Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm at Risk of Heart Disease

Sorry, my dear friends, if I let you down for the last 2 weeks without a new post. My nephrologist  suspected that I suffered from  transient ischematic attack, a kind of  mild stroke.  I didn't realize that my heart was already complaining until I finally had my check up last January 20.

I landed at  the hospital last December 20 for what I believed  was caused by over-fatigue. My new doctor, a cardiologist, who performed my ECG,  found a non-specific result- which she explained further as- my heart condition was in the border line- not very bad but neither was very good. And she suggested that I took  a 2D Echo test.

Unsuspecting that I have a heart risk, I dilly-dallied over my cardiologist's suggestion for me to have a 2D Echo test for a better view of my heart condition. I was hospitalized because of some spiky feeling that started from my left hand. I massaged the area caring less, believing that it was just one of those recurring muscle  cramps I usually feel in my lower limbs because of my peripheral neuropathy. The electrifying spikes crawled up my shoulder and made 2 tugs where my heart is. I felt so weak that my friends who were with me when it happened in church brought me to the nearest hospital.

Since the eerie feeling was short-lived  and didn't make a return the days after, I decided to postpone the 2D Echo thing until my January checkup with my nephrologist. While waiting for the visit to my doctor, my daughter and I regularly went to the beach for our early morning brisk walks or jogged the good stretch of the beach.  I did some outdoor exercises, too. At least, to have  my heart pumping away my seeming physical  inactivity due to longer period of time sitting in front of my netbook.

It was last January 20 when I visited my  nephrologist. I told him what happened and why I was confined to a hospital. He told me I might have had a mild transient ischematic attack. My high blood glucose and cholesterol level results can be the factors that have caused it, he said.. And he urged me to go see my cardiologist the soonest possible time. He also said that there were clear factors in me that make me at risk of heart attack and stroke.  True enough I read an ad in the Reader's Digest, March 2009 issue about this.

Check and if you have two or more or all of these, see your doctor today.
  • Are you a woman over 50 and have passed over your menopause? (Yes)
  • Do you have a family member who had a heart attack before the age of 55? (Yes)
  • Do you smoke or live or work with people who do? (No)
  • Are you overweight by 20 pounds or more? (No)
  • Is your blood pressure 140/90 mm Hg or higher? (No)
  • Is your total cholesterol 200 mg/dL or higher? (Yes)
  • Is your HDL (good  cholesterol) less than 40 mg/dL? (No)
  • Is you fasting blood sugar reading 120 mg/dL or  higher? (Yes)

I have 4 to qualify for a heart risk. So the next day, I submitted myself for the 2D Echo test. I rejoiced to know that my heart is in good condition. However, my cardiologist  told me that whatever happened recently was a symptom of heart risk common among diabetics with high blood glucose and cholesterol levels combined that  I must not ignore.

I thought I needed a little rest and review of what I did the past weeks.  I knew I had mismanaged my diet during the Christmas holidays. I realized I ran out of strips for checking my blood sugar and missed my monitoring. I also wondered if my medication was strictly followed on the dot as I would forget once in a while especially when I was busy in my computer room.

My elder daughter suggested that we took our vacation in Manila  which I readily approved. I knew it was her subtle way of saying, no internet for a while. Well,  I also wanted to be with my younger daughter who works in Manila although this meant I would be temporarily cut off from my blogging. (I lack sleep due to blogging). There's no internet connection over there. I'm impatient  with  the prepaid as alternate.But she meant well so we left for the big city.

While in Manila, I felt relaxed. It was good to be doing nothing but sleep, eat, and go to the malls. My 2 daughters were very caring. They brought me  to the mall. Oh, I loved to be pampered once in a while. I would pose here and there and my daughters gladly took my pictures.

I was craving for a pizza (I love pizza inspite of the cholesterol, oops!) so we went to Sbarro. It was my first time to eat at Sbarro's. The pizzas are very thick, very big, and heavenly delicious. My daughters ordered only half meals of their favorite pasta but each plate was really full,  more than I expected for a half meal. They were careful that I get just enough calories. We don't usually serve cola  drinks at home so they chose the no sugar added drinks.

