Sunday, May 29, 2016

On the way to Smithfield, something unexpected happened.

This is a true story from my varied  life. I hope you enjoy reading it. – Werner
“I’ll be back for lunch in twenty minutes,”
were the parting words to my wife, Karola, as I drove off in my utility to the supermarket, 5 kilometres away, to check out a measurement for shelving at the Woolworths supermarket. While keeping my eyes on the road, my mind was preoccupied with all the work I had planned for the afternoon. What awaited me further up the road, or that I would be more than an hour late for lunch was something I could not have anticipated.

On the straight stretch of the road, on the outskirts of Yorkeys Knob,
I could see four cars in the distance in front of me. Their brake lights were lighting up, one after the other, for a short time, but they kept driving on, and I wondered if there were some obstacles on the road. I soon discovered the reason for their braking. Beside the road a car with a trailer was parked, and the owner, a man stooped over, giving the appearance of being intoxicated, waved his hand frantically, beckoning them to stop, but they ignored him.

An article from Readers Digest, which I had read the night before, sprang immediately to my mind. The article gave an accurate account of a heart attack, the symptoms, and their manifestation. As I pulled up beside him, he opened the door and in a slurred, but anxious pitch in his voice, said to me, “Please call an ambulance!”

I immediately suspected a heart attack and recognized the gravity of the situation.
To drive home, to the nearby petrol station or the nearest farmhouse, was out of the question as I figured too much time would be lost, as this man needed urgent medical attention, so I said to him, “I do one better, I’ll take you direct to the doctor’s surgery at the Smithfield Shopping Centre, please hop in.” I made sure his car was locked and that he had the keys and his wallet with him. “What is your name?” I asked him, as I drove off. “John Brewers,” he answered in a faintly hoarse voice and slumped against me on the seat. Further along the road I found out that he lived at Holloways Beach, the adjacent beach village, east of Yorkeys Knob.

I had to steer with one hand, using the other one to shake him constantly and pleading with him not to die on me. He managed to sit upright again, but in a somewhat stooped position. However, he kept slumping against me on and off. When I arrived at the busy T intersection (No roundabout then) of the Captain Cook Highway and Yorkeys Knob Road, and only 2 Kilometres from the doctor’s surgery, the traffic on the highway was extremely heavy. It seemed an eternity before I finally could cross into it and at the same time constantly shaking John and talking to him. I thought that if I get him to the surgery alive, I would be really happy.

I drove behind the shopping complex, which was the shortest way to the doctor’s surgery.
(This was the shopping centre before the new development.) I helped John out of my Ute and put him prostrate on the footpath, then raced inside. On my way, I ran past Ann-Marie Whelan, a customer of mine, whose kitchen I had recently installed, but still had some work to finish there. I called out to her, “Sorry I can’t talk to you, I’m in a hurry.” This, of course, is something unusual for me, not to talk to people I run into, especially a customer.

Breathlessly, I said to the girl behind the reception desk at the surgery: “Please send a doctor out to the back. I left a man there, who I suspect has suffered a heart attack!” Two doctors overheard me, one ran out to where John was, while another got an injection ready for the heart attack suspect, and the office girl called an ambulance. I handed in John’s wallet and his car keys to the office girl for the next of kin to pick up. I let out a sigh of relief, for me, this had been a very strenuous and stressful 5 km drive.

I was just about to go into Woolworths, when I saw the ambulance arrive, so I walked to the back to see if John was still alive. He was, but only just. One of the doctors had injected a drug to stimulate his heart, but the patient’s face looked deathly pale. They put him onto a stretcher and then into the ambulance.

They were just about ready to drive away to take John to the Cairns Base Hospital.
One ambulance officer jumped behind the steering wheel, while the other officer was about to close the tailgate of the ambulance when, all of a sudden, John had muscle spasm in his arms and legs. He clenched his fists, pulling up his arms and legs. This was followed by a big sigh, and he went limp. “Let’s give him shock treatment”, one ambulance officer called out to the other officer with great urgency in his voice.

With every electric shock John’s body jolted upwards, the fourth electric shock brought him back from the brink of death. He started to struggle violently and ripped off the oxygen mask; a doctor jumped into the ambulance to administer an injection, but was unable to, because the other officer wasn’t able to hold him still. Eventually, with one officer holding the head, the other his arms, one doctor and me holding on to one leg each, the other doctor kneeled on John’s chest and finally managed to give him a Valium injection, which calmed him down. The ambulance finally drove off and was on the way to the Cairns Base Hospital with its sirens wailing.

