Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bush Dodges a Shoe

The question no one seems to be asking about Bush and the Shoe Throwing Iraqi

Where was the Secret Service?

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]  

An Open Letter To Congressman Tom Tancredo

I sent this to Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

Dear Congressman Tancredo,

First off, I supported your nomination in this last election and feel you would have made a fine president. Since I live in your neighboring state of NM, issues in Colorado often mirror or affect us here as well.

As a Conservative, I have been very disappointed in the GOP lately. Results in 2008 clearly show this. Regardless of individual opinions of Governor Palin, no one in the GOP can deny that just her ideals as a CONSERVATIVE fired up the party more than Senator McCain ever could (I respect McCain but cannot say he stands for Conservative values).

I am part of a GRASS ROOTS effort to bring messages of Conservative, and even GOP at times, to the people who are on the fence. A lesson from the Obama campaign was how well he utilized the web and all of its tools. A tool he used greatly was called TWITTER. There is a growing movement in TWITTER right now called the Top Conservatives on Twitter, or #tcot. TCOT right now is the statistically highest rank topic on Twitter. Ask any of the "young 'uns" on your staff about Twitter and they will know about it. Obama sure does! So does Hillary Clinton. As a conservative, I urge you to take advantage of the new media as best as you can, have you aids get a twitter account for you, and start spreading the word to people in real time.

With much respect,
Dale Hugo

A Change in The Direction for the Atomic City

Time to Tack A New Tack

It has been a while since I posted and I decided that a change is needed.

Atomic City helped me get through a great crisis in my life. I am still not 100% recovered but I am on the way. We are still screwing around with a last few tests on my pituitary but most likely they will come back fine.

My Basilary Migraines remain and they still suck beyond belief. My balance and ear problems persist as do my hypoglycemia. However, things are not bleak. The medication I am on has stabilized my blood glucose (Proglycem). The migraine preventives kind of work. I know my triggers and my family and I are coping as best as we can.

I am sleeping, again. Atomic City started during my terrible insomnia. Now, thankfully, sleep cycle has gone to normal.

I have been extremely busy at work, sometimes putting in 16 hour days. My workouts have ceased. They will start back up, soon. I miss the gym and need it back in my life.

I have met a world of wonderful people and causes during this phase of Atomic City. I still read many of the blogs from the fine folks I have corresponded with over the past 18 months.

And what now for the Atomic City?

Atomic City on Blogger was originally set up to be more of a politically-based blog, specifically on how politics affects everyday life. As I write this:

  • The first African-American (okay, 1/2 Af-Am, 1/2 white) man will take office as the President of the United States in a few weeks. People refer to him as The One. Ironically, in an attempt to battle racism, people accept him based on his ethnic origin and ignore his political standings, background, ideals, and accomplishments. His cabinet looks oddly familiar and his Chief of Staff has found himself smack in the middle of the normal Chicago swamp of politics.
  • The Senate shot down then bail-out for the Big Three Automakers but Bush and the White House will probably fund it anyway. That goes AGAINST what his party has already voted on and what the people clearly have stated they do not want.
  • The Federal Reserve refuses to tell the public about a TRILLION dollars it has handled. That money is YOURS and MINE, and not THEIRS.
  • India and Pakistan are strutting like peacocks over the Mumbia attack. And, once again, a handful of well-trained men overcame every security measure put in place to stop such an attack. And, again, this applies to us. Taking knitting needles away from little old ladies boarding airplanes does not make us secure. Old fashioned intelligence, infiltration, and observing is what stops these attacks. Fort Dix is an example.
  • As a scientist, I have little doubt the planet is growing through Climate Change. Climate Change ALWAYS occurs, every single day. Is there Global Warming? Yes, kind of. Is it caused by human activity? The scientific data says that it is doubtful or negligible, but there is no true consensus. What concerns me is the steps the US and UN governments are taking to tax and change our markets and essence based on shoddy, and even purposefully deceitful data (October's temperature ranges being replaced by September's ranges come to mind). I am not here to debate Global Warming, I am here to say EVERYBODY TAKE A DEEP BREATH before we start issuing policy from the hip.
  • There is a ton of sniping between the two major parties. Yet I think they are BOTH whacked. That is why I joined the Libertarian Party. Now, I am in many ways more of a Conservative than a text-book Libertarian, but SHEESH, both major parties basically act alike but just trash the other. Enough.

And so on...

I decided to stop whining and try to make a difference. I actually joined a political party before the election, contributed to a campaign (Bob Barr, a former GOP Representative from Atlanta who was the Libertarian candidate).

I also joined a grass-roots organization called BigTent21 whose goal is to move Conservative thinking into the 21st Century. I will Twitter and will blog for under the hash #tcot as well.

Time to walk the walk for the Bobblehead.

I will still post updates on various things in my life, and will write on health and science issues that interest me or I think will be interesting.

If you are one of my "Liberal" friends, stick around. As many of you have already found out, my "Conservative" ideals are actually quite in alignment with much "progressive" ideals, just phrased differently.

Again, a million thanks to those of you who did read Atomic City as it was. The Bobblehead is still here and will continue in his way. You are welcome to continue this journey with me.

Dale Hugo a.k.a The Radioactive Bobblehead

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Having Bobblehead do a "Stim' Test


Your Adrenal Glands Courtesy Of

UNM wants me to do a "stim test." I assume they mean a test of Adrenal Gland function called an ACTH Stimulation Test. Essentially they will inject me with ACTH and measure my cortisol response.

This is to see what is causing my hypoglycemia. They mentioned adrenals to me. It looks like they might suspect Addison's Disease. I doubt that I have Addison's, though. Yes, I have some of the symptoms of Addison's, but many of the biggies are missing including a rise in serum potassium (mine is borderline low), abnormal cortisol (mine is normal), darkening of the skin (sorry, I am a stereotypical white boy), nausea (nope), muscle weakness (nope), salt craving (nope), low blood pressure (mine is slightly high), muscle or joint pain (nope).

Another test for Addison's is an insulin tolerance test, which I had wanted run on me in January. I think this is a better use of a test.

Well, it is me and Proglycem against the world!

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Pure Joy

I dare you to watch this and not feel good!

I stumbled across this video on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). What does this have to do with astronomy? Nothing. Yet it demonstrates the universal humanity of people from around the globe. Besides, Matt looks just plain goofy dancing. However, he does not care because he is to busy enjoying life.We could learn from the Matts at time...
I know, many people have already seen this on various sites but man, it makes me laugh. Also, go check out Where The Hell Is Matt. We are all human...

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Lemonade Life: A view into a twentysomething woman with type 1 diabetes

An Even Fresher View Than This!

Okay, stop what you are doing and go here now! Lemonade Life at

Trust me, you will not regret it. Go on, I will wait...

I stumbled across Allison's blog while fooling around with Twitter. She is a friend of another blogger I follow (and wrote about here). Like Courtney, Allison has type 1 diabetes. Actually, and with no offense to either, big deal. One of the things I like to do is browse blogs. I see a lot of blogs about patients with one condition or another. That does not make it a good read.

What I like about Allison's (and, yes you too, Courtney) blog is that their writing gives you good insight into their lives. Allison is a woman with an interesting life who happens to also have type 1 diabetes. Her writing is refreshing and has kept me interested and smiling.

That said, Bobblehead loves the medical stuff. Allison is a die-hard diabetic awareness and cure-driven advocate. She offers a great insight into the constant day-by-day balance of her life (which is higher-paced than mine...ah, to be twenty, again) and a disease where you are constantly making sure your glucose goes neither too high nor too low.

A great example of Allison's insight is her 101 things to achieve in 1001 days list. It includes travel, volunteer time, reading, health, spirit, etc. Again, balance is a key theme in Allison's life. And, again, managing diabetes is a balancing act.

She is now officially on my blog roll and a must read. I am very impressed.

And, not to leave this triathletic, marathon running, long-distance bicycling, insulin-pump wearing, constant glucose monitoring wearing (and swearing at) blogger out, Courtney's Ride To Remedy is another must read for me.

Bravo, ladies.

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back Home In The Atomic City


Get In The Truck, Boys, We are Going Home!

Well, it was a helluva two weeks. But I am home as of last night. Mom and Dad Bobblehead are doing better. Medically, it was an interesting time. Yes, I will divulge some of their medical information here (nothing everyone doesn't already know), and some things will remain private.

Emotionally, it was a roller coaster. There has always been a strained relationship between myself and my parents. I also see them self destruct so it is frustrating being with them. Maybe I am not in a position to judge, but boy was it rough.

My mom ended up suffering from extreme dehydration and partial renal failure. We know she was taking a number of diuretics including an over-the-counter diet supplement called Hoodia. Her protein levels passed through her kidneys shot up and her blood CO2 levels dropped. She was incoherent for a few days. Her potassium rose significantly adding the risk of heart attack. Her sodium plummeted.

My wife, El, rushed in from Houston, TX. I was stuck in the Land of Enchantment until my own medical tests were completed.

Mother Bobblehead had fluids pumped into her. Her electrolytes were stabilized. By the time I arrived in Nocona, Texas (trust me, Nocona is about as fun as this place) she was off of all IVs and additional medications. She was having a difficult time walking, though. Her legs and feet were greatly swollen due to the edema and electrolyte imbalance.

Her feet were hurting a great deal. There was a debate on what was causing the pain. She (and I) have a history of gout. There was an assumption before I got there that gout was the culprit. I insisted a uric acid blood test be run and it came back just a tad over normal, basically inconclusive. Arthritis was another possible explanation as was just the discomfort of the edema. Finally we got her up with a walker where she started physical therapy.

A few days later, she went home. By this time Mrs. Bobblehead had returned to the kids in Houston.

Several things were blatantly apparent:

  • Neither of my parents had a clear idea of which medications they should be taking.
  • My mom's type 2 diabetes was under control in the hospital because we were controlling her diet.
  • My Dad's Type 2 diabetes was not under control.
  • Both my parents had no stamina at all or muscle tone.
  • My father has very bad pain due to arthritis in his knees.
  • We were not sure what the story was on my mom's kidneys.
  • They were not eating well.
  • Their necks hurt.
  • They fall often.

Okay, where to get started...

Mrs. Bobblehead and I went through every pill bottle and sheet from doctors we could find. We called and faxed lists to various doctors. We looked at pharmacy lists. Eventually we had a comprehensive list of all medications they needed to be on. We included the dosages, the times of day, the prescribing doctors, and the reasons they were taking the medications. This was a huge endeavor (trust me) but at least we know where we stand now. Sure enough, once they got used to the right medications, they started quickly to stabilize and feel better. A shout out to CVS Pharmacy in Bowie, Texas. Six trips out there but the staff was wonderful in helping us out!

All wacky supplements went bye-bye. Now, I take a ton of supplements, but I have a clear understanding of what and why to take them. For now, they are on good multivitamins only.

I bought a crock-pot and cooked each night. There diet was controlled. All sugar candy and treats went bye-bye. Now their type 2 diabetes is looking good. Many days my mom does not need to inject any insulin at all. My dad's sugar has been consistent and reasonable (under 200). I insisted on an AI-C test for Mom. Basically, this is a test to see what your "average" blood glucose levels were over the past 30-60 days. Mom's was actually pretty good.

0805081114.jpg 0805081114a.jpg

I took them to the local wellness center (where my mom did her physical therapy). There they did some very low impact work starting with the Nustep. By the way, I love the Nustep. It is a seated, recumbent stepper which is very low impact. I use it due to my imbalance issues. The company deserves a plug!

Anyway, their workouts helped. Yes, they were sore, but they are not used to it. Hopefully they continue to go with me gone.

I also taught them some simple McKenzie neck exercises. These saved me when I was at the Cleveland Clinic. If you have Neck or Back Pain, get McKenzie's Books:

My father had the first of three injections of collagen in his knees made from chicken parts. Honest. Scynvisc injections are often a great relief for arthritic pain in the knees. The injections were easy and he started to feel better in a few days.

I installed an alarm in case they fall. Works pretty well although it is a bit pricey.

Mother Bobblehead saw a urologist. Good news, no permanent damage to her kidneys. Even better news, her CT Scan showed no plaque build up in her aorta meaning her cardiovascular system is in good shape.

So, when I left they were in good shape. Let us hope they continue to take care of themselves.

As for me, I plan on going to the gym later....

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mother Bobblehead is Back Home

Mother Bobblehead Hates Hospital Food

She was in for almost 2 weeks but she is finally back home. She is basically through with physical therapy and getting around with a walker. Personally I believe the walker is for psycological reasons only, as she kind of carries it more than she rolls it. I suspect she will be around without a cane in a week and a half.

I signed her and Father Bobblehead up for a three month membership to the local wellness center in Nocona, TX. It is actually a beautiful facility and I suspect Mom will enjoy it. I doubt Dad goes at all.

I also ordered them one of those "I've fallen and I can't get up" alrams from Lifeline. It gets here next week. For giggles, see the original commercial at RetroJunk.

The big dogs are being good, considering they are cooped up in the (very, very large) kennel for hours at a time. I am walking and watering them constantly. They are good boys.

That's it for now. Will write more later.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Proglycem Shortage Announced

The FDA announced a Proglycem shortage, the one drug I really really need for my reactive hypoglycemia.

Teva announces Proglycem drug shortage
Date Posted: July 24, 2008
Teva has announced a shortage of Proglycem (diazoxide oral suspension) due to manufacturing delays. Presently, Proglycem is still available from Teva's emergency supplies.
Proglycem is used for the treatment of hypoglycemia.
For more information call (888) TEVA-USA

The actual FDA Announcement Here.

And the latest with the Bobblehead's own Screwy Endocrine System

The latest Endocrinologist I saw at UNM is concerned that my reactive hypoglycemia may still be caused by a pituitary disorder or by a tumor secreting insulin somewhere in my body. Haven't I already been down this path?

Latest on Bobblehead's Mom

Well, my mom is coherent, again. The drugs have been backing up in her system over days and days. Her protein levels are back to normal and so is her sodium and potassium. But her legs and ankles are terribly swollen with edema. She is still tired, refuses to eat, and her lower back hurts. All symptoms of renal failure and kidney damage.
The good news is we finally did confirm she saw a  nephrologist a few weeks ago. I have his name and number and we will be calling him first thing in the morning to confirm his prescriptions and to let him know a patient of his ended up in the hospital with renal failure only 2 weeks since he gave her a clean bill of kidney health.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Slow Down On Atomic City

Bobblehead's mom went into the hospital for renal failure so I just drove into Nowhere Texas (Nocona). I will write more as I get a chance. Long story. Bobblelhead

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Is Wrong With People?

Will you shut up, already?

So, Bobblehead joined the countless number of individuals who went to see the Dark Knight this weekend. The movie was very good. Ledger's performance was spectacular. It is a tragedy that he burned himself out so early.


But this post is not about the movie. It is about the masses in the theater.

Bobblehead loves going to the movies. I enjoy the big screen, the sound. I just usually enjoy the theater experience.


The theater, a fairly new one in Santa Fe,NM, was not packed but it was fairly full. There was no doubt going in to this movie that it would be violent. It also would be loud, and long. It was rated PG-13. I saw any number of 10-12 year old boys and girls with their parents. I would not have brought my 10 year old. But that was okay.

What was upsetting was the number of really young kids in the theater. Babies, 3 year olds. They were loud. They got scared and started to cry. One boy behind me spoke through the whole film. It was more than annoying.

Kid's fault? Nope. Stupid parents.

I brought my kids to some movies I wanted to see (none which I thought would be this scary) also when they were younger. And if they acted up, we went out of the theater For the most part I stopped seeing a number of films for a while that did not have some sort of talking animal in it.

Is that enough to get me upset? Nope.

The guy in front of me (he was in his sixties so the asshat should have known better) kept answering his cell phone. He did get up (in front of me) and leave the theater every time it rang. It rang four times during the movie. I had my cell phone with me. The ringer was off.

Then I think it was bathroom express. People were coming and going in and out of the theater constantly. I had to get up numerous times to let people out. I had my head and chair bumped several time from the people behind me. It was a parade.

Maybe I am slowly getting to the age where I am becoming an old fogey but what the heck? When did we become so rude? Part of watching a movie on DVD or cable is that you can do what you want in your home without bothering everyone around you (except your family, but you get bonus points for bothering them!). I enjoyed the movie but I am in no rush to run out for an opening of a big movie again anytime soon.


[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gastric Bypass and Hair Loss

Dale as newborn.jpg

Easy for the Bobblehead to speak, he always had hair!

One of the possible side effects of weight loss surgery, especially those that are malabsorption in nature (i.e., gastric bypasses such as duodenal switch), is possible hair loss.

Hair in humans is mainly cosmetic in appearance. So, when your body starts to starve itself by not getting enough calories, especially proteins and fats, the body is smart enough to shift the limited nutrition to vital functions. Hair follicles, not vital. Your hair can fall out.


OK, relax now. Actually, fall out is usually an over reach. Thin is more like it.

My hair thinned for the first 9 months. Bobblehead always had a good head of hair. See my baby picture. Darn, I was cute. But it was strange seeing my hair come out in the shower and on the pillow. I never noticed any bald spots and usually kept my hair very short anyhow, a crew cut or flat top. But it did thin some.

So did my other WLS friends.

But the good news is that I never had anyone tell me it was devastating. Again, usually noticed only by the person who had the hair loss.

And, about 9 months after surgery it stopped. My body started its long term adjustment and I absorbed enough protein. My hair was and continues to be fine.

As does everyone's.

Right before my surgery, a number of us drove from the Atomic City to Albuquerque to a WLS surgery support group to talk about duodenal switch versus RnY. There was a very heavy Hispanic woman in her 50s. Her biggest concern? Not death, bleeding out, heart failure, dumping, scars, fatigue, etc. You got it. Hair loss. Wow, I was stunned. I went through this WLS for my health and family, not for vanity. I had no response.

WLS surgery is scary enough as it is. Do not let this bother you.

To put things in perspective, a friend of mine has his wife in a precarious position. She survived lymphoma 20 years ago. Recently she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is on massive chemotherapy. Major hair loss including her eye brows and eye lashes. She keeps on going. Strong.

Credit where it is due: I read a much more complete article on this topic in a fellow WLS blogger's site. Go read her post: Gastric Bypass Surgery Truth. It is a really good blog from a woman with a great perspective and sense of humor. She is on my "must read" blog roll. Tell her Bobblehead sent you.

Lastly, one of the side effects of the Proglycem I am taking for my hypoglycemia is, hair growth! Especially on the backs of my hands and my forehead. I have not seen any. Great, I might become a hairy Bobblehead...

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Bobblehead Give Up Coffee To Beat Migraines? Fuggedaboutit!

humorous pictures
more cat pictures

Bobblehead takes his with creme, sugar, and a shot of vanilla. And a No Doze for an added boost.

When it looked like one of my problems was actually acute migraines, I was urged to keep a migraine and food diary to look for possible triggers. Alcohol, especially wine, is a known triggers. Nitrates, nuts, cheese. All on the list. So is chocolate. Bobblehead give up chocolate? No problem. I am not too thrilled with chocolate and enjoy it but if I had to give it up, no problemo!

Oh, and coffee.


Give up coffee? What, are you out of your friggin' mind?!?

Actually, give up caffeine. Yup, coffee is on the short list for know triggers. The problem is caffeine is also on the short list for migraine treatments. Yes, you are damned if you do and damned if you do not.

Caffeine is a wonderful drug. It is the most consumed drug in the word according to National Geographic (the joys of countless hours reading whatever is around while waiting for doctors or lab tests). It is naturally in many foods and added to many others.

Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor. It is unusually good at slight raises of blood pressure and temporary feelings of alertness and euphoria. It is often added in over-the-counter and even prescription pain killers. It is linked to decreases in heart disease and even breast cancer. It has not terrible addictive properties. It is almost impossible to overdose on.

Flip side: It leeches magnesium from your body. Migraine sufferers often have a magnesium deficiency and this in itself is considered a trigger. The raises in blood pressure, while not usually a strain on the heart, is a strain on the vascular system and can increase the chance of stroke. The alertness (hold, I gotta take a sip of coffee....Hmm, that is better), is temporary and one usually "crashes" once the drug wears off. High doses lead to jitters. One does get addicted to caffeine. And, as in most addictions, withdrawal from caffeine leads to more jitters and irritability (like Bobblehead in the morning without his coffee). These lead to a problem well known to migraine sufferers: the rebound headache. Take a vasoconstrictor, go off, allow the veins and arteries to widen allowing more blood flow into certain areas quickly, add withdrawal symptoms, and, well, he's down for the count! More on caffeine and migraines here.

So, what do you do?

Go back to the original advice: keep a food and migraine diary. I did. I showed no correlation at all to anything I ate or drank with my headaches. Mine were always associated with stress, physical triggers (low blood sugar, fatigue, low atmospheric barometric pressure, flashing lights, people that pissed me off...okay, not that last one, but I did want to count that and get disability to keep from going to work!), and rotational motion sickness.

As for coffee...hold on, my cup is empty and I need a refill.

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Friday, July 18, 2008

Simply amazing macintosh video

Who says computers aren't sexy?

It is no secret that the Bobblehead is a mac head. I do use a Windows machine at work, and to be fair, they have gotten better than they used to be. But they are not...hip. The Mac and PC ads really do nail it. True, you can get the same effects in the amazing video above in a PC, but it might lack some coolness factor.See for yourself:

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Missing The Bike

At the top of Heartbreak

Bobblehead at the top of Heartbreak Hill, during the Santa Fe Century, 2007

I miss biking. I have no desire to do another triathlon, again. I proved I could do one. The swimming was rough but the running kills me. I just love to bike. I am slow, but who cares.

