February 1, 2016

All Aboard! Enjoy the reads and music…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 10:21 am

All Aboard!

All Aboard!

January 19, 2016

What “The Wizard of Oz” Taught Me About Life

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 4:38 pm

Hey Passengers welcome back aboard!  So glad you are riding.

I don’t like slash and gore movies but, I do like some rather odd movies for a guy my age like the Wizard of Oz and Ratatouille.  They teach me lessons.  Movies like Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption, The Road to Perdition and the Bucket List all have golden nuggets of wisdom in them if you look close enough.

Today dear passengers, let’s look at my take on The Wizard of Oz. It [movie] has also taught me personally some unforgettable lessons about life.

 

Accept your friends for who they are

Friends!

Friends!

A true friend will help you on your life’s journey and get you through all the problems—big

and small—that may arise. So accept your friends, quirks and all, and recognize when they need

a little help too. Because you never know when you’ll need them around to rescue you from some

flying monkeys.

 

Follow Your Own Yellow Brick Road

 

The Yellow Brick road. Decisions...

The Yellow Brick road. Decisions…

Although Glinda the Good Witch directs Dorothy to the yellow brick road, explaining that it

will lead her to the one person who can get her back home to Kansas, let’s face it: Dorothy probably

could have found the road on her own. It was right there in front of her. Discover your own path in

life—what you want to be, where you want to go, how you want to live–and be sure to sing and skip

throughout the journey.

 

Don’t hide your true self behind a screen

 

One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when we discover the Wizard is just a man. He has

no magical powers. He doesn’t even have a booming voice. The lesson? Don’t try to be something

you’re not, because the people who matter in this life will love you no matter what.

 

There’s no place like home

Lessons learned....

Lessons learned….

Although it should go without saying, home means more than just your house or apartment.

It’s wherever the people you love—and who love you—are found. You can have many different

“homes,” and even if you haven’t visited in a while, you can always go back.

 

Look within for your power

 

We all remember the scene where Dorothy misses her balloon flight home, starts to cry, and

is subsequently notified by Glinda that with those fancy ruby slippers, she had the power to

return home the whole time; she just needed to discover it for herself. When in doubt,

look within for the answer. You’re more powerful than you think.

 

Allow Yourself to Dream!

 

Whether you want a better home, a more exciting job, or a new love, allow yourself to take a moment

from your busy life to look over the rainbow and visualize future possibilities. This could really

inspire you to start turning the dream into reality

 

Running Away Is Never the Answer

 

Sure, that mean Miss Gultch threatened to take Toto away after he snapped at her. But if Dorothy had

not run away, she probably wouldn’t have gotten caught up in that tornado mess. Confronting your

problems and figuring out a solution (with a little help from your friends or family) will help you

feel better about yourself and allow you to sleep at night. You won’t even need a poppy field.

 

Don’t Give Up Your Principles (or Your Ruby Slippers)

Ruby Red

Ruby Red

Dorothy knew giving her ruby slippers to the Wicked Witch would only lead to trouble.

(The sparks that flew when the Witch tried to take them from her might have been an indication.)

So when someone tries to make you do something you know in your heart isn’t right, stand firm and

stay true to yourself.

 

Believe in Good and Good Things Will Happen

 

Wonder what would have happened had Dorothy chosen to follow the Wicked Witch instead of Glinda?

Probably nothing good. Dorothy chose to follow the Good Witch and was helped along her journey.

Being positive and believing in good will make it easier for good things to happen in your life.

 

The Solution Might Be Right Under Your Nose

lessons learnt

lessons learned…

The answer to Dorothy’s problem getting home was literally under her nose the entire time–on

her feet to be precise. When you’ve racked your brain for a fix to your own problem (big or small)

and still don’t have a solution, try stepping away from it for a minute to clear your mind.

Tackling your troubles with a clear head may help you find the simple answers that are right in front

of you.
I hope some of my observations might be of some help to you one day.

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ALL ABOARD!  The LifeTrain!

January 17, 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Remembered

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 1:01 am

He gave his life, so that I could vote….in America, eat at lunch counters…in America, walk into the front door of Malls…in America, sit anywhere there is an open seat in the public transit system…in America. I am a Christian, black man born …in America and most of all, I call myself, what I am, an American!  I was born in America (not Africa). Thank you Dr. King!

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Although Dr. King’s name was mistakenly recorded as “Michael King” on his birth certificate, this was not discovered until 1934, when his father applied for a passport. He had an older sister, Willie Christine (September 11, 1927) and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel (July 30, 1930 – July 1, 1969). King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen, skipping his ninth and twelfth high school grades without formally graduating. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) degree in 1951. In September 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on June 5, 1955 (but see the Plagiarism section for controversy regarding this degree).

