Tag Archives: health

How My Cat Convinced Me to Get Her a Water Fountain

When the season changes from winter to spring, I find that Ivy the Wonder Cat also seems to go through some changes. After being cooped up in the house with the windows closed for a harsh Canadian winter, those first blasts of fresh air with all of the delightful aromas of spring, seem to get her senses and her excitement levels running high again.

In doing so, she also starts shedding her winter coat and her tastes shift from heartier comfort foods to lighter meals (maybe I’m projecting a little on that last one), but true enough, she starts turning her nose up on some of the heavier pâté style cat foods.

But for the last two springs I also noticed that she seems prone to short periods of kitty constipation. Without going into too many details, when I finally do see the nuggets in the litter box coming at 3 or 4 day intervals, I think that passing those little rocks mustn’t be fun for my feline friend.

Last year, I tried adding pumpkin puree to her food to add a bit more gentle fiber to her meals, but Miss Ivy sees right through my mixing and masking. My little carnivore would rather eat more dry food than eat something from the fruit and vegetable food group.

The issue is that no matter how many times I clean and freshen her food bowl, I never see her drink much water, at least not on my watch. If she eats more dry food, that interval between trips to the litter box could get longer and get me more concerned. Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, How to, Humour

Anxiety: When it was Time to Seek Help

As I get older, I like to think that I have things pretty well figured out and that it takes a lot to surprise me. I have become more accepting of my quirks and foibles and my reactions to situations are generally consistent, coming from a place of authenticity and self-awareness.

Through the years, I have also conquered some minor fears and sources of internal struggle that definitely kept me on my toes.

For me, the trick to remaining calm, cool and collected through life has been to gradually widen my comfort zone. It took guts, perseverance and hard work, but when taken in baby steps, it served me well. With a wider comfort zone, I could trust in my own skills, knowledge and resourcefulness in the face of adversity and stress.

And to cope with stress, I had in my back pocket a huge tool kit of stress management techniques, breathing exercises, mellow music, meditation techniques, grounding techniques and relaxing hobbies, not to mention lavender bath salts, scented candles and massage therapists on speed dial.

With things seemingly so neat and tidy, why is it that at the same time I felt I was becoming older and wiser, anxiety was suddenly creeping up on me as well?

“I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like ‘hmm, that’s odd.’ Or, ‘hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.’ Or, ‘hmm, is that right?’ It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder. I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives. And so, I ask people, ‘What are the whispers? What’s whispering to you now?'” – Oprah Winfrey

To read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-master-class/oprah-winfreys-master-class-quotes/all

To me, those whispers were showing up in the form of reactions to situations that seemed out of character. Beneath my usual calm and cool exterior, I was starting to experience more moments of nervousness, an increasing intensity of nervousness, longer spans of ruminating over issues and needing more time to bounce back from dealing with life’s issues. I was also having a much harder time letting go, no matter how many times I heard that Idina Menzel song. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under 50+, Inspiring, Misc blogs

My Weirdest Injury from Running

RunningIf you ask any weekend warrior, I am pretty certain that most will have a story or two about an injury sustained while practicing their favourite sport. I am proud to say that I am no different.

In my journey as a runner, I have been no stranger to shin splints, knee issues, “IT Band” irritation, plantar fasciitis, lost toe nails and bleeding nipples. I sometimes ask myself why I do it, but the answer is clear. Aside from the occasional occupational hazards of the sport, when I am in top running form, I feel so much better and I enjoy the multiple benefits associated with it.

But the oddest running injury I have encountered to date has to be when I injured my eye.

How did I do that? It wasn’t easy.

Picture it… Ottawa, July 2015… a beautiful summer day, as I was coming home from work and the running trails were yelling “André, it’s a beautiful day. Why don’t you come out for a run?” My body responded, “Yes, indeed! Could it be a more perfect day? The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the temperature is perfect for running, the humidity is low and an ever-so gentle breeze will keep me cool. Absolutely. I’d be a fool not to.” You can’t bottle that kind of enthusiasm!

Faster than a Broadway actor in a one-man-show, I changed from my work clothes to my running clothes, filled the cat’s bowl with her favourite dinner, laced up my shoes, picked my perfect musical playlist and went for my neighbourhood run.

When the weather is flawless and mind, body and soul are in perfect alignment, a run can be a beautiful thing. It was phenomenal! Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Humour, Running

My Biggest Irritant

CankerEveryone seems to have a little issue that comes back to haunt every now and then. They are those ridiculous little conditions that hit us at the least opportune moments, that don’t necessarily prevent us from going about our days, but they certainly make them more uncomfortable and more challenging.

They are the issues that sometimes turn our duffle bags or purses into mini-pharmacies with a collection of every product on the market to take the edge off.

I am amazed that over 173 blog posts I have not mentioned a single word about one the biggest irritants for me… cankers. I will admit, it might not make the most compelling of blog topics but I have to appreciate the humour it can bring, as well as the gratitude when that little sucker finally heals.

For me, cankers are nothing new. I have had them on and off, as long as I can remember. I recall being 4 years old, crying my eyes out at the dinner table, because of a spaghetti dinner that was too painful to eat, because of the tomato sauce’s burning sensation on my canker.

I can’t remember if it was my Mom or Dad who first said “Put salt on it”, but when I did and it started to sizzle, I screamed and wondered what I did wrong to earn such a cruel punishment.

