The Passing of Billy Bob

It has taken me a few weeks to get myself to the point where I could write this. Grief is a selfish emotion in truth as we mourn over what we miss. However, we miss what we love too. I knew my furry friend could not last forever and I only had him for the last third of his life. I never knew what a young Billy Bob got up to, I do often like to imagine him as a kitten.

I have seen him play, laying on his back and throwing a leaf into the air, he has even chased bits of string although with less enthusiasm than I was putting into the game. I have seen him being pushed off his water bowl by a pair of doves and catch a mouse called Micky no Tail who never ran away anyway. Billy Bob had no teeth and would just walk around with him for a bit in his mouth until both of them agreed the game was over.

He did when I first came to Spain have a couple of friends who would clean his face after he had eaten. He never tolerated them for more than a few minutes and would bat them away. When I moved home, he found a cat he did not like, and he would chase that one down the road and he did once get into a pretty bad fight that he would have lost if I had not broken it up. He was laying on his side pawing at a great big Ginger thing that was basically trying to take chunks out of him. Quite bizarrely BB started that fight. He sulked for a few days after that and never fought again.

He first came into my life when I lived back in France with my partner. We were breaking up that year after spending 16 years together and it was quite a sad year even though we remained friends. He kind of came into my life when I needed him if I am honest. I saw this shape in the hedge which let out an almost silent mew and it was clear he was in trouble, he had some dry bread with him that I assume had been thrown out earlier to the birds., but he was in a terrible shape. After some thought I took him to the vets mainly to see if he was chipped and see what was wrong. He was dewormed and examined. The whole time he sat there on the table and shook, burying his head into my hands, that sort of won me over. The conclusion was that he had been well looked after but his owner may have died, and he had tried but failed to look after himself. He was estimated to be about 11 or 12 years old. He stayed with me for the rest of his life which was exactly five years to the day.

I moved to Spain later in the year and he spent 9 hours in the car wailing the whole way, he hated travelling, but I moved another three times in Spain but thankfully much shorter distances. He was devoted to me and had the friendliest of dispositions. Never a hiss or a spit in all the years we were together, and he loved sitting beside me with his paw on my arm. He did quickly forget his dry stale bread days and fell into typical cat mode by assuming the food bowl would always be full to the brim or it would be considered empty. He also felt he had the right to demand a certain type of cat food only to reject it at a minute’s notice. Often after I had made the effort to go out and get his favourite choice.

I thought I had lost him once before, he went missing and I almost ran out of places to look. I saw him eventually laying in the roadside gutter, I had a lump in my throat as I approached him as I assumed, he had been run over but he showed signs of life as I got to him. It was late, and there was nothing I could do but carry him home and look after him. I sat with him all night, putting drops of water onto his lips. In the morning he stood up all be it on wobbly legs. I think he may have eaten some rat poison as there were people who put that down nearby. He got stronger through the day and I nicknamed him Bounce Back Billy Bob.

The last couple of years I have watched his slow decline. He went blind and began to walk in circles sometimes. I know enough to understand that this is not a good sign. The vet said the same thing and at his obvious age there was no op to save him. I decided to not go through all the tests that would pinpoint where the tumour was in his head and vowed that I would not let him suffer. Billy Bob was not ready to go then though, he showed no signs of pain and although did slowly grow to have moments of confusion, he still looked for his food and loved sitting beside me purring loudly. In fact only 36 hours before he passed he ate and sat with me purring.

His end came suddenly, I walked into the office where he had started to sleep on a double quilt by my desk. He had knocked his water bowl over and I think he may have had a fit. He was on his bed with his head up against the wall. He looked peaceful and sound asleep, but he never woke up from that and remained in that position all day. I once again sat with him but apart from his body moving as he breathed there was no sign of him knowing anything all night. I kept stroking him, but he did not know I was there, and then just before 6.00am he simply left. He was cold, and I knew he was gone.

We keep everything that is past alive in our thoughts. Nothing truly goes, all memories exist in time and space. I shall remember my furry buddy for the rest of my days. We rescued each other I guess.

Andy Beveridge

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The Passing of 2018

Well, that is 2018 gone and it was a mixed bag for sure. I kept the shadows away and apart from the odd day, depression never got a look in. Health was up and down again, and I almost feel like that is an ongoing pattern I have to accept.

I never wrote as many books as I wanted to and that was mainly due to an increase in freelance work. I do have a slow launch in process with a couple of products in the pipeline that a JV partner and myself are working on. I am going to start a new subscriber base this month as well that will offer a weekly report on all things IM, and another in the health and mindset arena.

I shall be expanding my paid membership FB group and offering them even more value this year.

The saddest event of the year was the death of my Cat Billy Bob. It was only a couple of weeks ago and I am going to write a separate post about that. Just got to give myself time to adjust.

