Update: It is with heartfelt sadness, that I report that Al nur Davis departed this earth on February 7th 2021, after I wrote the article below. Her death was not caused by the acid reflux, however, she developed COPD which made it harder for her body to fight the COVID-19 virus.
A burp, a gassy feeling in your stomach or a burning sensation in your chest after eating? These symptoms could be from a simple case of binging on beans or they could be an indicator of something more serious. Like many of you, I’ve suffered through the bloat and gas after having a plate of pinto beans with a large piece of cornbread. However, I think we can all agree that overindulging on anything is not good for us. The symptoms I have described should not be ignored if they persist. So please bypass the Zantac when a friendly hand offers it.
In this article, I am going to tell you Alnur Davis’ story. It could be yours so read it carefully. I became familiar with her story several years ago after she mentioned her choking episodes. These episodes often came upon her quickly without warning and she could not breathe. She feared that one day she would not recover from it. Her doctor diagnosed her as having Acid Reflux.” Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
While I empathized with her condition, I didn’t realize the extent of it until I witnessed it firsthand. It occurred during a sewing gathering with a few friends. We were both in a jovial mood pinning fabric, talking and laughing when suddenly she clutched her chest. Her brown eyes pooled with tears and looked at me with a plea for help. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She could not speak. I feared she was having a heart attack. “Get her a glass of water,” I shouted to the host. I prayed that the water would result in a fix. She held the glass of water tightly and swallowed a few sips. Within a few minutes, her face relaxed and a smile appeared. I breathed a sigh of relief. She had survived the bout. However, I was no longer at ease. I could not get the frightening scene out of my mind. “Lord help her,” I thought.
“This is the choking problem I was telling you about, “she said.
I wanted to hug her and tell her that everything was going to be alright. However, truthfully, I didn’t know that it would. Something had to be done. “What if she is driving alone and an episode occurs?” I thought. After pondering my thoughts for a few minutes, I looked at her and said, “you are allergic to dairy.” I had no factual knowledge that this was the case and didn’t know why I passionately believed it. “Are you willing to give up cheese?
“Yes, I’ll try it,” she said.
Give up cheese I thought? Never. She and I both loved us some macaroni and cheese and she also liked ice cream. Several weeks later, Alnur telephoned me.
“I gave up the cheese and dairy products and my symptoms are gone. No more choking spells.”
I was amazed. Could it have been just that simple? “What did your doctor say when you told her you had a cheese allergy and not Acid Reflux?” I asked.
“Oh, she didn’t say much except, “That’s good.”
What I later learned is that Alnur’s doctor did not err in her diagnosis as I originally thought. She did have Acid Reflux, but the root cause of her reflux was her allergy to dairy products. Once she eliminated the dairy products, her Acid-Reflux and choking went away. However, if she ate one little ole piece of cheese the choking returned. Our bodies and our diet must come into agreement. If they do not illnesses occur. The root cause of reflux disease, in most cases, can be traced back to diet and or lifestyle. Another reflux condition that many people are not aware of is “Silent Reflux,” Laryngopharyngeal (LPR).
What are the symptoms of Silent Reflux?
Hoarseness, chronic cough, throat-clearing, post-nasal drip, sinusitis, sore or burning throat, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, snoring, sleep apnea, bad breath, tooth decay. Silent Reflux can also mimic asthma like symptoms, and result in COPD. (You need not have all of the symptoms listed).
Although silent, this condition can be just as destructive to the body as (GERD) because many doctors are not able to detect it. Most doctors specialize in specific parts of the body. If a medical condition falls within more than one body specialization, your condition might be missed. So instead of going to a doctor with one specialization such as the ears, nose and throat or digestive tract, or lungs, you might want to consider going to a doctor who specializes in Aerodigestive Medicine, if you have the listed symptoms. These doctors take an overall approach to several parts of the body that intersect with the digestive system.
Today, Alnur takes no acid reflux medicine. Like many other seniors, she is facing other health challenges and managing them one day at a time. Oftentimes, we are placed in situations at specific times in our lives to be a witness. When I look back at my experience with Alnur's choking, I realized that God used my voice to help her reexamine her use of diary products. God gives each of us the ability to listen to our inner voices. We must all play a role in securing our health. We can not sit on the sidelines. We must ask questions so that we will know what we are being prescribed, why we are being prescribed, what are the side effects, and how long we must take the medicine. Also, there must be a follow-up. There is a possibility that your medication can be eliminated or reduced. Could your diet, lifestyle, or food allergies be the culprit of your health issues?