In 1953, at age 24, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1,
1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to comply with the Jim Crow laws that required her to give up her seat to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by E. D. Nixonml2 (head of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and led by King, soon followed. (In March 1955, a 15 year old school girl, Claudette Colvin, suffered the same fate, but King did not become involved.) The boycott lasted for 381 days, the situation becoming so tense that King’s house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation on all public transport.

King was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. King continued to dominate the organization. King was an adherent of the philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience as described in Henry David Thoreau’s essay of the same name, and used successfully in India by Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi. King applied this philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC. In 1959, he wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social, and economic structure of society, is derived.

be0205643Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s success with non-violent activism, he visited the Gandhi family in India in 1959, with assistance from the Quaker group the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

The FBI began wiretapping King in 1961, fearing that Communists were trying to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, but when no such evidence emerged, the bureau used the incidental details caught on tape over six years in attempts to force King out of the preeminent leadership position.

King correctly recognized that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that made the Civil Rights Movement the single most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

King organized and led marches for blacks’ right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into United States law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King and the SCLC applied the principles of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out in often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities. Sometimes these confrontations turned violent. King and the SCLC were instrumental in the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, in 1961 and 1962, where divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts; in the Birmingham protests in the summer of 1963; and in the protest in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964. King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, in December 1964, where SNCC had been working on voter registration for several months.

King, representing SCLC, was among the leaders of the so-called “Big Six” civil rights organizations who were instrumental in the organization of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The other leaders and organizations comprising the Big Six were: Roy Wilkins, NAACP; Whitney Young, Jr., Urban League; A. Philip Randolph, Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; John Lewis, SNCC; and James Farmer of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The primary logistical and strategic organizer was King’s colleague Bayard Rustin. For King, this role was another which courted controversy, since he was one of the key figures who acceded to the wishes of President John F. Kennedy in changing the focus of the march. Kennedy initially opposed the march outright, because he was concerned it would negatively impact the drive for passage of civil rights legislation, but the organizers were firm that the march would proceed.

In late March 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. (For example, African American workers, unlike white workers, were not paid when sent home because of inclement weather.)

On April 3, King returned to Memphis and addressed a rally, delivering his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” address at Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ, Inc. – World Headquarters). King’s flight to Memphis had been delayed by a bomb threat against his plane. In the close of the last speech of his career, in reference to the bomb threat, King said the following:
“ And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. ”

King was booked in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, owned by Walter Bailey, in Memphis. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, King’s close friend and colleague who was present at the assassination, swore under oath to the HSCA that King and his entourage stayed at room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often it was known as the ‘King-Abernathy suite.’ While standing on the motel’s 2nd floor balcony, King was shot at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968. The bullet entered through his right cheek smashing his jaw and then traveling down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder. According to biographer Taylor Branch, King’s last words on the balcony were to musician Ben Branch (no relation to Taylor Branch) who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending: “Ben, make sure you play Take My Hand, Precious Lord in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.” Friends inside the motel room heard the shots and ran to the balcony to find King on the ground. Local Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, whose house King was on his way to, remembers that upon seeing King go down he ran into a hotel room to call an ambulance. Nobody was on the switchboard, so Kyles ran back out and yelled to the police to get one on their radios. It was later revealed that the hotel switchboard operator, upon seeing King shot, had had a fatal heart attack and could not operate the phones. King was pronounced dead at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 p.m. The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities.

Five days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a national day of mourning for the lost civil rights leader. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral that same day. Vice-President Hubert Humphrey attended on behalf of Lyndon B. Johnson, who was holding a meeting on the Vietnam War at Camp David. (There were fears that Johnson might be hit with protests and abuses over the war if he attended.) At his widow’s request, King eulogized himself: his last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a recording of his famous ‘Drum Major’ sermon, given on February 4, 1968, was played at the funeral. In that sermon he makes a request that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to “feed the hungry”, “clothe the naked”, “be right on the [Vietnam] war question”, and “love and serve humanity”. Per King’s request, his good friend Mahalia Jackson sang his favorite hymn, “Take My hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral.

January 4, 2016

Blog number one for 2016:”See the Trees”…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 5:33 am

Hey passengers, have you ever heard the term: “Stop and smell the Roses”?  …or “you can’t see the Forest for the trees?”.  Well, today let’s dig a little deeper along that vein, Let’s focus on the trees…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

There was a man who lived in Alabama on a half-acre lot blessed with huge oak trees that were 40 feet in diameter. They were HUGE! The house was laid out such that every bedroom faced the backyard. Each bedroom had a large picture window. The view was breathtaking. He enjoyed just looking at the trees. In the fall he would identify a particular leaf that was falling and watched it for what seemed liked 5 minutes before it fell to earth.

