Category: health

Adventures in Wisdom Teeth

I know what you’re probably expecting to read in this post. Something about how Tomas has gotten to the age when he needs to head to the dentist for the ol’ wisdom tooth removal. He’s well past 15, after all. It wouldn’t be stunning for that to happen at his age. He probably started to have his teeth hurt, and we had to go to see what the problem was, yada yada yada.

Well, you’d be partially right. The whole “pain in the mouth” thing did start happening about a month and a half ago. It’s just it didn’t happen to Tomas. It happened to DC.

If you know DC, you know she looks extremely grown up for her age. She’s still just 11. But when her tooth started hurting in October, “wisdom teeth” was about the furthest thing in my mind for what might be wrong with her. But a trip to the dentist and an x-ray later, and we knew that’s actually what was going on. So today I took her to the oral surgeon to get her lower wisdom teeth out.

It was quite the ordeal.

It’s stressful enough when you’re in high school and you have to deal with it. (I myself never had my wisdom teeth out. What can I say? I’ve got an enormous mouth.) But when you’re in sixth grade? I felt so bad for her, especially since she’s not that good with needles. (Remind me to tell you sometime the ordeal that we had when we had to get her blood drawn . . .)

Still, she managed it wonderfully. She faced her fears and pushed through, and I was very proud of her. I know some people video their kids when they wake up after being put under. Having seen someone dealing with it firsthand, I can’t imagine doing that to a kid. They’ve just been essentially traumatized. They’re still out of it. It’s not the time to make jokes at someone’s expense. (DC was still in tears even when she woke up, the poor thing.)

Anyway. It’s rare when your second child breaks the ice for something, especially something that normally is so age bound. Either way, now I know what it’s like, and I should be better positioned to help the other kids when they face the same experience.

For now, DC is watching Studio C and eating ice cream. There are worse after effects . . .

All well wishes for her are welcome!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Bodypump for the Body Lump

Denisa and I went down to San Antonio to visit my sister and her family for Thanksgiving. I don’t see her more than once a year (San Antonio is far away), but like most people, we keep in touch through social media and the like. She started working as a trainer at the local YMCA a while ago, and so there’s been a number of “Come work out with me!” posts in her feed. I tend to gloss over those posts, because exercise, far away, and why. But when we got to San Antonio, she mentioned that she was teaching a class one of the mornings we were there.

“You should both come!”

I laughed it off. Like I was going to go to a gym while I was on vacation. I don’t even go to the gym when I’m at home. Why would I be crazy enough to put my body through anything remotely strenuous while I was supposed to be relaxing?

Except my kids talked to her kids, and they become convinced they wanted to try out the class. So I told Denisa, “You should go with them,” because . . . I can’t honestly remember the reason I gave. Just to see what it was like? Denisa decided to give it a shot, mainly because she likes trying new things. And then all the kids decided they’d rather sleep past 9am than get up, so they all bailed.

Which left me feeling kind of responsible. I was sending Denisa off to a class on her own. (As far as being a newbie is concerned. My sister was going to be there (obviously) and her husband. But still.) So on the spur of the moment, I agreed to go too. It was just a single class. 55 minutes. How bad could it be? I had no idea what kind of class it was or what we’d be doing. But surely I could do anything for 55 minutes.

[Narrator’s voice: He couldn’t.]

We got there, and I discovered the class is called “Bodypump,” and it had a whole bunch of equipment. Barbells, weights, mats, and some kind of step thing you had to assemble yourself. This led me to the immediate problem of one of my kryptonites: making decisions in the heat of the moment. I was supposed to choose what weights I was going to use. Since I still had no idea what exactly I was going to be doing with those weights, I picked 20 pounds for the bar and something like 12 pounds for the barbells. It was me, my brother in law, and a bunch of women of varying ages. Social pressure might have gotten to me a bit. Some of those women were loading on the weights. Did I really want to be prancing around with like 2 pounds of weight when some people were using 15 or 20?

[Narrator’s voice: Yes.]

So I committed. I grabbed the weights, and got all situated, and we began. I discovered a number of things in quick succession.

First of all, I believe someone secretly replaced my normal sister with a cyborg model. Seriously. She was churning through the exercises like she was using balloons for weight, and she was using much more weight than I was. Arm curls! Triceps! Squats! Abs! She ran the class through each muscle group one at a time, and I’m not sure she broke a sweat.

