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June Newsletter 2022

"When it feels to you as if someone is pushing your button, realize that you are the one with great big button waiting to be pushed. If you don't put it out there, no one will push it." Abraham

Ticks, Bah Humbug! It's tick season here in Colorado. Oh joy. Already I have taken ticks out of myself (3) and my dogs (3). (I dare you to try taking a tick out of a Chihuahua's tummy. . .) My ticks rendezvoused on my left buttocks, my right side above my waist and my right hairline. Ticks are surprisingly tiny. They cling and hang out in the grass and shrubs just waiting to pounce as you brush past them. Altitude doesn't erase the possibility of tick bites, where they can live in elevations of up to 10,000 feet. (I live at 8,000 ft.)

Always check yourself after being in tick country and if you find one, use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your body and its head (embedded in you) as you can. It's important to take the ticks out ASAP. Pull the tick straight out and pay attention to what you are doing, because you do NOT want the head left in your skin, as the last thing you need is a serious tick-borne illness. I flush the tick down the toilet, but it is recommended that you drop them in alcohol which will kill them first. Scrub the bite place well with soap and water and then maybe a coating of Neosporin.

"If we think and feel we are born to suffer, struggle and succumb, then we can change our thinking and feelings. We can replace them with divine feelings of balance and contentment and we would be feeling what has been there all along. Once we find the [good] feelings we can hang on to them, then we change. We become more balanced. That is truly channeling one's own perfectly balanced soul. Once that happens, there is no need to fight or be angry about anything. Such negative feelings fall away and possibly so does our negative DNA." Shirley MacLaine, in the book Sage-ing while Age-ing.

Thank God for antibiotics! Surprised I am saying that, huh? You will see why after I tell you my story: I was working last week and having a great time as usual with my patients when I noticed my right knee was hurting. It came out of nowhere, I had not had a fall, a twist or a bump. Nothing. By the time I got home, it was so painful I could hardly put weight on it. I was walking like a gimp and even a feather-like touch on my patella was excruciating.

I woke up in pain the next morning and started googling like crazy. Even with my education and constantly differentially diagnosing my patients for 35 years, I could not figure out what it was. I thought maybe it was a strange kind of Deep Vein Thrombosis which scared me. It was swelling and slightly red at this point. Luckily I got an appointment that morning with my PCP at Kaiser and she diagnosed me with - TADA! - Cellulitis, a subcutaneous inflammation of connective tissue, usually from staph or strep. I never even came close to that diagnosis by myself. She prescribed antibiotics, as untreated cellulitis is not to be toyed with (sepsis, amputation, death etc.) And now, after only 4 doses of Keflex, my knee is almost normal looking (rather than like a big red apple plonked on my mid-leg.) Moral to this story: Do not hesitate to take antibiotics if you NEED THEM.

Cataract Surgery and Dementia: The study: A decades long observational memory study involving 3,038 men and women who were 65 and older and free of dementia at the start of their diagnosis of cataracts. Here is what happened: 1,382 of the participants had the surgery and the rest did not. End result: There was a 29% lower risk of developing dementia with the participants who had cataract surgery and this persisted for at least a decade after the surgery. So, if your ophthalmologist says you need cataract surgery and you are hesitating? Don't. (Univ Washington School of Medicine 12/6/21)

"You cannot get through a single day without having an imprint on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." Jane Goodall.

It's hot out, folks. Are you drinking enough water? I am well aware of how I belabor this point with you, and here I go again. First of all, the older we get, the less thirsty we become, or at least we aren't aware of being thirsty. For some reason unknown to me, our thirst mechanisms become faulty (like everything else in an aging body, I suppose). But here are a few cues to let yourself know you should be drinking some water, like right now: Your breath smells, your mouth is dry, you have muscle spasms or cramps particularly exercising in the heat, you have a headache and dark urine. And more: You feel flu-ey even though it's summer and the flu bugs are usually taking a break, you are hungry and can't seem to fill up, and you are tired for no reason. If you are thirsty and know it, you are usually moderately dehydrated.

Since our bodies are made of 70% water, doesn't it make sense to you that we need to keep filling that tank? The only way I can keep up with my quota is to have two quart-sized containers and make sure they are empty by the end of the day, hopefully by 7PM so I am not running to the bathroom all night. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces, so at 104 lbs, I should be drinking 52 ounces per day so 2 quarts at 64 ounces is plenty. I usually do more than that, too.

A lot of you tell me, "I TRY to drink half my water weight in ounces, Dr. Bea." Well, "TRY" is not good enough. In fact, even though the word "try" implies "an attempt to succeed," the subtext of the word is "I EXPECT to fail." Or you will tell me and/or yourself "I try really hard to drink the water. . . " when you are actually saying to me and yourself "No way am I going to drink that amount of water. It's too hard and I DON'T WANT TO."

As for COVID: I do a lot of research and have come to the conclusion that no one really knows anything, even the so-called experts. I am still cautious and I wear a mask in any situation where there are people involved, like grocery shopping, dining out, Costco. I have not travelled on a plane yet and have no plans to do so. I entertain and am entertained by friends in their homes without a mask and my office is still antiseptically cared for. I personally don't wear a mask unless you want me to.

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