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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I realize that  it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything.  Life just got extremely busy, and something had to go on hiatus else I totally lose it.  After reading a blogpost from the Mayo Clinic,  though, I knew I had to take time to share this.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is world-renown for its medical expertise and care.  I found it interesting to note that they have a grand piano in the atrium of the Gonda building that is used frequently by individuals who want to share the gift of music.

Watch this video of a delightful, older couple and the joy and laughter they bring to the patients and families passing through the atrium this particular day.

Then read these words by a loving daughter who gives you a much deeper insight into the powerful gift that music provides there at the Mayo Clinic, and view this video of Jodi Hume with her mother, Sharon, as they talk about that day at the clinic and the joy that they found in the sunny atrium, watching and listening to Fran and Marlo Cowan, married 62 years, as they gave an impromptu performance.

Jodi wrote:

And then we heard the piano and the laughter. From the balcony we could see an older couple sitting side by side at the piano playing together and entertaining a host of people. Some were in wheelchairs, others were sitting with canes beside them or standing. Everyone was smiling with all burdens forgotten for the moment. The joy was absolutely indescribable. When we asked them to play one more for us, Fran and Marlow Cowan, who have been married for more than 62 years, treated us to an exceptional performance that is now a “youtube” sensation.

And watch this video of Jodi and her mom,  Sharon, as they sit in a porch swing and talk about that day at the Mayo.

To read Jodi’s post in its entirety, please visit the Mayo Blog here.

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320,000 Jardine cribs sold in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide were recalled Tuesday after four children became trapped due to broken spindles and slats in the cribs.  Two of the children were bruised and suffered cuts as a result of their entrapment.  There were a total of 42 reported incidents with broken or falling spindles from the sides as well as broken slats. 

White Jardine Crib

From the Associated Press by Natasha T. Metzsler: Earlier this year, Janine Nieman of East Stroudsburg, Pa. heard her son, Aiden, screaming first thing in the morning. She found him trapped with his body outside of the crib and his stuck head inside. One of the spindles had fallen out of the frame and he had slid through the gap up to his head. Nieman and her husband, Thomas, slid Aiden back into the crib. He came out of the ordeal shaken but uninjured.

Recalled Jardine Cherry-finish crib

The baby cribs in question were manufactured in China and Vietnam by Jardine Enterprises.  There were sold by Toys R Us, Inc. retailers which include KidsWorld stores, Geoffrey stores, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us.  Geoffrey stores and KIdsWorld stores are no longer in existence but did sell the recalled cribs when they were open.   These cribs were sold around the country from January 2002 through May 2008.

For specific models that have been recalled, please check out the Consumers Product Safety Commission for detailed model numbers as well as descriptions and  photos.  Locate your crib model number which is found printed on the inside of the bottom rail of the headboard or footboard.  Compare to the listing at the CPSC website.  These cribs ranged in price from $150 – $300 with one model (Mahogany Positano Lifetime Crib) which sold for $450. 

Light Birch-finish Jardine Crib

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and contact Jardine to receive a full credit toward the purchase of a new crib.   For additional information, contact Jardine at (800) 646-4106 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET Saturday, or visit the firm’s Web site here.

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Where have I been?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two weeks since my last post.  I’ve had several readers write, asking where I’ve been, and the honest truth is that I haven’t actually *been* anywhere other than home, studio, church, and the doctor’s office.  

Wait a minute – 

Doctor’s office?

Yes, I found myself on March 26 at the doctor’s office in some pretty severe pain, wondering what on earth I had done to myself.

After seeing one specialist who referred me immediately back to my internist and having had some blood drawn for tests to rule out some nasty infections, the diagnosis was that I had apparently sprained, pulled, strained, you name it – a muscle in my groin.

Why does that word make me wrinkle my nose?

Groin. G-r-o-i-n.

It just does.  That’s all.

After leaving the internist’s office with scrips for two (2) antibiotic meds, one (1) pain reliever, and instructions to go home and soak in a hot tub or shower, I found myself in the unenviable position of having to cancel at least one or more of my Kindermusik classes to give my body a chance to heal.

We also had family from out of town visiting with us last weekend as we celebrated our the birthdays of our oldest and youngest children.  

