Category Archives: chronic pain

Grown-Ups Here

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We are all “grown ups” here, I hope! I realize there are occasional young

people that are part of the blogging community that may wander in and

read one of my posts. There are ones who are as young as high school or

college who may stop by. I believe anyone who is logged into wordpress

or have their own blog are able to hear about a wide variety of subject

matters, or make the choice to ‘move on.’ I also think everyone should

read other posts, just in case the first one is just not your ‘cup of tea.’

Today, I am not trying to ‘start something,’ nor wishing to add too much

controversy in your lives. I don’t wish to shake you up or create drama

that you aren’t interested in.

I am hoping for a conversation about relationships.

The working relationship between the characters of Boothe and Temperance,

in the television series, “Bones,” had a great quotation that I will try to paraphrase

to give its essence:

(Boothe to Bones)

“Our perceptions are always colored by what we want to believe and hope for.”

I will share just some recent things that have caused me to ‘draw conclusions’

on the subject of couples.

Everyone has read or seen the subject, “Signs You Need to Break-up,” on the

television, in articles and on talk shows. Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, all have

their opinions and judgments.

I always hope you (my friends and family) will know and make that choice on

your own.

There are times, though, that you may feel as a good friend or family member,

that you have a right to express your opinion. You are my ‘family’ of sorts and

I wish to share reasons I would ‘give up’ rather than ‘fight’ to stay in a rocky

relationship.

You sometimes know, instinctively, when you have heard a person tell you about

someone who seems a little bit “off” or “wrong” for that friend.

Here are some strange and real examples observed or told to me by friends.  .  .

When You Know Things Are Going Wrong or

When You Need to Dis-Connect:

1. Calling one of the members of your ‘couple’ (spouse/partner) “Selfish.”

This is something that I could not believe someone said recently around me.

In this case, I would need to find out why that person was being considered

‘selfish’ and tend to think the one who is ‘name-calling,’ may not be meeting

that other person’s needs.

2. Using derogatory comments, with possible swear words, in a group or

family setting.

In this time, I was at a play area, where the person said this to the other one,

in a loud voice, while children were playing near by.

This would be, truly, a cause for leaving someone. Sorry, I don’t play around

with ‘maybe’s!!’

3. When you walk into a home, where the people are not great-grandparents,

and there are two Lazy-Boy’s, side by side, with an end table in between.

I am wondering how long have these people been living on parallel chairs,

with no bodies touching?

4. One participant in a relationship, who is not open for any counseling nor

discussions about improvements. There is a big, final door shutting on this

couple, I hear about at work.

5. Shorter version, not open to friendly (not nagging) suggestions and gets

hurt and insulted ‘easily’ by the other member in the couple.

6. One excuse after another, even when there is no financial nor scheduling

challenges, for having a ‘date night’ and time away from children.

7. One excuse after another, for months on end, with no physical or emotional

reasons behind these excuses, (unfounded excuses) for refusing any kind of

intimacy.

I would recommend the frank and explicit film, “The Sessions.” Our library has

it, it is about a man who is a parapalegic who has sexual healing sessions with a

physical intimacy counselor, played by Helen Hunt. It is very touching, I cried. I

felt that someone who is fully capable of having romance, will realize that it is a

gift to be able to do so.

This was brought up in a painfully honest, step by step movie, on how to get the

‘spark’ back into your marriage, in “Hope Springs.” It is not, in any way, funny.

But so honest and brutally true of some couples with their lives on hold, for

whatever reason. (Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep and Steve Carrell, in a

serious role as a counselor.)

8. In a shorter version of #6 and #7, one person ‘putting distance’ into a

relationship. There is something wrong, this needs to be fixed before it is

irreparably repaired or broken.

9. No ‘big’ secrets kept between members of a family.

10. There is an uneven distribution of ‘power’ or ‘control’ in the couple.

This can be quite upsetting, when you see one or both covering up this

but other times, the truth slips out. Control and abuse are both forgivable

situations for separation or divorce, in my mind.

(Not going to worry about the Bible, since there are not any passages to

support this. It is okay to leave if your partner leaves ‘first’ and you don’t

need to follow. This is the only example of infidelity being a reason for

leaving, that the Bible addresses. No words about if the person is being

abused, emotionally or physically.)

