THERE’S NO “HAPPY” IN MEMORIAL DAY


American cemetery in Normandy,France.

Many Americans routinely spend their three-day holiday weekends with family, sometimes traveling or just gathering for a special meal or picnic. Many others go shopping because retailers looovvvvveee  to run sales during a holiday weekend.  Such are the activities of many Americans this weekend as we honor Memorial day.  Notice I said “honor” Memorial Day, not “celebrate.”    “Celebrate” is not the correct term for this particular holiday.   Few Americans understand that.

Each year at this time, I hop up on my soapbox to remind many in the younger generations, and I’m sorry to say some of my peers too, why “Happy Memorial Day” is simply not the proper greeting to use for this holiday. With that in mind, here is my annual posting for Memorial Day…

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I am a traditionalist.  You remember the song, Tradition, from Fiddler on the Roof, don’t you?  “And how do we keep our balance?” asks Zero Mostel.  “I can tell you in one word,” he says–-“Tradition!”   Now, when it comes to certain holidays, especially the patriotic ones, I went to the School of Normal Rockwell where I learned how to observe them.  That said, here is my take on Memorial Day.

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First of all, many of you have it all wrong.  This is NOT a joyous occasion that we are honoring this holiday weekend.  What was originally called Decoration Day was established by a group of Union Army veterans in 1886 following the Civil War.  The former soldiers thought it would be appropriate to set aside a day to honor those Americans who had died in service to their country.  Veterans of the Confederate Army did likewise on a totally different day.  Eventually, the two holidays merged into one, now called Memorial Day.  It is held on the last Monday of May.

Crosses in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

It is tradition that American military graves are decorated this day.  Those in Federal cemeteries in the United States and abroad are usually adorned with a small American flag.  When I was a kid in the 1950’s, I remember seeing lots of American flags on Memorial day.  They were hung on poles or were draped from window sills, porch railings and anything else that one could be tied to.  Almost every household displayed a flag—and I lived in a row-home neighborhood so you can just imagine the sea of red white and blue that ran endlessly down the blocks, one after the other.  Of course, World War II was still very fresh in the minds of Americans, especially anyone who had lost someone in the war.  Most storefront windows also displayed flags back then, not sale signs.

No shining academic record do I hold, but I cringe when I hear a young person today who does not know the difference between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, let alone any of the great conflicts that followed them.  I am not making that up.  I realize that I sound like an old curmudgeon when I criticize “these kids today” who have no concept of the sacrifice their forefathers made for them.  There are many adults too who have gotten caught up in the redundancy of how Americans celebrate their historic events.  As such, we treat all holidays pretty much the same: big retail sales, family gatherings and sporting events.

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But wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day” is…well, it’s just not correct. Think about it. If your neighbor recently lost a son or daughter in Afghanistan, would you feel comfortable wishing them a “happy” Memorial Day?   This is a sad day, a solemn day when Americans should take a formal, structured time-out to think about, and pay tribute to, the thousands who died so that we and many others who aren’t even Americans can continue living in a protected and free environment.  Unfortunately, a lot of that thought process has gone from this holiday.  Memorial Day does not impact as many of us as it once did.  It is no longer relatable to all of us.  It is no longer as relevant.  It is fast becoming a tradition lost…and it leaves us, as Zero Mostel said, out of balance.

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“OPEN WIDE,” SAID THE DENTIST. “NO, NOT YOUR MOUTH…YOUR WALLET!”


Owner checking horse teeth. Multicolored outdoors image.

Whenever I run into two people who are currently engaged or about to be, I have a tendency to butt in and offer some sage advice. I feel it is worthy information that I should share. And it’s good, solid advice, based on years of real-life experience.   It’s quite simple actually. I just advise whomever that it would be prudent for him or her to check out their partner’s teeth before making any locked-in, lifelong commitment.

Now, I sense the expression on some of your faces right now, and I admit I am being a little outrageous. After all, you are marrying the person you love more than anyone else in the world. It’s not like you’re buying a horse. No, wait.  Maybe it  is.  When you get married you’re supposedly in it for the long haul. The track is often muddy. You’ll start off in a gallop and finish up barely able to trot and you’re bound to be saddle sore about six months in. Yeah, I’ll stick with all that—it is a fair analogy. So where am I going with all this? Well for sure, it’s not to the dentist, at least not right away. That’s where it all started–at the dentist office where I had an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. Well, I got more than that.

As usual The hygienist reminded me about the virtues of good flossing and rinsing regularly with the floride kool-aid they gave me. But then the big cannons unloaded with volley after volley of explosives like cavities, crowns, root canals, implants—it was like the 1812 overture featuring a mighty crescendo from all the instruments that had just been playing around in every cavern and crevice in my mouth.

The entire orchestration left my heart pounding and my checkbook quivering.  My wife, by the way, had orchestra seats at the same concert a few weeks back when she was at the dentist. Between the two of us, we could more easily afford to renovate the master bath complete with dual vanities and a seamless glass shower enclosure than figure out how the heck we’re going to pay for all the dental work the two of us need. To put this in perspective—no wait—to put it into really fine-tuned, sharp focus, let me disclose one thing:  there is no dental insurance in this scenario…none, zilch, buttkiss.

My script calls for a dramatic pause at this point.

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Like my wife and I, many seniors have to sacrifice lots of things when they retire, like dental insurance.  And it’s precisely one of the things I just knew would come back to bite us if we didn’t have it.  But decisions had to be made because that steady stream of paychecks was going to be pretty much sandbagged forever. So now another decision has to be made and it’s certainly one we don’t want to gum up. It’s almost like having to buy a car when you hadn’t planned on it. It could mean a loan with monthly payments for the rest of our lives and, face it, at this point there is a lot less “rest of” in our lives than previously.  Looking for funding elsewhere, we’d have to consider exhuming chump  change buried in the backyard that we otherwise need to survive…or, we could become the desperate and blundering old couple that robs banks….They’ll make a movie about us and everyone will say how cute we are.  Come to think about it, the cute factor may eventually influence the plea bargain in our favor.

Needless to say this dental dilemma is a puzzlement. I have no idea how we are going to resolve it.  I know we just can’t sit back and allow out teeth to disintegrate and eventually fall out….or could we.  Nope, this is no easy decision.  For now, I guess, I’ll just have to chew on it.

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THAT DREADED CAT


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I have discussed Toni the Cat several times before. Toni’s been living in our house for a good number of years now. She’s actually Haley’s cat. Haley is one of our granddaughters. She came to live with us at the same time Toni arrived. They were a package deal.

Toni the Cat is one mean feline. She’s the kind of cat that cat haters describe when they explain why they don’t like cats. Toni is not friendly. Toni will arbitrarily take a swipe at you as you walk past her. In fact, if she can, she’ll attempt to bite you too. This is no warm and fuzzy lap cat, far from it. Some of the other grandchildren, when they visit, deliberately walk an arc around her, keeping at safe distance to avoid her wrath. They badmouth her all the time.

So I ask you, of the four people who make up our household, why is it I am the one Toni always hangs with? Let me explain. I spend an inordinate amount of time in “my room.” Why?  Because it has all my toys, my books, my computers, my radio collection, my stash of cookies, a bed that goes up and down at each end, etc etc. But “my” room is not mine alone. I must share it…with Toni the Cat.

If I am in the bed, Toni is on the desk chair with the cushy cushion. When I get up and I want to sit at my desk, I roll the chair to the bedside and she jumps off and pick a nice warm hallow spot on the mattress. She knows the drill. When I am busy at the computer and she wants to watch what I’m doing, or at least let her presence be known, she will wedge herself into the top tray of my desk-top file unit. It is half the size she is. I have no idea how she manages to shrink herself down enough to fit in, let alone put up with how uncomfortable it must be.

Oh, by the way, just so you know: I am not sacred. She will take the same swipes at me as she does everyone else. She will also spring like a snake, bite my finger slightly then take off like a…like a…like a scared cat. She knows I will swipe back or even throw something at her if she draws blood…and she has.

In the morning, if I have drifted off to sleep unusually later than feeding time, Toni will have no problem putting her entire body in my face as she sashays back and forth in an attempt to get me up, get me downstairs and get her breakfast. Then she’s back on my bed or my chair or in the file tray another day, barely tolerating anyone or anything that enters her realm.

But I, I get a free pass. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I don’t attempt to befriend her or demand she cuddle up in my lap portraying a purring furball. Then too, as I write whatever it is I may be pecking away at on the keyboard, she seems interested, in fact, almost supportive, like really caring that what I write might actually be worthy…worthy of what, I am not sure.

I must admit there are times when I am stuck for the right word or have a question about punctuation and I’ll look to Toni to help me out. She merely stares at me and offers nothing–nary a meow.  This is what I resent the most about her. Because I know, don’t ask me how, I just know…she’s got a book in her and she knows it’s better than any of the ones I’ve written. Trust me, I know this… it’s just a matter of time when she finally lets it out.

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BUY’N YEARS


Demographic segmentation mind map flowchart social business concept for presentations and reports on blackboard

I noticed lately that I must have arrived? “Arrived where?” you ask. Well, I’ve arrived at yet another demographic level. When you get to my age bracket all kinds of things begin to change. There’s a definite divide widening between folks who want to sell you stuff…or not. For example, the folks in the pill industry, especially those who work in the aches and pains division, are eager to let you know they have the goods that’ll help you get along in your day-to-day activities over the next few years despite that axe wedged in your back between L3 and L4.

And that’s not all. Other friendly people, the ones who make things like walk-in bathtubs, hearing aids, back braces and those button gizmos you press when you’ve fallen and can’t get up—well all those guys and gals suddenly find you a fascinating person they’d like to know better. Meanwhile, the guys with the rock, the good hands and the ones who are on your side—you can start saying your goodbyes to them. They’re all sort of quietly leaving your party. You know, sneaking out the bathroom window and slithering down the drainpipe on the side of your house…they didn’t even come over to you to say goodnight.

I had this one life insurance policy for over twenty years before I noticed that the once irritating small print had taken growth hormones and blossomed into a major announcement which told me my annual premium would soon be changing from $650 to $20 some thousand. Yeah, you heard right—650 to 20 grand. See, what happens is, when you reach certain age brackets, the ones surrounded with flashing red lights, the insurance companies no longer want you on their rock or in their good hands and for sure they aren’t hanging around anymore on your side.   I was lucky enough to find a new policy for only three times as much as my old one. But that one, too, will generate the same kind of explosive premium in two years. That’s when, in all likelihood, I will drop out of the insurance arena. But I am sure I won’t be left alone. Nosiree, at that point I will be pursued by the funeral industry because those folks don’t want me to suffer a loss in the number of my incoming sales solicitations.

One fascinating piece of breaking news that’s come out of all this is that I now know how many years longer I will be hanging around this computer. The other day an insurance agent spilled the beans. He told me how long I am expected to live, at least according to the statisticians in the insurance business. I would assume this information is pretty accurate. After all, they have real money, and lots of it, riding on their calculations. Now, assuming the equipment holds up and I don’t forget to look both ways before crossing, I have just under 14 years ahead of me. That about 5000 sun rises/sun sets yet to come. Hmm…I wonder how many more pints of Chucky Monkey there will be?MainBanner

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Testing, Testing, Can You Hear Me?


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One of the big benefits of retirement is T I M E. I have lots of time. I probably waste more of it than I should, but the opportunity to simply do nothing can be tempting. I remember when I worked long days and then brought things home with me so I could resume the insanity after dinner. Well, not no more.

These days I can spend big chunks of my time having fun. Fun is relative. For some it may be fishing or a round of golf…for others it may be sitting under a shady tree with a good book. Hey, I can recommend a good book—oh never mind.

Actually, the books I’ve written since retirement have provided lots of hours of fun. Those of you who hate having to write anything surely won’t understand that, but… that’s how I feel about math. I like the creative process, including the research that’s involved in writing a book. And after you string together some 50-to-70 thousand words into a document that’s reasonably coherent and tells a story to boot…well, there’s something indescribably rewarding about holding all that in your hand.

In between books, this blog has provided hours and hours of fun. I’ve published 488 postings since the fall of 2012.  And here I thought I had only 94 things to talk about…and I don’t even discuss politics. I can only imagine if I start shooting off that cannon.

All that being said, today marks the beginning of new fun…my blog postings will now become podcasts. Yep, I plan to record each one. They’ll be just like little mini audio books. And just like when you read my blog to help you fall asleep, now you’ll be able to listen to me—that for sure will help you fall asleep…although for some my Philadelphia accent may interfere with that.

All righty then, let’s get this road on the show and see where it takes us. For those reading, the Podcast is available at www.spreaker.com/user/radiomarc …and for those listening, the blog address is https://mk4567blog.wordpress.com.   Maybe best you simply go to http://marckuhn.com  and there you will find links to everything….even the elusive one to the meaning of life.

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72 SKIDOO!


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Today I am 72 years old. No, you don’t have to drop right down to the bottom of this posting and wish me a happy birthday. Lots of past and present friends already have done that.  I am touched and so grateful to have left enough of a positive impression on so many people that they have something nice to say.  I know there are a few out there who would not be so charitable. In fact, I suspect there are a few who would not hesitate to toss a nasty of some sort my way.  It’s okay, I forgive you; hope you me.

While I arbitrarily selected “50” as the age I’ve reached today (who in the hell wants to celebrate 72) it hasn’t been achieved without a few rough spots along the way and I have certainly had my share.   As I have on past birthdays, I got to thinking about all the things I’ve lived through and there are a few key decisions I’ve made that I wish I had back to redo over again or at least be given some time to figure out an alternative outcome.

Then I thought what a perfect opportunity this is to “rerun” a previous posting that I particularly like. In fact, I like it so much I may have run this one twice before! So, if you remember it, don’t feel guilty moving on to something else…even if you don’t remember it, you can still move on guilt-free if you wish.   Okay, here it is…

GOING BACK WITH ALL YOUR SH*T,  Originally Posted on February 13, 2014

So I was out on the back patio in my thinking chair once more.  Not sure it was exactly reincarnation I was thinking about, but it had something to do with going back for a second spin.  I suppose many of you are like me when it comes to wanting a second chance.  You know, a chance to go back in time and relive a moment, a day or maybe even do your whole life all over again.  Of course, we’d want to be transported back with full knowledge, full awareness of who we were and who we became.  To live over again while being able to use your personal history to your advantage would be the opportunity of a lifetime—maybe that should be two lifetimes.

There are a few things I would certainly like to correct.  You too?  I made some wrong decisions; acted inappropriately at times; or simply didn’t understand what I was doing.  Given a second chance, I would not make those same mistakes.  But, as they say, you can’t go home again.  Too bad.  All this wealth of knowledge and experience and no opportunity to use it is a woeful waste.

I’ve made reference to a scene in the movie Rocky before (the original Rocky movie).  Bergess Meredith plays an old has-been boxer turned trainer, turned corner gym manager.  One night, he wearily climbs a few flights of steps up to Rocky’s South Philly apartment and knocks on his door.  The younger wannabe champ is less than hospitable to his unexpected guest.  But Meredith comes with a mission.  He wants Rocky to let him train and manage him for the big fight with Apollo Creed.  Rocky isn’t very receptive.  He questions Meredith’s motive.  Meredith’s response?  It’s classic:

“I got all this knowledge. I got it up here (points to his head).  I want to give it to you. I want to give you this knowledge.  I want to take care of you.  I got all this sh*t and I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.”

catchingtrainHow many us have “all this sh*t” wallowing in us, too?  Crap and circumstance that we experienced and now it dwells like a permanent infection that haunts us for the rest of our lives.  The sh*t is all those things we did wrong, or all the wrongs that were done to us.  True, we get over most of them, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to go back, knowing what you know, so you could “un-sh*t” your life on the second go-round.  Can you imagine what a trip that’d be?  I don’t know about you, but I’d buy a ticket, grab all my baggage—especially the heavy pieces—and run like hell to catch that train.  WooHoo!

