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Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Today has been a day of contemplation for me.  I am home alone, recovering from a viral infection in my throat.  When you’re sick and have some down time, it gives you a chance to get off the merry-go-round of life for a moment and commune more with God and with your heart.  That has been the case for me.

Yesterday, when I was in the throes of agony with a swollen throat, aches and pains, I received a phone call from my friend Dana that kind of put things in perspective.  She had called me from the hospital.  I learned that Dana’s heart had stopped beating several times that day. The doctors were getting ready to perform surgery to implant a pacemaker/defibrillator in her chest.  43 years old is relatively young to need this kind of procedure, but such is life.  Sometimes it throws you unexpected twists and turns.  My family’s first pastor and his wife had an unexpected turn in their lives when their youngest daughter Brooke’s husband Wes, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo extreme surgery.  The normal that they knew had been forever changed.  These circumstances may surprise us, but God, the Creator of all living sees the end from the beginning.  And He has a purpose for everything that happens in our lives.  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Our task is to trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding.  Not always an easy thing to do, but oh how sweet to trust in the Lord and find refuge in His everlasting arms.

Sixteen years ago, I wrote the following poem.  It was born out of a heart of grief due to the unexpected death of my father.  While dwelling here in the shadow lands of life, none of us are exempt from heartbreak and loss.  But as the Patriarch Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him…”  He knows the way that we take, and someday, He will wipe away all our tears and make all things new.

LESSONS IN THE SHADOW

There are lessons to learn in the shadow

That can never be learned in the light.

His rod and His staff they will comfort

And guide you through the night.

Be not anxious to get through the valley.

With its weariness and care.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow

For God will be with you there.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

Restoration begins in the valley.

This is where God turns wrong into right.

There are lessons to learn in the shadow,

Though we long for the morning to break.

As you traverse the darkness remember,

“He knoweth the way that I take!”

There are lessons to learn in the shadow.

Do not pray for an easy time.

Ask God instead to be stronger,

And He will teach you to climb.

Yes, there are lessons to learn in the shadow,

That can never be learned in the light.

When the valley’s dark clouds overtake you,

We walk by faith, not by sight.

So study and learn through the dark times.

When you pass the final test,

The lessons you learned in the shadow,

Will gain you a city of rest!

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oatmeal.jpgA Missionary found herself without means, among a heathen people, far from any source of supplies. In her distress, she claimed the promise of God that He would supply her need. She was also in poor health. From a businessman in another part of the country came several large boxes of Scotch oatmeal. She already had several cans of condensed milk, so with these two commodities, she was obliged to sustain life for four long weeks. As time went on, it seemed to agree with her better; and by the time the four weeks had passed, she felt in excellent health. In relating the experience some time later to a company of people, which included a physician, she was asked more particularly of the nature of her former illness. The physician said, ‘The Lord heard your prayer and supplied your need more truly than you realize. For the sickness from which you were suffering, we physicians prescribe a four weeks’ diet of nothing but oatmeal gruel for our patients. The Lord prescribed it for you, and saw to it that that was all you took. It was the proper remedy.” Selected (from Streams in the Desert)

He hath given meat unto them that fear him: He will ever be mindful of His covenant. (Psalms 111:5)

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Oscar, Cat with the Purr of Death…

Originally uploaded by karing1960@sbcglobal.net.

Oscar, cat with the purr of death

Inspection round … Oscar patrols the dementia unit of a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island.
Photo: AP
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Colin Nickerson in Providence, Rhode Island
July 27, 2007

Page 1 of 2 | Single page
OSCAR the cat makes his grand entrances just as life is about to leave.
A hop onto the bed, a fastidious lick of the paws, then a snuggle beside a nursing home patient with little time left. Oscar’s purr, when keeping close company with the dying, is so intense it is almost a low rumble.
“He’s a cat with an uncanny instinct for death,” said David Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist. “He attends deaths. He’s pretty insistent on it.”
In the two years since Oscar was adopted into the dementia unit of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence he has maintained close vigil over the deaths of more than 25 patients, nursing staff and doctors say.
Dr Dosa had an essay on Oscar published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Like any feline, Oscar gives a hefty portion of his day to sleep. He likes to doze on stacks of patient reports. Or on the desk at the nurses’ station. Or in the linen closet.
When awake, however, the mixed-breed cat shows a solemn dedication to duty, making regular “inspection” rounds of the unit, sauntering in and out of patient rooms – as if checking on the condition of the occupants.
When death is near, Oscar nearly always appears at the last hour or so. Yet he shows no special interest in patients who are simply in poor shape, or even patients who may be dying but who still have a few days. Authorities in animal behaviour have no explanation for Oscar’s ability to sense imminent death. They theorise that he might detect some subtle change in metabolism – felines are as acutely sensitive to smells as dogs – but are stumped as to why he would show interest.
In any event, when Oscar settles on a patient’s bed, caregivers take it as a sign that family members should be summoned immediately.
“We’ve come to recognise him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near,” said Mary Miranda, charge nurse on the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients in the final stages of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, a stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. “Oscar’s been consistently right.”
Keeping pets has been a trend in nursing home care for several years. The Steere Centre, founded in 1874, has 120 residents, plus six cats, a slew of parakeets and a floppy-eared rabbit. Oscar’s sole domain, however, is the locked dementia ward. He came to the unit as a kitten in July 2005, brought by a staff member to replace the floor’s previous resident feline, Henry, who had died some months earlier. Click Here to see rest of story. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this.  It has piqued my curiosity.

