Got Gout?

I do

You know, I’ve long since made peace with my being old school, but this one… I find hard to accept. I’m experiencing something normally reserved for people easily twice my age. My consolation? It runs in the family. Uric acid, the culprit. Beans, peas, mushrooms, shellfish, shrimps – all of which I rarely eat, but still…

That day I spent in Manila Ocean Park, I was already partly limping. I woke up to an out-of-nowhere familiar pain – kind of like a sprain – that which I’ve had countless of, in my left big toe. I tried hard and wide to remember something I might have done to cause the injury. Nothing. Maybe in my sleep?

Funny just how the day before Ocean Park, I saw an old batchmate and asked him why he wasn’t able to go to our recently-held high school reunion. “Gout,” says he, whilst pointing to his left foot.

Which is exactly the reason why I Googled “gout.” Oh my God. I need not even read the articles, the illustrations themselves were enough for me to make an idiot’s diagnosis.

Colchicine, Celebrex, and a thrice-a-day dip-my-foot-in-icy-water. Alcohol intake should at least be reduced. I’m not guilty of indulging in foods which are high in uric acid but I’ll take it – because I’m guilty of so much more. For me this is a wake up call. I don’t eat right and healthy, which I should. I don’t exercise, which I should. Oh well. Nail in the coffin: “Do something, you’re so laid back.” – Mom

Beer and betsin

Monosodium glutamate

I just heard a couple of urban legends and a conspiracy theory. Apparently, Monosodium glutamate, more commonly known as “betsin” can spike up your avegage beer. When mixed with beer, it will get you drunk faster. This technique is used by heartless bartenders who have no means of ending your never-ending blabber other than making you pass out.

Now let me share this conspiracy – which is funny, weird and stupid all at the same time. In this bar-that-I-will-not-name, the manager (a foreigner), who is loathed by all staff members, was hospitalized due to some betsining. The staff members (waitresses, bar tenders) who are sick of his cruelty, allegedly added betsin to his beer on a nightly basis – so that he’d be too drunk to be cruel and just go home early. Sources say that the “issue” is being investigated, then I later found out that this was all part of a bigger conspiracy – that of taking over ownership of the bar-that-I-will-not-name.

Disclaimer

I have no supporting evidence whatsoever of how adding monosodium glutamate to beer affects you. Do not try this at home. And, the conspiracy, although really narrated to me with utmost intensity, is nothing but a theory.

Marlboro 5×4

Check out the latest marketing gimmick of Marlboro. A pack of five sticks. It is called 5×4 because they are sold like those one-use shampoo sachets and each “line” consists of 4 small packs like the one in the picture. I bought this for Php 7.50 in my suking tindahan so a regular pack’s equivalent would amount to Php 30. Are they trying to make “tinge” extinct?

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Marlboro Lights Menthol 10’s

Marlboro Lights Menthol, my brand of choice, better known as the prostitute’s cigarette – for an indiscussible reason, is now offered in packs of 10’s (actually I first saw one about a month ago). Just like Marlboro Lights, just like Marlboro regular (reds). Pricing, as I have observed, is set such that 2 packs of 10’s (20 sticks) is .50 more than a regular soft-pack. So if your regular suking tindahan sells the soft-pack for Php 31, expect your 10’s to sell for Php 15.75. Now what the hell am I gonna do with a 10-pack? I guess it’s good enough for on-the-go smoking needs, and for wuss smokers.

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Curing Alopecia

Alopecia is the more discreet way of describing hair loss. In my case, a young adult with an obvious thick mound of hair at least 18 inches long, there is another term – Alopecia Areata, which for me is better than saying I have a bald spot.

I have had four actually; the first time I probably almost cried from bewilderment. Good thing is that it’s a common thing, for us uncommon folk at least. It was as big as a five-peso coin at the top of my head. The familiar tales that you’d get when you start talking about it are: it will grow back for sure & it’s caused by stress. Just imagine the look on people’s faces when a bum like me insists that it’s stress-related. First of all, I was really stressed when I got it and second, it did grow back. Not until I had another one, then another one, and finally, the biggest of all, a 2″ x 2″ baldie on my right temple.

So after getting sick of the cycle, I headed to the nearest dermatology clinic. There are injections for it and that’s what I got. It’s actually a bunch of injections until your head feels funny from numbness. I also got an ointment called Dermovate, Minoxidil, steroids called Prednisone – which I did not continue because I felt funny, and lastly, and the only thing you could actually get without a prescription, a food supplement called BioSil; which apparently is also good for your nails. Imagine all of that because of stress. So if I were you, either get used to stress or don’t get stressed at all.

Sorry, I would rather not post pictures for this entry.

Atkins and me

I’m not fat. I’m just oddly-shaped.

In my never-ending quest to wear my skin with pride, I decided this time to give dieting a try. And since low-carb’s popularity in my niche is huge (sister has lost over 30 lbs. in 5 months), I assumed it would serve me well.

In one month I lost 8 pounds.

In the first week I went cold turkey on carbohydrates. Zero rice, zero bread. In college, I was a member of this group called the “Three rice men.” Me and two other classmates ordered a viand (usually sisig or steak ala pobre) plus nine cups of rice. Given that’s how much I loved rice, I thought giving it up would be like qutting cigarettes. It was not. In fact, it was easy and the only difficult thing I encountered on my first week was feeling full after a meal. It’s hard and almost impossible to guage when to stop eating without carbohydrates. However, gone is that bloated feeling after “all you can eat” meals.

