Monday, April 30, 2012
"Through partnership we experience the joys of working, living, and loving together."
For me, this means a lot right now. Partnerships go through it all. Working and living together is a challenge but it works for us. I do not know if it will work for most couples. We are there in sickness and health. We didn't exactly say that in our vows, but in a different way we promised each other to be there. And that I shall be. We even travel together most times, unless I am lecturing in a far away state.
This weekend we traveled to the City of Brotherly Love. We had two purposes, a personal visit to the Cancer Centers of America, and to explore this city which neither of us have been to in more than 15 years. Philadelphia was founded on principles of equality and freedom more than 300 years ago. It is the birthplace of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Rick and I found cultural, culinary, artistic and ethnic treasures in this city. We found the Gayborhood to be pleasant and slightly changed from years gone by. We could always count on Woody's on 13th Street. And did we explore. Locust Street, Giovanni's Room, a new sculpture walking up the wall, Camor Street and Spruce Street. And of course, no trip is complete without the city's needlepoint store, The Rittenhouse Needlepoint Store on Chestnut Avenue and 18th Street. It was a mini vacation for us to be away from work. We never visit this city without exploring its museums... we do not want to miss the masterpieces.
Like Philadelphia’s own Parthenon, the Philadelphia Museum of Art sits majestically on a rise at the end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The vast collections of this temple of art make it the third-largest art museum in the country, and an absolute must-see on the city’s cultural circuit. Among its impressive holdings in Renaissance, American, Impressionist and Modern art, some standouts include a great Roger van der Weyden altarpiece, a large Bathers by Cezanne, a room devoted to Philadelphia’s own Thomas Eakins, and Marcel Duchamp’s notorious mixed-media Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors (The Large Glass), exactly as the dada master installed it. The real reason to visit this museum was the sold out show of works by Vincent Van Gogh. Many admire an artist for a variety of reasons - for me it is the nature he painted. The lilacs, dandelions and the sunflowers (as above). In my lifetime I will never again see an exhibit as thorough. We could always go to a beach, but never to a show like this. Thanks to the generosity of Cancer Centers of America. More news of this. With some 40 masterpieces borrowed from collections around the world, Van Gogh Up Close is the first exhibition to explore the reasons and means by which this impassioned artist made such unusual changes to his painting style in the final years of his life.
As a physician, Philadelphia is where the First College of Physicians was created. It is housed in the Mutter Museum. Its treasures include the tallest skeleton in the world, the plaster death cast of the torso of the famous Chinese twins Chang and Eng and their actual conjoined liver, and most important: the brain of the most famous man, Albert Einstein preserved in formaldehyde.
The brain is on display at Philadelphia's Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library, in a whirlwind exhibit built in about nine working days. The brain in slices have had a strange journey since Einstein's death in 1955 at age 76 from an abdominal aneurysm. The pathologist who completed Einstein's autopsy, a man named Thomas Harvey, removed Einstein's brain as part of standard autopsy procedure — and then failed to put it back. Harvey later said that Einstein's son had given him permission to take the scientist's brain, but the Einstein family disputed that claims. Harvey lost his job over the Einstein scandal, but he kept the brain
The museum is the history of medicine.
After seeing these wild exhibits, the tools used for surgery and tumours preserved in formaldehyde, Rick and I got a break. We went outside to the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden. Beneath the shade of this large magnolia tree, we had a peaceful place to read, relax and just talk. WE even had a tear to shed.
And finally the last museum on our trail was the Academy of Science and Nature (equivalent to the Museum of Natural History) where we went to the butterfly live exhibit as well as of course, a live beehive in the Children's section. We had a great loving time.
We have important days ahead. The trip was a success. As Amtrak brought us home, we were met by our children- Alyssa and Gregory (and now Vincent- yeah) to a great dinner.
This book under Rick's pillow says it all --Everything will be OK
Thursday, April 26, 2012
"Married couples who love each each other tell each other a thousand things without talking."
- Chinese proverb
When it comes to patient care, finding an appropriate balance between emphasizing the need for follow-up and causing unnecessary alarm can be difficult. I see many couples who have been married for greater than fifty years. The quote reminds me of a couple, Lilian and Joseph who sat side by side receiving intravenous supplements or across from me in my office for years. When Lilian died 3 years ago, Joseph lost his best friend- his wife. He has never been the same. His memory is failing, his walking stride has slowed, and his 'will' to live or flame is no longer burning. I miss the old Joe. I certainly miss Lilian. I know the longer I practice (this is the beginning of my 19th year) I will begin to lose my elder population. It is sad, as my older patients have put their trust in me. Despite both conventional and integrative therapies, Joe's memory is worsening. I did not want to cause him alarm but gently discussed the situation with his daughter.
We all misplace our keys. We all sometimes walk in a room and forget why we even went in the room. I find the more stress an individual is undergoing, the more forgetful he/she will get. I encourage my older patients to do word retrieval games, seek the word games, math problem solving and basic jigsaw puzzles. I also want a central bowl when you walk in the door to place all your pocket belongings- your keys, Metrocard, change, bills et al.
Recent studies have shown that patients on the conventional drug, Aricept (Donepezil) scored higher on the Mini Mental State Examiantion than did patients who discontinued the drug. In addition those taking Aricepot scored lower on the Activities of Daily Living Scale which means they had less impairment. I use this drug in combination with herbs/supplements. I do find that older patients sometimes get gastrointestinal upset from Aricept. This is why I utilize an integrative approach to memory loss.
It is not easy to find studies on botanicals for memory loss. It is easier to find studies of vitamin/supplements like acetyl L carnitine, phosphotidylserine, phosphotidylcholine and omega 3, 6 9 fish oils.
Culpepper referred to this plant as 'a great binder' In older times, herbalists used to believe that the planets of our solar system governed the plants. Periwinkle (Vinca major and Vinca minor) were said to be governed by the planet Venus. Both have similar herbal properties. These plants have helped cancer patients with two medicines, vinblastine and vincristine. One of the other major uses of vinpocetine is for memory. According to Matthew Wood in Earthwise Herbal, Lord Bacon believed that a cramp in the leg could be cured by wrapping periwinkle vine around the leg. I have seen herbalists use periwinkle for heavy menstrual bleeding, ulcers, skin disorders, and even vertigo. I have not used Periwinkle species as much as I should with the exception of the substance vinpocetine being present in many memory formulas. I use 20mg capsules twice a day.
The other herbs in Memory formulas include ginkgo, garlic and huperzine.
Even the glowing jellyfish has a substance called Prevagen which has gained popularity in helping memory.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.
Most medicinal herbs should never be wild harvested. Most need a very specific habitat and won’t transplant well. It is also illegal to take plants from state or national parks or forests without a permit. But some medicinal herbs are commercially grown and can be added to residential gardens. Herbs can be purchased at some garden centers or ordered from specialized seed catalogs. The United Plant Savers also holds Plant Give-Away events for members. This is why you need to be a member of United Plant Savers http://www.unitedplantsavers.org/
To grow goldenseal, it helps to own a patch of Ohio woodlands with a rich, moist, loamy soil, as well as good water drainage and about 60 to 70 percent shade. I doubt any of us in New York City own a piece of land in Ohio, but you never know who you will meet If you are lucky, it is also sometimes possible to tuck a few plants into a backyard native wildflower garden.
Do you know anything about the plant Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)? It is known asone of the oldest American Indian medicinal plants. I relate to Goldenseal. Unfortunately, by 1910 Goldenseal was the most common item in the American herbal medicine chest and was being picked to extinction. Its most active ingredient is Berberine. There are several plants/herbs that have berberine. Goldenseal is still the most popular herbal among consumers. It is rare in the Midwestern United States according to Matthew Wood's book The Book of Herbal Wisdom. There are many conditions for which goldenseal is used. Some of them include gastrointestinal ukcers, mouth ulcers, sore throat, bladder infections, pruritis, boils, eczema and many other skin disorders. Since the herb is considered endangered I try to utilize it very little in clinical practice. The delivery of goldenseal is varied as dried root, tincture, powdered, capsules, and fluid extract.
To grow goldenseal:
Step 1 — Site Preparation: Begin with a humus-rich soil under natural shade or a man-made canopy. The general soil preparation is the use of lime to create a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.0.
Step 2 — Propagation: Goldenseal can be best started from rhizome pieces planted in the fall. Plant two to three inches deep. Be patient. It can take three to five years to grow harvestable roots from rhizomes, longer with other propagation methods.
Step 3 — Mulch: Keep the area around goldenseal weed-free and use hardwood bark chips or leaf humus. Rake back the mulch to one to two inches before the plants emerge in spring.
Step 4 — Harvest: Divide the plants or harvest the roots in fall when fully mature.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Do you listen to others? I know I do, and I really have to--especially when it comes to my patients. I have a tendency of sometimes not listening to loved ones, especially Rick and often my children. I am so overstimulated during the day, that before I engage in personal conversation I have to meditate and slow down my mind. Did you ever call a friend with a problem, but first ask how he/she is doing and 15 minutes later you are still on their issues, but you actually called for yourself? Once you ask someone how he/she is doing - you should tell he/she why you called. Or better yet, do not ask how he/she is doing until you tell he/she why you are calling. We all need to listen more. I cannot teach lifestyle changes to anyone, if I first do not listen to their complaints. I also must ask everyone about their life- do they exercise, do they meditate, do they have a hobby, et al. As I am fond of saying and have said before in this blog, "Take the cotton out of your ears and place it in your mouth and LISTEN."
Regular restful sleep is one of the most important components for maintaining health. If you have disrupted sleep it does not allow for proper digestion or sufficient time to make new hormones and chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) which are essential to our well being. We need these neurotransmitters to wake up with energy. Do you wake up tired? I used to! No longer.
We do know that inadequate sleep has been proven to decrease work performance, alertness, memory and cognitive function and put stress on your relationships (personal and professional). Lack of sleep decreases your quality of life. Do you want that?
A study has shown that a decrease in sleep by one and half hours will result in a decrease of daytime alertness by 32%. Wow!
A large cohort study of more than 3500 patients ages 35 and over found that the optimal sleep duration of 7 - 8 hours could predict better health outcomes.
There are many remedies for sleep- conventional prescriptions as well as botanical. There are also vitamins/supplements that have been used as remedies to sleep. Some of these supplements include theanine, and sub lingual melatonin. Homeopathic remedies like HEEL- Nerviheel and Neuroxtan (available at http://www.longevitynutritionals.com/ ) are excellent. The Bach remedy called Rescue Remedy is another valuable sleep agent. Herbal Vitality has a tincture called Sleep Formula which is useful. You must find the proper sleeping agent for you if you have difficulty.
I could describe many botanicals used in the Herbal Vitality mixture, but I want to mention two botanicals that I am fond of for sleeping.
One is Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata). The alkalids and flavinoids in Passion flower are stronger sedatives and relaxants than other botanicals. It has the ability to restore debilitated nerve centers by promoting proper nutrition uptake at a cellular level. It supports a calming and relaxing effect on the body during times of stress. Every person in New York City needs Passion Flower. The leaves and the vines contain the many alkaloids as harmaline, harmine etc . There are also lots of bioflavinoids such as quercitin, rutin etc in the plant. I love history of plants so this is no exception. It was first discovered in Peru in 1569 by a Spanish physician/botanist, Nicolas Monardes. In the 1800's it became popular with the Victorians of England.
The second botanical is Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora ) It has a relaxing and calming effect on the body. I like Skullcap because I find it can be used during the day to restore balance to an overworked individual. This is me. I utilize skullcap daily during the work day. I feel rested. It does not put me to sleep, but restore my energy and balance during the day and then I get a better restful sleep at night. This plant is a nervine and has plenty of flavinoids, ligans, and tannins. The best known flavinoid is appropriately called scutellarin.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Life, love and plants all should be together. If you want to be in love start living life. Start by noticing the plants in your area. Be aware of nature. Get down with nature.
Hug a tree.
Yesterday was Earth Day. I discussed Honeybees which are very important to Earth Mother. Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. Some cities start celebrating a week in advance, ending the recognition of Earth Week on April 22nd. Others host month long events to stress the importance of teaching about our environment. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day each year on the March equinox, which is often March 20, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.
