“secrets of the operating room”…part 2 (read part 1 first)

The twos of all four suits in playing cards

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Dr. Ruggieri goes on to say…

Like poker players and their cards, surgeons are sometimes only as good as the patients they are dealt. Obesity, excessive scar tissue from a previous surgery in the same area, disease that is more advanced than anticipated–any one of these physiological conditions creates more work and a more difficult environment for the surgeon.
     Even before the surgery begins, underlying or chronic conditions such as a history of hypertension, cardiac disease or lung disease put patients at risk for complications. Today, based on your medical history, surgeons can usually analyze, quite accurately, your risk of complications (or death) before setting foot in the operating room. All you have to do is ask.
     I had no idea how bad Mr. Baker’s colon disease would be until I opened him up and looked inside. It was a mess. If I were playing poker and this man’s anatomy were the hand dealt, it would be time to fold.
     “That is one of the ugliest pieces of colon I’ve ever seen.” I grabbed the scrub nurse‘s hand. “See, touch that thing. Look how inflamed it is.” When given the chance, scrub nurses love to touch organs in the operating room. “OK, don’t poke it too hard, it will start to bleed again.” Her hand drew back onto the instrument stand. I was in for a long night.
     Tonight, the diseased colon on the menu was angry, cursing and taunting me: “Good luck, Mr. Big-Time Surgeon, trying to remove me.” Surgeons frequently have conversations with the body parts or organs they are trying to remove. We also have conversations with ourselves; it’s a way to blow off steam while our minds scramble to deal with the unexpected.
     “By the time you are done with me, your back muscles are going to be in a heap of pain,” the colon went on. “Looking forward to that drive home in your new Porsche? Well, too bad. It’s going to have to wait. You better take your time or I’ll come back to haunt you in a few days.” I could hear the colon laughing at me. I was crying inside.
     “Nurse, hand me a curved scissors.” Finally, I was granted a little success in freeing up one end of the colon. But that was short-lived. More bleeding. I hate this. And I had cut myself. I stared at my finger. “Nurse, I need a new glove.” The outer skin under my glove was breached, but not deeply.
     “Almost got you,” the colon said. I could not shut the thing up. “How do you know I don’t have hepatitis or H.I.V.?”
     Just great, I thought. Now I have something else to worry about.
     “You’re going to earn your fee tonight, Dr. Surgeon.” The colon kept talking. “I hope you’re not in this business for the money, like the last guy who operated on me. Between what Medicare pays you, the phone calls in the middle of the night and the time you spend guiding my recovery, I figure you will make about $200 an hour for this operation. How does that grab you?”
     Should have gone for my M.B.A., I mumbled to myself. Big mistake going into medicine, never mind surgery. If I could only go back and do it over again.
     The colon’s rant continued: “Wait, subtract what it costs you in overhead to bill for this operation (double that if the claim gets rejected), plus malpractice costs for the day, and we are now at $150 an hour. And how could I leave out the biggest expense of all? The price of the mental stress from worrying about me after the surgery (and double that if there’s a complication). Now, I figure you’re under $100 an hour. Plumbers make more than that just to step inside your house. I bet they sleep well at night. Just remember, Dr. Surgeon, nobody put a gun to your head. You chose this profession.”
     I could swear that the thing was laughing at me. “Forget about keeping those dinner reservations tonight. You and me, we’re going for breakfast once this is over.”

A lot to mull over.

The World's Greatest Superheroes

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Is it refreshing to learn that doctors are, after all, only human? Or is it better to continue foolishly believing that they are beneficent super-heroes?

Does the surgeon have a breaking point? What happens if it’s in the midst of an operation? Is there a back-up doc who’s a principal…or merely an under-study not good enough for cast A?

Has a surgeon ever quit in the middle of an operation…leaving to become a plumber instead? Maybe plumbers should operate? Both deal in…nuts and bolts…pipes…rotor-rooting…plungers. Probably make the same money. Could be interchangeable…you think?  

Makes me think I’d better brush up on my medical books…and get past self-diagnosing. Never know. I might be called on to take over for the doc…and self-operate. Sheesh!!! As if i don’t have enough to do…lying there, worrying. And i’m scheduled for a dual procedure the end of the week…an endoscopy/colonoscopy.

