Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I have to pee again!






Sadly those days are gone forever!

BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition from which most males over 50 years of age suffer to varying degrees. BPH is not related to prostate cancer and is not considered a very serious condition, but the symptoms are very annoying. One of the symptoms that can be very disturbing is having to get up a number of times during the night to urinate (nocturia). This is the most annoying symptom of BPH for me. Sometimes I get up as little as twice a night or as many times as every half hour! Getting up several times a night to urinate is very disruptive to a good night’s sleep and can affect one’s overall health.

This sounds like good advice, but it doesn’t work!

 When you talk with your Urologist or do research online you are told to stop drinking liquids after 5 or 6 at night and stop the use of alcohol and caffeine. This sounds like good advice, but it doesn’t work! The medications given for BPH, I find have little or no effect on the frequent nighttime bathroom trips and the side effects, such as ED or the destruction of the libido,are as bad or worse than the symptom. So I decided to go the route of natural supplements. I have done a good deal of research about the various herbal supplements that reportedly relieve the symptoms of BPH, especially the nocturia. First of all I have been taking Saw Palmetto for about 35 years and found it to be absolutely useless! I have tried Maca, which other than giving me extreme gas and stomach pains did not work. I have used Beta Sitosterol, Stinging Nettle, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Pygeum, Fenugreek and others, but not one of them had any effect on my symptoms!

These are evidently paid reviews!

 There are many combinations of these supplements, some costing a fortune, which are touted to relieve almost all BPH symptoms. These are sold in drug stores and online and even promoted on TV infomercials. If you check the ingredients you will see that these so called miracle supplements contain basically the same supplements I have listed above, with a few added inactive ingredients. If you look at the reviews of these products you will find that they all work marvelously! These are evidently paid reviews! I have tried a number of these products over the past few years and not one of them had any effect!

I long for those days when I could hold it for hours and I had the pressure of a fire hose!

 One thing that I have noticed is that when I have a few glasses of red wine I get up dramatically fewer times at night to go to the bathroom! This is the direct opposite of what is recommended!
 I have found that diet affects BPH symptoms, especially the nocturia. I have discovered that eating fatty foods such as chicken wings and eating really spicy food causes more bathroom trips and more urine retention. I have also found that my blood pressure medication, amlodopine, makes my nighttime symptoms worse if I take it before bed. Even though I get up to pee quite frequently I find that my bladder never empties and my stream is akin to. dripping faucet. I long for those days when I could hold it for hours and I had the pressure of a fire hose! (Like the photo above)

…we will all have to accept the unpleasantness of BPH and just live with it.
Like millions of men who are in the same boat (or should I say bathroom?) as I am this is just one more aspect of aging that has to be accepted. There are many physical problems that are far worse than peeing all day and night, so I should be thankful. Some day I hope medical science will develop a more effective medication to treat BPH, without the adverse side effects and that will be affordable for us oldsters. Until then I guess we will all have to accept the unpleasantness of BPH and just live with it.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

I’m Struggling to Breathe

leadcma.org


For about 12 years now I have had a continuing problem with shortness of breath. I am particularly effected by changes in weather, especially changes in the barometric pressure and humidity rather than certain allergens. I become short of breath when I exercise or whenever I am outside after the sun sets and even when I get upset. Before I begin having difficulty breathing my sinuses begin to drain and my post nasal drip increases dramatically. I can actually feel my nasal passages constrict and well as my airways. I have had post nasal drip 24/7 for about 12 years. Approximately 10 years ago I underwent sinus surgery which was excruciating and did absolutely nothing to alleviate any of my symptoms. Presently my sinus CT scans show no abnormalities and my lungs are clear. I have used every kind of inhaler that is on the market, but with no success.

All because I have to struggle to breathe.

I love the outdoors, especially the mountains and forests, but I can no longer walk through the woods and enjoy the scenery, because I have to struggle to breathe after only a few minutes being among the trees. I believe it’s the humidity in the woods since I have tested negative for tree allergens. I would love to ride a bicycle around my neighborhood and play catch with the kids next door, but I can’t. My days of playing tennis are over and running up and down the stairs are out of the question. All because I have to struggle to breathe and no one knows why.

