My view ...

The private blog of Andy Prevost. My experiences, my words. On any topic ...

Horrible training ... lives at risk

On Saturday December 3 2016 I attended a training program at the Red Cross Canada offices in Barrie ON to renew my Emergency First Aid CPR certificate.

I had initially contacted the Canadian Red Cross office in Barrie through their website. The Red Cross recommends a company called Adrenaline Rush and lists that organization on the Red Cross website with the same address as Red Cross. Course instructor was Lorne McArthur of Adrenaline Rush.

The training was absolutely horrendous. By far the worst training program I have ever attended.

The course material was sub-standard and, in addition to being argumentative, the instructor horribly prepared to lead the class. The information in-class conflicted with the Red Cross First Aid manual and handouts. Some information was completely incorrect, one of the stroke identification techniques taught is discussed on a scam website and identified as possibly correct but inappropriate for first aid responders (since it involves a judgement call) and, in at least one case, the instructor taught the students to NOT provide assistance in helping with taking nitroglycerin pills.

I walked out of the training at the lunch break and did not return. Some of the issues with the training:

1. During the section discussing heart attacks, the instructor emphasized helping someone take Bayer aspirin. His Power Point presentation identified this as ASA. He emphasized several times it HAD to be Bayer and spelled it out "B-A-Y-E-R" and used his hand to assist with the description that this is the one with the cross on it. He then tried to illustrate that it had to be Bayer and not some other type such as Advil. To make his point, he used a comparison between Bayer aspirin and others, asking the students in the class what the difference was. When no one volunteered an answer, he said that the other brands were "coated" and would not work instantly like Bayer (again spelling it out and using his hand to do a cross and specifying it was the one with the cross on it. I attempted to correct him on this ... to point out that Bayer, with the cross, also make a coated aspirin, and trying to correct him that it wasn't the coating that was the issue ... the issue is that ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) is known to be beneficial at the onset of a heart attack. He also incorrectly recommended TWO aspirins. The correct dosage when a heart attack is suspected is ONE uncoated regular aspirin or TWO 81 Mg aspiring. There are also other brands than Bayer, including generic versions from department stores that work as well as brand names.

2. During the section discussing TIA/strokes, the instructor ignored the Red Cross information (–-symptoms-of-a-stroke) and focused on his own Power Point definition. He also included a "new" technique that he personally recommended and used with his own mother – that of asking for the individual to stick out their tongue. While it wasn't clear what the first aid responder was looking for, this technique is the subject of a Snopes "scam" discussion that while this may have practical benefits, a first aid responder would be required to make a judgement call on the appearance and slant/bend of the tongue rendering this to "questionable" status. The FAST technique is accepted and promoted not only by the Red Cross, but by the

3. During the section discussing heart attacks, the instructor stated quite clearly that the only medication that he strong recommended first aid responders should not help someone take is nitroglycerin. He made the point that nitro is used to expand blood vessels with an effective duration of 15 to 20 minutes. He said that nitro comes in different forms: patch, pill, liquid, and spray. He was emphatic that first aid responders should give the nitro to the person having the heart attack to administer themselves – specifically that the responder should NOT handle the nitro outside of the container. His reason was that the nitro would expand the blood vessels of the responder and 'blow their brains out'. This is contrary to Red Cross guidelines – especially since the early part of the training is to put on surgical/examination gloves. If the gloves are on, handling nitro pills is a non-issue. With or without gloves, handling nitro spray is a non-issue.

There are other examples where the instructor's training is contrary and inconsistent with Red Cross materials – and other accepted and promoted first aid emergency responder practices. His training style is also questionable, using a "Family Feud" question style prior to having done the instruction. His training style was to emphasize his own personality and need to be "right" all the time. For example, at one point he asked how many walls were in the room. When someone answered four, he immediately said "wrong" and then questioned again. Finally, he stated the correct answer: four walls, one ceiling, one floor and then proceeded to talk about the "four walls" repeatedly. He made the point of checking the environment, and devalued the student. I was also absolutely horrified with his recommendation that first aid responders "rip out" piercings during the AED discussion ... completely contradicts Red Cross manuals (, page 19).