I could now finally go to Woolworths and do what I came here for in the first place.
On my way home, I thought the first thing I had to do was to ring John’s wife or family, who by now would have been wondering what had happened to him. After all, he had only gone to the Yorkeys Knob rubbish dump to dispose a trailer-load of rubbish and was only six kilometres from home. I was browsing through the phone book, but could not find a Brewers at Holloways Beach, but then I thought the surgery would call the family, they had the wallet which would contain his drivers’ licence and other personal details. The reason I couldn’t find a Brewers in Holloways Beach, I found out later, was because the name was spelled Brouwers. John was of Dutch descent.

I couldn’t get John out of my mind, I wondered if the ambulance got him to the hospital alive. After some considerable time, it got the better of me. I couldn’t resist my desire to know whether John had arrived at the hospital alive, any longer. I had to ring the ambulance service. “Yes he made it and he is now in good care in the intensive care ward”, said the man on the phone. This was all I wanted to know for the moment, and now, I was able to relax.

Karola and I drove to the hospital in the evening and headed straight to the intensive care ward. A sister stopped us at the door. “You can’t go in, unless you are next of kin to a patient,” we were told. “Well”, I said, “I just wanted to find out how John “Brewers” was, the man brought in by ambulance around midday. I am the person who picked him up at the side of the road and took him to the doctor’s at Smithfield.”

“Oh, we heard about that, and wondered who it was. John is doing fine,” she continued. “Come on and have a quick look.” And she led us to the doorway. John’s bed was next to the door. He was propped up with pillows and was sleeping peacefully, a heavily sedated sleep, but his face had a much healthier colour than when I saw him in the ambulance. We left after a short while, but I experienced a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. It is hard to put it into words how I felt. Perhaps I could try. I was intoxicated with blissful elation at having saved the life of a fellow human. It was an assignment I hadn’t anticipated. This was an experience I’ll never forget.

Four days after I took John Brouwers to the surgery, I returned to Ann Marie Whelan to complete her job. I apologised for running past her in the supermarket foyer without taking time to have a chat with her. I told her about the man who suffered a heart attack on the road and that I was in a hurry to get help for him from a doctor.

“Oh, that was you!” she said. “They have been looking for you for the last four days.” “Who is looking for me?” I asked perplexedly. She handed me the newspaper and pointed to the personal column. In a small space was a request. It read, “Would the person, who picked up the man beside a yellow Suzuki car with trailer on Yorkeys Knob Road and took him to the doctor’s surgery, please ring this number.” I was astounded.

When I arrived home, I rang that number and a man answered.
I told him who I was and why I’d rung. The man was a long-time friend of the Brouwers. He wanted to know what had actually happened, so I gave him an accurate account of what had transpired between the spot where I picked up John, and the Smithfield surgery. After a lengthy conversation, he thanked me profusely for saving John’s life.

We kept ringing the hospital daily to find out about John’s progress. When I was told that he was out of the intensive ward and was able to receive visitors, we visited him one evening. There, we met John’s wife, Pon, who is of Dutch Indonesian descent. John, of course, had only a very vague recollection of what had happened and he was extremely interested to hear the whole story from me. When we left, Pon followed us to the corridor and, with tears welling in her eyes, she gave me a hug and a kiss and thanked me profusely for saving her husband’s life. She went on to tell us that in a fortnight’s time they would celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, to which we would be invited. “If it hadn’t been for you,” she concluded, “this milestone celebration would have been denied to us.”

When John and Pon made a trip to Holland and Indonesia the following year, they sent us a postcard from both countries, and one sentence read, “Thank you again, if it hadn’t been for Werner, John would not have been on this trip.”

John was sixty-six years old when he suffered the heart attack.
He had never had any heart trouble before or been seriously sick. In 2001, we were in Brisbane on our yearly visit to our daughter and family. As always, when in Brisbane, I buy our local newspaper, The
Cairns Post, to keep me up to date on what is happening in our local area. Sadly, one day, we saw in the funeral notices that John Brouwers had passed away. But, beside the sad news, I felt somewhat elated. After all, I had given John eleven extra years of life. Being in Brisbane, we were disappointed not to be able to attend his funeral service.
My thought for today.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ― Aesop

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The avocado seed, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Avocados are often referred to as nature's own butter. We are lucky in North Queensland; they are grown at our doorstep, the Atherton Tableland, mainly in Mareeba and Tolga, and we get them fresh from the tree. The two main varieties are Hass and Shepard.   The Shepard avocados are grown on the Atherton Tableland and in Bundaberg, Queensland - the only places Sheppard avocados are grown in the world!

