Friday, November 13, 2009

Guest Blogger...

I received an email from Mary Ward, a freelance writer who writes for several blogs. She asked if she could submit an article for BrainCheese over 3 weeks ago...and, being the complete CHEESE HEAD that I am, I am also just now getting around to responding.

My first thought was, "Why would ANYONE who is an actual writer even WANT to submit something to be printed on this little toilet paper piece of the Internet?" I was quickly able to let go of that question (not because it was answered) and realize I have been too preoccupied with life to write anything of my OWN here, so I jumped at the opportunity!!

So, without further ado, I present Mary Ward and her post titled, "How To Keep Fit When You Have Multiple Sclerosis".

For people who have Multiple Sclerosis, keeping physically fit is extremely beneficial. No matter how you are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, there are a number of exercises from which you can benefit. If you stay as physically fit and healthy as possible, many of your symptoms may improve and their effects minimized.

Exercising on a regular basis will help effectively to keep you body working as well as possible to its fullest potential. Each person is affected by Multiple Sclerosis and you know what you like to do. It is vital that you find the exercise routine that suits you best and you know you will enjoy. Some people enjoy playing team sports like baseball and basketball. Other people with Multiple Sclerosis enjoy yoga and Tai Chi. You will benefit from any type of physical movement. You can even stay fit from activities such as cleaning, gardening or taking brief walks. Using your muscles will help keep you fit.

No evidence exists to suggest that exercise has a negative effect on Multiple Sclerosis over time. Nor is there any evidence that exercising will cause a relapse. As a matter of fact, the research on the subject indicates the exact opposite.

Exercise works effectively to improve the overall health of a person with a mild case of Multiple Sclerosis. It helps people with severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis remain as active and mobile as possible. Exercise works effectively to help many people afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis to better manage their symptoms such as bowel and bladder complications, difficulty balancing, muscle stiffness, anxiety, fatigue and depression. Exercise also helps to decrease the chance of heart disease.

In order to find the exercises that meet your particular abilities and needs, you may find physiotherapy quite helpful. A physiotherapist may be able to help you find the exercises to concentrate on a certain part of your body that needs improvement, or aid with management of a particular effect of your Multiple Sclerosis.

A single Multiple Sclerosis exercise that works for all cases just does not exist. Multiple Sclerosis affects different people in many different ways. Therefore, the best exercises will vary from one person to the next. In addition, you may find that the benefits you desire from an exercise routine will change over time.

Several types of exercise work effectively to help keep your body healthy, especially if you are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, such as:

· Aerobics like running, cycling or rowing are a great way to get the blood pumping all throughout the body by using several different muscle groups.

· Strength training exercises, such as lifting or using small weights, work well. You can also use the weight of your own body to strengthen your muscles and bones.

· Stretching is the ideal way to keep your muscles relaxed and supple. Remember to stretch before beginning any aerobic exercise, and use stretching as an exercise all its own.

· Posture exercises work to keep your head, shoulders, knees, feet and pelvis all in proper alignment to reduce the amount of strain on the bones and muscles.

No matter how you are affected by Multiple Sclerosis, you should be able to find an appropriate exercise routine that will make a huge difference in the way live with and manage your condition.

Mary Ward blogs about how to apply to online sonography programs.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Too Close To Home...

It happened just after 10:00PM last night...10:05 to be nearly exact. I had been spending my Hallows in meditation, fasting, and in introspect, when I heard the first volley of gunfire. Seven shots...I counted them. Then, a brief pause followed by 10 more. I know THIS, too, because I counted them (contrary to what the local news is reporting).

The sound of gunfire is NOT all that unfamiliar in the part of Seattle where I live...frankly, I'm not sure it is unfamiliar in MOST areas of any city these days. But THIS particular gunfire was not that far away from my home...within minutes, maybe two, I heard the sounds of multiple sirens racing over the streets and saw the Seattle Police Department zipping up and down the road. There was a frantic quality to the response last night...not that SPD doesn't ALWAYS respond quickly to most calls. But this was no ordinary call of "shots fired".

Last night, a Seattle Police officer was gunned down while sitting in his cruiser less than 1/2 mile from my home. He was killed in the first volley of seven shots I heard. News reports say an unknown gunman simply pulled up along side the police cruiser and opened fire...there was no provocation and no warning. This officer was literally assasinated for no particular reason...other than he was wearing the familiar blue uniform and badge.

I don't personally know the murdered reports say he was a training officer and was in the middle of a training shift with a rookie only one month on the job. Of course, the news is ALSO reporting a variance in the number of shots fired. I KNOW the exact count...I listened to it, looked at my watch, and waited to hear the sounds of sirens in hopeful response. The sound seemed too far away for me to identify a location for a 911 operator.

The words, "senseless crime", seem like SUCH a completely strange combination of words when trying to make sense of this tragedy. After all, isn't ALL crime senseless? But to literally assasinate a police officer, or ANY human being for that matter, leaves me speechless...and very, very sad.

I work very closely with the Seattle Police force in my "govmet" job...time and time again, these officers have covered MY arse when dealing with a potentially violent mentally ill patient. They go in first, securing the way for ME to enter to do my job. They cover MY back...keeping me safe so that I might ALSO protect the public in the role I have...whether that be protecting a suicidal individual or someone who's mental illness causes them to want to harm others.

It was through my job I learned about the "black stripe" on an officer's SPD officer kindly told me what the piece of tape meant that he was wearing on his badge when I somewhat dumbly inquired, not knowing the depth of the significance. I was told whenever an officer is killed in the line of duty, the force dons their badges with a black stripe to signify the mourning of the fallen is their "memorial" of sorts to their commrade.

The killing of the SPD officer last night hits too close to home, not just on a geographical level, but a personal/emotional one as well. I am keenly reminded of the inherent dangers of working as a public servant myself. I am often tasked with making safety decisions in MY job whether or not to request a police escort into a situation or whether I feel "safe" entering with only my work partner and the sole weapon we carry...our brains. The majority of the time, we make the appropriate decision about our safety and the safety of the population we serve. But there is always a margin of possibility we might miscalculate our sense of safety and find ourselves in dangerous situations. These are the risks we take...every day. And EVERY DAY at the end of the day, I am quite thankful yet another has gone by without injury or harm to myself, my colleagues, or the population we serve.

And EVERY DAY, I am always thankful the men and women in blue of the Seattle Police Department are available to me if I need them...willing to "go in" first so that I might safely do my job. I don't have a *badge* to carry in my today, I'm simply putting a black piece of tape across my heart and honoring these courageous officers...