WORDS

Communication can be verbal or non-verbal – broadcast or silent. The backbone of our information exchange is words.

We use words to impart love, hate, fear, intensity, and an untold variety of human emotions.

During this time of intensity maybe we should make an effort to use our words to receive information in a calm manner and disseminate knowledge with intelligent instruction.

Work in Progress

Just like our bodies are made to move, being healthy is dynamic.

When was the last time that you made a health mistake?  Did you correct yourself harshly or grant yourself a free pass?  Often when we’re trying to achieve our healthiest selves we hold ourselves to a level of perfection that’s impossible to reach.

Imagine that you’re a work in progress – you’re not done with yourself!!!

Medical literature and research give us some measurable goals to observe along our way.

  1. Failure can be a success – how else can we know what health areas to work on if we don’t fail at times? Failure is like a mirror that reflects back on us the area in need of improvement so that we can shift our health goals instead of quitting.
  2. Solutions may change when we look within ourselves – but that’s where the answer may be found, within ourselves.
  3. ‘Accepting it or Changing it’ is an attitude that any skilled counselor will profess. When we look at a situation that makes us unhappy adopting this method tends to take the stress off us and our lives.
  4. Take a ‘do-over.’  So we make a mistake, own it, apologize, make it better. The situation may be that we didn’t meet our buddy for a scheduled workout.  Okay, call them up, apologize, reschedule and offer to pick them up the next time and make sure that we keep the next appointment.
  5.  We’re changing, so look forward.  Rehashing mistakes is not in our gameplan.  Analyze our positive choices and realize that we can be whoever we determine to be.

We own this, so let’s give ourselves permission to proceed with our work in progress.

The Human Condition

A Generational Saga

My recent book of fiction ‘Ripples in the Generations’ is a generational saga that explores the delicate process of blending the heart-lifting joy of a life-long high school friendship with a soul-searching genetic relationship. Two factions of the Henry family share a common interest; Williams’ indiscretions, yet each is unaware of just how much they have in common. The next generation of William’s family share his DNA, but William has divided his legacy.

Even though this novel recounts the tale of a fictional family, worldwide some interesting and unbelievable results are being revealed with millions of people using commercial DNA tests to trace their family trees. Some results have been life-changing introducing them to relatives they had lost long ago-or never knew existed and some revealing long-held relationship secrets.

Sometimes when we poke our skeletons potential risks and positive responses sit side-by-side.  Taking the chance and checking our DNA makes us fragile, but being fragile also opens the opportunity to be brave and develop new connections.

So, if you’re considering having your DNA tested, make sure that the commercial DNA company is professionally credible and you’re ready for the results; whatever they may be.

The Absence of A Report

 Why don’t people report abuse?

Three basic reasons

  •  SOCIAL PROOF – Victims decide about reporting or revealing abuse when they feel safe about the reporting.  They do this after they watch to see how others are treated when they report.  They then ask themselves.  Will I be treated like that when I disclose my abuse?
  • PERPETRATORS – This defines someone who initiates, continues, fulfills or enacts a crime and continues the code of silence.  A perpetrator usually has a set of intimidating statements used to prevent their victims from reporting the abuse.
  •  – “I love you, I would never hurt you.”
  •  – ” I never meant to hurt you.”
  •  – “I’m sure that you remember it wrong.”

–   HORIZONTAL VIOLENCE – People turn on others in their own lives because to address the abusive authority figure is too painful or too involved and ‘politically-expensive. ‘By ‘politically-expensive’ I mean that any change in the current structure will topple who that person has access to and reporting will change their world.

Possibly, victims or people who observe abuse don’t report because they’ve convinced themselves that they have a ‘different’ memory of the actual event; even though their inner self screams out to them that abuse-is-abuse.  Finally, and regrettably, a parent or authority figure may tell a child “You’re always talking about things that never happen.”

Statistics reflect sobering numbers.

As of 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) defines sexual assault as sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.  Falling under this definition are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of 2016 estimates that 676,000 children were confirmed by Child Protective Services (CPS) as being victims of abuse and neglect.  1,750 children died from abuse and neglect across the country.  Stress and chronic abuse during infancy can cause regions of the brain to form and function improperly.  Children who experience abuse are at increased risk for engaging in high-risk behaviors.  Child abuse and neglect decrease the ability of people to establish healthy relationships in adulthood.

Intimate Partner Violence (IVP) occurs when an intimate relationship has gotten out of control and, ultimately, life is at risk. (American Nurse, March 2017, Vol. 12, #3)

  • IPV affects 1 in 3 women in the United States
  • IPV affects 1 in 4 men in the United States
  • These #’s are under-reported (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

100 women have been killed by their partners this year in France. (NPR Podcast, September 3, 2019)

Questions to ask if you believe that someone is in an IPV relationship or any abusive situation:

  • Is someone hurting you?
  • Are you being insulted?
  • Has someone been threatening you?
  • Does someone scream at you?
  • Are you being isolated from your family or social interactions?
  • Are you afraid of the person you’re in a relationship with?

Most police departments have an abuse definition based on their states’ revised statues.  As well, each police department compiles abuse statistics.  The one for my particular state compiles the following data.

  • 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18
  • 75% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18
  • 1 in 2 of all women have been a victim of sexual assault
  • 1 in 4 have been victims of RAPE

Filing a needed abuse report is one of the most important things you will ever do.

 

 

Cellphone Gunk

Dirty cellphones.  That seems to be a popular subject these days.

Initial I think about germs that live on the exterior of cellphones that cause disease.  We use our cellphones in every facet of our lives including in health care settings both as family members and health medical providers which increase the incidence of the alarming trend of cellphone contamination – according to a recent editorial in American Nurse Today (Vol. 14, No.3) it may be up to 74.4.%.

