Archive for October, 2008

Lupus News

October 31, 2008

Headlines from the  Lupus Foundation of America :

 

“Congress Reaffirms Support and Continues Funding For Lupus Research, Education and Patient Registry

Congress has again provided funding for critically important lupus research and education programs advocated by the Lupus Foundation of America.  President Bush recently signed the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2638).  This legislation continues funding for important lupus programs, including basic, clinical and epidemiological research, and public education and awareness initiatives.
Read more >>>


Fluorescent Light Bulbs and People with Lupus  

 

Some reports suggest that there may be enough UVB radiation in fluorescent light bulbs to cause photosensitivity in people with lupus. Are you one of the people affected by fluorescent light bulbs? Please share your story with us atadvocacy@lupus.org.


Save the Date for Advocacy Day 2009 — March 2-3, 2009!  

 

The Lupus Foundation of America’s 11th Annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill will take place March 2-3, 2009! Mark your calendars today!

In 2008, more than 300 people with lupus, their families, and health professionals visited with Members of Congress, and asked them to increase government funding for lupus medical research and to enact legislation that will greatly expand federal efforts on lupus.
Read what others had to say about Advocacy Day 2008.


Sign up to be an e-Advocate for the Lupus Foundation of America  

 

LFA e-Advocates are an important group of lupus activists who stand ready to spring into action when called upon. Our e-Advocates will respond to legislative alerts by contacting their federal or state elected officials to educate them on issues of critical importance to people with lupus, their families and health professionals.
Sign up today.”


 



 


Great Parenting DVD

October 29, 2008

A couple I’m working with blew me away with a DVD they have of a pediatrician who teaches mirroring to young parents. Mirroring is literally just that, imitating the communication of the child so that he or she feels you’re speaking their language. The toddler then  feels understood, and cooperative.  He is Dr. Harvey Karp – the DVD is The Happiest Toddler on the Block.

Among other things he teaches mirroring of facial expressions, body language and sounds. His basic tenet is don’t talk to toddlers like they’re little adults because they’re not; their language skills are far more primal.  You have to literally  get down to their level. He also has another one, The Happiest Baby on the Block which I have not yet reviewed.

The results looked startlingly effective to ward off and/or stop tantrums.  His website is www.thehappiestbaby.com. I can tell you one thing for sure. When my kids present me with grandchildren, this will be one of the first gifts I give them.

Here he is in action:

 

Jennifer Hudson “Domestic Issues”

October 25, 2008

By now we all know that Jennifer Hudson’s mother and brother were recently murdered. The media, noting that there is a male suspect,  reports a history of “domestic issues”. 

That phrase, or its twin “domestic dispute” is a  terribly  insidious euphemism. It suggests an issue or dispute over who left the socks on the floor or disagreements over household operations. When you hear it often enough in the news, the real meaning becomes so diluted that its impact upon society  becomes diluted.

For purposes of my post this morning, let me give you the exact definition I found at good old dictionary.com: 

euphemism – the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

Of course domestic violence is what’s really being substituted here.  Bland domestic disputes don’t result in a woman calling the police for help. Bland domestic disputes don’t invoke public outrage or action.  I worked for two years in an agency for battered women. Speaking from first hand experience, here are what “domestic disputes” and “domestic issues” look like. And yes, these images are offensive, harsh, and blunt.  Just like the domestic violence that was committed against women such as these. 

 

One out of every four women is assaulted by an intimate partner every day. We need more public awareness, education, advocacy and funds to help a cause much closer to home than we might think. Domestic violence crosses all socioeconomic lines.  It could happen to you, your sister, your mother, your daughter. It’s about time the legal system stopped protecting the public from offensive, harsh reality and started protecting the victims of the offensive, harsh reality.
If you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
        

To Be or Not to Be a Hero

October 24, 2008

Someone recently brought up what I thought was an interesting perspective on being a hero. We all wonder what we would do to save a stranger. Would we jump in front of a Mack truck to push a child out of harm’s way? Would we step into a vicious group attack on a single person in a rescue effort? I think we all hope our finest instinct would propel us toward risking our lives for the sake of another human being. Our highest selves. There is no thought in such a situation. One acts. 

But here’s the thing that was called to my attention. If you save the life of another human being by losing your own, then that person’s  family is spared the trauma and loss of the death of their loved one, but the hero’s family suffers it instead. The hero trades his/her life for the life of the original victim…Is that fair to the hero’s family?

