discovery of aloe vera.  We should be rubbing a little behind our ears each morning.  Urine drinking has a bunch of fancy names.   (Let’s face it.  This is a tough marketing gig.  You’d better have a compelling name to cajole some poor sap into tipping back a glass of this golden elixir). They call it Urine Therapy, Urotherapy, Uropathy, or my favorite, Unrinotherapy.  (It also has an old fashioned name, which I am hesitant to mention because it might seem like I’m being intolerant – Human Waste.)  People use it for both medical and cosmetic purposes, by drinking it and massaging it into their skin.  The pleasant odor is a bonus.  You’ve got to wonder what genius decided to harness The Power of Urine.

As a non-urine drinker, I have a number of questions.  For example, how is it served? Hot like tea?  Cold?  Maybe over ice?  Is it appropriate to doctor it up a little with sugar or perhaps a sprig of mint?  What’s the lunch room etiquette?  Is it okay to pour up a frothy glass in front of coworkers?  Is it ever appropriate to offer a glass of your “homemade” others?  Someone really needs to write a book on this.  They can titled it Urine Drinking Does and Don’ts.

I’m surprised we haven’t heard from the whole recycle-reuse-renew crowd on this.  Where’s Al Gore?  You’d think they’d be jumping all over it like ticks on hound dog.

As for me, I am fully committed to celebrating our differences and keeping an open mind no matter how disgusting the idea may be.  The mere idea sickens me.  It makes me want to vomit my guts out.  But hey, this is the new millennium.  Don’t be a hater.  Keep an open mind, and celebrate these extremely uncomfortable differences.

As for my sister’s suspiciously yellow “Kombucha,” I only have one question for her: Do you drink that hot or cold?

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Also-

Check out these great books:

The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the legal wilderness at –

https://buff.ly/2K41Tax

Seven Rules for the College Playground –

https://buff.ly/2IqXxgn

Seven Secrets You Need to Know to Hire the Right Lawyer –

https://buff.ly/2roFIov