Category Archives: Health

Valentine in the Middle East: Swine Flu, Stag Kissing, and Excommunicating Barbie…….

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They report that a Lebanese minister has advised the people of his country this week to reduce the amount of kissing on Valentine’s Day this year. Which makes me wonder what type of neighbors does he have: I mean hygiene and not just looks. But he is worried about the spread of “Swine Flu” aka H1N1.
Yet we kiss a lot in the Middle East, in Arab and Muslim countries, much more than they do in the West. And almost always it is kissing in public rather than in private. We probably do more public kissing than the French do French-ing in Paris. Everybody does it, even the Salafis, Wahhabis, Shi’as, Sufis, Sunnis, Haredim, Vegans, Christians, Evangelicals, and possibly Jews (oddly I haven’t seen many native Jews on the Gulf in recent years for some reason). But the difference is that it is not heterosexual kissing, it is same-sex kissing, at least the public part is.

In Iran, there are reports that the police have warned against spreading Valentine’s Day culture in shops. Yes, shops. A warning which a lot of people and most shop owners will typically ignore, as they do every year.

In Saudi Arabia, red color on February 14 can send you straight to hell, even if you are not Shi’a- Safavi- Rafidhi-Jew-Christian-Animist. The Vice Squad (religious cops) are also cracking down on dolls (Barbie, etc) that expose too much plastic than is considered decent by the clerics. Barbie, of course, was famously excommunicated (by Fatwa) by a religious sheikh and professor (or Dean) of Sharia in my own hometown some years ago.

A few years ago in Gaza some vendor painted an ass red (no, I mean a jackass, donkey) on Valentine’s to promote his business. This year Egypt’s Al Sisi wants the Gazans to have a bit more red in their Valentine: he is opening the Rafah pass to the ‘qualified’ Gazans. But only for February 13 and 14, only for Valentine’s. He will close it back shut right after that, but still it is sweet of the Generalissimo.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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How I Died and Lived again: from the Persian Gulf to the Pacific Northwest, P.S…….

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Over the years I have gone through several lives. That probably means I have one or two left to spare. The last experience, this past July, was a close one, or so I have been told.

I lost my life the first time during a hot Gulf summer (is there any other kind?) when I was a child. I fell into the warm motherly but turbulent waters of the Persian Gulf. I was leaning over the edge of the dhow, peering into the waters, probably trying to locate some fish, when I fell. A captain of the boat (which was associated with my father and uncles) dived after me and saved me. He must have been acquainted with CPR first aid techniques, or what passed for them at that time. They told me, as I recall, that his name was Khamees (Thursday).

There were a few other times. During my student days a Parisian Bread truck almost finished me off on a Berkeley (Calif.) street intersection some years later. The driver must have jumped a red light, or so I was told. I woke up in the hospital with no memory of the incident. But I lived to try another day. And I did. I left out when my head was almost bashed in, but apparently I survived that one too, didn’t I?

Back home on the Gulf, just after one of our wars, I got my first (and only) massive heart attack. The company driver got me to the emergency entrance of the Amiri Hospital just in time. That was some years ago. When I came to an Indian nurse was trying hard to beat some life into my heart. She succeeded.

That was when I got some advice on how to proceed. Some neighbors said that since I had worked with influential potentates (shaikhs) I should plead with some of them to apply their influence with the government to send me overseas for treatment. Others had done it, although I noted that most of those did not survive ‘the royal favor’. I toyed with the idea, and wisely decided instead to spend a month on the beaches and in the mountains of Cyprus. Maybe a reckless part of me thought death was not the worst thing that can happen to me, given the options offered by the neighbors.

I survived that one too, and later moved back to the American Pacific Coast, to the Northwest, where over time I had  a few stents inserted into my body even as I led an active life (hiking, biking, etc). Without the need to plead with any potentates.

Last month I almost did it again: I almost cashed in my chips outside Everett (Washington). Except that a Mr. Snyder and his wife (or girlfriend) caught me in time with some timely CPR first aid and a call to 911. The Snyders and the excellent Providence Hospital staff in Everett saved my life at a time when my family were anxiously looking for me at a nearby shopping mall. When they called my cell phone the hospital emergency staff answered, a terrifying surprise (or so I’d like to think). Apparently I had a seizure (or was it a stroke?). I remember nothing of that day or the next five days.

