Help! I Might Need a Pacemaker! Is a Heart Attack Next?

Sometimes people learn they might need a pacemaker and immediately assume that they are at very high risk for a heart attack. In fact, they may even think that they’re getting the pacemaker to protect them from the heart attack they sense is coming.

Pacemakers help regulate the electrical system of the heart. Pacemakers are typically prescribed to people who have arrhythmias or irregular cardiac rhythms.

Heart attacks, on the other hand, occur when the tiny vessels that feed the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood get blocked and portions of the heart muscle are deprived of oxygen for a long time. Depending on how much muscle tissue is involved and how little oxygen gets through, the heart attack may range from mild to severe or even fatal.

A lot of people hear the word pacemaker and assume that they are at high risk for a heart attack. That is not necessarily the case at all. The two conditions, that is, arrhythmia and heart attack, are distinct and different.

A healthy heart should beat about once a second in a very carefully choreographed and complicated sequence of events involving upper and lower chambers and even split-second periods of rest within a single heartbeat. If those beats are out of sequence or too slow or too fast, the doctor diagnoses an arrhythmia.

Arrhythmias are tricky things since they are often intermittent, which is a term doctors like to throw around but which really means that the arrhythmia comes and goes on its own without any discernible reasons. Many people who need pacemakers have intermittent arrhythmias, meaning that their heart rhythm is out of whack some of the time, but not consistently.

That is why pacemakers operate in standby mode a lot of the time. In the medical device world, the function is called inhibition, but it is the same thing as standby. The pacemaker watches the heart and paces only if the heart needs pacing. As long as the heart is beating normally, the pacemaker simply observes and does nothing.

Most people who are told they need a pacemaker need the device for quality of life more than anything else. While some arrhythmias can be serious and even life threatening, many are somewhat harmless but they can cause symptoms. How do you know if you might have an arrhythmia? The most commonly reported symptoms include feeling dizzy, lightheaded, fainting or thinking you might faint, being tired, out of breath, or feeling exhausted for no apparent reason.

For many people, a pacemaker improves their feelings of well-being, gives them more energy, and gets rid of unpleasant symptoms.

If you need a pacemaker, it does not mean that you are necessarily at risk for other heart disease, a heart attack, or heart failure. On the other hand, this is no free pass.

If you need a pacemaker, that is a problem involving an arrhythmia. You should still continue to get checked for other signs of heart disease. It is perfectly possible to have more than one heart condition.

Getting a pacemaker is not a complicated procedure. It is sometimes done on an outpatient basis, but most of the time, a short stay in the hospital is in order. The operation itself typically takes about an hour (for a regular pacemaker with no particular complications) and recovery is about four to six weeks. However, you should talk to your doctor, since every person is unique which means that every medical case is unique, too.

Millions of people all over the world have pacemakers. They are generally credited with improving the lifestyle and quality of life of the people who have them. Pacemakers have been around for over half a century, working to help regulate irregular heart rhythms.

Heal My Broken Heart – Stop Thinking You Are a Failure

If you've had a relationship break up it is natural to question everything about yourself and your relationship. Questioning is good because it helps us understand what went wrong, what went right and what we should or should not do in the future. It's a learning process which will absolutely make you a stronger more capable person; You will grow and mature so long as you do not draw the wrong conclusions.

I'll explain what I mean by that. Questioning is part of the healing process and as such is a natural and healthy thing to do but you must be careful that you do not make universal judgments on your relationship or yourself; Because a relationship did not work does not mean that you are a failure in anyway. It also does not mean that you are unworthy or that any future relationship will also end the same way.

Every modern convenience, every system of law, every healthcare practice and everything else you can think of that has been created by people has come about by trial and error. Humans learn through making mistakes; Do children see themselves as failures when they fall while learning to walk? Did Thomas Edison think of himself as a failure when it took him a thousand attempts to invent the electric light bulb? Each person who has ever succeeded at anything has taken set backs looked for what they have learned and gone on to triumph.

Now set backs can be painful, soul destroying and certainly not what we want in life but it does not mean failure. Look for the lesson and the seed of opportunity in your pain set back; You are free to pursue what ever it is that you want in life. If that is a good, loving and stable relationship then that is what you have to look forward to.

Certainly spend some time asking yourself and your relationship but then put it behind you. Your future lies ahead of you, not in the pain of the past. Adopt this winning attitude and you will find the happy loving relationship you deserve.

Cholesterol and Heart Diseases – Exposed

You must have heard of the term blood lipids which is a medical name given to all the fatty substance in the blood, including cholesterol. Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance found in the bloodstream and in all body cells. It is produced by the body, and is important for the body to function properly. In fact, the body makes about 80 per cent, the rest 20 per cent comes from dietary sources. Without cholesterol, our bodies would be able to function properly. About half of American adults have a high level of cholesterol and about 1 in 5 have a high-risk zone level.

It is particularly important in the formation of brain cells, nerve tissue, and the spinal cord. It helps to produce bile that metabolize fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. But too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease and stroke.

As we all know, fat deposits in the arterial wall is the major cause of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). The deposits of fats in the arteries make the wall narrower and so reduces blood flow to the heart muscles (myocardium). The arteries can become clogged and narrow, and blood flow reduced. If this plaque ruptures, a blood clot may form here or a piece may break off and travel in the bloodstream. If a blood clot blocks the blood flow to your heart, it causes a heart attack. If a blood clot blocks an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. This whole process is more likely to happen to a person with a high level of bad blood cholesterol in the blood.

But Cholesterol is difficult to measure because the level in the blood includes several different types, and put simply, there are good and bad cholesterol in our body. There is sufficient evidence to show that the risk of Coronary heart disease increases as total cholesterol level increases.

First get to know the different types of cholesterol to determine which one is actually a threat to our health. Blood cholesterol is referred to as total cholesterol (TC) and there are two types:

High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) often called the good cholesterol helps to protect against heart diseases. This type of cholesterol transfers the fatty deposits away from the arteries and they are usually low in hyperinsulinism which is dangerous to the heart.

Low-density Lipoproein Cholesterol (LDL-C) is a bad form of cholesterol which deposits blood fats in the arteries and therefore are associated with increase risk of heart attack. Triglycerides are another common type of fat in the body. They are good energy source that our body also makes mostly. High levels of blood triglycerides are often found in people who are overweight, have high cholesterol levels, heart problems, and diabetes.

So, we do not know that a measure of cholesterol by itself does not count since if the cholesterol level is high, it may be due to high HDL-C (good one) or high LDL-C (bad one). So a breakdown of the type of cholesterol has to be measured.

There is sufficient evidence to show that the risk of heart disease increases as total cholesterol (TC) and LDL-C levels increases. And because HDL-C is the good cholesterol, it is expected that high level of it will help lower the risk of coronary heart disease. So high level of HDL-C appears to neutralize the potential adverse effect of raised total cholesterol level in our blood.

Blood cholesterol level are measured by blood test and the ideal total is less than 5.0mmol / L. For instance, in the Framingham Heart study, people with a total cholesterol level of about 6.5mmol / L had a heart attack risk two or three times higher than people with level less than 5mmol / L.

Your genetic make up is solely responsible for determining your blood cholesterol level. Some families carry genes for raised level of various kind of blood fats. But in all, diet plays the most important role in determining cholesterol levels in the body.

Animal and dairy fats like beef, pork, eggs, cheese, some vegetable oil raises blood cholesterol. Do the first step of preventing heart diseases significantly in both men and women by reducing the amount of saturated or animal fats contents in meals. But rather, replace animal and dairy fats with vegetable fats which are low-saturated and may lower
Blood cholesterol. Eat more of fruits, wholegrain meal, and fresh vegetables. Do physical activities at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.

