Gentle Humor

Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog – I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Health Page 1 of 3

Cure for Restless Leg Syndrome

I’m no doctor, but as an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” practitioner I spend as much time researching medical cures as any board certified physician (not really, of course, but maybe), so I consider myself a queasy expert. Or is that quasi? 

I used to laugh at the TV commercials for drugs to treat a condition I’d never even heard of called “Restless Leg Syndrome.” I thought, “Jeepers, the pharmaceutical companies have hit a new low. They’ve developed a drug for a leg twitch.” Maybe the restless leg couldn’t be controlled and started kicking the person in the grocery line in front of them, or caused men wearing suits to uncontrollably dance a jig at a meeting. I used to snicker and poke fun – until I got restless leg myself.

I’d be sitting watching TV when I got this sensation in my leg like it was about to twitch. It’s an annoying, odd feeling, not painful, just aggravating. Like the kid behind you kicking your seat on an airplane – it doesn’t hurt but it’s extremely irritating. So I’d get this sensation that my leg was going to move, and then I’d get the involuntary movement, or twitch, not really the best word but as close as I can come. The National Institute of Neurologic Disorders describes it a little better: Restless Leg Syndrome causes unpleasant or uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to move them.

Each episode lasted just a few seconds, then my leg would be calm until it came back, over and over and over again. One night I timed it and I got the sensation every seventeen seconds, and it lasted until I couldn’t take it anymore and stood up. 

It started happening every night when I went to bed. I would lie there for a little bit, about to drift to sleep, and then get the sensation. It was a cycle of pre-twitch – twitch – calm – repeat until I nearly went insane. I Googled several times for a cure but all I could find were people begging for help – they’d been on restless leg medication for years, enduring the awful side effects of the drugs (flatulence, diarrhea, dizziness, growing extra toes, etc.) rather than have the uncomfortable sensations.  

Late one night, when I was at a friend’s cabin and we were planning a big day of activities the next morning, and I really needed to get to sleep but couldn’t, I got my laptop out and read through page after page of people describing their suffering and asking if anyone knew a way to help when I came across someone who said, “Do this, it works.”  I got out of bed and tried it, and it did work! 

Here’s Part A of what you do, which will get rid of the sensations temporarily so you can sleep. Stand on your left leg (use your hand to balance against a wall) and do a small figure 8 with your right leg – a tight figure 8, the tighter the better. Repeat the figure 8 twenty-five times. It doesn’t matter which leg is restless, do this on the right leg. This will probably be enough, but you can also make a small figure 8 with your right arm after you finish with your leg. 

I did the figure 8’s and got back under the covers and lay there like a kid waiting for the monster to come out from under the bed. A minute, two minutes – no restless leg. After about twenty minutes I was counting zzzzz’z, sleeping the deep sleep of the twitchless. No more restless leg that night! After that I would do the figure 8, sometimes on both legs and arms (for insurance) any time I got a the sensation. Worked 100% of the time for me. 

Now for Part B of the cure. I was happy to get rid of the symptoms but wanted to know the cure, so I Googled and found several sites that said one of the causes was a lack of iron. Someone said no matter if you think you’re getting enough iron, take a supplement. After I started taking a low dose iron supplement, I no longer got restless leg. Ever. BUT there are health issues if you take too much iron, so you should do some research about how much you need and the best ways to get it, and be sure to check with your doctor if you’re taking other medications before adding iron.

Hope this helps you guys! And remember, I’m not a doctor so check with your physician or do your homework about the iron, do your figure 8’s, and have a very rest FULL day!

No Wonder We’re Fat – We Eat Like Livestock

Ever been in a restaurant that serves fresh bread, and you eat it all and ask for more? When your belly starts pooching out, do you unbutton your pants? When your food comes, are you still hungry enough to eat it all, and do you control yourself, even though you really really want to lick the plate? Do you unzip your pants all the way down and then feel in the mood for a little something sweet? When your dessert comes, do you hold your fork up to stab any hand that comes in for a sample before you eat every crumb all by yourself? Do you say, multiple times, “I’m stuffed” then, if there’s any bread left, do you reach for it saying, “I really shouldn’t eat this, but?” After you ask the waiter for more butter, do you finish off every piece of bread, even if it’s several slices? 

