September 29, 2007

Men as caregivers

Dr. Helen focuses on Dutiful Sons who are "quietly and without complaining" taking care of their parents.

Then she quotes Mark Penn, author of "Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow's Big Changes"
According to a 2004 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP, nearly 40 percent of the 44 million people in America who provide unpaid care to infirm adults are men. That's about 17 million sons, sons-in-law, nephews, brothers and husbands caring for loved ones in their "spare" time. Throughout the 1990's, the fastest-growing group of relations providing care to chronically disabled adults was sons.

The book gives various reasons that sons are caring for parents, and it makes several interesting points. Male caregivers more often help other men--35 percent compared to only 28 percent of caregiving women who do. Male caregivers tend not to suspend or cut back on work, and they are much more likely (60 to 41 percent) to be working full-time, and the men often choose their situation, moreso than women. Almost two-thirds say they had a choice in the matter, compared to fewer than 3 in 5 women.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2007

Scribble Scrabble

Some Preschoolers' thoughts on aging.

"First they start smooth and when they are going to die, they get pruney"

First they grow up as a young kid...they eat healthy and they get taller. And soon they get much taller and they go to heaven.  If they can't walk, they get a wheelchair."

 Preschoolers On Aging

What's with the "scribble scrabble"?  Two of the preschoolers call wrinkles scribble scrabble which I kinda like actually.

"They have scrabble scrabble just on her face.  And she's got shiny teeth."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:07 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2007

Getting happier

LifeTwo, a new site about midlife improvement, is getting happy this week with a series of articles and exercises over seven days on how to become happier.    So even if you think you are already happy, if you do the exercises over seven days, you can get even happier quickly.

Wesley Hein is basing his articles and exercises on a new book 

"Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment" (Tal Ben-Shahar)

by a Harvard professor named Tai Ben Sharar who has the most popular class at Harvard.  I wrote about the professor last year in Harvard Teaches Happiness and again in a Happiness Roundup.

What we are seeing is the outgrowth of the positive psychology movement begun by Martin Seligman that I wrote about in The Science of Happiness.

Seligman has found three components of happiness.
pleasure- we all know about what feels good.
engagement.  - the depth of involvement with one's family, work, romance and hobbies .
meaning - using personal strengths to serve some larger end.

Of those three roads to a happy, satisfied life, pleasure is the least consequential, he insists: "This is newsworthy because so many Americans build their lives around pursuing pleasure. It turns out that engagement and meaning are much more important."

I understand the premise of Ben-Shahar's book is you can teach yourself mental habits that will make you happier.  While some  people are genetically disposed to be generally happier than others, everyone can learn to be happier if they adopt simple  habits like being grateful for three things during the day.

Your grandmother  called it "counting your blessings'. 

What's still remarkable to me  new is that so many people never heard or never paid attention to what their parents and grandmothers said. After all, Happiness, It's Not Rocket Science.

So head on over and get happier.  It's not selfish at all.    I think we have a moral obligation to be happy.  If you want to have a happier world, you have to work on yourself first.    After all, as Mahatma Gandhi said, "We have to be what we want to see"

In fact one of the great pleasures of maturity is a growing happiness, a fact that is inexplicable to the young.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:56 PM | Permalink

The Last Lecture is his Legacy

Professor Randy Pausch's last lecture struck a chord among millions of  people.  The Wall St. Journal reports on What It Meant for Readers.

After he spoke, his only plans were to quietly spend whatever time he has left with his wife and three young children. He never imagined the whirlwind that would envelop him. As video clips of his speech spread across the Internet, thousands of people contacted him to say he had made a profound impact on their lives. Many were moved to tears by his words -- and moved to action. Parents everywhere vowed to let their kids do what they'd like on their bedroom walls.

Dr. Pausch feels overwhelmed and moved that what started in a lecture hall with 400 people has now been experienced by millions. Still, he has retained his sense of humor. "There's a limit to how many times you can read how great you are and what an inspiration you are," he says, "but I'm not there yet."

Dr. Pausch has asked Carnegie Mellon not to copyright his last lecture, and instead to leave it in the public domain. It will remain his legacy, and his footbridge, to the world.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:54 PM | Permalink

September 26, 2007

Something else to worry about

This is a very disturbing article that connects a number of alarming events.   

Al Qaeda Targets Our Schoolchildren

Some might argue in too imaginative a manner.  But then didn't the 9/11 commission say in its final report that the most important failure was "one of imagination" and that leaders did not understand the gravity of the threat?

If you've forgotten the horror at Beslan, Wikipedia summarizes the Beslan school hostage crisis

Osama bin Laden in 2004 promised many Beslans in the United States.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:11 AM | Permalink

How many days left?

Kevin Kelly writes about My Life Countdown

I  am now 55 years old. Like a lot of people in middle age my late-night thoughts bend to contemplations about how short my remaining time is. Even with increasing  longevity there is not enough time to do all that I want. Nowhere close.

Another friend, a musician, told me about a recurring dream he had in which he could see the exact number of days left in his life. His days were numbered, literally. He recounted how invigorating this knowledge was, because while he could never be certain that number was true, it did help him prioritize his choices and defuse his procrastinations
I've been using this system for several months now and it has been very powerful. Day to day I  am aware -- and can rattle off if I am asked - how many days I have left.

The time left is still too short. And too close. And getting closer. And I'm sorry but I need to do something else right now....

According to his calculations, 8500 days left.  He even tells you how to configure your own life countdown

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Remember Reticence?

Christine Rosen writes about Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism.

we are only beginning to come to grips with the consequences of our use of these sites: for friendship, and for our notions of privacy, authenticity, community, and identity. As with any new technological advance, we must consider what type of behavior online social networking encourages. Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises—a surer sense of who we are and where we belong? The Delphic oracle’s guidance was know thyself. Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself.

The world of online social networking is practically homogenous in one other sense, however diverse it might at first appear: its users are committed to self-exposure. The creation and conspicuous consumption of intimate details and images of one’s own and others’ lives is the main activity in the online social networking world. There is no room for reticence; there is only revelation.
Because friendship depends on mutual revelations that are concealed from the rest of the world, it can only flourish within the boundaries of privacy; the idea of public friendship is an oxymoron.
As the young woman writing in the Times admitted, “I consistently trade actual human contact for the more reliable high of smiles on MySpace, winks on, and pokes on Facebook.” That she finds these online relationships more reliable is telling: it shows a desire to avoid the vulnerability and uncertainty that true friendship entails. Real intimacy requires risk—the risk of disapproval, of heartache, of being thought a fool. Social networking websites may make relationships more reliable, but whether those relationships can be humanly satisfying remains to be seen.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:36 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 25, 2007

An Apple a Day

If you go out of your way to buy pomegranate or acai juice because they are packed with powerful anti-oxidants, here's two words for you from the Wall St Journal, New Respect for a Humble Juice.

Apple juice.

Even better, apple cider. 

(The best - cold apple cider with warm apple cider donuts.)

Far from being just "sugar water" as some pediatricians have said, new research shows "thousands" of phyto-chemicals in apple juice, mainly in the peel, some of which retard tumor growth, most of which work together in a synergy on different parts of the body.

 Apple Cider
Studies at Cornell University's Department of Food Science have found that the unique combination of thousands of phytochemicals in apples -- mainly concentrated in the peel -- retard tumor growth in cell cultures and in animals. In particular, apples are high in triterpenoids, which have "very potent activity in tumor cell growth," says lead researcher Rui Hai Liu.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:01 AM | Permalink

September 24, 2007

Back from the verge of death because of brave men

Channing Moss was impaled through the abdomen with a rocket-propelled grenade and left on the verge of death in Afghanistan.

His fellow soldiers, a helicopter crew and a medical team would risk their lives to save his.

An extraordinary story Do or Die via Technicalities

“It was an extremely unusual set of events. He should have died three times that day,” said Maj. John Oh, 759th Forward Surgical Team general surgeon.

Three months after the attack, Moss attended the birth of his second daughter, Ariana.

He expects to be discharged from the Army on medical disability by October.
“I don’t think there has been a day in the last year and a half that I haven’t thought about them, that I haven’t prayed for them. They saved my life,”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:38 PM | Permalink

Appalling Decision of Lee Bollinger

So the President of Columbia Lee Bollinger in defending his decision to give a platform and a forum to President Ahmadinejad says he would have invited Adolf Hitler and subjected him to the same 'sharp challenges'  he plans to give to the Iranian president.  In the same week, we're watching Ken Burns's documentary on the second world war  and seeing just what it really cost us and our Allies to defeat the Axis powers of Germany and Japan.

Just what is in the waters of academia these days?  Ahmadinejad,  the president of a terrorist state that calls for death to America, has American blood on his hands through the arming of terrorists in Iraq,  executes homosexuals,  oppresses women imprisoning them if they venture outside in public without a burka, allows stoning of women, denies the Holocaust happened, calls for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, and is busy making nuclear bombs in open defiance of U.N. resolutions, is welcomed at Columbia. 

  Woman Stoned Iran
Before a woman is stoned in Iran, she is half-buried.

Shrinkwrapped writes

The Iranian propaganda operatives in Tehran, one can be sure, are gleeful over Mr. Bollinger's blunder. They know that no matter how tough the questions Mr. Bollinger asks Mr. Ahmadinejad — whether they palaver about Israel, ground zero, human rights, or Madisonian principles like free speech — the Iranian is the victor merely by being received on Morningside Heights. They know that Mr. Bollinger will not permit protesters to rush the stage and physically drive a speaker from campus the way the university permitted students to do when Jim Gilchrist of the Minutemen attempted to speak there.

Where do you draw the line?  Roger Kimball says it best. 

By providing a madman like Ahmadinejad with a platform at Columbia University, President Bollinger has in effect welcomed him into the community of candid reasoners. He has granted him a patent of legitimacy that no amount of "dialogue and reason" can dissipate. In this case, "listening" is indeed tantamount to an endorsement. It reduces free speech to a species of political capitulation and renders dialogue indistinguishable from a suicide pact.
The spectacle of these left-wing academics repudiating men like Larry Summers and Donald Rumsfeld even as they abase themselves scrambling to find excuses for welcoming a fanatic like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the halls of a great American University is disgusting. I think again of Bagehot's observation that "History is strewn with the wrecks of nations which have gained a little progressiveness at the cost of a great deal of hard manliness, and have thus prepared themselves for destruction as soon as the movements of the world gave a chance for it." Are we really willing to let ourselves--our ideals, our way of life--be carelessly traduced by a rancid leftism so enfeebled that it can no longer distinguish between free speech and suicide? We are even now in the process of answer that question. How we answer it will determine a lot more than the issue of who gets to speak on American college campuses.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:21 AM | Permalink

Faith is a Way of Seeing

I've read somewhere that spirituality is most like music.

Some are immediately swept away by the music of Bach and Beethoven.    Many must cultivate an ear for classical music.  Others, tone deaf will never get it.

Now via Maggie's Farm comes a sermon from a pastor who says that people believe more than they know they believe, that  faith is a way of seeing.

Believing is Seeing 

If you say that seeing is believing, you will never be a great scientist; you will not be a creative artist; you will have nothing but superficial relationships, and here is the last thing: If you say that seeing is believing, you will never be a leader.

Leadership doesn't say, "Prove it to me and then I'll give you my support." Leadership comes in and says, "With faith and trust and openness, we can really make this thing work."

Four things. What is it really that I have said to you? Let me in good homiletical style tell you what I have just told you. It is this: faith is a way of seeing. St. Augustine put it perfectly. He said, "To have faith is to believe what you can't see and the reward of faith is to see what you believe."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:02 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2007

Right to Dry

 Clothes Line

from the Wall St Journal, The Right to Dry, A Green Movement is Roiling America

The aesthetics are displeasing to many; others worry about their property values, and that's why subdivision regulations forbid solar power clothes drying.  By the way, clothes dryers account for 6% of total electricity consumed by U.S. households. 