One day he invited this married couple over to enjoy the view from the bedroom window.   He took them into the bedroom and excitedly pointed to the trees out of the window and exclaimed, “just look”!

After about 20 seconds there was no comment from the couple. He then noticed a big frown on the woman’s face.

He asked, “What’s wrong”. …She was reluctant to reply.

He insisted and again said, “What’s wrong?”

She relented and said, “Don’t you see those fingerprints on the glass?”

May you see the tress in 2016...

May you see the tress in 2016…

He turned and looked and there were what seemed to be fifty or more fingerprints on the glass.  He ran for the Windex to clean the glass. The lady explained, “Oh, I didn’t mean for you to clean it now.”

The morale here is this. That lady never saw the trees. Even when he tried to point them out, She missed it!  He didn’t see the fingerprints.  He was looking through the glass not at fingerprints. When the fingerprints were pointed out to him, he saw them and removed them. The lady never saw the trees. She focused on the fingerprints and she never got passed them.

Life is much like that. There are things in life that are good and things that are bad. You choose which things you want to focus on. I focus on the trees.

What are you focusing on?

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!

December 23, 2015

Christmas and The White Elephant In the Room…DWI

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:51 am

All Aboard!  Merry Christmas!  As I help you board the train I hand you a white business card with black lettering.  It simply says…

A designated driver helps you party another day.

Hello LifeTrain passengers, the holiday season is upon us.  We are just days before Christmas.  As you know Christmas, and the upcoming New Year calls for thanksgiving for all the many blessings bestowed upon us, a celebration of the birth of Christ, and a reflection on the significant events in our lives that occurred the past twelve months.  For many folks that means celebrating! Office parties, family get-togethers, social outings, etc. Drinking and driving is especially high during these times, thus the reason for this discussion.

Stay alive, don't drink and drive...

Stay alive, don’t drink and drive…

No sense in putting our heads in the ground like an Ostrich or ignoring the proverbial “White Elephant ” in the room.  Time for some real talk.  We mentioned celebration and sometimes that celebration is paired with libation which increases chances for DWI’s.  It happens, and my prayer is it won’t happen to you or a loved one.  Nothing good can come from that.  However, things happen, life happens and if you or a loved one is faced with this situation let’s take a look at a conversation I had recently with my good friend, Attorney Ewing Carter III.

Note:  Even though I am his athletic and academic superior, I do want to thank the attorney for doing these articles.  Trust me, if you ever need a lawyer, these articles will help prepare you for what to expect so…Thank you Attorney Carter for allowing us a peek into the legal world.  However, we will note that this is not to be construed as legal advice.

EC III:  As for the first part of your opening statement, in your dreams dude in your dreams.  However, it is my pleasure to ride and share with you and the passengers here on the LifeTrain…you are doing some good work…especially for a mentally challenged chap like yourself.

Chuckie:  Enough of the pleasantries, Tell me sir…How does the law know if I’ve had too much to drink before I drive?
EC III:  In most all 50 states, if a person is operating a motor vehicle and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher, they can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) / driving under the influence (DUI). A key consideration is that you can be impaired by any substance you ingest (alcohol, illegal drugs, and even prescription drugs). Generally, the “Officer of the Peace “, (policeman, sheriff, DMV officer, park ranger, etc.) can make the decision to stop and investigate a person, if he/she has a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that the person is driving while subject to an impairing substance. Tell-tale signs are: weaving, speeding, driving too slowly, making too wide of a turn, just to name a few.

Chuckie:  What should I do or say if I am stopped for DWI?
EC III:  Be as cooperative as possible. The officer will ask for your driver’s license and vehicle registration. He will be developing an opinion about “you” to determine to whether further investigation is warranted.  Noted signs of impairment are:  slurred speech, obvious odor of alcohol, disheveled clothing, and bloodshot eyes.

Cooperate fully...

Cooperate fully…

Chuckie:  If the officer asks me to take a breathalyzer test, should I comply, or refuse?
EC  III:  The decision is totally yours to make. However, there are some facts to consider
Driving is a privilege, and not a constitutional right. Because driving is a privilege, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines under what circumstance a person can operate a motor vehicle along
the road and highways of their state.

If you decide to refuse to take the breath test, the DMV will revoke your privilege to drive for a certain period of time. This revocation is generally for one (1) year. However, obtaining a Driving Privilege in order to drive back and forth to work can be obtained from the Court. In North Carolina, again, if you refuse the breath test, there is a 6-month waiting period before becoming eligible for the Driving Privilege. Conversely, if you take the test, and your BAC in not excessive, then there is no waiting period for the Driving Privilege.

