Posted on 32 Comments

Smoking Hot…!

A beautiful young woman smoking a cigarette
Photo by Ferdinand Studio on Unsplash

Recently the dangers associated with the use of vaping, e-cigarettes, pens, or Juuls (pronounced jewels) have been highlighted with an injury of some 530 persons across 38 US States and territories. Is reported that seven (7) persons have lost their lives resulting from the use of inhaled substances.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost three-fourths of those affected are males with the prevalent age range being 18 to 34 years old. And what is even more alarming is the fact that 16% of the total cases are among young persons under the age of 18 years.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some 3.6 million middle and high school kids used e-cigarettes in 2018, an increase of 1.5 million or greater than in 2017. There seems to be a common misconception among teenagers and even many adults that e-cigarettes are benign and harmless.

Nothing could be further from the truth! It is estimated that using one pod of e-cigarette liquid is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes. Furthermore, it is also possible for e-cigarettes to be outfitted with pods that hold THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. The vapes may also contain a hallucinogenic like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Cannabidiol (CBD) oils or nicotine-containing products.

A young male about to light a cigarette
Photo by Arun Sharma on Unsplash

Of the affected cases all have reported a history of e-cigarette or vape use in the past but no evidence of respiratory diseases or other related comorbidities. There is not yet a specific cause of these lung injuries/deaths.

Some recommendations from the CDC are;

  • Persons using these products should consider refraining from using e-cigarettes/vaping products until further information becomes available.
  • If you are using e-cigarette products in an effort to quit smoking, please do not revert to smoking actual cigarettes at this time.
  • Please see your healthcare provider if you or someone you know have used these products and have had any abnormal symptoms, such as shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness, chest pains, etc.
  • Pregnant and nursing women, youths, and young adults should refrain from the use of cigarettes, e-cigs., vapes and all tobacco/nicotine-containing products if at all possible.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco
  2. https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products

Until later, please be well, be aware, and take care.

Posted on 16 Comments

Memories of New York

Things lost in relocation — A nostalgic look back!

Photo by Fabien Bazanegue on Unsplash

I arrived in N.Y. from South America several decades ago. It was a February day, cold and snowing. Matter of fact my trip began in the Caribbean island of Antigua and I recall the coldness that permeated the aircraft as we entered the northern hemisphere. We touched down at JFK airport and my soul came home — I fell in love! This is where I was born to be!

It was a glorious February day and a boon to a person who had spent their young days always sweating profusely. I did not know what the ailment was called at that time (hyperhidrosis). I just knew I was always hot and sweating when others were dry and seemed perfectly comfortable.

I began visiting Texas since I had family her, but the heat was always a big problem for me. After my first visit I learned that if I were to survive here I had better visit during the winters. And for many years that’s just what I did.

Then in 2010 some life changes were happening and I decided to change my status from visitor to resident. So I trekked on over with bits of my life leaving the bulk of it, both literally and figuratively behind.

pene2010
Photo credit: justpene2010

                                     Our first day as Texas residents …

Geeandkids2010
Photo credit: justpene2010 (my Snookums was not yet born)

Gee and I began working at a large hospital with a super busy ER. I needed to get outside to take a break or just to breathe sometimes. The sun hitting the back of my neck as I walked to my car convinced me I could not live here.

The heat!!! Dear God the heat! I was convinced hell was housed in the south.

But I rallied on and some 10 years later here I remain. My recent trip to NY…my   one- time stomping grounds did fill me with some nostalgia.

Photo by HyoSun Rosy Ko on Unsplash

Things I feel I lost:

1. Shopping …nothing beats N.Y. fashion (and I was a fashionable girl).

2. The cold … I love the cold! It is currently summer here in New York but I recall how much I loved winters here, my favorite time of year. The magic and mystery of it all.

3. The FOOD — the best cuisines from every single culture is offered in its authentic self in N.Y. The competition is steep and your presentation and taste has to be on point to even make the cut as there are so many others to choose from.

4. The sounds  — N.Y. is not a quiet city. It rumbles, shouts and rages in a continuous circle…the city never sleeps after all.

5. The people and the fashion — new Yorkers live a life on their own terms.

6. The air of excitement and the busy air of passers by. New Yorkers always seem so busy living life. 

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

New Yorkers dance to the beat of their own drums, I envy that, a little. They conform to and for no one. Their fashion tastes are their own and they make no apologies for their choices. I was once one of those New Yorkers with my own sense of fashion complete with the colored hair. 

