Category Archives: Health

Nothing Wrong With My Poo!

bowel-screening-kitA few weeks ago the NHS sent me a screening kit for bowel cancer which I had to return in the mail. I got the results today and can claim “there’s nothing wrong with my poo!”

Bowel cancer screening is something that the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK offer free for anyone when they turn 60, which I did in October, and they do this using a screening kit that you prepare at home and then send back to them in the post.

It sounds very easy to complete the test, which consists of taking 2 smears from 3 separate bowel movements, and spreading these on small squares on the kit, which are hidden/protected under a flap.

In reality though, preparing the test results is not quite so easy.

WARNING – DON’T READ ON IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY DISCUSSIONS RELATED TO POOP AND GOING #2!

First of all, the kit includes 6 cardboard sticks, 1 for each of the 6 windows, so 2 separate samples per bowel movement. Each cardboard stick must only be used once, and the samples taken from a different area of the poop.

Now, you can’t allow the poop to become contaminated, for example by letting it drop into the toilet and then “fishing” it out. They recommend either using toilet paper to catch it in, or a plastic container.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t fancy the idea of doing number two into a plastic tub, so I opted for using toilet paper instead.

The first problem is of course that you have to have the kit handy for when you need to go, and of course you have to remember to take it with you into the bathroom. Now I wasn’t going to try and do this at work, so I had to time my bodily functions for either first thing in the morning or in the evening. As you probably know only too well, place any constraints like that on your body and it invariably doesn’t want to co-operate, so it was a bit of a stressful process that took 4 days, but in the end I did manage to get the samples.

Back to the task of catching the poo though, and if you have ever attempted to catch this on sheets of toilet paper, there is a certain stress involved, in case your hand is in the wrong place or you excrete a massive turd and it just overflows the paper.

There is a third posibility of course, and that’s finding that your poop is soft, sludgy or even just liquid. It doesn’t bare thinking about, but fortunately I didn’t suffer from any of the above and caught smaller samples than I imagined.

Now the other fun part is trying to take a smear to put on the small squares in the testing kit. In my case, every movement that I did was hard, not soft. In fact they were about the hardness of cheddar cheese.

Have you ever tried cutting a small piece of cheddar cheese with a piece of cardboard, then attempting to smear just a tiny bit onto a square of plastic? I tell you, it’s nigh on impossible, and I ended up smearing this stuff all over the place, just trying to take a teeny weeny sample.

Other than that the test was easy, but it was a humorous experience that albeit rather gross to discuss, I felt I had to write about it for those of you who can see the funny side of this type of experience.

And in my case the results have come back all clear, phew! No sign of bowel cancer or any of the other things that they test for fortunately. It doesn’t mean I don’t have any problems, but the tests didn’t show up anything at least.

I’m good to go for another two years at least.

Well I hope you enjoyed that read and weren’t too disgusted at the gruesome details. Do you have any medical procedure stories that are humorous? If so, please leave us a comment and share.

Carex Bed Buddy

Do You Suffer With Cold Feet In Bed?

The Bed Buddy from Carex - a great microwaveable heating padDo you suffer with cold feet in bed and find it hard to warm them up?

The cure might be easier than you think, at least I found a solution last week that works for me, and it’s really quite simple.

Debbie has been away visiting her daughter for two weeks, and since she is usually the first one into bed at night, I am no longer used to getting into a cold bed.

Suffice it to say that since I usually sit in the living room barefoot, my feet are cold when I get into bed, and try as hard as I might, I was unable to get my mind to focus on anything other than the fact than my feet were freezing cold, which kept me awake and my whole body feeling cold.

To try and counter this I tried putting on socks when I went to bed, and even wore slippers in the evening so my feet would not feel so cold, but it made little difference.

Then, last Monday morning I woke up with a sore back.  I don’t know what happened, maybe I laid funny during the night, but wake up with a bad back I did, and the soreness lasted the whole week.

When I get a sore back, which is more often than not caused by a trapped nerve, I find the best treatments to be stretching, and using one of the pads that you heat in the microwave.

So, come bedtime on Monday night, I heated up the pad, and when I got into bed I laid it on me where my back was sore, which was the kidney area on the right side.

I was instantly really comfortable, lying down and cuddling with this warm pad, and it dawned on me that not only did the warm sensation confuse my brain into forgetting about the pain in my back, it also told it to forget about whether my feet were cold or not.

The heating pad that we have is a Bed Buddy from Carex, but you can find a huge selection of Microwave Heating Padson Amazon, there is something there to suit everyone.

Very often if your hands, feet or even ears are cold, it makes your whole body feel cold, no matter what you are wearing. That’s why in cold weather people wear thick socks, gloves and ear muffs or hats.

It only takes one of those sensitive parts of your body to feel cold to trigger a reaction in the brain telling you that you are cold all over.

So if you get into a cold bed and your brain senses that your feet are cold, it’s hard for your whole body to feel warm.

Confuse the brain however by snuggling up to something warm, and that feeling of warmth overrides the sensors in your brain that tell you your feet are cold.  Instead your whole body should feel cosy and warm, allowing you to get to sleep more easily.

Preparing for Your Wife to Come Home from Hospital

Men are not always in their comfort zone when it comes to taking care of the daily routine at home, and if your wife needs to go into hospital it can be a daunting task to keep up with the chores, like cleaning and grocery shopping.

 

However, the need to help take care of the home doesn’t always end when your wife returns home, especially if she has been in hospital for some time and needs to take things easy for a while as she recovers.