Well passengers, there you have it…Best case scenario, remember this:

The driver is safer when the roads are dry; the roads are safer when the driver is dry. Think of your future, Think of your date, Then think before making that fatal mistake, Don’t Drink and Drive.

Merry Christmas Passengers
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All Aboard, The LifeTrain!

November 17, 2015

“When the Table Turns” – Legally Speaking” w/ Attorney Ewing Carter III

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:34 am

All Aboard!  Welcome aboard…Glad to see you on board.  As is customary as I help you up onto the Train I hand you a white business card with black raised lettering.  On the front it reads:

“Care giving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”

and on the back it reads:

“Care-giving will never be one-size-fits-all.”

I’m advising you to go back to the legal car here on the train for another session with The Attorney, Ewing Carter III.  Also, hit the radio button in the upper right portion of the train to enjoy some music as you  ride (read this article).

Can you believe that Thanksgiving and the holiday season is upon us?  I pray that we will have the opportunity to get together again. While we are all in one place this might be a good time to

Legally Speaking: Elder care...

Legally Speaking: Elder care…

have that tough conversation many of us are facing.  Those of you facing elder care issues will be especially interested in today’s conversation   So, with no further ado let’s head back to the Law car and pick Mr. Carter’s brain.

Enjoy the LifeTrain Radio while you peruse this and other “blog” articles!

Chuckie:  Attorney Carter!  Greetings Sir!
EC III:  Hey Chuckie, come on in and sit a spell.

Chuckie:  Sir, our passengers really want to know, who was one of the baddest football players ever to come out of Springfield South High School?

EC III:  Me.

Chuckie:  GONG!  Wrong answer.  I’ll give you another try.  Who was the Captain of your senior year football team.
EC II:  Look man, “you” …Ok?  Now what is the question, I’m sure the passenger’s time is just as valuable as mine.

[LOUD LAUGHTER]

Chuckie:  Ok, OK, you lawyers and money.

Chuckie:  Today’s question chosen of a great many good questions from our loyal passengers is this:  My elderly mother is confined to a wheelchair and can’t get around. I’m

the only one who helps her. My brothers live in another state and have their own lives with their families.  Can I get something from the court that allows me to take care of her daily needs?  I’m fearful that she’s beginning to lose her memory.  What can I do?

EC III:  If your mother is of “sound mind” which means that her faculties of perception and judgment are not impaired by any mental disorder, then, executing a Power of Attorney would be

helpful in this situation.  Because your mother’s mobility is limited, your acting as her attorney- in- fact will enable her to transact her business by and through you.  In most cases a General

www.EcarterLaw.com

www.EcarterLaw.com

Durable Power of Attorney is preferred because it remains in effect until revoked and canceled by a subsequent instrument in writing.  Also, this power of attorney does not terminate upon disability, incompetence, or incapacity.  Basically, your mother’s power of attorney giving you authority to act in her stead is enforceable until her death, or until she revokes it.

However, if your mother now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or any associated form of dementia, then she Does not possess the capacity to give power of attorney.  Your mother’s primary physician can provide you an Opinion Letter concerning her mental capacity.  Once you have the letter, you should file a petition to find her incompetent by the Courts.  Once the Petition is filed and a Hearing scheduled, a determination of competency will be made by the Clerk of Courts.  If and when, she is adjudicated incompetent, the Courts will: 1) appoint someone as Guardian of her Person, and 2) appoint someone Guardian of her Estate.  This can be the same person or entity, or two different persons or entities.  The Guardian of the Person makes decisions concerning health care, housing, daily activities, etc. The Guardian of the Estate makes all financial decisions concerning the person.  As always mentioned, consult with an attorney in your locale for specific advice.   I hope that helps.

Chuckie:  Thanks Attorney Carter, good stuff…as usual.  Passengers, for more on this debilitating disease check out my upcoming article with Dr. Dee PhD.
Chuckie:  You know Mr. Carter, this was another great session.  I’ve now figured out that you are a much better lawyer than a football player.
EC III:  Yep…and you are a much better water boy than golfer.

Chuckie:  See you on the links dude!  And now passengers, for your favorite part of “Legally Speaking!”

You can learn more about Attorney Carter at the: www.ECARTERLAW.com

 

November 6, 2015

Alzheimer’s, a discussion with Dr. Diedra Hayman Ph.D

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:15 am

Hey Passengers welcome aboard and back for another session on the good Doc’s couch.   I really believe this was one of our better sessions.  I would humbly encourage you to invite anyone you know to the train to review this interview.   I found the information to be incredibly enlightening.   So, let’s mozey on back to the Doctor’s car, oh and stop by the cafe car and bring me some salted peanuts in the shell and a diet coke please…

Kick off the music (See radio Broadcast Button upper right), I hope this helps

Dr. Dee: So, Chuckie, one of the passengers has made a special request to discuss coping with a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease. Are you game?

