Archive

Archive for the ‘health’ Category

These [pirates’] rules, they’re more like guidelines anyway

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Cap’n Barbosa from the Dead Man’s Chest speaketh:

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday said it was planning to have women fighter pilots in future, but they will be inducted with a pre-condition of not bearing children till a certain age.

“In a few years time, we might see this change (women getting inducted as fighter pilots) coming in with certain pre-conditions that till this age we request you to be happy, be married, but no offsprings,” IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora told reporters here.

After 13-14 years of service, investments made on fighter pilots are actually recovered by the government,” he said in an indication that women fighter pilots will be allowed to have kids only after putting in 13-14 years in IAF.
The IAF Vice-Chief said if a woman pilot has to take pregnancy leave, she will be off-flying for around 10 months, which will not be fruitful for both her and the Service.

Citing reasons for Services not inducting women into combat arms, Barbora said, the armed forces “feel that it is not right to have a lady or a woman exposed to a conflict where she can be a prisoner of war.”

Secondly, psychologically, are we fit? another factor,” he added.

This is when I stop being proud of the Indian military that ‘keeps us safe’ (wev), and start wondering about eligibility & selection criteria that allowed Barbora and his ilk to come up through the ranks. First, psychologically, is he fit? Second, mathematically, is he sound? Third, how robust are his faculties of logic?

If 13-14 years are all that are required to break-even on training costs, then what’s preventing them from directly saying that they require 14 full years of service – get initiates to sign a bond to deliver 168 full months of committed service or pay back training costs and suffer penalties? If someone takes 10 months off to deliver it’s not like they are never fit to do anything after that – ask Kim Clijsters, who won the US Open 18 months after delivery. And why the exception for pregnancy – what if someone (a male candidate maybe?) falls ill with a debilitating heart disease at 30, and needs to take six months off to recoup?It’s not like large emergencies never happen to fighter pilots, or that employees of the IAF are exceptionally protected from all such unexpected events .

Do Barbora and others that helped make this decision think they’re fooling anyone when they say “Now, women in the age group of 21-23 years are inducted into the flying branch and may be allowed to start family after crossing the 35-37 years age bracket.”? Is that condition likely to allow for any woman’s priorities at 21? Or, for that matter, any man’s priorities? What about changing priorities? And what if someone gets pregnant by accident? Is the IAF going to demand and force abortions? Sheesh, people, do you even think these things through before you call press conferences to shoot off yer mouths?

Maybe Barbora and ilk need to recieve printed copies of the story of Major Stephanie Nelson (her story here), the US Air Force fighter pilot (she flies F-16s) who got pregnant and was still treated with respect and equality.

Advertisements

Why did we have to go to Raging Burrito again?

And every single time for Mexican food here in the US?

Because most authentic Mexican refried beans have lard. And it’s hard to convince people that Taco Bell doesn’t. No, really.

But why does authentic (=traditional) Mexican food have lard, anyway? After all, pigs weren’t native to America anyway, right? [ Unless you’re talking about guinea pigs (I remember seeing a litter in Peru being kept for future food – urgh!)].

Pigs have been domesticated since ancient times in the Old World and are known for their exceptional intelligence. Domestic Pigs are found across Europe and the Middle East and extend into Asia as far as Indonesia and Japan. They were brought to southeastern North America from Europe by De Soto and other early Spanish explorers.

But this, as everything else, has to do with major patriarchial and religious wang-wagging. Read on:

With the culmination of the Reconquista and the rise of Catholic fundamentalism at the time of the Catholic Monarchs, pork came to be seen as a sure sign of faith in a land of half- and falsely-converted Moriscos and Jews, and so was the dominant use of lard {manteca} in detriment to olive oil, which began to be associated with plebes, peasants and people with suspicious blood lineages. As the Galician writer and gastronome, Julio Cambra put it, ‘Spanish cooking overflows with garlic and religious prejudices”.

Olive oil did not, however, lose its reputation as an efficacious health tonic. In the south and along the coast, olive oil continued as the dominant fat, yet it wasn’t until the late 19th century that Spanish cookery writers, notably Angel Muro in ‘El Practic√≥n’, began to extol its virtues over lard.

So it’s all because of the sighing Moor that lost his kingdom that we keep going back to the one trustworthy Mexican restaurant with the moustached Mona Lisa.

