Halloween is here and there are a number of steps you can take in order to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday.
•    Make sure all candy hasn’t been tampered with, and is commercially wrapped.
•    Make sure costumes fit properly, are easy to move in, and that masks don’t impede vision.
•    Don’t trick or treat alone, follow road safety guidelines, and bring a flashlight so you can see or be seen.
•    And be prepared to defend yourself from supernatural creatures and treat any injuries they might inflict.

You’re likely already prepared for defense, I mean, who doesn’t have a kit ready with garlic, holy water, and silver to defend against vampires and werewolves? Or a fully stocked bunker in the event that this is the year of the all but inevitable zombie apocalypse?

But few people really stop to consider that in that apocalypse, the vast majority of us are going to be among the walking dead, and very, very few of us will be in the resistance. And how many times have you spoken with someone who walked away from a werewolf attack unscathed? Just as important as defense, is the treatment of supernatural injuries.

Vampire
Unless you or a friend were able to fight off the vampire fairly quickly, you should get to the hospital for the blood loss.
However, if you don’t need a hospital, get home and thoroughly clean the bite with soap, water, and an antibiotic cream before covering with a clean, dry bandage (also helpful with minor cuts and bites). You should rest up and drink plenty of fluids, keep garlic and holy water nearby, and contact Professor Van Helsing to ensure that you haven’t been hypnotized. Don’t invite anyone into your home for the next few days, and try to get in before nightfall.

If you’ve actually been turned into a vampire, your injuries should heal on their own fairly quickly. As long as you still have the semblance of a soul, you should probably look into non-human options for sustenance.

Werewolf
Werewolf attacks tend to be messier than vampire attacks and are far more likely to require stitches. If this is the case, get to a doctor immediately.

For smaller bites, thoroughly clean the wound with soap, water, and a silver colloidal spray. Cover with a clean, dry bandage. Continue  to use the spray regularly until you’re certain you haven’t been infected.

Make sure that you have a safe and secure place to stay at the next full moon, away from other people. Have a friend check on you the next morning as you might require treatment for injuries you sustained if you turned into a werewolf. Once you’ve recovered from the transformation, consider taking up basketball training.

Zombie
Unfortunately, with a zombie bite, the options for proper medical treatment are limited. Incubation periods vary wildly, so going to the hospital for treatment potentially puts a large number of people in danger, in the event you turn and attack those around you.

The best course is to treat the bite as best you can, by once again cleaning the wound thoroughly and using an antiseptic before properly covering with a clean, dry bandage. Hopefully, the wound is small enough as to not require stitches.

After that, quarantine is the best way to protect you and your loved ones. With a lack of clear information on incubation periods, it’s difficult to determine when the quarantine should end, but a minimum of one week is a safe place to start. Make sure to explain the situation to those around you, so that they can watch for signs of delayed activation and respond accordingly.

Ghost
Ghosts come in such a wide variety of forms, that it’s difficult to say in what way they might strike. They could cause any number of injuries in their attempts to remove you from their home or attack you  if they are unable to take revenge on the person responsible for their death. If you do receive any injuries from an encounter, treat them as you would treat similar, non-supernatural injuries, or see a doctor.

However, what most encounters with ghosts have in common, whether poltergeist or friendly, is the sense of cold.
If you do encounter that extreme cold, the first thing you need to do is get somewhere warm, dry, and preferably not haunted.  After that, start warming up slowly and steadily, starting with the trunk and moving on to hands and feet. Don’t apply direct heat, as too rapid heating can be damaging. Make sure that you don’t re-expose yourself to the cold. (These steps are also handy in cases of non-haunted hypothermia.)

Later, consult trained professionals  to handle the ghosts directly.

Other

For encounters with witches consult your local grand inquisitor,  for mummies your local museum docent, for goblins your local goldsmith,  and for reanimated monsters your local mad scientist. And for any legitimate injuries, always contact a medical professional.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Howard County Health Screenings and EventsOctober 28, 10:15 am & 11:30 am. My Body. Learn about your amazing body parts, this time focusing on the skeleton, at the East Columbia Branch. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

October 29, 9:00 am-11:00 am. Self-Defense for Young Women. Teens ages 12–15 learn physical and psychological strategies of self-defense. $35. Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information call 410-740-7601, or register online.

October 29, 2011; 9-11:30am. Baby Signing. Learn 100 basic signs to help your baby communicate. $75 per couple/$40 per person. Located at the Howard CountyGeneral Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information,  call 410-740-7601, or register online.

October 30, 20116th Annual Scarecrow Classic 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk . Meadowbrook Park, Ellicott City, MD. Commemorative t-shirt to all participants who register by October 20, 2011. Event management by Charm City Run Events. Awards given in numerous categories. Water and time splits on 5K course. 1 mile walk course is accessible and only dogs on leashes are permitted. On-site medical care and aid. Pre- and Post- event refreshments and snacks.

October 30, 11:00 am – 12 noon. Duck Duck Goose Story Time – Patapsco Valley State Park. Do you love nature and a good book? Join our storyteller for a nature story then make a craft to go along with it! Great for nature story lovers of all ages.  Meet in the Hilton Nature Center1100 Hilton Ave, Catonsville, 21228. Please call 410-461-5005 for more information. Cost: $2 (for craft materials).

October 30, 1:00-2:00 pm. Pumpkin Party – Patapsco Valley State Park. What’s Halloween without a pumpkin or two? Learn some facts about this seasonal squash, how to use it in some tasty treats, and then paint a pumpkin in time for Halloween day! For all ages. Meet at the Hilton Nature Center, 1100 Hilton Ave, Catonsville, 21228. Please call 410-461-5005 to sign up. Cost: $2 per person.

