Category Archives: Health

Nose Strips

Have you ever used nose strips?  They’re cushioned pieces of thin plastic that are encased in a band-aid-like adhesive strip.  You open them just like a band-aid and place them across the bridge of your nose just above the nostrils.  They look like this:

My wife and I use them off and on and they seem to work pretty good.  They certainly open the nasal passages and help to keep snoring at a minimum.

Not too long ago, we woke up one morning and were talking about them.  We were both laying on our sides, looking at each other and talking about how we had slept the night before.  Things were said like, “It’s wonderful after fifteen years of being married to each other that we are more in love now than we were then!”  “How did you sleep last night?”  “These strips work pretty good!”  It was then that we both noticed how mine had started to come off on one end. That started a conversation about how good the adhesive is.  And then about what the best way to take them off is.

I was still talking about how the edge of my nose strip had worked loose when she said, “I usually take mine off fast.  Like this.”  And she immediately reached over and peeled mine off my nose so fast that I hardly knew what had just happened.  Until the burning pain set in like fire across my nose and tears flooded my eyes like torrents of rain and I screamed out in agony….

Ok, it wasn’t that bad.  But it did burn like fire.  Probably almost as bad as child birth, but I won’t bring that up.  At least I wasn’t laughing hysterically when she was giving birth to our children.  Unlike the outcome of her brutal actions that morning.

It’s a good thing I love her like I do.

A Quick Thought

Just a quick thought for today.
Why is it that I can go to the store for one thing and find that I inevitably need to get something sweet to eat? One thing and one thing only turns into six (actually seven with my wife needing me to pick up buns).
You may remember from earlier conversations that I love sweets! Especially homemade things. But within the past few days, I have had a hankerin’ for those cheap powered sugar donuts that come in a bag. So I went to Kroger and got some. But then I thought I’d just swing by the ice cream (it is extremely hot outside, you know) and see if anything was on sale. Low and behold, it was!
Pints that normally cost $3 were on sale for $1. Well, I just had to take advantage of a sale like that! The maximum number to get was five, so that’s what I got (generously providing one for my mother-in-law, who was over to the house visiting).
We’ve all got our issues. I guess this one is mine. In the Big Picture of things, that’s not so bad.
Catch you next time, my friend.

Aging Well

Aging well is something that can be hard to do.  When it comes to physical activity, the world is your oyster when you’re in your twenties. Then you find that the older you get, your body takes longer to do what it used to do so quickly.  And it takes longer to recover.

We just bought a new house (new to us anyway) and this weekend was the “Big Move”.  Needless to say, I am very thankful for friends and family!  We had some good help but we were all feeling it by the end of the day Saturday.   As a result, I have noticed a couple of things about aging well that I’d like to quickly share with you.

Because of these recent events, it is in the forefront of my mind that I feel physical exertion more now that I’m older (a very young 46).  Just as significant, I have found that it takes longer for my body to recover from it as well.

The most important observation I have made regarding this concept of aging well would be this:  Aging well is totally a mind game.  I truly mean what I said earlier.  I am a young 46 years old.  How many people consider themselves old at that age?  More than you would think.  How many limit themselves and what they can still do with their lives by what they tell themselves on a daily basis?

It’s a spiritual law that God addresses in the Bible.  There are many scriptures about the power of our thoughts and the words we choose to say.

Think about it.  And change what needs to change in your own life so that you can live as God would have you live.  Healthy and vibrant and free!

Talk to you next time, my friend.

Things I Don’t Understand

Good day to you, my friend!

I am going to give you some time to get caught up on those stories I was mentioning to you.  In the meantime, I found myself thinking about some things.  Some things that I don’t understand.

Observations.  How often do you make them?  Probably all the time and without even realizing what you’re observing.  Then it hits you.  Things like:  Why do people come off the production floor at work and immediately wash their hands (and quite thoroughly at that), then proceed to use the bathroom and then immediately head for the cafeteria when they’re finished?  I’m thinking to myself, He just washed, he’s touched himself in nasty places to use the bathroom facilities and now he’s loose somewhere in the cafeteria touching who-knows-what with those hands?!  Disgusting!!

That, of course, leads to bigger questions in the workplace.  Questions like, “Why do they tell us associates that they’re on our side and looking out for us and then do things and implement policies that clearly show they really aren’t?”  Things that actually set the associates up to fail.  That doesn’t breed trust in your employer or in the work you do for them either.  And yet, amazingly, they wonder why there’s so many issues with morale and people constantly quitting….

Let’s go up to the national level:  Why do our country’s politicians think that we’re idiots and won’t be able to see through the lies and schemes that they have in motion?  Even more relevant is why do we continue to put up with it?  No names, no positions being stated here.  Just honest questions that we all should be asking–ourselves and those above us who can do something about it.

