Howard County Health Screenings and Events

Now through January 1, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Drive Through the Symphony of Lights. Cars, vans and buses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages!

Now through December 31, Howard County Holiday Train DisplayFor the 14th year, firefighters have set up their train display at the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department Station at 4150 Montgomery Road. Admission to the event is free, but donations are accepted.  The Department is also collecting new and unwrapped toys for needy children.  Hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Hours on Christmas Eve are limited from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the display is closed on Christmas Day.  For more information call: 410 313-2036.

December 31, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Midnight at 7 – Symphony of Lights. See Howard County dazzle with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display! Celebrate with your family and friends. Walk 1.4 miles through the animated light displays, enjoy food, music and other exciting activities as the Symphony of Lights comes to a close. Please register online at www.hcgh.org/midnightat7

January 4, 10:15am & 11:15am. We Are What We Eat! 
Join us at the East Columbia Branch for a humorous look at the foods we eat and the digestive system. Ages 3-5; 30 min. Tiickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

January 4, 10:30am & 11:30am. Mini Milestones.
Prepare your toddler to learn manners, succeed with toilet training, and deal with separation anxiety through literature, songs, and activities at the Glenwood Branch. Ages 18-36 months with adult; 30 min.  Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

January 5, 7:00 p.m. Twist & Bounce! 
Celebrate A.A. Milne’s birthday by bouncing like Tigger, searching for Eeyore’s “tael,” and more. Ages 2-5 with adult; 30 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

January 8, 3:00 p.m. Gemini Piano Trio – Sundays at Three.  Sundays At Three is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting chamber music played by the finest professional talent in the Baltimore-Washington area. The performers introduce the music and offer their insights and interpretation. The audience is invited for refreshments and conversation with the artists after the concert.Located at Christ Episcopal Church: 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.  For more information visit www.sundaysatthree.org

January 11, 7-9:00 p.m. Happiest Baby on the Block. Parents and parents-to-be will learn techniques to quickly soothe baby. $50 per couple (Includes parent kits). Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information visit visit www.hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601.

January 14, 9-11 a.m. Home Sweet Home. Children ages 8–12 and their parents learn safe, fun ways for children to stay at home alone. Free. Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information visit visit www.hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601.

All Howard County Library Branches will be closed January 1 and January 2.

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Is your stomach full, your tolerance low, your attention span short?  Is it the turkey that’s making your lids droop now as you try to read this? Or is the variety and quantity of carbs consumed at holiday meals to blame for the exhaustion?  Could it be all the cookies and sweets that have you crashing and burning like a toddler who managed to consume an entire birthday cake while you were looking the other way?

The holidays are notoriously exhausting, and while the food gets a lot of the blame (especially as we all start making our new year’s resolutions) there’s far more that goes into the season than that. Battling crowds at the stores or trying to plan your life well enough in advance to be able to avoid nearly all shopping for a month, coordinating travel plans or hosting out-of town visitors, finding the right gifts or navigating the landmine that is virtually every conversation you’ll have in December: these are all tiring enough on their own, when combined they’re enough to make you wish human beings were able to hibernate through the winter.

So how can you end the holiday season with a bang instead of a snore?  Getting enough sleep is always a good way to start, but with all the preparation that may not have been possible.  Try not to stress and work too hard.  Having lots of friends and relatives around also means lots of hands to help.  Don’t try to take on everything yourself or fret if everything is not perfect. Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption (as well as taking it easy on the carbs).  And work in a little exercise if you can.  A nice stroll outside after dinner can help beat fatigue, get you some fresh air, and maybe give you a much-needed break from the hoopla.

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The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center hosts a series of ongoing educational and support programs for cancer patients, families and caregivers.     If this information is not relevent to you- please share this information with someone who can benefit from these resources.

 

January Events at the Claudia Mayer

Cancer Resource Center    

Care Giver’s Support Group: 1st Tuesday of each month.  January 3rd at 3:30 pm.  This group is open to any anyone who serves in the caregiver role- not just caregivers for cancer patients.  Free of charge.

 Photo Organizing: Create a family treasure, sort through the good memories and learn the tricks of  organizing your photos while transforming them into meaningful albums.  Contact Nancy Apted of Snapshots to arrange your session.  410-480-1811. This service is free of charge.

