Positively Pineapple

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

I had to have a tiny little thing — not cancer this time — removed from my bottom lip. I can’t pronounce nor even remember what my doc called it, but it was easily, albeit painfully, removed.

As she tossed me an icepack, she said the craziest thing!

She told me to stop at the store on my way home and buy a fresh pineapple.


Not only was my doc prescribing pineapple to eat, but to dab on my lip!

Apparently this is due to the fact that pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple that’s thought to reduce swelling and inflammation, and hasten healing.

By the way, it actually worked!

Like I always do, I did a little research and learned there’s a lot you can do with all parts of a pineapple.

Of course you can try to grow them when you cut off the tops and I did that, too. Hopefully, I’ll have some little pineapples in a couple of years.

Try this recipe, it sounds yummy!

Pineapple Water
✲ Clean and peel one pineapple. Save the fruit for another time.
✲ In a large saucepan combine the skins and core with a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, and a decent sized chunk of peeled ginger.
✲ Cover with eight cups water and bring to a boil.
✲ Lower the heat and simmer for forty minutes. Turn off the heat and cool.
✲ Strain the water, discard the pineapple skins and spices.
✲ Pour the water in a container, refrigerate, and enjoy.

P.S. It’s highly diuretic, and bromelain may interact with several medications including anticoagulants and antibiotics. It’s always best to consult a medical doctor before ingesting any part of a pineapple.

Word of the Day: Maitri

Discovering new words is a constant joy.

Maitri: loving kindness and compassion for oneself, to reveal a profound essence that leads to personal growth, the ultimate self care.

Maitri is one of the four virtues of Buddhism, collectively known as Brahmaviharas or ‘the immeasurables’.

The term maitri can be translated from Sanskrit as loving-kindness or benevolence, The concept is central to the Buddhist practice of loving-kindness meditation and is also referenced in ancient Hindu and Jain scriptures.

Maitri was one of the themes of Buddhist teacher and author, Pema Chodron. In her book How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, she describes maitri as “unconditional friendliness,” not only towards others but towards oneself.

For maitri toward oneself, try this affirmation: “May I be happy, healthy, safe, and live with ease.”

Positive affirmations + the practice of infinite gratitude are two concepts I incorporate into my daily life.

How about you?

The Good Doctor 🩺

I know that’s the name of a TV show (I’ve never watched it), but I’m talking about a very good doctor I saw today, and that helps to balance the poor experience I had with the orthopedic surgeon last month.

A few years ago, I had a series of white flashes that warned of a retinal tear in my left eye–DANGER AHEAD!

Fortunately I caught it early, so it wasn’t yet detached and therefore able to be repaired by a laser. https://enchantedseashells.com/2022/03/16/i-see-you-eye-health-seriously/

In a roundabout way, that’s how I ended up meeting Vice President Al Gore. https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/11/04/i-met-vice-president-al-gore-at-the-apple-store/

Every year, I return to the retinal specialist for a comprehensive check of both eyes.

This was a completely different situation to the ortho; night and day.

Usually I see the female specialist but she wasn’t available, so I was warmly welcomed by one of the senior doctors in the practice.

We exchanged pleasantries and courteous chitchat while he readied the tools to see behind my eyes.

Continually gentle and respectful, with reassurances and explanations during the exam, including me in the process to let me know what, if anything, had changed since my last visit.

There was none of that disdain, no eye-rolling, no rush to get me in and out. He kindly explained the details of the exam procedure, answered my questions, and eased my worries about any deterioration or new tears or leaky vitreal fluid.

After the exam, which revealed that everything appeared healthy, he shook my hand and told me not to worry and he’d see me next year.

That’s the way to do it. Thank you, Doctor R! Peace of mind is priceless.

Not the Bees Knees 🐝

Of course I had to research the origin of that term "bees knees". The phrase was originally an 18th century fanciful phrase which referred to something that didn't exist. It was used as the kind of spoof item apprentices would be sent to the stores to fetch - like tartan paint or a left-handed hammer. That meaning is no longer used. In the Roaring Twenties in America, bright young things invented nonsense language to refer to things that were 'the tops' - like 'the cat's pajamas', 'the snake's hips' and so on. They utilized the existing 'bee's knees' phrase to add to that list. The expression has since spread and is now used worldwide to mean 'excellent/the very best'.

🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝

My visit with an orthopedic specialist was unsatisfactory on many levels.

First of all, the referral happened to send me to the same office that I had been to in the past for other random fractures and torn ligaments, which I thought was a great coincidence.

However, there was a major difference.

Before, I had PPO health insurance, (Preferred Provider Organization), which offers more doctor flexibility and has a higher monthly premium.

Now I have an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), a network of health care professionals and hospitals who agree to provide medical care at minimal costs.

See the difference?

With PPO insurance, the attitude of staff and doctors is markedly more welcoming when scheduling an appointment than when you call to see a doctor who has first been referred by one’s primary doctor in an HMO. In fact, you can only see a specialist IF it’s been approved and authorized by the primary physician (who’s usually an internist) with a letter of referral from the insurance company.

I had always been treated respectfully — not this time, however!

Initially, when I called to make the appointment and they looked up my previous visits, the communication was pleasant and professional UNTIL I told them I had different insurance, no longer a premium PPO, but an HMO.

She said “Oh”. Her voice changed; her attitude changed. I didn’t think too much of it, didn’t take it personally, maybe it was a busy day or the scheduler had other things on her mind.

When I arrived for my consultation, to be fair, the front desk employees were friendly and professional which bolstered my view that the slight rudeness was a one-off…


I finally saw the doctor about thirty minutes after my appointment time. From the moment he entered the room, I sensed that he was annoyed. He never made eye contact with me. He sat on his stupid little round stool and said “What’s the problem?” and when I I started to explain how it all occurred, he interrupted me to say, “But why are you here TODAY?”

As I started to explain, I could tell he wasn’t listening. He had that faraway look in his eyes that some people get when you know they’re not paying attention. My appointment was in the morning so it wasn’t like he had endured a full day of complaining patients.

He abruptly said, “Sit on the table and let me do an exam”.

It was rushed and cursory. He turned my knee in a few different directions, one of which caused a REALLY sharp pain, and then he pulled my shoes off without warning.

Let’s back up.

I’ve mostly always had great relationships with medical professionals. I like to consider that I’m an informed team member in my own health issues. It’s my body and all that. Because I know a bit about medicine, I feel that I offer valuable insights and points of view that MOST doctors seem to appreciate. I can talk the talk, as it were.

But while I was on the exam table, HE PULLED MY SHOES OFF.

He didn’t ask if I was OK with it, he didn’t ask ME to unlace and take off my workout shoes, he roughly pulled them off my feet — still laced up — and tossed them on the floor.

To me, that was absolutely disrespectful. No one should touch any part of one’s body without permission. Dignity, respect, and civility is not too much to ask of anyone, right?

I was definitely receiving the budget office visit, that’s for sure.

I asked a bunch of questions like I always do and he was SO ANNOYED with me, he didn’t even try to hide it. I could sense the eye roll…

Can I repeat that he never once made eye contact?

While my shoes were still off and on the floor, he opened the door and walked out of the room, turning around to say, “I’ll explain your MRI and x-rays.”

I said, “Am I supposed to follow you?”

No answer.

“Do I have time to put my shoes on?”

No answer.

So…I took my sweet time jumping off the table, bending down to pick up my shoes, unlacing my shoes and then put them on, re-lacing each shoe with a beautifully arranged bow, mindfully, lol.

I wasn’t feeling very comfortable with him as a doctor I’d ever allow to treat my knee.

His assessment of the data was pretty much as the MRI report stated, only more bleak because part of my knee is bone on bone, that’s why it hurts to do squats or lunges.

Here’s what he said, “When it gets bad enough, you’ll want knee surgery.”

“In the meantime, don’t do squats or lunges.” The unspoken words were apparently, “don’t be STUPID” and do squats or lunges.” He didn’t have to say that because his pass-agg attitude was clear.

He also offered to give me a cortisone injection. When I said that I have a bad reaction to steroids, he used “air quotes” to repeat what I said as if he didn’t believe me (really a jerky misogynist move) and instead offered a plasma injection spun out of my own blood which MY insurance doesn’t pay for and is $700 per injection.

“So what do you want to do?” he asked.

I responded that I’d discuss his opinion with my primary physician before I could intelligently decide any course of action, but it’s not bloody likely that I’ll have surgery that includes a recovery time frame of up to twelve weeks OFF my feet. Not bloody likely.

