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Ask Dr. Gott 2/21

There's no place like a safe home

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Posted: February 20, 2007 4:40 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2007 5:00 a.m.
DEAR DR. GOTT: It seems odd to be writing to a doctor clear across the United States for advice, but medicine isn't like it was years ago, when one doctor took care of all of your problems.
    I was 85 in December. I lost my husband Jan. 2, 2006 after nearly 60 years of marriage. My oldest son is staying with me, but he works, so I'm home alone all day.
    I walk a good deal for exercise and to get out of the house. I've lived here for only about two years, so I don't know many people, but I'm working on that. I now go to church and a knitting group.
    I've been having problems with nerves for years, just every now and then, but nothing has been done.
    Now they bother me a lot, and I'm afraid I may fall. I've always walked and done most things at a good pace, so now I've been trying to slow down, especially when I have to get up several times during the night to use the bathroom.
    When I walk down the hallway, I seem to cut corners. I do weeding in the yard, and I've been sitting down because I have a hard time getting back up when I lean over. I can rake, pull weeds and help clear brush from trees with no problem. A couple of times, when I was doing some of this work, I leaned over and just kept going. I didn't hurt myself, but it felt like I was in slow motion.
    DEAR READER: In my opinion, you are fortunate to have so few health problems at the age of 85. But I am concerned about your falling — again, age-related — and suggest the following:
    You and your son should evaluate your living arrangements and alter them to make them safer. For example, use hand rails on the stairs and in the bathroom, and don't have scatter rugs. In addition, you should consider a Lifeline, a telephone device that you can activate at any time to receive emergency services.
    Revise your gardening schedule. Don't overdo it.
    See your doctor to check out your heart. I'd want to make certain that your balance problems don't have a cardiac origin.
    Good luck, and enjoy your independence.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: Do you realize what you have done? I just read your column about the resulting weight loss of 1/2 pound after a shower. You have stumbled across the ultimate weight-loss solution! No more dieting, no more exercising, just showering! I figure if I take 30 showers today, I can drop 15 pounds. This is what the world has been waiting for. Thank you, thank you.
    I would write more, but I have to go take a shower.
    DEAR READER: Don't forget to dry off.
    For those interested in losing weight in an effective and safe manner, I recommend my book "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet." This book includes meal planners, food lists, recipes and much more and can be purchased at most chain bookstores and independent stores. If you don't see it, ask a manager or owner to order it for you. If you prefer, place your order online at www.amazon.com.
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