Up to September 1998, Red Cross Canada was responsible for blood services in Canada. Largely due to a lack of standards, they lost that role. I believe something similar is happening with their training programs.

I have made a report of this directly to Red Cross and asked to be a part of their defined and documented problem resolution process. I have been contacted by several people from Red Cross who made appointments to meet (by phone) to discuss this, and they never followed through. There clearly is no auditing of training taking place, and the value of a certificate endorsed by Red Cross to their standards just isn't of any value any more. They ignored obvious issues when they managed the blood collection process in Canada and are clearly ignoring the obvious when it comes to training First Aid responders. In both cases, lives are at stake.

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My health website

I shut down on April 16 2014 out of shear disappointment. I had been contacted by several people asking details about my self-treatment programs. I gladly shared all the information I had – and discovered my self-treatment programs became the core of several commercial products costing anywhere between $60 and more than $200 monthly. Since my self-treatment programs costs are quite reasonable, these thieves were making and selling products at an obscene profit level.

My own disappointment gets set aside now. I am posting the same information at I am not purchasing a domain again, this will be part of my personal website. This, and all websites that I self-publish, are all at my cost. If you find the information useful, consider a Paypal donation. It will help offset the costs and would be much appreciated.

Since closing the first website, malnutrition (or malabsorption) have not been kind to my skin. I have had flare-ups of seborrheic dermatitis. This is a skin condition that causes redness, itching, scaling, and flakes. Seborrhea (short form of seborrheic dermatitis) is also called skin dandruff. I've found an inexpensive treatment for this as well – far more effective than the steroid based creams doctors prescribe and a fraction of the cost.

I have had three incidents since April 2014 that are worth passing on to you. 

The first happened in February of 2016. My wife and I were joined by another couple for a dinner in Rochester NY. There is a restaurant there called Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano (actually in Victor NY, which I believe is a suburb of Rochester). Absolutely outstanding food, superb service and reasonable prices. No wonder they are mentioned in Consumer Reports as the #1 italian restaurant in the USA. For us to get there is a 3 hour drive – and it's worth every second of the drive (there and back) for an outstanding dining experience. While there, I started to feel the initial start of pancreatic pain and a major problem. I am a Canadian in the USA. Any medical expenses, such as a hospital visit, are entirely out-of-pocket. The other option is an almost 2 hour drive back to Canada to a Canadian hospital. Ah, wait a second ... I am in a restaurant. I called over the waiter and asked him to check with the chef. If they had it, would he bring me a teaspoon of baking soda? He checked and came back with a small bowl with baking soda. I immediately mixed a small amount with water and sipped at it over a few minutes. In less than one minute, all the pain was gone and we finished an incredible meal with no more worries. Since this happened, I have been carrying baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with me in my medical carry along bag. I will never ever be without baking soda again.

The second and third incidents all involve others. In the first case it was a friend (approximately 40 years of age) that I was having lunch with. The second case was with another friend (approximately 83 years of age) that I was enjoying a coffee with. These two incidents are unrelated, and about two months apart. In both cases, I noticed that my friends looked like they hadn't slept in days. Both looked worn out, both had bags under their eyes, both had reaction times that were quite slow. Since both stories and replies from them are nearly identical, I will relate this as one story.

"Man, you look wiped out. Have you been losing sleep lately?", was my remark to get this started. "I haven't slept in days. I haven't had much to eat, and I'm dead tired. My throat feels like it's on fire. If I lay down, it gets even worse." was the general tone of the replies. So I asked some questions ... "is it food? drink? are you taking anything for this?". "Yes, I have been taking {medicine}, but it's not doing much. All I get is a bit less of the burning for about 30 minutes ..." 

Several days of feeling this way and losing sleep? "Describe the feeling please, I'd like to know more about this", was my further probing. "Well, it's acid reflux. I think the doctor calls it GERD.". GERD stands for GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. It's not quite acid reflux, but results from that. It is a burning sensation affecting the esophagus (throat). When it becomes chronic, the effect is essentially that the sphincter that closes to prevent stomach acids from going up the esophagus become damaged and no longer form a seal. More burning and the sphincter is permanently damaged. So, prescriptions for ever.

"Uh, I have something with me that will help. Do you want to try it?" was my comment after listening to their sad stories. "It's a natural product that you probably already have at home in the cupboard and costs just pennies a day ..."

The answers in both cases were affirmative, but I could tell they weren't expecting much. So, I reached into my medicine bag and pulled out the baking soda that I now carry with me everywhere I go. If my medicine bag is too conspicuous, I also have a small plastic bottle that I can put into my pocket and carry it along. It's always with me. 

I mixed up 1/8 level teaspoon in a tall glass of water (about 8 oz.) and stirred it up. 

I watched as they drank this. The first guy wouldn't put the glass down until it was finished – and then I thought he would wring out the glass. I could tell from the facial expression and amazement in his eyes, while he was drinking, that it was working. "The fire is out" he said when he put the glass down on the table. And, it's been out ever since. I've been in touch with both of my friends, and both report the same thing. No more lost sleep, no more burning, no more acid reflux, no more symptoms of GERD.

So, in deference to these idiots that stole my self-treatment strategies to line their pocket up with the hard earned dollars of people suffering from inflammatory pains (pancreatitis, arthritis, etc.) and the complications of high acidity in their bodies, I am reposting and adding to the original information of my self-treatment programs. 

I have nothing to sell. I don't put links in that generate advertising money. It's my way of paying back. I am on this side of the grass. I've found ways to deal with my health issues that keep my hard earned dollars out of pharmaceutical money pit. Hope you find some useful strategies that you can use too.

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The ugly side of statins

Type 2 Diabetes is the result of one of two issues (or a combination of the two). In the first case and most likely case, your body is resistant to the insulin your pancreas produces. In the second case, your pancreas may be producing insufficient insulin for your needs.

With me, my pancreas is pretty much non-functional and I am dependent on two types of insulin. I inject long-acting, or basal, insulin once in the morning. The brand I use is called Lantus. According to its action profile, Lantus has effect for about 24 hours. I also inject quick-acting, or bolus, insulin with each meal and often also need correction injections. Using a blood glucose meter, I test quite frequently to determine what my blood sugar levels are and I always do this before each meal. Bolus insulin injection doses are dependent on current blood sugar levels and what you plan to eat. Fortunately for me, I have a Insulinx meter that does some of those calculations for me. I sometimes adjust the Insulinx recommended dose, especially if my meal includes a bit more carbs than usual (or if I have dessert).

I have always been a well-maintained diabetic with very little in the way of spikes in my blood sugar levels. And, my HbA1C has been consistent coming down to manageable and acceptable levels.

That all changed with my heart attack in July 2016. The cardiologist prescribed five new medications. Thin out the blood and lower blood pressure, prevent platelets from sticking inside the arteries, lower cholesterol, block production of an enzyme that promotes relaxing artery walls, and block production of stomach acids. When I started taking these, I felt better in some respects and felt worse in others. The side effects of these reared their ugly heads with the first blood tests about one month after the heart attack. The blood tests showed significant liver disease and warned further tests were needed due to the possibility of cirrhosis of the liver. I always thought cirrhosis was a result of heavy drinking. While that is one of the causes, cirrhosis is scarring of the liver that starts with fibrosis of the liver. Left untreated, the fibrosis becomes permanent (meaning cirrhosis). Cirrhosis is irreversible. My doctor ordered monthly lab work to monitor this, but offered no treatment at this point. I decided on my own to immediately start natural supplements to try to reverse this. As a child my wife had Hep-C, and she has taken milk thistle since then on a regular basis to keep her liver in functional and in normal ranges. With her guidance, I started taking milk thistle too. Result was good, with the next lab tests my liver was back within normal ranges. Along with starting to take milk thistle, I decided on my own to stop taking three of the prescription medicines – and they were all in the class of drugs that tell your body to block production of either enzymes, amino acids, or digestive acids – and were known for damaging the liver as a side effect of their use.

