Will Never Go There Again

I really thought I told myself never to go to the beach again. I really hate that place as nothing ever happens there without me being on the losing end of things, always. Apparently the pull of friends is much stronger than kept promises as had what happened today, and for that, I had to endure another set of problems which really wouldn’t be here if I haven’t had gone there in the first place.

I had my troubles with the beach for a long time that I never go there if I can help it, from nearly drowning, my skin quick to burn under the sun, lost valuables in the sand, shark sightings, and the most irritating thing about the place to which I’m also allergic to, sand fleas.

I thought I was imagining things the first time I experienced them as I kept thinking of why mosquitoes would be present in such a hot and open place such as the beach. Where would they rest and where would they hide were the first things that entered my mind after the first bite and I kept searching for the one that bit me, if only to get back at it and stuff.

Then the second bite came, a third, a forth, and before the fifth came I rushed to get myself into the water as I know they can’t really get to me there. The scary thing was that when I came out of the water, there were no bumps on the skin of my legs that are typical of mosquito bites and that there was only distinct pain on top of foot to speak of.

And then I saw one dead something on my towel and I proceeded to inspect it carefully as I had never seen anything like it before. Was it the one responsible for the itchy bites that happened to me? After a little bit of research and some asked for friendly testimonies, apparently it was.

Instead of the round bumps you get from mosquito bites I got angry red welts on the whole of my body when I got home, and from that time on I told myself never to go to the beach ever again. That is until this afternoon when I gullibly believed my friends that everything would be fine and went to the beach with them unfortunately.

The doctors said it was Flea Allergy Dermatitis the first time I got them, apparently sand fleas on humans is the best way of getting the affliction and its bites were just bonus. If I remembered it correctly, I was given hydrocortisone for the itching and anti-bacterial drugs on top of anti-histamines to take care of the welts and also the swellings all over my body. I didn’t get well for five days back then, is history repeating itself now?

I hope not as I had great trouble dealing with it back then and I really don’t want to ever experience it again. But if that’s the case then maybe I really deserved it. Serves me well for not sticking to what I promised ugh.

Expecting Someone?

I recall a few months ago when a friends of mine named Carole found out she was pregnant. Her reactions were the ones you’d expect: mixed feelings of fear, joy, excitement, nausea, panic, maybe a bit of regret, and a plethora of other feelings. I suppose what the feelings are can vary depending on the person, but the idea is there. Regardless, she didn’t find out with the traditional symptoms of vomiting, appetite changes, aching bones, or other things that people would consider “standard” during the early weeks of pregnancy. After a bit of research, I found out there isn’t really a standard where these symptoms are concerned, as the changes are caused by hormones, and each individual’s body can vary in how they react to these chemicals.

So when Carole found out she was pregnant, it really came as a surprise to her. She thought she was having her period; there was cramping and a bit of blood that came around just when it should have. Strangely though, it only lasted a day or so. She didn’t exactly pay it any mind. When she started feeling like she was gaining weight however, she scheduled a checkup with a doctor and that was when she got the memo.

It turns out that what she experienced was implantation bleeding; a symptom of the stage when a fertilized egg implants itself onto the uterine wall. For some women, signs of implantation can include bleeding which looks like a much lighter menstrual flow. For others, there are just cramps, and no spotting or bleeding at all. There are even some women who experience no symptoms at all.

Looking back on that day brings to mind what people do at home when expecting an important guess: cram work.

Naturally, Carole and her husband started preparing for life as parents upon hearing the news. The doctor had told them the baby should be due mid-November, and they had a lot to do before they were ready for a baby in their apartment. They even used an implantation calculators, like this one at www.simpleimplantationcalculator.com, to try and find out exactly when the baby would be born. To be honest, I found it funny how they treated the due date as a kind of deadline before which they had to have a whole new life planned out. I suppose it’s a wise plan, but knowing Carole and her husband, there was definitely some humor in the idea of who they were acting.

The tension built up about three months into the pregnancy, when Carole had an ultrasound checkup, and they had to come up with a name for a girl. Both Carole and her husband were very laid back and very calm people; after that checkup though, the next few weeks made them look like they went through a continuous wash-and-dry cycle at the local Laundromat. Her husband Edgar had been through stressful times before, so I wasn’t so worried about him. Carole though, had to be constantly reminded not to push herself too hard for the baby’s sake.

It all seemed to work out in the end, however. Carole and Edgar are now waiting for the due date, and seem much surer. Now, all that’s left to do is wait for the baby to arrive; an important guest indeed, but one who will be here to stay.

Unhealthy Eating

Let’s all stop doing what we are currently doing and just talk about something that is very important in our lives as adults. I’m talking about our propensity of not taking very good care of ourselves and becoming literally tubs of lard in the process. I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering of why am I still addicted to junk foods at this stage of my life?

