Monday, February 29, 2016

Cold Shower Experiment

I subscribe to Simpleology.  When they suggested cold showers in the morning, with the possibility that it would make me less sensitive to cold weather, I decided to try it.

For the first 3 months, I hated my morning cold showers, but winter was coming and I thought a few minutes in the morning would be a minor trade-off for avoiding winter misery.  I did breath-of-fire in the shower. I became a master of the quick shower, except when I wash my hair.  I even discovered that my scalp doesn’t mind cold water as much as my tummy and back do.

Then the test came.  Cold weather, snow, ice.  It wasn’t so bad. I found myself making excuses – this winter isn’t as cold as last winter.  I’m dressed for the weather.

But somewhere around the 3 month mark, I started thinking of cold showers as normal. I no longer did breath-of-fire in order to endure them.

And a few days ago I was out biking when the temperature dropped.  I wasn’t dressed for it. Wind whipped up. A cold rain (in the 30's) fell.  And my first thought was: I took a colder shower than this when I got up this morning.

My one-person data point: Yes, cold showers help make cold weather more tolerable.

And it turns out there are other benefits: Improves alertness, circulation, immunity, and other good health features.

The main thing is that I enjoyed feeling stronger than an unexpected cold windy shower.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Take a Cab, not an Ambulance

6 years ago, when I got hit by a car while riding my bike, a kind woman sat with me and called an ambulance.  When the ambulance arrived, I asked to be taken to the hospital I trust. The paramedics on the ambulance jabbed a needle in my arm against my wishes and when I woke up, I was in a hospital I’d never have chosen.

I called the fire department, which handles the ambulances.  They said they only take people to the nearest hospital.  The fact that the one I wanted was only a few blocks away didn’t matter. They also said I had “lost consciousness.”

The ambulance sent me a bill for $500.   I could have taken a cab to the hospital of my choice for less than $20.  It never occurred to me to ask the kind woman phoned 911 to call me a cab instead.

Last week, my 93-year-old mother thought she was having a heart attack.  She wears an alert call button.  She pressed it.  The company sent an ambulance. It took her to a hospital that made her wait in the ER for 2 hours before they ran some blood tests and told her it wasn’t a heart attack.  They didn’t tell her what might have caused that pain.  They did offer to run a bunch of expensive tests, but could not promise to tell her what was wrong.  So she decided to leave “against medical advice.”  Her ambulance bill was $1000.  She doesn’t know if her insurance will cover anything because she left AMA. And, like me, she has a hospital she prefers to the closest one.

I see no advantages to an ambulance over a cab, if you are conscious.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My 1%

Bernie Sanders (my choice for President) has received donations from about 689,000 people.

My first thought was – is that all?

But then I did some research.  In a typical presidential election, the total number of donors to any political candidate is 1% of the US Population. 

Clinton’s campaign has about 400,000 donors.  

Trump has received about $74,000 dollars.  Since the average political donor has donated 5 times at this point in the campaign, that’s about 15,000 donors.

The other candidates aren’t publicizing their number of donors – only the names of their biggest donors, as required by law. 

Still, it’s amazing to find myself part of the 1% – the 1% that shouldn’t exist.  

I think electoral campaigns should be financed by taxes, so that no candidates can be bought by their biggest donors.  To be clear – no individual donations, no PACs.  No TV ads. Just debates in which the candidates get equal time – no bonus minutes for being good at rhetoric, or for being entertaining.

Now, if the other 1% were as ready to abdicate as I am, we’d be on our way to clean politics.