Networking

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Attending my Local Author Showcase proved to be an excellent networking opportunity.  I was among a multitude of local authors invited to this professional “meet and greet” affair.  The guest speaker was Robyn Carr who offered valuable insights into successful writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.  It was quickly obvious that the networking among the assembled talent at this presentation resembled the activity within an active beehive.

The local library that sponsored this public event was funded by state, national and federal sources.  This fact made the event even more successful since it attracted a wide range of sponsors and area businesses. A major university was well represented and offered instruction in the areas of book preservation, paper restoration, and document storage – all areas helpful to authors.  Staff members at the library enlisted local volunteers to assist them with author check-in procedures, public information areas and seating for the guest author presentation.  It was obvious that this event encouraged total community involvement.

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I was instantly reminded of the networking process that occurs with an “indie” author when a manuscript is ready for publication.  A collection of specialties are needed to move the written work into a finished book – especially for an independent writer.  As we have all found out, sometimes the writing of the work is the easy part.  Then comes the editing – then re-editing, and then editing again and once more.  Format is important. Don’t forget the layout and the cover, back, and spine.  Of course, one must always consider the ISBN and all of those options.  Publisher and publishing can be a convoluted maze all unto itself.  So, by the time that a book finally returns back to the hands of the author as a finished product, the networking that has occurred reaches unbelievable proportions.

However, and this is important, without networking this busy beehive of activity would not and could not occur.  It takes a variety of skilled professionals to bring a book into the view of the public.  Next time you’re at a function and you meet a fellow author, extend your hand and offer a friendly greeting.  Be proud of your networking skills.

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Healthy People/Unhealthy People

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Maybe where a person lives determines their health status.  Maybe where a person lives influences the factors that cause disease? In the book “Social Determinates of Health – A Comparative Approach” Alan Davidson states “the extent to which something poses a risk to us depends on our level of susceptibility or our resilience.”  Maybe our health depends on the combination of where we live and the choices that we make.

Leah Curtin, RN, ScD(h) FAAN in her article in American Nurse Today (Vol.13, #2) cites the Black Commission which outlines Britain’s National Health Service that found social conditions are important to the health of the population and your level of education relates closely to your disease risk.”  If these facts are true, then where we live and what we chose to do with the information that we have does make an impact on our health.

The idea of social determinates focuses on the interrelated conditions and factors that influence the health of a total population over the course of a lifetime.  In a greater viewpoint, it is the context in which people live their lives – the availability of everyday social, economic, educational and health resources that are available to the average person, that determines the health of a population.

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Could it be that social parity is more influential than individual health habits?  Or do the healthy choices that individuals make each day determine the overall health of the neighborhood in which they live?  Whatever the answer is, it’s obvious that the context in which a person lives exerts a great influence on their overall health status and possibly their individual life expectancy.  Healthy or unhealthy, statistics show that we all have a choice.

 

Front Row Seat

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You have followed your dream.  You have reached the pinnacle of your career.  Only the most prominent people get to sit in the front row seats.  You are on view for everyone to see and acknowledge your accomplishments.  You are obviously a “doer.”

However, there is always a flip side to front row seats.  Remember that the rest of the audience is sitting behind you.  They are watching you and listening to you.  They expect you to lead the way, to know the answers.  Obviously, you have achieved success so you must know how to get things done, to get results.  The audience is filled with people who may be just as talented or as smart or as knowledgeable as you but you must know something special.  Something that no one else knows.  They want to know your secret.  They are looking to see if and when you will reveal your closely guarded secret so that they too can be eligible to sit in the front row seats.

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This is when responsibility comes into the picture.  Since you will not always be the one who is sitting in the front row seat, you must be able to prepare others to take over that duty.  There are a few techniques that you might find helpful to complete the job.

  •  being a teacher gives someone else access to your knowledge
  •  remaining approachable allows other to ask questions and develop new ideas
  •  handing initial ideas over to others for further development  shows leadership
  •  positive reinforcements encourages “trial-and-error” development and initiative
  • Someone deserving of a front row seat always keeps the audience in mind.

 

Check-In

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The month of March is a good time to check-in to see how New Year’s Resolutions are progressing.  Everyone has had a few weeks to work out some kinks in their firmness and dedication.  There has been time to refine a schedule and determine a routine so that we all should now be fairly well set into a regular cycle of activity.

So, how are things going?  Obviously, there have been a few bumps and detours along the path with maybe a couple of starts and stops.  However, the focus is still clear and our mental persuasion keeps reminding us that we remain true to our decisions.

Possibly, some of us have really not done anything.  But, I’m sure that it’s only a couple of us and we are still totally committed to refreshing our commitment to those ever-precious goals that will enrich our lives and encourage the betterment of the community.  That staunch focus helps us to renew our commitment that made us decide on the New Year’s Resolutions in the first place.

