Monthly Archives: April 2014

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter!

A few days ago I tried to explain the concept of Easter to my caregivers but without much luck. First I tried to describe the holiday as Christ rising from the grave, but seeing as they do not know much about religion, never mind Christianity, this approach was not very helpful.

I then tried to describe the Easter Bunny, little children hunting colored eggs … and marshmallow peeps.


At least they both burst out in laughter, being not quite sure what to make of my narrative and no idea whatsoever what a marshmallow might be, never mind a marshmallow peep!

My brother Mattias and I had a long-standing marshmallow peep Easter tradition where we’d each select a marshmallow peep and put them together into the microwave. We had a competition to see how long it takes for a marshmallow peep to blow up in the microwave. The one who successfully inflates the peep without blowing it up in the microwave is the winner. The loser obviously has to clean out the marshmallow filled microwave 🙂


In goes the Peep …


Out comes the Peep Loser!


Welcoming A Really Good Friend From U.S.

This week my Dad and I will be welcoming to Kunming our mutual good friend Ted Hearne, who lives in Indiana and is presently in Asia on a business trip. Ted is one of the architects of Drummond Geometry, the technical trading methodology I use ( and Ted once lived in Shanghai for a couple years, so he’s no stranger to China.

But Ted has never visited sunny Yunnan Province and is making a detour on his current Asian business trip to come visit us in Kunming.   We’re very happy to welcome Ted and hope his couple days in Kunming will offer him a good feel for the cultural diversity of Yunnan as well as the lovely weather.

Looking ahead to Ted’s visit, I ventured out last weekend with my Dad and Jenny to check out a brand new hotel that is very close to where we live.

The new Kunming Intercontinental Hotel ( opened just a few months ago and is only 10 minutes from us by car. I have to say I was pretty astonished to discover a Polynesian-themed tropical resort that is completely handicap accessible – handicap access being very unusual for Kunming, or for China in general, as far as that goes. I have included a few snapshots pictures below to give you an idea of this delightful addition to the Kunming cityscape.


Hotel Lobby2

Hotel Lobby

Indoor Infinity Pool

Indoor Infinity Pool

Jenny + Ali @ Intercontinental  Jenny + Ali

Jenny & Ali in the Lobby of the Hotel x2

No Front Door

No front Door!

Wheelchair Lake Access

Wheelchair Lake Access

So on Friday the three of us went over to the Intercontinental to check out the hotel’s Internet access for Ted and the cuisine as well as to look over the grounds.

We had lunch in a superb Chinese restaurant, where for menus the hostess presented each of us with an Apple iPad. I was confused at first, but as I pressed the screen to turn on the iPad the entire menu popped up. Not only could a guest scroll through the entire picture menu to choose dishes, with explanations in Chinese and English, but also you could enter your order on the iPad itself.

Talk about a seriously cool use for an iPad!

Oh, and extremely quad friendly as well … 🙂

iPad Screen Shot

iPad Screenshot with Toadstool on offer (Incorrect translation … what they meant was Morel mushrooms! Toadstool’s are Poisonous)

iPad Menu in Action

iPad Menu in Action with Turtle on the Menu

We enjoyed a lovely meal and a wonderful local tea and by the end of our afternoon I must say I felt like I was in an exotic hotel in Bali. Needless to say, we figured Ted would be comfortable here, and Dad completed the booking on the spot.

Pain Getting Worse Again

Unfortunately my pain is getting worse again, with severe intervals being more closely spaced in recent weeks. It’s really hard to figure out what’s going on … that is, why the roller coaster?

We just received a protocol for the barometric pressure chamber, which we will probably execute in the next few weeks.

I keep trying to find a pattern or common denominator to days when my neuropathic pain is extraordinarily high. Besides the obvious potential factors, such as excessive exercise, sitting too long in the sun or a lot of stimulation (talking or keyboarding) throughout the day … I’m still unable to find what triggers some days of neuropathic pain being so severe I’m almost comatose and can’t function at all … and some days the pain being just high but somehow tolerable.

For the moment, I’m just trying to battle through it each day, never knowing how I’ll wake up feeling or even how a day that starts out okay will end up.

Dad thinks our next best shot is hypnosis, which coincidentally was first suggested to us last year by Ted Hearne. There’s really strong medical literature on this, dating back almost a century.   Obviously the double challenge here is finding an experienced hypnotherapist in the first place and then bringing that specialist to Kunming. We have at least one lead, so more on this to come.

Meanwhile, we do have hyperbaric chambers available to us right here.

Karaoke in China!


Thankfully “March Murphy Madness” is over!

Suzanne Edwards, who came up with this catchy turn of phrase, and I are looking forward to having an “Awesome April.”

Do you ever have one of those months where everything just seems to go completely  wrong?

Well, March pretty much did me in. I managed to not only to develop a pressure sore, my first in 3 years, but I also sustained a tissue shredding injury less than an inch away from the pressure lesion due to being handled too roughly on the hard mat at the gym.

Update on the Pain Front:

We are still waiting for the right protocol for the hyperbaric pressure chamber. However, my sister Tiffany, who is a professional SCUBA dive instructor, did some research and advised me to be very, very careful about breathing 100% oxygen under high atmospheric pressure because this can lead to numerous complications, notably including oxygen toxicity.

Otherwise, I obviously had to postpone proceeding with the hyperbaric chamber for the last few weeks due to the gym injury, but I should be up and running in the next few weeks with the pressure chamber, and I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

My skin is pretty well healed up now, I am dealing with what I would say is the usual amount of neuropathic pain, no worse, no less, and have really been focusing on trading as of late, which also helps get my mind off the pain.

Otherwise, Dad and I have independently been investigating neurostimulator implants for neuropathic pain. This is an effective measure of last resort for some people who suffer from severe, chronic neuropathic pain.

A neurostimulator is a surgically placed device about the size of a stopwatch. It delivers mild electrical signals to the epidural space near your spine through one or more thin wires, called leads. For patients for whom this technology works, the intermittent delivery of electrical simulations serves to dampen chronic neuropathic pain.

International clinical trials of this new pain management technology are ongoing. In the Asian region, Singapore is a leading center, where some SCI survivors have had good results with implanted neurostimulators.

How It Works

Neurostimulation is believed to provide pain relief by blocking the pain messages before they reach the brain, although in fairness the ground breaking research of Drs. Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall suggest pain transmission and brain registry of pain is more complex than a one-way street of pain signal transmission.

Anyway, the theory is that the neurostimulator sends out mild electrical impulses that reach the brain faster than the pain signal can arrive. In other words, it outsmarts your pain. Instead of pain, you feel a tingling sensation. You can adjust the strength and location of stimulation using a handheld programmer.

Wherever or not I ever have a neurotransmitter implanted, at least we now have this technology on our drawing board and are looking into the various ways this strategy might be implemented.

One neat thing about neurostimulation is that you can test it out for a week to see if you are a viable candidate for the procedure. The doctors essentially place the leads in the epidural space but don’t implant the battery box under your skin until they know you are a responder to the treatment. You can see a picture below of the different components of neural stimulation how it works.


Implanted NeuroStim Device


Neurostimulation Leads, which are inserted into the spinal column


Neurostimulator Battery pack

On a completely separate note, I wanted to share with you a fun cultural activity here in China with which many readers may not be familiar.

On the weekends, people all over the developed world often get together and go to the movies, go to a bar, have a drink, etc.  What the Chinese enjoy best is going to a karaoke bar.

There is a national karaoke bar chain called KTV that has thousands of locations throughout the country. This is no normal karaoke bar, as there are private rooms you book with your friends to have drinks and sing karaoke. Many of these rooms are even themed with cartoon characters, superhero themes, movie themes, etc.

When I lived in Beijing about 15 years ago, I used to go karaoke all the time and wish I still had the pictures to show you. Nonetheless, one of my Kunming friends, Emma, who works at Tongren Hospital, recently went to a karaoke birthday party for a three-year-old. This three-year-old sure must have been very special because the parents rented out an entire room for the child and their friends to sing karaoke.

As you can see from the video below (apologies that the sound is not that great) karaoke is learned from a very young age and is part of a child’s upbringing. This video was too funny to pass up and so I share it with you! I have also included photos of some typical karaoke theme room pictures for you 🙂

or click: to view video on YouTube