Spring Column for April 2006

Winter has gone, nearly. In Kanata, a few stubborn plaques of old snow still cling to a few shady spots, or remain behind from the five to six foot piles our snow removal system makes on each of our yards.

I am glad that I have photo-friends on Flickr.com. I subscribe to one of those photo sites, with unlimited storage, and have a blast cheering myself up, by surfing into my site to see what my relatives have been doing in photography. I can leave them a message, if I want, so it is more like a conversation than letters are.

Not only may I see images they have posted, some five hundred miles away, within minutes of the time it took them to edit the images with names, and get them organized, I can enjoy a conversation in light with thousands of ardent photographers!

One of the photo members takes hundreds of professional quality bird shots. She lives in Florida. It is a wonder and true delight to discover that there is a sky violet-blue heron, for example.
Her photos include glady parks full of currently live tropicals, and the nicest photos of feathery displays - egrets, flamingos, many very exotic birds.


Sites like that, not only familial, but a safe and very colorful way to make friends keep a person living their dream through the cold winter months.

My Doctor recently told me to walk half an hour a day, for system depression. Surprisingly, he also recommended St. Johns ' Wort! There it was, staring me in the face. I raise the herb, and use it for tea in the summer.
On the other hand, I had just finished (with fear and trembling) writing a column about safety on our suburban iceways (otherwise known as sidewalks). I included a photolog of the troublesome ice, and totally unsafe , blocked walkway, complaining that I, a middle aged person with tendonitis, had been forced to slide on my bottom , down fifteen feet of nubby, slippery ice-crust, just to get onto the sidewalk.
I was just starting a cold when I wrote, worried that the winter environment was just too harsh to face, for an older person.

Before I moved here, I was a big walker, usually four miles a day. Here, next to the Capital of Canada, Ottawa, we sport many alluring shoppes, and some wild parks, which are fairly suitable for summer and autumn walking.

I do not like to walk around, here, in the winter, where there is just shopping at the end of the rainbow, and nothing to do but spend. For one thing, I have to carry the purchases home, something I really resent. My elbows have never lost their weakness after suffering from infected tendons, and it is not just the discomfort, it's the fatigue. If I take an hour and a half to go shopping, I don't want to count the whole hour just for the walk. It is so much easier to pick up multiple purchases, and to go in the car.
I resent losing time on my computer, and having to rest , making for more time wasted when I get back.

Come what may, it seems that the remedies for tendonitis do the trick to rid a person of the agony of the disorder, and they are healing (my calendula remedy, for example) but, if you suffer from tendonitis, it is hard to replace what is lost to the tissue.

When Spring and the scented warm weather arrive, the garden and all the forests become passable, and inviting. How many photos of snow-covered branches can people take, I ask you. Winter is boring for an old person.

On a less boring note, I did, by the way, pick up some inexpensive St Johns Wort pills, and my energy level is better. I like the idea that flowers and herbs are helping me every day. So natural!

I am reminded to make sure that you, the readers, read the fineprint on some of the drugs on the market today. Drugs saved my life. I had to take anti-coagulants, and a corticosteroid spray for severe allergies. What pharmaceuticals may not be able to do, though, is to offer warning signs, on time, that will give your Doctor an indice to reduce or cancel your prescription.

When you read the fineprint in your packaged prescription, don't hesitate to ask questions about options in pharmaceuticals. I did this, after I had suffered from the tendonitis. My Doctor told me that both anticoagulants and corticosteroids attack the immune strength of your tendons. If you lose your auto-immunity, you could be constantly infected, and rendered immobile.
My former Doctor had not told me that this would occur, and I took both wonder drugs for many years.
Newer science may have improved Doctors' stock appreciation of such medicines, but it is always a good idea to use that sense of independence as an alternative option. Surf the net, and print out all the contra-indications of your prescription. Don't expect your poor MD to remember everything about you and the prescription, during the small precious time you enjoy in that office.  If your illness is long-term, ask your MD whether you may seek alternatives, which are safer. I did. And I am truly glad.


I found that there is an exquisitely scented hypoallergenic nasal spray, which replaces unsafe corticosteroids. My GP prescribed this, and I had no repercussions. I will never take the medicines that I took in my forties again. The real and longterm pain of iatrogenic disorder was too severe.

This may be a given, but iatrogenic disorder is a real illness. This term describes illness from medicine side effects.
If something is bothering you about a prescription, do not hesitate to tell your MD, or your pharmacist.
I am not the fanatic type who disputes regular medicine, but I do believe in alternatives as self-help, and in right diet and meditation for health. Having your own awareness of the body certainly helps your Doctor to understand what is going on with your health, though you might get the info it through better if you can present it all as math! You know Doctors - the mystery people!

It is worth using the dictionary to look up the term, iatrogenic disorder. If you familiarize yourself with some common problems, you can save yourself , literally, from a lifetime of weakness and pain.

My Mother always used two expressions as a guideline, in cases like these.

 One was Scottish: "Use everything, but in moderation" ....And the other was British pop:  "Gently, Bently!"

It is hard to know whether it is more therapeutic to enjoy sun and exercise while gardening my herbs, or to dry and use the wonderful plants. I can certainly tell you that I have an edge on a lot of med problems, because of herbs.
I do not need to endorse them too much here, since you are searching herbs, anyway.

I wish you all the joys of soft, comfortable Springtime, and all the goodness that comes from nature. Be aware.

Bye for now, Sue

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