As he was halfway up off his stupid little round stool with his hand already on the door, I said, “But what about physical therapy or some kind of brace to protect and stabilize my knee?”

“What about the torn meniscus or inflamed bursa? That’s actually why I’m here. That’s what hurts. Is there something to do about that?”

“No, nothing will help.”

Then he said, “If you won’t do those things I suggested, there’s nothing I can do for you.”

And he was gone.

I had most likely run over my allotted budget appointment time.

I’m not being melodramatic or overly sensitive.

This is why people bemoan America’s healthcare system, one of many reasons why it’s all messed up.

It was a new experience for me to endure disrespectful and abbreviated treatment like I’m “less than”, a second class citizen solely based on the hierarchy of my health insurance.

Will I tell my own doctor how this one made me feel? You bet I will, and I’m going to request a second opinion, too.

I believe this doc was scalpel happy for sure, but there’s no way I’d trust him to slice open any part of my little body, no matter how many pictures he had on his wall of satisfied customers.

What’s the prognosis for my poor knee? I’m not sure, but at least I know what’s going on in there.

Will I stop doing squats and lunges? NOPE.

Update: I went for a walk along our beach seawall and saw a physical therapist had set up a tent and table for free consultations on a little grassy area. What great timing! I stopped to chat with him and I’m so glad I did! He offered better information about the mechanics of a knee and how to obtain relief (including a brace recommendation) than I did from that orthopedic specialist who wanted to slice and dice. PLUS he was respectful and gentle as he moved my leg around.

The Sun is Not My Friend

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not again!

During my biannual visit with my dermatologist, she saw something she didn’t like, took a biopsy, and just called with the results…

This time it was squamous cell carcinoma, or as the report states: atypical squamous proliferation.

Previously, it was basel cell malignancy, and before that it was a basel/squamous combo, so I’m no stranger to this kind of diagnosis.

That means I’ll have to undergo another procedure to remove all the offending cells.

While the actual procedure isn’t painful, the healing IS, and since it’s on my back, it’s in a tough position for wound care and sleeping, which totally sucks.

Once again, all those summers of baby oil and cocoa butter for six hour tanning sessions on the beach have taken their toll.

Another PSA: Don’t be like me; wear hats and sunscreen and don’t forget the importance of a yearly skin check. Thank goodness for my eagle-eyed dermatologist!

Chakra Awakening Chart

I thought this was super cool and wanted to share.


I wish I knew why this passionflower vine stopped growing; it’s one of my favorites.

Did you know that passionflower offers healing properties? I’ve never tried it, but according to Dr. Andrew Weil, passionflower is used for stress reduction, calming without sedation, and overcoming insomnia when combined with other calming herbs such as valerian and lemon balm.

Studies suggest that passionflower may reduce anxiety in patients undergoing surgery. Another study found that passionflower had similar affects as an anti-anxiety medication in reducing general anxiety. The properties in passionflower are thought to promote calming effects by increasing the levels of the chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which reduces the activity of some neurons that cause anxiety.

Disclaimer: DO NOT take passionflower if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For others, passionflower is generally considered to be safe and nontoxic in recommended doses and for less than two months at a time.

Santa Fe, Turquoise, and Zozobra

I always thought “turquoise” was the most delicious word to wrap my tongue around. So much is going on with its delightful twists and turns.

Some summers saw us travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico to spend time with family who lived in an adorable adobe house. I loved it there. It was dusty and hot and full of colors and sounds and smells that we didn’t have in Detroit.

Our family has a long history in Santa Fe. Before and during WW2, my parents used to hang out in Taos with Georgia O’Keeffe and D.H. Lawrence. I wish I could remember more of their fascinating stories but I was an extremely obnoxious eye-rolling teen and ignored mostly everything they ever said. About anything, haha.

During those trips to Santa Fe, of course I had to have an elaborate fiesta dress and lots of turquoise jewelry. This was probably when I first fell in love with this exquisite rock. I surely wish I still had my little fiesta dresses for Angel Girl, but all I have is my mom’s dress.

We would go to La Fonda and the Plaza where the Native Americans spread their treasures on blankets and we’d spend hours walking around.

