Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Re: Hating the Waitingby Olga on Mon May 18, 2009 4:59 pmGail,for many on this board the waiting time is all time they have - and paradoxically it might be the best time that they have left before they start treatments or they get the bad news so I strongly suggest to the people reconsider your attitude to a waiting time trying it to pass faster, it is better to enjoy it then discount it, use it to do something really good for yourself and the family that you might not have a chance to do later if ever.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Winifred Gallagher's new book, "Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life" argues that it's high time we take more deliberate control of this stuff. "The skillful management of attention," she writes, "is the sine qua non of the good life and the key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience, from mood to productivity to relationships." Because we can only attend to a tiny portion of the sensory cacophony around us, the elements we choose to focus on -- the very stuff of our reality -- is a creation, adeptly edited, providing us with a workable but highly selective version of the world and our own existence. Your very self, "stored in your memory," is the product of what you pay attention to, since you can't remember what you never noticed to begin with.Gallagher came to appreciate this while fighting "a particularly nasty, fairly advanced" form of cancer. Determined not to let her illness "monopolize" her attention, she made a conscious choice to look "toward whatever seemed meaningful, productive, or energizing and away from the destructive, or dispiriting." Her experience of the world was transformed. This revelation naturally led her to wonder why she'd had to exert herself to do what made her feel better. Why didn't she turn to it as naturally as a thirsty woman turns to a glass of ice water? Why do we reflexively award more attention to negative or toxic phenomena like disasters and insults, while neglecting to credit small pleasures and compliments with the significance they deserve?
Monday, May 11, 2009
Canadian researchers studied 26 therapy dogs who visited patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Before and after each visit, a dog’s forepaws and the hands of its handler were tested for three bacteria that commonly cause hospital infections — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile. To detect whether a dog was carrying germs on its fur, the researcher also sanitized her hands, petted the dog and had her hands tested for the pathogens.None of the dog paws, handlers or the researcher tested positive for the bacteria before the hospital visits. But after the hospital visits, two of the dogs were contaminated. One dog, a greyhound, had C. difficile on its paws. Another dog, a pug, appeared to pick up MRSA on its fur. (MRSA was found on the hands of the investigator after she petted the dog upon its return.)So how did the dogs end up as carriers of the risky germs? The dog with C. difficile had shaken paws with several patients. The pug with MRSA on its fur had spent time in patients’ beds and was kissed repeatedly by two patients.
In my own worst seasons, I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of a red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.
The traditional American hospital gown -- flimsy in front, open to the breeze in the back -- has been around about as long as the Band-Aid. If anything, it has changed less.
The one-size-fits-none garment remains one of the least loved aspects of American medicine.
A faded poster of golden retriever puppies peeking out of pastel flower pots was taped to the ceiling directly above the bench where patients lie [during radiation]. I guess the idea was that people could distract themselves with fluffy puppies while their flesh burned.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
And must I then, indeed, Pain, live with youAll through my life? Sharing my fire, my bed,Sharing — oh, worst of all things! — the same head? —And, when I feed myself, feeding you, too?So be it, then, if what seems true, is true:Let us to dinner, comrade, and be fed:I cannot die till you yourself are dead,And, with you living, I can live life through.Yet have you done me harm, ungracious guest,Spying upon my ardent officesWith frosty look; robbing my nights of rest;And making harder things I did with ease.You will die with me: but I shall, at best,Forgive you with restraint, for deeds like these.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
The camera sits in on Isaac's appointments at the University of Washington Medical Center, his pensive strolls through Gas Works Park. The roughhousing with his two young sons.
There is a strange sort of fun in a scene in which Isaac allows his son to pull out clumps of his hair after chemotherapy; and another in which his friends supportively shave their heads at Rudy's Barbershop.
But there is great sadness watching Isaac remove his wedding ring, since he won't have the hand to wear it.