Link to the full article: Preparing for Your Wife to Come Home from Hospital

Are Wii Fit Yet?

I have spent the last three years trying to eat healthier, to lose weight, and to get myself fitter, so imagine my horror when I got on the scales last week for the first time in several months and found that I had put on 10lbs.

YES TEN POUNDS!

I put a lot of this down to it being Winter, and with the dark evenings, the cold and ice of England, or if not that the rain.  Combining these together make it very unpleasant to take a walk after work, or even at the weekends, and what’s worse, the cold weather makes you want to eat more wholesome food, like stews and steaming hot dishes with lots of gravy.

The weight gain is also partly due to my new lifestyle, since I started a new job three months ago, and now instead of walking at lunchtime, as I used to do when I lived in Florida, I usually spend my time on the computer and write articles – like this one…

I am guilty too of having been addicted to Evony (which I wrote about in another article), and for the last six months of last year I spent far more time sitting at the computer playing an on-line game than getting out and exercising.

Well, it’s now 2010, today is the 1st February, and I want to lose those 10 pounds and more and to return to being a bit fitter again.

My fiancee bought us a Wii for Christmas, primarily so that we could use the Wii Fit package, but we haven’t really used it until the end of last week. She registered on Wii Fit and tried it out, and on Saturday I thought “Right, it’s my turn to try and do something about my situation!.

So on the Wii Fit Board I get, and go through the registration process and tests. My balance has always been fairly good, although I couldn’t walk along a narrow beam to save my life, but imagine my surprise when the results showed that my Wii Fit Age was 38! Not bad since I am actually 55!

I thought it best to start with Yoga, since stretching and pose are good for you, but I quickly found out that this is not really my thing. I need to get into this later as I know it will do me good, but when your body is stiff and overweight, it’s not exactly easy.

So I moved onto Muscle Toning, and this seemed just as bad as Yoga. By now I was getting a little frustrated, and so I moved onto Aerobic Workout, and here I found I could have some fun. I started off by heading Soccer Balls, which took some doing, since I was leaning towards them with my upper body and not changing my body balance. Doing the Hula Hoops is not something I can do well in real life, but I quickly mastered this on the Wii, even though my fiancee was laughing hysterically at my movements. I think she got almost as good a workout as I did from just laughing!

Off now to do some Step Exercises, which not having done this in real life I found a bit hard, until I was shown how, and then I was off. I think of all the Aerobics exercises I enjoy the Hula Hoop and Step Aerobics best, since they are not too strenuous, but you can feel the effects.

Finally, I moved on to the Jogging, which again is something that I have never been good at. Having been overweight all my life and not having the greatest knees in the world, this is quite strenuous on my body, but off I set, jogging on the spot in the middle of the living room floor, and the way that my legs were kicking out had my other half in hysterics again. Even on the lowest level, by the time I got to the end of the course my legs had turned to jelly, but I could feel the benefits as I was puffing and panting away.

“OK it’s YOUR turn I said”, knowing that my fiancee isn’t any better at exercising than I am, and so she logged into the Wii Fit program and set about doing the Hula Hoops. Well, I practically got the camcorder out it was so funny to watch. I wish we had both videoed ourselves, as we looked ridiculous.

She then tried the jogging, and I could tell by the time she got halfway through the course that she was puffed and about to give in, but she didn’t, and kept going right on to the end, but like me it left her out of breath for ages.

I will keep you up to date as we progress, and I know that this will help us to get fitter over time. It’s still not the same as being outside in the fresh air though, and fortunately the days have started getting longer, and it’s possible to start going for evening walks again, which we both really enjoy.

Do you have a Wii and use it for keeping fit? I would love to hear how you are using it and what success you have had, so if you do, please leave a comment and let me know.

Healthy Lunch Options For Work – Any Suggestions?

packed_lunch_ideasI try to eat healthily these days, and am always looking for healthy lunch options that I can eat in the office when I am working.

While working in the USA for the past few years, the companies I worked for all had microwaves and fridges so employees could bring their own food in to the office and cook/re-heat it if desired.

Now that I have a new job in the UK, the company does have a fridge for the employees, but there are no cooking facilities, other than hot water for tea, coffee or cup-a-soup etc.

The company does have a subsidised staff canteen that provides full meals, but since Debbie and I usually eat together at night, I don’t really want to have two full meals in a day, however with winter approaching in England it does get chilly, and I will need something filling and warming inside me to help me get through the day.   The question is what?

Aside from the staff canteen serving full meals, I still don’t have much money, so I want to spend as little as I can on lunch, however I do want to eat healthy, and not fill up every day on anything that has a high fat or sodium content (like cup-a-soups).

I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas for something healthy to bring in to eat.   Obviously leftovers that I have to re-heat are out of the question, since I have no way of heating them up.   Bare in mind too that while a salad is ok in the summer, it’s not necessarily enough to warm you through on a chilly day.   Also, I don’t really want to spend ages preparing anything in the morning before I leave for work, but I don’t also want to make something like a sandwich the night before, and find it stale or soggy by the time I come to eat it.

For breakfast in the USA I was having Oatmeal (Porridge) most days, with either Applesauce or Honey on it.  This was really low in fat and sodium, good for the cholosterol levels, and also filling and warming.  Since I can’t cook Oatmeal here at work (no microwave), I am bringing in Muesli, since we do have a fridge, and that is filling for breakfast.  But what about lunch?

So do you have any ideas for a filling nutritious lunch that might help me out?   If so, please leave a comment on this post and let me know.    Thanks in advance for any help.