…she pooh poohed my assertion…

 I have been to numerous doctors in Boston, Penang, Malaysia and Rochester, NY. Each of them have said I have asthma. I was referred to a cardiologist who “guaranteed” that my shortness of breath was due to anemia. He did a blood test which proved him wrong. I then underwent stress tests, ECG’s and echocardiograms that showed nothing abnormal . He surmised my shortness of breath was attributed to asthma. I’ve heard that before! I was referred to an allergist who tested me for a variety of allergens, all of which were negative. I tried to explain to her that the weather caused my breathing problems, but she pooh poohed my assertion, even as I had an attack as a sudden thunderstorm went through the area. After trying a variety of inhalers and steroids, which constantly made me dizzy, and scheduling a pulmonary function test, which showed asthma, she quit scheduling any more appointments. Her office said that they have no record of me ever being there! Needless to say I gave up on her, as she gave up on me!

He also told me not to expect that doctors know everything!

 I was then referred to an ENT specialist who was the most honest yet. After examining my sinuses and CT scans he admitted that there was nothing wrong with my sinuses and he had no idea what was causing my asthma. He also told me not to expect that doctors know everything! I was happy that he was honest with me and didn’t offer false hopes or wanted me to keep coming for appointments which would be both a waste of money and a waste of his and my time.

She evidently was absent the day “bedside manners” were taught…

Next I went to a pulmonologist, who was the most useless yet! I paid a $50 co-pay and $125 for the tech to take an inhaler out of the package to show me how to use it! As if I didn’t know anything after 12 years of inhaler use! She arrogantly told me I had asthma and her treatment was to suggest I continue using my inhalers! I refused to make another appointment with her as she had nothing to offer and appeared not to really care. She evidently was absent the day “bedside manners” were taught or she flunked that exam! It doesn’t take a specialist to tell me to continue to take my medications that doesn’t work!

…I realized that for the first time I was breathing easier.

From this sad excuse for a doctor I went to see an asthma specialist at a well known asthma and allergy clinic, which had an excellent reputation among medical professionals in my area. I was given a spirometry test followed by a nebulizer treatment and an oral medication. My consultation and treatment took over three hours and offered me some hope. The doctor appeared to be genuinely interested and assured me that he could help me breathe again, and if he didn’t he wouldn’t keep me coming to give me false expectations. When I left his office and drove home I realized that for the first time I was breathing easier. I hoped it would last.

 He told me he was not satisfied with my progress…

I saw the asthma specialist twice, but I did speak with him on the phone numerous times. I had some relief with some of the medications he prescribed, while one of the drugs severely worsened my condition. It was interesting that one of the drugs he prescribed was one I had taken as a child for my severe asthma. It worked then so he wanted to see if it would work again and it did, even though it is very difficult to get as it is seldom used today. In my last telephone conversation with him I learned that he had referred me to another pulmonologist, who specialized in asthma/COPD patients who did not respond to treatment. He told me he was not satisfied with my progress and wanted me to see someone with more expertise. Next month the saga continues!

I’m sure whatever it will be it will be way too expensive and I won’t be able to afford it!

Every time I see another specialist I have to start from the beginning to explain my symptoms and how long I’ve had them and who I’ve seen. I feel like I should make a recording to play each time I see a new doctor! I can’t imagine what medication he will prescribe next, as I think I’ve tried every drug on the market. I’m sure whatever it will be it will be way too expensive and I won’t be able to afford it! In the meantime I am researching natural supplements, as to their effectiveness and affordability. I am not holding out too much hope for my next adventure with this specialist, but I am not quite ready to give up either. To be continued…

Friday, April 26, 2019

Christianity Now Has A Different Meaning to Me

                                                        

I was raised a Roman Catholic and was educated in Catholic schools through high school. When I was growing up if you were asked about your religion you responded either Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish. Rarely did anyone answer with the name of a protestant denomination. No one ever simply said “Christian”. Even though there was some prejudice towards Catholics and Jews in my home town, usually nobody cared about your religion. The religions I knew when I was growing up were the mainstream established religions such as Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist. There were really no storefront churches or so called evangelical churches yet. I didn’t really give much thought to religion, other than going to church because my parents made me or during religion class in school. The only time I felt uncomfortable with religion was when the nuns and priests condemned gays as sinners as I expected at that time that I was gay. I thought this was odd as I found out later that many of these teachers were gay themselves!