From my second week until the end of the month, I still did not eat rice but this time I was not that strict in not eating carbohydrates. For example, when I used to take all tiny and insignificant amounts of carbohydrates on meals like bread crumbs, pasta sidings, etc., I now made it a point that if it’s part of the meal, it goes with the meal. Still, zero rice.

The hassles and benefits.

It is very expensive and would not work well with on-the-go lifestyles. Whatever full feeling you get from a value meal, you need two to three of those because of the miniscule amount of protein in such. Forget dining-out if you are in a tight budget. Try to eat as much as you can at home. Meat is expensive, rice is cheap.

Aside from that very satisfying non-bloated feeling after sumptuous meals, let’s not forget the thinner me, most especially, the thinner me in places I needed to trim. I’m back to wearing all my pants, shirts, standing up straight without any unappealing bulges, and gone are always feeling lazy and feeling too heavy.

Done for now.

After weighing and seeing results, I’m back to my old eating habits. It has been one week since I stopped and I noticed a little more control in my rice eating habits. I’m 152 lbs. at 5’8″ and when I started the diet I was at my heaviest at 160. To think that that is not much out-of-this-world, it would have probably been almost ideal for someone who is cut and lean, I, on the other hand, am the opposite of muscular. However, for someone as lazy as I am who needs to stop the slow aesthetic deterioration of one’s body, Atkins is the diet to be. 100% (variable) change in eating habits, 0% lifestyle change.

A new category and why I can blog about it

Welcome to my blog’s newest category.

I’m a weakling. Therefore, I can blog about health as often as I get sick. Or the lack thereof. I’m a smoker. Therefore I can blog about my personal experiences from the negative effects of smoking. I can also blog about quitting smoking because I have a couple of failed experiences there; just do what I failed to do. Other than that, the only other authoritative reason I have is my success in losing and gaining weight. In fairness, this is not a health blog.

The Suffering

I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive. I’m an obsessive-compulsive.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a psychiatric disorder; more specifically, it is an anxiety disorder. It is manifested in a variety of forms, but is most commonly characterized by a subject’s obsessive, distressing, intrusive thoughts and related compulsions (tasks or rituals) which attempt to neutralize the obsessions.

So where’s the fun in that? But how many times have you heard people say “I’m an OC” or “I’m really OC about… (Add any movie-popularized display of OCD here).” These people jump at any opportunity to brag and display their obsessive-compulsive personality. They might be obsessed and compulsive, but this in no way is a disorder. To make sure things are at absolute right angles to each other, that’s just a good sense of neatness. Intense hand-washing, that’s just cleanliness. Repetition and other ritualistic behaviors such as counting your steps or double or triple-checking that your appliances are turned off are just boredom and a sense of safety for the latter.

Although these are all symptoms of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), publicly basking in these activities or even being caught doing one of them does not swing with a clinically-diagnosed sufferer. And that’s exactly what it is – a suffering. An obsessive-compulsive is very much aware of his abnormality; and, like any normal human being, they can function surprisingly “normal” in the real world. The Obsession is what bewilders the mind. Most often than not, these obsessions are irrational and insignificant. For example, obsessing over neatness and cleanliness; a sufferer will most likely have a set of rules or standards that even the cleanest of places can not comply with. The sufferer is aware that his or her demands are outrageous; but, can not stop obsessing about it. To stop obsessing therefore, he must act in ways that are abnormal and time consuming – The Compulsion.

The compulsion really is just a way of escaping the obsession – which is really strong and persistent, that although it is just a product of the mind, it sometimes presents itself as a physical feeling; for example, literally feeling dirt for someone obsessive about cleanliness. It’s pretty much a balancing act of neutralizing a strong obsession with an outrageous compulsion. And this goes on and on everyday, consuming at least an hour’s total daily to a sufferer. It’s a battle. It’s chaos within oneself.

A sufferer never ceases to attempt to win the battle over his unworldly obsessions. But more often than not, attempting to win a battle over one’s mind is time-consuming and depressing as well, that the sufferer submittingly chooses the compulsion side. In his mind, it’s a case of let’s get it over and done with.

The suffering; imagine a smoker fully aware of his unhealthy behavior – he obsesses about smoking and satisfies his obsession by lighting a cigarette. The same is true with an obsessive-compulsive; only, the smoker feels pleasure in smoking, while the sufferer in his compulsion does not.

This condition affects the sufferer’s personal life, his daily duties, his ability to make decisions and think straight; especially when the compulsion itself is also within the mind -for example, counting by pairs, grouping items imaginatively or canceling out bad thoughts with good thoughts.

Still, the sufferer wishes to be treated as a normal person, and because of this he tends to hide his erratic behavior to the public. Not being able to do his compulsion in public literally drains the sufferer. One might hide away from view or sometimes load up in compulsion to satisfy his obsession longer. For example – the need to make the body feel equal, in a long and packed car trip, one’s right arm might be directly in front of the air conditioning vent. Normally, to make things “feel” equal, the sufferer will turn his body over to cool his left arm. Since the car is packed, he cannot simply ask whoever’s beside him to move so he can turn his body. He’s also ashamed of this as well. In the next stopover, the sufferer might take a cold drink from the cooler and literally freeze his left arm with it, so when they drive again, the air vent cooling the right arm is just “equalizing” the already very cold left arm.

If you experience some minor symptoms, do not will yourself yet as someone with OCD. Get clinical opinion. Sometimes people come off gallivanting their obsessive-compulsiveness as way to be seen differently. But, unless it is the real disorder, the only thing an obsessive-compulsive ever wants is to stop seeing him as different.

I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive. I’m an obsessive-compulsive. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive.