Friday, July 26, 2013

Vitamin deficiency, an unwelcome visitor and other randoms

It’s Friday, and it’s time to link up with Nancy’s A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday, where, as Nancy says, “you can share 5 random facts about you, your day, your pets, your kids, whatever!”
It’s lots of fun and a great way to meet other bloggers. I encourage you to join in!

Here are a couple of squirrels that visited the yard recently. These visitors were welcome. Read about the unwelcome visitor below.

I finally got the results of some blood work my psychiatrist ordered. My vitamin B-12 levels are good. My thyroid numbers are good. I’m not anemic. But my vitamin D is low.
So he’s starting me on a prescription dosage of vitamin D—50,000 units once a week.
He said researchers were learning more about the link between vitamin D and mood and fatigue. And from what I’ve read, a vitamin D deficiency can also cause bone pain, muscle weakness and joint pain.
Larry has vitamin D deficiency, too, and is on the same prescription. So I guess once a week we’ll toast to our health with water and down the supplement together.

Several times over the last few years, I’ve talked with my family doctor and my gynecologist about leg pain. The bones in my legs sometimes ache badly, especially when I’m tired.
The doctors checked my circulation and the exam stopped there.
I wonder if some of the pain could be coming from the vitamin D problem. I wish a doctor had thought to check it before now. I wish I had known to ask about it.

I attended a workshop on health literacy this week for work. I studied health literacy when I was a health educator years ago for the health department. It’s a big interest for me.
This workshop was so interesting. It’s really amazing how having a low level of health literacy can affect people’s ability to take their medications correctly, to understand their doctor’s instructions and to complete medical forms.

My husband and I have been enjoying watching the second season of Longmire this summer. If you haven’t watched it, it’s about a Wyoming sheriff named Walt Longmire. The plots and characters are wonderful, as is the scenery in the show.
The series is based on the books by Craig Johnson. I’ve read a couple of them so far, and they are just as good as the TV show.
If you’re interested in watching Longmire, it comes on Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET on A&E.

We had an unwelcome visitor in the yard this week. Larry saw a snake, a black one with yellow stripes down its sides, near the AC unit in the backyard. It disappeared between the pad the AC unit sits on and the landscaping material that acts as a liner for small rocks we have around the house.
I was not happy when I learned about it. I am not just scared of snakes. I am terrified.
So I have been extra wary as I walk across the yard. I hope the snake was just visiting and has returned to his home—far, far away.

How do you react with you see a snake?


  1. Hi Tina, great post. I absolutely love your squirrel photos!!! Thanks so much for your comments on my most recent post. As far as the deer photo goes, I didn't edit it. The reason it turned out that way is because the sun was beaming so strongly...and I am not used to taking photos when the sun is so strong. I am so glad you liked it, though, and I really appreciate your responses to my posts.

    As far as snakes go, I haven't really encountered any except for in the odd pet shop. I would definitely be uncomfortable in your situation, though, with having a snake around...and so close! Not sure if you know how to determine whether a snake is poisonous, but in case you don't, here is how: if the eyes are slanted, it is poisonous. If the eyes are round, it is non poisonous. I learned this from watching wildlife TV shows. :)

    I appreciate your mentioning the Vitamin D! It doesn't surprise me that it helps to boost mood, as it is known as the sunshine vitamin and doctors often recommend that people increase their intake of it, particularly in the winter months when it is darker with not so much sunshine and people are more prone to feeling depressed.

  2. Yike, I wonder if the snake wasn't enjoying some coolness from the a/c..Vit D is good and hopefully there is a connection to the VitD. This little squirrel is adorable, super duper photo, I wish we saw more, this year we've seen two and when we first moved here there were tons of them rushing hither and yon in the fields, something has scared (or worse) them away.

  3. Very informative post and I am SO glad you talked about Vit D. I had a deficiency a few years ago but thought the problem was resolved. Apparently not. long as they are not venomous, I leave them alone. Sounds like you have some kind of ribbon snake (related to Garter snakes) so probably not venomous. they can breed anywhere from 4-27 babies though so if you're terrified of snakes, I'd have hubby get rid of it :)

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  4. At least some of your visitors are cute! I don't mind snakes as long as they are not venomous. Your post is full of great information. I do take Vitamin D. My doc suggested it after my hysterectomy years ago because of my family history of osteoporosis.