I love to eat avocados and their big seed was always a throw-away – but not anymore.
I came across an interesting article, in which I learnt something I didn’t know about this otherwise nutritious fruit.  Source:  Danica Collins. So I thought to share it with you and I hope you find it as interesting as I did. I had my first smoothie with a quarter of an avocado seed which gave it a slight bitterness, but this was easily overcome with honey. As I always say: “If I haven’t learnt something new every day, I wasted a day”. Werner
Did You Know that avocado seeds are the most nutritious part of an avocado?
  These last few years, avocados have definitely been getting the love.  Studies have shown that the fruit of an avocado can help optimize heart health, calm chronic inflammation, and revitalize lacklustre skin and hair.  But you know that the most nutritious part of this fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable!) gets discarded as waste.

An avocado seed actually makes up 18% of an avocado,
and contains over 70% of the fruit's total antioxidant power.  In fact, Food Chemistry published a study that showed that avocado seeds have a "much higher antioxidant activity and phenolic content than the edible portions."

A recent Pennsylvania State University study confirmed the potent antioxidant capacity of avocado seeds.  Researchers found that antioxidant compounds in the seeds may help reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and inflammation, and strengthen immune function. Research also shows that the seed are... Insecticidal, Fungicidal  and  Anti-microbial. It's time to stop throwing away the pit and start grinding it up into your diet, and Lower Disease-Instigating Inflammation.

Systemic inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases,
including arthritis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.  Avocado seeds contain high concentrations of catechin and procyandin antioxidants that help to lower inflammation and alleviate associated pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint mobility.  Catechins and procyandins have also been found to help boost heart health and blood circulation.

Optimize Digestion.
South Americans have used avocado seeds as a digestive aid for centuries.  They act as a palliative tonic for dysentery, gastric ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea, and other digestive complications.  Because an avocado seed has more soluble fibre per ounce than almost any other fruit or vegetable, it helps satiate hunger and keeps you fuller for longer.  So if you are trying to lose weight, don't be put off by the high-fat content of avocados or avocado seeds—avocados support your weight loss goals wholeheartedly!

Digestive health also influences your overall wellness, including immune function.  Here's an interesting fact: 70% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract. That means the healthier your gastrointestinal system, the stronger your immune system.

Kick Cancer to the Curb.

A 2013 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology from the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Columbia suggests that avocado seeds have some pretty powerful cancer-fighting properties.  Research showed that an extract of the seed and fruit of Hass avocados helped trigger apoptosis (cancer-cell death) in leukaemia cells, while leaving healthy cells unaffected. The secret weapon?  A phytochemical  flavonol, which has also been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer tumours.

Keep That Heart Healthy.
Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and the seeds also contain amino acids and fibre that help lower cholesterol and prevent the accumulation of arterial plaque. Dr. Tom Wu, recipient of the "World Famous Doctor" award from the United Nations for his breakthroughs with diabetes and cancer, says: "This soluble fibre binds to the fat and excess cholesterol.  Then we can lower cholesterol and improve heart function naturally. Soluble fibre is tough to get in our diet. Oatmeal has some, but it cannot compare with the avocado seed."

Cracking the Seed.
You can split an avocado seed in two using a heavy chef's knife and then chopping it up into smaller pieces, which you can easily blend into a rich, creamy smoothie.  You can also grind up an avocado seed and sprinkle into your salads or on top of yogurt. You can even put the avocado seed in a bag and hammer it into a powder.  Just don't throw that seed away!

PS: I found that this is a hard “nut” to crack, and a hammer with the seed in a plastic bag is the best option to crack it. – Werner

More reading.

12 proven benefits of avocado.
Images of the Atherton Tableland.
My thought for today. - Werner
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. Harry S Truman
How to post a comment!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Look after your liver and your eyes will benefit.

