Day #244 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…A stunning and surprising revelation…

Today’s few photos are from those taken in the past 24 hours.

Although today’s story may be of little interest to many readers, I felt it was important to share it with those interested. None of today’s information is intended to provide medical advice in any manner. Please contact your health care professionals for assistance with these or any other issues if they apply to you or someone you love.

On November 2, 2020, I described how the restaurant had been making chicken burger patties for me in this post, which included bread crumbs as a filler. I have been gluten, sugar, and starch-free since 2011 to reduce a chronic spinal pain condition exacerbated by inflammation from food, stress, and lack of sleep.

It was this way of eating, basically, a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet, consuming no more than 20 carb grams per day from both small amounts of dairy and certain soft carb vegetables that changed our lives in 2012. As many of our long-time readers are well aware, the almost total reduction in pain was instrumental in deciding to travel the world, while we may never know when and if the pain would return, as I’ve strictly adhered to this way of eating.

At the time I embarked on this way of eating, I was on two drugs for hypertension since developing hypertension in the year 2000, Lisinopril 10 mg with HCTZ 25 mg daily, which I’ve continued for 20 years, and also was diagnosed as pre-diabetic with a strong family history of metabolic disease including diabetes, heart disease, severe spinal stenosis, and more. For many of my family members, obesity was not uncommon, as it often is prevalent in those with metabolic disease.

As a child, I witnessed relatives suffering from these diseases. At a young age, I started exercising and carefully watching what I ate, primarily focused on the dictates of the medical profession, a low-fat way of eating that kept me slim most of my adult life but didn’t spare me from all of these conditions.

Thus, weeks ago, when I discovered I was being fed “wheat” in those chicken burgers, after expressly informing the restaurant that I would not be eating wheat, grains, starch, or sugar in any foods served to me, the pain only increased since arriving at this hotel, which had continued after cardiac bypass surgery and subsequent leg surgeries due to infections from the grafts taken for my heart.

In worsening pain in my legs over these past many months, while struggling to walk 5 miles, 8 km, per day in the corridors, I finally realized I must have been eating something wrong for me. Immediately, I went on a drastic mission to reverse this situation by cutting out all carbohydrates from my diet, including vegetables but leaving in a small amount of cheese. This was about three weeks ago. I intended to do a zero-carb, carnivore-type (no beef available here) way of eating until I got back on track.

In the mornings, I’ve had two hard-boiled eggs, which hold me until dinner. I had either grilled chicken or salmon topped with Emmental cheese, four thin slices of bacon, two more eggs, fried in butter, and mustard as a dipping sauce for dinner. I requested no oil (only butter), minimal spices and have freely used pink Himalayan salt while drinking only water throughout the day.

From Amazon India, I ordered powdered unsweetened electrolytes, which I added to a big glass of bottled water. I have been satisfied and not hungry while continuing to lose weight, which I’ve needed to do slowly. I felt great. Two weeks ago, the pain was gone. But, I noticed something else, I felt better, different.

What was going on? For the heck of it, I tested my blood pressure using an Omron device we’ve carried with us for years, which I’ve used each week, and also tried my blood sugar using fresh Accu-Chek sticks I also ordered from Amazon India. I was astounded by what I was seeing. For the first time in 20 years, my blood pressure was so low. I decided to reduce the dose of my medication gradually. I am now down by 75% of my former amount to a tiny quantity of 2.5 Lisinopril, 6.25 HCTZ.

With my blood pressure still too low, compared to a high normal of 120/80, I will continue to check it and drop the last 25% dose in the next several days.

Additionally, to my amazement, my blood sugar is now in the 70s (3.9mmol) and 80s (4.4mmol) for the first time in 20 years when only two months ago my blood sugar ranged from the 100s (5.55mmol) before meals to 130s (7.22) after meals! I can only attribute this to the reduction in carbohydrates to this large degree.

After reading many scientific studies over the past few weeks, I’ve noted that a deficient carbohydrate intake for those with the severe metabolic disease might, for some, lower both blood pressure and blood sugar, both of which vastly contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Of course, in the interim, I will continue to monitor these two drastic changes closely. Once we get to South Africa, I’ll make an appointment with Dr. Theo to review these changes and see if I need to do anything differently. In the meantime, I’m reeling with delight over these two massive changes.

I realize there is no guarantee of long-term improved health from these changes, but I feel confident the numbers are going in the right direction.

So there it is. While in lockdown in India, with no access to a family doctor, medical clinics, hospitals jammed with COVID-19 patients, I had to take the bull by the horns and be proactive in my health care. Being one’s advocate during challenging times may present some advantages.

BTW, Tom rarely eats vegetables, and he’s ok.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, November 22, 2019:

While we were so busy in Minnesota on this date, one year ago, we posted this photo from today’s 2014 when we stopped along the highway in Maui for a breathtaking view. For the story one year ago, please click here.

Immigration news…New photos of us and Bob…

Our kindly and thoughtful landlord, Bob with Tom.
We returned from the Manly Ferry and bus ride back to our holiday home at around noon. It’s a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky and we’re on CLOUD 9!!!

We’re no longer illegal immigrants!  No words can say how happy we are to have this dreadful, worrisome situation behind us. The staff at the Australian Immigration Office couldn’t have been more helpful. 

In only took about 30 minutes to receive a new Bridging Visa that will last until April 22nd when we’ll board the ship that will hightail us out of Australia and bring us back to North America for our upcoming Alaskan cruise and nine weeks visiting family.

We were happy to have photos of Bob with each of us.

This morning at 7:45 am we met Bob at his door ready to go. He drove us to the Manly Ferry and only five or six minutes later we boarded the ferry to Circular Quay in Sydney, a 30-minute ride.

No doubt, both of us were worried about the outcome of our 10:00 am appointment, but we both attempted to remain upbeat and hopeful. I continued to take photos on what proved to be a sunny day, the first we’d experienced in the past two weeks since our arrival in Sydney by cruise ship.

Once we arrived at Circular Quay we took a taxi to immigration, a traffic-congested 20-minute ride in Monday morning rush hour traffic at a cost of AU $17.50, US $13.33. We arrived with an hour to spare decided to head to a local coffee shop for a cup of tea for me and coffee for Tom.

We sat outdoors at this cafe sipping coffee, tea and chatting with an American couple we met.

The instructions for our appointment clearly stated we were not to arrive any sooner than 15 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. With comfortable seating at an outdoor cafe, we met a wonderful retired couple from the US and the lively banter began. 

Before we knew it, it was 9:45 and we needed to make the short walk for our appointment. I felt my heart rate increase in worrisome anticipation of a poor outcome. In no time at all, we were seated in a waiting area on the fourth floor where others with similar immigration status were also waiting for the outcome of their situation. 

Our ticket number was 001. Surely the wait wouldn’t be long. Moments later, we heard our number being called to find the kindly rep who’d worked with us the first time we arrived at immigration almost two weeks ago in an attempt to sort this out.

Within 15 minutes, we were told with smiles on their faces that they’d provide us with a new Bridging Visa and within 30 minutes, we were out the door with documents in hand giving us an extension, good until midnight on April 22nd.

Tom and I with Sydney behind us on another cloudy day., taken a few days ago.  Today, finally, we have sunshine!

Thank goodness, the upcoming cruise didn’t include any Australian ports of call. Had that been the case, we may have had an even more serious situation. Luckily, this particular cruise itinerary didn’t include any stops in Australia. We were good to go.

We thanked the rep and her assistant profusely. Tom even put his hands together and bowed as he’d so graciously done time and again in Bali, in gratefulness for a service well provided. We both chuckled over the fact that some habits are hard to break, especially one as special as that bow.

Now, back home after a pleasant outdoor ride on the ferry and a quick bus ride, I began today’s post excited to share our good news. Once I wrap this up, we’ll get back to work on ordering Tom a new laptop we found online with expedited international shipping.

Now, we can go back to thinking about our missing shipment from Nevada that included all of our tax documents, our two new driver’s licenses, my new phone, and a variety of other items we’d included in the package. One thing at a time, please.

Thanks to all of our wonderful readers who sent us good wishes for today’s outcome. Your concern meant so much to both of us! Happy day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 26, 2016:

Taking photos of the two pink cockatoos at the alpaca farm in New Zealand through the narrow chain link fence was tricky.  This unedited photo illustrates the tightness of the fence and the beauty of this pink bird.  For more photos, please click here. 

Unwanted Windows 10 update…Big trouble in Paradise…

Today’s late posting and lack of detailed information in captions is a result of today’s poor signal.  It appears we may have these issues resolved.  More on this later.

Decorative clock in the center of a roundabout.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Shells and debris on the beach.

With the slow WiFi we’ve experienced over these past years of travel we hadn’t considered updating to the free Windows 10 upgrade from our usual Windows 8.1. Many online comments for potential issues have been a huge deterrent.

