Archive for the ‘health’ Category

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Theme Hospital (A Review)

March 29, 2008

You think you have what it takes to become a hospital administrator?
Then try your skills with Theme Hospital, Bullfrog’s best game ever. Deal with cocky doctors, docile nurses, and the not-so-handy-handymen. They could get tired, and this obviously would hassle you and your patients. Build diagnostic rooms, treatment rooms, and rooms for more personal use. Finally, don’t forget to manage your finances. Bankruptcy is the sure way to losing!
Patients with all kinds of complaints are your main source of income so take good care of them. They could die from lousy treatment, or leave your hospital in disgust at your method of running. So make sure you get a Slicer to hack away the extra tongue growth from speaking too much about soap operas. Employ at least two surgeons to repair Broken Hearts, and remove Kidney Beans and Spare Ribs. Hire a nurse and she’ll give them medicines to cure the Uncommon Cold, Gastric Ejections, and other ailments.
Do you think you’re still up to it? Then strap yourself to the computer chair and play. You won’t notice time pass by, but it will help if you have a dose of non-pharmaceutic grade caffeine from coffee to get you through your all nighters. Just make sure you don’t do this very often or you’ll get admitted to a real hospital.

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Oh No! Not HIM!

January 8, 2008

Terry Pratchett
Image Take from: CNN.com

Terry Pratchett, acclaimed fantasy author, is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now I’ve only read one of his books but it was a great experience. The the setting of when I read it was great as well as the actual content of the book. Details of the setting may appear in another for a blog post, but the text was nothing short of fantastic. It was humor, satire, and adventure rolled into one. Pratchett’s books are literally out of this world in that it is set in the Discworld and that they offer a different type of reading experience. It is Discordian, and it is FUN.
Yet it would only be a matter of time before that humor and wit would be silenced forever. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease characterized by memory loss and loss of cognitive function. There is still no cure for it. Nevertheless, Pratchett proves he still hasn’t lost his humor and wit along with the following words, “I know it’s a very human thing to say ‘Is there anything I can do’, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.”
From his words, we do not know if he is still hopes for a recovery or he is only tempering the sad event with a joke. But as his works have shown us, the difference between those two doesn’t matter. It’s the laughter that matters.

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Sick but not Sick

November 28, 2007

I decided to be sick today.
I wanted the fever to run its course. I wanted it to stimulate and augment my defenses. If all went well, the fever would stimulate my leukocytes (white blood cells) to destroy the invaders. It would also reduce the level of free iron in my blood* so as to reduce the spread of bacterial infection. And in another leg of the process, it would induce interleukin-1 (IL-1) production,which in turn aids in the production and maintenance of lymphocytes, another division in the army of body defenses.[1]
Unfortunately, I had things to do earlier so I couldn’t afford the weakness that comes from fever brought about by my runny nose**. I took one tablet of 250mg Mefenamic acid to get me through walking the breadth of the city. It worked. My perceived temperature dropped to normal. It allowed my feet to me into diverse places. I made the reservation for the family holiday. I scanned through shops offering “economically equalized goods”. I even walked with traffic enforcers*** as they tried to maximize the road width by removing vendor paraphernalia.
Then I went home for a day well spent. By then, my head was just about spinning and I was getting drowsy. I thought it was because the fever was coming back, but further research later revealed that those symptoms were minor side effects of Mefenamic Acid. I hit the sack almost as soon as I came home, planning to let the fever run its course after waking.
It didn’t go as I expected. The fever did not return. My body missed an opportunity to maximize its defenses. This might mean that I’d have this cold longer, or it could probably mean that my body boosted up its defenses despite my intervention. So even though I don’t act sick, I’m still technically sick. My body is still working overtime to get these nasty invaders out of my system.

*Some bacteria love iron; they use it to make toxins. The body recognizes this fact, and hides the iron from them.
**In actuality, only my left nostril is affected. For some strange reason, I have had colds that affected only one nostril at a time.
***These guys were nicer compared to their Manila counterparts. Manila raids can turn bloody as objects are torn, strewn, and defended by equally aggressive enforcers and offenders. Raids here are done by telling people off, and that usually gets the job done.

[1] Burton, Gwendolyn, R.W. MICROBIOLOGY FOR THE HEALTH SCIENCES, 4e. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company. 1992.

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Memorize This

November 13, 2007

“You’re the guy fro UP who went here last year, right?” she said after several lines of conversation.
“Yes,” I answered.
“I’m sorry. I have a bad memory.”
“Oh that’s alright,” I said with a deprecating smile. It’s one of the strategies I use so that I won’t be stereotyped under the arrogant UP image.
Then as I made my leave, I couldn’t help but conclude that she was getting too hard on herself. For her to remember me, one of perhaps dozens of inquirers, is no mean feat. Perhaps the word UP joggled her memory, or perhaps she does remember everything but she just pretends that she doesn’t.
I don’t know if there really exists a person who pretends to forget people for the sense of importance that they get in forgetting someone. I know some people do it for a real or a perceived slight, but to do that for other reasons is a warrant for a case study.
I don’t have a background on psychiatry yet so I do not know if this condition, or syndrome, already has a name. I would also include in this category every attitude and character trait of low level upstarts, and not so upstarts, who make a hard time on honest people just because they currently have the power to do so. And for nomenclature’s sake I’ll call it the “Feeler” Syndrome.*
Now aren’t you thankful you can now describe power tripping clerks, salesladies, guards, and 3rd level bureaucrats?