Many people who have angina or a heart attack have high lipid level which are collectively as a result of diet and collectively genetic. By good and careful diet plan, you can reduce blood cholesterol levels by 10-20 per cent. For greater lowering of cholesterol, drugs are usually necessary. Drugs like Statins, Resins and Fibrates are very useful. See your doctor for effective treatment plan.

Elimination Of Maggots And Flies In Trash Cans

The Life Cycle Of A Fly

The life cycle of the common house fly starts from an egg, from which emerges maggots or larvae- they are approximately 3 to 9 mm long. The fully-grown maggots transform to the pupae stage and finally the fly is formed, and starts the entire cycle again.

Diseases spread by maggots

These miniature creatures are dangerous and are responsible for spreading many diseases in humans and animals. Flies are known to cause malaria, typhoid fever, anthrax, leprosy, cholera, conjunctivitis, tuberculosis, dysentery and diarrhea in human beings. They cause parasitic tape worms on poultry or parasitic tape worms on horses. Flies carry bacteria in their feet and mouth that cause mastitis. These flies transmit diseases with the help of moist food particles that remains in their mouthparts and gets transferred as the fly moves from one place to another. Hence it is essential to get rid of maggots and flies, which howver is a difficult task.

Ways to get rid of maggots and flies

There are some impractical ways to get rid of maggots like pouring hot boiling water on them, or freezing them – which means collecting them together in a sealed packet and putting them in the freezer, or add some bleach to boiling water and pour it on maggots. The common household spray that easily kills the fly is generally ineffective on the maggots.

Practical way of getting rid of maggots and flies

Fly Erase Pest Strips are one of the most efficient, safest and practical ways to rid of flies maggots.  These odorless strips are easy to use as they come packed in foil packets. One needs to open the packet and attach the strips in trash cans or garbage bins. The strips have adhesive attached to one side with which they can be placed to the lid of the trash can with great ease. Fly Erase has a chemical called DDVP – 2,2-Dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate. The strips release this chemical in form of vapors slowly over the time, which acts on the nervous system of the pests and kills them. The 16 gram strips are designed for application in 200 cubic meters and the effect can last upto 4 months. The best part is that it comes at a reasonably low cost of $6.95. Moreover, these strips are safe to use and do not pose any kind of risk to humans and other mammals. As with the handling of any pesticide, one should wash his hands thoroughly after using the strips.

8 Resume Editing Tips That Will Give Your Resume a New Life

Resume plays a vital role during the selection procedure for a job. For this reason, it is extremely important that you send a resume to the company which is well-written and well presented. Many job seekers are unaware on how to write a resume that makes an impression on the prospective employer just by looking at it. However, there are common mistakes that job seekers make in their resume. Hence, we have made a checklist for you to follow so that you can make sure you have an excellent quality representation of yourself, before you send your resume.

1. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation: Nothing can make as much worse impression than the grammar and spelling mistakes in your resume. You can use the grammar and spell check function of your computer. However, make sure you read the document word for word after you have printed it. Certain words can be left by the spell checker as well.

2. Capitalization: It is also important that you follow correct capitalization rules. In case you do not know these rules, you can always follow a manual such as the Gregg Reference Manual. Interviewers pay a lot of attention to these little capitalization mistakes to find out about an individual’s writing skills.

3. Punctuation: Always make sure your resume have no punctuation errors before you send them to any company. The use of commas and semi-colons are often used in a wrongly manner. You can refer to the Greg Reference Manual if you are unsure about how to correctly use punctuation.

4. Run-on sentences: Always make sure that you do not have any run-ons in your resume that are hard to read. For the reason that nobody wants to read a total crap in the name of sentences and phrases, you must remember to keep your resume clean and to the point.

5. Consistency: Before you send out your resume, make sure you are consistent with the number usage, plurals, and abbreviations. Especially for dates, make sure you use date as 9/2007 or 3/18/2007 but not both in the same document. Also, be careful to be consistent while listing software.

6. Education section: It is important that, while you are writing about your degrees, you list only the year in which you obtained that degree. If you list only your dates, many resume-scanning systems will recognize that you have only attended the college during the period and will not recognize that you have obtained the degree as well.

7. Ampersands: Your resume should not include any Ampersands (&). There are only a few exceptions that allow you to use the Ampersands. These include the well-known company name (AT&T) as well as a well known industry name (P&L).

8. Hyperlinks: Make sure all the e-mail and web addresses that are used in your resume are deactivated.

Thus, if you follow these 8 resume editing tips you can come up with a resume that will be hard to ignore and thus would get you the job of your ultimate dreams

Failures and weaknesses of Keynesian theory

Evaluation of Keynesian theory will be incomplete if we do not make an attempt to examine the important weaknesses and failures of the theory. It can be briefly enumerated as mentioned below:

1)            It is only a capitalistic theory:

Keynesian theory is branded as capitalistic theory. Keynes has evolved a theory to make capitalistic economy work smoothly. He has not taken into consideration the recent developments in economic system in the form of socialism and communism. In these economic systems, profit motive is absent and capital is owned by the state itself. So the question of marginal efficiency of capital or anticipated profits does not arise in communist and socialist economies. That is why it is said: “If communism comes, Keynes will be as dead of Ricardo”. The concepts of Keynes cannot be altogether dismissed  in socialist economies. Even in socialist countries, attempts to rise the level of employment and to increase national incomes are made. Most of the operations are centralized and planned investment is the government investment, which becomes autonomous investment.

2)            It is only a depressionary economics: Keynes created his new theory in the depressionary period to offer something as solution to retrieve the economies from the morass of depression. It was born out of the Great depression, in the thirties and the theory has no relevance to modern economies bristling with hectic economic activity. This criticism is too uncharitable. Keynes’ theory is not exclusively for depressionary periods. His models explain both depression and boom periods and clarify situations and also offer solutions. Autonomous investment in the depression to boost the economy and disinvestment in the boom period are the solutions offered by Keynes to mitigate the evil of trade cycle.

3)            It is short run economics: An important feature of Keynesian theory is its short run considerations of the concepts and effects. It does not pay much attention to long run effects.

4)            It is based on the assumption of perfect competition: Like old classical economists, Keynes too has assumed perfect composition which is far from realistic. Keynes has completely overlooked the problems of monopoly and imperfect conditions. From this point of view, Keynesian theory becomes obsolete and outdated as it does not conform to practical conditions.

5)            It is too aggregative, neglecting micro aspects:

One of the major criticisms against Keynes’ theory is its aggregative character.

6)            Confusing units of measurement: Another fundamental criticism against this theory is the wrong choice of units in measuring the total output of the economy. For want of a common unit of measurement to denote the output of an economy, Keynes used employment as the unit of measurement.

New Options for Breast Cancer Treatment

To successfully treat breast cancer therapies must be designed individually and strategically in order to outsmart the disease and restore a patient's health. The problem is that many treatments are so invasive and aggressive that they can destroy the health of the patient along with the disease. However, new developments in breast cancer treatment are showing promise as less invasive options that can help a patient fight cancer and protect the integrity of their health at the same time.

New Targeted Radiation Therapies Kill Cancer Cells and Protect Healthy Tissue

Radiation is the standard form of care after breast-preserving surgery (lumpectomy) for women under 70 years of age, and there are several options that are being studied and are currently available in some facilities. Intra-operative Radiation (IOP), for example, is a technique that applies radiation to the affected area during surgery. The radiation is focused directly on the surgical field and spaces surrounding healthy tissue. This is a highly desirable option, as it can replace the typical 5-6 weeks of post-lumpectomy radiation normally recommended, but not every individual is a candidate.

Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) is another approach being developed that uses small catheters that are inserted into the cavity left by the lumpectomy procedure. There are several systems being used with different variations in equipment and technique. This is a form of brachytherapy, which uses radioactive seeds to deliver the radiation. Five days of this technique mirrors six weeks of whole breast radiation, greatly limiting the exposure of healthy tissue to radiation. This can be a significant advantage, particularly for women with left-sided breast cancer, as the usual whole breast radiation technique can affect heart tissue as well as the lungs, ribs and skin.

