Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Today, we woke up at 6:30 AM and was right at the door of the testing Lab at 7:00AM. I was so shock to see that 20 people are already in line to sign up. I notice that the registration line was so slow, I decided I will try another location about 3 miles ( Mercy Building) away. We were there at 7:15AM. There were two patients ahead of us. The sign up is computerized. I told the front clerk about the Sunrise Office. She told me their branch has usually 6 to 7 phlebotomist and so business is fast. The Sunrise Branch has only 3 to 4 blood suckers, and the sign up is manual. However both branches still asked for your insurance Card every time you have a lab test. We have no appointment but had our lab test was done in less than 30 minutes.
The service will be faster if you make appointment. I tried making an appointment on line, But I did not like the appointment system. It is so archaic and antiquated and very confusing. I often wonder why the Data Based of the Lab is not computerized so that once you check in and gave your insurance card it is on the data base. All the clerk has to do is ask you if your insurance is still the same every time you visit the lab. QD generates more than $7 billion of revenue and can not afford to completely computerized their data base! What a Shame and a good example of poor management! I think the reason for this is the company has no competition, thus no incentive to modernize and spent money for automation. Here's what Wikipedia says about Quest Diagnostics.
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company providing clinical laboratory services with headquarters in Madison, New Jersey. Founded in 1967 as Metropolitan Pathology Laboratory, Inc., it became an independent corporation with the Quest name on December 31, 1996. In addition to the United States, Quest Diagnostics also runs operations in United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico and a laboratory in India and also has collaborative agreements internationally with various hospitals and clinics. It is a member of the Fortune 500 and the S&P 500, with corporate headquarters located in Madison, New Jersey. The company has approximately 44,000 employees, generates more than $7 billion in revenue and offers access to diagnostic testing services for cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and neurological disorders.
Monday, February 27, 2017
If you are following my blogs, you probably know that I am the Primary Care Giver for my spouse who has Parkinson's Disease. Every now and then I get a relief from relatives and friends taking care of Macrine.
Yesterday, our daughter( Dinah) and granddaughter( Elaine) visited Macrine and brought lunch with them. After lunch they brought her to our nearby Mall to shop for Sees Chocolates and a sweater. Then they went to the Food Court for snacks and dessert. For 3 hours they had a great time, just visiting and enjoying the Mall. In the meantime, I went back to sleep for 30 minutes. The rest of my free time, I did some writing and updating my blogs. It was a fun afternoon for Macrine and a much welcome relief for me.
When they came back from the Mall, Macrine was tired and complained of neck pains. Dinah try to massage it, while Elaine was staring. Without any warning, Elaine blurted to us. I am really trying to help Mom have a boy friend or husband now so that 20 years from now I do not have to do what she is doing to Lola. We all laugh. Dinah ask if PD is genetic. I answered some form of PD is genetic, since her father had also PD before he died. Again thank you Dinah and Elaine for your visit. They promised to visit us again next month.
For details on my tribulations as a primary care giver when we were in Marinduque last year read the following:
Sunday, February 26, 2017
This is the advance birthday greetings from Yong Nieva( Macrine's first cousin) last year in Boac. Macrine and Yong have the same birthday, March 26.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Besides my small collection of marble products from Romblon, Philippines, I have also a small collection of wood carvings from the Philippines. The following are some of my wood carvings collection.
Two photos from: http://www.manilatrade.com/philippine-wood-carving-and-exporting/ in Paete, Laguna-wood carving capital of the Philippines
Two photos from: http://www.manilatrade.com/philippine-wood-carving-and-exporting/ in Paete, Laguna-wood carving capital of the Philippines
Thursday, February 23, 2017
If you are not a Filipino or had no Philippine connections, you probably have not heard of Romblon, Philippines. Romblon is the marble capital of the Philippines. It is a province that have touched my childhood years. I have written a chapter ( Chapter 2) in my autobiography about Romblon (http://davidbkatague.blogspot.com/2011/12/chapter-2-memories-of-romblon-1945.html) for your additional information.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
My first industrial job after finishing my Ph.D from the University of Illinois was for Chemagro Corp in Kansas City, Missouri. My title was Chemist in the methods Development group( Biochemistry) headed by Dr. Charles Anderson ( Chuck). My primary duty was to develop methods for the detection of pesticides residues in plant and animal tissues. My work for five years( 1964-1969) resulted in several publications on the subject of analytical methods for pesticide residues in a couple of scientific journals. I enjoyed my first job very much because of my fellow employees and my supervisor, Dr Anderson.
