Our Strong Son is just back from a medical mission trip to a Central American country. We had dinner with him this week and got to see his pictures and hear his tales. He was one of a team of 11 that included family practice doctors, a radiologist, a pediatrician, a local doctor, several nurses and several translators. SS was the physical therapist.
He worked in a mountainous region near the coast. The team did clinics in four farming villages and two fishing villages. He loved the culture, loved the people, and loved the food. The pictures he showed us were incredible. It is a beautiful country.
His description of locally available health care was interesting. Officially, everyone in the country has full health care coverage. It is a single payer system, and on paper it looks fabulous. So why was a team of American volunteers going there on a medical mission trip?
There are no doctors in any of the villages in the area where they worked. The nearest doctor is an hour away; the nearest hospital is 2 hours away. The people are poor and many do not have transportation. If they get to a doctor and need to see a specialist, an appointment is made in the capitol city. The wait for an appointment is about six months. Often when they made their way from their village to the doctor’s office in the capitol, they were told, “We’re sorry, your appointment has been cancelled. We have another opening in six months.”
Women and children can get this limited medical care, but working aged men cannot get a doctor’s appointment at all. If they are injured on the job and can get to the hospital, 2 hours away, they must go to the emergency room. There is no follow up care for young and middle aged men. The men who survive to senior adult status, can get the same type care as women and children.
This is why volunteer doctors from the United States team up with local pastors and missionaries to do medical clinics in rural areas in this country. SS said that there is a private medical care system that operates side by side with the government system. All of the wealthy people in the cities go to the private doctors where they get immediate care.
Our son saw patients with back, shoulder, knee, hip and ankle injuries. He evaluated the patients and gave them exercise sheets in their native language to show them how to do exercises that would improve their condition. The pastors promised to follow up on some needs that went beyond exercise. For instance SS saw a child whose legs were different lengths. Because of that she walked on her toes on the shorter leg. That put strain on her hips and back. Her problem would be easily solved with a shoe that was built up on the bottom.
The local diet sounded like the Type O diet. The people eat lots of fish with rice. They eat a good variety of vegetables with delicious seasonings. They have plenty of fruit. They get meat sometimes instead of fish. Local women prepared the food that the team ate.
SS told one interesting story of the unintended consequences of government policy. There was very little crime in the farming villages. The people were happy and the team felt safe. However, some time ago the government needed to raise revenue. They hired commercial fisherman to take in a huge catch of fish for export. Virtually all of the fish near the two villages where the team worked were caught. There were no more fish for the local fishermen to catch for their families or to sell for cash. Poverty increased. The drug lords saw an opportunity and moved into these villages. I’m sure the bureaucrats in the capitol never imagined what the end result would be of their money raising scheme.
Our son is back at work now. He gets a sense of fulfilment helping people at his clinic in Texas. He plans to save his money and his vacation days so he can do another medical mission trip soon.
Commercials for computer backup services always remind people that sooner or later they will have a hard drive crash. It’s been more than a decade since we went through a computer crash, but a week before Thanksgiving, the signs were unmistakable. The lifespan for our desktop computer was short. We wanted another Windows 7 computer, so we ordered online. Always thorough about backups, we became obsessive as we waited for the new computer to arrive.
If there is a BTD connection to my computer problems it is this - I protect my physical health by consistently maximizing beneficials, avoiding avoids and exercising daily. So when a “crash” comes my body is as well prepared to handle it as possible. A “crash” might be a virus, a physical injury, or a bacterial infection. Always be prepared, and during cold and flu season, it’s ok to be a little obsessive.
The computer arrived the same day our kids arrived for Thanksgiving. So for a few more days we limped along with a computer that took longer and longer to boot. After the holiday we began to move into the new computer - a process that is finally complete. That’s not a good excuse for neglecting my blog, but it’s the only excuse I have!
We had planned to have our big family dinner on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This was our wedding anniversary. I fixed red snapper almandine - what we ate at our rehearsal dinner 38 years ago. With the fish, we had a relish tray, fresh green beans, sweet potato puffs, and rice. All of the dishes and serving pieces were wedding gifts.