I was ready to pack my teddy bear and run away as my thanks for that wonderful parenting advice.

But I survived. And so ensued Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Humour, Inspiring

Where Have All The Exercise Shows Gone?

20MW AlbumNot that long ago exercise shows were a staple of daytime TV. At any time of the day (sometimes evenings too), there always seemed to be an exercise show of some kind on one of the channels… and this was long before having 200 to 300 channels to choose from.

I admit that I was a disciple of those shows. It seemed that my VCR or my DVD recorder was always set to record some exercise show that matched my fitness goals at the time. To me, it was important to maintain a healthy shape, because I did not want a repeat performance of my “husky years”.

Among my favourites were “The Body Electric” (PBS), “Caribbean Workout” (The Sports Network), “Rendez-Vous Reebok” (Réseau des sports) and of course the classic that ran in syndication for many years, “The 20 Minute Workout”. I also enjoyed “Kiana’a Flex Appeal” and “Bodyshaping”, ESPN programs that aired on Canada’s TSN, which coached me in how to use gym equipment safely.

More recently, my local community TV channel has been airing a series I love called “Yoga for Runners”, an outstanding program that inspired my stretching routines before, during and after my training for my first half-marathon. I still do those stretches today.

Throughout my years of TV exercise shows, I have learned about muscle groups, exercise physiology, and proper nutrition while in training. I also learned to listen to my body and how to perform exercises correctly. The educational component of TV exercise shows cannot be denied.

TV exercise shows were always great tool, in my opinion, for juggling a busy professional life too. It was just me, the instructor(s), a few basic pieces of exercise equipment (free weights, mat, bands, step), in my living room, on my schedule.

Once I started learning the routines and actually feeling the positive effects through confidence, better quality sleep, better muscle tone and a higher metabolic rate, I would become very loyal, very quickly to the program that got me there. Also, the more fun the show and the instructors were, the longer I stuck with the program. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under 50+, Inspiring, Running, TV

The Colonoscopy Countdown

ColonoscopyPrepMy regular readers would know that turning 50 was a milestone that I went through with great joy and excitement, feeling a sense of pride, accomplishment and gratitude for the life I have led so far.

As much as turning 50 brought a host of wonderful new things, there are also a few less interesting rites of passage awaiting, for example, the first colonoscopy.

For me, the procedure itself went fine, it was the liquid diet and preparation for the procedure that was a raw deal, in more ways than one, but it had its funny moments nonetheless.

So pull up a stool… here is a loose retelling of the preparation work in my colonoscopy countdown:

Wednesday
6:00 p.m.: Arrived home from work. Fed the cat. Took two Dulcolax, as per the instruction sheet and mixed the packet of Purg-Odan in a big glass of water. Went to Swiss Chalet for the “final supper” (before the liquid diet begins).
7:00 p.m.: With dinner over, running a few quick errands to get ready for tomorrow’s liquid diet. Stopped by the grocery store for ginger ale, apple juice, white grape juice, Gatorade and electrolyte enriched popsicles.
7:30 p.m.: Feeling a few stomach cramps… it’s not working already, is it?
7:45 p.m.: Ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years while cramps were intensifying. Starting to stand in awkward positions, “clenching” just in case.
8:00 p.m.: Got home and confirmed that the products were indeed starting to work.
8:15p.m.: Made lime Jello in anticipation of the next day’s liquid diet. Took out the frozen home-made chicken stock from the freezer to thaw.
8:30 p.m.: Further confirmation that the products were working.
8:45 p.m.: Re-read the instruction sheet and wondering if I took the Purg-Odan a day early?
9:00 p.m.: further confirmation that the products were working.
9:30 p.m.: confirmation again…
10:00 p.m.: all is calm, all is bright. Retired to the bedroom with a ginger ale and a popsicle in hand, thinking that this liquid diet thing might not be so bad after all.

Thursday
7:00 a.m.: Awakened by Miss Hungry Cat Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 50+, Cats, Humour, Misc blogs

My Showdown With Shingles

ShinglesWithout hesitation, I would be the first to say a bad case of shingles is no laughing matter. But looking back on my own experience, two years later, I cannot help but look at the irony and the occasional humour of my weird case. Here are a few short stories about my experience with them:

Not quite proactive enough
In the last days of March 2014, at 48 years old, I took a retirement planning course, offering a comprehensive view of all aspects of retirement, not just the financials, but also health, wellness and psychology. In the health segment, they mentioned shingles as an illness that is more predominant later in life, and that one could discuss the shingles vaccine with their doctor when they go for the medical physical after turning 50. So I wrote in big letters on the front of my binder “Ask doctor about the shingles vaccine at my 50 physical”, so proud and so confident that I was on the ball and proactive where my health was concerned. I contracted shingles one week later. Lesson learned: never be THAT overconfident!

Timing is everything
I was gearing up to host Easter dinner for the family (12) and in the week prior I noticed the rash starting just below my belt line. At first I thought it was just a little irritation because my pants were getting a little tight after a long Canadian winter of indoor activities (it sometimes happens!). But as the week went on, new spots were developing, all in that same area. I was getting concerned especially since I was planning on being busy cooking and baking a few days later. The Wednesday night I decided that if any more spots appeared the next morning, I would head to the clinic to get the rash checked out. The next morning, after taking my shower I checked in the mirror… no new spots. YAY! I turned around.. and there was a fresh batch just below the belt line above my “cheek”… Off to the doctor. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs