Monthly Archives: July 2015

Windows 10 and Office 2016

Yes, I’m going to upgrade to Windows 10 when it roll out (within the next few weeks). It’s a FREE operating system from Microsoft; a trick they’ve taken from Apple’s long-standing playbook (not charging for operating systems). And, they’re also releasing a new version of the ubiquitous Microsoft Office Suite (Office 2016) which can be purchased as a stand-alone product as usual or as a new subscription-based version that automatically stays up-to-date and has real-time collaboration features.

What’s your plan?

Sunblock Products News

11 Worst Spray Sunscreens

These sunscreens are aerosol sprays with SPFs above 50+ and the harmful additives oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Sport High Performance AccuSpray Sunscreen, SPF 70
Coppertone Sport High Performance Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+
CVS Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
CVS Sheer Mist Spray Sunscreen, SPF 70
CVS Sport Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+
CVS Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85
Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist, SPF 70
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85+

12 Worst Sunscreen Lotions

These sunscreen lotions claim SPFs above 50+ and contain oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, SPF 75
Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
CVS Sport Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 100
CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Daily Liquid Sunscreen, SPF 70
NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60
NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85
Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70

11 Worst Sunscreens for Kids

These terrible kid and baby sunscreens have at least three strikes against them: 1) oxybenzone, 2) retinyl palmitate and 3) SPFs above 50+. Two have a fourth strike: they’re aerosol sprays that can harm sensitive young lungs. Convenient? Yes. Good for kids? Absolutely not.

Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Kids Max Protect & Play Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Kids Wacky Foam Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Kroger Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Kroger Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+
Up & Up Kid’s Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55

iMemories ahead

BOX THREEaa

an eggman

iMemories offers digitizing of any form of media. I’ve organized my photos, 8mm film, VHS tapes, and slides and I’m getting ready to send them in for processing. I have a lot of old photos, that’s for sure. It’ll be nice to have easy access to them. I’ll put together a few online slideshows of the pictures and post the video to my YouTube channel.

 

a self-portrait – and some Magic Wishes (with responses)

self-portrait Paul N. Dion

me

magic-rainbow2-well

Let it Be

Is this the fake website about magic wells?
Yes.

Sorry Baba, no means no not maybe or yes.
OK, thanks.

Are my ancestors holding all my fortune hostage?
Probably.

I wish for everything moving forwards to go backwards.
OK.

What is up in the air?
Nothing that can’t be found.

Hello, Can I have some chocolate?
Sure.

I wish that when I dream it is night time during the day it is still light out.
Done.

Good Cape of the Cod

Off for a Cape Cod vacation with the grandson – the school-age one, not the toddler variety. This may be an annual event now. We did go last year…

capecod

Is there still Cod in the Cape?

How Sweet It Is

My family has been giving me positive feedback in regard to my progress in regard to taking control with my medications going it sans “professionals.”

My latest psychoactive drug I’ve eschewed is aspartame. That was a joke. Although I really did stop using Splenda-invigorated products in my coffee. It turns out that you can take the base component of diet drinks and remove the chemicals, colors and carcinogens and end up with a residual liquid that is every bit as good at hydrating a human body as the original elixir.

aspartame

Aspartame is History

Self-Actualization

In regard to the treatment of GAD and Bipolar II Disorder, I recently started managing my own medications and developed an action plan to meet goals. I’m doing it on my own schedule using the knowledge I have of my body and mind as well as many years’ experience with different drug regimens. In my opinion, health care professionals have a place in one’s life as long as they are partners in care and not tyrants of coercion. My experiences with care providers have been a mixed bag and my dissatisfaction with my care prompted my departure from the standard provider/patient care model.

My past long-term medication regimen included Buproprion, Quetiapine, Lamotrigine and Ativan (occasional Temazepam).

Whenever I have seen a new doctor or medication monitoring practitioner in the past, the usual procedure is for them to evaluate my drug regimen to see if, in their opinion, I need more or less of a particular drug. Unless I report an unacceptable side effect within the first few days or perhaps a week after beginning a new drug, no one has ever told me I should discontinue a drug. Not once. In fact, no one has ever asked me if I thought I needed to continue a medication. These words have never been said during a med eval: “Hi, Paul. How have things been going? I know you still take 200mg/day of Seroquel; do you think you still need to take that drug or at that dosage?”

This is how the conversation begins: “How are things going?” There are only two possible outcomes after I give my answer. Let’s say my answer is: “I’m feeling more anxious than ever,” in which case the response l get will be to increase a medication that has anti-anxiety properties. But if I say: “Things are going well,” the response can be anything, anything except: “maybe we could reduce your anti-anxiety medication to see if you still need the same dosage.”

In my experience, once a drug has been prescribed and it hasn’t produced any unwanted side effects, the drug continues forever. There came a time that I began to see that I would have to take the lead in my treatment plan or else the treatment plan would lead me. None of my doctors, CNAs, NPs or any other type of health care professional has ever suggested that I actively participate in the treatment process. That’s Their Job and Not My Job.

About a year and a half ago, I started telling my care provider (a nurse practitioner at that time) that I wanted to evaluate my medications to see if they were all still necessary and perhaps discontinue them or lower them to the lowest therapeutic dosage. Her initial facial expression told me where she was coming from immediately; That’s Her Job and Not My Job.

