A Diet of News

A Cure for News!?!

Finally figured out what’s going wrong with my diet over the past several months. I’m watching too much news!

Watching the news on the CBC, or any Canadian channel for that matter, I need chips. It seems like when I watch CNN, I eat cookies. Switch to Fox & it’s donuts. The BBC has me craving scones. With jam & clotted cream, of course! I’m miserably failing to focus on my French lessons now too, but I sometimes watch the French news on TV5. With closed captions on, naturellement! Then I wonder why I’m digging out my crΓͺpe maker from the back of the cupboard? πŸ€ͺ

Recently, once I recognized my problem, I thought I’d try watching Bloomberg instead. That was going great ’til I found myself regretting that I hadn’t bought shares in the hot stock of a car rental company seeking bankruptcy protection. As I questioned my sanity, one eye on the ticker, I caught myself making silver dollar pancakes for breakfast! 😁

I ate out yesterday, for the first time in 3 months. I was so excited that I made all the wrong choices. The food was blah, the service only okay, but the whole experience was so great! With half the tables removed, & all the staff wearing facemasks, it was just a little weird though. But getting out was a joy. It was great to talk to real people, not on a screen. I stuffed my face but … unbelievably … the scale didn’t punish me this morning. I might have to do more of this. Is dieting all just a mind game!?!

This is probably not going to be a good month but I feel I need to support local businesses as they gradually try to get back to normal! 😜

PS … Working on my reopening shopping list for next weekend. Imagine … a visit to a mall! Woohoo! πŸ˜‚

A Useful Tool for our COVID-19 Toolbox

Oxygen Saturation Measurement from the Samsung Health App.

So far, I still haven’t smoked during the month of April. No doubt, for me, fear of COVID-19 was a contributing motivation to quit. I’m not delusional enough to think that a few weeks of being smoke-free is going to counteract a lifetime of abusing my lungs but hey, quitting can’t hurt & every little helps, right? And if I find myself without income during these turbulent times, it will certainly help if I’m not financing a smoking addiction too. That said, I know I’ll always be a smoker. Long term abstention is the best I can hope for. Even right now, writing about it, I’d kill for a smoke with my cup of coffee! 😁

A COVID-19 article in yesterday’s New York Times (article link) really caught my attention. SpO2? A pulse oximeter? What’s that & who’s got one of them?

I do! Or at least I had … until an update took it away!

I’m a big Samsung phone fan & I also love the Samsung Health app. Doesn’t every obese smoker want to know how screwed up he is!?! Along with monitoring heart rate, steps, & my lack of exercise (😜), my Samsung Note devices have a built-in pulse oximeter. That sensor used to measure my oxygen saturation & that is what the New York Times article is talking about. Unfortunately, some time back, the function vanished. I don’t know why but a new version of the Samsung Health app overwrote the old & the ability to measure oxygen saturation was gone.

Yesterday, after reading that article, I knew I needed it back. And at the risk of giving my phone a dose of a digital virus, I downloaded an older version of the Samsung Health app from a 3rd party website & I’m now measuring my SpO2 levels on my Samsung Note again. Woohoo!

The pic above shows my current O2 level & that number looks pretty good, well into the green zone. After only 3 weeks of not smoking, my heart rate is down & my oxygen saturation is better than my old “normal”. I’m a lifelong data gatherer. I’m not all that scientific with most of it, I just like to know where things are at, typically, & as a baseline. That way I can see when things are running adrift. If Dr. Levitan is right, this simple little tool on my phone might help me to decide when to call that emergency COVID-19 number to schedule a test. I sometimes worry whether I should, or should not, call to see if I need to get tested. Normally, I try to stay away for the doctor’s office & I run the risk of doing that for too long. Now, if my SpO2 numbers go lower than I’ve historically seen them, even when smoking, I think I’ll be motivated to make the call. I will be keeping my eyes open for further insights on what constitutes a low oxygen saturation number with respect to COVID-19.

Of course, this isn’t the only symptom we need to pay attention to. But monitoring oxygen saturation levels might be one more factor behind getting some of those more stubborn individuals in your life to see their doctor in a timely manner. And it might be useful data to share with your physician. It is just one more tool in our COVID-19 Toolbox.

I don’t want anyone to ruin their phone by going back to an old version of the Samsung Health app from a 3rd party website so please be careful & do your research before you decide to take that route. As an alternative, you can also buy the little finger pulse oximeter gadgets online & at your local drugstores & healthcare outlets. They are relatively inexpensive & they may help you establish a baseline for everyone in your household. No sharing outside the home would be recommended, I’m guessing! Should those baseline numbers change, you’ll know you’re doing the right thing when you call the doctor’s office. Or when you make the call on behalf of that stubborn member of your household!

Just to finish off on a dietary note … how’s that whole weight-loss thing going anyway? Especially now that I’m not smoking since the beginning of the month?

In a word … brutal! LOL

Needless to say, not having the opportunity to stuff a cigarette into my face twenty or more times a day, I’m stuffing all sorts of other things into my mouth instead. I’m like an eating machine & the scale is giving out a loud shriek every morning when I crush it! And to make matters worse, I read a few reports on obesity being a big contributing factor to some folk not fending off the bug well.

Oh well, one thing at a time. And we’ll see what the official weight damage is on the first of May!

Stay safe, all!

PS … if any of you learn anything more about the oxygen saturation thing, as it relates to COVID-19, please let me know.