I have done a few miles around town but am scared what could happen if I am fatigued, 40 miles from anywhere, and my vertigo hits. It is probably not a smart thing to be on two wheels (in silly clothes and shoes not made for walking) and you cannot maintain balance to even stand, let alone propel a bike. But, what the hell. I will bike some more close to home and set my sights on next year.

Worse comes to worse, there are always trikes...

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

More on Reactive Hypoglycemia and Duodenal Switch Weight Loss Surgery

Photo 21 of 25_1.jpg

Bobblehead, the day before his weight loss surgery: Weight 383 pounds.


Bobblehead last month, weight 180 pounds.

I have been following Jane's blog on her journey after Duodenal Switch 6 years ago. As a matter of fact, she was the first in the UK to have duodenal switch gastric bypass surgery. As I was writing my post on connections between WLS and reactive hypoglycemia Jane posted an article about gastric bypass as a possible cure for diabetes, even more than a sample group who just lost weight. Her blog, Dances with DS, is here:

I emailed Jane and mentioned some of what I was going through. I asked her to consider referring back to Atomic City. She wrote me back, and yes, she reads my blog on a regular basis as I do hers.

Jane is 6 years out, I am 5 1/2 years out. It is uncommon to see a weight loss patient continue to blog about WLS that far out. Being "thin" is "normal" for me, now (though I still see a 400 pound man in the mirror, not one at 180 pounds). Jane and I both want to give accurate pictures of weight loss surgery. It is not a magic bullet nor an easy way out. If you are considering WLS, you should be exposed to all of the information: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Jane asked me some specific questions. I think it is in everyone's best interest to answer them via a blog. I have nothing to hide. Besides, she is asking good questions.

Jane: I was wondering not long ago on my blog about this very condition when I heard of several RNYers (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass) struggling to deal with it. I wonder how many of us DSers are out there suffering from it. Do you know of any others?

Bobblehead: The literature I read only mentions RnY specifically or generic "gastric bypass." The connection is that DS patients have a RnY. Basically, that is a reshaping the small intestine into a "Y" shape where actual digestion only takes place in a "common channel" right before the large intestine. In my case, the common channel is 100 cm long. Earlier patients had the length set arbitrarily. Later surgeries based it on a ratio compared back to the total length of the small intestine. As far as I can tell, I am the only DS patient I know about with this reactive hypoglycemia but I do not believe it. I would bet money that the ratio of RnY patients to DS patients on this is about 1.0. That portion of anatomy change is consistent.Reactive Hypoglycemia is similar to dumping, though, at least in reactions. Dumping occurs when food passes out of the "pouch" of an RnY patient quickly into the duodenum. The body responds by "dumping" a large amount of insulin into the blood. RnY patients usually only experience this with simple carbohydrates (especially alcohol) and can often balance this effect off with protein. Not me. Even a low carb high protein bar will cause my insulin levels to rise and my sugar to plummet. DS patients do not traditionally dump as the anatomy of the stomach entrance into the duodenum is unaltered where it is altered in RnY.
Jane: You say you had headaches - ouch - they sound really painful ... did you have any other 'leading up symptoms?'
Bobblehead: My headaches usually do not hurt my head...ah, the joys of basilar migraines. I see other clear triggers such as drops in air pressure and spinning motions (probably due to my inner ear problems). Flashing lights and other visual stimulation can bring on an attack. So can fatigue. But so far, with my glucose in check, it is clear to me that the main culprit is my hypoglycemia.
Jane: Where you diabetic pre-op? Do you need a special diet of any kind?
Bobblehead: I was not diabetic, although I had Metabolic Syndrome. I figured out that I cannot control this via nutrition. I cut out all raw sugars, went to only whole foods, high protein...Bobbleheadilicous no matter what.
Jane: Did you tell Dr Hess about this?
Bobblehead: I emailed Hess (my surgeon) via his web page. He is retired. He never wrote back. HELP: If anyone has contact information for Hess, please email it to me. You can reach me via the sidebar on the right side of this blog or leave a comment.
And, of course, we shared information on dogs. I have four. A Labrador, a Siberian Husky, a Pug, and a Chihuahua. And three cats, four...wait five birds as Mrs. Bobblehead text messaged me to tell me she bought a baby green-cheeked conure (now our second) in Texas on Sunday...Yes, it is a zoo.
Hope this helps.

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Did my Gastric-Bypass Surgery Cause My Reactive Hypoglycemia?

Bobblehead would take 105 any old day!

I had Duodenal-switch gastric bypass going on 6 years ago. I have had some complications, most minor. An incisional hernia. Loose skin (gone). Bad, smelly BMs (pretty much gone).

But, as I have been writing about, I have had a helluva time with reactive hypoglycemia. I eat, my blood glucose drops. Bad. And that is partially what was driving my basilar migraines.

But is the gastric bypass to blame?

Most likely, yes.

There is more and more evidence in the literature suggesting this is a problem. One report says only 1-2% of bypass patients suffer it really bad. For me, Proglycem works very well. It just was 9 months of PURE HELL to get here from there.

Would I do the surgery again given what I know? Probably, yes. I am controlling where I am now. And again, I am the square peg in the round hole.

But I do not see enough doctors and hospitals promoting gastric bypass suggesting how severe this side effect really is. The Mayo Clinic suggests it might be a side effect but lists none of the preventions or treatments. another, Allina, suggests only nutritional advice (in a nutshell, nothing).

So, what should you do?

I recognize from watching Atomic City's traffic that there are potential weight loss surgery patients viewing this. The odds of you contracting this side effect are slim. The odds that if you do get reactive hypoglycemia it is as bad as the Bobblehead's, even slimmer. If you do, go to your endocrinologist and ask about Proglycem. Show him this web site and some of the journal articles I am linking to later in this post. It is a risk. But the odds you will get diabetes and have a obese BMI are much, much higher and the final effects are much, much more severe.

Articles and Web Sites (caution: these are from doctors for doctors!)

Hospitals Offering Gastric Bypass Surgery and Reactive Hypoglycemia

General Google Search linking Reactive Hypoglycemia and Gastric Bypass Surgery.

[posted by ♠ Bobblehead ♠]

And then there is Iran


You gotta give Iran credit. They keep on trying. No matter how many times they screw up.

Of course, you only need to get things right occasionally. Iran should be a non-threat. After all, without money, they cannot afford technologies (like Photoshop) that make them scary.

But, they got buckets full of money. And a hankering to spend it on technology such as nuclear reactors of peaceful projects (wink wink nudge nudge).


[posted by Bobblehead

Miss Kitty Is In A Wheelchair

Photo by Anders Wiuff

The Bobblehead is not happy about this

I got a text message from Mrs. Bobblehead yesterday as I was in the movies (Hellboy II which had an okay plot but was visually stunning). She told me that a fellow patient of of mother-in-law was now in a wheelchair.


"Miss Kitty" is a very cool person. Her Alzheimer's does not appear too advanced (I would wager she has Dementia as well). But it is difficult to tell. Her behavior is pretty good. But she has a difficult time orienting herself in time. Her short-term memory is shot. But the thing that makes Miss Kitty such a joy is her vivacious personality. She is quick to smile and laugh. She is the true cockeyed optimist. Her glass is always half-full.