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One decision few people regret is adding a pet to the family, especially the first pet.  My friend Ron has a three-part posting underway on his blog, one for each of his best friends.  Part one is about his golden lab, Angus.  It’s a nice story, exceptionally well written and if you are a dog lover you will instantly relate.  Here’s the link:  https://rcarmean.wordpress.com/

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GARDEN TOUR


 

Growing Plant Sequence in Dirt - a seedling grows progressively taller in dirt - metaphor for success or growthSpring in our little world has been much like me this year—it’s been staggering a bit behind and slow getting started. But as I have begun to recover, so too has our humble little array of plants. We do not have a lot of room and much of what we attempt to grow resides in pots. Wanna take a look? I thought you’d never ask.

A few years back we bought a pineapple at the supermarket and after cutting off the top, Rosemarie placed it in a saucer of water. A few months later we transferred it, roots and all, into a pot of soil. That little gesture has led to our huge .000054 acre pineapple farm consisting of eight plants. Patients is required to grow these guys. Each bloom is a good six-month process before it’s pickin’ time. But take a look—we got pineapples!

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In a similar move, Rosemarie grabbed a fallen coconut out of the canal that flows by the back of our house. It had already begun to sprout a little. Now it’s about two years old and there’s no stopping it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have coconuts beaning us on the head this time next year.

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Meanwhile, the tree farm keeps Miracle Grow potting soil in business. The four larger ones: a lemon, avocado, mango and a peach.

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Below is another peach tree, this one planted in the ground. There was so much stone and junk hidden under the grass we had to rent a jackhammer a few years back when we planted this tree.  We got it at good old Home Depot. It’s a special peach breed supposedly developed for the hots of South Florida. I trimmed it back last fall and was worried that I maybe overdid it. But, finally, little green spouts are showing up, albeit about a month later than usual. I keep hoping one day we have peach pie from this guy, but he’s being real stubborn about it.

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And finally, from our visit to Hawaii about ten years ago, the Plumaria tree. It flew back with us in a plastic package, about eight inches long. It’s the only tree here that reminds us of those back home in Pennsylvania. It loses all its leaves every winter, very different from the year-round leaf-bearing trees of Florida. It too has been late coming, but it has lots of blossoms.

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Okay, it’s officially spring in our backyard, a little late, but finally here. Next comes summer and the accompanying AC bill that never fails to blossom this time of year.

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GIVING UP MY BODY FOR A DAY


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This is the third part of my “diary” that describes a new and innovative medical treatment that I have undergone in hopes that it results in a major change and improvement in my life.  Parts I and II can be found preceding (scroll down) this posting on Marc’s Blog (mk4567blog.wordprss.com).

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After six tries Rosemarie and I finally made the trip from Fort Lauderdale to the Coral Gables area of South Miami without screwin’ up. Construction detours threw us a mickey one time, the wrong address entered into the GPS had its turn, my mis-read of an exit ramp off the turnpike resulted in a sudden map-unfolding panic… Well, you get the picture, our once savvy built-in GPS-level sense of direction and never-get-lost track record is slowly decaying…another sign of growing old.

Anyway this time, on time, we walked into the hospital shortly before 6am this morning. The mission today: no more pre-exams, no more hurdles or hoops to jump over and through, no more waiting…Today I will undergo a surgical procedure that will place the Inspire implant inside my body. Ain’t science great!

My almost-famous and soon-to-be internationally renowned doctor, Rolando Molina, is the only surgical M.D. performing the Inspire implant procedure in South Florida. He is one of those rare and unique doctors you luck into.  He truly gets it; he understands how horrible my life has been and knows how much this moment means to me.  He has prepared me well.  I know and understand everything that is about to happen to me along with the variety of outcomes that can result. I’m ready, bring it on!

Like most everyone, for me it is a rather daunting experience to be sitting in a cold hospital cubicle, wearing an awkward hospital gown, awaiting who knows what and abandoning all my rights as I sign hospital legal forms in total blind faith that nothing will go wrong. Meanwhile, deep deep deep deep inside there is this ever-so-present “what-if” residing somewhere in my guts…what if something does go wrong. Hell, I am old now. My body is sending me new and crappy signals almost daily that anything is possible and none of it is good. No! I stop myself. This procedure is too important and I need to stay optimistic, up and positive—hard to do, feeling very vulnerable in an awkward hospital gown.