I have another MRI scheduled for next week. But I believe I am regaining my health and my energy. So, who knows: maybe a few more rounds………

There is an addendum to the above post:
P.S. (10/1/2015): A surgeon had done a biopsy on my brain on that day of my “incident” in July. He dug inside my skull and tested some brain tissue on that day, as I understand. He said the lump in my brain was NOT a tumor. Now he says the results of the last MRI show that it has vanished. Looks like good news. We shall see………….

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum   

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The International Plot against the Egyptian Military’s Miracle Drugs………


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“Hepatitis C. Virtually all of the non-A, non-B post-transfusion hepatitis described years ago in textbooks were found to be attributable to HCV after its RNA genome was cloned in the late 80s. It is estimated that there are 180 million people chronically-infected with HCV. Detection is routine and the virus is therefore largely screened out of the world’s blood supply. But individuals who have received blood or blood products before this time may have inadvertently contracted HCV. HCV is less transmissible than HBV and usually involves direct injection of blood or blood-products into the bloodstream and monogamous heterosexual couples have a low risk of contracting it from an infected mate (CDC Hepatitis C Information for Health Professionals). Most of the HCV transmission today in the developed world is among intravenous drug users, while those who experimented even only once with injectable drugs are at risk of being infected (CDC Viral Hepatitis Statistics & Surveillance). There is no vaccine for HCV and there is no expectation that an effective vaccine will be available anytime soon…………..”

Apparently these people have never heard of the new miracle drug invented by the Egyptian Army under the leadership of Field Marshal Al Sisi. Actually it is a dual-cure for both Hepatitis-C and HIV (AIDS). A leading Egyptian military scientist promised this past Spring that you can shove the drug into a kebab or kufta and eat it and get cured. The whole miracle “kebab” treatment was presented with much fanfare at a public gathering, with speeches and with General Al Sisi himself attending.

Some media, nay all media outside Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain had a field day with this army alleged invention. No report yet if the Egyptian military has plans to invent a democratic system that works for Egypt and the Arab world. But they do know a system that cures a country from wanting to go democratic.

Egypt Rejects Sisi Invention, Signs with Gilead for Hepatitis-C Cure……

Is Medical Pilgrimage in Egypt’s Future? the Army Says So about their Acne Cure………
Cheers

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com

Will the Really Dead Yasser Arafat Please Stand Up, If He is Really Dead……..

      


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“French investigators have concluded in a report that Yasser Arafat died of natural causes and ruled out the possibility that he was poisoned, a source told Al Jazeera. “The analysis cannot lead us to affirm that Arafat died of polonium 210 poisoning,” reads the report, according to the source, who has seen it. The report comes to the same conclusion the French reached in 2004 – that Arafat died of a brain hemorrhage and an intestinal infection. According to the forensic report presented in Paris to Suha Arafat, the widow of the late Palestinian leader, and her lawyer, Saad Djabbar, French investigators found traces of the radioactive element polonium 210, but concluded that Arafat died of natural causes. The French tests, conducted independently and in secret as part of a murder investigation, appear to contradict Swiss findings …………..”

Confusing, n’est-ce pas? I know, it is possible to ‘buy’ test results, especially in Europe. Still, if I have to choose in this case, I would tend to believe the Swiss institutions over the French institutions (and government officials for that matter). Some misguided people suspect that corruption, like interesting sex, was a French invention.
I shall file this under category: WTF.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com


Science: Of Testicles and Hearts……………

      


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“A recent Italian study has concluded that men who have two large testicles are more likely to have heart problems. This is an interesting conclusion because previous studies had tied the large size of testicles to increased fertility. The Daily telegraph reports that tow researchers at University of Florence have found that men with larger testicles are more likely to have high blood pressure and to be overweight…………”

It is logical, the causality is obvious: the bigger the testicles (cojones) the bigger the weight of the man who carries them. I also understand that male athletes who take a lot of Steroids tend to have their testicles shrink, but I suppose that does not mean their hearts are healthier than before. Unless it (the story not the testicle) is just an urban legend. It is also not clear if this conclusion applies to all men or just Italians like Silvio Berlusconi.
I thought my readers might want to know.

Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com