November 1, 8 and 15, 6:30-8:00 pm. Moving through Anger. Identify your anger triggers and learn techniques to manage them. $40. Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information call 410-740-7601, or register online.

November 2,  9:00 am-11:00 am.Podiatry Screening. A podiatrist will exam one or two areas of concern. Free. Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information call 410-740-7601, or register online.

November 4, 2011. Prep work for Saturday tree planting – Patapsco Heritage Greenway. Volunteers needed. Please email patapscofriend@gmail.com for more information.

November 5, 9:00 am – 12 noon.  Tree planting in Patapsco ValleyPatapsco Heritage Greenway. Volunteers needed. Please email patapscofriend@gmail.com for more information.

November 5, 9:00 am – 12 noon. Family Volunteer Day. Join family and friends at the 12th Annual Family Volunteer Day. This is a day for families, friends, scout troops and religious organizations to increase their sense of unity by performing tasks that improve your community. Spend quality time together and teach children about caring as you help beautify local parks and historic sites. Bring a canned good or paper product for distribution to the Howard County Food Bank. For information: Ann Combs, 410-313-4624 or email acombs@howardcountymd.gov. Local parks and historic sites. All ages. Rain date Nov 12.

November 10, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm. Fretz Autumn Extravaganza – A Harvest of Hope. Enjoy a fun and festive evening to benefit the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. Food by Carrabbas Italian Restaurant, fine wine by Gus Kalaris of Axios Wines, silent and live auction, DJ, entertainment and cooking demonstrations. For information call 410-740-7570.

November 10, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Rain Barrel Seminar.  Collect rainwater and run off for use in your garden.  Keep the rain out of our storm drains.   Khaler Hall, Columbia.

hocoblogs@@@ Johns Hopkins Medicine, Howard County General Hospital, Howard County Library


read more

By Matthew Hall

Many people who may not have previously been interested in their protein intake have begun to realize the importance of it. Some people are looking for a snack that does not come in the ever-changing form of a processed carbohydrate, while others are realizing the importance of protein in the recovery process following a workout or a trying run. While some of the elite bodybuilders of the world use supplements that range in the hundreds of dollars per pound, the average person has neither the endorsement deal nor the necessity to use these high-end products.

There are many whey protein products on the market in a wide range of prices and forms, but I’ve had great luck with CytoSport‘s protein products. At 27g of protein per scoop, only 2g of fat and 6g of carbs, 100% Whey Proteincould be a versatile addition to anyone’s diet. For those on a lower-carbohydrate diet, a whey protein supplement can be a great source of protein without a large number of added carbohydrates (when mixed with water). For a change in your breakfast routine, add a scoop to a fruit smoothie. Those looking for a filling snack can try mixing whey protein powder with 8-10oz of milk, which will slow the digestion process of the proteins, causing a longer “full” feeling. If you are plagued by soreness following exercise, taking whey protein 15-45 minutes post workout will greatly reduce soreness and increase recovery speed.

Should you want to get a feel for the taste of whey protein before opting for a large supply, say a 10-pound bag, a similar product, which some of you may be familiar with, is Muscle Milk (also made by CytoSport). The ready-to-drink form is available at most grocery and convenience stores. Whey protein is a part of my daily diet. Give it a try!


read more

A Little Help From My Friends

Getting the help you need in difficult times.

I had a Social Studies teacher at Clarksville Middle School who brought his lessons to life with props. For years, Mr. Haddaway, introduced the basic necessities of life- food, shelter and clothing- by walking into the class with a trench coat, an umbrella and a big orange carrot in his hand.   Those basic needs are now front and center for many of us as we struggle to stay afloat. Are you struggling to make ends meet during these tough times, or do you know someone who is?   Do you need a helping hand but are unsure where to turn?   Howard County has great resources available. 

Go-To Organizations to Help Point You in the Right Direction:

  • The Howard County Community Action Council  provides programs and emergency services for those in need.  Services include financial assistance for utility, water, evictions, burials, homeless services and information and referral.  For more information call: 410.313.6440
  • Grassroots Crisis Center provides free 24-hour telephone and walk-in crisis counseling for those in need of immediate assistance with a personal, situational or mental health crisis, emergency shelter, cold weather shelter, transitional housing, and community education in the Central Maryland area. Grassroots also offers a mobile crisis team for psychiatric emergencies.  The Center is located at 6700 Freetown Road, Columbia Maryland. Call 410.531.6006 for more information.
  • Maryland 211 serves as an information clearinghouse for resources available to Maryland residents including information about childcare, eviction prevention, food pantries, job training, low cost health care, mortgage assistance, prescription assistance, rental assistance, senior citizens and utility assistance. Call 211 for more information.

Keeping Warm this Winter:

  • The Fuel Fund of Central Maryland provides resources to vulnerable Maryland families for heat and home utility needs.  Qualified families and individuals live at or below 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.  (A family of four who makes less than $3,674 per month is qualified) The Fuel Fund can also assist with Turn-Off Notices. In Howard County, for more information call the CAC at 410.313.6440.
  • Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) operated by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development helps eligible low and moderate income households with the installation of energy conservation materials.  Owner applicants must be income eligible and prove ownership of the housing unit.  For rental units, landlords must prove ownership and sign an agreement allowing the weatherization to be done.  For more information contact the Community Action Council at 410.313.6440.

