Unfortunately, plans for release of a short story in the serial format of days gone bye hit the bricks. My idea of ‘short’ was still to long. Ah, well, the best laid plans of mice and men. If by chance you were looking forward to the read, email me at odmreportermikew@gmail.com and I’ll send you a PDF copy of CalmXium.
  I hope readers of this column are from all age groups. The subjects I’ve written about will find their impact to be flavored through the filter of age. When speaking of blood clots, I think (if I were thirty years younger), I would probably do the quick scan, if that, and move along to read something more interesting, more germane.  
  But wait! If you’re blessedly young, read this and file it under ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. When I was in my twenties, I felt invincible. Indeed, I felt as such until I was fifty-two years old, not having spent a single night in a hospital bed since leaving one as a newborn. I can recall only two times in my life where a common cold or a flu bug put me down for a day or so. But the body, contrary to the wishes of the mind, is operating on its own depreciation schedule, more or less.
  I say ‘more or less’ because whether you feel invincible or not, the health choices made while still a younger person will end up directly impacting your body as you hit your middle years.
  Mowing the lawn three years ago, I noticed a throbbing and swelling in my right lower leg. I tried to work through it, sticking with my assertion of invincibility, until the swelling grew large enough that the only logical course was medical attention.  
 Well, that was coming up next month on three years ago. Having done a bit of research about blood clots, I know they are preventable. This column requires a weekly search in the corridors of my mind for a new topic or point to elaborate on, and it’s tough to come up with a better subject than this. What’s really neat is that this is one of those times the statement applies; “If even one person acts upon the information, then it’s all worth it”.  
 Beginning at the beginning (and moving at a fast clip thereafter!), a blood clot occurs because the blood is to thick to circulate freely and unimpinged throughout the body’s network of vessels. There are a number of reasons for blood to thicken to a point of problem.
  Younger readers, take note! To much protein in a diet can result in thickening of the blood. Also, if the red and white cell count is imbalanced; problem. Ditto for platelets. The overriding cause of blood clots is attributed to aging blood vessels.
  The human body is not so different from a refrigerator, or lawn mover engine or sealed pumping system. Both have parts that require optimal performance without fail. Should a part wear out or operate at anything less than 100%, the entire system is in jeopardy.
  Our hearts beat, on average, thirty five million times per year. If a person is ever seeking a miracle, they need look no farther than several inches below their chin. This amazing muscle keeps on in spite of fools like myself that abused it through alcohol, poor diet and non-existent exercise programs.
  An amazing fact in a bizzaro world sort of way is that, and I will speak only for myself though I know I’m not alone, for decades I took better care of my lawnmower, my weed whip, even my Norelco electric razor, than I did my own body. What I did is the equivalent of pouring a profoundly inaccurate oil/gas mix into a small engine running on gas only. I would never dream of doing that to my equipment, yet the most important piece of equipment I possess is the one that not only lacked maintenance, but was the target of abuse. Insanity, really.
  Touching base on the heart is to lead to the blood vessel highway system in us. There are two highway systems that run basically the same course. With slight amendment, we can say “All roads lead to the heart”. Arteries carry blood out of the heart and circulate it to the smallest arteries at the body’s extremities. At that point, the blood enters capillaries, (think clover leaf on and off ramps for intersecting highways) and emerges from them to flow back to heart, though this time in veins.
  A blood clot occurs in veins, just like a piece of debris in the fuel line of a trusty Briggs & Stratton motor, and of course the flow is impeded. This is of course where the swelling in my leg came from.
  A fun fact about blood clots; once you get one, treatment in the form blood thinners automatically becomes a life long pharmaceutical sentence. After the first application of blood thinners dissolve the clot, the blood returns to normal flow, but the damage is done by then. The inside of our veins are not smooth walled; they have what we can call flapper valves. These flappers push the blood along, but when blood clots, it irreparably damages these flappers.
  The taking of blood thinners at that point becomes ‘hedge’ medicine. They aren’t actually treating the blood for anything specific; all the damage from the clot resides in that small section of broken flappers, so thinners are more a hedge against future thickening than anything else.
  Had I read this very article thirty years, I can’t say it would have made a difference in how I lived. But, Olney  is filled with bright people, and my hope resides in those with more wisdom and common sense than I possessed when preventive measures could have been adopted.
  Blood clots are responsible for 100,000 to 300,000 deaths in the USA every year. Nine hundred thousand cases manifest annually.  Blood clots are highly, highly preventable. It’s all a matter of perspective. The question to ask is, “Do I value my push mower more than my heart?”