If you watch the news on TV or read newspapers, magazines, or the internet, there seem to be plenty of news-worthy (apparently) individuals ending their marriages.  And, the media constantly reports that 50% of marriages in the United States will end in divorce — although that statistic is somewhat unreliable because all States do not report on divorces.  Also, some of the numbers may be incorrectly interpreted.

Despite the statistics, I know from time to time I’ll hear an account that supports the notion that enduring love still exists — marriages lasting longer than 50 years do occasionally make it into the headlines.  And, after surviving that long a marriage is unlikely to end in divorce.

What emotion is needed to power the Love Meter

Are humans the only creature on this planet which can bond for life — apparently NOT!  Scientists tell us that there are other members of the animal kingdom which form life-long pairings — sea horses for one.  Does that qualify as enduring love?

As a youngster, I remember being told that Canada Geese mate for life.  Storks also mate for life — I wonder if that may have influenced why some adults told children that babies were delivered by storks?  Now, I’ve learned of a news story which speaks to the persistence, and perhaps enduring love, of a pair of storks.

A female stork had been shot by some hunters in Croatia.  When she was found she was taken to a veterinarian.  The vet knew that her wing had been damaged to badly for her to ever fly again.   Although no one could be sure that she would live, an attempt was made to heal her.  And, they named her Malena.

Since her injury in 1993, Stjepan Vokic has taken care of Malena — she lives in a nest on the roof of his house.  He is so committed to her survival that he discontinued his cellphone service so he could afford to feed Malena, especially during the winters.

Approximately 8 years ago

One day Stjepan noticed another stork with Malena — seems that a male had found her and fell in love.   Stjepan gave the name Rodan to the male stork.  The pair raised a clutch of chicks that year — Rodan taught the chicks to fly because his partner cannot.

Since storks spend their winter in South Africa, each August Rodan and the young will start to prepare for their long journey of about 8000 miles.  According to observers, Malena is sad for weeks after Rodan flies away.

Malena remains in Brodski Varos until the return of her mate in the spring — which amazingly occurs on the same date and at about the same time of day each year.  Except that this year he arrived a day early!

Weeks before his return each March, Malena is impatiently waiting for Rodan on the roof and preparing the nest.  These two beautiful birds have raised 32 little storks during the last 8 years.

Amidst so many stories of pain, despair and misery I find this to be a wonderful story of perseverance, persistence and tenacity .  I hope you have enjoyed reading it.    😎

A disturbing CBS News Report link was recently sent to me by a family member.  The report describes the dangers to you and your confidential information which is being stored in copy machines since about 2002.

Whenever a document containing your information was placed on these newer digital machines to be copied or faxed it is now on the hard-drive! Your photograph and social security number, as well as other sensitive data, may have been placed in a leased machine which is no longer under the control of your employer, doctor or health insurance company.

Due to the financial crisis of the last few years, many companies have closed their doors or sold some of their equipment. Regardless of the reason, large numbers of previously used digital copy machines are now being sold-off cheaply which have hard-drive storage. Where will it end-up — page after page of your data on the hard-drive can easily be printed and distributed.

I encourage everyone to view the short video to learn more:

CBS News video

I wrote a posting in January, entitled Pain in the Butt,  and described some of my earlier experiences with manual and electric wheelchairs.  I also commented on my newer pain experiences and how I hoped that a technology I was unfamiliar with (pressure mapping) might help me.

Well, after many failed attempts to get a prescription via my family-practice Nurse Practitioner, I was able to get the required document from my heart doc and scheduled the pressure testing.

Yesterday was the Big Day!

The pressure mapping was a little “unnerving” to me, because I needed to be lifted off my wheelchair so that the technician could place the sensor mat under my bottom.  My anxiety level was rising as the sling was being positioned for the lifting.  You see, since my release from the hospital in June 2004, my wife lifts me a minimum twice a day — once getting me out of bed and once getting me into the bed.  Occasionally its more than once each way per day.  So, to say that I have experience with the sensation and positional relationship of the sling would be an understatement.  And, I have had bad experiences in the past.

When I raised my concern with the staff that my body was being shifted and spun while the sling was being tugged/pulled into position and that I felt the sling was not what I had hoped for, I sensed a bit of hostility — and a feeling they felt questioning their skill or experience was offensive to them.

After I stated my case in a long and detailed manner

An attempt was made to find a sling of a slightly different design and assigned to the new person in the department.  Following a period of uneventful waiting, the young man who had been positioning the sling and I began working with what we had at hand.

Eventually, through our joint team work, the sling was in a more acceptable place and I was prepared to make an attempt.  However, it needed to be stopped before the pressure mat was positioned — I felt as if I was slipping out of the sling and my slacks were sliding-off.

