Friday, September 26, 2014

They Didn't Kill the Cat


One of my clients emailed me – she was upset – her cat is dying and she can’t stand to see him suffer – she’s taking him to the vet to have him put to sleep.

I know she has no family members who could go with her, so I volunteered.  She accepted.

I met her at the vet’s office.

Her cat hadn’t eaten in 3 days.  He was weak.  He’d had many medical tests and tried many medicines.  She’d spent over $6000 trying to save him.  He’s only 9, which is young for a cat. He was obviously in pain.

The vet was just back from an all cat vet meeting.  She had ideas for more tests (that could be run on existing tissue samples, so no more pain for the cat). Depending on the results, she had ideas for more medicines to try.

The vet wanted to try these options before putting my client’s cat to sleep.

My client had planned to board her cat at the vet while she went out of the country. She will be out of contact with everybody while she is gone. 

The vet agreed that this isn’t good. If her cat doesn’t get well, there will be no way to contact my client if the new drugs don’t work and the decision must be made.

Then the vet made an offer I’ve never seen before. She offered to take ownership of my client’s cat, pay for the tests, pay for the medicine, and make any necessary decisions.  She would take care of the cat as her own.

Such kindness is remarkable.  I support my client in accepting it.

The vet promised to keep my client posted with results of the tests and the medicines and any necessary decisions.

From what I saw, this cat doesn’t have much of a chance, but it is wonderful that the vet is willing to try. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Are Algebra Woes Hereditary?

When my younger daughter had trouble with algebra in junior high, I told her, I’d had trouble with algebra in junior high, too.  But I took it again when I was older and the 2nd time it was easy.  I didn’t know if it was easy because I was older or because I had a better book.

When I decided to try algebra again in my late 20's.  I went to the local book store (yes, a regular bookstore, not the college text book shop) and spent the afternoon looking at all the algebra books in the book store. I finally selected one. It cost $6, which was more than 4 hours wages.  But I had decided to learn algebra. I had enrolled in college algebra and I wanted to pass it this time.

Whatever the cause, my maturity, my new textbook, suddenly algebra made sense.  I was even able to show my teacher new ways to solve problems. 

A few days ago, someone emailed me – about trouble with algebra.  What did I suggest?  Clearly, telling her to wait until her late 20's wasn’t an option.

I’d long since sold my old copy – in well-used condition.  But a few minutes of searching the web, and  I found plenty of people selling old copies, some for a penny plus shipping.  And despite its age, some sellers claim to have copies in very good condition.  I have to wonder if these copies were used.

Yes, this is an advertisement. Yes, I get a commission if you buy from this link.  I’m not sure what the commission on a penny is.  So, I’m not doing this just for the money. If you know somebody who is having trouble with algebra, the book I recommend is Modern Elementary Algebra by B. R. Rich
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Modern Elementary Algebra

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Getting a Parakeet to Sit on my Finger




I’m frequently amazed by the skills my muscles remember.

Of course I can ride my bike and swim. And do some magic tricks with rubber bands.

But get a parakeet to sit on my finger? Is that even a muscle skill?

I hadn’t done that in over 50 years.

My grandtwins were given parakeets for Bat Mitzvah presents. They asked if I, the oldest person in the room, knew how to get a parakeet to sit on a finger.  I had a parakeet when I was about their age.  Actually, I had several parakeets.  And, they sat on my finger.  I remember tapping the wall and having the birds fly to sit on my finger.  But that’s not how it starts.

I couldn’t find the words to explain how to get a parakeet to step off its perch and climb onto my finger.  So, I put my hand in the cage, put my finger in position, touched the bird’s toes in the way that my muscles remembered, and it stepped onto my finger.  My grandtwins were thrilled.

They had me repeat the action. They copied it.  The bird put a foot onto their fingers.  Muscles can teach muscles what words cannot say.

Muscles remember what words have forgotten.

Muscles are amazing.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

High Cholesterol is Protective for Senior Women


Here’s a big new secret:

High cholesterol is protective in women.

A Norwegian study of 27,000 women

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2753.2011.01767.x/pdf

An Austrian study of 82,000 women

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15006277

Both studies show that the higher a woman’s cholesterol (past the age of 60) the less likely she is to have cardiovascular disease, the less likely she is to die of a heart attack or stroke.

The Austrian study is from 2004.  The Norwegian study is from 2012.

Yet in 2014, women in America who have cholesterol over 200 are told they must reduce their cholesterol level by exercise, diet and pills.  

Why would American doctors want to take away women’s protection from heart disease?

All I can think of is that they don’t know about these studies.  I have no idea how to educate the doctors.  

However, doctors are strapped for time. When they see a woman’s blood test results, they look for H’s and L’s.  If that H wasn’t printed on a woman’s blood test result sheet, then doctors wouldn’t try to treat them.

So, I’m trying to find out how to get the guidelines for blood labs changed.  If I can succeed, a simple change in printouts will save thousands of lives.