2019 is an exciting year in so many ways. New business and maybe even love on the horizon, maybe more about that in later posts. I aim to start running again soon but that may simply be one foot in front of another as try and maintain some distant memory of my youth. I have the urge to run the canal path that leads to the ocean. There are so many tracks and paths to run on here, maybe not so easy when the heat of summer arrives but I ran in the Pyrenees a few years ago and the heat never bothered me then.

So, 2019 is

A new business launch

New subscriber base

Expand FB groups

Start jogging again

Explore other areas

Write three books

Create a food and travel blog

I wish you all a very happy and fufilled year ahead.

Andy

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Is There Any Evidence That the Heart is Actually a Mini Brain?

There is a theory going around stating that the heart plays a far bigger role than just a large muscle that pumps blood around our body and actually acts in a cognitive way. I think it is easy to see how the heart has been picked out to be something special and of course it is vitally important as its role is the difference between life and death. Heart failure really is the end and so we are quite right to understand the importance of this organ.
For centuries now the heart has played a bigger role than perhaps it really deserved. We are heartfelt, we have hearts of gold, I give you my heart, I love from the bottom of my heart, and the list goes on. All of this suggests deeper emotions that are being released directly from this organ and that just isn’t true in my opinion.
The heart is practically worshiped by humanity and in all cultures and there are many historical references in literature. Music is littered with lyrics that mention the heart in a way that leaves other organs out in the cold, after all you don’t hear many people say that guy has a liver of gold.
There are quite a few sites that push out this idea of the heart operating in a more cognitive manner but having read through them I find very little in the way of evidence as most of it seems to point to suggestion. A lot of the references are from unpublished work or recorded conversations which does not lend itself to a strong supportive argument.
I found one paper called “The electricity of touch” which basically went on to discuss a measurement of cardiac energy exchange between people. This paper has no real science behind it and even the author admits this. Yet that paper has been pushed forward in many places as real evidence that supports the claim that the heart is a mini brain. Any form of guesswork destroys scientific claims and that is a simple fact.
The basis of the main theory stems from the fact that the heart has a network of 40,000 neurons within it. These neurons detect hormones, neurochemicals, and are aware of heart rate and blood pressure. So, on this evidence they base the theory that the heart communicates with the brain and the rest of the body in a biophysical and electromagnetic sense.
When this is backed up by the fact [I believe this to be true] that the heart secretes oxytocin which is considered a bonding hormone and is present in childbirth and lactation and also that recently it was discovered that this hormone was involved in other functions as well like complex sexual and maternal behaviors. So when you look at it from that angle it looks like the theory is beginning to back itself up but it quickly falls apart when you look at the reality.
For instance, your heart does have 40,000 neurons and a lot of those are very sensitive to circulating hormones but so do many other parts of the body and nobody is pushing those as having a mini brain. Here is another thing, the complete intestinal tract has more nerve cells than the entire central nervous system and we are constantly being reminded about the sensations from our gut far more than from our heart. The gut also has most of the neurotransmitters found in the brain. This actually makes the gut a far more worthy candidate for the mini brain theory than the heart.
In fact, most of our organs have huge organized and functioning neural networks but nobody is suggesting that they also act in a cognitive and planning kind of way, in fact there is no suggestion of at all that these other organs are controlling any other part of our body. The brain does not dish out this work to other body parts and much of what has been said in the past was meant to be taken metaphorically and not in a literal sense. I stand by the fact that neither the gut nor the heart has a mini brain.
Then we get onto the big claim that the electromagnetic signals generated by the heart influence other parts of the body. These signals are so weak that only specialized equipment can pick them up and they are lost in the noise of other signal generated by the rest of the body, and it is a very weak proposal to suggest that these extremely weak signals can influence other cells. Especially when there is so much other noise going on from other organs and especially muscles. There is much evidence to back up this weakness of signal in a magnetic and electrical sense.
Another claim is that the heart is responsible in some way for making decisions within our thoughts. For the life of me I cannot find one single piece of real evidence that could support this. As far as I’m concerned, the prefrontal cortex is responsible for the decisions we make and if we feel good about a certain decision then it is the result of the dopamine neurotransmitter. This is fact and proven.
Herophilus was a Greek philosopher working in Egypt around 300 BC and his studies went a long way to proving that the brain was responsible for our intellect and are cognitive ability. The romantic side of linking the heart to many other things has lived on though and mostly through music and lyrics but that kept this myth alive to this day.
So to sum this up, there appears to be no real hard-core scientific evidence that supports the heart being anything other than a muscle which pumps the blood around the body. The heart can really not be thought of as a mini brain any more than one of your other organs such as your liver or spleen. As we mentioned before the intestines actually represent a far better candidate for the mini brain than the heart ever could and nobody is pushing for that to be true.
Much that I like to find out new information and discover new facts that make us think in a different way the very thought that anyone takes this particular theory seriously does make me cringe. It was disproven over 2000 years ago and revisiting this theory is like taking a trip back to the dark ages because there is no real scientific evidence to support it.

Andy Beveridge

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