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TIME ROLLS ON
Wed, 29th June 2016
 

Time rolls on, but one day, it will stop. That is a 100 per cent guarantee. So today, we're not being morbid, just a bit sensible in considering the end of the road. Although sad, the good news is that one can in fact, live on for at least another generation.

The topic of "Organ Donation" is usually swept under the carpet, or not even considered. It's a non-event with most Australians, who rank amongst the lowest country in the world for donating. Having been the recipient of a corneal transplant some years ago, I am very "pro".

In New South Wales last year there were 57 persons suitable for transplant, and 175 recipients benefited. Many body organs and tissue can now be "harvested". For a nation of 24-million, those figures are pathetically small, and the "wait list" of potential recipients is extremely high.

Certain simple steps must be put in place. One can opt for the National Register, possibly the best starting point. You simply pick up a form from any Medicare office, fill out and return. They even supply an SAE. You can also phone the direct line which is 1800 777 203, or download it from the net. Another method is to make sure your driving license has been ticked Yes. However, this is state level, and must be done (if not already) when the driving license is renewed, but Medicare registration is also essential. Many simply forget, or can't be bothered, rather than having any emotional feeling about it.

Everything is carried out in a very discreet and dignified manner. Much empathy is directed to the family. However, it is essential the donor acquaint the family members of his or her wishes so there is no misunderstanding at the time. In the overall scheme, less than one per cent of deaths are suitable for organ donation. About 1300 Australians every year become potential donors because they finally die on ventilator in hospital, and approximately half of those families consent to organ donation of a loved one. At the time, counselling and help are offered to families to help with grief if this is appropriate.

Afterwards, a normal funeral ceremony can take place. Alternately, if a person does not wish a funeral the body can be donated to the nearest university for "medical research". In this case, there is no funeral. Some opt for this, feeling they are making a worthwhile contribution to society. Whatever one feels is a personal matter, but whatever ones age, make a decision, have it registered and let relatives know. I have long since registered, and I hope many of our readers will do likewise. Life has been good. Let it carry on.

 
DARK CHOCOLATE

Q: 

I hear conflicting reports on the health benefits of chocolate, specially dark kinds.

A: 

There are plus and minus reports. Solid dark chocolate is best, being low in fat and carbs, said by some to improve cardiac health. Some say caffeine content keeps you awake at night. Depressed persons often crave it, and found it relieved anxiety and irritability. Some doctors now use chocolate craving as a diagnostic test for depression, which may need medical intervention. Light chocolate often contains milk (which increases cholesterol), and sugary fillings which do little for weight control.

 
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MUCHY EYE

Q: 

I work outdoors a lot and have developed a mushy red mass in the inner corners of both eyes, which seems to be spreading outwards across the eyeballs.

A: 

This is bilateral pterygia. Sun exposure (probably aggravated by wind, dust and environmental air pollution) irritates the conjunctival lining of the eyes. So it grows, heaps up and untreated will gradually grow across the eyeball. It will adversely affect vision once it grows over the pupil. Surgical intervention by an eye specialist is essential. The meaty growth is removed from the eye surface, then turned back onto itself, so that any further growth is inwards, not outwards. Wear eye and head protection when outdoors.

 
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VOMITING NEWBORN

Q: 

My fairly new born baby has started to vomit, and is not thriving as one would expect. The doctor says investigation is essential.

A: 

This may be "pyloric stenosis". The valve allowing food to pass from stomach to duodenum, the next part of the intestinal system, can thicken or become "stenosed", preventing normal food passage. It can be diagnosed, and quickly repaired permanently by intervention of a pediatric surgeon.

 
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FALLING STARS

Q: 

My husband notes "falling stars" for no apparent reason.

A: 

This may be an early symptom of retinal detachment. It may follow a blow to the eye (perhaps weeks or months previously), or for no apparent reason. The light sensitive retina at the back of the eye can split, and start to peel from its moorings. It is readily detected when examined by an eye specialist. It can be "welded back" into its correct position by a laser therapy. Never neglect falling stars, or any similar visual irregularity.

 
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COLD FEET

Q: 

I seem to have cold feet most of the time, even in summer when I still wear bed socks.

A: 

Visit your GP. There are many causes. Early undetected diabetes is a hot starter, as it may already be causing "neuropathy", or damage to nerve endings in the feet. A simple blood sugar test will confirm diagnosis and indicate if treatment is needed. Clogged up arteries from cholesterol is another common cause. Smoking is chief culprit, followed by cholesterol increases which clog up arteries to the feet and legs. The body is crying out for more oxygen. Cholesterol reduction, weight loss and more exercise heads intervention. Get active.

 
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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.

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