January 2013

It’s 7:00 AM.  You have a heavy chest, like your chest is in a vice.  Even though you haven’t had breakfast you think maybe a couple of antacids will help, they don’t.  The pain spreads to your jaw and shoulder.  Your wife looks at you.  She’s off to the phone and calls 911, and then she brings you an aspirin and some water.

You may be having a heart attack and you have to get to the hospital fast, that’s why 911 was called without delay.  Your wife also knew that you need to get aspirin into your system fast, but should you chew the aspirin or swallow it.  The right answer is – chew the aspirin.  And chew a standard non enteric-coated 325 mg tablet, not the 81 mg low-dose (or baby) aspirin.  Let’s review:

  1. Call 911.
  2. Chew a standard non enteric-coated 325 mg aspirin tablet.

911 will get you the emergency help you need, both transportation to the hospital when the paramedics work on you, and the medical help you get on arrival to the ER.  The aspirin is working in the meantime.  Why is that?

Cholesterol-laden plaque can build in a coronary artery.  The plaque ruptures.  It attracts platelets.  Platelets are tiny blood cells that trigger blood clotting.  The clot builds upon the rupture blocking blood flow in the artery.  When the blockage is complete, a portion of the heart muscles dies because of oxygen deprivation and that, is a heart attack.

Aspirin inhibits platelets.  A small amount of aspirin is all that is needed.  In fact small doses are better than large doses.  The clot keeps on growing, so the quicker you chew that aspirin, the better your chances.

Researchers in Texas tested three different methods of taking aspirin.  They were chewing an aspirin for 30 seconds, taking an aspirin with four ounces of water, or drinking Alka-Seltzer with four ounces of water.  The results showed that chewed aspirin worked the fastest.

As most of you know, aspirin can help prevent heart attacks in patients with coronary artery disease and men over 50 years old.  Just a low dose of aspirin is needed, somewhere between 81 and 325 mg per day.  Before you start an aspirin regimen, first talk to your doctor, there are certain health concerns where aspirin should not be taken. But if you think you are having a heart attack, chew a non enteric-coated 325 mg aspirin and don’t forget to call 911.

Remember that old piece of advice about taking two aspirin and call the doctor in the morning…chew that one over.

Thanks to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide for the information for this blog.

Do you have a story you want to share?  Our readers would be like to read about it.

Remember, it’s rChance to thrive, every day and in every way.

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I read a recent Consumer Reports.  They ranked the best stores to buy anything.  The rankings were based on a survey of 26,000 readers.  It combined both the “on-line” and “in-store” shopping experience.  Here’s their Top Ten List (sorry David Letterman):

  1. Costco
  2. Kohl’s
  3. JC Penney
  4. Target
  5. Macy’s
  6. Meijer
  7. Sears
  8. Sam’s Club
  9. Kmart
  10. Walmart

Here is my biased opinion of the stores. 

Costco – We don’t shop there.  I have visions of walking out of Costco with a year’s supply of toilet paper and corn flakes.  There isn’t enough room in our humble abode to store mass quantities of food and paper products.  Do you shop there?  Tell us about it.

Kohl’s – Nanook’s favorite store for clothes

JC Penney and Sears – We haven’t shopped in either store in over a year, maybe we should.

Meijer – No local stores.

Macy’s – OK, but prefer Kohl’s

Sam’s Club – Never been inside one, see Costco for why.

Kmart – Couldn’t tell you where the nearest Kmart is.

Which brings us down to the final two – Target and Walmart.  And the winner is (drum roll please) buy a mile - Target.  I know both stores are locked in mortal battle for the consumer’s dollar, and they are ubiquitous and they both have super stores and you can buy groceries and the prices are always low and yada yada yada.  But I’ll go out of my way to go to Target.

First let’s look at Walmart.  The last time we visited Anna Mae, I had to make a quick Walmart run.  (The nearest Target was ten miles, the nearest Walmart? One mile.)  It was Sunday morning and it was a Super Store meaning it was size of a shopping mall under one roof.  I walk into the store, grab a cart (it goes clomp clomp clomp as I push it), and am immediately struck by the concrete floor, a brownish-grey concrete floor.  Not exactly cheery , in fact, its telling me to get-in, get-out, because if you spend any time here, your mood will be as dark as the floor.  My shopping list consisted of three items.  The first was hand soap.  I wheeled the cart to the left and found the soap.  Next item was coffee.  Coffee is in the food store which is on the other side of the store, about three blocks away.  Oh well, I need the exercise.  I arrive after clomp clomp clomping the cart across the store on the depressing concrete.  I place the coffee in the cart, and prepare to search for the third item – doggie snacks.

Hmmm, where would the doggie snacks be?  I’m in the food section, and dog food is actually food, so I start wandering around the food section.  To my dismay, pet food is not in the food section.  I ask a clerk who directs me back to the Pet Supply section which is located next to the Soap Section.  Yep, it’s another three block walk back to where I started.  I decide to take a different route.  And along the way I encounter racks of clothes sitting in the middle of the aisle.  These racks prevent me from pushing my cart down the aisle.  I have to stop, back-up, and find an alternate route.  Will somebody tell me why Walmart needs to use aisles to display stuff?  It’s a Super Store!  It’s got a bazillion square feet!  There isn’t enough room? Good grief.

Anyway, I finish my little shopping trip vowing never to darken their doors again which I know is a vow to be broken.  Hey there Walmart?  Want to know why you are number 10 and Target is number 4?  For starters, think ugly concrete floors.

So for our family it’s Target.  The stores are cheery, easy to navigate, i.e., no roadblocks, and it has just about everything we need to make shopping convenient.  Target has this one feature I really like.  You can get their version of a debit card.  When you use it to check-out, you automatically get a 5% discount on everything except prescription drugs.  Target or Walmart?  I think you know the answer.

What do you think of the list?  Our readers would be curious as to your opinion.

Remember, it’s rChance to thrive, every day and in every way.

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Everyone knows about the importance of guarding your Social Security number, you don’t want the bad guys discovering it.  Also, you have been told over-and-over again about using some form of cryptography in maintaining computer passwords.  What are YOU doing to keep a veil of secrecy around your ATM cards?  Each ATM card (credit or debit) requires a PIN (personal identification number).  A PIN number may be needed when talking to a customer service agent from your bank, phone company, or anywhere else where sensitive personal information is stored in a data base.  Because most PIN numbers are only four digits in length, only 10,000 combinations are possible.  This is a much smaller number of combinations than a computer password for that persistent crook determined to steal your money or access your lines of credit.  What follows are some tips to use to safeguard those four digits.  First let’s discuss bad ideas for a PIN number, then good ideas.

Bad ideas: 

  • Don’t use a string of numbers like 1111 or 1234.  These two rank as the number one and four most common iPhone PINs.   In fact many institutions will reject number strings if you attempt to obtain one.
  • Never use your birth date, either birth day and month or birth year.  If you lost your ATM card you may have lost your billfold or purse at the same time.  What’s in your billfold?  Your driver’s license.  What’s on your license?  Your date of birth.
  • Don’t use any year from 1950 (1940 if you born between 1940-1949) onward.
  • Do not use the last four digits of you Social Security number.  Have you noticed how prevalent the last four Social Security numbers are on financial documents?
  • Don’t use phone numbers.  A phone number may be public information.  Is your name and number in the phone book?
  • Don’t use the birthdates of your children or grandchildren.   Same reason as phone numbers.  These dates may be found doing on-line searches.
  • Avoid street number or house or apartment numbers.  Remember the driver’s license.

Good ideas:

  • Use the number provided by the bank.  That may lock you out if you don’t remember it after its been assigned, but it’s definitely a safe choice
  • Number sequence from a long-unused telephone number, maybe from childhood.  Consider an unlisted and unused company-ID.  Another idea may be the number of a frequently called number like your favorite pizza store.
  • Personal history date.  Think the day you graduated high-school or college but not your wedding anniversary.  Maybe the day you shot your first “hole-in-one.”
  • Word or phrase.  Do you SWIM, GOLF, BOWL, or DRAW?  Use the ATM keypad keying the letters instead of numbers.  Consider taking a four word phrase like “How Is The Weather,” turn it into a word – HITW.
  • Use more than four digits if allowed.  Remember for each additional digit, you increased the possibilities tenfold.

Final words.  Never, never, never carry PIN numbers in your wallet or purse, and never, never, never write it on the ATM card itself.  Shield with your other hand whenever you are keying a PIN number.  You never know whose eyes are looking; those eyes could be a secretly installed hidden camera.

Thanks to the AARP magazine for these tips.

Do you have a PIN number story to share? We would love to read it and so would rChance readers.

Remember, It’s rChance to Live and Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way!

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