My vacation was enjoyable! It was something I missed since my days of nursing my seemingly unending ailments at home.  Now I'm back to a careful diet regimen. I'm careful in choosing the food I eat to lower my "bad" cholesterol as well as my blood sugar level. I monitor my blood sugar with my glucometer. I take my prescribed vitamins and my Lipitor for  my cholesterol check. My blood glucose reading today is trimmed down from 162 mg/dl to 140 mg/dl in not less than a week. So I'm doing fine!
I'm giving my body a lot more care because I don't want to complicate my sensitive health condition as a diabetic. I vow to keep my cholesterol and sugar levels in control. What is important is, I have finally returned home- with  my new Asus Notebook PC which I bought at the mall.

Monday, January 11, 2010

5 Environment Hazards and their Simple Eco Friendly Solutions for Environmental Protection

As civilized man marches across the face of the earth, he leaves behind a desert in his footprints.

This statement, written in 1955 by Dale & Carter, two famous environmentalists of their times, was not an exaggeration. In the light of today's growing environmental problems, the quotation carries the ugly truth in it which invites us to call to mind what happens indeed with every footprint we leave behind as we travel the earth's surface.

We are all to blame for this sad state of our environment today.

Brief history of man's wanton neglect of his environment

In the beginning, man was contented with the primal elements, the pure clean and fragrant air he breathed, the cool clean water he drunk, and the velvety soil soft under his feet as he roamed around freely during his hunting-gathering days over the last two million years. Sadly, all of these had drastically changed.

About 12,000 years ago when modern man discovered that he could shape and manipulate the environment, he learned to industrialize and commercialize. He made rapid science and technology advancements. He began to explore his habitat of its biological diversity, from the smallest bacteria to the largest plant and animal. He became careless as years of discovery passed by. He destroyed the peaceful and well-ordered balance in nature. His activities were signs of sharp decline of his respect and reverence toward Mother Nature. He has since then wrought irreparable ecological damages to his one and only habitat- this planet called Earth.

Over only a span of about 1% of the time man has lived on earth, the desert of his footprints has widened, as he moves from one new land to another. He seems unmindful of the desert he leaves behind. He has done many hazards to the environment. Today, we are recipients of this habitat with a damaged ecosystem.

The hazards we make in the environment

In our desire to shape our environment to our own liking, consciously and unconsciously, we have introduced hazardous elements in the air, water, and soil.

1. Do you know that when you burn that unwanted rubbish in your yard, you are introducing aerosol, carbon dioxide, and other toxic chemicals in the atmosphere? These pollutants, like carbon dioxide, heat up the earth's temperature and produce the so-called greenhouse effect. This practice adds to CO2 emission in the air that causes global warming. This prolonged global warming has now produced climate change.

Polar ice is now starting to melt, world-wide tropical climate change in the forms of cyclones, storms, typhoons are inundating coastal cities. People in risk areas all over the world have to retreat to higher grounds for safety.

Aerosols and fluorocarbon in the air are blamed for that gaping hole in the sky that threatens the ozone layer. This is the earth's natural umbrella that protects us from the deadly ultra violet rays of the sun. The hole-tattered ozone layer is also blamed for the rise in percentage of cases of skin cancer on earth.

2. When you use fertilizers, detergents, and pesticides, you run the risk of doing more harm than good . Most synthetic and artificial commercial fertilizers, insect repellents, and soap ingredients are actually pollutants. Although fertilizers are used to increase yields of some agro crop hybrids, these are mostly water-based and are of low-nutrients. Fertilizers make the soil hard and dry through prolonged use. In time, soil fertility is lost pushing farmers in constant search for alternate sites for their crops. Why use fertilizers at all? Similarly, pesticides can kill the useful earthworm and contaminate the crops. Lessened green energy source increases the problem on productivity, food production, and food security. This warms the atmosphere as well.

3. When you cut down trees, you are courting the worst ecological problem to happen. Indiscriminate and illegal logging denudes the forests.Without the forests, many wildlife will die because of their absence of good habitat. Without trees, there will be floods, flash floods. Heavy rains usually cause soil erosion because of lack of forest covers. The continuous siltation of waterways due to soil erosion causes the flooding of lands and homes. Heavy loss of life and property is attributed to the strange behavior of of the tropical elements due to climate change.

4. When you dump your garbage in improper manner, the soil around is contaminated. Germs, viruses will abound and threaten the health of the people. There will be rise in skin diseases and many other ailments triggered by polluted soil. The foul smelling air will be a breeding ground for air-born diseases, the most common of which are respiratory diseases like asthma, colds, and coughs. The dirty juice of rotten garbage find their way to broken pipes of our potable drinking water making the water system unsafe for use.