Then you’re just like me. I curse myself on the drive home. “You big fat cow,” I scold, “you eat like a pig!” Well you know what? I was right! 

We eat like livestock.

Most big commercial ranchers want their animals to get fat in a hurry, so they feed them spaghetti, corn chips, cakes, cookies, pizza, dinner rolls, crackers, dressing, cereal, popcorn, bagels, and muffins. Well, not exactly in those forms, but with those main ingredients – corn and other cheap grains that quickly fatten up their cows and pigs before they’re sent to the grim reaper. 

“Oink Oink!”

Grains are actually unnatural food for livestock, and unnatural for us – it’s part of why we’re always hungry even when we eat a ton of food. Look at any cow in a field and what are they eating? Just plain old grass. That’s what their bodies were designed to eat. But commercial farmers can’t have millions of cows stinking up long stretches of freeway if they’re spread out in lush green pastures. Many cows spend at least some of their time gorging on grains in feedlots and slurping up medicine because they suffer all kinds of health problems from what they’re given to eat.

Natural foods for human are meat, fruit, nuts, and vegetables. Cave people weren’t tempted with all those aisles of grocery shelves jammed with grain-infested snacks and convenience foods. They picked some berries, ate some nuts, killed a wooly mammoth every now and then. Our food today has been engineered with tastes so addicting you live for your next bite. Just like a smoker, once you get hooked on grains, it’s dang near impossible to quit.

Just like cockroaches – grains are everywhere, especially in all our favorite foods. Don’t believe me? Look at the ingredient list of any food you crave and I bet you’ll find wheat, corn, barley, rice, oats, or rye in some form in the ingredients. Not just obvious things like bread, cereal and pasta. Grains cover corn dogs and fried chicken, they’re in gravies, soups and sauces – places you don’t think about.

Read More

My chicken fat thighs

We are going on vacation soon, and our family loves to snorkel, which means I’ll have to wear a swimsuit (groan). The long sleeve rash guard I always wear will hide my sagging crepe chicken fat skin from the waist up, but it leaves the lower half of me exposed to the world – big as life and twice as ugly.  

The first thing when I crawled out of the warm bed this morning, I said, “Hey Google! How do I get rid of old lady cottage cheese on my thighs?” And you already know what Google said. Google came up with some exercise videos so I can watch young lithe girls contort their bodies in impossible exercises, and I know good and well that they don’t have even one lump of chicken fat on their thighs, much less being covered with it like peanuts on a Payday candy bar.

Sample video of the torture we must endure to get rid of cottage cheese thighs

Why is it that every solution to every appearance woe goes right back to changing what you eat and outrageous exercise? I’m lucky that I was brought up at a time when people ate healthy food. A meal was a small portion of meat, one starch (like a potato) a salad, some sliced tomatoes and/or cucumbers, and maybe another side vegetable, usually green beans because my brother loved them and insisted on them practically every meal.

My point is that I’m not fat or skinny, I’m about average, right in the middle of the body mass index for my height.  I don’t have as much cottage cheese as a lot of people, but it’s still there even though I walk a couple miles every day. So I have to ask myself right now. Do I want to give up some of the food I eat to be skinny enough for a tropical vacation? And do I want to contort myself with heartless exercises? 

Of course I do! The question is, WILL I? You know what? I think I will. I think I’ll do it. I think I can. Maybe. I’ll try. We’ll see. It’s a strong, a very strong, possibility. I know one thing, though. I’m getting tired and hungry just thinking about it. I think I’ll ponder it on my La-Z-Boy, and my oh my a nice bowl of buttery popcorn would sure hit the spot right now. Maybe I’ll think about the vacation tomorrow….

Eat, Drink and Be Merry?

I eat way more than I need to – always have. I didn’t gain weight as a kid but now I still have a good appetite. The problem is my stomach. It’s spent decades digesting huge quantities of food, and it’s had enough. I can picture it down there, looking up the pipe that leads to my mouth, shouting, “STOP! – NO MORE!”  It protests loudly, with fierce rumblings. The eventual exhaust from my stomach sometimes causes Portland’s air pollution index to go up.

