Proactive ways to fight the Winter gloom in Charleston – Dr. J

It’s the dead of winter in Charleston and many of us are missing the beach, riding around with the convertible top down or simply being comfortable going about our daily lives. While it is certainly not “North Face” weather here on most winter days, despite the attire some Charlestonians wear, it is cold, rainy and gloomy. It can leave many of us depressed, unfortunately contributing to a surge in suicides in the springtime. The Charleston Daily recommends being proactive to fight the Winter gloom with the following tips.

1) Add some color to your life, or kitchen. Think about heading to your nearest paint or hardware shop and pour over the wide array of colors available. From Sunburst Yellow to Caribbean Blue, a color will likely call your name. Buy a gallon, a brush, and give your favorite room a new glow. If you can’t commit, sample paint colors are available for under $3. http://www.valsparpaint.com/en/explore-colors/sample-store/index.html

2) Make your own springtime. Garden centers have started displaying seeds and starter pods. My experience has been that most garden center employees, particularly those at Royall Ace Hardware on Coleman Boulevard, are enthusiastic about educating new gardeners. In just a few days, you may have adorable spouts of green herbs and flowers, in your own home.

3) Warm up around the fire. So many folks pass by the woodpile outside the grocery store without giving it a second thought. It’s easy to forget about the fireplace or fire pit in our own backyards. Consider buying a bundle and making a fire that friends and family can gather around. Safety first though… http://www.fireplaces.com/Fireplace-Safety.aspx

4) Get your own glow. While the risk of skin cancer is real with tanning beds and sunning at the beach, a spray tan holds little risk. Long gone are the days of the orange tinged “fake bake.” Some brilliant scientists have learned how to create a natural appearing tan for your sallow winter skin. The spray tan lasts for at least 7 days and can give you a huge confidence boost that may make these last two chilly months easier to bear. Lulu at Sun Station Tanning in Mount Pleasant can give you a great lesson in sunless tanning.

5) Don’t waste a pretty day on a colonoscopy. Take one of these gloomy days and spend it inside prepping for one of the most important preventative health exams you can offer yourself, a colonoscopy. Over 50? Get one. Have a first degree relative with colon cancer? You need one at age 40 or ten years earlier than their age at diagnosis. 1/20 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and it can be deadly if caught late. The good news is, many cases can be prevented with routine screening and surveillance colonoscopy. The procedure itself is not without risk, but I witness and perform this life-saving, routine procedure every day. For more info about risk, check out: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/moreinformation/colonandrectumcancerearlydetection/colorectal-cancer-early-detection-acs-recommendations

Have any other tips to fight off the gloom? Let us know.

Until next time, stay warm and healthy. ~ Dr. J

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum – The Retired Mensch

Image courtesy of Paul Brustowicz

It’s not hard to find something to do in Charleston when company comes to town. What is hard is deciding on where to go and what to see. Fortunately the latest guest at the Mensch house was a Marine who served in Vietnam. Patriots Point here we come. Down I-26, over the Ravenel Bridge and $5 later we were in the parking lot at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. Mrs. Mensch had discovered a two-for-one Groupon which made treating cousin Frank to a tour a no-brainer.

There is plenty to see and tour at Patriot’s Point: the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the submarine Clamagore, the destroyer class USS Laffey, a Vietnam Support base exhibit and a cold war submarine Memorial. Our time was limited so we opted for the self-guided tours on the Yorktown and the Vietnam exhibit.

A snowbird volunteer named Al greeted us on the hangar deck with a “Semper Fi” and Cousin Frank smiled for the first time all day. It was a Jethro Gibbs moment. Al explained the self-guided tour, handed us the flyer with the admonition to follow the yellow arrows and we were off to Hangar Bays #1 and #2.

There were the F4F Wildcat jet, F6F Hellcat, F-9 Cougar and other fighter aircraft on display. We opted not to take the flight simulator ride after seeing it in action. We needed to keep our lunch under control.

Over in Hanger Bay #3 was the Jimmy Doolittle display and a B-25 bomber hanging over the Sticky Fingers Smokehouse Express snack bar. We got a kick out of the Doolittle display when we read the front page of the San Francisco newspaper: there was a front page story way on the bottom about the Brooklyn Dodgers winning eight in a row. For a couple of Brooklyn natives, that was a hoot!

We followed Tour #3 yellow arrows up to the flight deck through the pilot’s ready room, air operations room, air traffic control room, and combat information center and emerged on the flight deck. What a marvelous day in Charleston, blue sky, temps in the 50’s and slight breeze. We were better off in the sun. We wandered from plane to plane. Here’s the link to all the aircraft at the USS Yorktown: http://www.patriotspoint.org/explore_museum/aircraft/.

To see the Corsair, Intruder and Skyhawk and helicopters on the flight deck was great.

Image courtesy of Paul Brustowicz

After wandering on the flight deck, we made our way to the chart room, pilot house, captain’s bridge. It is a wonder to see the Admiral’s Bridge and Sea Cabin on level 5. We passed the radar rooms on our way to hangar deck to end our tour.

We made a brief stop at the USS Laffey to read the plaque and moved on to the Vietnam Experience Exhibit. Cousin Frank thought he was back in Southeast Asia at this exhibit.

From the brown water navy, to the latrines and helicopters, cousin Frank applauded the authenticity of the exhibit. The Mensch applauded cousin Frank’s service to his country.