I want you to do something to save the environment. I am a UpS member. No I am not a member of the United Postal Service. Rick and I are members of the United Plant Savers (http://www..unitedplantsavers.org/) I suggest you go to their website and read about Botanical Wonders. I have reprinted some of it below about Slippery Elm. There is a great article on the Goldenseal Sanctuary.
I want you to join.
This is something I like to read alone in a quiet setting. It was said in 1998 at the initiation ceremony for the Godlenseal Sanctuary by Chief Soft Shell Turle Netz.
I am Red Star (my given American Indian name) and repeat this phrase alone
"Creator placed the Plant and Tree people here to be used and medicines for the people. I pray that this site be used in a respectful way as a tool to the better understanding of the medicine ways of my ancestors. Please bring peace and balance between the colors of the world through education at this site."
Plant your own garden . Say the above prayer out loud.
The slippery elm rests on the soft forest floor. The downed tree is settling into the rich soil from which it began life many years ago as a sapling. Herbalist Paul Strauss gently places his hand on the trunk, pauses, and turns to a small group walking through the southeastern Ohio woods. “When a tree has given itself for you, you accept it and use it for medicine,” says Strauss, also a conservationist and organic farmer. “But we would never take this tree down ourselves.” Strauss fishes into his pants pocket for a small jackknife, and with the skill of someone who has skimmed bark many times before, removes the legendary tree’s outer layer. Under the dark rough skin lies a pure cream-colored wood, smooth and cool. He passes out small strips and invites others to taste the sweet-flavored gift that smells of good earth. A fine coat of gel covers the trunk where the bark is removed, giving the tree its name. Herbal medicine made from the tree is used as a diuretic, emollient, expectorant, laxative and more. Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva) is just one of more than 600 kinds of medicinal plants growing in the Goldenseal Sanctuary in Rutland Township. The 378-acre sanctuary is affiliated with the nonprofit United Plant Savers (UPS), an organization based in Vermont and founded in 1995. Its mission is to protect at-risk native medicinal plants in the United States and Canada in their natural habitats. The group also encourages cultivation and responsible wild-harvesting so future generations can benefit from nature’s drug store.
Personally I use lots of slippery elm for patients with IBS, colitis or Crohn's . I usually do not use it alone but with Meadowsweet, Chamomile and even Marshmellow. This is a botanical that must live on for the purpose of saving lives.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
"LOVE is life. And if you miss love, you miss life." - leo buscaglia
The two words should go together. I have both love and life. I have been fortunate and I am a very grateful man. I have nothing missing. I appreciate everything I have. When the chips are down as sometimes they can be, I always find a way to smile. Things will get better- maybe not on my time, but for TODAY that is fine. It is only for today. I am struggling right now to keep all in order. I have a responsibility to do that for my patients, but I must remember that is only one hand. I have another hand to help myself in any way I can. For my hand, I am being extra careful now. I have lots on my plate. Am I unique? NO. Do doctors not have a lot on their plates? NO. Are doctors human? We hope, a loud YES.
This year we lost our girls. It has been sad. We haven't gone out to Fire Island yet, but we had a friend Todd, check out the hives. Unfortunately this happens once in a while. It was not due to varroa mites. I belive our loss was due to the warm days in February and March, which brought the girls out when there were no flowers available. We do not think the girls starved to death as we left them plenty of food. We will try again. We also will be setting up hives as some of the New York City schools. We have donated the materials and the bees. We will start soon. This year we have a little glitch in starting which needs to be taken cared of, but we know G.O.D. will guide us through this process.
Honeybees are responsible for one-third of our food supply, yet they are disappearing at a startling rate in a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD
The documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” takes a piercing investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee. It is viewable here FREE, for a limited time The Tragic Mistake That Now Threatens 1 Out of Every 3 Bites You Eat
CCD is most likely the result of a constellation of factors, one of the largest being the growing contamination of their hives with pesticides, especially the newer systemic pesticides, or neonicotinoids
Bees appear to be suffering catastrophic effects after exposure to even low levels of certain pesticides, including inability to fight off infections, nervous system damage, disorientation and impaired navigation.