 When I was in college I almost began to accept myself as being gay, while at the same time seeing the rise of the “born again” Christian movement. After graduation I began questioning some of the teachings that were hurled at me in Catholic school and in Catholic church. I saw the hypocrisy of many of the teachings and the teachers. As I began to accept myself more I became braver in questioning my religion or any religion for that matter. With the growing strength of the Civil Rights movement and the gay rights movement, I saw the growing strength of new “Christian” churches and religions . It seemed as though anybody could start a church with a couple of followers and a vacant storefront. When I was growing up, my church and other mainstream churches held festivals, bake sales and food and clothing drives to help the poor. After all that is what Jesus Christ taught us to do. What was obvious to me was that these new “Christians” were not teaching the love of Christ, but were constantly preaching hate and intolerance. They were against anyone or anything that was different or that they did not understand, including other religions. It seemed as though every time I went shopping in downtown Boston, where I lived after college, there was some deranged “Bible thumper” filling the air with vitriol about gays, gamblers, atheists or anyone who was in the least way slightly different from what they believed to be a true Christian. Even at work I met a few fellow employees who were insistent that I was an atheist because I was a Catholic. Their church taught them that Catholics were not Christians.

 With the advent of cable TV these so called “Christians” soon took over the airways. I was annoyed by having to pay for religious channels that attacked me and others who did not fit their idea of a human being. Christianity was no longer a religion but a business. It was sickening to see the poor and elderly being promised a place in heaven for turning over a large portion of what little money they had to a religious business tycoon! Once they were on the airways they metastasized to the political arena to spread their hatred and to fleece their ignorant followers. They have become known as “the Christian Right” and have taken over the Republican Party. Instead of espousing true Christian values the have been bastardizing the Christian faith to form strong opposition to such issues as gay rights, abortion, same sex marriage, women’s rights and even public education. The time honored bastion of our democracy, the Separation of Church and State, is slowly being obliterated. They are now attacking the basic human rights of millions of Americans with the implementation of religious liberty laws that basically give right wing Christians the right to legally discriminate against anyone whom they find to be different, on the grounds that these people offend their religious values!

 These hate mongers, posing as Christians and wrapping themselves in cherry picked Bible quotes, are so filled with hate and bigotry that they have mocked Christ by supporting an adulterous, misogynist, racist, sexual abuser as president. The very ideals of Christianity, which would preclude a really religious Christian from supporting Donald Trump, are completely thrown aside in favor of promoting bigotry and racism. Decades of advancement in civil and human rights are in danger of being destroyed by Trump and his Supreme Court nominees and his racist Attorney General, who support religious liberty laws. With what is happening with the Trump administration’s war on immigrants, more correctly, non-white immigrants, one would expects religious leaders and churches to actively oppose the disgusting actions of our government, but it’s not happening! The mainstream Churches are stepping up, but what is surprising is that the far religious right either remain silent or are in lock step with Trump.

 I probably now pay much more attention to religion, than I did when I was younger, but for a different reason. Now I pay attention to religion more of a means of self protection or self preservation! Years ago when a person told me what religion they belonged to I considered it as a point of information and nothing more. But today when someone tells me they are Christian I immediately shy away from them. Today when someone says they are Christian I interpret that as being a white supremacist or a bigot. (The same way I view the confederate flag.) Being gay I automatically mistrust them. They are not the Christians I knew growing up. I see them as enemies trying to destroy my marriage and denying my civil and human rights. I have heard Christian preachers call for my death, simply because I am gay! That’s not what Christ would do!

 To these fake Christians I would say if you don’t like abortion, don’t get an abortion. If you disagree with same sex marriage, don’t marry a member of the same sex. If you don’t like transgender people, don’t become transgender. My being gay or being in a same sex marriage does not affect you in any way, but your hatred and intolerance affects me and millions of others. I don’t care how you live your lives, but don’t try to legislate how I live mine. Live and let live and as Christ said “Love thy neighbor as thyself”, even the Gay, the Brown, the Black, the Muslim, the Jewish, the transgendered and sinful neighbor!

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues