SLEEP APNEA

We have four members of our family with SLEEP APNEA which can lead to death, fatigue, early dementia, diminished lung capacity, and heart failure. It is a very serious disease and affects millions of people. I just learned that professional truck drivers must have a sleep machine and must be monitored in order to continue driving. Athletes of all ages need to be tested for sleep apnea particularly if they gain weight during the off season when not exercising. Only your partner can help you detect if you have sleep apnea. For example, my wife could not get a good night’s sleep because I snored so loudly that I kept her awake so we visited a doctor who specialized in this disease. The results were dramatic because I started out awakening very early in the morning with severe headaches which started out at one time per week and progressed to 4 times per week. One time I was driving our 36 foot RV and towing a Jeep when I feel asleep enough to start to go off the road. I recovered in time to prevent an accident.

Besides snoring, some people snort in their sleep and awake themselves as well as their partner. Others flail their legs and arms as they sleep. I felt tired all the time because I did not get enough sleep. One of the linebackers for the Green Bay Packers retired at about 39 years of age and died at age 42 of sleep apnea. Linemen are particularly vulnerable because of their size, and they tend to gain weight once they retire. I gained weight once I retired, but I had sleep apnea for many years without knowing it. I recently convinced my wife to have the doctor prescribe a sleep test for her and now she has had two good nights sleep for the first time in years. It took me awhile to convince her, but she could not go to sleep and stay asleep. She might fall asleep for an hour and the stay awake for two or more hours, and would often finally go to sleep at five a.m. and then sleep during the day. Since I have had a sleep machine for several years, I go to sleep immediately once I turn on the machine and put on my sleeping mask. I noticed her sleeping problems when she slept during the day.

A sleep study consists of sleeping over night in a hospital equipped for sleep studies. You are hooked up with electrodes in your hair, on your chest and on your legs. The monitor allows the attendants to measure the number and severity of sleep episodes during the night. My step daughter had 80 or more episodes per night which included not breathing, snoring, fatigue and the usual sleep apnea episodes. I had to convince my doctor that I had sleep apnea before he would order a new study. His wife told me that I had a slight sleep apnea which is like telling a women that she is slightly pregnant.

The machines used in treating sleep apnea have progressed in their design over the past several years. My wife’s new machine has a built in wireless antennae which sends the results to the provider of the machine who then forwards the report to your doctor. It also has a vaporizer to prevent dry mouth which is a leading cause of tooth decay. Luckily I do not have this problem but my wife does have it. Some people cannot wear a full mask like I use because of claustrophobia, so there are all kinds of masks which are available for persons to use. My wife is using a sleeping pill for the first two weeks so that she can go to sleep as soon as she puts on her mask. The technician told us that most people do not need it after the first two weeks, because as soon as you put on your mask the brain tells you it is time to go to sleep. I have always wondered why I go to sleep immediately as soon as I put on my mask. Also, as soon as you fall asleep, you rarely have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom, because again the brain monitors the kidney function while you are asleep. Your medical provider will pay for the sleep study and the sleep machine provider will call you and ask what supplies you need. It is great that we now have universal health care provisions in this nation, if the politicians and citizens do not try to vote it of existence. It took over a hundred years to get our current health coverage after President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, tried to provide it 1900. It is not perfect, but a healthy nation is a more productive nation because we have less catastrophic illness which drive up health costs.

LEGAL INVESTIGATION OF CITIZENS UNITED AND ALEC

The Supreme Court decision declaring that corporations are persons in the Citizens United case is drawing much adverse publicity. The reason for this adverse publicity is the amount of money flowing into Super-Pacs with no requirement to disclose the source of the money which could be an international corporation or a domestic corporation. You can easily look up membership in ALEC for your own state and see which elected officials are members, and see which ones are singled out for recognition, which means that money was a motivating factor in securing such recognition.

In a previous post I explained that ALEC provides what is called “Boiler Plate” legislation which can be tweaked to suit the particular State Legislature needs or desires. Because of the actions of ALEC and the Koch brothers and other billionaires in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, there is great concern that our rights to collective bargaining, voting rights, influence by foreign nations in our laws and voting rights, and the passage of laws without our own citizens approval, that we we could easily become a nation without our own citizen participation and approval.

I recently received an email urging me to sign a petition to send to all 50 State Attorney Generals requesting that they petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn their Citizens United decision and remove the Corporation as a Citizen, and to prevent organizations such as ALEC from interfering with the political outcomes of elections such as the funding of Super Pacs with money from the large corporations and the purchasing of politicians whose vote is for sale to the highest bidder.

I do not know if this will do any good, but it is certainly worth the effort because we can easily lose our freedom and rights as citizens of our states and of this nation. Your willingness to act should not be constrained by any political party or other affiliations, because we are all citizens of this great nation and have an obligation to help preserve our freedoms. The right to vote and to have that vote count is the reason this nation has been a beacon to people all over the world. Part of my ancestors left Scotland for the opportunity live in a free country while the other ancestors were already here trying to preserve their own freedoms.

FINDING MONEY FOR A COLLEGE EDUCATION

Getting a college education is becoming more and more expensive to the extent that it is becoming extremely difficult for a person of modest means to go to college. Trying to work while one goes to college can be frustrating because the amount of money one can earn at a part or full time job is rarely enough to pay for housing, plus tuition, books and other fees. There are many resources either on line or available at a local college or university. At the university I attended, there was an extensive library devoted to scholarships, grants, writing proposals and so on. I discovered this library when I went there not as a student but as a professional writing a proposal for a research grant. Here are some of the categories I found:

1. Scholarships and grants for students whose parents lived in a particular community and worked for a specific company or had a specific occupation are available. The category of scholarships and grants is particularly useful because, unlike loans, they do not have to be paid back. Many students have no idea that these kind of scholarships and grants exist.
2. Work Study is often offered by Community Colleges, Four Year Colleges, and Universities can be combined with grants, loans, and scholarships to provided the student with some extra spending money. Some colleges and universities have learning centers where students can go to get help in study skills, writing skills and topics in mathematics, science, and other technical areas where they need help. Let us say for example that you have good writing skills. If you have the time and patience to work with other students, you can get paid to help other students. There is another advantage of working in a learning center and that is that in teaching others you will enhance your own learning because students will ask you questions that you never thought of because the particular subject was easy for you to learn.
3. Loans are another way to get through college which is an advantage, but loans do have to be paid back and usually have to be guaranteed by your parents unless you are independent and self employed.
4. What ever choice is open to you, you need to get started early and start before you graduate from high school if you are still in high school. The internet is a good place to start, but you do not have to pay someone to apply for a grant, scholarship, or loan. You will need to to have financial information from your parents or from your own income statement.
5. Make absolutely certain that you check your spelling and sentence structure when you apply for admission to a college or university. There is nothing worse than to project yourself as lacking in skills. Remember you are trying to sell yourself to a committee who does not know you. Have someone else check your work and chose someone who you know has good writing skills.
6. Finally, you have to choose a specific set of schools that fit you as a person. For the first two years, a community college is a good choice because not everyone has to go to an Ivy League College or University such as Harvard or Princeton. Luckily for myself, I chose to go to a small four year college which had a good faculty and a small student body whose back ground fit my own. I went to this college with the attitude that I was going there to learn and not to party. Learning should be approached as a job