Bees are increasingly being raised “factory farm” style with artificial food, artificial insemination, and grossly unnatural hive conditions that further stress the colony, highlighting an urgent need to return to more natural beekeeping traditions.
Read about bees. There are many great books. Join a Bee Society like the NYC Bee Association or http://www.honeybeelives.org/ . Get involved. Do something important for the environemnt and if you cannot do, you can always contribute donations.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Sometimes we do not like what is happening to us as individuals. This could involve a personal illness, job anxiety or a family member. Remember you do NOT control the situation. As a physician, I do not have control over illness in my patients, nor loved ones. For today I am opening my mind and heart to accept what is...knowing that all will be well. I, no WE are taking the best road traveled. This is a journey no one wishes to take, but it is with my G.O.D. (good orderly direction).
Needlework is one of mankind’s oldest art forms. It dates back to Exodus in the Bible. Stitch work has been found in the tombs of Egypt dating back to the 15th century. It came into its own art form in the 12th century in China. Due to technological advances and machinery, it suffered as an art form. It was not until the early 19th century that needle work had its revival.
About four years ago, I realized I needed to find a hobby to idle my tension. I was in Florida walking on Los Olas Boulevard when I passed a store that had needlepoint designs in the window. I decided right then to start needle pointing. I went in the store and asked Joan, ( http://www.needlepointoriginals.com/) who paints her own designs to quickly show me a stitch. I easily remembered from watching countless hours of my mother and grandmother stitching while sitting in the living room. I bought my first needlepoint, an Orchid Floral . In addition to reading medical journals I began to read books on stitching. It was not until this year that my partner, Rick thought I should write a book on needlepoint.
I find needlepoint to be one of the most rewarding hobbies you will ever undertake. Not only does it fill the hours and relax you, but it also provides you with a finished product in which you can feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. It also makes excellent birthday and holiday gifts for loved ones.
Needlepoint as most hobbies, can be either simple or difficult. This depends of the individual. I have met some people who always use the basic and easiest stitches. For these people I feel they use needlepoint as a restful pastime to create gifts for people. There are others that use needlework as a way to express their creative outlet. These crafters delight in working with complicated patterns using a variety of threads. Some compose their own designs. I am a needle worker who is all of the above. Therapeutic though it may be, needle point for me is above all an artistic activity.
Another fallacy is the fact that needle work is not an exclusively a female hobby. I am sure we all remember when Hall of Fame Football player, Rosie Greer started knitting as a hobby. On a recent cruise last year, I pulled my canvas from my bag and started to stitch while sitting on a deck chair. When I looked up I saw two women also stitching, one doing needlepoint and the other cross stitching. As we worked our needles, we talked about stitching and enjoyed the warm sun and cool breeze. We later met during the week to share our collection we each brought with us. One woman told me that stitching is a popular hobby among men whom spend a great deal of time at sea. In the previous two years I had met many business executives who found that stitching helps them unwind after a stressful and tense day at the office. Perhaps my most exciting discovery to my wallet is that needlepoint can be an expensive hobby. It doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby and you don’t have to buy canvases that are one hundred dollars. You can make equally lovely pieces for just a few dollars. You just have to buy the blank canvases and use a pattern from a book or needlepoint magazines .
Thursday, April 19, 2012
" It's always nice to have someone in your life that makes you smile even when they're not around. " - unknown
"Forgive me if I smile, it's just to hide my fears. Forgive me if I laugh, it's just to hide the tears." - unknown
Judy Garland sang, "When your smiling, when your smiling, the whole world smiles with you..."
That would be wonderful if the whole world was smiling. Unfortunately it is not true all the time. I try to smile as much as I can. I have lots to smile about. I always smile when I think about Rick, even when he is not around. I smile when I think about the children. I smile when I think about old memories. I sometimes tear up in those smiling situations. Today I smile when I see squirrels playing in the park, when new blooms appear on my plants, when Gracie, our Amazon Green Parrot answers my questions, and I even smile when it rains. Smiling is healthy.
I smiled a lot at my recent wedding. I had a beaming smile.
Did you smile today ?
Facts about Fluoride:
1. Fluoride in water helps to prevent and can even reverse tooth decay.
2. More than 60 percent of the U.S. population has access to fluoridated water through public water supply systems.
3. The optimal level of fluoride to prevent tooth decay is 0.7 milligrams per liter of water.
4. Many studies, in both humans and animals, have shown no association between fluoridated water and cancer risk.
The water fluoridation controversy arises from moral, ethical, and safety concerns regarding the fluoridation of public water supplies. The controversy occurs mainly in English-speaking countries. Continental Europe does not practice water fluoridation. Those opposed argue that water fluoridation imposes ethical issues, may cause serious health problems, is not effective enough to justify the costs, and has a dosage that cannot be precisely controlled.
The bulk of the scientific evidence has found that at the dosage recommended for water fluoridation, the only clear adverse effect is dental fluorosis, which can alter the appearance of children's teeth during tooth development. Despite opponents' concerns, water fluoridation has been effective at reducing cavities in both children and adults.
Opposition to fluoridation has existed since its initiation in the 1940s. This opposition persisted in to the 1950's and 1960's. Today you do not hear as much about fluoride.
In 1991 some public concern about the fluoride and cancer risk surfaced through the Public Health Service (PHS). The CDC supported these findings and there is a clear risk of fluoridated water and cancer. The CDC published their findings on August 10, 2011.
New reports today in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications found a link between sodium fluoride consumption and cardiovascular disease. The CV disease was measured by the amount of calcium build-up in arteries. There was a significant correlation between fluoride consumption and what used to be called 'hardening of the arteries'.
Currently there are no studies on Fluoride and cognitive function, diabetes or male fertility problems.
There is a decline in the amount of fluoride being used today in drinking water. It is far less than 70%. Some states have ended their practice of adding fluoride to the water. Besides helping halt the various health hazards of fluoride, it is also saving money in these states.
Do you drink fluoridated water today?
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
6. The Disappearing Spoon - by Sam Kean (currently reading - will review shortly)
I recommend one of these for a great summer read
Monday, April 16, 2012
"The greatest tool you have is to listen."
I listen--- really listen to patients when in their company on a visit. So much can be learned from listening to a patient. As Sir Osler always stated, "Medicine is not taught in the classroom but at the bedside." At the bedside or sitting in front of your desk you can ask questions and listen to responses. It is a gift to listen to people. My listening skills have made me a better person. On long days, I know I always must meditate for at least one hour if I am to listen to patients for hours. I need to be calm, at peace and serene in my own mind.
I wanted to share one's man courage, humility and his life.
It wasn’t 100 years ago Sunday morning. That’s when Richard Williams clung to a lifeboat in the dark waters of the North Atlantic.
The Titanic departed Southampton on April 10, 1912, with Richard WIlliams and his father, Charles, on board. (F.G.O. Stuart)
People were dying all around him. His legs were literally freezing to death.
Two years later, Williams was crowned the best tennis player in America.
Researchers have excavated a century’s worth of first-class stories about the night the Titanic hit the iceberg. The one about a 21-year-old in a raccoon coat pretty much got lost in steerage.
That was just fine with Williams, who’d be embarrassed at the publicity the 100th anniversary has brought.
“He didn’t like talking about himself,” said his grandson, Quincy Williams. “And he didn’t like other people talking about themselves.”
Where have you gone, Richard Williams? A tweeting world turns its overexposed eyes to you.
— If a Titanic sank today, agents would have been lining up on the New York docks to sign the young hero. He’d instantly have a million Twitter followers wanting to know what he had for breakfast.
It’s not 1912 any more. For every humble soul who wouldn’t get in a lifeboat with a Kardashian, there’s a ship of fools that can’t get enough attention.
Williams deserved that. He was a World War I hero. France awarded him the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, its highest decoration.
He became a successful Philadelphia investment banker and philanthropist. He was president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Oh yeah, after refusing to have his legs amputated, he won two U.S. singles championships. He won a Wimbledon doubles title, an Olympic gold medal and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“If you talk to my husband, you’d never even know he played tennis,” his wife used to say.
That’s a big reason Williams’ tale was familiar mainly to Titanic buffs until recently. The man who held ticket No. 17597 knew what happened on the maiden voyage would make a pretty good movie. But instead of selling his story, he put it down on about 25 typed, double-spaced pages.
