Assense

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sweet Victory...

So it finally happened... I've hit 50 and I've encountered my first realization of mortality... I got really, REALLY sick last January.

No beating around the bush... I have Type 2 Diabetes.

Probably for the rest of my life, I'll be injecting insulin, taking pills, and working on a sensible diet and exercise plan. Thank God I'm doing great now, but back in January, things weren't too good for the kid...

Ever since getting out of the Air Force back in '92, I had gained weight...too much weight. The result of bad habits, no exercise, long hours at a sit-down job, no sex, (well...let's say not enough sex...), too much booze... the normal single-guy stuff...bopping through life with nobody around to nag me into doing better.

To the point I was tipping the scales at around 289 pounds!

BTW, did'ja know household scales don't go much higher than 325? I got scared when I saw the end of the scale in the window between my toes.

IT WAS JUST AROUND THE BEND!

But suddenly, I started losing weight! My clothes were fitting better...people were saying I looked thinner, I thought I was onto some new wonder-diet that peeled off the pounds.

Just drink a lot of water, and piss the pounds away.

Well, at around 238 pounds, (that's 50 pounds lower, sportfans), I was lookin' good, but wasn't feelin' good. I was woozy, sleepy, my vision was blurry, my legs were cramping, n' I was ALWAYS wanting to get a drink of water.... till one day I woke up sicker than a dog with stomach cramps & fever.

A stomach flu ran through me like a freight train! I was feeling like I'd been run over n left for dead, weak as a kitten, and couldn't keep any food down. One week of laying in bed, and I was almost too weak to walk.

I was now down to 218 pounds. Looking in the mirror, my skin was grey and my eyes were sunken, with dark rings. It wasn't death, but I swear I could see it from there.

I was way too sick. Luckily, I was able to get into a VA clinic where the Doctor immediately prescribed insulin and metformin to reign in a sky-high sugar count, and other stuff to reign in my cholesterol which was also WAY off the scale.

So it started...my life as a diabetic. My blood lab results at the time had my sugar level pegged at 350ml! My a1c was 14!

The cholesterol was...well, let's say you could of used my blood for pancake syrup.

My "wonder-diet" was actually my body devouring itself, since it couldn't metabolize the sugar in my bloodstream any longer. According to the Doc, my pancreas had ceased production of insulin. Although I had plenty of sugar running thru my veins, it could no longer be used as food. My body was starving!

The Doc said if things went on much longer, it'll be coma, then the long dirt nap for me...

Gee! Don't sugar-coat it Doc...tell it to me straight!

But I guess it was what it took to give me motivation. So now I'm walking the Dog to the mailbox and back...walking down to the pond and back each evening, walking around the block after lunch at work.

Ummm...notice the trend here?

Un-sweet tea or water is the drink of choice, my meals are no more than 30-35 grams of carbs, SMALL PORTIONS! No longer is it 3 squares a day...I eat 6 times a day, especially RIGHT before bed. (Yeah! I freaked when the dietician told me to do this but, by God, IT WORKS!)

Now I religiously test my blood n' take my meds...diabetes is often called the data disease...you got to test, test, test, to keep things under control.

I've come to realize that my body now harbors a enemy that wants to KILL me, and kill me painfully, horribly, if given a chance. To fight it, I MUST know more about it. Education is the key.

So here's the good news...I just came back from the Doctor today, after 90 days, my current blood lab shows that my blood sugar is down from 350 to 137ml, my a1c was down from 14 in January, to 6.8!!! (YIPPIE!!!)

The cholesterol was still a bit high, but a WHOLE lot better than the maple syrup blood I had back in January. My weight's back up to 240, but that's to be expected using STATIN meds like metformin...it makes you gain weight. But I swear I'll beat that down this summer.

The big difference is that the thurst, the drowsiness, the fuzzy vision, the bathroom stops are all but gone. My sugar is getting under control.

If anyone who reads all this and has got this far, I beg you, if any of what I've described is similar to what you or someone you know is experiencing, please get checked out. Don't wait, do it NOW. And if you have been told that you're "pre-diabetic"...for God sakes DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

So life for me is getting back on track. I've accepted the realization that if I'm not dilligent, I'll likely die of some diabetic driven affliction...stroke, heart attack, ect. I'm now forever in the fight of my life.

That's what it means to be all grown-up, I guess.

And I bet to really get back into perfect health, I gotta do something to correct that "no sex" thing...

Swine Flu Syntoms Described

In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee, with CDC's Influenza Division, describes the symptoms of swine flu and warning signs to look for that indicate the need for urgent medical attention.



For further informational video's check out the CDC's Youtube Page.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Myrtle Beach Wildfire Photo Slideshow

Edward Jordan, KF4ECK sent me some photos taken of the wildfire that swept thru the Carolina Bays and threatened the Grand Dunes section of Myrtle Beach...pretty dramatic stuff. I went and made a slide show and posted it on Youtube for all to see...(I'd say enjoy, but that's just not be right)



As of this writing, the wildfires have all been contained, 30 sq. miles of land has been scorched, 75 homes destroyed, no deaths, no major injuries. Estimate damages over $80 Million.

