Monday, October 21, 2019

My Random Thoughts During the Flu

There are some things I'd rather not have first hand experience with, the flu being one of them.  Sadly,  I was able to check that one of the list this past week.  I'm now a Flu veteran.  I can tell war stories of losing 14 pounds in 3 days, of your joints feeling like they will break, and the occasional movement triggered vomiting.   From what I can tell, I don't think I even had like a "serious" case.  But, you have 3 days and 4 nights of thinking about things and that is all I could do, because that is all I had the energy to do.

Here are the the things I thought about and the answer I found if they were a question.

The deadliest Flu breakout was in 1918, The Spanish Influenza.  Depending on who you read, between 20-50 million people died.   Most agree 500 million people were infected.  What made this such a troubling flu was that it not only killed the young and old, it killed just as many in their 20-30's.  Science has traced back and decided that the flu virus of the early 1900's was different from the one that showed up in 1918 and that a small piece of the bird flu combined to give the perfect killer.  Reading more and more on the research that went on and is going on to learn what we can on the Spanish Influenza made me order a book on the subject.

About day two, so about 48 hours of curled up under blankets without any sunlight or movement, feeling a bit sorry for myself, you start to wonder if having a good aerobic base, lifting weights etc...does anything when it comes to fighting off the flu.  From what I can tell and have read, not much.  The caveat, and it's a big one, is for older populations.  The more muscle mass you have to lose, the better health insurance you have.  Essentially any bed rest at all, sarcopenia starts kicking in fast.  Lose 50% of your muscle and the result is death.

I started to think about the great Indigenous peoples the Americas had.  Huge cities of thousands according to the book 1491.  Massive amounts of people wiped out by virus's such as small pox.  It was one of those things I was just mind wandering around, if I had been born an Inca warrior training for lifetime and one day you go to bed healthy and next you wake up shivering and body sore and everyone around you the same, and your country is being invaded.  Weird where the mind goes.  But I think I understand now, how so few conquered so many, so quickly.

Talk about weirder side thoughts.  If the body, mind and soul are one thing, does one not affect the others and vice versa?  My dreams, when the fever felt to be at it's worse, were truly twisted.  Now, I've had nightmares before, things that truly have frightened you, and I have had dreams where terrible things happened and you woke up sad, I've had majestic dreams where you go on adventures and dreams where it felt like I relived something in my past.  These were different, they left me feeling disturbed.  Things that made you feel like your soul was being attacked.  It was an interesting night contemplating if one has the belief to do so.

The Flu Vaccine.  I don't get it, at this point I probably still won't.  I read it has a 47% success rate for young healthy aged population this year.  Not as gracious for those over 65.  If it was a slam dinger of a vaccine, I'd for sure get one.  But with a 50/50 success rate and basically the symptoms are lessoned, not sure it's worth it for me.  About 5 years ago, one of my all time cool patients I had been helping with a TKR in the past,  got the shot, with in a day, was unable to move.  He didn't move again for like 9 or 10 months.  The flu shot had triggered Guillain-Barre' Syndrome.  He was in a wheelchair directed by breath for the next 9 months and was told it will leave with the suddenness that it came.  It did, but has left him in lifetime battle for the complications.  Stories like that I don't think I can shake.

But, If I had to get the shot, or if I decide to ever get it, I'd ramp up my gut health protocols for about 3 weeks.   I did find this really cool study from Onegevity journal that showed a different response in people that had taken antibiotics that year.  I first heard of Onegevity from Dr. Joel Dudley at the ALTIS High Performance Think tank.  The state of your gut microbiome when you get the shot, will influence how effective the vaccine will actually be!  Outstanding.  Now you have a gameplan if you choose to get one.

How long will the Flu influence return to baseline performance.  I recently did some testing with trap bar deadlift and have been working on 2 hour time trial style mountain biking.  A bike race in two weeks being the goal.  It will be interesting to see how it play out.

I lost 14 pounds from when I weighed myself Monday night at 196lb to when I weighed myself Friday morning, 182lb.  One of the things I tried out was a new style of recovery called RevIVe Therapy.  I went with the standard "Myers Cocktail"  B vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium Calcium.  It seemed to be the one most targeted at dehydration.  It did put on 3 pounds quickly.