Miss Kitty was born in Hawaii but grew up in New Jersey. When I see her I always ask how my "Jersey Girl" is doing. She lights up like a sunbeam. She has 2 daughters that I know of. As a girl she had a few sisters. But she was always her mom's favorite.

Jersey Girl was obvious a looker as a young woman. I am not sure of her age now (probably in her 70s) but the years have been kind to her looks. Looks aside, her almost stereotypical New Jersey accent sticks out in the Houstonian nursing home.

Many of the patients with her are in all kinds of personnel hell. Many (including my sweet mother-in-law) can barely speak. Many no longer walk. Most seem very angry and lash out. I cannot help but believe they live in perpetual fear. They do not know where they are, when they are, who are around them, etc. Fear brings on anger.

Not Miss Kitty. She seems to be always happy. Yet, I do see a balance in her emotions. I have seen her get miffed occasionally when a patient near her "goes off." Her response is not over the top.

I saw Miss Kitty in late June right before I left Texas for home. I always make it a point to chat with her (when she is not snoozing in an arm chair). I remember vividly telling my Jersey Girl I was leaving for the Atomic City in the morning. She gave me a big smile and said she would see me soon. "Soon" could mean anything to her.

Mrs. Bobblehead and I chatted on the phone last night. Yesterday she saw Miss Kitty in a wheelchair. She seemed down. I do not know the details but I have seen this pattern. This is often the first step towards a decline from which she cannot recover. I am keeping Miss Kitty in my prayers.

I abhor Alzheimer's. In many ways, I look at this as one of the worst diseases out...even more than some of the advanced cancers. Our cancer treatment has gotten better and seems to double in efficiency every 10 years. Yet I see no practical treatment, cure, or prevention for this condition that robs a person of their very soul and identity over a long time. It is frightening to watch a loved one go through this and even more maddening knowing you might be genetically targeted for this condition (as Mrs. Bobblehead might be).

Come on, Jersey Girl. Bounce back...

[posted by Bobblehead]

Friday, July 11, 2008

Alright, I get it!

It is really a funny thing. When I felt like crap, I wrote. Now that I am really feeling a lot better (great, actually) I have not been writing. On top of that, I was out of the state for a month and basically had no internet service (yet I survived!).

What was funny was that people I knew would come up to me and ask where were my new blog posts. I started to get emails from people in my past who were following my posts without me knowing it. Even more amazing to me were the emails from fellow bloggers, many of them migraine sufferers, asking where I was.

Well, I am back, baby!

I was talking to my wife, Li, and I realized that I did most of my posting in the wee hours of the morning. Having insomnia will do that. Now I am actually sleeping great. To boot, I have been getting up at 5am each morning (groan) and alternating walking the big boys and catching the 6am bus and going to the gym.

I am back at the gym! Hot damn! I am a little sore and am not lifting the weights I was but I am back. I broke down and rented a locker and now just keep some clothes and other stuff there. I shower and shave before I catch the bus so I am basically done after I work out (since I lost weight, I rarely perspire so even after a workout I am smelling fairly fresh. Fresh...not ripe).

In June we packed up the 4 of us, 4 dogs, 3 cats, 5 kittens, and 4 birds, and drove the 850 miles to Tomball, Texas. A few days there and then we drove to Jacksonville, Florida. I drove almost the entire way. Almost no Bobblyheaded moments. A few (one below), but not bad.

Medically, I am convinced I know what is finally going on. After arguing back and forth with neurologists, I convinced them that my daily hypoglycemia was a trigger for my Basilary Migraines. Sugar dropped below 60 and WHAM. Get it down around 50 and I was a loser for the entire day.

My endocrinologist at UNM has me on Proglycem, a medication to limit insulin production. It took about 6 weeks to fully kick in but when it did, I was almost perfect overnight. My sugar has been reasonable and even went over 100 after a glass of wine! Booyah! My fasting is now in the 70s to low 80s (occasionally it still is in the high 60s) but I do not have the reactive hypoglycemia with the medication. Before, my blood sugar would drop after I ate. Now it remains stable and actually rises appropriately. I am thrilled. Proglycem is an oral suspension. In other words, the medicine is mixed with water. I take a one mL eye dropper in the morning each and every morning and I am fine.

If I miss a dose...well, I did miss a dose in Lubbock, Texas. We were on the road and I did not take the medicine out of my bag and just plain forgot to take it. I had my complimentary crappy continental breakfast at our hotel and...then...I..I started to to to sloooow down. Bobble, bobble. It hit fast. I crammed honey and peanut butter down myself quickly to try to get my sugar up. In an hour I was fine and we made it the rest of the way to just outside of Houston. Missing one dose, just one day, killed me. I ran into a similar problem the next week. I was at the end of my bottle. The last dropper I took was basically all water, no drug was suspended. Bobblehead engines, engage! I cannot miss a dose.

I walked all through Disneyworld, hauled cow manure, walked my cousin's dog each morning, did yard work, went swimming, worked out in the gym, partied like it was 1899, and went went went. I did need the cane from time to time but the Bobblehead side of me remained pretty much suppressed.

I am now back in New Mexico, in the wonderful Atomic City. The family is still back in Texas but they will be coming home before school starts.

There is a storm rolling in. I am getting lightheaded. (I never said I was 100%). Damn low barometric pressure. Will try some feverfew before drugs.

There is a lot going on. I will try to write a little every day or two. I do miss it. My personality has always been that if I stopped something, even something I enjoyed, I would have a hard time getting back into the swing. Well, I am going to try.

As for all of you who have supported me when things were bleak and asked where I was when things got better, thank you. Can you feel the love?

[posted by Bobblehead]

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Cat Ate My Blog

I read somewhere that a sure-fire way to kill a blog is to write about your cat. Well, here goes.

My cat, Spooks, eats anything and everything. A few months back when I was not sleeping well, I would get up in the early morning, put on my iPod with my Bose noise-canceling headphones (absolutely great for airplane travel) and write. Well, Spooks ate the cord to the headphones and I had to order a new one.

Now he ate the power cord to my laptop. It actually shorted out the cord. I can see where it is burned. Good thing he did not get killed, fry the laptop, or burn the house down. That was my spare cord, too. Now I have no way to power the laptop. I ordered a few cords on eBay but for now I am stuck without my clipart collection and my editor of choice, Ecto. Oh well, at least I am writing.

The good news is that I am very, very tired and I hurt all over. Why? Because I have been walking quite a bit and have been weightlifting, again, back in the gym. I am out of shape compared to where I was but it is good to be back on the trail, again.


May Headache Blog Carnival - Migraines & Exercise: How do you stay active?

Welcome to the May 12, 2008, edition of Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival. The theme of this month's carnival is Migraines & Exercise: How do you stay active?

Ellen Schnakenberg presents Moving and exercising and migraine - WEGO Health posted at Ellen Schnakenberg's Posts - WEGO Health, saying, "Think you can't exercise with Migraine, headache or pain? Written by a 30 yr Migraineur and ex-personal trainer, this article helps you get started with 'baby bites', and by changing how you think about exercise and moving."

James Cottrill presents Exercise and Migraine: 5 top tips for staying active posted at Headache and Migraine News Blog.