Freeze Cancer in its Tracks

Cryotherapy is a technique that uses a probe to freeze the abnormal and surrounding tissue, and has been used for many years in treating cervical dysplasia and prostate cancer. Application to breast cancer lesions is a new development for this therapy, but it has the potential to become a less invasive option than surgical removal for treating early breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a study last year using mice with breast cancer lesions and found that rapid freezing not only killed the tumors, but generated an immune response that helped stop further spreading. This result ultimately led to improved survival when compared to surgery. Cryotherapy treatment for breast cancer is currently available in a limited number of centers throughout the United States.

Microwave Radar Targets Just the Tumor Sites

Another technique in development uses radar technology. The microwave energy from a powerful device is focused on the tumor, sparing healthy surrounding tissue. This form of therapy works by taking advantage of the fact that water molecules are more plentiful in breast tumors, compared to surrounding normal tissue, and that microwaves strongly excite water molecules. Computer algorithms combined with the heating effects on water-rich abnormal tissue allow an even greater concentration of energy at the tumor site while nearby tissue remains unaffected. This technology is in clinical trials in a setting where pretreatment of larger tumors would allow a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy. This is traditionally performed with pre-surgical chemotherapy. In a Phase II trial comparing chemotherapy with this technology, almost 80 percent of treated breast tumors had a volume reduction of 80 percent or more, compared to only 20 percent of tumors treated by chemotherapy alone. In addition, this method appears to sensitize tumors to the effects of chemotherapy. The device has been approved by the FDA for a Phase III trial and once this is successfully completed, it should be well on its way to being launched.

New Treatments, New Hope

These breast cancer treatment techniques are forming the basis for further highly targeted and strategic cancer fighting methods to emerge within mainstream medicine. The cross-field discussion among professionals in physics, engineering and medicine is generating much needed creative collaborations that are offering hope for techniques and equipment that can provide less invasive, more focused treatment with significantly less damage to healthy tissues.

For more information about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options, download a complimentary wellness guide at . Know that there are a number of treatment options available to help you gain the best possible exit, and this knowledge is power.

A Review of the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill

I love walking, especially out doors, but there are times in winter when it’s just too darn cold. So, recently I bought the Sportcraft TX 5.0 RC Treadmill. Here’s my review and why I’m glad I bought it.

It’s great that I can now enjoy a good walk workout in the comfort of my own home and the features of the Sportcraft TX5 treadmill are really good. I talk about the best ones below.

Out of all the features of the Sportcraft treadmill, the best one is that it can easily go from its horizontal walking position to a vertical position so I can easily store it: I live in a small town house so space is an issue for me. Mind you, the Sportcraft machine does look quite stylish so leaving it set up and on display won’t embarrass a style-conscious person.

The display panel that comes with the Sportcraft TX5 is fantastic as it gives me lots of information. Not only does it show the miles and steps I’ve walked; it also shows the calories, heart rate, time and speed. There’s a quick mode button that lets me change the speed as well; It’s real easy, you just use the “+” or “-” signs to slowly increase or decrease speed in increments of one tenth of a mile.

Although it is a cheap machine, I’ve found I can also use it for running, though I have to admit I don’t run on it all that much. When I do run, I find the remote control to be very useful as it allows me to easily change speed without touching the display panel.

I’m a bit of a safety nut and one reason I’d put off buying a treadmill was because I was afraid I’d fall off – I had visions of my legs and arms being mangled. But, the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC has banished those fears. It comes with a safety cord that attaches to you and a sensor on the panel so if you should fall or slip, and the cord is not connected to the sensor, it stops automatically.

What I liked, and my husband loved, was the low price of the machine at just under $250. My husband found setting up the Sportcraft treadmill a breeze. The manual that came with it was easy to follow.

If you are looking for a treadmill, I would highly recommend the Sportcraft TX5.0 RC Treadmill. My husband doesn’t use it though as he’s an ardent runner; it isn’t really suitable if you take running seriously. But, for walkers like my self I think it works just great.

My review of the Sportcraft treadmill is a little short; I’ve just mentioned the things I liked most about it. The display console of the machine is just about right, the remote control makes operating the treadmill easy and I really like the safety cord. To date, I’ve had hassle free walking on this machine and am getting the workout I need.

Bittersweet Orange

There is always something reassuring about being able to relate to something that seems familiar to you in a book or a film on television. It means you not lost and alone in the world. It means that you are not the only one who feels like the Outsider.

As children growing up in a dysfunctional home our function was to endure. We weren’t orphans, we weren’t physically abused and we weren’t abandoned or neglected by our parents. Our parents weren’t selfish people but when I was younger I used to think to myself perhaps they were the wrong fit. Something was wrong; something was the matter.

I am done with wishing the past is dead. I have realised that the past is what shapes us, as does our vivid, colourful and vibrant background and the history we shared with our siblings when we were growing up.

While fresh blossoms are crushed under the flow of the spray of the downpour of winter rain and acid colour spills into the fading white sunlight; the sky burns brightly in the morning light while I am writing this on my computer.

Raised voices in my parents’ darkened bedroom jerk us children back to a reality that is wired very differently from other people’s homes, other children’s families.

Our childhood was dark; filled with trauma that was unspoken of, unhealed sores, open wounds, raw hurting flesh that screamed in anger and in pain when it was touched. Nothing seemed to heal that tenderness for the three of us except hours spent in front of the television or reading.

The thin rain reminds us all of my mother’s rage when she had nobody else left to scream at. It rubbed salt in the wound. It burned and left a unique imprint on our brain.

When the summer rain came it swept everything away. It was swept away under rug and brain and belly. It nourished us to express ourselves creatively.

I had to give my childhood pain, that wasteland a name. As children we were the ‘walking wounded’. All three of us were damaged in some way. At first it was as slow as honey before it descended on our personalities and behaviour. It marked us. It restored us to sanity at times. It also drove us slowly insane in different ways; in ways that could be seen, ways that came in waves of disconnection and ways that seemed invisible.

Parents don’t mean to hurt their children intentionally. They don’t mean to display self-destructive behaviour and become dysfunctional in their relationships in their work and their relationships at home.

The emotional scars and wounds were there long before I turned ten or twelve or remembered what it was like to be a child. As a family we prayed together and we stayed together. When we prayed the ‘Our Father’ we always kept our eyes open and tried to make each other laugh out loud inviting reprisals from our father. But he never said anything. As adults my brother and sister do not go to church. I don’t know if they believe in God or if they have adopted atheism. My mother has sent them DVD’s and CD’s of sermons at the church she goes to. They don’t listen to anything that she has sent them. They are blessed with good jobs, careers they work hard at and enjoy.

I don’t know if they choose to ignore religion or the role that it has played in our lives. I don’t know if they meditate or if they remember their prayers at night.

I want to remember the best of them. Of my parents when I was younger. Of my mother. I remember her perfume that she wore when I was little. Opium. She was like a drug to me. I was addicted to her love. I wanted her to idolise me the way I idolised and worshipped her when I was little.

Daily it seemed when we were children we were stuck in our own reality television show with the volume turned down low so we could here what they were saying. We followed half cryptic sentences like, “I’m leaving you now. I’ve packed my bags and I’m going.”

I wasn’t there when my father moved out briefly. I was in Johannesburg working for a television and film production company. Briefly I had my hands full with life, colour, love and laughter. Things that I enjoyed, that I had a passion for and that I loved doing more than anything else in the world.

I think that even as adults we are trying to make up, reinvent, mask and make sense of the hateful, spiteful, mean, words that they were saying to each other. Still to this day my mother’s abuse is never-ending and unrelenting. She leaves you frozen, a still life portrait, stone cold and unfeeling like a bowl of overripe fruit or damaged rotten tomatoes. Like the weird incompatible combination of strange fruit and estranged families.

