Tag Archives: Health

A Tale of the Tape

Okay, I truly hope work people who may see this will see it more as humor than as me slacking. Yes, I have another short-cut to save time, but already the word ‘short-cut’ does not jive kindly in a work context. Laugh, just laugh. I am trying to reduce everyone’s blood pressure.

Okay. I was doing some work in the forest of bookshelves. Yes, I could probably get lost in there for inordinate amounts of time, read a chapter, and not be found, but I emphasize: I didn’t do that! Instead I was adjusting some labels and call number ranges to make them reflect more accurately to the items that were actually on the shelves. All this to make the lives of patrons a little bit easier for when they try to locate resources.  My intentions are good! Give me a raise! Okay, maybe not, especially if you read on to the next section.

When I got back to my desk I realized I left the roll of tape in the shelves. Fortunately, I remember exactly which book I left it beside. In fact, after working with call numbers for an hour, I even remembered the exact call number of the book near the tape. For my amusement, I just took a short-cut and left the tape there. Call it lazy, call it a short-cut, call it slacking, call it illogical, call it irresponsible, even call me evil, but please don’t say that I don’t care. I care greatly for your health and your tension.

So whenever a patron asked me to borrow the tape, I would say: “Did you try going on the computer and searching for it in the online catalogue?”

When they responded with quizzical looks, I elaborated by insisting: “Really, trust me. If you go on the catalogue and look up this book title (the title I had memorized from before), copy down the call number, and go to the shelves, you can find the elusive collector’s edition of the tape that you are looking for.”

Some who had the time to play along, did the search, went on a short treasure hunt, and I heard them laughing somewhere in the shelves. For others who didn’t want to go on the computer, I just gave them the call number.

Then I went into the back room and made a request to the cataloguer with an air of seriousness and urgency: “I’ve been getting a bunch of requests for the tape this morning. Would you mind quickly making a record in our system and assigning a specific call number to the tape?”

Everyone in the back room stopped what they were doing and just froze, trying to comprehend and make sure they had in fact heard what they thought they heard. Yes, I was dead serious. A few more seconds of awkwardness, and then bursts of laughter all over. You could almost hear, or at least imagine, the blood flowing smoothly through all our veins.

Have a great day at work everybody!

-Patrick Law

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How Procrastination is Communicated Through Illness

This is Pierce again. I’ve been away and acting more urgently lately. But instead of pride from accomplishment, I’m left feeling a bit remorseful and worried. It seems that it takes people to be in bad health in order to get me to act. While this shows that I am willing to drop things and immediately react and focus my priorities on those who are not feeling well, I sometimes wonder.

What message does this send to the others? That I only tend to them when something is wrong? That it takes an injury, illness, being under the weather, or other signs of distress, before I look their way? It is some kind of unfortunate. It doesn’t leave much room for a mood of sunshine to sneak through the cracks, does it?

And not unscathed are times when everyone is in good health. Even during these moments the atmosphere has a kind of absurd pall over it. These are the effects I create. People are scared to be happy, to be their normal selves, because nothing gets done, no attention is paid, during these scenarios. Yet when they start getting aches and pains, depression, start to not be able to make it up that hill, I come running.

Am I, in fact, in my selective procrastination, or my selective and biased recovery from procrastination… am I simply providing fertile ground and reinforcement for malingering?

-Pierce

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Meditation That Makes Us Heavy

Ever wondered how sometimes when not exercising for awhile, you still manage to keep off the pounds despite not cutting down on the number servings or serving sizes? Yes, some may have a naturally high metabolic rate, but perhaps many use a short cut?

They sit, and work, and intensely stress. Do you think it’s possible? To sit at your desk, fret, and think, over-think, so excruciatingly that calories are burnt just from considerations of the mind and all the associated possible contingencies?

Maybe this is not such a short cut. It may, in fact, take a great amount of work and effort to be able to generate such forces at your desk to be able to drain so much out of your system. But, next time you skip a workout because of the mental toll you put yourself through during the day, can this be a convenient excuse or rationale that you actually did put yourself through the sweat shop with a little bit of imagination.

I think I’m starting to understand through writing out these processes of short cuts. Trying to spend time devising up these plans actually take longer than the original act I am trying to short cut. While it potentially could burn more calories, we can say the same about death and its ability to make us lose weight.

Ironically, this variant of meditation is kind of heavy.

It’s probably time for a new criteria.

-Patrick Law

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Reacting to News on Dangers of Farmed Fish

Today, in the Globe and Mail Newspaper, there was an article warning about the health concerns of eating farmed fish, more specifically tilapia. The title of the article is: “Farmed tilapia may be no better for you than a doughnut.”

Basically, they found that farmed tilapa contained higher level of omega-6 fatty acids (too much is bad for you), and lower level of omega-3 (which we need more of), than wild fish. Apparently, what is done to the fish in the farm (i.e. feeding the vegetable oil, etc…) is not producing healthy fish and, in turn, is not healthy for people who consume this kind of fish.

You can click here to read the entire original article.

As an Asian Canadian, who has been bred and raised about the benefits of fish, this news knocked me back a bit. 3-4 servings per week of steamed fish has been part of my diet since forever. Automatically, my initial response is what kind of fish am I buying at the supermarket? Even if I get the fish fresh, swimming in a tank, could that be from a farm?

Unfortunately, while the article is informative, it did not give details that most consumers would want: how do we know what we buy is farmed or wild? Will it be obviously on the labels? Are there regulations requiring accurate labeling? I think there should be an attempt by the newspaper (writers) to provide answers to these kind of questions.