Garbage thrown into rivers and other bodies of water produce chemicals that give rise to the recurrent red tide problem, hence the massive fish kill and food poisoning from contaminated fish the public consumers buy. The occurrence of large mass of algal blooms on the water surface prevents oxygen necessary for marine life, as well. The rise in water temperature due to heavy carbon deposit also contribute to global warming.

5. When you neglect care of your vehicles like cars, you are contributing to air pollution. Heavy smoke belching is also a contributor to carbon dioxide emissions that court airborne diseases as well as the holes of the ozone layer. It also affects the green life in the surroundings due to carbon emissions that leave dark oily covers on the green leaves thereby affecting manufacture of oxygen and productivity of plants and trees. The imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air adds to the warming of the earth's atmosphere.

Some Eco Friendly Methods for our Environmental Protection

There is no time to spare now. We have known only few causes of global warming here among many. We have known the consequences of our neglect for the environment, insignificant as they are, we can start reforming our ways from here.

1. If by burning our rubbish, our trash, and litters, we are polluting the atmosphere, we must exercise self discipline on proper waste disposal. We can sort our garbage, dig the yard to bury the biodegradable wastes and save the usable non-biodegradable matters. We can adopt the 3R's - Recycle, Reduce, Reuse- the buzzword s of advocates of environmental protection and sustainability. This is very basic, isn't it?

2. If by using fertilizers, pesticides, and detergents, we are inviting disaster to our crops, food production, and food security, we can find replacements with environment-friendly alternatives. Coconut oil can be a good substitute for soap ingredient, organic compost offers better production and safer green technology. Soap berries are good substitutes for pesticides. Less carbon dioxide from these products means less warming of the earth's atmosphere.

3. If by cutting down trees without reforestation we are introducing future heavy flooding, then let us pull our efforts together in reporting illegal logging. to proper authorities. The improper "kaingin" system of Filipino farmers or the old-age practice of clearing the forests and burning unwanted debris is often the cause of forest fires. This, too, must be stopped. Even if we cut trees in the forest, so long as it remains a forest, it regenerates itself under wise human cultivation, and reforestation. This way, it burgeons to its fullest productivity and eventually outlives its service to mankind. Thick forest covers, vegetation, and plantation help in the balance of carbon-oxygen-nitrogen in air the that makes a cooler and cleaner atmosphere.

4. If improper garbage disposal is detrimental to our health, then for our goodness' sake, let us practice proper waste disposal. Again, use the buzzwords of the 3r's for a clean environment and for our best of health. This way we are also preventing garbage clogging waterways that cause heavy floods. We can also check carbon emissions in the air.

5. If smoke belching vehicles add to heavy carbon emissions in the air, then we must give proper care to the vehicles. Have them checked on regular basis by proper authorities who will determine if your vehicle needs a change oil job or a major repair. And besides, your car is like your home away from home, so it must be safe all the time.

These are only few and probably insignificant issues and concerns regarding the total environmental problems. But aren't small things the beginning of great things? Hazards must be addressed ahead of time in order for us to live in an eco friendly habitat.

Photo by McDnry and chrissatchwell on Flickr

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Memo to My Former School Chlidren

This idea came up when four of my former school children, of Batch 1998, namely Icy, Shayne, Cristina, and Jeffrey paid me a surprise visit at home last Christmas. According to them, by word of mouth, they learned that I was ill. They were around to spend the holidays at their respective homes. Their meetings became seldom because they are now based in Manila in their various work places. That was their chance to pay me that visit after years of non-communication, 12 years to be exact. Isn't that heart-warming? I was moved!

Over lunch (which they brought) we exchanged notes like we used to do when they were young and we were in better terms. Hahaha! In just a few hours, I learned a lot from them. Shayne was married 1 year ago but with no child yet. Icy is now a secondary school teacher. When I asked why she pursued education, she told me, I was her idol! She was my first honors (valedictorian). Cristina, is now a nurse. Joel was supposed to join them after the repair of his car, but wasn't able to make it. Clarissa couldn't leave her 2 children at Bugallon. Jeffrey arrived after lunch with ice cream for our dessert. He apologized when he learned I am diabetic. I was overwhelmed, I forgot I just came out from the hospital. I was happy to hear from those respectable young adults who were once my children in the elementary school. I was once a part of their early childhood education.