My parents were not bad people; they did not set out to hurt us intentionally; the way they were perhaps were as children by their own parents. They had the best intentions for us as children to develop our full potential. They wanted us to succeed where they did not. They wanted us to succeed at all costs.

How many times did they speak about us behind closed doors? What would become of us? Would we make it through the ‘separation’ or ‘divorce’?

There was always this feeling of loss that permeated the air, repeated words like ‘separation’ and ‘divorce’ but it was always temporary; a flight/fight response from reality.

There were also hours were my brother, sister and I were silent cooped up in our bedrooms shell-shocked into a sullen disbelief. It was here my brother discovered Isaac Asimov, sci-fi, Marvel comic books while I discovered a torn and tattered copy of Lady Chatterly’s lover by D.H Lawrence, a book, really a feminist treatise by the French writer Simone de Beauvoir. I held onto these gifts; reading and writing poetry. They gave me courage under fire. It was three of us, me and my siblings against the world. We were reckless, unruly, unforgiving of anyone who wouldn’t or couldn’t understand us, our lives, our unique lifestyle. I didn’t know what my sister discovered. What mess she was in and what was going on in her head. She was the perfect child who cooked when there was no supper. She always made the same meal. She made meat and potatoes in a steaming thick brown broth. She cut up the potatoes in huge chunks.

They were sometimes still hard but we ate it. Chewed thoughtfully and said nothing. For a long time nothing came into our little heads, our minds, no matter how smart we thought we were at letting the world see our picture perfect family. When we let the outside world into our little cocoon, our ‘safe’, sad environment we could see straight through the cover at the cracks that were starting to shine through. The cracks that we could no longer hide from each other and the rest of the individuals that we came into contact with on this planet called earth.

When we were children, playing at being sea urchins on the beach my sister and I would watch the sea foam melt into our bronzed toes. We would try not to get the rest of our bodies wet. We don’t go in far when there’s no lifeguard on duty and when no flags are up. On the hot beach today, the water chills us from our flesh to the bone even as we stand at the edge where the rolling waves come to an end. Now my sister wants to record our family history and everything by taking pictures with her cell phone.

We take lots of pictures.

My sister was the super overachiever who came home with medals, diplomas, straight A’s in Mathematics and Physical Science. She won a scholarship to NASA in the US when she was fourteen. She was the child who couldn’t put a foot wrong no matter how hard she tried to be as different as my brother and I were she couldn’t fit into our clique. She never made a big deal out of anything she did. She took it all in her stride. For a long time I never realised she was just copying me; trying to be me in a way I found it impossible to be – perfect without a hair out of place.

She was tracing my movements in primary school and high school slyly. She was cunning. So cunning she was invisible for a long time to both my brother and me when she was growing up. Her feelings, emotions, her delicate state of mind, her vulnerabilities were masked exceptionally well with an efficient flow and ebb, supreme confidence and grace. She was holding up a pattern for me and the whole world to see all the time of me.

I remember once she memorised a poem that I had to say for my Speech and Drama class. I couldn’t read yet. So my parents had to read the words over and over until I could get all the lines of the poem stuck inside my head like a film reel of an editor.

She said it word for word with an iron, determined will that defied her age. She was just a kid, a baby. She could hardly read yet but she had learnt it off by heart from hearing me recite it.

My parents and aunt stood around her with beaming faces, clapping and even then I was always a bit in awe of her. That day I was afraid of her stealing my glory forever. I can still remember what it felt like, the hairs raised at the back of my neck, my spine tingling, chills going through my body that such energy and beauty and grace could come out of such a tiny body, a thing, a human being. I drew my breath in sharply knowing how carefully, how artfully she had watched me so that she could do this; show this to me in her own thoughtful way. But I could never quite figure out and get my head around why she had done it.

I thought that perhaps she was being just like me in a way that I hadn’t seen myself before. I saw me through her eyes just for a few minutes and I had to turn my head away. She hates reading my work; the stories I write today or perhaps hate is too strong a word. She is indifferent to it. I have no idea what she sees there between the lines on the pages when she reads it.

I remember the days when my eyes were drawn deep, dark circles and when I was morose and withdrawn. When I was nineteen and speedily diagnosed with clinical depression. My response to the whole world was that it became a black, dense shadow in twilight. I saw it through brand new eyes, waiting with hopelessness and helplessness, waiting for forgiveness for this thing that I had done wrong.

I was waiting for without a shadow of a doubt for love and forgiveness for what I couldn’t tell you that even now. I was selfish; I was rude, ill-mannered, immature, petty and childish. I was growing up. I was grown up yet I thought I was still a child hanging on to my mother’s apron strings.

Now I cook. It’s my new-found therapy. I cook for my family. It’s something else I’m good at. I’ve always hated liver even when I was a child but liver and sweet fried onions were one of my father’s favourite meals growing up. I tried to make it like his mother used to make it. I still try to make him food and meals that he would like. He praised me every time for every dish I made him. My hero, my god, a giant, a gift to the world he grew up in, came into contact with as he grew older and now as he ages to so many people. To the people he taught as a teacher and the people he worked with.

I am based in Port Elizabeth now. The sun is white. The sea breeze tastes like salt on my tongue and the back of my mouth. Shell-shocked orphaned children on an HIV/Aids documentary film washes over me like a monsoon. I am drawn to war now and documentaries not about animals but about people, emergencies, protests against service delivery. I am drawn to orphans, children who are innocents and displaced people who live in poverty stricken areas and who have hunger in their bellies; people who have to ward off xenophobic attacks.

The more unhappiness that seems to linger inside my head makes me strangely feel ‘normal’. I am one of them now. I am just like everybody else but I know in my heart that my sadness is an illness and one that is overpowering, overwhelming and can be devastating. Female writers and poets have made this ‘look’, sadness, depression, suicidal, on the verge of a nervous breakdown dangerously seductive and attractive. I look at the imprints that people’s handprints make. I find it interesting. I know the small handprints belong to children and I wonder what their childhood is like. If it is anything like mine was I feel tired even a bit stressed out. Children shouldn’t have to grow up in circumstances where they have no thought control over the adults that look after and supervise them.

When we were growing we tried not to rock the boat. In pictures when my kid brother was small he always had a little smile on his face. He doesn’t smile like that anymore in pictures. Instead he is like a mannequin, he poses, sometimes he even shows off a little but that little smile that I still look for is no longer there.

On Sunday afternoons my parents rested. While they were deep in sleep we played games with each other, told each other scary stories. We lived in another world but it was normal to us.

We didn’t really have any other friends in the neighbourhood. We were kept away from other children by our mother. She didn’t want us to mix with the ‘wrong crowd’. We were the wrong crowd. The three of us trapped in an abusive home; as shell-shocked as I’ve said before as a child in war or a child overcoming trauma, no one could ever know the pain that we went through on a daily basis.

How my mother makes my father happy is irrelevant now at this juncture in our lives. We are all adults and have been left to fend for ourselves in the world. How she makes him unhappy is. She hasn’t realised yet how unhappy she makes us children when she makes our father sad. She hasn’t realised yet how much pain, despair and heartache she causes him. I don’t think she will ever know. I don’t think I will ever know the secrets of her own childhood that she carries in her own heart. The relationship she had with both of her parents and her own siblings.

One brother died when he was five years old in a car accident and there is her sister in the family who is an alcoholic and another sister who had a child out of wedlock. What my own mother thinks and feels daily is an anomaly to me. There is no way for me to get through to her. Now she has found religion and God again and the church. I don’t know what sacrifices she made to get here to her own sobriety. I don’t know what ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘abnormal’, ‘dysfunctional family life’ means to her. She calls my medication, my ‘pharmacy’, Smarties.