She agreed to reduce Seroquel by 50mg but then prescribed adding Cymbalta because “it’s better than Seroquel and can take the edge off.” (the edge of withdrawing from Seroquel?) I took the drug for 3 days then stopped because it essentially turned me into an asexual being. I sent her an email and told her I stopped the drug and wouldn’t be taking it anymore. At our next meeting, I said I wanted to reduce Seroquel another 50mg to which she agreed (this time, she didn’t suggest a replacement drug).

That provider left the area and it took me quite a while to find a new prescribing practitioner. When I did, I told her my plan and again I got the look. In any case, I presented my plan as a matter of course and not a request for permission. Seroquel was lowered as a result. After some misadventures, I fired this health care professional. This didn’t seem to be something she was accustomed to and she called me at home one evening around 7:00 p.m. to discuss it. It was a short discussion during which I told her my disappointment with the bad advice she’d given me about the abrupt cessation of a drug that needed to be tapered off to avoid serious withdrawal side effects.

Her reaction to being fired was to become defensive and she “misremembered” our conversations. She attempted to absolve herself of the problems I experienced from withdrawal and put the onus on me for the problems I encountered. It was a blatant display of the superior-to-patient provider mindset at its worse. I told her so and ended the conversation.

Before that final straw that prompted my rebellion against health care provider’s attitudes and ineptitudes, I had already seen the end coming. During my initial meeting with this aforementioned provider, the conversation was off-putting during which time she made comments pretty much to herself (or to the computer screen her eyes were glued to) about my current drug regimen and plans for change. This CNA commented that I was “on a lot of benzoids” and then started talking about a drug I wasn’t even taking. As I corrected her, she began having a conversation with the computer screen about which drugs I was or wasn’t taking and noted that “what she had in the computer” differed a lot from what I was telling her. The inference was that the computer information was so off from what I was reporting that it couldn’t all be wrong. It was. I wished I had all my prescription bottles with me so I could have placed them on her desk and said: “Here. Here are the actual bottles. Believe it or not, I know what drugs I take, the dosages and the schedule. Deal with it.” Then she repeated herself and said that I was “on a lot of benzoids.”

My initial disgust with this provider’s failure and the frustration of trying for three years to replace a doctor that had been providing all my mediation monitoring (for 7 years) led to the realization that I needed to stop relying on others for my care. It seemed highly unlikely that I could do worse. I’m smart, have access to all the information I need on the Internet (and the wisdom and skill to get the facts from reliable sources), have a primary care doctor willing to write the prescriptions I need and not in crisis. I was in the best possible place to take the reins and give it a go.

The outcome of my decision to go it alone is that I discovered some very important facts about my health care, treatment needs and personal outlook in regard to health:

  • I have been taking drugs that have very serious side effects with a potential for long-term permanent tardive dyskinesia.[1] This was never explained to me when I began taking these drugs.
  • The drugs Lamotrigine and Quetiapine are the standard ‘go to” drugs for a bipolar disorder. My presenting complaint when first seeking treatment for a possible bipolar disorder was depression. Lamotrigine is a mood stabilizer and therefore an appropriate drug for treatment of depression, however, it is recommended as an option for those who were not helped with other mood stabilizing drugs. In my case, no other drugs were first explored.
  • Quetiapine is indicated for the acute treatment of depression or mania. The keyword here is acute. I did not present in an acute state but again, as the standard drug of treatment for a bipolar disorder, it was immediately employed.
  • The drugs I had been taking for 7 years may very well have provided benefits in the past but at some point they stopped being effective or even indicated.
  • Not all moods or repeating mood episodes are indicative of an actual illness. Do I even have a bipolar disorder? A doctor once asked me how I knew if I had a bipolar disorder. I had no answer other than to say that a different doctor had made that diagnoses. The questioning doctor then said: “The fact that the drugs you are on have helped you probably means that you do.” (have a bipolar disorder).
  • I no longer take Ativan, Quetiapine or Lamotrigine.  I only take 300mg of Bupropion and will be reducing or eliminating this medication in the future.
  • It’s OK to be me.

A friend with similar health issues recently asked me: “how were you able to gather the courage to leave a mental health professional and regulate your own meds?” The answer to that question prompted this article about my health care.

I think the process of taking control of my medications evolved into something more general; taking control of my life. Exercise and diet have come into play and are a vital factor in my current state of good health (which includes losing 30 lbs. of extra weight!) Taking the lead in your health and well-being should be the natural way of things in the pursuit of living a good life. But the healthcare system doesn’t seem to be conducive to such an arrangement.

For me, self-determination is an intrinsic motivator. Making good diet choices has become easier as time goes by. Ice cream and Cheetos have little appeal to me now. Aspartame has fallen out of favor as a sweetener for my coffee and has been replaced with sugar (sugar may not be a great food choice but for me – it‘s better than Splenda). Although I have slacked off with exercise, I have no aversion to it and when the weather gets a bit cooler, I will almost certainly begin walking an hour a day as I did before.

The future is never certain but I now have an optimistic attitude about it. At worst, I will reevaluate some of my decisions and take appropriate action but my general feeling about the future is that things will remain as they are (good) or even get better.

 

 

[1] A chronic disorder of the nervous system characterized by involuntary jerky movements of the face, tongue, jaws, trunk, and limbs, usually developing as a late side effect of prolonged treatment with antipsychotic drugs.