After being return to my wheelchair and the sling underwent another readjustment, to a position more beneath my hips, we finally had a successful lift-off!  The mat was positioned upon my old wheelchair cushion, I was lowered upon it, and the pressure mapping was performed.

I was shown a display which looked a lot like the thermal imaging you may have seen which shows heat or cooling loss from a building — reds, yellows and greens.  As the technician explained what I was looking at, I was not surprised where she indicated the worst pressure points were located — I feel them pretty much constantly.

The next step got me excited about the likelihood of future pain relief

A number of different seat cushions had been placed on a physical-therapy table and the tech asked me if I’d like to try any of the different types — I was going to sample some seat cushions before they were purchased…  Woo hoo!  In my 50+ years as a wheelchair user, I have never been given the opportunity to sit on any seat cushions prior to owning them.

  • First one which I sampled was air-filled — it had a series of bladders (for want of a better term) a little larger than a man’s thumb covering the whole of the seat cushion.  It felt a little bit unstable to me — even after some of the air was removed.  But, the pressure points on my behind were experiencing some new found comfort.
  • Next came a gel cushion — it had two sections which were  placed side-by-side, so that each hip would have its own gel cushioning.  After the seat cushion was placed in my wheelchair the pressure mat was laid on and I was deposited on top.  Mapping results were clearly different than when I was on my original seat cushion — a lot smaller area of red.  And, I was surprised at how pleasant the gel seat cushion felt.
  • Lastly, another gel seat cushion.  This one had a large gel cushion section in a “reservoir” as the tech described it.  After everything was in place, mapping and I were both in agreement — this was the best gel cushion for me.  And, a huge improvement over any prior seat cushions I have ever used!

While all this activity was occurring

I noticed there appeared to be a weight gauge on the lift, which I asked about.  Soon I was weighed and the result was 63.3 kilograms.  Since I have not become a metric user they converted it for me — 139.552 pounds.  So,  I will be 140 when anyone asks how much my bony-self weighs.  😎

Every wheelchair user will have a slightly different posture and feel comfortable according to their own needs.  One thing to keep in mind, however — without a sense of feeling below waist level, the pressure points experienced while on their seat cushions are more likely to produce pressure sores, known as decubiti.  If the sore is not cared for and the pressure points not addressed, a serious health threat exists.  I’ve known paraplegic wheelchair users who developed an infection of a bone due to inadequately cared for pressure sores.

So, I’ve been fortunate in my life.  Even while I have been dealing with more pain in the last couple of years, my sense of feeling has saved me from a significant danger experienced by many wheelchair users — an infected open-wound.

Those of you reading this blog who have family members using a wheelchair — please look after their best interest and see that they have seat cushions which protect them from shearing in the area of the bony pressure points.

Live long and prosper.

Prescription drugs are now the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and other drugs.

Some of the abuse occurs when the prescription holder uses a drug for a purpose other than why it was prescribed.  Another aspect of the prescription drug abuse problem is because large numbers of teenage children are stealing drugs from a parent or other family member and then using, or selling, the drugs.  An additional, although smaller, aspect of this drug abuse problem develops from poor or improper disposal of prescription drugs.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say just three small steps can make a huge difference:

1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications — Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications.  However, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment because waste treatment systems are unable to remove the drug before discharging into waterways.

While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential — those drugs are:

  • Actiq (fentanyl citrate)
  • Daytrana Transdermal Patch (methylphenidate)
  • Duragesic Transdermal System (fentanyl)
  • OxyContin Tablets (oxycodone)
  • Avinza Capsules (morphine sulfate)
  • Baraclude Tablets (entecavir)
  • Reyataz Capsules (atazanavir sulfate)
  • Tequin Tablets (gatifloxacin)
  • Zerit for Oral Solution (stavudine)
  • Meperidine HCl Tablets
  • Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)
  • Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate)
  • Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)

2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from potentially harmful effects.  APHA recommends that consumers:

  • Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.
  • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
  • Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy.

3.  Talk To Your Pharmacist —  Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals.  As the medication experts on your healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on safe prescription drug disposal for expired or items you no longer need.

Following the above simple steps can help protect your family and community, minimize a potential negative impact on the environment, and prevent the illegal diversion of unused medications.

A name that had been in the news frequently during the 1990s appeared today — Manuel Noriega, former dictator of Panama, has reportedly been extradited to France to serve a sentence given to him in absentia by the French courts for money laundering in 1992.

Noriega had been captured in Panama by the U.S. Army during January 1990.  Labeled a ‘Prisoner of War’, Noriega had been serving a sentence in a U.S. prison until 2008 for drug trafficking.  However, instead of being sent back to Panama as he said was appropriate, Noriega continues being held in prison for an additional two years while he fought extradition through the U.S. court system all the way to our Supreme Court.