Are we making ourselves sick?

Do we, both the general public and medical providers, use our cellphones in the restroom wash our hands and neglect to clean our cellphones?  If so we could be setting ourselves up to increased contamination.

Just think about all those little microscopic green, slimy bugs and crawly microbes squirmy around on your cellphone.  Do you want them up close to your mouth every time to talk on the phone? Or picking at your food when you eat?

There’s other potential gunk floating around on the inside of your cellphone – personal information.  Potential because unless you want everyone knowing intimate details about the innermost secrets of your life it’s best not to share.

Keep your social life and your work life separate and only post to social media what you’d want the whole world to see.  There are legal issues connected to posting and re-posting private information.  The Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) of 1996 which was enacted in 2002 protects patients’ personal information while maintaining the flow for care.  It’s in place to protect both the patient and the caregiver.

Remember that social media is the opposite of private.

Cellphones carry information but they can be gunked-up both inside and outside.

 

Malleable

Having a capacity for adaptive change is Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition for malleable.

This remolding can be accomplished either by beating with a hammer or intentional pressure from an internal force.  However, both of these methods require that the shape being changed is flexible, elastic, fluid, adjustable and adaptable.

Gee!  That sounds like a shapeshifter.

Yet everyone can do it.

It simply takes desire, planning, and routine.

Sounds easy I know but these 3 steps are the basis of any change, such as:

  •  Desire to improve your health
  •  Plan to organize your personal workspace
  •  Establish a routine for your exercise workout

All these changes can be set in motion and you can be malleable quicker than a honey bee finding springs’ first hint of sweet nectar.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 100 Years

Reaching centenarian status is a real possibility.

A study in PLOS One indicates that adults who perceive aging in a positive light have a nearly 44% lower risk of developing dementia (WebMD.com, Sept./2018).

Extensive studies by WebMD provide interesting statistics:

  • 14 million, # of adults 65 and older with chronic health problems
  • 67%, adults older than 65 with high blood pressure
  • 88%, drop in dementia risk for women who are physically fit in middle age
  • 1 in 4, adults 65 and older who will fall each year

Statistical life expectancy in the U.S. is about 80 years, however living into one’s 90s is a perfectly realistic expectation for many since by 2015 there were approximately 72,000 centenarian Americans.

Sofiya Milman, MD, director of Human Longevity Studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York indicates that several genes have been identified that foster “long-lived” people.  Many studies are also looking for centenarians who not only live long lives but who also age well.

Emily Rogalski, Ph.D., who leads the SuperAging Study at Northwestern University compares ‘super-agers‘ brains to the brains of ‘average-agers.’  Super-ager brains, look more like the brains of 50-year-olds than like the brains of 80-year-old average-agers.

Living healthier while living longer may be the key to becoming a content centenarian.

Genes play a relatively small part – 25% to 33% in how long you live but you get to play a big part in the rest of the story.  Keeping a sharp mind and a healthy body keeps your positive light burning.

Additional ‘super-ager’ suggestions may be beneficial:

  • a diet high in fruits and vegetables – low in saturated fat – with complex carbs.
  • 30 min. of exercise 3-4 times a week (per tolerance) can reduce the risk of falls
  • Socializing, reading and developing a hobby may delay or starve-off dementia

More than 50% of babies born in the U.S. since 2000 could live to be centenarians.

 

 

In Everyone’s View

While driving I noticed an unattended bicycle lying on a public sidewalk.  The cycle was discarded along the side of a busy public street.  A well-worn black baseball hat hung from the handlebars and the dirty strap of a battered red water bottle languished on the bike’s universal bar.

This bike had a story.

My nursing instinct urged me to approach to see if the rider had fallen and was lying nearby on the pavement in need of help.  But surely on a busy public street like this, someone would have already seen the injured biker and called 9-1-1.

Maybe no one was injured.  Possibly the rider was tired and sitting nearby under a shade tree taking a quick rest before continuing their trip.

So, I looked around.  No one was near the bike.

My next thought was that the bike was stolen and to avoid capture the perpetrator dropped the bicycle and ran away from the police – to be retrieved later.

Another possible option was that the out-of-town rider was taking an off-road biking trail, got lost in the city and needed directions since their cell phone battery lost charge.

Whatever was going on with this bike I decided to quickly drive around the block one more time to view the scene from a different angle which may offer an answer to my many questions.  As I struggled to view the bicycle through my windshield I realized there was no bike in sight.

In the matter of a few minutes, someone retrieved the lonely cycle.

I wonder, should I have been quicker to respond?

I’ll never know the answer.

Make It Real, Write It

Storing critical information in your brain takes a three-prong strategy: saying the words, reading the words and most importantly writing the words.  There’s power in the simple act of writing words.

Writing locks into your memory the information that you need to remember and it’s more likely to stick in your long-term memory (WebMD June 2019).

You will remember the items on your shopping list.

Technology provides modern-day options such as cell phone apps and pictures sent to us on our cell phone from our loving partners about requests for milk and cheese and bread when we’re grocery shopping but there’s still something “magical” about the act of physically writing the words on paper that triggers our brain to store the information for later use.

You’ll remember to bring home the milk and cheese and the bread.

College students far and wide furiously type on their laptops taking lecture notes during “101” level classes to make sure that they don’t miss the “pearls of wisdom” offered by their learned professors and then glean information for upcoming tests or final exams.  Imagine if the students wrote the notes by hand that way the initial information would lock into their brain.

After a great job interview send a hand-written ‘thank you’ note.

When children are taught the alphabet they repeatedly write the letters on paper or a chalkboard since this process “locks in” the alphabet process: it imprints the letters on a young child’s brain.

Police officers issuing tickets often set pen to paper.

When it’s important to remember you may want to write it down.