Chuckie: “CALL THE POLICE!”, not only is this woman a brilliant Doctor but, she reads minds as well!   Come mere gurl!  Gimmie a hug!
Dr.Dee: “Security!”

Chuckie: Yes, it seems that this topic has been a theme in my life in terms of coming in contact with friends dealing with this.   How shall we begin?
Dr Dee: First of all I think we ought to talk a little bit about what exactly Alzheimer’s disease is. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Not all dementia is Alzheimer’s but Alzheimer’s is characterized by dementia. This is a disease where a person gradually develops memory problems which are more and more severe. They begin by forgetting little things, and as the disease develops, they forget procedures we take for granted such as brushing their teeth getting dressed, and they forget people close to them and even their own name, as well as other personal bits of information. Usually the disease takes a slow course, and develops over several years.

Chuckie: I can see how this would be really sad, and frustrating for a family member.
Dr. Dee: Yes this can be very, very frustrating. In fact, the passenger who suggested this topic mentioned that from her perspective, dealing with a family member with Alzheimer’s is even more difficult to cope with than dealing with someone with a terminal disease.

Chuckie: Wow. That’s pretty heavy stuff. Why do think that might be?
Dr. Dee: Well, as with other situations, Alzheimer’s disease involves coping with a great deal of loss.   But unlike divorce, where that person is still the same person you were married to, only they’re just not there anymore, and unlike most terminal diseases where that person may have physical decline, but is still essentially the same person, Alzheimer’s disease involves a relatively physically healthy individual, who looks the same as you’ve always known in most cases, except that they’re getting older. When you look at this person who looks the same as they’ve always looked, you expect them to know you as they’ve always known you, and behave, as they’ve always behaved. But they don’t.   And they don’t because they are losing their memory and memory forms the basis of who we are.  Not only that, Alzheimer’s is a slow moving disease.  So, just as you get to the point where you feel you have accepted some loss of who that person was, something else of that person you know and love, fades away, and you are right back at the beginning again, having to mourn the loss of something new, that is now no longer there.

Chuckie: So, what can a person who has a family member who is suffering with Alzheimer’s do? How can they cope with this constant series of losses that can apparently go on for a number of years?
Dr. Dee: Chuckie, this is one of those cases where a really good support group can be a life line.  In a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers, a family member can meet with others who know exactly what the family member is going through. They can also offer helpful tips for coping with the little changes.

Chuckie: What kind of changes are common  for family members of patients with Alzheimer’s?
Dr. Dee: Two major kinds of changes have to be dealt with. On the one hand, dealing with a family member who has Alzheimer’s requires changes in role and relationships.   For instance, the Alzheimer’s patient may have been the one who handled the finances or the taxes or the cooking or the housekeeping.   But gradually they become unable to carry out those roles, and someone else has to step in and begin to do them.   This can be overwhelming and frustrating for the family member.   Sometimes they have to learn completely new skills, such as in the case of dealing with finances. Sometimes it involves leaving their own job to devote themselves to full-time care of the Alzheimer’s patient.   This can also be quite frustrating because jobs can define people in many ways, and to have to give that up can affect a caregivers self-esteem.   Sometimes caregivers feel guilty about these shifts in roles.   At other times, the may feel angry and resentful, that they now have to give up significant portions of their lives to become a caregiver.   The other major change that goes along with that, is the process of letting go of the person you once knew and loved, and beginning to accept the person who is evolving before you.   And that person changes from day to day and year to year,  so again, this process of letting go and accepting can go on for years.

Chuckie: Is there any cure for Alzheimer’s disease? Can anything be done to help patients with Alzheimer’s?
Dr. Dee: Unfortunately, no, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But there are a few treatments that are available.   However, the treatments, only appear to slow the progress of the disease. There are lifestyle modifications that can help in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s.   As a person becomes more and more forgetful, it may be helpful for family members to create simple scrapbooks including pictures of loved ones with a few words, describing who they are, such as a picture of a daughter, with the words, “your oldest daughter” underneath.   Or even a picture list in the bathroom, describing what needs to happen in there, such as brushing teeth, bathing, toileting.   Of course, as the dementia, increases, they may likely forget exactly how to brush teeth, or bathe, or toilet appropriately. Simplifying the choices that an Alzheimer’s patient has available to them can also be very helpful.   For instance, if they have trouble deciding what to wear, cleaning out the closet of everything but 3 or 4 pairs of pants, 3 or 4 tops, 3 or 4 dresses, and a couple pairs of shoes, may be just what the doctor ordered.