As strange as it is, I was speaking with a friend about Noriega sometime during the last few months and asking if he remembered what had become of the General… Lo and behold!

You can find the MSNBC article here.

I’ve been interested in nutrition and healthy alternatives to the typical American diet for a very long time.  As a result, I receive quite a few email newsletters from different sources each week.  This morning I received one which I’m going to post an excerpt from below.  The newsletter is called “The Daily Dose” and is written by Dr. William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The following is what Dr. Douglass had to say:
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Hidden hazards of nano-ingredients

But when it comes to nano, just say no-no — because nanotechnology, as it’s called, is wildly unregulated and dangerously untested. In fact, we have no idea at all what this junk might do to humans — yet you’re probably eating it right now.

Welcome to your new life as a supermarket lab rat.

What little we do know is downright frightening: A two-year study on animals at UCLA  found nano-titanium dioxide — the most common nanoparticle — caused DNA and chromosome damage, according to AOL News.

The researchers say this kind of severe damage could lead to cancer, heart disease and brain disease… and yet these nano-particles are turning up in everything from fruit and vegetable coatings to salad dressing to ice cream.

We used to call that food tampering. Instead, the mad scientists behind this sick scheme are considered industry pioneers.

Meanwhile, the FDA is so in the dark on this one that they won’t even admit it’s in your food… even if its own experts say it is. In fact, the AOL News report found that 20 of the world’s top food makers have their own nano-labs or contracts with universities to develop nano-ingredients for them.

And because there’s no requirement to list these particles on nutritional labels, there’s no way of knowing if your food has been nano-tainted… and therefore no way to avoid it.

It’s reaching the point where the only way to be safe is to grow your own — and if you have the time and space, don’t wait — spring is here. Start planting today.

Copyright (c)2010 by Healthier News, LLC. The Daily Dose may not be posted on commercial sites without written permission.

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Many of you may have never heard of nano technology before.  If you’d like to read about the subject, you can click this link to see what Wikipedia says. Or, you can use your favorite search engine.

There seems to be little doubt that nano tech offers some very exciting possibilities for the future.  However, are there adequate procedures in place to protect us from potential dangers of something so radically new?

I, for one, am not convinced…  and, neither are many other concerned citizens of this country and throughout the World!  (Many of our agricultural products are already being refused for importation into other countries.)

And, like the GMO (genetically modified organism/food) items making their way into our stores, our Government (Food and Drug Administration and/or the Department of Agriculture) does not require labeling which could help consumers when buying the things they will eat which contain these questionable substances!  Are we to blindly believe that everything on the shelf is safe for us and our family?

Additionally, the large corporate agri-businesses (seed, chemical, food processor) want to invade the Organic Food category with its GMO and Nano hazards!  What will be safe then?

How ’bout you — are you worried about science causing some irreversible catastrophe?  Or, do you think it can’t happen?

ADHD or AD/HD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) didn’t exist while my brother, Bob, and I were growing up — A very good thing for my brother!  Our mother never was sure where Bob was or what he was doing.

Children were known to be more active than adults… running all over the place wasn’t unusual.  Kids do something for a while and then do something else — Changing from one activity to another was acceptable.  And, it wasn’t called a disorder — It was NORMAL!

Looking at human history, it appears to me that if an adult wanted to change the behavior of a young person, it is possible to teach by example.  Take the individual for a quiet walk in the woods, or a meadow, while trying not to disturb the animals and birds you encounter — Seems to have been a productive technique used by generations of hunters.

Or, you could do what I’ve done from youth to senior-citizen age — sit calmly while observing the various insects moving on the sidewalk or in the grass around me.  If you were to try it, you just might be amazed at the effort expended by an ant trying to move something it wants from one place to another.

Maybe ADHD did exist — but we needed the drug manufacturers to help us identify it!

During the 1960s, the pharmaceutical companies began promoting a drug (Methylphenidate, widely known as Ritalin) to reduce “hyperactivity” in children and increase their attention span!  The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the use of the drug on children — which appealed to some school teachers, parents, and other adults who had to spend time in proximity of children.

Moving forward in time we see one result: Sales of drugs to treat ADHD since 2000 have nearly quadrupled — to more than $3.1 billion a year built on the back of what appears to the Alternative Healthcare practitioners to be a questionable disorder.

And make no mistake about it. These drugs are far from benign. They are stimulants whose effects on your kid’s brain are similar to cocaine. Potential side effects range from tics to psychosis to addiction. So anything that can get kids off of them should be given some real attention.  Just don’t expect help from the FDA or conventional drug-prescribing doctors!