Aesthetics and property values are the arguments raised against Cape Wind, the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Bay.  I say get Jason Jones to do another video

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:01 PM | Permalink

Beloved Professor delivers "Last Lecture"

Jeffrey Zaslow writes A Beloved Professor Delivers The Lecture of a Lifetime in the Wall St. Journal.  Watch this  short video of Randy Pausch, a vibrant, handsome man who has only weeks or months to live, but can do one-handed pushups.

 Randy Pausch

They had come to see him give what was billed as his "last lecture." This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted "Last Lecture Series," in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch's speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be morose, he said, "I'm sorry to disappoint you." He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.
He paid tribute to his techie background. "I've experienced a deathbed conversion," he said, smiling. "I just bought a Macintosh." Flashing his rejection letters on the screen, he talked about setbacks in his career, repeating:
"Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things." He encouraged us to be patient with others. "Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you." After showing photos of his childhood bedroom, decorated with mathematical notations he'd drawn on the walls, he said: "If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let 'em do it."
He then spoke about his legacy. Considered one of the nation's foremost teachers of videogame and virtual-reality technology, he helped develop "Alice," a Carnegie Mellon software project that allows people to easily create 3-D animations. It had one million downloads in the past year, and usage is expected to soar.

"Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don't get to step foot in it," Dr. Pausch said. "That's OK. I will live on in Alice."

Dr. Pausch's speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they're older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: "This was for my kids." Then those of us in the audience rose for one last standing ovation.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:14 AM | Permalink

Wii will rock you

About three weeks ago, the chef at a nursing home in England brought in a video games console, the Nintendo Wii, that belonged to his son so that the staff could play it on the weekend.

But once the residents, ages 80-103, got a gander at the console, they were so enthralled they demanded the staff purchase one immediately.  Forget bridge, crosswords, even the telly, all these residents want to do is play Wii.

"They were absolutely hooked.

"They're up of their armchairs and moving about and there's a real team spirit."

 Flossie Wii Videogaming

The games system has proved to be such a success that executives at Sunrise Senior Living are now planning to buy one for each of their 15 residential homes.

If this goes ahead, inter-care home tournaments would take place with teams of elderly residents travelling to other care homes via mini-buses for matches.

Dr Lorna Layward, research manager at Help the Aged, said: "Anything that gets elderly people up off their feet and trying something new is a very good thing.

Elderly 'addicted' to Nintendo Wii at care home.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:59 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2007

Crazy, reckless boomers

We've all heard about adolescent risk-taking, but Mike Males in The New York Times says it's really boomers who are taking all the risks  and has the statistics to back it up.

This is Your (Father's) Brain on Drugs.

It's true that 30 years ago, the riskiest age group for violent death was 15 to 24. But those same boomers continue to suffer high rates of addiction and other ills throughout middle age, while later generations of teenagers are better behaved. Today, the age group most at risk for violent death is 40 to 49, including illegal-drug death rates five times higher than for teenagers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:49 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2007

The Present and Presence of Music

With a sister whose brain has been damaged by encephalitis leaving her without a short term memory, I was especially interested in this piece by Oliver Sachs in The New Yorker, A Neurologist's Notebook: The Abyss

Clive Wearing, an eminent British musicologist, struck with encephalitis, loses his ability to preserve new memories as well as the loss of his entire past - the most devastating case of amnesia ever recorded.

From the start, he has been loved by his wife Deborah and he's retained his musical powers and memory.

Clive’s performance self seems, to those who know him, just as vivid and complete as it was before his illness. This mode of being, this self, is seemingly untouched by his amnesia, even though his autobiographical self, the self that depends on explicit, episodic memories, is virtually lost. The rope that is let down from Heaven for Clive comes not with recalling the past, as for Proust, but with performance—and it holds only as long as the performance lasts. Without performance, the thread is broken, and he is thrown back once again into the abyss
It may be that Clive, incapable of remembering or anticipating events because of his amnesia, is able to sing and play and conduct music because remembering music is not, in the usual sense, remembering at all. Remembering music, listening to it, or playing it, is wholly in the present
As Deborah recently wrote to me, “Clive’s at-homeness in music and in his love for me are where he transcends amnesia and finds continuum—not the linear fusion of moment after moment, nor based on any framework of autobiographical information, but where Clive, and any of us, are finally, where we are who we are.” ♦

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:29 PM | Permalink

September 15, 2007

Electronic Snoops

The real snoops are close to home, gathering electronic evidence. Of course, if you're not cheating, you don't have to worry.

The age-old business of breaking up has taken a decidedly Orwellian turn, with digital evidence like e-mail messages, traces of Web site visits and mobile telephone records now permeating many contentious divorce cases.

Spurned lovers steal each other’s BlackBerrys. Suspicious spouses hack into each other’s e-mail accounts. They load surveillance software onto the family PC, sometimes discovering shocking infidelities.

“In just about every case now, to some extent, there is some electronic evidence,” said Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who also runs seminars on gathering electronic evidence. “It has completely changed our field.

Tell All PCs and Phones Transforming Divorce

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:04 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2007

"It's more than paradise."

After a 24 hour plane trip, a 5-year-old Iraqi boy who had been doused with  gasoline and set on fire  by masked men, arrived in Los Angeles with his family to undergo multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation after more than 12,000 CNN viewers contributed to a fund to help him.

Youssif and family arrive in U.S. "Am I in heaven?'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:46 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2007

"Not bad at all."

If you had told me that this would happen after September 11, I would have found it impossible to believe.  So How Goes Bin Laden's War on the U.S. Economy?

Since September 11, the economy hasn't suffered a single down quarter. In fact, it has notched 23 straight quarters of economic growth. (And despite the subprime mortgage crisis, this is likely to be the 24th straight quarter of growth.) Those numbers are especially amazing when you consider that when the terrorist attacks happened, the Internet stock bubble was in full implosion mode. The economy dipped in the third quarter of 2001 and was slightly negative in two of the previous four quarters. But it's been nothing but growth since then. Overall, the American economy is, adjusting for inflation, $1.65 trillion bigger than it was six years ago. To put that gigantic number in some perspective, the U.S. economy has added the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias, eight Irans, 13 Pakistans, or 15 Egypts, depending on your preference. And while 9/11 did cause the stock market to plunge, the Dow is 37 percent higher than it was on Sept. 10, 2001, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for Americans. What's more, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent today vs. 5.7 percent back then. Not bad at all.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:55 PM | Permalink

Must Have Man Skills

Via Instapundit comes the list of 25 Skills Every Man Should Know.

1. Patch a radiator hose
2. Protect your computer
3. Rescue a boater who as capsized
4. Frame a wall
5. Retouch digital photos
6. Back up a trailer
7. Build a campfire
8. Fix a dead outlet
9. Navigate with a map and compass
10. Use a torque wrench
11. Sharpen a knife
12. Perform CPR
13. Fillet a fish
14. Maneuver a car out of a skid
15. Get a car unstuck
16. Back up data
17. Paint a room
18. Mix concrete
19. Clean a bolt-action rifle
20. Change oil and filter
21. Hook up an HDTV
22. Bleed brakes
23. Paddle a canoe
24. Fix a bike flat
25. Extend your wireless network

I can do about half of them which is why I guess I need a man.  I'd be interested in what else a man should know how to do.

The list is put out by Popular Mechanics, clearly geared to guys.  I wonder what magazine would put out a similar list for gals that women would seriously pay attention to.  Oprah's my first guess.  I

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:29 PM | Permalink

The Fear of Being Eaten

Dr. Helen quotes Mary Fensolt saying, The fear of public speaking or performing is more than anything a fear of being eaten."

Building on the theories of sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, Fensholt argues that historically, being intently scrutinized and singled out was a prelude to being eaten by a predator, so human ancestors evolved a strong fear response against setting themselves apart from the protection of the group.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:20 PM | Permalink

September 11, 2007

Six Years On

From Agnus Dei at YouTube set to Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings

Osama Bin Laden admitted he ordered the 9/11 attacks  by nineteen Islamic terrorists who commandeered four commercial jet airliners, deliberately crashing two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one intended for the US Capitol building, United Airlines Flight 93, after a revolt by the passengers,  crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania.

