Since You Asked
Jerry Petermann, 2017
Many of you have asked questions over the years; questions I have found to be interesting, challenging and occasionally disturbing. Nonetheless, each deserve an answer as best as can be given without practicing medicine or giving specific medical advice. Let’s just say, my answers will address issues and attitudes and hopefully invoke science and common sense in response.
When I was only 10 years old (1960) my 86-year-old grandmother and I were having a conversation about doctors, health and things not quite right with the medical world. By that time, it had been four years since my adopted mother had died from a genetic heart condition and serious over medication for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Steroids had recently been discovered and dose rates were still being worked out. Essentially, every patient was a lab rat.
“Oma”, grandmother in German, assured doctors did their best but just did not know enough to saver her. She went on to say she had been diagnosed in the 1920’s with “Sugar Diabetes” by a local doctor. He told her it was the kind you get when you are older and not the kind you get as a child. However, he went on to explain she would be in serious trouble for the rest of her life and would die early no matter what. Fortunately, she had a cousin in Houston, Texas who had also recently been given the same news. The difference was, her cousin went of a doctor called an Osteopath, not an MD, who assured her that just the right changes in diet, some common minerals and plenty of clean water and rest she would make a complete recovery…she did. It had been 3 years and she was effectively “cured”.
My “Oma” made the trip to Houston by Model T Ford and stayed with her cousin for 6 weeks. She also, was cured.
However, her local medical doctor never ceased to hound her regarding his “misdiagnosis” of the disease and repeated told her she never had it….because it can’t be “cured”. Remember, this was what we now know as Type 2, late onset diabetes. We also, now know it can be virtually eliminated (as close to as cure as is possible) by diet modification, supplementation, rest, exercise and a host of other simple things.
My point? Fast forward to one year ago in my hometown in Texas. A friend from a church I had previously attended called me one day and asked me if I needed a new computer. Funny, but that very day I had been looking for an upgrade. “Sure,” I said. “Where are they having a sale…I need one today.” He laughed and said to come over and that he built them from new components. “Okay, see you in an hour”. I was not prepared for what I saw at his front door. Here was a balding man, looking every bit in his late 70’s (only 51) with an eye patch and a cane in hand. He greeted me and turned to walk…stumbling to the point he almost fell down. Then he coughed long and loud.
“I’ve got this diabetes and it’s been pure hell for the last 38 years. But, I’ve had the same great doctor all that time….Thank God!”
“So Bob, I didn’t know you had Type I,” I hesitatingly remarked.
“No, no…I’ve always had Type 2. Diabetes is incurable you know. By this time next year I’ll be totally blind. In about 3 years my kidneys will be completely shot. Not much more left after that….”
I was stunned. This was a good and gentle man. He enjoyed assembling new computers with a large magnifying glass and a lot of rest every 2 or 3 hours. And, he had been lied to by his Wonderful Doctor for 38 years!!!!!
“Bob, who told you all diabetes is incurable?”
I suspected the answer and my stomach turned into an internal pot of churning lava deep down!
“My doctor, why?” I fell silent. My friend had spent the last 26 years on disability because of the lies he was told. He had been nothing more than an ATM for the Good Doctor!
I thanked him for a great machine, paid him and left. I have seen him once more since but I could not bring myself to walk up and explain who I was…he was blind and wore hearing aids. His wife took him by the arm and lead him away. She had not seen me. He is now deceased. I could not figure out if I would have cursed or cried if I had spoken to him one last time.
To answer a question, “Is Type 2 diabetes curable?” I must answer yes, if you will work to help yourself since almost all of the time it is something we have done to ourselves…
Another question recently asked, “Isn’t there something I can take or apply to my skin to relieve my Shingles?”
Well, we first need to know what it is and why it creates so much pain and potential disfiguration. It is the same Herpes virus that causes Chicken Pox. If you’ve had it you could have Shingles later in life. So, why the pain? Simply, the virus resides in the base of the spine and can stay there till you die without ever re-emerging, or it can erupt and follow nerves anywhere on the body. It can be as simple as minor pain or massive lesions and nasty skin blisters as if you have been burned.
The good news…there is something natural which can shut it down completely. It’s called Resveratrol and is harvested from the skins of dark purple grapes. Curious enough though, grapes evolved this quasi-drug to do the very same thing; kill viruses and fungus. We however, must consume several hundred milligrams per day to see results. The research literature estimates 600 to 1,000 mg’s a day for several weeks. Then, a maintenance dose for the rest of your life in the range of 150 to 400 mg’s a day. That’s a small price to pay for avoiding such misery.
The last question I received recently seemed quite innocuous on the surface. However, it really could be life or death….
“How many hours of sleep should a person have each day to stay healthy? My husband says 5 or 6 is enough and my teenage son thinks 8 to 10 is perfect. Which is right?”
Neither! A few years ago, a British sleep study was performed to answer just this very question. They surveyed all ages, weights and genders. Sleeping habits were divided into 4 categories: 4 hours or less, 4 to 6 hours, 7 hours, 8 or more. The rate of medical problems and death perfectly tracked these various sleep patterns!
People with 4 or less sleep hours were at greatest risk for developing medical problems and premature death, as were those who exceeded 8 or more hours each night. Those in the 4 to 6 hours range fared a bit better but the perfect number of hours sleep per night over all for every age, weight and gender was 7 hours.
However, night shift workers who took the “perfect” 7 hours of sleep in the daytime suffered almost as much as the 4 to 6 hour night sleepers.
So, it seems there is a average time which is best for sleep, but ….there is not one average person. You simply need to know 7 seems good. Try it if you are in some other group and see if you feel better. You never know.
One last question: “Should I speak my mind regardless of the consequences?” This one tracks with the new age idea of showing all your emotions whenever and making others responsible for any offense taken. As they say, totally honesty.
I would say, why not? After all, “You don’t MAKE others mad…they choose to get mad, right?” It would seem though, you might want to stay out of Biker Bars and dinners at your mother-in-law’s house. Just a thought….