I’d better start cramming…big time!…which shall it be?

…medicine…or plumbing?…hmmm…

………hugmamma.  😉

“secrets of the operating room”

Deutsch: Operationssaal: Ein Patient wird für ...

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I couldn’t resist sharing this WSJ article with you. I think you’ll find it as eye-opening as I did. The surgeon authoring the piece is Dr. Paul A. Ruggieri. It has been adapted from Confessions of a Surgeon.”

“Secrets of the Operating Room
     “GET THIS THING out of my operating room!” The colon stapling device exploded into pieces when I hurled it against the operating room wall. I was fed up with its failure to work as advertised by the manufacturer. The stapler had probably cost less than $100 to make. The hospital paid $300 for it (and then billed the patient, or insurance company, $1,200). Now the thing didn’t even work.
     I do not react well to imperfection inside the operating room. I cannot tolerate it in the tools I use, the staff assisting me, or myself. Defective devices–I can have them replaced. Unmotivated staff–I can have them removed from the operating room. I haven’t quite figured out yet what to do with myself.
     Surgeons are control freaks. We have to be. And when things don’t go our way in the operating room, we can have outbursts. Some of us curse, some throw instruments, others have tantrums. These explosions are a go-to-reaction when we’re confronted with the ghosts of prior complications.
     Several months earlier, I had performed the same operation on a 66-year-old patient, using an identical stapling device. Everything seemed to have worked perfectly until the patient developed severe complications four days after his surgery. We soon discovered the cause: the nonperformance of the stapling device.
     When the stapler hit the wall, I had been in the operating room for more than four hours, struggling to remove a diseased segment of colon from someone I’ll call Mr. Baker, a 330-pound middle-aged man. Trying to keep his fat out of my way during the operation had been a continuous battle. The pain in my upper back reminded me that I was losing the fight.
     Obese patients create more physical work for a surgeon during any type of procedure. The operations take longer, tie our upper body in knots and leave us with fatigue and frustration. Obese patients also automatically face an increased risk of complications like infection, pneumonia and blood clots during recovery.
     If the difficulties posed by Mr. Baker’s obesity weren’t enough, he had been steadily losing blood during the procedure. His tissue reacted to the slightest graze with more bleeding.
     Why does this guy have to bleed like this? As if it were his fault. Here I was blaming him, even though I was the one causing the bleeding. But in surgery, it always has to be someone else’s fault. It’s never the surgeon’s fault.
     Interestingly, after an operation, most surgeons tend to underestimate the amount of blood that was lost. Whether it’s ego or denial, they can’t help themselves.
     The reality is that blood loss can be measured. Hospitals know which surgeons are losing blood, and how much, during every operation. They have data from their operating rooms, but the public cannot get access to this information. And this information matters, too. A large amount of blood lost during an operation can be a harbinger of complications to come. 

Here’s where I hit the “pause” button to let you digest the information…before proceeding to…part 2.

…first, slip your eyes back in your head…i did…second, i gotta lose some weight…diet and exercise anyone? 😉

 

Eye death

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………hugmamma.    

my get-up-and-go…got up and went

morning chair exercise

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Finally returned to exercise class this morning. Thank goodness my body remembers what to do. It goes into cruise control…and off I go, bumping and grinding to the music. It’s been a couple of months since my last workout. Almost sounds like I’m in the confessional asking the priest to absolve me from all my transgressions, one being not exercising faithfully. Wish absolution from carrying around excess fat was as easy as one Our Father and three Hail Marys. If it were that easy I’d suffer through a rosary’s worth of them. Not really. I  like saying the prayers I did as a child. Although I’m no longer gullible to think doing so will make all my wishes come true. There’s no way around dieting and exercising. A pity.

