Thursday, January 22, 2015

Have a Seat

When I first went to cardiac rehabilitation I was directed to "...have a seat and they will come get you." On screen was a video which included a piece on the evils of sedentary lifestyle. Get up and move around, even if it is only during the commercials.

So I got up and moved around. I do that a lot anyway. I have what the Yids call shpilkes (literally needles). I have been like this as long as I can remember.

On Wednesday there was a course called Benefits of Exercize. When I came in after having just finished a good sweaty workout, I was offered a chair. I said I preferred to move around while cooling down.

Someone moving around while others are sitting is uncomfortable for the sitters. You seem to be disrespectful, not paying attention, looking to share attention, distracting from the important stuff. Well, what if the culture changed? If there were stand-up stations in the waiting room? If people walked on treadmills while the class was being taught? (Actually the instructor suggested the treadmills, but in a way that said it would never happen.) I watch TV standing up and stretching. It is still bad TV, except for the sports.

I certainly would feel more comfortable if I weren't the only one stretching and moving around.

Later, when we were talking about weight loss, I asked a question about a study that showed that thinner people were more likely to be twitchers, foot tappers, leg wigglers. The instructor (who is quite thin) pointed to his twitching leg, and admitted that he was, too.  Has this finding been replicated and substantiated? It was just an observational study -- no causation. Could you train yourself to twitch and wiggle (subtly)? Would that help you lose weight?  I saw one woman start to squirm as if trying it out.

I think this is a revolutionary idea. Let me know if it works for you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Visit to the Neurologist

The appointment finally arrived. Linda came with to be sure that the important questions got asked.

My goal was to get off Keppra, the anti-seizure medication that I thought was making me irritable and unstable. That didn't happen, but we got to see the MRI image of my brain when I was having those four days out of touch. Indeed there were 5 spots with evidence of some events; but they were scattered about as though some plaque or scar tissue had been disturbed by the stent procedure and moved to various sites around the brain where they coagulated or stopped bloodflow for some short period within the previous 6 hours.

These spots did not account for the fever which I showed for a day or so, and which they treated with antibiotics. There is enough of a chance of an infection occurring at these throttle points that the neurologists recommend staying on the Keppra until they can do another brain scan to see if there continues to be anything abnormal at those sites. I mentioned that I had had an MRI in 2008 when another neurologist worried about the neuropathy I have had in my lower legs for 20+ years. Yup, I can't feel anything and the motor neurons don't work -- the proprioceptive system is dysfunctional so I can't balance on one leg.

Nothing was found in the 2008 MRI and my brain was pronounced "perfect." Not every one has the evidence to say that.

Before our resident could let us go, he needed to have his work checked by the head honcho. Honcho took a quick look and immediately noticed my Bells Palsy, which I have had since 1970. In fact I had been lecturing on the cranial nerves when it hit. Without asking permission he proceded to give a lecture on my symptoms, asking the resident to notice facial synkinesis (when an involuntary act accompanies an intentional one.) I was fine with that, but it was rude of him not to ask for my OK. I learned how they can pinpoint the lesion by noting symptoms such as dry eye or excessive tearing and taste distortion.

The upshot is an EEG in 2 weeks, continued Keppra at the lower dose, no driving for 6 months after the (as yet indeterminate) stroke.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eating Habits and Food

I got up early Thursday morning to walk to the bagel bakery. It took about 40 minutes, so I figure it is like the treadmill, only you get somewhere where there are bagels.

Linda has been steering us away from the white flour bagels toward whole wheat, nuts and seeds.

One of the processes we went through in a weight-loss class was to talk about family food history. Did we grow up on a farm with lots of food? Did we grow up in the Depression where food was scarce? Were we in a big family where you had to scramble for seconds?

I grew up in a Jewish transition family. My father's home was Orthodox and he moved away from that. Coming back from trips to his business in Jersey City, we would stop at the White Castle for a 5-cent burger -- surely treyf. A big treat on a late summer day was to drive out to Route 46 to the MacDonalds (Over 1 Million Sold). Usually my mother didn't come on these trips. Not that that she was particularly observant. My father's favorite how-I-met-your-mother story involved his spending his whole week's paycheck on a giant lobster she ordered. When Norm introduced Laura to Pop-pop, she was wearing riding jodhpurs and smoking a cigarette. "Any friend of my son's is a friend of mine," is the treasured quote. But Laura surely wasn't the traditional Jewish modest wife. When her mother, Ella, came to live with us in Tenafly, grandma took over the cooking and taught Carey, our maid, how to do Kosher, so she must have known that Laura was not keeping the rules.

My rehab nurse helped me set a goal of losing five pounds. I'm trying, but I'm not having much progress.

Health Update January 15

Now my recovery has moved into the dull, repetitive, gym phase. I am dutifully going to cardiac rehab three times a week, taking the helpful courses, and working on strength training, which I have long neglected.

