Monday, January 31, 2011

DAY 119 – Quiz: Is it Safer to Order Your Own Cholesterol Test, or to Own a Handgun?

A more serious question is, should American adults have legal access to ordering medical testing on themselves? I won’t keep you in suspense; the answer is, yes. And, in fact, in some arenas, we already do, and access is growing by leaps and bounds. But, there are those who believe it to be dangerous for adults to order tests for themselves.

First, lest there be any question, my foremost concern is for patient and public safety. And, would I urge careful consideration, and if uncertain, consultation with a trusted functional medicine practitioner? I would.

Secondly, I was not born yesterday. There are two issues here; safety and money, and unfortunately, money may be the biggie.

As adults in America, we are free, within certain constraints, but free, to purchase and drink as much alcohol as we wish, even with the dangers and deaths associated with its consumption. We can purchase and drive cars with their associated risks. In some states, we can purchase semi-automatic weapons, and even carry them in public. Have we, as a society, lost our marbles? Are alcohol, cars and guns safer than a citizen ordering her or his own medical tests?

And then there’s the money. Simply put, there is a lot of money paid each year for ordering tests, performing tests, reviewing test results, and discussing results with patients. When patients can get directly to tests and results, some medical providers are cut out of that work and income. Historically, testing laboratories have been locked out from marketing to the public directly. Now, with patients being able to avoid the cost of an office visit or two, while avoiding the insurance-inflated test costs (vitamin D – insurance billed at $220 – cash for as low as $39), laboratories see an opportunity to sell more tests, in some cases with an improved profit margin.

An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Worried About Cholesterol? Order Your Own Tests”, by Anna Wilde Mathews, covers some of the issues involved in the growing trend of people ordering their own medical tests without a doctor.

Mathews states that doctors say patients “shouldn't cut their physicians out of the loop” and that doctors “can provide key guidance before a patient orders a test about whether it is worthwhile and can explain the numbers after the results are in.” I hope I am not too cynical, but most people that I know that are in business, as are physicians, would rather not get “cut out of the loop” for any reason. The part about discussing tests and results with patients is just plain fantasy. I interview patients in my office each day, and with the rarest of exceptions, they have no idea what tests have been ordered, what the tests mean, what the results were, nor what a rational plan would be to correct the imbalances found. Many patients report never having received any information about their test results.

On the Direct Laboratory Services website, the FAQ, “Do I need to see my healthcare provider to get tested?”, is answered with, “Direct access testing allows greater participation in one's own healthcare. Yes, your healthcare provider can refer you to DLS, but it’s not a requirement.” What they mean is, NO.

Direct Laboratory Services offers, directly to the public, a large number of tests for the following areas:
- Allergy Testing – Anemia – Arthritis – Autism – Cancer - Cardiovascular/Heart Health – Diabetes – Gastrointestinal – General - HCP Panels – Hormones – Immunology - STD's - Men's Health – Miscellaneous - Test Packages – Thyroid – Vitamins - Women's Health

American adults already do, and should have the right and access to ordering and purchasing medical testing for themselves. So, as Direct Laboratory Services states on its homepage, “Start Shopping”.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

DAY 118 - Looking For Magic

magic by bohman at flickr
not satisfied with my effect on this world
too great a need
too great the pain
unquenched by simple living
by simple trying to do no harm

seeking the magic
of geometry
of a quantum leap
of something to exponentially multiply
the well-meaning
of a single soul
of a single pair of hands

not satisfied ... 

I could pull a rabbit out of my hat


Saturday, January 29, 2011

DAY 117 - Free Our Children from Nightmares

photo courtesy of Santa Rosa OLD SKOOL
As a child, as early as age 4, nightmares were a common part of my bedtime.

At times I was chased with the threat of knives or guns. Usually my body was heavy and weak as I tried in vain to escape.

Some nights I was falling from cliffs. One recurrent falling variation was based on my inability to maintain altitude as I flew through the sky unaided by aircraft.

I didn’t grow out of these scary dreams. As years rolled by, the content changed to include some dreams involving distressing issues in my daily life; but they continued nonetheless.

When I married at age 19, I was still having bad dreams. My wife, Joanne, adjusted quickly to my talking in my sleep, and my thrashing about, which occasionally resulted in her being awakened by a blow as I struggled to escape from danger.

