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Wed, 2nd July 2014
 

When making a home medical visit the mother opened the linen press by the bathroom for a towel. I couldn't help but notice they were all striped, and when folded and stacked the stripes formed perfect unbroken vertical lines. I casually mentioned this, and was told that everything had to be in its right orderly place. It was a bit like a grab from Charles Dickens. I went into the bathroom, tiled black, and there was not a single water mark anywhere. "The bathroom must be spotless", the lady remarked. "I spend half my life cleaning this house". She kept rubbing her nose - was this another part of the lady's make up. Of course what this lady has, although probably unimportant and not needing treatment (yet) is what tens of thousands suffer. A mild form of OCD. That means "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder".

OCD

Repeating useless unnecessary actions. Look around, specially when people are motionless like waiting in their car at the traffic lights. How many pick at the face, twist the neck, widen and constrict their eyes, hunch their shoulders, and make other entirely unnecessary movements. Some inner force keeps them at it. It may have been in response to a local irritation initially. But then it developed into a "habit", and then OCD gradually took over. They are not comfortable unless making purposeless movements.

Purposeless Movements

Once done, the need to repeat it soon arises. Of course, if it advances to a state when they want to wash their hands continually, cannot leave the house rechecking the light switches a dozen times before leaving, then it needs intervention. Today, the SSRI family of medication often brings relief from the hidden urges. If you see yourself heading in this direction, have a chat to your doctor before it worsens and completely takes over your life.

 
PSYLLIUM CHOKING

Q: 

I take 2 tsp psyllium a day in 250 mLs of water, stir briskly and drink. The other day, some loose powder floated in top of the water, which I inadvertently inhaled, nearly choked and thought I was dying. I wonder how many others have been similarly affected.

A: 

It is essential all the powder be dispersed in the water before drinking, otherwise serious "accidents" may occur. Loose powder commonly sits on top. Drink quickly, otherwise it becomes gluggy Follow with another 250mLs of clear water to disperse in the gut system. Some prefer to sprinkle the powder on their brekky cereal.

 
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SWOLLEN TOE

Q: 

My little guy developed a swollen big toe which turned blue and terrified me. On close inspection, the doctor found a fine thread had wound around the base of the toe cutting off normal circulation. I wonder how many parents are aware of this possible hazard to any child.

A: 

This is not uncommon, and parents must be alert to any abnormality occurring in any part of the body, trying to discover the cause, or else seeking medical intervention. Do not delay. Some simple "accidents" may be disastrous if ignored.

 
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RELATIONSHIP DISASTER

Q: 

So many of my peers have sustained relationship disasters leading to separation and acrimony. It is pathetic, and simply leads to hatred and ill health.

A: 

The stress of modern living, often trying to raise a family, with financial and social obligations, it all becomes "Too hard". Nevertheless, this is today’s world, not much different actually to the past. Giving and taking by both partners are essential. So is mutual confidence and understanding. Early discussion with a counselor when the initial cracks appear is vital. But it is a two way deal, not one way traffic. Both must want it to succeed.

 
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FAITH

Q: 

Does faith and belief in a higher power play any part in medical treatment?

A: 

"As a man thinketh so is he (she)", the philosopher of old said. Many believe an overall higher power influences the universe, and after all, life had to begin somewhere. Many find a positive attitude, and involving this power make them feel better, and this results in a positive outcome, so much the better. At least it does no harm. Everybody has a high level of faith - otherwise nobody would ever post a letter or use the email or press the electricity switch.

 
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DEEP BREATHING

Q: 

We are often admonished to do deep breathing each day, but with the amount of aerial pollution around, is this safe?

A: 

Whatever is floating around out there we inhale, either with normal or deep breathing. The air contains an enormous amount of pollution, worse in urban areas with exhaust fumes everywhere. Fortunately, there is enough oxygen amongst this mess that life is sustained. It does its best to filter out what is not needed. That is also why drinking lots of water and eating sensible food are also important to help overcome this.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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