mtbc: maze J (red-white)
I notice that in my past I have been separately prescribed terbinafine and terfenadine. To me this feels ripe for confusion among the overworked, especially in handwriting. I wonder if there is consideration given to maintaining a safe distinctiveness in drug naming.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Over a decade ago when I did not exercise my resting heart rate was so high that my doctor ordered blood tests. Nothing showed up so my fast heart remained an unresolved puzzle.

Since I have been exercising my resting heart rate has dropped to more usual levels. Yesterday I caught it down at 43, a surprise indeed as NIH regard 40 to 60 as being for well-trained athletes, though more commonly mine is low-50s. I also miss the occasional beat after exercise but some research suggests that too is fairly normal for people who work out. Still, being cautious I thought I should also check how fast my heart gets during exercise.

I considered working out on Friday. I really ought to have yesterday but I did not feel like it and am trying not to make it an unpleasant experience; besides, I had to head into Dundee for the afternoon. So, I postponed it again and today did not advance to the highest resistance level I have used in the past.

After my workout this morning my heart rate was over 150. If we wave our hands a little and take my maximum heart rate as 175 and my resting heart rate as 55, so my reserve is 120, then by the Mayo Clinic's guidelines this looks as if I am brushing the top end of my training zone for vigorous exercise. The American Heart Association says that, once used to working out, you may be able to exercise comfortably at up to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This tells me that I am certainly pushing myself enough and ought not increase the intensity any further which is great as it does not feel too bad at this level.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I have mixed feelings about alcohol. Now that our population has access to potable water one imagines that on health and safety grounds alcoholic drinks would not be publicly available at all were they not so easily made. However, I do quite enjoy some drinks and they have a long tradition of social acceptance.

I am intrigued to find that in later life I drink less than I once did. Twenty years ago I might have been happy to drink over half a bottle of wine or a few beers over the course of an evening. Drinking was pleasant enough that I would go for the occasional week teetotal just to make sure that I still could.

These days, mostly I don't drink at all and, on those evenings that I do, it feels quite sufficient to have a bottle of beer, a quarter-bottle of wine or a double of whisky. I still rather enjoy the taste of many alcoholic drinks, I just stop sooner. This habitual moderation is not out of any pursuit of virtue, my tastes have simply changed. I do not know why I now drink less but it certainly was not planned.

I can still drink plenty if people kindly ply me with free drinks or there are open bottles of good wine that would otherwise go to waste but those happen rarely and that is just fine. In a big difference arising from moving back from US workplaces to UK workplaces there is often free alcohol available at work but I rarely have any because I could not then drive home. Additionally, British coworkers are more likely to drink together in the pub outside work but I avoid that also for cost reasons.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
We are commonly told to spend a half-minute on brushing the teeth of each quarter of our mouth. I imagine that this idea entails having one central incisor in each quarter. Do people really divide their mouth into these even quarters for cleaning their teeth? Personally I divide mine into twenty unequal regions (2 × 2 + 2 × 4 × 2):
Central (incisors and canines),

  • upper jaw, lower jaw (2)

  • faces: front, back (2)

Side (premolars and molars),

  • upper jaw, lower jaw (2)

  • faces: front, back, top, far-end (4)

  • left, right (2)

I wonder how others do it. In interviewing my children I found that they too have their own systems that do not comfortably divide into these mouth-quarters.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Over the past couple of weeks my weight actually went up a bit to 164lb as of this morning. I have had unusually many days off-diet lately, for our annual users' meeting at work, with houseguests, a couple of birthdays, etc. and yesterday evening I ate over one-and-a-half pizzas. Still, I would guess that the gain is a sign that with my usual behavior my weight might stabilize at around 160lb (or 11½ stone) which is fine. When I am on-diet, in total each week I am eating 15-16Mcal and my exercise is now down to 3,000 of the cross-trainer's calories, which feels quite sustainable.
mtbc: maze L (green-white)
I have been feeling better over this week. I developed the theory that I perhaps had some low-grade infection that was dragging me down for a while. In recent days I may have had more mild headaches but I have generally been back to usual levels of alertness and enthusiasm.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
I have receding gums. Apparently there is not much to be done, it is one of the many joys of becoming elderly. During my latest checkup my dentist held the mirror so as to show me the exposed roots of my teeth. Given how they are not protected by enamel he prescribed me some special kind of toothpaste and bade me switch to using an electric toothbrush.

At first the electric toothbrush seemed distractingly tickly but that has been easy to get used to. One discovery is that my usual brushing routine must last over four minutes as the electric toothbrush claims to cut out after two by which point I am barely halfway. It also cuts out if I apply too much pressure which is one feature my dentist was favoring. After I am done my teeth do feel a little cleaner than they did with a manual toothbrush.