Diana Lee presents Exercise: Double-Edged Sword for Migraineurs posted at Somebody Heal Me by Diana Lee.

Kerrie Smyres presents Mindfulness & Meditation: An Introduction | The Daily Headache posted at Daily Headache, saying, "It's mental exercise at least. That's all my head allows these days."

Pat E presents Keeping Active When Your Body Says No posted at The MAV Experience

Teri Robert presents 10 Ways for Migraineurs To Sneak In Some Exercise> posted at Teri Robert's Share Posts: My Migraine Connection, saying, "Here, you'll find some ways to sneak in a bit of exercise... some simple exercises that we'll be able to manage even on some of the days we're in pain. They may not seem like much, but the effects of them will build up."

Rena Sherwood presents Walking Dog Helps Ease My Head Pain.

Megan Oltman presents Calming down the migraine brain posted at Free my Brain from Migraine Pain, saying, "Although I didn't write directly about exercise, walking is my biggest form of exercise, and one of the relaxation techniques I wrote about involves walking."

MaxJerz presents coming out of the (migraine) closet: a borrowed subject posted at rhymes with migraine, saying, "A post about trying to live openly with migraine disease."

Rosalind Joffe presents Conserving Your Energy: Making It Sexy to be Green

Rain Gem presents Migraine News Network | RainGem |: I can has "I is Legend", srsly posted at RainGem - Migraine News. Threatments, Research and Opinions.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the June 2008 edition of the Headache & Migraine Disease Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form or by sending entries directly to Diana by e-mail.

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page

Subscribe to the Somebody Heal Me feed: Subscribe in a reader or subscribe by e-mail.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank Dianna for letting this edition of the Headache and Migraine Blog Carnival to be hosted by Atomic City. This is a great way to digest a lot of information in one place.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fiasco With Doctor at University of New Mexico Hospital

The noise, noise, noise, NOISE!

Ah, the joys of living in a small state with a limited number of doctors for the population.

I have been having almost daily attacks. The constant trigger in my life that I can see is my hypoglycemia. My food diary shows no other clear-cut triggers. It was my almost daily cycle that had one asshat neurologist tell me that I was a hypochondriac and that I was not having any migraine events at all.

For a while the Depokote seemed to be working. Along with that I do take Magnesium and Feverfew. Voltarin is my rescue drug.

This past few weeks, however, have been really, really bad. I collapsed once at work. Another day, I went home to sleep. My wife took me to the physical therapist. When I got in I collapsed in the lobby. After I recovered some, I found that my PT (whom I adore) had called my neurologist in the Cleveland Clinic. He was on the phone with me in minutes. He suggested a possible infusion to help break the cycle. He also suggested altering my medications a bit. He asked if I could come on in and see him in the next week. Cleveland is on the other end of the country from the Atomic City. Yet here he was scheduling me ASAP.

I told him I would prefer to see my local neurologist at the University of New Mexico Hospital which is only 90 miles away. I gave him the name of my local doctor (who seemed competent but I have only seen her once). He said he would call her. He did. Several times over the next week. He emailed me and said he never did reach her.

I called UNM the next day for an appointment. The earliest they could get me in was July. I booked it. After a few days of feeling like crap I called back in. The scheduled me for August. I whined and protested. I told them (begged them) that I would be at UNM to see my endocrinologist in 2 weeks, could I see my neuro on that date. They scheduled me for a date very early, even earlier than with my endocrinologist.

That was a double-edged sword, both good and bad. UNM did bend over backwards to get me in (after asking what I should do since passing out was getting old). The good news was I was actually getting in within a week.

The bad news is that they picked the worst possible day to do it. I accepted anyway.

This last week I have been a single father. My wife, Li, has been in Louisiana working with a mission's group putting together aid packets for natural disasters. I was watching the girls. On Friday, the day of my UNM appointment, I had to leave very early to get to Albuquerque by 9am for my appointment. I would not be able to get my kids off to school. They were on their own (they did fine...I have good girls).

On top of that, I would now miss my daughter's orchestra concert. She ended up performing with neither parent there to applaud her hard work. And she did work hard.

I got to UNM on time for my 9am appointment. The receptionist, a pleasant young lady, informed me that my appointment was moved to 10am. No one notified me. I could have gotten the girls off to school.

I wandered around a bit and was back at 10. Workers were in redesigning the modular furniture of the reception area. Here I was in full blow basilar migraine attack (Full Bobblehead Engines!) and there was the hammering, drilling, banging, movement, yelling, noise. I felt like the Grinch. Finally, I got up and went in and asked to sit in an exam room. Again, the receptionists and the nursing staff were great. They quickly triaged me and had me wait.

After an hour I was still waiting. My doctor was no where to be found. They paged her. No reply. After a while they told me they found here. She was home with a sick child. I waited for another doctor. Finally at 11:55 (I got there by 9am) he came in. The first thing out of his mouth was, "I did not have time to look at your chart. Also I need to be somewhere at noon. You got 5 minutes. Go."

I was not a happy camper.

He recommended I increase my Depakote, get a kidney test (which I had already done) and bye-bye! I went to rebook with my original neurologist. UNM had gracefully canceled my July appointment (again without calling me) and now had an opening in September.

No good.

I went back in, sat down with the nurse, and slowly in my slurred speech explained I was passing out, having almost daily attacks, was up since 5am, drove 100 miles alone to get here, could not get my kids off to school, missed my daughter's concert, sat in the construction zone, had a 5 minute drive-by consult by a doctor who wanted to brush me off and get to lunch, had numerous appointments moved or canceled with no one calling me, and now was on a priority list to see my doctor (whom I desperately want to get some sort of professional relationship going with) 4 months later!

The nurse was speechless. I was polite, quiet, reasonable, and professional. I was angry at no one. Crap happens. My doctor's kids get sick. That happens. I am okay with that. I just want to get in. And I want my doctor to speak to my neurologist in Cleveland so they can agree on a treatment.

I go back in to UNM in 2 weeks.

LESSON OF THE DAY Keep pushing. Be polite but firm. You guide your own treatment. Do not accept the brush-off. Murphey's Law sometimes comes into play, and doctor's offices are organized chaos. Everyone feels bad. Everyone is cranky. You can often force the issue but remain calm and professional. Go to the nurses. Do not give up.

The good news is that I felt great yesterday and am now off to the gym today. Happy Mother's Day all!


Can A Hacked Web Site Cause A Person Physical Harm?

Yes, if it can trigger migraines and seizures.

A few days ago, someone hacked into the web site of the Epilepsy Foundation. There they posted lots of nice blinking and flashing images, perfect for causing seizures. Of course, us migrainers were not left out of the picture. Flashing lights can trigger migraines as well (as Bobblehead is all too aware of).

The full story is at CNET.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

How to kill a blog...stop posting

No, Atomic City is not dead. Bobblehead has just felt like death. I ran into a number of people I know who all were concerned. "Hey, you stopped posting? How do you feel? Uh, you look TERRIBLE." The good news is that at least I know that SOMEONE is reading this blog. The bad news is that I have been really feeling poorly.

My hypoglycemia is driving me nuts. Ironically, just when I thought it could not get worse out of the blue my sugar has stabilized. Beats me why. I also gained 10 pounds (not wanted). Maybe the two are related. I am up to 186, the highest I have been in years. My wife would be thrilled. I am pissed. I want to get back down to 175.