Putting Food on the Table:

  • Howard County Food Bank offers emergency and governmental surplus food to persons in need and distributes food to pantries in the area. Clients can utilize the food bank once a month; however exceptions can be made in emergency situations.  The food bank is located at: 8920 Route 108 Suite A, Columbia MD 21045 and is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30 am-4:00 pm and Fridays from 8:30 am -3:30 pm.  For more information call 410.313.6440.
  • FISH of Howard County provides emergency food and financial assistance to Howard County residents.  In addition to emergency groceries, services include financial assistance to help with evictions, utility turn-offs, prescriptions, water bills and some security deposits. For more information call 410.964.8660.
  • The Community Action Council has an extensive list of other local food pantries.

 Health and Well Being:

  • Senior Health Insurance Program provides assistance with health insurance concerns and health insurance information and counseling to persons 50 years old or older and Medicare beneficiaries regardless of age.  Call 410.313.7391 or email ship@howardcountymd.gov for more information.
  • Howard County Health Department offers general medical services, WIC, MCHP (Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program) and AERS program to eligible residents.  It provides immunizations, family planning clinics, AIDS/HIV counseling and testing.  The Center is located at 7180 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia.  Hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Call 410.313.6600 for more information.
  • Healthy Howard Access Plan connects Howard County residents to affordable health care services.  Services include up to 6 visits to the primary care physician per year, assistance finding free or discounted prescription medicines, free inpatient care at Howard County General Hospital, personal health coaching, and urgent care.  The Plan is headquartered at 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive in Columbia. Call 410.988.3737 for more information.

hocoblogs@@@ food sheler financial assitance


read more

By Jessica “JP” Protasio

“J” is Jarrett Wade. Jarrett is well loved, respected, and also quite the comedian. He has a rare blood cancer that will mostly likely end his life in the next few months. We both attended the same university and had the same amazing history professor, Dr. Jones. While Jarrett and I didn’t share a class together, we do share a relationship with cancer. Dr. Jones posed a question to me, which accounts for the title of this post: “What can you do to save his life?”

I wish I had an instructional one-size, FIX-all solution to terminal cancer. I wish that I had unlimited resources to fund all of the life-saving work that is being done in cancer research. I wish that our friends and families wouldn’t have to endure the indiscriminate disease that is cancer. I wish that survivors and their families didn’t have that seed of concern sprouting worries when their check-ups reveal variations or abnormalities. But wishing doesn’t make me feel better–doing something does. “What can I do?”

When I was in high school, I spent my time volunteering, fund-raising, and traveling to many of the under-developed islands in the Pacific building schools, bathrooms, living-quarters, and places of worship. Perhaps, being surrounded by need and having been someone in need, I’ve developed a deep relationship with this desire to do what I can–as I can. This drive to do something–to do more– has been ignited with a renewed passion for a cause that’s affected me directly. Since I can’t cure cancer, I’m going to be a part of the army of people who’re fighting to “take it down.”

Here’s how “saving a life” works in my mind: Decide and Do.

Think about these questions: How do you want to help? What will you do? What is the measurable outcome?

Real Examples:

 If you have…  Then you can…  You just…  Which in turn…
 Money  give to a .org  met their goal  provides patient navigation for newly diagnosed cancer patients
 Time  volunteer 2 hours  delivered gift cards and wrapped presents  makes the holidays in the hospital real & special for the cancer patients & their families
 Skills  bake!  baked and decorated cupcakes  are sold as a fundraiser to support a friend going through chemotherapy
 Yourself  donate marrow  matched a patient  saved their life

It’s not easy to give money when you’re “strapped.” It’s hard to find time to keep your own life in order, much less find the time to help out another worthy cancer charity. I understand that staying up late to collate packets or bake a gazillion cookies is a lot of work. I know that donating blood, bone marrow, being a living donor, or having that organ donor symbol on your license is a lot to ask. However, you don’t have to do all of these things all at once, or just these things. These are just a few ideas about how you can do something that will inevitably touch another person’s life. I suspect that we’re all going to know someone, or perhaps be someone, who needs a little “saving.”

Dr. Jones, I don’t know how to save Jarrett’s life. I do know that being in his life, visiting him halfway across the country, spending time with him, listening to him, and just being there with him in the time that he has left is treasuring his life. Being loved and remembered is a way of being saved in the heart. I believe it’s in the giving of ourselves that saves lives.

I never know what to say to someone who is dying, but I know “I love you” is the best thing to hear while you’re living.

 

JP is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library System. She is a Pajama Time storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, and a cancer survivor.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Howard County Health Screenings and Events

October 21, 10:00 am – 2:30 pm. 50 + Expo. Presented by the Office on Aging, Dept. of Citizen Services. Free. Located at Wilde Lake High School. This years event includes a health fair, healthy aging seminars, flu shots, diabetes screenings, re-careering workshops, living green vendors, demonstrations, live entertainment and food. 410-313-6410.

October 21, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm. Open House at Sharp FarmJoin us for “A Day in the Life of a Farmer”. This is one of our most popular fall educational programs that we offer. Included in the program is a farm class on beekeeping and farm crops. Everyone gets to feed our friendly animals, go through the mini corn maze, take a hayride that goes through the Cattail Creek, and harvest your own pumpkin to take home with you! The program will begin at 1 PM and is 1 ½ hours long. The cost is $6.75/child. (Adults are free.) Registration is required on or before October 20th. Call for your reservations at (410)489-2572 or E-mail at farmquestions@sharpfarm.com

October 21, 2:00 pm- 6:00 pm.   Farmer’s Market. Buying and eating fresh local produce in Howard County just got easier! From June 4 through October 29, local farmers will set up a weekly outdoor market at Howard County General Hospital in the back section of the visitors parking lot  to offer the best of their seasonal harvest.