Chemagro sponsored me for my permanent resident visa from a student visa. Looking at the group photo above, I now realized I was the first Filipino scientist hired by the company. There were 40 employees in the research Department mostly white men. There were only six women and no black scientist in our department. I was very proud to be the only Asian hired by the company for several years. As a matter of fact my photo with two other white chemists was published in the Kansas City Star as an advertising for the company.
Here's the latest information about Chemagro from the Internet: Chemagro is now called Bayer CropScience, LP.
The Bayer Crop Science site is located on about 236 acres at 8400 Hawthorne Road in North Kansas City, Missouri, approximately 1.5 miles south of the confluence of the Missouri and Blue rivers. The facility occupies about 150 acres of the site and is protected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ East Bottom Flood Levee. The remaining property is undeveloped land lying outside the Levee (river side of the Levee).
Before 1956, the property was farmland. In 1956, the facility opened as an agricultural chemical manufacturing facility, known as Chemagro, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer A.G. in 1967. In 1971, the facility came under control of the Mobay Chemical Corp. as a result of the merger and restructuring of various U.S. businesses affiliated with Bayer A.G. Over the years the facility formulated and produced numerous insecticides, fungicides and herbicides for agricultural use, including guthion (azinphosmethyl), disulfoton (Disyston), fenthion (Baytex), demeton (Systox), coumaphos (Baymix) and Meta-Systox-R.
A variety of hazardous wastes were produced as part of the facility operations. From 1959 to 1973, approximately 7,450 tons of material was land disposed in three areas at the facility where trenches were reportedly dug. This material consisted of about 6,902 tons of Filter Aid (a semi-solid paste that remains after pesticide recovery), 16 tons of ethyl phosphoro-triesters with toluene, 500 tons of methyl phosphoro-triesters with naphthol spirit and 30 tons of DEF water treatment residue (polyphosphates of tri-n-butyl thioester phosphates). After the final placement of these materials, the areas were covered with a layer of dirt and then gravel or grass.
Since 1979, the facility has operated two hazardous waste container storage areas in the south-central part of the facility, with a combined capacity of 12,375 gallons; four 27,000-gallon hazardous waste storage tanks and one hazardous waste incinerator. In January 1992, the facility name changed to Miles Inc., and in April 1995 the name changed to Bayer Corp., Agricultural Division. These were not changes in ownership or operating responsibility, but changes in company name only. In 2002, Bayer CropScience LP assumed ownership of the site.
On Aug. 10, 2015, the department approved Bayer’s Class 2 Permit Modification request, allowing Bayer to, among other things, add a new 24,000-gallon capacity permitted hazardous waste storage tank and to increase the secondary containment capacity of container Storage Pad No. 2 in order to store larger-sized containers. Bayer continues to produce and package insecticides, seed treatments, herbicides and fungicides for crop protection. Bayer stores and incinerates hazardous waste created during the on-site production processes and hazardous waste from Bayer’s satellite and sister facilities and Bayer-contracted formulators.
This facility is not a commercial waste management facility, since the wastes are limited to Bayer or Bayer contractor produced wastes. Bayer also arranges for off-site treatment and disposal of waste that can not be treated in the incinerator.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Have you ever seen a waterfall on fire? I have not except on pictures as posted in this blog. It is a rare event, since it occurs only on mid to late February at sunset if the temperature and water conditions are right and usually last only for 10 minutes. The following video will illustrate it all.
For more details visit:
Friday, February 17, 2017
I have been retired from the US Federal Government since 2002. Looking back on my participation to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) back in the mid 1990's, I know I could have been a Millionaire, If I risked my savings into the more risky C fund ( stocks). At that time there were only three options to invest -The G, F and C Funds. I was putting 5% of my salary and the Government was matching it ( 6%). At that time I invested 1/3 of my savings to each G, F and C Funds because I was not risky enough to invest 100% to the C fund (stocks).