Wash & Vacuum Senior Citizens

Some of the regulars in class greeted me warmly, welcoming me back into the fold. It’s always good to see them…kindred souls. We’re not there out of vanity; we’re there just trying to maintain. Most of us don’t mind losing a little in the process, but we definitely don’t want to gain any more in the way of bulk. Muscle mass is good; belly fat is bad. It would be awesome if I could just write that 1,000 times and change my belly fat into muscle mass. Seems we could do so much more as Catholic school kids in the 50s and 60s…pray and our sins would be gone…write our wrongdoing enough times on the chalkboard and the wrong would be undone.

belly

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But here I am still trying to make amends with my body because I’ve been indulging a little too much lately, and been neglectful about moving around a tad more than getting in and out of my computer chair. But I’m thankful that…

Seniors Dancing, Mayfest

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…my get-up-and-go   …..got up and went…to class this morning…hugmamma.

four-legged diabetes…yikes!!!

Bad news from the vet yesterday. Juneau, one of our maine-coone-mixed breeds is overweight. At 15 pounds, he’s ripe for developing diabetes it seems. Not that I was surprised since it’s obvious he’s bigger and bulkier than our other cats, Sitka, his litter-mate, and Sunkist. Gosh, even our dog Mocha’s slimmer. So as they say, “today’s a new day.”

Growing up in a home where my mom struggled to feed our family, pets were obviously “low man on the totem pole.” They got leftovers, and probably not a whole lot of them either. And while they had a roof over their heads like we did, they were free to roam the neighborhood, except for the dogs. They were tethered to the outdoor stair railing.

We usually kept only one cat and/or one dog at a time. They were usually strays, or rescues from the animal shelter. When one cat we’d had the longest gave birth to a litter, we kept two of her kittens, especially after their mom, Toby, died. My friend and I found her one day lying in a neighbor’s backyard. She looked malnourished. Of course I felt badly, but my mom couldn’t concern herself with making sure the pets had enough to eat. She could barely keep food on the table for us the entire month. We knew her paycheck had run its course when there were only a few cans of tuna and sardines in the cupboard, along with what remained of the 25-pound bag of rice.

Trey food

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When I married and began adopting cats, I made certain they had lots to eat. I think I fed them a reasonable amount. I didn’t just let them have a go at the cupboards. But until now I’d never heard of anyone feeding each cat separately, in different rooms. That boggles my mind! Not that it doesn’t make sense, considering I now have to do that for Juneau. I only wish I’d have known earlier.

When the vet had done their physicals before, he would ask about the cats eating and potty habits. I couldn’t give him definitive answers, because they ate and went about their “business” without my overseeing them. He never insisted I change this routine, so I didn’t. I think he felt it would be overwhelming with 3 cats. In fact at one time there were 4 cats. One died of cancer a few years ago.

In speaking of my dilemma with the receptionist yesterday, Sandy informed me that she feeds her 3 cats in separate rooms. That way she can keep an eye on one in particular who is a slower eater. She knows the cat’s had enough when it curls up for a nap in the closet. At that point her food bowl is put away until the next feeding. The door to that room is kept closed until meal-time is over. The rooms in which the other cats are fed are not closed because they eat their food in one sitting.

Sandy proceeded to describe her feeding ritual in great detail, down to how many pieces of a certain kibble are given at what meal, and for what snack. As she spoke, waves of fear and nausea overwhelmed me. I felt Juneau was doomed to dying of diabetes if I didn’t get this feeding thing down pat. But after speaking with my husband, we are taking steps toward managing our pets’ weights.

Sitka, who needs to gain weight, and Sunkist who is elderly and needs to maintain her current weight are being fed together as usual. We’re bringing Juneau upstairs in the morning and apportioning him his own special weight loss food, gradually so as not to upset his digestive system. We’re still mixing it in with the “old” food to wean him from it. Juneau will need a little time getting comfortable with the new arrangement. I’m not sure what the final routine will encompass, but we’re taking it one day at a time, now that we know what needs to be done.

The inconvenience is much more attractive than the alternative. Just as I don’t want to encounter the devastating effects of diabetes in my human loved ones, I don’t want our pets succumbing to the disease as well. It would be physically painful for Juneau, emotionally draining for me, not to mention the expense of insulin shots, medication, and constant trips to the vet.

Pets, like children, don’t choose their lot in life. They have no say in when and where they’re born, nor the names they’re given, nor the manner in which their lives unfold. They’re pretty malleable in the beginning. Given a home, nourishment and lots of love and affection, pets and children will flourish. So Juneau is in good hands.

especially now that we’re more attuned to his specific needs…hugmamma.