I don’t know where I’m going with this… Any thoughts, anyone?

Grey’s Anatomy Bloopers

October 19, 2008

Ok, I confess to being totally, completely addicted to this show. I found these bloopers from Season 3 to hold me over until next Thursday’s episode. If you are also a junkie, hope you enjoy them too!

The Present for You

October 17, 2008

 

Here is a present for you:

Focus solely on the present below, thinking of nothing else but the image of that present…the colors….the shapes…focus for as long as you can…and then, when you’re ready, open the present and see what you find…

 

 

In  doing this exercise you are already practicing being present…experiencing peace and release from worries about tomorrow.

What did you find when you opened your present?

Lupus Facts

October 15, 2008

From the Alliance for Lupus Research:

Facts on Lupus:

  • Lupus hits hardest one of our nation’s most medically-underserved populations.
  • While the disease also affects men and children, 90% of all those diagnosed are women in their childbearing years.
  • Women of African-American descent are two-thirds more likely to be diagnosed with lupus.
  • Also particularly vulnerable are women of Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander descent.
  • Lupus costs the nation over $100 billion a year in direct and indirect medical costs.
  • The number of Americans currently affected by lupus is estimated at 1.4 million.

*All statistics from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Staying Present- A Life Lesson

October 14, 2008

Copyright Jupiter Images 2008

“Look not back in anger nor ahead in fear, but think of now with awareness.” Author Unknown 

I chose this quote for my high school yearbook. I have no idea how it surfaced through the years to my conscious memory, but wow!  That 18 year old girl must have had some precognition that the quoted lesson  would be one I so needed to eventually learn (and teach my future clients).

 And learning it I am. Even more aware of the beauty of nature than I’ve been all my life (if thats posssible),seeing it, smelling it, feeling it on my skin,  melding with it, morphing with it, feeling it in every inch of my body and soul. Its a beautiful autumn here in the northeast…

How long are YOU able to stay in the present moment? Have you thought about that? Have you thought about the fact that when you are TRULY in the present moment you can’t worry or feel anxious because that’s about the future? Are you letting the simple joys of the present moment slip away into tomorrows that may never come?

What are your favorite ways of staying present? Staying in the present is a present you give to yourself.

5 Years From Now Will This Matter?

October 11, 2008

That’s all I have to say regarding whatever you’re so anxious about today…

 

My Daughter’s Wedding & The Notebook

October 9, 2008

Oh, what a wedding it was! Everything and more than we’d dreamed of since she was five, when I caught her in our yard literally kissing frogs because, “I have to find my prince, Mommy.” She apparently squeezed one frog so ardently that she frantically presented it to me because she…well….she couldn’t wake it up.

I raised my princess to be strong, assertive, and independent. She did not need Prince Charming to save her or rescue her, but she did find a Prince Charming who is fairy tale handsome, protective, nurturing, kind, strong, gentle, and  generous.  (And yes, also an alpha male!)

Oh, what beautiful babies they will make!

They’re twenty eight, have been together for seven years, and lived together for the past two. So her new husband already felt like family, it seemed to me. Yet witnessing for them as they signed their marriage license, and watching them go through the ritual in the church, somehow made me love him differently. Because now he IS family. He will be the father of my grandchildren. He will take care of me when I’m old, if I should need it. He’s that kind of man, a good man. And so is his family. Our tiny family, long since dwindled from what it once was,  has  somehow been blessed with in-laws who have already absorbed us into their tribe. We have long yearned for this void to be filled. 

They looked gorgeous. They looked madly in love, even after all this time.  They never left each other’s side but ate and danced and laughed the night away. Their song was “I Could Not Ask for More”  by Ed McCain.   But I found this one on YouTube sung by a female vocalist, with video clips from The Notebook, my daughter’s and my all time favorite romantic movie. The lovers here remind me of my new newlyweds:

 

 

I truly could not ask for more.

What is the Ubuntu Blog Movement?

October 8, 2008

 

Find out at Sanity Found’s Ramblings.

 I am because you are.