October 22,  10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Beekeeping Seminar sponsored by the Howard County Beekeepers. Robinson Nature Center, Columbia. Honey bee biology, Benefits of keeping bees, Obtaining and installing your bees. Getting and setting up your beekeeping equipment, Inspecting your bees. Products of the hive.

October 22, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Ask A Master Gardener. Have a gardening question? Visit the Howard County Library-Central Branch to get help and advice from Master Gardeners and improve your green thumb.

October 23, 5:30-9:00 pm. 26th Annual Taste & Auction of Howard CountySavor, Celebrate and Support Gilchrist Center Howard County.This year’s affair, at Turf Valley in Ellicott City will feature the sweet and savory fare of more than 20 of the county’s finest restaurateurs and caterers, as well as a cash raffle and live and silent auctions. All proceeds benefit Gilchrist Center Howard County, Gilchrist Hospice Care’s new inpatient hospice in Columbia and the only such facility located within Howard County’s borders.

October 24, 10:15 am & 11:30am. Twist And Shout. Instill the importance of exercise at an early age with this 30-minute music and movement class for 2-5 year olds at the Central Branch.

October 24, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Wii-active. Try out video games that make you move, featuring DDR, Wii, and XBOX Kinect at the Elkridge Branch.

October 25, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Preparing for Total Joint Surgery. Learn about total hip and knee surgery from health care professionals, past patients of Howard County General Hospital’s Joint Academy and Nicholas Grosso, M.D. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online .

October 26, 7:00 pm. My Forgetfulness: What’s Normal And What’s Not? Presented at the Central Branch by neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Monjan, retired chief of the Neurobiology of Aging branch at the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.

October 27,  7:00 – 8:30 pm. Treatments for Foot and Ankle Pain. Presented by Ricardo Cook, M.D. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online.

October 28, 10:15 am & 11:30 am. My Body. Learn about your amazing body parts, this time focusing on the skeleton, at the East Columbia Branch. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

October 30, 20116th Annual Scarecrow Classic 5K Run and 1 Mile Walk . Meadowbrook Park, Ellicott City, MD. Commemorative t-shirt to all participants who register by October 20, 2011. Event management by Charm City Run Events. Awards given in numerous categories. Water and time splits on 5K course. 1 mile walk course is accessible and only dogs on leashes are permitted. On-site medical care and aid. Pre- and Post- event refreshments and snacks.

November 3, 7:00 pm. Healthy Food in our Schools – Howard County Conservancy . Anthony Geraci is inspiring and energizing the nation’s school systems to provide fresh and local foods to our school children. What are our kids choosing to eat today? What’s happening to them as a result? How can we introduce and support healthy eating habits and menus? What does it take to change school cafeterias and home lunch boxes? Good food means Great Kids! Don’t miss this high energy presentation from the Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City School System and nationwide childhood nutrition consultant whom the White House has tapped for first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts in combating childhood obesity. $5/family, all students free.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

by Jean Pfefferkorn

Remember to register

Join us for an event that examines the relationship between your brain and the natural process of aging in My Forgetfulness: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Monjan discusses memory in relation to aging, including a look at the causes of memory loss and possible brain disease processes. There will be a short question and answer session after the talk, and additional resources will be suggested.

Before his recent retirement, Dr. Monjan was chief of the Neurobiology of Aging Branch of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health until his retirement in 2009. He was involved with the development and monitoring of research on brain to behavior interactions in the aging process, with sleep research being a priority in his program. He received a number of NIH Directorsí awards for meritorious service, and was recipient of the Sleep Research Society Special Recognition Award, June 2009. In addition, he worked with NASA to incorporate NIA research into their programs.

Register for this important Well &Wise workshop online or by calling 410.313.7850.
Date: Wednesday, October 26; 7 pm at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library System

Jean has been working at Howard County Library System’s Central Branch for nearly nine years.

She walks in the Benjamin Banneker Park whenever she gets a chance.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Museums of Medicine

by Mary Catherine Cochran

Q: True or False? Traditional Native American Healers believe the healing process goes beyond the patient.

Q: True or False?  Most battlefield surgeries were conducted without the benefit of anesthesia.

Great Museums and historic and cultural exhibits that tell the story of medicine and hold the answers to these and other questions, are located within an easy drive of Howard County.

The National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institute of Health, opened an exhibit this week called “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness.” This exhibit “explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness, and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.” A recent article in the Washington Post reviews the exhibit;  “Using oral histories, cultural artifacts and interactive media, the exhibit examines such topics as the importance of ceremonies, the “pre-Captain Cook diet” of Pacific islanders, native views of land and food, the lethal epidemics of European disease and the relationship of traditional healing with Western medicine. A timeline points out, among other surprises, that while most early cultures understood anatomy only from examining the remains of animals, the Unangan people, who lived 12,000 years ago on the Aleutian Islands, dissected the bodies of their enemies and slaves, learning skills that enabled them, for example, to suture wounds.”

The National Library of Medicine is located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland.  The exhibit is open Monday through Fridays from 8:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m.   Click here for more information on how to visit.

Flash forward a couple of hundred years to learn about medicine on the battlefields of the Civil war at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland and at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum on the Antietam National Battlefield.