Upon awakening in the morning, Joanne would often ask, “what was that about last night?” Usually, having no memory, I would ask what she was referring to. When she could remember, she would recite a few of the words that I had spoken while sound asleep and simultaneously in flight. Not infrequently, what she had remembered would bring the dream back with detail, and I could recount a lengthy ordeal.

At age 35 my bad dreams stopped; not entirely, but overwhelmingly. As I now write this, 24 years have passed, I am 59, Joanne and I still sleep together each night, and I still don’t have bad dreams, talk in my sleep, nor smack her unknowingly.

If you suspect the work of powerful mojo in this miraculous healing; you are dead right! At age 35 I completely removed dairy products from my diet.

Through my youth I had suffered with a duodenal ulcer and other digestive problems; with fatigue, with severe back pain, and with the complete ruptures of both of my achilles tendons. By 35 I had had enough of poor health and pain, and had noticed that I did not feel as well after ingesting dairy. That was enough. I have been off of dairy, and reaping the rewards, ever since.

Note: My hope in publishing this personal account of the effect of diet on my sleep and dreams is that it will awaken a few parents to the possibility that their child’s fear-filled nights might be caused or worsened by everyday foods that the child is eating.

My report does not stand alone. With a bit of research, one will find an abundance of reports and evidence of foods influencing sleep and dreams.

Please help me spare children this traumatizing fear by sharing this article with others. Also, please post comments and experiences to this book post to help spread the word.

Friday, January 28, 2011

DAY 116 - Sacred Space

     a sacred space could be ...
     muted lighting
     the presence of art
     quiet reverence

     it could be .....

     but for me, for sure ...
     a space is sacred
     when both you and I
     feel safe and welcome

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DAY 115 - "Deadly Acceptance"

photo courtesy of JOPHIELsmiles at Flickr Commons
Men and women speak different languages.
There will always be war.
Nothing ever changes.
It’s hell to get old.
He’s just lazy.
There’s nothing I can do about it.
Voting doesn’t make a difference.
It’s all your fault.
Men are only interested in one thing.
I’m not worthy.
Obesity runs in their family.
Change is difficult.
Politicians are crooks.
Kids today have no respect for adults.
I couldn’t possibly give up dairy products.
I’ve tried everything.
~ ~ ~
Are you sure?
Would it ruin your day if you found out that some of these were not true?
Or, might it free you?
Free you to wonder what “lively acceptance” might be?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DAY 114 – Healthcare: Let’s Work Together

The GOP majority in the US House of Representatives recently voted to repeal last year’s healthcare reforms, and I think it was unfortunate that they did.

We the people have two basic choices as it relates to healthcare; every person for her/himself, or work together.

For-profit insurance companies have an easier time making lots of money when we choose option one. In fact, we make a two-step process into a one-step for them. They don’t have to divide in order to conquer, they can sit back and let us divide ourselves, and then they conquer. Conquering, in the insurance industry, often means using whatever techniques necessary to not pay legitimate claims and see what  busy working people can do to protect themselves.

I want to be fair and acknowledge that there must be some honest and caring insurers, but as a doctor for 28 years, I saw first-hand enough abuse by insurance companies, that after 10 years, I terminated most contracts that I had with them.

We all understand that our government exists because our forebearers did not like the idea of every person for him/herself, and chose instead to work together. And, of course, we know that today we work together and pool our resources to maintain our national defense, police, fire protection, courts, and other services. We also provide healthcare to our elderly through Medicare, and to the poor through Medicaid.

There is no question that some government bureaucracies can be dysfunctional and even rude, but I will take that risk any day to the for-profit divide-and-conquer of the health insurance industry.

Many countries in Europe pay half as much as we do for care that is better than ours. In part, they achieve this by pooling their resources and working together.

