Compassion is the cure
Compassion does not mean forgiveness.
You can have compassion and still have anger, hurt, and pain.
Compassion does not mean giving up anything, instead it’s about making yourself whole.
Please don’t confuse compassion for condoning something.
You can find something morally reprehensible and still have compassion.
Having hate in your heart hurt you more than it ever done anyone else.
Only love and and compassion can heal. ❤️
Some would say I’m a workaholic, but I don’t know about that. But what follows is my personal experience teetering on the edge of workaholism and not in any way sound medical advice.
Workaholism is an addiction or compulsion to work. Some would say it’s one of the better addictions to have. If you’re a student, working all the time should lead to better grades and more free time. If you’re working, more hours spent working leads to more pay. So how can you go wrong with working? Other than the fact that it’s mentally, physically, and emotionally draining and your personal life suffers for the sake of your work, it’s otherwise fine.
There’s a blurred line between being a hard worker vs a workaholic. A hard worker knows when to stop working, a workaholic keeps working. When a hard worker isn’t working, they enjoy the break and can focus on other things like family, friends, or simply being present. When a workaholic isn’t working, guilt and anger cloud the mind because they should be working. Because who are they without their work?
Workaholism is different for everyone. For me, it’s more than a compulsion to work, it has become a lifestyle. I get nagging thoughts of upcoming exams, assignments, future problems, that I should work on instead of going on a trip or taking a break. Everything you do is for the work, every choice is efficiently made to optimize work output. The worst thing you can do to a workaholic is give them nothing to do, put them on vacation. Because there’s nothing left for you to do. Their life was built around work, around solving problems, progressing in life, and when that’s taken away there’s nothing left. So we hunt for problems that, sometimes, aren’t even there. We bury ourselves in small work, sometimes things that don’t matter, like straightening a crooked painting, obsessing about the color of the walls, or living in our minds, daydreaming the day away whilst foreseeing problems and situations thinking that this work will fulfill us. It will fix us. It will get us the love and warmth we need. You don’t just run out of work, you run out of hope.
Like any addiction, it seeps into all aspects of your life. The worst part about an addiction is not how it affects your choices overtly, it’s how it subverts your own autonomy. You can make a choice to hang out with friends but cancel because some work came up and rationalize to yourself that you do this. And sometimes it is urgent work, but oftentimes it can be pushed back. And you know that you lost again to the addiction.
If you do manage to get to a social gathering, things aren’t any better. As soon as you stop working, your mind gravitates to work. Constantly thinking about what to do next, what can I do now. Work is on your mind even when you’re not working. Your conversations often involve work, you only know about work, your vocabulary is work, your tone is work. You are working. This makes it increasingly difficult to form an emotional connection with people because your mind drifts to work rather than to the person. That every conversation is someone wanting something from you. I’ve caught myself thinking ‘how would a non-workaholic human respond to this situation’. As if I had forgotten how to be human.
Workaholism seeps into your mindset. It creates a filter that only shows logical choices that provide some sort of gain. Visiting friends or family isn’t worthwhile if all you do is talk. There’s no doing, there’s nothing productive to be gained so why bother? It’s easy for people to become means to an end to your work, and walk the edge of sociopathic tendencies. Workaholics become obsessed with wringing out every inch of productivity of their day. Not to say those who want to be more productive are workaholics, there’s a balance between passion and obsession. But for workaholics, it’s the nagging feeling to always work even when you’re on vacation. If you aren’t working then there is no purpose to you, to your existence, so you try to quit if you’re fortunate enough to realize your destructive behavior.
You can go clean for weeks or years even, but you can unconsciously make choices that lead you back to the high if you’re not careful. All the time you spent working to run away from your addiction, you didn’t realize you were working just as hard to get back. Like a dog running with a long leash attached thinking it’s free, only for the leash to restrain vigorously.
Dealing with pain is an odd way to look at addiction for most people because of the harsh brush with which society has painted about addicts. Most think it’s about getting the next fix. That we should stigmatize them, shame them, and cut them off from the drugs they’re using.
If we wanted to make a society where addictions are made worse, that’d be the way to do it. Instead of asking where the addiction originates or asking why, we throw them to the wolves. Detach them even more from society.
My experience with workaholism is my own and I cannot speak for anyone else with workaholism or addiction. I do feel a euphoria of working on schoolwork or projects or helping others. Being there for others, but hardly for myself.
I’m not sure if I have a complete workaholic addiction, but I know I have workaholic tendencies. Oftentimes I fell ill after long hours of working and to fix that, but I continued working. In hindsight, that probably wasn’t the best idea but circumstances forced me to keep working, or so I thought.
One thing I’ve realized through my introspection and reading books on addiction and social psychology is that what actually happens is completely different than how I perceive it. An argument with a family member can be a fiery battle with sharp words and hurtful comments in my head when in reality it was a mild discussion. You don’t react to what happens to you to react to what you perceive what happens to you.