They fester, rot and eventually tear apart the foundation of trust and love.

There are many ways to have a wonderful relationship and it is no one’s

business but the two of you, unless it is a confidential, impartial member of

the clergy, physician, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist or member of the

medical field.

My friend, Melvin, is not embarrassed to talk about how his girlfriend has

undergone different surgeries, outcomes of having cancer in her internal

‘private’ areas. He doesn’t broadcast them, but when she had a colostomy

bag, due to her having colon cancer, she and he dealt with this. When she

had an ileostomy, due to having something go seriously wrong with her

urinary tract, they managed to get through this, too. She has improved her

health, taken steps to have both chemo and radiation, so now the “stoma’s”

are the only physical remainders of her having both urine and fecal ‘bags.’

Melvin once confided in me, that he and his girlfriend have found ‘ways

around the different complications’ to ‘express their love for each other.’

After 15 years together, that is wonderful and admirable, that they realized

that they still needed to feel physically connected.

We have had a few comments back and forth, last summer when I brought

up that I was contemplating intimacy with a man I had dated for over a month.

I was hesitant, I gave a few humorous examples of how three women plus

myself had told on our more embarrassing parts of ‘growing older.’ That post,

with different stimulants, varied physical challenges ended with one of the

women sharing a strange and uncomfortable position. Anyway, hope that it

is okay to tell you that I agree with Melvin.

There should be ‘no limits’ to the ways you would engage in closeness, with

another person. As long as Both Parties are comfortable and agree. If there

are parts that are not satisfying, then being open to changing the parts but

adding something else to enhance the happy feelings and connectedness

one feels while engaged in romantic activities. When there are physical

challenges, “there are always alternatives for both parties involved,” my

friend Melvin shared with me.

After we talked out in the parking lot, Melvin asked me if I felt like we

should not have ‘stepped into this area of discussion,’ being friends and

coworkers. I felt very blessed and happy by knowing them. Melvin’s girl

friend and he were able to overcome their obstacles, working like a ‘team.’

I told him I had high hopes to have someone who treated me with the

same respect and consideration that the two of them expressed for

each other. They were ‘blessed’ for this union of lives together. I am so

happy that Melvin kept with Diane, despite these physical challenges.

Melvin then reminded me Diane no longer has them, since they hung

on, through it. He said,

“We may be not married, but we treat our feelings like ‘vows,’ and the

one about ‘for better or worse,’ continues to apply to us.”

 

I ended the ‘personal space’ dialogue by saying,

“Of all the things my parents talked about and what I learned from their

own personal lives, sex is not the weirdest topic covered!”

He burst out laughing and we got into our own separate cars. Happy to

have an open-minded friend to share some personal moments with, once

in awhile.

July 24, 1987: An Insurmountable Achievement

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A young girl, who was overweight and sometimes ridiculed, went off

to college. Even there, she did not get concerned about her rising

weight, her expanding waist line. Her health was failing, due to long

hours of studying and limited extra time to walk, exercise or worry

about her diet.

It was not until she reached the age of 40, that this wonderful woman

decided to take action! She started hiking and going on natural trails.

She made plans to achieve more miles, and she started to make progress

in her renewal of energy and her health revived, too.

At age 66, she climbed the highest peak in Continental United States,

Mt. Whitney.

How motivating!

How exciting!

What an exhilarating ride this story is taking!

You will be so much more inspired, when you get to the true climax

of this story. I am very proud of this woman! I wrote this all by myself

hoping to build to where you will hear waves of roaring instruments

or trumpets blasting…

This is the anniversary of her biggest climb:

A woman named Hulda Crooks climbed Mt. Fiji, in Japan when she was

91 years of age on July 24, 1987!

Way to go, Hulda!

I would like the songs, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Climb

Every Mountain” to be included in your heads while reading the final

chapter of her life.

Hulda Crooks reached the age of 101, dying in 1997.

What would have happened to her life, had she not reached the place

she could hardly walk or breathe?

It makes all of my little complaints and ‘molehills’ seem quite small!