While Alnur’s doctor did not err in her diagnosis, I would be remiss if I did not say that medical errors occur regularly. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines an error in medicine to be the “failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (i.e., an error of execution) and the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (i.e., an error of planning) [commission]” (IOM, 2004, p. 30). The definition also recognizes the failure of an unplanned action that should have been completed (omission) as an error (IOM, 2004). The IOM report “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System,” distinguished among four types of errors: diagnostic, treatment, preventive, and other (see Box 3-1). An adverse event is “an event that results in unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient” (IOM, 2004, p. 32).
Thank you for reading this article. I look forward to bringing you more articles in the future. Until then, stay involved and healthy.
Written by Patricia Crews
As a child growing up, my mother used turpentine as a remedy for just about every ailment you could imagine. She would give it to me in a teaspoon with sugar. Once she put some on a rag and wrapped it around my neck believing she had fixed me once again. But not so fast--my neck started burning. After a few agonizing minutes of pacing back and forth, I finally interrupted mama's conversation with a neighbor. "Go and sit down," she said, believing I was not appreciative of her makeshift handiwork. Finally, I couldn't take the pain any longer and I ripped the rag from my neck. Mama looked at my neck and her eyes sprang from their sockets. What did she see? My small fingers reached for my neck and brushed against the large welts that had been unleashed and spreading like a red hot wild fire. I naively patted at my neck thinking I could put the fire out. Mama now understood my dilemma and I didn't have to put the rag back on.
I am not sure if mama used the commercial grade turpentine you clean paint brushes with, or the pharmaceutical grade. However, my little turpentine story seems a bit watered down after a friend told me that her mother gave her kerosene and sugar.
Mama also put pine sol on my arms when I had bouts of eczema. However, when I had a brief bout of eczema during my first pregnancy, it made the situation worse. I would not suggest you try it.
I'd love to hear about your mothers’ and grandmas’ remedies. I smile at what I am about to say, "Those remedies that will do us no harm or kill us."
About a month ago, I was going through the drawer in my kitchen where I keep booklets on warranties for appliances and technical equipment. I was having a problem with my laptop. I reached for my Toshiba Resource Guide GMA 500938010. I thought I had read all of the accompanying booklets and safety instructions when I first purchased my laptop. When I opened the booklet, to my surprise, my eyes were directed to language I never noticed before. I will share it with you because if you are in the technology world it applies to you too.
"Warning. Handling the cord on this product will expose you to lead, a chemical known in the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling."
I had been handling this cord for years. Never washing my hands after its use. I can tell you that at my age, over 60, I certainly do not plan on giving birth to no baby, but what about my grandchildren, my friends children, and anybody else of reproductive age? What other harm could handling this cord cause?
How many of you plug in your laptops on a regular basis and had no clue you needed to wash your hands after handling the power cord/cable to the AC adaptor? Find your manuals for your laptop and other equipment and see if you find similar language. Do you thoroughly read all instructions in the booklets before using your electronic equipment, tools or appliances? It not, maybe the time to start is now.
I recall the play I wrote several years ago. A comedy, titled “Color My World at Will.” The play focused on a woman facing the prospect of breast cancer. I wrote it as a coping mechanism after my sister’s death to honor her memory. I also used it as a tool to educate women about breast cancer. Writing the play was very therapeutic and helped me to come out on the other side of my grief with a mission and a purpose. During my research in writing the play, I also got a better understanding of the word “survival” from two perspectives: The perspective of the disease, and the perspective of the person afflicted by the disease. Two opposing forces, each saying “I want to live.” Two forces that cannot co-exist peacefully together. Who will be the wiser victor?
Color my World at Will was first produced in October 2002, in Washington D.C. After the play, I was told by many women that it encouraged them to follow up on their breast exams. This play had been cast and ready to go into rehearsals for its second production when COVID-19 struck. Hopefully, we can resume production and premiere the play the latter part of 2021 In Prince George's County, Maryland.
As previously mentioned, I lost one sister to breast cancer. Also, another sister was diagnosed with the disease in 2014. It was after the second diagnosis that I realized the need to try and preserve my own health and take a synergistic approach to my daily living and my body as a whole. Not only did I want to learn more about breast cancer, but anything that could expose me to hazards and chemicals that could negatively impact my quality of life. My internet search overwhelmed me with information. It was too much information for me to retain and digest. Additionally, the information was constantly changing. I decided, to adopt the Village mentally of my ancestors: pray, seek knowledge, and work in a group environment to discuss and share with others what has been learned. You became a member of this Village when you entered this blog.
