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?
To my Beloved, my mother, father, sisters, brothers, lovers and friends,
I have known you for many years we are connected by birth or love. I have things I want to tell you but we never seem to get to them. I have seen how you watch self help on TV or read self help books. You sometimes share what you have learned from these things, with me. I have listened to you tell me about your latest diet or life change you are making, I have kept silent, I have been patient, waiting for you to ask me about myself and why I live the way I do.
You have seen the changes in me in my face, in my hips in the way I deal with stress. Yet you never ask me what it is that has caused me to make these changes.
We share a common heritage our humanity yet we are different.
We each have our own set of ideas about the world but if we are confronted with the truth are we willing to change? What if those ideas are different then our old belief systems? Are we willing to adjust ourselves to a new set of ideas to really change? I have no hidden agenda.
I want to share my secrets with you. I want to enter my old age with you by my side. I want you to know the things I know so you and I can live happily ever after. Does it sound like a fairy tale? Maybe it is, or maybe you and I could make it a reality.
Have you read Eat Right for Your Type, or Live Right for Your Type? I mean really read it and tested it. I'll bet if Oprah had it on her show you might take a look. Oprah has a hidden agenda, Dr. Oz. I have none.
I remember when we thought mom was dying and we stood beside her bed in the CCU you asked her "Is there anything you would like to tell us?" Hoping for some sort of loving words. I know exactly what I would say to you if you posed the same question of me, I would ask you to try for 3 months the ER way of life. I know in that short period of time you would never want to return to your old eating habits. I know you would lose the weight that you have been struggling with, I know your cholesterol would come down, your digestion would improve, your energy level would increase and your allergies would diminish. How do I know these things? Because I have lived them, I have been down the road you are now traveling.
I will always love you for our bond is stronger then a few words. I am here waiting for the day when you decide that you want me to tell you. I know that day may never come, but like the groom that waits for his bride, I will be ready.
I love you, Andrea
My BTD class is going well. I have two men in my class and am hoping for a third, but he has not shown up yet.
Jack, is 76 years old and struggling with weight and health issues. He is BT O and
what a surprise he has been. Initially he told me he would come for a few weeks to just see what I had to say, and was not sure if he would actually do anything. The first week I gave him the list of O foods (which my mentor LarryC recommended) but, I didn't talk about the lists much. I just figured it was good for him to see what he was stepping into. To my pleasure and surprise he arrived the next week, proclaiming that he had stopped drinking coffee. He told me he had been drinking a pot or two a day. Needless to say his friends were amazed, because his coffee habit is legendary. He had even purchased himself a counter top tea pot to make a quick cup of tea. He also had his book in hand and recitied along with me "Highly Benefcial acts like medicine, Neutral acts like food, Avoid is posion"
Jack is retired and single both have there advantages. He does all his own shopping and cooking and can run his kitchen any way he likes. In addition he has been able to take his time in the supermarket and read labels carefully. After taking the bread he had and throwing it away, (which was another amazing thing he did) he noticed rye on his list. He thought,"Gee,"I'll just pick up some pumpernickel bread, that is made with rye, so I should be able to eat it" he was very surprised to find that true pumpernickel bread does not exist. It is loaded with carmel colors and wheat, so he didn't buy any. He did find something that was 100% rye, but it did not resemble traditional bread.
Mac also a BT O is young and single, his goal is to join the military and have them pay for law school. He too cooks just for himself. He has spent his life struggling with his weight and bouncing between diets. Finally he lost a great deal of weight with Herbalife. Then realized that he can't live on the stuff forever so was looking for a new way to keep the weight off. I spent some time last week with him individually going over the list of foods. He told me that 90% of the food he eats is on the avoid side of the page. He described a cereal made from cornstartch and milk that is a staple of his diet plus the gallon of milk a day he drinks, that is one bad blood transfusion. He too has made great progress in chosing foods from his HB and neutral lists. He has even begun to do some cooking for himself.
I am very excited about my two guys. I can't wait to see what this week brings.
Names have been changed.
I like to listen to NPR radio. They often have little stories that are compelling in nature.
Just this morning the show included a blurb about militiary mothers and the diffuculties they face with long deployments overseas away from their children. They keep in touch with videos, letters and phone calls but the distance still takes its toll on the memory of the child.
The military mothers shared tips on things that have helped them stay in touch with their children. One tip I really liked was the use of scent with perfume or soap. By wearing the scent while they are home with the child they create a strong memory for the child of the mother. Scent is the strongest of the memory triggers. So while they are away the child can relive the memories of the mothers love with a whiff of scent. It comforts both the child and the mother.
I have two great kids.
My oldest daughter is 19 and recently graduated from community college with a 4.0. She received a merit scholarship to CW Post College for $14,000 where she will be studying acconting. An intense profession but one I think she will be well suited for. She is 5'2", only 95 lbs, BT A and a Geno Type Teacher. She has always enjoyed her BT foods and now eats as much as possible by her Geno Type. She is creative in the kitchen given her food choices and will mix unexpected flavors to come up with a unique taste. I will often find her sitting at the kitchen counter savoring some such thing she has made. A big smile on her face. I know that she feels better when she eats well. She loves food in context with the Blood type/Geno Type lifestyle.
My son is 15 blood type O and I believe a Gatherer, he is tall and muscular. He is passionate about skateboarding and cooking TV shows. He will spend hours working on skateboarding tricks till he perfects them. He is my biggest food critic. No matter what I make he has some comment about how to make it better. I often ask him for advice on how to cook a piece of meat. When he doesn't feel well or is paricularly tired he will always ask for meat. He too like my daughter loves his Blood Type food.
I am so glad that I have been able to comunicate a love of the Blood type lifestyle to my children.
Their happiness is my joy.