Nobody outside of our family knew the personal problems we were going through. There were so many secrets embedded in the sometimes oddly normal personas that we carried around with us. We changed them like clockwork to fit in with that day’s scenery or landscape like actors who had many costume changes in a film or whores who worked in bordellos in the wild West; prostitutes who worked the streets.

These effigies were involved in the day to day household debates, at school, church, Sunday school, our Speech and Drama classes with Miss Gilbey and then later Sharon Rother. We even got the chance to act out a little in the plays that were put on at schools and at home for our parents own amusement and delight. What we were actually doing was shielding ourselves from the blows. Those emotional blows, scarring, ribbing, our mother’s mood swings and eternal highs and lows and her ranting and shrieking when one of us did something we weren’t supposed to do. Our childhood was bittersweet. We were like soldiers sharing rations, sharing food, sharing a bond, storytelling in a POW camp.

In high school I was the girl who never cracked a smile. I was a sullen girl with few friends. My brother on the other hand was the popular one in high school. Smart. People, teachers, girls, boys, men and women seemed to respect him and like him immediately. They were drawn to him like bees to pollen. He didn’t have to work for it like I seem to do. And it seemed like I had to be constantly working at it.

Also when he was a teenager he constantly seemed at war with himself. He was constantly acting out. Going for joy rides in my mother’s car, sneaking out to clubs on a Saturday night with his so-called ‘friends’, being involved in skirmishes and once he was caught drinking on the school premises and was suspended for two weeks from school. He was nearly expelled.

The questions I asked myself growing up and still to this day is, “Do my parents make each other happy?” Then when I was a grown up I could finally answer that question. They did love each other. They do love each other. My father respected my mother and she loved him in her own way. She loved him in the best way that she knew how. I didn’t want to blame the person I loved the most in the world anymore – my mother.

It was raining. There was the smell of a wet dog in the air. The dog, my mother’s dog Moby sat cowering on a cushion under the chair by the computer where I was writing. I remembered the times when I was curled up on my bed in the foetal position crying because I couldn’t make any sense out of what was happening to me or my brain. I couldn’t concentrate on anything longer than a few minutes.

I couldn’t read a book other than a few sentences. I felt numb and it was a feeling that I felt often in those weeks of taking the anti-depressants. I suffered in silence with the medication I was taking other than writing or scribbling something down in my diary about it. It was all about how it was making me feel negative, cross, angry at everyone around me, everyone I came into contact with. I felt ambivalent all the time instead of positive and happy.

My life was a never-ending story of the daughter who wanted to be best friends with her mother. Who wished to have a deep, happy and fulfilling bond with her mother but that was not to be. When I was younger it seemed as if we were both always vying for my father’s attention. I was a daddy’s girl. He would always be my hero, the person that I looked up to the most in the world and a giant in my eyes. I looked constantly for his affection and approval in everything I did. My mother finished last. For a long time I didn’t know how much that hurt her.

I didn’t know at that young age that my mother probably had problems of her own. I was too young to realise that she also grew sad, stressed out or depressed about something or probably had grown up problems of not having enough money to make it to the end of the month, emotional security and fitting in with the staff at her school. She was a teacher at a high school near our home which was situated in a comfortable middle class suburb.

After I got put on medication I chewed my fingernails to take the edge off of feeling bored. I began to binge on candy, potato chips and purge. My hair started to fall out. I began to develop a dangerous and bizarre relationship with food. Food seemed to me to be the only thing that seemed to take that strange edge off those first few months. First I decided I didn’t want to eat meat. Then I wasn’t going to eat yoghurt, eat yellow cheeses or drink milk even if it was low fat or skimmed. I wanted to be a vegetarian and only allowed myself to eat fish.

I rested a lot during that time in those first few months when I was first put on drugs for my clinical depression. I took long naps. I needed to sleep but I didn’t want to dream. Dreams could so easily turn into nightmares and sometimes they remained burned on my brain long after I woke up and I would relive them again and again.

What I learned about sex when I hit puberty and became a teenager came from books like from D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterly’s Lover’; Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness Of Being’. I learnt that sex was all about power and control. This was what my peers were learning about it from their forays into the world of dating, girlfriends and boyfriends. I had my books.

I loved Port Elizabeth. I loved the salt sea breeze against my face on the bus when I was coming home from Johannesburg and we were nearing the station. I loved watching the waves coming in from the ocean at night, the black water of the sea underneath the pier, eating ice-cream with a flake dipped in caramel or sinful chocolate, or sitting at a posh restaurant with my family eating a meal that cost a small fortune that my brother paid for with his gold card without looking at the slip with a second glance.

He does yoga now, goes to the gym to stay healthy, trim and fit, plays poker with the guys at the weekend, plays soccer with his work colleagues and squash when he finds the time in his busy week schedule. He goes out to bars, clubs and posh restaurants at the weekend where he socialises and drinks fine wine. He is intelligent, good-looking and sophisticated. There isn’t time for us to talk anymore. For him to confide in me as easily as he did when he was a child and an adolescent. We all grew up so fast and we all couldn’t wait to get out of that house with the screaming and the emotional abuse.

The hours I spent in libraries shaped me, pulled me up and pushed me away; bad to good

She was my mother so of course I forgave her; I loved her. She was mum, mummy, mother, mama and ma, she did not hug, she did not kiss, or touch us so she brought us books instead of love so we could imagine mothers that could hug and kiss and touch their children.

In everybody’s life every moment is marked somewhat by change whether or not they are indifferent to it or they remain unresponsive to it or aloof. In my adult life I have become like a moth hiding behind the pale white and blue balloon of a shower curtain then flying through the air seamlessly There are empty spaces in between, inside my head and like gossamer wings thoughts, feelings, actions seem to unravel, unfurl, twitch, fidget distractedly, slightly skewed and disorientated. They flit and flap wavering slightly like the drops of liquid falling through the air from the showerhead.

There were times when I couldn’t speak of what I was truly thinking or feeling and then there where times when I didn’t want to say anything that would seem to ruin a perfect moment of loveliness or happiness that I was experiencing. I was so afraid I might say the wrong thing; mess it up; destroy it and hit the self-destruct button.

There were times when it seemed as if my voice was at war with itself, the inter-personal relationships I had with my estranged family – my father’s family, my immediate family that I had contact with, my parents and my younger brother and sister.

There are still times when I think I am blessed to know people like my brother and sister and there are other times when I still think my childhood was pretty unique and special – bittersweet. I realise I am not just a simple, vulnerable human body but also brave, compelling and relevant.

I still have strange dreams at night where I am at the mercy of what is unseen in my daily world and in the morning when I wake up tense or disturbed about what was forthcoming from my subconscious the previous night although it might have been unquiet, intense, fractured, fragmented and yes even romantic. I remember I am still me. I am still a functioning, productive human being who has up days and down days. I am sometimes someone who feels the blues or Holly Golightly’s in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ ‘mean reds’.

I can smell the runny warmth of smoke and ochre in my windswept hair on the beach and when I run my fingers through it I can feel God’s simple design in all the curves, the angles; the beautiful shape of my head in my hands.

When I am feeling like the sky is just a Goodyear blimp just waiting to crash land; bump and grind to a halt on the ground. When life feels like I’m submerged in wet rock pools, muddy puddles that stick like gum to your shoe, slipstreams of floating junk, dirt, flotsam in never-ending potholes that are never repaired I sometimes feel like I got the better end of the deal in a ‘normal’ world after all even if it is blessed by something that I believe to be very real; even if I can’t see this being called God.

Types Of Freezers And Freezer Care Tips

Freezers are electronic devices where food is stored and frozen for a long time. There are various types and sizes of freezers, with the standard one having a capacity of storing up to 35lbs of frozen food. Basically there are three types of freezers – the chest type, the upright type and the refrigerator-freezer combinations. The refrigerator freezer combinations and upright freezers are most cost efficient as they have manual defrost functions. The chest type does not have frost-free or manual frost types but the advantage is that the frost builds up quite slowly in these freezers.