Green Choices for a Better World

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One summer morning of my 16th year, after eating a delicious large breakfast

with my Aunt Marie, she said we had a ‘chore to do.’ We were in my Aunt

Dot’s kitchen in Rockport, Massachusetts.

I put some beat up tennis shoes, raggedy jeans shorts and a dark t-shirt

on. Aunt Marie wore a red bandana over her golden hair, with a blue pair

of, what we called then, “pedal pushers” on and a red light weight blouse

on.

We stashed, in the ‘boot’ of  Aunt Marie’s little red, sports car, paper bags

of recyclables, a large box of technical equipment, that had a few television

parts and cords thrown in.

On the way to the area of the city dump, Aunt Marie explained about

composting and recycling. She also told me something I had never

thought about and here is the ‘gist’ of her lesson:

“Out on this Eastern seaboard, we have limited space, we’re very concerned

about the Atlantic Ocean, mercury’s effect on our fish, gas and oil discharges

from fishing and recreational boats. We want to make sure we all have a

clean place to live and swim in.” (This was 1971.)

We were heading up a great hill, to where there were various sizes of sheds,

dumpsters and piles of discarded items. This was my introduction, seeing

this process in ‘full swing,’ to thinking more about environment and ecology!

My Aunt Marie had me grab the box, while she took two armfuls of paper bags,

and we headed towards the designated areas. Technical equipment, including

cords, cables, computer screens and ‘motherboards’ were in a large shed.

If one wanted to ‘shop’ in amongst the discarded equipment, you were not

going to be prevented. They actually encouraged recycling and re-using.

We then took the glass bottles to an area, with a lot of shelves, and a woman

sitting in front of a small table with an old calculator figured out our pennies

earned and gave us money for the soda bottles ‘returned.’ The glass jars that

were from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments did not receive

monetary payment, but I already became aware that recycling these would

preserve the local environment.

Over forty years ago, when Bay (Village) High School held fundraisers

for different clubs, associations and team sports, we would collect bottles,

cans and newspapers. I have a photograph of myself, with a felt pink hat,

resembling Annie Hall or some other cultural style leader, so I thought!

I am wearing a ‘maxi”length beige coat, and am in front of the truck Science

Club would rent. We were piling newspapers, magazines and other paper

products. I am with some of my good ‘geek’ friends. Although, not included

in the yearbook photograph, we girls are laughing at the ‘boys’ who were

pawing through the “Playboy” and “Esquire” magazine donations.

We were equally aware of the environment and the financial value of this

monthly fundraiser. Unlike I am as an adult, who is reluctant to volunteer,

I was always in the midst of such functions. As a member of Science Club,

Thespians, Publication staff and Marching Band, along with the certain times

of year, (as a Girl Scout), we sold donuts in the Autumn and cookies in the

Spring, I volunteered. Although only in the photos of Science Club in my high

school yearbook, was I featured.

When I think back on those times, I felt involved and essential in many

ways. I also found out, over time and conversations, this was more rare

than not, from my friends who I met in later years.

I wonder, do you remember being involved in ecological, environmental

volunteering or fundraising during your school years?

It is a pleasure to feature some local and global “Green Choices” available

recently, here in Central Ohio.

It is not as “helpful” as volunteering, but it feels good to share that we

are still in this together, trying to make ecologically ‘correct’ choices!

The founder of a local skin care company, “Juicy for Sure,”  Valerie

Dupree, talked recently. She was suggesting trying products that are

free of chemicals, such as paraben and phthalates. (Not sure what this

is, but I rechecked spelling twice!) Her company features body care

products made from natural sources. They are unscented and stored in

glass containers. A reminder given, those stored in plastic packages are

more likely or are believed to create chemical ‘contamination.’ The

natural skin care company, recently added a new men’s lotions line.

They claim many of their products “leave no greasy ‘after-feel.'” There

was a Worthington, “Green on the Green” function that my youngest

daughter attended, believing that what she puts into her body and onto

her body, directly affects her outbreaks of eczema and inflammation of

rheumatoid arthritis.