Faith is now *13* – another teenager (#5!) to add to our collection. Matthew is now *30* – which really creates a paradoxical situation.  I’m *too* old to have another teenager and I’m *too* young to have a 30 year old!  😀

Kati, daughter-in-law-to-be, Matthew, our oldest, and Faith, our youngest

As I told the doctor last week, we’ve got so much to look forward to this spring with our son’s wedding, numerous gigs for David and myself, both as musicians and directors, that I just plain don’t have time to be injured.  He gently but firmly reminded me that if I don’t take care of myself, someone else will have to.

So I’m here, just not *here* as much as I usually am, due to doctor’s orders and the fact that even sitting at the computer for just a few minutes in a padded chair was just dang uncomfortable!  🙂

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Monday was just one of those days – the kind where it seems every time you turn around, something else goes wrong, no matter how you try to be upbeat or keep a positive perspective. 

 It all seemed to start on Saturday morning, when I found myself in the untenable position of being forced to cancel my classes due to an unforeseen conflict in scheduling at the church where I teach my Kindermusik classes.  Trying to work around an influx of 90 high school students using the church as a stopping-over place on their journey is never easy for anyone, neither for the church nor myself. 

By the end of multiple phone calls to Kindermusik families and satisfied that I had, at least, reached everyone before they left home, I gave myself a mental shake and resolved to just put it behind me.  But I have to confess, it did haunt my thoughts throughout the weekend, popping up from time to time, as if to say, “You don’t really think you can forget this that easy, now do you?”

Well, there’s nothing like a life-threatening situation to put things into perspective.

Bekah

My daughter, Rebekah, is 17.5 years old and enrolled at Georgia Perimeter College.  She wants to be a doctor and worked herself through high school at an accelerated pace in order to finish a year early.  In her words, she’s going to be in school for “years to come” and she wanted to get a year up on the timetable for med students to complete their education, internship, residency, etc.

Bekah currently attends classes at the Georgia Perimeter’s Dunwoody campus which requires her to drive three days a week from our house located outside I-285 just south of I-20 East, up I-285, the Perimeter Highway.  To anyone unfamiliar with Atlanta traffic, let’s just say that it’s never a relaxing drive on 285, no matter what time of day or night you’re driving on it.  It requires alertness and concentration, both for yourself and other drivers.

Monday afternoon, as Bekah left her last class, she had not yet had lunch, and, stopping by one of the many vending machines found on just about any college campus, she chose a package of plain M & M’s to munch on and tide her over until she got home and could raid the refrigerator.  At that time of the day, she can usually make it home in less than 30 minutes.

As she drove down I-285, the traffic came to a halt at Lawrenceville Highway, due to the road construction there and the onslaught of drivers entering from both LaVista Road and Lawrenceville Hwy.   She decided to open the M & M’s up and nibble on them while the traffic crawled on through the area.  Four exits later, at Covington Highway, she realized that she was having an allergic reaction as she began to itch and her throat began to swell shut.   Somehow, she made it home safely the remaining five miles to pound on the back door, wheezing “Al-lergic … re-action” as I opened it.

Less than two minutes later, with the use of the epipen, some Benadryl, and the nebulizer loaded with Xopenex, she was still struggling and fighting to breathe.  Bekah is an experienced asthma patient.  After almost six years of dealing with asthma attacks and allergic reactions, she is a pretty good judge of when it’s slacking off and when it’s not.  We’ve had more ER runs than I’d ever wish on anyone due to unexpectedly severe attacks. 

Because of the inability to speak easily during an asthma attack or an allergic reaction where the throat is closing up, we have created a code we use just for situations like this – one finger for yes, two for no.  After waiting for the Xopenex to kick in as it usually does in a matter of minutes and realizing that it didn’t seem to be working as effectively as in the past, I asked her if we needed to call  9-1-1 and waited anxiously to see how many fingers went up.  At first, she raised two fingers, but then waved her hand “no” and raised one finger – “yes.”  9-1-1 it was.

I honestly don’t know how the Emergency Response people cope with individuals who are calling in, frantic to get care for their loved ones who are in distress.  I’ve done it several times in my life now, for my children, my sister, for parents and grandparents, even for strangers that I’ve seen involved in car accidents on the road.  Each and every time I’ve called, there has always been someone on the other end who responds very calmly “DeKalb 9-1-1, what is the location and nature of your emergency?”  This time was no different.

