Monday, October 12, 2015

Short story JACK is published - Diabetes Improvements - Poem: No Mail Today, Columbus Day

Click here to read Jack, published in Literary Yard.

That was one of the easiest stories to write. Got the idea when I attended a church social around the corner at The Willow Grove Bible Church.

Sat and talked to a fellow named Rich.

Tell me a true story, Rich, I said, while a band was playing really good music. I felt bad but I just had to find a story to write for my Writers' Group the next day.

My son Dan and his family were robbed about two months ago. "Robbed" means someone entered the house when the family was home.

The man was just apprehended, as we say in the trade. What trade is that? Trade winds? Anyway, read about it here.  

You won't believe how many people leave their door open or leave valuables outside. 

The dude is 37 and is on FB. 

I was unusually tired today, but it was the last day of Scott's weekend - Monday - and we wanted to go bike-riding on The Pennypack Trail.

"Lemme take a brief nap," I said.

Fifteen minutes later, I was ready!

He loaded the car and we went on a six-mile bike ride.

Image result for two bike ridersExcept we wear helmets.

I've gotten really good at not wobbling into oncoming people and don't get nervous anymore.

The only thing I haven't quite mastered is getting off the bike. I put on both brakes, cruise to a stop, but it's hard dismounting.

After our two successful back-to-back programs at the Giant, I saw Mary Ann Moylen, nutritionist, was in her office with an intern, Carrie.

We had a brief consult.

I told her I get 'lows' every single day. Many times.

She'd taught me about adding starches to every meal, but now I started to do it.

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For breakfast, I added four Triscuits to my usual Egg Combo.

Here's my readings

Just about perfect!

Tonite I'm gonna finish NOTES FROM A NAZI ASSASSIN. It's pretty good, so far. Hans Utrecht, only 22, is gonna fight in his first battle: invading Poland.

I checked with Scott, an amateur war historian, who told me which battle to pick.

I like sipping on Iris' Hazelnut Creme Decaf, which does not keep me awake.

Just realized why I was so tired. Watched many great shows on my laptop, including one from C-Span about a Missouri state senator getting a year's sentence in prison for fraud - mishandling campaign funds. His new book is called Mr Smith Goes to Prison.

If you wanna watch, click here.  

Was also on YouTube for a couple hrs watching the late Chris Hitchens debate about Princess Di and also why Islam is a fake religion. What great points he made. 

I called Mary Ann earlier today to thank her for telling me about adding carbs - in the form of starches - to my meals. I asked her if I could snack on popcorn with cheese and she said Yes.

This is pairing a starch with a high protein food.

Natch I overdosed on this snack, but my sugar stayed in check.

Now tis the next day. Finished the Nazi story. The ending was too sad. I went outside and stared up at the stars. That's how I'll end it. Meteors. Redid the ending. Sent it to Scott for review. And Marf and Marce.

Scott wrote back this morning, "Great story. The Germans did not have Jeeps."

On YouTube I listened to "battle sounds."

Am gonna write a spontaneous poem right now:


The world is out of kilter
something's dreadfully wrong
the mail trucks are stilled
rubber tires in a state of
non-revolve, though
aching to go
it's Columbus Day

Columbus himself
ached to leave the
Spanish harbor
his three wooden ships
at the ready, sailors
downing port lingered
near the sea, while Queen
Isabella decided when to
play her trump card.

Trouble began as the
sea pummeled the
ships. They stopped for
repairs, then regained
the open seas, with only
sea creatures for com-
panions, Look! a huge
tuna! Twas really a

In the infancy of ex-
ploration, Columbus
quibbled for payment
due him the enormity
of his task. On his
deathbed, a few years
over fifty, he knew his
name would sail down
through the centuries
as he remembered roasting
a small delicate bird
for the evening repast
while the cool breeze
stirred his long dark
hair, Beatriz loved
to touch.

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sharon Katz brings em in at the Giant!

Sharon Katz, owner of the expanding Collaborative Care, gave a brilliant presentation yesterday, October10, about meds.

 We met Julie, a student at Philadelphia University, who is studying to become a healthcare practitioner.
 Ada and I both enjoyed the tiramisu coffee. 

This is just an excuse, I said to Ada, to eat all this delicious free food. 

Thanks to Robin Franklin, Community Room Coordinator, for providing the beverages and healthy snax.

Guests included

 Ruthie was a very interested participant, as was
Rich Fleisher, XDO. That means, he used to be a DO, in the practice of radiology at Lower Bucks but retired.

Helen Kirschner was a rapt student of Sharon's.

Sharon discussed the changing world of mental health. She went back to school so she could be a prescribing nurse practitioner.  

The world of shrinks, she said, is shrinking! Only 3 percent of recent grads from Jefferson Medical School here in Philly became psychiatrists.

And the older docs don't know how to use all the electronic devices that are so important. Sharon tells them her practice will help them. Then all the records will be available as long as the patient gives her consent.

Older docs are good b/c they have experience. Younger are good also as they've just graduated from med school. Doogie Howser, MD? 

Image result for doogie howser

Sharon would love to prescribe for people on Medicare and Medicaid but these govt-funded agencies will not allow a nurse practitioner to do it.

She takes ins. thru Magellan, a large management company, which she likes a lot. 

She teaches primary doctors how to prescribe. Your primary doctor, when seeing patients, should offer a questionnaire asking If you enjoy things the way you used to, are you sleeping well, and about your energy level.

I have a childhood friend now living in Columbus, OH, who can't get her meds right. Will tell her about the genetic assay tests that most insurance co's now pay for.

Sharon likes several of em, including Genomind.

These tests reveal how your liver metabolizes meds. 

Another reason she encourages older docs not to retire is b/c they "dump their practice" onto other agencies, such as her own, which is why she now has offices in Abington on York Road, the Executive Mews in Willow Grove, and a gorgeous one in Bala Cynwyd, former office of the great shrink David Kalkstein who moved to Delaware.

The new way of diagnosing is "symptom-based." There's a questionnaire for Anxiety. The GAD7. You ask 7 questions such as Do you worry a lot?

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Yeah, I've gotta get to the Giant now for today's guest speaker. I have about arf an hour.  Read the post here.

"We knew this was coming," said Sharon about the new electronic media. "Come work for me," she tells em, "and we'll help you."

Yes, we need more psychiatrists!

Plus, "We have the crisis of the aging Baby Boomers."

She made a good point when she said if you don't treat adolescents who have mental health problems, they will turn to illegal drugs - opiates - and then you've gotta get em off the drugs before you medicate them.

When you have a stranger come into your home, say, a plumber, if they're an addict, they will go into your medicine chest or top drawer, take some of your opiates but leave a few in the bottle, thinking you won't know. Your teens will also do this. 

When we hosted our "Substance Abuse and Bipolar Program" in 2011 with Barry Lessin and his buddy Chad Coren, we were told the same thing.

She tells her teens, "We're not judging you, we just want to help you."

Sharon was inundated with patients when Creekwood closed, which is one reason she expanded, as did Philmont Guidance under "Danny Hartman," she said. 

"Good companies expand," she said. "Bad ones fold." 

Life Counseling is a good place to go, as is NHS in Lansdale. 

When a patient says "Nothing works!" that's when they get the assay test.

"There are a lot of different shifts on the way we do treatment. Now it's scientifically based," she said.

Collaborative Care was chosen to p'pate in a research study by Genomind, based nearby in Chalfont, PA.

65 patients were used in the study. 

Tests include 

Serotonin receptor site activity... determines if you need a higher dose based on how your liver metabolism- normal, medium, high

Serotonin transporter site 

Calcium and sodium channel blockers

Dopamine D2 Receptor Sites important for BP patients

Attention span - often diagnosed with ADHD when it's BP all along

MPHFR as they may bring on symptoms - must test these when necessary

Sharon prescribes certain vitamins "to make the brain come alive."