You may also purchase “Gardener’s Lotion” and a sweetly scented

body lotion, “Dew Drop.” My youngest daughter is not involved in this

business and would not purchase any scented products. Look for these

products and more online, at Juicy for Sure. Their skin care line promises

“artisan crafted,” “eco- conscious” products while feeling “luxurious.”

Solar panels have been considered great conduits to natural forces for

quite some time now. There is a local Central Ohio, Columbus-based

company who won a recent award for being one of the top 3 National

winners in the “Green Homes” category. The quarterly “People and Planet

Awards” find eco-conscious companies and hand out different categories

of awards. The name of this national nonprofit, sustainability organization

is “Green America.”

Kevin Eigel, who is the President of “Ecohouse” will use the $5000 award

to help fund a solar installation for a co-op building called, “Third Hand.”

Ecohouse. com is one that I am proud to list as nearby. I wish I could build

a home having Kevin’s company install solar panels on my roof.

My Dad was very interested in having solar panels on their retirement

cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, believing in both the wind and sun as being

important natural contributors of energy. I have to admit, they did not

complete this project.

Soybeans in Iowa were recently researched in a study found in “Food

Chemistry” journal. The foods we ingest are very important to know

more about, as our society and world has changed the processes. The

study tested soybeans grown from seeds that were genetically modified

(GM) to be resistant to the herbicide, Round Up.

Thirty-one different Iowa farms were participants in this study. The

results found that GM soybeans contained significantly higher levels

of  the toxin, glyphosate. This is one of the main chemicals found in

Round Up.

Of course, this is the reason to ‘buy local,’ as often as possible, from

farmers who use natural ways to grow their soybeans.

I am learning more about being aware of non-GMO soybeans and other

vegetables.

Organic foods are the best ones to put into our bodies. Also, they have

found there are higher levels of good ingredients in naturally grown

soybeans, higher levels of protein and zinc, along with lowered levels

of saturated fats.

Global recognition is my final thrust in this going green article. There is

an international rise in sun-generated power in the United States, Italy,

Germany, China and Japan.

They were named as countries producing more than “10 gigawatts of solar

products” to promote a greener economy.

In India, villages are switching to solar power, also. Their environmental

‘watch group’ is called, “Earth Hour.”

IKEA, Scandanavian produced furniture) has sold over $10,000 worth of

solar panels to 17 British outlets. England is aware of the reason for using

solar energy to generate warmth and heat.

Peru is also starting to install solar panels in a National Photovoltaic

Household Electrification program. This began last July, 2013. (Boy, I

had to check the spelling three times on that mouthful of words!)

The conclusion of this varied report that included personal experiences,

research on soybeans, solar panels and local companies that have been

shown to incorporate natural products is to encourage more awareness

in your area of the world.

There are so many parts of our lives that we ignore or procrastinate

in. I recycle paper, glass, cardboard and plastics. At work, our

boxes get put on a cardboard line, which compacts them into

flat smashed ‘boxes’ that get picked up by a recycling company.

Our discarded plastic goes in another location, where it is collected

and corded together with its compaction process, too.

What kind of changes are you already making to help make your area

of the world a better place?

I am interested in any new ‘green’ products, natural foods that have

more nutrition that you would recommend, and any other suggestions.

What are some changes that you have made to become more involved?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wonderful Domino Effect

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I have always felt that the song, “What a Wonderful World,” was

one of my all time favorites. It IS a wonderful world! I love that

Louis Armstrong song! There are moments that it can bring me to

tears, others where it can give me bubbles of joy and wonderment!

I also, enjoyed the old black and white Christmas movie, “It’s A

Wonderful Life.” The character that Jimmy Stewart plays is named

George Bailey. The movie shows us a fantastic, but simple, story of

how one man’s life impacts others around him. It is so moving.

The small town in this movie, plays its part in telling the tale,

too. But, most importantly, the people in the town gather round and

‘circle their wagons,’ to help George to really know his life has

meaning to it. The townspeople all take turns, sharing and expressing

their reasons why he is needed to be part of their lives. How his

life impacted theirs, too. They want him to believe they all feel

that he is why they got to be where they are today, through his

actions.

It is valuable for you to remember, wherever you go, that there

are people surrounding you, caring about you, and who are cheering

you on, in so many unspoken ways.