When you can’t handle what happens to you, you turn to someone with whom you have a healthy relationship for support. And if you don’t have one or feel like you don’t have one, you turn to something else. To something like alcohol, social media, shopping, food, gambling, or you bury yourself in work.
I didn’t think it was a problem for a long time. I got more done, got good grades in school, and felt amazingly productive. But I started noticing how I prioritize my work over my own health, over my family, friends, and the older I got, the more I realized how unsustainable it is. I’d probably work myself to death.
The reason I bury myself in work is because I feel valued there. I feel that I belong, that I matter., that I am wanted. And even if things aren’t going well in my personal life, I can rest easy knowing that I can do some good through my work at the expense of my own health. At least, that’s how I’ve rationalized it. The work fills a void inside of me, trying to fix something inside of me. I keep working hoping the next completed assignment, project or accolade will fix what’s wrong with me. Just maybe the next one will fill the void.
Why did I grow workaholic tendencies? I’m not sure but from my own introspection I realized that I wasn’t able to feel valued or loved when I was younger. I know my family loved and cared for me, I owe them everything for making me who I am today, but when I was younger I didn’t feel their love. The love felt implied. So as a young kid, I rationalized the implied love as ‘I am not wanted or loved here’, so I buried myself in work which can be many things for me: school work, extra curricular, or volunteering, anything where I felt that I felt needed. Because if I wasn’t wanted earlier, they’re going to need me later. What better way to be wanted than to be an engineer? People will ask you to fix a lot of things and you’ll be wanted everywhere.
It’s not that I don’t know that working 24/7 isn’t harmful for my health, it’s the bond that I’ve formed with working that’s hard to break. I feel wanted when working all the time. And what’s wrong with feeling wanted and loved?
An addiction is a bond formed with something other than another human. And because we are social creatures, once you’ve got a bond that you perceive as vital, you’ll do anything to keep hold of it.
It’s more than just a matter of will power. This is a matter of human nature and diving into the voids we have within ourselves.
Most people think addicts do drugs or fall prey to addictions because they’re weak-minded or never grew up to make adult decisions or they should just say no to drugs. Addiction isn’t an impulse to want something, it’s an impulse to fulfill a void caused from a form of pain. Instead of asking why the addiction, ask why the pain? The void is different based on the addiction, upbringing, but for me workaholism fills the void of knowing your values or wants. Because somehow I rationalized early on in childhood, that I wasn’t wanted. From the outside, you’d see a happy, loving family, but I never felt any of it. The high for me came from the success of finishing a project or solving a problem and the accolades that come with it. You brush off the praise humbly, but subconsciously crave the narcotic dopamine from feeling valued and wanted. It’s the late night texts saying someone needs help. It’s the weekend meetings that make you feel valued and that you are worth someone else’s time. It’s being available at a moment’s notice so that you can get your fix. These voids often stem from childhood problems from the lack of a nurturing environment.
It’s a difficult addiction to combat, let alone admit it’s a problem. Western society, specifically in the U.S, glamorizes the late worker, the go-getter, the one who puts in the long hours day in and day out. I’m not saying you’re a workaholic if you do work long hours consistently. An addiction isn’t defined by how it negatively impacts you, it’s how it systematically destroys the relationships you have with people closest to you and the motivation behind your choices. Someone who works long-hours out of necessity to stay alive versus someone who works even if they don’t have to.
Society puts those who work hard on pedestals, and rightfully so. Give credit where credit’s due, but society forgets the nuances to working hard. When you hear that someone dies and they spent their lives dedicated to making the world better is admirable, but most of the time they worked hard at the expense of their own physical health. Workaholism can cause diseases due to the prolonged exposure to stress. So when someone is going through Chemotherapy and decides to continue working, they’re doing so at their own expense.
The body needs time to heal, yet we applaud people who work through illness. We wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to run a marathon, so why do we applaud and glorify those who work despite being physically, mentally, and perhaps emotionally sick?
And if you’re lucky enough to detox or work with a therapist on your addiction, afterwards you’re on your own. You have to hunt for support groups and additional help. If you relapse, you get ridiculed for not having will power to stay away or the motivation. And that’s just what others say to you, the internal ridicule is worse. No one is a better critic than your inner self.
Breaking an addiction isn’t a one time process, it’s like tending a plant. You have to constantly care for the plant for it to survive. You can’t take a day off else the plant will grow weaker or get sick. If you slip, then you slip far. For example, if you’re a recovering alcoholic and you’ve been sober 5 years, and someone offers you a drink, you turn it down because you know, you don’t just want one drink, you want 10 drinks. Things in your life may be going well, and you will still want 10 drinks because you’re an alcoholic. It’s not that I want to continue working, I want to never stop working because I know the high that’s coming if I do keep working because I’m a workaholic.
