This a collection of facts (allegedly) from Mental Floss magazine. They are quite amazing and, hopefully, true.

65 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind | Mental Floss

 

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Fun Factoid

September 24, 2013

I have written here about my experience with Vertigo, a seasick like, nausea inducing experience. In that regard, here’s a fun factoid from the NYTimes:

The word “nausea” derives from the Greek for “boat.”

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/rethinking-motion-sickness/

Quick Study: Neuroscience: Crosswords don’t make you clever | The Economist.

Sadly, Crosswords are no shortcut to brain development. Over and over we hear that exercise is the most important way to improve brain function. Second is diet. and third is social interaction.  For the sedentary, overweight introverts among us (that’s me), this is not good news.

stephaneguisard_chichenitzaorion.jpg.CROP.original-original

Photo by Stephen Guisard

Are the Stars You See in the Sky Already Dead?

You’ve heard it said that looking into the night sky is like looking into history.  Many of the stars you see, according to conventional wisdom, actually died many years ago. Actually this is not true.

Mars Curiosity rover sings Happy Birthday, dares Earth to collect royalties | The Verge.

Amazing Flash Flood

August 10, 2013

Never camp in a dry river bed. In fact, never camp anywhere. It’s dangerous outside.

Vertigo

July 25, 2013

My recent illness – Vertigo

July 16, 2013 I enjoyed an evening of Palaver at the back Burner Grill, compliments of our host, Blake Lisenby. I had Grouper for dinner along with white wine. The evening ended uneventfully with my return home to a vacant house because Carole was visiting in Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

July 17, 2013 Events turned ugly at about 4 AM in the morning. I woke up with a incapacitating episode of vertigo. I moved to the television room to sit upright in our recliner chair hoping the symptoms would pass. Rather than pass, things became worse. I struggled in and out of restless sleep with the spinning in my head as a constant. Around 10 o’clock in the morning I became concerned that my situation might be more complicated than vertigo, perhaps some heart event. I began at that time to consider calling 911 and requesting an ambulance. This option posed an obstacle in that I had to get up and turn off the alarm and unlock the front door. Such an excursion left me throwing up and subsequently with violent dry heaves. After struggling to make the necessary adjustments to the alarm and front door lock, I called the 911 service and requested an ambulance. The ambulance came promptly with two attendants to assist me. They examined me routinely and check for vital signs while asking questions and trying to identify the problem. Recounting these events now is a very unpleasant experience for me. I only do it in the hope that the accuracy of my report will be enhanced by the recency of this memory.

Getting from the house to the ambulance was a horrible ordeal. It was very difficult to get from the sitting up position in the chair to the prone position on the ambulance stretcher. Without the assistance of these two big, strong attendants, it would’ve never happened.

Of course every little bump was a painful experience. Getting from the house to the ambulance on the stretcher was horrible. Riding downtown on uneven streets was even more horrible. The ambulance, I have learned, is not a cushy ride. Everything about the ride was horrible.

Upon arriving at the Medical Center Emergency Room I was examined and quizzed as to various things including insurance information. My contribution to this inquiry was to hand my wallet to everybody who asked for my insurance card. I was then placed in a holding room in an upright lounge chair and covered with blankets. I was cold and dizzy. I was relieved, at last, to be resting and not in motion.

While I was waiting for treatment to begin, considered my circumstance. I was alone in the hospital with nothing but my underwear and a few items that were retrieved from the house by the ambulance attendants including my wallet, glasses, and iPhone. By this time it was the middle of the afternoon.

My first call was to Valerie, my courtroom deputy, who promptly informed the court staff. I was immediately visited by my former secretary and friend Cheryl Spilman. Following Cheryl came Valerie,  Amber, my law clerk, and Jim Smith, my judge partner.

As it came to be about 4 o’clock, I began to consider the question of whether I should call Carole. I was worried that she would depart immediately from Myrtle Beach to begin a very long drive that would end late in the evening and be somewhat unsafe. I’m sorry now I hesitated to make that call. Her assistance was invaluable. She arrived at the hospital at about 10 PM. During the time I waited for her, Debbie Smith came to take over the vigil, followed shortly thereafter by Michelle Lisenby. I was so grateful for the support from my friends.

The first order of business was for me to have a CAT scan. The operator of the equipment showed up and thought I would walk with her to the scanning room. I had to inform her that walking was an absolute impossibility. I insisted that it would take two strong attendants to get me on a stretcher to make that trip. They finally arrived and I struggled to get on the stretcher to make the trip to the CAT scan room.

Upon my return from that ordeal, I was moved into a waiting room before I could be admitted to the hospital.

July 18, 2013 – Thursday – Some hours later I was admitted to a hospital room where I could try to relax a little more comfortably. Things at this point are a bit of a blur in my memory. I remember lots of people coming and going taking blood, hooking up machines and providing the usual hospital room introduction. When morning came, the first order of business was to take me for a MRI scan. That was another ordeal involving strong attendants that could put me on the proper gurney for the trip.