I did a quick search on blogs, and web, and didn’t find direct answers immediately. Perhaps I should just go directly to stores and ask, and check the labels?

I did find another blog that provides useful information if living in Japan.

If you know of where to find more information on this topic, please give some suggestions.

Thanks,

Patrick Law

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Switching Gears by Using Paper to Cover Fire

I am scared. I like quiet. I’m easily bothered by noise. I spend much of my days in libraries. I get startled and jump out of my seat quite easily. So, because of all these points and characteristics, I think I’ve generated enough reasons to support why I’m a slow driver. What in the world is the link?

I drive a standard. Most of the people I know say I am a waste of a standard and do it disgrace. They say it’s painful to sit in the passenger side of my car while watching me drive as if I’m on eggshells. In a nutshell, I drive slow, or more accurately, I am slow to accelerate and reach peak speed. The exact reason for this is because I shift too quickly. People are right, I do.

And here is when the connection to noise and disturbances come back full circle. When trying to hold down the gas longer before shifting gears, the car gets noisy as you rev. I often find it noisy even at 3000 rpms and shift at or just under this number. The passengers shake their heads in disgust. And I guess if there are cars behind me stopped at a traffic light, they shake their fists (and the odd finger) in disgust when the light turns green because it’s obvious that I lose speed and momentum when shifting. I am sorry.

Whenever the rpms go up, and I hear that noise, am I intuitively thinking I’m doing damage to the car? Or, am I suddenly thrust into the role of a sadist when I’m obviously more stable and at home at the other end, according to every single psychological test that I have ever done. Of course other drivers are not going to have the patience to allow me to get out of my car and explain this at the next set of lights. So, another solution is needed.

How can I resist my natural tendency to shift gears in search of quiet and to avoid the noise of high rpms? Well, this past week, I test drove an idea with music. I increased the volume of my tunes and purposely selected music that was not gentle. In this way, the music slightly covered up, softened, or insulated a bit of the sound from the engine. And I also decided to not look at my rpm gauge, since I tend to automatically switch when the dial hits 3.

Admittedly, it worked. I felt something, a little bit, just a small bit of that adrenalin that they always advertise to full throttle in those car commercials. I have never taken Viagra, but is this what they mean when they say what they mean…you know what I mean?

Anyways, just like what they mean, you can’t keep it up forever, especially if it’s just not in your personality. Soon after, I was getting bothered by the loud music and trying to think of ways to cover up and drown out that noise. Eventually, quite naturally, I didn’t have to look hard to hear another sound that clearly smothered everything else to minimalistic background. My beating heart!

These days, beside my insurance, license, and registration info, I keep copies containing results of my psychological tests and medical records. In case other drivers, passengers, or even police, are curious why I switch gears so early.

-Patrick Law

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Using Mosquito Bites as an Assessment Tool

Of course there are many ways to count the time or the passage of the years. And as time passes by, aging, trips to the doctor become ever the more frequent. At the very least, for those who used to go only when sickness or accident befell them, they now find themselves booking time off work months ahead of time for their respective annual medical checkups. For others, it’s not a stretch to say that every few weeks brings a trip to some health professional or other.

This short cut is not to replace true expertise and treatment from a medical professional. Its purpose is just to maybe cut 45 annual health office trips to maybe 35? What I mean is self-assessment. Sometimes we can save time, save gas, save a little bit of insurance, by not requiring a doctor to tell us that we are showing signs of aging and senility. We can do this ourselves.

There are many methods of alternative self-assessment, and maybe we can revisit this topic in the future. For now, just one short cut. Do you remember when young, how we would run into the house after an entire day of playing outside and proudly with anticipation count the number of mosquito bites accumulated to our siblings, parents, or whoever would listen to our boasting?

I remember even trying to scratch areas that were not itchy in hoping of making it itchy or possibly manufacturing a mark that could count as a bite and add to my growing total. The more bites, the more bragging rights, and the more evidence of supposed toughness in the active outdoor life of a boy. Surely, I couldn’t let my sister have more bites than me!

Today? After a day outdoors, we lament how even liberal amounts of DEET insect repellant could not stave off the inevitable bites. And we try with all our might to resist the urge to scratch and spread, and this resulting state of twitching leads to another restless night of sleeping. What’s worse? We wake up looking at the marks still counting them like in our youth, but now counting to calculate the statistical probability of catching a disease.

This is aging! And probably some indication of other problems as well! While on those long waiting lists for medical scans, and imaging, can this be a good, unscientific, before and after shot of health done by yourself? A qualitative comparison of how we count mosquito bites every ten years – a longitudinal study?

At least now I know there’s something wrong with me, unofficially, by doing a quick and easy body check.

-Patrick Law

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The Fountain of Alternative Aging

Someone on a hot day drinks from a water fountain and then goes back to the outdoor activities. During the next break, comes back to the fountain only to find ‘out of order’ signs pasted to the fountain.

If you were this person, what are your feelings? No feelings? Just an inconvenience and head to the next available fountain? Do you think about the cause? Oh, it must be a mechanical issue, or something wrong with the pump?

A particular someone did not consider any of the above possibilities. Instead, he was sure that the authorities shut off the water too late to prevent him from consuming dangerous contaminated water from his earlier drink. But he kept these thoughts to himself. Nothing happened. He did not get physically sick.

However, his friends and family say that he certainly wasn’t the same after this. He didn’t talk as much, and almost lived with kind of an expectation, and seemed to be constantly looking for something. He rarely did anything without reading about it first, did not go to, or use, anything without signs, and usually came home looking dehydrated.

-Pierce

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