The electric toothbrush's manual is an entertaining mix of actual attempts at usage instructions whose English feels unnatural combined with lawyerly exhortations not to do this nor that. There are the usual warnings like not to use the toothbrush if it is not working properly, while sleeping, etc. In this case the legal parts sit awkwardly next to the regular usage instructions. For example, for usage,
To keep the battery fully charged, we recommend that you keep the toothbrush in the charger when not in use.
Yet,
Do not leave appliance when plugged in.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
One of our children had a vaccination today and came home with a double-sided A4 sheet of information about it from the NHS. I asked for it so that I could learn about the vaccine: is it live? is it carried in albumin? etc. But, for such a large sheet, there was no basic information like that. They did mention what side effects to look out for so I could try to infer a little from those.

Still tired

Jun. 3rd, 2017 02:22 pm
mtbc: maze C (black-yellow)
My mood is improved but I am still tired. This morning I stayed in bed until maybe even 9h and at 10h I was still in the armchair, resting my head and yawning. My workout was gentle indeed, barely managing 22 of the machine's calories per minute. I have decided to already scale back my exercising. I now have aching limbs and a growing headache; I have taken acetaminophen with codeine. I have a few things to do this weekend but not many, perhaps few indeed if rain comes.

I thought I might just be tired from our annual users' meeting at work: I was tired indeed on the evenings following the meeting days and I am not naturally extroverted so the social interaction itself may be taxing. But, given my tiredness last week too I wondered if I may even have some low-grade infection or somesuch. Perhaps the meeting was tiring indeed for those who traveled from different time zones, including Portland, Oregon, and Kobe, Japan. Our Brisbane-based colleague was unable to join us for family reasons. Many of our visiting users are interesting and nice.

The users' meeting comes with various free-food perks, including a wine-tasting last Thursday evening. Tastings are not especially my kind of thing but this year I did taste three of the eighteen and that worked out well. There was some kind of full-bodied red I liked, then an unfiltered red I followed it with was a bit sweeter, then I had some Chinese ice wine that was sweeter still. There were also cheeses and I always like cheese.

I have a bit of work to do early next week as leftover help for some visiting users I talked with but nothing too onerous. I enjoy having a bit of variety in my work tasks.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Early last week when I reached forward on the cross-trainer a sharp pain came high on my side making me wonder if some shoulder-related muscle attaches to my rib there. Not wanting to aggravate it, I took some days off exercising and still felt that pain, albeit infrequently. Today I tried working out again and after a few minutes the pain returned. I relaxed that arm a little and continued on the cross-trainer and after a few more minutes I felt okay again. So, that worked out nicely: there does seem to be a strange issue there but perhaps not one that prevents my workout.
mtbc: maze E (black-cyan)
I heard on the radio last week that 14% of students in schools need some kind of extra assistance. That figure seemed high to me so I searched for corroboration. I found the Department for Education's Special educational needs: an analysis and summary of data sources from September 2016 and, at least in England, indeed 14.4% of children last year had special educational needs and 11.6% of children were receiving support for such, something beyond the school's usual provision for students, like specialist help. Boys rather outnumber girls among those children. Of course, the special needs children tend not to do as well academically as the other children.

Nearly a quarter of the special needs children have moderate learning difficulty. It is the social, emotional and mental health ones who tend to get permanently excluded from school.

14.4% is around one child in seven but I suppose that dyslexia alone accounts for a good few percent of people. I also wonder if issues might be more likely in more economically depressed areas – poorer nutrition, greater domestic stresses, whatever – more remote from the schools with which I am more familiar. I may well be wrong: for all I know it is the more affluent families who are able to get around to arranging proper diagnosis and help – official special needs status – in the first place.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Since entering the healthy weight range of the NHS' chart I increased my calorie allowance in transitioning from weight loss to maintenance. NIH's website has a Body Weight Planner which I believe to have a non-trivial somewhat-justified model behind it; I experiment with its online calculator a little to monitor its predictions. The portal to it that they offer answers, let us figure how much you should eat to lose enough weight quickly enough, and I would rather like them to instead present the underlying model more clearly so that I may code it myself then ask different kinds of question of it. As it is their website will let me adjust numbers and try again so I can iterate toward the answers that I actually want, to questions like, at least how much should I eat to avoid becoming underweight over coming years?.

When I was more aggressively trying to lose weight my limit was 12½MCal/week. With my weekday fasting and not having the disposable income to eat out, I am now settled into a pattern in which my current 16Mcal/week limit is easy to sustain: indeed, this week I will end up eating well under 15Mcal. The difficulty isn't hunger so much as the simple hassle of monitoring intake at all. Some experimentation with NIH's model suggests that, even if I reduce my exercise, my current maintenance diet should keep me within the NHS' idea of a healthy weight, enough below the upper boundary that the occasional less-regimented vacation and suchlike ought not present any difficulty.
mtbc: maze A (black-white)
Means of capital punishment are back in the news. While I do like a lot about the US and life is not as sacred to me as it is to some, I am strongly against the death sentence. Still, even if limiting to methods that leave the corpse looking good for the funeral, it intrigues me that they have such difficulty actually effecting it. We routinely render people unconscious for surgery and, once under, one would imagine that a large dose of anything from a barbiturate to an opiate might quietly and quickly do for anyone. I can't help but wonder if the impediments are rather more ethical or political than technical or physical: that if we put our mind to it we certainly can kill criminals off humanely but that everybody from the drug-makers to competent implementors of the protocols do not want to touch any part of the business even with a very long bargepole.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Yesterday on the way home from work I was listening to somebody on the radio telling us about redundancy in the human genome; perhaps they referenced cystic fibrosis. Broadly, my impression is that multiple copies of genes may often be found among our genome: if one is damaged then the corresponding protein will be still be sufficiently expressed through transcription of the other copies. Perhaps in some cases there are also quite different proteins expressed that serve the same function.

