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September 13, 2012 7:54 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: Just chewing the fat

Written by Doug Blough

I’ve compiled another of my unorganized, yet invaluable collection of thoughts worth mentioning. Otherwise, I’d not mention them.

Firstly, a few observances about diet and health, because — let’s face it — if you don’t have your health or good looks, then you truly have nothing.  

A couple months ago, on the advice of a relative, I visited the Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic in Cody, free to the public one evening a week. Something occurred by happenstance that evening that may revolutionize the health care industry. I wasn’t there for anything heart-related, but a volunteer nurse took my blood pressure and left without telling me what I just assumed: that it was perfectly normal as always.

After the doctor arrived with a young intern learning the ropes, I struggled to secretly open my new can of Copenhagen and sneak in a small chew while Doc was looking at my records. Colt, the doctor-in-training I happened to know from past years, noticed me struggling, grinned and asked, “Do you need some help getting that can open?”

Colt used his young nails to do what my old, anxiety-chewed nails couldn’t, and sliced into the can perforation, allowing me access to my third-worst vice. I inserted an ample wad between my cheek and gum as the doctor voiced real concern about my 167 upper-number blood pressure reading. Flustered, I explained that it had never before been high.

He took a second reading, whereupon my top number was now 140. One chew of snuff had produced an astounding drop in blood pressure and possibly even saved my life. Now, I’m not saying it will work for everyone; I’m just sayin’…

• I really shouldn’t watch Dr. Oz on TV, particularly when symptoms of deadly diseases are discussed. A few weeks ago, the topic was “Pancreatic Cancer … the Most Deadly for Men.” The first major symptom, Ozzie said, is back pain. Sure enough, I had trouble sleeping later because of a dull ache in my lower back that was in no way my usual, roofer’s-back syndrome.

When I awoke the next afternoon, the pain was still there and remained throughout the day. I was 95 percent positive of the worst, but the pain abated in following days, so I may have dodged a bullet. A well-meaning friend suggested I’m probably a hypochondriac. I didn’t even bother explaining how absurd that is, since I actually have no problems sleeping at all. 

• I come from a long line of heartburn sufferers. I get it all the time; Dad always had it, as did his dad. I guess you could say the Rolaid doesn’t fall far from the tree. I can’t help but think though, the purer the heart, the greater the burn. That, of course, is just a theory.

Dad frequently chomped Tums, but I found Rolaids to be the more effective acid-eater. But, as with everything I become dependent upon, Rolaids was inexplicably taken off the market last year. I returned to another old favorite, Gaviscon, but one night during a particularly torturous bout of acid reflux after a late-night, large pizza, I noticed some Alka Seltzer from who-knows-when in my medicine cabinet.

“Alka Seltzer? Who takes that ancient placebo anymore,” I mused while gripping my chest and groaning. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Two tablets dissolved in 4 ounces of water soon had me merrily singing the old jingle, “Plop plop, fizz, fizz…oh what a relief it is.”

Who’d a thunk Alka Seltzer would put all the new, young antacid studs hanging out on the drugstore shelves to shame? It just goes to show that old friends are the best friends and “new” is not defined in any dictionary as “improved.” Sure, Alka Seltzer tastes repulsively fizzy, but neither did alcohol taste good the first few times we drank it. But for the greater good, we have to get used to a few things that are unpleasant.

• I always get extremely hungry when I see someone on TV eating spaghetti, or beans eaten by cowboys around a campfire. I love chicken too, but seeing it eaten on TV has no great effect. But show me someone slurping spaghetti or eating beans from a tin dish, and I’m heading for the kitchen post haste.

• My new favorite food, though, is lamb chops. I don’t think I’d ever eaten lamb before, but noticed it in the grocery store, purchased two, and heeded advice from Babe Martoglio to sprinkle on lemon juice and oregano before broiling. I kid you not, I moaned and groaned in ecstasy rather than from acid reflux.  

My friend Mary joined me for dinner, but she’s obviously not a glutton for mutton. Thus, I ate plenty, while Mary had a little lamb. Ah, but I kid ya; I don’t even have a friend named Mary. I just made her up.

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