365 photo challenge: wizard

 

Feather duster, dustpan and broom, and upright...

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I don’t often get to sit and watch Dr. Oz on weekday afternoons. Too busy blogging, running errands, handling antique business, or doing household chores. Am not complaining, far from it. Just wishing there were more hours in the day…many more. But when the TV’s on and I hear mention of tips that are relevant to you and me, I pause and take note. Today’s show was rife with helpful hints. Hope you agree…

  • Don’t pry wax from the ear with a Q-tip or anythingelse. The problem might become aggravated with the wax being shoved further into the ear, where it may be in too close proximity to the inner ear membrane. Instead, use a couple of drops of mineral oil.
  • Belly buttons may develop problems with chronic coughing or obesity. The pressure associated with either can cause a puncture, which can erupt into a hernia. A good solution to strengthening the area is to do the plank exercise. With the body stretched out on the floor, push up onto elbows and toes, keep head lifted at the top of the spine, and hold the position for 10, 20 seconds or as long as 5 minutes. It’s something I’ve done in exercise class at least once a week. Now that I know it’s beneficial, though I’d already assumed it was, I’ll push through the desire to give in, and cave.
  • To help clear away brain “fog,” which I’m certain we all suffer from time to time, three aromatherapy oils are recommended. 1) Peppermint helps improve alertness. 2) Rosemary or Rose clears the mind, and enhances the memory.  3)Orange oil improves the mood, and helps relieve stress.
  • Foods that help fight fatigue: goji berries – 1/3 cup a week, amaranth – full of protein and fiber, and rainbow trout – full of B12.
  • 

if you’re like me, i need dr. oz’s wizardry…every now and then…hugmamma.

DR OZ + PATIENT = HAPPYTIMES

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“true you,” more than enough

Almost done reading True You: A Journey To Finding And Loving Yourself by Janet Jackson. Yes, she’s “the” Janet Jackson, sister of Michael Jackson. But I wouldn’t have read it for that reason alone. Interviews of her by Meredith Vieira, and then by Piers Morgan, piqued my interest. Prior to that, I really wasn’t motivated to know more about Janet. Other than her videos, songs and a couple of films, she wasn’t in the media, unless it was to do with her more famous sibling. The youngest Jackson, and second most celebrated, Janet favored living her personal life in the shadows. The reason, as revealed in her book, is that she has suffered low self-esteem her entire life.

True You is probably one of the best biographies I’ve read to date, although Janet doesn’t refer to it as such. She prefers to think of it as a spiritual and physical journey towards accepting and loving, one’s true self. The unique element about her story is its compassion throughout. There’s nothing narcissitic about the book, although the focus is obviously upon her. Janet bares her soul, but does so in relation to her commonality with all of us. We can all relate to her experiences. She’s one of us. And that’s where she seems most comfortable. She appreciates and is grateful for her position and wealth, but not at all like the other so-called “rich and famous.” While Michael remains my favorite performer, Janet is definitely my choice for BFF, that is if I had a choice.

One of the things I enjoy most is how Janet weaves anecdotes shared with her by others, whether personal acquaintances, or strangers who have written letters. Their stories are as poignant as hers, and she generously acknowledges this by featuring them throughout the pages of her book. I like that about Janet, her generosity and her humility too. Wish Michael could have been as balanced in his personal life. But his sister admits that it has taken all of her 40+ years to get where she’s at, and she’s still not done yet.

a lesson for all of us…True You …hugmamma.

2011, “the year of the vegetable”

Hate to admit it, but I can hear my vegetarian friends saying “We told you so!” And they did. Kudos to them for pioneering the way to a healthier lifestyle. I only wish their voices had rung louder, at least in my ears. Of course die-hard meat-eaters will probably stop reading, but I encourage you to keep an open mind, not for my sake, but for your own. I’ve learned my lesson, the hard way. You may have to, as well. It’s up to you. I’d just like to add my voice to those trying to encourage others to stop gorging on toxic food. In the end, it’ll turn around to bite you in the butt, and everywherelse. I’m a long, long way from being a vegetarian, but I’m striving to inch closer and closer to a lifestyle resembling that of my healthy friends. I’ll settle for almost, if not full-blown, vegetarian.

