One Match

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The penniless widow sat in her dark, dingy apartment shivering.  Her few resources include a well-worn shawl, home-made candles, her favorite rocking chair, companion books and an unused wooden match. Most of her elderly friends are unable to climb the wooden stairs to her second floor lodgings.

A knock at the door startles her and pierces the silence of the secluded room. “Martha, why are you sitting here in the dark.  If you would just light the candle, the room would fill with light and you could see to read your cherished books.  Those books have always given you comfort even on the days when you didn’t feel well. You could then use the light from the candle for the flame in the fireplace.  It would warm the room.”  With great effort, the elderly woman turns toward the visitor with a surprised look on her face and responds.  “But if I use the match to light the candle then the match is gone. I may need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

In astonishment the visitor responds.  “Martha, you are sitting here shivering in a dark room.  You could use the lighted candle to guide your way down the hall to talk with your neighbor and borrow a box of matches or a couple of candles.  Then you would have light and heat for a long time.  You could also meet a new friend.”  With stubborn conviction Martha responds. “But if I use the match it will be gone and I might need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

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I challenge you to light your match.

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Partners

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As an RN with 35 years of hands-on experience, I publish with a focus on health and wellness.  This posting will have a slightly different twist.  I will talk about IPV: intimate partner violence.  This describes anyone who experiences violence at the hands of a spouse or partner.  An article in American Nurse Today (March,2017) describes this issue as having serious health consequences.  Since IPV is physical or sexual violence or stalking and psychological aggression, including coercive acts, by a current of former intimate partner, some professions also use the term “domestic” violence.  This term however, is more inclusive and can also include child and elder abuse.

When a former loving relationship turns violent, devotion can be frightening, disturbing or even deadly.  The approaching signs of IPV are not often easy to detect.  Social isolation seems to be a hallmark for abuse.  The abuser initially tries to isolate the victim from any form of help or rescue.  This can involve monitoring the partners cell phone usage or physically restricting their social interactions.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control) states that IPV affects one in three women in the U.S. over their lifetime.  However, this issue is not limited to females.  The CDC also publishes that men experience IPV in 1of 4 relationships.

The U.S. Justice Department defines sexual assault as: any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.  Local police departments have similar definitions.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force states that women ages 14 to 46 years (childbearing age) are at increased risk.

Remember that intimate partners know each other well.  Therefore, when a victim tries to reach out for help, they are often shielded from health providers by the abuser.  If someone is reporting abuse, there is usually abuse.  Approach the situation with a non-judgment attitude and set the stage for a trusting and open relationships.

There are many intervention tools.  If you have a friend or family member who you suspect is experiencing Intimate Partner Violence – speak up, say something.  Keeping silent is not an option.  Silence will only continue the abuse.  Contact, and partner with,  someone who can help resolve the situation.

If you are the victim of IPV, it is a scary situation and can be a potentially deadly condition.  However, there are a few safety tips: make an emergency contact list, compile finances for urgent needs, have spare house and car keys available, talk with your neighbors, have access to your drivers license, birth certificate, bank account #’s, insurance policy #’s, and marriage license.

There are national resources available if needed:  National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.7233 – Stop Abuse for Everyone, 1.503.853.8686 – National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, http://www.ncadv.org

Intimate partners should be loving, caring and supportive – violence is not part of the agreement.

 

Ingredients

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I was overly hungry this particular afternoon.  The busy day offering little opportunity for normal meal times.  My blood sugar level must have been low because not only was I dreaming of something hot and steamy but also quick and juicy.  The vision of a popular food chain that specializes in cooking chicken to perfection, immediately pop into my brain.

Having previously eaten at this restaurant, I knew that there was one item on the menu which stood out as dreamily delicious.  My decision was made.  I headed to lunch with my mouth watering anticipating the delicacy.  Ordering the item only increased the flow of my oral saliva.  I sat at the table and slowly unwrapped the warm, doughy, flaky, moist biscuit.  As the aroma whiffed through my pulsing nostrils, there was only one movement left to perform to make this the most delicious “little bite of heaven” ever.

A small squeeze of warm honey melting down onto the flaky, moist biscuit would remedy my hunger pangs.  Picking up the accompanying honey packet, I noticed that it felt lighter in weight than I remembered.  Since I was half-hypnotized by hunger,  my lulling state almost prevented me from examining the packet.  I read the ingredients in shock – the honey packet didn’t contain any honey.  It was branded as “honey sauce” – 57% fat, 17% protein and 26% carbs.  Honey was not listed as an ingredient on the packet.

It almost stopped me from eating my biscuit.  When did this change?  Why didn’t I know?  When was the last time I read the ingredients?  I quickly realized that I couldn’t answer any of these questions.  Not only was I disappointed but felt that I had lost trust in an established institution.  It was a sad moment.  I sat in the restaurant and sadly ate my, now cold, biscuit without any honey.