Categories: culture, diary, food, health, race

Why I look to the future

March 22, 2009 2 comments

When I ask ‘where would you want to go if you had a time machine’, more people choose some place/time in the past than in the future. Usually, these are times of great mystery (e.g. when dinosaurs became extinct), times of great culture (e.g. the Maurya or mid-Mughal dynasties in India), or times of great rulers (e.g. Cleopatra or Elizabeth I).

I would’ve been one of those people (with more imaginative choices, of course :-)) until 2006. Because that year, I got a severe, and misdiagnosed, case of tuberculosis. And I wouldn’t’ve survived it but for modern medicine, invented/discovered barely one hundred years ago.

Of course, death by TB would’ve put me in some seriously exalted company*, the likes of which I likely wouldn’t get access to now in my ‘survivor’ state, but hey, I’ll take this option. As it was, I recovered from the physical health issues and the multiple surgeries, but as I was warned, I went through a long, long convalescence including depression and dependence.

So, on this World Tuberculosis Day, I’d like to celebrate the scientists who discovered the drugs and the treatment, the doctors who save lives every day, the social workers and policy-drafters who went after TB with a vengance, the public health professionals who implement these rules, and the many, many medical professionals who treated me, and to P who ‘saved me in every way a person can be saved’: Thank you.

And to those in the US, congratulations on this: “The latest national surveillance data show that tuberculosis (TB) rates reached an all-time low in the United States in 2008.”.

But we still have a long, long way to go, because TB may soon become a bigger problem than HIV. I have no option but to look to the future, and hope for the best.

____________

* Apparently including: King Tutankhamen, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Bronte, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vivien Leigh….

Categories: diary, health, science

Depression

September 12, 2007 Leave a comment

Apparently depression is more dangerous than Diabetes, Asthma and Arthritis.

So I should be worried. More worried, in fact, than I was all of last year, when the whole illness thing was upon me (oh, yes, I was ill, and for some six whole months – we made acquaintance with many varied members of the medical community in this city). It had been nice then to talk about random symptoms to doctors who couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was wrong with me, and I reveled in the attention. To re-live it, I had:

  • A continuous low-grade fever (which I attributed to missing P on his long Canada trip)
  • Weight loss (I went from 140 lb to 95 lb; I celebrated so much, of course, at P’s cousin’s wedding when my darling women-in-law went literally green. Weight issues are so critical to them)
  • Night sweats (I remember throwing off the sheets in Dublin and sleeping near-naked next to a snoring P and two other semi-patient strangers)
  • Day chills (when I would load myself up with more sweaters and jackets than the average TV mom would demand of her ‘beta’; and of course with all that we couldn’t really walk around much except go eat lunch at a vegetarian-friendly place, which almost always turned out to be Indian- or Indian-influenced).
  • Fatigue. This last was embarrassing, and I could only think about my grandmom. When my granddad and she go out, she routinely walks some 10 steps behind him, and not out of respect for her husband, but because he simply refuses to walk slower and she cannot walk faster. She decided at 15 that she was going to be ill most of her life, and has suffered one illness after another till this day.

I remember times last year when going to the next-door Publix was a long, well-planned ‘evening out’ and I’d come back exhausted. I remember not seeing the car P bought for three days because I couldn’t get up and walk out the front door. I remember days when P left home for work in the mornings and found me exactly in the same place when he came back, not having moved all day, not even for food or water. I remember him loading the Container Store nightstand (one of our first purchases) with a fruit, water, a tic-tac and a book. I remember always leaving the book untouched because I was too tired to read.

So, that was fun; at least it wasn’t Lymphoma. But to get to the point, all that is not totally in the past. In the last few months, I’ve relieved the same existence. And not out of physical fatigue – no, I drive, I walk, I talk loudly, and I do have energy when needed. But other days, like this past week, I’ve stayed in bed – all day, every day. I don’t eat because I don’t feel hungry, I don’t talk to anyone, I do not go out for days on end. And I feel guilty, useless – considering I’m burdened with the paradox of being a fiercely feministic housewife, my life’s strings are all neatly tied up.

So when I read the news article about depression, I took a few of the 3 zillion depression-self-tests. Guess what, I passed (or failed, depending upon how each one was framed) each one of them – I’m clinically depressed. You gotta love this century, they have a name for everything. That does really make it easier to bear.

I’m going and getting St.John’s Wart tomorrow.

Categories: diary, family, food, general, health, P