The memoirs were just for his family. His grandson said they echo what researchers have pieced together about the disaster.
Richard Norris Williams was traveling from Geneva with his father, Charles. Richard planned on playing the lawn tennis circuit that summer and enrolling in Harvard for fall classes.
They were asleep in their stateroom when the ship hit the iceberg at 11:40 p.m. The jolt didn’t trigger much panic. After all, the Titanic was considered unsinkable.
Richard put on his big fur coat and headed out with his father. They came upon a steward trying to pry open a door to another cabin.
Richard lowered his shoulder and rammed the door in. The stranded passenger may have thanked him, but the steward said he would report Williams for destroying White Star Line property.
Probably wanting a stiff drink after that, they went to a smoking room. Charles got out his silver flask and gave it to his son, telling him it might come in handy on such a cold night. Richard asked the steward to fill it.
“The bar closes at midnight,” he was told.
If only the White Star Line has been such a stickler about lifeboat safety. Richard stuck the empty flask in his pocket.
He and his father mostly wandered the decks for the next couple of hours. In a letter he wrote to historian Walter Lord in 1962, Richard recalled that his father was convinced the ship would not go down.
Charles maintained that opinion even as the Titanic began to list toward its port side. The men walked uphill toward the gym, where they rode stationary bikes to try to stay warm.
The situation worsened in a hurry. As the letters of the ship’s name were about to go underwater, Richard turned to his father.
“I’m not much for symbolism,” he quipped. “But when the Captain forgets which ship he is on, it cannot bode well for the future.”
Not long afterward, there was a thunderous cracking sound and the forward smokestack crashed down. It narrowly missed Richard, and he was washed into the sea.
He started swimming and felt he’d gone about a mile. It was actually about 100 feet. He turned around was astonished to find the Titanic towering above him.
“Despite the horror and peril,” he wrote to Lord, “can’t help feeling it’s a majestic sight.”
The great ship went into its death throes, rising and settling then rising again and plunging straight down. It would not be seen again for 73 years, when explorers found it 1,200 feet below the water's surface.
Williams kicked off his shoes and coat and swam toward a damaged lifeboat. Its canvas sides had collapsed, but at least it floated.
About 30 people held on. They prayed and sang and yelled in unison for help. One man asked Williams if he could put his arm around his neck for support.
Williams obliged. He felt the man’s grip tighten and then relax. It tightened again, then he felt it loosen as the man slid to his grave.
By the time a lifeboat found them near dawn, only 11 passengers were alive.
They were lifted onto the RMS Carpathia, which had responded to the distress call. Williams stayed on deck to watch the last boats come in, hoping to find his father. Charles Williams never came.
His son went below and tried to warm himself between an oven and a galley way. A doctor looked at his legs. He feared gangrene would set in and advised him to have both legs amputated.
“I refuse to give you permission,” Williams said. “I’m going to need these legs.”
He trudged around the decks for the next three days, hoping to restore circulation. Williams walked off the ship on April 18.
That July, he played a match in Boston against Karl Behr, a Davis Cup veteran. Behr had also been on the Titanic, though he escaped on a lifeboat.
Talk about a made-for-TV spectacular. Of course, there was no TV and essentially no mention anywhere of the voyage the players shared. Behr won in five sets, but the dashing newcomer impressed all.
Williams wore long pants, which was the style of the day. It also allowed him to hide his legs, which were permanently discolored from spending five hours in 28-degree water.
The next time you hear about an athlete overcoming adversity, think about the guy who had a ticket No 17597.
“It’s a different world today,” said Quincy Williams, who was born in 1959.
He was 8 when his grandfather died. Quincy was old enough to know about the Titanic, but he never heard a word about it from the ultimate source.
“It don’t think it was ever discussed,” Quincy said.
He did get one thing from his grandfather. The silver flask he stuck in his pocket the night of April 15, 1912.
So here’s to you, Richard Williams.
It’s an honor to toast an athlete who showed true heroism and humility. And it’s sad that 100 years later, such traits seem forever lost at sea.
