Archive for Health Care
Imagine this scenario: you’re ready for the Prom, but you come down with your usual allergies right before the Big Night. What’s worse, the allergy situation is so discouraging it threatens to become a full blown depression.
Good thing this is all imaginary. But if any of these situations sounds woefully familiar, give a read to our three guest bloggers, all who offer solutions based on how you think about these problems. (Note: No drugs were used in these solutions.)
On stress at Prom time: blogger Wendy Margolies writes in part:
“Prom can be the most important event in a high school experience – a special night to look forward to for months. For some people, though, prom becomes just another reason to worry and feel stressed out. Even people who are looking forward to it can feel nervous.
“ The pressure of the perfect prom is on months before the night even begins. YouTube is bursting with “promposals” and “Best Yes” videos of high-school students seeking prom dates.” Read more…
Next, colleague Eric Nelson writes about two healings of allergies, both attributed to a change in thinking and loving:
“Here’s a story about a guy who suffered from asthma, allergies, and sinus infections his entire life,” [a correspondent's] post begins. It was a constant, every day affliction. It was part of him…. It was his identity. And then, he figured it out.” What was it he figured out? Two things, actually.
“First, he learned that no amount of antibiotics, nasal sprays, steroids, or inhalers could relieve his symptoms, let alone cure him. Second, he learned that what he chose to believe about himself could have a significant impact on his health.” Read more…
Finally, Ingrid Peschke writes of new takes on the age-old challenges of mental health:
“As an avid follower of news regarding the intersection of spirituality and health care, I was particularly intrigued by a new study about the effects of spirituality and religion on mental health outcomes. I decided to call the Boston-area doctor behind the study, Dr. David H. Rosmarin. He’s a McLean Hospital clinician and instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and he helped to examine patients who participated in the study over a one-year period. He explained that spirituality is not only important, but key to the future of mental health care.”
You can read the results of her interview on Huffington Post.” Read more...
So if you have any combination of prom stress, allergies or mental health issues, it’s possible there are new ways of thinking and dealing with these challenges. These new ways might be helpful even if you have only ONE of the problems.
Is health Big Business? You bet. Is it your business? Obviously! If so, can you take charge of it over the dictates of Big Medicine and Big Pharma? Perhaps, according to some experts.
Now I’m not saying anything bad about business, Big or not. Nor anything critical of the health care industry. But let’s hear out a couple of well-known folks on this subject.
You might expect Dr. Travis Stork of TV’s The Doctors to weigh in on the latest in health theories. But would you expect George Barna, the famous pollster of Barna Research, to share rather personal views about health and healing? And from the perspective of how it was brought about in the Bible?
Here’s a blog that gets these two experts together, giving us more reason to take charge of our own health.
Thanks to Bob Clark of Florida for this guest piece.
Confession One: In this gadget-loving world, I am not a gadget lover. Confession Two: I own two health-monitoring gadgets, nevertheless. Confession Three: I use all of them except one.
If you’re having trouble with the math, I’ll explain. I never step on my scale except maybe once per year (the fit of my clothes tells me all I need to know about that). But I do have fun wearing a pedometer when I take a walk and then measuring my steps at the end of the day. Otherwise, computer desk-itis and couch potato-hood set in. For me, the pedometer is a pleasant little nudge toward moving more in this sedentary life.
I was interested to read about, on the very same day I heard about it on NPR, the trend toward measuring personal health stats with more gadgets. It was in my new friend Ingrid Peschke’s blog.
I wonder, is scrutinizing the body with ever more statistics going to get us to better health? I have my doubts, and apparently Ingrid does too. Take a look.
Ingrid Peschke’s guest blog:
“Is monitoring your health just a bracelet away? It’s a trend that’s catching on to people’s wrists across the country. Similar to a trendy watch, these bands–like the Basis–monitor your sleep, heart rate, calories burned, body temperature, etc. With a USB or Bluetooth the gadgets send data right to your computer or smart phone, so you can monitor and track your stats.
“A friend of mine got a sleek white one as a gift and recently showed me how it worked. As an active mom, she was excited to more accurately know how many stairs she’s climbed in a day or how many calories she’s burned.
“Other monitoring devices are catching on, too. And some recognize that simply monitoring body activity isn’t going to cut it. Take, for instance, Huff Post’s recently released “GPS for the Soul” app that monitors stress levels.” Read more.
When asked “What is your faith?” you may answer like many others today, “Well, I don’t have a specific faith. I’m not a churchgoer.” Or you might say, again like many others today, “I don’t belong to any organized religion, but I do believe in spirituality. But that’s not exactly faith, is it?”