My head is also spinning. I have collapsed twice in the past month. Once at work and once at physical therapy.

I am convinced a trigger for me is low blood glucose. And since I go low almost every day, I get an attack every day. In the evenings I have been dragging myself home and have just been too tired to write.

To top it off, the power cord on my laptop went out. No way to work the machine for now. Am ordering new cords. But for now I am stuck in the corner with my wife's iMac. A good machine, just not set up in a way that promotes writing for me.

This is truly the whining hour!

The good news is that on Monday Atomic City will host the May Migraine BlogCarnival. Okay, off to some decent writing!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bobblehead Stuck Between Low Blood Glucose and Basilar Type Migraines

Tennis Player 1.jpg

Hypoglycemia Serves, and BAM Down Goes Bobblehead!

The Proglycem does not appear to be working...

I am stuck in a bad cause and effect loop that I am having a hard time getting out of. My fasting blood glucose levels are ok (low 70s), sometimes a tad low. I have a dose of Proglycem suspension (an insulin suppressor) to try to keep my glucose levels up after I eat. Does not work. After a morning smoothie (whey protein powder, fresh fruit, Splenda, a little milk, fiber, bee pollen) my glucose drop to the 50s. Later in the morning I often will have more to eat (eggs, toast, etc.) No luck. my sugar is gone.

I often can deal with the low blood sugar. Yes, I am jittery and moody but I can eat or drink juice, honey, glucose tablets, etc., to get my sugar back up.

However, I am clearly aware low glucose is a trigger for my basilar type migraines (I also like the name basilar artery migraines. While this name is no longer used much, the acronym BAM is quite appropriate!). And that can wipe me out for much of the day.

Oh, credit where it is due. Teri Robert's site has a great article on basilar type migraines. I would read it aloud to you but my speech is often too slurred to make it out.

Like Monday. I fell to my knees while getting out of my office chair. And then a bit later I collapsed while speaking to several colleagues. While I agree that event was more entertaining than what normally happens at the office, my colleagues were not too happy! I got propped back in my chair. I was handed a juice box in one hand and a container of peanut butter in the other. All I needed was a stuffy and a blanky and I was ready for a nap!

The day was spent with sunglasses on and a fog in my head, and a buzzing in my ears.

This pattern of hypoglycemia and migraine is almost daily. The neurologist who dismissed my migraines earlier on did so stating that my pattern of migraines is too regular and almost daily. "Migraines do not do that."

However, I have two built in triggers. My ear (with the vertigo) can and does trigger attacks. They seem more manageable. But the trigger of low blood sugar is a problem. My glucose drops almost daily to low levels (mid to low 50s). The drug I am taking does not seem to be slowing that down. Unless I stop eating completely, my never-ending game of tennis has me worried...

[posted by Bobblehead]

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Migraine Sufferers Are NOT Faking Illness


White looks better on a dress than on the Bobblehead's face

I just got done reading an interesting post at Migraine Chick's blog over a recent encounter with a coworker:

Seems like the chick went into work after taking a day off. She was sick and vomiting from a migraine. A coworker was wondering how she could too get a day off. The coworker wondered out loud how the chick "schemed" to get time off.

You gotta love that word: schemed. Yes, I feel like death. The world is spinning. This is a great scheme to get a day off. Whoo-hoo!

Migraines are a silent illness, usually. All symptoms are internal. No one sees my aura. No one had the blurred vision or the jitteriness, flashing backgrounds that accompanied my sight. The headache, the spinning room. People that are naturally aware notice the expressions of pain but most Neanderthals just assume you are faking. I understand what the chick went through.

Actually, my coworkers could plainly see the pain I was in. My basilary migraines are very outward facing. The most visible aspect is the complete draining of blood from my face and hands. I turn white or worse. One coworker showed me when my face was green. Yuck. My fingers turn bone white or blue. Color is hard to fake.

The basilary migraines also result in my Bobbleheadilicous head bob and slurred or stuttered speech along with hand tremors. Oh, the falling is also clue to those around me.

Ironically, it was my doctors who thought I was faking it and not my coworkers. I fired them...

[posted by Bobblehead]

Saturday, April 05, 2008

This Will Kill You/Save You Updated


This Will Kill You & This Will Save You Updated

I have decided to keep a running total of different items that I see in the news that will either kill you, save you, or both. I am keeping the original reference links as well. It should be interesting to see in a few months what this list looks like. Enjoy.

Go To This Will Kill You & This Will Save You

[last updated 4/5/08, posted by Bobblehead]

The Nanny State Come to The Atomic City

Soccer Player.jpg

Soccer is verboten at my kid's school...

Sometimes the stupidity of adults never cease to amaze the Bobblehead...

My younger daughter is no longer playing soccer at her elementary school. No one is. Why? Because the kids actually enjoyed playing and had no real rules. Uh in the Nannies.

A few weeks ago my Mrs. Bobblehead approached me and said our younger daughter, El, wanted to play soccer over the summer. El never was a "joiner" and often grew tired and quit things after she starts so I was a little skeptical. Besides, Little League Soccer (or whatever it is called) had already gone through its sign up period. It was still cold old and there were still a few rouge patches of snow on the ground.

El is actually pretty athletic, but she is a girly-girl. All previous attempts to get her into any type of sport failed utterly. Why soccer and why now?

As it turns out, because there were no adults involved. A few of the kids who did play soccer brought their balls to school and started rounding up others to play during recess. They encouraged others on the sidelines to play as well. Few real rules because only the soccer kids knew them. El was thrilled. She came home one day all squealing and excited. She scored a goal. The next day she scored another, by accident as the ball bounced off from between her shoulders. She was having a blast.

It sounds like others were, too. El started to tell me of how she and others playing had convinced those shy and hesitant on the sidelines to start playing as well. Pretty soon plenty of kids were running, kicking, bumping, laughing, and having a blast.

That is when things turned ugly...

As normally happens, kids running around kicking a ball sometimes get kicked. Others sometimes fall down. Kids started to get sent to the nurse. A few bruises, a few scraped knees.

Clearly this was an epidemic and had to stop. The teachers quickly moved in. They formed standard "teams" so that too many kids were not playing at any one time. The kids stood in a line and counted off 1, 2,3, 4. On Mondays teams 1 and 2 played, on Tuesdays teams 3 and 4. No exceptions.

No yelling. No hard kicking. No fun.

El was crushed. She came home all sulky. I asked her what was wrong. She wanted to play today but it was not her "soccer day." Also, her friend that got her playing in the first place was only allowed to play on a different "soccer day." I guess there are no trades.

The kids just stopped playing. It stopped being fun. Here they were, running, laughing, socializing, fixing their own problems, encouraging participation from others, sharing, healthily competing, being kids!

Mrs. Bobblehead is furious. She wants to go down to the school and let them have it with both barrels. I told her that is fine with me. Make the appointment and I will be there. Nothing yet.

I went by the school the other day during recess. Kids were out in the playground. Some were eating lunch, others were walking around.

None were playing soccer.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Plastic Surgery In The News



There have been major stories buzzing the health and medical blogasphere that are related although the events took place across the Atlantic. In Britain, a couple decided to have plastic surgery performed on their 5 years old daughter. She has Down Syndrome. The desire was to help her look more "normal" and fit in better. More here.