I've always found it interesting when your tastes change during sickness and what you eventually want to eat.  You know I'm sick when I don't want my coffee!

The lack of food for almost 3 days, most certainly acts like a fast, triggering autophagy.  Although, when you are battling a virus, trying to eat what you can, (don't force feed) is helpful.  Bacterial infections, I would avoid eating.   Two different beasts.

I wear a watch with a heart rate monitor when I sleep.  Most nights my average HR is 48, 49.  Days I work out extremely hard, like a 4 hour bike ride or a super hard 2 hour ride and it was later at night it would be in the low 60's.  The first 3 nights of dealing with the flu it was in the low 60's all 3 nights.  Shows the strain the body is going through.

I'm always surprised how olfaction changes.  The smell of lemon scented cleaning products triggered a dry heaving episode.  I'd say puking, but nothing was in me to come up.  There must be an ingrained sense of evolutionary security that warns us off irritants when we are sick. 

So the best remedy is prevention.  Concrete things.  Get outside, fresh air.  Work at keeping your gut health optimal.  I'd take a probiotic.  I personally use and recommend Sound Probiotic.  Wash your hands.  Did you know its the friction that is important, not necessarily the soap.  It takes 20 seconds of rubbing the hands together to get the desired effects, with warm water.  Get your sleep.  Sweat some.  Stay hydrated.   

Friday, October 4, 2019

Callus of the Mind, Body and Soul

The body has a miraculous way of providing protection against the friction it encounters.  The callus. A callus is a thickening of the skin from repeated bouts of friction or pressure.  It provides a barrier of protection against the threat that is routinely there.

A runner will often develop calluses on their feet.  An extra barrier against the friction of the shoe as it strikes the hard ground over and over again.  A weight lifter or carpenter will develop them on their hands from the friction of the bar or the tool.  Every rep an irritation and trigger for the body to send a response and it lays on more skin as a result.

A callus must form from consistent effort in the correct dose.  To few effort and a callus won't form.  The stimulus isn't consistent enough.  Why put energy into creating a protective barrier if the insult doesn't come along enough.  On the other hand, if the insult comes with to much intensity, you don't get a callus, you get a blister.

A callus is a clue.  Where has the friction been coming from.  Certain coaches and therapists will tell you that looking at a callus in the wrong place may be a clue that biomechanically there is an issue.  A seasoned runner that develops a new callus creates a cause for inspection.

Why has this new friction been accumulating?

Callusing can also happen in other areas of our life.  It struck me this week as I watched a sprinter win the 100m World Championships in 9.76 seconds.  It made the SportsCenter number 7 play.  9.76 seconds! Only 5 other men in the history of the planet have run as fast or faster...ever.  A home run was like number one.  Perhaps it was because there was some controversy over some missed drug testing.  I would say we are callus to that as well.  No longer shocked when an athletic great tests positive.

One of the great things about kids is that they haven't been callused to the wonders of nature.  I don't know how many times I'm made aware of the "awesomeness" of an insect or the "prettyness" of a flower.

I can remember talking to a friend when we heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook.  It was a blister moment etched in my mind.  Sadly, I think with the news media/social media, frequency of horror, shooting are becoming less blister, more callus.

David Goggins has a saying callus your mind.  At least that is where I first heard it.  Simply means when your doing something that is hard and the voice in your mind is screaming quit, don't.  Kill that voice.  Callus your mind.  The brain is all about conservation of self.  It lies essentially to get you to slow down, reduce effort, stop.  The body can go longer, harder, if you don't let your mind stop you.  Callus it.

We need friction in life if we are ever going to do anything worthwhile.  Friction provides the resistance to get stronger.  It gives us the irritant to produce the callus if we put in the consistent work.  Callus allow us to do more work comfortably, it is a buffer.  Buffers for the most part are good. The key is allow the things that should sting us, blister us, continue too.  To not let the things that should make us take action and eliminate that friction from becoming a callus.

Honor the blister, work for the callus.  Be mindful of both.  They both have their correct place.  Choose wisely.