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ARE YOU MANAGING PAIN OR IS PAIN MANAGING YOU?

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The number of Americans who suffer from pain is astounding.  Recent figures reveal that “an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults had high-impact chronic pain.  Both were more prevalent among adults living in poverty, adults with less than a high school education, and adults with public health insurance.” The cost of medicine, lost productivity, and disability programs have climbed to $560 billion each year.  1

The difference between these types of pain is important to understand.  “Acute pain is provoked by a specific disease or injury, serves a useful biologic purpose, is associated with skeletal muscle spasm and sympathetic nervous system activation, and is self-limited. Chronic pain, in contrast, may be considered a disease state.  It is pain that outlasts the normal time of healing, if associated with a disease or injury.  Chronic pain may arise from psychological states, serves no biologic purpose, and has no recognizable end-point.“ 

Despite the attention pain management attracts, current research indicates many treatments are inadequate for several reasons:  (1) many patients do not trust the knowledge they get from healthcare professionals, (2) consultations with patients are rushed, (3) general practitioners put pain relief as a low priority, (4) pain specialists do not believe that this is a disease in its own right, (5) healthcare workers skills are not fully utilized, and (6) psychological therapy is usually delayed and even too late to do any good.  3

Most pain management programs encourage users to take medications that have unwanted side effects.  As a contrast, holistic pain management focuses on a body’s internal functions, “triggering natural healing and releasing endorphins, your body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals.”  4

We have members at BIND who have tried different methods to manage or alleviate their pain.  A number of these members claim they are “still a work in process.”

I can only focus on a few good examples.  Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.  It is the leading cause of disability, and it is the most common reason for missed work.  Americans spend at least $50 billion each year treating back pain.  5

Here is one that I have had several bouts with for my leg and thigh.  Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. 

In my case, I had a herniated disk, or bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine that pinches part of the nerve.  The pain is intense.  I took treatments from both a pain doctor and a chiropractor, whom I made sure did not know each other.  The pain doctor used Morphine, Hydrocodone, and Tramadol, which I still use daily.  The chiropractor used decompression to separate the bone from the nerve.  This is not a quick treatment, and that can take as much as six months to see any results.  

Here are some observations from our members at BIND:

“I have been seeing a chiropractor for 2 years.  Shortly after I started seeing him, I noticed that I was sleeping better, reduced headaches, and it has improved my spine alignment.”  Carrie 

“Thankfully I’m not riddled with pain.  I do prefer a more homeopathic approach when available.  I have found Arnica Montana which has both topical and sublingual pellets.  Works great – it’s also helpful in alleviating minor strains and sprains.  I use CBD pain serum topically.” Annette K

It is not always possible to prevent sciatica.  The suggestions for treatment are to exercise regularly, maintain proper posture when you sit, and use good body mechanics.  If you stand for long periods, you will be told to rest one foot on a stool or small box occasionally.  I have also taken steroid injections and acupuncture, with disappointing results.  6, 7

What are some other sources for managing pain? 

DO’s (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and MD’s (Doctor of Medicine) are both physicians who can practice in any area of medicine.  “Of the 860,917 physicians actively practicing in the United States in 2015, 67.1% hold an MD degree granted in the U.S., 24.3% are international medical graduates, and 7.6% hold a DO degree.” 8 Many are primary care doctors.  Both can prescribe medication and train to do surgery.Osteopathic doctors get extra training in the muscles, bones, and joints. DO’s learn osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), which means that they use their hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness and injury.  They apply techniques such as gentle pressure, stretching, restoring range of motion, and encourage good health.  9, 10

Massage Therapy compliments chiropractic care. In many cases, massage therapists and chiropractors use the same location or office.  Massage is another natural way to relieve pain.  Many patients believe that a massage will reduce stress, internally relax the body, and promote safe healing.  

Other pain relief options include Meditation and Relaxation.  Several of our members at BIND have testified that these techniques are often helpful to fight pain caused by stress.  Simple exercises release natural endorphins, which combat pain.  You can easily find sources that document the fact some daily exercise even reduces heart disease risk, controls blood sugar levels, and helps to lose weight.  