Food for thought.

The Framing Of ’87

I may or may not have mentioned it before, but I played trombone in Band in high school.  In the spring of my sophomore year, our band went to Disney World and marched down Main Street in their Main Street Parade.  We flew down to Florida and stayed in a variety of hotels while there (about four nights worth of lodging).  And it was during one of these nights that I was framed.

The band director and chaperones divided all of the band members into combined groups of upperclass (juniors and seniors) and lowerclass (freshmen and sophomores) for the hotel rooms, an average of about eight people per room.  Of course, these groups were all male or all female, but that didn’t stop the radar from going non-stop for any intel as to who was staying in which room.  As you can imagine, the upperclassmen made sure that they got the biggest and the best beds, while us underclassmen had to fend for ourselves and get whatever morsels of comfort the upperclassmen, in their oversight, had left behind for us to grab.

So on one particular night, the four upperclassmen had all retreated into their lair in the back part of the hotel room where the bedroom was (no idea what they were doing, but I eventually found out) while us underclassmen were attempting to make do with whatever we could call “bedding down for the night” in the front part of the hotel room.  I had found four big chairs that had no arm rests, so I quickly put my MacGyver skills to work and lined the chairs up on one side of the room, the sitting part of each chair next to the other (making one long cushion to lay on) and each chair facing the other one so that the backs of the chairs were on opposite sides, making an effective barrier between me and the floor (I remember laying on my spiffy make-do bed, my body surrounded by the chair backs, feeling like I had just made the coolest fort around and no one could do anything about it).  I have no recollection of what the other lowerclassmen did for a bed that night, but I knew I had no worries.

Now, as a sidebar here, you already know from previous stories and experiences I’ve shared with you that I’ve been a Christian all my life and have never had the desire to live any other way.  That’s simply who I am.  So everyone in that room knew, more or less, how I lived my life.  It’s crucial that I remind you of this very important fact.  You’ll see why in a minute.

At some point in the middle of the night, I was awakened by a bright flash of light and what faintly sounded to me like incoherent whispering.  It felt like a dream to me, though, so I stirred a bit and went back to sleep.  In the morning, however, everyone was snickering about something and couldn’t look at me without smiling–like they knew something that I didn’t–and generally giving me a growing sense of uneasiness, like I’m about to somehow open a can with a snake that springs out of it and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.  Eventually one of them couldn’t keep it to himself anymore and caved and then they all told me what happened…

When they knew I was asleep, one of my underclassmen buddies defected and snuck into enemy territory, telling the upperclassmen that I was sawing logs.  They all came out of their hole in the ground and carried with them everything that they could possibly have that they shouldn’t on this band trip.  I have to admit, though, they did what they did with an artist’s flair:  There I was, sleeping on my back.  Feeling the need to smoke in my sleep, I had a cigarette dangling from my lips (unlit, of course, because it’s not smart to smoke while you’re falling asleep–even more so when you’re already asleep).  But just in case that didn’t work, I had a can of chewing tobacco in one of my hands, apparently a source of comfort for my nicotine dependency that I didn’t have.  But who’s got time for that when I had a Playboy magazine open and laying across my chest?  Of course, I wasn’t looking at it because under one of my arms was a bottle of Jack Daniels, so obviously I was in no condition to be looking at anything but the inside of my eyelids.  The flash that I saw–and the incoherent whispering afterwards–was one of them taking a picture and then the mad scramble to pick everything up before I could stir enough to gather my senses and realize what was happening.

I never did see that picture.  They wouldn’t show it to me.  They described it in vivid detail, but I still was refused access to it.  Made me wonder if it even existed (although I couldn’t deny the flash of light I remember seeing).  One of the girls in my class was the girlfriend of the upperclassman who took the picture.  When we graduated, she told me that she had seen the picture but didn’t know  if it was even around anymore.

Just as well.  Maybe they burned it.

The Biting Bullet

My Dad was almost a doctor.  In fact, he was just his thesis away from becoming one.  It was then that he came to the conclusion that he really didn’t want to pursue that profession, changing his major and pursuing his desire to be a teacher instead.  He loved sports, though–especially any sport that involved his alma mater:  Michigan State University–and that eventually led to his moonlighting as a referee and umpire, mostly for high school football, basketball and softball.  As a result of these two factors, I think my Dad had a certain level of “sports medicine” knowledge that he was able to incorporate over the years.

This, I believe, was reflected in his first-aid kit that he always kept in his vehicle.  It was one of those old metal army ammo cases with a lid that swings up on one hinge, painted white with a red cross on both sides of it (a friend of his had made it for him way back when).  He had everything in this thing!  And I remember him having to use it with my brother and I more than once while growing up.  But nothing he had anywhere else in his arsenal of first-aid gadgetry could compare to what we called “The Biting Bullet”.

