Beautiful Day

It’s a beautiful day here.

Sunny and warm.

I’m testing the WordPress app.

There’s nothing better than plein air typing.

Van Gogh liked to paint outdoors because of the curative effect of the air.

I urge everyone to go outside in the sunny weather.

Being near water also has a curative effect.

Do wear sunscreen though.

Have a beautiful day!

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day.

If you click on the veterans category on the right you might be able to still find the CNN video with one of the Marines who served on Iwo Jima in World War II.

My father was a veteran. He served in the Army. Then he served in the Reserves when I was a kid.

We need to honor and remember those who served our country. We need to honor and remember the soldiers who are still serving our country.

Schizophrenia Diagnostic Tests

What a clueless book reviewer and others don’t seem to realize is that for close to nine years I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral schizophrenia website. While I was employed at that job I wrote news articles that featured unbiased factual information. Of course I always wrote articles there about what I thought could be useful strategies for living in recovery too.

Today I’m compelled to crib the information from a slide slow I published at HealthCentral circa 2014.

I ask you: do you think I would want someone to take medication if they didn’t have to? Do you think I like having this illness? Do you think one-size-fits-all treatment is the way to go? The answer to these questions should be NO.

Now here’s the slide show I wrote in 2014: (Yep–no one else on either side of the aisle dared write this. I was the only one.) It’s a little long to scroll down on a cell phone yet I didn’t want to break it up into two entries.

To diagnose schizophrenia certain tests must be given. 

First of all, a brain tumor or herpes encephalitis should be tested for to rule out that the person has one of these illnesses that mirrors schizophrenia.  The following information was taken from Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.  I recommend you buy this book to have on hand.  It’s the most recent version of this Family Manual that was first published in 1987.

It’s better to put your mind at ease about yourself or a loved one rather than jump to the conclusion that schizophrenia is always the cause of psychotic symptoms.

A diagnostic workup should include:

History and Mental Status Examination.

A review of organ systems will turn up illnesses that mirror schizophrenia.  Asking the kinds of drugs a person is using will turn up evidence of street drug use that could cause the psychiatric symptoms, or of prescribed drugs that have these kinds of symptoms as a side effect.  A mental status examination is where the individual is asked such questions as “Do you know where you are?  and What is today’s date?” As well as abstract questions like “What does the expression ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss?’ mean?”

Physical and Neurological Examinations.

Asking a patient to draw a clock or write a sentence can identify individuals with other brain diseases like brain tumors or Huntington’s disease.

Basic Laboratory Work: Blood Count, Blood Chemical Screen, and Urinalysis.

A blood test can turn up pernicious anemia, AIDS, or lead intoxication.  A thyroid function test should be ordered as well as a routine test for syphilis.

Psychological Tests.

This kind of test can be useful in early or borderline cases to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

MRI Scan.

According to E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. “An MRI scan should be done on every individual who presents with psychosis for the first time.”  Multiple diseases picked up by an MRI mirror the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Lumbar Puncture.

For patients experiencing certain symptoms such as headaches, rapid onset of psychotic symptoms, visual or olfactory hallucinations, neurological signs or symptoms of central nervous system disorder and concurrent or recent history of flu or fever.

Electroencephalogram (EEG).

This is used like the lumbar puncture to rule out or confirm other diseases.  It should be ordered for individuals with a history of meningitis or encephalitis, birth complications, or severe head injury; also for individuals that had episodic psychotic attacks with a sudden onset.

Other tests may be warranted depending on the presenting symptoms.  Make sure you or your loved one gets a full diagnostic workup.  To turn an expression on its head, all roads do not lead to Rome.  Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical in the treatment of schizophrenia or any of the other diseases that might be occurring.  Getting the right treatment right away results in a better outcome.  Forming a preconceived idea about the type of illness a person has can lead to ineffective treatment that can make things worse.

 

Housekeeping

I have numerous books I want to publish: some geared to mental health and other books that have everyone as a target market.

I’m also writing fiction that I want to publish too.

In this blog entry I’ll focus on one of the mental health books. I’d like to talk about housekeeping.

Really it’s OK to hire a house cleaner if you don’t like to do domestic chores. Round here $13/per hour is the going rate.

The secret is that if your apartment is neat and relatively dust-free no one will notice if it’s not clean.

You can send your laundry out to be picked up and cleaned and delivered back to you too. Yet I find though the clothes are returned neatly folded the clothes are actually wrinkled.

