Just Hug Him/Her Tight

An Open Letter To My Dear Friends

I am probably the last person to write about relationship and most of you my friends are already in a loving, fulfilling relationship, so what I am going to say next might be like ‘preaching to the choir’ (forgive me for that). But you all know me well by now……I’ve got to say what is in my mind or worms eat up my brain or something like that….

Having seen  Fay’s husband interact  with her these past three Fridays,  his big, bright, proud smiles while talking about her ‘achievements of that day’ and then shedding tears after she had left the room for her physio-exercises, recounting all his fears and insecurities over her….

Having seen my dad run errands for my mom a minimum of three times a day just so she can have her fresh  dairy, vegetables and fruits…

Having seen my brother care for his wife…

Having seen the tears in KG’s eyes while talking about his wife RK at the hospital while she was in surgery and having seen RK bustle about caring for KG  now that she is a full time house-wife….

Having held hands with CB at the hospital while her husband GB was pulling through his surgery…

Having heard of how K  loves and cares for JK….

Having heard of how Milton cared for and cleaned up after my friend JMS threw up all over him and all over the washroom…

Having seen the love in MCT’s eyes for his  lovely wife C..

Having heard so much about JV and his total support and love for AT….

and sadly, having read this story.……….

A heartbreaking story out of Brooklyn today of couple Nathan and Elisa Bond, who have an 18-month old daughter, who were both diagnosed with advanced cancer within just 9 days of each other.

…………………………all I want to say is,  ‘JUST HUG HIM/HER TIGHT’.…and this….

Okay, now that it is taken care of, how about some ‘prayer-miracles’ for Team-Bond?


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My Friend’s Progress…

..with heartfelt gratefulness I can report that my friend Fay is now able to move her right foot slightly, though only while lying down. She is still not able to move her right arm at all and is very afraid to move her right foot while being suspended or while on a wheel chair, which is very understandable, of course!

She is able to process information and all my yap-yap-yap and then answer in short and apt sentences, though some of her words are still sounding garbled.

She is able to process jokes, funny-anecdotes and offer full mouthed giggles. She is also able to respond to the CBT (Comprehensive Based Testing) homework they giver her every day.

She is able to say ‘no’ to bland hospital food and take small bites of the chinese fried rice with honey-garlic chicken that I had taken with me….(supposedly my dinner, but hey, what is a few bites between friends)…

YOU GO FAY!!

Teachers,The Noblest Of All….

Hattip: The Daily Kos

So, who is Taylor Mali? According to http://www.taylormali.com,

Born in New York City in 1965 into a family some of whose members had lived there since the early 1600s, Taylor Mali is an unapologetic WASP, making him a rare entity in spoken word, which is often considered to be an art form influenced by the inner city and dominated either by poets of color or those otherwise imbued with the spirit of hip-hop.

Mali is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having himself spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his New Teacher Projecthas a goal of creating 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance.”

He is the author of two books of poetry, The Last Time As We Are (Write Bloody Books 2009) and What Learning Leaves (Hanover 2002), and four CDs of spoken word. He received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in 2001 to develop Teacher! Teacher! a one-man show about poetry, teaching, and math which won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival.

Prayer Miracles….

……I walked into my friend’s hospital room bracing myself for little or no change. What I did not expect was seeing her sitting up in a wheel chair in a T-shirt and sweat-pants. God, oh God, what a fantastic difference !! The rude-bloody scar is almost healed. Except for the edema on her head there is no other significant obvious sign. She is currently doing physical therapy twice a day working on her right side of her body. She has learnt to leverage her left side limbs to compensate for the yet to function right side. Her speech was so much more understandable than last week though there is more work to be done. She pointed to a calendar on the wall and told me that she can go home by end of April. Yeahhhhhhhhh, I’ll toast to that!!

Thanks to all of your prayers!! I am very very humbled!

Are You At Risk?

……when my friend JMS from California and I were discussed my friend’s stroke, she shared an interesting information she saw at Dr. Oz’s show recently. It is about your personality and what it suggests about your life-style and potential risk factors. Friends, I think it is imperative we all take this personality test and become aware of the potential health conditions we could be prone to. Most times than not forewarning is a great blessing!

So here is the link to Dr. Oz’s article: Is Your Personality Making You Sick?

So, are you a….

God, Please Let There Not Be……(part 2)

……………………………another morning like the past Friday!

After a short bus-ride with my friends, sharing our anguish over the Tsunami, wishing each other well for the upcoming weekend, we three got off at the GO station where we parted ways. I take the GO train while both my friends take a different bus each to their workplace. While waiting for the train on the platform, I felt my blackberry jingle. I picked it up and found this email:

Hi M,

Hope all is well. My name is A, F’s husband. Could you kindly send me your contact number. F had a health issue exactly 2 weeks ago ( Feb 25th ) and I know she will like to hear from you.

F was transferred from St M’s hospital on Wednesday ( March 9th ) to P Healthcare.

You can reach me on xxx-xxx-xxxx or my cell phone xxx-xxx-xxxx for more information

T, T and T are all doing well.

Love to your son.

Regards,

A.

My mind went numb again for the  second time that morning. I called him with a sick feeling in my gut and what he told me shook me up even more. My lovely, ambitious, go-getter, happy, giggly, joyful, bold and daredevil friend suffered a stroke and is now partially paralysed.  He said that while she remembers somethings/ some people, she is not able to recognise and recall somethings. He is trying to contact all her friends to share the news and to help his wife feel and get better.