I have some observations. The people who show up are in very bad shape. They probably haven't exercized at all in their lives. This belief of the staff I learned when I offered to clean the chains on the rowing machines. The chains are rusty and probably haven't ever been lubed. I found this out when talking to one of the male staff, one of the guys who have taken on the task of keeping the exercise machines operating. He declined my offer, making it very clear that he was medical staff and not running a gym and that customers shouldn't be doing maintenance (although we are supposed to wipe down our sweat and hand germs when we finish on a machine).

The theme of us vs. them showed up in a New Yorker article by Adam Gopnick on Howard S. Becker, the sociologist/ piano player/ dope smoker and observer of how deviant 'outsider' groups do the same things as high-status 'insider' groups, only the insiders don't get studied. Jazz musicians talk about how they disdain the audience who might ask them to play Melancholy Baby. But nurses don't usually talk about how they disdain their patients. Now I understand how breaking the barrier of us-professionals vs. them-patients by trying to work as a team, might cause some tension. My own frustration at losing my competence -- aided by an anti-seizure drug that enhances crabbiness -- might bounce off the in-group / out-group barriers.

Even my case manager bristled when I sent a message to the hospital's electronic message system asking a question which she thought I should have asked her directly. What was it, now? Oh, about how she deals with angry patients.

Maybe my grumpiness is a sign of recovery. Probably not.

It seems to me that grumpy old men are common at cardiac rehab. I wonder if the ASEBA Older Adult Behavior Checklist Irritable/Disinhibited (Grumpy Old Man) Scale would predict success in rehab or even the likelihood of getting a hear attack in the first place.

The exception to the truism: There are plenty of athletes at cardiac rehap. One biker who rode the MS150. Another runner whose knees are not letting him run much. A guy who looks to be fit who talks about GMOs.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Phillip Danzinger (Honigbaum) Birth Record

Source: JRI-Poland.

Honigbaum  Luzer Fiszel  1905  B  358  24 Nov/7 Dec 1905  Honigbaum Chenoch 25 Merchant  Chana Dancygier  23.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Wolf Jacobowitz Performs a Marriage Ceremony

Hi Dave,

I found your blog while searching for information on "Wolf Jacobowitz". I recently obtained a copy of my wife's great-grandparents marriage certificate from the NYC archives. They were married on Feb 19, 1906. The "person performing the ceremony" signed as "Wolf Jakubovitz Rabi of cong. Chebra Tachirim" (or something like that). The ceremony was performed at 359 E. 3rd St, and Wolf gives the same address as his residence. One of the witnesses was "B. Jacobowitz" - perhaps Wolf's brother, Bernath?
I could not find out anything about "Wolf Jakubovitz", which I also thought might have been "Wolf Takubovitz", but when I decided to try "Wolf Jocobowitz", picking up the spelling of the witness's name, I found your blog. Wolf's signature on this marriage certificate renders "Jakubovitz" nearly identical to how it is written in Elias' name on the address of the "postcard from Wolf", except the bottom loop on the J is shortened, which is why I thought it might be a T.  I see that the return address on the postcard is a stamp with "W. Jacobowitz", spelled the way you spell it now.
I doubt that I am reading the name of the congregation "Chebra Tachirim" correctly. Do you know what this should be?
The groom is Peter Drucker, living in Trenton, NJ and the bride is Gisela Klein. Both were from Hungary. I see that Wolf was from Szobranc, Slovakia, which before WWI was in the Hungary part of Austria-Hungary. Peter was from near Miskolc, in north-central Hungary, not particularly close to Szobranc. Gisela was from Budapest we think, but we are not sure. So they do have a Hungarian connection in common.

The other witness was Abraham Klein (perhaps related to the bride). Gisela's address on the certificate is 55 W. 111th St, which is only a couple of blocks from Wolf's address of 112 E. 111th St on the postcard in 1912.
Let me know if you want me to send a scan of the certificate, for the signature, if nothing else.

Bruce Blakely
Newton, MA


The Drucker-Klein certificate is attached.
This is very interesting. Your grandparents were married on Feb 18, 1906, the day before my wife's great-grandparents were married on Feb 19, 1906. Your grandparents were married at 297 E. 3rd, and the Drucker-Klein marriage was at 359 E. 3rd.
I can't make out the signature on your certificate, and the ketubah is all Hebrew, so I can't really compare that to anything. Perhaps there is or was a law that Wolf couldn't sign the certificate for his own daughter's wedding even if he did officiate.
I don't know if the congregation name will lead to any other information. I assume the first word "Chebra" is a variant of "Chevra", which just means "fellowship". I can't decided what the first letter of the second word is, but I'm guessing "Tachirim" - I don't know enough Hebrew to make a better guess.

The Klein connection is interesting. Abraham Klein, in addition to being a witness at this marriage, is a boarder with Peter & Gisela in the 1910 census. This census shows that Abraham was born in New York about 1885 (I think I found his WWI draft card that gives his birthdate as July 19, 1884). You can find Abraham Klein in my tree, although he is not "attached" to anyone in the tree yet. There is more than one Abraham Klein in New York City in the early 1900s, but I've found a few records that I think belong to him.
It's possible that Bernath was a convenient witness for the wedding (and not related to our Kleins) and was "in town" because of your grandparents wedding the day before.