However, we got a call from DD about mid afternoon. They had been in an auto accident as they traveled to our house. All three of them were fine, but their car was not drivable. By the time they had the car towed to a body shop, rented a car and finished the drive, it was 10:00.
We didn’t get to all have dinner together, but I’m thankful to God that everyone was safe.
Thanksgiving morning our neighborhood had a 5K Turkey Trot. SS, DD, and I ran. My two kids were first and second place. I finished respectably in the middle of the pack. HH bought Baby Cakes to the finish line in his stroller, so we were greeted with precious smiles as we completed the race.
I’m thankful that my children are all living healthy, active lives.
Because SIL does not like celery, and there would only be 5 of us eating dinner on Thanksgiving Day, DD and I decided to cook a turkey breast with millet. We had two big pans of roasted vegetables on the side. While it wasn’t a traditional meal, it suited us just fine. BC had his vegetables pureed!
The Pilgrims thanked God for His protection over their little colony at the First Thanksgiving. We thanked God for His protection over our country this year. Ebola has been contained; protests did not become widespread riots; terrorism has been thwarted. I take none of that for granted.
It was DD’s turn for a recipe in the Picky Eater Challenge. It was almost too easy!
She cooked a Butterball turkey roast in the crock pot for 8 hours on low.
The turkey was tender, juicy, and delicious.
I have a recipe for turkey leftovers that I prepared the day after Thanksgiving. I’ll post it next time. It will be equally good for Christmas Turkey leftovers.
First of all, the Picky Eater Recipe Challenge is still on. It’s my turn and I have taste tested my recipe, but DD is a week behind, so we took a week off.
In September I mentioned that I had been to the doctor for two symptoms that I hoped were unrelated. I wrote a blog about my abdominal pain and how it had been resolved by making myself spend less time sitting at the computer.
The other symptom was a little bit of spotting. My doctor sent me for a sonogram, suspicious that my uterine wall was thickening. The sonogram showed everything was fine. However the sonogram showed something else that both the technician and the radiologist identified it as a fibroid. I thought that was good, because fibroids are almost never cancerous. After menopause they don’t give any trouble.
My doctor’s assistant wanted me to have an MRI. “Why,” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she said. “To be sure of what?” I asked. “Just to be sure,” she repeated. This was getting nowhere, so I asked her to send me a copy of the sonogram report.
When the report arrived it seemed pretty clear. My uterine wall measured normal, and they found a fibroid. But at the end it said, “MRI can be performed to find out if clinically warranted.”
I had not had any further spotting in several months, and I decided not to have the MRI.
I believe that doctors today over test. (Just to be clear, this is my personal, non-professional opinion. I have no idea what Dr. D thinks.) It is wonderful that medicine has advanced far beyond simple x-rays. Far better to get a good image of what is going on inside than to have exploratory surgery. But I have heard too many stories from friends who work in the medical profession. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor wants to live a more lavish lifestyle. Many times tests are ordered because the doctor or clinic is afraid of lawsuits.
One friend who works in a medical office joked that she spent a Saturday at a seminar on how to increase profits. She was taught how to nudge patients toward additional procedures that they didn’t need which would increase the clinic’s billing.
DD had to find a new dentist after she graduated. At her first appointment they told her they were going to do 16 x-rays. She said, “No. I just want my teeth cleaned.” They told her that if she didn’t have the x-rays they wouldn’t clean her teeth. She walked out of the office. It turns out that her dental insurance pays next to nothing for teeth cleaning, but it reimburses for x-rays. The doctor makes his income from unnecessary x-rays.
One year I was called back for two unnecessary mammograms because the clinic had bought new digital imaging equipment. I wasn’t supposed to know that, but one of the technicians let it slip.
On the other side, we have a friend who works in a hospital emergency room. It frustrates him that even when he knows what is wrong with a patient, the hospital requires tests for related symptoms - sometimes as many as ten tests. The hospital has learned from hard experience that a patient may come into the emergency room for one problem and leave with that problem with resolved. However, if a few months later they develop another problem, particularly if it is life threatening, they will sue the hospital for missing the second problem.
My father needed surgery for skin cancer when he was 90. It was outpatient surgery, but the dermatologist planned to use general anesthesia. No one wanted the responsibility for approving the procedure, so for weeks he was sent from one doctor to another for one test after another. All of the tests came out normal, but he never did have the surgery.