Please, never feel you wish to end your life! I always get teary-

eyed, when I think of some of you, who deal with chronic pain,

going blind or blindness, cancer, Lyme’s Disease, OC/DC, other

afflictions and anxieties. There are everyday problems, challenges

and disabilities too numerous to explain or describe. If it were

possible to gather you all together, giving you a warm embrace,

I would do this!

Today.

Right now!

Let’s hug!

I thought, long and hard, about my recent award nomination where I

was once more recognized for my blogging. I wondered how I could make

this post different and how it could be received.

How could I express this in a unique way and still give meaning to the

wonder that I get when someone gives me something like this!

I thought about what my blogging community has added to my life,

in so many directions, leading my thoughts into other dimensions

and how could I express this best?

This is my important original thought I wish to pass on to you

all.

“Dominoes

We all are like dominoes, leaning on each other.

We can form a great wall of protection.

We can overlap our black bodies and white spots.

We can match the two’s with the two’s

And the blank’s with the blank’s.

We can find our similarities and join them.

We can create paths across borders.

We can make ourselves form straight lines.

We can create gradual curves, gently angling

In waves of comraderie and companionship.

(Dominoes cannot hook arms, but they can seem

like they are ‘working together’ in unison.)

We can pile on top of each other!

Neatly or hap-hazardly.

We can ’embrace’ each other,

caring and supporting one another.

On other more wilder, carefree days,

We can overlap, standing up tall,

All come tumbling down,

Giggling and laughing with each other!

Dominoes is such a lovely game we play together.”

Written 4/30/14 by Robin Elizabeth Oldrieve Cochran.

This leads me to the same conclusion that the character, George

Bailey discovers.

That once we all become part of a community, the world becomes

a way of being our ‘small town.’

We are like neighbors, where we come to know, understand and

make the world a ‘smaller place.’

My friend, Amanda, has hysterically funny ways of looking at

life, especially as a mother of three children and wife of the

man she loves. A recent post where she compares herself to the

‘perfect mum’ and the ‘perfect wife.’ I know you will love her

forever for expressing her doubts and her lively photos of what

we could look like or do, if we were all so perfect! She is also

a photographer and philosopher. You will enjoy her blog at:

http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com

You will find the beautiful newer friends to my blogging

community in my list of nominees! If you wish to seek out

the rules and other important parts of the Award Post that

Amanda composed and included ‘moi!’ then please look at her

blog!

I wish to pass the Wonderful Team Members Readership Award

to the following people. I assure you that their blogs are

clever, witty, fun and beautiful. I am probably going to take

a ‘shortcut’ and wish that all my readers please check them

out and hope you find new great places to visit!

1. Marylin, Poetry, beauty and light found here:

http://kintal.wordpress.com

2. Colleen, you get me thinking and you have interesting ways

of expressing yourself in your posts. You are new to me, which

makes me want to get to know you better!

http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com

3. April, I feel close to you. I worry about your health challenges

and also, appreciate your seeing beauty in spite of yourself!

http:/momof3isnuts.wordpress.com

4. Mama Bear Musings has given me ideas of oils, healing and meditation

reminders. Her DIY recipe for cellulite reducing, wow! Here she is in

her giving blog, that shares with us so much we need to hear about!

http://mauldinfamily1.wordpress.com

5. Redbird’s Roost:

http://birdchirp.wordpress.com

6. Faith and thoughts shared here:

http://jisbell22.wordpress.com

7. Family and fun are important to Dorreen:

http://motherhendiaries.wordpress.com

8. Kim is a new grandmother, along with a spiritual warrior:

http://kimgosselinblog.com

9. She has been having a hard time lately, so this may cheer

her up!

http://penguinqueen1988.wordpress.com

10. There are lovely photos and poetry here:

http://forgottenmeadows.wordpress.com

11. He has a sense of humor. The post on chocolate pie, ‘had’ me!

http://christiangrandfather.wordpress.com

12. Paul has fantastic artwork in his photography:

http://photopaulm.com

13. Thoughts and fun can be found here:

http://pamela984.wordpress.com

14. Hi to the different places you take my mind:

http://whatsintheboxblog.wordpress.com

I am so glad that all of you are on my Wonderful Team!