B-Complex - for Energy and Focus

Deplin - works within two weeks


Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

SAM-E - potentiates Dopamine (makes it stronger)

Inisol - attention span

COMT - attention span 

Asians react differently to meds than caucasians. One patient was up on all night on Benzos b/c she didn't metabolize em the same way as caukies. 

Different ethnic backgrounds must be treated differently. 

Sharon doesn't usually use antidepressants w/ bipolar patients as it activates them. Instead, she augments the mood stabilizer with vitamins. 

She likes a new med called Brintellix.

For sleep, she likes

Melatonin, 3 and 6 mgs. Take and hour or two before bedtime.

Image result for person yawning

I didn't yawn... did you?


Remeron, a weight-gainer antidepressant

Trazodone, don't take if you have cardio issues, up to 100 mg

Elavil, also good for physical pain like fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia was finally given a name. For years, doctors didn't believe it was a real illness. Patients suffer from neuromuscular pain.

Sharon believes it stems from early life adversity. Sexual and/or physical abuse. Traumas. It leaves physical scars on the body. You might rub that part of your body that was abused. Sharon had a patient who kept rubbing her shoulders, which was where she'd been held down.

Emotional trauma leads to nerve conduction to body. Must be released by talking about it. Can also take meds such as Effexor, an SNRI which affects diseased nerves. Or Cymbalta.

Elavil is also used for migraines. 

Muscles have "gaba receptors." So she uses long-acting gabapentin - Neurontin.

She talks to drug reps and gets freebies from them

Image result for drug rep

  Sharon Katz, prescribing nurse, helps hundreds of patients.

Daniel Kaye Wows Us at the Giant - Excellent Attendance - Thanks to Giant and Doreen for the fab food!

We love candid talks!

Hope many people who were there - both individuals and family members - attend out group, New Directions. 

After Ada sent me the Inquirer story about Daniel Kaye's disclosure - he suffers from anxiety and depression - and has a job he loves as Director of Life Enrichment at Rydal Park, I called my friend Helene Ryesky

Helene in her own home in Maple Glen, PA, before moving to Rydal Park.

"No way!" she exclaimed.

Daniel, who's 47, told us that his boss at Rydal Park is very impressed that Daniel disclosed and told him that when he meets people in the hall and they wanna talk, DO IT! These people are too important in the last chapter of their lives and need someone who's a good listener to tell their troubles to.

Men came up to him, with tears in their eyes, after they read the story. His Facebook page ballooned and he got many new friends.

He never talked about his illness as a child. He was so anxious as a kid he couldn't eat before school and would often vomit.

"I've been lying for 40 yrs," he told us. He'd walk into the nurse's office and stay there as long as he could. After the noon hour, he would feel better, tho he prayed the teacher wouldn't call on him and he wouldn't throw up.

He would scratch the palms of his hand to divert himself from his anxious thoughts.

"Can I get through today?" he thought every single day during his sieges with anxiety, panic d/o and then depression, before he got on medication.

His anxious symptoms included the room spinning when he awoke in the morning, couldn't catch his breath, and he was afraid of the dark when he went to bed b/c he felt creatures would jump out at him.

These symptoms got worse as he got older.

Medication, he once thought, "was for losers."

His mom, Yvonne Kaye, originally from London, UK, was a great comfort to him. We've gotta have her speak at one of our Tuesday evening meetings.

View her website here. 

As a teenager, Daniel's friends would invite him out. Oh no! He would obsess about it. They invited him to the shore five days hence.

Bad. Very bad. Five days to obsess.

He chose a college which was close to home. He finished in two years, but was unable to get a bachelor's degree at the time.

He held many jobs. He was a columnist at a newspaper, which led to job as asst editor, which led to editor. With each promotion he would think the same thoughts, "I can't do it. I'll fail. I'll embarrass myself."

He won many awards, but it didn't reassure him. 

He also wrote comics

Image result for daniel kaye comics  Never underestimate a Hermit Crab turned into a book.

He worked for a travel agent and delivered tickets.

Driving to the nearby Willow Grove mall was difficult and into Philly was a nightmare. He was a nervous wreck.