What makes addictions generally, well addictive, is how the addict feels. Addicts are responding to trauma.
The addiction isn’t the problem. The addiction is an attempt at solving the problem.
Most of the time, the trauma is emotional and deeply ingrained in their brains. If an addict takes medication to not feel pain or to feel loved or to feel valued or in control, is that wrong? Is it wrong to feel loved? To not suffer in emotional or physical pain? Who are we to force an addict to quit something that helps them live pain-free? There must be a better way to solve the problem than punishment, incarceration, and ridicule.
According to the CDC, there were more than 70,000 deaths in 2019 alone due to drug overdoses in the United States. There are ways to combat addiction through support groups and medication but there’s still a prevalent stigma with addiction and relapse that must be combatted first.
Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, yet only 10% of them receive treatment. We can’t approach addiction as something to be shamed and ridiculed. If the addictions provide a sense of relief and comfort for addicts and we rip it away from them, what does that say about us? Is it wrong to feel loved or tranquil? We need a paradigm shift with addiction that brings compassion and mental health into the field along with physical care.
Instead of asking why the addiction, ask why the pain. Alcohol, cocaine, morphine, and other addictive habits produce endorphins and provide a temporary sense of relief from pain. There are clinics that provide supervised drug injection sites where addicts can take an injection of heroin or other drugs under medical supervision. Under supervision, taking the drugs will not be as harmful and the addict can try and fix the source of their pain.
Many of the world’s problems are caused by people who are dealing with their own insecurities. An addiction to power and attention creates autocrats in many countries and can get you elected president because an addiction to power is an attempt to fill the emptiness they feel, and maybe we recognize that.
Hurt people, hurt people. Our current “war on drugs” in the U.S needs a new angle, the hard crackdown on drugs and the shame brought about has not worked. A compassionate lens to help us solve problems that we once thought impossible.
Human nature is cooperative, community minded. There are more organizations lifting humanity instead of beating it down. We need to tap into our common humanity and reach out to the addicts close to us and those in pain. And care for them and be present. Say “I love you and no matter what state you are in, I love you and care about you.”
A Hungarian-Canadian physician, Gabor Matè, once said, we judge addicts because we actually see that they are just like us and we don’t like that, so we say ‘you are different than us and you are worse than we are’. There is no “other” in the mirror, it’s just you.
Social justice lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, once said, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.,...the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”
The bitter work we all have to do is look at addicts and at ourselves and realize that they’re no different than us. That even the worst of us deserve some compassion and mercy.
Cloudy with a chance of Shots
The day started like any other day and I was nervous, kind of excited as well. Ah, would it hurt? And how long would the pain last??
As I walked toward the back of the line getting ready to give my information to Brian— I didn’t ask him his name- I felt lazy- and anyway, I did not use any sort of powers to guesstimate his name or give him a new name- again too lazy to come up with another name for the guy. All right, where was I going with this again? Oh, the guy, the guy who’s called Brian was getting me ready to take my first shot.
Well, this was not the first shot I’d be getting. Just to check, this is for medicinal purposes— my first shot was a flu shot. Not a shot of any alcohol! Even if I wasn’t the one driving...I think it’s not a good idea to mix alcohol and medicine.
Okay. Let me try to get back on track before I get lost again. It’s like my heads in the clouds today! Might this be a side effect?? Maybe, maybe not.
So, how did the shot go? It was not bad. The other guy, Adam, not in anyway related to the first man called Adam, had told me that he would be careful and that he has been told he gives shots gently.
Yeah, I would be the judge of that. The moment I saw the needle I took a deep breath. At least I had a note that read and showed the point that I got the covid vaccine. My Mom would be pleased with the news.
Oh, the shot didn’t hurt too much. I guess the folks were right! Adam does give A-OK shots.
‘’Captains Log, Stardate 1 04 2021. The Enterprise has been told to continue informing all ensigns & rest of the crew on board to keep wearing masks even if they all get their vaccines.
‘’At least for now we hope to get most of the systems back to more facial to facial recognition in person, than mostly being remote, or majorly online.
‘’I also look forward to traveling to other parts of the intergalactic worlds, still so many more places to explore.
‘’Captian Mnezz, signing off, thank you.
‘‘Live long & prosper.’’
Avoid Turkey Disease!
Since my day job had to do with food safety, I thought it would be good to give out some information on how to safely handle that holiday dinner and how to avoid the dread Thanksgiving Disease. After all, we don’t want family and friends to become sick because of the wonderful food they just consumed to celebrate the holidays. To make sure this doesn’t happen, and before I give you specific information on Thanksgiving Disease, we are going to start at the beginning: shopping for food.
