People’s religions offer them two sources of support, one human, one spiritual. Priests, rabbis, ministers, nuns, pastors of all religions give the same sort of help as social workers and psychologists, but they talk particularly to people who want to talk about God. They offer advice, company, and comfort. A hospital chaplain who deals largely with people with HIV infection says, “I start by asking, ‘What do you want me to pray for?’ They tell me, and we talk about that. I think my presence as a representative of the church brings a sense of hope and warmth and comfort. I think I bring the rituals and the nurturing of the church.” A pastor in a large city church, when she celebrates the Eucharist at church, consecrates extra wafers and takes them along for celebration of the Eucharist at the hospital. “That’s become important,” she said. “The people in the hospital are getting the wafers that were consecrated when everybody has gathered together to celebrate the Eucharist. That connection becomes very important to sick people. They don’t say it in exact words, but I can see it in their faces. Sometimes they cry.” Lisa’s pastor used to pick up her husband at home and drive to Lisa’s workplace, where the three of them would have a coffee break and a brief prayer. Lisa also found that she needed more attention from her fellow church members, but she didn’t want to tell them why. So she told them instead that her husband’s increasing weakness was caused by a heart condition, and that sometimes the situation really got her down. Then, she said, “they stopped being so plastic-y and I could see the real feeling in them.” The spiritual comfort of religion can be separate from the human comfort. Dean’s faith brings him strength: “My greatest source of support is my church,” said Dean. “It’s spiritual support, having God who is greater and could intervene. I don’t believe God creates these things; I don’t believe any of that stuff about plagues. I do a lot of communicating with God. I say, ‘Okay, I’ll work it out with you.’ It has a healing effect. God gives us the strength to meet each day and live it to the fullest.” Helen’s faith brings her reassurance: “God loves me so much. Even when I fail in my own eyes, I don’t fail in God’s. God is a good parent. If someone is hungry, God sees to it that they’re fed.”*232\191\2*
At some level, everyone knows that, as Robert Burton wrote in The Anatomy of Melancholy, ” [In this life, we are] subject to infirmities, miseries, interrupt, tossed & tumbled up and down, carried about with every small blast, often molested & disquieted upon each slender occasion, uncertain, brittle, & so is all that we trust unto.” One of the conditions of life is that we are susceptible and vulnerable, and so is everyone else we depend on. People affected by HIV infection know that their emotions—depression, anger, fear, guilt, dependency—though painful to feel and difficult to admit, are also realistic and perhaps inevitable. They know that despite the comfort of their friends and relatives, they must resolve these painful emotions alone. Their resolutions, though varied, are at bottom the same: somehow or another, they learn to deal with the conditions of life. The twentieth-century poet Randall Jarrell wrote a poem that answers Robert Burton: ”If you are afraid of wolves, do not go into the forest,” the Russian proverb says. We all live in the forest, and there is nothing to do but get used to the wolves. What this means to people affected by HIV infection is that in spite of an inescapable infection and the inevitable accompanying emotions, they are in charge. They still make their own decisions and determine their own outlooks. “I’m made of good stuff,” Dean said, “and the stuff I’m made of doesn’t change because my situation changes.” “Facing what I am up against gives me a new frame of mind,” said Helen. “I expected a lot of life that I won’t get. But I will do the best for myself and be an inspiration to others. I think we have more control over our lives than even we think we do.” No one says that finding a “new frame of mind” is easy. Helen said, “It’s easier to say these things when you’re feeling good.” Easy or not, people do get used to the wolves, do gain a sense of control, do find a new frame of mind. They accomplish this with a few tricks.*236\191\2*
According to the traditional understanding of human movement, all neural centers that control movement are in the brain, and the spinal cord is a conduit for information, with little or no ability to process information and control functional movement. And apart from some simple reflexes controlled by the spinal cord, no complex movement could possibly be controlled by these neural centers in the spinal cord, which are much less complex than the human brain.This view is slowly changing. We have known for some time that lower vertebrate animals have movement control centers outside the brain, often in the lower parts of the spinal cord. Some animals, for example, can learn to walk again after complete spinal cord injuries. Recently, a group of scientists and clinicians have begun to look at the possibility that such motor control centers might exist in the human spinal cord. This hasn’t led to humans being able to walk again after complete spinal cord injury, but several recent studies have shown that the lower spinal cord does have some ability to control repetitive movement of the legs.In these studies, individuals with spinal cord injury undergo a process of highly stereotyped passive leg movements over weeks of daily training. In one method, the individual is positioned on a mechanical treadmill, with the body weight supported by an overhead sling, and the legs are passively moved with a reciprocal walking-like pattern. After weeks of such exercise, some individuals find that their legs seem to “learn” to move in a repetitive cycle – something previously thought to be impossible. Further research could uncover additional motor control centers in the spinal cord, and, if medications to enhance the function of these neural centers were developed, this could lead to dramatic improvements in movement control for individuals with spinal cord injury.