I’m all for good health and good nutrition, however I never knew that there is a correlation between the liver and the eyes.  My niece in Germany was recently diagnosed with holes in her retina, which needed laser treatment to prevent them from getting bigger. I have at present a friend with me from Germany who is a biologist, and very knowledgeable about health and nutrition. When I told her about my niece's eye problem, she immediately said: “Is her liver healthy?”

We discussed this subject at length, and then I went onto the Internet to see what information I could find.  I found the following and thought to share it with you. I know of a few other people with the same problem as my niece; perhaps you also know somebody, and this article may help them.
There is a proverb which says: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. So true! – Werner
Look after your liver to protect your eyes.
Did you know that eye problems may indicate an unhealthy liver?  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there is a strong relationship between the health of your liver and the health of your eyes.  Improving the health of your liver can often help to prevent or ameliorate eye conditions.

According to TCM, liver blood deficiency can cause problems such as blurry vision and other vision problems, short-sightedness (myopia), dry eyes or floaters in the eyes.  Excess liver heat can cause painful, burning and bloodshot eyes.

According to Western medicine, the liver is the main cleanser and filter of your bloodstream.
  Every toxic substance that enters your body eventually ends up in your liver, which attempts to break it down and prepare it for excretion.  Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is manufactured in your body, especially in your liver.  The production of glutathione requires several amino acids (cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid), as well as the mineral selenium.

The better your liver is at detoxification, the fewer toxins you will have in your body.  If your liver health is compromised, you will have a greater quantity of toxins running around your bloodstream, causing free radical damage and wear and tear to your organs and tissues.  The delicate retina and macula in the eyes are particularly vulnerable to free radical damage, and this can have a devastating effect on vision.  Free radicals can attack the retina and result in the breakdown of healthy tissue.

Cigarette smoking, a lack of fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet, heavy alcohol consumption, high blood sugar and the consumption of margarine and vegetable oil are all known risk factors for vision loss in people over the age of 50.  People with compromised liver health such as fatty liver disease, hepatitis, cirrhosis or alcohol induced liver inflammation are also at risk of vision loss and poor eye health.

What you can do to save your sight.

In many instances, people with compromised liver health are not aware they have a problem because they may have very few, or no symptoms.  However, eye conditions or eye discomfort can be a helpful early warning sign that you need to pay attention to your liver.  Nearly every one of our patients who completes a liver detox remarks that their eyes are looking noticeably clearer, they experience less discomfort and dryness in their eyes after staring at a computer screen all day; their eyes are less irritated by grass and pollen; they don’t seem to need their reading glasses as much, or their contact lenses don’t seem to irritate them as much.

Perhaps it’s time you gave your liver a helping hand! Recommendations for good eye and liver health: Eat plenty of raw vegetables and make raw vegetable juices regularly.  Vegetables contain a plethora of antioxidants that you cannot obtain any other way.  Try to include as wide a variety of vegetables in your diet as possible, as the different pigments that give vegetables their color are powerful antioxidants.  Fruit is beneficial too but should be limited to two pieces per day, as it is fairly high in sugar.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are two specific antioxidants found in large quantities in the lens and retina of the eyes.  Research has shown they help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.  These antioxidants are found in kale, spinach, broccoli, corn and egg yolks.

Avoid substances that you know are harmful to your liver, such as cigarettes, excess alcohol, sugar, junk food and cheap nasty vegetable oil and margarine.  The healthiest oils to consume are olive oil, macadamia nut oil, cold pressed coconut oil and ghee.

Take a good quality liver tonic.  In today’s polluted world your liver has to deal with a far greater quantity of toxins than if you were alive 100 years ago.  Your diet will not always be perfect either; therefore a good liver tonic is essential.  Livatone Plus contains the powerful herb St Mary’s thistle.  This herb is an antioxidant, improves liver detoxification and can even help to repair damaged liver cells.

Drink green tea regularly.  Green tea contains powerful antioxidants and it helps to reduce the risk of developing a fatty liver. Take a selenium supplement.  Selenium is required for the production of the body’s own antioxidant glutathione. This improves detoxification and reduces the amount of toxins circulating in the bloodstream.
Take care of your liver and you can be rewarded with bright eyes and clear vision.

Also worth reading:

Is the food we eat, and the air we breath, making us sick?
Enzymes are an important factor for good health.
My thought for today. – Werner
Health is not valued until sickness comes. Thomas Fuller