Doing laundry on your own in your building’s laundry room might be the way to dry your clothes without wrinkles. I take my clothes out of the dryer after 35 minutes and the clothes don’t have wrinkles.

You can go on the Goodmans Website to buy a travel steamer to steam out the wrinkles the clothes get after you wear them. You can also buy there the bottles of steamer cleaner to use to clean inside the steamer.

The Jiffy Travel Steamer is a miracle product that you can buy from Goodmans. Over 12 years ago I bought the travel steamer to use instead of an iron. The Jiffy model quickly steams out wrinkles on clothes. I’ve had mine over 12 years and it still works like a charm.

I take this steamer with me when I travel in the U.S. to steam the wrinkles out of clothes that have been in my suitcase.

I’m all for making it as convenient as possible to attend to housekeeping when you rent or own your own home.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk about how to budget for shopping for food.

Say Yes to Mental Health

I’ve taken this blog entry from my Left of the Dial blog. I’ve posted it in both places.

The Republicans are set to vote into law today the gutting of mental health services enacted under the Affordable Care Act while President Obama was in office.

The Republicans are set to roll back progress by eliminating mental health treatment and charging higher premiums for fewer kinds of mental health service.

The Republicans are set to deny mental health constituents coverage for addiction treatment.

It will become illegal to have an abortion. Yet when your fetus turns 18 and develops schizophrenia or another mental illness or a drug addiction there will now be no treatment available for them. Write your elected officials and thank them for this.

Makes sense right? Makes sense to have voted into power the people who are voting today to eliminate funding for mental health services for the very people who need it.

Cue the sarcasm. Is there an emoji for sarcasm? You know where I stand.

If you live in New York State here are the telephone numbers of the elected officials you can call to tell them to vote NO for the MacArthur Amendment that denies citizens treatment for mental health.

Rep. Lee Zeldin Long Island 202-225-3826
Rep. Peter King Long Island 202-225-7896
Rep. Dan Donovan Staten Island 202-225-3371
Rep. John Faso Upper Hudson Vally 202-225-5614
Rep. Elise Stefanik North Country 202-225-4611
Rep. Claudia Tenney Binghamton 202-225-3665
Rep. Tom Reed Finger Lakes Region 202-225-3161
Rep. John Katko Syracuse 202-225-3701
Rep. Chris Collins Western NY 202-225-5265
Tell your congressperson that:
  • The American Health Care Act would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid funding.
  • The recently-introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.
  • It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.
  • Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.
  • Please tell Representative_______ to keep what works for mental health and REJECT the American Health Care Act and the MacArthur Amendment. Thank you.

I telephoned my guy in Washington. The line was busy. I’ll call again to try to get through.

I’m posting this same blog entry in the Left of the Dial blog.

The Right Line

In remembering my time as the Health Guide at the HealthCentral website one thing stands out: I corresponded with people from all over the world– India, Africa, Saudi Arabia–everywhere.

The great thing about the Internet is this type of human connection without borders. We have the chance to hear each other’s stories and take away from these stories a bit of hope for our own lives to matter to others.

I have a photographic memory–no cognitive impairment–and I remember the people that wrote to me and corresponded with me.

We’re all human beings doing the best we can with what we were given. I submit that we all want the same thing: for someone’s eyes to light up when they see us; to be acknowledged; to be accorded dignity and have our worth affirmed.

There’s still a lot of hate in the world–and the media loves to give the haters a platform for their hurtful rhetoric and stigma.

The great thing about the blogosphere in particular is that anyone anywhere in the world can speak out and be heard and listened to and hopefully the compassionate writers will gain a following.

I have decided what the purpose of my life’s work is going to be from here on in regardless of whether anyone else pays me to advance this vision.

My vision is framed thus:

To affirm the dignity and worth of all human beings; to honor and embrace our individuality; and to champion the freedom to choose our own life path.

The day is here to rise up and be heard. A blog is a creative medium for self-expression yet it’s more than this. Keeping a blog is an honor I don’t take lightly and it’s because we should choose our words carefully.

Finding what I heard called “the right line” is imperative. We must choose our words carefully and we must choose how we act towards other people carefully.

Today we can chart our own course.

We have the choice to reject the hate and violence.

We have the choice to defy other people’s expectations.

We have the right to be here living on earth alongside everyone else.

Forget the so-called stigma.

This is my credo:

I believe in the power of love to ignite hope and healing.

I believe in the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.

Today is the day when each of us can make a difference.