Friday, April 13, 2012
The reasons for hair loss are very misunderstood. Is it autoimmune, congenital alopecia, a thyroid issue or build up of DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)? This hormone, DHT is responsible in both men and women. Excess of DHT in the hair follicle causes it to begin shrinking, which changes the natural resting and growth phases of the hair. This hormone builds up around the follicle like wax.
Follicles do not last-- they eventually die. The others have build up wax so no more follicles and the hair begins to thin and then you have hair loss. To increase scalp circulation you can massage your scalp, but take a look at this.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
"We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot." - Eleanor Roosevelt
In my Mom's memory box (created by my Uncle Sonny from an old printers box) was a cubicle that held a stamp of Eleanor Roosevelt. I have always loved biographies, and had ready many of this First Lady. She had strength and courage through her career. On my home island, also known as Blackwell Island, or Roosevelt Island there is now the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial park at the southern most tip of the island.
The experiences in my life have allowed me to gain strength and courage which eventually led to confidence. It also has led me to truly look into the faces of friends, family and acquaintances. I look deep into their eyes. I sometimes see the truth and many times I do not. It is also curious that when there are unfortunate circumstances in anyone's life there is often an absence of those once considered friends. Where do they go? Into hiding? Or can he/she just not handle others difficulties? Possibly everyone does not have the strength through life experiences. Life is strange- but prayer, meditation and love will always prevail and guide me. I graciously thank my Red Star guides.
Take omega 3 fatty acid supplements! Do not take omega 3 supplements! Last week researchers at national Cancer Center of the Republic of Korea published a report stating that fish oil supplements ARE NOT EFFECTIVE against cardiovascular disease. There were 20,000 patients studied with a history of CV disease. Study follow-up was 1 to 5 years. The research team looked to see if these supplements made a difference in sudden death, heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure or death from any cause . This published study stated there was no difference. The study did advocate eating sardines, tuna and mackerel. When I saw tuna I nearly fainted. Someone is advocating tuna-- the fish with the largest amounts of mercury. What is happening to our world?
It was a large study group but the results showed no benefit. There were two other large studies done showing that fish oil supplements DID MAKE a difference. I didn't see the amount of fish oil supplements (amount of mg) used in this study. I use anywhere from 4 - 6,000 mg of omega 3.
The study would have been better if we knew the amount or if the fish oil supplement was provided by a pharmaceutical company. For example if Lovasa was used would there be a better result. And if we used Nordic Natural or life Extension would the study show no benefit.
As a cardiologist I find it disheartening when the president of the AHA states he was not surprised by the study. He should be surprised since two other large studies showed benefit. He and the AHA should be spending dollars on prevention of heart disease in this country. The AHA should study globe artichoke, green tea, hibiscus and other botanical for prevention of heart disease. I wonder how many AHA members watched 60 Minutes last weekend on fructose corn syrup?
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
This is what I needed. In my lifetime I had the pleasure to work side by side with diet guru the late Robert Atkins, MD. I am always interested in any book that discuss the low carbohydrate lifestyle. In my opinion Dr. Atkins was the forerunner on the low carbohydrate lifestyle. All low carbohydrates today are derived from his initial 1974 book. So I do not agree on the high fat in his program, but no one ever said you had to in total agreement to work with someone.
The author, Robert Davis has written a book with facts that is also humorous. Have you ever counted how many diet books there are on the market? There are hundreds and hundreds. I haven't written one yet, but I think I shall in the future. Even The God-Makers Diet reached publication. You get to read amazing diet claims. I liked the book as it goes beyond all the HYPE and all the corporate agendas. I do not like when books blame the government or pharmaceutical industries for our health crisis. We all know this is the truth but how many times do we need to repeat what we all already know? The government, insurance plans and the pharmaceutical companies are dictating how to practice medicine despite the fact that I went to medical school and have completed internships and fellowships for 16 years. Such is life today... Do not cry or pout, get involved...
Get a copy of this book and enjoy it!
Monday, April 9, 2012
Mix in a bowl. Apply to face Leave on for 5-10 minutes and wash off with warm water.
Since I tried this last night I would recommend grinding both oatmeal and almonds in a grinder to get a smoother texture
I know more vegans that are overweight than I care to discuss