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In the mid 1970’s, Ed Roberts created the world’s first commercially successful personal computer (PC).  He hired a nineteen-year-old named Bill Gates to write software for him.  Roberts sold his computer business in 1977 and bought a farm.  Seven year later, at the age of 41, he entered medical school.  Today Bill Gates is the head of the largest software company in the world.  Ed Roberts is a physician in a small Georgia town.  Roberts says, “The application is that the PC is the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t think that’s true.  Every day I deal with things that are equally if not more important here with my patients.”

 

How can we evaluate the significance of our lives?  Something deep inside tells us it cannot be measured by wealth and fame.  The apostle Paul approached the end of his life with a peaceful sense of successful completion.  He wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7) —D.C.M.  From Our Daily Bread.

 

The measure of life is determined by the ruler of the  universe.

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 Although I do not own a TV, and never have, I thought this was a good article from Kaiser Permanente.

On average, American kids spend about five hours per day using various screen media for entertainment, including television, video games, and the Internet. This means that over the course of a year they spend more time in front of a screen than in school. In fact, 43 percent of children under the age of two are daily TV watchers. 

These figures stand in stark contrast to the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Kaiser Permanente that no child should have more than one or two hours of screen time per day, and children under two should have none at all. This recommendation of no electronic media for children 0-2 even applies to TV shows, DVDs, and computer games that have supposedly been designed for very young children.

For the rest of this article, click here.

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The year was 1990.  I was 30 years old and suffering from severe asthma.  The strain of my illness had taken its toll on me.  For six long months, I went through an extremely difficult time in my life.  I had trouble sleeping at night because of anxiety and difficulty breathing.  It seemed like every breath I took was a struggle.   I was a basket case.  One night I asked God, “Do you really understand what I’m going through?”  I didn’t receive an answer right then, but a few days later, while listening to a Christian radio program, I received my answer.  The program had a guest who was a doctor, and he was discussing the medical aspects of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.   As I listened to the doctor’s account, I began to realize just how much suffering Jesus went through on that cross.   At one point, the doctor said that while hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles in Jesus became paralyzed and the intercostal muscles were unable to act.   Air could be taken in but not exhaled.  The doctor explained that this symptom is similar to that of asthma.  It was then that I realized Jesus really did know what I was going through.  He was touched with the feelings of my infirmity.    I thank God that He knows exactly where we are at.  Below is a medical account of what Jesus went through before and during his Crucifixion.  Oh how He loves us.The greatest example of one laying down his life for his friends is Jesus. We will never be able to fully comprehend the spiritual aspect of Christ’s suffering and shame, until the other side of glory, but medical studies shed glimpses of light on the physical agony and all the horror that Jesus endured on the cross.“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3).

Sweating Drops of Blood

The physical trauma of Christ begins in Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of his suffering—the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

The Scourging

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows.Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.

Mocked by Soldiers

The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp.Again there is copious bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body). After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. This had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wound, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, causes excruciating pain—almost as though He were again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail, begins its slow journey. The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.

Nailed to the Cross

At Golgotha, the beam is placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then lifted in place at the top of the posts and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.As the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”

Final Cry

He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”Apparently to make double sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.Jesus said, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

 

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About a year ago, I received a Women’s Health publication from John Muir Health that had a very interesting article in it entitled “Cancer-Causing Cosmetics?”  This article stated that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had recently signed into law the Safe Cosmetics Act, that would, starting in 2007, require any company that manufactures personal care products that contain human carcinogens or reproductive toxins (such as coal tar found in minute amounts in some dandruff shampoos and the phthalates once used in many nail polishes) to report that fact to the state Department of Health Services, which would then post the information online.  California’s legislation is the first of its kind in the nation.  It was closely contested by the cosmetics industry, which says health concerns are unfounded, and hailed by environmentalists, who hope it will spur manufacturers to reformulate products. 

About a month before I had read this article, author Ruth Harvey (formerly Reider) had spoken at our church.  She had mentioned how she had gone into a butcher shop awhile back, and the butcher had told  her how the meat business makes a lot of money from the cosmetic industry.  He said that they buy the slaughterhouse animal waste (i.e. cow brains, ligaments, tendons, skin, bones, etc.) and use it in the manufacturing of their cosmetics. 

While I do not wear cosmetics, and neither do many of my friends, this is a concern for every one of us, as we all use shampoos, perfumes, deodorants, lotions, toothpaste, etc.  I checked out the website below and found that some of the shampoos we used were not in the safest category.  For more info on the pros and cons, click here.

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