Old habits are hard to break. When “clean your plate” was our every night dinner chant, and the guilt about the starving kids in China weighed heavily, and the food was so mighty tasty – crispy fried chicken, buttery mashed potatoes, bacon-drenched green beans – I’d eat huge platefuls. I can only remember one food I loathed growing up, and that was eggplant. Vile, vile vegetable. I’ve since made peace with it in eggplant parmigiana, but as a kid I could not leave the table until I’d eaten the whole hideous portion of purple slime. If a human can eat eggplant as a child, they’ll eat anything.

Read More

The Curse of Pepper

I love pepper. I sprinkle it on everything – potatoes, tomatoes, popcorn, ice cream, cottage cheese. Pepper ranks right up there with chocolate and salt.

Salt and chocolate, however, don’t make me gag. Pepper does. It’s a real medical thing – pepper gets in some people’s throats and makes them cough like they’ve got a hair ball, except worse.

For this reason I try not to eat pepper in public. It doesn’t happen every time, but if pepper hits the right spot in my throat it’s going to be five minutes of severe coughing and gagging and people yelling, “Is there a doctor in the house?”

Once the coughing starts, I can’t make it stop. Drinking water – nope. Holding my breath – I end up raining a waterfall of spit drops on whoever’s in range. My eyes water like I got sprayed with concentrated onion juice, and my face gets red as a monkey’s bum.

In restaurants people get these really worried looks on their faces like I’m going to keel over in front of them. They’ll get up and start patting me on the back – patting harder and harder until they’re knocking what minuscule air I have left out of me. It does no good since the coughing must follow its full five minute course, and not a second less.

Sometimes I’ll get up and go to the bathroom to finish out the gagging in there, but this is not so good. There are smells in there – that I feel like I’m gulping odor molecules down as I try to catch my breath.

Today I choked at work on some pepper I mistakenly put on my collard greens, and while someone was talking to me I started to sputter. I tried to force myself not to cough, and it worked for a few seconds, until my coworker said, “Are you okay, your face is getting red.”

I couldn’t answer because it took all my strength and concentration to stifle the cough. To no avail, though. It started, and my coworker got upset because he thought I was dying, until my other coworker said, “She’s okay, she must have eaten some pepper.” I got up from my chair and headed for the bathroom. I heard him holler after me, “Are you going to be okay? Should I call a doctor?”

My other coworker piped up and said, “Hey, yeah, call Dr. Pepper.” They laughed, and I went in the bathroom and nearly fell over – they have GOT to get that fan fixed – and five minutes later returned.

“Hey, did you see Dr. Pepper when you were in there?” They giggled – I could tell they’d been sitting there making up Dr. Pepper jokes, so I decided to join in.

“No,” I said, “but I sure could use a pepper-mint. Anyone got one?  And your jokes are so corny – no, even worse than that, they’re pepper-corny.”

Pepper brings the clever out in me, I guess.

The Dieter’s Song Accolades

I’m a little shy about marketing myself. Members of my writing group and a couple of my friends know I write this blog, but I’m not emailing people and pestering them to read my new posts.

But I did send “The Dieter’s Song” to my writer’s group and some of my friends who I thought would commiserate with it. The response has been great! Debz says, “As I sit here my stomach still churning from the Tempeh and veggies I had for dinner, I think this little ditty was the best antacid anyone could offer! Suzanne…you are a genius!”

I am going to take that as a compliment.

Sunny said, “Sweetheart you are hysterically funny!!!  Loved it and shared it!”

And this from Gloria, “Oh Suzanne, this is so funny!

I mean: da da da da da da da friggin’ funny!”

Kelli says, “Love! Love it so much Suz. Very cute and cleaver:)” I especially like that Kelli thinks I’m cleaver – which is a new word defined as a clever person with cleavage.

And finally from Donna, “Unbelievable…and to think you’re hiding behind a solar panel…somehow you MUST write more!!!  :} thanks for the laugh today. I’ve been working my butt off with a slew of exercise tapes and have lost nothing. Now I can at least laugh when I get on the scale tomorrow.  :}”

There are a couple of things about Donna’s comment I want to address. (1) by “hiding behind a solar panel” she means that I have not been writing as much because I’m working such long hours managing a solar company.