I appreciate your reading and commenting on my posts. I have a lot

of hope that we will someday get to meet and have a stadium of people

who will all cheer in unison for blogging and our friendships!

Go, Team, Go!

Calling All Angels

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What was your favorite prayer growing up? If you are from another country

or did not pray, what was your favorite expression wishing for the best?

Sometimes people will say, “God bless you,” “Good luck,” or “May the saints

be with ye…” I have a few prayers that include the word, “Angels,” in them.

Angels, to my family, are messengers from God. If they take the form of an

animal, a form of natural wonder or a miracle, all are such fantastic

examples of how God “tells us he loves us.” I had a strange and wonderful

experience with a cardinal, within an hour of my Grandfather Mattson’s

death. All who are in my family, either ‘believe’ in this miracle of

a meaningful message or they ‘humor’ me! No one argues or tries to show

disdain for my loving memory of that moment. (I posted about this in

Cardinals send messages…)

The musical group, Train, has performed the song, “Calling All Angels”

since 2003. Here are a few ‘telling lyrics’ for this new society

where we have concerns and dangerous situations we face daily.

“I need a sign,
to let me know you’re here.
All of these lines are being
crossed over the atmosphere.

I need to know,
that things are gonna look up.
‘Cause I feel us drowning
on a sea spilled from a cup.

When there is no place safe,
and no safe place in my head.
When you can feel the world shaken
from the words that are said.

And I’m calling all Angels…

When children have to play inside,
so they don’t disappear.
While private eyes solve marriage lies
‘Cause we don’t talk for years…”

This is a haunting song, with many ‘truths’ but mainly

it would be nice if we could all live without fear or

destruction.

Someone may have a spirit or angel that watches over them, showing

themselves through movement of objects, words that are heard aloud,

or maybe a “vision” of a future happening, with its being ‘foretold’

by that heavenly appearance. My friend, Lori, has had one that she

thinks is her grandfather who will “knock my hat off of my head on

a clear, still and windless day.”

Some people have dreams that show a remarkable ability to see into

the future, others solve crimes and help the police by even finding

someone or something that is lost. I know we could attribute these to

our own fascinating ‘brain power’ but some like to think they are

also a ‘helping hand from Above.’ I always thank God, daily, multiple

times for his creations and my blessings. This can be from saving me

from an accident or harm. This can come by giving me a ‘premonition’

not to take a certain road or something I should not undertake.

It can be a special way of someone passing you a healthy way to

take care of your illness or make you feel less pain. I feel there

are ‘angels’ everywhere there are people who are kind, helpful and

go beyond normal levels of caring, beyond limits of ‘doing the

right thing.’ There have been people in war times, accidents and

other catastrophes, that have had “someone by their side,” holding

their hand, leading them out of a fire, out of the dangerous zones

or out of the deep water where seaweed had caught on their ankles.

Just as in the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,”

I believe God and his ‘posse’ of angels are all within our personal

beliefs in God and our own personal relationship with Him.

Here are Four Angel Prayer or Poems, that hopefully will bless and

touch your hearts during this Season of Peace and Love. Hope, if you

have a short four lines or less, special poem or quotation that you

will add to this conversation about Angels.

One:

“Guardian Angel from heaven so bright,
Watching beside me to lead me aright,
Fold thy wings round me and guard me with love
Softly sing songs to me of Heaven above. Amen.”

Two:

“Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber,
Holy angels guard thy bed.
Heavenly blessings without number
Gently fall upon thy head.”

Three:

“Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch, and one to pray,
And two to bear my soul away.”
(Child’s bedtime prayer, 17th century)

Four:

“Little eyelids cease your winking;
Little orbs, forget to beam;
Little soul, to slumber sinking,
Let angels rule your dream.”
Written by Eugene Field

There’s Pain in Our Differences

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A friend of mine often says, “Thank God for our Pains!” It reminds her

of “being alive!” She says that we should be grateful for the pain in our

knees, hands or other areas of our body. “We are lucky to have those

body parts…” Well, I really had to think about that while up in the

aerosol room on Friday, grumbling because I had just hit my shin on

a metal rack!

