Fat poisoning again

At work today, just before and during the lunch break, I had a new case of fat poisoning. Or at least to the best of my knowledge that is what causes it. The symptoms are not obviously connected to fat in any way, they are mostly neurological. First I felt very sleepy. This is not something unique and exciting on a Monday, so I paid no heed to it. But after a while the classic symptoms of hypothermia began: Feeling of cold from inside, shivering and then shaking uncontrollably from frost, teeth clattering. Queasiness and sudden bowel activity as the muscles of the digestive tract also join the desperate attempt to heat the body, along with the usually voluntary muscles of arms, legs, neck etc. It is basically as if the body had been cooled down to a dangerous level.

I put on the outdoors clothes I had used on my way to work, and started opening and closing my arms and walking in place, lifting my feet as if walking knee-deep in loose desert sand (a mental image meant to heat the body along with the heat from the muscles). It took about half an hour, but I seem to be over it now.

I suspect the noodles. Due to sores in my mouth, I have stuck to low-friction food this weekend. (The sores are healing now, by the way.) In the evening I ate a plate of noodles, but after a while I grew hungry again and cooked another. I have read that noodles are fat bombs, but I have not had a problem with just one of them. The thing is, the dry weight of a package of noodles is pretty small, so even if it consists almost entirely of carbohydrates and fat, there just isn’t enough fat in them after cooking to set off my system. Two of them within 4 hours seem to be too much, though. So now I know.

Also, I know that I still have this mysterious fat sensitivity. It’s been many months since I have had a serious fat attack, possibly a couple years, so I was starting to wonder if it had healed. Obviously it had not. Well, that means no low-carbohydrate diet for me. I thought so. But having lost a few pounds from all the walking, I am growing hungrier than I used to. Noodles are not the answer, it seems.

Yeah, this is the kind of entry that should go into the new more personal sub-blog because it has a very limited appeal. I haven’t been able to set up the new blog yet though. There is backing up to do, installation etc. Have upgraded WordPress and PHP so far. Now it is midnight again.

Heart episode

“My heart skips a beat.” In fact it has been doing so more lately, seemingly in step with me losing weight. But nothing like what happened today. This hasn’t happened since 2005.

Today I had a heart episode, and to some extent still have. Not an infarct, it seems: I just came home from the clinic and they did an EKG. As always it was perfect. The only thing unusual is that while I was out walking, my pulse began to go up and up until it stabilized at 190, probably my max pulse. Well, that certainly qualifies as an episode in my book, although it happened twice in 2005 as well.

I had left my cell phone at home again, but luckily I had just passed a school where some event was going on, and a handful of parents were out in their cars. I showed them my pulse watch and they called an ambulance. When it arrived, my pulse had gone down into normal human range (although not my range, and it is still about 40 higher than usual. Like 100 when sitting, 120-130 when standing or walking slowly.)

They drove me to the local clinic where a Swedish doctor checked me. Apart from a slight fever (and human heartbeat instead of superhuman) I was in great shape. Even my blood sugar was 5.2 mmol. (This won’t mean anything to Americans.) I explained that it is ALWAYS 6.1, even after 12 hours without food and with an hour’s walk thrown in. They seemed to think it was great that it had gone down. Evidently I can now have perfect blood sugar, at the price of my heart running much faster. I would not be surprised if one of these was an effect of the other, but nobody else seemed to think so.

I had a slight fever: 38.8C (101.8F), and the doctor wondered if that might be the reason. I really don’t think a fever suddenly appears over the course of half a minute. It is more likely the other way around. Or perhaps whatever caused this episode also caused the fever. I have had 3 ticks suck on me this past week, but I killed them all young and put antiseptic salve on the wounds. No red rings this time like some years ago. Still… hmm. I cannot remember how many years ago that was. It is theoretically possible that the body ran across some tick protein and went crazy, but I find it unlikely. The temperature is already down to less than 38, so not fever for normal humans. (I usually have a little lower.)

I drank a glass of juice and water a while after I came home, to check whether the higher pulse was really caused by my lower blood sugar. (Normal human pulse with normal human blood sugar, instead of lower pulse with higher sugar.) That makes sense if there is plenty of oxygen, in which case blood sugar might be the bottleneck in the body’s operations.  However, the pulse remained in nearly the same range. The only thing that gets it down a bit is meditation, but I do that only for a few seconds at a time. I am not sure whether it would be wise to consciously lower the heart rate, as I may be able to do in meditation. Didn’t I just worry a few days ago when it fell to 50? Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!