I have a fellow worker who put all his savings in the C fund. When he retired in 2002 he had almost a savings closed to 1 million, while mine was not even half of his savings. However, I did not regret since I did not have sleepless nights following the ups and downs of the stock market during those years. For more details on the TSP Savings Plan read:
Macrine and I had another chance during our younger years to become millionaires if were risky in our investments. About 3 decades ago when the condominium market was just starting in Makati, Manila, Macrine's cousin invited us to buy condos ( 50-50 joint venture) with him in Makati. We seriously considered it. However, at that time we were not sure of our retirement plans and we did not invest with him. Macrine's cousin is now a millionaire because of his investment in the condo market in Makati and Manila suburbs.
Today, although we are not millionaires we are very happy. I invested the money I inherited from my Parents ( Iloilo) and my TSP savings building our retirement home and beach house we called Chateau Du Mer in Amoingon, Boac, Marinduque, Philippines.
For more details about our beach house and retirement home in the Philippines, visit http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com
Lesson: Money will not buy you happiness, but it makes life easier in your retirement years!
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Yesterday, Valentine's Day, I treated Macrine for a Valentine Day Dinner and an afternoon trip to our local Indian Casino. David was off and he volunteered to accompany Macrine to the slots Machine while I played Pai Gow Poker. My capital was $200 since the minimum bet was $15 with a dollar and two dollar side bets. The side bets will pay extra if you have a Full House ( or better poker hand) to the highest poker hand of a 7 royal Flush Poker Hand. The chance of winning the Royal Flush is worst than being hit by a Lighting.
However the chance of getting Full house or 4 of a Kind poker hand is doable. The 1 dollar side bet pays only 1 to 4 for full house and 4 of a Kind. The two dollar side bet pays $150 for the 4 of a Kind Hand, but I did not bet on it. The pay-off for a & Royal Flush Hand was 1.4 million. But how often one is dealt with a Royal Flush Hand. Maybe 1 in 31,000! That is you have to play 31,000 times before you can hit a royal flush of 5 cards. With 7 my guess would be 1 in 1 million is the odds.
After playing for one hour( about 20 hands) I was ahead about $55. On my last hand prior to our early dinner, I hit 4 Jacks and a Pair of Nine. Since I was betting only on the one dollar side bet, I received only a $25 bonus instead of $150. I was delighted as we went for our Special Valentine Dinner. The 3-course Dinner cost was $24. We had soup, steak and shrimp with rice/vegetables as the main dish and chocolate Decadent Cake with Berries and Ice Cream for Dessert. The dinner was excellent.
After dinner, Macrine decided to play more slots for 30 minutes as I head my way to the Pai Gow Tables. All the three Tables were filled and I waited for 10 minutes to get a seat. My capital was $100. After 30 minutes Macrine was ready to go home. I lost $50 this time. We went home happy but tired. When we arrived home, I took a nap for an hour, then a snack before bed time. It was a FUN DAY at the Casino.
In case you are not familiar with Pai Gow Poker, here's the link from the Internet and from my previous blog for details.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
For the last couple of decades prior to our quarterly medical check up, Macrine and I are required by our family physician to take the basic metabolic panel blood test. I was curious why and what possible diseases it can detect. Here's a summary of what I found in the web for your information.
The tests that make up the basic metabolic panel are blood (serum) tests for:
1. BUN (blood urea nitrogen)
This test measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood.
2. CO2 (carbon dioxide or bicarbonate)
This test references lung and kidney function.
Creatinine levels can tell your doctor how your kidneys are functioning.
A glucose test checks your blood sugar levels—abnormally high or low glucose levels could indicate a range of issues.
This test determines if the concentration of sodium is within normal limits. It is part of your electrolyte panel.
Your potassium levels are tested as part of your electrolyte panel.
Testing for the calcium levels in your blood can help determine if there is a kidney, bone, or nervous system problem.
Chloride levels are checked as part of your electrolyte panel.
A few laboratories also include tests for albumin, which tests blood protein levels to test for kidney and liver disease.
The basic metabolic panel can give your doctor a good idea if you have any serious problems with: blood filtration, acid/base balance of your blood, blood sugar levels, and electrolyte levels. This can help uncover kidney problems, lung problems, certain heart problems, and problems with your pancreas or insulin metabolism. More detailed tests and additional will be ordered if any of these basic indicators are abnormal.
One advantage of a panel of tests is that many tests can be done with just one blood sample that is divided up in the laboratory.