The Biting Bullet was actually kept in the house.  Whenever there was a scraped-up knee or elbow or a cut that wasn’t too deep, just hearing the words, “Guess we need to get out the Biting Bullet!” would bring instant trepidation.  It didn’t matter who had the cut or the scrape.  Of course, whichever one of us wasn’t the injured party came running because they wanted to see the antics that were about to play out.  The Biting Bullet was a spray can with a silhouette picture of an athlete running on the front of it.  It had some long medical name on its front for what was in it, but that didn’t matter to my brother and I.  The only thing that concerned us was the fact that this stuff was like electricity in a spray can.  And as a kid, that’s all that counts.  It doesn’t matter what reality is; it’s what a kid’s perception of it is that makes up his world.  And when it came to treating a wound, our world had an evil nemesis that manifested itself whenever the Biting Bullet was used.

My Dad would always shake the can real good, all the while talking to the poor, innocent, wounded child (me) or the guilty, convicted, wound-deserving offspring (my brother) of how this was going to hurt him more than the one being treated and other such nonsensical gibberish that emits from a parent who is thoroughly enjoying an opportunity such as this to torment his or her children.  Whichever one of us it was would sit there on the toilet, tense and braced for the inevitable sting of this spray that looked like pee, while Dad talked and everyone else around  was in generally high spirits as they waited for the spectacle to unfold.  (All that was missing was a concession stand and an announcer:  “Ladies and gentlemen, while you wait for the unfortunate demise of this poor waif, a concession stand with items such as soft pretzels, hummus and lox & bagels is available in the lower level for your convenience.”)  I know my Dad stretched that prep time out as long as he could–or at least as long as Mom would let him.  It was inevitable that eventually the injured boy would be laughing with everyone else about what was happening–until he suddenly felt stinging electricity jolting through his injury, only to realize all too late that the Biting Bullet had struck again.  No amount of blowing on it helped either.  And sometimes a second and third application was “necessary”.  Yeah.  Right, Dad.  Sure.  Gotta protect against those germs and infection, right?  Uh-huh.  Thanks.

Would you believe I kept that can until well after I was married?  I’ve got memories of these tragic events happening as early as four or five years old.  I got married when I was thirty.  So how many years is that?  My wife finally threw it away (unbeknownst to me).  Who knows what the expiration date was on that can?  All I knew was it still stung after all these years, so that must mean that it still works, right?  I guess now I’ll never know.  It’s been gone for quite a few years now.  Now I can’t show my boys what that was like.

Nuts.

The M65-28 Formula Trash Bag

Juniors in high school.  English class.  Project assigned to pairs of students (naturally, my best friend–Rick–and I paired up).  What’s the project?  To write a commercial that incorporates six things:  Humor, symbols, ecologically safe, statistics, happy family appeal and a special offer.

Now before I get into this, you need to know some things about my best friend from high school and myself.  We buddied up in 6th grade and almost instantly “clicked”.  Jesus was important to both of us, even at that age (that,I’m sure, was a big part of the instant bond we both felt).  Besides that, though, we were like Abbott and Costello–one of us the serious one (me) and the other the goofy one (Rick).  Put us together and it was quite the mix–me usually making a sarcastic remark with my dry sense of humor to Rick’s hilarious antics.  Not to mention his laugh!  He was known throughout our whole class for his laugh.  And not the weird kind that makes you do a double-take to the question in your mind of “Who just made that sound?”  Nope, just a great unique laugh that would always make you start laughing just hearing it.  Ever known someone like that?  When you do, you never forget it.  We lost contact for a few years, but around 13 years ago, my Mom got his contact information and we reconnected.  We’ve been in contact ever since–and nothing has changed.  We’re still that way, much to our wives’ and kids’…..um…..enjoyment.

So the stage is now set for our commercial for English class.  I have always been one to have difficulty coming up with an idea, but once one is given, I can run with it and add to it.  Leave it to Rick to come up with this one.  So here, from my high school archives and for your reading pleasure, is the actual script, word-for-word, of our commercial for the M65-28 Formula Trash Bag (Rick was the man holding the torn trash bag and I was the Salesman):

(Scene:  A man is standing with a torn trash bag in his hands, trash scattered all around his feet.)

Man:  (In a dopy voice) “I thought dogs is supposed to be man’s best friend….”

(Salesman walks up to man with trash bag.)

Salesman:  (In a 30-second commercial “but-wait-that’s-not-all” announcer’s voice and holding the sign below)

image

“Don’t blame your dog; the fault is of the bag!  You should be using the M65-28 Forumula Trash Bag.”  (Man’s face first shows immense interest and then repulsion at the smell in the air; at the same time, salesman puts on a white face mask and continues talking.)  “This bag is not an everyday trash bag.  It has a unique smell that would not only keep your dog away, but also rats, cats, bats, maggots and other rodents that would make your trash all…..messy.”

Man:  (Holding his nose) “But does it work??”

Salesman:  “Shut up, you’re interrupting me.  Studies have shown that eleven out of ten regular human beings, just like you, have tried the M65-28 Formula Trash Bag and found it successful in keeping trash in and dogs, rats, cats, bats, maggots and other rodents out.”

Man:  (Still holding nose and now wiping away tears from his eyes) “Will the M65-28 Formula Trash Bag hinder the environment around me?”

Salesman: (With slight, vacant look on his face) “Uh….no, no, not at all, my dear friend!”  (Pats man on back.)  “The birds will still be around–but who cares!  Our objective is to keep the dogs away.  Don’t worry about the environment; it’ll be fine without….it’ll be fine!  And with this trash bag, your whole family can take out the trash to the road together without the fear of dogs, rats, cats, bats, maggots and other rodents hindering you.”

“But that’s not all!  With the purchase of the handy M65-28 Formula Trash Bag, you can receive a nuclear waste dump in your own back yard!!” (Man has look of utter shock and disbelief, which the Salesman sees as a look of someone getting the “deal of the century”.  This just spurs the Salesman on….)  “Yes, we’ll give you everything you need to start your nuclear waste dump–which is not harmful to the environment–from your M65-28 Formula Trash Bag to your official M65-28 Formula Trash Bag Gas Mask!” (Hands man his own gas mask.  Man can barely see well enough to grab it out of the Salesman’s hand and put it on, taking huge gulps of air once he does.)  “And, if you respond within 2 days, we’ll send you ten barrels of nuclear waste free!  Just send the M65-28 Formula Trash Bag coupon which is enclosed in the trash bag box, along with $19.95  and $50.00 shipping and handling to:

image

Visa or MasterCard accepted.  Send for your dump today!!

Water Up The Nose

Ever been swimming and gotten water up your nose?

Of course, anyone who is an adult remembers getting water from a swimming pool up their nose as a kid.  Man, that burns, doesn’t it?!  And you don’t know it’s coming until it’s too late…then the tears start flowing.  Remember trying to talk after that?

“Jimmy, you ok?  That slide off of the diving board with a one-and-a-half somersault with the splits was impressive!  How long you been working on that?”

“Yeah, I’b find.  I habn’t worked od id for very log.  Glad you liked id.  Dow help be wid by leg.  Id’s wrapped aroud by head.”

I also remember swimming in Lake Michigan as a kid (which is only about ten miles from Paradise Lake).  We had about five innertubes my Dad would load up in our trailer to take out there–a huge one that was probably over six feet tall when stood up vertically, one that was around five vertical feet with a third that was a little smaller than that and two other smaller ones (about three vertical feet each) that were kept in the cabin’s boathouse for everyone to use.  My brother and I would take all five out onto Lake Michigan to chest-deep water and stack them up like a pyramid.  Then we’d attempt to climb it and try to get to the top without it collapsing or the waves toppling the whole thing over.  If we made it to the top, we’d attempt to stand up on the top innertube and ride the waves for as long as we could balance up there.  Usually Lake Michigan would tolerate our fun for only so long before she would send forth a larger wave than the others that would send us toppling six or seven feet into the water below.  It was a blast!  But sometimes the water-up-the-nose thing would happen and we’d come out of the water sputtering and holding our nose, waiting for the burning sensation to go away (although it wasn’t nearly as bad as what a chlorinated pool feels) “add souding like a sudded cold had cub upod us.”

So have you ever put water up your nose intentionally?  And have it not hurt?  We do it all the time now–with a sinus rinse kit that we each have.  It took us a while to psyche up to the idea of intentionally flooding our sinuses with water, but it didn’t take us long at all to get used to.  Why?  The salt packets that come in the kit neutralize the water, which takes the sting away; and secondly, you’re in control of the water flow, so you know it’s coming (unlike a pool or lake where you suddenly realize too late the violation that has been committed against your sinus cavities).

I’ll tell you this:  Any physical inconvenience this has caused is so minor in comparison to what it has done for my health!  It was inevitable that at some point every winter I would get a sinus infection.  We’ve been using these sinus rinse kits for well over six years now (all four of us, so that means our kids have been doing it, too).  And for the last six years, I haven’t had a sinus infection.  We don’t fight dry sinus cavities, either, which is a huge problem for me in the winter with all of the dry air I breathe from the furnace being on.

So, just some “FYI” for you.  We get ours at Wal-Mart, but they’re also available online at www.neilmed.com.  (By the way, this isn’t a commercial for them.  It’s simply something that we found works for us.)