Saturday, November 14, 2009

Did Sugar-Overload Cause Blindness in Kauai Woman In 2 Hours?

Despite extremely bad weather today, I had a good day at the annual St. Michael's craft fair. I think the bake sale and the generous and delicious laulau plate lunch had something to do with that, but the St. Michael's volunteers and customers--made up in large part by their congregation--are especially gracious. I also always enjoy my fellow vendors. It was very convenient to be able to earring-shop during the lulls because Sue Okada was on the next table. I'd say her earrings are recession-proof because they're beautifully creative and yet very reasonably priced. I was also able to get Donna's Edibles caramel apple--my favorite coconut/mac nut-- just two tables away, yay! Yep, Jimmy Choo shoes or a Gucci handbag would not thrill me more than the booty I got today.

Just a few hours ago, however, following the craft fair, I began having these disturbing symptoms: a curved line of "lights" that flash in my right eye when I moved my eyes. I recalled reading that flashing lights in your eyes are bad news. Sure enough, my internet research scared me because they recommend seeing a doctor within 24 hours because a detached retina could result in blindness! As much as I hated bothering Dr. Lee at his home, I decided blindness trumps embarrassment so I phoned him. He assured me that Monday would be soon enough, and related the exact symptoms I'm experiencing because he'd had it himself recently. Well, if I can still see after Monday, I'll let you all know!

And now for this week's "Health Things That Make You Go Hmmm":

I must preface the following with a reminder that I'm no expert and I just like to pass on information of what others have experienced. We can't know everything on our own after all and even at my advanced age I often find myself saying, "Whaaat? Really? Nah!?"

The other day a friend told me that her dad had been experiencing a health issue for several months. It began with severe stomach pains that woke him at night and progressed to him having hallucinations and memory issues. Because of his advanced age--90--and because tests showed nothing conclusive, it was assumed that his "mental fog" was due to his age and his family worried that they'd have to put him in a care facility soon. Luckily one of the doctors, a gastroenterologist, suggested changing his diet because he'd been eating a lot of raw vegetables. Lo and behold, his stomach pains ceased and he was able to sleep comfortably. Most importantly, because he was now getting proper sleep, his mental clarity sharpened back to "normal" (pre-stomach problem).

Remember my blog a couple of months ago regarding my mother's bad reaction to "Bactrim"? During the worst period, my mom, a very mentally-sharp 80-year-old, was also not "herself" mentally, alarming my sister. Mom is pretty much "back to normal", but still has blurred vision in one eye from the Bactrim. I received emails from a few people who read my post saying they were similarly affected and one woman is still unable to work SIX MONTHS after taking Bactrim! [Again, I recommend going to to inquire about any medication you are considering.]

My point is, we shouldn't assume that a senior citizen who seems to be mentally hazy is simply experiencing "normal" age-related memory issues. Instead, it may be a symptom caused by something other than aging, such as medication, sleep deprivation, etc., so be sure the doctors explore all possibilities.

In closing, here's an unusual tip I got online for anyone experiencing frequent leg cramps at night: Put a new bar of soap under your bottom sheet (so mine is between the fitted sheet and the mattress cover). If you check, this is not disputed--it actually works for a lot of people! You may have to change the soap every few months. Some people even claim it helps Restless Legs Syndrome also. Sounds crazy, but wouldn't hurt to try. Please let me know by commenting if you find that this helps.

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