My thanks to Edward J. and SplashStudioPhotography.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Horry County Concerned about Swine Flu


Amid reports of a Newberry SC private school closing after students returning from a trip to Mexico, exhibited flu-like symptoms, Horry County Health Officials said today they are keeping a sharp look-out for any flu-symptom cases here locally.

With Myrtle Beach noted as a primary tourist destination, Horry County is particularly vulnerable for the illness to appear.

The Sun News, Mike Cherney filed this report.

Look for further developments about this potentially dangerous illness here on this blog, as well as on other informational blogs...such as The Swine Flu Pandemic.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Murrells Inlet Spring Tide Cleans Up


I just HAD to give this a "cute" headline, I had a blast today, and it was for a great cause. I'm talking about all the great work everyone put into this years SPRING TIDE, in beautiful Murrells Inlet South Carolina.
A annual event, Spring Tide has been held consecutively for 18 years now, all to clean up the area of litter & trash along the roadways, waterways & shoreline. This community event, held each 3rd Sunday of the month of April was this year blessed with favorable tides, eager participation, and, as always, beautiful weather.


The Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club was well represented today by Jim N4GSA, Tom K2PJ, and myself, KI4HEE. (I wish Tom was able to jump into the picture of me & Jim, but my thanks anyway Tom, for taking the photos.)


The great payoff in today's activities was three-fold, we got to provide Ham Radio support to the clean-up activities, it was an excellent excuse to get outdoors and enjoy wonderful weather & friendly folk in a beautiful location, and finally, we got to taste the BEST DAM CLAM CHOWDER in Murrells Inlet!

My spoon is raised to salute Lee's Inlet Kitchen Restaurant, this year's winner, along with all the 20+ area restaurants who competed.

I made a point to seek out Chip Smith, perennial organizer, and all-around great guy, and volunteer my services... I aim to be put on the short-list of judges, for next years cook-off.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Horry Co. SC Wildfire 7PM Friday Update

Here's the 7PM Update direct from the Horry County Emergency Operations Center. Many thanks to Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Public Information Oficer. The map at left shows the current hotspots as of 5PM Friday.

Wildfire Update:
Conway, South Carolina – In response to the wildfire, the Horry County Emergency Operations Center and the Joint Information Center remain fully activated. In addition, the Call Center (915-5150) remains fully manned for citizens with concerns and questions.

Updated information:
Approximately 20,000 acres have been consumed and the fire is 50% contained.
Two shelters remain open: the House of Blues (Barefoot Landing) and the Christ the Servant Lutheran Church (which is now on stand-by and may potentially close later this evening. The Church is located at 2105 Hwy. 501 in Conway.

Watertower Road, off of Hwy. 90, is closed, but open to residents.

Preliminary damage assessment for unincorporated county: total of 13 homes (5-totally destroyed, 1-major damage, and 7-minor damage). All homes were mobile homes, except one of the minor damaged homes was a stick built home. Total damage estimate of $174,200. All damage is reported in the Woodlawn Drive area, off of Hwy. 90.
No injuries and no fatalities reported.

Hwy. 90 from East Cox Ferry Road north to Tilly Swamp Church remains closed.

Hwy. 31 remains closed from Grissom Parkway to Hwy. 9.

Hwy. 22 remains closed from Hwy. 90 into Myrtle Beach .

Citizens are, once again, advised that the smoke in the fire area may continue to lie close to the ground from 8 p.m. through 11 a.m. this morning. Extreme caution should be exercised as there may be extremely low visibility. Roads may need to be closed due to this smoke cover.

Citizens with respiratory issues are advised to remain indoors.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Horry County SC Wildfire battle rages on...



The map at left depicts the area currently effected by wildfires that have scorched more than 19,000 acres, and have caused more than 2500 people to evacuate.

With no rain on the immediate forecast, fire officals are hesitant to speculate how soon the largest wildfire to hit the region in over 30 years may be put under control.

Myrtle Beach NBC TV Station WMBF has this report...



UPDATE: (11:00AM EST)
The Horry County Information Office has released this map showing current hotspots,(as of 2AM) The 10AM News Conference had officials stating that approx. 50% of the wildfire is contained, but with forecasts of winds increasing in the area conditions may still change for the worse.

Current damage estimates are at $8.2M; Fire 50 percent contained, but expected to strengthen and threaten Poplar community on S.C. 90.
Here's additional information from Myrtle Beach Local Newspaper, The Sun News...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Veggie of the week, THE TOMATO


Oh yes! The Rock Star of the veggie world! A favorite garden crop, tomatoes are this weeks featured veggie. Absolutely, the tomato is the number one planted crop in discerning backyard gardens everywhere. Looking through the garden center at your favorite big box store... except for ornamental shrubbery, tomato plants are the biggest cash crop to expand a Lowe's or Home Depot's profit margin. Easy to plant, cultivate, and ACCESSORIZE. Grab some wire trellis or Rapid-Grow tomato sticks while you choose between picking between Beefsteak or Bigger Boy varieties.

