7/18/2010

Today, I Am Grateful

In a day when we are plagued with all the ways in which our world and society is going down the drain, its good to know we are doing a few things right. There are ways in which we are still progressing. One of them is medical advances. Our healthcare system might need a bandaid, (or maybe even a body cast), but our life expectancy has reach an all time high. Since obesity and diabetes are still on the rise, we Americans have some work to do to improve our health. But, the advances in cancer treatments, infant mortality rates, treatments of heart disease, hypertension and infectious disease can be attributed to the great advances in modern medicine. And for that, I am truly grateful. As a result of these modern advances, today I will change diapers, make lunches, do laundry and play outside with my kids. Due to the advances of modern medicine, today, tomorrow and the rest of my week, will continue as normal.

For the last couple of years, my Dad, who is nearing 60 (which was the life expectancy of a male in 1930 and 12 years past the life expectancy of males in 1900) has suffered from shortness of breath. All of the tests and prodding only proved that he was remarkably healthy for his age. Finally, after a couple of years, he found a super fancy smancy doctor that ran a few tests and determined he had an extra heart muscle growing over a valve of his heart. It was an easy fix to remove it. Long story short, it didn't turn out to be an easy fix to remove it. Its a heart. With all kinds of intricate pieces really close together. After he coded a couple of times and spent a week in intense pain in the ICU, while we all prayed and held our breath, he stabilized and they popped in a pace maker with a defibrilator. And I say popped, because that seemed to be the easiest part of the whole ordeal. Now I tell you this long saga, because 50 years ago, my Dad would have died from all of this. The first external pacemaker wasn't invented until the 1930s and the first internal pacemaker wasn't until the 1950s. Pacemakers with defibrilators, were invented 10 years ago. There wouldn't have been a doctor that could have removed the extra muscle in the first place, so my Dad would have suffered from shortness of breath until his heart wore out and he had a heart attack. Fifty years ago, I would have been attending a funeral this week for the only parent I have left.

Ten years ago, I had a tubal pregnancy that ruptured and left me, unknowingly, bleeding internally for 5 days. By the time the doctors figured out what was going on with me, my blood volume had decreased by half. I was rushed in for emergency surgery and a blood transfusion. A hundred years ago, I would have died.

So, we may have some things to work on, but our advances in medicine are astonishing. Thanks to that, today, I'll take my kids to the beach instead of attending a funeral and then I'll call my Dad and tell him about all the naughty things Rascal, my 2 year old, did while we were there. And I will thoroughly enjoy him laughing at my stories. Today, I will be grateful for all the good things going on in our world, our nation and my life. Today, I am grateful for my family. I won't worry about fixing things, until tomorrow.

Whaddya think?

A Kinder, Gentler Nation

Have you ever seen a homeless person on the side of the road? Of course you have. What do you do? Quickly look away, lock your car doors, read their sign to see if this time there is a great, heartfelt plea there that is worthy of your money, or possibly mentally go through the contents of your car or wallet for something that would be of help to this poor soul down on their luck?

I've heard a story about a mom who had her precious baby boy with her out to lunch at a fast food joint. There was a smelly, dirty man at the next table who kept cooing and smiling at her angelic child. The baby loved it; the mom did not. She wanted this gross, strange man, to leave her innocent baby alone. She quickly ate and got up to leave, purposefully turning her back and getting as far away from her baby's stalker as possible. But, as she passed this man, her baby lept from her arms and landed in the arms of this dirty, disgusting man. While the mom was overcoming her shock, she saw a remarkable thing happen. Her baby didn't see a disgusting man, he saw a person. A person who smiled at him and enjoyed his return smile. A person who wanted to make him happy. He didn't smell him, or see the rips in his clothes. He saw a man who had a good heart. After the moment was over, this stranger handed the baby back to his mother, and said, "Thank you ma'am. I really needed that today." This mom had a change of heart.

