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Go to Kitty Reflects11/14/02

Even "professional" life-extensionists get sick occasionally. I've had periodic sinus problems (beginning about 6 years ago that continued even after joining Tom (Paul)) for which I sometimes resort to nasal irrigation and once in the past 2 years degenerated into a mild sinus infection. (I did have much worse ones in years past.) For Tom (Paul), "getting sick" is more than for most people, a difficult situation, since to some extent he thinks that it just shouldn't happen - to him.

My response is that we/he does *not* know everything despite the enormous amount that he reads and incorporates into previous knowledge. To be fair, though, I know that when Tom (Paul) says "it shouldn't happen", he means that he should have done more; that the information is likely out there, but he did not access it. This is more apt to be true in the case of his periodic leg inflammation - those mysterious episodes which began in late February 2000, about a week after my second visit. Despite several doctors' visits, web and text searches, armed with hours of recorded signs (including photos), he experienced swelling and redness in the left leg with fever (accompanied by disorientation the first 2 times), inguinal gland swelling and scattered wheals most of which he described on The LEF Forums in response to inquiries about his several days absence from approving/commenting on posts. Had the physician taken cultures of the leg blisters, as Tom (Paul) repeatedly requested, instead of simply shrugging when blood cultures yielded nothing, it is likely we'd know what bacteria was responsible for the severe periodic inflammation. (Here is another example of where official "gatekeepers" can thwart a person who is quite willing to pay the expense for a test or treatment that he/she personally wants to have. It should have been possible for Tom to have taken the culture of the blister exudate himself to a laboratory, paid for the test, and received the results if the physician was unwilling to do so. What makes this "impossible", is the government protectionism of health care providers.) Instead, the doctors prescribed antibiotics (intravenous the first time, the severity of which concerned them - but not enough to culture the leg) which they changed twice with little evidence that any of the 3 were responsible for the disappearance of the symptoms. Each time - after the first four Tom (Paul) didn't bother with the antibiotics - his body fought off the infection and apparent reaction to the toxins being produced by the bacteria. This last was a theory provided by the infectious medicine specialist Tom (Paul) saw, who did so still without a culture done on the leg exudate. A suspicious large toe nail was heavily trimmed and cleaned by a podiatrist and Tom (Paul) - a meticulous bather - paid extra attention to cleaning his feet on the possibility that bacteria might be entering via minute cracks between his toes, although none could be seen on the left foot. Then there's the theory we postulated ourselves that Tom (Paul) has been slowly accommodating himself to an initial severe allergy to me ;>)

The 4 episodes of leg inflammation this year have been of decreasing intensity, all less than the ones in 2001, and none to date as severe as the first two. In fact, the last one (in September) had only some slight malaise, the inguinal gland swelling, and slight downward radiating red streak without anything visible below mid-thigh; all signs were gone in 24 hours. (The one previous to that had been while we were in Bregenz; he missed one afternoon's session and supper out. No leg swelling but there was slight fever, malaise, inguinal gland involvement and mild radiating streak.) We hope that though the mystery of the "leg episodes" has never been solved, that his body is in the last stages of conquering the pesky critters responsible.

When Tom felt out of sorts late Sunday 11/10, we thought possibly another "leg episode" was in the works. Instead, he has spent the majority of the past 3 days in bed letting his body rest as it fights symptoms of fever, mild body aches including headache, lack of appetite, general malaise, occasional dry cough, and strange extremely itchy wheals. However, no leg swelling developed at all and the only similarity has been the fever and malaise. While the wheals are somewhat similar, they have been larger this time (except with his initial worst leg episodes), much more itchy, in fact making it most difficult for Tom (Paul) to sleep at times despite the anti-itch ointments we applied, and longer staying in the affected area (the kind that Paul had with the leg problem seemed each to disappear within 48 hours - even though more formed in other skin areas). It was not until late Wednesday that it occurred to Tom (Paul) - then somewhat less mentally foggy - that the Carnosine in his supplements taken at breakfast and supper was likely adding to this allergic-like response (since it can decompose to histidine and then histamine). I felt terrible that I had not thought of the possibility that the enormous hives he had - the worst on his arms - were a result of elevated histamine which was probably being aggravated by the Carnosine supplements. (Immediately I redid his breakfast and supper supplements for the next two days - there is no way to distinguish Carnosine from several other white capsules - and gave him the only anti-allergy medication we had, Claritin.

At this time the fever has subsided, Tom (Paul's) temperature staying below 99 for more than 12 hours without any aspirin - temperature high was 101.9. His appetite has improved and he's felt mentally clear enough to answer emails and review posts. From a review of his signs and symptoms, it appears that he fell victim to a flu, something he's not experienced for at least 20 years despite not taking any vaccines in that time. He is continuing to take the immune supporting supplements (echinacea, goldenseal, grapefruit seed extract, vitamin C, Sambu-Guard, and zinc lozenges) every 4 to 6 hours in addition to his regular supplements. While he declined his regular supplements the first day and a half due to complete loss of appetite, he has decided that he should have taken them accompanied by at least broth or juice.

Why did Tom (Paul) get the flu and I did not? We theorize that although both of us were under considerable stress before and during our trip to AZ for the month of October and upon our return to Toronto, it was all more difficult for him. He was in a strange house which to me had been home for 12 years. He was working feverishly to solve the computer problems - equipment and software, including viruses (possibly intentionally sent) - while I just puttered around doing lots of cleaning. He did most of the driving back to Toronto on an Interstate that he'd not travelled before and expected to be far better than it was in the mountains. Our return to normal in Toronto couldn't be completed until Tom (Paul) made my new Notebook/laptop - still plagued with problems - operational, while I scribbled away on my paper version. He tries to make everything perfect for me and is distressed when it is not; I just do my best and don't think about perfection. And as if these were not enough, several issues surfacing (or resurfacing) since our return to Toronto were directed specifically at Tom (Paul) requiring him to revisit old unpleasant events of years past; baggage he's not yet been able to fully dispose. In addition to this, when it was evident that Tom (Paul) was not experiencing a leg episode but rather something flu-like, I started taking the same immune-supporting supplements. If I succumb to the flu also, I want to hold it off till he's recovered and can take care of me ;>)


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