After giving our information to the dispatcher, we began to wait and listen for the sirens, knowing that there is a fire station within two miles of our home.  But as the seconds became one minute, then four, then five, I began to worry as Bekah’s breathing was not easing up and we weren’t hearing any sirens.  Trying to stay calm while your child is struggling to breathe and struggling to keep herself stay calm by wheezing “I’m going to be okay, I am going to be okay” from time to time as she was able to is not easy.  Just as I reached for the phone again and spoke with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, our youngest daughter called out from outside, “I can hear them.  They’re coming!”

In less than a minute, the EMTs pulled up outside our home, came inside, and assessed Bekah’s situation.  They reassured her (and us) that everything we had done so far was the right thing to do, and it was a matter of waiting for the Benadryl to kick in completely and do its job.  The only thing they added at that time was to give Bekah another Benadryl capsule to ensure that she had enough in her system to get the job done.

Even after the extra Benadryl and further assessment by the DeKalb EMT’s, Bekah still was having trouble with her throat being extremely tight.  It was at her request that we decided to head for Egleston Children’s  Hospital, now known as Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  Riding in an ambulance might be the height of excitement for a five or six-year-old, but, for both Bekah and myself on Monday, it was not what you’d call a “fun ride.” Thankfully, we both were riding with two individuals that I personally would term “angels.” 

The two EMTs would probably not consider themselves “angels”; they’d probably just say that they were just doing their job.  However, when you have one in the back with your daughter, joking with her and teasing her to keep her mind off of what she’s dealing with, and another one driving, thinking of finding a rock station on the radio to pipe through to the back and talking with her mom to keep her calm, I personally would call them angels. 

I learned through our conversation that the driver had only recently returned from armed service overseas, protecting our nation.  He’s a young man who has seen a lot of combat through multiple tours of duty, yet he’s dedicated to what he does here – helping and rescuing others on a 24-hour shift, spending 22 hours at a time in the truck, driving wherever the need arises.  DeKalb County has the highest response rate of any other in the greater metro Atlanta area.

In our case, they were miles away from us when the call came in.  The unit from our neighborhood fire station was already out on another emergency.  This team had been out responding to other calls in their own area and were approximately 8 – 9 miles away from us when they received the call, in an area of town that was not even close to the interstate.  They had to snake their way through sideroads and surface streets to get to us.  The fact that they made it as quickly as they did attests to the driver’s skill, the willingness of other drivers to get out of their way, and, yes, probably a good dose of “angel wings” to get them through some congested intersections.

Thankfully, in our situation, all turned out well.  As Bekah was moved into a treatment room at Egleston, I turned to the EMT driver to thank him – both for responding to our call for help, but also for his service to our nation.  As I tried to express how grateful I was for his help with Bekah, he kind of ducked his head, saying, “Oh, you’re welcome.” But it was when I added, “And thank you for your service to our nation, too.  I am grateful” that I saw a small smile on his face in reply.  When I thanked the EMT who treated Bekah and cared for her in the ambulance, his response was “no problem! Glad we could help.”

It’s such a small thing to do – saying “thank you”.  Many of us do it without thinking; it’s a part of our heritage, here in the South.  You’re taught by your parents to say “please” and “thank you” from a very early age.  But to truly mean it when you say it, I think, embues your voice with a greater intensity and meaning.  I hope that was the case when I said thank you to both of these men.  I hope that they did comprehend the full extent of my gratitude Monday.

And if you’re a DeKalb county tax payer, thank you as well for paying your taxes, high though they may seem.  It is through them that families like ours benefit from the care and expertise of DeKalb EMT’s such as we had Monday.  We are grateful.

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In my newest Village class that met for the first time this morning, I had the pleasure of holding one of the youngest babies for a minute and enjoying that special “baby” fragrance – sweet and gentle – that every parent recognizes and remembers in conjunction with their own children.  Baby Bella was so cuddly and had the sweetest smile!  She had that wonderful “baby” scent, too.  I couldn’t help but remember very fondly the days when my own were that age.

As I read this article tonight, I realized that, in all likelihood, I had probably put who-knows-what on my children’s heads through the years as well as on their bodies, all in the interest of making them smell “clean” and “sweet” without even realizing that I might inadvertently have been putting chemicals into their systems that could harm.

Shampoo Baby

FYI – from AP.org:

STUDY WARNS OF  CHEMICALS IN BABY ITEMS

by LINDSAY TANNER, AP Medical Writer- Mon Feb 4, 3:53 PM PST

CHICAGO – Baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals that have been linked with possible reproductive problems, a small study suggests.The chemicals, called phthalates, are found in many ordinary products including cosmetics, toys, vinyl flooring and medical supplies. They are used to stabilize fragrances and make plastics flexible.