My friend is just in her early forties  with three kids one aged about 2+ years: for the love of GOD, I didn’t expect her of all persons to have a ‘stroke’. You are all probably thinking: ‘What  naivete!”.  I agree, I was naive in this regard. I dragged myself in to work, somehow got through my tasks and  spent my break and lunch time researching on this. Look what I found on the Mayo clinic website:

WHAT IS A STROKE? A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.

The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer Americans now die of stroke than was the case even 15 years ago. Better control of major stroke risk factors — high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol — is likely responsible for the decline.

SYMPTOMS: Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke. Note when signs and symptoms begin, because the length of time they have been present may guide treatment decisions.

  • Trouble with walking. You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
  • Trouble with speaking and understanding. You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or be unable to find the right words to explain what is happening to you (aphasia). Try to repeat a simple sentence. If you can’t, you may be having a stroke.
  • Paralysis or numbness on one side of your body or face. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
  • Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision, or you may see double.
  • Headache. A sudden, severe “bolt out of the blue” headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you’re having a stroke.

RISK FACTORS: Many factors can increase your risk of a stroke. A number of these factors can also increase your chances of having a heart attack. Stroke risk factors include:

  • Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA.
  • Being age 55 or older.
  • High blood pressure — risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 115/75 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Your doctor will help you decide on a target blood pressure based on your age, whether you have diabetes and other factors.
  • High cholesterol — a total cholesterol level above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
  • Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Diabetes.
  • Being overweight (body mass index of 25 to 29) or obese (body mass index of 30 or higher).
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, a heart defect, heart infection, or abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Use of birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen.
  • Heavy or binge drinking.
  • Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines.

Because the risk of stroke increases with age, and women tend to live longer than men, more women than men have strokes and die of them each year. Blacks are more likely to have strokes than are people of other races.

While I don’t really know about my friend’s recent blood pressure or cholesterol level, I know for sure that other than birth control pills and her race, she would check negative for all the other risk factors. But the reality is (when I visited the rehab-centre on Friday evening, after my work), I found a thin, teary and restless friend with a nasty 2-3 inches long incisional-scar on her head on the left side that was swollen, still  raw and appeared very painful. She kept rubbing her left palm over it murmuring to herself in pain.

She was alone in her room as her husband had just left her bedside two hours ago, to go home and take care of their three school-going children. While I could easily make out ‘Thanks’ and “Amen’ in response to my words of encouragement, the rest of her words were very garbled. I had to think fast on my feet, point out to the ‘clock’, ‘food’, my ‘winer-jacket’ and re-phrase what I thought she meant. She would in turn widen her eyes, shake or nod her head and smile big to convey her dissent or consent.

Amidst all these ‘dumb-charades’ she managed to ask me about my interview, my son’s studies and also chided me for not buttoning up my winter-jacket. She giggled with me when I told her about the party we would have if not for anything other than escaping from the bland hospital-food. She kept giggling while she slowly fed herself with her left hand. She either could not or did not want to  move her right arm and leg the entire time I was there. I kept massaging/rubbing her right hand and leg  over the bed-spread, while all the time asking  if she could feel my hands.  She nodded but did not or could not move her limbs.

After she had her dinner and settled for the night, she pointed to the clock on the wall and told me to go home. I promised to return to spend a whole day with her. I told her I would bring books with audacious pictures, I would  read jokes and stories to her so s..l..o..w…l..y….that she would want to jump out of the bed and grab the book to read them herself. She teared up again and mumbled ‘thanks’ with a big-smile.  She is the kind who would say this…………..

………….yes, get well soon  my dear friend! We have miles to go and things to do don’t you dare short-charge me!

God, Please Let There Not Be ….(part 1)

……………………………..another morning like the past Friday!

I am normally out of my house at 5.45am every week day except when I take a later bus to catch up with my girl-friends AA and JT on my way to work. So most mornings I don’t turn on the TV as they are full of informercials only as the normal newscast begins at 6am. But this Friday, I had the time and I clicked it on while sipping my coffee. Almost all the channels was full of the Japan-Tsunami news and pictures. I could neither swallow my coffee nor throw it up. I was dumb-stricken. The  live pictures seemed like something out of Steven Speilberg’s movie set: man oh man, what a devastation and what a tragedy of epic proportion!!



The extent of damages/loss, the resilience and determination of the Japanese will all unfold in days to come. But for now, please, please take time to donate something, anything to any or all of the following organisations

-> The Red Cross has already launched efforts in Japan. Visit Redcross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.

-> Save the Children has also responded. The organization is currently organizing efforts and donations to its Children’s Emergency Fund will support outreach.

-> International Medical Corps is responding to the health needs of the disaster’s victims.
To donate or learn about other ways you can contribute to its medical response, visit Internationalmedicalcorps.org. Also, text MED to 80888 from any mobile phone to give $10.

-> The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at GlobalGiving.org to garner funds that will be given to a variety of relief organizations helping victims of the earthquake.

-> Salvation Army personnel are organizing efforts in Tokyo and will soon send a team to help the severely damaged city of Sendai, Japan. To contribute to earthquake relief, text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit SalvationArmyUSA.org.

-> Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is sending two three-person teams to the Iwate and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. To learn more about the organization’s efforts or make a donation, visit Doctorswithoutborders.org.

-> Other relief organizations are also sending representatives to disaster sites, including AmeriCare and Shelterbox

-> MercyCorps is gathering donations for its overseas partner, Peace Winds Japan, which currently has personnel on the ground distributing emergency relief in Japan.

-> Operation USA has also announced efforts to collect bulk corporate donations of health care supplies. If you are interested in donating bulk medical items, visit OpUSA.org.

-> World Vision has announced global mobilization in response to tsunami warnings.

Please donate and pass this post to all your friends, please, please do it!!

………………………………..part 2 follows