Archive for the ‘Illness’ Category

I’ve had several people writing recently to ask if I had dropped over the face of the earth.  While it might seem that way, and, at times, felt that way, the answer is no.

Life intervened at the end of our spring semester with physical ailments of my own that I had to deal with this summer, and I’m just now getting back to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that might be.  Thanks for the encouraging notes and emails.  I do appreciate each and every one!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

This morning I received one of those emails that many folks simply delete – a “Fwd”.  For some reason, I had the time available to open it and skim through.  After the first few lines, I slowed down and began re-reading it with interest.  A confirmed cat-lover, I have also had the privilege of being owned by a beloved dog or two in my lifetime as well.   I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  If anyone knows the author, please let me know so I can properly attribute this post.

A Dog’s Purpose (from a 6-year-old perspective)
by a veterinarian……

child leading dog

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, And their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. 

Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’

The six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’

Live simply
Love generously
Care deeply
Speak kindly

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.



Many thanks to my friend, Cherease, for sharing this with me! 🙂

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Read Full Post »

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.


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.

Read Full Post »

Brilliant October Blue Sky with Gorgeous Multi-color Trees 

This week, I said a relieved “good-bye” to one of the hottest summers on record and an eager “Hel-LO!” to my favorite time of year – the Fall.  Thankfully, the changing of the seasons brings some relief from the heat and humidity of the summer here in Georgia.  As the weather continues to cool down and the need for air conditioning decreases, many people begin to plan and prepare for the colder months by checking out and servicing the furnaces and heatpumps, changing the air filters, and generally making things shipshape for the days and weeks ahead.  This same preparation also reminds me of other things that need to be addressed in our Kindermusik classes in order to prepare and plan ahead to make this our best semester ever.

Sick Child Policy

Your child has been feeling kind of “punk” the past few days, and you wonder, “Should I take him (or her) to Kindermusik this week ?”  


Sick Child


Please follow these guidelines and, if your child has any of these symptoms, please keep him/her home:

  • Fever within the last 24 hours

  • Runny nose with yellow or green mucus

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Sore throat or difficulty swallowing

  • Lice

  • Rash or spots on skin, ringworm infection

  • Severe itching

  • Mouth sores

  • Eye discharge

  • Significant tiredness, irritability, crying

  • Uncontrolled coughing; Difficulty breathing, wheezing

Please be considerate of other children when deciding whether or not your child is healthy enough to attend class.  Ask yourself this important question…if your child is healthy, would you want him/her playing with another child that has your child’s symptoms?


If the answer is no, please do not bring him/her to class. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, please be advised that in the interest of safety for all children and adults present, we will ask you to leave and make-up the class at a better time.





 Fighting Children

Because certain aggressive behaviors create apprehension for children and consequently ruin the class experience, these behaviors will not be tolerated. Aggressive behavior toward other children or adults will be grounds for dismissal and/or expulsion from class.


Aggressive behaviors include, but are not limited to: throwing objects at others, biting, hitting, kicking, tackling, and scratching.  Also included are behaviors that cause damage to the classrooms of Masterworks Studio,  Columbia Presbyterian Church, or Avondale First Baptist Church.  The following actions will be taken if these behaviors occur:

  1. First incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day.

  2. Second incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day. Additionally, the child may not attend any classes for a period of no less than two weeks.

  3. Third incident: parent must remove child from that class for the remainder of class that day and child may no longer attend Kindermusik classes for the remainder of the semester.

  4. Masterworks Studio reserves the right for an instructor to ask a parent to remove a child from class at any time or to deny admission to a class due to any of the above mentioned behaviors.


Class Guidelines

To provide the very best Kindermusik experience for your child and everyone else in class, please follow the following guidelines:

Before class:

·          Provide snacks for your child at home. Please do not bring food or drinks to class.


·          Please leave toys, pacifiers, snacks, sippy cups, etc. at home or in the car. Your child will need to have his hands and voice free to participate.


·          Please arrive on time. All children need a few minutes to settle into a new environment, so feel free to come 5 minutes early to facilitate a comfortable learning environment.  There are always books, puppets, or instruments available at this time.


·          Listen to your Kindermusik CD frequently.  It will help a child feel a sense of familiarity. This will make the class more enjoyable for them. Unfortunately, you will get tired of it long before they do.  😀


·          Please set your cell phone to silent or vibrate. We understand that sometimes emergencies arise and you need to take a call. In that case, please step out of the room so that your speaking does not distract the children.


·          Allergy Information: Please be aware that some children are extremely sensitive to certain foods and therefore, we ask you please do not bring food or drink into the classroom.  If you have food or a cup in your bag, please be sure it is somewhere where no child could accidentally eat or drink it.  Also, please avoid wearing heavy perfumes. 


During class:

Kindermusik is a special time for you and your child. We encourage you to use the class time to fully enjoy and participate in the activities with your child.


·          Toddlers learn by discovery and imitation. So no matter what your voice sounds like or how silly you feel, you are the child’s best teacher and they do what you model for them.


·          Kindermusik is a shared family experience.  Unlike a playgroup, Kindermusik is not a time for visiting.  Focusing on the activity will help the class move along smoothly, whereas visiting distracts all the children and parents, ultimately leading to a chaotic environment. You are always welcome to come early or stay late to visit.


·          Encourage your child by describing what she did and showing your delight. Using phrases such as “You rang the bells” or “You tapped your sticks very fast”, rather than “Good job” will foster intrinsic motivation in your child and enhance her self esteem.


·          Allow your child his or her own response. Your child’s response may be to retreat to a corner or wander around the room. Even if your child’s response is inward or different, it is still that child’s way of learning. It is difficult for parents to watch their child sit motionless or do something completely different than the rest of the class. Our philosophy asks for acceptance and respect of your child’s response. We trust the child to interact within the environment when the child is ready. Please refrain from manipulating your child’s response. It is appropriate to encourage and model.


Remember that Kindermusik is process oriented, not performance based.


About behavior:


It is perfectly normal for children to run, tumble, scream, cry, and protest. And all children will do these things. Please keep in mind, however, that some behaviors, although very natural for a child, may be disruptive during an inside activity.


[For parent of 3-5 year olds: Additionally, your child may react differently when you enter the room. This is a typical 3-5 year old reaction. They may have been fully participating until you enter, then shut down completely. Or they may have been perfectly behaved, and then suddenly act-out when you enter.]


·          If your child becomes upset or disruptive, please take her outside the room or just around the cabinet by the door, and set appropriate boundaries before returning. This helps the class move smoothly and keeps all the children focused.


Running Toddler


·          Running is not permitted for the safety of the children. Also, please stop any “contagious behaviors” that affect the class.


·          All children have rough days. If your child is upset and unable to settle in, it is best to leave and try again another day. If your child is misbehaving, a stern warning followed by going home usually prevents the behavior’s recurrence. You are always welcome to make-up the class and try again on a better day.


After class:


·          Please try to find time to enjoy the home activity book/journal, and read the story book(s) with your child. It will only enhance the in-class experience and increase the value of your Kindermusik investment.


Now we’ve checked out our class guidelines and policies, and made sure they’re still viable and functioning, and we’re off to a terrific fall semester! 

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Read Full Post »