*A Feeler is someone who is “feeling”. “Feeling”, by the way, is a uniquely Filipino construct to describe people who inappropriately think so highly of themselves. In another uniquely Filipino construct, someone who is “feeling” is therefore a feeler.

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Darkening Cream

October 27, 2007

In an unbelievable event that would shock ordinary Filipinos, scientists have discovered a way to turn light skinned people dark.
Scientists recognize that fair skinned people have a damaged metabolic pathway that prevents them from producing melanin, the pigment that protects us from the sun. A study led by Dr. David E. Fisher, director of the Melanoma Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, tested a small molecule on red-eyed and fair skinned mice. It turned out that it restored the damaged pathway. Nevertheless, it would be a while before this would be used on humans. Good news for those Caucasians who want a tan. Bad news to those Filipinos who want to be fair.
Rumor has it that Filipino scientists are doing a parallel research. Instead of trying to repair the pathway that makes people dark, they are looking for ways to destroy that pathway. It wouldn’t be long before whitening would be as easy as lathering real whitening lotion on the skin. Now who wouldn’t feel happy throwing away those lying whitening soaps, lotions, and creams?

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Sampiring

October 21, 2007

Sampiring
It’s sampiring, not sapiring, not iras.*
If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you must not be Bisaya (Cebuano) or Ilonggo. Sampiring, take not of the the “m”, is my city’s word for the critter above. Sapiring is used by those who live to the South and West of us. We are Cebuanos but dialects can change after 40 km or less. Iras is the Ilonggo equivalent, ’nuff said. Don’t ask me about the Tagalog equivalent. I don’t think I’ve even seen a single caterpillar in my five or so years in Manila!
Whatever you call it, you’d do well to avoid it. What looks like innocent, soft hair on it are actually tiny barbs analogous to bee stings. They’re fluffy if you play with them. Just expect an itchy sting start, one that you’d barely notice. You’d then scratch it reflexively, perhaps even without noticing what you’re doing. 20 minutes later you’d end up with raised, bumpy skin that isn’t anything but ITCHY! What’s worse is that the sites of inflammation follows your itching pattern.
So if you ever suspect that that itch is of sampiring origin, do not give in to your instincts! Fight the itch with your mind, not with your hand. Just be assured that once the inflammation reaches its acme, it can no longer spread. You’re safe. Just wait until the convalescence period ends, which would take about a few hours, and you’ll have the same smooth skin as before the incident.
And I’ve just discovered that it is not the hair, per ce that causes the itch. I merely rubbed the hair lightly on my skin. I threw them away thinking that since that no hair means no itch. The itch that followed revealed my mistake. Microbfibers could have lodged in my skin and caused my immune system to go ballistic.
Good thing there was not a short supply of long hair around. I had the itch whipped with hair as per folk medicine indications. I followed it up with packaging tape to remove as much of the sticking fiber as possible. I no longer itch, but the bumps although diminishing are still there. They would eventually disappear, leaving me only a deeper respect for the sampiring, sapiring, iras, or whatever you may call it.

*Judging from the link, the author apparently visited or have lived or is living in the Philippines. I cannot understand a word of Hiragana, but the enclosed word described the critter as sapiring. How dare that author, Japanese or otherwise, use the word not used in my city! He must have visited the other places…

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Drip my Blood

August 26, 2007

Blood Pack
I’ll be donating blood again. Doctors and Medical Technologists would see that it’s properly done.
They’re going to bleed me 450 cc of life giving liquid. They’re going to explain that it’s going to help my body, that it has a cleansing effect. They’re going to get me to answer questionnaires and sign waivers for whatever legal purpose to prevent me from suing them. They’re going to insert a needle into my vein, and let the liquid flow to the clear plastic bags, turning them dark red. They’re going to make me lie down on a folding bed to recuperate. They’re going to feed me cheap snacks, which will remind me of the consuelo de bobo practice of older times. Then they’ll give me the coveted donor card.
The card I was not given the previous time I donated because I gave them too little. It is a condition in my body, or it could be just a Med tech fumble, for my veins to collapse preventing further bleeding. They say that I would have benefits with that card. I trust their word for it. I do not trust their other rubbish.
What I mean by rubbish is what they tell others so that they may donate. I’m not referring to noble self sacrifice, but to the “benefits” of blood letting. Blood letting is not helpful; it has never been helpful. Travel through time to the middle and early modern ages, and you’ll see the devastating effect of blood letting.
George Washington died because of it! He believed in the theory of humors, that sickness was caused by an imbalance of body humors or fluids. Since blood is the easiest humor to remove, then it became standard practice then to bleed patients for a variety of sicknesses.
Now they’re trying that trick again. They’ll say, “We’ll remove your blood, then you’ll be healthier.” I’ll nod my head in pretended acquiescence, and let them do their stuff that I may get the prize, the blood donor card. They should have known better. Blood is continually being replaced whether we bleed or not. Besides, blood letting leaves us weaker. There’d be less oxygen traveling through our circulatory system if there’d be fewer oxygen carriers, the erythrocytes in the blood. And what about the lymphocytes, neutrophils, etc.; our friends who protect us from infection.
So when they bleed me later, I’ll sheepishly nod and grin. I don’t believe in the medical benefits they promise, but I do believe in the benefit of the donor card.