Having a Rest Cure.

I had a bad set of complications develop from medication, so after spending the past weekend in the hospital, I’ve checked into a rehabilitation facility. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, and although it’s a pleasant enough place, I’ll be working hard with physical therapy and occupational therapy to get up to speed and back home again.

Here’s hoping all my readers are doing well!



How to Choose and Use a CPAP Machine for Sleep Apnea – Consumer Reports

I’m still in rehab, and they say I’m making progress. There’s Internet access at the nursing home, so I’ve been surfing.

Here’s a link I found to an article about CPAP treatment options:

For those with sleep apnea, a CPAP machine is often considered the best therapy. Consumer Reports offers advice on how to navigate this sometimes challenging treatment.

Link: How to Choose and Use a CPAP Machine for Sleep Apnea – Consumer Reports

Living with Chronic Pain: Lidocaine Patches and Cream.

Location, Location, Location.

It’s counterintuitive, but the best place to put topical anesthetic preparations is NOT directly where the pain is perceived to be.

That’s because pain isn’t really felt there. Those tissues are generating pain signals that are transmitted to the brain. It’s in the brain that pain is actually felt.

So the best place to put a topical anesthetic is “between the pain and the brain.”

That means finding the nerves that constitute the pathway between the affected tissues and the brain. The way you do that is by consulting a dermatome chart. Such charts show the major spinal nerves which transmit signals from various parts of the body.

From these charts, it can be seen that the best place to apply lidocaine for shoulder joint pain is in the axilla (armpit). A piece of lidocaine patch or a dime-sized dollop of lidocaine cream placed there can interrupt pain sensations via the cervical and thoracic nerves that serve the upper axillary region: the zone of shoulder joint function.

Not all pains are created equal.

The pathology behind the pain does need to be known. Different causes of pain will affect how effective topical pain relief can be (or any other kind of pain medication, such as NSAIDS or narcotics). For example, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica generate pain because of the action of antibodies attacking joints. The most effective pain relief for those conditions consists of a drug regimen that addresses the root cause of the diseases: an overactive immune system. Steroids, chemotherapy, and newer “biological” drugs that target specific immune cells are used to depress the immune system, decreasing the antibody burden and preventing damage in a body that’s gone into self-destruct mode. These drugs have dangerous side effects and must be used very carefully for their benefits to outweigh their risks.



A CPAP Distilling Disappointment.

After I’d worn out my Chef son’s portable electric hob by using it to distill water for Darth CPAP, I decided to replace it with an induction burner. I wondered if the superior efficiency of induction heating (which uses magnetism to direct all the heat to the cookware) would yield better output.

It didn’t. Turns out that induction is too efficient for the task of distilling water (at least, for the system I’ve been using). The heat is so well confined to the cookware, the top sections of the juice extractor I’m using for a still get so hot, they evaporate the condensate, so the yield of distilled water is poor, compared to using a resistance burner, such as a flat hot plate or the coils on a stove burner. Also, it somehow leaves more calcium in the water, so distilling is incomplete.

So I’m back to using the electric range to make distilled water. If that hulking pot gets in the way on the stovetop, maybe I’ll invest in another cheap portable hob, and just plan to replace it every couple of years.

I haven’t tried the induction burner for any other kind of cooking, but I’m sure it will do everything that its technology is supposed to do for actually cooking food. The only minor complaint I have about the appliance is that the cooling fan is loud – about as loud as the fan in the space heater I use in my room. It’s almost enough to mask the alarm beep that sounds when the unit turns off (there’s a default timer of 2 hours, which can be extended to just shy of 3 hours). But the fan turns off a few minutes after the timer shuts down, so when you don’t hear the unit “exhaling” any more, you know that cooking has stopped.

And I’m sure that my Chef son will enjoy using it in his guest cooking demonstrations, since the heating unit is safer than traveling with a conventional electric resistance burner.