When one is choosing meat or poultry, pay attention to the temperature controls the market uses. If there is no thermometer or gauge to measure the temperature, there is no way of telling if the meat or poultry is being kept at the proper temperature. If the product is frozen, one does not have to worry as much, but if you are buying fresh, it is critical that the meat case be below 40 degrees F. The second thing to watch is the expiration or sell by date. You would not want to buy meat that is past the sell by date, especially poultry or fish. Some people like their beef a little aged, but aged beef still needs to be trimmed. Finally, buy your meat items last and if your market has those extra plastic bags near the meat department, use them to prevent contamination of the outside of the package or prevent leakage of blood that could contaminate your car seat or other groceries nearby.
With your car safely packed with goodies that need refrigeration, the best thing to do is to go straight home, unload them and place the refrigerated items in the refrigerator. I have actually had people who know my field of expertise call me up and ask if that fresh turkey they put in the trunk this morning and then parked at the hardware store in 90 degree weather for a couple of hours before driving home is still good. I say when in doubt, pitch it! It is more important to be safe than sorry. Besides, in the case of the turkey in the trunk, that car sitting in the parking lot gets mighty hot when the sun is out, even if the air outside the car has a chill to it. High temperatures are where the bacteria that make you sick thrive.
Once you have the food home, be sure to pop it in the refrigerator right away. The longer it is kept at a temperature warmer than 40 degrees, the more bacteria will grow on it. Any places that might have had juices from the package leak onto it must be cleaned up. To make sure your sponge or cleaning cloth is safe, put it in the microwave for one minute before using it to clean. Use a clean dish cloth and a spray bottle with a mixture of bleach and water (2 tablespoons bleach to a quart of water) to do the final sanitizing. When sanitizing the kitchen, do not forget those places where hands regularly touch: cupboard doors, counters, handles to cabinets, oven and refrigerator and water faucets. These should all be cleaned and sanitized both before and after any major cooking in the kitchen.
The next step is to cook that bird! Take it out of the refrigerator, carefully cut the wrapper around it and remove the neck and giblets. Wash the giblets under cold water and scrape out the kidneys. The kidneys are located in the backbone and are dark red like the liver. They are a filter for the body and I recommend removing them as any antibiotics, pesticides or other agents that might have gotten in or been placed in the bird’s food would have a much higher concentration in the kidneys. Note: the liver also tends to collect any of these substances as well.
You can stuff the bird, but do not stuff it too tight as this adds to the cooking time and the possibility of food poisoning. The safest way is to cook stuffing on the side. After the bird is in the oven and before you begin making the trays of deviled eggs, crackers and cheeses with carrot sticks, celery etc. (Man, I am getting hungry!), be sure to clean and sanitize your hands and all surfaces that contacted the turkey either directly or indirectly. This is especially important of cutting boards. Now let’s eat!
After dinner, it is time to make sure that Thanksgiving disease does not invade your holiday. Do this by putting all refrigerated food away immediately after eating. Thanksgiving Disease is a mild form of food borne illness that causes cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. It happens because some people leave the food on the table too long after the meal is finished and this bacterium grows while you are watching the game and working up another appetite. You then make a plate and either eat it cold or pop it into the microwave hoping to nuke anything that might have grown there since dinner ended. You will kill the microbe that causes Thanksgiving Disease if you put your food in the microwave and punch in enough time; however, the chemicals the bacterium discharged into the food while it was alive can still make you sick. Refrigeration avoids this and other problems.
Now that we know how to defeat the dread Thanksgiving Disease, we can enjoy our holiday feasts as long as we remember to follow the food handling rules: clean, sanitize and refrigerate. And do not forget that Thanksgiving disease and other food borne diseases can appear any time of year that food is handled carelessly.
Ira White is a retired Consumer Safety Officer for the Food Safety Inspection Service of the USDA.
Acceptance of the Inevitable
I haven’t written much the last week or so. Usually, I put an essay on Medium spread it to my other platforms such as Minds and Patreon and write several entries for Quora as well as a short piece or two for Facebook. True, I have been busy getting some of my garden ready to rest for the winter and planting a few things for a winter garden as well as learning how to use my pellet stove. But writing has not been on the list.
The rain that has been falling has helped get the fires under control, but some are still burning. That worry has been taken off the table though we are still in the fire season despite the rain. One could almost feel a universal sigh of relief when the water started falling from the sky.
This morning I stood on my back porch with my coffee and my dogs taking in the freshness of the air and feeling quite blessed. My upbeat mood is tinged with a sadness, a sadness at a future personal loss and I am confronted with acceptance.
There are some things we must not accept, must not stop fighting even though it appears we will not win. The Nazification of America or any other part of the world should never gain our acceptance. Corruption in all its forms should never be accepted nor should racism or any other form of hate.