In summary, no one wants to live in pain.  While there are options for how to take care of yourself, there are barriers, including lack of adequate insurance and other factors.  Some of these involve transportation, lifestyle habits, family support, financial pressures, just to name a few.  For 19 years, I taught foreigners from many places all over the world.  Many times, they remarked, “Americans have the greatest chance to live and survive in a healthy way but so many of our citizens do not have access to it.” Sad!  

~ Karl K, BIND Member

REFERENCES

1                  https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm

2                  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1875958/    

3               https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26172982/

4               https://www.drbfriehling.com/blog/5-benefits-of-a-holistic-approach-to-pain-management

5                 https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/What-is-Chiropractic/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics

6                 https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/what-is-sciatica

7                 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435

8              :2016 Physician Specialty Data Book”.  Association of American Medical Colleges

9                 https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/osteopathic-versus-md-chiropractor

10                 https://www.echiropractor.org/pain-management-doctors/

Caregiver Spotlight

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MEET JERRY HOLLIDAY – CAREGIVER FOR AUGUST 2021

By Karl K

Our Caregiver of the quarter is Jerry Holliday. He celebrated his 80th birthday this year. Jerry has three children, and the youngest is Jeff, who is a member at BIND. Jerry lives with Jeff, who is now 40 years old. He has been widowed since 2009.

Jerry served in the US Army, and then started his career in photocopy printing. He was a proud member of his union for 14 years, and when he moved to Houston, he worked for the Houston Post. Afterwards, he worked in the oil and gas industry, in on and offshore rigs. Jerry has been now retired nine years. Since he wakes up early, he drives UBER a few times a week.

Jerry has two hobbies – bass fishing and golf. He does not get to play as much he wants, due to a leg injury. He also knows a lot about old-time baseball players and events.

On a typical day, Jerry does housework, cooking, and takes care of the yard. You may have seen their new family dog on Facebook. Jerry helps Jeff monitor his medicines. He takes Jeff to the doctor as needed, and now they are concerned about his upcoming MRI.

Jerry is a big fan of BIND. He thinks that Jeff has benefited by getting around people and is excited about getting to run morning meetings and organizing walks. They are both also active in an Ataxia group, While Jeff can be online, his preference is to meet in person.

Be sure to meet Jerry online for the next Caregiver Meeting on August 11 at 2:00 p.m. Congratulations on this honor!

Preparing for Surgery

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About a year ago I had a hip injury while exercising, so as an athlete, I pushed through the pain for as long as I could. I was nervous to learn that I needed surgery to repair the damage, especially considering my seizure disorder. I finally had the surgery to repair the torn ligament, so that I could get back out on the hiking trails.  Fortunately, I had time to prepare for the surgery and this allowed my family and I to make certain preparations beforehand. Knowing the recovery time to be at least 9 months and knowing a disruption to my schedule would be difficult, we planned ahead. Here are a few of the things I learned that were super helpful:

Preparing the body:

I worked with my medical team beforehand– like my neurologist, to try to reduce my seizures and my PT to learn exercises, and how to use assistive devices (like my crutches).   I made sure I ate well, drank plenty of fluids and RESTED prior to my big day.  I cut back on sugary treats, drank less coffee, and reduced my exercise plans. I wrote down my usual routines, so that I would remember all the important things I do every day, (like taking my meds and making coffee, of course), and so that my partner could help me out. I made a list of all the things for my surgery day so I would be as comfortable as possible (see photo below)

Preparing the mind:

I spoke with a mental health professional about my concerns and fears. For example, what if I have a seizure during my surgery? What if I wake up and can’t remember who I am?  How will my behavior affect my relationship with my partner? I increased my mindfulness practices to prepare for hours and days unable to do my normal routines (like meditation with Lynn hosted by BIND on Zoom.) I worked on my patience and how to ask for help. I slowly did less around the house and asked my partner to take over things that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do for months, such as cooking and cleaning.

Preparing the home (I had a lot of help from my partner on this):

We made several frozen meals ahead of time and made sure I had all my medications refilled.

We set up the shower, moved furniture to make space and put things in reach that I might need

We figured out how to get me up and down the stairs, in and out of the house, the bed, the shower and the car.

Preparing with loved ones, friends, and medical staff:

We communicated with family and friends for support, especially if I needed help getting into the house when I got home from the hospital  I kept all my medical, dental and PT appointments ahead of time (There were a lot!)  I was open and honest with everyone about my medical history so I would get the best care possible.