While living outside the US far from familiar PC repair shops it made no sense to take the risk. Imagine if here in this remote location in Bali if something went wrong with either of our laptops, we’d have quite a challenge on our hands.

Upgrading to Windows 10 could be disastrous, to say the least. Besides, we’ve had few issues since we purchased these two Acer Aspire V touch screen laptops at the end of 2014 when both of our older models bit the dust at about the same time.

Huge statue located in town near the main highway.

We’ve come to accept that every few years we must replace our laptops not only for newer, faster technology but as a result of wear and tear and constant humidity. They aren’t intended for these weather conditions and rough treatment our devices experience while we’re frequently on the move.

This morning, as usual, I booted up my fully charged and still plugged-in laptop while I was getting ready to start the day. At one point, I walked past it sitting on the desk in the bedroom noticing a white box on the screen, choosing to ignore it, not giving it much of a thought.

Elaborate design on building in Negara.

As it turned out, much to my later surprise, it was the Windows 10 upgrade that is soon losing its free status, starting up on its own. This had never happened nor had I solicited this response at any point, always saying “no” to the upgrade when occasionally it popped up.

I guess today was different for some reason and although I didn’t approve the install of the upgrade, it started on its own. This angered me. With the slow connection here, it was an accident waiting to happen. 

Ceremonial spot at the temple.

All I could envision, after reading considerable negative reviews about installing the Windows 10 upgrade is that I wouldn’t be able to post today, find all of our files and photos and that we’d lose all of our 30.7 gigs of downloaded shows we use to entertain us in the evenings.

Luckily, a few days ago, I backed up everything on the pay-for OneDrive cloud and also on our external hard drive. But, the thought of restoring all the downloaded apps I’ve accumulated over these past 18 months and getting to know a new operating system wasn’t anything I was interested in doing while here in Bali.

Old tree supported with bamboo.

Ironically, it was only yesterday, I started researching new laptop models to see of any improved technology over this past year or so that may appeal to our needs. We discussed our plan to replace these two machines when we arrive in the US next year, most likely making a purchase at Costco or elsewhere online.

Ironically, it was only after yesterday’s research that I mentioned to Tom, “There’s no point in upgrading to Windows 10 when we’re content with Windows 8.1, and next year we’ll replace these PCs.” Coincidence.

River bridge at a temple in Negara.

Alas, this morning Windows 10 was jammed down my unsolicited throat and starting downloading of its own volition. Go figure. Why did this happen? What could I, should I, have done to prevent it?  I guess going forward I won’t boot up my computer without it sitting in front of me so I can say “no.” 

At the end of July, the free version will no longer be offered and this will become less of an issue when surely I’d have to come up with a payment method to pay whatever fees MS will be charging. It’s not going to happen.

Hindu décor in the city.

So, once it started loading, I was stuck. It was too risky to try and stop it.  For almost three hours it ran slow and inconsistently attempting to grab at the weak WiFi signal to complete the process.

In the interim, Tom stayed offline although he had numerous tasks of his own to complete. At almost 10:00 am, almost three hours after the download started, several error messages appeared indicating a “system failure” and the inability of Windows 10 to complete the upgrade. Surely, it was a result of the slow Internet connection.

A decorative door at the archway at the temple in Negara.

In addition, on a few occasions, blue screens appeared indicating my computer was experiencing the possibility of a crash due to the failure. I had overseen this process by going in and out of the bedroom where I kept it plugged in hoping to complete the download without incident. 

Outside, it was so hot and humid I knew if there was trouble I needed to be inside in the bedroom in air-conditioned comfort. Possible computer crashes make me hot and sweaty.

School children heading home. Kids attend school six days a week and only have off one month during the summer (on this side of the equator) with many holidays off in between.

Luckily, after the half dozen or so scary blue screen threats and warnings, the system reverted to its former 8.1 version and it appears everything is working properly again at the moment. We’ll see how this transpires throughout the day as I, too, have multiple travel-related tasks to complete, once this is posted.

Tentatively, I forge ahead hopeful for a good outcome. In the meanwhile, the sun is out having burned off some of the hazy humidity, a balmy breeze has picked up and in a few minutes I can head outdoors to enjoy yet another “lazy day in Paradise.” Well, not quite that lazy!

We hope you have a pleasant day as well, lazy or otherwise!

Photo from one year ago today, May 19, 2015:

One year ago we wrote about the movie, The Descendants, filmed in Kauai with scenes from this pool at the famed St. Regis Hotel which was a short walk from our condo. For more details, please click here.