There are those things we must accept such as our responsibility toward our fellow humans and the fact that we will age and eventually die like everything else in this Universe.
There are also those things we find it difficult to accept, but in the end we must.
I received a phone call from a friend last night. He was truly in the realm of acceptance despite his news. My friend has been quite ill lately, and I have been worried for his health. We thought that he just had a bad bout with the flu and that he would be better soon. He told me last night that he had gone to the doctor. After some examination and a few tests, the doctor told him he has advanced stage lung cancer. More tests are scheduled to see how far the cancer has gone and how fast it is growing but the doctor said he probably only has a year or two left before it takes his life.
At my age, news like this is not uncommon. I have already grieved the loss of several friends and a score of relatives. It is not something one gets used to, but it demands acceptance because there is no way of changing it, no way of erasing this fact of life.
My friend has accepted his fate and will be living his life to the fullest until he cannot. I applaud him, brave soul that he is. The pros and cons of treatments have been weighed, more of which will be discussed with his doctor when the final test results come in. For him, the quality of the life he has left is his main concern and I’m sure that would be mine, too, if I were in his shoes right now. He is like the fruit on the vine that ripens as it glories in its existence even though the fruit will soon fall to the ground where its seeds will provide the next generation and its flesh will fertilize that generation.
My friend has accepted life and the end of life and is fully ready to live the rest of his days with joy while accepting that too soon, life will be at an end. My job is to support him, support and encourage his joy, love him as I love all my friends and accept that he will soon be gone. I have long accepted my future demise, so it will be less difficult to accept his. But it is always difficult to accept the passing of a beautiful soul like my friend though in the end it must be so.
#death #cancer #endoflife #friends #friendship
Dinner Rolls to Die For
Here's a dynamite recipe for dinner rolls to go with dinner on Thanksgiving.
Some people think that making bread is difficult. It isn't, really. This recipe proves it. You are going to have mashed potatoes for thanksgiving, right? It just so happens that this is the first step to making your bread special. Boil up a batch of potatoes with the skins on. The recipe will work if you peel your potatoes, but will not be quite as tasty. Save the water the potatoes were boiled in. This will be the liquid you add to your bread mix. Have a thermometer handy, as you will need it to determine the temperature of the potato water. Follow the directions below to make this wonderful bread.
6 cups of all purpose flour or unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (This is optional. If you choose to use only while flour, add 1 cup to the above 6 cups).
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons of mashed potato without skin
2 packages regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups of potato water (120 to 130 degrees. This temperature is very important! Too much heat will kill the yeast and too little heat and the bread won't rise properly).
1/4-cup poppy or sesame seeds.
Mix 3 cups of the all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of the wheat flour with the sugar, salt, shortening, mashed potato and yeast in a large 4 quart or larger bowl. Add the warm potato water (use thermometer to check temperature) and beat on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently for one minute. Change mixer to medium speed and beat for one minute. Scrape the bowl frequently until all flour is mixed in. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time while mixing. Start with the remaining wheat flour then add the white flour. When the dough is easy to handle, lightly flour your cutting board or other work surface and turn dough onto it. Knead until the dough is elastic- about ten minutes. Put into a greased 2 1/2 quart bowl. Turn greased side up and cover with a clean towel. Put in a warm place (not too warm!) and let rise until dough doubles its size. This takes about 40 to 60 minutes. Touch the dough. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready.
Punch the dough down and divide into halves. Let it rest for five minutes. Flatten each half with your hands or with a rolling pin. At this point you have a choice. You can either make all the dough into rolls; all of it into loaves or you can make one loaf and one batch of rolls. To make the loaves, flatten dough into a rectangle approximately 18x9 inches. Fold the 9-inch sides crosswise into thirds. Overlap the sides. Roll it up tightly toward you beginning with the open end. Pinch the sides together to make a seal. Do the same with the ends and put the loaf into an 8 1/2x 4 1/2x 4-1/2 inch greased loaf pan. I like to use glass pans, as they seem to work better. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Cover with clean towel and place back in warm place to rise for 40 minutes to an hour. To make rolls, flatten out the dough on lightly floured surface until it is about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. Put a small amount of flour in a small bowl and choose a juice glass or shot glass (depending on the size of rolls you want) to stamp out the rolls. Dip glass into flour then stamp out rolls frequently dipping glass into flour to keep rolls from sticking inside glass. Place rolls into greased baking pan about 1/2 inch apart. Brush tops with butter or margarine. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 40 minutes to an hour. Just before baking, dab a little melted butter on the tops of the rolls and loaves and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Gently press the seeds into the rolls.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place loaves on the low rack so that the tops are in the center of the oven. Bake until tops are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. The rolls and loaves are done when they sound hollow when tapped with the flat side of a butter knife. Remove loaves from pan and cool on wire rack. Remove rolls from pan and serve while still warm. Wrap them in a clean towel to keep them warm throughout the meal.