Some of us decided to increase our exercise by walking or running on a daily basis.  Others are going to ride our bikes in the open air to expose ourselves to nature and clear skies.  A few have signed up for yoga and stretching classes but we haven’t always been able to attend on a regular basis.  Only a couple chose to train for an upcoming marathon and that workout is going fairly well – although most of the training is a little too strenuous.

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It seems like things are going really well. Our goals are being met and we’re feeling healthy, calm and centered.

Now possibly, just possibly, if there are just a few of us who have slipped just a little bit and not been able to meet each and every landmark that we set for ourselves, do not despair.  It’s only March.  There’s plenty of time to renew, refresh and reuse.  You can check-in with yourself and check-out your progress – go forth…

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Choices Along the Way

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In a publication of Web MD (Nov/Dec 2017), a review of facts indicates that healthy choices made during our regular daily routine help us to remain more vigorous and tend to assist us in aging more gracefully.

Your odds of living longer are increased by 50% if you have a strong social network.  Volunteering decreases your blood pressure by 40%.  Students who spend more than 5 hours a day using their smartphones have symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Swapping saturated fats for healthy fat will lower your risk for heart disease.  People who experience chronic back pain find relief by performing regular yoga exercises.  Cooking your food at home helps you eat fewer “empty” calories and helps to save at least $100 a month. 1-7 young people ages 12 to 20 binge on alcohol.  That’s four drinks in 2 hours for females and 5 for males.  DRONES can deliver an AED to a person in need faster than an ambulance.  People who eat fried potatoes (chips, hash browns, tater tots, fries) 2 – 3 times a week are 11% more likely to die than those who eat them one once a month or less.  Men now account for 40% of the 40 million Americans who are caregivers. Men tend to be reluctant to seek out support for themselves in the caregiving process.  If you get a good night’s sleep you feel better.   Frequent exercise can slow the aging process by 9 years.  It does this by lengthening the telomeres – the protein caps on the ends of our chromosomes.  Healthy eating lowers the risk for obesity.

These are all choices we can make along the way.

 

 

Fingerprints

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Fingerprints are generally described as: impressions forming a pattern made by pressing the tip of a finger on a surface taken for the purpose of identification, (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus). We are familiar with the physical prints used to determine identification.  Such information is gathered when public agencies determine someone’s true persona or we need to prove our own identity.

Forensic marks, small pieces of nature that we interact with in our daily lives, also leave a trail for others’ to follow when attempting to analyze our interactive history.   If we touch a flower we pick-up and deposit bits of the pollen.  When we walk through the woods we crunch a variety of leaves on the forest floor.  These bits and pieces of debris attach to our shoes and socks and eventually fall off onto other places on which we place our shoes, i.e. bedroom rug, kitchen floor, car mats, gym equipment.  They tell everyone that we have been walking in the woods.  This evidence can even pinpoint the types of trees and flowers that were growing in the area.

There are also psychological fingerprints that we leave on others’ lives when we interact with them.  These imprints don’t fade from the lives that we touch.  The consequences of these interactions, these fingerprints,  linger after we communicate with the people in our lives.   These ripples of our interactions are like a shower that rains down evidence of our emotions, feelings, actions, motives and hidden agendas all of which tells, anyone who is astute enough to examine the debris that is left from the exchange, what our true intentions are when initiating the encounter.

Tracing this psychological evidence is a science.  Matching the ridges of physical fingerprints is a science. Analyzing the impressions is a specialty.  Your prints on others’ lives are lasting whether they be physical, forensic or psychological – it’s your job to make them either famous or infamous.

Patents

pexels-photo-263337.jpegPatents are an official documents conferring a right or privilege.  This document secures to the inventor a term of years exclusive rights to the invention.  According to a report by PHARMA there are a number of prescription drug patents set to expire in 2018.

The National Pharmaceutical Services, the FDA’s Orange Book, Drugs.com, and The Center for Biosimilars lists over 26 nationally known brand name medications that are targeted to “go off patent” in 2018.

As we all know, there is a high cost related to medication today in the field of health care.  So, how much money is actually involved in this process?  The EvaluatePharma – World Preview 2017, Outlook to 2022 report, states that $194 billion (that’s billion) in brand-name sales are at risk during this period.  The companies that patent and sell these medications will probably forfeit $31 billion (that’s billion) in sales.

As you go to your medical provider this year and he/she writes you a prescription for medication, take a moment to ponder on the “behind the scenes” industry connected to the words written on that little piece of paper.

Medications, and the patents for them, are a big business.  It doesn’t matter if they are targeted toward generics, pain relief, easing respiration, erectile dysfunction, curing cancer, biosimilars for autoimmune diseases or diabetes management all are researched, developed, marketed, distributed, patented and sold by someone.  They are targeted to you and your medical provider to improve the quality of life.  Use them wisely but remember that there is a business behind the benevolence.