The CBD Experiment

My wife suffers from autoimmune issues that end up expressing as RA. Inflammation, swelling, and pain flare up without warning. Hips, back, jaw, fingers, hands, feet, back. Nothing is immune from autoimmune problems.

It’s not a new issue for her, starting back in 1998. It wearies her, of course, and frustrates me. All I can do is support her, and that just doesn’t feel and sound like much.

She’s gone through meds but as anyone who is prescribed meds knows, everything has a side-effect. Many meds cause their own problems, burning through other organs, upsetting digestive systems, etc. In her mid-sixties, she’s been a vegetarian or vegan for over forty years, for many reasons. As her RA progressed, she eliminated more and more foods. She keeps a food journal. Fats were strenuously reduced. Salmon was embraced. We’ve always eaten steamed vegetables, particularly broccoli and brusse sprouts, and roasted asparagus, so we just stayed the course with those. Black beans form a large component of our meals. Alcohol was gone, but she was never much of a drinker. Dairy, especially cheese, which she loves, was eliminated. Tomatoes (another favorite) followed. Sugar. Then she kicked the meds because the side effects were too deleterious. She’s always been a staunch supporter of work outs and exercising and has been a jazzercise enthusiast and weightlifter for over forty years. She puts a lot into both and has been asked by the jazzercise instructor to fill in and lead classes.

That’s the thumbnail sketch. With her diet restrictions, off the meds, she’s been doing well, and even improving. Know how it is, though, right? Something flares up, causing pain and problems.

That brings us to CBDs.

Friends of mine are CBD advocates. They and their wives use CBD and other cannabidiols such as CBA and CBG to cope with their health issues, particularly inflammation and arthritis, sometimes in conjunction with THC, sometimes with mushrooms, but usually with wine or beer. All are pleased with the results. A few raved about CBD with THC to sleep at night. Edibles such as gummies, easily obtained and ingested, garnered particular praise.

So I collected info from friends regarding brands, habits, dosages, and side-effects, and brought that to my wife. She did further research. Purchases were made. She took her first, Wyld Blackberry 25 mg CBD gummies. “How was it?” I asked the next day.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she replied. “And I didn’t feel anything for the pain, swelling, or inflammation.” She showed me her crooked finger, with its red, swollen joint.

I have minor inflammation, mostly afflicting my intestines. While I address restoring my biome’s balance through diet and probiotics, I thought I’d give the CBD a try.

“How was it?” my wife asked the next day.

“Great. Felt almost an immediate relief. I was really impressed.”

A low growl came from my wife’s direction. I may have imagined that. She tried the CBD again that day and experienced the same results.

Research was pursued. She determined, she believes, that she’s one of those people who suffer increased anxiety from CBD, and no relief.

For the heck of it, we tried other gummy variations, and also gave CBG a try. Same results for her. Which just sucks, you know? Meanwhile, I thrived on it.

But that’s how our bodies are, individualistic and unequal, following paths and micro-paths which we don’t fully understand, sometimes forged by genetics, but also by small biological quirks. That’s part of the life experience, understanding what your body is doing, trying to understand why, struggling to address your own unique needs and issues. The wildest aspect is that the body is always changing, and the hunt for understanding doesn’t end until we cease to breathe.

And that is life.

A New Word

Today’s word for the day is triaditis. It goes with words already familiar to me, like inflammation and pancreatitis, detoxing, dehydration, and a bonus new word, cholangitis. These are the words passed on to me from the vet. Triaditis is the concurrent inflammation of bile ducts, liver, and pancreas. Surprising to me is that it’s common in cats. Cats have owned me for fifty years. None of them ever mentioned triaditis. They did sometimes display triaditis symptoms of being lethargic, not eating, and vomiting something thin and yellowish. But they usually said, “Done,” the next day and went on being a uniquely entertaining companion.

That brings out two other familiar words, acute and chronic. Chronic, yeah, it flares up once in a while, doesn’t generally cause a larger panel of issues, etc. Acute is more critical and dangerous. The question before the vets is, which flavor afflicts Papi?

That’s what’s being explored today. His blood pressure was also initially low, but it recovered. There were some concerning matters about the kidneys, expected when a cat is not eating nor drinking water. We’d been forcing water in him and trying to entice him to eat.

I read up on what I could overnight and this morning about triaditis. Papi remains hospitalized. He’s young, so I worry that he’s experiencing acute triaditis. As expected, he was given fluids via IV, along with antibiotics. Because my wife has RA, we’re familiar with autoimmune diseases and disorders. The doctor confirmed that triaditis falls in that realm. Not much more is known about it past its symptoms and how common it is.

For now, Papi’s major issue is that he’s still not eating nor showing interest in it. We believe it’s because he’s in the hospital. He’s been treated for dehydration and given antibiotics. Provide us with some NSAID anti-inflammatories, if possible (I’d rather avoid steroids because of the collateral damage they can cause), and let us take him home and try to get him to eat.

It’s still a shock that he became sick so suddenly. This is how bodies function, though. Because we see such small, gradual, external changes, we easily overlook or forget that we’re really multiple internal functions, processes, and organs balancing and harmonizing. Keeping it all together requires shifts and adjustments. Sometimes genetics enter the scene. Other times, luck or injuries shift the setting.

We’ll see what we see. I don’t feel fatalistic about Papi; I’m optimistic. Maybe it’s just due to how he always presented, as energetic, happy, and healthy, so he remains so in my mind.