Okay, I have signed my life away and kissed my wife see-you-later (“goodbye” is not the right word to use here). I’m off as my bed, with me along for the ride, is launched on a trip traveling down winding hallways, through double-opening doors and eventually arriving at its destination. The time for this trip is probably less than a minute, but it actually took five months from the day I first learned about this new procedure for persons suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea to when I am finally rolled through the doors of Operating Room 11.

Here, there is assembled a team of medical experts all dressed in greens scrubs. Each one is busy doing whatever it is they have to do to prepare for his or her role in the process of putting to sleep, cutting, dabbing, poking, inserting, monitoring, etc…my body.  It has become totally theirs and at their mercy for the next few hours.  “It” is moved from my rolling bed and placed on a narrow slab.  It’s right arm is extended outward, resting on its own exclusive wing. Once my body is secured on this slab, immediately, it seems everyone in the room descends upon it and begins doing something to it. One is putting a cuff around the lower leg, another is wedging a pinching instrument on one of its fingers while still someone else is wrapping the upper arm in a blood pressure cuff. I lose count of the things happening to me all of which are performed with the artistry of a fine symphony orchestra. An out-of-sight anesthesiologist whom I met while I was in pre-op is positioned behind my head.  She reaches over my face and places a soft robbery blue-tinted mask over my nose. “Some oxygen, just take deep breaths.” My mind is too full of visuals to think. I just respond: deep breaths.

“Okay, now it’s off to dreamland,” or something like that says the voice coming from behind my head. One, maybe two seconds more of reality and that’s it for me.

Sometime around two hours later, I open my eyes. I am not in some cloud-filled environment and no one has wings or halos…likewise there is no fire and no one has horns. I figure I’m still on planet earth and living. Yes, there is my lovely wife, Rosemarie, hovering over my right side. Life is good…again.

I have three “wounds” and each is covered with bandages: one on my neck, one on my upper right chest and one on my right side against my ribcage opposite the upper arm. All have accompanying pain, but it is negligible compared to the knee replacement surgery I had a month ago. This I can handle.

My wife tells me Dr. Molina explained to her that everything went perfectly, other than the nerve at the base of my tongue (the “hypoglossal”) was a little more obscure than usual and took time to locate. But eventually, success all around and after turning the unit on for a brief test, it was working properly. I was then glued up (they don’t use stitches) and sent to recovery with good grades for behavior.

In fact, the procedure went so well, and I reacted equally as well, I did not have to stay for the night. So here I am at home busy typing away tomorrow’s posting. All that’s left now is the waiting…until June 9th when my Inspire implant will be activated.  Then, I will soon learn if I will achieve the 78% rate of lowering the number of times my tongue collapses, shutting off my air supply and depriving me of hours and hours of sleep every night of my life.  So, stay tuned next month for both breaking and breathing news!

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PREPARING TO BE INSPIRED


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This is part II of my personal journey that I hope takes me to a life-changing event this Friday.  If you missed Part I, it is available right under this posting on Marc’s Blog.  (https://mk4567blog.wordpress.com)

c-papI left off talking about CPAP (pictured right).  This is a piece of equipment especially designed for people who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” There are many different versions of the CPAP mask, but they all work basically the same way.  The mask sits over the face and provides a constant flow of air into the nostrils and down through the air passage to the lungs.  The airflow is such that it does not permit the air passage to collapse thus preventing moments of sleep apea.

The problem with the mask is that many people find it too uncomfortable to sleep with.  There is air blowing into the nostrils non-stop and that comes with a little noise and a lots of disruption if you open your mouth.  Regardless, it is quite successful for many people and it provides them with a tolerable solution to getting a good night’s sleep.  For others like me who have princess-and-the-pea syndrome when it comes to getting comfortable enough to sleep, CPAP is useless.