  5. Not a snake fan here either but your squirrel pictures are adorable! :)

  6. I've been more attentive about the Vitamin D relationship to health, but choose to get mine via the good ol' outdoors for now.

    As far as snakes, they are so beneficial to the landscape, I would never intentionally kill one. Sounds like you have a garter snake there, which is totally harmless.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Tina. xo

  7. Oh Tina so sorry about the vitamin D thing living in Canada we never get enough sun and it is common here. I have yet to have mine tested and I ache most everyday but that is probably the Fibro. I am glad you caught it in time it is good for you.
    I really do not enjoy snakes I remember my Grandma would lift her feet when we drove over one in the car when I was a kid, now I do that:) Have a nice weekend. Hugs B

  8. snakes don't bother me - as long as i see them first. if they surprise me, or bite one of my dogs, i'm not happy. i think you saw the copperhead post i did last week. i've been known to kill a few venomous ones with a shovel. the dogs have killed plenty, but have also suffered bites from their encounters - they're getting warier about diving in to kill them, now.

    hoping the vit. d supplements will help!

    love your cute gray squirrels. and i've just started watching longmire the past few weeks. :)

  9. Oh I have several friends that have had a Vitamin D deficiency...I might look into that for myself, might be the cause of my achiness. YIKE about the snake...I do not like snakes at all!! Hope he is long gone by now.

  10. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh snake!!!!!! that's how I react :-)

    I hope the Vitamin D helps.

  11. I hope you start feeling better once your supplements kick in. I have a vitamin D deficiency as well, although I am bad and don't take my vitamins. I know I really should, and after reading your post, I think I will be much better about it.

    Snakes!! Eek! I don't see many where I live but I am sure if I did I would pass out. Lol.

  12. Snakes hang out wherever they can find food. That snake you saw is dealing with something else that you don't want by your house, probably a small rodent of some sort. (It was probably a ribbon snake of some sort) If you remember that snakes are helpful, perhaps you can begin to think of them as less than terrifying.

  13. Some years ago medical professionals announced the sun was dangerous - and we should all stay well away from direct sunlight. Now there is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency . . . I'm glad your doctor found it and together you are correcting the imbalance.

    When i was small i had a pretty little snake for a pet - I turned it loose into my parents garden . . the gardener was not pleased to meet the baby snake . . and it was rapidly dispatched to heaven. I don't care to be surprised by them . . . but, they have their special place in creation.

    Here's to feeling GREAT!!!
    love & love,

  14. So glad you got your Vit D levels checked! Mine were low a few years back, which came as a shock since I lived in sunny Houston and spent a fair amount of time outdoors. At the time I had a lot of aches and pains that I no longer have.

    As for snakes? Scary. Recently when my sister visited, we were sitting outside and a bee crawled into my hair. She was freaked out, but I just sat still and waited, and eventually it flew away. I would not be so brave with a snake.

  15. i wonder if the vit d would help my daughter with some pain she is having in her arm. the dr said it was carpal tunnel.
    snakes don't really bother me as long as i know it's not poisonous!

  16. I hope that the vitamin d will help your joint pain.

    If I know where the snake is, and it's not poisonous, it doesn't bother me.

  17. I just got results back from blood work too, and coincidentally enough, my vitamin D is down! I'm going to try to eat more foods enriched with the vitamin first, and get out in the sun more often ... and we'll see.

    And oh my goodness, I'd be terrified of going outside!

  18. Longmire is a good show. But the first season had this burning barn and horse tragedy. I was so disturbed I couldn't watch it anymore.

  19. Snakes are very frightening, i agree. I grew up in Maine where there are no venomous snakes, but there are a couple of kinds here in Oregon. But even if a snake isn't poisonous, the way they slither is just plain awful!

    I'm glad you're taking a Vitamin D supplement. I never would have thought to ask about that either. You sound like you're doing really, well, and that's wonderful! :)

    Adorable pics of the squirrels! I love to watch them nibble and scamper around!

    Have a splendid weekend Tina!