Interestingly, the MRI scan machine malfunctioned. It ended up taking 30 to 45 minutes of deafening ordeal in that in that monstrous contraption. They said they have been having trouble with the computer lately. For as much as the test surely costs, I would think the machine would be more reliable. Anyway, the MRI and CAT scan test were both clear. That was a comfort.

Upon my return from the MRI scan, I was told that I will have to go to another place in the hospital and have a test known as an echocardiogram. I had no idea how I could make another transition to a gurney and another ride to another part of the hospital. Fortunately, as it turned out, I was able to be transported in my hospital bed. The trip was infinitely more comfortable and interesting. That’s the test where they look at your heart with sound machine, like a baby sonogram. I was able to watch. I saw my heart but I didn’t see any babies.

For the rest of the day Thursday and on Friday morning we will visited by a stream of medical specialists. The first was an internist who pronounced that there was nothing unusual other than the vertigo. Next there was a neurologist that pronounced me in good health as far as neurology was concerned. The next specialist, a cardiologist, decided that one of my blood levels was out of line and that I needed to come into the office the following week for more tests on my heart, all of which would start with a heart stints and lead to bypass surgery. While it remains to be undecided whether I will make that appointment, I believe that treatment might be a little over aggressive at this time. At the end of the day on Thursday, we were visited by our friend Sandy Duke, an EENT specialist. He became comfortable with a diagnosis of the problem as being a viral infection in my ear causing the vertigo imbalance. We will be visiting his office on Monday morning.

July 19, 2013 – Friday – We checked out from the hospital in the late afternoon of this day. After arriving home I became comfortably ensconced in my La-Z-Boy chair and passed the evening dozing and reading my computer. It does seem that my comfort is slightly increasing. I’m still quite dizzy and not much able to move around. I go to the bathroom from time to time just to exercise even though it is exhausting experience for me still. Before leaving the hospital, I was provided with a walking assistance device which is proved to be very valuable.

July 20, 2013 – Saturday – These notes are being prepared in the late afternoon on this date. I’m resting relatively comfortably but still experiencing a very unpleasant dizziness. My mobility is extremely limited. My condition is being treated primarily by steroids, Meclizine and Valium. I slept very well last night and late into this morning. Carole has continued to provide the most expert and loving care imaginable. If I could feel a little better, I could really enjoy all this doting.

All of our friends of been very supportive with calls and texts. Tracy has been very concerned. I think it first he thought we were holding out information on him. Both children have both been in regular touch with us. Upon leaving the hospital I sent a picture of me resting comfortably in a wheelchair waiting for Carole to arrive at the front door pick me up. I think that picture has been most reassuring to the children and friends.

I spent this day sitting in my chair, talking with Carole and working on my computer. It’s now 6 o’clock as I complete these notes, and I’m feeling a bit tired. But as I think back over that morning on Wednesday when I sat in the chair trying to decide whether the call 911, I am encouraged that I am infinitely better by comparison.

I hope it can now be said that the worst is past.

July 21, 2013 – Sunday – There was not much improvement today. Still need lots of help from Carole to eat and maintain. Tonight Michelle Lizenby brought a dinner salad to us for supper. I was well enough to enjoy the salad and a little conversation.

July 22, 2013 – Monday – Things may be a tiny bit better today. The problem was that I had to go to the doctor this morning. That trip was very difficult. All of movement and the riding around in the car was tiresome. On the good side, I had one of the most wonderful nights sleep I’ve had a long time.

July 23, 2013 – Tuesday – I can report continuing improvement, ever so slightly. I spent a few hours upstairs in my office. I really think that was helpful to me to be moving around and looking in different directions. It’s odd that the key to defeating this vertigo thing is to fight it. Fighting is so painful.

July 24, 2013 – Wednesday – I’m a little better this morning. That’s not saying much because my discomfort and mobility are much at issue. But I can feel a difference. I’m going to try to give up the walking assistant device. It’s better for my balance if I try to walk around relying on my own internal balance system, as long as I’m safe. At least that’s what the doctor said. I think he’s right. I plan to spend some time upstairs today. That seems to really be helpful, and tiresome too.

July 25, 2013 – Thursday – I hope I’m not jumping the gun, but I want to declare that I have turned the corner today. I woke up at 5 o’clock and couldn’t go back to sleep. I laid around until 6 o’clock thinking about things I wanted to do, so I got up. I made my coffee and went upstairs to my office. I spent about three hours tinkering around up there and enjoying myself. I’m still very uncomfortable whenever I move. Once I make the move, the discomfort subsides. I’m understanding that you have to fight vertigo. It’s a hard, uncomfortable fight, but I feel the benefits. Today, we plan to go out to lunch. Then, I have to be at work at 2 o’clock for an important hearing. I’m sitting downstairs in my chair now, enjoying my coffee and annoying Carole with my computer work. I hope my optimism for today is not misplaced.

July 26, 2013–Friday–Yesterday was a big day. In addition to feeling better, I had to spend about 3 hours in court hearing a difficult case. That experience left me exhausted. On the good side, I had a glorious night’s sleep.