For Colon Cancer: There is the SimpliPro Colon test but it is not intended for use as a screening test or for patients without symptoms associated with colorectal cancer or advanced adenoma. You will need to have a colonoscopy to confirm if you have colon cancer.
Happy Valentine's Day to All You, my beloved Readers!
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Recently, science has started to back up what the Indians have known for a long time… it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties.
These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.
However, the curcumin content of turmeric is not that high… it’s around 3%, by weight. Most of the studies on this herb are using turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin itself, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in your foods. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, then you need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine… a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%
Because curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reducing characteristics, a study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs (diclofenac sodium), that put people at risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.
The study split these volunteers into three groups: curcumin treatment alone, diclofenac sodium alone, and a combination of the two. The results of the trial were eye-opening:
The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall [Disease Activity Score] scores and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events. Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.
Published by Phytotherapy Research in 2012, the results of this study has encouraged more human research to evaluate the amazing effects curcumin-rich plants like turmeric has on people suffering from various different types of arthritis.
One of the dosage form found effective is from 1000mg to 1200mg per day capsules. Virtually no side effects except constipation. If you are reading this and taking turmeric for your arthritis, I like to hear from you.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Three weeks ago, my left knee was in pain and my personal physician confirmed it after an X'ray as a start of a mild to moderate form of Arthritis. There is no cure to arthritis but your diet could affect and reduce the swelling besides taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naprosin and other analgesics. I did some research on what foods to take as well as to avoid. The site below described foods that helps in reducing swelling and may reduce pain to a more manageable level.
The best approach to food for people with arthritis is a well-balanced diet which, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, should be centered on plant-based foods. Approximately two-thirds of your diet should come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The other third should include low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein. Fish Products are also highly recommended.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help your knees by helping maintain range of motion and strengthening the muscles that support them. Research shows that even relatively minor increases in the strength of the quadriceps – the muscles that run along the front of the thigh – can help reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis and its progression, and reduce pain. Exercise can be helpful for other forms of arthritis, too, because it strengthens the muscles that support the joint. Proper exercise also may reduce the risk of knee injury and, if you need knee surgery, it will make recovery easier.
For detail information on diets and arthritis read the site below:
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The last couple of years, I remember I did not feel old at all although I was already on my late 70's. Four years ago prior to the PD diagnosis of my spouse for over 59 years( this May 8 will be our 60th year anniversary), I felt young, energetic and hopeful. I remember that four years ago, I was not only mentally, and physically fit, but also spiritually fit. The thought of getting old had not occurred in my mind at time.
Today, I do not feel young and although I am mentally and spiritually fit, my physical fitness as of today in now in limbo and in question. You do need the three items namely physical, mental and spiritual fitness not to feel old.
It started about ten days ago. One morning I woke up with a lingering pain on my left knee. On a scale of 1 to 10, I felt it was about a 3 to 4. I can still tolerate it without taking any pain medications. As the days progressed I tried massage, heat therapy and mild exercise. Nothing works, I have to take aspirin.
The other day, I decided to see my family physician. He examined my left knee and thinks it must be a torn ligament in the knee or a start of arthritis, since the pain appears to be aggravated by cold temperature. He ordered an X'ray, prescribed (Naprosin ) an anti-inflammatory/analgesic drug and a knee support hose. The Naprosin and the Knee support seems to help alleviate the pain, but I am not completely pain free.
Today I got the results of the X'ray. No torn ligaments but the start of arthritis. So what is arthritis. Here's an excerpt from www.athritis.org
Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes.
On a positive note: I passed my driver's license renewal for another five years after submitting the results of my vision test from my ophthamologist. I am however restricted to day driving and no extensive freeway driving. This is good enough for me as I only drive to the grocery and drug stores and once or twice a month to the Casino. Although I have no official restriction on Night Driving, I seldom drive at night and will do it only on emergency.
Related Blog: http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com/search?q=aging+gracefully
Sunday, February 5, 2017
I recommend this Vimeo video by Arturo Prins in case you have not seen it. For the synopsis read below.
