Hang on! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride

July 27, 2020 Jacqui Shumway

Might as well get in the driver’s seat!

These are the “dog days of summer.” Astrologically, this is the time of year when people are at their worst even without the fear of exposure to this virus. As if that is not enough, we have social unrest, political elections, and a very uncertain future for the society we once thought we knew.

Scientists actually do find some serious mental health issues that result from the heat we experience in July and August. This is evidenced by an increase in psychiatric hospitalizations during the summer months and both increased suicide attempts and acts of violence. Humans in general, are just more irritable and in an angry mood. In addition, hot weather causes people to feel tired and motivated to not do very much. https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/summer-heat-and-human-behavior/

Anyway, this general mood disturbance is better managed when you know more. There is hope on the vaccine horizon and some light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. I hope this article helps a little because we are all struggling… including me.

To make a Star Wars analogy, the COVID Death Star seems unbeatable, but like Luke, we have to “Use the Force” of science and also trust our instincts. Hang on, Hans has not abandoned us, but this ride is a bumpy one and we need to be in the driver’s seat with friends we love and trust. If you have not already done so, begin to determine who your “COVID friend pods” are. Do the same for your children because we all need support outside of our immediate family.

Dog Days – Are you Sirius?

If you know me, you know that “blaming the stars” is not my style, but using them as an excuse for utter chaos creates some much-needed order and comfort. Yes, the dog days of summer make you want to drink mint juleps or as the lyrical Greek poet, Alcaeus, advised of his listeners to “steep your lungs in wine” before the arrival of the star since “women are at their foulest but men are weak since they are parched in head and knees.”

Why am I am so acutely aware of the Dog Days of Summer? On very specific days each summer, we have to do a San Fu treatment of Joe’s lungs as part of a study on TCM and asthma. The treatments are 10 days apart specifically during the hot, sultry “dog days of summer.” Those days are the period following the rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. Meteorologists will tell you they tend to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, I did first of his four treatments on July 16th and will give him his last on August 15th. (The lines to get this ancient moxa treatment were around the block in China this year because of all the COVID-19 damage to lungs.) So… we’ve got 3 more weeks of… less peaceful times.

On Reopening of Rec Centers

Carla Madison and I were good buddies, so it was fun to see her name mentioned when someone was asking about the opening of Denver’s recreation centers, specifically the center named after Carla. This time of year reminds me of Carla’s favorite colors – all in the orange spectrum. If you go to the center named in her honor, you will see that orange theme abounding. I wrote this playfully serious piece is to honor her fun (but pragmatic) memory.

I and Joe Brady, my partner in life and work, research global health and teach adult education classes, so we are very concerned about the reopening of indoor workout facilities, classes, and other enclosed public spaces. We are especially concerned about inside higher-level exertion exercise because of the deeper mouth breathing often required. This is extremely risky, even when masked. Often, enclosed locations have no windows, depending on A/C and recycled air, so the virus is more likely to build to a morbidity level if you are exposed for extended periods. It’s the same issue with schools since kids will not just sit at their “cubicle”, but run around unless heavily sedated. And, finally, to honor my beloved Aurora community… no one needs to be sitting in a movie theater for 2+ hours, but… we will rise again!

Colorado is having a better go of things for several reasons including masking and distancing, but the collective embracing of outdoor exercise as soon as we shut down appears to be another.  Open-air exercise is one of the greatest ways to build the immune system, is a great way to manage anxiety, improve overall mental health, and should be done until we have a full distribution of the vaccine. Luckily, we have been able to continue uninterrupted safe exercise therapy classes during this time while keeping our folks up on the latest good info. 

So here’s my great news!!!

Got word from our buddies at Oxford University in England yesterday morning that they just distributed their vaccine information so global production can begin immediately once they complete Phase 3 of their study (see last Monday’s blog.) If the 30,000 brave volunteers make it through the 3rd phase, the vaccine could potentially be ready by September. (Even earlier than reported last week – Keep your fingers crossed!) You would then have to do a booster. 

Anyway, please consider only outside exercise and entertainment until then. You do NOT want to suffer the quality-of-life reduction that this virus can bring upon you for a long time, possibly for the remainder of your life. You do not want the health care costs and income loss associated with this virus.

So use these hashtags #6FeetOrMasksUp #PlayMeetLearnOutside and consider joining our Tai Chi Project, where COVID-friendly classes never stopped. Call me (Jacqui) on my mobile 303-725-7482 to set up a private starting session, as we are making sure all current students continue to feel safe and peaceful as they go through their moving meditations.

Let your friends know that we put out this kind of update on our weekly Barefoot Doctor blog – https://taichidenver.com  Reading this blog is free and you can scroll down on our site and read our past blogs especially those written since this pandemic supposedly began. You can also sign up to receive the weekly newsletter that we send out to our patients, clients, students, and research participants.