Monday, September 08, 2014

And so it goes

And so it goes...

As usually happens in this latitude, the summer has gone by swiftly and the Big Lake (Michigan) is starting to cool down from the night temperatures. I am back to lecturing at the university (UWM) and find myself reflecting on the past 4-5 months.

I paddled a good deal and found someone (Jeff) who is both a colleague (ER Doc) and someone with a schedule that allows him to paddle during the weekdays.

I had a tough experience with some of my training goals and am still resolving medical issues around all that.

The two symposiums (DKSKS & GLSKS) were wonderful experiences. Teaching continues to be my passion and got to do that on my own and with Sherri and Danny and other wonderful instructors from whom I have carefully stolen some excellent teaching techniques.

I am presently searching for something long and lighter to replace my Cetus MV as I most often paddle alone and have a short carry to the launch site. To fund this I would need to sell one of my Greenland boats (I have a SOF and one I built from a Mark Rodger's kit). I will hold on to my old Romany for teaching a lot of short paddles.
I need to hook up with some local traditional paddlers as I do not like to be on the water alone in boats that cannot be wet exited or in which it is difficult to do so. The weather (and water temps) is ideal for the Tulik.

I am grateful for the blessings that have allowed me to be active at my age and to do so with so many wonderful folks.

Paddle safe...
DS

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Sunny Side Up

I Don't Give Medical Advise (anymore)

While in practice I tried to keep up with new discoveries in nutrition and diet and learned long ago that low vitamin D levels (common in northern latitudes) were associated with depression and may be part of the cause of SADs (seasonal affective disorder...treated with bright lights). I did blood levels on several patients who complained of depression and found low Vitamin D levels in their blood. On therapy their levels rose and so did their moods.

Now, a new study indicates that upping levels of Vitamin D helps treat (remove brain plaques) in Alzheimer's Disease. Perhaps that 5,000 units a day (which raised my levels to normal) is why my brain is so excellent at my age [(my wife (and others) would disagree].

Perhaps, too, it is the sun exposure and production of the vitamin that makes paddlers so happy. (BTW: Vit. D is fat soluble and requires some fat in the tummy to be absorbed well).

But you didn't hear it from me.

Paddle safe...
DS

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Healing Has Begun

After the experiences of the past few months I came up to the Door County Sea Kayak 
Symposium with my main man, JB. There I met up with Sherri, Jeff, Robin, Kelly and a whole bunch of kayaking colleagues from around the Midwest. My schedule turned out to be ideal. Nancy, (Da Boss) was kind to me.

Friday morning I taught a forward stroke class with master Danny Mongo...from Werner Paddles...and we danced...and the students improved before my eyes.

Friday after noon and Saturday am I taught a progressive boat control course and, again, I saw remarkable progress among the students.  Saturday afternoon I taught rolling. 2 of the 3 hit rolls in the first half hour.

Sunday morning was for surf which didn't occur, but Danny, Sherri and I put together a land and on water presentation with great results. In the afternoon I did a one on one rescue lesson that went well.

Being back in the game and among wonderful people (and no caffeine) has had a huge effect on my health, both physical and mental. I am grateful for that and for the kind support of those in my life. I am blessed.

Now, onto Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium and cold water.

Paddle safe...
DS

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I recently thought the end was in sight...

I was experiencing mental illness....

A little while ago I had the opportunity to do some teaching at a kayak get together.Those of you who know me and my passion for teaching will understand how painful an experience it was when I tell you that I screwed up some of my stuff. It was worse than that. I screwed up things I knew how to teach and had taught (well) before. Even worse, I knew it was going badly and (worst of all) I had no idea what was wrong.
My fellow instructors were also aware of my plight and equally confused about my sloppy work. I, too, was confused, disappointed and (I must say it) a little ashamed. I could see the disappointment in the eyes of my colleagues, especially one who asked, "Where did that come from?" He appeared sad for me, and I could not answer. Mentally, I was out to sea.

