Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

This is an interview with Dr. Jefferey Wigand. The man who stood up and told the truth about cigarette companies. He was protrayed by Russell Crowe in the Academy Award nominated film The Insider.

Tobacco industry whistleblower talks to Campbell Live – Campbell Live – Video – 3 News.

Do you know what October 14th, 2010 is? It’s World Spirometry Day!

I know many of you are looking at that and going what the heck is that? Well lemme tell ya. Spirometry is the measuring of breath. This Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) is the most common lung function test. It is used to measure volume of air and speed flow of air in and out of the lungs.

Using the measurements of how much and how long a person is able to inhale/exhale can aid diagnosis and treatment of breathing and lung ailments. The machine used to test these functions is a Spriometer.

Now that you’re all educated have you ever had this test? Even if you’ve never really felt short of breath or been diagnosed with a lung issue it’s a good idea to get tested.

My last test was pretty funny actually. I was having a really bad day so it was pretty ideal for me to be tested at the time. You want them to see your worst so they can keep you from being there right?

Anyway… I sat in the chair and the tech pulled up a cute lil picture of a fireman with a hose pointed at a camp fire. The idea was to blow as hard as you could into the Spirometer. The more air the further the water went to put out the fire.

Well, I didn’t put out any fires. I was lucky to get the water off the fireman’s shoes. But my son thought it was funny to see that lil guy trying so hard to put out that fire with a trickle. I’m blowing away and the tech looks at the screen and me asking if I felt faint. That did it. You know giggles are contagious…. Well my son started giggling…. I giggled… the tech giggled.

All of which made it even harder to try and put out that dang fire. Nope wasn’t gonna happen. But after my doctor heard the story and giggled a bit with us he gave me a new inhaler and some information on improving my lungs.

It was painless, even fun. You can give up cookies and caffeine for the sake of your health but you can’t stop breathing. So for the sake of your lungs at your next doctor visit ask him about a Spirometry test and make 2010 the year of the lung.

See if YOU can put out that campfire.

It was getting harder to breathe, the air felt thick like breathing soup. There was no energy left in her body to try and fight for deeper breaths. The white of the walls seemed to glare.

Across from her on the floor her college lay stretched out. His eyes were still, Evan could see there was no life left there. Hot tears began to roll down her face as she summoned one last effort for breath. Forcing her arm to obey her command she reached for the keypad by the door.

The tips of her fingers could only reach the bottom few. Pressing until she heard the horrible honking alarm signaling an invalid entry to the lab. Her hand falling to her lap Evan waited. Breaths shallow, coming slower and slower.

Outside the lab they had given up hope. The chemical content in the air of the now sealed room was too much for any survivors. Then the alarm.

One of the security ran over to the door peering into the small glass window set in it. “It’s Dr. Lane. I think she’s still alive.”

Renewed efforts to open the contaminated lab began with zeal. Problem was they couldn’t just open the doors with out contaminating the building. They had to find a way to vent the toxins faster than the present plan.

From inside the lab Evan heard her name shouted. Someone was banging on the door trying to get her attention. They had it, she just didn’t have anything left with which to acknowledge it.

Pain began in the center of her chest and worked its way outward. There wasn’t enough air left in her lungs to groan. Evan knew the end was getting close, she was seeing things. In the corner of the white room stood a man surrounded by mist.

When their eyes met he started to move forward. The pain has spread though her body taking over all her other senses. Lungs burning as if she’d run a hundred miles. Evan’s mind struggled to hang on even though her body was spent.

She wanted to cry and scream but nothing would come out. One last time she tried to take a breath only there was nothing to breathe.

The man from the corner knelt beside her. His eyes were green and ever changing like the sea. He reached out a hand gently caressing her cheek. “Take a breath Evan.”

The stranger knew her name, but he didn’t know she couldn’t …. Air filled her lungs slowly. It wasn’t the poison air from the room there was a touch of something in it. Something sweet like honeysuckle. The next breath came easier, then another. It was impossible wasn’t it? The room was still filled with poison.

Even began to come back to herself as the strange man caressed her face. Her eyes focused and she realized, he was there but not. As if he were made of air himself.

She could hear calls from outside the lab saying the venting was working the particles were clearing. Soon they could open the door.

The man of air caressed her softly, brushing her hair from her face. Evan was sure she knew him. But this was impossible he was a figment of her dying mind.

Cool air brushed the side of her face, it was his breath. It smelled like honeysuckle. There was a gentle smile on his face as she took a deeper breath. Evan lay her cheek against his palm taking comfort.