(2) I am not at all sure what those brackets Donna is using mean. They don’t look like smiley faces. They’re actually a little unnerving – like something that could sneak up on you in the night. Something sinister with evil intent. Some kind of heathen thing. (Heathen is a great word – I saw it on a rerun of the Big Bang Theory tonight and decided, “I’m going to get that word in my blog post tonight somehow or the other.” And sure enough, I managed to do just that. It is so satisfying to achieve a goal.)

Because of the great response, I am elated and feel quite bold and I’ve decided, just for today, to be shamelessly self-promoting. This urge may not hit very often, so take advantage of it now! Feel free to refer me to your friends and have them send flattering comments as well. This is a limited time offer – don’t let this opportunity slip away. Get your comment in TODAY!

The Dieter’s Song

If you are like me, totally lacking in will power, then you’ve probably already fallen off the New Year’s Resolution Diet wagon.

I made up a song to help us both climb back on and ride that thing into the sunset – or at least until the end of January, which I think is a pretty good success rate for an impossible New Year’s Resolution.

This song is sung to the tune of the “59th Street Bridge Song” better known as “Feeling Groovy” by Simon and Garfunkle. If you’re not familiar with the song, here’s a link to listen (the commercial at the first is short): www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBQxG0Z72qM&feature=related

59th Attempted Diet Song

Slow down, you’re eatin’ too fast
You gotta make that salad last
Just pickin’ at the chicken bones
Lustin’ for more cause
I’m so hungry
Ba da da da da,da da friggin’ hungry.

Hello French toast
Whip cream flowin’
Can’t eat you – my belly’s growin’
Not one single bite for me
Do it do do do I’m so hungry
Ba da da da da,da da friggin’ hungry.

Got no cheese or booze,
No licorice or wheat
I’m starving and grumpy and feeling so weak
Let the morning scales drop all these pounds off of me…
Diet, I hate you,
I’m so hungry
Ba da da da da,da da friggin’ hungry.

Sing this tune when you’re tempted to gorge yourself. I hope it works better for you than it has for me…

Reading Heath Magazines Is Scarey Business

I was in a building permit office today waiting for a solar electric system plan review – which is strikingly similar to waiting for a jury to pronounce a sentence on you because you’re at the plan reviewer’s mercy, holding your breath that (s)he will accept the plans you’ve drawn and not ream you out with the words: “Looks like this is going to require engineering.” Because if (s)he says that, you’re immediately behind schedule by two+ weeks and your budget for the project will fly out the window like rays from the sun.

Since there is always a wait at these permit offices, they try to help you pass the hours with months’ old magazines. I picked up Shape magazine and within seconds found out I was at risk for glaucoma, skin cancer, and stroke – a victim of genetics.

Did you know that if you’re a woman who wears glasses, your risk of glaucoma rises – especially if it runs in your family (my risk came thanks to my grandfather who I affectionately called Pops).

Also if I wear sunscreen I’m more at risk for sunburn. Huh? According to the article, it’s because I may mistakenly think that I can stay out longer, or I’m not slathering on enough, or often enough, or maybe it’s because I got up on the wrong side of the bed. Scientists aren’t sure why.

I could have a stroke for any number of reasons, many of which I can’t do a thing about, such as having a parent whose had a stroke. Eating everything in sight also doesn’t help, apparently.

But  now I must digress from this intriguing health lament to let you all know, each and every one of you, that I just won $75 playing Bingo! I went out with a couple of girlfriends to Renner’s bar in Multnomah where they play Bingo on Wednesday nights. I went kicking and screaming – the place has been a little uncouth in the past with drunken bar maids slurring out the numbers and trying (unsuccessfully) to be stand-up comedians between calling numbers, but they have new management and it’s not as rowdy as before. Yes, there were a couple of comments about the Bingo “balls,” but it’s hard to blame the guy calling the numbers for that. It was quite fun, all the more so because of winning and the beer and the cinnamon whiskey and the Jello shots with whipped cream and loud music.

Whoo-wee! I must elaborate more tomorrow – right now the bed is calling so loud my ears are ringing.

Aging Gracelessly

As we age, our bodies go through changes. Some are good – like when I was pregnant and my hair got thick – and some are bad – like aches and pains and wrinkles.

