Good And Bad On Standing Up

I can’t remember who told me this–a person has to stand up or walk around for at least four hours a day. If not, the bones will not be healthy and the body will be in decline. Well, if the decline is impossible to stop, at least the four hour rule will help slow it down. It’s a good advice since for people who have a sedentary life, maintain certain hours of standing up time is common sense.

However I’ve never really thought about this rule before. Some days, I’m probably only in non-sit position for an hour. I can’t have a timer with me to monitor my standup time. That will be strange. Only a very nerdy person will do that, but I am not so nerdy. Without resorting to accurate measurements too eccentric to be deployed, I can only guess how my time is allocated between different postures. My estimate is that I just can’t live up, or stand up, to the four hour rules.

Once I met an old lady who lives in Cranbury, New Jersey and she’s eighty years old, but she walks like a thirty or forty years old, talk without pause or hesitation that people of her age sometimes do, drives her car, and swims every day for an hour or two. When I met her, I thought to myself that I wish I could be like her when I’m eighty. I think she can certainly meet the four hour standard. I mean the one hour swim probably is equal to two hours of standing up already. By the way, I met her because she’s a friend of my then acupuncturist. I helped the acupuncturist get rid of the virus in his computer. The next thing I knew, one of his patients wanted me to help her with her computer. I am no expert on computers. I only know how to read the instruction online and reset the computer to a previous time.

I know I know. People don’t like big mouthed women like me who can’t stop talking about what she knows, but I just can’t help myself. During the medieval time I would be burned as a witch, not for any lofty idea such as the earth circling the sun, but for the fact that I talk too much about things that people don’t want women to talk about. My grandmother, my father, and my brother have all warned me of my tendency to reveal my knowledge and make other people uncomfortable. It’s not that I know a lot. Actually I don’t know much at all, but my relatives know less. Among them, I’m considered too knowledgeable for my own good.

Now back to this advice I received. How can I increase my standing up time after a prolonged period of sedentary life style? Should I get a high desk? I mean a table with long legs so that I can stand up and type? I’ve never seen a desk like that. Then I thought long legs are not enough and they have to be adjustable legs. How do I know how high is comfortable for typing before I even try it?

With no desk with flexible height, I use the bookshelf to anchor the laptop. When standing up and typing, I feel that something is different. I don’t know what but something is definitely differently. The different kind of vibe is vibrating around me and I hope good ideas may start to pour in, which I have always wanted but which has never really happened before.

Friendly Advice

I got a friendly advice today when N told me to sanitize the second hand book I ordered from betterworldbooks.com in case there are remnants of Covid19 clinging to the pages ready to jump on anybody who touches it and send the person to fever, ventilator, or even an early grave.

“You know the virus is discovered on seafood packages and groceries.” He warned, eyeing the book suspiciously.

I opened the package and revealed the thin volume, while he took a step back as if to avoid something contagious. In the past, I would have deliberately thrown the book at him just to have some fun at his frightened reaction, but this is no normal time. People are very nervous.

“New Jersey has 1100 cases yesterday.” He said.

“I’m not going to add one more case on the pile just by reading this book.” I said. I was a little disappointed at the thin volume, but I know I need to read poetry. As a non-native speaker, my natural sense of English is rather non-natural and non-instinctive. Reading poetry has helped me feel the language.

“I will spray rubbing alcohol on every page.” I told him, but I knew I wouldn’t bother to do that and I knew he knew that I wouldn’t bother to do that. Whey did I say that?

When will this end? It has been more than six months of restrained activities and rumors of health hazard–some say the virus can get a free ride through a building’s air-conditioning system and one person with no symptom can super-spread to everybody in the building.

N has an abscess and it’s painful for him to walk. At least that’s my diagnose, just by listening to his description of symptoms. I hate myself for being such a busybody who has opinions and suggestions just about everything and can’t seem to shut up. If I were living in the Medieval time, I would have been drowned as a witch for talking too much. N’s doctor is only half active, meaning that she only sees very few patients. The problem with New Jersey is that the state has no-cap for victim compensations in case of medical malpractice. Doctors have to pay very high professional liability insurance. A lot of good doctors end up migrating to neighboring states which handle such issues with more reasonable policies.

“I don’t think my doctor can handle this. I will ask her to refer me to a specialist.” N said. N really doesn’t trust his doctor. The only reason he selected this one as his primary doctor is because it’s easy to get certain prescription drugs from the doctor. I actually think N only has an abscess. No big deal. It really doesn’t need a specialist. Just my opinion. Like what I said, I have an opinion about everything. I just can’t help it.

“You can go to emergency room, but emergency room is not safe, right? I mean you may contract Covid19 when you sit there for five hours waiting for your turn.” I said.

When will this end?

Insomnia vs. Somnia

“Somnia” is not a word; “insomnia” is. That’s just English. Non-native speakers (like me) beware. There are as many exceptions to the rules as those that follow the rules. Not only many words starting with “in” don’t have corresponding antonyms that lose the prefix “in”, but also some “in” and non-“in” pairs completely disregard the convention that they should be contradictory to each other. For example, “valuable” and “invaluable”, “sure” and “insure”, just to mention a couple of them. Sometimes one can’t help wondering if the rules are entirely necessary. With the exceptions to the rules being so numerous, what’s the point of setting the rules?

I’ve been having this insomnia for more than two weeks and I am bewildered with this new development. I used to sleep so well. Sometimes even before my head touched the pillow, I would be gone to a dream of oblivion. I could also sleep at my desk during lunch time if I had not had sufficient sleep the night before due to various reasons. My friends are often amazed at my power of falling sleep and I suspect that I am remembered and will be remembered as the person who can sleep, though I’ve never made the inquiries. It would be weird to ask people, “are you going to remember me as the one who can sleep.”

Now I can’t sleep anymore. At midnight every day, I don’t feel that usual sleepiness, though my body feels tired. I guess my limbs are ready for bed but my brain is not. I don’t understand. Can’t the limbs communicate with the brain and send the “ready for sleep” message?

I have been taking melatonin for the last five days. Here’s what I do. I went to bed at 11:30 and try to sleep naturally. If I can’t do that by midnight or ten minutes after midnight, I will get up and take a pill of melatonin 10mg extra strength. Half an hour later, the drowsiness will come and I will fall sleep. In the morning, I still feel a little bit of the after-effect. A little bit of motion and visual impediments is still lingering even though I feel that I’ve already had enough sleep. After 10AM, I will be back to my normal self.

It is said that the incomplete wakefulness is helpful to writing, but I haven’t experienced that so far. Not yet. It is claimed that this is discovered by Freud–in our dream, with our consciousness gone and restrictive social rules not applicable, we behave more naturally and think more naturally. I wish I can write better before 10AM when the remnant of melatonin is still exerting its power over my consciousness. So far it is still in my wish. My writing seems to be impervious to the wonderful opportunity opened up. It’s still as unsatisfactory as before.

What A Headache

I’ve heard the drill many times before. “Don’t take pain killers for your headache. Stop thinking too much.” “Don’t take sleeping pills. Just listen to music or count sheep.” Among my friends, the general attitude towards medicine is–not to deal with medicine. This is why I often feel it strange that many Asian parents here want their children to take MCAT and go to Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. We don’t even trust medicine enough to take the pills and we will not go to see a doctor unless we absolutely have to. Doctors are like ghosts, who are to be avoided at all time. However medical doctor is a stable and reputable profession. Their children should strive to be a doctor even if they themselves want to have nothing to do with doctors.

For the past two days I had headache and insomnia. Probably the two are not related, but they happened at the same time, which is a sufficient reason for me to tie them together. One probably causes another, or they may have some unknown connection with each other. Some time ago during a rain storm, I heard a loud bang and our electricity was out at the same time. So I immediately thought some explosions damaged the electric wire system not far away. Then I thought these two things might not be related with each other. They just happened at the same time. Should I drive around the neighborhood to see where the exploded wire was? I thought but I was too lazy to take on such a task. Even if the headache is not related with my insomnia, I feel that both are happening in my head. At the usual bed time, I don’t feel my brain is ready for bed. My limbs and my back were showing faint sign of fatigue, but my brain doesn’t have any indication of sleepiness. Now I rarely had headache, except when the monthly visitor is screaming loudly; I rarely had insomnia before, except when I talked too excitedly before bed time, watched a movie and missed the bed time by two hours, or read a book that I couldn’t put down. None of these things have happened and I still ended up with headache and insomnia for two days straight. I got up and took NyQuil PM last night. I didn’t have a cold or flu, but I knew it can help my sleep and I had no other sleep aid.

I heard the similar stories again and again. Somebody who’s diagnosed with colon cancer or pancreatic cancer or lung cancer or even breast cancer, but it’s late stage and there’s no cure. The patient had felt unwell for a number of years, but he or she just didn’t feel like going to a doctor. I actually heard about a woman who’s diagnosed with breast cancer for only three months before succumbing. She must have procrastinated the unpleasant diagnose for years. From the point of the unwillingness to see a doctor, it is natural to climb to the next point of denying one has an ailment. There’s no better way of denying one’s ill than delaying the unpleasant news. Is it possible to underestimate our power of self deceiving?

Different Body

I’ve heard similar incidents happen again and again here in the Asian community in New Jersey. This is one story I heard about five years ago. One manager in a big drug company suddenly fainted. He is middle-aged and held a lower level management position, which is reachable by Asians before hitting the usual bamboo ceiling. Being a workaholic, he obviously abused his body to the point that his heart gave away. At the hospital, he was given the best care, with surgery and everything. He was improving for a couple of days and then inexplicably he descended into a coma. The doctors were baffled. The only conclusion they came to is that as an Asian, his body is reacting in a non-typical way for the drugs that were administered to him. Fortunately with the best care he got, he eventually recovered. What a relief to his family.

And this incident is not alone. A friend told me that his wife took a medication for some minor problem. The next thing she knew she was having a terrible diarrhea and stomach problem for two weeks. Another friend took a medication for her severe flu. Her symptom was too severe for her to bear and she wanted a quick relief. Then the medication she took was completely disagreeing with her body that she almost had to be sent to the emergency room. Their doctors said the same thing: their reactions are strange, untypical. The side effects of the drug, according to literature and the experienced doctors, don’t include anything they have experienced.

As Asians, we have to be careful when taking medications as prescribed. I am not saying that we don’t listen to doctors. Of course we listen, but we also have to be more savvy than other patients. Our body is smaller and our bone structure more delicate–prone to osteoporosis. Our food–without diary product and with a lot more soy–accustoms our bowel to very different things. If a drug trial is not conducted on Asian, the drug’s special effects on Asian will not be commonly known. Since the East Asian population in America is probably only 3%, it is unrealistic to expect any drug doing a trial on Asians.

Whenever I take Ibuprofen for my headache, I wonder whether the body weight should make a difference on the dosage. I mean a small Asian woman can weigh only 100 to 110 pounds, and a six foot man can weigh 200 pounds. That’s a huge difference. However the Ibuprofen bottles have no dosage-weight information.

And I am writing this all because my friend was asking me if it is a big deal if he continues to drink alcohol while taking a medicine, for which his doctor explicitly told him not to drink and take the pill at the same time. I am no health expert and I don’t know why my friends like to ask me such questions; I am no computer expert either, but my friends come to me for their download or virus problems. I don’t know. Probably I just can’t keep my big mouth shut about things I know as well as things I don’t know.

I am just wondering why the drug companies have to make such drugs. People will drink and smoke. Most can’t quit, or can’t quit without serious efforts. A drug with an alcohol warning doesn’t do much to stop the drinking. He will continue to drink and the drug will only damage his liver. Can they make drugs that can go with alcohol? No?