A member of the nightshade family of plants, tomatoes were subject to suspicion. Once called "Wolf Apples", it was once thought to be poisonous. And there's still debate in botanical circles as to whether it is a fruit or vegetable. All that aside, the tomato has become a delicious favorite at the dinner table with countless uses.

I'm featuring a geocities website... "How to grow tomatoes" since it's simple, stuffed with links, articles, and tons of tips & info.

For those who like video's, Melissa Allman tells it like it is with the best southern "Ax-sent"...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Remember that Conficker C Worm? ...well guess what...



Remember the April Fool's day computer worm that was supposed to melt your hard drive or worse? That, by all accounts, became a Chicken Little exercise in media hysteria?

Well...according to the experts, it's alive, and it's on the move.

Or at least one expert...Yahoo's Christopher Null, "The Working Guy". He's reporting that the worm has finally began to show signs of life. Although what it's doing is still anybodys guess.

Here's his report...

The real propellerheads at Baylor University who work on fighting this stuff has posted a "Eye Chart" that will show you in a moment if your computer is infected. There's also a long explanation by Christopher Null as to what you are seeing when you view the page. If you feel a little "wormy" over this thing, feel free to check out Christopher Null's explanation first.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Streaming Internet Webcam Nabs 2 in Fla. Home Burglary

It's great when justice is served, and thanks to Internet technology, two Florida Burglars were on the receiving end.

As reported in The Smoking Gun:
APRIL 9--A Florida woman who used a live Internet video feed to monitor the interior of her home was shocked yesterday when she saw two men burglarizing her residence in real time. Jeanne Thomas, 43, was seated at her office desk when two strangers appeared in her living room (the intruders got into Thomas's Boynton Beach house through a doggie door at the rear of the home, according to the below probable cause affidavit). Thomas, who set up the live video stream after her home was burglarized last October, immediately called 911 to report the burglary.

Police arrested two men inside the residence along with two others who helped plan the break-in. Mugshots here...

The 911 call offers a chilling account of what happened.

A perfect example of due-diligence, installing a webcam, while being an added expense, has paid for itself for this Florida Homeowner.

Ed. Note: If you notice the time-lapse backyard webcam here on this blog, you can figure out that I'm a firm believer in Remote Video Security, It's not "Big Brother" when you do it to yourself & your property, it's common sense.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SPRING TIDE ...A Time for the Inlet

The Beach is the image most visitors have of the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach SC., but a whole different perspective exists when you travel south along the South Carolina coast. Tidal Flats, marsh grass and countless inlets make up the coastal geography of Murrells Inlet SC., and on southward to Georgetown. There is a timeless beauty to the region, which contrasts greatly to the hustle & bustle of the huge vacation mecca of Myrtle Beach to the north. Here, you can still look over vistas of unspoiled beauty.

Despite the Inlet’s oasis of natures charm, steady advancing development in the area takes it’s toll each year. If not for the efforts of local volunteers who each spring comb the coast, collecting trash and debris, the inlet’s pristine nature would all but fade away. The Murrells Inlet Spring Tide arose out of the need to clean up the area after the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Since then, the 3rd. Sunday in April has been set aside each year to groom the area and actively give back to the land.

From the beginning, Ham Radio has played a part.

“From the very first year of Spring Tide, the members of the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club have been essential to the cleanup, and dependable beyond belief...” says Chip Smith, a local community activist, & founder of Spring Tide. “The radio men have provided the monitoring and communications that keeps us aware of what’s happening where. And with the cleanup occurring all over the Inlet, and Garden City, we need to know how things are going... whether anybody is having trouble, or needs something special to get their job done. Really, without the radio men out and about and reporting back to headquarters, the whole thing could just wind up in chaos."

Come on out April 26th, when ham radio again answers the call of Spring. Come early and make a day of it.

WHEN: Sunday, April 26th. 8:30AM/9AM (Official Start)
WHERE: The Hot Fish Club 4911 Hwy 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, SC 843-357-9175
TALKIN & NET: 147.330Mhz. PL 85.4
EVENT INFO:Call 843-357-2007
Bring a HT, batteries, a jacket, comfortable shoes, and an appetite...after the clean-up THE BEST DAMN CLAM CHOWDER CHALLENGE is held. Free for participants. You can judge for yourself who makes the best chowder in the Inlet! Afterward stay for the party, the music, and auction.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

How low can it go...welcome to the Deep Solar Minimum


Kinda like the economy, the solar cycle is at rock bottom, or is it? Just like weather forecasters, the propeller heads who predict what the sun is going to do can only track trends...any forecast is still just a "educated guess". One thing's for sure, no one has seen such a lack of sunspot activity in a long, long time.

A hat tip goes out to Michael W1MLK, for the heads-up... The good folks at NASA has the straight dope.