I am grateful to have had the good fortune to have this surgery and to prepare for it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to ask questions. The next blog I write will be about what I have learned after the surgery.  Stay tuned….

~Sue

Not a Hot Idea

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NOT A HOT IDEA

By Karl K

BIND Blogs

How can a parent forget that a child is locked in a hot car?  As I write this, I still cannot believe how this could possibly be.

It happens more than you would ever think.  The situation is getting worse, not better. The child’s temperature can rise quickly and die at 107 degrees. They must be cooled off quickly.  Between 2018 and 2020, a record number of children (126) died due to vehicular heatstroke.  

Here are three primary circumstances resulting in deaths of children in hot cars:

  • A caregiver forgetting a child in a vehicle.
  • The child gaining access to the vehicle.
  • Someone knowingly leaving a child in the vehicle. 
  • NSC advises parents and caregivers to stick to a routine and avoid distractions to reduce the risk of forgetting a child. Place a purse, briefcase or even a left shoe in the back seat to force you to take one last look before walking away. Keep car doors locked so children cannot gain access and teach them that cars are not play areas. There is no safe amount of time to 

leave a child in a vehicle, even if you are just running a quick errand.”   

The first step is to be sure you lock your car door and trunk, where children cannot get in.   The second is to be observant, when people look through a car window to see if child is inside.  Here are some tips:  

1.     Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running, and the air conditioning is on.

 2.  Make it a habit to check your entire vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away. Train yourself to Park, Look, Lock, or always ask yourself, “Where’s Baby?

 3.     Ask your childcare provider to call if your child does not show up for care as expected. 

4.    Place a personal item like a purse or briefcase in the back seat, as another reminder to look before you lock. Write a note or place a stuffed animal in the passenger’s seat to remind you that a child is in the back seat.

  5.   Store car keys out of a child’s reach and teach children that a vehicle is not a play  area.”   

I could hardly write this piece.  This was very hard for me.  You see, my goddaughter was accidentally locked in a car at a mall in Las Cruces, New Mexico when she was only 7 years old.  Her Mom put the keys on the seat and lost sight of them  I ran to the store to see if I could find a hanger to open the car window.  I did, and all went well.  Had that not happened, I was ready to break the window.  

There are many examples of near-tragedy or worse.  Here are three:

In 2019, a Georgia father was convicted of murder after leaving his son in a hot car two summers ago.  His 22-month-old toddler was left in a car for seven hours.  Jurors believed he left the little boy to die on purpose, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  He was also convicted of eight counts of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children in the first and second degree, and sexual exploitation of and dissemination of harmful material to minors.   4  

That same year, in Garland, police took a call from a car wash at Jupiter and Arapaho.  The temperature was 97 degrees at that time.  Witnesses saw the father had parked and was vacuuming his car when he suddenly pulled the limp baby out and appeared frantic.  Employees at the car wash said they saw a driver go through the wash, park his car, and start vacuuming.  They said 10 or 15 minutes later, they saw him running.  The 9-month-old girl was found dead  

Close to home, I know a man well from my own church and Masonic Lodge who was fortunate.   Distracted by a change in their morning routine, he left his 3-year-old son, Michael, asleep in the back seat of the car when he returned home on June 10, 2015.  He is now well, but behind in several areas in his development.  As a result, he and his wife have presented this story to several audiences, including television appearances. “It can happen to you,” he said.  “I was the guy that spent an awful lot of time beating up on the internet parents that bad things happen to”. She urged parents “to check the back seat every time, even when you know you don’t have your kids with you, and you are positive they are not there. Look in the back seat just to make sure, because the moment that you think you’re safe could be the moment that you’re notThat moment can get away from you, and if you’re not fortunate – as fortunate as we were – you’re going to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.”  6

I wish I did not feel this way.  I am a forgiving person.  I just cannot get past this.  Everyone is entitled to make mistakes.  But, I cannot see how, even as busy or distracted as someone can be, what is so pressing that a child is forgotten.  I welcome any comments that our readers wish to offer,

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/heatstroke#:~:text=When%20a%20child%20is%20left%20in%20a%20hot,In%202020%2C%2024%20children%20died%20of%20vehicular%20heatstroke.
  • NoHeatstroke.org

4            https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hot-cars-and-kids/georgia-dad-justin-ross-harris-sentenced-life-son-s-hot-n692086

5         https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2019/08/01/garland-police-investigating-child-death-hot-car/

6        https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/garland-couple-warns-about-hot-car  dangers/2019351/

Why We Have A Holiday on January 18

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On April 4, 1968, I was in a barbershop late in the day. My father took me for a haircut and while I was waiting, a bulletin came in on the news to explain that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had been killed. I was only 14 years old. What I remember the most was that my dad said “why can’t people just vote against someone? Why do they have to kill anyone?” That is a good question even today.

When I later visited the tombstone of Dr. King it was a very solemn
experience for me. To think for a minute about the causes that he stood for, and how much courage he had, especially to stand up for people who could not defend themselves, is amazing.

Not everyone was so excited. I taught Management at the University
of Dallas for 19 years before my stroke hit me. It was only two years ago
that the school decided to observe the holiday. It is also true that President Ronald Reagan was opposed to the holiday, claiming that if we have any more, why do people need to go to work? On the floor of the U.S. Senate, without evidence, Jesse Helms claimed that King was a communist supporter. When asked, Reagan said “we will know in about 35 years won’t we,” talking about when the ceremonial capsule would be unsealed. However, under pressure, Reagan capitulated in the final months of 1983. He sat on the White House lawn and signed a bill establishing a federal holiday for a man he had spent the previous two decades opposing. What did they do? They sang “We Shall Overcome,” which was very appropriate for the occasion.

It is impossible to cover everything he did, and what he was, in this
space. Dr. King was known as an activist and minister who promoted and
organized nonviolent protests. He played a pivotal role in advancing civil
rights in America. Dr. King won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight
racial inequality in a non-violent matter.

While he is most famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, it was the
letter from the Birmingham Jail that is more memorable. If you have never read it, you can find it in many different sources. The letter demonstrates his command of figurative language. He used a strong call to action tone both in writing and speaking. You cannot ignore how he turned the non-violent protests around in America and showed people how to lead in a different, but stronger way. Unfortunately, some supporters did exactly what King did not want to do, by resorting to violence in streets.

In “The March on Washington” in 1963, Dr. King helped lead over
200,000 people to the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Washington
Monument. The King march was organized by him and groups of civil rights, labor, and religious organizations. The purpose was to gain civil and economic equality for African-Americans (then, called Negros). It was the strongest call ever to put an end to racism. His march was crucial in helping to pass the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Dr. King also was famous for the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Birmingham Campaign. As a leader of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, he brought many new ideas for which had never been publicly expressed. He was also the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

History tells us that the assassin of Dr. King in Memphis was James
Earl Ray. You can see the photos taken on the balcony when King was shot. Among them is the Reverend Jesse Jackson and others who pointed up to that floor of the motel. Yet before his death, the family claimed otherwise. They said that James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King. “It pains my heart,” said Bernice King, “that James Earl Ray had to spend his life in prison paying for things he didn’t do.” 

Until her own death in 2006, Coretta Scott King, was very clear that she believed that a conspiracy led to the assassination. Her family filed a civil suit in 1999 to turn more information publicly, and a jury ruled that the local, state, and federal governments were liable for King’s death.

The low point in his career was plagiarism. While working on his
dissertation for his doctorate at Boston University, he heavily relied on
another author who had done research on the topic. An academic
committee later found that over half of King’s work was plagiarized yet
would not revoke his doctorate. Since he was dead by that time, a review
panel said the action would serve no purpose. The committee found that the dissertation still “makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship.”

In the week when I wrote this blog, a group of men at BIND (Brain
Injury Network of Dallas) discussed the topic about “how the world would be different if they were never born.” The idea came from the story about George Bailey in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We can see that there is no question about how the world would be different without Dr. King. 

My view is that the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act would have been
extremely slow. The leadership of the non-violent movement would have
been in shambles. We would not have experienced his oratory, which was best anyone would have wanted. His murder was senseless. But, like
martyrs before and after him, the contributions are timeless.

That is why we honor him today with this holiday.