All of that played into my decision to decline the MRI. However, when I got my flu shot, I learned that I was over my deductible. I realized that if I had the MRI before the end of the year, it would be fully paid for by insurance. If I waited and started spotting again, I would have to start over again on my deductible. I had the test...and got the results this week.
Everything is normal. It’s the week before Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for the good results and thankful for the closure. But I still think doctors prescribe too many medical tests.
There has been a lot in the news about how today’s children do not want to eat healthy food. When Michelle Obama tried to mandate healthy meals in schools, the children (even improvised children on government programs) responded by throwing the food in the trash.
DD plans to breastfeed BC until he is one year old. She began introducing him to rice cereal, vegetables and fruit when he was 5 months old. She is making most of his baby food. As she has researched, she has turned up some interesting anecdotal evidence about how what babies eat impacts how picky they may be as children.
When babies are formula fed, all of their meals taste exactly the same. Parents mix the powder with water, and it is consistent, exactly the same every time. Breast milk is different. The flavor changes slightly depending on what Mom ate the day before. Sometimes it’s a little spicier, sometimes a little sweeter.
What mothers report is that formula fed babies are often less receptive to new tastes. They are more likely to resist eating solid food. As children they tend to find a few foods they like, and resist trying new things. They get labeled as picky eaters.
Mothers who breastfeed report that their children are curious about new tastes, and more likely to eat a variety of food. BC figured out how to open a zip lock bag of lettuce the other day. DD heard him say “mmmmmm” as he tasted the lettuce. He found the taste interesting - however DD had to quickly get a piece of lettuce out of his mouth because he doesn’t have teeth to chew it yet.
DD also read that it is fine to use spices in baby food. She has put cinnamon, ginger, currie, cumin, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, in BC's food. She also uses ghee and olive oil.
She is not using chili powder or pepper, because they are Type A avoids. She is not using onion or salt because they are not recommended for baby food. Rosemary, cilantro and other spices that come in bigger pieces she is postponing until he is ready for chunkier food. BC liked garlic, but every time DD mixed garlic powder in his food she said he, “reeked for the rest of the day.” So for now, she’s not giving him garlic.
So far BC likes the variety. Sometimes when she gives him a plain vegetable, he will eat half of a serving and then turn his head away. If she adds a little spice, he will start eating again. She changes things up for each meal, not wanting him to always associate a food with a certain flavor.
It would be hard to do a double blind study on this theory, because it would involve some children eating bland food as babies and perhaps growing up to be picky eaters. But I will keep you updated on this one particular baby as he grows into his toddler years.
It was DD's turn to pick a recipe in the Picky Eater Challenge. She sent this link for Quinoa Stuffing
I was out of quinoa, so I went to the Health Food Store on Friday. They had three brands of quinoa - all three were more than $7 a pound.
$7 a Pound!!!!
I've bought quinoa for years, and it's never been that expensive. What has happened? Was there a quinoa crop failure? Is inflation heating up? I walked out of the store without quinoa.
When I got home I went online. Amazon's quinoa was $10 - $13 a pound. Good grief! Several other companies where I shop appeared to have less expensive quinoa, until I noticed the packages were 12 ounces - clever marketing tactic, but I wasn't fooled.
Eventually I found quinoa for $5.66 on Vitacost. I ordered four bags.
I was excited about trying DD's recipe, and I didn't want to wait for the quinoa to arrive. I had millet in the pantry, so I substituted that.
I did not add any salt, and I didn't put in pine nuts. Other than that, I made it just like the recipe.
I didn't want to stuff a chicken or turkey just for my Honorable Husband and myself. So I cooked ground turkey and put it on top of the stuffing. Sort of like a layered casserole.
I'm from Texas, and in the South, when we say "stuffing" it is mostly bread, with a few vegetables for flavor. This was mostly vegetables and fruit with enough grain to give it substance.
The combination of onions, celery and apple gave it a sweet and tangy taste. Sort of like a sweet and sour sauce - but the cumin kept it from being remotely Asian. It was a unique flavor.
HH was watching a football game, so I was in another room reading. He came to find me, holding his empty bowl, and said "That was really good."
DD you picked a winner!