How to have a bad night sleep that you can’t blame on anyone else but yourself

I’m taking a detour from my normal blog posts on brain health… I’m a little tired tonight, thanks to last night’s entertainment. I didn’t make it to sleep until 4 am.

How to have a bad night sleep that you can’t blame on anyone else but yourself.

In one short answer, listen to an audio book where everyone dies.

This happened to me last night.

I’ve been listening to a novel (Mrs. Mike) and it’s about a young woman who marries a Mountie and moves to live among the Native Americans and fur trappers of the Canadian rockies in the early 1900’s. I really enjoyed hearing of her adventures and was pretty engrossed by the book until, about an hour and a half from the end, when diphtheria wipes out a large percentage of the small settlement they live in, including her two little children.

This is where I was when I headed to bed last night. I had accidentally taken a really long nap that afternoon, so when I headed to bed, I wasn’t tired. But I thought it sounded like a nice idea to lay down and just listen to the story until I fell asleep. Plus, I knew I had to return it the next day so I was hoping that I would just be able to finish it.

I picked up the story a few minutes before where I had left off, and re-listened to the passage about the children dying. Then I heard about most of the Native Americans dying. That was all so incredibly sad. Sniff. Sniff.

Then there was a break from the sadness as she travels back to visit her family in Boston. Breathe.

But a few years later, she’s back in the rockies with her husband, and World War I has started. And she’s in charge of delivering the telegrams announcing the death of the sons and husbands who had gone off to war, including her best friend’s two sons. Tears came to my eyes.

Plus, another friend dies in childbirth and leaves twins. More tears.

By this time, I was counting down the minutes until it was over. It was so sad, yet I couldn’t stop listening! I had to know how it would end, and surely it would get better! But no, as if that wasn’t enough, influenza comes into the picture and kills her best friend. She ends up with the 4 year old twins that her friend was raising. Tears. Tears. Tears.

And then, at the very end, her Native American friend dies, and the trapper husband comes to her and asks her to raise their newborn daughter. Ack! Sobbing.

The whole last hour, I thought this can’t be happening, I mean, it was a really fun, entertaining read until this last section. And here I am laying in bed, at two in the morning, emotionally exhausted yet extremely awake from listening to such a harrowing account. And there was no way I was falling asleep anytime soon after listening to that.

Memo to self, don’t listen to this book at 2 am in the morning, ever. Again.

A very Short Tour of the Mind by Michael Corballis

In A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 short walks around the human brain, Michael Corballis espouses on various topics in short entertaining chapters that range from language and symmetry in the body to memory and swearing. Each chapter is concise has a brief overview of what science currently says about the subject and perhaps includes an entertaining anecdote or two.

If the path toward demonstrating ours superior brain power has seemed tortuous, we can perhaps at least gain comfort from the thought that we are the only species working on the problem- or so it seems. (p. 10)

This book was a very quick read as most of the chapters were originally published in New Zealand Geographic, so each chapter is pithy and to the point. I enjoyed reading a brain book that was quick to read and covered many subjects quickly.

Who would I recommend this book too? Anyone looking for a quick overview of topics that make the brain unique to the human.

Weekend Links & Updates


Laura, Katie and I. We’ve known each other since we were 10, 11, and 12.




  • I spent last weekend visiting with friends in Astoria. One friend lives there, the other friend (they’re sisters) lives overseas but is back for the summer, so we made it a point to hang out together. It was wonderful. I did the driving (it’s about a 2+ hour drive) and didn’t feel exhausted afterwards which might be a first. Even though I automatically feel better when driving, it has still at times been exhausting stimulus, but I think I might be over that now. I feel that I could actually manage a road trip now.
  • This week has been fairly quiet. I ate too much sugar in Astoria so my brains been a little fuzzy all week. My grandparents are visiting and they saw their first great-grandchild this week (my nephew Eddie) so that was a fun milestone.
  • Today we are having a mini family reunion since my grandparents are visiting. A cousin and girlfriend are coming to spend the day with us, and then my dad’s cousin and family will be joining us for dinner. Plus, a brother and I have a wedding to go to in the evening. It’s going to be a full day!

Why I tried to get off a diuretic for my Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops

This week I’m finally starting to feel more stable after the past few weeks adventure with getting off my diuretic.

I was hoping to get off my prescription diuretic for several reasons.

1. I’m no longer able to wear contacts.

That’s probably my biggest frustration with it. While I don’t mind wearing glasses most of the times, during the summer it’s frustrating not to be able to slip sunglasses on and off easily. I do have a nice floppy hat that works pretty well, but the cool factor is lacking! I think I’m going to break down and order some prescription sunglasses. My prescription has also changed as my eyes have less fluid in them, so now that I know I’ll be doing the prescription for a while, I’m finally going to get that fixed.

2. Sunscreen!

There’s something about the chemical makeup of diuretics that interact with the sun that makes you sensitive to sun rays. It’s like you have an allergic reaction to the sunburn.

The one time I have burned, I was resting in the sun one morning in May, and after lying there for a few minutes, I randomly thought I should put on sunscreen and then I actually followed through with that thought and did it. Normally, I would’ve just brushed the thought away. But when applying the lotion, I didn’t quite cover the backs of my legs enough and a thin strip got sunburned where my shorts had slid up. That day it slowly turned into a sunburn, and the next morning it slowly turned bright red and become swollen and covered with hives with bright red streaks going up and down the insides of my legs. It was nasty to look at to say the least!

The miracle of this all, was that it happened the day before I was supposed to spend most of the day outside with friends touring a local garden. If I had not gotten burned the day before, I mostly likely would’ve of ended up getting burned all over while touring the garden as I undoubtedly would not have remembered to put on sunscreen. But by getting the minor burn the day before, I made sure to bring sunscreen and used it liberally!

3. Dry Skin

You end up with dry skin pretty quickly.

I know for some people this comes naturally all ready, but I was only used to putting on lotion every once in a while after shaving. I now find myself having to do it after every shower. Yeah, I’m whining a bit here. I know that this doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. I also have to use eye drops regularly, especially at night.

4. Water, water, water.

I’m always making sure I have water available to drink from. Which often means carrying a water bottle around with me at all times. And since I take my diuretic in the evening, I usually try to drink at least one huge glass of water (often a quart) before I go to bed to sustain me through the night. I was remember the other evening how I used to watch a whole episode of Chuck and sip my water as it took forever to drink that much! Now, I’m so used to it, I just chug it down in probably less than a minute. I also keep water right by my night stand and I usually empty that during the night.

5. Salt and blood pressure.

Because of the hydrops, I have to keep my daily salt intake level pretty low (at the most about 2,000mg/day) which is quite low compared to the average American’s intake of 3,500mg/day. Normally, this isn’t a problem, and since I naturally like salty foods, I stay between 1,500-2,000mg/day. However, if I don’t keep an eye on it and go 24 hours without eating much salt, I notice my blood pressure will start slipping and several things can happen.

I have zero energy and all I want to do is lay down. When I do lay down I feel flat like a pancake.
I get out of breath easily going up and down stairs
I start feeling woozy or blacking out when standing up too quickly.

Is it worth it?

YES!  Really, I surprised myself with how long this list become. But I know that most of this stuff isn’t too big a deal, and I’m so used to it now, I don’t give it a lot of thought. However, there was the tempting thought that maybe being on natural supplements would have less of an impact that I wanted to give it a try. But, since that turned into a slight fiasco, I guess for the time being, the benefits of having a ear that works properly is worth it!


Not happening

Sorry! No book review today. The dizziness from last week kept me from finishing the book I had hoped to review today. Next week!

Weekend Links & Updates


Met up with a friend for a picnic dinner by the Willamette River



  • This week I dealt with a lot of dizziness from trying to switch up my diuretics. It was starting to get better, but then on Wednesday, I think I ate some moldy cashews, and the next day I woke up with a really foggy brain and my sensitive ear and nose were all congested. Which as you might imagine, was not helpful at all. Thankfully, last night I finally started feeling better and not so consistently dizzy every time I moved.
  • Because of the dizziness, I’ve spent a lot of time resting. My eyes don’t work well together when my ear is flared, so I’ve enjoyed listening to Mrs. Mike.
  • I did go blueberry picking! I don’t think I went at all last year.
  • I did manage to do some sewing that I had promised for a friend’s wedding gown sash. She’s getting married in a couple of weeks so I couldn’t put it off on account of not feeling well. It’s the first sewing project I’ve done for two years, so that was exciting!

Experimenting with diuretics and secondary endolymphatic hydrops

This week has been a discouraging one so far. Not anything very dramatic, but I’ve been dealing with quite a bit of dizziness thanks to experimenting with my prescription diuretic that’s for my Secondary Endolymphatic Hydrops. As I mentioned here, I was hoping to slowly work my way off of it and replace it with a natural supplement. But it didn’t work. After a week of being at half dose on the diuretic and slowly increasing my natural supplement, my right ear was steadily filling up, and by Friday I was getting waves of dizziness, so I broke down and took another half of my diuretic and I’ve since gone back to my normal dosage.