~Karl K

Patience is a virtue.

By Blog, News, Resources, Uncategorized

By Karl K.

Patience is a virtue.  The problem is that most of us do not have much of it.  The current generation has moved us into a state of instant gratification.  People want things now.

Not everyone believes that patience is a key to success.  I spoke to 80 students last year who wanted to major in Speech Pathology.  Many of them wanted to become therapists. At the close of the meeting, I wished all of them much luck, and a great career. And then, I stopped and said, “if you do not have great patience, you need to find something else to do.”  Short of knowledge and wisdom, patience is the most important behavior for a professional to display.

I see patience manifested every day.  I am now in an organization called BIND (Brain Injury Network of Dallas).  The directors and volunteers are the most patient people I have never been around!  They may need to hit their heads a few times after getting home, but you would never know it while they work.  They answer questions, help members walk and use a wheelchair, put up with constant interruptions, repeat instructions, and urge participants in a discussion to stay on the subject at hand.  I can tell you that I could not do what they do, and they do it very well.

As I write this blog, this week I am leading a group who wants to know how they can help others who have had language and speech difficulties.  The formal term is aphasia.  There are many ways to do that including the following:

  • Be patient
  • Use plenty of time
  • Establish the topic
  • Use “yes” and “no” questions
  • Repeat and ask for understanding

Patience is important to someone who needs help, but who cannot be rushed.  Have you ever said this:  “how long do I need to take this medicine?”  “How many visits to have to the doctor until I am healed?”  Some things are not in your control.  Some things cannot be rushed.  You cannot hurry plants to grow, make the weather cooler, or cram for test that you should have studied for weeks, but you did not.  You may be a Christian.  You pray that God will make something happen for your family.  He may, but the reality is that He works on his own time, not yours.

Experts explain that four steps are needed to increase patience with others.  

  1. Make yourself wait
  2. Stop doing things that are not important
  3. Be mindful of the things that make you impatient
  4. Relax and take deep breaths

Taken from the video “Always Thinking”, October 30, 2019

Think how the world would be a better place if we just use only 10% more patience.  How would you use that time?   You do not have answer right now.  Be patient!

In Memory: Verna White

By Blog, News, Uncategorized

We are pleased to honor the life of Verna White, mother to Brian White, our Board of Directors Treasurer. Please accept our sincere gratitude for gifts made to BIND in her memory. May peace be with you all who are mourning her loss.

April 4, 1926 – February 15, 2019

“Verna Irene White, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and friend to many, was born April 4, 1926 to Sherman and Isabel Beldin, and died February 15, 2019.

Verna grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, attended Oak Park Academy in Iowa. When her family moved to a farm outside of Glenwood, Iowa she met the love of her life, Clifford Dale White. They married on November 1, 1944. After Cliff discharged from the military, they returned to Iowa but soon moved to Omaha and raised their family, surrounded by a growing extended family and friends.

Verna was always known as a giving person. She welcomed and cared for as her own two children who had lost their mother, handed out clothes through the Dorcas Society, sang in a trio, baked and cooked for the masses.

Verna moved with her family around the Midwest but settled in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1967. Verna began a long career working in a nursing home caring for others in many different capacities, first as a nurses’ aid, then cooking, and finishing her career as the head of housekeeping. When she retired in 1992, she moved to Oklahoma to be near her children. She lived in the community of Summit Ridge for 23 years before moving into the Wolfe Living Center.

Verna loved to travel, seeing many sites around the United States and Europe. She loved collecting things and crafts of all sorts. After moving to Wolfe, she continued crafting by working on inspirational sticker books which she gave to anyone who wanted them.

Above all, Verna’s true happiness came from spending time with her family. Throughout her life, many nieces and nephews lived with her. Family gatherings always meant cooking for many, laughing hysterically, and supporting each other unconditionally.

Verna is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister Gladys White, and Brothers Robert and Clyde. She is survived by her sister Shirley Scott, her daughter Connie Stricker, sons John and Brian, foster children Linda Benjamin and Gerald Scott, six grandchildren, Shawn, Eric, Jenny, Bradley, Jason and Cindy and five great-grandchildren Ali, Cody, Lexi, Zoey, Max and Liam. She also leaves behind a host of extended family and friends.”

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