Miriam Paskow (born Jacobowitz)

Death of Miriam Paskow.

Reconstructed from newspaper accounts and her death certificate.

Miriam was 28 years 11 monthss and 22 days old, a week short of turning 30 from her birthday on August 6, 1906, in Jersey City, N.J. She was the middle child of Max Jacobowitz and Theresa/Teresa Rosenblum/Rosenbloom, born after her brother Milton Jacobowitz and before her sister Connie Halpern.

She had been married a short time to Harry Paskow. In the 1930 Census she was listed as "Age: 23; Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Daughter," in Max and Theresa's home at 339 Harrison Avenue, Jersey City.

Harry and Miriam took what was probably a honeymoon trip to Bermuda in early 1933: 
NAME: Miriam Paskow 
ARRIVAL DATE: 24 Feb 1933 
AGE: 26 
GENDER: Female 
PORT OF DEPARTURE: Hamilton, Bermuda 
PORT OF ARRIVAL: New York, New York 
SHIP NAME: Monarch of Bermuda

Death Certificate

Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania, United States
Age 28 years 11 months 22 days. At 8:40 pm, she died of internal hemorrhage due to an Automobile accident on Route 22 at Cresson Rd.
Here are the results of your search:
Web: Altoona, Pennsylvania, Altoona Mirror Obituary Index, 1929-2010
Last Name First Name Middle Name Maiden Name Descriptor Date1 Date2 Page
Paskow Miriam L.J. Jacobowitz 07/29/1935 16
Altoona Mirror from "Mrs. Mariam Paskow. ... His investigation disclosed that Mrs. Paskow was operating the automobile west and had passed ... Milton Jacobowitz, and a sister. ... The victim of the tragedy was married and was born August 6, 1906. ... Baltimore, 15 miles south of here. , The dead are: Harry McCue, 3(, and Harold;-Beingesser.
Harrisburg Telegraph from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania · July 29, 1935, Page 2
"Automobile skidded on a rain ... Highway between Cresson ....Ebensburg, hit a wall. Mrs Marian Paskow of Newark, N.J. An automobile skidded on 1. rain - soaked highway between Cresson and Ebensburg, hit a stone wall, and killed Mrs. Marian Paskow, of Newark, N. J. A car hit ..."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cardiac Rehab Update

My brother-in-law Ken Rodd was out moving snow around in the midwest, and of course he thought about heart attacks, so he asked me for an update.

Much has happened since last I wrote. There was some snow here and I pushed a bunch of it off the driveway. No ill effects.

I had been looking forward to yesterday (Monday, Jan 5's) stress test, which would be the entry to cardiac rehabilitation. Phil Ades has an internationally recognized program here and has been a pioneer in research on the relation between physical exercize and heart health. We all know now that keeping active is the best way to stave off and recover from heart events, but we didn't always know that. I have been seeing Phil running on the Rec Path for decades, but we hadn't said more than "hi" until yesterday during my stress test. The test measures your VO2Max and your peak heart rate in order to set particular parameters for your further training for recovery.

(I had had a stress test for a study in the '70s involving local runners, but I couldn't find the results.)

But I was ready to be cleared to exercize harder than pushing snow and rowing lightly or gently spinning easily on the bike in front of the TV.

Surprize. My test was at the top of the range for normal 70-year olds, and my VO2Max (36.3 ml/kg/min) was well above the heart population in this program. Peak HR= 158 is also pretty high.) It felt absolutely wonderful to breathe hard enough to cough up that stuff at the bottom of your lungs and to sweat more than a little with no heart pain at all.

The beta-blockers I am on limit the heart rate and thin the blood, but they don't limit exercize. Phil Ades had done an early study.

The drug I want to get rid of is KEPPRA, an anti-seizure med that is being prescribed for a seizure that there is no evidence for my having had. There is just no explanation for the TIA-like event which left me aphasic for a couple of days. So I am being treated for 4 possible causes.

I have an appointment to see the neurologist on the 20th to get his judgement about taking me off. He is conservative and thinks there is no harm in going slowly. Keppra is giving me more than one of the side effects on the website. I want off.

This morning I met with Joann, who will manage my case for the 30+ rehab sessions the insurance allows. The insurance specifies that you have to wear a heart monitor while you exercize or they won't pay. But bouncing around on a treadmill produces artifacts on the readout, so Joann had to take my pulse by hand in any case.

What I learned: It is OK to do aerobic exercize every day. It is strength work that breaks down muscle, which then has to be rebuilt with rest. "Interval" work refers to the rest interval, not the intense push phase.
If the attack reccurs, the symptoms are likely to be in the same place as last time. Noted.

The CR gym has lots of good equipment and lots of good advice, including classes on eating, risk factors, reversing coronory artery disease, weight loss and stress management. I ran into an old volleyball teammate. Maybe we can put together a old farts' team.

I'm pretty happy to be back exercizing and doing genealogy. This experience does help put a different perspective on life. If you have read this far, thanks for being interested.