The website tell us; “The interactive experience that is the National Museum of Civil War Medicine not only gives a snapshot of Civil War-time medicine including dentistry, veterinary medicine and medical evacuation, it allows visitors to put faces and names to those who fought, were injured, the surgeons and caregivers who tended them.  The experience is a personal one, engaging visitors in the stories of soldiers, surgeons, medics, and nurses as they gain an understanding of the medical advances of the time.  For some a bit of family history may be found as well, the museum has a research department willing to help those with questions about ancestors injured in the war.”

Each of the two Civil War museums devotes space to Dr. Jonathan Letterman- the Major in charge of medicine for the Army of the Potomac.  Dr. Letterman’s practices of triage, and evacuation saved countless lives and are still employed today.

Visit the National Civil War Museum of Medicine and the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.

 

A: True. Traditional healers take into account not only the patient’s immediate family and community, but future generations as well.

A: The museum says “false”.  “Gaseous ether and chloroform were both widely available and there therapeutic impact was well known in Union and Confederate medical services.  Major surgery was carried out using these anesthetics if they were available.  It is estimated that greater than 90% of all major surgery was carried out with anesthetics.”
hocoblogs@@@

 


read more

by Teresa Rhoades

Casts are used to help broken bones or torn ligaments heal. Casts also help to prevent or decrease muscle contractions and are effective at providing immobilization, especially after surgery. For example, a cast can help keep the injured area from moving so healing can take place without risk of repeated injury. The amount of time wearing a cast depends on the type of injury and how serious it is. (Please let it be 3 weeks and not 6 weeks…please let it be 3 weeks and not 6 weeks.)

In my case, I am in a short-leg cast, applied to the area below the knee to the foot. Typical uses of this kind of cast are:

  • Lower leg fractures, severe ankle sprains/strains, or fractures.
  • Holding the leg or foot muscles and tendons in place after surgery to allow healing.
  • Casts are made out of fiberglass or plaster materials, which form the hard supportive layer. I am in a fiberglass cast, which, according to my research, is lighter in weight, longer wearing, and “breathes” better than plaster. In addition, I learned that x-rays can “see through” fiberglass better than through plaster. X-rays can show whether the bones are healing well or have moved out of place.

If you are in a cast (as I am), your doctor will have provided instructions at the time of casting, including, but not limited to: do not let the cast get wet, keep the limb elevated, and take medication as necessary. These instructions will vary depending on your unique situation.

The following are some general cast care tips, found during a search of MedlinePlus:

Keep non-waterproof casts dry.
This was an important point that my doctor mentioned. One can cover it with a plastic bag or waterproof cast cover for baths or showers. As an aside, I discovered some handy cast-protectors that are selling at a discount on drugstore.com, but such products are readily available at your local pharmacy.
If a cast that isn’t waterproof gets wet, it may lose its strength and shape and no longer be able to keep the injured bone in place. Wet cotton padding could also cause a rash or infection inside the cast.

Beware of scratching.
If your skin itches underneath the cast, you are advised against slipping anything sharp or pointed inside the cast to try to reach the spot. This could damage your skin, and you could get an infection. You also should not pour baby powder, creams, or oils into the cast. Instead, try tapping the cast or blowing air from a hair dryer down into the cast. I read that some people find scratching the arm or leg on the other side (without the cast) relieves their itch. The effect could be purely psychological, but it works. I think I will ask my doctor the next time I see him, as all questions about medical information should be directed to a health professional (but hopefully I will be told that I won’t need the cast anymore).

Here’s a list of sources I used to research the information for this post and may be useful if you have further questions:
FamilyDoctor.Org
KidsHealth
Children’s Hospital Boston
IWK Health Centre

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Howard County Health Screenings and EventsOctober 15, 2:00-3:00pm. Chemistry In The Library – Our Health, Our Future! Join a chemist from the Army Research Laboratory and the American Chemical Society at the Elkridge Branch for hands-on experiments and explore chemistry as it relates to nutrition, hygiene, and medicine. Ages 7 & up (7-8 year olds must be accompanied by an adult). Register online or by calling 410.313.5085. Class offered again 0n 10/21 at the  Savage Branch at 1pm, and at the East Columbia Branch at 4pm.

October 15, 10:00 am. Family Hike on Site with a Conservancy naturalist – Howard County Conservancy . Enjoy an easy, beautiful walk in the meadows and woods and along stream banks of the Conservancy. No predetermined theme: the walk is one of discovery and surprises! Open to all who are interested, especially those who have not walked Conservancy trails before. FREE. If raining, check website.www.hcconservancy.org

October 15, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Annual Threshing Bee – Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum. See how the Fall threshing was done in the olden days.  For more information call 410-489-2345, or visit www.farmheritage.org.

October 17, 3:30-5:30pm. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital at the Glenwood Branch.

October 18,  7-8:30 pm. Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion. Examine emotional response patterns and use imagery, visualization, and meditation to promote positive change. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org

October 18,  7-9:00 pm. Happiest Baby on the Block. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents and parents-to-be will learn techniques to quickly soothe baby. $50 per couple (includes parent kits). Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org

October 19, 2011; 6-9:00 pm. Breast Changes: Normal and Abnormal. Our team of experts will discuss normal breast physiology and contrast it to the potential changes that could indicate the presence of disease. Newest developments in the area of breast cancer will be presented. Hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. Space is limited; early registration is recommended. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org
hocoblogs@@@

October 20, 7:00pm. Mastering Time: Make Time Work For You. Finding the time to do everything we need to in our busy live can cause some serious stress. But at this class offered at the East Colombia Branch, you can learn simple techniques to eliminate time stealers, prioritize, and create the time in your personal and professional lives for the things you value most. Presented by Kathy Plasse, RN, MPA, Wellness Educator and Clinical Program Manager, Howard County General Hospital. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

by Wendy Camassar

In my own personal quest for a healthier lifestyle, I have become more aware of the ingredients in the food that I buy.  I try to stick with “whole” foods, but there are times I buy ready-made items for their convenience, though I make sure I’m aware of what’s in the products I buy.  If I don’t know about an ingredient or if I can’t pronounce it…it’s probably not so great!  Not only have I become more aware of the food I buy; now I am concerned about the personal care products I buy for myself and my family.

Do you ever wonder what’s in the skin care products you(ital) use?  Since our skin is our largest organ, much of what we put on it will be absorbed into the body. That concept has made me more cognizant of what I use externally.  We’ve been told about the Dirty Dozen fruits and vegetables that contain that highest amounts of pesticide, but what about our personal care products?  I’ve come across a great website that lists the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients that are most harmful to us and are found in hundreds of products from shampoos to cosmetics.  No More Dirty Looks references a list of twelve ingredients to avoid that was put together by an environmental foundation called the David Suzuki Foundation.   You can check out the David Suzuki Foundation’s full report here, but the quick reference list of ingredients to avoid as follows:

1. BHA and BHT
2. Coal tar dyes
3. DEA
4. Dibutyl phthalate
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
6. Parabens
7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)
8. PEG compounds
9. Petrolatum
10. Siloxanes
11. Sodium laureth sulfate
12. Triclosan

Another great website Iíve come across is called Skin Deep (put together by the Environmental Working Group–the same organization that produces the food “Dirty Dozen” list), where you can search your favorite products and find out their ìhazard score.î  It will also tell which ingredients in the products are most harmful.

Now that I know about these watchdog websites, I am much more inclined to do a little bit of research on how a product is rated for its safety.  I’m also moving towards using all natural products with whole ingredients, similar to they way I shop for food at the grocery store!  Better yet, I’m using items from my own pantry to cleanse my face and remove makeup. Try using olive oil or sweet almond oil to remove stubborn makeup like mascara.  It really works, and it’s good for your skin.  It won’t clog your pores or break your bank account!  Here are some additional resources that are available through the Howard County Library System that you may find helpful before you head out to the store:

The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances
by Julie Gabriel.

Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion and Beauty
by Summer Rayne Oake.

Make Your Own Cosmetics: Recipes, Skin Care, Body Care, Hair Care, Perfumes & Fragrancing, Herbs, Essential Oils, Cosmetic Ingredients, Useful Addresses from Neal’s Yard Remedies.

Wendy Camassar is an Instruction and Research Specialist at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library System.  Prior to joining HCLS, she worked as a freelance makeup artist for several years.  She enjoys hiking with her family, exercising, reading, and organic foods and skin care products.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Walking Your Loved One Home

by Mary Catherine Cochran

The news never slips in quietly like the fog, it comes all slamming doors and shrieks of fear and fast forward motion and you remain still, and pale- the quiet eye of the storm that rages around you.  Reality shifts in that moment- you can feel it within.  The happy-ever-after narrative that you have written for your life has changed and your stillness is the pause between the old story and the new story, not yet written.

In the face of death and dying, how do you continue to live?  In the face of learning that you will soon lose your husband or wife or mother or father or anyone that has imprinted your very soul- how do you learn to walk them home?   The answer is simple: one step at a time.    There is bitterness and confusion and anger and all of the five stages that Elizabeth Kubler Ross writes about in “On Death and Dying”.  But, there is also joy.  Great, soaring joy. The storm spins itself out and you acclimate to the remaining clouds. In some ways, facing the inevitability of death makes the ordinary moments of life take on deeper significance.  We gain an appreciation for that which surrounds us and a deeper compassion and connection to those who stand with us. Our priorities change.  We realize that things can no longer be postponed- there is no more time- and we begin to live in the moment.

There are no hard and fast rules on how to live with the end in mind, but I found these things to be true for me:

  • Dying well is a part of living well
  • Honor the opportunity to walk your loved one home.
  • Live this part of your life without regrets.
  • Nourish a sense of humor- you’d be surprised at how funny the end of the road can be.
  • Take long walks together outside under the trees or along the river
  • Invite others along for the journey- the experience will help them when it’s their turn.
  • And finally, embrace the sorrow as well as the joy. “Because without the bitter, baby, the sweet ain’t as sweet.”

Have you been on that walk?  What are the things that are true for you?

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Photo by pinksherbert

“Body Image,” “self image,” “self esteem,” these are phrases we hear a lot, and from the media in particular.  But what does it all mean, and what is the media’s responsibility in the rising concern over the way we, and girls and young women especially, perceive ourselves and define beauty? According to the Social Issues Research Centre:

“Advances in technology and in particular the rise of the mass media has [sic] caused normal concerns about how we look to become obsessions. How? 3 reasons:

  • Thanks to the media, we have become accustomed to extremely rigid and uniform standards of beauty.
  • TV, billboards, magazines etc mean that we see ‘beautiful people’ all the time, more often than members of our own family, making exceptional good looks seem real, normal and attainable.
  • Standards of beauty have in fact become harder and harder to attain, particularly for women. The current media ideal of thinness for women is achievable by less than 5% of the female population.”

Why is should any of this matter?  Well, an article from the Mayo Clinic indicates that a poor body image can lead to low self esteem, depression, and eating disorders. And kidshealth.org suggests that self-esteem can greatly affect the quality of a person’s life: “A person who has high self-esteem will make friends easily, is more in control of his or her behavior, and will enjoy life more.”