I'm not saying that we should give money to every homeless man on the street or let them hold our babies. But, maybe, there are times in our lives, that we should look past the cover of the book to the pages inside. Because just maybe, there is a remarkable story inside.

I think there are times in life, when we don't reach out to others because deep down we are wondering "What's in it for me?". Sometimes we just don't care and sometimes we are just too plain busy to notice anything unless it is right in front of our face. I think to much is given, much is expected, and I for one, feel like I have been given a lot. So, I try to notice when a friend is having a baby, or has sick kids or is struggling with something in her life. I'm sure there is a lot I miss. But, I know there is a whole world out there that is struggling along. So I try.

I saw an elderly lady who pulled out in front of another driver today by accident. It was apparent she thought she was getting waved out. This other driver, who had plenty of room to give her space and NOT hit her, quite rudely and unnecessarily was overly aggressive with her horn. Repeatly. I felt bad for this elderly lady, who was paying attention and just made an honest mistake.

We all make honest mistakes and we all have times of need. We should be banding together as societies, communities and families to help one another. Be patient with one another. Be supportive of one another. We should constantly be striving to be more aware of those around us and forgive others of their tresspasses. Because, we are all books of some kind. And inside each of us there is an amazing story to be told. How much better our world would be if we were all constantly striving to be a Kinder, Gentler, more Patient Nation?

Whaddya think?

7/12/2010

Today's Tiny Tip

If your family has been issued an ER punch card, like mine, consider adding 2 things to your first aid kit (and DON'T forget to keep one in your car!)

1. Butterfly Bandages. These tiny little bandaids are just used to close a gap. They can close a deep, gushing, nasty gap and make them appear harmless on the way to the doctor's office or ER.

2. Disposable Diaper. I know this sounds weird, but a diaper is really soft and super absorbant. You can cradle a head wound or wrap an arm or leg very easily. Its soft, cushiony and will absorb a lot of blood. Trust me.

If your child has a wound that makes you freak out (visable break, exposed bone, etc) don't hesitate to call an ambulance. The last thing you need is to get in an accident because you are freaking out over a fixable problem.

Happy Summer!

7/08/2010

Are You Watching Me?

I've been getting phone calls lately from folks who are looking for another individual who shares my name. This is kinda intriguing to me, because my phone number is purposefully not listed under my name (because of this name sharing individual). Its listed under my initials. So, I asked my new phone friends how they got my number (which has never been listed under my full name) and was only slightly surprised when my new pre-teen friend answered, "from google".
Seriously????

So, I googled my name and sure enough on the 3rd page I found www.123people.com which listed the last 4 or 5 addresses and phone numbers I've had (too bad for you- its not there anymore- we requested it be removed!)

You can also go to www.spokeo.com and find everything from my zodiac sign to my house value (which is definitely NOT $1+ M, so they aren't exactly accurate with everything). For a fee, you can get my phone number and address (sorry again, you won't get the most recent info- we had it removed as well).

You can track a person across the country by seeing which traffic cameras and security videos they show up on and police officers are starting to wear body cams. Nanny cams have long been a controversial issue of privacy.

In some cities around me, there are red light cameras (and school zone cameras) that will take a picture of your license plate and mail you the ticket for running the red light (or speeding in the school zone). Everyone now has a camera on their phone and is not afraid to use it, as evidenced by the all too familiar video of the Seattle police officer in an altercation with a jay walking perpetrator.

In this day of modern technology, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's very hard to truly send a 'secret' message. If you text it or email it, it can go viral in a matter of minutes. For security purposes, our "chatter" is constantly monitored for key phrases.

Now, I believe some of this is absolutely necessary and I am willing to keep my police officers and children (etc) safe at the expense of a little privacy. (I mean- you shouldn't be getting pulled over or smacking a child around anyway). But, I have become increasinly more cautious with my personal info that is out on the internet (thank you very much Same Name Friend!). But, I want to know what you think. How much is too much of a privacy invasion? How far do you think it will go? And what privacy sacrifices are worth it to you, and why?

Whaddya think?