However, if you were asked, “Do you have values?” it would be hard to imagine an answer of “No, none at all.” Everyone seems to admit to having values like honesty, integrity, kindness and hard work.
Interestingly, the word faith doesn’t have to mean religion. It refers to where we place our trust, loyalty or reliance. We put our faith in whatever we think has power. This could be in material living and success, in medicine, in luck, or in God– however we define Him. And values have to do with what we deem worthy or useful. With these definitions we might agree that we all have both faith AND values.
Faith and values then are universal concepts. Faith and values set forth the deepest questions in life, and we all want better, clearer answers to these questions.
I recommend a good source of intelligent discussion of faith and values. Many thinkers and seekers of diverse views weigh in daily, and Editor Amanda Green has just been awarded 28th Woman of Achievement in Communications by the YWCA of Lower Cape Fear, her community near Wilmington, NC. Topics on politics, culture and ethics are also explored, and the latest issue presents a Pew poll on the power of prayer in healing.
I’m unashamedly plugging this online medium where my own column on Christianity and Health is published toward the end of each month. (Search blogs for Cynthia P. Barnett) Clearly, I hope to make you a frequent reader!
Zambian nurses graduate: Away with stress and sickness!
Here are some thoughts on two important health topics, stress and spirituality. Specifically, getting rid of stress in crises and the specific spiritual qualities that get us out of the sickbed. Feeling better already, you say? Well, read on!
From guest blogger Don Ingwerson, former school superintendent in California, writing in “The Way Up and Out of Stress..’
“Years ago, I had my office and car windows shot out because of community resistance to a school that I was closing. This created a fearful condition for me and for my family. As I tried to resolve this stressful situation, a painful and unbearable thumping in my head developed. I was able to handle it, as I’ll explain in a minute…” Read more.
And from guest blogger Tony Lobl of England who writes in “Nurses and the Spiritual Need: Is it Time to Make Time for Spiritual Care?”
“What do prayer, unconditional love, forgiveness, life’s meaning and purpose, and spiritual practice have in common?
“They are five “Spiritual Concepts Western Medicine Must Embrace” according to Karen Wyatt MD writing on the [allnurses.com] website.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, in the comments section a number of detractors are energi[z]ed by the presence of the word “must” in the article’s title…”
[Later in the article Dr. Wyatt concludes, "It is time for the medical profession to wake up and recognize that the new frontier of medicine in this century lies in spirituality and spiritual energy."] Read more.
Prayer was the most prominent word in Matt Lauer’s headline introduction of the Pat Boone family on the Today Show. Prayer featured mightily in the story of a grandson’s gradual recovery from a serious accident twelve years ago.
Some of us remember Pat Boone and his second-only-to-Elvis popularity during the 50s and 60s. Many also may recall the stirring singing of daughter Debby in “You Light up my Life” a couple of decades later. Always a deeply religious family, the Boones now take up their prayers on behalf of Pat’s grandson Ryan and invite others to join them. They shared details of their prayer journey with Matt.
In part, the online piece reads:
“[Pat Boone’s other daughter Lindy Boone] Michaelis said her faith played a key role when she learned about her son’s accident. She was vacationing in Spain in 2001 when sister Debby called with devastating news: Michaelis’ son Ryan Corbin, then 24, had gone to sunbathe on the roof of his apartment building when he accidentally stepped through a skylight.
“We were, like, heavily on prayer. When I was in Spain, I was so grateful for the gift of prayer. I couldn’t get to my son for 24 hours, so the prayer was vital,” said Michaelis, who wrote about the experience in her book, “Heaven Hears.”
“A turning point for the family came when Michaelis’ father Pat was invited by longtime friend Larry King to appear on his popular CNN talk show. With Ryan in a coma and on life support, Pat and Michaelis appeared on King’s show to appeal for prayers and support. “We wanted everybody, anywhere, to pray with us,” Pat Boone told Lauer on Wednesday.”
The young man has received good medical care and is showing cognition, a sense of humor, improved movement, and other normal skills. While his prescription for medical marijuana may be the more dramatic headline to some, it is the faith factor that the Boone family seems most grateful for, and they’re not afraid to say so.
Have you noticed people are dropping their shyness these days about their reliance on prayer? And that the media are taking notice?Perhaps prayer that is more inclusive and less denominational is appealing. People who pray humbly and proclaim with grace the good it has done for them may help countless others by this admission.
Prayer in times of need seems natural. It’s good to remind each other how effective it can be on May 2, our National Day of Prayer—and everyday.