Understanding differences in how men and women are, often comes

up in my writings. I have spent hours on end, trying to figure out why

I have had my history with men! When I was reflecting back, I thought

of how in education they say boys learn differently from girls. They

have research to back up this, that girls have better communication

skills due to the area of the brain that is used is more highly developed.

While boys are great in math and science, girls are better in reading

and writing, especially while collecting facts and putting them into words

into a paper. For over thirty years, at least! there have been studies to

help emphasize the differences betweent the sexes in their learning

and genders’ weaknesses, so that we can improve our teaching

approaches. Bridging these “gaps” can make us not only better learners,

but also better partners in our relationships!

Of course, this was very helpful in my approaches in teaching my own

three children (girl-boy-girl, birth order) and also, in my classroom. I was

a Language Arts teacher, first in middle school. I liked projects, I knew

that the boys liked to put their “hands on” approach to these, those

props held while presenting papers, really helped them relax. If I had

a month of mysteries, with the different kinds of spelling, writing,

English composition and current events, say for October lessons,

I encouraged making paper mache masks, posters and any other

three dimensional projects that suited the book they had read.

Two of my favorite presentations were boys that had put together

a “radio show” to demonstrate their reading of “War of the Worlds.”

It was quite different from the famous one that you have heard of!

Also, the young man who made a paper mache heart to talk about

the short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Telltale Heart” and his little

tape of an actual heart beating heard behind the words he told in

his report: Awesome!

Anyway, understanding how we learn, how we feel (pain, included)

and what we both need are very important to help our relationships.

Relationships, I often say, are the reason I wrote this blog,  because

they truly “reveal our hearts.” Most research of the sexes, determine

vast differences in the way we do those three important areas, learn,

feel and need.

I have to put this musical “shout out” to Billy Joel! I have used the

song, “Tell Her About It” many times in arguments or let’s put it nicely,

“discussions” with men. Love through words can really make a huge

difference in bringing people who love each other back together.

Equally important, through that hands on approach, men feel that

showing affection through actions is important. Men would like to

have more sex and women would like to have more romance in

their lives!

As far as pain studies and research go, new strides are being made

at understanding the differences between the way men react to

pain and women do.

Here are the different versions of the definition of pain:

1.)  Physical suffering associated with disease, injury or other bodily

disorders.

2.)  Harmful stimulus that a basic bodily sensation results in the

characteristics of physical discomfort.

3.)  Acute mental or emotional distress. (otherwords, grief.)

4.)  The care and effort in accomplishing something like taking

great “pains” to make someone feel better or get something done.

5.)  Someone or something that annoys or is troublesome. (Men

are a ‘pain in the neck!’ or she’s a real pain!)

Very new studies in how we are able to cope and react to pain have

been uncovering startling differences between men’s and women’s

thresholds. Sure, for years, we thought women were able to handle

pain better due to the gender specific fact that women carry and

give birth to babies. Also, side note: I often wondered why my exes

seemed like “babies” when it came to any sickness or pain. Probably

not done a study on that yet!

Humans need pain! I found this out by reading on the subject of pain

recently. My daughter, some of you who have followed me for the

past year, may remember deals with rheumatoid arthritis. She has

had it since a child, hence its JRA (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis).

She has been in case studies at Ohio State and also, Children’s

Hospital since she was 11. She has more white blood cells than

red blood cells, usually, she also has the joints of a person over

65 years old. She still ran on the soccer field and when benched

due to her not always being the “best,” chose her senior year to

go onto the Cross Country team and made it into the top ten in

the district meet. (OCC) She is not a “whiner” nor does she mention

this to new dates. I called her a “hero” in an essay contest and we

had our picture taken and put in the Columbus Dispatch contest

in her high school years. When other teens didn’t want to get off

their butts from their computer, gaming and other areas of their

lives, she worked at Kroger’s as a cashier at 15, ran and also, did

not use it as an “excuse” to get out of anything!

Pain alerts us to danger and injury. If you touch something sharp,

hot or painful, this will trigger an electrical signal and releases

chemicals from cells in your fingers, racing up nerves of your arm,

to the area of the brain. To be technical, the thalamus and midbrain.