If I were elected to the House of Representatives, I would vote for continuing, not repealing, the reform of our healthcare system. I would vote for working together!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

DAY 113 - A Day in The Life

Let me just talk straight with you. It’s 2:30 PM and I feel tired. My shoulder muscles, between my neck and the tips of my shoulders, what are for short called traps, are tight and tense. I’ve been off coffee for 27 days, and it’s times like this when I feel that I could use a cup. I’ve got a lot of work to do. Nothing new there. Maybe that’s part of my problem. Always things, not little things, that need done. But, they don’t just need done; they need thinking, and with my brain, they often need lots of thinking. But they also need love and compassion. Is an answer an answer if it isn’t compassionate? Well, yesterday after work, I went straight to the Ventura City Council meeting which started at 6:00 PM. Big issue about whether to spend $75,000 to study whether or not to annex Canada Larga into the City. Bit stressful because even considering annexing Canada Larga, is to create and invite more urban sprawl, moving Ventura, and all of Ventura County toward becoming a clone of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. Lots of folks living here, that just fled from there. Are we having trouble thinking ahead? I sat from 6:15’till 9 ish – not great for my back, legs, or health. Spoke briefly before the council to be a voice of reminder that we don’t want nor like urban sprawl, so let’s not do it. After the meeting a nice lady told me that the Council was “two-faced”. I told her that I personally knew a few of the Council members and that my opinion is that they were not liars, but were caring people working with very complicated issues. Drove home. Got a bite. (Dragged a comb across my head.) And sat down to write my daily post for my book/blog. By 11:30 PM I was done and in bed. Not so good for a guy who functions best on 10 hours of sleep per night. So, I’m snuggled in, my wife breathing quietly beside me. Now I get to deal with being wound up from the day’s feelings, activities, interactions and inactivities. My heart is racing a little; my mind definitely is. My gut is a bit tight and uncomfortable. I start with deep breaths and awareness of my traps. I begin counting my blessings; my wife, my kids, my health, the enormity of the options and opportunities in my life. Things, like my heart, begin to slow, and thanks to exhaustion, I am asleep in no time. But now it’s today and I’m in the cycle. Still lots of blessings. Still lots of stresses, tensions, and things needing done. I was thinking, that since I am doing non-patient work in the office in Ventura today, and since I won’t get home to Ojai before 6:00 PM, that it would feel good to be with a friend this evening while watching the State of the Union. While my dear friend, Bill, says that he still likes Obama, he also says that has lost some appreciation for him. Gosh, I still love the man! Why is it that so many of us can’t seem to separate the man, Obama, from what they hoped would be accomplished, but has not been? Obama has told us himself that he is not satisfied with what has been accomplished. But, how many of us are living our own lives as we think we should; and could? How many of us have a family that is without disharmony and dysfunction? How many of our cities are running smoothly, without a glitch? Holy cow! He is trying to help us run a COUNTRY! Don’t just cut him some slack, remember that you too have a responsibility for the actions and direction of our Country. Has he really become a traitor, like the Ventura City Council? Come on! Hey, what if we gave him a hand, rather than a fist? Maybe, as he has requested repeatedly, we could work together; the only way that things can be accomplished for the greater good. What got me going on that? :) So, I’m with you, with him, and trying to be with me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

DAY 112 - Hypochondria is a Big Problem in the US

photo courtesy of ted percival from flickr commons
Hypochondria is a big problem alright, but it may not be the problem that you are thinking of.

For as long as I can remember, and on innumerable occasions I have heard individuals talking about the hypochondriac in their lives. The person who has nothing wrong with them, but constantly “makes up” conditions “to get attention”.

The first real, live hypochondriac I ever met was a patient that I treated during my internship at Palmer College of Chiropractic. Susan was a 40 year-old woman with a complaint of intense low back pain.  Medical evaluation, including x-rays of her back gave no indication of a cause for her pain. Her husband stated, and her MD suggested that she might be suffering from hypochondria. She felt even worse under the burden of the accusation that she was fabricating the pain. She saw no easy way out, and so, intentionally pushed herself physically until she broke down. Surgery revealed a massively ruptured lumbar disc, and apologies were offered all around.

I had never imagined Susan a faker; and that was what I had told her from the beginning.

There are many important reasons why we should all be careful about accusing another of hypochondria, but here are three:
1)    medical science has a notoriously poor understanding of pain,
2)    if a person is regularly complaining of pain, they must either have physical or emotional pain, or both,
3)    it’s too easy.

Naming a phenomenon or condition is easy. Blaming is easy. The real work is compassion, and finding the cause of the pain, physical or emotional.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DAY 111 Forgive Me ... But You Have Food Allergies

Yes, you.

Truth be told, I am just trying to be helpful. I did not wake this morning with the intention of trying to ruin your day by telling you about your food allergies.