The Yin & Yang of COVID-19

We’re an interesting species, are we not? It took a little while for us all to get on the same page with respect to this whole social isolation thing. Thankfully, I think, regard for human life overcame the desire to protect the economy. Most people made it to this perspective, for the most part. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how it unwinds.

If we come up with a vaccine or a cure, better still if we had both, it would be an easier transition back to something resembling normalcy. Perhaps we might even achieve a new, hopefully better, version of normal. It would be nice if we learned from the experience & were better prepared for some future outbreak. Anyone up for improvements & support for our healthcare people & systems at the moment? Might we be a nicer & kinder society afterwards?

The alternative paths are fraught with trepidation. It will be interesting to see what the tipping points might be. And to see who might be trying to put a thumb on the scale along the way. As the virus makes its way through the population, there will be a point where a significant percentage of people will have contracted COVID-19. And recovered. Will this growing group want to remain socially isolated, in order to protect those who have yet to be exposed? At some point, there will be enough of us thinking in a way that might be contrary to our personal feelings on doing what we previously though of as the right thing. The larger the numbers holding such a perspective, the more readily we can join the crowd. While we generally like to see ourselves as loving & kind, sometimes, it is fear that encourages us to be so. Remove the fear for self & our concern for others can diminish too. Replaced by our concerns for our financial health & other matters. Valid concerns, these too.

These days, we are influenced by social influencers on social media. Politicians, musicians, & tacticians from a wide variety places & spaces can get inside our heads. There are so many mounds that can be found to preach a moral story from. Yes, staying home to protect Grandma is valid. So too is getting Jack back to work, so he can feed his family. But what if Jane wants to return to work too, but fears for her life because of an underlying condition? What about making that mortgage payment? Paying the rent? Companies, small & large laying off their people. All devastating worries & legitimate, perspective-altering situations. We can all think for ourselves, of course, but it can’t hurt if we hold on to the better part of our nature, as we make these decisions together.

Individually & collectively, we have some yin & yang going on. In the same way that I can never quite figure out which is the good one, I struggle with trying to figure out if I’m inherently nice, or just being so because it’s serves me better. I have to acknowledge that I would be greatly relieved to find that I’d already had the damn thing & was now immune. But I would, at the very least, wish the same for everyone else. It’s not going to be easy but here’s hoping we can stick with the will of a kind majority, & the rule of law, ’til we get to the other side.

For as long as I’ve been socially isolated though, I’ve had a cough, cold or flu bug. I am doing the social distancing thing by the book. How on earth am I catching these things!?!

One thing I’m not doing well with at the moment is dieting. Tomorrow is the first of a new month & I’m dreading stepping on the scale!

I’m almost questioning my own sincerity now, but I think I hope that you’re all doing okay out there!!! πŸ€ͺπŸ˜‰πŸ˜

Ten Things I Discovered in Lockdown

1. It seems that it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to do all those backburner projects … I just didn’t want to do them.

2. Might be the same situation when it comes to getting some exercise.

3. I’m pretty sure that those people who tell me they’re loving retirement are lying.

4. Who knew doorknobs could be this clean!?!

5. And that some politicians could be such doorknobs.

6. You can turn anything from the freezer into an edible meal with pan frying … by adding a can of curry sauce at the end.

7. The internet is even more important than I thought … I never knew you could do this much, right from the couch.

8. I didn’t hoard toilet paper & it still hasn’t run out. Am I not doing it the right way!?! 😜

9. Long charging cables, that reach the couch while in the supine position, are more prone to fail when you most need them.

10. Putting your stuff in the dishwasher still works … and it’s one of the best cures for social isolation!!!

11. My scale has artificial intelligence! The bloody thing knows when I eat chocolate chip banana bread.

12. You start forgetting little things … like how to count! πŸ€ͺ

How are you guys doing out there? What are you discovering during your shelter in place experience?

A big digital hug to everyone! πŸ€—

Stay safe & stay home, all y’all & tout le monde.

Grey Day? No … it’s Blue Monday!

I doubt it’s really true that the 3rd Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year for everyone. But it sure felt like it when I went outside for my predawn coffee & saw the ridge of icebergs that the snowplough left at the end of my driveway!

Blue Monday … Grey or Great?

I was aching from the shovelling activities of the previous day & I made the mistake of “treating” myself to some starch selections for dinner last night. Followed by sugary choices for dessert! I love cramming that junk into my face but there is always a price attached to it. Indigestion, poor sleep &, for me, some sugars & starches are mind altering substances. They bring my weight up & my mood down.

Since that terrible week of eating on the road at the beginning of the year, I’ve been doing reasonably well. I wouldn’t pretend that my head has been 100% in the game, but I’ve probably been around the 80% mark. I’m not checking in with my scale, that thing is heartless, merciless, so I’m going to leave that ’til the first of the month to come.

A little later, I went for predawn coffee number two. Taking my cigarettes with me, not even a sliver of guilt attached to it, I went out to soak up some additional angst. I was trying to perk myself up with the thought of those lucky folk living in the southern hemisphere at this time of year. I bet they are enjoying the January temperatures at that end of the planet.

Imagine my elation at seeing the end of driveway clear! Good neighbours can be mind-altering too. Thank you, kind neighbour.

Bring it on Blue Monday, there are people that have my back. And I’m betting that’s true for you too.

Happy Blue Monday!