The Million Dollar Question

What would you do, if you won the lottery tomorrow? Would you continue to work? Would you retire early and settle down somewhere and enjoy a quiet life? Or would you donate some of it or take up some philanthropic projects? The answer depends on one’s ambitions and goals, but each person’s individual answer can be surprising.

Most people I’ve asked have indicated they would quit their jobs, perhaps take an extended trip or vacation somewhere. Although all of that sounds nice, it might only take a very short period of time before that becomes tedious. You know how everyone says that money can’t buy happiness? Boredom is an even bigger hindrance to true happiness, making it all the more important to have firm goals in mind, even if you were to suddenly find yourself coming into a large amount of money.

Can money buy happiness? Perhaps not. To be honest, I’d prefer to find out for myself rather than take someone else’s word for it. But I can guarantee that money can obtain/buy many of the things that can BRING happiness. Becoming debt free, ensuring your children’s future and being able to have a financially stress-free vacation every year would go a long way towards helping one’s happiness.

And that’s the takeaway for myself, I think. I would be unable to stop working. I feel that it’s more than I could handle. Nothing saying I wouldn’t work much less, but I would have the benefit of knowing that whatever work I did was for the greater good without worrying about having to earn a salary in the process. Damn responsibilities, am I right?

Personally, I have a strong dislike of money. I don’t like the fact that it’s required for just about everything in today’s modern world. But if I had enough to be considered independently wealthy, I would continue to work in my current industry, provide and/or share some of my wealth with family and repair and upgrade my home. Maybe I’d arrange to have a small cabin on a lakeside somewhere where I can spend sunny afternoons reading and doing martial arts.

What would you do? A little dreaming never hurt anyone. Feel free to share your thoughts, or simply use this as food for personal thought. ☯

How To Hydrate 💦

Water is kind of a big deal. Humans are composed roughly of 60% water, which makes consuming it all the more important. I’ve touched on this in previous posts, namely Some Watered Down Information (Yes, I reference my own posts! Wanna make something’ of it?) But how we consume that water is almost as important as how much.

How much water you need to consume in a day depends on varying factors, including weight, age and certain medical conditions. But the agreed amount these days is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should consume 100 ounces (or 2.84 litres) of water a day. That amount can increase, especially in the warmer months or if you’re physically active.

Now that we’ve covered that, what if you were to chug 3 litres of water within the first few hours of your day. Would you need to drink more later on, or have you reached your quota and you’re good to go? Believe it or not, chugging or sipping makes a difference.

According to an online article posted by ScienceABC, “When we have consumed more water than the body needs to operate, it responds by flushing out excess water to ensure that the correct amount stays within the body.” In other words, if you chug water in mass amounts, it may sate your thirst in the immediate moment, but you’ll urinate the excess and won’t hit your daily limit.

This is also confirmed in the article, where they say, “[…] any excess water in the body is flushed out through the urine, which is more likely to happen with gulping.” So if you gulp large amounts, your body will just get rid of the excess anyway. Gulping too much water, which in turns causes the excess to be urinated, will force the kidneys to expel necessary salts from the body along with it. The loss of these salts can cause fatigue, headaches and tissue swelling. It’s a condition called Hyponatremia.

Other problems with chugging or consuming too much water include upsetting the proper balance of electrolytes in the body and water intoxication. These can be accompanied by a number of symptoms including but not limited to fatigue, weakness, irritability and confusion. Seems like a bit of a pain in the ass, just for drinking too much water, eh?

So, the best practice in order to stay properly hydrated throughout the day without causing issues is to simply sip consistently. There is no “optimal” temperature; whatever temperature of water gets you to stay hydrated is ideal. For Diabetics especially, some of that excess consumption can happen when we have very high blood sugars, which cause increased thirst. This becomes a prime example of how the body will flush out excess water.

No matter what, be sure to keep a bottle of water with you at all times, especially during the summer months, and sip from it consistently in order to stay hydrated. Remember that your hydration needs will increase if you’re out in the summer heat and/or exercising. ☯

The Pain Came First…

Imagine having to go through a surgery… Doesn’t matter for what; just a necessary surgery that will require an incision, perhaps the removal of something inside, closing, stitching and healing. Now, just imagine having to go through that WITHOUT any anesthesia. Despite being necessary, are you suddenly a bit more hesitant? You probably should be. Hell, most of us are leery of getting something BASIC done without some form of local anaesthetic, let alone major surgery.

But prior to the invention of general anesthesia in 1846, this was the reality you faced. Just imagine needing to have your appendix removed and the only way to do it was to have a bunch of medical personnel hold you down while the doctor laboured to ignore your screams of pain as he cut into you to remove the inflamed appendage. Sounds like something out of a bad Eli Roth horror movie, right? What if I told you that in some respects, life is very much the same?

Life will throw more than its fair share of painful moments at you, and I can guarantee that it does nothing to numb or soften the blow when it does. An uncle of mine always jokes that there are only two guarantees in this life, death and taxes! He stole that from Benjamin Franklin, of course (granted, I don’t think HE knows that). But on our way to the great beyond (or the next life, depending on what you ascribe to), we’ll face a number of unknowns, including how life will play out, what tragedies we’ll face and what pains will befall us. How we face those obstacles is what molds us into the people that we are.

Although it’s sometimes easy to blame others for our misfortune, and it’s quite accurate that many have a role to play in that arena, recognizing and admitting our faults is an important part of growth. I once wrote that when something bad happens in one’s life, the responsibility can be divided into three equal parts: part of it is someone else’s fault, some of it is fate, which is out of your hands. But one needs to recognize the fact that some of the responsibility will always be yours. Through words, deeds and/or actions, intentional or not, some of the fault lies with you.

To quote William Ernest Henley, you are the master of your fate. How things will play out is up to you. There are an unfortunate number of people in this world who enjoy watching it burn. They’ll do things that bring you harm, even if there is no cause or reason to do so (not that there is ever reason to intentionally do harm to others) But to continue on, to charge forward, to motivate yourself and find reason to keep going is the best damned revenge you could ever hope to bring against those who seek to harm you. And the best part is, you don’t even need to do it FOR revenge. When you are unrestrained by the harm others bring to you, that part takes care of itself!

Summer Flowers Bring Golden Showers…

The sunny season is fast approaching, with less than a month before the calendar’s recognition of the first day of summer (although current Saskatchewan climate makes it feel like it’s already here). And with the increased temperature comes the necessity to stay hydrated and sip plenty of water and fluids throughout the day. A lot of us have that unfortunate period at the beginning of the summer when we attempt to continue pushing just as hard as we have been without upping our water intake (exhibit “A” would be the nausea and light-headedness I felt last week after a long bike run).

But if you’re hydrating properly and taking in lots of fluids, the inevitable result will be that you’ll hit the washroom often, as well. Depending on where you get your information, it isn’t necessarily abnormal to see a people urinating up to ten times a day. Obviously, there are a number of factors behind this and there is no “set” number for any specific person. Diet, exercise habits and your consumption of things like caffeine and/or alcohol.

Just shy of New Year’s, I published a post entitled What Goes In, Must Come Out in relation to the body’s waste and why it’s important to sneak a peak at what’s coming out of you and what the different colours and textures could mean. Not the most pleasant of subjects, and the average person considers it embarrassing and even taboo in some respects, to discuss any of it (even if everyone does it).

But there are a number of important and medically relevant reasons to keep an eye on what comes out of you, and urine is no exception. If you have Diabetes, the urine can be used to check and measure ketones. At the risk of becoming long-winded, since I’ve explained this in previous posts, the long and short of it is that if your body isn’t getting the glucose it needs it will break down fat tissues as a substitute. This substitute creates ketones, which can end up in the blood stream and cause a score of complications.

Ketones will usually spill out through the urine, which is a means of measuring them. These days there are actual meters you can use, which is a step up from the old days when I had to either dip a test strip into a container of urine or try my hand at aiming cleanly enough to shoot directly on the stick. But checking for ketones is only one important aspect. Colour and frequency are also important aspects and the subject of today’s post…

First, according to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, urine is normally supposed to be pale yellow to deep amber. The colour is “the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is.” The depth and shade of colour is attributed to how much water you consume and how hydrated you may be. Believe it or not, if your urine comes out completely clear, you’ve likely drank too much water and your body is flushing out the excess.

But the thing is that depending on your health, hydration, diet and medications, your urine can represent all the colours of the rainbow; and very few of them are good news. There are a few really good sources that explain what all these colours mean, and they all cover the same basic information. The best one I’ve found is from HealthLine.com:

  1. Clear: This is the one I mentioned above, where you’ve been drinking too much water. Although being hydrated is a good idea, too much water will flush out needed electrolytes. Doesn’t mean you should STOP, but tapering back on the amount you sip is ideal;
  2. Yellow: Ah, the old classic! Under ideal circumstances, this is the colour your urine should appear, but may have different shades of the colour depending on your hydration level. If you happen to have a lot of B-Vitamins in your bloodstream, like on days I get greedy and have two energy drinks instead of one (I know, bad me!) your urine can have an almost fluorescent yellow appearance;
  3. Red or Pink: Most people would see red and panic, thinking it’s blood. It’s not. remember the colour wheel you studied in like, first grade? You need yellow and magenta to make a red hue. So if you already have red, it shouldn’t be blood (unless your blood is pink, you Klingon!). Red or pink urine is normally because of foods but can also be the result of kidney stones or tumours;
  4. Orange: This could be due to dehydration, but can also be caused by issues with the bile duct or liver. Jaundice in adults can also cause orange urine;
  5. Blue or Green: Is this becoming surreal? How bad of a panic attack would you have if you looked down and saw blue fu&$in’ piss in the bowl? This is normally caused by dyes or food colouring, although certain bacterial infections can be the cause;
  6. Dark Brown: This one is normally due to dehydration, although certain foods and medications can cause it. In extreme cases, it can also indicate liver disease.

Like I said, all the colours of the rainbow! Yay! Don’t even get me started on the smell of your urine and whether it burns or stings. That’s a whole other thing! I consulted a few different medical websites, but they’re all of the same opinion. If you see swirls of blood in your urine, have a colour indicator of something potentially serious as explained above, or the discoloured urine is accompanied by fever, pain or vomiting, then it’s time to see a doctor.

Most of us go to the washroom, flush whatever’s in there and wash up (I hope) and leave. But there’s something to be said for keeping an eye on what your body is expelling. It can lead to early warnings and potentially avoid serious complications. Sometimes, colour will simply be off for simple reasons like dehydration or something you ate. In those cases, normal urine colour should return within two to three days. If it doesn’t, a visit to your doctor may be in the cards. ☯

Think About Why…🤔

In speaking with some associates lately, I was asked why I push so hard physically. At first, I didn’t understand the question. I’ve been Type-1 Diabetic since the age of 4. As a result of that, I’ve been physically active to the best of my ability since then. I’ve never really felt that I had a choice. I’ve taken my own health in hand for longer than I can remember. Being physically active is really all I’ve ever known. Much like being Type-1 Diabetic is all I’ve ever known…

In your own life, if you take the time to ask yourself why, you might be surprised at the answer you get. There really isn’t a “bad” answer; whether you choose to do it to get in shape, get healthier, lose weight or even to associate with others. Your reasons are your own and no one can tell you any different. But if you have Diabetes, the reasons can hit a little closer to home than working on your summer body, which thanks to 2020, my beach body has called in sick for the remainder of the year. But I digress…

I think it’s important, at least at SOME point on one’s journey, to ask yourself… why? Why do you push yourself, physically, emotionally, perhaps even spiritually, towards fitness goals that you may otherwise not be pursuing? Well, in my case the answer is pretty damn simple: I push so hard because I enjoy staying alive.

It’s a documented fact that people with Type-1 Diabetes have a shortened life expectancy of about 20 years. I’m not a great fan of those numbers. Being part of a family where the men live into their late 90’s, I can’t say that I’m pleased with the thought of that being shaved down to my 70’s, considering I’m more than halfway there! For that reason, if none other, I try to stay as physically active and fit as possible.