The Tricorder Dream

I began as a fighter pilot but upon returning from a mission, I changed clothes and started writing computer programs as part of a small startup. In my early thirties (from appearance), I was initially writing programs as a database manager while serving as a mid-level manager overseeing several functions, including data collection and entry. The company was involved with a new medical process and was going through clinical trials and marketing trials. Several RL people from my RL employment with medical device companies appeared in the dream. I knew the details of the trial in the dream, but it was all glossed over and they’re lost now. What the company was doing wasn’t working but I realized that another benefit was possible. That’s what I began writing a program. It was to work with a scanner to be a sort of medical tricorder (as used in Star Trek). I developed a form for the scan to fill out. Each iteration helped me refine and expand what the tricorder could do. I became immensely excited because they could be manufactured and sold cheaply, enabling people to scan themselves non-invasively at home without a need for blood and urine panels, x-rays, or MRIs. It would be a proactive tool to get ahead of your body’s trends before they became a problem. You could easily baseline your norms and then keep testing yourself to see what changes had taken place. The dream ended with me scanning myself as a test subject.

Apple Diet After Math

The three-day apple diet was endured. Yeah, not bad, except in maddening fits when habits drive hunger. Like relaxing, watching television or reading in the evening invites a food companion. Not anything big but the apple slices weren’t satisfying in those moments.

That was rare, though. I’m satisfied with results. I suffer from edema brought on by Amlodipine taken to manage my high blood pressure. Apples only for three days had a dramatic impact. Likewise, as I’ve aged, mild bloating plagues me. That disappeared. And I felt damn fine. I’d recommend it to others.

Rising yesterday morning, I wasn’t hungry and ate breakfast a little later than usual. Energy level was high. I didn’t have any dramatic urges or desires to stuff myself. For dinner, we enjoyed fish with seasoned boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli, and a salad.

The cats rose up. “Fish! Real food. At last, we have been delivered from our suffering.” They charged my plate, leaping up onto the table. They know they’re not allowed on the table.

My response: “Get down. Back. This is my food. You don’t see me going after your food.”

They all jumped down and scattered back a few feet. The head floof said, “You can eat my kibble any time you want. I’ll trade.”

I told him I’d passed. He walked away, muttering to himself, tail swishing.

I don’t think he was happy.

Apple Diet, Day Three

After enjoying scrambled eggs with bacon, toast, and hash browns, I returned to the apple diet. Then I awoke from my dream.

A pattern emerged regarding my hunger. I eat breakfast within my first hour of being awake. You know, bathroom, feed cats, shower-shave-dress, and then breakfast. Day 1 of the AD, I ate apples for breakfast, but was hungry throughout the day, and ended the day hungry. On the second day, I didn’t get hungry until about three in the afternoon. Today, I wasn’t hungry until noon, but I was then ravenous. Television viewing affected it today. I watched NFL football. Any idea how many times food commercials are shown during NFL games? They’re all about pizza and fast food. I don’t eat meals from fast-food restaurants, but I enjoy burgers and pizza.

Granny Smith apples are at the bottom of my apple list. Just so damn sour. Think sour Gummis. Sour Patch Kids. Lemons which aren’t ripe. Grapes that aren’t ripe. An IPA with high IBUs. I adjusted by cutting my GS up first thing in the morning, and then eating a slice or two with the other apples.

The cats have learned that I’m not eating anything interesting. Using their noses and sound cues, they’ve quickly adjusted to the new diet and don’t come around to see what’s on my plate.

I’m already planning my first meal after this is over. Anyone want a Granny Smith? I have one left. They’re really good. Trust me.

Day Two of the Apple Diet

Walking along the streets yesterday, I realize that I’d picked the wrong time of day for a constitutional. It was dinner preparation time. Smells from people’s cooking clouded the air. I swear that I smelled a grilled steak with garlic bread and onions. And here I am, eating nothing but apples.

Stickers on fruit exasperate me. Yes, this is a first world complaint. Two or three stickers are on each apple. Removing them requires some thumb-nailing. One typically comes apart as five or six tiny pieces.

The apple diet is an Edgar Cayce thing. My wife and I discovered Edgar Cayce in our late teens. Cayce was as a clairvoyant who claimed to channel information from his higher self while in a trance-like state. People wrote to him for advice, especially about their health. We came to learn about Cayce through books by Jess Stern.

Cayce made a lot of predictions that didn’t work out. But some of his notions intrigued us, and we adopted some of his eating and healing guidance. One of those things is the apple diet. On it, you eat nothing but apples for three days. You also drink water. Black coffee is permitted, too. The idea is that eating only apples will detox you or cleanse your system of its toxins. We’ve done this diet many times before, but not in several years. Now in our mid-sixties, battened down against COVID-19, limited in diversions because travel is restricted, we thought we’d entertain ourselves by eating only apples. I mean, I’ve been working on a jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces don’t taste as good as apples. I’m doing this to be a supportive husband, though. That’s what I tell myself. Several times a day.

We went out on Thursday and bought a variety of apples totaling enough for two people eating six apples a day for three days. That makes some number that is two times six times three. Beyond that, it’s pretty easy. Put six apples into a bowl each morning. Peel off the stickers, wash it, slice it up, and eat it when you’re hungry.

It’s not bad, as diets go. (That’s what I tell myself. Several times a day.) Limited in scope and duration. Easy to follow. And we like apples. I wouldn’t want to do it for longer than three days, though, although I do like the cleanup. Much easier than the messes made by plant-based burgers, pasta, fish, etc.

The most interesting part of this are the looks received from the cats when I bring in a plate of sliced apples. They’re like “Hey, what do we got?” Sniffing is exercised. Then comes the stare. The stare says, “Seriously? Where’s the real food?” The stare is fraught with betrayal and disappointment.

“I know how you feel,” I answer. Their expressions change to pity. One of them pushed a piece of kibble to me.

Seriously, the apple diet is not bad. That’s what I tell myself. It’s. Not. That. Bad. At least I still have coffee.

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