This isn’t very PC but one day a little girl yelled at her mom and pointed to me and said, “Look at her, mommy! That’s a real Indian girl!” I always thought that was the coolest thing although I’m sure it was because I was very tan from being outside all day (no sunscreen back then) and my hair was plaited in two long braids.

Sometimes we’d be there for Fiesta and the Burning of Zozobra, an event to dispel the hardships and travails of the past year. Zozobra is the creation of Will Shuster, one of Los Cinco Pintores, a group of artists who made their way to New Mexico in the 1920s. Shuster’s creation first burned in his backyard in 1924 as a 6-foot effigy, and over the years, has grown to a towering 50-foot high marionette.

Photos of Santa Fe from SantaFeSelection.com

Somewhere there’s a photo of me (with pigtails) standing on the steps just beneath the not-yet-burned Zozobra but I couldn’t locate it. When I do, I’ll update this post.

UPDATE: My memory was inaccurate! This is a photo I was thinking of, but it wasn’t me, it’s my older brother and my parents, way before I was born…

Another photo, during another summer visit in Santa Fe with Zozobra…

The Burning of Zozobra has been called the first Burning Man, but I don’t like the comparison at all as the intentions of the two events are lightyears apart.

Every Little Thing

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

Although I never before knew who originally created this quote, I always KNEW — deep in my heart — that a rainbow or a sunset or a whale, a Monarch butterfly, the sighting of a coyote or a bobcat, my hawks — the discovery of a rock or achingly perfect seashell — brings joy as much as a new Chanel or a stunningly crafted pair of heels.

The night when I was genuinely poorly, when I ALMOST thought I’d have to go to the ER, I was awakened by the conversational hooting of a couple of Great Horned Owls and felt comforted by their voices. In my feverish delirium, I believed they were telling me to hang on, it’ll be OK.

Thank goodness, they told the truth. As much as antibiotics bring their own set of issues with my little body (don’t ask), I’m on the road to recovery, as my RN mom would say.

This morning I have SUCH a strong desire for vegan hot chocolate, it made me think of her and start laughing. Simple joys, right?

When I was sick, as soon as I had a craving for anything chocolate, my mom said her nursey training told her all she needed to know to stop worrying about me.

I fully earned the title of Princess because I used to make her wear her nursey cap and drape her stethoscope around her neck when she answered the bell that was on my nightstand. And she happily complied while carrying a tray with ice chips, fresh flowers, and tea in the special antique porcelain tea pot.

At the end of the day, little things are undeniably all there is. Those of us who understand this surely are the lucky ones.

Downward Spiral

If you read about my non-conversation with a haughty school secretary, you might remember I had a bit of a mild cold, but NOT Covid.

Well…on Saturday night the landscape changed. I started to run a low grade fever, went to bed, woke up wracked with chills and my temp had climbed to 102. I was nauseous and developed a very ugly, very productive cough (TMI, I know.)

With my asthma and history of viral lung infections, I had an idea that I now had a secondary bacterial infection.

All day Sunday I tried to lower my temp with acetominophen since I can’t take ibuprofen but my chest wasn’t feeling particularly great.

Early Monday morning I was able to schedule a video appointment with the doc who ordered a chest x-ray.

And just like that, the diagnosis was bilateral pneumonia!

Doc said I was very lucky. My proactive attention to the symptoms stopped me from having to be hospitalized, that’s how bad it was becoming.

That is my WORST nightmare, for sure. With a mom for a nurse, I’ve heard too many horror stories to want to end up at the mercy of strangers, no matter how talented or dedicated they may be to the craft of nursing.

Being hospitalized also triggers memories of my son’s near death experience and I literally can’t stand the smell or the bright lights or the constant sounds.

So now I’m taking two kinds of antibiotics which I also hate because I don’t tolerate them well, but no steroids because I have even worse reactions to them. I’m also taking probiotics because I definitely don’t want to contract C-difficile, which is what my son suffered from AFTER his surgery. We almost lost my precious boy twice.

How it went so quickly from a slight sore throat and congestion to full blown pneumonia in two days, I’ll never know.

There’s always a silver lining though, right? At least the x-rays showed no pleural effusion or pneumothorax and the cardiomediastinal silhouette is stable. (You medical professionals will know this is good news.)

But the real life lesson here is to never stop being your own best medical advocate. I’m only giving myself permission to have one more day of feeling poorly (and slightly sorry for myself.)