Each year on the anniversary, another video of one of the suicide bombers is released by Al Queda.  This year Bin Laden called for a caravan of martyrs.

Yet a recent Zogby poll reveals that 42% of Democrats think Bush either caused the 9/11 attacks or let them happen.

Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and
hurry off as if nothing happened." 
Winston Churchill


Gerard vanderLeun,  The Wind in the Heights

The Anchoress, What Do You Remember about 9/11
Gina Cobb's  reflections on 9/11 and the six years that followed here

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:36 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 10, 2007

Issues I've changed my mind about #1

Because this week turns out to be an especially busy one for me, I've decided to do some easy blogging and point to what others have written that have changed my mind in a significant way on a current issue.

#1 How many people without health care insurance should I worry about. 

The U.S. Census says that 46.6 million persons are uninsured.
9.5 million of those are not citizens, so we don't have a responsibility to see that they are insured.    Only 37.1 million left.

The U.S. Census reports that 8.74 million of the uninsured make more that $75k a year.    Another 8.3 million of the uninsured make between $50k and $75k.    That's another 17 million I don't have to worry about since they can afford their own health insurance.  Even when I haven't had any income, I paid for my own health insurance.

So that leaves about 20 million without health insurance but who are still able to get emergency room healthcare for free. 

James Shott writes

...If we believe the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is a frequent source for the mainstream media, Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and who make less than $50,000 a year total somewhere between 13.9 million and 8.2 million, no more than 5 percent of the population. Furthermore, according to the Congressional Budget Office, 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months.

Which brings us to the ultimate question: Does it make any sense to destroy a health care system that 5 out of 100 people do not have adequate access to?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:06 AM | Permalink

Little Barbarians

Nobody who's stood between a toddler and the last cookie should still harbor a belief in the inherent virtue of mankind. An afternoon at the playground is apt to make one toss out the idealist Rousseau ("man is a compassionate and sensible being") in favor of the more realistic Hobbes ("all mankind [is in] a perpetual and restless desire for power"). As a father of four sons, I've signed on to Mr. Sowell's summation of a parent's duty: "Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."

Tony Woodlief on parenting

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:23 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2007

"My mother is much stronger than I ever knew she was."

76 years old, Doris Anderson was hunting elk with her husband when their truck broke down.  They began walking out when they got separated in the woods.  Two weeks passed, the hunt had stopped, the memorial service was being planned, when Doris was found by the police, alive and well.

Surviving canyon ordeal

"My mom is much stronger than I ever knew that she was, I thought that she was more fragile than that and she's proved me wrong and I'm glad," she added.

Equally delighted is Mrs Anderson's husband Harold who had carried on looking for help when his wife had become exhausted and decided to try to return to their vehicle.

A disorientated Mr Anderson was later picked up by another hunting group, but they failed to find his wife.

"I thought my wife was dead," Mr Anderson said of the news that his wife was alive. "It's a living miracle, it has to be."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:27 AM | Permalink

Depression more damaging

Depression is more damaging to everyday health than chronic diseases like arthritis, asthma, diabetes and angina, researchers said based on a study using data from the World Health Organization.

Not a surprise to anyone who's suffered the 'black beast' of clinical depression and lost the joy of living.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2007

Where does extraordinary goodness come from?

More recently, perhaps on account of my advancing age, the problem of good has begun to preoccupy me. How is extraordinary goodness possible? Where does it come from? Is it innate? And if it is innate, is it real goodness? For there cannot be real goodness where the possibility and temptation to its reverse is not present.
Perhaps one of the reasons that contemporary secularists do not simply reject religion but hate it is that they know that, while they can easily rise to the levels of hatred that religion has sometimes encouraged, they will always find it difficult to rise to the levels of love that it has sometimes encouraged.   

One of my favorite writers, Theodore Darlrymple in the New English Review,  How to Hate the Non-Existent.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:13 AM | Permalink

Unsnarling Medical Bills

Services Help Unsnarl Medical Bills,  Wall St Journal (link for subscribers only)

If you have a lot of medical bills and can't make sense of the explanation of benefit statements,  there are now web-based services and tools that can help unsnarl those medical bills, get you organized and give you a single summary of all your bills.

