Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, August 24, 2007

My, What a Hypocrite Is He!

It's getting on there, to election time and electioneering is going full swing. Our current premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty has already proven more than adequately that he is a flaming hypocrite. One of the major promises enshrined in his original platform for election was that there would be no increase in taxes when he became premier of this province. Yet he had the unmitigated gall to re-introduce a truly regressive tax - the re-institution of health care premiums.

Now he's at it again. Making promises. While John Tory claims that if elected he would finally assent to providing provincial funding to faith-based private schools - extending funding in complete fairness where now only Roman Catholic schools are funded from taxes, along with the public school system, old Dalton now claims that the funding of other religious schools would be divisive and unfair.

This from one whose own education, that of his siblings, his wife and his own children, took place in a religious setting, in a separate school system. He defends the ongoing funding of Catholic separate schools, but denies the contradiction in refusing to fund other religious-based separate schools. The monopoly to funding permitted Catholic schools is defended on the basis of its being enshrined in law.

McGuinty claims that for comprehensive social cohesion there's nothing quite like public schools where all children of all backgrounds and faiths can come together and learn together, equals among equals. Absent Catholic children whom provincial law has enshrined as a privileged group. He's a devout Catholic himself, after all. His wife teaches in the separate school system. So it's hands-off.

Yet laws can be changed. It's been done in several other provinces. And it's time that funding for Catholic schools out of general tax funds be eliminated. Either that, or be fair and fund all faith-based separate schools, with the proviso that they incorporate in their curriculum Ontario standards for education. In that way, McGuinty would prove himself to be premier of all the people.

On the other hand, to do complete justice to the equal schooling in a secular democratic society of all children from whatever their economic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds for complete inclusivity and fairness, do away with taxpayer-funded private schools altogether.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Old Friends

Wow, my 80-year-old neighbour, bemoaning his new found status as an alter cucker, still casts longing eyes at me. He's not bad himself, for 80. He can't believe it, I can't believe it. Why, he was just a young pup of 65 when we first met. Doesn't look all that much different. All right, his hair is now white-white, but he's still got enough on top that there's no bald pate - not much of one, anyway. Hirsute facially, but oh so carefully groomed.

His toilette, as he calls it. He takes great care with it. And it certainly shows. He's the type who wouldn't think of launching himself into the great out of doors without a pair of carefully ironed-and-creased trousers, name-brand shirt, and immaculate footwear. He's always had an eye for the ladies. I'm a lady? For all intents and purposes. He came a-calling on Friday afternoon, gift in hand for moi. A neat little publication of Haiku. Much appreciated.

Then stood along with my husband, watching, as I unloaded a week's worth of groceries, miraculously finding place for everything in our crowded refrigerator and pantry. He had successfully undergone treatment for prostate cancer and that's well behind him. Always something new, though, and now it's his heart; his doctor is convinced there's something irregular there and tests are in the offing.

He doesn't agree, feels quite well, but will accede to his doctor's demand that he undergo these tests because good specialists are hard to find and just in case he needs to undergo the care of such a specialist, he'd like the man on his side. Wouldn't do to disgruntle the expert, after all, or confuse him with facts that might not fit into his diagnostic theorizing.

He's planning on a trip to the Charlebois region of Quebec. He's fluently bilingual, as is his wife, so no problem there. The problem lies elsewhere. His wife has just come back from a trip to Peru where she went to Machu Picchu among other places and had previously described for us one part of the trip where her group of mostly older women had to negotiate a loooong descent into a ravine, some of them on muleback on a narrow rocky trail.

And exhaustingly had to ascend that same ravine, perilous-seeming in some places where a misstep might take you plunging irretrievably down and down further beyond rescue. She often takes these physically challenging but culturally rewarding trips in the company of other adventurous women. She's almost twenty years his junior; the juice of life hasn't yet been squeezed out of this woman.

He lingered, eager to continue chatting, but averse to sitting, since his wife was awaiting his return. They're on the verge of going out somewhere... Finally, outside on the porch, he looks at me, says I'm looking really good. Do I preen? Nope.



Saturday, August 18, 2007

Whoops! Getting There

Still kind of babying ourselves, resting up, relishing the peace and quiet that has descended upon our household in the wake of having two big little girls around for half of the week. They're only eleven years of age, so they're little in that sense. But standing beside me, I'm the physically 'little' one; they tower over me, so in that sense they're big. Little wonder, given the food they shovel into their eager mouths. Not the food per se, but the amounts, the gargantuan amounts of foods of every description.

For the most part the description was in the healthy category. At least while they were in our care, eating the food available in our house. Our granddaughter, accustomed to the kind of wholesome food available herein, eats lustily and with great pleasure. Her girlfriend, a trifle more cautiously, wanting to know the whys and wherewithals of all before she partook. The macaroni and cheese lunch I prepared and baked for them was not of the variety of which she has been accustomed. It didn't come from a box labelled "Kraft".

I've had my granddaughter stand beside me at the stove, as I cooked the pasta, then set about preparing the choux, peppering it, adding the grated cheddar, powdered mustard. Then combining the hot milk and cheese sauce with frozen greenpeas, chopped green onions, and smoothing it into a casserole. Over which is then sprinkled breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan. Looks different than its commercial counterpart. Tastes different.

The chocolate milk was a hit, and while our granddaughter ate every last morsel on her plate, I had to scrape half of her friend's portion into the garbage afterward. But the fresh raspberries went down fine, as did the coconut cupcakes with coconut cream icing I'd baked the day before. Later came chocolate-covered ice cream bars, given additional substance with chocolate chocolate-chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

The barbecued salmon drizzled with lemon juice, alongside sliced potatoes turned in butter, and corn-on-the-cob from our nearby market gardener was great. Next day's dinner where the chicken breasts were smoked on the barbecue served alongside onion-potato gratin, and a tossed fresh vegetable salad, gave me lots of leftover chicken for our little dogs' dinner.

Taking them to view the thundering Rideau Falls was a fine thing, as we hadn't ourselves been there in many a year. Hauling them off to Gatineau Park for a long trail hike off the MacKenzie King Estate proved to be a great experience for all of us, enabling them to illustrate their prowess in navigating rock-strewn, root-jangled trails while availing themselves of grilled cheese sandwiches, apples, orange juice, pizza, chocolate-covered cereal bars.

Visiting the local Sally Ann in its newly-renovated quarters, bright and clean and bursting with offerings enabled them to acquire novels and comics, videos, large stuffed animals and small, flowered hats and colourful tops all of them later laundered so the fresh-washed bear and the loose-limbed kangaroo could join them in bed later that night.

A trip to the local office supply store offered irresistible deals in colourful pens and pencils, soft textured and kids-designed calculators, perfect to add to the children's new backpacks just in time for a new school year. And we blessed those occasions when it occurred to them that they would take a nice unaccompanied walk down to the two recreational parks at the foot of our street.

But the girls are healthy and they glow, as they prowl about looking for things to discover, activities to occur, promises to come to life. And we watch agape as they leap about, as they indulge in catty little competitive advantages, and listen, fascinated, as they dissect events and individuals, then whisper and giggle after showers, until they finally fall deeply asleep.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

What's For Dinner?

It's mind-numbingly exhausting being in the continued presence of a brace of pubescent girls if you're six-score and ten. Their energy, curiosity, need to be stimulated and amused is energy-draining. Their constant motion, queries, subtle demands are wearying. But it is a rare pleasure, an equally rare grace to be in their presence. To observe their interaction with one another and their reactions to one another.

The unspoken challenges they put out, the competition between them, the banter and the laughter. The bedtime whispers and giggles. The need for instant gratification, the urge to continue going, never to waver in intent and content. The tender lines of their smooth young complexions, their curly, shining healthy, silky hair, their instant, bright smiles, and the tinkle of their laughter.

Their strong young limbs in motion, ever in motion. They race up the stairs. But guess what? I'm still capable of winning the race. As long as I'm racing upstairs next to the banister. And they're alongside, on the inside. Nothing like a good swift haul upstairs with the help of the banister on the way up. So what if that's cheating? I can still shake a leg and get on with it.

And what's for breakfast tomorrow morning? Let's see: how about melon slice and banana, chicken-bacon strips and blueberry pancakes? How about lunch? Well, we could have grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit yogurt and fresh raspberries for dessert...? Bubbie, what're you planning for dinner? Ask your grandfather; he can barbecue salmon steaks or chicken breasts and you can have him do his famous sliced, browned potatoes and corn on the cob.

Watermelon for dessert. Yum.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Triple-Super-Size This Guy

At one time in human history, actually not that long ago, someone who resembled a human blimp might have been placed on show in a travelling circus, as a curiosity, a freak of nature, an living object of horror and fascination. People would line up and gawk, not quite believing their eyes. Like the overly-hirsute man labeled the "wolf man", like the giant of a man labeled just that, and the woman who grew a beard, then took it off at night, or the inordinately tall man whose head grazed the clouds, the dwarf; all human abnormalities; aberrations of nature.

We're rather more sophisticated now, and more compassionate as well, and no longer line up, pay the price and range ourselves around a stage to silently gaze on these sad accidents of humanity. On the other hand, these travesties of human life still surround us, and they are becoming legion. Not necessarily those whom an accident of birth or nature has destined to play out their lives hidden from public view for the sake of their own dignity and shame, but those who have been given normal opportunities through chance or fate and choose instead grotesqueness.

Emerging grotesques surround us, everywhere we look. Abnormally-weighted people who subliminally consider themselves normal, are incapable of disciplining themselves to behave normally. Is it normal to eat oneself to death? Is it normal to consume food to the point where normal human activity and movements are denied one? Is it normal to destroy one's inner organs by imposing upon them the sheer weight of a body slowly and surely smothering life out of the human organism that is a person?

What's normal about not being able to walk a city block? Or living with a combination of deadly diseases, offshoots of morbid obesity - like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, all of which lead to other, equally debilitating conditions, and finally the total collapse of the human being through sheer inadequacy of the body to persevere through severe physical health adversity. We could ask, for example, a man weighing 317 kilograms at age 38.

Correction: we might have been able to, before he died, poor man. Is there anything dignified about having to be removed from one's bedroom where one has been confined for years, by firefighters, through the window? Too large and heavy to be placed on a stretcher; too awkward, heavy and huge to be carried through a hallway, down a flight of stairs. When he died, cremation wasn't possible, the cremation oven was too small to take the bulk of the corpse.

The immense casket, 2.3 metres long, 1.3 metres wide and 0.7 metres deep had to be transported on a horse-drawn platform. Pity the horse. The casket couldn't fit into an ordinary hearse.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Busy Spreading Understanding and Goodwill - Again

Vision TV - at it again.

No sooner do they apologize for broadcasting lectures by a fundamentalist Muslim whose fanatical views on the place of Jews in the world order and his dismissal of the Holocaust as a historical event have earned them censure, than they once again place on public view for the instruction of the trustingly pious, the work of yet another Jew-baiter.

They seem to have an incurable penchant for ill-considered choices. Particularly for a group ostensibly dedicated to the furtherance of multiculturalism and understanding between people of different faiths.

This time around it was a documentary credited to a Turkish author by the name of Adnan Oktar, self-proclaimed founder of the Foundation for Scientific Research, an organization based in Istanbul. Mr. Oktar preaches that “Zionism and the State of Israel” manipulate the memory of the Holocaust as a means of ‘legitimizing’ crimes against humanity'. His publishing oeuvre includes the title “The Holocaust Lie”.

This particular documentary that appeared on Vision TV had its focus on the Islamic idea of creationism. A spokesperson for the television channel contends that they performed some research into Mr. Oktar’s background, but nothing untoward was revealed. Which is rather strange, since a simple Google search reveals a cornucopia of information about Mr. Oktar and his writing.

Selecting one source out of the many that appeared I was able to read that he published the book “Judaism and Freemasonry” in 1986, where he pointed out that the mission of Jews and Freemasons in Turkey was to achieve the erosion of the spiritual, religious and moral values of the people of Turkey.

The end result of this perniciously wicked conspiracy was to “make them [Turks] like animals”. He describes the sacred writings of Judaism as the “Distorted Torah”. Claims that a materialistic lifestyle was introduced into Turkey, along with the theory of evolution and immoral lifestyles, by Jews and Freemasons.

He certainly has his opinions. Not, obviously, embraced by all to whom his writings are directed. Shortly after the publication of that book he was arrested and imprisoned, then transferred to the Bakirkov Mental Hospital, and placed under observation, then released after 19 months.

His hospitalization doubtless gave him ample opportunity to expand on his various unpalatable theses.

But for the folks at Vision TV the simple background check appeared to be too elusive for their sharp minds. “Had we known about his views, there would have been a different situation and a different decision made”, according to Gail Thomson, vision TV’s director of marketing.

Onward and Upward...

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sizing Up The Neighbours

Oh, all right, I'm not really sizing them up. Noticing them, though. Hard not to. There's a lot of them, each and every one. They've been guzzling and gluttonizing beyond belief. Hell, they must be, because, as I mentioned there is just so much of the. Mind-boggling, really. They jiggle, like Jell-o. They take up a whole lotta room. And they're suffering exponentially in the heat of this summer, our dog days of summer when the sun really beats down on that largest organ of the human body.

Why, I ask myself, do people do this to themselves? Let's face it, they don't look at all attractive, heaving all that bulk around. All the more so as they don't quite seem to notice it themselves. If they did, if they did realize that what they see staring back at them in the mirror is that slender bod grown to blimp size, they surely they would take more care with the manner in which they choose to cover all that blubber. You'd think.

Isn't there a surfeit point? Isn't it relatively stable for most people? Don't we know when we've had enough sustenance for the nonce? Cannot we recognize those feelings of sateity

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Food Supplies and Foodborne Ilness

"One of the more recent trends that we've observed that is of some concern to us is we are seeing an increasing number of outbreaks linked to produce", according to Paul Sockett, director of foodborne, waterborne and zoonotic infections at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Up to 13 million Canadians will suffer from the effects of a foodborne illness this year alone.

And most of the problem doesn't originate with fruits, vegetables, nuts and other foodstuffs grown right here in Canada, but the food that enters the country from abroad where regulations are less stringent, and where pesticide use is rampant and the use of chemical agents banned in Canada is commonly used.

This is our bargain with the devil. Consumers demand lower prices for quality products. We're getting the lower prices all right; it's quite inexpensive to eat well in this country, but as for quality, that may be another matter entirely. The food may look presentable and taste good, but it may also be contaminated, and result in recalls and warnings, but not before problems arise.

Government inspection can accomplish just so much. While it's true we have rules and regulations they can be overcome. Buyers and distributors of grocery products on a really large scale, scour the opportunities to purchase abroad where labour costs are so low they more than make up for transportation costs. And there's usually another kind of price to pay.

Produce grown on foreign soil bring their own hazards with them; bacteria and foodborne illnesses not known in Canada, like parasites on soft fruit from South America, and salmonella bacteria on bean sprouts and lettuce from the United States. Remember that spinach recall last year? With public illness comes a drain on health care and lost work productivity.

Importing foods from less developed countries almost guarantees that strict farm safety guidelines are not in place to ensure food doesn't become contaminated with harmful bacteria, high pesticide levels, or chemicals banned for use in Canada. It's simply not possible to control and impose internal standards for products from abroad.

It's the food suppliers and retails who've been given the task of conducting quality checks, and to take safety measures. This seldom goes beyond checking for 'proper documentation' for imported goods. Tests for bacterial conduct and pesticide levels or any other types of contamination are simply not done; industry leaves that to government.

And government agencies do check more problematical products, like meat, intensively, but other products are spot-checked. As long as we continue to import large quantities of our foodstuffs from abroad, we'll be subject to risk-taking in exchange for lower food prices.

And how many of us worry about contaminated irrigation systems abroad, tainted water used to grow vegetables, lack of sanitary conditions for farm workers, contaminating growing foodstuffs with E coli bacteria?

The big question here is how to ensure clean, safe procedures are in place in countries in Central and South America, Africa and Asia?

You want cheap, you take your risks.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Racing Dragons

On our way up the street, making our way to the ravine trailhead, there was Brenda, stooped over the curb beside the road in front of her house, determinedly shovelling up all the weeds that flourish in the cracks. They're unsightly, and always insist on growing there, necessitating the occasional scraping to eradicate their stubborn presence. And Brenda was doing a bang-up job in the heat of the August sun.

It was nice to see her again. Looking healthy and fit, and determined to persevere with the job at hand. It's rare to see her at home. She's always off gallivanting around, busy both with her travelling-salesman job and her passion, dragon-boat racing with the other 'girls'. She's no girl in the strict sense of the word, but she is a survivor and when they get together part of their camaraderie is calling themselves 'girls', not survivors.

Brenda, when we first knew her about sixteen years ago, was an operating-room nurse, with two young children and a loving husband. Her children are now grown, her daughter living downtown in her own apartment, busy with her job and her friends, her son away at school; Memorial University during the school year. Her husband Paul, though, is still around, even when Brenda isn't.

About ten years ago Brenda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She won that first battle, but it was tough. Two years later the cancer returned, and the struggle the second time was fiercer than the first time around, but she persevered again. When the cancer returned again, we knew from what we'd read that her chances were frighteningly slim. But Brenda is one determined woman and she fought that battle all over again. And won.

Not only determined, but cheerfully determined. All these years later her hair still hasn't grown in as thickly as it had been. But Brenda looks good. She's happy and involved, and overweight. But her kind of overweight is heavily canted on muscular strength, because after her third bout she took up dragon-boat racing with a true vengeance. Completely immersing and involving herself with a coterie of other determined survivors.

She quit her nursing job, and took up an allied, yet completely different type of job. She became a travelling salesperson for a large pharmaceutical company. But she didn't pursue her career locally; rather she does a lot of travelling around the continent, representing her company. When she isn't travelling on business she's travelling with her dragon-boat team. They're really good, winning one competition after another.

They travelled all over Canada and the United States. They went to Singapore, Hong Kong, China, the Continent. Whenever I'd bump into Paul he would let me know just where Brenda was, at the moment, and it was rarely at home. Paul was always good about that; he missed her presence, but knew how important it was for Brenda to live her life to the fullest and he supported her.

When we stood talking in front of her house, she flashed her usual broad smile, said how amazing it's been for her, these years, noted my 'new' (years old now) short hair, asked if I'd had it styled and where. At home, in the bathroom, with the help of two mirrors and a sharp pair of scissors I told her. And I reversed the comment, noting her new blond, very short hair, and she laughed deprecatingly, turning around so we could admire scalp revealed at the top of her head.

Can't even see it, I said reassuringly, and she hooted and commented that's because I'm so short, I can't see the top of her head. Then she launched into a description of her latest itinerary. Off to Australia and New Zealand for a month. Another dragon-boat contest destination. Hey, and this time Paul's going with her! They'll have a ball.

But, she said, it'll be her last race. She's giving it up. Taking up golfing. Lots of fun, she assured us, eyes twinkling.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Suspicions Confirmed

Frankenfood, that's what it is. But who's surprised, anyway? In a way it's no more than I might have anticipated. All those artificial preservatives in off-the-shelf food, to ensure they appear to remain fresh until purchased and finally consumed by a trusting public. In an age when people are busy and no longer have the time to prepare basic foods on their own as they once did, it's inevitable that our pre-prepared food products are infused with chemical preservatives.

And are they effective? You bet. I'm always surprised at the length of time it takes an overlooked, forgotten, plastic-bagged bread product to display mould or any other signs that it's beyond redemption as even resembling something serviceable in the food department. In our house we have a habit of keeping bread in the refrigerator. To maintain its 'freshness' for as long as possible. And because one of us insists on a diversity of bread products no one type of bread is consumed steadily to ensure it doesn't stick around too long.

Necessitating constant rummaging about in there on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to ensure there are no little bits and pieces of old bagels, English muffins, rye bread, pumpernickel, onion rolls, French bread, Egg-braid bread, or Schickelmeyer's sunflower rye bread left over to rot and moulder. If it's been in there over a week and still looks and feels and smells good - toss it. Although dry French bread is good for toasted bread cubes, and dry Egg-braid is great for French toast.

Now comes word through a little human-interest news story that an 85-year-old woman kept a loaf of white bread (cottonbattenbread) in a cupboard at her home in Ellerslie, P.E.I. for eight months. She had bought the loaf, used two slices for a sandwich, re-wrapped the bread, left her home to live with her daughter nearby for the winter, and returned home in the spring. Where, honestly, she discovered the loaf in what is described as "pristine" condition.