 Lunch & Learn – Palliative Care:  presented by Dr. Danielle Doberman, MD   Monday, January 9th  from noon -1:00pm.  What is palliative care and how is it the same or different from hospice care? Please register in advance to learn more about palliative care and the program at Howard County General Hospital.

 Qigong for Transformation : Tuesday’s noon to 1:00p.m. Beginning Tuesday, January 3rd.  Bridget Hughes is the instructor.  Registration and payment are necessary.  9 weeks for $90.00. made payable to Healing Point.

 Breast Cancer Support Group: Third Wednesday of each month from 7:00 – 8:30pm.  Registration requested.  Please call 410-740-5858.  Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C.  Meeting will be held on January 18th.  Free of charge.

 Living with Breast Cancer Support Group:  Fourth Thursday of each month from 7:00 – 8:30.   Registration requested.  Please call 410-740-5858.  Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C.  Meeting will be held on January 26th. Free of charge.

 Look Good…Feel Better: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.  This American Cancer Society program provides a free workshop by a licensed cosmetologist.   Women undergoing cancer treatment learn to manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment and receive a complimentary bag of cosmetics. Registration:  1-888-535-4555.

 Yoga for Patients, Caregivers and Survivors: Fridays, from 6:30 – 7:30 pm, beginning January 3rd and continuing until March 30th (with no class being held on March 23rd). Learn basic yoga movements under the leadership of Wendy Good, an experienced, clinically trained instructor. For information, call 410-964-9100.  $90.00 or the session.

 Knitting and Crochet Support Group:   Meeting weekly on Wednesdays from 10:00am- noon.  Instruction, directions and good times for the beginning or advanced needler.  Free of charge. Some materials and supplies available for beginners.

 Quilting Support Group: Tuesdays, January 10th and 24th   (2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month) 1:00- 3:00 p.m. Quilting and hand piecing techniques and time to work on projects.   Free of charge. 

 Teens Together:  a student-led group that connects teens who have either a family member or close friend with a diagnosis of cancer.  Adult facilitators & teen peers provide support & encouragement.  Next meeting is Tuesday, January 17th from 6:00 – 7:30pm.

 NEW:  Journal your Journey: Every person has a life journey and each one is unique. Create your own journal of your story using scrapbooking to enhance the written word. Third Thursday of each month, from 10:30am until noon.  January 19, 2012. Free of charbe, but  registration is required.

 The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center is located in the Medical Pavilion at 10710 Charter Drive, Suite G050, Columbia, Maryalnd 21044.  For more information, please call 410.740.5858

 


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by Mary Catherine Cochran

 

The last 150 years of history shows us that innovation in medical treatment is often a result of military conflict.   The Civil War improved our understanding of disease and infection, WWI introduced triage, and the Viet Nam War brought home the ‘golden hour’ of trauma.   Perhaps the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will be the next beneficiary of military knowledge.

If you’ve spent any time as a patient or a visitor in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), you know what a complicated and confusing place it can be.   Dozens of machines- not integrated and unable to communicate with each other- perform a variety of tasks, alarms sound throughout the day and data generated from those systems are collected by a various sources.

An innovative partnership between Lockheed- known mostly for its defense contracts, and Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, seeks to resolve these issues and reinvent the ICU.

“Hospitals do good, but they can be dangerous places,” says Dr. Peter Pronovost, Johns Hopkins senior vice president for patient safety and quality and directory of the Armstrong Institute. “We should be able to create an ICU that reduces risks to patients”.

Imagine an ICU that works as a well-engineered and integrated system…  where alarms are prioritized and machines assist and assess the patient in a concerted effort….  Where costs are reduced and patient safety is improved…   Where the patient is monitored by the same state of the art technology used in a cockpit… The vision is on its way to becoming a reality at an ICU near you.

Read more about this in the Baltimore Sun.


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2012 CalendarNow through January 1, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Drive Through the Symphony of Lights. Cars, vans and buses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages!

Now through December 31, Howard County Holiday Train DisplayFor the 14th year, firefighters have set up their train display at the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department Station at 4150 Montgomery Road. Admission to the event is free, but donations are accepted.  The Department is also collecting new and unwrapped toys for needy children.  Hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Hours on Christmas Eve are limited from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the display is closed on Christmas Day.  For more information call: 410 313-2036.