Chuckie: What do you advise family members to keep in mind as they deal with loved ones who are gradually forgetting everything about who they are and what their lives have been like?
Dr. Dee: We need to always keep in mind that Alzheimer’s disease is no picnic for the patient either. They don’t suddenly wake up with dementia. It’s a gradual process where they often recognize that they are becoming more and more forgetful, and the world is gradually becoming more and more confusing for them. So, when they become angry or react in ways that don’t make sense, its helpful for family members to remember that the patient is often confused and frightened, and the world no longer makes much sense to them either. They are not intentionally trying to be hurtful and difficult, they simply can’t help what is happening to them. And, unfortunately neither can anyone else.   If family members can find a way to reframe the behaviors of the Alzheimer’s patient in a way that takes into account their own confusion, helplessness, and fear of this strange world developing around themselves, it can not only change the way a family member behaves toward the patient, but it is often helpful for the family member as a means of coping, as well.

Chuckie: Thanks for addressing this impromptu topic. Any parting words?
Dr. Dee: Sure. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get connected to an Alzheimer’s support group. There are major changes that have to come, over the course of dealing with the family member with Alzheimer’s, including eventually placing them in residential care. This can bring about all kinds of feelings in family members, including guilt, anger, and fear. Having the support of others who have been through that fire, or are going through it themselves, can be a major means of coping.

Chuckie: Doc, as far as I’m concerned you knocked this one out the park.   I know that many will be blessed by your willingness to let us partake of your knowledge.   May your rewards be many in Heaven.
Dr.Dee: Thanks Chuckie, my pleasure.

Chuckie: Oh, Doc…one last question.
Dr.Dee: Yes?

Chuckie: Knock, Knock…
Dr.Dee: What?

Chuckie: Knock, Knock
Dr.Dee: “SIGH!” “…ok who’s there”

Chuckie: DOC!  We need to get you some help!   You are sitting here looking right at me and you axe,  “WHO’S THERE?”
Dr.Dee: BOY BYE!  GET OUT!!!

Roll credits…

regards11

November 4, 2015

Talking Anxiety with Dr. Emily Hath PhD.

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:05 am

All aboard for day 3 of Mental Health week on the LifeTrain.  Today we mosey on back to the clinic car and sit for a spell with my good friend, Dr. Emily Hath PhD. (Dr. E).  Today’s topic of discussion is again…”Anxiety”.  In this interview, we hope to give you some understanding about the nature of anxiety and what you might do to help yourself.

Reminder:  You can listen to LifeTrain Radio while you surf our site…see button upper right…

Chuckie:  Dr. E!
Dr. E:  Chuckie!

Chuckie: We’ve missed you!  I thought you had forgotten about us.
Dr. E:  No my dear friend, I’ve had an extremely high case load lately but, no…I look forward to my rides with you on the Train, having some anxiety?

[LAUGHTER!!!]

Chuckie:  Well I did start a new position but, overall I’m not ready for meds yet.

[more laughter]

Chuckie:  Dr. E, give us a little initial insight on Anxiety.

The only shame is not getting help...

The only shame is not getting help…

Dr.E:  Well Chuckie, the chances are fairly high that either you or a loved one has had a history of anxiety. In any given year about 17% of us will have an anxiety disorder—and over our lives, about 28 % of us will have an anxiety disorder.  And, if you have one anxiety disorder, then you probably have two or three anxiety disorders—and, possibly, depression.  The most common anxiety disorders are panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and specific phobia. 49% of the general population has a history of anxiety, depression, substance abuse or some of all three major problems.

Chuckie:  In doing my homework for today I found that Anxiety disorders have effects on your health.  Your thoughts?

Dr E: People with panic disorder are more likely to have mitral valve prolapse, hypertension, peptic ulcer, diabetes, angina or thyroid disease. In fact, men who have anxiety disorders are also at greater risk for cardiac disorders, hypertension, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory illness, asthma, and back pain. Women with anxiety disorders are more likely to have a history of cardiac problems, hypertension, metabolic, gastrointestinal, dermatological, respiratory disorders and arthritis.

Chuckie:  I also read that anxiety has been increasing.
Dr.E:  Yes…The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s.  We are getting more anxious every decade.
Psychologists have speculated about the possible reasons for this increase in both anxiety and depression over the last fifty years. Some of the reasons may be a decrease in “social connectedness”—we tend to move more, change jobs, participate less in civic organizations, and we are less likely to participate in religious communities. People are far less likely to get married, more likely to delay getting married, and more likely to live alone. All of these factors can contribute to worry, uncertainty, anxiety and depression.