However, what I just assumed would be a simple matter of my ear draining in a day or two, has now stretched out to four days. I went in to see the functional neurologist on Monday as I was hoping they could do a quick fix, but it turns out to be more complicated than that. The appointment did help, but Dr Z reminded me that it could take up to a week for it to finish draining out (and I now remember that it took about two weeks when I first got on it). So yes, I might have another week or so of dizziness issues.

Also, interestingly enough, he said that when you start messing with the system it also can encourage inflammation that can take a while to resolve, so I seriously increased my anti-inflammatory pills. Hopefully that will help too, but it’s a little harder to see direct correlation.

Today, I was able to do acupuncture and that always helps me stabilize. And I think it keeps my ear draining better. I’m also having more stamina; I can do more for longer before I start feeling like my world is moving when I’m not!

And I do keep on waking up feeling a little better so I’m hoping by the end of the week this will just be a good lesson learned.

Why Isn’t My Brain Working by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS

Why Isn't My Brain Working Book Review | Retropulser.comWhy Isn’t My Brain Working by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS is a resource book that explores possible reasons why your brain isn’t working normally. It can roughly be divided into three parts. The first few chapters talk about the chemistry of the brain, how everything actually works and introduces the concept of inflammatory responses within the brain. The bulk of the book consists of specific issues that could be causing problems, such as gluten sensitivity, autoimmunity and chemical imbalances. The last few chapters talk about more miscellaneous topics such as hormonal imbalance, toxins and fatty acids. Most chapters contain a symptom list, case studies, a practical application section and a chapter summary.

Why Isn’t My Brain Working? is a guide that brings together both scientific and natural medicine approaches to help you learn how to spot weakness and abnormalities in your own brain function, whether they are subtle or loudly obvious. One person may notice his memory isn’t quite what it used to be, or that a long day at work is more tiring than he remembers it used to be. Someone else may have a more overt neurological imbalance, such as depression, anxiety, or brain fog. Either way you will learn how to unravel the underlying causes of your dysfunction- because the same symptom can have myriad causes- and how to go about remedying them. (p. xxxii)

If there is one book about the brain  I could convince you to buy, this would be it! Dr. Datis does a great job breaking down what are normally complex subjects in a way that is easy to understand. Although the book is thick, it was quite a fast read as the type is fairly large and there’s a lot of case studies inserted that are easy to skip if you want.

I discovered this book by listening to Datis talk about the brain and digestion. This was the book that I had been looking for. It explained everything that was going on with my brain and inflammation that I kind of knew about, but didn’t know the right questions to ask to find out more. Reading this book, along with the beginning of the GAPS diet book, motivated me to get a handle on the inflammation that was going on in my brain as a result of my concussion issues.

Who would I recommend this book too? Anyone, but especially someone with a history of brain fog, autoimmune conditions, Alzheimers or other degenerative brain disease.

Weekend Links & Updates


with my brothers at Oneota Gorge



  • Lots to report on this week! First off, I realized I never wished anyone a Happy 4th! I hope you had a good day. I did. I had several highlights, including swimming in the river (again!) and I did quite well with that and also managing to watch fireworks standing up on the Hawthorne bridge.
  • Also, on top of normal 4th activities, the next day I “hiked” Oneota Gorge with a group of friends. Not only does this involved wading through water (at times waist high) it also involved climbing over a huge 15ft log jam at the beginning of the canyon. My brothers were gracious enough to stick close to me for support so I felt fairly safe climbing over.
  • As you may remember, last week I was going to attempt getting off of my prescription diuretic (hydroclorathiazide) and on to more natural supplements. It was a fail. I went down to half a dose of the hydroclorathiazide and started increasing the other stuff, but I never got it to equal out. By Friday afternoon, I was starting to feel pretty miserable. Even though I was keeping my salt level low, my right ear felt all plugged and I was starting to have waves of dizziness, and my neck was starting to really hurt from holding my head funny as it was compensating for my right inner ear not giving the proper stimulus. So I’m back to full strength diuretic for now. Ah, well! It was tempting to get depressed about it, but really, it’s not a big deal to take the prescription. It was good to find out that I hadn’t acclimated to it and I’m so thankful that it is a solution.


I was planning on writing a normal length post today for my usual Wednesday morning post, but this evening a younger family member was trying to be funny and accidentally hit me in the face with a small foam dart. While this may seem like nothing to most people, it’s pretty much thrown off my evening. After having my second concussion, I definitely deal with some very slight PTSD issues. On a PTSD symptom scale of 1-10, I would say I’m a number 1, and as pathetic as that sounds to me, it’s still there and I can’t ignore it. I’m off to watch a funny movie to distract myself and I’ll be back on Friday. Thanks for understanding!