Posts Tagged ‘SAMe’

How To Swallow Pills Without Gagging

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Okay, so I know this isn’t much of a life update, but I had to share this because it’s so freaking cool. And yes, given my usually sarcastic nature, this post could very well have been an amusing-to-everyone-but-me anecdote about how I projectile vomited all over my living room ceiling this morning, but it is in fact actually directions on how to swallow pills without gagging! …Novel, I know.

1) Take pill as normal, except when gag reflex starts to kick in (or before, to prevent one)…
2) Tickle/stimulate/pull/massage one ear with your free hand (not inside the canal or anything, just the big outside area).

So simple, and yet, so cool.

**

Edit: Okay, I have been getting a LOT of hits on this post, from people like me who have a lot of trouble swallowing pills without that gag reaction, so I have decided to update/expand this with more detail about what I do that now works for me… If you have a different technique that’s been good to you, or if you find any of what I write here particularly helpful, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.  It’s tough to know what will strike a cord with others, and what’s more unique to me.

And, of course, I am not a doctor.  I am sharing my own personal success and experience, but this is not a formal medical opinion of any kind and should not be taken as such.  If you try to swallow a pill and end up injured because you have some kind of strange leprosy and shouldn’t have been touching your ears, please do not sue me.  I take no responsibility for your actions.

First off, any technique takes some practice to get just right.  …Which sucks.  Because there are few things more unpleasant than the sensation of gagging.  But if you don’t get it quite right, do keep experimenting.  Becoming aware of all of the little nuances and muscles involved so that you can manipulate them takes time.  I have one heck of an active gag reflex and used to think no matter what I did I was screwed, but eventually I got the hang of things (though even now, every now and then I still gag a little…but not often, and if you’re anything like me, you know what an achievement that is. :) ).

My sister has a technique that she swears by in which she takes a little water in her mouth, then rests the pill on top of it, tips her head back, and swallows, letting the pill float down her throat on the water like a little canoe.  That sounds like it has potential to me.  But, by the time I heard about it, I had already spent countless mornings perfecting my own system, and don’t want to start retraining from the beginning with all the gagging involved in trying to get it right.  So.

What I do:

  1. Take a small sip of water to moisten things up.
  2. Ensure as much as possible that my thoughts/anticipations aren’t causing my stomach to churn before I even get near the pill.  Swallowing pills unsuccessfully is not fun, and sometimes the body starts to ramp up the gag reflex before I even have a chance.  At a time like this, I usually need to either accept that I will gag, or wait a bit for things to settle down before trying.  I haven’t found a good way around the body when it’s in a crazy hyper-vigilant state.  Often sincerely distracting one’s thoughts can help (focus intently on the feel of the floor beneath your feet, or try to do very challenging math problems in your head, etc. Something you have to think so hard about that there isn’t room for anything else).
  3. Place the pill far back on the tongue, and quickly push it a little if necessary to get it positioned just on the brink (this takes some practice), so that it is still in the mouth, but just about to fall into the throat (though not so far back that it falls by itself before you’re ready – err on the side of caution.  And take extra care with those gel-encased pills like omega 3′s or vitamin E.  They can be slippery little buggers).  If I place a pill on my tongue, my tongue goes into these crazy convulsions to flip it back out again against my will.  This far-back positioning prevents the clever tongue from being able to work against me, and is one of the key parts of what made pill-swallowing possible for me.
  4. Take a gulp of water, and swallow it.  If the pill is close enough to the opening of the throat, it should fall down along with it.  This was all that I did for a long time.  I still gagged often, but at least the pills would get down, which is more than I could say before.  However, there are two other steps that, when added, have beaten the gag.
  5. Key #1: As described above, massage/pull/tickle/stimulate one ear with your other hand as you swallow and potentially before (the big outside cartilage bit – don’t stick your finger in the canal or anything).  It may take some experimentation to figure out exactly what technique is most effective for you with this…might be a light tickle, might involve only certain areas, might need a firmer touch, etc.  For me, sometimes I get better results if I pull it out a bit and move it around so that I can feel my ear canal opening/stretching slightly.  This sounds weird, but serves two very real purposes.  One, touching your ear stimulates the throat muscles to spasm a tiny bit, which should prevent coughing.  Two, the stimulation also provides a sensation that is stronger than the feel of the pill, which means that it is harder for the less conscious parts of your mind to pay attention to what is happening in your throat and thus easier to sneak the pill down unnoticed.
  6. Key #2:  This part had a huge impact, but took me a long time to be able to do well, so do keep trying.  It will get easier with practice, I promise.  The goal while you are swallowing, and before, when you have that pill balanced on the back of your tongue, is to keep the back of your tongue as far away from the top of your throat as possible (or, to make the space at the back as big as you can).  It takes a lot of practice to be able to tune into the muscles and sensations involved in this, but your awareness really will improve with time.  This is not an area that your brain already has much wiring for, because it’s rare that you would need it.  But the more times you pay very close attention to the sensations there and move things around, the more new connections will be built to make your perceptions in that area more refined and more accurate.  Truly, this is the way the body/brain works (and there is some very cool, totally-unrelated-to-pill-swallowing research out there on the topic if you’re interested.  It’s neat stuff!).  Anyway, the point is, if you can’t tell what’s going on in there very well at first, don’t be discouraged.  This is also a step that you can practice a bit without any pills in there, so with no discomfort or gagging if you fail. When I do this, I think about lowering the platform that is the back of my tongue, holding it as far down as I can (and keeping the pill as far down away from the top as possible).  The front of the tongue doesn’t move much in this, but the jaw opens some to make room and the back of the tongue maybe flattens some, or at least tenses.  Try opening your jaw, and note what happens to the distance between your very back molars.  Notice that if you just move the front teeth as far away from each other, the very back ones seem to actually get closer together.  Now instead try focusing on getting those very back teeth as far apart as possible.  This is more of a straight up and down pressure – the top level needs to be pulled up, and the bottom needs to be dropped down.  In doing this, it seems like a nice tennis ball sized space opens up right at the very back, in that space where the throat and mouth would “intersect” (it isn’t nearly this big in reality, but the sensation of a nice round empty space is a good one).  There will be a tiny bit of space between all the upper and lower teeth as the jaw moves to accommodate this, but the important key is that sensation of lowering the back of the jaw area (or even further back than that). Practice opening up this space as often as you can when nobody is watching, until you feel like it is nice and open and secured.  The muscles involved will strengthen as you practice, and you may find that you start to have some control over subtleties you weren’t even aware of when you started.  There is muscle tension involved in this to get the very back part of the tongue area down as well.  For me, when I do this right, there is also some sensation of pulling the front of the throat away from the back (like you were holding the passage of your throat in your neck as open as possible by force).  There are definitely muscles involved in this.  It isn’t a relaxed movement when I do it – there is active tension there, though not straining or clenching (just a light, firm, muscular activity).  It’s like relaxing the space as far as it will go, and then pulling it just that extra tiny bit further.  I’m not sure exactly which muscles are really doing what when this happens (it may be some sort of specific tensing of the neck muscles), but the sensation is one of making the space in the throat passage just a touch wider and holding it there.  Either this is actually expanding the space enough that the pill has just that tiny bit more space in which to slip down without triggering things or is held away from the places that trigger that gag reflex, or the act of having the surrounding muscles tensed like that prevents those sensors from firing properly.  Either way, once you have a firm grip over the area and can push it that extra bit wider than it would naturally be, the gagging just doesn’t happen.  I know this step is harder to explain than the others, and may take some work to get just right, but let me assure you that it is worth it.  This part has made a bigger difference to me than anything else I’ve ever tried, and is the only thing that has met with 100% success when I do it right.  As mentioned, practice the feeling of getting the space as wide as you can with no pills involved, and then just check your success with the pill when you think you’ve got it.  Saves you the gagging trial and error.

I sincerely hope that this helps.  I don’t know that there is actually a quick fix for any of us who have truly struggled to learn to swallow pills successfully.  If there were, I think we surely would have found it already.  Maybe to other people, this opening at the back of the throat comes naturally.  I don’t know.  But I know that experimenting with this and being persistent about it changed everything for me.  I was someone who truly thought that I had tried everything and would never be able to swallow pills.  Then I moved to someone who thought I would never be able to swallow them without gagging.  I can take my pills now without my husband having to listen to choking noises as each one goes down, and without having to pause between pills to allow my stomach to settle.  I hope that this makes the same difference for you.

**

I take a lot of supplements right now. It’s costing us a fortune, but I’m not in the best of health, and since we still don’t really know what’s wrong, I figure it’s probably better to do what I can to eliminate any nutritional component. I’ll do pretty much anything at this point to try to give my body an edge. For many people, I think extra vitamins do lead to really expensive pee, but for the rare people who are sincerely lacking in something, I think they can be well worthwhile, and I am definitely not a “normal, healthy person.” I know that I’ve been low on various things (VERY low on a couple, according to my blood tests – potassium and B12 in particular). They still don’t really know why, so getting a little extra until things are settled out can’t be a bad thing. And it would suck to get the rest of me back on track and still feel like crap because something else in my system wasn’t letting me get enough building blocks to make what my body needs to feel okay. I would rather provide it with lots of raw materials, and then even if it’s not manufacturing at peek efficiency, maybe I’ll still be okay.

Anyway, as I get exposed to more information, the pile of pills gets progressively larger. I’m not crazy about high doses, but it adds up to a lot to swallow. I split them up as best as I can for maximum effect. I take them in three major chunks over the course of the day, and try not to mix anything that’s supposed to interfere with anything else. I try to take them so that they will work well with what I’m eating at the time. A couple I take on an empty stomach. I have not one but THREE old lady pill containers now so that I can have my breakfast, lunch, and dinner pills separated. I am one step away from Suzanne Somers and a pile of supplements larger than my head (though I am also a good researcher, get regular blood tests, and am extremely cautious with anything that one can overdose on).

Currently I chow down on…

1) a multivitamin to cover my bases (which I would probably do regardless of my health situation. Not as good as food, but might help a little when something gets low)
2) Vitamin D (important for everyone not in regular sunlight, I think, and has links in particular to neurotransmitter production and energy/mood/seasonal-affective-disorder)
3) Omega 3 (links to depression/anxiety)
4) SAM-e (precursor to happy neurotransmitters, and potentially good for mood and energy in some people with symptoms of depression…seems to have helped me, though there has been a plateau)
5) B12 and folic acid (important to take with SAMe since it will use up more of the body’s supply and can turn into something harmful if there isn’t enough to go around. I’ve been prone to low B12 for a number of years anyway, so I’m careful with this one)
6) B Complex (leeched by stress and important for energy and adrenal hormone production which has been a verified issue for me)
7) DHEA (this is one of those adrenal hormones, and tested quite low for me so I’m on temporary short-term supplements to try to get the levels closer to normal)
8 ) Adrenal Pro (this is a collection of herbal stuff that is intended to help encourage my adrenals to do a better job of producing and balancing my hormones on their own. Longer term than the DHEA supplements, but not intended to be long term either. Hopefully my body will get the idea soon)
9) Calcium (which is probably important for most women. …Also does noticeably good things for my weight loss when I take it regularly, which I won’t sneer at either)
10) Magnesium (important to balance out the…um…poop-related effects of the calcium, and helpful in balancing out my sodium intake so that there isn’t too much strain on my potassium levels)
11) Potassium (I need to take this since my levels were inexplicably low. This is a tough one and one that I need to get tested frequently since either too low or too high is VERY bad)
12) Vitamin E (has been linked in some credible studies with treatment of the kind of hearing loss I’ve encountered. If there’s a chance that taking it will help there or make future loss less likely, I’m in)
13) Vitamin C (my immune system sucks. Seriously. Always has. Anything I can do to give it an edge is good in my book. Plus, I really don’t eat enough vitamin C rich foods)
14) Sometimes beta carotene, other antioxidants, or other supplemental things (depending on how my diet’s been, I will sometimes throw in something else. If there’s a chance that they can help ease the inflammation going on in my digestive tract or help the Vitamin E in its protective role, I figure it can’t hurt)
15) Apple Cider Vinegar, Digestive Enzymes, and a Probiotic (these three are supposed to be making progress with my stomach issues. …No luck so far)

Makes for a pile of pills, given that with many of these I am supposed to take 2, 3, or 4 pills per day. And getting back to the point of this post in the first place, this becomes more daunting when I say that I am TERRIBLE at swallowing pills. Terrible. Always have been. I have vivid memories of a caregiver who refused to believe me and tried to force me to swallow a Tylenol when I had a fever. I threw up all over her bed. Sort of thought it served her right, though. Anyway, I have tried every method I could find. I have experimented. I have given it a very sincere effort and been wary that I might be psyching myself out. I employ a lot of mind over matter. But I still have a very sensitive gag reflex. Currently the most successful option is to push the pill almost down my throat with my finger and then use a little juice to slide it over the edge. I have a talented tongue, and it is capable of crazy acrobatics to maneuver a pill back to the front of my mouth if it makes accidental contact. Still, I regularly choke and gag on my daily pills. It’s a normal sound around our house.

