My brain, ears, skin, innards

The Wordle word for Sunday, August 6, 2023 was POLYP

I was going to write a comprehensive report on my health. But it became complicated and lengthy, so I’ll break it up. Today, I’ll concentrate on my brain, ears, skin, and another part.

BRAIN: When I attended a Juneteenth event, one of the tabling organizations was doing research into the brain. Specifically, they were checking people for mental acuity and cognitive decline.

I went to their office a few weeks later and took paper and pencil tests. Also, they swabbed the inside of my cheeks. Two weeks later, I got the results. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genes from my parents are 3,3. This means I have an average chance of developing Alzheimer’s. APOE 2,2 is the best, which only 8% of people have, and people with  4,4 are most at risk.

It’s too hard to explain, so read this article about tau. For me, this is fascinating stuff.

EARS: My wife complained that I did not hear well. I found this odd because I would be in a room during conversations and pick up information she missed.

Still, I went to the ENT place. I had wax buildup. I did not know some information: you shouldn’t use Q-Tips or the like in your ears, not so much because they’ll hurt the eardrum as much as they’ll help the wax to become impacted.

About an hour later, I had a hearing test. I am missing higher-pitched sounds in my left ear. I blame Pete Townshend! At some point, I’ll get some treatment.


SKIN: Back in January, my dermatologist gave me a prescription for  Ruxolitinib (Opzelura™), which is “the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restore lost skin color in people who have vitiligo.”

Unfortunately, when I took it to the CVS, I was told it would cost me several hundred dollars. I’m still trying to negotiate this issue months later. It’s not just vanity. I’m more prone to skin cancer now than I was in the past.

Inside look

COLON: Both my wife and I had colonoscopies in the past two weeks. The last time I even MENTIONED having one, I was told it was TMI. I disagreed then and now. I’m a fan of regular testing with colon cancer on the rise, particularly among those under 50.

Initially, she was going to have hers eight days before mine, but for reasons, I ended up having mine five days before hers.

This time, the prep wasn’t a big deal for me. Pro tip: JELL-O and other gelatin products are considered liquid. On that day before the procedure, when you can’t eat anything, JELL-O is a superb approximation.

Another thing: when you mix seven capfuls of Miralax into 28 oz. of Gatorade, you will need a larger container for the mixture.

After my procedure, my wife said I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t smiling. She asked if I could make it up the stairs. Her questions made me grumpier. This passed.

But my right nostril itched, probably from the oxygen tube in there. As a result, I sneezed uncontrollably for three days. That was new.

I got a document from my doctor’s portal, which was incomprehensible. Then a day later, I received something in English. “The biopsies from the ulcer in your colon did not show any sign of cancer or malignancy, which is good news.” I need to make a follow-up appointment, but happy, happy, joy, joy.

I’ll do another report reasonably soon.

Sister Marcia: Alzheimer’s fundraising

A potential cure for Alzheimer’s has been found by a new study.

Marcia.Roger.ChristmasAs I surely have mentioned, my sister Marcia was in a too-familiar position in America.

She was raising her daughter and making sure our mother was all right.

For much of the time, Mom was pretty OK. Then in the months before she died in February 2011, not so much. The reason they had a post office box was that mom would take the mail and hide it. She could be belligerent, though seldom to people outside the family.

On her Facebook page for her birthday, which is today, Marcia is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association. Her timing is quite fortuitous. There is a “special opportunity to double your impact in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease — our $500,000 Matching Gift Challenge, thanks to longtime supporters, Mary Joy, Jerre and the Stead family.

“The Mary Joy and Jerre Stead became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association when Jerre’s mother developed Alzheimer’s. Since then, Mary Joy, Jerre and their family have been dedicated supporters of the Association, and they’ve pledged to match every gift received by June 15, up to an incredibly generous total of $500,000.”

Incidentally, I read that a potential cure for Alzheimer’s has been found by a new study that appears to have uncovered what causes the disease. “The new treatment would use drugs that are currently prescribe to fight HIV.”

“‘For the first time, we can see what may cause the disease,’ lead researcher Jerold Chun told The New York Post. ‘We also uncovered a potential near-term treatment.”

“The Post added: ‘Chun and his colleagues at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego, Calif., compared brain samples of seven people who had Alzheimer’s with six who didn’t.”

Donating through the Alzheimer’s Association NOW, whether through the efforts of sister Marcia or not, would be a great birthday present for her, and would honor our mother to boot.

