Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


December 22, 2013

12/22/2013 — Lee Ward: Human body is a weird thing

ASHLAND — In the world of journalism, pica is a unit of measure. Six picas equal one inch.

In the medical world, however, pica is very different. Pica is a condition of having an appetite for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, clay, chalk, dirt or sand.

I have experienced it in what I consider the most benign way — an iron deficiency in my diet caused me to crave ice.

I know it’s hard to believe, but one of the symptoms of anemia is pica in the form of eating ice.

The human body works in some crazy ways. I recently learned of two other strange things about the human body.

‰If you have a lingering headache at the base of your head and in your neck, it’s eye strain.

I’ve been suffering from eye strain for months, finally getting one of those headaches. After I complained for a week,  a co-worker asked where my headache was and I rubbed my neck and said “here.” He told me the culprit. I spent the next weekend with my eyes closed as much as possible, but it’s only a temporary fix when you work in publishing. Maybe it’s a symptom of living in the 21st century.

‰I overheard another co-worker talking about a sure fix for nighttime leg cramps, so I rushed to the newsroom to get in on the conversation.

“Well, what is it? What gets rid of leg cramps?” I begged to know.

The response: Sleep in socks that contain a bar of soap.

He said he didn’t recall how the doctor who told him about it explained the benefit of soap in a sock, but it has something to do with potassium. I assumed we absort potassium readily through our feet, but I know where making assumptions gets you, so I did a little research. While there are those who swear by sleeping with soap in their socks to cure leg cramps, as well as under their sheets, there is no explanation for it and no guarantees.

I started sleeping with a small, round bar of fancy Caswell-Massey hand soap that I received as a gift and never used. It fits divinely in the arch of my foot. I haven’t had a leg cramp since.

Many are averse to sleeping in socks. Not me. My feet get cold, so I was already in the habit.

Now I just need to train myself to rememeber there is a bar of soap in my sock so when I wake up in the middle of the night, my bladder begging for a trip to the head, I won’t get out of bed and think I’ve stepped on a mouse.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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