I realize you lose things in relocation. Texas is now my home but I will always be a New York kinda girl!

This nostalgic trip down memory lane does not mean I am planning to relocate … I just mourn (more like just a little cry) for things I lost that I once had.

May God continue to watch over us all! Be safe!

 

 

Posted on 19 Comments

Should They Be Circumcised?

baby
Photo by Yến Yến on Unsplash


Surgical snipping without consent

I began in a place that’s relatively old world style. Growing up my world was patriarchal … that never sat well with me. Even as a child I did not like the idea of “needing” a man’s permission for my life. I have always harbored the mindset that we are equal. The male brain is no more evolved that mine based solely on the fact that he “may” possesses testosterone in greater quantities than I — (potential posts for another time).

My grandmother (aka bonus mom) never subscribed to the idea of circumcision. She was blessed with five male children. None of her boys she stated were circumcised. We will have to take her word for it!

 


 

When I was eighteen a close relative gave birth to her first child and she decided to have him circumcised. My teenage eyes saw what a botched job it was on that poor baby and my decision to never circumcise was recording data for future use.

Fast forward to years later, as a nurse I have had the pleasure and misfortune to be present for many life-changing events; circumcision being among them. That poor newborn’s screams echoed off the walls and I was moved beyond compassion for him. My questioning mind wondered why on earth would anyone put their child through such torment! My decision to forego circumcision was cemented!

When my own son was born and the question was asked, my answer was unequivocally NO! This was a debate I had had with myself since quite young and nothing had changed that notion for me. I knew I did not want to put him through that kind of torture.

 


What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. The procedure is mostly performed on newborn boys for the purposes of health benefits, religious reasons or to conform to societal norms.

Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

Why circumcise?

Sometimes the need for circumcision is a medical one. If the foreskin is too tight and causes problems when it needs to be retracted over the glans. According to the US National Library of Medicine it is also recommended for older boys and men in an effort to reduce sexually transmitted infections and other times it is simply a rite of passage.

Benefits of circumcision:

  • Easier to clean: With the removal of the foreskin, a male child will find it easier to keep the the penis clean.
  • Less infections: Although the risks of urinary tract infections are low in males, per medical literature removing the foreskin further reduces the risk for themselves and future partners. Science has proven that circumcised men have a lower risk of acquiring and transmitting many sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Circumcision results in lower incidences of STI’s, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), genital warts, cancers of the penis and cervix, trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis.
  • Necessary due to phimosis. Rarely the foreskin may be difficult or even impossible to retract (phimosis). This of course will require surgical intervention.
  • Decreased incidence of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it’s less common in circumcised men. This can be a boon for their future partner as well.
  • Reduced incidences of cervical cancers in female sexual partners of circumcised men.
  • Financially beneficial to society.

Risks of circumcision:

  1. Genital mutilation— missteps can result in permanent functional and aesthetic changes.
  2. Risk of excessive bleeding—  due to the close proximity of the urethra to the ventral surface(underside) of the penis, extreme caution should should be undertaken during the procedure as missteps can result in necrosis of the fragile tissue and/or the creation of a fistula (an abnormal connection between two structures). Death by bleeding may also be due to familial blood disorders.
  3. Infections —  that become serious due to undeveloped immune system leading to; meningitis, necrotizing fasciitis, gangrene, and sepsis have all been reported as complications of infected circumcision sites.
  4. Excessive foreskin removal — this will eventually heal, but initially causes distress among both the parent, the child and the practitioner. Also may not be esthetically pleasing.
  5. Insufficient foreskin removal/adhesions and skin bridges — necessitates a second surgery, the excess skin covers and adheres to the glans (phimosis), resulting in the need for additional surgery.
  6. Urinary retention, cysts, chordee (curvature of the penis), stenosis (narrowing) of the meatus, hypospadias and epispadias, penile necrosis, and finally death.

Photo by Trevor Cole on Unsplash

Conclusion:

We have some of the benefits and the risks with which we can make informed decisions. Medicine posits that circumcision benefits society by increased health and longevity. Parents are also tasked with making medical life-altering decisions about another person without their consent.

I have taught my eldest son how to retract the foreskin for hygiene purposes and to date he has had no issues with that. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential whether we decide to circumcise or to remain uncircumcised.

Your thoughts are always welcome — to circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question?

References:

  1. https://kidshealth.org
  2. http://www.auanet.org
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc
  5. https://med.stanford.edu