Fortunately, there are lots of great resources to help understand and combat some of the potential negative  effects of the media.  For example:

All Made Up : A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty by Audrey Brashich

Girl Power in the Mirror : A Book About Girls, Their Bodies, and Themselves by Helen Cordes

No body’s Perfect : Stories By Teens About Body Image, Self-acceptance, and the Search for Identity by Kimberly Kirberger

Diet Drama by Nancy Amanda Redd

Rock What You’ve Got : Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back by Katherine  Schwarzenegger

In addition, the East Columbia Branch of the Howard County Library System will be showing Cover Girl Culture: Awakening The Media Generation on October 12 at 7pm and facilitating a discussion after. In this eye-opening documentary, filmmaker and former Elite International fashion model Nicole Clark explores how fashion, modeling, advertising, and the cult of celebrity affect teens and young women. The film also suggests how to educate young girls to think critically about the media. Refreshments will be served. This event is suggested for ages 14 and up, and the film has received the Parents Television Council, Seal of Approval Award and Delray Beach Film Festival, Community Service Award. This event is cosponsored by the Women’s Giving Circle. 

Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

October 8, 10:00 am. Wonder Talk: Creepy Creatures: Bats, Toads, Worms, Spiders, Snakes… Ooooooo! - Howard County Conservancy. It’s almost Halloween. All sorts of creepy, maybe spooky, animals are hanging about! Have a wide-eyed and fun experience learning about these wharty, slimy, hairy, scaley, slithery animals with naturalist Shannon Davis, naturalist at Oregon Ridge Nature Center, and former grounds manager at the Conservancy. She will bring live animals for you to meet! Indoor program. FREE.

October 8, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Bike ride using our Patapsco Heritage Trail map. Start location: Parking Lot A, off Oella Avenue in historic Ellicott City to BWI trail in Hanover. Free to Patapsco Heritage Greenway members; $5 to non-members. Free trail map included.  To register visit the Patapsco Heritage Greenway or call 410-480-0824.

October 8, 10:00am-12:00pm. Ask A Master Gardener. Have a gardening question? Visit the Howard County Library-Central Branch to get help and advice from Master Gardeners and improve your green thumb.

October 8, 12:30pm. The Farmers’ Market Chef. Before visiting the Glenwood Farmers’ Market, discover creative ideas for using seasonal produce or CSA shares with our own Farmers’ Market Chef. Samples available.  Register online or by calling 410.313.5577.

October 12, 7:00pm. Cover Girl Culture: Awakening The Media Generation. Join us at the East Columbia Branch for this documentary from filmmaker and former Elite International fashion model Nicole Clark exploring how media affects teens and young women and how to educate girls to think critically about the media. Refreshments. Suggested for ages 14 and up. Discussion follows. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

October 15, 10:00 am. Family Hike on Site with a Conservancy naturalist – Howard County Conservancy . Enjoy an easy, beautiful walk in the meadows and woods and along stream banks of the Conservancy. No predetermined theme: the walk is one of discovery and surprises! Open to all who are interested, especially those who have not walked Conservancy trails before. FREE. If raining, check website.www.hcconservancy.org

October 15, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Annual Threshing Bee – Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum. See how the Fall threshing was done in the olden days.  For more information call 410-489-2345, or visit www.farmheritage.org.

October 18,  7-8:30 pm. Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion. Examine emotional response patterns and use imagery, visualization, and meditation to promote positive change. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org

October 18,  7-9:00 pm. Happiest Baby on the Block. Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents and parents-to-be will learn techniques to quickly soothe baby. $50 per couple (includes parent kits). Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org

October 19, 2011; 6-9:00 pm. Breast Changes: Normal and Abnormal. Our team of experts will discuss normal breast physiology and contrast it to the potential changes that could indicate the presence of disease. Newest developments in the area of breast cancer will be presented. Hors d’oeuvres and door prizes. Space is limited; early registration is recommended. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For information or to register, call 410-740-7601, or register online at www.hcgh.org
hocoblogs@@@

hocoblogs@@@

 


read more

by Kim T. Ha

I’m not a huge gym person and running sounds tedious to me. Dancing is my thing, and if you want to exercise with your kids then nothing gets them moving like a great song! Below are a number of my favorite movement-oriented children’s songs that I use time and time again in my classes at the library.

“Spaghetti Legs” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings The Sneezing Song and Other Contagious Tunes.
What would happen if your legs were made of spaghetti? How about your arms or your neck? How would you move? This fun, bouncy song gives children a chance to wiggle individual body parts and then their entire bodies like noodles.

“Shake Your Sillies Out” by Raffi from Giggling & Laughing Silly Songs for Kids and More Singable Songs.
This is my favorite warm-up song for Pajama Time at the Elkridge Branch. When kids come in yawning and lethargic, nothing wakes them up like telling them: “clap your crazies outî and ìjump your jiggles out.” Running a little over one minute long, this is a perfect song for both you and your children to quickly wake up to before heading out the door in the morning as well.

“Knuckles Knees” by Jim Gill from Jim Gill Sings Do Re Mi On His Toe Leg Knee
This song is my favorite to use with kindergartners for their library visits and requires superb listening skills. Children are asked to put their knuckles to their knees, hips, legs, hair, among other body parts. Gill talks the kids through three different segments, each followed by a sped-up and sung version of the same movements. At the end, the kids are asked to tie all three segments together. What makes this song so challenging is that with each sped up segment, children are to start all the way at the beginning with the movements. Practice makes perfect in this case; I recommend that you familiarize yourself with the moves so that your kids can visually follow along if aurally isnít enough. Once kids master this song, you can have fun trying to perform the movements without the recording or even backwards!

