Tag Archives: Trump

Strokes and Flu: Who Knew?

Apparently I didn’t, but I found an article that explains the connection.

I am thinking about this because of the recent death of Harry Anderson, star of the TV show “Night Court” and other projects.  He was also an accomplished magician.

Yeah, I was a fan.  Loved “Night Court”, and tried to see the other shows he was in, as well as when he was on the old “Tonight Show” as a guest (here’s a link to one of his appearances).

Harry Anderson, bottom row

Anyway, Harry Anderson passed away on April 16 of this year (“Harry Anderson, 65, ‘Night Court’ Actor Who Bottled Magic Onscreen and Off, Dies”, Maya Salam, New York Times website, 4/16/18).

Cause of death was determined to be a “cardioembolic cerebralvascular accident”.  In layman’s terms, a stroke.  In his case, several strokes.  He passed in his sleep.

He had a bout of the flu months earlier, from which he never completely recovered.

My condolences to his family.

Aside #1: These days, when someone dies at 65, we see this as an early death.  People are expected to live to their 80’s, or thereabouts.  And when that someone who died is near your age, and is someone you admired, you take notice.

I wondered about the strokes.  What connection did the flu have, if any?  I mean, I knew you could get pneumonia as a complication of the flu, but stroke?  I had never heard of that.  So I went a-Googling.

I found lots of articles about stroke as a complication of the flu, but most just mentioned “inflammation” and didn’t go into details on the mechanism that causes the stroke.

Then I found The Cardiac Health Foundation of Canada website:

LDL cholesterol is quickly followed by white blood cells and thus begins the process of plaque formation, consisting mainly of cholesterol, fatty substances and waste products of cells. This leads to inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels resulting in continuous damage and growth of plaques.

This plaque formation starts decades earlier and as they grow in size they start to narrow the artery which then reduces blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle. This leads to angina or chest pain.

Plaques can be either stable or unstable, with unstable plaques are full of macrophages and foam cells and extracellular matrix separating the lesion from the arterial lumen or fibrous cap which becomes weakened and is prone to rupture.

When this cap becomes weakened and ruptures, this is the process we believe leads to the heart attack. When this layer of cells is damaged the inflamed plaque becomes exposed to the blood stream which leads to an overreaction within the body and a triggering of a blood clot within the artery. This then leads to either a partial or full blockage of blood-flow within the artery to the heart muscle causing heart damage.

The clots can also break off and travel to your brain, causing a stroke.

Inflammation due to the flu can aggravate and trigger that process.

Most people over 55 or so have a least a little bit of plaque in their arteries.  The only way you can really know for sure is to have something called a heart catheterization – which, I can tell you, is painful.

Aside #2: I had mine 2 years ago when I was in the ER for what I thought was “just” intractable vomiting, but it turned out I had what my cardiologist later told me was “a chemical heart attack”.

Heart catheterization shows your arteries clearly.  It’s well worth the discomfort if you want to know what shape your arteries are in.  They run a thin tube up through your artery until it reaches your heart, and they (and you, if you want) can see what your arteries look like.  They ran mine through the artery in my wrist.  Some people get theirs in their thigh.

Anyway, if you have blockage (due to the aforementioned plaque), the heart cath/angiogram (x-ray picture) will show that:

So, if you have plaque – and most people in their 60s do – having the flu can cause it to rupture, form a blood clot that then breaks off and heads for your heart (which will cause a heart attack) or your brain (which will cause a stroke).

Getting a flu shot can reduce your chances of getting the flu, and thus also reduce your chance of a stroke or heart attack as a complication of flu.

Now, I don’t know if Harry Anderson got a flu shot.  It’s possible he did, but contracted a strain of flu that the vaccine didn’t cover.  With over 100 strains of the flu, clearly it’s not possible at this time to make a vaccine to protect against all of them.

The CDC, however, acquires samples of the virus from actual flu patients, and on the basis of that analysis makes recommendations to the FDA for which strains to target.

Aside #3: Another reason we need to oppose any funding cuts for either the CDC or the FDA.

Here is a link that explains the entire process for selecting which viruses to include in the season’s vaccine.

However, I can say that, if someone doesn’t get a flu vaccine, they have a greater chance of contracting the flu than if they hadn’t gotten a flu vaccine.

I understand, not everyone can tolerate vaccines.  But if you can, please get one.  It’s not too late.

Aside #4: I got the first of 2 shingles vaccines last week, and my arm was hot, swollen, and very sore for a week.  I also felt like crap.  So yeah, vaccines can and do have side effects.

In fact, Influenza B is still around, and you can still get a shot to prevent it.  Here is the CDC link that gives you a weekly flu report.  If you can’t do that and are over 60, at least stay away from sick people or wear a mask or something.  Plus you could also bring wipes with you everywhere you go.

Because getting the flu at this age is not only uncomfortable, it can be deadly.

Weird news of the week:  Is there anything weirder right now than the meltdown of our so-called president? Today, he tweeted his intention to obstruct justice:

“A Rigged System – They don’t want to turn over Documents to Congress. What are they afraid of? Why so much redacting? Why such unequal “justice?” At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!” Twitter, 5/2/18, 10:45 AM

I don’t know what he thinks he can do – fire the entire DOJ?  Stage a military coup?  He could declassify the redacted parts and instruct the DOJ to hand over the documents, but considering that the documents in question are about an ongoing investigation – of him – that would just make the obstruction case stronger.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s reaction to the articles of impeachment against him being drawn up by some Congressional cover-up minions Republicans (Mark Meadows, North Carolina, and Jim Jordan, Ohio) was succinct:

“There have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time. I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.” – “Trump Just Ominously Threatened the Justice Department, Alex Ward, Vox website, 5/2/18.