For mom: Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry

Losing a parent is hell

Oh, yay, it’s that time again. The anniversary of my mom’s death in 2011, the only person I actually saw die. Losing a parent is hell. I mean, it happens all the time to other people. It is the “natural order of things” but it still sucks.

I like this: The Mistake I Made With My Grieving Friend, “The author of We Need to Talk reveals how she learned to help — and not help — a friend with loss.” It’s tricky stuff.

As I’ve noted, my mother was not her SELF in the last months of her life. My sisters and I don’t know what degenerative ailment she was seized by. BTW, a study suggests memories of music cannot be lost to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Mom needed more of the music she loved, maybe.

Perhaps I should come up with a playlist of my own, just in case, but it’d be pretty eclectic, NOT just Beatles and Motown. Note to self: work on that.

Anyway, I signed up for this Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. I logged in months ago and got a packet in the mail shortly thereafter. But it was only the beginning of this year that I swabbed the inside of my cheek and mailed it, and only so I could actually SAY I did so without lying.

I’m hoping that whatever they’re doing will lead the Way toward Alzheimer’s early detection, prevention and treatment. “For Alzheimer’s disease there are two important biomarkers – amyloid and tau – toxic proteins that clump and tangle in the brain.”

Scientists say a breakthrough vaccine works by targeting those two proteins. Of course, at best, the vaccine wouldn’t be sold on the market for at least 10 years. If the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry shortens that time, that’d be great.

Oh, yeah, the picture. It was taken on my 52nd birthday, which she remembered. But of course she would. The provenance of the photo? Ah, you’ll have to wait until March 7. BTW, I wrote THAT post before this one because that’s what I do sometimes.

March rambling #2: Vitiligo As Body Art

This Article Won’t Change Your Mind – “The facts on why facts alone can’t fight false beliefs.”

To End Hate, We Gotta Walk the Talk – Aristotle on Why Professing Liberal Values is Nowhere Near Enough

Door-Busting Drug Raids Leave a Trail of Blood and When a no-knock drug raid ends in death, is it capital murder or self-defense? Two cases in Texas took different paths

This Is How Your Hyperpartisan Political News Gets Made

Meet The Homeless Man Who Stopped Thousands Of People Becoming HIV-Positive

Is America’s Military Big Enough?

Amazing Disgrace: How did a thrice-married, Biblically illiterate sexual predator—hijack the religious right?

When He Is Ignorant of His Own Ignorance

Elmo From ‘Sesame Street’ Learns He’s Fired Because Of Budget Cuts

“PrOtEsT” – Poet Activists Throughout the Years

How the Choctaws Saved the Irish

Waiter fired after asking Latinas for ‘proof of residency’ at upscale Huntington Beach eatery

War On The Moon

In the Congressional Fight Over Slavery, Decorum Went Out the Door

Scott Pelley is pulling no punches on the nightly news

For 15 Years, New Orleans Was Divided Into Three Separate Cities

This is what happens to your body when you stop having sex

7 Tips to Get Someone with Alzheimer’s to Take a Bath

First-year residents shadow nurses in effort to better understand, foster future communication

List of inventors killed by their own inventions

Lack of Oxford Comma Could Cost Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute

Sweden is tackling its throwaway culture

Six Bad Ass Librarians from Pop Culture

The True Story of the Backward Index

Ask A Cartoonist: Women Who Inspire

Rest in peace, Chuck Barris

Rules for the Black Birdwatcher – With Drew Lanham and Extreme Birdwatching

The 21 most spectacular theaters in the U.S.

Vitiligo As Body Art

Troy native making movie about his hitchhiking adventure – Don Rittner

How Jaquandor made Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

Amtrak snow-motion


Now I Know: The Haircut that Went to War (Maybe) and What They Did Not See and Why People Originally Didn’t “Like” Cigarettes and The Invisible Wall Around Most of Manhattan and The Masterpiece Hidden in Plain Sight


Before and After Chuck Berry and 15 great covers of Chuck Berry classics

Makeba – Jain

Bohemian Rhapsody Played by 100+-year-old fairground organ

10 Female Jazz Musicians You Need To Know

K-Chuck Radio: Feeling kinda “horny”

A New Thelonious Monk Album Emerges From the Soundtrack to a Classic French Film

Godsmack Play A Cover Of ‘Come Together’

Paul McCartney’s “Ram” Reconsidered

Lightning Strikes – Klaus Nomi (1981)

Understanding Deal Breakers: The Psychology of Music and Romance

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