Monday, February 15, 2016

Fun Run, Brain Injuries, Lonely Dice, and Sugar

1. Started watching an episode of Home and Away.

Leah is awake from her coma (Ada Nicodemou), and doesn't seem at all brain-injured.

2. Wondered if, despite looking okay, Leah might have some residual problems.

3. Felt bad for Maddie (Kassandra Clementi)...AGAIN.

The whole town is at a fun run to raise money for cancer in her honor.  Though she appreciates what they're doing, she doesn't want to go because she doesn't want to be a poster child for cancer research. Why? Because she wants to stop treatment.

She doesn't want all the pressure.

4. Had Jack read an iBooks sample of Liane Moriarty's The Husband's Secret for our English class.

He says he likes it, but I'm not sure if he's going to pick it as his next book to read.

We shall see....

5. Went back to watching Home and Away.

I think the Leah storyline is stupid...maybe only because it's so different from my own experience with comas.

My sister was in a coma for many weeks. When she awoke, it wasn't like she awoke as herself. It was like she woke up as an agitated infant. Then through the next year or so, it was like she went through childhood again. She had to relearn many basic things such as walking, talking, feeding herself, etc.

I know it's not like that for everyone. People have different experiences, and I'm not educated enough about the subject to understand the variations.

It just seems far-fetched to me that someone with a severe head injury would wake up acting so much like they're old self.

On Coronation Street, Nick has a brain injury. His awakening wasn't like the one my family experienced, but it seems much more realistic than the one on Home and Away. Nick acted like an adult when he awoke—but he was very agitated and had long-lasting personality changes. In fact, it's months later and Nick continues to be affected by his injuries. I commend Coronation Street for not quickly dropping the subject.

 6. Found a brain injury website with the information I've been wanting.  

The website says the patient will transition through the recovery at rates that correspond with the intensity of their injury.  They say,  Some patients move from coma to the vegetative state but others may move from coma to a period of partial consciousness. It would be very rare for a person to move directly from coma, or vegetative state, to a state of full consciousness.

So, I was right. These soap opera-type coma awakenings are rare.

7. Wondered how much medical research is done by soap opera writers. Do they do any of it? Or do they just rely on what they've seen from other TV shows?

8. Disagreed with Oscar (Jake Speer) when he told Maddie that there are a lots of people at the fun run because they care about her.

I think there's probably a small minority of people there that personally care about Maddie.

Other people may care about cancer victims in general.

Then there are people there who need charity events for their life resumes.  Some of these people do it to look good to others. Others do it so they can look good to themselves.

There are the people who simply like running, so that's why they're participating.

Then there are the people who have been pressured to participate by their friends and family. There's a lot of peer pressure when it comes to charity—especially now that social media is involved.

9. Thought that although it's good to raise money for cancer, this was not what Maddie needed from her family and friends right now.

I think if anything they should have organized a cancer-fighting event, but not made it in Maddie's honor. I think doing it for her puts too much pressure on her.

Maddie's going through a really hard time. She's been dumped by the man she loves. She's feeling sick. She's struggling to keep up with her school work. She's facing a huge difficult decision about treatment.  She doesn't feel like she has a strong social circle.

Then the whole town is making this big cancer-gesture, and there's the expectation that this should make her feel happy and grateful.

Really. What I think would have been better is to pool some money together and take Maddie on a fun trip before she maybe-starts the next treatment.  Let her have a fun adventure.  Since she's not feeling great, it might have to be a small adventure. But still, it could be nice.

10. Thought that it's possible Maddie's not doing well, with her cancer, BECAUSE she is depressed.

I do think our emotions can effect our physical well-being.

Maybe it's playing a part in how her body has responded to the chemo.

That being said, I definitely don't think cancer kills all unhappy people and keeps all the happy cancer-patients alive.

I also don't think pasting on a happy smile and positive attitude is going to fix someone's emotional state enough for it to have any major effect on their cancer.

I'm just saying that if someone is going through a tough emotional time (like a breakup) during cancer treatment, the emotional response to that might have SOME effect on treatment results.

11. Read about stress on a cancer website.  They say: Although there is still no strong evidence that stress directly affects cancer outcomes, some data do suggest that patients can develop a sense of helplessness or hopelessness when stress becomes overwhelming. This response is associated with higher rates of death, although the mechanism for this outcome is unclear.  

They then SUGGEST that it might be a matter of these not-so-joyful cancer patients not taking good care of their medical needs.

Maybe.