December 31; 2011, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Midnight at 7 – Symphony of Lights. See Howard County dazzle with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display! Celebrate with your family and friends. Walk 1.4 miles through the animated light displays, enjoy food, music and other exciting activities as the Symphony of Lights comes to a close. Please register online at www.hcgh.org/midnightat7

January 8, 2012, 3:00 p.m. Gemini Piano Trio – Sundays at Three.  Sundays At Three is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting chamber music played by the finest professional talent in the Baltimore-Washington area. The performers introduce the music and offer their insights and interpretation. The audience is invited for refreshments and conversation with the artists after the concert.Located at Christ Episcopal Church: 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia.  For more information visit www.sundaysatthree.org

January 11, 2012, 7-9:00 p.m. Happiest Baby on the Block. Parents and parents-to-be will learn techniques to quickly soothe baby. $50 per couple (Includes parent kits). Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information visit visit www.hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601.

January 14, 2012, 9-11 a.m. Home Sweet Home. Children ages 8–12 and their parents learn safe, fun ways for children to stay at home alone. Free. Located at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information visit visit www.hcgh.org or call 410-740-7601.


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by Jessica “JP” Protasio

This year I will spend the holidays hopping from house to house visiting friends and introducing them to my new cancer-free liver. I will politely refuse all pâté de foie gras and make ridiculously dry jokes about my “chopped liver” while sipping my ultra-pasteurized, brandy-free eggnog. I find that this is also the time of year when the most interesting conversations take place, either induced by a great feast or the Southern Comfort version of the aforementioned eggnog. Truly, December is a time of reflection and lining up new aspirations. We usually revisit how different things could have been. For me, it’s a time to be grateful for how things did turn out. You’re still here and that counts for something. Something good!

This time last year, I had gone through a failed liver-resection and felt like one of those pineapple and maraschino cherry holiday hams, poked with radiation seeds and saturated with chemotherapy. My skin looked great though; people said I was glowing. I was in the final stages but wouldn’t acknowledge it. The collective attitude of my support network was “You’re going to survive.” I believed it, even if I’d have died trying. None of us lost our humor, and I’m still grateful for that. This month, I’ve also been reminded that my journey with cancer isn’t over. My risk for cancer recurrence is high; and after a recent lung biopsy, I am even more motivated to stay on track with living a healthy lifestyle focused on recovery and prevention. I look forward to sharing more about that next month. Until then, I wish you happy holidays and a quick tribute to the late Clement Moore in my twist on his classic Christmas poem. See you next year!

Twas the Night Before Chemo By JP
Twas the night before Chemo, the last of them all
Not a doctor was fretting, they were all on the ball.
The treatment would hang on the I.V. with care,
In hopes that there’d be a Christmas to share.
The children were nestled all snug in their cots,
Dreaming of “Cancer-free” proclaimed by the docs.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Both bald in solidarity, clasping hands in a nap.
When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from her bedside to see what’s the matter.
Away to the nurse station, I flew like a flash,
And met with a team donning a “Cancer Changes Lives” sash.
The team had tracked on in spite of the snow
Carrying boxes and bags filled with gifts to bestow.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
My trooper-like kids grinning ear-to-ear.
We shuffled to her room–the kids lively and quick.
I knew in a moment THIS was the gift.
We celebrate together, despite being sick.
Laughing and giggling, our spirits a-lift.
Thanks to the patient navigator, out in the hall
making sure that we’re all set and our doctor’s on-call.
Thanks to the volunteers who collected and stored
all of the gifts spilling out of the door.
Thanks to the staff and the people who care,
making the holidays possible with so much to share.
It had been on our minds but seemed so impossible,
to have the time or the energy to hike through the mall-
to find or buy gifts when there’s so much to do
like pay bills, surgery, and treatments to get through.
With a few more hugs and wishing “Merry Christmas”
They’ll leave our room to visit others just like us.
Families who aren’t caroling, lighting candles, ‘round a tree,
Who instead are here in the hospital recovering and waiting-
for testing and results whatever they may be.
Cancer interferes with every aspect of life,
It can take away hope or dim a loved one’s light.
Let’s choose hope this time and again,
Let’s continue to fight so cancer won’t win.
May you all laugh and smile with great cheer.
I wish you a cancer-free Christmas and great end to the year.
If you’re not cancer-free or you’re waiting to be cleared-
I hope that you soon will be, so keep fighting for next year!

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.

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by Mary Catherine Cochran

 

Community leaders and representatives of the county’s Spanish-speaking, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Deaf communities joined the Horizon Foundation and Howard County General Hospital last week to launch a new video interpretation service designed to make health care more accessible in increasingly-diverse Howard County.

