Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is Bargain Shopping Worth the Trip?

As I shopped to get ready for the holidays; gifts for friends and families, home decorating items and of course for self, I tried to manage my funds so that it stretched as far as it could go. I don't as a rule skimp on gifts. I will get a gift that I feel like giving but I will skimp on things that are for me and for home goods for example. I went out to get some items for decorating and freshening up the rooms but went bargain shopping for them. Do you really get a bargain with the discount stores or just shoddy job-lots and aggravation?

I bought a sheet set at a discount store thinking it will be a good buy. It didn't say irregular or 2nd rate or anything like that on it. These are supposed to be deep discounted items from large department stores that are sold in this place. The sheet was in a nice package, not my usual brands, but it seemed fine. The package was in tact and with the size printed on it, a queen sized sheet. I was happy with the find and took it home to use for the holiday.

As I cleaned and got ready to make the bed, I gleefully opened the packet of new sheets. The color was a nice compliment to the rest of the room so, yay for me, a good deal! Well, it was a good deal until I got ready to put the fitted sheet on the bed.

You know how you open out the sheet and throw it in the air to open out and fall on the mattress. Well, this sheet didn't open out to the size of a queen bed. It was the size of a cot, maybe a baby's crib mattress size. I have never seen seen such. Imagine my dismay and anger. I need this now?! I don't have time to come back to this task. The holiday is looming and I have other chores to do. I had to pull something out of the closet.
I will have a return trip to that store. Is bargain shopping worth the trip or should you prepare for a two trip deal?

So I ask you; did I get a bargain or did I get a lemon? Can we really trust these cut rate stores to truly give us a correct item or are they all irregular or second rate things. Now it will cost me a trip back to the store, aggravation to demand a refund as I do not want store credit. Fool me once, buddy..... that's it! This is already over seven days since I bought the sheets so that's some arguing as it is over their return time frame. I might have to take some other item as an exchange which might possible be a waste of money.

I guess you can find a bargain and you can find an egg or lemon in these stores. Sadly, this time, which is my jolly happy time, I got a rotten egg. I guess I will bargain shop for things that are out of a wrapper that I can see and inspect thoroughly before I buy to make it worth the trip. I hope all of your holiday shopping went well!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Time Reflection. Merry Christmas 2009

As the holiday gets in full swing and the season change to winter my mood is nostalgic of Christmastime of yester-year and the hope of another good Christmas. As Christmas 2009 is here and fuel our remembrances and celebrations, I would like to share a reflection that is the mantra of the time. Jesus is the reason for the season. This sounds like a cliche and maybe it is, but I think that it is important to have an understanding of what Christmas means and an application of what it means and ought to mean.

Even for the most devout agnostic the focal point or reason for a celebration is the knowledge and belief that we prepare and celebrate or find significance in reckoning the special or supreme being. A Being that is worthy of recognition and acknowledgement and celebration.

For those who believe in the Christ child's supremacy and goodness in spreading his everlasting arm to protect and guide us will celebrate him.
While we do the Hallmark thing and react to the ego and the one-up-man ship of coveting all of the newest items and indulge ourselves and friends and families, we must remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and honor Him. As we reflect on this we should try to focus on the truths that he has taught us and use them to guide our activities and our behaviour. This lesson from our reflection should also guide us everyday of our lives.

Jesus Christ is a gift to us, not because we are deserving, but because he is love. We should therefore take the lessons he has taught us and be more like him. We should strive to be a gift to others, not just give of ourselves (from our purses). We should be kind to each other, care deeply for each other and be willing to forgive freely out of love and care. This I think is the way to celebrate Jesus and Christmas. Let us thank Him for a new day and another year of life! Let us thank Him for his tender mercies and His grace. Let us thank Him by caring for each other.

Merry Christmas everyone, May God continue to bless you and keep you safe and in love. Be a gift to others and your rewards will be great! May your christmastime reflection bring you peace.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What is Corneal Ulcer

Although this is the season to be jolly, I have not had a jolly time so far because of encounters with ill health. Well, I told you about the dental care issue and now we've encountered an eye problem. Yeah, from teeth to eyes. This time it's a problem from contact lenses. I guess we should all pay attention to our health and wellness and make that our focus for a jolly happy holiday season.

Contact lens is a corrective, cosmetic, or therapeutic lens usually placed on the cornea of the eye. They are used in place of eye glasses for corrective purpose. Some contact lenses are used for cosmetic purposes and are deliberately colored to alter the appearance of the eye. Some lenses now have a thin surface treatment which is a UV coating.

I spent Friday morning, from the wee hours to mid day, in the ER with a kid with severe eye pain. This was very weird because it's not a whole lot you can do to get relief. Besides taking pain killers, what do you do? Hot compress, cold compress, eye wash? what?! I will tell you that it was quite an experience seeing and hearing the cry and moan of pain in the eye and I didn't know what was going on.