The palm was soft, warm, there was a pulse that beat from his wrist against her cheek. He looked up at the door. There were more sounds and activity coming from out there now. The strange man cupped her face softly. “They are coming. Do not be afraid, you will be well.”

Evan wanted to ask his name, how he got into the lab. But he pressed a soft kiss to her lips distracting her thoughts.

The stranger began to fade changing into fog then less…then nothing but air. His touch gone her lungs began to burn again. Aching for a breath of the honeysuckle sweet air. She gasped and struggled as the door slowly slid open.

She tried to scream hurry but there was no voice. Only squeaks as Evan took in a little of the fresh air coming from the open door.

Paramedics, scientists, security all rushed into the lab. A paramedic wearing oxygen masks lifted her up from the floor to a gurney. Shouts began all around her as a mask was fitted over her own face.

None of them were the strange man. She turned her head as much as they would allow to look into the corner where he had appeared. Nothing but air stood there now. Evan grabbed the EMT’s arm and forced out the words. “The man… that was… with me…”

With a somber face he gave her hand a pat thinking she meant the dead scientist they were wheeling past them in the hall. “Don’t worry about that right now. Just concentrate on taking slow deep breaths. Let’s get you oxygenated. You’re a real miracle surviving that long in that toxic soup.”

Evan shook her head. “No… someone else.”

The paramedic walked beside her as they wheeled the gurney to the ambulance. “There was no one else in the room, Dr. Lane.”

Sea Dragon drawing by Tristan VanCise

My best friend, sister in heart has a son the same age as mine. Our babies are going to be to become teenagers this year. During our chats we talk about our kids and what their doing.

So many times Rose would mention something about Matthew and I would reply. Just like Tristan. Tristan does that too. So often we began to wonder if they were supposed to have been twins.

I also began to wonder something else. Matthew is autistic. His mom would share their struggles, successes, and daily life of dealing with autism. I can’t even count how many times Rose would share with me and I would reply, “Just like Tristan.”

There are so many things that I noticed over the years with my boy that made him different. Not in a bad way. Tristan just never really seemed on the same social level as kids his age.

He gets along with almost everyone but a lot of the time other kids just don’t get him. He has a hard time getting them sometimes too. One thing is the repetitiveness that he has. If he says or does something that makes you smile or laugh he’ll continue to do it. Maybe not right in a row but I and guarantee that you’ll know it well enough to see it coming by the 50th pass.

He’s not trying to be annoying. Tristan just wants to make you happy again. One of his favorite things is helping someone. Whenever he asks if he can have something from the kitchen he never fails to ask if I would like anything too. Tristan is my sweetheart.

As I began to learn more about autism though my conversations with Rose the more I understood some of Tristan’s extreme behaviors. I call them extreme because they are more acute reactions than is considered “normal”.

Loud or sudden noises give him distress. When we got to the movie theater for example. Sometimes the action sequences of a film can get pretty loud. Tristan will cover his ears and sometimes get so upset he wants to leave. I mean tears in his eyes upset.

Rain and storms terrify him. I mean full blown panic attack, crying, have to go tinkle terrified. He’ll run in and out of the bathroom every 5 or 10 minutes because he’s so upset he has to go again.

At first I thought he was just being over dramatic. He’s a bit of a drama king, I tease he should be on stage doing Shakespeare. He always replies with a line from one of the plays, silly boy. But talking to Rose and sharing about our boys I’ve begun to see that these actions could be something else.

Thanks to my best friend, Rose and her willingness to share and put up with all my inquiries. I’ve learned new ways to see and deal with some of Tristan’s behaviors that I believe are autistic. Our lives have become less flustered. I think my son is just like Rose’s sweetie Matthew, autistic. I’m not worried like oh God there’s something wrong with my baby. It’s more like ohhhh that explains it.

We’re making appointments with his doctor to talk about having him evaluated for autism. I’m pretty sure it will confirm my suspicions and wonders and I’m okay with that. Because now instead of wondering we can say okay this is what it is and work on it together. Tristan and I can have a better relationship as mother and son and he can get more of what he needs to be all he can be in his life.

I’ll post again about our progress/findings/adventures on this path. And I’m sure it’s not the last time I’m going to say, “Hey, that’s just like Tristan.”


Have you ever stood before a work of art that stunned you with its beauty? Ever heard a piece of music that made you cry? What about hearing a story and being so pulled in by it that you forget everything else going on around you?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these then you have been inspired. What is inspiration and why does it drive us? One definition for inspiration is the arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity. An arousal of the mind…..