 I understand that this can be an emotional issue, so let me be clear; I will not be telling you what to do, and I won’t be taking any foods away from you.

And please remember, I am just the messenger.

It is reasonable to believe that every person has a least one food allergy.

Food allergy is one of the most common causes of a laundry list of chronic health conditions. Signs and symptoms of chronic unwellness such as pain, fatigue, arthritis, headache, high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, depression, congestion, constipation, and reflux are often indicators of food allergy.

I could have just let you suffer. Or, I could have just sold you treatments for your ailments, without ever discussing their causes. No one would have blamed me because most people aren’t even aware of the endemic problem of food allergy. But, I can’t do that to you.

What’s wonderful and amazing is that each and every one of the signs and symptoms that I listed above, usually responds amazingly, or completely resolves when food allergens are removed from ones diet.

So, just give it some thought; would you trade a few foods to get rid of some of your illnesses? Or, maybe you can’t live without your Gouda cheese.

See; I didn’t take anything away from you, and in fact I may have just given you your life back.

The ball is in your court.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

DAY 110 - Wrinkling While Twinkling

I’ve thought just a bit
‘bout the tone of my skin
and the gradual increase of wrinkling

But I’ve thought a lot more
‘bout what’s happ’ning inside
why it is that my eyes are still twinkling

They each have a place
right up front on my face
me, I value one more, what’s your inkling?

Friday, January 21, 2011

DAY 109 – Trust: Such a Gift

Trust feels good!

Ten years ago my mother-in-law, Bobby, asked if I would be comfortable, and willing to be the agent for her medical power of attorney. She was asking if I would take responsibility for making all medical decisions for her in the event that she would become unable to do so.

She was entrusting me with her life, and with the difficult decisions that often arise at the end of life.

I accepted.

I find it difficult to adequately express my gratitude at being trusted so deeply. But, Bobby, please know that I have been so touched by your trust. Please know, that should I be needed in this capacity, I will do my very best to do right by you. Your trust is such a gift to me!

Your son,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

DAY 108 – Citizens United for What?

Today didn’t turn out as I had imagined. I made it to the mushroom farm, and got the compost for my vegetable garden. But then, things got more complicated.

Sitting at my computer, I took a deep breath and started into my awaiting e-mails. One or two easy ones ... and then came one from the Friends Committee on National Legislation; a Quaker lobbying group. They wondered what I was doing tomorrow regarding the 1st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

Right, well I was just trying to get through my e-mails! But then I’m thinkin’, “yeah, that’s the lousy decision that made legal, made the law of the land, virtually unlimited, and even secret contributions to election efforts!” And then I’m thinkin’, “that decision is so critically damaging to our values of equal representation!” And then I thought, “Alright ... I’ll look and see if there is a local gathering that I can attend.”

I don’t think my fixation with pressing social issues has a lot to do with “Turning 60”, but is does seem to have something to do with the “Consciously” part.

So, I did a search using my zip code, and found that there would be no gatherings in the Ventura or Ojai areas. The closest gatherings were in Thousand Oaks, 26 miles to the south, and in Santa Barbara, 30 miles to the north. Poop! I didn’t want to do any preparation; I just wanted to attend and do my little part.

I stewed for a bit; wasted some time; felt tense; finally created a simple plan; and then clicked on the link that said “Create Your Own Event”. Before I knew it, I was the proud owner of an on-the-fly event for tomorrow evening on the steps of Ventura City Hall. Check it out at:
You’ll find my event in the 93001 zip code area.

It’s possible I may find myself sitting quietly on the steps of City Hall with candle in hand. Or, others may come. Either way, I will be there, and I will feel good because even though confused about the path ahead, I am doing something. I am telling myself and others that I strongly believe that “Citizens United” was a dangerous decision that needs a response from “the people”.

Finally, I want dedicate tomorrow’s gathering in Ventura, to my mother-in-law, Roberta (Bobby) Bromberger, who will turn 80 on the same day, and who has worked for justice for at least as long as I have known her (45 years). I know that she experiences the social activism of others, as a gift to her. – Happy Birthday, Bobby – with love, from your son, Kris

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DAY 107 - Down Its Road

photo by Kristin Jensen Storey

as life calls me down its road
my ocular vision wanes
my knowing waxes
and harmony embraces me

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DAY 106 - Talking in a Way that Heals

We heard it from the top;

“... it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds." 