I guess when you hear about a headache, back ache, tooth ache and other pains you understand excruciating pain but the eye...its weird. I know the eye can really hurt. Ever got hit in the eye with a basket or baseball, a stick or poked by a finger by accident? Man o man what a killer. It seems that the pain lessens and goes away after a while, most often. In this case the eye was watery, red, ultra sensitive to light, a little swollen and extremely painful. She had complained with these symptoms over a week ago but they subsided with the application of eye drops and rest, she thought. This time, late on Thursday they started again and she made an appointment with her eye doctor for Friday afternoon. She couldn't hold out that long.

This has a name. Corneal Ulcer. What is corneal ulcer you ask? It is truly an eye emergency situation. Oh yeah a blister on the eyeball and in this case due to wearing contact lenses. Bummer! This kid lives in the contact lenses. I don't know if she really takes the best care of the lenses or her eyes, but any way. Recently her eye doctor told her she is developing dry eyes and recommended some drops for her to use. This is such a horrible timing for her as well. This was the finals and final projects week for her. She was not only in pain from the eye problem but worried that she won't be able to complete her work that was due in a few days.

The ER Doc told us he saw a spot on her eye but didn't give a diagnosis at first. He gave her some Tylenol 3 and put some drops in the eye that gave her some relief. The pain was so severe she had to get a needle before she got relief. I was relieved. My goodness! it was one helpless feeling and one pitiful sight. We were referred to the hospital Eye Clinic for further assessment and treatment so we sat in the exam room with the lights out, for hours, waiting for the eye clinic to open. The Ophthalmologist told us that it was corneal ulcer. He could see a small spot on the cornea and it is caused by a combination of bacteria from the contacts and dry eyes. He prescribed antibiotic drops that we would administer every 2 hours for 2 days and then every four hours after that. He also gave an ointment to use twice a day and some very potent pain pills to take as needed for the pain.

We were discharged with the treatment plan of rest, she couldn't do anything else anyway, but he also cautioned her not to look at anything intently, like reading watching TV etc, for two days and no computer work. We had to visit the eye clinic again in three days.

The treatment was very effective. She was improving. We had to continue the drops on the same schedule as before and see him again in 3 days. She was able to open her eyes more, the pain was way, way less but the redness was still over a big area of the eye. She still had pain in and over the eye. On the next visit, the Doc reduced the frequency of the drops to three times a day and set up another visit in four days. The redness is almost gone and she is doing much, much, better. She is now trying to get her reports done for school. Hmmmm, I hope the visits will end after this next visit or get pushed for months down the road.

The moral of the story is this. Try to keep things out of your eyes. If your vision is impaired use eye glasses. There are all kinds of frames out there that are fashionable, chic and vogue for all price ranges and looks. If you are opting for contact lenses be very careful. Pair them up with a pair of glasses and reduce the length of time you keep those contacts in. Be very certain to wash your hands before you touch the lenses and the eye. Use plenty of fresh contact solution.
Always, always, always get plenty of rest, eat balanced healthy meals and see your eye care professional regularly.

Take the quiz and get more information on contacts and on protecting your eyes. Take care of your eyes and avoid corneal ulcers and other eye problems, you only get one pair!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give Dental Care Products for the Holidays

I got to thinking that we may all want to give gifts of dental care items this holiday because oral hygiene is important and protects your kisser. Since I've been talking about toothbrushes that last two posts, let's look at the other items that are essential in oral hygiene. Oral health requires a process of cleaning, flossing, regular professional care and a good diet. Mouth wash and rinses are a part of the regime for many people.

Here is a list of the items and some brands that I have used over the years and maybe partial to. I was surprised to see the many and various herbal and 'natural' tooth paste, floss and mouth washes. There are products for pets, you know cats and dogs. There are particular products for sensitive teeth, types of enamel, pregnancy, people with diabetes and of course children. I will be giving dental care products for the holidays. Count on electric toothbrushes and other items will be under my tree this holiday season!

Here is the list.

Toothpaste is a paste or gel dentifrice used with a toothbrush to clean and maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth. Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene: it can aid in the removal of dental plaque and food from the teeth, aid in the elimination and/or masking of halitosis and deliver active ingredients such as fluoride or xylitol to prevent tooth and gum disease (gingivitis). Although I've grown up on a combination of Colgate, Crest and sometimes Aquafresh I find this one interesting, a herbal toothpaste, Vicco. Wikipedia

If you would like to experience various toothpastes and perhaps change your old favorite, check out some brands for free. Visit free toothpaste for free samples of various toothpaste. Be aware that the supplies might be limited or gone by this time.

Flossing is an essential part of the tooth-cleaning process because it removes plaque from between teeth and at the gum line, where periodontal disease often begins. Incorrect flossing can lead to gum tissue damage so floss as directed and with caution. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should use dental floss twice daily. dental floss can improve oral health.

national flossing council celebrates National Flossing Day the day after thanksgiving. This year it was celebrated on November 27, 2009 and the theme was flossing with a friend.