In any case, there you have it. If I die before I wake, I fully intend to not haunt you, and not check whether my grave is kept clean. If I don’t die – or something very close to it – you can expect to hear from me again.

 

Still alive, still alive…

Woke up with just a sore throat and improved from there. Was at work a bus or two later than usual, but otherwise normal day. Took a one hour walk in the evening. (Did not do that yesterday.) Pulse was a bit higher than usual, a sign that the immune system is probably working on something, but the difference was not very big. Then again my pulse has been unusually slow lately. Even for me, I mean. So it was more like in the old days now, I guess. Like this spring before I took up the habit of walking an hour a day. Well, most days.

I have been thinking more about psychology and religion. But when I try to write, the topic grows and becomes unwieldy and I stop a ways through. I guess that is OK. A shop should not have all its goods in the window, and a man should not tell everything he knows. So this for today, then.

Viruses and ghosts

In the movie The Rebirth of Buddha, hospitals are plagued by the ghosts of people who died there and refused to accept their fate.

Today, after eating a small piece of chocolate, my throat began to get irritated. I had to constantly cough and swallow just to keep breathing, or so it felt. I tried to wash it away with water and then eat something, but it just didn’t go away. I started to get really worried. At this point, other symptoms had already joined in: I was getting weak, my heart was beating fast, I was shaking and my face was flushed, my eyes were dry, I was queasy and my bowels were upset, I even developed a headache. It was like my body was breaking down all over, all of a sudden. I started to think: No! I don’t want to die! And then I remembered something.

The place I was when the symptoms began used to be a hospital, many years ago.

In the movie The Rebirth of Buddha, there is a memorable scene at the hospital, where Sayako (the main character, well, except for the Buddha) can see the ghosts of patients who walk around, bothering doctors and nurses and fellow patients in their attempt to get painkillers and other forms of comfort. They all don’t want to die, and being materialists in life could not accept the fact that they were dead. So even now they are haunting the hospital, thinking that they are patients there and it’s all about them.

Could it be? That some long dead patient had returned to its hospital and found some kind of resonance with me? Stray spirits are attracted to people who resonate at the same wavelength, so to speak: People with the same habits, viewpoints, attitudes, feelings and interests. Well, that’s what Happy Science says. That doesn’t sound very happy, but the happiness is that you can save yourself and sometimes even the stray spirits by reflecting on yourself and seek to live a life of selfless love. When the stray spirits notice this, they will either flee from the growing Light in you, or begin to reflect on themselves as well and be saved.

Christianity generally seems to assume that possessive spirits are all demons, not ghosts. This corresponds to the notion that the dead are sleeping, unaware of what goes on under the sun, as the Bible says. Of course, just because they are sleeping does not mean their dreams may not resonate with ours… if only in the form of a morphic field. Be that as it may, the New Testament certainly implies that not only mental illnesses but sometimes also physical may be created or made worse by the influence of spirits.

This may sound like pure superstition unless you consider that the mental equivalent to these stray spirits are complexes, or mind parasites: Essentially tiny split-off parts of the same stuff that personalities are made of. In some cases, people literally have multiple personalities, usually one more dominant than the rest but not always. In “healthy” people the other personalities never grow to more than a rudimentary level, but they can still mess up things pretty badly. This “complex” theory is a pretty respectable branch of psychology, first championed by C.G. Jung.

Consider the placebo effect, in which supposedly ineffective pills or injections cause substantial health benefits. And equally nocebo, where harmless treatments cause illness and in some cases death when people believe in them. A wrong diagnosis can sometimes become self-fulfilling, and the patient dies before the error is found and corrected. Likewise, someone may recover from a serious illness due to misdiagnosis, although this may be less common.

Even though I did not think about it at the time, I was aware that I was in an old hospital building. Judging from the symptoms, it seems likely that I have contracted the illness my coworker had last week (he has now returned). He is still not able to speak normally due to his vocal cords being  affected, and had various other symptoms including fever. So it could simply be that I have the same virus.

But in either case, body and soul are tightly integrated. In this life, they cannot be separated. In the next life, they probably can. But I am in no hurry to find out. Still, if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take: It certainly beats it wandering around bothering the living!

Actually, I should probably not bother the living even while I live. But at least reading my journal is voluntary!

***

(Incidentally, my throat is still irritated, but the other symptoms are gone for now.)

