Are we too clean?

It is interesting where our search for complete cleanliness has led us. We have gone too far. Doctors are now recommending that we stop using antibacterial soap except in places where it is really needed. We have created a society of people who are actually to clean.

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I grew up with a grandmother who was born in the 19th century. One of her adages was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Turns our she was on target. A recent article by a British physician who has studied childhood leukemia for the last 30 years has come to the conclusion that our immune system has to be kick started by, you guessed it, infection. He has found that lack of push to the immune system linked with several other factors is what is increasing the number of children diagnosed with this disease.

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This is no fly by night physician but a newly knighted doctor named Mel Greaves.  If you would like to read the article you can find it at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease?CMP=share_btn_link

It is an eye opener. I suppose that my great grandson, who is in day care and exposed to everything, may be safe from this dread childhood disease. At least I hope that there is some benefit from being exposed at an early age.

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God willing, this physician and those who work with him will continue to explore this lead and find a way to stop the increase in this disease.

 

I can’t hear but I don’t care

What-I-Cant-Hear-You-Jude-Samson-Culture-Transgender-UniverseIt is sad to watch people whose hearing in declining and who won’t do anything about it. When with friends you can see them sitting without joining in on the conversation. They can’t hear others but they are unwilling to get hearing aids. Unfortunately, I can see this in my group of friends. I am not sure why hearing aids are an anathema to them. They don’t realize that not hearing well isolates them from others.

I know that the cost of hearing aids has been a factor but recently tech companies have realized that the cost was being controlled by those in the business. Technology has grown to the point that it is possible to create decent hearing aids that work for most people. Before the cost was exorbitant but now it is possible to get help for a reasonable price.

help want toThe most recent studies have shown that not hearing well leads to a decline in mental acuity, withdrawal from social activities, and a decline in overall health. I still don’t understand why some seem to find using this simple tool as unimaginable. I don’t know what would be the trigger to undo this thinking but I wish I knew what it is. Discussing the impact with them (as a nurse) doesn’t seem to get through.

 

Why this kind of thinking?

What can be done?

Any ideas?

Wholeness: mind + body = wellness

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Today has been up and down. I realize I ran myself into the ground planning, traveling, cleaning etc to get ready for my husband’s surgery at Mayo. My immune system was bottomed out. So, after getting a cold while at Mayo, I ended up with a sinus infection and on antibiotics. I am someone who seldom gets sick and to say it unsettles me is an understatement.

I am worse than the parents of the children I saw when I worked for a group of pediatricians. The child would be put on antibiotics and the parent would call later that day saying he/she isn’t well yet. (completely true) I have been given an excellent treatment and I want to be well yesterday!

Feeling down and sick is not fun. I am not sure which is at the top but I guess it doesn’t matter.

There are so many people suffering with physical illness and coping beyond amazing. There are so many with mental illness who are also suffering and coping. My oldest daughter worked at a children’s hospital in a unit called “Adolescent Med-Psych.” That unit cared for teens who were having mental problems because of their physical problems or the reverse. They handled teens with diabetes who didn’t care for themselves, and anorexics with who had created physical problems from their diet. Some patients had severe mental illness that had led to physical problems. I don’t know how she worked there. The anguish of both teen and family must have been horrible. She loved her work.

Many of us don’t take care of ourselves. We let our emotional problems cause physical symptoms. Conversely, we can’t cope with the physical problems and let them move over into emotional problems.

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I think the coping skills for the two things are similar. We are whole. We are not a separate thing. Our minds and our bodies and forever connected. To flourish we need to care for both. The things that we do for our mental health help out physical health. We know that meditation, mindfulness, and managing stress have a powerful affect on our bodies. Keeping up with needed physical exams is also critical.

We need to continue to learn and use coping skills that work for us. Not everyone is the same. Keep testing and trying different things until you find what works for you. It will pay off in big benefits in the long run.

Finding balance

Today, as usual, I was doing yard work. Maintaining the flower beds is an enormous job and it’s all mine. My husband takes care of the grass. The property was initially bought by my grandparents and left to me. It is on a tidal creek and we can swim from the dock. We allow some neighbors to use the dock with their son. They use paddle boards and have lots of fun.

yard workAs they were on the way to the dock today they passed me, sweat soaked, red faced, and dead tired. A while back my husband and I lived in their house. I commented “when I lived in your house I had fun! Now all I do is work in the yard.” It really hit me. I spoke the truth. I don’t swim off the dock…sit out and watch the water or just relax in the hammock. I just go out and do yard work.

