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DIRT IS THERAPEUTIC
Wed, 22nd October 2014
 

"It's therapeutic". An older guy from under a rough straw hat said to me as I stopped and looked at his handiwork. "Makes me feel good too". He had obviously been sitting by the side of the road for a while in the sun. Busily beavering away at unwanted weeds in the green grass between gutter and front fence. "I do it nearly every day". He continued digging and picking with a little pronged hand fork. "These bindies hurt if you walk on them when dry, but I also like to get my hands in the dirt, and play around".

It didn't take long to realize the guy was right. He was exercising in a low key way. Bending and unbending, digging, prodding, getting his fingers covered with dirt and green stuff, and obviously meditating and letting the world go by. "Relaxation is good for the body and soul".

Besides, I thought, being a doctor, the dirt contains millions of different nutrients. With some water, it makes plants grow, whether they be weeds, bindies, veggies or flowers. Some must be absorbed by the skin and help body health too. This guy had learnt the art of relaxation, the world's number one "destressor". Letting the mind wander, let it fill with thoughts from nature, from outer space, from the weeds and bindies. The fact he was sitting on the side of the gutter was immaterial.

"I talk to lots of passers-by too", he said. "They all want to know what I am doing and why". So a philosophical exchange is possible. That too calms the nerves, reinvigorates the inner person, and encompasses you in a sense of well being and goodwill to others. Even to wandering cats and dogs. "I go for a walk past your house most days and often see you in the distance", I said. "Yes, I see you too. Walking is good, but you must not stop or you will get sore knees". On this I agreed. Joints are made to move, not be motionless when you are sitting. We parted company and he continued bonding with the weeds and dirt, and no doubt feeling he had solved a few more challenges of the universe.

 
TEETHING PROBLEMS

Q: 

My little ones are in the teething process, and seem to often become hot, sweat, unhappy and grizzle.

A: 

Just think about what is going on inside their tiny gums. Big brazen teeth are shoving down on the pink tender surface of the gums. It may be uncomfortable, and make anyone miserable. Why wouldn't they cry. Most settle down as the process of nature takes place. It is a natural event for which most mums are thankful, for who would want their nipples chopped off when breast feeding before they arrived?

 
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ORTHODONTIST

Q: 

I have been referred to a periodontist, but am uncertain why.

A: 

This side of dentistry means attention to the gums. They investigate and work out a management strategy. Cleaning the teeth, specially at gum level is essential. If plaque (brown stuff) accumulates, infection and pockets can form. This can gradually destroy the roots, the tooth may die and need extraction which today should not occur in this day and age.

 
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ELDERS

Q: 

Why do older people resist going into a retirement complex where the facilities are often far superior to their own home?

A: 

Home spells peace, security and contentment. Many have lived in the same building for many years, often fifty or more. They know where everything is located, feel comfortable with all the rubbish and stuff around which they regard as safety and security. A new environment, irrespective of how lovely it may be, may feel hostile and unfriendly. Although most are very happy when they ultimately make the change. And the kids can then rejoice and stop being slaves!

 
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READING

Q: 

My parents hate watching TV, refuse cable, and sit and read most of the day in a quiet nook in the sun. They are gradually becoming outdated and isolated.

A: 

Many are happy to remain in their own little cocoon. Many find reading more pleasurable than watching or listening to others. They can see the words as pictures in their minds eye, and gloat and revel in their own little world. You are lucky they are not on your back all day making crazy demands as many do.

 
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TRANSPLANT

Q: 

I had a corneal graft 25 years ago. It worked well for about twenty years, but vision has now deteriorated and the eye doctor does not suggest another operation. At night the eye surface becomes irritable.

A: 

The corneal surface is probably uneven from the transplant. Apply liquid tears often, and specially at bedtime when natural tear production ceases. Try and avoid direct heat, air conditioning and the sun which will aggravate surface drying and discomfort.

 
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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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