Oh, we had so little time together with so much exchange of how they fared in their pursuit of college education and ended with their chosen careers. They are 24-25 years old. Am I not proud of them? Soooooo proud! When it was time for them to go, we had our pictures taken. Before they went out, I kissed them all goodbye. Jeffrey was teary-eyed. They promised to keep in touch. Shayne is an IT graduate, trying her hand in blogging, so I introduced them to my blog right away. As of this writing, I have already accessed their Facebook and hope the communication goes on. Those children gave me the idea to dedicate something for them, hence the memo in the later part of this blog.

I retired from active service at a time when the public schools were suffering from teacher-shortage problem. So, my retirement was another minus. I was an unwilling retiree but decided I had to go because of my diabetes. Since I belonged to the first batch of master teachers or the so-called, "highest-paid-cream-of-the-crop" of teachers, my early retirement evoked many reactions from my co-teachers and the parents in the community. They lamented over my expertise in teaching that would be lost, stagnate in me, become idle for non-use in the passing of time.

I was not an old doddering teacher who wasted away my time while I was in active service and I refused to allow time ticking away in my retirement. So I searched and I searched until I found blogging. Blogging is a healthy way to keep myself posted in the knowledge society and be continually connected to my human investments to society- no other than my former school children. I taught the grade six "cream-of-the-crop" in Pangapisan Elementary School, Lingayen. I had a grand time, in fairness, teaching those bright pupils.

And I have thought of writing this memo to all my former elementary school pupils in all schools where I taught who were once a part of me.

My children, You, who are now on your own, busy and eager to establish your foothold in society, with your new family, with old and new friends, work associates, are lucky to have pursued your dreams. Your patience, your commitment to self improvement has been paid. I may have forgotten your faces because you have grown into young adults now, but your names still ring a bell, a familiar tone in my ears. I will never forget your childhood days under me. The bitter-sweet memories of your foundation education with my strict tutorials.

This memo will hopefully bring back yesteryears lived in the way we all played our parts.
Sorry if I was very strict with you all. But you knew I never played favorites. You were all treated equal, although you performed differently. Remember my favorite expression Icy? "If I couldn't make you cry, you are a loser!" Hahaha! How you made me tremble when you poured out your feelings in that memorable declamation piece. It was a landslide win! Because you bore it all, you didn't freak out when I trained you that hard.

Do you still remember your children's activities in school? Were you members of our Drum and Lyre? the school Dance Troupe, the choir? Well, if you were a candidate in our pupil government elections, how did it feel to win a slot? I saw you in a different dimension in your extra- curricular activities. You were happy, carefree, and very eager to perform during those programs in school. Those activities bring back nostalgic memories of your hardships which you unselfishly gave in support to our projects. Thank you for that.

During our annual pupil government elections, can you now see how useful to you those experiences of a young member of the society? You now belong to a bigger community, apply those learnings we, your teachers, painstakingly taught you. You can now polish your talents for a better you. I know you will never forget our recitation days. Do you think you had enough skills in English after our brow-burning lessons? Do you realize why I made you read, read, and read those stories in our reading class? I want you to know that I tried my best to instill good study habits in you. How's your reading comprehension now? I strongly believe you are doing good in the many skills you learned in school.

I will now end my reminiscing of our times together because it would be endless if I don't. I have to make way for my important message to all of you. You are lucky because you are now involved in the affairs of society and our country, whether in your own great or small ways.
Don't forget your parents and guardians who stayed by you all the way and who were with you when you started your difficult climb. Love them especially in their old age. If you love me, I have no doubt that you can give the most affection to them.

Don't forget all your other teachers who were part of your personal growth and development from your childhood education to college. They, too, had sacrificed a lot to mold your character. They were your second parents when you were in school. They only thought of your welfare. They are now satisfied that you have successfully acquired for yourselves a better chance to make a difference wheresoever fate brings you.

You belong to my high-level human investment to society. Use your 3 T's- talent, time, and treasure to improve your lot. Be an asset to the society, not a burden. Live a frugal life. Don't flaunt your assets, save for the rainy days. Keep your body strong and healthy. Do you still remember that oft-quoted slogan in our room, "Health is wealth"? Maintain a clean, moral life. Put God in the center of your life. Be grateful to the Lord and never leave His side.

One day, when I open my Facebook and a familiar name pops out of my screen, just to say, "Hello Ma'am, how are you today?" I know that my effort as a teacher was not in vain. You are my contribution to our mutual dream- to become productive members in a highly-competitive society. You are the pride of your Alma Mater. Congratulations! Carry on!


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