Chuckie:  I was thinking, with all of technology and societal pressures do you think tha our “life” expectations have changed over the years?
Dr.E:  Yes, excellent observation.  We expect to have a more affluent life-style now then in say the 50s and 60s.  We are driven by unrealistic ideas of what we need (“I need the latest ipod!!”), and we have unrealistic ideas about relationships and appearance.  In the 1950’s sociologists would write about “The Organization Man” who worked for the corporation for his or her entire career. Today many people would love to have a job that had that kind of stability. And our expectations about retirement also lead us to feel anxious. We now have to rely on our own savings—rather than a company pension plan—to help us survive during retirement.

 

There is help...

There is help…

And anxiety isn’t helped by the fact that we have all the bad news all the time. Turn on your cable stations and you can immediately see the latest catastrophe—sometimes as it is actually happening in “real time”. Bad news sells—and reminds us— that we can all be in danger. Even though we live longer, have better health care, travel is safer, we are richer, and we have safer cars— we now think that there is a disaster on the horizon. Because we are constantly bombarded with bad news, we think that we are in greater danger. We may not be in greater danger—but it’s what we think that counts in the way we feel.  No wonder we are nervous wrecks.
Chuckie:  Dr. E that’s about enough for this session although we could go much longer on this topic.  When you return can we talk about some remedies?
Dr.E:  Sounds like a plan my good man.

Well Fellow passengers, another therapy session in the can.  Hope this helps.

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!!!

 

November 3, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week – Day 2: ANXIETY

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:43 am

All Aboard!

Hey passengers, in support of  mental awareness week (with an emphasis on anxiety) I decided we should visit the good Doc (Doctor Diedra Hayman Ph.D) again to make sure we have a firm understanding of the A word:

ANXIETY

Regular passengers here on the LifeTrain know that we often visit with one of my Psych Doctor friends to discuss issues of the mind,  back in the medical car of the LifeTrain.   I sat down awhile back with Doctor Diedra Hayman to discuss anxiety disorders.  With all the stresses of today’s world I thought it might be helpful to periodically look at how we could manage this type of condition or perhaps offer help to a friend or family member who might be…a tad worried over things.  So without further a due, lets knock on the good doc’s door and see what we can find out.  But first, let’s set the music for the background read:

YouTube Preview Image

Chuckie: Hey Doc Doc!  Before we get started with today’s topic, tell us, whats going on in your world…how are you?
Dr.Dee: Well, life is moving quickly. I am just about to send the puppy I’m fostering to her forever home, so hopefully my life will get back to normal soon. I am SO glad my kids are past the diapers and 2am feedings, stage. Nursing puppies takes you right back to those days!

Chuckie: Doc, today let’s talk about Anxiety.   Just what is Anxiety disorder?x1
Dr.Dee: Well, an anxiety disorder is really when we take worrying, and raise it to the level of art!   lol! Everyone experiences anxiety. Its that feeling of nervousness, or worrying a bit about something that is new, something that is old and bothersome, something that is out of the ordinary for our lives. But when we worry and stress to the point where it interferes with our daily lives…we cant sleep, we cant eat normally, we are having bad dreams or nightmares, we are worrying about any and everything, we dont want to go outside our homes, we panic…then it becomes disorder.

Chuckie: Is this your area of expertise?
Dr.Dee: As  a generalist, I do have some experience working with anxiety. After major depression, it is probably one of the  most common mental disorders.

Chuckie: As I understand it there are types of anxiety disorder, correct?
Dr.Dee: Yes, there is an anxiety disorder for every day of the week! Not really, but there are several anxiety-based disorders. Interested readers can do a google search for the details, but briefly, there is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia, Phobias, Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Tic Disorder, and Dissociative Disorders, Somato form Disorders, Anxiety Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified. I may have missed a couple others, but those are the most common.

anxietyChuckie: How do you treat anxiety disorders?
Dr.Dee: There are a variety of techniques for treating anxiety disorder. Systematic Desensitization is where a person is taught relaxation techniques, and then gradually exposed to the thing that causes them stress, while being asked to practice the relaxation. This can be done either through images created in the mind, or else, “in vitro”, or live, with an actual example of the anxiety provoking situation. Many cognitive-behavioral approaches are effective as well, and they tend to vary according to the type of anxiety. But essentially they teach the client to become aware of their thoughts, and then rather than accepting their thinking about an issue face value, they learn to question the validity of their thinking, and to replace faulty thoughts with more reasonable and helpful ones. I mentioned relaxation techniques as part of Systematic Desensitization, but those techniques alone can be taught as an effective means of coping with anxiety. Biofeedback is another means of treating anxiety. Here, the person is taught, through the use of a machine that monitors heart rate and blood pressure, to reduce the physical response to anxiety by slowing the heart rate and lowering the blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are very important. Often we are living in such a way, and at such a pace, that we may be unwittingly contributing to our own anxiety. And of course, there is medication management. There are a variety of medications available for the treatment of various anxiety disorders.

