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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Germis (TM) for the Dermis

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
First, a quick recap of the attempt to exercise every day without a break for a month. The numbers refer to yards in the pool; weight and tennis refer to Nautilus circuits and either doubles or singles or both, for a minimum of 2 hours (though it's usually 3 hours 15 minutes, and on Sunday it was 4 hours).

Here are where we are so far. If it doesn't rain, and I play tennis today, I will have technically satisfied my self-imposed challenge, having made a continuous month without a break, the month being a non-leap year February's 28 days.

  1. 3150 sickish
  2. 500 weights
  3. 3200
  4. weights
  5. tennis
  6. 4500
  7. weights
  8. 3800
  9. weights
  10. 5000
  11. weights
  12. tennis
  13. 5300
  14. tennis
  15. 4900
  16. weights
  17. 4500
  18. weights
  19. tennis
  20. 4600
  21. weights
  22. 4100
  23. tennis
  24. 3850
  25. weights
  26. 525 tennis
  27. 4400
  28. tennis if it doesn't rain?

I began this quest by accident. After Colony Zones, I came home, swam the Monday practice, but by Wednesday was too sick too move. I didn't return to any form of exercise whatsoever until the following Wed., May 6th (note the adjective "sickish" above.)

Leslie had by then convinced me to try weight lifting, plus tennis season was upon us, and my self-disgust was so high after 9 days of being a lallygagging layabout slugabed that I decided to try to catch up by exercising everyday for a while. After 11 days, I recognized I was on a streak.

I continued onwards, almost like when I quit drinking: each new day of sobriety (or, in this case, abstinence from slugabedding) only inspiring me to keep it up.

All went well until last week. On Thursday, my throat was sore, my lungs filled with sputum, and my muscles achy. I'd arranged to play singles at the high school with my friend John Delaney at 4:30. At 3, I fell asleep on the couch. At 3:30, I woke briefly to the sound of thunder, realized tennis would be canceled, told myself I could weight lift instead, fell back asleep.

John called me at 4:15, waking me again, and asking if we were still on for tennis. I told him it had rained and the courts were drenched. He told me it hadn't rained where he lived, five miles away, and the high school courts were bone dry.

I met him at the courts and played for 3 hours 15 minutes, and actually played the best I had all year, despite sickness.

The next day, I felt much, much worse, and was ready to skip practice, but the streak wouldn't permit it.

I went and swam slow. But Bill got me to race him on the fast push-off 100 (he'd just done a 1:57 on the fast push-off 200). I did a 59; he did a 52.9.

Then, on the fast push-off 50, he did butterfly, which forced me to try. He did a 27 flat. I did a high 26 for freestyle.

Saturday, I woke up at noon, feeling awful. I forced myself to go do Nautilus, came home, went back to sleep, spent the rest of the day watching True Blood reruns and the French Open.

Sunday, I played tennis for four hours, which was very fun, though my shoulder is a bit sore now. Yesterday, I swam our "distance" practice:

600 warm up
8 x 100 on 1:20
6 x 50 kick
4 x 500 descend
200 warm down
4400 total

I am a wreck today, and it's threatening to rain, but I am absolutely committed to playing tennis or doing Nautilus to keep the streak alive.

________________________________



Could this be my cure?


Regular readers of this vlog may have noticed that I am sickly.

Some have suggested hypochondria, the "some" here being pretty much everybody I have ever met since sliding out the abdominal C-section of my beloved mother in 1952.

Finally, the reason for my regular bouts of illness have become clear. I refer your attention to a recent AP story, some of which I shall excerpt here for your edification:

Scientists find bacterial zoo thrives in our skin

May 28, 4:25 PM (ET)

By LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON (AP) - Eeeww. There's a zoo full of critters living on your skin - a bacterial zoo, that is. Consider your underarm a rain forest. Healthy skin is home to a much wider variety of bacteria than scientists ever knew, says the first big census of our co-inhabitants. And that's not a bad thing, said genetics specialist Julia Segre of the National Institutes of Health, who led the research.

Sure they make your sneakers stinky, "but they also keep your skin moist and make sure if you get a wound that (dangerous) bacteria don't enter your bloodstream," she said. "We take a lot for granted in terms of how much they contribute to our health."

The skin research, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, is part of that project. Scientists decoded the genes of 112,000 bacteria in samples taken from a mere 20 spots on the skin of 10 people. Those numbers translated into roughly 1,000 strains, or species, of bacteria, Segre said, hundreds more than ever have been found on skin largely because the project used newer genetic techniques to locate them.

Topography matters, a lot, the researchers reported. If a moist, hairy underarm is like a rain forest, the dry inside of the forearm is a desert. They harbor distinctly different bacteria suited to those distinctly different environments. In fact, the bacteria under two unrelated people's underarms are more similar than the bacteria that lives on one person's underarm and forearm.

Mom's advice to wash behind your ears notwithstanding, that spot contained the least diverse bacteria - 19 species on average. The most diverse spot: the forearm, which averaged 44 species....

... Segre hopes knowing there are so many bacteria alters how people think about the relationship.

"I'm a mother of two small children; I believe very strongly in sanitation, washing your hands," Segre said. But, "we have to understand that we live in harmony with bacteria and they are part of us as super-organisms ... and not just conceive of bacteria as bad and germs and smelly."

____________________________________

You may suspect I am joking here, but I am not: swimming, I am convinced, is what is making me sick. (It's also making me healthy, and I don't plan to stop, but the sick-inducement part of it needs some sort of remedy. More on this in a moment.)

Actually, it isn't swimming per se that makes me sick, but regular immersion in the chlorinated water. The delicate ecosystem of my germ-riddled skin is being thrown out of whack by the germ-killing powers of chlorine, allowing evil flora and fauna to attack me once the protective flora and fauna have been felled.

For years, I have not "needed" to use soap or deodorant provided I swim every other day. To me, it seems impossible to believe that any dirt can survive on a body that thrashes about in water for 1.5 hours at a time. At this point, soap only dries out the skin and makes me itch. Good riddance.

(Note: I have also avoided brushing my teeth for decades, fearing I might tamper with the delicate ecology of my mouth, but that's a different story and the topic of a future vlog.)

But it looks like a complete lack of hygiene is not enough to keep me healthy. I need some way to re-infect myself with skin germs post-practice.

You know those new types of yogurts that supposedly add "probiotics" to your digestive tract? Probiotics is a code word for health germs.

I need a skin moisturizer containing all sorts of probiotics--a witch's brew of thriving bacteria evolved to live on my skin and protect me after practice. Perhaps I could trademark such a product myself:

Germis (TM) --for whenever you are too clean for your own good: Germis for the Dermis!

Alas, I will need seed money to pioneer Germis for the Dermis, which I imagine at this point will be a dirt-covered slathering salve filled with all manner of healthful E. coli and other strains we need to feel our best and smell our worst!

Until then, I must come up with another solution.

Along these lines, are there any filthy women out there that would be willing to give me a full body rub down apres workout to restore to my skin the pestilence I need to stay healthy?

It's 1 o'clock--only three and a half hours to tennis...

If there's one good thing about land sports in the summer, they do keep your skin nice and germ-riddled, provided, that is, you can resist the urge to shower afterward.

Alas, if you can't resist such an urge, I urge you to slather yourself dun-colored with Germis for the Dermis (when it becomes available)--and until then, find a filthy member of the sex you are oriented towards and try to coax a germ exchange pronto.

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Comments

  1. knelson's Avatar
    So does the "filthy woman" you're looking for to give you a rubdown need to have hairy armpits, or is that point negotiable? Not that I can help you either way. Just curious!
  2. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    Jimby,

    My real comment is too rude to say, so here's another one:

    it's not swimming that's making you sick, it's pool swimming!

    Not only does OW swimming leave the little germies on your dermies, but it puts new ones on there!

    Just think how superhumanly healthy I'll be after my dip in the Hudson! I'm getting a bit of a thrill just thinking about it.

    Of course, the naked filthy rubdowns are still a good idea. Better safe than sorry.
  3. qbrain's Avatar
    After 28 continuous days of working out, you and your Adonis like physique must have a line of people waiting to give you a filthy naked rubdown.
  4. tjrpatt's Avatar
    You must be ripped beyond belief with those 3 hour tennis sessions, James Roddick.
  5. BillS's Avatar
    NOW you tell me about your "cleanliness is next to sickliness" mantra for living? AFTER I agree to loan you my (regrettably, now-illegal) B70 for scientific analysis? AND this latest comes after your coy "Oh, by the way, I mighta sorta peed in it, a little anyway" post from a while back that I let slide because I am a magnanimous, kind, and gentle soul (and because I didn't really give a damn one way or the other) ?

    May you be cursed by many years completely lacking in filthy rubdowns administered by hairy armpitted euro-trash bacterial carriers!
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    I need a filthy naked rubdown desperately. Just finished my February Leap Year month's worth of continuous exercise with a 4 hour tennis match. I am almost positive I will be peeing blood by morning. In order to walk around the house, I have to say, "ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch" with every dainty step of my throbbing feet. After tennis, I was a salty froth of germs and healthy smells! The gnats were feasting on me with the kind of rapaciousness you would think they'd reserve for the dead!

    Oh, how much I wanted to roll around in the dirt and grass and then find a syphilitic menage a trois to join, explaining to any who might raise an eyebrow, "But it's for my health! Surely you won't begrudge a poorly underinsured old man the one good thing he can do to preserve his health?"

    Alas, I took a shower when I got home. No soap. But a shower still.

    Bill, you life in Portland. Surely there are some spillover heroin addict urchins from Seattle you could send my way for a rubdown?

    How many weeks have you been sick since I returned the B70, in tact if a bit "seasoned" with microbes?

    If you answer, "Less than three weeks, Jim, of the four or so that I have had my now illegal suit back," well then I think we both know the reason for your robust good health!

    Germis for the Dermis, Jim's early prototype formula!