On this site we will talk about readying ourselves for medical storms before the storm is upon us. We will take a look at some of the available scientific research that is available to us as well as going back into the ancestral vaults of our grandmothers and great grandmothers. Women who pressed their ears close to nature to hear thus what the spirit revealed to them. Today, we need their wisdom more than ever. Many doctors are overburdened by their caseloads. This sometimes results in our being shuffled through the medical system as quickly as possible and given prescription drugs that often create their own chemical treasure trove of maladies. In some instances, you can't get a medical appointment right away and have to wait weeks.
A few years ago, a friend shared with me that she went to her doctor with a list of concerns. She was told that she had too many concerns to discuss in a single visit and that she should make another appointment. What do you do when you have a lot of medical concerns? Do you take a long list to your doctor like my friend or do you let them fall by the wayside? Little issues can develop into bigger issues later on. Last week, I read one statistic that said people 65 and older are 70 percent likely to need a long term stay in a medical facility. This alone, could wipe out any built up savings. If you have not already done so, perhaps now is the time to take measures to keep yourselves as healthy as possible.
One concern in the lives of many older adults, is the current pandemic. Covid-19 has exposed many inequities in our health care system for African Americans. We should be concerned about this; however, being concerned is not enough. We have to be more proactive in educating ourselves. How do we do this when so little is known about this virus? One thing we can do is follow the scientific guidelines of what is presumably known. Also, follow your natural instincts, and do not allow yourself to be pressured by the influences of others to take chances you are not comfortable with.
This site, is a call to action for all women who have the common goal of living the best life possible. A life free of sickness and disease that impacts our quality of life. Another goal is to manage any sickness or illness that have already befallen us.
I am so excited to be sharing this platform with you. So, lend us your voices and ears, listen to your spirit, and speak thus what has been recited to you. Get ready and be prepared to learn things here you never knew or even thought about.
You do not have to be a pro to write. There are many genres of writing whereby you can try your hand. It can be in the form of a play, a short story, a poem, or even a song. It is up to you how you want to express and release your thoughts.
“Poetry is like a tide that ebbs and flow and expands your mind in order to grow.”
On this site, we write, share, and express thoughts that help us care for and nurture our physical and mental health during our journey here. It is important that we all know just how special we are. Has anyone ever told you that you are special? Did you believe them? If so why? Share with us why you know that you are special in 100 words or less and I will share some interesting facts with you in a follow up article.
Robert H. Schuller, a well known minister, shared some of his pearls of wisdom about life: “Never cut a tree down in the wintertime, make a negative decision in the low time or make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait and be patient. The storm will pass and the spring will come.” Has Covid-19 impacted your mood and your patience? If you are like me with an active social life, you have been impacted. Now the question becomes, how do we remain patient and navigate our lives during these restrictive new rules and uncertain times? Not only must we figure out how to remain patient but how to keep ourselves safe. During a pandemic, there is no such thing as a guarantee of safety because our safety depends on enclaves and the villages of the world. It is therefore, incumbent on each of us to determine what safety looks like to us and the level of risk we are willing to take to feel safe. For me, the question is not only about my level of patience and risks, but how do I survive amidst this pandemic. As an African American woman, over age sixty, I am in a high-risk category. I know first-hand the destructive force of this virus and have lost relatives and friends to it. I have also prayed for others who thankfully recovered. I understand that leaving my home entails some level of risk. Not only when leaving my home but when receiving packages at my door.
For many, the Covid-19 has not reached home yet because they have not witnessed first-hand the experience of standing in long food lines, being prevented from seeing a loved one in the hospital on a respirator or have not experienced a friend or family member's body being stored in a tractor trailer freezer. They have somehow managed to insulate themselves from the carnage that has spilled into our daily lives. They cannot be confined or inconvenienced and feel the need to bust free, and live in a pretend normal world. However, deny as they may, they are still amongst us walking, and breathing the same air in a real pandemic environment. Just as smoke drifts and circulates in a crowded room, they too are not immune from the pandemic's reach.
Today, I am asking the question, what level of risk are you willing to take and what rewards will you receive for the risk taken? Let's hope that your rewards are worth the risk.
I do not end this article with "Be safe" but rather "manage your own survival."