Image result for nervous driver

When he was put on meds, which he was positive would not work, he was shocked to find out that he could drive in relative peace.

He noted the irony of working for a travel agent and not being able to travel.

When he met his wife Wendy - I took a great pic of this lovely woman but it's not there - the two of them had a lot in common. "We were both terrified of the same things."

She sought help first.

When he finally got help, the therapist challenged him. Wouldn't let him get away with anything. "How dare she challenge me?"

Other therapists thought he was too fragile, challenging him would make things worse.

"It was a great charade, a great lie," he said. "The problem was with the world, not within him."

Halloween 1998, when he was 30, Daniel hit bottom. He paced his bedroom like "a wild animal" feeling he was coming unhinged, sure this would be the day he would die.

Wendy did her best to comfort him.

"Be sure I go for help tomorrow," he said.

When tomorrow came, he told her it wasn't all that bad.

He did go for help, driving and turning the car around several times before getting there.

He voiced his emotions w/his therapist.... he'd laugh and cry and get angry.

When she went on vacation for a month, he thought, How dare she leave?

Then he went on meds.

He discovered he's a "What Iffer?"

And was taught, "So what if it happens?"

Through therapy he learned to talk nicely to himself, rather than telling himself he was a loser, would never get a good job or amount to much.

He began to talk to himself the way he would a friend.

There were many nights when he was younger that he'd pray God would take him. He'd have suicidal thoughts - still has em occasionally - but would never do the deed b/c of his family.

He has a young son, Aiden, 11, who also suffers from anxiety.

When Daniel was a kid, his mother could comfort him. One day when Mom wasn't home, he went to his father when he had severe anxiety.

"What does Mom do?" asked his dad.

"She hugs me," he replied.

"You'll be all right," said Dad, touching his arm and leaving the room.

In other words, "I was a bother," said Daniel.

He and Wendy know what to do to help Aiden through anxious moments.

What a fool he'd be to run for the School Board. Parents think you're responsible for everything. You take everything personally.

What's the worst thing that could happen? They could dock your pay.

It's an unpaid position.

Here he is, an elected official.

He'd like to have educational programs for the Abington students but where would the kids go for follow-up?

As Sharon Katz said yesterday, there's a dearth of "providers" though her agency does see kids.

Image result for rydal park 
Two and a half yrs ago he got a job at Rydal Park Continuing Care Facility.

His thoughts: "If I'm abused there, at least I'll be helping some people."

My late friend Betty Williams, once active in the mental health group NAMI, was a great friend.

The first week he was there, "I watched two people die. How can this be happening to me?" he asked himself. "I had no training."

Image result for reporter taking notes The Inquirer reporter came out to his house. The interview lasted two hours. She said she would not publish it until she talked to Daniel's boss at Rydal Park.

The boss was fine with the story.

The reporter said to him, "Now that you're cured...."

Daniel said there's no such thing. He still struggles but things are manageable now.

"My life is stable now," he told her. "How could I not admit all these various problems?"

Many people with mental health problems "wait for the other shoe to fall," said Daniel. We well know this!

One day he was helping his brother paint his basement.

"How are you feeling?" asked the brother.

Daniel looked at him.

"I feel dead inside," he said.

The brother looked at him and walked out of the room.

Image result for two men

"Helping people is important," said Daniel, "but you've got to be careful they don't set you off. Have to learn which people you can talk to."

One thing Daniel realized when he finally got help was "I've got mental health issues! I'm now one of them!"

 The woman on the right mentioned a funeral she attended. A young black woman with a brilliant future had killed herself. Yet the word "suicide" was never mentioned. Carole and Greg, leaders of our Family Member Group, had attended the funeral.

I wrote about it in my "September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month."  

Email me if you wanna read the entire article. RuthDeming at
"We all need soldiers to help us out in this battle."

His presentation blew us all away.

However, his old habits returned and he thought briefly of canceling the event.

I said, You didn't wanna speak today, saying the Eagles were playing.

Saul Miller said the score was tied at 7 - 7. 

Hope Daniel and his family enjoy our gifts

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