  20. That's really interesting about the Vit. D connection Tina. Robert is all up in a strop right now because someone somewhere told a tabloid here in England and they reported that Omega 3/6/9 supplements might increase prostate cancer and now he refuses to take them even if we know they are good for his heart. It's a sort of no win thing with supplements sometimes isn't it?

    I'm fine with snakes, spiders and other creepier, crawlies and OHMYGODS, but I hate knives being wielded about and pointed, even in innocent kitchen or dining room conversation. Knives freak me out. :)

  21. Snakes? I RUN the other way!!!

    I think I've heard that low levels of Vit. D can cause a lot of problems, including pain. Be sure to follow up with your Drs. about that.

    Great shots of the squirrel!

  22. It's a good thing that in some ways your health is good. Vitamin D seems to be a fairly common thing to be deficient in. I can't help but wonder if it's because we spend so little time out of doors. And, when we do go outside we cover up from the sun. I hope your leg pain lessons. It's no fun to be in constant pain.

  23. hope things turn around after your Dr. appointment. snakes are not cool at all. enjoy your weekend. ( :

  24. Hi Tina,
    I took Vit D for years but I am in the sun so often that I stopped. Leg pain is no fun...have you tried reflexology? It helps me.
    Snakes are my biggest fear...they were always in our yard as a kid because we lived close to a creek. Scream and run, that's what I do!
    Love your cute little squirrels.
    Have a good weekend!

  25. Wow - great pics of the squirrel.

    Oh, I hate snakes. Especially ones that have stripes and stuff on them. Scaaaaaary.

    There is also a connection between Vitamin D and Ulcerative Colitis/Crohn's Disease. My hubby was found to have low levels after his severe Crohn's flare a few years ago. It's kind of a "chicken and the egg" kind of question. Researchers are starting to find some evidence that low levels may possibly contribute to the disease, so GI docs are now being told to keep an eye on those levels for their Inflammatory Bowel Patients.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  26. Oh, snakes...I would have probably passed out if I had seen him in my yard. Tina, maybe I should get the bloodwork too. I wonder if any of my levels are down. Thanks for educating us on this. I imagine you were a good health educator when you did it for the health department. I worked closely with them in my former job. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. :)

  27. Squirrels are so cute. I put peanuts out for them every day.
    Snakes not so cute but I'm not scared of them. Oh they startle me when they dart out from nowhere & I probably jump but that's about it. Hope yours has slithered off.
    I tried taking vitamin D but it gave me night sweats. Let me know if you have that problem.

  28. I haven't seen a snake in years, unless it was behind glass. Which is fine with me! Cute squirrels, those we do have in our yard, and they are welcome.

  29. When I turned 40 two years ago, my GP had me have a bone scan because my mother, aunt and grandmother all had osteoporosis. I was not at all concerned I would have it because I'd been taking Citrical for years, but it turned out I did. I guess we just can't fight our heredity sometimes. The doctor told me to begin taking 2,000 units of D a day (1K twice a day) along with the calcium and begin mild weight training, which I did. I get rescanned this fall at my annual physical, so we'll see if it helped.

    I'm not a fan of snakes, but it's spiders that send me screaming into the night!

  30. i love my squirrels and all their antic's, they are so fun to watch!! i have been told and have also read about a link between MS and vit d deficiency. i take a munch od different vitamins now, but i did not always.

    YiKeS on the snake, i really dislike them!!

  31. Hi Tina! How great for your doctor to check 'everything' especially when mental illness is at hand other problems can easily bcome maske.
    Everytime just about my doctor reminds me to go outside for the single purpoae of vitamin D And because it is a mood uplifter for me if I am really down.

    Longmire? My hubby played the first episode and I said, "Naw, don't like."
    He liked it though... maybe I can give it another shot.

  32. Hi Tina. I take a multi vitamin daily and have found I have more energy since I started taking them. I imagine you have to take a larger dose of D than what is found in a vitamin.
    I run into snakes occasionally when I am walking/hiking and though I keep my distance, they really don't bother me as much as bugs. I am really creeped out by water bugs..I haven't seen any in years but when I was a kid we had a basement and if it rained heavy it seemed like a water bug or two could be found down there. Krystallynn


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