As if that were not enough, while rehashing and agonizing over the event I began to develop other problems. I started to fall asleep every time I sat down to watch TV, even if it was the morning news. Then, I would wake several times during the night, finally be sound asleep at 1 or 2 am and then want to sleep in each morning. My thinking was slow and I felt a tad confused and depressed. What the hell, I wondered, was going on, In spite of doctoring myself and having a fool for a patient, I repeatedly reviewed the events of my teaching and the present symptoms but could not tie them together. I felt like hell, did not know why I had screwed up so badly and was concerned about my mental state. Then I asked myself a question I would have asked my patients in a similar situation, "So what changed before you went to teach?" I had not started any meds, inhaled gasses or done anything else except....whoa, wait a minute. 

The week prior to all of this I had seen a doctor who (for reasons not to be discussed here) recommended I cut out coffee or go to decaf. Well, I went cold turkey a day or two before the kayak gathering....and....I suddenly wondered if that might have anything to do with what was going on. So I Goggled " Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms". ...And a whole load of references came up including....

Results of the Johns Hopkins study should result in caffeine withdrawal being included in the next edition of the DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the bible of mental disorders,

I could not my eyes as I read about the symptoms which included: problems sleeping, sleeping during the day, loss of mental sharpness, etc.

I was amazed, surprised and (for the first time in several weeks) hopeful. No excuses, but I had a plausible reason for what happened, and it something about which I can do something. I am presently working on a plan to reintroduce some caffeine and to gradually back off. I guess I am like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory. I'm not crazy. Only, in my case, my mother didn't have me tested.

I wish to hell I had chosen another time to go off coffee.

Paddle safe...
DS

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I Looked Into The Mirror Today...

I looked into the mirror today and I saw a kind man.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw an honest man with integrity.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a compassionate man.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man with a work ethic.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a humble man.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw an unpretentious man.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man who is always willing to lend a hand.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man who cared about and for animals.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man who put little value on appearance and wealth.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man who knew his limitations.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw a man who has fathered as best he could.
I looked into the mirror today and I saw the man I have always aspired to become.
I looked into the mirror to day and I saw a man with eyes getting misty because...
I looked into the mirror today and I saw my Father.

Paddle safe...
DS

Monday, May 12, 2014

Looking v. Seeing

Tuning Your Radio

When teaching young doctors to hear the very low-pitched S3 sound a failing heart makes I have to tell them to "tune" their ears the way they would a radio. The sound they want is like 620 AM (WTMJ in Milwaukee) and will be missed if their ears are "tuned to 1120 (WISN in Milwaukee). Something akin to this seems to happen with eye balls, the brain, looking and seeing. 

People will walk about a wooded area and look at something like this:
But if they "tune" their eyes , they will eventually "see" this:
One of the best ways to get someone to see this way is to hand them a camera. Suddenly, they slow down and look carefully at what is around them. Slowly and with practice new possibilities arise. Soon, a scene such as this
which, at first, appears chaotic and of no special interest...after closer examination becomes...
Folks often look at my 11 x 14 black and white fine art prints and ask if that is how a scene really looked. I answer, "No, that is what I saw." So, slow down and turn your looking into seeing. There is a magnificent world out there waiting for your attention. Don't have a camera? Have trouble slowing down? Try a kayak.

Paddle safe...
DS

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Meet the Paddler

Jeff Adler

Jeff is a Coastal ACA certified sea kayak instructor living in the Milwaukee area and paddling with the Milwaukee group. Married with two kids, he spends his nights as an Emergency Room Physician at one of our premier hospitals. I last saw him a few hours ago when a group of us went out onto Lake Michigan.He was in his clean, shiny Romany; but he sometimes shows up in a Nordkapp. 

Quiet and soft spoken, Jeff shows excellent judgment and, as one would expect of someone in his line of work, calm in the eye of a storm. He is observant, able to explain things well and constructive in his methods of teaching. I, for one, feel he has my back when we are out together. If you see him, introduce yourself and feel safe going out with him or taking instruction from him.

Paddle safe...
DS