In the study, they were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who’d been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products.

Phthalates (pronounced thowl-ates) are under attack by some environmental advocacy groups, but experts are uncertain what dangers, if any, they might pose. The federal government doesn’t limit their use, although California and some countries have restricted their use.

Animal studies have suggested that phthalates can cause reproductive birth defects and some activists believe they may cause reproductive problems in boys and early puberty in girls.

Rigorous scientific evidence in human studies is lacking. The current study offers no direct evidence that products the infants used contained phthalates, and no evidence that the chemicals in the babies’ urine caused any harm. Still, the results worried environmental groups that support restrictions on these chemicals.

“There is an obvious need for laws that force the beauty industry to clean up its act,” said Stacy Malkan of Health Care Without Harm.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, a University of Washington pediatrician, said, “The bottom line is that these chemicals likely do exist in products that we’re commonly using on our children and they potentially could cause health effects.”

Babies don’t usually need special lotions and powders, and water alone or shampoo in very small amounts is generally enough to clean infant hair, Sathyanarayana said.

Concerned parents can seek products labeled “phthalate-free,” or check labels for common phthalates, including DEP and DEHP.

But the chemicals often don’t appear on product labels. That’s because retail products aren’t required to list individual ingredients of fragrances, which are a common phthalate source.

The Food and Drug Administration “has no compelling evidence that phthalates pose a safety risk when used in cosmetics,” spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said. “Should new data emerge, we will inform the public as well as the industry.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the health effects in humans are uncertain.

“Although several studies in people have explored possible associations with developmental and reproductive outcomes (semen quality, genital development in boys, shortened pregnancy, and premature breast development in young girls), more research is needed,” a 2005 CDC report said.

The new study, which appears in February’s issue of the journal Pediatrics, involved 163 babies. Most were white, ages 2 to 28 months and living in California, Minnesota and Missouri.

The researchers measured levels of several phthalates in urine from diapers. They also asked the mothers about use in the previous 24 hours of baby products including lotions, powders, diaper creams and baby wipes.

All urine samples had detectable levels of at least one phthalate, and most had levels of several more. The highest levels were linked with shampoos, lotions and powders, and were most prevalent in babies younger than 8 months.

John Bailey, chief scientist at the Personal Care Products Council, questioned the methods and said the phthalates could have come from diapers, lab materials or other sources.

“Unfortunately, the researchers of this study did not test baby care products for the presence of phthalates or control for other possible routes of exposure,” Bailey said. ___

Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org

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 Pumpkins

Pumpkin Pie

(Count off on fingers, then hold out both hands face up)

Five little pumpkins sitting on the ground

The first one said, “I’m big, orange and round!”

The second one said, “I’m fresh off the vine!”

The third one said, “I taste divine!”

The fourth one said, “I’m ready to be tasted!”

The fifth one said, “Bake my seeds so they’re not wasted!”

Someone from the kitchen picked them up and we know why….

The five little pumpkins all became Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkin Pie

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Check this information out, just released by Reuters:

Bumbo Baby Seat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some 1 million foam baby seats sold by Target Corp, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and other large retailers are being recalled because of reports of young children falling out of the seats, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday.

The safety agency said it received 28 reports of young children falling out of the seats, including three who suffered skull fractures because the seats had been placed atop tables.

The baby seats, made by Bumbo International of South Africa, sold for about $40 each from August 2003 through October 2007. Retailers that sold the product also included Sears Holdings, Kmart, Toys “R” Us, USA Babies, it said.

The round Bumbo Baby Sitter Seats are 15 inches in diameter and made of molded polyurethane foam that wraps around a child.

Consumers should contact Bumbo to obtain new warning label stickers and instructions for the recalled baby seats and should never use the infant seat on a table, countertop, chair or other elevated surface, the agency said.

On its Web site, Bumbo said it temporarily stopped selling the baby seat until safety packaging can be updated. “The Bumbo Baby Seat is safe when used properly, but we have voluntarily agreed to update the packaging to ensure there is no confusion about the safe, proper use of the Bumbo Baby Seat,” the company said.

The baby seat is designed for infants who are six weeks old or able to support their own heads, up to an age of about 12 to 14 months or about 22 pounds, Bumbo said.

For additional information, please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission here. 

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