Good Grief, Good Governance!

canstockphoto6398851The political season has swallowed the current landscape of our lives, and will be a main source of conversation, debate, and even stress for months to come.

I am not talking about parties today, but rather politics. That process that is ideally supposed to winnow the wheat from the chaff and give us the best leaders possible at any given time.

I recently considered running for what is considered a bipartisan, down near the bottom of the ballot, elected position. It was to represent and work hard for a local community college that I personally attended, support, and feel strongly positive about.

I am not a politician.

I am an experienced public speaker, somewhat telegenic (or at least comfortable on camera), and have made many friends and acquaintances in my community through nonprofit work and volunteering. Continue reading

Blasting Brattiness

angry childI have been writing this blog for a long time, and over the years I have avoided the word “brat,” when referring to children.

I didn’t have a specific reason for that avoidance, other than the queasy feeling I get in my gut when unilaterally grouping a large number of misbehaving children into one label.

Lately, I have seen it popping up in articles and blogs for parents. The authors often have many good ideas and points, so let’s talk about brattiness for a minute.

You can read some of these yourself at these links.

Research has shown that there is a wide variety of reasons that children don’t follow rules, whine, act out, throw tantrums and display obstinacy. Hmm…sounds like a brat, doesn’t it? But those actions can cover an entire spectrum of conditions, disabilities, learning differences, and other barriers to what we consider good behavior.

Setting aside disabilities, the autism spectrum, and any other conditions that may be uncovered by testing…what is the main reason a child acts like a brat?

Could it be us?

We know that when a child lacks security, they are likely to be anxious or fearful. We know that when a child is anxious or fearful, a natural outcome can be anger and aggression. We also know that the basic need of security is most often expressed in a child’s life by structure, consistency, and trust.

Why then, do we fall down so often in providing that structure and consistency that leads to trust?  Continue reading

What Our Daughter REALLY Does…

Nurses presentationOur younger daughter just graduated from the only accredited Nursing Residency Program in the country.

It resides at Cook Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, and although we have always been proud of her for winning her slot (There are only 12 in her cohort), and we were incredibly impressed at the scope and influence of this hospital in our initial tour when she first started, I don’t think we really understood the intensity of what it is she does each day or night that she works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit until we visited this last weekend.

Touring the PICU before the graduation ceremony, after seeing an amazing presentation she and her teammates gave on intramuscular injections and how they can be improved, we got a peek into what she really does.

(PS: Their presentation will change the way IM injections are done at Cook, and her team will be presenting at two National Nursing Conferences, so their research may make IM injections safer for everyone!)

As we walked by amazing technology, machinery, and all of the advanced systems that save and maintain the lives of children, we saw a few of these small people in their beds, often with many tubes and machines attached to them.

We saw a few mothers and/or fathers who were attentively perched at the side of a bed where their child was recuperating or being sustained, and we saw the nurses on duty who operated their tools and talents with ultimate focus, all while smiling reassuringly at us.

It hit us with force that our daughter was one of those nurses. We realized concretely just what she was doing for up to 12 hours at a time. We saw examples of the commitment and brilliance that defines a great nurse and we heard from her mentors, teachers, and supervisors that our lovely, kind young woman was one of those great nurses. One of her mentors said, “She is my favorite and I know we will see great things from her.”

I am a sentimental mom, and tears were trickling down my face as she strode with the beauty, grace, and strength that radiates in her every motion up to the podium to receive her certificate and engraved plaque that commemorates one more step along her nursing journey.

Many challenges and choices lie before her, but as I read a quote from one of the physicians who attended the victims of the recent shootings in Orlando, I thought, “That is something our daughter would say.”

He said, “We are not heroes. Those people who dragged people they didn’t even know all the way here so we could attend to them are the heroes. We are just doing our job.”

Just doing their job.

Thank God they have the passion and strength to “just do their job” every day, and if you are ever in a position to do so, thank them with all of your heart.


Saying Goodbye to Mena

Seedling Mentor ProgramSeedling_Lunch prepares and supports community volunteers like me in a school-based, research driven relationship that has measurable results. Since it is based on best practices for mentoring children, it carefully teaches us how to begin, maintain and sometimes how to end a friendship with some of the most vulnerable children we will ever encounter.

Ending a mentoring relationship can be due to a child aging out of the program, work conflicts for a mentor, and other factors beyond the pair’s control. Often it is simply that the child’s family moves away. This population is intensely mobile, as the family looks for work or lower cost housing or the child is passed from one family to another or through the foster care system.

Seedling prepares for this with training and support. We mentors are never alone in our quest to be the best we can be.

This said, closure can be the hardest thing we do, but we do it at the end of each school year for the love of our little friends. You see, one of the strongest emotions they have experienced in the loss of their parent to prison is abandonment. Mom or Dad simply isn’t there, and depending on the circumstances, the parting may have been one that seemed like disappearance to the child. As a trained Seedling Mentor, we never want to be one more abandonment for these children…Never. Continue reading

Gaming the Pain – Burning Mouth Syndrome

solemn silhouetteNOTE: Although this post will remain on Kali’s OQM Musings, it has been reproduced and future BMS posts will appear on A Burning Journey. Please check it out if you are interested in more about Burning Mouth Syndrome.

I am continuing the information I shared in “A Pattern of Pain – Burning Mouth Syndrome, so feel free to read that post first if you haven’t already.

I outlined my experience with Klonopin/Clonazepam ODT Dissolving wafers and how much better they seemed to manage my pain. This is still the case, but I wish I could tell you that I was completely out of pain, or better yet, in remission. Neither is true, unfortunately. I have good days and bad days, but fewer bad days than I used to.

A couple of months ago, I became curious about these bad days. They had become more sporadic, but why? What was different on those days that made my usual therapy nearly ineffective?

pain diary sampleThis is where I talk to you about a Pain Diary. You may have kept one at some point in your Burning Mouth Syndrome or other chronic pain journey, but statistics say that most of us just don’t. I decided to give it a chance. You can set it up in an Excel spreadsheet or WORD document on your computer. You can do it on graph paper or in an actual diary. The important thing is to do it, and do it consistently. This gives you a chance to correlate your pain to foods, hormonal cycles, and even timing of dosage on your meds.

A Pain Diary will have 5-8 main columns (you can add more if you like) and include: Date / Time / Pain Level (1-10) / Medicine & Dosage Taken / Pain Level (1-10) 1 hr. later.

I have included a pictorial pain assessment graph below. Remember, no one can endure a level 10 for any time without medical intervention, so think carefully and comparatively when you assign a number to your pain. Over stating the level makes doctors question whether we understand the concept, and you really, really want them to take you seriously as the intelligent and informed patient you are. Continue reading