I can’t afford to pay someone else to do the work as with a big space it would be very costly. So what do I do? Several times I have written about choosing how much you set for yourself to do but I am not doing it myself. My mother always said that the things you didn’t do would still be there when you got back from doing something fun. She was good at creating a balance.

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Somehow I have to find that balance. I am tired and missing out on fun choices. Feeling pressured to work all the time is not the right thing. Life is too short for that. Balance is critical to wholeness and health.

We are all HOLY

Medicine is what we do to keep the patient amused whilst nature takes its course. Voltaire

not just a body I heard this today and thought how true it is. Medicine can do a great deal but it can’t fix everything. How someone responds to the help that medicine gives relies on so many things. If we have damage somewhere how do we feel about it? People have died just because of a belief that they would. People who were supposed to die have survived because they believed in something more.

We are not a bunch of single parts cobbled together. We are deeply integrated organisms composed of body, mind, soul and spirit. We cannot separate any part from the whole. One of the mistakes that medicine makes is to think that fixing the mechanics only can solve the problem. Our system has been based on this belief for too long. Some doctors and hospitals are beginning to come around to the idea of treating the whole person. When this happens the chance of complete healing increases exponentially.

We are such intricate beings. There is much more to us than is usually considered. Medicine that is beginning to function holistically is a positive change.

you-body-mind-soul-spirit-simple-mind-map-personal-growth-86576844It is so easy to forget that the words whole and holistic are all connected to the word holy. As a living being we are holy and should always be treated with love, respect and awe. When we reach the time when this is done we will be truly healing.

Are we ready for these decisions?

experimentToday we went to see the movie Jurassic World. If you have seen the other Jurassic movies you get the gist of the story. I have pondered since the first movie on the theme that runs through them…”what are we doing to our world?” As part of my nursing career I worked for a while in Neonatal Intensive Care. That was a long time ago and yet we were already struggling with many ethical issues. Were we saving babies whose quality of life would not make sense? When is enough…enough?

We are still struggling with consuming issues in medical ethics. In the films it is portrayed by creating animals long gone and what is the impact of this on our current world? This comes from our continuing research into the very basics of life…studies of DNA, cells and beyond. What do we see for the future? Will be creating people with specific characteristics? Will we be able to live forever? Is any of this a good idea?

The ramifications of where we are in biological studies is way beyond my ability to decipher. The scary part is that the decisions will work their way out of anyone’s ability to oversee them. We will try with laws but there are always those who don’t follow the law.

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The things we are learning can be wonderfully enlightening and heal many genetic illnesses. The cure for cancer may not be far away.

Unfortunately these things can be used for evil as well. We may yet create a master race.

I can add this to my list of things to worry about for my children, grandchildren and great grandchild. That’s just in case I have nothing to obsess about.

How do you foresee us handling the ethical issues facing us very soon?

Addiction and mental health

addiction1There are so many things that people were blamed for in the past that we now realize are an illness. Addiction is one. When we talk about addiction we immediately think about alcohol or drugs. Recently I have wondered if these addictions begin as an attempt to assuage anxiety and or depression. It is one way to medicate these problems. I also think that many people have no idea why they feel the way they do and taking a drink or an illegal drug seems to be the answer. It solves the problem for the moment and the only trouble is that it adds another dimension to the picture.

I have wondered how many people who seek help for addiction will finally discover that there is an underlying issue to be considered. I know little about rehab programs for addiction and don’t know if they address this or not. Obviously, if someone has been masking a mental issue removing the drugs/alcohol may only bring the primary problem to the fore and if it is not dealt with there is little hope that the person can stay sober.

The more we learn about our mental health and the problems related to it the more we learn how linked they are to each other and to related problems. I hope that as we continue the research we can remove the blame and belittling of those of anyone struggling with these issues.

mentla illnessFor too long both those with addictions and those with mental health issues have been second class citizens. As we learn more we are discovering that a much larger percentage of the world’s population suffers with some mental health problem. I think that the number will grow as more are recognized. We are definitely not alone. Much has been hidden for a long time with people unwilling to share.

For this reason we must continue to highlight these issues, call for more research and remove and stigmas. It must change.