Chuckie: How do I know if the medication is working?
Dr.Dee: If there is significant reduction in anxiety symptoms, and the side effects are not intolerable, then you can assume the medication is having some impact. Its important to be alert to the medications, though. In the case of anxiety, some of the medications are actually addictive, such as the benzodiazepines (Klonipin, Xanax). If you dont want to risk addiction and withdrawal, request something other than a benzo, if at all possible. Some antidepressants are effective against anxiety symptoms, at different doses.

Chuckie: Any parting thoughts to leave us with on this subject?
Dr.Dee: Yes, anxiety can be a crippling disorder. It can make it difficult to impossible to get a job, keep a job, or even leave the house, for some people. Often, people become anxious because they attribute all kinds of faulty meanings to events that occur in their lives. One of the most effective treatments I know of for anxiety is trust in God. Knowing that ultimately, God is in control, makes it possible to manage even the most distressing anxiety, and even reducing it to zero. I encourage all who desire, to seek a knowledge of God, and to rely on Him for the solution to our deepest worries. God says “casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”

Chuckie: Do you think we’ll ever get our own syndicated show?
Dr. Dee: Uhhh…no, Chuckie, I work on the “brief therapy” model. You are almost out of sessions for this treatment episode!

November 2, 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week on The LifeTrain…

Category: Thoughts — chuckie @ 12:02 am

ALL ABOARD!!!  Good day passengers!  As you board the train I give you the customary business card.  This one states:

There’s No Shame in Asking for Help

There is NO shame in asking for help yet, so many people are afraid to seek out counseling or therapy when they find themselves facing genuine crisis in their lives. It’s a stigma against mental

Mental Health Awareness week on the LifeTrain...

Mental Health Awareness week on the LifeTrain…

illness which has been holding fast for decades, and it’s doing the current population no favors to hold onto it. Nearly 20% of Americans are diagnosed with mental illnesses every year, but less than half of them actually seek professional help. What about those individuals who just need counseling to overcome a stressful point in their lives? What are therapy and counseling, anyway? Does having no diagnosed mental illness make it easier to seek help?

Therefore, I’m designating this week as Mental Awareness week here on the LifeTrain.

Counseling? Therapy? What Are They?

Counseling can be done by a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist while therapy usually requires a psychologist or psychiatrist. The difference is that counseling is designed to address short-term goals or a single issue/situation where the individual needs help examining their motivations, their options and making a healthy decision. Therapy is more far-sighted and can involve everything from psychotherapy to behavioral therapy. Psychiatrists can even prescribe medication to help individuals handle anxiety, depression and other expressions of psychological distress.

In essence, counseling and therapy are both methods of one professionally trained individual helping another person understand themselves and their choices in life while offering support and a listening ear. Most people who initiate counseling are going through life stress, such as a divorce, loss of a job, the death of a family member or a career change. Any type of change, positive or negative, creates stress and that leaves individuals at a loss. Therapy offers a chance to speak to a sympathetic, objective individual who can use knowledge and experience to provide plausible options.

Why Is There Such a Stigma?

Although people are quick to say that there’s no shame in getting help when it’s needed, the overwhelming majority do not understand the purpose of counseling. One of the largest misconceptions is that behavioral therapy is to ‘fix’ someone who is ‘broken.’ It could be that a person has a phobia or an obsession which is interfering with their daily life. Behavioral therapy, counseling and even medication can help a person find a new lease on life.

Just imagine...

Just imagine…

The stigma goes hand in hand with ignorance. As mental illness is considered frightening by the public, very few people actively seek to learn more. The idea of someone being ‘crazy’ is used to dismiss behavior that we find either frightening, unpleasant or offensive. With the association between psychology, psychiatry and counseling and mental illness, the uneducated public feels it’s admitting to a ‘failure’ by seeking out professional help for life stress.

There is nothing further from the truth. Counseling, behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis and other therapy techniques are meant to help everyone. Life stress is something that all of us can understand; after all, regardless of circumstances, unexpected things happen to everyone. Just as we have come to understand that stress is as common as sunburn, so must we now educate ourselves and each other to know that all forms of therapy are merely medical treatment for the side effects of stress.

This week I will be sharing information from professionals on depression and other mental health issues so…

All Aboard!  The LifeTrain!