It's like Maddie. If she chooses NOT to try another round of chemo, she'll probably be on the list of those who died of cancer.  Her unhappiness would kind of lead to her death.  It would be, though, in a quite purposeful way. What I'm wondering about is a less-purposeful connection.

If happy Person A does all that needs to be done medically-wise, and their depressed clone, Person B, does the exact same treatments and follows the same diet and lifestyle guidelines as Person A; will person A have a better outcome than person B?

12. Thought of a blog I've been reading—written by a woman who's since died of cancer. She's very cheerful in her blog, and very proactive when it comes to treatment.  Having the "right" attitude didn't cure her of cancer.

Being positive and fighting hard isn't a guarantee that someone's cancer story is going to have a happy ending.

Maybe, though, it slightly increases the chances?

13. Thought even if it's a proven fact that Maddie's more likely to survive cancer if she's happy, what's to be done?

I think the one thing that will make her happy is having Oscar want her as his girlfriend.  But he doesn't love her in that way. So, then what? Should he fake it?

I don't think so.

14. Imagined it's very hard to cheer up a person who's depressed and has cancer.

15.  Started watching another episode of Home and Away.

Maddie shows up to the fun run, looking sick and tired, but still managing to wear a smile.

Hopefully, the fun run activities will bring some happiness to her life.  I hope it's not just a stressful thing for her.

16. Liked what Maddie decides.

She's given the choice of different places to watch the race—be kind of like the waving queen. Instead, she decides to join in with the people walking.

That makes sense to me—wanting to be included rather than designated as the very-special outsider.

She might not be well enough to walk all of it, but she can at least do what her body can handle.

17. Saw that the fun run DID end up making Maddie happy and it gave her inspiration to keep fighting.

What worked for her was finishing the race despite feeling very sick and tired.  Before the finished the last bit, she did a little monologue about how she gives up too easily when things are hard.

So, that can be one way of looking at cancer treatment—a challenge to be faced.

It's different from a fun run/walk, though. Maddie will have less control of the outcome.  With reaching the finish line, Maddie had a lot of control over whether or not the goal would be reached. The only thing that could have literally stopped her is if she fell down unconscious. Otherwise, even if she was vomiting and sweating profusely, she could have pushed herself to crawl to the finish line.
It might have taken a few hours, and it would probably be very sad and gross. So, I'm glad it didn't come to that.

What I'm saying, though, is that surviving cancer doesn't always have the outcome we want or pursue.  A cancer patient can say, I'm not going to let this beat me.  They might fight and fight with all their might; and they still might die of cancer.

18. Got a little emotional at the end of the episode.

Phoebe (Isabella Giovinazzo) doesn't want to sing at the fun run, because of her kidnapping trauma.  Also she had vowed not to start singing again until her boyfriend Kyle (Nick Westaway) recovered from his throat injuries and was able to sing again.

Kyle finally convinces her to sing. Or really seeing all the people finish the race; then get sprayed with colors, inspires Phoebe.  She sings. Then Kyle suddenly starts singing too.  It was a nice surprise.

Well, it gave ME a little wetness behind the eyes. I can't say the same for Phoebe. She seemed less emotional than I would have expected from someone in that situation.

Anyway, then the moment was ruined because Kyle does the whole public proposal thing. I'm not a big fan of that, and it seems Phoebe isn't either. She runs away, in front of everyone, instead of giving a yes.

19. Went to the Tropfest website.

Today I'm going to watch a 2010 finalist film called "One..."

I hope it's good

20. Saw that it's a stop motion animation thing.

I don't think I usually end up liking these things.

21. Saw that the film is about a lonely red die who seems jealous of all the other happy dice.

22. Finished watching the movie.

I think I might have liked it more if it had been shorter. Seven minutes is a long time to watch dice hanging out at the park.

I'm also not sure I like the ending. Mr. Red Die is lonely. No one will give him the time of day UNTIL he falls into the pond and starts drowning. A blue die jumps into save him, and then the two become friends.

What's that saying? If we're lonely, we should do something suicidal in hopes that someone rescues us?  It's very Bella Swan.

And actually....I did something like that in one of my dreams last night.

Like the red die, I didn't purposely put myself in danger. But once I was in the situation, I had hopes that it would bring me the attention I desired.

I don't think it worked.

23. Looked at the comments on YouTube.

Most commenters seem to not be on the same page as me. They adored the film.