    No need for thanks. Just some heroin addicted street urchins UPS'd to my door.
  7. RustyScupperton's Avatar
    Ahh, the demise of female body hair. For a man of a certain age, this is just downright sad. First Sean Connery's chest, then the various areas of Bond girls go under the Waxman's apliqueller. Quel dommage!
  8. knelson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Bill, you life in Portland. Surely there are some spillover heroin addict urchins from Seattle you could send my way for a rubdown?
    Bill lives in Hood River and I'm sure most Hood Riverians (?) would protest loudly if it were suggested they live in Portland.

    And I think Portland probably has enough heroin addicts of their own that they wouldn't need to import any from Seattle
  9. Fresnoid's Avatar
    Not brushing your teeth for decades?? Just breathe on your skin if you are worried about sufficient bacterial colonization.
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    Fresnoid, you comment suggests that perhaps you are one of the Brusher community. May God have mercy on the ruined ecology of your mouthparts! I can only hope you are not also a member of the Gargler community.

    Still, I shall take your advice. My only problem is that I tend to swim with my eyes closed and my mouth open, so the same chlorinated water may have decimated my mouth flora and fauna just as a lifetime of Brushing and (potentially) Gargling has evidently converted your own mouth into a sterile desert.
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Google has evidently been tracking this vlog and now recommends, among other products:


  12. Fresnoid's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Fresnoid, you comment suggests that perhaps you are one of the Brusher community. May God have mercy on the ruined ecology of your mouthparts! I can only hope you are not also a member of the Gargler community.

    Still, I shall take your advice. My only problem is that I tend to swim with my eyes closed and my mouth open, so the same chlorinated water may have decimated my mouth flora and fauna just as a lifetime of Brushing and (potentially) Gargling has evidently converted your own mouth into a sterile desert.


    http://health.taragana.net/articles/...attacks-risks/

    http://www.perio.org/consumer/heart-disease.htm

    http://medheadlines.com/2009/04/07/e...-heart-attack/

    http://www.examiner.com/x-6347-Columbia-Health-Care-Examiner~y2009m4d2-The-higher-the-level-of-mouth-bacteria-the-greater-the-chance-of-heart-attack
  13. Leonard Jansen's Avatar
    Jim - This is easily solved. Go to Home Depot (or similar) and get some of the bacterial solution or powder that they sell for adding to keep septic systems from clogging. If it's the liquid, you can just pour it over your head while still in the shower. If it's the powder, you can use it like baby powder. If money is tight I can send you all the horse manure you want for FREE and it will perform a similar function - in fact it's an old farmer's trick to dump a load of fresh horse manure in the septic system.
    No need to blubber in gratitude.

    -LBJ
  14. BillS's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    Bill lives in Hood River and I'm sure most Hood Riverians (?) would protest loudly if it were suggested they live in Portland.

    And I think Portland probably has enough heroin addicts of their own that they wouldn't need to import any from Seattle
    That's right, Jimby, HOOD RIVER, and don't you forget it. No Kate Moss heroin-chic fashion here, and we wear wetsuits all summer long for the purpose of windsurfing in the mighty, pristine Columbia River. Which, now that I think of it, in light of your "Germs/Unsanitary Filth = Good" theory may explain the if not robust, at least not on my deathbed, general state of my health.

    I have been wondering, by the way, if I need to become a hypochondriac in order to Swim Faster Faster (tm-Anders Rasmussen. Used totally without permission). You and Fort appear to have fully embraced hypochondria as a training tool, and even Ande has dabbled in it from time to time. Perhaps I'll Ask Ande one day. But I digress.

    No, I'm afraid you will just have to scrounge up your own hollow-eyed, sunken-cheeked. smack-craving gutter snipe from the bowels of some rust belt city back there. Which can't possibly be that tough right now.
  15. jim thornton's Avatar
    Fresnoid, I am well aware of the heart disease and mouth germs link. However, I maintain that the germs that inflame heart vessels are not healthy mouth germs, and in fact, only proliferate when the healthy ones are taken out by too much oral hygiene! I could be wrong, but it just seems hard to believe that our species has been around for millennia and that until Crest, floss, Listerine, etc. were invented, we were at risk! Granted, the modern diet might lend itself to throwing the natural mouth ecology out of whack. But what other animal on earth spends time with painful waxed string pulled through the teeth spaces?

    Leonard, thanks for your offer of horse manure and your generally great suggestions about septic skin care. You get it, sir! Perhaps it takes a fellow Pennsylvanian to truly see outside the dentifrice and skin emollient box we've been urged to purchase.

    I am going to try to get the email address of the lead author of the Science article and see what they think about making a small investment in Germis for the Dermis. I will keep you posted.

    Finally, my great benefactor, Mr. Bill Summerfield, Esquire! I apologize heartily for the Hood River error. I assumed it was just another part of Portland. You can join the ranks of hypochondria very easily: we are always taking new registrations. Leslie, I am pretty sure, has more experience, being that she is a full-fledged delusional hypo (i.e., she truly believes she is sick, whereas I know my sickness, though real-feeling, is only in my mind, at least most of the time).

    Speaking of Germis, I saw that you are auctioning off our B70 for 250. Because of the possibility that a tincture of urine still remains, possibly containing some kidney infected white blood cells of mine, I would consider raising the price a bit because of the likely boost this will give the new owner's immune system.