“Under the Banyan tree” is a documentary exploring the inner world, memories and experiences of a 105-year-old Philippine woman, Nana Jessie. The life of a woman who at 18 left her birthplace in Cuba, to travel across land and ocean all by herself, to meet her future husband, Marcial Lichauco, in Manila. This is the portrait of a life full of adventure and unusual situations, embracing from before World War II to the present day. A house packed with old books, antiques, exotic objects, stuffed wild animals, photo albums, cats, dogs and a huge two hundred year old banyan tree next to the Pasig River, will be the supporting actors at the background of her memories. Through them and a clownish historical guide named Carlos, we will discover the history of a country, the traces of the Spanish and North American colonization, as well as the violent Japanese invasion during World War II.
A historical review of Philippine XXth century through the photographic albums; a series of interviews to the offspring of Philippine prostitutes and soldiers from the North American military base, socially excluded individuals, deprived of any citizenship rights; talks with some of Jessie´s seven children; conversations with survivors from the concentration camps during the War; participation in local folk dances; enjoying beautiful landscapes; mingling with today’s inhabitants along the river. All of these will merge into a surprising, unpredictable film about a family, a country, a history.
This is not a regular documentary, but rather a joyful song about everything surrounding Jessie, her photo albums, her furniture, the stuffed antelopes and lions, the magical corners of a home haunted by memories. Silent pauses, thoughtful gazes towards the river, the people surrounding her, a visual poetry telling us of her life, her feelings, her dead husband, her children, her home, her country. A picture where peace and violence, wealth and poverty, curiosity and love, youth and old age, sadness and joy, all take turns to leave a mark on her soul. An unexpected look into a country and its people, a road with an unforeseen end, bright images connecting and wrapping us with memories, secrets, past emotions, through the eyes and voice of this wise, adorable woman.
Here's a short biography of Marcial Lichauco, husband of Jessie from Wikipedia:
Marcial Primitivo Lichauco born in November 27, 1902 in Manila, was the youngest son of Faustino Lichauco (February 16, 1870, Binondo, Manila - June 15, 1930), a member of Emilio Aguinaldo's Revolutionary Junta, and Luisa Fernández y Arcinas (June 21, 1873, Binondo, Manila - September 10, 1959).
Lichauco studied at the American-established Central School in Manila. After having graduated as the valedictorian of his class, he entered Harvard University. In 1923, he became the first Filipino to graduate from Harvard. He later studied at Harvard Law School and graduated in 1926.
Throughout the period, Lichauco traveled in the United States delivering speeches promoting the idea of Philippine independence. He collaborated with Moorfield Storey to publish "The Conquest of the Philippines by the United States" to draw attention to the Philippine-American war.
In the 1930s, Lichauco was secretary to the OsRox Mission, which traveled to the United States Congress to urge passage of a bill granting independence to the Philippines. This ultimately became the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act.
Lichauco spent WW-II in occupied Manila. After the war, Lichauco published "Dear Mother Putnam" to document day-to-day life in Japanese-occupied Manila.
In 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal appointed Marcial Lichauco as Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Lichauco served in that post until 1966.
Related Information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity,_Adventure,_and_Love
Thursday, February 2, 2017
The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed and consumed worldwide. USP’s drug standards are enforceable in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, and these standards are used in more than 140 countries.
Since its founding in 1820, USP has helped secure the quality of the American drug supply. Building on that legacy, USP today works with scientists, practitioners, and regulators of many nations to develop and revise standards that help protect public health worldwide. Here's a short video about the USP Pharmacopeia.
My involvement with the United States Pharmacopeia(USP)started in 1995 and ended in 2005. In 1995, I was first elected to USP Council of Experts, Standards Division in the Antibiotics and Natural Products Committees. My first term of 5 years ended in 2000, but I was reelected to another five years term in 2000 ending in 2005. As an elected member of the Council of Experts, I was responsible for establishing standards of identity, safety, quality, purity of drug substances and drug products as well as in-vitro and diagnostic products, dietary supplements and related articles used in health care. Just in case you have not heard of USP...
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is the official pharmacopeia of the United States, published dually with the National Formulary as the USP-NF. The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (usually also called the USP) is the nonprofit organization that owns the trademark and copyright to the USP-NF and publishes it every year. Prescription and over–the–counter medicines and other health care products sold in the United States are required to follow the standards in the USP-NF. USP also sets standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements.
Lastly, the University of the Philippines Chemistry Alumni Newsletter congratulated me on my election to the USP/CE with this note. " We join with your colleagues and your family in congratulating you for this singular honor, which bring prestige to the Philippines as well."