Cold Chemical says, It is amazing how without words and only a single dot for a "face," the animators are able to clearly express such emotions as love, fear, and loneliness. Well done. =D

I don't think that's quite true. The animators did express emotions without words, but they didn't rely solely on a die dot.  I think the musical score played a bit part. It tells us when we're supposed to feel sad; when we're supposed to feel anxious; when we're supposed to feel hopeful; and when we're supposed to feel happy.

24. Saw that one of the creators of "One..." is the actor Damon Gameau.

I thought I recognized his name when I saw it on the Tropfest site; but I wasn't sure.

25. Saw that Gameau made "Animal Beatbox" in 2011.  I think I've seen that before.

It might have been that 2011 Tropfest winner.

26. Googled and saw that I'm right.

27. Looked at Gameau's acting credits. I know I've seen him in things, but I'm not sure what.

So...

He was in Puberty Blues.

He was in Patrick.  I wonder who he was.  Was he the boyfriend?

I would have seen him in an episode of Wentworth.

He was in Howzat.

28. Saw that he was in Slide.  And that's the first thing of his I've seen, on his filmography, that I actually remember.

With the other stuff, I have no concrete memories of who he played.

29. Saw that Gameau was in Underbelly.

I don't remember him in that either.

30. Saw that Gameau was in Love My Way.

And again...I don't remember.

31. Started to look at That Sugar Film.

It's a 2014 documentary that Gameau starred in and directed.

The production designer for the film was Gareth Davies.  Davies was the co-director of "One...."

32. Started to watch the trailer for That Sugar Film.

It's anti-sugar in the same way Super Size Me was anti-fast food.

33. Was not persuaded by the trailer to give up sugar.

I love sugar.

Maybe if I watched the whole film, I'd be brainwashed.  But I'm not going to do that.

34. Read a review of That Sugar Film that makes me believe I am making the right choice by not watching That Sugar Film.

Daniel Engber says, But Gameau is not content to claim that added sugar makes us fat and lazy and unwell. He also proposes that dietary sugar causes mental fogginess; that it leads to bipolar disorder; that it makes children fail at school; that it has produced a dental health emergency in Appalachia; that it may soon drive Australian Aborigines extinct; and, indeed, that it could be the source of runaway consumer capitalism. If sugar isn’t evil, then it’s at least nefarious, malevolent, and wicked; or heinous and corrupt; or perfidious and wrong.

And I love this quote from the review. What’s most remarkable about the film is the way it passes off these radical ideas—most without any evidence—as common sense if not scientific dogma. To make his theories palatable, Gameau puts a pinch of data into the blender, and mixes up a thick and creamy anecdote spiced with speculation.

35. Wanted to say that I'm usually not a fan of documentaries in general. I'm especially not a fan of manipulative documentaries, or the ones that try to convince us that there's a simple answer or fix to our problems.

36. Started to read a positive review of the documentary.

I'm just trying to be fair.

37. Wondered, after reading the second review, if Engber was exaggerating when he said the film proposed that sugar's going to drive Aboriginal Australians to extinction.

Documentaries exaggerate, and so do articles, editorials, and reviews.

38. Looked up one of the claims in the movie—that high sugar intake will lead to fatty liver disease.

This article says there is a connection.

This other article says that gaining weight in general is a cause of fatty liver disease, but it doesn't necessarily have to be from sugar.

ALTHOUGH the study compared glucose with fructose. Men who had either fructose or glucose, but maintained their weight didn't have liver issues. The men who gained weight on either a fructose or glucose heavy diet had liver problems.

Would there be differences for men who gained weight on a sugar-free diet?

According to the positive review of That Sugar Film, Gameau ate the same amount of calories, and did the same amount of exercise, before and after his high sugar diet.  Before that he had no sugar, and before that he had no fatty liver disease.

So.....

39. Learned from the Mayo Clinic that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is common, and in most people it doesn't cause problems.

In an unfortunate minority, it can cause severe problems.

40. Saw the Mayo Clinic's list of risk factors for Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sugar is actually not listed as one of them.

Included on the list are high cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, obesity, polycystic ovary disease, sleep apnea, type two diabetes, and hypothyroidism.

41. Consulted Lord Wiki about the whole thing.

He actually agrees with Damon Gameau.

He says people should cut down on fructose, especially high fructose corn-syrup and corn syrup in soft drinks.

42. Concluded that although I don't think sugar is evil, and I think a lot of That Sugar Film is going to be manipulative, and unscientific; I do eat too much sugar and should probably make some reductions.

43. Watched some of Planet America with Jack for our government class.

It's an Australian show with Australians talking about the US government. Someone sent me the link via email.