I think the prospect of staying alive is a pretty good reason to stay in good shape. I’ve enjoyed the benefit of having loads of fun, learning martial arts and meeting tons of people along the way. But staving off the effects of Diabetes is certainly the top priority. It’s always a bit morbid to think about one’s mortality, but for anyone who has dealt with Diabetes their entire life, I guarantee it’s always itching at the back of our minds. ☯

“Get Me A Beer, Son…”

The summer season is quickly descending upon us, and with it comes many of the activities that just feel significantly more fun during the summer. For example, I don’t know too many people who spend time sipping a beer on their back deck in January. The cold just tends to make it unpleasant, granted your beer would stay cold for longer periods… But I digress…

Friday afternoon, I stepped outside and did some work on the new bike. I inflated the tires (properly) after the lack of pressure from when I purchased it, then attached the remaining accessories that I hadn’t included before the maiden voyage on Thursday. Following that, I set up padded chairs and a coffee table in my garage in order to have a place to lounge and read.

Once I did a few errands around the yard (picked up some litter, cleaned some messes and retrieved umpteen summer toys from the roofs and gutters), I sat down to a cold beer and a Jack Reacher book. If you haven’t read any of Lee Child’s books about the retired US Military Policeman, Jack Reacher, you seriously need top pick one up and give it a read.

There are currently 24 books in the series and I’ve read nearly all of them. None of them are bad! Do you understand the significance of that? NONE OF THEM ARE BAD!!! I usually have difficulty enjoying every book in a ten-book series, but Lee Child hits it on the nose with every story. Anyway…

Nathan seemed concerned after a while, that my beer was nearly empty. So I did what every father has done since the dawn of time (okay, maybe not THAT long ago). I asked him to grab me another beer. I have to admit, he was smart about it; he asked what colour can and where it was. he should have known that it would be in my downstairs fridge, but otherwise I told him to grab the brown and white can.

It took almost ten minutes and I began o think he wasn’t coming back, which would have been fine as I was perfectly content to simply read and I didn’t NEED another beer. Then he strolls out of the side entrance and walks towards me. What is carrying, you ask? A full, unopened bottle of red wine… Yeah, no… Just, no!

I told him I couldn’t drink a bottle of wine and that I had wanted another beer. He tells me, “Oh well, just drink this now that it’s out, Daddy. I can’t go back inside…” I’m not sure if my sone was trying to get me day drunk, or if he was just lazy. The little voice inside my head tells me he’s just lazy.

I ask him if he knows what the colour brown is. He says yes. I ask him to show me the colour brown. He posts to our garbage bin, which is in fact brown. I tell him that what I needed is a small can that is the same colour as the garbage bin and that the wine needs to go back to the fridge. He complied and brought back the correct can, followed by a seemingly strong urge to watch me drink it.

That’s it! No intense philosophical lesson today! Just a brief, funny story about a guy and his goofy five-year old son grabbing him a beer to enjoy on the deck. Hopefully, you’re doing something to garner some peace and enjoyment in these uncertain times. ☯

Terry Fox

Last week, I decided to touch on certain role models that I’ve had over the years. I showcased Michele “The Mouse” Krasnoo last week, as she has a been a source of inspiration and martial arts brilliance for me for as long a I can remember. But this week, I decided to touch on someone who may not be a martial artists, but has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a young child. Terry Fox.

Terry Fox (and I’m quoting directly from Wikipedia here, since I lack some of the specific details) was a Canadian who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 1977 and ultimately had his right leg amputated in 1977. Despite his amputation, Fox continued to run using a prosthetic leg and even played basketball and various other activities.

Terry Fox was a self-driven warrior. No act of God or man could keep him from his goals, and he hated losing so much that he continued to push until he succeeded, no matter what it involved.

“I Believe In Miracles. I Have To.”

– Terry Fox

Fox started on the Marathon of Hope in 1980, dipping his foot into the Atlantic ocean and carrying samples of ocean water with him with the intention of pouring it into the Pacific ocean once he completed his cross-country trek. He made it as far as Thunder Bay, Ontario before, despite his will and recuperative capacity, he had to stop after suffering coughing fits and chest pain. The cancer that had taken his leg had spread to his lungs and ultimately ended his journey.

On June 19, 1981 Terry Fox passed away after succumbing to complications from pneumonia. His death rocked the entire country, even going as far as having the country lower flags to half mast, which was a practice normally reserved for statesmen.

The Terry Fox Run and the Marathon of Hope continue to be inspirations for Canadians. Fox set out to raise awareness and funds for cancer research and damn if he didn’t make his mark on the world. We should all be so lucky. But the important lesson is that no matter what the debilitation, you can reach your goals and make an impression no matter what the condition you face. ☯