Sunday, October 21, 2018


1/R^2 describes the strength of gravity and the intensity of radiant flux.

It also describes the influence of actors upon our lives.

Those and that which are closest to us influence us the most.

We are most likely to marry somebody who lives within seven miles of us.

If things get sporty then the person most likely to kill or maim you lives within five miles of you.

Nothing is closer to you than that which swims around in your own body.

By virtue of that fact, nothing is more boring to other people than endless whining about health issues. Hence, I avoid them on principle when blogging.

But every once in a while...
Mrs ERJ was under the weather. Every sip of water, every bite of food brought wincing pain.

Antacids gave immediate relief. Fancier "acid stomach" medicines gave longer lasting relief. The preliminary diagnosis is GERD based on the pain's response to that treatment. So where is the story?

The story is that I had nearly the same condition the previous two weeks. Oh, there were some slight differences. My was more of a night-time condition with the additional symptom of PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions or Cardiac flip-flops).

Antacids, ranitidine and cutting way down on coffee, adult beverages and seasonings got me through the issue. Oh, and I cut way down on portion size and stopped eating four hours before hitting the rack.

The story is that the severity and the timing suggest infectious agents. The severity was a plus three standard deviation event for both of us and the timing suggests dominoes falling.

Digging a little bit deeper there are a handful of virus that can target the esophagus causing the sphincter to become inflamed and to not seal. Herpes, Cytomegalovirus and Varicella-zoster virus and presumably others.

That leaves us with a dilemma. Do we stop carrying for my elderly parents until Mrs ERJ has no symptoms or do we continue on with knowing that they have already been exposed since I went symptomatic two weeks ago?

My inclination is to continue care but to exercise increased vigilance with hand-washing. Not only is it impossible to shield elderly people from all infectious agents, it might not be desirable. Ideally, we would all get very mild cases of everything that goes through so our body's immune system can "track" agents as they mutate. That way, our bodies will have an up-to-date portfolio of antibodies to glom onto when the next wave sweeps through.

And to tie it back to you, the reader, don't despair if you get severe, sudden onset acid-stomach/reflux pain. By all means, hie thee to ER if you think it is a heart attack.

But if antacids make it manageable, then take heart, it might just be a virus sweeping through your community and life will be much better in a couple of weeks.

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