President Barack Obama ~ January 12, 2011 ~ following killings and woundings in Tucson, Arizona

Talking ... communicating ..., in a way that heals, is not simple.

Whether or not a communication heals, is in the experience of the listener, the receiver. To truly know the effect of our communication, we must ask how it was received, and be prepared to listen.

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a process for optimizing our ability to talk in a way that heals. NVC requires study and practice. The rewards are enormous; more trusting and loving relationships at home, at work, and in our communities.

We heard it from the top, and now we can help to grow it from the bottom, by visiting The Center for Nonviolent Communication, learning about NVC, and by “talking with each other in a way that heals.”

Monday, January 17, 2011

DAY 105 - Compost and Planting into the Night

I don’t know that I can tell it beautiful, like it is ...
my compost pile

a year ago it was 6 feet high
branches, leaves, and weeds
some still green
some still trying to grow
sprinkled and filled with dirt; its mortar

seasons later, collapsed, compacted,
a moist three-dimensional web
connecting every grain of sand to every plant and animal cell
living or dead,
weighing itself down,
now not nearly so tall

a light crop of grass and weeds crowns it
cut away on one side, for harvesting of its richness,
its archeology exposed,
demonstrating that which would rot,
and that which was thicker or more impervious to mold, worms, and the many legged ones

at the foot of the pile
the earth so rich, fluffy, and velvety with organic matter
I can reach right into it
the weeds find no clods to cling to and are easily removed
much of their root structure intact

weeding in this mezcla of dirt and finely decayed plants
with its sensual beauty and superficial resistance
is just the antidote
for one who, in his other life,
finds little easy,
constantly struggling with big problems, resistant problems,
knowing the have-to, but rarely the how-to,
here, a gentle pull lifts the weed,
soil falls from the roots,
fingers comb the soil and rake it to
a lush, level playing field,
once again complete and perfect

engrossed in the earth
appreciating, but not considering the sun,
daylight wanes
and I know yet again
that my calculations of tasks to be completed pre-dusk
are way off

I might have left the fertile composted soil
for another day
but seeds needed planting
if my addiction to sprouts and shoots and leaves and vegetables,
glistening dew drops,
the harvest, bringing fresh colors and smells into the kitchen, and rich flavors onto our plates,
were to be fed

with Edison’s help
seeds of lettuce, onion, arugula and dill
were tucked into a bed of compost
readied for birth on the window sill
as the moon rose ever higher

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DAY 104 – ‘Till the End

photo courtesy of di the huntress at flickr commons
Larry was 44. He had a two year-old son, a loving wife, and leukemia.

I was his chiropractor.

Before his cancer diagnosis, I had recommended that he examine his diet, make general improvements, and consider the possibility that he might be allergic to a few foods that he was eating. I made these suggestions since foods are one of the most common causes of the muscle and joint complaints that I was treating him for.

Larry was none too keen on looking at, nor making changes in his diet.

Food is one of the single greatest causes of chronic degenerative disease, including musculoskeletal aches and pains.  As a responsible physician, I educate each and every patient about the risks of poor diet, and food allergies. Most patients are distressed at being advised that foods may be impacting their health. Not wanting to provoke them, I say, as I did to Larry, “If at any time you would rather that I not discuss the possibility of foods affecting your health, please let me know, and I will stop.”

Chemotherapy had its usual side effects; nausea, fatigue and hair loss. But, Larry appeared to be holding his own.

When the invitation to his 45th birthday party came to the office, I was honored to be included.

The gathering was festive; his friends, many. OK, so I’m a doctor, but the food was hardly appropriate for an ill man. Some of the gifts from loving friends, included candy, cookies and other sweets.

A few days after the party, Larry was in my office for a treatment. I had been going round and round with myself; his food choices were a clear risk to his recovery and his life, but I knew that he wasn’t going to be happy with me if I brought it up. What I came to was that my fear was no excuse; I had to tell him my professional opinion.

My words and tone were chosen carefully. He acknowledged my advice. There was some tension, but the visit ended without incident.

Walking into a treatment room a week later, Larry, already seated, said, “Dr. Young, sit down.” My sensitive gut churned. “Sit down.”, with that tone, had to mean, “you are in trouble.”

“I come to see you because you are the best chiropractor I have ever found, but if you mention food one more time, you will never see me again!”

“Larry, thank you for telling me. This is exactly what I have asked; tell me what you want. I care about you much more than I care about what you eat.”

... Turned out, Larry wasn’t holding his own. As the weeks clicked by, he became sicker and weaker. One day his wife, Rachel, called and asked if I could come to the house to treat him; he just didn’t have the strength to get out.

Arriving, I made space in his bedroom for my portable chiropractic table. He was weak, but glad to see me. I helped him onto the table and kept him warm with a blanket. This was not the time for spinal adjustment; I lightly massaged his back and neck, and held his hand.

Back in bed, I tucked him in as he closed his eyes ... for the last time.

Larry had let me know what he needed; making it possible for us to work together ‘till the end.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

DAY 103 - Beautiful People ... Obviously

Our world is filled with beautiful people.

I know it’s true,... but still, I do better with hints and reminders.

The printing on Jessie’s shirt gave me one of those clues, and a joyful lift.

Another person, caring about and responding to people in need, having heard 
a distant call for help from unknown people in an unknown land.

Beautiful people, ...

with a label,

for folks like me,

who need it obvious,

preferably in black and white.

Thank you Coleen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

DAY 102 - Live and Learn?

“Live and learn.”

A statement of opportunity, not inevitability.

~ KY 1/31/98 ~

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DAY 101 - A Worrier

Is a worrier, ALWAYS a person who makes something out of nothing?

In SOME instances, is a worrier a person who sees more than others?

You are familiar with The Serenity Prayer. The first part says, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

While profoundly attracted to, and in need of serenity, this prayer has never done it for me.

Given there is no switch that I can flip that will stop war, end poverty, rid the world of nuclear weapons, establish rational campaign finance reform in the US, or turn the corner on global warming, there is SOMETHING that I can do about each one; and I feel responsible to do so. So, what is it that I can’t be a part of changing?

The middle part, the “courage to change” part of the prayer, I support entirely.

The last part, “and wisdom to know the difference” may be the weakest link; or perhaps that part of the prayer was never granted. A lot of people feel hopeless about having any ability to change aspects of their lives, or circumstances in the world. Clearly, hopelessness and wisdom are not the same.

Maybe we can grant ourselves a degree of serenity by recognizing that our lives affect all others, and by beginning to construct a world view that includes us reaching out in small but important ways to create more harmony everywhere. I’m a worrier, but not a hopeless worrier; and it helps me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DAY 100 - Parlez Vous Triage?

photo courtesy of gambier20 at flickr commons

I don’t speak French
but used to really like the word “triage”

I’m attracted to order,
and maximizing good, comforts me

then I grew up,
began to know and feel
my connectedness to all things

finally saw the battlefield that lies around us
bombs and napalm
loneliness and fear
hunger and disease
violence and torture
ecosystem poisoning

for some, each day is a triage
for water, food, and shelter

interestingly, many of us,
who are not living hand-to-mouth,
turn from,
or don’t see the bloodier battlefields
and instead, each day
triage work and income
the car and the water heater
a relationship strained
sciatica or headache
the lure of sugar
laundering clothes
brushing teeth
falling into bed
struggling to get up,
the alarm squawking

triaging is not a relaxed endeavor for me
yet calm is one of the wounded that must survive
hope, another

and why is it,
that so many folks use drugs, alcohol and video?
oh ...

can we stay on our feet?
conscious enough to move beyond war?
to come together in love?
combine our energies to heal our world?

yes, we can!

it’s either that,
or the hamster wheel for all of us,
‘till the rain of radiation

Note to all dear readers: while writing “Parlez Vous Triage”, I worried that in sharing my struggles with life, that you might read it to mean that I am near a tipping point, and that you might feel distressed. I am not near the edge. I am simply trying to stay aware and in contact with the world, and those who suffer. There is enormous beauty all around me. I am soaking up the pervasive good vibrations, while trying to help us stay out of the ditch. All is well.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DAY 99 - Growth Does Not Cause Pain

Noona, Liel and Zion rest on a hike
“Growth does not cause pain.” ~ Kristofer Young, DC

The following comes (1/11/2011) from a page called “Growing Pains” on a website called Kids Health.

“Your 8-year-old son wakes up crying in the night complaining that his legs are throbbing. ........
Sound familiar? Your child is probably experiencing growing pains, a normal occurrence in about 25% to 40% of children. They generally strike during two periods: in early childhood among 3- to 5-year-olds and, later, in 8- to 12-year-olds.

What Causes Them?
No firm evidence shows that the growth of bones [or muscles, or any other tissues] causes pain. The most likely causes are the aches and discomforts resulting from the jumping, climbing, and running that active kids do during the day. The pains can occur after a child has had a particularly athletic day.” - end quote -

In 1983 when I opened my chiropractic practice, I felt a degree of apprehension about being, myself, judged unscientific due to some perception in our culture at large, and even more so in the medical profession, of chiropractors being unscientific.

As years passed, I felt more and more comfortable, and less threaten by the possibility of being accused of being an unscientific practitioner. My comfort did not arise from impeccable adherence to scientific principles on the part of all my chiropractic colleagues, but rather, from my growing awareness that medical doctors, too, live in glass houses, and ought to be careful with stone throwing.

An example of non-science, is a diagnosis of “growing pains”. A cursory review of the medical literature, including 5 medical dictionaries and a December 2010 abstract from Pediatric Endocrinology Review titled “Growing Pains: myth or reality”, leave no doubt that there is no such thing as “growing pains”. It’s not that there is very little evidence that growth causes pain; there is none.

Recall that on the Kids Health site, they list a condition called “growing pains”, and then tell us that there is “[n]o firm evidence that the growth ..... causes pain.” Then why are so many doctors and parents calling children’s leg pain, “growing pains”. Shouldn’t they be called leg pains? Isn’t it also interesting that Kids Health states that physical activity is the likely cause of the pain, while also telling us that children are more likely to have these pains between 3-5 and 8-12 years of age. What’s the magic here; do kids between 5 and 8 stop being physically active? This is not the science I am used to.

So here is the dangerous part, if one in three children experience leg pain, and are diagnosed with “growing pains”, a condition that doesn’t exist, that means that the real causes of their pain are unknown and untreated. I hope I would not have to tell a parent how unsafe this is for these misdiagnosed children.

Let me suggest to you some scientifically reasonable causes of leg pain in children. It is a rare child with leg pain that has these probable causes evaluated.

food allergies
disturbed gastrointestinal health
aberrant spinal joint function in the low back
nutritional deficiencies
poor diet
lack of exercise

What is a parent to do? Take your child to a functional medicine practitioner (chiropractor, MD, DO, DOM, etc.) Go to the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine to get a referral: click here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

DAY 98 - Poetry of NVC

In August of 2003 I was introduced to Nonviolent Communication (NVC); a process for improving communication and relationships. It works for me.

consistently knowing safety in your presence
you live aware of your feelings
regularly you state, and act out your desire 
to do no harm
my sense of safety opens like a rose 
into joyful gratitude
could there be more? 
ky ~ November 6, 2006

Sunday, January 9, 2011

DAY 97 - Time to Come Clean

There were many things that drew me to the dark side.

I was tired. It can be exhausting trying to write something meaningful every single day. I was running my chiropractic practice. There’s the car, the yard, civic duties, and a thousand other things requiring attention.

But these are no excuse. I told you, I lead you to believe, that I would be writing this book. Now I see that I was seduced; I took the easy way.

He was working in the same office with me; at the same desk in fact. He was interested in my writing and without invitation, offered a few suggestions. They were good. It was not my intent, but before long, he had independently authored a few pieces that I posted as mine.

His relaxed confidence and  support were intoxicating. The worry of writer’s block was gone. He was always there to contribute or to provide a complete essay.

Bob agrees now that what we did was wrong. He supports me in coming out with the truth. I take all the blame. I hope you can forgive me, and I hope you won’t judge Bob too harshly. He’s such a nice cat.