Martti PC Tablet
An Emergency Department nurse facilitates a conversation between a patient and an American Sign Language interpreter on the Martti system.

Through a two-year grant from the Horizon Foundation, the Howard County General Hospital, Chase Brexton Health Services, and the Healthy Howard Health Plan will pilot the new service to determine how significantly this technology can improve health care access. Interpreter services will be delivered via a dedicated high-speed broadband network and a remote video interpretation platform known as “Martti,” an acronym for My Accessible Real Time Trusted Interpreter. Howard County General Hospital will deploy eight Martti units, and Chase Brexton and Healthy Howard will each use one.

In remarks last week, Vic Broccolino, CEO of Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine explained that the hospital serves an increasingly diverse patient population with a growing number of non-English speakers and that Martti would serve to augment the existing, but limited onsite interpretation services. Of the county’s 280,000 residents, almost 15 percent are foreign born, according to 2010 census figures.

Richard Krieg, CEO of the Horizon Foundation said, “We expect that the new system will significantly enhance access to care for many of these residents.” Krieg noted that in meetings with school officials, the Foundation learned that it is not unusual for the children of non English speaking parents to be interpreters for their parents and local health providers. “This is undesirable for a number of reasons,” Krieg explained. “First, the child can miss an entire school day, and, secondly, it puts the student in a very uncomfortable position, especially if a significant illness is involved.”

Interpretation services will be delivered via wireless tablet PCs with two-way audio and video. Patients can access a real-time, live interpreter in approximately 20 languages, including several Chinese dialects, Korean, Burmese, Arabic, Vietnamese and American Sign Languages. More than 200 additional languages are available via audio.

Broccolino said, “On the first day we went live with the system, we had a woman in the Maternal Child Unit who spoke a particular dialect of Farsi,” Broccolino recalled. “Within five minutes we were able to connect with an interpreter who could communicate in that very dialect to give the patient discharge instructions. The level of timeliness would have been extremely difficult to achieve before Martti.”

Fun Facts:

  • In the first two weeks: 9 languages were interpreted: Arabic, Chinese, Creole-French, Farsi, Hakka, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Vietnamese.
  • In the first two weeks Martti provided more than 1200 minutes of translation time with about a third of that devoted to Spanish translation
  • Top five spoken languages in the world: Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindu-Urdu and Arabic

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By Barbara Cornell

I’m not thinking about Farmers’ Markets very much lately.  Something that has been occupying my mind is this bounty of baked goodies and special holiday foods—and my friends who can’t enjoy them because of food sensitivities and allergies.  Almost all of my favorite recipes—except for candies—involve wheat flour and nuts of some kind—and chocolate…

I talked with a gluten-free (g-f) friend about this and found out there are several flours she can use for baking, such as rice and corn flours, teff and quinoa.  It’s not a simple substitution however.  She needs to use specially adapted recipes, sometimes calling for additional hard-to-get ingredients like guar gum.  This is where the Howard County Library System can be helpful.  You can test drive our recipe books to see which ones deserve a place on your kitchen counter.

I am not going to recommend specific diets or plans not approved by your doctor.  There are plenty out there, like the brand new Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis,  which recommends eliminating even whole grain wheat.  And I can’t say for sure that Pamela Compart’s The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to the Gluten-Free, Milk-Free Diet would pass muster with the AMA.  However, if you and your doctor have determined that you are sensitive to gluten, here are a few more titles for you to try:

The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elizabeth Hasselbeck.  Hasselbeck accidentally discovered what was making her sick when she was in the Australian Outback for “Survivor.”  She offers advice on how to make a g-free diet work.

If you simply must have those desserts, try the recipes in Simply—Gluten-Free Desserts: 150 Delicious Recipes for Cupcakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Old and New Favorites by Carol Kicinsk.

Maybe your problem isn’t with gluten.  Try Allergy-Free Desserts: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, and Nut-Free Delights by Elizabeth Gordon.

The authors of the hugely popular Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois,  came out with Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients.  So even g-f folks can get in on the 5 minutes a day bread!

Lisa Lewis’s Special Diets for Special Kids has stood the test of time having been in publication since 1998.  Now a new edition brings together volumes one and two and updates Dr. Lewis’s research.  The 2011 edition, Special Diets for Special Kids: Volumes 1 and 2 Combined includes a CD-ROM with recipes you may print out.