ShipsAs the American population ages, the call for accessible ships, including cruise ships, is increasing – an advantage for persons with disabilities. When new ships are introduced into ship lines, they have to be physically accessible. This includes accessible bathrooms in the cabins.Problems for those with physical disabilities arise when excursions on land are planned. Although some ports have docks where passengers can leave the ship via stairs or ramps, many ports have to be “tendered,” which means that passengers are taken ashore on smaller boats (tenders). Transferring to a tender in a wheelchair is usually impossible. If you are planning a cruise, ask in advance about tendered and non-tendered ports and whether each port has accessible transportation and general accessibility. Sources of information abound.
FerriesFerries are an essential mode of transportation in some parts of the world. One example is the state system of ferries plying the Inland Waterway in Southeast Alaska. Ferries travel the waters from Seattle up the coast to Ketchikan and Sitka and beyond. It is a basic way to travel for many Alaskans as well as for visitors who want to “get the feel” of real Alaska. These huge ferries are wheelchair accessible with the exception of entries onto the decks, which have one step.Perhaps you are planning a romantic get-away across the seas. Some water taxis in Venice are wheelchair accessible. And some gondoliers are quite willing to lift a person into the gondola if he or she is unable to climb down independently.
When confronted with a difficult threatening situation (“stressor,” in 1 language of the stress physiologist), both animals and humans respond a similar manner—the so-called or flight response. Your heart rate a blood pressure increase, blood vessels in your skin constrict, muscle tension and blood flow in muscles increase, blood sugar rises, and the tendency of your blood to clot increases. In other words, you rapidly ready yourself for vigorous action. Many of the changes are triggered by your sympathetic nervous system and by a discharge of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) from the adrenal gland.The increases in heart rate and blood pressure together increase the heart’s need for oxygen and may bring on angina in people with coronary artery disease. The increased tendency of the blood to clot may predispose to a coronary thrombus (clot in an artery of the heart) and a resulting heart attack.In addition to this “alarm” type of stress reaction in the “hot reactor,” Dr. Eliot proposed that there is a second type of stress reaction which might best be termed “vigilance.” The firefighter hearing the alarm exemplifies the alarm type of stress, and the air traffic controller—monitoring continuously to prevent rare but tragic problems—represents the vigilant type of stress.Many people experience this vigilant type of stress on an ongoing basis: a patient (or parent or spouse of a patient) with a potentially recurring disease such as cancer, an employee whose company is undergoing a reorganization that may potentially eliminate his or her job, and anyone who lives or works with someone with a violent temper. Vigilance involves chronic, low-level arousal without the surges that characterize alarm.*275\252\8*
The concept of a psychological or personality component to heart disease was advanced in 1964 when two researchers, Dr. Meyer Friedman and Dr. Ray Rosenman, developed the concept of a “type A” personality. Type A people always seem to be in a hurry. They are competitive, strive intensely for achievement, and need to be productive. In many ways, these are positive characteristic in a society that emphasizes accomplishments. But type A people also are impatient, over-committed to their work, and easily provoked to hostility. They tend to have few interests outside their work. In contrast, people with type B personalities, although interested in achievement, in most instances are relaxed, unhurried, and more easily satisfied with their pace. Some researchers suggest, on the basis of one large study, that type A people have up to twice the risk of type B people for coronary artery disease.Research also indicates that your social situation, and your response to it can affect your risk of disease. Stable social relationships seem to be associated with good health. Lack of social contacts or too many stressful ‘life events,” such as divorce, death ( family member or close friend, los change of job, or moving to a r home, may potentially increase risk of heart disease.Dr. Robert Eliot proposed the concept that certain people are “hot reactors,” which means that their bodies respond dramatically to stress. Hot reactors exhibit extreme increases in-heart rate and blood pressure in response to the everyday stresses of life. According to this theory, these surges may gradually damage the coronary arteries and heart itself.*274\252\8*
But it certainly seems that there is a lot more going on behind the scenes when it comes to the truth about soy formulas. What has finally been revealed is quite shocking.
