Friday, September 19, 2014


Recently there was a commercial for the iPhone in which a woman is swimming and then taking something off her suit and putting it on her phone to record how her swim had gone. I wanted it right away.
It's 100 dollars. Nothing if you have disposable income. I don't. And more to the point there wouldn't be much data gathered. I swim back and forth. I swim forward and then back wards. I do a few side strokes. I hold onto the side of the pool and kick really fast a few times. I swim for an hour. That's it. I usually get out because I need to pee. People always congratulate me for "keeping it up". They don't understand how much I love it. If there was a pool right outside my door I'd be in it several times a day. But I'm not trying to be a great swimmer. I'm just enjoying being able to move with less pain than I have when I'm walking.
Generally speaking I am not in favor of all the new fitness tracking devices. Paul wrote about it recently and David Sedaris wrote a funny piece about his Fitbit. They both talk about the obsession with numbers. I am data curious and have fun with things for awhile but I always get out of control and obsessed.
When I was working on the junk room I found some old diary pages from the time when I'd been given the assignment to track my food for a biology class. I actually enjoyed it for a time. I eat around 2000 calories a day give or take. More if I eat out. More if it's a holiday. Reading through those pages I saw that not much has changed. I enjoyed doing but eventually I started worrying about it. I'd eat a cookie and not write it down. I had elaborate and loopy reasons for why not. Or I'd eat two cookies and write down one. My inner diet food cop rose up and and my inner shame about wanting a cookie (wanting a cookie) (shame) (sheesh) rose up and they did battle. What a waste of time.
I enjoy being weighed at the doctor because it's interesting to me to know exactly how much I weigh. But if I buy a scale I'm on it twice a day. I start eating less and then eat too much in rebellion. Not at all useful.
Our definition of heath is important. Numbers tend to over simplify. And for some of us numbers create obsession.  
I'm thinking about this today because I updated my iPhone and got their new "health" app. I jumped right in trying to enter data. I can't figure out how to enter some basic info, which may be because it's designed to get that information from other apps. They give you this free thing and then sell you a bunch of new apps. Ah. Capitalism.
I'm always amused by yoga in this country. People have been doing yoga almost naked in the wilderness for years. Now yoga has it's own magazine, special bags for special mats, clothes, music, straps and blocks and videos and on and on. I own a strap and some blocks and a video so I'm not above the market. I'm just ... chagrined. Or something.
The swim tracker thing also tracks your sleep.
Oh man.
I might need that.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Shortly after I was born Mom had a gallbladder attack. She remembers eating a peanut butter sandwich before bed and waking up in severe pain. She went to the hospital and they removed her gallbladder. As a result I've always been mildly phobic about peanut butter.
Gallbladder problems are hereditary. In the last twenty years my digestive system has been increasingly fussy probably in some part because of my gallbladder.  In my forties I had symptoms but an ultrasound didn't show any stones. There is this thing about being fair, fat and forty associated with gallbladder issues. I have read that it's showing up in younger people and it is suggested that it's the fault of fast food. Maybe. Mom had her problems when she was 27. I made it through the forties and fifties with only occasional flair ups. I've been increasingly careful with fats, carbohydrates, sugar to manage what I call my stomach aches but which may have been my gallbladder complaining.
Fat people (particularly fat women) may have gallbladder issues more often than others. There is apparently an estrogen factor. There is a connection with Diabetes. Rabid weight loss may also be a contributor. A person may be told to lose weight and cause an attack. Many articles mention obesity followed by rapid weight lost with no sense of irony. Like so many things medical there's mostly theories, educated guesses. And I have know a few men who were young, thin and generally healthy eaters who had gallbladder issues. For what that's worth.
Recently, I had two meals that were not gallbladder friendly. I had carbonara and a few days later I had a multi-coarse meal that included oysters coppa, lamb, and lots of desert. It was a great meal with two friends and fun conversation. It's one of my favorite things to do but I don't do it that often.
The other day I saw a chart on Facebook from some hippie thing. I don't remember and I didn't look carefully but it was a picture of the body with areas color coded and associated with specific emotions. The gallbladder/liver/pancreas are is associated with anger. On the day of the multi-coarse meal I also attended a board meeting that left me enraged. It's a topic for a post of its own but I'm trying to stay calm. Heh.
I think I started being "symptomatic" the day before those events but I'm not sure. Every day after that I've had pain in my right side. Mostly after I eat. I haven't had much appetite and I'm exhausted for no obvious reason. I went to the doctor, got an ultra sound and it turns out I have a gall stone. My gallbladder is not in terrible shape and my blood work was good. I'm not vomiting. My skin isn't yellow. I am still having pain but it's really not that bad.
I'll be talking to a surgeon. I almost always go for alternative treatment. In the past few years I've been drinking apple cider vinegar and baking soda to control gout pain with much success. It turns out that it's also a treatment for gall stones. (It works to clean out clogged plumbing as well.) I could do that and get some acupuncture and maybe I'd be OK. But I'm older. My organs are older. Should I get it taken out? Is it inevitable? Can I get good advise from a surgeon? If a knee surgeon won't operate on me will the general surgeon?
Generally speaking my diet is gallbladder friendly. I am confused about some things. I was afraid to drink my second cup of coffee this morning and then I read that coffee may help dissolve stones. I snack on nuts almost every day, mostly dry roasted almonds but recently some oily peanuts. I love dark green leafy food but tend to eat more of it in the winter. I wonder if I have had stones build up and dissolve for years.
I dunno.
I guess we'll see.