Mouthwash is a common and popular product but somewhat controversial. Although it is suggested and maybe recommended and paired with oral hygiene it is not the key recommendation. Mouth washes and or mouth rinses are considered cosmetic or therapeutic but the reviews have not been stellar in terms of the value and the claims. You can certainly get temporary fresh breath, studies showed that freshness may last about 10, and some fluoride protection and bacteria reduction from mouth washes but results have not been outstanding.

According to Wiki, mouthwash or mouth rinse is a product used to enhance oral hygiene. Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinse claim to kill the bacterial plaque causing caries, gingivitis, and bad breath. Anti-cavity mouth rinse uses fluoride to protect against tooth decay. Wikipedia

Again there are several brands and formulations and of course 'natural' ones too. I find this one interesting, Toms of Maine .

I still can feel the burning and that horrid taste of Listerine of yesteryear. You know the one grandpa and grandma had. Oh man it was torture. This one pictured here is my Listerine. The kids used Crest but they also use the Listerine too.
So the take away message here is this; remember a balance diet, regular brushing, flossing and visit to your dental professional is key to a healthy beautiful and winning smile and long happy life!

Here's a chance to win free dental care. Click on the following link to for a chance to win free dental care by making a pledge with Sonicare.

Smile! You should give dental care products for the holiday too. Feel free to send some my way too.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Choosing an Electric Toothbrush

Since my last post on dental hygiene, tooth brushes and gum diseases, I've done some more research to get a better sense of what I could do or change in my own dental hygiene practices. Naturally, I thought about getting an electric tooth brush, not because I have any dental issues at this time, but because I want to improve or keep up with the Joneses on this one. After all without good health what do we have. The challenge is how to choose an electric toothbrush from the numbers and types on the market today.

There are several claims that the electric brush is best. I searched the ADA site and I didn't quite see that there although the site had sections of FAQs on tooth brushes etc. The Associated Content website was quite robust with information on teeth cleaning and products. They had an entry, 10 reasons you Might Need or Want an Electric Toothbrush which I found interesting. I didn't find anything earth shaking or that crucial on the list. I think the most important and the first item is dexterity issues. Mostly the reasons are fun, comfort, practicality, ease and for a unique experience. Other links offer other ideas and reasons to switch. I guess they are all important and sensible reasons why we should want to use the electric brush but they don't really knock the manual brushes out of the arena.

We always seek to do better, do more and work harder to be the best that we can be. This also applies to our health. Since the electric tooth brush is the best tool for oral health then, hey, I want one! There are quite a few brands on the market to choose from and two front runners according to the reviews. It seems you can achieve a good result from choosing the less expensive models with proper usage. Of course, the more expensive the more features and perks they will come with.

At this point I like the Sonicare Flexcare RS9300.

Which electric tooth brush do you have or will you choose? Since this is the season for giving..... yes, thank you, I'll accept a gift!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How to protect your smile

I got involved in a discussion about oral hygiene and bleeding gums the other day. I am amazed at the number of items and claims of dental care things on the market. I am even more amazed that a dentist told his patient with bleeding gums to use an electric tooth brush to make it better. A dentist I'm not but I know that gum diseases can arise and can be resolved but to 'just' say use an electric brush instead seems a far cry from professional advise for this issue.

Granted electric brushes have been around for a long time as is gum diseases. Many believe it is a better way to clean our teeth and keep our mouths healthy. The electric brush was never and perhaps still not common place in many households. So does a lot of people live with unresolved gum disease because they have no electric tooth brush? Come on doc, there has to be a real treatment and process for this patient.

How about talking about proper brushing techniques and frequency, types of tooth paste to use, throw in the flossing and rinsing pieces. Hmmm, maybe scaling, watching diets. How about a brushing demonstration to make sure the technique and timing is right. Some folks might feel insulted by a teeth cleaning demonstration but presented in the right way, it can be very enlightening and appreciated. Besides, a regular tooth brush - depending who you ask - is also a very good means to achieve proper and healthy dental hygiene. After all most of us grew up with brushing with elbow grease and have some awesome smiles and beautiful breath!

The electric or battery powered brushes are not cheap. How do you choose a brush with so many on the market. I understand that that the type of brush to buy wasn't even a part of the recommendation. He didn't name names, you know brands, styles, types. How about education as part of the visit and the treatment plan! Even a video in the waiting room, and directing the patients attention to it, on how to protect your smile could go a long way. I'm wondering if this recommendation was a brush off or just plain arrogance on the part of the dentist in sending folks off to go buy electric tooth brushes to treat their gum problems without proper guidance. This group obviously needed more information and instruction from the "professional." A poor job, Doc!

Hey the holidays are upon us, how about a gift of a dental hygiene kit to protect the smile of your loved ones! Say c-h-e-e-s-e, P-l-e-a-s-e!