No mould, looked fresh, smelled good, tasted good. "We've been working to create breads for NASA's shuttle program that last that long and haven't succeeded" said a University of Guelph professor in response to the furore over the discovery.
A spokesman for the bread manufacturer, Maple Leaf Foods, said preservatives are added to his company's products to deter mould growth, but preservative levels are uniform in most commercially baked goods.

"Bread is a product that is regulated by the government, so there are only specific ingredients that we are allowed to put in there and specific amounts we can put in", he said. Oops. This elderly lady did partake of the loaf of bread back in early November of 2006. It remains now to be seen whether she too may now manifest signs of endurance beyond the date stamped.

As for me, I'm not surprised. That stuff really is Frankenfood of the first order. None for me, thank you very much. I'd bake all of our own bread, trouble is, I'm the only one who'll eat it; my husband is fond of the commercial varieties, even cottonbattenbread.


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Benighted Prostate Enlargement

With age come complications. And for males one of the most common age-related afflictions is a condition known as Benign Prostate Enlargement. This is a slowly-emerging, insidious and unsettling development that eventually results in a true diminishing of quality of life. That little walnut-size organ located hard by the bladder slowly begins to take on a nasty purpose, that of removing the comfort of a good night's sleep, of casual decision-making, of the ease of love-making.

From a gradual unease and awareness to a final realization of the presence of an ongoing condition, somewhat debilitating, inimical to spontaneity, bringer of pain, the quality of life begins to shrink away. A steady but pronounced decline in the enjoyment of everyday life. The progress is marked by a continual need to urinate, erupting suddenly without warning, and eventually also with incontinence.

Frequent bathroom trips throughout the sleeping hours, which translates to interrupted sleep patterns, and a notable sleep deprivation syndrome. Apart from the self-perceived humiliation of incontinence. The need to strain to effect a gradual result, pushing the enlarged prostate aside from the urinary tract to allow urine to flow. Flow? rather dribble. And the bladder left undrained all the same.

The necessity to think beforehand. Take steps to attempt to drain the bladder as much as possible before departing the house. Precautionary steps; making certain one's vehicle is equipped with a receptacle for an emergency deposit; which can happen at any time, without advance warning. And love-making? Well, good luck, and stick with it.

As the prostate continues to grow, there is concomitant discomfort and pain, too. Your urologist remarks on the growing size of that muscle. Need some help? Well, yes! Two options: medication, or surgery. Think about it. Here's a prescription, give it a try. It's an old, now-disused, but seemingly effective blood pressure medication. But you read the pharmaceutical-derived information that lists a host of miserable side effects and decline.

Surgery doesn't sound too wonderful. There are no guarantees. Incontinence may become permanent, sexual function may be destroyed. The operation necessitates an overnight hospital stay. And a full six-month recovery period, during which time heavy physical actions are not recommended. Not very appealing for a still-dynamic, driven personality. How about Saw Palmetto? Lots of research, evidently and it's given a go-ahead.

Patience, patience. But when, after almost a year of use, there is no relief, what exactly is the point? And then to discover, once it's no longer used, that it actually had the effect of adding to discomfort, its symptoms abated once no longer used. Resignation. Life, in most other respects, remains appealing and rewarding; just another stumbling-block to perfection the constant vigilance, pain, worry for the future.

Then an insert in a Consumers Report magazine flutters out of the pages. Notice of a new medical-related Consumers Report, and one of the little tidbits is a brief item about BPE. A commonly-used muscle-tone exercise called Kegel exercise seems to offer relief to men with prostate enlargement, just as it does to women who suffer from urinary problems. Nothing to lose, but give it up to six weeks before you may begin to see some amelioration.

Two days into the exercise regimen a dramatic change occurs. Flow has increased; no dribbling. Pain subsides; little discomfort. Intervals between bladder emptying increase substantially. Urgent and surprise need to urinate abate, as does incontinence. Sexual performance is greatly enhanced. Why has no one mentioned the potential of this therapy before? Why, most particularly, has no doctor given any hint of this method and its potential efficacy?

Is this just a pleasant dream, one that may dissipate in time? Is it just too soon to tell for certain yet, despite the astounding change? Some strange coincidence? Yet, if what is now occurring is the best, after a mere week of Kegel exercise that can be anticipated, we'll take it, and gratefully.

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