Rethink Health - December 2011

News through the GoodHealthKeeping lens

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Father of the Man?

Fathers and grandfathers think very differently. I have more time to reflect, and a lifetime to reflect upon. As a result a new thought has occurred to me. 

As my body ages slowly, I am exactly the same person inhabiting it as when I was 20. All that has changed is my accumulated experience of life. Probing  further, the same feels true as far back as I can remember. What if young G is already his own person, as soon as he is aware? It would explain a lot.

Imagine. A person, no more than a spark of potential, embeds himself in a human mother. He accepts the genetic endowment, and the moulding, as he might accept a hand of cards. (Maybe he gets to choose his parents? - who knows. Ideas like this come more easily the further East you grow up.)

All he knows at this point is himself, in a weightless warm echoing dim  throbbing glimmer, all things found. He cannot distinguish his substance from that of his mother - they are one. Whatever awareness and comfort he brings with him continues, but gradually becomes more limited as space gets tighter.

The moulding gets to the point when he can cope with life outside his mother, though he has no way to know this. It just gets more uncomfortable, and tighter, and he begins to want. Eventually his needs determine that he is propelled down a tight tube, in rising discomfort, until everything changes - in just a few seconds. It gets airy, cold, bright and shrill. He feels heavy for the first time - what's that about? - but floppy and free again.

Someone clamps the cord, or else his afterbirth detaches - and he must breathe. The first gasp of cold air rasps his tubes and radically alters his internal plumbing, all in a moment. He encounters other creatures for the first time, some of them invasive. It probably hurts, that first cry. G was lucky - no dopiness, and a breast to suck straight away.

At this point adults begin to form their impressions. G is surrounded by  a loving, attentive and intelligent family (since I was still 4000 miles away!) He knows who he is, but does not yet know them, nor they him. It will be some weeks before he begins to recognise his mother from the outside, that he took for granted from the inside. He does not understand the sounds, sights or smells. But he knows what he wants and who he is, though unable yet to express or enact anything more than hunger.

Babies cry for all sorts of reasons. By the time we met him, G was crying quite a lot. He was eager, active, hungry and tired by turns - but could not always be pacified by responding to these. His intestines may sometimes have been in pain, coping with the enormous feeds he swallowed; but most of the time he just seemed angry. Intense frustration, perhaps?

Things have improved. His parents have risen to every challenge, read and tried every baby book, and responded readily to his intense preoccupations. He has their undivided attention. And they have carved out their own path.

He grows rapidly and consumes impressions avidly. He cries less and sleeps better. He is sociable. His arms now work independently of his legs: he can begin to handle things, and take his weight. He practices, vigorously and endlessly. He knows people, and smiles a lot.

I think he is in a hurry to fill out his potential, and get on with the life he has in mind - vaguely formed and unexpressed, but imperative. He wants to play those cards, and is bursting to learn the rules of the game.

The moral of this tale? Don't under-estimate your baby, or the child he or she will become. Some of their fancies are not so fanciful. They can still remember lives and skills we sadly have forgotten. 

(Wordsworth's single verse My Heart Leaps Up, written in 1802.)

A Little Self-Help Goes a Long Way

Diabetes and obesity are up, alongside over-eating and idleness. The Scots fare even worse. 

We have known this since the 1950s studies in Bedford, but they led to insulin research - not preventive action. Physicians just treat it - and they have been very slow to question why they so often need to.

I know that pilots, who care about fitness, can easily keep qualifying for their medical certificates with very little self-preservative effort - more fruit and vegetables, less combined fat and starch (e.g. chips), and a little regular exercise. So can the rest of us. Avoid chemical exposure so far as you can, I would add - eat organic, and go easy on kitchen sprays.

That's you protected, so far as you can. Getting the rest of the nation off lazy  dependence on the NHS safety-net will take much longer, unfortunately. But if politicians lack the nerve to encourage it, economic realities will do eventually - and much more painfully.

Thyroid Changeover

If you already have a copy from me of your prescription at Women's International Pharmacy, all you need do is phone them to arrange payment details, and then order your first supply (phone or e-mail) early. Give them time, and a cheaper postage charge will apply.

We now have no uncommitted stock, so if you have not yet done so please contact us soon to make the new arrangement. We can set up your prescription overnight, but your supply will necessarily take a few days more the first time.

Other items - Propolis and Progesterone - are entirely unaffected by this change.