Bob the Cat: on break

Saturday, January 8, 2011

DAY 96 - Chiropractic History: a Short Version

This is not just a short version; it is my version of Chiropractic history.
The healing art and science of Chiropractic was founded in Davenport, Iowa in 1895 by Daniel David Palmer. Palmer believed that virtually all disease was caused by displaced vertebrae that disrupted the function of spinal nerves innervating the organs and tissues of the body. His new practice caught on. By 1897 he had established the Palmer School of Chiropractic, and by 1906 he was charged with practicing medicine without a license.
Given that chiropractors used no drugs, and practiced no surgery - hardly practicing medicine - it was clear that the real complaint of the medical community in Iowa, was that doctors of chiropractic (DCs) were a competitive threat.
Dr. Palmer had hitched his wagon to something big. Turns out that cultures around the world had successfully used spinal manipulation for millennia. While it was far from correct to think that most all diseases were caused by spinal problems, it was spot on to recognize that aberrations of spinal mechanics can negatively influence the function of related organs and tissues, and can cause or contribute to a wide range of diseases and dysfunctions.
As the next century rolled by, the chiropractic profession grew; a lot. In the 1960’s the American Medical Association (AMA), in collusion with other medical groups, created and carried out plans to boycott and destroy the chiropractic profession. Surprisingly, justice was served in 1987 when in federal court the AMA was found guilty of antitrust violations in its attempt to eliminate the chiropractic profession.
It is important to know that from the early 1900’s there were medical doctors who valued chiropractic, referred patients for chiropractic care, and received chiropractic treatment themselves. In many instances, medical societies made it difficult for these MDs and scorned or threatened them for associating with chiropractors.
Things are better today in 2011. Why just today I treated a medical doctor and her daughter.

Friday, January 7, 2011

DAY 95 - Famous Quotes Edited

I’m told that I was a bit of a smart ass as a teen, so it’s probably not too surprising that as an adult that I would find famous quotes, and have the chutzpah to offer improvements.

In the example below, the word in parentheses is of the original author, and is to be left out; the word in bold italics is mine, and replaces the one in parentheses.

"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are (evil) dysfunctional, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

~ Albert Einstein ~ with minor editing by Kristofer Young, DC – July 7, 2005

Thursday, January 6, 2011

DAY 94 - Sleeping Like a Baby is Not Always Great

photo courtesy of xlibber at Flickr Commons
While it is generally true that infants sleep more soundly and peacefully than adults, and while it is also true that there are few sights more calming and beautiful than that of a little one at rest, not all babies sleep like a baby.

If you doubt me, ask an exhausted new mother, or the weary parents of a 2 year-old who still doesn’t sleep through the night.

It is common for newborns to wake frequently, being fussy, and appearing hungry. The usual assumption is that the infant is not getting enough nourishment. In many cases, the waking and fussiness are not from insufficient food, but rather from food that does not agree with the child’s digestive and immune systems.

Given that most of us would think that breast milk would be the perfect food, and some would think that a medically approved formula must surely be good for the child, few of us realize that each may cause distress, pain and aberrant sleep in a newborn or infant. Clearly, breast milk is the finest food for a newborn; but the content of breast milk is altered by the foods that the mother consumes, and can have disastrous effects on the comfort and health of the nursing infant. Formulas, even medically approved, commonly cause gastric and other distress in infants.

When foods have not been considered, nor ruled out as causes of disturbed sleep, a family often simply accommodates to the dysfunction and the harmful effect on the household, and lives with the idea that this is just a quirk of this child. As months and years roll by, the problems which often expand beyond the initial sleep disturbance, are explained by – “he has always been this way...”

Good sleep is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

If your baby is not sleeping like a baby; find out why not, and think foods.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

DAY 93 - Mind Racing ... Can’t Get Back to Sleep?

Photo courtesy of xlibber at Flickr Commons
Trick question coming up; don’t be blinded by the obvious.

Lying awake for hours ... unable to quiet your mind; your mind is apt to be blamed. But is sleeplessness entirely caused by worries, unfinished work, or difficult decisions tossed around in your head?

The answer is NO! Turns out the mind-body connection is a veritable thoroughfare with a lot of traffic moving from south to north, especially at night.

That spicy pizza could activate your brain. The distention of your bowel with intestinal gas from that extra glass of milk can cause distress that would manifest in your head. The tightness and tenderness in your muscles and joints certainly don’t produce relaxed brain waves. And surely you didn’t think that that double espresso at 4:45 this afternoon would have no effect. The fact that you haven’t exercised for weeks is no calming influence either.

Your mind may be racing, but your body may be the source of the fuel.