Arousal doesn’t have to be sexual. When you are aroused you are awakened. Once you’re senses have been waked this is where the magic happens. The mind is spurred to that special level of activity.

Ideas begin to form in thoughts, words, maybe even pictures in your mind. Inspiration, this mental arousal, isn’t just a passing thing. If you are truly inspired something happens. You become driven. There is an aching need to see this idea come to life.

For a writer inspiration is what drives us to weave stories. We are given the chance to create people and worlds that just might inspire someone else. Where do you get such deep inspirations you ask?

It can come from almost anywhere and sneak up on us. Our minds are aroused though music and art but also the ordinary things in life. Sometimes even the things we like the least will be of great inspiration.

Men, women and even children are inspired to great heights every day. Stephine Meyer wrote the Twilight series inspired by a dream she’d had. Stephine even has said she started with writing her dream which was the middle of the story. Then went back and added the beginning and the end.

Picasso was inspired by a circus poster, Salvador Dali once said the very air he breathed was inspiring.

Hanna at seven years old was diagnosed with stage four Burkitt’s lymphoma. After intense chemo and a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney’s Magic Kingdom this little girl was inspired. She made a necklace out of melted crayon and a black walnut shell for a mold. If you’ve ever seen a black walnut inside you know the wax came out in the shape of a heart.

Hanna made more heart necklaces and sold them with all the money going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. In 2009 they presented Hanna with the Lori Shulz-Betancourt Indomitable Spirit Award. This little seven year old girl as raised over $20,000 for the Foundation.

Are you inspired yet? If not go to a museum, take a walk though the park, listen to your favorite music open your heart to it and the inspiration will find you when you least expect it too. Maybe even in the grocery store or a blog post.

Question is once you find that great awakening what are you going to do with it?

This will be the 8th Annual Museum Day sponsored by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums nation wide will offer free admission to guests with a Museum Day card. The card is good for two free admissions to the participating museum of your choice.

Some of the featured museums include Virginia Museum of Natural History in Virginia. The Irving Arts Center in Texas, South Street Seaport Museum in New York, Memorial Hall in Massachusetts and the Seminole A-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum in Florida.

Over 60 museums are participating in the state of Florida and over 50 in Texas. Many more all over the country will accept the Museum Day card. You can get yours by filling out a short form then download for later printing at the Smithsonian web site at http://microsite.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/index.html

There is a full listing of all participating museums on the website for Museum Day. They range from art and history to cultural and science. There is some place for everyone to explore on Museum Day.

Bling H2O

Do you Bling? It seems a great number of people get it. The gourmet water has become the official water of the PLUGLA Magazine, as well as winning awards for the best packaging. It’s easy to see with the lovely handcrafted corked 750ml recyclable frosted bottle sparkling with Swarovski Crystals why someone would pay $39.00 to be seen with the new fashion accessory.

    Fine Waters Site calls it pop culture in a bottle and Bling H2O even has it’s own MySpace account. With all that hype the liquid within must be truly exotic. Actually it comes from a natural spring in Dandridge, Tennessee. Yes, that’s right Tennessee. They use a nine step purification process that includes ozone, ultraviolet, and micro-filtration. The source spring is NSF certified to insure the waters quality. The NSF is and international organization that helps protect consumers by certifying the products and writing standers of foods You can find out more about them at http://www.nsf.org.

    Kevin G. Boyd a Hollywood writer/producer noticed he could tell about a person’s personality by the bottled water they carried. Bling H2O was designed to make a fashion statement as well as taste good.  Initially the “Cristal” of bottled water was introduced to hand selected customers. Now the company has branched out expanding it’s availability. The fashionable drink was featured at events like the MTV Video Music Awards as well as the Emmy’s. Even their web site http://www.blingh2o.com screams sex appeal. The product has won gold medals for best tasting water at the Berkely Springs International Water Tasting Festival and many more awards for taste and visual appeal. Bling was featured on Entertainment Tonight and seen in the hands of many celebs like Jamie Foxx.

    While $39.00 seems a little steep for the average joe we do tend to follow the trends. We have been known to pay more than that for a pair of jeans just because someone famous wears them. Bling H2O has made water a fashion statement, an accessory to add to our already overflowing closets. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t buy a case maybe you can get one bottle and refill it. No one but you and your sink will know. Everyone else will think you got Bling.