Something very troubling began to be noticed in Puerto Rico twenty years ago. In 1982 pediatric endocrinologists reported on an increase in the incidence of breast development in girls as young as two years old. In one study approximately 65 percent of the cases (85 out of 130) studied experienced the onset of sexual development before they were 18 months old.
Many causes were investigated and eventually the real culprit was found. Soy-based infant formulas! It was discovered that the phytestrogens in soy formulas were stimulating this early development.
A 1997 Lancet study showed that soy has glycosides of genistein and daidzein or plant-based chemicals that mimic estrogen. They display a wide range of hormonal and non-hormonal activities. The daily exposure of infants who consume soy formulas was six to eleven times higher than adults who are consuming soy foods. The blood concentration of these hormones was 13,000 to 22,000 times higher than estrogen in the blood. The authors of this article speculate that this concentration may be sufficient to exert biological effects, whereas the contribution from breast-milk or cow-milk is negligible.
Let’s look now at one of the specific types of DIMS.
As I indicated earlier, the length of time a sleep disorder has persisted is an important element in understanding the nature of the problem and in prescribing treatment. Consequently, sleep problems in the DIMS category (and other categories, for that matter) are further classified as being transient (lasting only a few days), short-term (from one to three weeks), or long-term or persistent (a month or longer).
Transient DIMS is easily recognizable, even predictable, arising as it does from sudden or powerful—and, fortunately, relatively short-lived—emotional stress. The upheaval of such major life events as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child can precipitate a sleep disturbance. Students facing exams are notorious victims. Other causes of transient DIMS include jet lag or hospitalization. As its name implies, transient DIMS lasts no more than a few days, perhaps a week.
If you cannot find a doctor who understands the problem you will have to rely on self-help. You could start with the common-sense approach first:
1 Clean out your digestive tract.
2 Avoid the foods you know upset you plus all the common allergens: wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, eggs and additives.
3 Strengthen your immune system with exercise, relaxation, sunlight (or daylight), fresh air and vitamin and mineral supplements.
Some people react to so many foods that they could not possibly exclude them all because they would become malnourished. The answer is to eat most things but only once in four days. The body seems to be able to cope with this and many people do well on rotation diets. It is of course tedious, as all these diets are; it would involve eating eveiything to do with the cow – dairy produce and beef – on one day, and everything connected with sheep – lamb, lamb’s liver, ewe’s milk yoghurt – on another day, and so on; also a different grain, vegetable and fruit every fourth day. There are man books around which describe food intolerance in detail and offer a variety of exclusion diets, good choices would be Food Allergy and Intolerance by Jonathan Brostoff and Linda Gamlin, Bloomsbury, Perhaps It’s An Allergy by Ellen Rothera, Food & Chemical Allergy Association, or The Food Allergy Plan by Keith Mumby, Unwin.
Garlic is a safe, very powerful anti-fungal agent; if you place crushed garlic near a culture of Candida Albicans, even the fumes will kill the fungus. If possible take three cloves daily; crush it (it must be crushed to release allicin, the anti-fungal substance) and take it with something like yoghurt or milk and swallow quickly like a medicine. It may burn and make you feel slightly sick but this feeling is soon replaced by a comforting warmth. Wash it down with lots of water. It can also be taken on tomatoes with olive oil, but make sure you eat the whole clove. If you can take three cloves daily it will be devastating for the Candida and also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, detoxify your body and increase your energy and libido. The wonders of garlic are described in Garlic: The Life-blood of Good Health by Stephen Fulder (published by Thorsons)
If taking fresh garlic is totally unacceptable to you, your bowel or your friends, you could try a commercial preparation, but ensure that it contains the allicin, as sometimes this is lost in the processing. Kyolic, available in most health stores, is an effective product. One slight drawback to be aware of – garlic can disturb the blood sugar levels and may increase craving for sweet foods. You could try sucking a low-sugar mint, but not too many if you have diarrhoea, as many low-sugar and sugar-free products contain an amino acid called Phenylalanine which if used in excess, can cause diarrhoea. Sorbitol can also have this effect.
Remember, if the immune system is strengthened, it can recognize the enemy. The fact that you have Candida shows that your immune system is unhappy. Are you looking after its basic needs? Are you getting repeated infections? Does it have to cope with a resident source of infection such as a rotten tooth, infected gums or mucus being swallowed from an infection at the back of the nose?
When you feel well and the Candida symptoms have disappeared you can cautiously go back to the diet of your choice, although you will probably find that if you resume a sugar-laden diet your symptoms will reappear.