The upright freezers look similar to the general home refrigerators. They may have more than one door and about 3-7 shelves to store the food. They require less of space to stand and so are mostly preferred. In this type, however, cold air escapes much more than any other type, every time the door is opened.

The chest freezers require more space to stand but are comparatively cost effective and economical than the others. They lose less of cold air from inside, every time they are opened. The third type is the Refrigerator-Freezer combinations. This is a single device with different spaces for both freezer and fridge. The freezer is usually above with less or equal space as the fridge.

There are various things to be taken into considerations, when maintaining the freezers. They have to be taken care of properly. It should be kept in a cool and dry place which is quite comfortable and easy to access. The freezer should never be kept very close to the wall, as space should be given for air circulation and for cleaning.

Manual defrost freezers need defrosting once a year or when the ice has reached one fourth inch high, whichever is earlier. If the frost is accumulated, this increases the power consumption and also reduces the storage space. When the food to be stored is less, defrosting can be done; this usually takes about an hour to two to finish. The freezer should be disconnected from electricity connections, before cleaning. Then the cleaning should be done quickly, as per the manual. Care should be taken to ensure that the freezer is cool before restarting it. It is mostly better to allow the freezer to take its own time to defrost.

Some freezers have trays to collect the defrost water, else, thick towels should be placed to absorb all of the water. Once the interiors have been defrosted completely, it can be sponged and then the freezer can be restarted. A frost-free freezer, on the other hand, does not require defrosting. However, it should be cleaned often so as to remove any odour or dirt from the freezer interiors. Odours are not good to remain in close areas like a freezer, as they might even start shadowing on the other food materials. The freezer should be cleaner thoroughly with baking soda and vinegar.

If the odour still persists, then an activated charcoal can be placed inside the freezer and the doors closed for sometime. This is quite effective as the charcoal absorbs the entire bad odour.

Care has to be taken about freezers, just like how each electronic device demands attention. They have to be cleaned often and defrosted when ever required, in order to maintain the freshness and longevity of the device.

Breathe Your Way to a Flatter Stomach

Next to a weak posture, a person's breathing pattern is the next dead give away to their fitness level. Fit people tend to breathe slower and easier. Unfit people tend to gasp and pant. When you watch animals or children playing, they will run themselves to exhaustion, stop, catch their breath and then run around some more. The average adult acts terrified of taking in a healthy lungful of air. It is as if they have forgotten how to breathe. This really is a tragedy since when you run out of breath you run out of performance, period. You can pick out most of the unfit people during an exercise class. They are the ones who are choking and gasping in the back of the room. People with low stamina typically hold their breath or pant when they exercise. Fitter people tend to take longer, calmer breaths. Watch professional athletes in action and you will often see them breathing calmly and deeply.

Controlling my breathing helped me win a welterweight kick-boxing championship against a younger, fitter opponent. By the fourth round, he was out of breath – and out of gas – at which point his coach thread in the towel.

Proper breathing increases the absorption of oxygen into the blood. The co-regulation of breathing with exercise helps relax muscles and release tension, especially in the neck, shoulders and mid-back. Strong exhalation can draw strength from the deep support muscles. This is why weightlifters and martial artists often yell or shout as they exhale. This allows them to bring muscles into play that they do not normally use.

To make the most of your effort, during most abdominal exercises, BREATHE OUT WHILE CONTRACTING YOUR ABDOMINALS. This will give you deeper contracts and harder, more defined muscles. You will also be getting better results for your efforts than the red-faced beginner who grunts through a basic routine.

To understand what I'm talking about, try the following experiment: take a deep breath and then hold it while performing a crunch or sit up. Not much fun is it? Now try letting your breath out as you do a crunch or sit up. It may feel strange, but it should be easier.

Note: It is too much carbon dioxide rather than not enough oxygen that causes fatigue. This is why it is essential to breathe out stale air during exercise.

When you breathe out hard, you are making more lung space for more oxygen. More oxygen burns more fuel. More fuel burning, means more fat burning.

For those who would like a little more formal breath training, consider the following techniques that can be practiced just about anywhere. However, do not be fooled by the simplicity of these exercises; They are simple, but effective. Try them and reap the benefits.


1. Take a deep breath and then force all of the air out of your lungs. When you think that you can not exhale any more, tighten your abdominals and force out a little more air (do this three times). Repeat this exercise three or four times through the day with a few hours break in between. At first it will feel like you are running out of air and you might start coughing and feel a bit dizzy. If performed correctly, you should feel this deep in the lower abdominals. Usually it takes about five to ten sessions to learn to do this properly and then it becomes a habit.

2. Next, repeat the first exercise, but exhale while pressing your lips against your teeth allowing only a small slit for the air to escape. This will force your transverse abdominal muscles to contract. Some yoga textbooks claim that this also helps remove toxins from the blood.

3. The next exercise, called the Complete Breath is a bit more advanced. First, inhale into your lower lungs (this will make your abdominal wall actually swell a bit). Next, expand your ribcage and lastly, raise your collarbone. By contracting the abdominals, THEN the ribcage and FINALLY the upper chest, you can achieve a wave-like motion. Although it may feel awkward at first, the Complete Breath can be learned within a week and has been used to treat serious breathing conditions such as asthma. In one variation, asthmatic children are taught this technique by having them lie on their back with a rubber duck on their stomach. They are then encouraged to perform the Complete Breath by making a wave with their abdominals. If you want to try this at home and are missing a rubber duck, a paperback book will do the trick. Occasionally, you will find that you can do this exercise sitting at your desk or in your car.

If you are still feeling that you can not get the breathing right, we can solve your problem right here and now by reuniting you with your natural born ability to breathe deeply with one of two surefire methods. The first method is to have you sprint up a hill multiple times in succession. The second, and more immediate method, is to have you jump into cold water (a cold shower will fit the bill nicely). If you care to try either of these methods, I guarantee that your heart and lungs will immediately kick into high gear and you will have no trouble whatever, drawing in long, deep breaths. In fact, you probably will not be thinking of much else except your next lungful of air!

I myself have rediscovered this cold water treatment several times over the years. I first read about it in a book called Zen Combat (by Jay Gluck) and later in Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods (by Robert W. Smith). It also comes strongly recommended by naturopathic doctors and old time fitness pioneers like Paul C. Bragg and Jack Lalanne. Champion grappler Matt Furey also advocates cold showers.

Another take on the cold shower is the polar bear plunge. For several years, some friends and I would go Polar Bear swimming on New Year's Day, in Vancouver, Canada. It was always good for a laugh, not to mention the fact that it was a great way to clear a hangover and, I must add, contrary to popular belief, no one ever got sick from doing it. For me, there is nothing quite like bringing in the New Year with a plunge into cold water. Also, as masochistic as it may seem to some people, it is also a great way to kick-start the day and it reminds us in less than a couple of heartbeats about the importance of deep breathing.

By now, I'm sure that most of you have found several excuses not to try this little breathing experiment. "Wait-a-minute!" You're saying. "I can not believe this guy is telling me to go jump in freezing cold water." Well, here is where we can separate the doers from the talkers. So you can either start practicing those breathing exercises right now or, alternately, go hop into some cold water. It's nice to have options, is not it?

For more tips, read the download: Stomach Flattening

Why Playing Solitaire Online Is a Good Cerebral Exercise

Those who are regular card players often have a liking for solitaire because of the excitement that the game holds. The fact that it is a single player game makes it possible to have many variations of it in the online versions simply because of the simplicity the game holds. However, simplicity does not imply that it is a very easy game to play. The pyramid solitaire is by far the most popular version of it that people can get a hold of in order to begin their online card gaming exercise.