Today was about the same as yesterday. I’m moving around without assistance. I’m still very tentative in everything I do. I’m not sure I feel better or stronger today, but I’m certainly no worse.

I spent little time on the patio working with my tomato plants. To describe the experience as “working,” would be an exaggeration. Still, it was hot, I was exhausted, and I came inside to nap for about an hour and a half.

I am trying to be more self reliant. I don’t want to be a caretaker’s burden if I don’t have to be. I find myself waking up early in the mornings so I go upstairs and work in my office on my ham radios. I think it is encouraging that I have so many ideas about things I want to do. At least I’m not depressed.

July 27, 2013–Saturday–I learned something new this morning. While my ability to walk unassisted is getting better, it is absolutely impossible to walk in the dark. The doctor told me that I needed cues about balance from other input to compensate for what my ear is not providing. Attempting to walk in the dark illustrates that principle vividly. Otherwise, things are progressing, slowly. I spend more time upstairs with ham radio activities, rearranging equipment, moving around, generally engaging with my surroundings. I’m understanding this is helpful. Right now, I’m sitting on the patio enjoying the cool morning, 68 degrees. It looks as if rain may be in the offing a little later. It doesn’t matter, because even if it does not rain, it will be too hot to be outside.

July 28,2013 – Sunday

Once again, I’m sitting out here on the patio at 7 o’clock in the morning enjoying the beginning of another day, and feeling a little bit better. it’s 61° and getting warmer very slowly. If today is like yesterday, it will be nice out here until maybe 11 AM.

I’m beginning to think I should come to the end of these updates since they now contain nothing but news of my adventures as a leisure person. That’s a fun experience for me, but not pleasant to read.

I’m still not driving, but that’s about all I’m not doing. My gait is a little unsteady but getting more surefooted. I think I’ll give this I’ll keep updating until after this coming Tuesday, when I visit my doctor for the 2nd time. If all is OK, I’ll pull the plug.

I’m giving some thought to making a trip to the pool for lunch. Perhaps lying around in the pool, in the sun for a short while, might do me some good.

OK, no pool. But Carole and I did have lunch at IHOP. It was the first time I’ve been to this new location. It was OK. Problem was mine. I wasn’t very hungry.

July 29, 2013–Monday–A little better, maybe. I tried to sleep last night without taking any vertigo pills, so, as a consequence, I didn’t sleep much last night. But, I felt very well during the night when I was tossing and turning. The medicine is like Benadryl in that it makes me drowsy.

Today I try to drive. I’m going to lunch before I go to the office. I don’t think that is going to be a problem for me.

I’ve enjoyed another morning out here on the patio. It’s not even 80° yet at almost 11 o’clock. That will change radically when the sun comes around to the side of the house.

I’ll report again if the afternoon brings any surprises.

July 30, 2013–Tuesday–This is a really nice report. I may have mentioned that I didn’t sleep very much night before last when I made an effort to try to get off of the sleep inducing medication. Consequently, yesterday was a completely exhausting day. I had to go into the office for a hearing. I tried to avoid taking a nap during the day so as to have the best chance for sleep last night. My efforts were rewarded with one glorious night’s sleep last night. Consequently, I feel well rested, alert, and enthusiastic this morning. I still feel dizziness when I move certain ways. I feel certain stuffiness in my ear and head because the condition in my left ear persists. But today feels like solid improvement. My EENT doctor appointment has been postponed by his office until tomorrow. Consequently, I will postpone the discontinuation of these reports until after then when I get his report. I’m back on the patio again enjoying the cool morning weather. It’s not even 7° yet at 9:30 AM. This feels more like Southern California than Macon Georgia.

July 31, 2013 – Wednesday – I think I can say I am considerably better this morning. I feel less pressure in my ear. This makes the timing of going to the doctor ideal, 2 o’clock this afternoon. Today was the first day I couldn’t spend out on the patio. As soon as I got settled down out there about 7 AM this morning, it started to rain slowly. It has continued to be dark and rainy all morning. That’s not all bad, in that it makes for a cozy time on the inside. I’m also feeling the energy pick up a little bit. I was very busy yesterday afternoon out and about in the car, and the experience left me quite tired last night. I should have more stamina, but this thing is taken that out of me. Thanks to everyone who has followed along here on the blog. If they goes well with the doctor, I will have one more post to share with you.

August 1, 2013 – Thursday – Dr. Report – I went to see my doctor yesterday afternoon. He checked me over and gave me a hearing test. I still have hearing loss in my left ear. He wants to see me a month. If I was expecting aggressive treatment, I would be disappointed. The message, both express and implied, is that my recovery may be a long slow pull. Since I’m able to function and do most of the things I normally do, I suppose that recovery schedule will be livable. I notice a slight improvement every day. What more could I ask for?

I think this will be my last report here on the webpage. I will let you know if I suffer some sort of relapse. Think, “No news is good news.”

Thanks to everyone who followed along here. I will leave this post up for a week or so to let the latecomers catch on. After that, I want to take it down so it will not be a part of the easily available public record.

I’m on the mend, just in time for my birthday. Yea!