Quite frankly, I find that specialists rarely consider the impact of the prescriptions they issue on other aspects of your health or life. My gastroenterologist is one of the best in our area and I dearly appreciate him. But I have to ask questions about the medicines he wants me to take to make sure they are not contra-indications for any endo or cardio aspects of my life. The worst one is the cardiologist. This guy has a god-complex that I find difficult to deal with. I always get the sense that questioning any aspect of his treatments or advice is a burden to him ... I am now at a total of five prescription medications that I refuse to take. All of them prescribed by the cardiologist. All of them nasty drugs with side effects that are intolerable.

The last one that I stopped taking is rosuvastatin. It's a "statin" and the brand name is Crestor. "Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. By lowering the levels, they help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Studies show that, in certain people, statins reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by about 25% to 35%." This description is from  WebMD . Note the careful wording of "in certain people" and the emphasis of benefits "by about 25% to 35%". This is what I find reprehensible and garbage science. Statins have boomed in recent years. It's a multi-billion industry. If you read the article at the link above, you'll note that the pharmaceutical industry is recommending that at least another 15 million people should be taking statins as a preventive measure.

Problem is that statins are as close to useless drugs as you can get. The numbers are fudged. They help less than 1% of those taking them – yet the side effects are severe. In the USA, the FDA have been aware of severe side effects (since at least 2014) related to the use of statins. Yet, the FDA refuse to add warning requirements.

In my case, Crestor increased insulin resistance. My basal insulin went up by six units daily and my bolus insulin increased dramatically. My blood sugar levels were elevated throughout the day, but particularly in the evenings. It's almost like the insulin was having less and less effect. I even reached over 23 mmol/l (414 mg/dl) on a regular basis. Totally unacceptable. So, rather than fine tune the insulin and continue on increased injection levels, I decided to stop buying into the garbage science. This is my life, and I prefer quality over quantity. I want the side effects to stop now. Those include: brain fog, lethargy and low energy, difficulty sleeping, dangerous blood sugar levels, liver pain, kidney pain, pains in tendons (knee, hip, elbow), and fibrosis (and the fibrosis has started). The day after I stopped taking Crestor, most of the side effects were already going away. My blood sugar levels have returned to normal. Brain fog completely lifted. I no longer feel listless and energy (and stamina) is returning. The fibrosis I will have to deal with separately, once that starts it cannot be reversed. I have an appointment with my GP on Dec 22 for this.

Here's a few articles that may help you understand why statins are junk:

The Ugly Side of Statins

How Statins Degenerate Your Brain Health
Do You Take Any of These 11 Dangerous Statins or Cholesterol Drugs?
5 Great Reasons Why You Should Not Take Statins
Statin Use Inhibits Vitamin K2

And, the answer to those that believe statins are absolutely necessary: Please continue following your doctor's advice, that is what you should be doing. My take on this is that my health is within my authority and I decide, in collaboration with doctors, what should be done to keep me functioning and on the top side of the grass. I have decided that I want my brain and body to function as close to "normal" as possible, that is what I call quality. I want awareness, not a cloudy view of life. I personally believe that blocking my liver from producing enzymes and acids is not necessarily the right thing to do – you are exposing your liver to disease in exchange for a questionable benefit to another part of your body. What the hell kind of trade off is that? My time will come when my time will come. I don't need to extend it and be a vegetable.

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