The following editorial article in the Wall Street Journal’s January 3rd edition makes a good case for eating more veggies. Its author, George Ball, is chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee Co. and past president of the American Horticultural Society. Yes, he has a vested interest in that Burpee seeds is a proponent of growing our own produce, but we have a vested interest in prolonging the quality of our lives by eating more fresh produce, homegrown or not.

2011: The Year of the Vegetable

Childhood obesity is now the nation’s disease–an ailment crippling the body politic. The long-term health effects are well-established and include early onset diabetes and premature hip and joint problems. American children are prematurely aging, suffering from sicknesses that were once the provenance of older adults. Old has become the new young.

The lineup of culprits includes school vending machines, the endangered home-cooked meal, vanishing physical-education classes, fried everything, super-sized portions, sedentary hours spent zoned out in front of the computer screen, nutritional ignorance, misleading labeling and more. But whatever and whoever is to blame, it is surely not kids. We cannot expect children to make the right food choices when healthy foods are out of reach and nutrition-smart role models are not in evidence.

The saddest thing about childhood obesity is that it’s unnecessary. It’s inexcusable that in the breadbasket of the world American children ar eating so much lousy food. First lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity initiative, “Let’s Move,” represents a welcome beginning to what will have to become a nutritional revolution.

As an agriculturist and horticulturist, I believe that the answer is simple. As parents, educators, nutritionists and marketers, we have to imbue our children with the love of–and consumption of–the most beneficial food for growing bodies. This means fresh vegetables and fruits, whether store-bought or home-grown.

As kids, we imitate our elders, who teach most effectively by example. Right now, adults aren’t doing a good job of modeling good behavior. According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 26% of adults have three or more servings of vegetables a day, a number that includes those who deem a tomato slice or lettuce on a burger as a “vegetable serving.” In other words, roughly 80% of U.S. adults scarcely eat any vegetables at all.

Liking vegetables is not a given:  Every food other than breast milk is an acquired taste. But children can easily learn to enjoy eating their greens. It’s simply a matter of education and familiarity–as in “family.” Children will happily eat squash, artichoke or broccoli, to the delight of the parents who taught them to do so. As for fruits, children can gobble them up, but like vegetables, they must be at the ready, at least as available as all the junky alternatives.

In our research at Atlee Burpee, we have found that kids who grow vegetables alongside their parents eat them regularly and with gusto. Peas, green beans and raw carrots–the very vegetables that kids are told to eat, their parents’ admonishing fingers wagging–are particular favorites.

While not all American families have the benefit of a sun-filled backyard for a vegetable garden, companies like Burpee offer many vegetable seeds and plants that you can grow easily in containers. You can grow beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts, which can be plucked from the stalk well into winter.

Eighteen years ago, as president of the American Horticultural Society, I initiated a children’s gardening program. Our annual symposium drew thousands of educators and community gardeners with the goal of educating and inspiring children to grow gardens in their school and neighborhoods. The results were heartening:  Thousands of churches, schools and community centers sprouted new gardens.

Yet no single institution is sufficient; fighting a problem of this sort requires a multifaceted effort. Churches could do much more to inspire families to grow vegetables. Public and private botanical and community gardening groups should augment efforts to lure neighbors into their educational demonstration gardens. Most families, whether in the city or suburbs, can plant at least a “starter garden”–involving pre-teen children in the planting, tending and harvesting.

While the first lady deserves the credit for focusing the nation on childhood obesity, it is an issue that both political parties can endorse. Vegetables are deliciously nonpartisan.

Let’s make 2011 the Year of the Vegetable. We have nothing to lose but our waistlines.

In conclusion, two things come to mind. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the oft told tale of children feeding their veggies to the family dog, or veggies disappearing into napkins with one swipe of the mouth. My in-laws actually have an even better anecdote that is often recounted for the benefit of the grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. When my husband or any of his siblings lingered too long over their veggies, they were made to sit in the garage until they had devoured every last morsel. As they tell it, the cockroaches that skulked around hiding in corners, or that brazenly crossed the concrete floor, got their fair share of the nasty food. I think they were actually the objects of target practice. Whatever their purpose, the roaches were partners-in-crime with my husband and his siblings.