Should make for an interesting showdown.

Recommendation of the week: A website called Boing Boing, which is an eclectic site of news, information, opinion, and merchandise.  Worth a look, if only for the cartoon strip by “Tom the Dancing Bug” called “What Trump Supporters See”.

Be good.  Be kind.  Get your flu shot.

 

 

 

 

 

Clear Waters and 1% Mud: Social Division in America

 

I stated last week that I would provide the transcript link to Maxine Waters’ response to the State of the Union address, so here it is.  You can also see the video on the same site.

It was not a long speech, but it was right to the point and straightforward.  That’s not surprising, as Rep. Waters (D-CA) has never been one to mince words, nor has she ever backed down when others – mostly white men in Congress – have tried to shut her up.

 

She began by saying:

Yesterday, Donald Trump had the audacity to call upon people to set aside differences, when in reality, he has divided Americans in ways no other modern president has done. We must look at his State of the Union address in the context of all of the ways he defined himself during his campaign and throughout his first year as President. (“Maxine Waters Delivers Scathing SOTU Response: ‘Make No Mistake, Trump is a Dangerous Racist’ “, Tess Koman, Cosmopolitan website, 2/1/18)

She then listed how 45 has defined himself: his response to the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville (“violence on many sides”), his travel bans targeting Muslims, his description of Mexicans as rapists, his mocking of a reporter who is other-abled, his tendency to blame people of color for the problems in the US, his attack on NFL players and their mothers, and his disrespect for women.

She went on to relate his policies that alienate our allies around the world: withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement, his refusal to certify the Iran nuclear agreement, and his tendency to insult other democracies while cozying up to Putin.

She mentioned 45’s refusal to acknowledge that he inherited many economic gains from the policies of our first Black president Barack Obama (for example, the unemployment rate drop to 4.7%).

She finished up with stating what the Democrats stand for:

We as Democrats are committed to a growing economy that leaves no one behind. We’re committed to an economy that protects consumers and provides good jobs with fair wages, quality health care, and affordable housing. These are the policies for which I have worked all of my life and on which I will continue to work despite the constant chaos and distractions of this administration. (Ibid)

You know what I wish?  I wish that the Democrats had made one televised response, featuring Joe Kennedy III, Bernie Sanders, and Maxine Waters.  I wish they had split it up and each taken a point or two to expound upon.  I think that would have shown how much unity there is in the party (yes, I know Bernie is not technically a Democrat).

Right now, the Democratic Party is feeling the heat from the (mostly) younger, more progressive members.  I think we progressives make up the majority of the base right now, and it would behoove the party to move along into the 21st century with us.

Considering how the hard right, and even the moderate right, are dwindling in numbers, it makes no sense for the Democrats to even entertain this ridiculous notion of “but what about the white men over 40” anymore.

Look at how society, in general, has moved in terms of how the majority of Americans think.  Most Americans support DACA, think racism is bad, think women should have equal pay and not be sexually harassed, aren’t afraid of people of other religions, support the Constitution (and not just some parts of it), and support legalization of marijuana – to name just a few.

Our society is generally liberal and tolerant.  Why should we cater to people who don’t like change, don’t like progress, and who hold onto disgusting and hateful ideas about their fellow human beings?

One big reason – ha, and you thought that was a hypothetical question, didn’t you? – is because it serves the 1% to keep the divisiveness and hatred going.  Stoking this fire of reactionary ideology is what 45 and the GOP do…and it serves them well, when they can pull it off.

The 1% funds candidates.  Divisiveness serves the interests of the 1% because it keeps people from focusing on understanding how wealth is generated, and keeps them from concluding that some form of redistribution of wealth is necessary for the good of all Americans – even under capitalism.

As long as the GOP, or any other politicians or parties (I’m looking at you, Libertarians and Greens), continue to turn Americans against one another, the 1% is safe.

Bear in mind, the 1% will not tolerate any redistribution of wealth, no matter how small.  They want all the wealth.  And the easiest way to get the populace to give it up is to convince each class that the other class “deserves” to lose income and benefits.

When you consider all the wealth that is generated in this country, really consider it, we could ensure no one lived in poverty, everyone had enough to eat, people had homes to live in, everyone had access to healthcare, and opportunities such as jobs and/or education were available to all.

We could do that, and there would still be rich people.  They just wouldn’t be the filthy, unnecessarily “I-have-10-cars-and-5-homes” kind of rich.

You know, they could still buy Gucci handbags and Tesla cars, they just wouldn’t be able to buy one for every day of the week.

Think about it.

Weird news of the week, speaking of Tesla’s…Elon Musk sent his red Tesla into space – yes, the actual car – with a dummy sitting in it.  Playing “Space Oddity” by Bowie as it travels, headed towards the asteroid belt.

Recommendation of the week: Here’s a site that lists things for cats and their humans, everything from “Da Bird” toy (string and feathers) for $10 to an $800 cat tree house.  They even list a how-to book for making your cat an internet star…hmm…might look into that myself!

Be good.  Be kind.  Think, and do it often.