Dad with Dementia
Dad died a few years ago, but I will never forget the struggle our family was involved in caring for him, trying to keep him out of an institution. The doctor said he had dementia. That was early in his illness. We knew before the doctor told us but needed the confirmation to carry on. We were able to care for him at home so that he wasn’t institutionalized. Our family did not want to see Dad tucked away with strangers and out of touch with his family. How were we able to do this? What kinds of problems did we encounter? What was it like, caring for an elderly person with dementia? To find the answers, read on.
Dad was in his 80s when we began to suspect he had a problem. He knew it, too. He used to talk to me about it, try to get me prepared for what was to come. I moved him from California to Pendleton, Oregon and managed to get him an apartment just two blocks from my house. It was a complex for elderly who were charged according to what they could pay. The place was ideal. Everyone there loved Dad and they loved to hear him sing. He had a good voice and knew many of the old songs. They also took care of each other. That the apartment was close to me was important, too.
Dad helped himself by going out with his walker on most days and running along behind it for a block or two before walking back to the apartments where he would feed the squirrels at the feeding station before going back inside. It was also during this time that I came across the use of turmeric for dementia patients. We started giving it to him daily and while he didn’t improve, it seemed the disease was staved off a little. I think it would have worked better if we had given him a larger dose and added a little oil or fat with some ground pepper as it is advised to do by several sites. The oil or fat helps to digest turmeric and the ground pepper holds it in the stomach longer so more of it is used. We also made sure he took his vitamins, an assortment that the doctor prescribed for him and brought him up to the house for dinners.
During this time, I was dealing with my feelings as his disease progressed. A couple of things came up from the deeps that I had not dealt with and it caused me to be angry and unappreciative of him at times. It took some time and some work to get through these feelings so I could deal with other issues that sprang up from the situation.
At this time, I was the only family member close by and it fell on me to make sure he was doing well, that his bills were paid, and he made it to the doctor when he had an appointment. I was also working full time which made it difficult. Later, my oldest daughter who was pregnant moved in with me bringing her preteen. I had just retired early to take care of Dad and now I had some help.
He was getting worse, however, and after he almost set his apartment on fire at three in the morning, we knew it was time to make some changes. We kept a conversation going among family members while I was caring for Dad alone. Now we had a meeting where we drew up a plan that included all of us doing their part. My house was stairs and more stairs, so it was not practical to move him into it. My daughter had delivered her baby by then and needed work. After much discussion it was decided she would move to the Salem area where there were opportunities and that I would take the rest of Dad’s savings and buy a house where she, the kids and Dad could live. I would sell my house and move in with them to help out. Another reason for moving was that Pendleton did not have the support resources that were available in Salem. Those resources were going to be sorely needed.
The best laid plans…Well, we got the house in Salem and moved Dad and my daughter and her kids in, but I was unable to sell my house. This left my daughter alone as the day to day caregiver while I would drive the almost 5 hours every month to take over for a few days so she and the kids could get some respite. Every late spring or early summer, I would come over for a whole week and take over for her. In addition, since Dad was a veteran, we were able to get someone to come in and clean his room, a nurse who came by weekly and a doctor’s assistant who came every month. In addition, Salem had a program where my daughter could drop her grandpa off to be cared for eight-hour period three days a week so she could go out to do any business she had. In this way we were able to keep Dad from being institutionalized. He passed away in his own bed.
Some of the changes he went through were troubling to us. He mistook both my granddaughter and her mother for his wife and tried to kiss both at various times. There was a resemblance and it confused him. He would go back to a time when he and Mom were young.
Another thing that happened was he would treat my toddler granddaughter like she was a dog when she crawled up to him and stood up to try to get into his lap. He had a friend he called Buddy who lived in the mirror in his bedroom and he was constantly trying to give him things or talk to him. Dad also woke up in the middle of the night a few times yelling about the guns going off outside his window, a little PTSD left over from WWII.
The most disgusting problem was he would go into the bathroom to have a bowel movement and use his hand as if it had toilet paper in it, but it did not. The result would be smeared all over the grab bar next to the toilet, the walls, floor, and sink. We also had to lock up all medications AND all the candy and cookies. We also put child locks on all the outer doors as he got out one time and got lost. He found a way to bypass them however, so we installed an alarm system so we would know when he went out. There were other changes, too many to note here. Let us suffice it to say that there will be changes in your loved one’s personality that might surprise you.
One thing that did surprise me was that in his last few days when he was confined to the bed, unable to walk, unable to talk, and not recognizing anyone, I went into his bedroom after making the drive. He sat up and said my name. We actually had a fairly lucid conversation for a few minutes then he slipped back into a state of near unconsciousness never to say another word.
