Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
My 77th Birthday came and went recently, and unfortunately I’ll never see it again. That’s how birthdays are; just another day. An example of Time passing. As a friend of mine said many years ago, over the rim of his glass (his portable horizon—-), “Wayne, do you realize that our lives are passing by at the rate of one minute per minute?” Clever observation.
But this birthday was a unique blessing because a Wrangell Lady, one of my first friends, took a long time to assemble a book of birthday greetings from you folks at Home (Wrangell will always be Home) and sent it to me. It got here exactly on my birthday.
And friends, there is not a “Thank You” intense enough to fit my feelings. All I can say is, “I love you all.” And especially you, Grandma, for doing this.... I have been trying not to get cow-eyed.
I was in Wrangell for 36 years, and had the best of all possible worlds. I know that many of you were born and raised there, and I wish that had been me. But I was raised in a similar town on the Oregon Coast, DePoe Bay. When I first visited Wrangell in 1973, I knew I had come back home: a small, friendly town of “fisherpeople” and logging and lumbering people, schools, businesses, and a hospital that support such a lifestyle and on an Island. And this time I had something to offer to help the community: I was a doctor.
The blessing that soon became apparent in being a doctor in Wrangell was that patients quickly became friends as well, and I loved that. I was part of a community and family.
Then I bought a boat, and my world changed again for the better. I loved the docks, and the characters there. I had grown up in a fishing family, and felt comfortable in the scene. My dad used to say, “Once you’ve got salt-water and fish blood in your veins, you’re the one that’s hooked.” So I started fishing in the summers, and hired “locum tenens” docs to take my place. This gave Wrangell folks a break from me, and to see how “other Docs” did things. It also got me outdoors, which I always love, and into some real adventures.
So I had it all: the basketball games (they are my boys and girls), the Boat Parade, the “Old Geezers Classic Country-Western Show” on KSTK, and of course the Medical service. But mostly just being part of Wrangell. Now I’m here, in the Philippines, and it’s nice here. But like Johnny Cash used to sing; “I Don’t Like It, but I Guess Things Happen That Way.” Will I get back? Yep. Even if it’s just to have my ashes dumped in front of town.
Thanks, Wrangell, you Beautiful, Crazy Place.
PS... I have always thought we should have a “Wrangell Salute”: instead of just a “#1”, or a “V” sign, put the third finger up too, to make a “W” I’ve been doing it for years, but never told anyone. Try it - it’s ours.
To the Editor:
It’s that time of year in Wrangell. Hundreds of us are receiving our Health Fair Blood Test results in the mail, our minds swimming in a sea of numbers (and probably questions). I have spent the last two years, as a hobby, studying health and testing the information on myself and my family - strange, I know, but I was getting desperate for an answer to my steady weight gain and chronic heartburn as well as my son’s digestive issues - and have discovered some very surprising information. I learned that everything I thought I knew about health I probably learned from advertising and was definitely wrong. The purpose for me writing this letter is not to give medical advice but to present a paradigm shift in the way we, as a nation, need (desperately) to think and act on health.
We have been taught (by advertising and industry funded “Associations” or “Councils”) increasingly over the last 30 years that symptoms are, in fact, the diseases themselves. The concept of finding “root causes” for health issues has been lost under billions of dollars being made in the business of treating symptoms. My favorite personal example is taking “Acid Blocking” drugs for heartburn - the very same drugs that can be self-prescribed from the grocery store and are frequently prescribed by physicians. “Blocking” stomach acid is treating a symptom. The cause is generally - wait for it - low stomach acid (which has possible root causes due to diet, NSAID use, or parasites.) Poorly digested food putrefies in your stomach creating gasses that put upward pressure on your esophageal sphincter. I now supplement with Stomach Acid and Pepsin with infinitely better and much less expensive results. More importantly, HCL and Pepsin are naturally produced in the stomach and, with encouragement, your gut can heal itself. Isn’t it convenient that a drug company can sell a treatment for a symptom that will perpetuate that same symptom?
The answer to our questions, I believe, is found in some combination of accurate research and some variation of the Paleo movement - the idea that if we eat what our ancestors (not even that long ago) ate we could eliminate/prevent the majority of modern diseases.
Please remember that, while I am passionate about the above topics, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of my statements - partly because I am not a professional and also because there is new information being discovered daily that could change all that we know. I do believe there has been a disconnect from what the research has been finding over the last 30 years and what has been disseminated to the general populous. There are people who have dedicated their lives to finding “root causes” and making real and accurate information available to those who will seek it out.