I used to love only Twinkies back then but when they decided to close up shop, I was left holding the proverbial bag and was eventually left wanting. I tried so very hard to replace it as my go-to snack but try as I may, I really couldn’t find anything close to it. Cheese Puffs, moon pies, Snickers, Doritos, Pepperoni pizzas, several brands of doughnuts, different kinds of French fries, now Nutella, I’ve tried them all and I’m still not done with this quest of mine to find my next Twinkies.

junk food

I know I should really stop with this non sense that I am doing but eating them is very hard to resist. Some people have cigarettes as their vice, some have liquor and beer. Others delve much deeper into the realm of the illegal to find their fixes. Me, well let’s just say I’m still the reigning queen of highly processed and unhealthy food.

Other people tell me that I’m lucky and stuff as I don’t really gain that much weight even if I wolf down two bags of chips in one sitting or other stunts that I have the habit of always doing. I don’t know why that is the case. Maybe I’ve got a pretty robust metabolism to thank for that.

I’m also waiting for the day when all of a sudden I’ll just blow up like a blimp in summer and maybe that time I’ll consider eating healthier. But until that time comes, I guess I’ll enjoy myself a little more. Sorry low carb fruits and vegetables, sadly your time with me apparently has not arrived yet.

I have seen many a diet pass by me without me spending any time thinking about it. Atkins, South Beach, 1000 calorie diet, After Six Diet, Jenny Craig, Master Cleanse, and many more kinds of diet, name it and I probably didn’t cared about it, at least not any more than my finding the next snack to stuff my ever discerning palate. Big word!

I find it really weird seeing people trying very hard to lose weight while I, who don’t really care about it and just eat, do not have any problems with it. Maybe that’s really the secret of dieting, to never mind it at all. Maybe I’ll just call it the junk food diet or the see-food diet wherein every time you see food, you eat it. I really may be on to something, but most probably not.

Well to each his own I guess. Maybe this is just a phase that I’m going through and soon it will also come to pass. It may be so, but while I’m waiting for that time to come, I think I’ll just enjoy myself to some very tasty snack, whatever it is.

Braces are Important

People shouldn’t be mean to other people who have braces as they don’t really know of the hardships they have to hurdle just to live their daily lives. I should know as I too was with braces for a couple of years, and even if they are not particularly aware of it, people can be really cruel sometimes.

So why did we had to have braces in the first place? Well for many of us, we need braces because our teeth are so crooked that it interferes with the basic functions in our mouths. We can’t really chew so well, we have problems talking, we have hideous looking teeth poking on the outside that it seems we are always eating something, and worse, sometimes we spray fluid when we speak.

We didn’t really wanted to have braces then but it cannot really be helped. Our parents loved us so much that they saw what our futures would be if they don’t intercede for us, even if they knew that having braces would be rather expensive and stuff. So we did eventually got braces, if only for our own good.

And then there were also those of us that had braces. Can you imagine how hard it was to put metal wires, rubber bands, pins, and metal locks in our mouths that you thought it would be better if you also made fun of us at the same time? Try putting a coin in your mouth and leave it there for a day. I know that that would be really hard for you but that’s really close to what we are feeling when we have braces, and we have to bear with them for several months instead of just days.

I in particular, had a very hard time when I was with braces. I especially abhor the first time they put the blue rubber things between each of my teeth. I think they were called spacers for braces and what they do is that they force the teeth to move in every which direction they need to really be at. I think they also fasten the braces in place and without them the metal fasteners would get loose and stuff.

I really felt my teeth being pushed and pulled at the same time. Teeth are solid things anchored on the jaw which in turn is also solid, so you can really imagine what it felt like with braces guiding the teeth on their proper positions. Gum pain and headaches are regular occurrences that you would question yourself if having braces really was the right move.

I had to wait and sacrifice for literally months on end, with the pain being an everyday thing. Good thing there are the pain relievers and ice to numb things out and also get a little bite off of the pain. And just when I was about to give up, it was time for the braces to come off.

I have to say that the sacrifice was really worth it in the end. I have what are now perfectly flawless teeth that are straight as a whistle and so sparklingly white that you would’ve thought they were fake or something. Gone were the teasing and the bullying which apparently were replaced by nothing but praise and admiration. From the moment the braces came off, it was my time to shine.

Bolstering Your Defenses: How to Deal with Neutropenia

Have you ever had a cold that just seems to keep coming back? Or maybe you’ve had a bout of fever, and after having it treated, it seems to return and attack you again after a couple of days of good rest? Have you felt like you seem to get sick repeatedly even after the doctor’s orders seem to have initially worked out? If, like me, you can relate to that, then the odds are you too have felt the effects of neutropenia.