The experience touched me so much that I wrote a novel that was heavily influenced by what I had gone through. One of the main characters in the book is a WWII veteran with dementia. It details the times we had when my oldest daughter, her family, and I lived together in Pendleton before we had to establish 24/7 care for Dad. It’s a great story and has won acclaim by those who have read it. You can find it and another book I wrote at www.irawhite.net. Leave any questions in the comments section and I will try to get to them as soon as possible.
#dementia #alzheimers #family #dad #hospice
Keeping Contamination Out of the Kitchen
With the closing of and restricted access to restaurants lately, we have had to do more of our own cooking. This means we must make sure the meals we cook are safe and will not cause illness. To keep us safe, our attention needs to be turned toward contamination prevention and sanitation in the kitchen. The following is a discussion of different types of contamination with a list of ways to keep it out of your kitchen at the end.
To start with there are various types of food contamination: microbial, physical, and chemical. Physical contamination can be a piece of plastic, metal, or any other item that winds up in your food. Chemical contamination can be from improperly used cleaning compounds, chemicals stored or on your hands at the time of food preparation or improperly used insecticides.
Physical contamination is fairly easy to keep out of the food. Make sure any utensils or cooking dishes are in good repair and don’t allow items in your kitchen that might get in food. If a dish or glass breaks, make sure it is carefully cleaned up and all the tiny pieces of glass are removed. Don’t eat any food that has been contaminated with broken glass. Most of the rest of the physical can be seen and it is just a matter of picking it out of the food.
Chemical contamination can come from using commercial cleaners/disinfectants on food contact surfaces and not rinsing properly. If you wash dishes by hand, it can come from the soap not being rinsed completely off the surface of dished. One may get a good case of diarrhea from the dish soap and the commercial cleaners can cause illness as well as long term problems if you consume enough.
The big contamination issue in the kitchen that everyone worries about is microbial contamination as it can make one very ill and even kill. This kind of contamination can invade you kitchen in two different ways: direct and indirect.
Direct microbial contamination happens when microbes come in direct contact with food. Perhaps some dish you have cooked and eaten from is left out to cool and you forget about it until 4 or 5 hours later. In that time, the food has had an opportunity to cool and microbes collected from the air land on it and begin to grow. Another way to directly contaminate food is to have it sitting on the counter near the sink and then clean utensils or cutting boards in that sink. Tiny droplets of water containing microbes could become aerosolized and since the food is nearby, could drop on it and contaminate it. The clean dishes in the dish drainer or stacked nearby could also be affected.
Indirect contamination happens when, for instance, you pick up a chicken, put it in the pan and then go open the refrigerator door without washing your hands. If the chicken had microbes on it, and studies have shown that more than 30% do, then everything your contaminated hand touches can be contaminated. By this example you can see how it can get our of control quickly. But don’t despair. Following is a list of things you can do to keep your food safe to eat.
1. Wash your hands. I can’t emphasize this enough. Plain soap is fine, but wash your hands before you start in the kitchen and before and after handling any raw food, especially meats. Keep those hands clean! Wash frequently.
2. Do not use your cutting board without cleaning and sanitizing it when you are going to use it for other classes of foods. I keep one cutting board just for raw vegetables and one for meats. If you are processing different species of meat or raw meat and then later cooked meat, clean and sanitize your board between each species or between raw and cooked meats. Do the same if you are using the same board for vegetables or raw vs. cooked foods.
3. Start with clean counters, utensils and cooking dishes. Clean off counters with your regular cleanser or dish soap, rinse then spray with a bleach solution to sanitize. The solution is 1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 quart of water. This solution can also be used to sanitize your cutting boards.
4. Refrigerate left over food promptly. Do not let foods sit out more than 2 hours before refrigerating.
5. Temperatures are important. Get a meat thermometer and use it to check the internal temperature of cooking meats. Poultry and other meats should be cooked to 165 degrees internal temperature. I suggest this for meat, and I like my steak and prime rib a bit rare. That was fine in the past but currently many processors use a needle machine to puncture and tenderize the meat. The problem is that before the needle machine, if there was contamination, it stayed on the surface where it was killed when cooked. With the needler, any contamination left on the outside of the meat can be transported to the inner parts where it will take more cooking to kill it.
6. Avoid placing a hot dish in the refrigerator until it has cooled. Let it cool to at least 80 degrees before refrigerating. The minimal temperature for most foods is 40 degrees. I keep my refrigerator at about 34 degrees and many meat plants keep theirs at 33.
7. Clean and sanitize your microwave, stove top, oven, and refrigerator on a schedule. These are jobs we forget easily or just don’t want to do right now. It is best to make a schedule or keep a calendar with cleaning dates circled in your kitchen, so this won’t be forgotten.