These are involved in sensory perception. The sensation goes to the

neocortex and the limbis system which gives us the type and intensity

of the pain. Memory and emotion assign us a “level of pain” on

how it registers and we react. If our memory is more painful we may

react differently to somethingwe have already experienced.

Someone, for example, who has had a hammer land on their foot

previously, may react with excruciating pain. The past memory

exacerbates it, making it seem even worse than the person who

for the first time, has a hammer land on their foot.

I get very upset when I bump or bash my legs. I am much more

likely to bruise, that knowledge makes me try so hard not to do

the bumping, but this morning, I rammed my leg on an open

cabinet! I almost screamed in frustration! I could see the bruising

and also, see redness and the future of broken capillaries. That

is my fate, I can look back at my Dad’s bruised, black and blue

veins on his legs and I can look at my Mom’s when I am in the

bathroom with her. We never recouperate from those bumps

and bruises. I tried to sit down and put ice on my leg, sat and

did “mindful chewing” and ate my breakfast. I know that it

will not be bad, in comparison to other’s daily pain nor should

I dwell on it too much. That is life in my body. But this led me

to write about the subject today!

Here is a reference on this subject, Allan Basbaum, PhD. who is

the chair of the anatomy department at University of California,

“Pain signals that are repeated over and over can eventually

cause physiological chemical changes that make nerve pathways

ultrasensitive. Once that happens, your brain interprets pain impulses

traveling on them as more intense and harder to regulate and

suppress.”

This is sad, because pain messages may become embedded in your

central nervous system so that your brain may keep sending them

** Even when they no longer exist! This is distressful to those with

fibromyalgia. Those pathways in your neurosystem, have developed

into extremely sensitive places where the slightest ache is intensified.

This explains also why women are the ones more likely to have this

and also, fill up the pain clinics. There is a different brain structure

that is like a wall where the pain is processed. Studies have found

the brain structures that help control consciousness, emotions, and

pain processing differ between the sexes. The women’s wall is thicker,

in the brain area studied, female patient who suffer frequent migraines

specifically. Along with the fact that only male rats are used for drug

studies, we have still a long way to go to discover sex appropriate drugs

to “cure” or “treat” different ailments. Only after the 1990’s have we

begun to start tracking the differences in the way sexes react to drugs.

This is directly shown through the difference in the way women have

heart attacks and strokes and men do. We are beginning to understand

that heart attacks and cardiovascular disease strikes the sexes differently.

As we get older, we all will need to adjust to the differences in the way

the sexes age, get diseases and how to handle them. While it may not

seem important to the younger readers, it is important to us all in society

who have parents, elderly relatives and friends, too. The ways we differ,

in our communication, effect us in the workplace and at home. We need

to understand that men feel useful if they are the ones who are fixing,

earning and doing. That is the way their gender, from childhood on, is

developing. It is out of their control! If you read about counseling or have

been through marital counseling, one of the most often heard phrases is,

“But I show her I love her by working hard, I come home, mow the yard,

and doing other chores. I am showing her I love her through my actions.”

Women, also often breadwinners, will emphasize the other side of love,

through emotions, by saying they express their love through telling their

partner that they appreciate this or that, they “remembered” their spouse’s

favorite meal to make or scent to wear. Communication is learning how

the other person thinks and feels.

Sympathy towards the other person’s aches and pains of growing older,

will go a long way towards staying connected, showing you care and

warming up your relationship. I am going to give you a few suggestions

of how to do this while we are all going through one pain or another

in this life. Take a bath or shower together, give back, foot or other

bodily parts massages, and try something new together that is enjoyable

to get your minds off the pain. It will help you to bridge back to your

younger selves to learn how to dance, go to the Y and swim, take cooking

lessons (remember to find a healthy cook since we do need to be careful

with our bodies as we age!) and take leisurely bike or walks through parks,

enjoying the scenery. Hold hands, watch t.v. on the same sofa, not your

separate areas or Lazy Boys!

Lastly, we knew our brains were different between the sexes, but who

knew how different?! I am sure that this contributes to that thought we

came from different planets!