Archives for: June 2008
I don't mind pulling weeds in my vegetable garden. When I pull weeds I tend to look more closely at my plants and see how they are growing. There is something about being close to the earth that I love.
Some weeds I leave in place because I eat them. Purslane and dandelion are two weeds I have been eating this year.
Purslane is a Warrior Superfood, it is really a lovely vegetable to eat, crunchy and slightly sweet it is a nice addition to salads. I will leave some purslane to go to seed so next year I have more of this tasty vegetable.
Not all weeds are useful some need to be pulled out so that other things can grow. Weeds take water and nutrients from the soil so that the plants nearby won't grow properly. So pulling them is essential to the health of the other plants in the garden.
For me weeds are also symbolic because they suggest things in our lives that need to be removed so that other things can grow and flourish.
My life has been unusually busy in the last few weeks. Between work and managing my home I have not had a free moment. So today, Father's Day, while my Cerebral Gatherer O husand watches golf (boring), I have a chance to write a blog.
I work both days and nights as a nurse in a small local hospital. As an institution known for its excellent cardiac interventionalists we tend to see the more complicated patient.
Because I float from unit to unit, my job as a nurse varies. Like a subsitute teacher I fill in where I'm needed. One of the units I work in is called Operative and Invasive; it is where all the post Cardiac Catherization patients recover.
A cardiac catherization examines the internal heart pressures, valves, and blood vessels that feed the actual heart muscle. A Cardiac Interventionalist passes a catether into the femoral artery and up into the heart. A dye is then injected to permit the doctor to visualize the blood vessels of the heart. A clog in one of these tiny blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Like high class plumbers the Cardiac Interventionalists can insert a Stent, a straw like device, into the tiny vessels to improve blood flow.
Sometimes the vessels can not be stented and the patient requires surgery, or is treated with drugs. This past week I had a few tragic cases; middle aged men with disease not easily cured with stents.
One 50 year old man with cardiomypathy, basically a dying heart muscle, was my patient post procedure. Except for medication or a heart transplant the doctors can do nothing to fix his heart. He was unhappy and hungry.
No one eats on the day of the procedure so once they return from the test they are quite hungry. I am always intriqued by what they ask for to eat.
I took out the hospital menu and began to read it to him. The first items on the menu are salads.
"No" he said "I don't eat any salad, or vegetables for that matter."
"How about soup?" I said.
"Chicken, fish, meatloaf?" I continued to read from the menu, "Pizza?"
"That's what I'll have," he exclaimed. "I'll have two cheese pizzas, and a diet Coke."
I don't feel surprised by his choice. I feel sad. Sad that people don't understand food and how it nourishes our bodies and sad that this man is eating so poorly.
Sarah, a nurse I have known for over 18 years, is 300lbs, blood type B, early 30's, with diabetes. I saw her in the Endoscopy unit as a patient. She revealed to me that she was going for Lap Band surgery sometime in the next month, an Upper Endoscopy was required prior to her surgery.
She has done all the diets - Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and self control, nothing has worked. Unwilling to try one more diet, Lap Band surgery offers an easy alternative to changing her weight without much fuss. I guess starving yourself appeals to some people.
Once again I feel sad when she tells me this. I wish I could convince her that lectins matter. That her longterm health depends on her food choices and it is not only about the excess weight. I feel helpless to convince her, and I let it go.
John was admitted to the emergency room due to chest pain, he was 300+ lbs and 80 years old, he could barely walk and had breathing problems from his weight. His legs were mottled from poor circulation and his abdomen had grown so large it made it diffucult to use the urinal.
The nurses aide wheeled him up on the stretcher that was too small for his bulky frame to a regular size bed. When he arrived as my patient at 2am he was very cranky. He had been waiting on the stretcher for over 5 hours with the promise of being moved to a regular full sized bed. He was made to lie on the stretcher flat on his back because he had had a Cardiac Catheterization and the potential for arterial bleeding remains high for 4- 6 hours after the procedure.
I like to ask people unexpected questions. One of my teachers in college used to say that people will never answer a question unless they want to. We all know those people, the ones you ask a direct question of but never get a direct answer, they always seem to wiggle out of giving an answer. I have no shame in asking questions of my patients.
I was curious about John and how he had gotten to this size. So I asked him, "John, how did you get so heavy?" He described to me how he got his meals. "You see I can drive but I can't walk so well, so I go through the drive thru and pick up all my meals from fastfood places." I then told him that his weight would kill him if he didn't change his life. "I know," he replied, "but I can't walk enough to go through the supermarket."
I work in an industry that does not believe that food can cause disease, much less, cure it. Like a foreigner I speak a language that many people don't understand. I talk about foods, leg lengths, fingerprints, lectins, blood types and their effects on our bodies health. I see the faces of people glaze over. They in turn tell me about nutrisystems, herbalife or some fad diet they are doing and I glaze over.
A "Sitter" is what I would call my husband's father.
My father-in-law Jack (BT B ) retired at the age of 55 from the NYC Fire Department. In the short time he was a fireman he witnessed a great deal of trauma this took its tole on him mentally and physically. Retiring at such a young age left Jack with lots of time for all sorts of projects around his home. One of his projects was the rather large porch he built on the back of his house. The back porch accomodated a large round table and more then enough seating for guests.
This became a meeting place for all sorts of people. You didn't have to clean the house to sit on the porch, and you didn't have to get dressed up. All you needed to offer was a cup of tea and a few crackers or cookies and you had a party. Morning, noon or night you could find Jack sitting on the porch talking to someone sipping tea.
I was a regular visitor to the back porch during my years in college. I enjoyed sitting with Jack talking about the news or weather. I drank my fair share of his black tea with milk and sugar, and certainly ate enough crackers. My family was always in a rush, so this concept was new to me. Sitting around the table and just enjoying the company of those in your midst, is very pleasant.
Almost every night my husband and I are the last ones left at the dinner table, we spend this time making lists, or just hashing over the days events. We have become "Sitters" just like my father-in-law, Jack. I think the main reason my husband bought the house we currently live in is because of the large screened porch on the back, for sitting.
Recently during one of our "sits" after dinner. We started talking about the gender of food, in relation to the blood type lifestyle.
I wondered if you took a poll of vegetarians would a large percentage be women?
Do people of certain genders prefer certain foods? Is meat manly? Is soy feminine?
Who cooks on the barbecue at your house? Meat and beer are more manly foods. (Grunt)
One of our friends showed some interest in the blood type lifestyle, he is a manly BT A. How will he accept a mostly plant based diet? I'll bet more then a few male A's have stumbled over this concept. I suspect that my friend will discount the whole idea of the blood type lifestyle based on the lack of beef for his blood type. He is young and has not encountered any of the health struggles that come with his BT heritage. So he has time to warm to the idea, if he ever does.
I've come to realize the acceptance of the Blood Type lifestyle is more complex then it may seem on the surface. Changing what you eat is one thing, changing your food culture is entirely different. I mean, tailgating and tempeh just don't seem to go together.
Steak eating Hunter women? Tofu eating male Warriors? Is something wrong with this picture? After all, real men don't eat quiche, or do they?