In Florida, an 18 years old cheerleader died during breast enhancement surgery. More here.

The buzz is that in both cases the surgery was cosmetic in nature and reflects on the vanity we are succumbing to. Many feel there should be more regulation. However, Bobblehead is not so sure about this and has been fairly quiet in the comments on other blogs.

First off, the Bobblehead has had plastic surgery. And while some would say it was cosmetic in nature, the results have been dramatic and I would go through the surgery again in a heart beat.

After my 200 pound weight loss I was stuck with a problem. My "apron" that was the skin on my belly hung down almost to my knees. My clothes would not fit right. When I walked or exercised, the skin would sway drastically and painfully. It also was drying up in areas and was forming scabs. It was so far down and put some much pressure on my lower body that when (okay, this is not kid-friendly) I had to pee, I could not just lower my fly and go. I had to drop my pants, hold the apron up out of the way, and go. Urinals were not my friend. At the same time I had developed an incisional hernia down the front of my abdominal. I decided to take care of both of them. Outside of Houston, I had two surgeons work on me. One fixed the hernia and the other removed the excess skin. This is an abdominoplasty or "tummy tuck." Eighteen pounds of it. I awoke to a belly that was fairly flat and normal. I still have a lot of loose skin but it is not a burden like the apron was. I dropped almost 4 inches in my waist (all skin, not fat). I can pee normally. Jumping jacks and running is possible. It is wonderful. I have no regrets at all for my choice in this surgery. As for the loose skin in my thighs and still some in my gut, I do not care. This is great as is. I am not trying to be perfect, just functional.

The couple with the Down Syndrome child had her tongue reduced in size. It was protruding as is often the case. I actually agree with this surgery. There are health issues at stake including respiratory and just general health. I did not consider this cosmetic in nature and defend the parents' decision to do this surgery. The parents also had two other surgeries performed on their child, though. Small flaps of skin were removed from around the girl's eyes. Down Syndrome children used to be called "Mongoloid" because of their almost Asian appearance (and their rounded faces). The girl's eyes were made to look more normal. In addition, a third surgery pinned her ears back. Again, purely cosmetic. Again, to make here fit in.

Bobblehead has issues with this. And they are not politically correct. This Down Syndrome girl will never be normal. She will be what she is. She will be mentally challenged and forever frozen in a child-like mental state no matter what she looks like. And to that I say, so what. The world is big enough for all types. Heaven knows I am mentally challenged half of the time. Will the girl be a rocket scientist? No. Will she be capable of giving love and compassion? Yes. Will she look like everyone else? No. Will that make her less beautiful? No. Will that make her picked on and less accepted? Maybe by some but, again, so what. No matter who you are, there is always someone out there that hates your guts just because. Your self worth is not judged by how others judge you. Neither is that girl's. I am pissed off at the parents and feel they made the wrong choice. So are a lot of other people. Stupid parents.


It is not my call to deny the parents the right to have their child go through surgery. After all, if the girl were horribly disfigured in an accident or fire, no one would deny the parent's right to ask for "cosmetic surgery" to rebuild a face. Where do we draw that line. Should the government and the "people" take the role of the parents in this case? How do you define the cases? Who judges? What makes them so damned qualified?

I believe strongly that the parents made some awful choices but it was their choices to make. Them and their doctor's. No, the child could not speak for herself. And with a lower IQ, even at 18 years old she could not make those choices. We can chastise the parents for what they are doing but in the end, parents screw up every day. That is what parents do. The parents had a right to choose. I would raise the age limit up a number of years but any number is arbitrary and some surgeries are less risky when the patients are younger. There is no good one-size-fits-all solution, here.

So, what if another girl was 18, pretty, a cheerleader, intelligent, had chosen a career in medicine (plastic surgery, ironically)? Can she decide what to do in her case? In Boca Raton, Florida, a girl died from a problem in anesthesia having her breasts enlarged and a nipple straightened. No one foresaw the death although it is a documented risk. The number of deaths is extremely low but will never be zero.

Again, I feel the girl was vain. I saw photos of her. She was very pretty. Larger breasts would not (in my opinion) make her more pretty. And heaven knows I have had my share of visually beautiful people that were spiritually vacant. This girl (according to the press) was loved by all (funny how mean bastards and bitches never die or have bad things happen to them in the press!). Now, she is pretty and dead.

Vain? Yes. I think she made a poor choice. A symbol of our material, flashy world? Yes, but behavior like this has always existed in history and culture (body piercing, tattoos, Geisha's, feet binding, neck rings, the list goes on...). But, in the end, the girl was 18. She legally could make this choice. She knew the risks, knew that this was 100% non-essential, knew it all. She paid the price as did her friends and family.

If my daughter came to me and asked to have a breast enhancement I would say no way on hell. Bigger boobies will not make my already beautiful girls more beautiful. But I do not think I will have that problem...

Should the cheerleader been forbidden to make that choice. Again, no. It was her choice to make. Sad, tragic, stupid, a total waste. But her choice.

Neither of these cases are happy. Both bother me more than words can express. In one case I see parents subjecting their little girl to surgery to hide a condition that she should never hide. In the other, I see the vanity of our society claiming a young life. Both cases are disturbing. All I could, and should, do is learn from the mistakes of others and instill strong values in myself and my family.

As for the Bobblehead, no more plastic surgeries are foreseen in my future. I have no regrets in my own surgery. When other drastic weight loss people approach me and ask if they should have plastic surgery I tell them my story but temper it with one phrase that I state again and again.

They must decide for themselves.

[posted by Bobblehead]

Migraine Blog: Free Her Brain


Her Brain Hurts, Too...

One of the things the Bobblehead has found fun about blogging is that since I have become more relaxed about it, I have started to work up this little network of people who comment and email me. Often it is out of the blue.

Megan Oltman wrote me about my post on Migraines and Weird Al. I went to her site and it is very nice. Again, a purely human side to a migraine sufferer and her life adjusting around the condition.

Megan's blog is a pleasure on the eyes and the mind. It is cleanly arranged (unlike mine which I tend to throw together between spurts where I can write). Her topics are wonderful to read. It is book marked as a must read for the Bobblehead.

If you are seeking to see how a real person copes and does so with grace, peek at Free My Brain:

[posted by Bobblehead]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bobblehead has no nukes



Okay, I may be the Radioactive Bobblehead but I personally have no nukes, at least not the last time I checked:

Pentagon: Inventory ordered of all U.S. nukes

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates has formally ordered the Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency to conduct an inventory of all U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon-related materials to make sure all items are accounted for, according to a Pentagon memo released Thursday.

The order comes in the wake of the discovery last week that four nuclear warhead fuses were accidentally shipped to Taiwan in 2006.

Gates' memo, issued Wednesday, calls for all items to be accounted for by serial number.

Pentagon officials said at a news conference Tuesday that Gates would call for the review in addition to a full investigation into how the shipment to Taiwan from a Defense Logistics Agency warehouse happened 18 months ago.

The inventory review, which will involve thousands of items, is due to Gates in 60 days. Pentagon officials said the request was ordered, in part, because this latest incident comes after the August 2007 accidental flight of six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on a B-52 bomber across the country.

[posted by Bobblehead]