Thursday, October 20, 2005

On the street where we live

Published October 20, 2005

Our home sits on a wide corner half way down a curvy hill. Believe it or not, the posted speed limit in our neighborhood is seventeen miles per hour. It’s tricky difficult to drive the posted speed limit. My odometer can never find the magic number seventeen, so I tend to drive on the side of caution and keep it at a cool fifteen when I enter the neighborhood. Other drivers either can’t read, or they must be on their way to a fire. Two times in the last seven years, my son has dodged speeding cars on our hill and has been injured on the bottom corner of our property, now called “Bucky’s Corner”.

Our son, Conor is an energetic and happy kid. We started calling him Bucky when he was a toddler. At that time he had a raspy little voice. He’s a happy kid and the life of the party all the time. When he was five years old we promised him a two-wheel ‘big boy’ bike. He worked hard to earn it and it arrived one day resplendent in all it’s majesty with cool black paint and training wheels. It took about two days before he was riding the bike on two wheels completely balanced. It took two months to convince him he didn’t need the training wheels anymore. For some reason, just like a favorite “blankie”, he wouldn’t let us take the training wheels off as they were extra security in his little mind.

I remember the day well. A car was flying down our hill at speeds well over forty miles per hour. Bucky was on his bike and coming around the corner ahead of it. In order to get away from the speeding car, he took the bottom corner faster than his training wheels would allow and he took a huge spill and broke his leg. I asked him why he was going so fast and he said “to get away from the car”. This accident occurred six years ago and he was in a long leg lime green cast for eight weeks and had a wheel chair for a week or so.

Believe it or not, we are now at the second anniversary of a second accident. Conor was on his skateboard heading toward Bucky’s corner. A car was wailing down the hill about 50 miles per hour. The choice was clear, hit the deck or collide with the car that didn’t have a clue that a ten-year old boy was on his skateboard. A full arm lime green cast was applied after a manual reduction under general anesthesia. The orthopedic practice at Sutter knows my son by both his names and this year he will probably get a Christmas card from them.

Bucky’s corner is a place I will memorialize as the place where my son dodged speeding cars and broke his bones. When you live in a neighborhood where the speed limit is a perplexing, but safe seventeen miles per hour, watch out for children, take it easy and slow down. It’s the most courteous thing one can do on the street where you live.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hormones run amok

Published October 6, 2005

Generally, women are more emotional and for some reason we tend to get tired. I’ve heard it said this is because we are ‘hormonal’. Do yourself a favor and refuse to go down in a ball of flames on “it’s your hormones dear”. It could be something as simple as your thyroid gland.

Jump starting things may hinge on getting the thyroid checked. Do you know this little regulator gland basically controls your whole body and all its functions? I aced my anatomy class in school and college as it was one of my favorite classes. But there should have been a whole unit study on hormones and their functions because these little guys can make life a bleak living hell or a Sunday picnic. Unfortunately, my teachers didn’t talk much about the thyroid gland in anatomy class. They probably didn’t want to let us know that the homecoming queen of 1979 would be 300 pounds, tired, divorced, bald and depressed by the time she was thirty years old unless, of course, she had her thyroid checked. That would have been helpful for her to know. For something that wrecks so much havoc on your system, the pills to fix it look like little jewels. They are wonderful.

The thyroid gland is often overlooked for people suffering for symptoms that are seemingly psychosomatic or depressive in nature. A lot of hard working people are afraid to discuss symptoms with their doctors that they find embarrassing but it’s amazing that a little glad like the thyroid can be responsible for so much of what ails us. There are excellent resources at the library from endocrinologists that have studied the thyroid and I can recommend The Thyroid Solution for those wanting to investigate their own symptoms before seeing your physician. Keep in mind a few things I found helpful when I had my thyroid tested.

1. Normal levels of thyroid vary from person to person, so if you have symptoms, you should at least try supplements to see if your levels stay safe and your symptoms go away.
2. Sometimes, you may seemingly have enough thyroid hormone but there are different thyroid hormones and one may be low or too high and your blood tests won’t explain why your hair is falling out and you want to stay in bed for a year. By trying both hormone supplements for T3 and T4,, you will be able to see if ‘cold hands warm heart’ is a stupid saying, which it is. Body temperature for people with thyroid symptoms is basically lower than normal.
3. Thyroid medications have to be taken with discipline and on an empty stomach. The levels of hormone in your blood stream need to be monitored by your physician like anything else. So they won’t help you unless you follow the instructions. There is a difference between hypo and hyper so ask your physician.
4. Be good to yourself and be good to your thyroid. A happy thyroid is a happier you.

My thyroid and I know each other a lot better now after all these years and in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t the homecoming queen of 1979.

Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at