Opposite of starvation

Which of these represent the opposite of starvation? Sim-Magnus or the imaginary sim-Tuva? The answer may surprise you.

I first wanted to call this entry “anti-starvation”, but that sounds like a humanitarian organization.

I have a few times mentioned my own brush with starvation in 2005. It was certainly not in the developing country manner, but rather a medical situation that led me to steadily lose weight until my body started to adapt to the lack of food in several ways. The most obvious was perhaps the way it influenced my mind, with a kind of chronic hunger, which continued even after eating. There were other changes as well, and one of them may ironically have resulted in its opposite, which is the topic of today.

The opposite of starvation is probably the complex state of health often called “metabolic syndrome”. Actually the professional usage of this phrase may be a bit more precise. But as I am now in a state of pre-diabetes, a still mostly harmless form of the syndrome, I cannot help but notice the parallels.

When starving, my brain stem was hungry even when my stomach was full. I wanted to just keep eating, even though reason convinced me that I would just get sick. Now, it is the other way around: My stomach is bullying me to eat by the unpleasant gnawing feeling, but my brain stem would rather that I didn’t. I feel fed even when I wake up in the morning.  And rightly so.

***

Yesterday a couple hours after lunch I took a fairly long walk that burned 800 calories.  OK, I would probably have burned 100 of them even if I stayed at home, but anyway. I didn’t eat anything when I came home, because I had a doctor appointment next day and was told to fast the night before. So I went to bed, and woke up the next morning feeling completely restored. I could have taken another walk till my legs grew stiff, and probably another and another if I rested a while in between. I was not hungry at all, until my stomach began gnawing.  And my brain stem was right, while my stomach was wrong: My fasting blood sugar was 6.1 mmol. Not sure what that is in American measures, but the recommended upper limit is 6 mmol, and in some publications 5.8. So despite being physically active, I am still pre-diabetic. In fact, it seems that my body has decided 6.1 is the new standard (it was the same last time too), which it returns to after exercise.

This is in theory good news.  Not having to eat is money saved, right? Unfortunately the stomach disagrees. I am still experimenting to find ways to keep it from pestering me. I guess the best I can do is to just keep stopping before I am full, and hope that it will gradually learn to expect smaller and smaller portions.

Feeling over-fed by a small meal is certainly less unplesant than feeling hungry after a big one, so I can see why people just keep forging ahead until they get diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis. After all, we are programmed by our instincts to avoid starvation if possible. The safeguards on the opposite side are not nearly as formidable. But they are there, if you pay attention. And if you have tried both, you may recognize the opposite of starvation simply by listening to your own body, even before you hear it from your doctor.

***

I mentioned that the near-starvation may have somehow triggered its opposite. The body is known to do unusual things when facing unusual situations. And this is unusual indeed: Before the illness began at Easter 2005, I used to weigh close to 95 kg. (One kg is roughly 2 pounds, but not exactly.) This seemed to be a practical upper limit, as I stayed close to it for a decade or more perhaps. Occasionally I would dip down to 93, but usually I was in the 94-95 interval.

Now the limit seems to be at 88. That is good, right? No, actually, it is not that simple. When I was 95, the fat was distributed differently. I had a larger paunch (gut bulge), true, but I also had permanent fat deposits on my backside and thighs. Not enough to compete with your average housewife, of course, but plenty for a man and pretty obvious when looking back at some of the pictures from around the turn of the century. This kind of fat is harmless, possibly even healthy. It is only released in case of starvation.

And of course that was what happened, even if it went no further than that. No matchstick arms and protruding ribs and all that. But my body fat was gone. And when it returned, it did not return to where it had been. Now it is almost completely concentrated around my kidneys and thereabout. This type of fat, which is more common in men than in women, can be released very quickly to the bloodstream. It does not even take hunger, just stress.  Get angry or afraid, and delicious fat pours into the blood, ready to fuel your battle.

I consider this a poor exchange for my built-in sitting pillow. But this is the kind of thing that could happen if you are successful with your dieting. Luckily, most people give up after losing about 5% of their body mass in fat, so the effect on their body is quite limited. I will probably be one of them if I decide to lose weight at all. The doctor recommends it, although he is satisfied as long as I don’t gain weight, and stay physically active.  The irony is that I am not visibly “fat” at all. I don’t have the other symptoms of metabolic syndrome either, but if I had not convinced my body that it was starving, I might have been fatter and still healthier.