But there’s one change I’ve recently encountered that is working out just fine. For some crazy, inexplicable reason, I no longer pass gas – I burp instead.

Please do not think I’m trying to be crude or indelicate. There are many people who emit gas but won’t admit it. I’m just relating the simple facts. I used to pass gas on a fairly consistent basis, i.e. whenever I was awake. I could even pass gas on demand, something I used in order to punctuate social interactions with my brother, such as:

My brother: “How do you like this shirt?”

Me: “Pffffffft.”

Or:

My brother: “What did you think of my speech?”

Me: “Pfffffff  ffffff   ffffff    fffff ffffft.”

As welcome as this communication tool was, it sometimes became a problem. Being gassy by nature was bad enough, but when I ate legumes (beans), which was every chance I got, it became nearly unbearable for my loved ones to be on the same street with me. I have emptied cars full of people when legume-propelled emissions erupted accidentally without warning, completely out of my control.

I’ll admit I enjoyed, to some extent, the leverage my gastrointestinal proclivities afforded me. Such as:

My brother: “I’m not moving.”

Me: “You better or I’ll fart.”

Recently, however, I have been burping, rather loudly, from the very depths of my internal areas. These things are audible from three rooms away, but they lack the persuasive qualities of gas. On the other hand, they don’t cause me nearly as much misery, especially after eating legumes, so I am not complaining. This is one thing Mother Nature got right.

Growing Old with Barbie

I was tutoring at the high school a few weeks ago and the kids were asking me to review their essays. One of the topics they could select to write about was “politically correct Barbie.”

The kids were saying things like: “I think Barbie is unnatural in today’s world. Nobody looks like that anymore.”

Back in the day we all looked like Barbie. All the girls had giant pointed objects on their chests, mostly made of foam rubber we called “falsies” or wads of toilet paper, but we all had the look. We were all skinny, too – I don’t know why. I ate like a horse, I guess literally  – because it was tons of mostly vegetables.

Today’s politically correct Barbie would have giant, rounded things on her chest revealed under tank tops layered over tank tops. She’d have long flat hair and wear clothes that didn’t match. She’d have on flip-flops even in the snow. And she’d have rolls of spare flesh bulging over her low-slung jeans like muffin tops. She’d also have a skin-tight top that showed her bra straps and maybe the bra itself.

And the older Barbie would have a V-shaped bottom with granny panty lines under polyester pants that did a lousy job of covering her cottage cheese thighs.

If you haven’t guessed, I am in a foul temper. I find that somehow I went from a bubbly 19 year old to a woman of a certain age, and I’m mad as hell about it. This was NOT supposed to happen to me. I told myself in my teens and twenties that I would refuse to grow old. I would be Peter Pan. “The only reason people age,” I said to myself, “is because they quit exercising and give up the fight, and that’s not going to happen to me.”

Please indulge me. This is me talking to me.

“Listen up. All you need to do is lose that 10 extra pounds and you’ll feel like a girl again.”

“You’ve said that before.”

“And it’s always been true. You have to promise to lose the weight and get the spring back in your step.”

“But I’m too tired.”

“Shut up that incessant whining. Just DO it!”

Okay, to shut this inner voice up, here is my pledge. I will drop 2.5 pounds a week for the next 4 weeks, starting today. Then my clothes will fit and I’ll regain my energy and I’ll start looking like the old Barbie, except I’ll still have to use toilet paper for my chest to resemble hers.

I’ll let you know how it’s going, and I apologize for the crabby blog. Even we humorists need to take a vacation on occasion. Oh, and I got a fortune cookie today that said, “You are a bee-och.” Just kidding, I just love the way that sounds. It really said, “You are covered in cottage cheese and will soon meet a nice pineapple.” Just kidding again. It really said, “You have a keen sense of humor and like to have a good time.” That is so true, except today. Today I’m an old hag carrying globular fat around my waist and saddlebags on my thighs who can barely get off this chair to drag myself to bed. But tomorrow, as I start inching my way back toward Barbie, I will be in a much better humor. I can’t wait!

Page 1 of 3

Copyright © 2019 by Suzanne Olsen