Second, I realized I was in trouble as soon as she said, “We’re going to start off with some light warm ups.” And I was already struggling in the warmups. I began to look over to those lighter weights with envy. Why had I thought heavier weights made sense? But hey. 55 minutes, right?

About 20 minutes into the routine, my legs were completely shot. I’ve done some weight lifting over the years, but I’ve always just assumed my legs were doing fine without the need for weight training. They take me everywhere I need to go, after all. Why do anything mean to them in response. And who cares about having fit legs of all things?

That morning, my legs decided to tell me just what they thought of this idea. For a while, I forced them to keep going. I didn’t want to be the idiot new guy who just sat down in the middle of the class, did I?

[Narrator’s voice: Yes, he did.]

Five minutes after that, I just plopped down and stared at my sister. Denisa was behind me, still going strong because she had made better weight decisions. My brother in law took me to a water fountain. The rest of the class was a series of “me making attempts to start exercising, because surely I was feeling better by now, only to discover that no, I wasn’t.”

The good news is that I’d gotten to the point where I didn’t care what anyone in that room thought of me, so I didn’t feel that bad about any social stigmas. And sure, some of them were probably in their sixties, and one of them was pregnant, but why in the world had I assumed I would be as strong as any of them? Muscles aren’t measured in beard length, after all.

It was a kinder, humbler Bryce who hobbled out of the YMCA that morning.

Except the lessons didn’t stop there. Apparently I’d pushed my body well past its limits. I had trouble walking for the rest of the day, with my legs randomly giving out on my whenever I tried anything too strenuous, like walking or stepping up on a curb. The next day, the strength was there, but the pain set in. It hurt to sit. Hurt to stand. Hurt to lift my arms. Hurt to do just about anything for the next three days.

Will I be doing Bodypump ever again? Honestly, I’d consider it if I could do it for free. The experience has made me wonder what sort of classes my university’s gym offers. It was a really fast way to work out all my muscles, I’ll say that much. And the fact that I folded so easily is a sign to me that I need to be doing more with weight than just keeping it off.

Now if I can only find the time . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Current Thoughts on Sugar

I’ve been (more or less) off sugar now for four (count ’em four) years. I say “more or less” because there have definitely been spaces in that time when I most definitely was NOT sugar free, so if you’ve seen me at conferences or parties or most of December, you’d think I was anything but off sugar. However, the baseline I keep returning to is one that has almost no refined sugar in it.

Most days, I have a handful of chocolate chips each day, and that’s it. (Some in my oatmeal in the morning, and some in my oatmeal for dinner. I live a glamorous life, what can I say?) Other than that, I have some fruit each day, and nothing else sweet. It was shocking to realize it’s been more than four years since I first experimented with totally giving up sugar.

At the time, I did it more on a whim than anything else. The thought popped into my head that if I gave up sugar, I’d feel better. Feel more alert. I considered it personal revelation at the time, and in hindsight, I still feel that way.

These days, I can very easily tell the days when I’ve had a lot of sugar. In fact, I can feel what it does to me as soon as I’m eating more than a little of it. It comes with a rush of energy, but it always leaves me feeling . . . sick. Not to my stomach, surprisingly. Rather, I feel like I’m having an allergic attack of some kind. My throat feels sore. My eyes puffy. It feels like I’m getting sick to the point that I finally searched online for whether eating sugar could make you feel like that. (Initial results indicate it can, but I didn’t dig very deep.)

I definitely sleep worse when I’ve had sugar. I wake up at night, for one thing. It takes me longer to get to sleep as well. The simple fact is that I feel much better, overall, when I’m not eating sugar than when I am. Is it a placebo effect? Who knows. I don’t really care, honestly. If it makes me feel better, why don’t I just do it?

Which is the question. Because I still love sugar, and I still find myself cutting loose whenever I decide to have some. I start eating it, and I can’t stop. No wonder I always feel sick after I have some, because I have too much. I’d love to get to a spot in my life where I do a better job with that, but I’m not there yet. Baby steps, I suppose.

In the meantime, I just wanted to write a quick post to say that, after looking back on the decision 4+ years ago and how I feel today versus back then, I’d say the experiment was a resounding success. If you’re looking for a way to feel more alert and healthy, and you’ve got a bad sweet tooth, I definitely recommend going sugar free for a while to see what it does for you.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Eat Your Vegetables (The Right Way)

I’m still trying to be healthier, a few sugary relapses aside. This basically has boiled down to exercising every weekday, avoiding sugar (more or less, and not counting conferences), and not eating as much. I can tell the times when I cheat on the sugar and the eating too much. I definitely don’t feel as good–I feel better hungry than I do stuffed, that’s for sure.

But it wouldn’t take a genius to recognize the flaw in my approach. I take a multivitamin each day, but me and vegetables only have a casual relationship. I typically eat two bananas each day, and maybe a clementine or two, so I’m at least somewhat okay when it comes to fruit, but vegetables are something I eat at dinner when they’re there, and forget about the rest of the time.

It’s not that I don’t like vegetables. I actually like them quite a bit. But I don’t like preparing food. I’m lazy enough that when faced with a choice of eating something I can just grab or anything that requires slicing and washing, I’m going to go with the grab option every time. In fact, if I look in the fridge and all that’s available takes preparation, I almost always just decide to be hungry instead of eating something.

But Denisa has been reminding me that vegetables are important, and I had a health coach appointment that said the same thing, and so I’m making a more concerted effort to add veggies to my diet. Since most days I still just eat oatmeal for breakfast and dinner, that means I have to try to search for vegetable opportunities outside the normal meal times.

Case in point: the other day, Denisa made broiled vegetables for dinner (cauliflower, potatoes, carrots). I really like cauliflower, and I hadn’t had any vegetables yet that day, so I asked if I could have some. (Since I’m usually on oatmeal for dinners, Denisa has learned not to include me in her dinner calculations. You don’t want to get between Denisa and her dinner calculations, speaking from experience.)

But this time, Denisa gave me the thumbs up, so I had a few pieces of cauliflower. And a few more. And a couple more after that. Until somehow the cauliflower was completely gone. That’s when Denisa got up to get seconds . . .

That day, I learned a very valuable lesson. I learned that, no matter how much your wife reminds you that you should really be eating more vegetables, this does not give you immunity from eating all the cauliflower. (No matter how much you think it might.) Apparently there’s a right way and wrong way to eat vegetables, or at least a right time and a wrong time.

“I’m new at this” is also not an acceptable excuse, just in case any of you out there were wondering . . .

I’ll get the vegetable thing down, though. Practice makes perfect.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A Plethora of Cough Remedies

I’ve got a really strange cough. I’m pretty much cough-free throughout the day, and then each evening, the hacking begins. I start to cough, and I can’t stop. What’s even more bizarre is that once I’m able to get to sleep (IF I’m able to), then I wake up again each night at 12:30 or so, with an even worse cough. It just won’t stop.

Speaking from experience, when I’m woken up at 12:30 at night, unable to stop coughing, I’m willing to try just about anything to get that cough to stop. I asked for help on Facebook, and these are the suggestions I received:

  • Vicks vaporub on your chest
  • Vicks vaporub on your feet
  • Use a humidifier
  • Cough drops
  • Chocolate
  • Cough syrup
  • Tumeric and honey
  • Herbal teas
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Deslyn
  • Elderberry syrup
  • Whiskey
  • Pineapple juice

It seems like everyone has their own approach that always works. Too bad none of them have worked for me. Last night when I woke up, I stumbled into the kitchen and proceeded to down a huge handful of chocolate chips, peppermint and sage tea, a spoonful of honey, two cough drops, and I smeared some vaporub on anything that felt like it might help. None of it worked. (The aftertaste left something to be desired, as well . . .)

What did work at last was some antihistamine pill I took on the advice of my doctor. Let’s just say in the middle of the night I’ve discovered that I’ll take just about anything to try and make that cough go away.

I have yet to find any foolproof approaches, though I’d forgotten pineapple juice last night. I’ll have some on tap for tonight, if the occasion presents itself. In the mean time, if you see me looking groggy-eyed, it’s either a lack of sleep or severe indigestion. Pick your poison.

(Just don’t tell me “poison” is a good cough remedy. At 12:45am, I might forget it was a joke.)

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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