For those who are not too familiar with the game, the very name of it suggests that it is a game that is played with oneself. Most of these games are like puzzles simply because they are mind games, and are determined by the starting position of these cards.

When people play solitaire online, the software tends to generate and identify a patter as to how a player thinks and plays and therefore comes up with tricks in the games to make it more taxing and challenging for him.

Though most of the prominent windows application providers install the operating software with solitaire already available, people usually find kicks from using the online versions of it as they feel some form of connectivity with other players who play the same game.

Hence, what happens is that some people tend to take the card game a little more seriously that it is meant to be and end up becoming very good at mastering it. As a result of the countless hours of practice, some of the card game players actually end dominating the computer in most of these online.

It is often noticed that sometimes even children who take to playing this game as a mere pastime, end up developing very sharp and fast receptive powers simply because it is mind game that requires them to apply themselves completely.

Most online version of this game does not require people to register or pay anything in order to avail themselves of gaming privileges. As a simple identification routine, people have to just sign up their names to identify themselves.

Therefore, in contrast to all other games, this card game appears appealing more for the simply reason that it is a single player game and depends primarily on how the settings of the card end up. Thus this qualifies as one of the best possible online games.

Mucomyst: Used in the treatment of Emphysema and Bronchitis

Mucomyst is the choice of drug used especially for treating Emphysema and Bronchitis. The generic name of this drug is Acetylcysteine and it is marketed under the trade name Mucomyst.  This drug can be taken orally and also be used for inhalation with the help of an inhaler.

This drug when taken orally helps in thinning the mucous in the lungs and thereby making breathing easier. Most people suffering from bronchitis, emphysema etc experience difficulty in breathing due to the accumulation of mucous in the lungs. Mucomyst helps in easing this difficulty by acting on the lungs. This drug is also recommended in treating pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and other related respiratory conditions.

Mucomyst is also used in the prevention of kidney failures caused due to x-ray contrast products. This is a prescription drug and needs to be taken only when recommended by the doctor or the physician. The dosage and usage varies from person to person and medication should be taken as per the prescription.

When used to thin mucous the drug is taken in through a special device called the nebuliser or inhaler. Mucomyst needs to be taken on a daily basis to get complete benefits. Also one should make sure that the entire prescribed course of medication is completed as per prescription.

The known side effects of this drug include nausea, vomiting, runny nose, headache, drowsiness and fever. In case of any such side effects or allergies observed the doctor must be notified immediately. The physician should be informed of any other medical conditions or medications that the patient is taking so as to avoid the risk and complications that could show up due to drug interactions. Nursing mothers and pregnant ladies need to consult the doctor before using Mycomyst.  The dosage should not be doubled up in case the dosage is missed or skipped.

Mucomyst is a well known drug and at the same time it is widely considered as the best option for most of the strange diseases that you might come along. It is always advised to buy these drugs at a reputed Online Drugstore, as you can save a lot of time and money. You can click here to Buy Mucomyst

Number Of Transplant Surgeons Who Have Donated Their Organs?

Answer: Unknown

My Guess: Very few

If transplant surgeons certainly believe that living organ pledges are of "minimal risk" as they claim, I would be curious to know how many actually have stepped up and offered their own organs to reserving patients. Now that would be an interesting survey … I was a living liver donor in October, 2002, at one of the top hospitals in Manhattan. My surgeon will be known as Dr. K. I donated my liver to my mother; Her surgeon – and the department head – will be referred to as Dr. A.

I want to make it clear, I am not against living organ donor operations. Who would not want a chance to try and save a loved one?

My goals in this letter are the following: to ensure that potential living organ donors are apprised of the very real risks (some long-term) involved in these procedures; And to create awareness of the need for a "safety net" for the organ donor if things go wrong.

The potential living donor must be told the realistic facts and / or percentages of the possible negative effects that may happen. Not once, before or after the my operations (the original donor operation and two incisional hernia operations I had within the following 8 months, the last operation a 10 "mesh was implanted) was there talk about ill effects from scar tissue. Especially in the abdomen) creates scar tissue. This scar tissue can cause many different types of problems such as trapping a nerve (neuroma) or interfering with your intestines causing other problems. I was told by pain specialists in New York and Los Angeles these are Unfortunately, I was also told by top surgeons at Cedar Sinai, UCLA and Montefiore (I was seeking a surgeon to operate and fix my condition) that no responsible surgeon would operate on me in my current state with a It would be too difficult to fix and an operation may only cause more problems and certainly more scar tissue. Only in a life threatening situation such as a full bowl obstruction, will anyone operate. At would mean that I (or any other patient in this predicament) would be at the mercy of whatever surgeon was on duty at the emergency room of whatever hospital was closest. There would be no time to set an appointment for an operation with any specialist in that area (dealing with reconstructive surgery, meshes, adhesions, organs, hernias, transplants, etc.)

There are currently studies about long-term effects on living donors. AtoAll is one study and, in fact, Dr. A is associated with that study. I wonder why I was not included since I was told many times by the staff of the Transplant Department, that I was the only liver donor at that hospital to date, who has experienced long-term complications. I would think it would be difficult to overlook me.

Secondly, there has to be more of a "safety net" for any living donor. This includes the cost of any follow up operations due to the original donor operation. My Transplant Hospital did cover my expenses for the next two operations, except Dr. K's office charged my health coverage in the second hernia operation for over $ 10,000. When I pointed this out to him, he answered something in this tone; "My office made a mistake. You have a million dollar limit on your policy. Nothing to worry about." Unfortunately, it is a concern due to how health companies will perceive you as a risk.

There must be a guarantee that the donor will not lose or be without health insurance due to the health insurance companies classifying you as having an pre-existing condition. That is my situation now. In countries with socialized medicine, such as Canada, that is not a problem for donors. However, the US must fix their health insurance situation .. That is why it is imperative that you send a letter or call your congressman or senator. Only by public (and media) pressure will the government "ever" make a change. And only by having these changes made, will future potential donors feel secure and confident enough to decide to donate an organ and help save someone's life (maybe yours.)

As I mentioned above, I am not against living organ donor operations. Who would not want a chance to try and save their child, sibling, parent, friend (and in some amazing cases, donors do it for strangers), etc? However, they should be informed of the real possibilities of long-term effects and should have a safety net for them. If I knew all these facts before I had donated, I do not think I would have changed my mind. I was determined to save my mom's life. However, I am certain my mother would not have allowed me to take the chance if she knew all the facts. We would have been forced to take a chance with the very disorganized and inefficient cadaver organ distribution system in place. I was told by the doctors that my mother would never receive a cadaver liver in time, so I really had no choice unless I was willing to watch her die a painful death.

I'd like to end this portion of my letter with a prayer for all of you who have a loved one who is sick and for all of you who have participated in the organ donor process, whether as a living donor or a recipient.


This second part of my letter will deal with more specific issues and situations that I experienced with hospitals and doctors. It is more a cathartic exercise for me to finally speak out about some if these issues. We must first realize that we are dealing with an industry that has over 100,000 authorized accidents deaths a year (almost twenty times the number of US Military deaths in the entire Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined to date as of this writing.) This is not counting The number of mistakes where people do not die, but still suffer. No other industry could or should continue to exist with these many mistakes without addressing them.

As I have mentioned, I was a living liver donor for my mother in 2002. She was dying from cirrhosis of her liver due to hepatitis C which she had contracted from a blood transfusion in a previous surgery many years before. The transplant operation went fine and the right lobe of my liver was doing well in my mom. Unfortunately, she never got well enough to be discharged from the hospital and ended up dying five weeks later from a brain hemorrhage. The hospital health care worker who was supposedly to be in the room at all times watching my mother, had "stepped out for a moment." I tried to get her medical records, but the hospital makes it very difficult. They said only a lawyer representing her could order it, not her sons or daughter. Even to get my records was difficult, only to discover the records were shockingly incomplete in recording the events that actually happened to me.