I don't know what's weirder—the fact that I learned something about our government from an Australian show, or the fact that Australia is so obsessed with the US, they have a whole show about us.

I mean it's strange that I'm an American obsessed with Australia. But I'm just one weird individual.

With Australia, it's like a whole obsessed country. Or at least there are enough people interested enough to warrant a whole show about our government.

Anyway, I didn't fully understand some stuff from the show. It went over my head. They said, though, that Bernie Sanders is more behind Hillary Clinton than it appears. It has something to do with super delegates? I'm not sure if that's a real term, or one that the Planet America show invented. Whatever it may be, I want them to be wrong, because I've been hoping that Sanders wins.

44. Went to Twitter Trends to get a sense of Australia's preoccupation with the US.

There are ten trending topics.

The first thing is Kanye West related. He's American...I think.

Okay. Yeah. I checked. He is.

45. Felt stupid, because I just remembered Jack telling me that Kanye West was running for President.

46. Went back to the trends.

The next one is Thelma and Louise. That's an American film.

Third is Rockhamptom. That's Australian.

Fourth is kittens. I thought that might be a worldly topic, but there was an explosion in a Melbourne building called Kittens. So that would be an Australian-related topic.

Next is Mr. Morrison. I think he has something to do with Australian politics. I'm not sure what. I haven't paid good attention.

Stephen Fry is after that. I think he's British.

Next is 24 million. That refers to Australia's population.

Then there's Sports Illustrated.  I think it's originally an American magazine, but I'm guessing other countries might have there own version.

47. Learned from Lord Wiki that Sports Illustrated Australia didn't last long.

Anyway, I'm going to count Sports Illustrated as an American-topic, because the buzz is about them using a size 16 model on their recent (American) swimsuit issue.

48. Saw that the last Tweet is about 9 Today.   That's an Australian TV show.

49. Did the math in my head.

Thirty percent of the trending topics were American.  Fifty percent were Australian.

50. Confused about the math, and saw that I missed something.  It's AFAau.  I'm not sure what that is. It seems like some kind of business conference. Because of the au, I'm assuming it's Australian.

So...

Thirty percent were American; Sixty percent were Australian; and ten percent were British.

51. Looked at the US trends.

We don't have Thelma and Louise or Sports Illustrated—only the Kanye West one.

It looks like most of our trends are American celebrities: Big Sean, Johnny Depp, Selena Gomez, and then celebrities that may or may not be American.

I'll have to look them up.

52. Saw that one celebrity is actually English—Sam Smith.

The rest are American celebrities—and for the most part, young American celebrities.  Johnny Depp is the exception. I forget that he's old. I still picture him being the age he was when I first saw him on Nightmare on Elm Street.

53. Saw that the one trend I thought was not a celebrity (The Weeknd) actually refers to Justin Bieber.

54. Felt that current Twitter trends show what I already know—as a whole, Australia is more interested in the US than the US is interested in Australia.

Then how about the UK?  What will their current trends show?  Will they be like the US—mostly interested in themselves? Will they have Australia-related trends? US ones?  Other?

55. Saw that the UK has the Kanye West trend too.

Then there's The Walking Dead.  That's American.

They have the OJ Simpson TV show. That's American too.

There's the Leaders Debate.  I think that's a UK government thingie.

They have four American celebrities—Big Sean, Selena, Zendaya, and Tori Kelly.

They have THEIR Sam Smith.

Then there's something called Bow Wow.

56. Googled Bow Wow.  He's an American rapper.

So.

Wow.

Here I was thinking that Australians are so into the US, but at least for this moment on Twitter, the UK is the one that's so into America.

Their percentages are, eighty percent American related, and twenty percent British related.

57. Started thinking more about Damon Gameau.

I know that when he did his experiment, he did NOT eat so-called junk food. He ate the food that's promoted as being healthy.  Before the experiment, he spent a long period without sugar.

What I'm wondering is...was that absolutely no sugar? Or no added sugar?

For example, a glass of milk naturally has sugar? Would he avoid milk then?  How about fruit?

58. Went to the website for the film.

59. Looked at the recipes on the site.

They DO include fruit.  So Gameau isn't against natural sugar that already comes in a food.

60. Saw on this page that Gameau says, We are not focusing on the wonderful natural sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables. Our goal is to help people reduce  the amount of added sugars they are consuming.  

That's good. I'm feeling better about the project now. And I like that he says reduce rather than eliminate.