So now, along comes Inspire, described by its Minneapolis manufacturer as “the world’s first implantable FDA-approved neurostimulation system for the treatment of OSA.”  The concept is quite simple.  A small “generator” is implanted under the skin in the upper inspire-how-it-works-picright breast area.  There are leads attached to this generator.  One heads south and is attached to the lung.   Another is threaded north, and is attached to the base of the tongue.  The caveat here is that the tongue has to be the culprit causing the sleep apnea.  There are other areas of the air passage that can be shutting down too and, if so, Inspire cannot help.  For the implant to be effective, it must be the tongue’s relaxing during sleep that is the main cause for the air supply being cut off (this is determined by a procedure the patient goes through prior to qualifying for the implant).

The lead that is attached to the lung will sense when breathing has stopped.  When it does, the Inspire generator sends impulse signals to the lead on the tongue. These deliver a mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of the tongue, causing it to flex out of the way and reopen the air passage.  Does all this work?  The Inspire implant has achieved a 78% rate of reduction in sleep apna events per hour.  This is significant, to say the least, to someone suffering from OSA.

After 40+ years of averaging just a few hours of sleep each night, and then struggling to stay awake throughout the day and lately having given up most of my driving privileges, it is easy to see why I am excited about the development of this new technology.  The only negative is that I will have to wait a month before I learn whether or not Inspire works for me.  That’s because there is a 30-day waiting period between the surgery and the activation of the device.  This is to ensure it has been implanted successfully and the body has not shown any signs of rejecting it.

I have instructed my body that if it even so much as considers rejecting the device, my next surgical procedure will be a full body transplant…hey, it could happen!

Wish me luck and look for a follow-up posting this weekend.  If you would like to learn more about Inspire, the company has a website at http://www.inspiresleep.com  …and a credit and thanks to them for the diagram I used in today’s posting.

*****

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FRIDAY, LIFE AS I KNOW IT, WILL BEGIN CHANGING!


sleepingman

The week ahead could be an incredible one for me…so much so, that it could be life-changing. I will become one of less than 2000 people worldwide (about 40 here in South Florida) who will have had an innovative mechanism installed in their bodies. For those interested, especially those who are victims of the same medical issue from which I suffer, I will share the experience with you here on Marc’s Blog.

Some 40 years ago I began watching late-night television. I wasn’t quite ready for my usual bedtime following the traditional 11 o’clock news. So I became a regular viewer of Johnny Carson and David Letterman. Eventually, I extended my bedtime past these two shows, subsequently going to bed sometime around 2-3 o’clock in the morning. I just wasn’t sleepy anymore at a normal bedtime. Meanwhile, my morning alarm clock started buzzing at 7. Needless to say, I was not getting enough sleep and being alert and functioning throughout the day became a problem that would grow more serious over the next few decades.

In the early 1990s I had my first sleep test. It was strange, like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. Late in the evening, I reported to a room on the very vacant wing of a nearby hospital. My head was draped with wires that drooled down my skull and plugged into electronic pads stuck to dozens of points across my face and upper torso. Then I was told to fall sleep. Sure!

While I was allegedly sleeping with all this spaghetti wrapped around me, a man in an adjacent room stared at a monitor and took notes from the data being “pulsed” from all the wires attached to my body. By morning, the evidence was overwhelming. During the short periods that I actually slept, my body stopped breathing on an average of 47 times an hour. I was diagnosed and joined some 12 million Americans suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

The process of OSA is simple and I have discussed it here before. Basically, the body falls asleep and the muscles relax. Those in the air passage down the back of the throat relax too, sometimes too much and they actually close off the airway. Within a few seconds, the brain realizes that the lungs are not breathing and the brain is starving for oxygen. Impulses are immediately sent out to awaken the body so it begins breathing again. This cycle then continues to repeat itself throughout the night, keeping the body in a repetitive state of falling asleep only to be awakened minutes later, thus depriving it from getting the rest it needs.

There is a piece of equipment that OSA patients can use to help  them achieve uninterrupted sleep.  It’s called CPAP, but not everyone has success using it.  I am one of those who have tried different versions many times throughout the years, but I have had no luck with any of them.

To be continued midweek….

*****

Help yourself to a FREE digital copy of my latest novel, ANCHOR.

Simply go to http://marckuhn.com and look for the green  arrow!

 

 

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