Psychscribe Quote # 43

October 7, 2008

 

“…all that we have been in life will live on in the quality of other lives that we have touched significantly. Thus we shall be reborn again and again. And in this way we are woven into the fabric of time.” Helen Watkins

How Hospitals Can Kill You

October 7, 2008

I read a really scary article in Live Science that is hardly comforting to people with chronic illness. I mean really scary, at least to me. Every time I’ve been rushed to the hospital I’ve felt safer the minute I was triaged into the noisy, flourescent, bustling emergency room. So many people watching you, sticking you, taking your body fluids and analyzing them. They’re not gonna let you die, right?

Wrong. I mean, we’ve all heard that hospitals screw up sometimes, but this article put it all together into one punch in the stomach whole.

The article How Hospitals Can Turn Deadly by Robert Roy Britt

mentions, in part,  the following:

Superbugs – staph infections which apparently thrive in hospitals, increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and according to the CDC responsible for 99,000 deaths in 2002. If you’re young, not to worry.  Most younger people survive such infections, its the elderly who die. People like your grandparents.

Noise – causes staff stress and more errors.

Exhaustion – overworked residents and other staff are sleep deprived. A study showed that they were three times more likely to report a fatigue related “significant medical error.” I have always wondered about that when I watch Grey’s Anatomy. Not to mention all the doctors missing in action in the on call rooms. (Those scenes are accurately depicted, by the way. I used to be married to a medical resident.)

Bad timing- Whatever you do, don’t have an emergency during off hours or on the weekend. You’re more likely to wait longer for help and at a higher risk of death. This is cited in a JAMA published study on heart attack victims.

Really scary,  but along the same lines, the article statees that “babies born at night are at least 12 percent more likely to die within 28 days, according to a different 2005 study. The reasons are thought to include fatigue and inattention related to shift changes.”

Really getting burned- This one freaked me out, I’d never heard of such a thing. Apparently, in Pennsylvania,  “every year about 28 patients are burned during surgery by fires, such as when oxygen inside a mask ignited. Extrapolated nationwide, the data suggests 550 to 650 surgical burns occur nationwide each year, including one or two deaths, according to a recentMSNBC analysis. Cathy Lake, the daughter of a surgical burn victim, createdwww.surgicalfire.org to highlight the problem.”

Medication mistakes-    A 2006 study found that medication mistakes injure more than 1.5 million Americans every year.

In all fairness none of these things has ever happened to me, and I’m a frequent flier to hospital staff in the various states I have called home.  But in all fairness, shouldn’t hospitals be more closely monitored for careless mistakes?? Research and exposure to the pubic about these things is one thing. But how about consequenses? We all know that in medicine, like anything other business, money is the bottom line. How about the government fining hospitals for careless mistakes? I’ll bet you that would decrease those stats.

OK, I’ll give them a break on the resistant staph thing. Who knows? Maybe its extra-terrestial or something.

Alpha, Beta & Omega Males

October 2, 2008

First let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those  people who thinks that individuals can be neatly categorized into labeled boxes. But behavioral tendencies are fun and interesting to think about.   

My previous posts on alpha males have received so much interest that I decided to look up more about the other males…the rest of the story.  Here’s what wikipedia has to say (hardly a definitive or professional guide, IMO, but a jumping off place for thought and discussion).

“In social animals, the alpha male is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer. Where one male and one female fulfill this role, they are referred to as the alpha pair. In some groups, the alpha males and females are overrepresented in the genetics of a population if they are the only ones who breed successfully.

Chimpanzees show deference to the alpha of the community by ritualised gestures such as bowing, allowing the alpha to walk first in a procession, or standing aside when the alpha challenges. Canines also show deference to the alpha pair in their pack, by allowing them to be the first to eat and, usually, the only pair to mate; wolves are a good example of this. The status of the alpha is generally achieved by means of superior physical prowess; however, in certain highly social species such as the bonobo and humans, a contender can use more indirect methods, such as political alliances, to oust the ruling alpha and take his place.

Beta and omega

In the power hierarchy of the human group, two other roles also are defined and named. First, the beta male, which is the contender, subservient to the alpha male, but only after testing. The betas act as second-in-command and can either be dethroned alpha males or future alphas if they persist in challenging the regnant alpha male. The term omega (ω) is an antonym often used in a deprecating or self-deprecating manner to refer to member at the bottom of the social hierarchy. The omega is subservient to all members.”

So…are you a beta or omega male? Do you typically befriend or fall in love with one? What’s that like for you?

Psychscribe Quote # 42

October 1, 2008

 

 

“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.” Simone de Beauvoir