Let me introduce you to a great online newsletter—full of varied perspectives on faith, values, and from my monthly column, health from a spiritual point of view. See www.WilmingtonFAVS.com for the full piece, or get a glimpse here:
Stress relief…in a bottle?
I am not kidding when I say that you can now buy stress relief in a bottle. Mine is tucked into the shower cubby where it promises to “clear your mind so you can relax.” The label adds, “Breathe deeply for best results.” The name of this elixir? Why, “Stress relief,” of course. (Full disclosure: it’s a body wash and foam bath. Find it at your local mall.)
Stress is trending today as a serious topic and a suspected cause of many ills. Sleep disorders, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, accelerated aging, even premature death—stress worsens or increases the risk of each, experts agree. One physician, Dr. Edward T. Creagan, has found stress management to be vital to our health, predicting, “Stressed today, sick tomorrow.” He describes an experiment where subjects jot down their recent illnesses and then recall whether a stressful event came first. Most report that it did. This was especially true with astronauts, students and athletes, whose pressured lives seemed to produce more respiratory illnesses.
With all this stress, can a mere potion provide a cure? (If so, you’re gonna need a bigger bottle.) Read more
Speaking of health, (and we were, weren’t we?) here’s a thought provoking take on two important health topics. So for today’s reading you get two for the money! Such a deal.
On Parkinson’s and placebos, Australia’s Kay Stroud writes in part:
“World Parkinson’s Day, aimed at public awareness of the disease and advances in its treatment, is being observed this week on [April 11]. A cure, dearly desired by so many, may lie in the mind and outside the realm of the biophysical.
“Surprisingly, ‘The best known mechanisms underlying the placebo effect have been illustrated for pain and Parkinson’s disease’, write leading placebo researchers, Pollo, Carlino and Benedetti. These and researchers doing similar work tell us that they’re experiencing consistent results in Parkinson’s patients with placebo-induced motor improvement, giving credibility to using placebo studies to identify how thought can have an effect on health similar to that of drugs.” Read more
Sure enough, April 7 is World Health Day. So in honor of that, let’s raise a glass* to our dear old World. May it ever be healthy and happy.
*Maybe a glass of orange juice. It’s healthier!
To celebrate, here are some great ideas from colleagues on the subject:
From John Clague of Oregon: Ground breaking thinking from physicians and others for World Health Day
From Steve Salt of Ohio: documented studies on positive attitudes and specific health outcomes
From Anna Bowness-Park of British Columbia on the therapy dog in the waiting room. One doctor’s story
The jubilation of Louisville’s basketball victory over Duke was marred by a serious injury on Easter Sunday. Team member Kevin Ware sustained a broken leg, in two places as it turns out, and horrified NCAA fans could be seen gasping for several awful moments.
What happened next began to lift the pall. As Ware was being attended to, teammates fell to their knees, presumably seeking comfort and help from a higher power. Some Duke players clapped in respect for Kevin’s efforts. And Ware himself? His only words to Coach Rick Pitino were, “Just win the game!” (Which they did). According to the tearful Coach, Ware thought of his team before himself. Coaches and commentators asked for thoughts and prayers in support of Kevin Ware as he was whisked to a local hospital.
Does prayer help when bones break? The Bible writers believe it does. “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous.” (Psalms 34:19-20)
Some years ago I broke a small bone in my foot. It could not be set, so I was given crutches and a boot from the kind hospital team. They made me as comfortable as possible and then released me with no drugs or medical interventions. I was so grateful for their help.
I also prayed; the break healed and I recovered. But I had to pray again a few weeks later when I was with my husband on a business trip in Orlando, Florida and decided to tour Disneyworld’s Epcot alone one afternoon. Having long ago shed the boot and crutches, I suddenly found myself in pain. The old injury acted up with great soreness, and I realized fearfully that I had a long distance to walk to get back to my car.
How did I pray? I asked God, who is infinite, ever present Love to me, to show me that very love in some tangible way. I needed help– and there was no one with me to give it. But Love was there, and I suddenly saw a nearby bench beside a lake where I could rest. After resting a bit, I saw a little boat pulling up right where the bench was. It was a launch to take tourists to the parking lot! I boarded the boat, crossed the lake, found my car next to the dock, and drove back to the hotel relieved and refreshed. I don’t remember the injury acting up ever again, and I had felt proof of the caring Love that I prayed for. Love had teamed up with me big time.
Many people face broken bones besides Kevin Ware. In these instances, we might consider if our relationship with Love could ever be broken. Love’s compassion and practical help may be as near as our thoughts and prayers. We can lovingly include Kevin Ware in our thoughts and be on his prayer team today.