First, I would like to say that all the pre-operation medical procedures (MRI, Cat Scan, sonogram, Xrays, blood tests, etc.) are very limited in the information they give to the surgeons. Not until the surgeons open you up, do they really know what your liver looks like. I underwent all those preoperation procedures and the doctors still did not know that I had two veins that went into the right lobe of my liver until they operated. My brother and sister were informed this was the reason my operation was taking longer (approximately 2 hours longer.)

Afterward, I asked Dr. K why he did not know about the anatomy of my liver. His answer was the preoperative medical procedures are never conclusive. I accepted that fact until later when I was complaining about pain. They did a sonogram on me and said they found nothing wrong, that I was fine and should continue all normal activities. So apparently, the medical tests are conclusive or inconclusive at the convenience of the doctors. I've met used car salesmen that talk out of both sides of their mouths, but these are surgeons we trust with our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

I was told before my surgery that there was a five to 15% chance of morbidity. Small things that were easily fixed, nothing long-term So when I had water retention due to my liver's response (30 pounds over my pre-operation weight), I fell into that category. Studies now show that morbidity rate can be well over 50% and there is a chance of long-term effects. Dr. K asked me after 6 days if I was feeling well enough to go home. My feet, legs, abdomen and testicles were still holding over 25 pounds of water (not a pretty site.) Even that used car salesman I mentioned would know better than send me home. That was the first time I started to question Dr. K's judgment. When Dr. A (top surgeon of the transplant team) looked at me, he immediately said that I was not going anywhere in that condition. (Dr. A's bedside manner and judgment were always excellent.) Why did Dr. K want me to go home in that condition? I would hate to think he was concerned with health insurance issues and how it affected the profit margins of the almost half a million dollar operations (mine and my mother's combined.)

After I was released and went home, I told my sister (who was going to visit our mom in the hospital) to tell Dr. K that my hurt was looking discolored. Without seeing me (a pattern with this doctor and some others) Dr. K told my sister there was nothing to worry about. When I came to see him for a scheduled appointment several days later, he literally yelled at me in front of my brother, saying "What have you been doing?" When he saw my incision was infected and he had to squeeze the puss out of it.

Another important topic is how the doctors and their staff treat you once they have finished taking your donated organ. The short answer – they do not want to deal with you after a certain point. They will responsibly set up several follow up appointments with you, but easily get tired if your needs exceed that time. The hubris of the doctor / surgeons and nurses can be shocking. They will say (sometimes over the phone without seeing you) that you are fine and anything such as pain is probably in your head. This was told to me several times by Dr. K., the nurse coordinator and Dr. H (the organ transplant team psychiatrist.) However, none of them apologized and admitted they made a mistake after I had two more surgeries. You would think they would listen to patients' more seriously, especially me since they were wrong twice and I needed two additional operations. My last phone message left for Dr. H was in 2004. I asked if she could call back and tell me if "adhesions or scar tissue" have been a problem for any donors. She never returned my call.

Even after an in person checkup by Dr. K, he told me I was fine and to do all physical activities I would normally do. However, two months later after Dr. K and Dr. M (an associate of his from a previous hospital) finished implanting a 10 "mesh in my abdomen due to multiple hernias and weak spots in my fascia, does he ask me," Wayne, what have you been doing? "Again, the inference Was I was to blame when all I had been doing was listening to his advice and trying to live my life normally. Dr. K needs to operate on himself to remove that foot from his mouth.

I must mention Dr. M's inability to listen to patients and to learn from her mistakes. I warn the squeamish to stop reading here. I informed Dr. M that a cathether should remain in my penis after the operation since I had needed a catheter in my previous seven abdominal operations to void. She agreed. However, when I awoke there was no catheter in place. When I could not urinate (what a surprise) and they had to insert a catheter, there were specific instructions from Dr. M to only insert a catheter if needed until I voided, then to immediately remove it. That was her second mistake. When the nurse unfairly tried to open the second catheter inside me (because I still could not urinate), she had not inserted it far enough and it ruptured my penis. The combination of my blood and my screams made a resident run into the room and take that one out and replace it later since I still could not void. When I Confronted Dr. M about this, she said her experience was that a catheter would not be needed. Did she admit she was obviously wrong or apologize – Never. I worry about a surgeon who is too stubborn or arrogant to learn from her mistakes and then, presents future patients to harm.

There is too much to say in one letter, so I will end here. The main thing is, the system has to be changed for donors. Secondly, some doctors / surgeons need a refresher course in "bedside manner." I will conclude with one last Dr. K statement. On the phone after I told him of my constant pain after every meal and after every normal physical activity, he quickly asked, "Wayne, it sounds like you regret ever donating your liver to your mother." Not wanting to curse, I remained quiet. However my answer to his question was and still remains, "Yes, I do regret having the operation. But only because you, Dr. K, were my doctor."

Whiplash Injury – A Pain In The Neck

Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by a sudden movement back, forward or sideways of the head and neck. Depending upon the severity, it is also called a neck sprain or strain, cervical sprain or strain. The injury often involves the muscles, discs, tendons, and nerves.

• Most whiplash injuries are caused by a car accident, often by being struck from behind.
• Shaken Baby Syndrome
• Falls from a horse or a bicycle
• Headbanging
• Trauma from being hit, kicked or shaken
• Accidents, such as from riding a snowboard or a skiing accident
• Injury from riding a roller coaster or an amusement park ride that hyper-extends the neck or causes it to be snapped suddenly
• Extreme, sudden straining to lift or pull a very heavy object

Muscle and Ligament Symptoms
• Tightness or spasms of the muscles of the neck or upper back
• Pain with movement of neck
• Decreased mobility and stiffness
• Burning and tingling in neck and shoulders, upper back
• Pain in shoulder
• Pain in upper back or between shoulder blades
• Pain in one arm
• Low back pain
• Pain in jaw or face
• Pain in the face, the entire head, or behind the eyes
• Difficulty swallowing and chewing plus hoarseness, which can be symptoms of injury to the esophagus or larynx

Neurological Symptoms
These symptoms may be the result of injury to the soft tissue in the neck or a mild brain injury or concussion.
• Vision problems, blurred vision
• Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
• Poor concentration, forgetfulness
• Feeling of disorientation
• Sensitivity to sound and light
• Irritability
• Depression
• Sleeplessness
• Fatigue
• Headache
• Dizziness (vertigo)
• Feeling of pins and needles in arms, possibly legs

Diagnosing A Whiplash Injury
• History and Physical must be done
• X-rays to rule out fracture or dislocation
• CT Scan (Computerized Axial Tomography) shows detailed images of neck
• MRI ( Magnetic Resonance Imaging) produces detailed images

Treatment depends upon the severity of symptoms.
• Ice may be applied to neck for 24 hours after injury.
• NSAID Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) may reduce pain and muscle inflammation.
• Muscle Relaxants may be prescribed.
• Physical therapy may be recommended.
• Mild range of motion exercises may be prescribed with proper posture methods to relieve excessive strain on neck.
• Cold and heat treatments may bring some relief.
• Massage therapy promotes healing and relieves pain.
• Chiropractic therapy may be recommended. Spinal manipulation appears to be the most effective within the first 6 weeks following the injury.
• Soft collars are advised only for the first 2 or 3 days when pain and inflammation re the worst. Prolonged use has been shown to delay recovery from whiplash. In some cases, intermittent use is helpful.
• A fracture or dislocation requires the wearing of a collar.

• Mild whip lash injuries may heal within 2 to 3 weeks.
• Moderate injuries require 2 to 3 months.
• Severe whiplash may take months to heal and symptoms, such as headache and neck pain, may linger for 6 months or longer.
• Chronic symptoms may last for years and degenerative changes in the disc and vertebrae may develop.

A whiplash injury truly can become a ‘pain in the neck’ for sufferers of its long term effects.