Many analysts recommend consumers create their own personal health records, essentially a record of an individual's important medical information. That's because the person who will truly be responsible for one's health care in the end is that person. If people change jobs frequently, their health-insurance companies and doctors will also change. Analysts also add that it's a good way to keep track of children's immunization records or early doctor's appointments for a newborn.

"For better or for worse, people are more and more on their own in health care," says Ron Klain, executive vice president of Revolution Health, based in Washington, D.C

Here's the chart the WSJ put together of useful sites.  Click the image for full size and readability.

 Wsj Chart Med Expense Web Sites-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:09 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2007

What is it with men?

O.K. We know you don't like asking for directions, but is it too much to ask that you call 911 if you're having a heart attack?

Women, don't get so cocky, you're not much better.

When experiencing chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath, call 911.

The Wall Street Journal reports that only about half of the people in the throes of a heart attack decide to call 911, the others are risking their own survival and, if they do survive,  the long-term health of their hearts.

The Call That Can Save Your Life in a Heart Attack  (subscribers only)

Don't worry about "bothering" people, don't worry about the loss of control, don't worry about being embarrassed, think about saving your life, worry about sudden death.

An ambulance is much better than driving yourself or being driven to the emergency room.

First off, you're treated right away, you don't have to wait for hours.

If you are one of the 5% of people that go into cardiac arrest, if you're not revived within 2 minutes, you may be a goner.  Ambulances have the equipment to spark  your heart back into rhythm, cars don't.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:02 PM | Permalink

Have You Ever Checked Your Medical Records?

You already know that you should check your credit score at least once a year so that you can correct mistakes. 

What you probably didn't know is that your medical records could contain errors that should be corrected.    Incorrect medical information can lead to ineffective or harmful treatment and affect your insurability

The Wall Street Journal,  Patient Records Need Reviews (subscribers only)

Errors in medical records aren't uncommon. "They happen all the time," says Joy Pritts, research associate professor at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute.

Mistakes can arise from a mistyped diagnosis code or transcription error to an inaccurate diagnosis or a diagnosis that is out-of-date, say because a patient has gotten his or her cholesterol under control. And, if you have a common name, other peoples' records can end up in your file, says Ms. Pritts. Part of the problem is that the U.S. health-care system relies mainly on paper records, which make it harder to coordinate care and spot errors.

Many hospitals use electronic health records, but until the U.S. develops a comprehensive, consolidated system, the burden falls to individuals to keep tabs on their health histories.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:47 PM | Permalink

Ten Things

Catching up on all sorts of stuff over the weekend, I realized I haven't done my "To Do Before You Die List" even though I've already crossed some things off like water rafting through the Grand Canyon and scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Ten Things to Do Before You Finish This Article.

I've got lots to add.  What about you?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 AM | Permalink

Progress in 100 years

A century ago in 1907 from an email

• The average life expectancy in the U.S. Was 47 years old.
• Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. Had a bathtub.
* Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
• Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
• A three-minute call from Denver to New York City Cost eleven dollars.
• There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads and the maximum speed in most cities was 10 mph.
• Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California with a mere 1.4 million people. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30.
• Two out of every 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write and only  6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
• The average wage in the U.S. Was 22 Cents per hour and the average U.S. Worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
• A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year,
• A dentist made $2,500 per year,
• A veterinarian $1,500 per year,
• And a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
• More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. Took place at home.
• Ninety percent of all U.S. Doctors had no college education.  Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as "substandard."
• The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza  2. Tuberculosis  3. Diarrhea  4. Heart disease  5. Stroke

• The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

• Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced  tea hadn't been invented yet.
• Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over The counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

At Sippican Cottage, modernity is extolled - good coffee, hot showers, working at home with really good equipment delivered there from around the world,  credit cards, flying, digital photography, great shipping, driving when he cares to in a big truck with air conditioning, access to information of all sorts and the internet as "the greatest cheat sheet in the history of mankind"
The Future's So Shady...No, That's Not It 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:06 AM | Permalink