Neutropenia is a medical condition where the human body produces an unusually low number of neutrophils; these are white blood cells that are associated with defense against bacteria, fungi, and other large invaders in the human body. In a normal, healthy human being, neutrophils are produced in bone marrow, and are abundant enough to keep bacteria in check. For example, if a blood vessel is breached, and bacteria enter the human body, neutrophils are sent to the site of injury to engulf and digest pathogens. In a person diagnosed with neutropenia however, the number of neutrophils is too low for the body to adequately deal with infection. This causes the patient’s immune system to develop. As a result, he/she may feel sickly, or show weaker resistance to diseases that otherwise should be easy to deal with.

Interestingly enough, neutropenia isn’t usually a disease in itself; rather, it is a symptom of a larger problem. In fact, most patients don’t even realize they have neutropenia until a test that is usually meant to find other problems detects it. When I was found to have neutropenia, it was thanks to a blood test I had taken to find the cause for a rather bad bout of cough I had been going through.

Neutropenia can have several causes, including viral infections, tuberculosis, certain cancers, and even medications. In generally, any condition that can target and damage neutrophils, or prevent the formation of the cells can cause neutropenia. Malnutrition for instance, can cause neutropenia due to lack of nutrients necessary to allow bone marrow to produce neutrophils. In that sense, unhealthy bone marrow can also be a root cause of neutropenia.

The condition is not life-threatening in itself. However, the risk of infection gradually goes up as neutrophil count goes down. In addition, the length of time that passes with a low neutrophil count not only increases the risk of contracting disease, but also reduces the chances of your body being able to defent itself. This situation is most obvious in HIV patients, and individuals with autoimmune disorders.

Thankfully, neutropenia has a few solutions, though many medical practitioners will prefer to deal with the root cause of the problem instead of specifically target neutropenia as a symptom. If the case of neutropenia is deemed mild enough, treatment may not even be necessary. If the case is severe, a doctor may prescribe antibacterial medications to aid in ridding the body of invaders. Alternatively, the doctor may use a form of treatment to stimulate the bone marrow into producing greater amounts of white blood cells.

Of course, it is best to try and avoid catching any disease that can cause neutropenia in the first place. Sometimes, the doctor may place certain neutropenic precautions to assist in recovering from neutropenia, and to minimize the odds of it happening again. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is possible to keep the body in full-functioning order. A healthy diet combined with adequate rest and exercise boosts the immune system’s ability to respond to invaders. Even hygienic habits such as washing hands and wearing clean clothes help to fend of sickness and infection. In comparison to the price of a hospital bill these days, I would take these precautions any day.

Guardian Dogs

If you want a dog that can really protect you in times of need and be that intimidating presence you always wanted then the boxer pitbull mix breed is the dog for you. Well I should know as I’ve been afraid of my neighbor’s dog ever since I can remember and it apparently belongs to the breed that I had just mentioned.

Ours is not a love-hate relationship, in fact we don’t have any relationship at all. I just make sure to really keep my distance from him while he makes sure I stay in my side of the fence. Just one steely look from him makes me really want to consider increasing the height of the fence or make it concrete or something.

His bark on the other hand is the stuff of kid’s nightmares. Let’s just say there aren’t any trains in our locality but when he barks, you could swear you heard one passing from a distance and stuff. It’s kind of a deep sounding bark, kind of like the honks you hear in the shipyard when a ship signals the shore. Yep it’s that deep and almost that loud.

But everything is not that bad with him especially when his owners are around, in fact it’s kind of surprising. He plays around the yard with his master quite briskly and he even plays fetch with the little children. I know that his particular kind of breed is very protective but at the same time very playful, with the people he knows of course.

Boxers are square faced and muscular kinds of dogs while the Pits are stocky and lumbering mini giants infamously known for their aggressiveness, so mixing the two breeds together gives you, well, your very own little monster I suppose. And If I were a burglar and see this dog in the house that I broken into, chances are that I wouldn’t move anymore and just pray for dear life, that’s how scary they are.

Or maybe the neighbor’s dog is just grumpy and stuff because of his sickness. I heard them talking the other day about dog ear infection so maybe the dog was sick with it or something. Come to think of it, I always see Bruno scratching at his ears for several days already and also of him tilting his head to the side where he always scratches it. I know those are signs of infection inside the ear as one of my dogs had the same symptoms once before.

Maybe that explains his cold stares at me. Maybe he’s asking me for help or something, it really makes me feel a little bit guilty having fear and thinking bad about him. Not that I will come close to him or anything but still I judged him a little too early. I guess he really has no control of himself looking particularly mean and stuff as that really is their nature. Well sorry Bruno, I’ll just toss you a treat sometimes when there’s nobody around. I hope there is a way that I can do to somehow make it up to you.

Body Tattoos: Up Front, or To the Side

It goes without saying that when you plan to get inked, you need to be sure of yourself. You need to be able to visualize what your life will be like once you have it. You need to know what it will look like before it’s on your skin. After all, like any important turning point in life, getting a tattoo is a decision you have to live with once it’s made.

I remember a few years ago, when I went with a couple of my friends to watch them get inked. One of them was a skinny guy named Samuel who wanted a chest tattoo; he wanted to tattoo the name Rose across his chest as a tribute to his girlfriend Roselyn. The other one was his older sister, who wanted to get her first tattoo; a monochrome dolphin on the lower right side of her abdomen.

We joked with her as we rode to the shop, trying to make her nervous. It was funny because the more we tried to scare her, the tougher she wanted to look. So by the time we had reached the tattoo shop, she was adamant that she would go before her brother. While she was getting inked, I continued to joke around with her and say that the artist screwed up the design. Still, she got through it admirably, with a few laughs and tears in between. When she got up from the chair, she sported a new dolphin side tattoo done in black; poised curled, as though it was leaping out of the water.

Sam had his tattoo done faster than his sister did. There wasn’t much to joke about with him, as he was no stranger to ink, having gotten his first one the day he graduated high school. He was also sensitive about why he wanted the tattoo on his chest, as he wanted it to be proof that he loved his girlfriend. It was sentimental, I suppose, but respectable.

So the day went by without a hitch. We spent the rest of the day’s hours together before going home.

The interesting part was a couple of months later when my phone rang while I was getting ready for work; Sam had apparently broken up with his girlfriend.

Of course, his sister and I were there by his side to keep him company. Still, the part he regretted the most was that he was still sporting the name Rose across his chest, just below the collarbone. Removing it right away wasn’t an option too, as none of us had any money to spare for laser tattoo removal at the time.

My friend Sam has been doing better since then, I suppose. In the end, he decided to keep the tattoo, often joking that maybe the next girlfriend he would end up with might also be named Rose (she wasn’t), but his real reason is that he wants it as a reminder that choices can’t be undone. Even if he DID go through laser removal, it doesn’t change the fact that he DID get a tattoo. His girlfriend seems to understand the logic behind his decision; a rare and mature trait these days.

At the end of the day, my friend Sam learned the gravity and the permanence of choice, and that is a respect the world does not offer to everyone.

Animals Belong to the Wild

We had another get together among our circle of friends and this time it was the local zoo which we invaded. Armed with digital cameras and gadgets galore, we proceeded to check ourselves in at Woodland Park Zoo along Aurora Avenue here in the glorious state Seattle.

Of course we brought with us some money as it is really going to be needed during the course of the day and also some extra shirts and clothing, as nobody can really tell if the next llama or chimpanzee would care to spit on us un-expecting visitors of this animal world in the center of a bustling metropolis.

I don’t particularly know about them but I was somewhat scared to enter the zoo. I kept thinking of loose animals roaming around the premises and the snakes, the snakes! Oh they will really be the death of me if I encountered one not in its cage, which really kept me thinking of how they manage to keep them inside their cages in the first place. Anyways, I just had to be extra careful as I don’t really want to ruin the day just because of my phobias.

My mind did wander a bit because of the enormity of the space but by the time we came to the arctic exhibits, everything suddenly came into focus as it was a sight to behold. How they manage to mimic the environment in such an inhospitable place like the arctic regions is beyond me, but boy did they do a great job with it.

The penguins and the polar bears seem to be right at home in the zoo’s climate controlled enclosures, also the seals. In another part of the zoo it was the exact opposite as you felt the humidity and heat of the place, which was used to replicate the conditions of a rainforest for the sake of the animals that were contained in it.

Its fun watching the little critters scurry around the base of trees and into bushes when people pass by the board walks. They really can’t touch the animals or throw anything at them, but still, the sight of people really scares them so much, which really proves the amount wildness still contained in them. It’s kind of sad and they really shouldn’t be kept captive like this, but that is yet another story to be tackled in yet another day.

Like those little carefree hedgehogs that rolled up into balls when we passed, it’s like as if they were ashamed of being seen there at the zoo that they rather curl up than show their faces at us. Hedgehogs as pets are gaining popularity here in our country, but I think it’s a misguided move on the part of us humans as they really do not belong inside the house.

Yep, the animal rights activist in me surfaced. Maybe it’s really not a good move going to the zoo as it stirs up resentment inside of me. Well, I was there so what can I really do then, except to just go with the flow. I was grumpy the rest of the day and my friends knew what caused it. I thought I managed to finally suppress such feelings but apparently I was mistaken. Now I’m beginning to like the idea of loose snakes all of a sudden, better yet, loose animals would be much nicer sounding. Now where are those keys?