ìChicken Fatî by Meredith Wilson from Chicken Fat and Five Minutes for Fitness
This funny song is one of my favorites to take out for our summer classes at Chick Fil-A. It’s over four minutes of band-style music to help “give that chicken fat back to the chicken.”  It makes marching, twisting, push-ups, jumping jacks, and arm circles oh so much fun. An enthusiastic, booming, sergeant-sounding voice leads kids through a training regiment that’s guaranteed to raise their heart rates. If your kids are hyper, I suggest this song to work out some of that energy.

“I Really Love to Dance” by Laurie Berkner from Buzz Buzz
Berkner is one of my favorite children’s musicians. She manages to make everything from cookie bakers to bumblebees sound so cool. It’s no surprise that she loves to dance as Berker’s songs usually inspire movement. In this song, Berkner encourages kids to dance and try out other movements such as spinning, walking backwards, and even air painting. Catchy guitar strumming and fiddling really make this a treat for those who really, no really, love to dance.

“Song About Slow, Song About Fast” by Hap Palmer from Walter the Waltzing Worm
For those who love freeze dances, this is an alternative take that tests one’s balance and listening skills. It’s not uncommon to see children fall over in their attempts to move extremely slow! It’s also rather fun for children to see how fast they can move. This song is also a great way to introduce children to the concept of opposites.

Kim Ha is the Children’s Instructor and Research Supervisor at the Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library System.  She enjoys dancing, jewelry-making, photography and traveling. So far, her favorite destinations are Hawaii and Italy. She recently discovered the joys of yoga and stunt kite flying.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

by Christina Lombardi

by Kathy Cassidy

The first month of kindergarten is almost over and as my five-year-old exchanges tank tops for leggings and a fur-lined hoodie, she’s already learned some life lessons that will carry her to adulthood if she remembers to apply them.

You may be familiar with the title, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum. (Not remembering his title, I typed “all I needed” into Google and it popped up; he’s obviously onto something because he’s still that popular over 20 years later!) Fulghum gives tips for getting along in life by adopting rules meant for the average kindergartner. His, “Don’t hit your friends,” advice contains more meaning than its literal translation.

Here are some life lessons I’ve discovered from my little girl’s first month in elementary school:

Make A Daily Pledge: Rissy’s classmates don’t just recite the Pledge of Allegiance (which I’m glad to hear is still in vogue), they make a school pledge during morning announcements as well. They remind each other to be their best by being respectful, responsible and ready. Maybe we should take a similar oath before we start our day. “I pledge to remain calm when I’m stuck in traffic and late to pick up the kids.” Or, “I promise to be responsible and bring my own pen to the staff meeting so I don’t pester the person next to me for a spare.” And, “I pledge to keep a positive attitude when an urgent deadline hits my desk first thing in the morning—before my coffee pod has time to pass through the Keurig.” Be ready. Anticipate. Adjust your attitude before it gets out of whack and keep those toxic negative emotions at bay.

Take Frequent Breaks: In Mrs. K’s kindergarten class, the students get up to dance or sing every 20 minutes. Your office cubemates may not appreciate your serenades, but the reminder to step away from your desk is a healthy one. News stories talk about the dangers of sitting for long periods. Some go so far as to link sedentary office work to the health risks of a smoker. Whether you believe the more extreme claims or not, taking frequent breaks does get the blood flowing, reduces eye strain, may whittle your middle and even keep cholesterol levels in check. Now for your first assignment: when you’re finished reading this blog post, get up and rinse out that coffee mug.

Friday Folders: When I open the Garnet Hill pony backpack on Fridays, the teacher has prepared a folder containing the projects which Rissy accomplished during the week. Hey, I can apply this one too! If you’re anything like me, I tend to focus on the areas I need to improve rather than on my accomplishments. Next time I pull out Rissy’s folder, I’ll scroll through my own positives. Let’s see…I walked across campus to hand deliver a poster to a co-worker (demonstrating not only courtesy but keeping Mrs. K’s “frequent breaks” policy alive). I kept a smile on my face when Rissy’s play date spilled his drink all over my hardwood floors. I cleaned out my inbox (both literal and virtual) to make sure I didn’t leave anyone in limbo. Oh, and I ordered clothes for the kids to look stylish on a budget this fall. Nothing earth shattering but the list did make me feel good. If you’re looking for ways to improve your own self-reflection skills, check out this great blog post.

This last Kindergarten lesson is more humorous than anything else, but I’m sure there’s a life lesson in it somewhere:

” Mrs. K said it’s okay to wear jewelry to school, just as long as we don’t suck on it.”

 

Christina Lombardi is the Publications Manager for Howard County General Hospital and has just sent her first child off to school.

 


read more

Join NPR’s Korva Coleman for an examination into how civil understanding and respect can have a positive impact in helping to eradicate bullying.

Featured panelist Courtney Macavinta is President of The Respect Institute and coauthor of the best-seller Respect: A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line Is Crossed. She has reached millions of youth and families with The Respect Basics to help them break cycles of disrespect and thrive, and has been featured by CNN, NPR, USA Today, and other national media.

Additional panelists include Hammond High School Principal Marcy Leonard and psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Brad Sachs.

Details at choosecivility.org. Also check out the other events and classes taking place during Choose Civility Week.

Smith Theater, Howard Community College 
(10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia)
Wednesday, October 5, 
6:30 – 9:30 pm
Register online.

hocoblogs@@@


read more