BUT!

A few days ago I happened across an article about weird body phenomena, and how the nerves in the outer ear can trigger involuntary tiny spasms in the throat. …And that they can stop a throat tickle. So I thought, if a tickle, maybe another kind of sensation? Like a gag perhaps? And so far it’s working. Perfectly. I look like a total freak, I’m sure, but if I sort of tickle my ear while I’m taking the pills, it seems to totally cut off the gagging feeling. Sometimes it starts, I tickle, and it’s gone, allowing me to get the pill down successfully. I had never heard of this method. Even the article I was reading didn’t make this connection. I claim to have invented it.

Anyway, preliminary trials suggest that as long as I give myself a freaky ear massage, I CAN SWALLOW PILLS!!

You have no idea what a difference this makes in my life.

And my ears have never been more relaxed.

Do you take a billion supplements like I do?  Do you feel like a crazy old lady/man when you do?  Can you swallow them without sounding like a cat in the process of hairball formation?  …Just me, eh?

Undisputed Overlord of All Things Mindful

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

My desktop computer’s having some issues.  Nothing that The Man can’t fix for me, but for the next few days at least I’m thinking it’s probably safer to just not turn it on.  I’m in an odd sort of computer-limbo anyway these days, as since starting to use the laptop, I hardly ever bother with my desktop anymore.  But everything else is still stored on there.  Including Outlook with all my e-mail.  It’s basically a great big e-mail machine right now.  With its own room.  …But it seemed like an important room at the time.  In my defence my husband’s desktop is in there too. The desktop that he doesn’t use much either since he got a laptop from work.  Sigh.

The laptop we own is a few years out of date and was the absolute cheapest possible option at that time, though (it was really just for word processing and playing videos at our wedding.  …Separately, that is.  There was no word processing at our wedding that I know of), so I don’t think I’m likely to be able to sever ties from the E-Mail and Storage Machine anytime soon.  Also, any video games I indulge in must be really, really old.

The downside to trying to make do without Outlook for a while is that I have a billion different e-mail addresses for different things (give or take 999,999,990).  I like different stuff to have a different address.  Makes me feel all organized, or compartmentalized, or something else that’s good and ends in ized.  Stuff from this website, stuff from my real life, stuff that’s sketchy or likely to generate spam… I have a lot more addresses to check regularly than patience to do it one at a time.  I think I have successfully set up things to forward to one address for a while.  Probably took longer to do than it would have to just find out what needs to be done with my computer and fix it, but ah well.  And yes, of course, I created a new e-mail address just for forwarding things to. :)

I saw the new therapist again (who I suppose will soon need a reference that doesn’t involve the word “new.”  She could be the Hugging Therapist, maybe.  She seems fond of hugging me).  I have the issue that receiving positive feedback and the feeling that I’m doing a good job makes me super crazy happy, but any indication (however small) that there’s more that I could be doing makes me feel terrible.  So this was a great session.  A deliriously happy session.   I’m not sure it was for entirely healthy reasons, but I’m happy this week.  In line with my distortedly high expectations for myself, I am also going to do the BEST JOB AT GETTING BETTER EVER.  I’m torn on whether or not this is a problem.

The hyper SAM-e energy continues. I’m starting to really love this stuff. The thoughts about my future continue also, as a result of the increased energy. It’s really hard to tell what I might be capable of if I actually had a normal amount of energy and a stable mood all the time. It’s amazing what a person can adjust to as “normal.”