My second thought on this subject is that 2011 as the “Year of the Vegetable” has a nice ring to it. Although half- Chinese, I’m neither first-generation, nor am I schooled in their ways since my Chinese father died when I was one. As a result, I really don’t identify with that culture’s astrological calendar.  I’m not sure if I was born in the “Year of the Rat,” or the “Year of the Tiger.” Even if I could remember which it is, I’m sure it makes no real difference in my life. But being raised an American, and having bought into our western society’s feeding frenzy for far too long, making this year, and every year hereafter, the “Year of the Vegetable,” makes fundamental sense to my own well-being, and that of all generations, present and future.

reborn in the “year of the vegetable”…hugmamma.  

my minutiae, an update

As in the past, here’s another post to update some of the minute details that make my life, mine. We all have them, some are commonplace, some are unique. If you’re ever inclined, feel free to share some of yours.

  • While I was visiting my daughter, a huge tree fell in our back yard, landing precariously close to our house, perhaps 20 feet away. The top branches lay across the arbor that serves as an overhead roof to the back deck. A “chunk of change” later, a local tree service removed the precariously perched tree right down to its trunk, leaving our house intact. An act of Mother Nature, from which we were spared catastrophic damage by the hand of God. Thank goodness I wasn’t on hand to witness the event. Might have been too much for my heart. Something to ponder.
  • Yesterday was the first day of Fall. The season usually portends of rain, chilly weather, gray skies. So I guess those of us in the Pacific Northwest had exactly one month of summer, August. Retiring to Hawaii or Florida sounds really enticing. Also something to ponder.
  • On the local news yesterday they reported that a man returning home from walking his 2 dogs, was attacked by a black bear at the foot of his driveway. His wife could be heard on a 911 call, pleading for help. Because black bears have been sighted in our neighborhood, I’m very fearful of encountering one. In addition to the one bear bell attached to my dog’s leash, I may have to sew a whole bunch to my jacket. Who cares if I sound like the “Good Humor” man selling ice cream from a truck. I may look like “princess pupule” (Hawaiian for “crazy princess), but I’m sure the bears will avoid me, but so might the neighbors. Hmmm, something else to ponder.
  • The other night my husband announced that we’d been invited to his boss’s home to dine, one of the other guests being the new bishop of our diocese. It always surprises me when we’re asked to socialize with the CEO/President and his wife, because they “run” in such different circles from us. I love them dearly, having told them once that they bring out my maternal instincts. A decade younger, I look upon them like my other children. I’ve met both their parents, whom I also find enchanting. What surprises me is that my candidness seems to endear me to them. I do tread carefully, however, because my husband hovers nearby making sure I don’t say something too outrageous. But what do I chat about with a Catholic bishop? Hmmm…even more to ponder. One thing’s for sure, I’d better not have a lemon-drop martini. You know what they say, “Loose lips sinks ships.” And if I get too loose, oh my goodness…
  • A dance career can be an obstacle course because of the “detours” that unexpectedly present themselves. The last week I was with my daughter, she was unable to dance. Towards the end of the previous week, her male partner had brought her down from an overhead lift too quickly. Caught off guard, my daughter’s pointe shoe hit the ground hard, probably exacerbating an already tentative ankle. As a preventive measure from further injury, her foot is in an orthopedic boot, awaiting a doctor’s diagnosis. She’s hoping it’s not serious enough to sideline her from performing in Swan Lake. As a professional she knows such mishaps are part of the job. All she can do is seek resolution so that she can move forward. We can all learn something from these young folk, I know I can, and am.
  • Dr. Oz’ show shared some good information today. It included a discussion of “obesogens.” From what I gathered, since I tuned in late, environmental factors may contribute to our obesity, from plastics and canned foods that leach chemicals into our food, to farmed-fish, like salmon, whose pesticides and coloring agent also promote obesity. One tip, among several suggested, is not to microwave foods in plastic containers because of the leaching effect. Better to cook or reheat in glass containers. Another topic was dehydration, which many of us fail to recognize until we head to the emergency room for resuscitation. Drinking plenty of water to maintain our body’s 60% composition, is essential to keeping our cells, and the surrounding areas, hydrated. One tip was specifically helpful since I consume a lot of green tea daily. Coffee and tea are diuretics which cause us to lose water. Because of this, we need to replenish the loss by drinking 8 ozs. of water for each cup of caffeinated beverage we consume. Years ago when I followed the Weight Watcher’s Diet, I understood that coffee and tea would count towards the required amount of water consumption. Perhaps their information has been adjusted to reflect more current data.
  • My husband and I are starting our Fall weather regime this evening, going to our community center to walk the track and use the fitness equipment. Wish us luck, for the long haul.

small stuff, that’s life…hugmamma.

dressing to “wow”

Ynez Sines is an overnight celebrity. Others have traveled similar paths to sensational success, like Kim Kardashian, a darling of reality TV. Her body hugging fashions with plunging necklines accentuate her natural assets, which include a gorgeous face. These days, such apparel seems the style of choice for reality TV divas. Picture the women of the “Housewives of…” shows, “Jerseylicious,” “Bethenny Gettin’ Married?,” “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” the “Batchelor,” and  “Batchelorette.” So why the uproar over Sines?

Women dressing to attract men probably began with our prehistoric ancestors. Like their contemporary counterparts, cave women needed an edge over the competition. Capturing the strongest cave man was essential to keeping  food on the table. But we’ve come a long way in dressing for survival, to dressing for the WOW factor. Where a woman might have narrowed her audience to a handful of men, she now wants to impress every man who sees her. And that can range from a roomful to a worldful, of men. Grabbing the attention of the competition is an added bonus. Maybe the media’s coverage of “red carpet” events has contributed to our narcissism.

We have increasingly turned our focus toward better health, including a better body image. Efforts to eliminate anorexia and bulimia are ongoing, as is obesity. On one hand we are attempting to regain control over our bodies so we can live our best lives; on the other hand, we continue to worship celebrities and models for their rocking, good looks and hip, hot fashions. It seems like an oxymoron to be striving for self-acceptance, while remaining shackled to our desire to look like someone on a magazine cover or a TV show. It’s as convoluted as trying to save in this economy, while trying to spend our way out of a recession. It’s a struggle, but it can be done. I guess.

Sines is neither a reality TV diva, nor a red carpet regular; she works in an all male environment which, for the most part, revels in grunge and sweat. So why the need for body hugging styles and plunging necklines as a 9-year-veteran, professional sportscaster? Her response? That’s how she’s always dressed, and she’s not making any changes to her wardrobe. So why twitter that she was “embarrassed and uncomfortable?” It’s like “wanting her cake and eating it too.” So what’s wrong with that? Don’t we buy a cake to eat it?

I’m guilty of having worn hot pants in the day, even in Guadalajara in the early 70’s when I was a summer program student at a local college. I dressed provocatively to captivate my husband when we were dating. Obviously my tactics worked, 40 years later we’re still celebrating marriage. But I’m almost certain I wouldn’t have dressed to provoke unwanted cat calls from football players, of any ethnicity. I think it would be similar to walking past construction workers in tight jeans and blouse. 

I’m not averse to athletes, having dated the captain of the football and basketball teams in high school. It just seems that their attention would naturally be drawn to the human body, since playing sports involves their bodies. Being in a locker room is probably like being in a frat house, with behavior bordering on bawdy. I wouldn’t want to witness what goes on, but that’s my choice. According to journalist Cokie Roberts on GMA this morning, Sines presence in locker rooms is part of her job as a sports reporter.

The stand-off between Sines and athletes in locker rooms is being addressed by the NFL, and in the court of public opinion. I don’t think we’re looking for a winner; I think we’re looking for both sides to be accommodating, going forward. The best scenario would be if Sines modified her professional dress, and the players were more respectful in the presence of female reporters. Whether that happens or not, is for both sides to decide. Of course the resolution will impact the female-male professional relationship, beyond the locker room. Miniscule, small, medium or large, change is already underway. Eyebrows have been raised, so there’s no going back.

accommodating change, for the better…hugmamma.