Further, my impression is that conditions like cystic fibrosis arise when somebody's copy of a gene from both parents is damaged so they have no gene that expresses whatever useful thing from which those of us without cystic fibrosis benefit, and that gene therapy can be used to somehow change our actual DNA: at least, gene editing is now far enough along to make changes inheritable, though naturally such as to excite the ethicists.

I therefore wonder: can some of these congenital diseases be eradicated by having enough of us bear more copies of the genes of which carriers of the condition have a damaged copy? Perhaps not, for various reasons: for example, maybe having too much of the protein expressed is even worse, or maybe something else that just slipped my mind before I could write it.

I should add that I have much faith in natural selection: I suspect that many things that might seem wrong about our genome are as they are for good reasons that we have yet to realize. Further, that for some years now the lesson from life sciences research has repeatedly been, actually, it's not as simple as that. Still, one can't help but wonder about tinkering when the technology exists and people suffer so. Modern society values each individual human life rather more than natural selection does.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
I find headaches a little puzzling and a little annoyingly distracting. I do not suffer too badly: most days I am fine. This evening I have enough of a headache that I have felt disinclined to do much. Perhaps I should have just got on with things but instead I have mostly relaxed and drunk green and black tea. I also took a painkiller that includes codeine which I am glad is available here without a prescription; for me it seems to work well without causing any problem.

I hardly know what causes my headaches: they do not obviously correlate with anything I notice, like use of a specific computer. I am also poor at predicting what might treat them, though of late naproxen fairly reliably makes no impact. I develop different theories, for example that perhaps I have sinus congestion and taking a decongestant may help, but overall I have developed very little visibility into what might be going on with me and how to manage it. It would be nice to be able to do something, in prevention or treatment, for my headaches; perhaps I should try harder to simply ignore them.

I also suffer migraine-related issues, especially scintillating scotoma; that is another matter, though no more understood by me than normal headaches.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
I am of average height for men but when seated among others, in lecture halls or on airplanes or wherever, I notice that my head is markedly among the higher. I do not have any difficulty buying clothes so I infer that I am not unusually proportioned. I thus guess that my high sitting may arise from my lower back issues: I am sitting so as to get good support from the chair rather than slouching in some way.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
Although I generally try to limit my carbs, I do seem to favor buttered toast. Tonight I had a couple of fried eggs on a piece of toast. I don't get many specific cravings but eggs are an occasional one. Milk, too: not usually, but just sometimes.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Today I felt unusually lethargic. I laid in bed for a while after awakening, content to be still, and my morning workout was possibly my gentlest so far this year, after which I drew myself a hot bath. I took the hint from how I felt and stayed at home and wasn't much ambitious and I now feel a little better. Perhaps after another night's sleep I will be back to normal. I think I had just got a little worn out and needed to recover.

I can work a lot when it is the right kind of work for me, when I have managed to arrange my circumstances to better suit me, but for the kinds I might rather avoid I have to be careful to not allow distracting stress to build. I was thinking this morning of how nice it might be to again start to find time to meditate. I have the sense that, while it feels like time is the problem, it's not as simple as that.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
My right shoulder has been feeling better from day to day. Today it is largely healed and seemed unbothered by my returning to using the cross-trainer after work. Life thus gets back to normal. It was odd to have a good excuse to take things easy over the weekend but it was probably wise to and at least it was not for too long. It was also odd to have sustained such an injury while not much exerting myself.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
My workout on Thursday went fine but yesterday (Friday) evening my right shoulder became painfully afflicted quite suddenly while I was … eating a salad. I am left-handed which is fortunate because my usual approach of hoping that a night's sleep makes an issue go away appears not to have been a very effective cure.

I know little of human anatomy but in medical art online I do see muscles attaching to the skeleton at the painful sites on the front and back of my torso at a height just below my armpit though perhaps the pain is more likely to be mid-muscle and there are some large ones in those regions. Typing with my laptop computer on my lap isn't too bad but I mostly plan a day of television-watching and one-armed-ness. With luck I shall be fine to work out tomorrow and drive into work on Monday, we will see.

I would be using a sling. I had accumulated a cache of medical supplies like a cervical collar for my occasional neck issues and an aluminum-framed boot that strapped to my lower leg and allowed me to walk while resting my foot. But, those are one of my collections of precious things that got left behind in one of the moves that happened in between leaving Ohio and arriving in Scotland. Paying for my medical care in the US instead of, as here, having the government provide it meant that once I was finished with something I got to keep it.

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Mark T. B. Carroll

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