Some of my biggest worries are that I won’t be able to do a good job, or that people will be dissatisfied, or that I won’t measure up to my competitors anymore.  …But if I look at them objectively, there’s no reason at all to believe that.  I’m good at work stuff.  That’s one of my strengths.  It comes from my insanely high expectations of myself.  Realistically, I imagine that any service I provide will end up being extremely high quality compared to the rest of what’s out there.  Because I’m like that.  And as much as I would ideally like to tone that down a little, the likelihood of my doing a crappy job with this stuff is slim.  If I was taking on a carpentry business or something else I’m not at all trained for, maybe.  …Though even then, I imagine with the amount of preparation it’s in my nature to do, I might even be okay.   I think truly the biggest danger to my success with this is self-doubt and getting in my own way.

Like usual, then.

Sometimes I wonder what I would be capable of if I was a completely confident person. And not just because I’d be the only one on the planet who could claim that.  ….Well, maybe one of a few.  But I bet the other couple are douchebags.

I’m a sucker for a challenge

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I think my body is going through another adjustment week with the SAM-e.  As mentioned, it’s supposed to take a week or two to kick in, and for the last two weeks the dose has been increasing steadily, so I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me.  I kind of like the adjustment weeks.  I’m growing fond of them.  I get a little sad when my body seems to level out a little and I no longer feel like there is sunshine pouring out of my eyes.  But like, real sunshine, all full of intense radiation and stuff, not the hazy white beams of stuff that they show in children’s picture books and scenes of the divine.  Anyway, I’m feeling somewhat…intensely energetic…is what I’m saying.

Case in point, yesterday I tackled a whole pile of phone calls and paperwork items that have been sitting around forever.  …And may have sent an e-mail to my sister asking for her new mailing address and loosely implying that I would be sending her a mariachi band (she said she already has one, so there’s no point really in sending them if they’d just be extra).  Most of the things I took care of related in some way to future career plans (the mariachi band was an anomaly).  I think all my psychiatrist’s talk about going back to work got me a little fixated on it (I don’t like not having at least a basic idea of what I’m doing when it comes to important life stuff).  Plus, now that I’m getting back some energy some days, there might be little things I could be doing towards that goal provided I knew what that goal was.  I think my former work situation is WAY too much stress than it was worth for me unless I manage to make some pretty major life/personality changes.  I don’t do well with open-ended.  Or, more accurately, I do TOO well with open-ended.  Way too well.  Especially in combination with creativity.  And helping people.  I tend to just not stop, really.  Combine that with huge difficulties dealing with rejection or criticism, and a lot of people naturally prone to rejecting and criticizing when they’ve had a bad day, and it’s not hard to see where things began to get unbalanced for me.  It’s been a tough thing to recognize, because I dearly LOVE the other aspects of my job.  Love them.  But I don’t think that it’s good for my health right now.

I’m currently on the fence over whether it would be better for me to try working as a high school guidance counselor, or in some other capacity or capacities within the school system.  What kind of capacities, I don’t know. I’m not honestly certain what the possibilities are for me in the future, but there’s got so be something. …Or ten somethings, possibly. I’m the kind of person who likes variety.  If I cook dinner, guaranteed half of it will be seasoned completely differently than the other half.  Just to see.  Last Sunday to tell me he loved me, my husband cooked our dinner with four different variations.  I was smitten.  So if I’m going to make a go of something, it will probably be more than one something.  But that could be fun. 

I am a perplexing combination of very ambitious and eager to be original, with insecure and uncomfortable with change.  This goes about as well as one would expect most of the time.  But if ever there was an opportunity to try branching out in a new direction, this would be a good one. 

But, on the other side, becoming a guidance counselor is quite stable.  And I don’t think I would hate it.  I think would really like working with the kids, it’s just the other crud and accompanying politics that are questionable.  And whether there is still enough demand involved that I’ll be at risk of burning myself out.  But all in all, I may actually end up liking it more than more behind-the-scenes options or something.

Of course, my husband is also in flux about his employment future, because having me drop over ill isn’t enough for us to deal with. ;) We do like a challenge.

So of course, being me, I’ve spent the last few weeks pouring over spreadsheets with every financial scenario I can think of.  My husband is undecided in his career in a very similar fashion right now, trying to decide whether he should accept an opportunity to do something much more lucrative but less enjoyable, or stay with his current job, or start his own company, so we’ve both been thinking and talking about this quite a bit lately.  It looks like in the end, he really would probably be better off taking the more lucrative road and trying to start a business on the side. But of course, an independent business has the potential to either go very well, or very, very badly.  And being the very careful people that we are when it comes to things like that, we’d both feel better if we knew that we could live off the minimal interest of whatever we had in the bank once we decide to retire, if we needed to.  Nice, warm, cushiony safety net.