8. Keep sponges, dish cloths and other cleaning tools clean and sanitized. Sponges can be sanitized by zapping them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, soaking in a bleach solution, putting them in the dishwasher or just changing them out frequently. Dish cloths can just be changed out frequently and laundered.
9. Thaw foods in the refrigerator. This keeps the texture and more of the juices intact and does not invite contamination. Leaving food out to thaw is not safe. The temperature of the outer part of the food rises and can get warm enough for any surface bacteria to have a party. If you are in a hurry, put the food in a watertight container or bag and place it in a pot of 65-degree water. Change the water if necessary.
10. There are three ways of dealing with microbial contamination: dilute, disinfect and heat. I prefer to use the last two for the most part. A good disinfectant can wipe out most of the microbes and 160-degree heat will kill most bacteria. Keeping food at 40 degrees or lower will impede bacteria growth.
Ira White is a retired USDA food inspector. If you find this article helpful, you might like to visit his website and learn about his novel, We Won’t Forget You Mr. McGillicuddy: http://www.irawhite.net .
Why the Coming Vaccine Should be Refused
For me it is not so difficult to see. It is difficult to accept and I grant that to those people who have not yet accepted it. Most of us are decent people who do not delve in nefarious plots against anyone or anything. We don’t even want to think that people would do some of the things they do, but history has shown us that this kind of thinking enables the devious among us to continue to do awful things. As a result, I have thought this through and laid out the whys and the wherefores that we need to understand to see the whole picture clearly.
1. Vaccine makers have been given immunity against lawsuits for adverse reactions to their products. The government has a fund that has paid out $4 billion in compensation. If you look at the charts, many have been refused. Also the corporations have been given blanket immunity over COVID 19. Immunity means that they are not legally responsible for problems with their vaccine. It also means they will bow to profits instead of safety for the vaccine.
2. Contrary to popular opinion, vaccine makers enjoy huge profits from their products. They will always want more.
3. Stocks in vaccine companies are held by Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci and some members of Congress, people who are engaged in making decisions on how we handle the virus. Bill Gates has no medical degree but does have a huge interest in several of the companies working on a vaccine.
4. Moderna is a leading company chosen for making the vaccine. It has produced no products but has received more than $1 billion from the US government to produce a COVID vaccine. Bill Gates also owns interest in this company.
5. For decades, scientists have been unable to make a safe, effective vaccine against any corona virus. How could they then make one in such a short amount of time? Where are the trials to prove its safety and effectiveness? Those trials usually take a couple of years. How can we be sure their vaccines are safe? It has been stated that the vaccine they want to produce is an RNA vaccine and this will be the first one. How can they say it will be safe?
6. The ingredients of vaccines these days includes substances that could harm your body more than the vaccine will help. For instance, aluminum and mercury are common additives. In addition, Bill Gates himself has described the vaccines being produced as containing ingredients that are RNA altering, something never done before successfully and highly suspect especially with the skipping of some safety testing.
7. Lies are a good way of getting people to not believe you and both the government and some of the experts have lied to us then admitted to the lie and expected us to believe them from there on. Once you lie to me, anything that follows is suspect. The facemasks were lied about and so was the “heart problems” that hydroxychloroquine supposedly causes was another lie. When someone is lying to you, especially about something that could mean life or death, you cannot believe anything else from that point on.
These points are good reason not to join in the vaccine madness. A vaccine will not save us especially when the motive is profit combined with consolidation of power. Keep in mind that the people who are pushing the vaccine own the media so they can manipulate us almost at will. They also own a large portion of the government, another instrument of manipulation. I have even heard it said that our water should be treated with drugs that will make people more compliant, more willing to accept the jab in their arms. They are pushing this so hard, red flags are waving all over the place. Another indicator of the uselessness of whatever vaccine they produce is the suppression of treatments that have been shown to be effective. The obvious suppression of hydroxychloroquine is the largest case in point. If they have an effective treatment, a vaccine is not needed and all those millions of dollars that have been sunk into development of a vaccine will be lost. Also, if they have a cheap treatment (the protocol using hydroxychloroquine and zinc with an antibiotic is pennies) they cannot make much money.
The money to be made or lost, the interconnectivity of those who will profit or lose from the vaccine, and the laws passed to forbid suing vaccine makers giving them no incentive for safety are the main reasons one would have to be either totally propagandized or crazy in order to accept this vaccine they want 8 billion of us to have. I don’t know if this vaccine they want to inject into us has nano bots in it to control us or locator chips so that they know where we are at all times or not. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of these is true, but that is beside the point. The lies, control of the narrative, lack of safety testing, rushed production, the huge sums of money involved that could either be made or lost, the lack of accountability given through immunity from law suits, and the “other” ingredients in vaccines discussed above are plenty of reasons not to get the jab in the arm.