But it’s nice to see hard evidence that either way we can likely make it work and have the life we want (or at least an approximation of it), and even still a pretty good one if we decide we want kids.  That was reassuring.  My mom struggled with money worries my whole life, and we’ve started off with a lot of debt, so I’ve gotten used to thinking we’d be worried about money the whole way.  Watching out friends lives progress to houses and kids and frequent travel while we’re still making debt payments made it feel like we’d always be behind like that, I guess.  This makes no sense given how hard my husband and I work, the kind of education we have, and the expenses we do and don’t value, but it still hasn’t ever really clicked for me.  When we bought our house I was a little shocked on some level.  My mom has never owned a house in her life.  If all goes well, by the time we’re older we’ll be able to have everything that’s important to us and then some.

The spreadsheets have also told me that if we really do manage to retire just on the yearly interest from our savings, and we happen to live until 130 years old, and don’t end up having kids, some lucky friend’s child or relative is getting one heck of a windfall when we die.

Also that colour-coding is fun.

The Good Life

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Greetings from nature!  …And by nature, I mean very swank “cottage” owned by friend’s wealthy father.  I think it still qualifies though.  I’m sure somewhere outside the vast and gorgeous kitchen there must be rabbits and squirrels and stuff.  Or at least a bug or two.  …Do bugs come with expensive granite tops?

I jest.  Kind of.  Sort of.  Okay, not really.  But we are near the water, and the air smells amazing, so I think I can suffer through the luxury somehow.  I know.  I’m terribly selfless.

On the plus and down side, Friend-Who-May-Or-May-Not-Like-Me wasn’t able to come up.  Which if he really is okay with me now is a shame, because he’s a nice guy and fun to be around.  But if he isn’t quite okay with me is a relief.  I’m calling it a victory.

And yes, there are four of us currently sitting in the living room, three one laptops and one playing video games on the big screen tv.  In the middle of the afternoon.  At a cottage.  With a gorgeous day outside.  We’ll be outside lots too, and there’s a fantastic lake-scented breeze coming in, but yes, I acknowledge some of the irony of travelling hours to do this.  I never claimed not to have rather geeky tendencies at times.  We should probably just go ahead and learn Klingon.  We’re not fooling anybody.

A quick conversation with a friend of mine who has also struggled with depression also confirmed my already-huge resolve to make a change in psychiatrist.  His guy, like, does therapy and stuff.  And discusses lifestyle changes.  And is willing to fill out paperwork.  And chooses medications based on specific symptoms and reactions to other drugs rather than chronologically.  And, you know, takes notes, and records what he’s prescribed him from time to time.  I’m tempted to see if I could get in to see him even just for a one-type consultation so that I’d have a plan of which medications might be a good fit for me if I ever decided to go that route again.  If I actually thought there was some reason to hope for a better result, I might even be willing to consider it.  …Eventually.  …Once I’m starting to go senile and my memory of the last year and a half has failed.

I should probably comment eventually on the SAM-e (aka SAMe, aka A-Adenosyl methionine) as well, as it actually seems to be doing what it claimed to, and though there were a few side effects to start, they seem to have faded down now.  I know that some people do have significant side effects from the SAM-e, but it seems that I, whose body seems to generally roll over in close proximity to any medication, am not one of those people.  Score!  I’m just now getting up to the suggested minimum starting dose of 200mg/day (which is still only half of the suggested minimum therapeutic dose), and it should take another week or two to know what this dose is doing, but so far so good.  Of course, as with everything else, it’s tough to tell sometimes whether changes are the result of the pills or of other natural life changes, but I am finding that I’ve got WAY more energy than I did.  And energy means motivation, and capability, and other good things.  Still have the occasional meltdown, but I’m hopeful.

Of course, I’m one of those people who gets quasi-euphoric from a cup of coffee, so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that feeling slightly hyper all the time has improved my mood.  But it’s pretty great.

In addition, we on the way up here, we passed a vending machine that sold bait.  With a great big, very fecal-looking worm on the front.  Now who’s mood wouldn’t be improved by that?