Come and check out the wealth of information you can use to make good decisions about your diet!

Barbara Cornell joined the Howard County Library System in 1993 as Assistant Branch Manager at the new Elkridge Branch.

Since 2000 she has enjoyed a shorter commute to the Glenwood Branch.

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Howard County Health Screenings and EventsNow through January 1, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Drive Through the Symphony of Lights. Cars, vans and buses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages!

Now through December 31, Howard County Holiday Train DisplayFor the 14th year, firefighters have set up their train display at the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department Station at 4150 Montgomery Road. Admission to the event is free, but donations are accepted.  The Department is also collecting new and unwrapped toys for needy children.  Hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Hours on Christmas Eve are limited from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the display is closed on Christmas Day.  For more information call: 410 313-2036.

December 16, 7:30-9:00 p.m.  Oakland Nights Music Series Featuring Laura and Steve Lesche. Located at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Road, Columbia, Maryland. No charge for admission or refreshments, but donations for the musicians are gladly accepted. “Oakland Nights Music Series” is sponsored by the Town Center Community Association (410-730-4744).

New Miller Branch

December 17, 9:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Grand Opening of the Charles E. Miller Branch & Historical Center. Howard County Library Board of Trustees and CEO Valerie J. Gross cordially invite you to the Grand Opening of the Howard County Library Charles E. Miller Branch & Historical Center. Howard County Library Charles E. Miller Branch & Historical Center, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, Maryland.

December 17, 2011, 5:15  p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The Nutcracker on Ice – Presented by the Columbia Figure Skating Club. “The Nutcracker on Ice” is a community performance presented by the Columbia Figure Skating Club in Columbia, Maryland. “The Nutcracker on Ice” is the only ice skating show of its kind in the Baltimore-Washington area, and is a special event for families and people of all ages. This performance features over 80 performers ranging in age from 3 thru adult and includes many talented advanced level skaters.$12.00 / Ages 2 and under free, The Columbia Ice Rink: 5876 Thunder Hill Rd, Columbia, MD 21045
For tickets and information, please call 410-730-0322 or visit www.columbiafsc.com

December 19, 10:15-10:45 am. Holiday Sing Along. Did you know that not only does singing lift the spirits, but it also is good for you? So come to the Savage Branch and sing songs to celebrate the holidays. All ages welcome with adult.

December 19, 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.

December 21, 5:00pm. Live At The Library: Classical Guitar.
More and more research suggests that music has healing properties. Come into the Central Branch refresh, de-stress, and enjoy the soulful and expressive sounds of accomplished guitarist Sven Rainey.

The Howard County Library System will be closed December 24 and 25.

December 31; 2011, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Midnight at 7 – Symphony of Lights. See Howard County dazzle with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display! Celebrate with your family and friends. Walk 1.4 miles through the animated light displays, enjoy food, music and other exciting activities as the Symphony of Lights comes to a close. Please register online at www.hcgh.org/midnightat7.


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by Ginny Leslie

My mom, a talented pianist, avid reader, and C-Span devotee, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her mid-seventies.  Initially, we were skeptical, if not disbelieving. My father eventually accepted  this outcome, as she undeniably exhibited the  behavior and personality changes associated with the disease.  Yet 15 years ago, there were few strategies for helping her, my father, or her children cope with these traumatic changes. And most frustrating, books about the ways families cope with the disease were often either clinical or despairing in tone

Even now, books that describe the experiences of Alzheimer’s families usually depress more than enlighten. I was therefore delighted to discover  Kate Whouley’s Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, which reminds relatives of Alzheimer’s patients to step back from the puzzle pieces and envision a broader and richer perspective of a loved one’s life. Alzheimer’s, her book suggests, erases a victim’s memory but need not shade our own memories.

Recalling her upbringing, Kate describes her mother’s creative teaching and edgy, dynamic professional persona.  And, as Kate grows up, she comes to appreciate her mother’s wry sense of humor and desire for independence, just as her mother increasingly enjoys the companionship of her talented daughter.

Yet as she witnesses her mother’s decline into dementia, she declares, “I am a daughter who has become a mother. Not in the usual way. I am mother to my own mother.” As a single woman with a writing career, Whouley is forced to enter the bizarre world her mother fought to keep hidden– her hoarding of papers, food,  and books; her inability to handle finances; her indifference to personal hygiene; and her compulsive humming–all signs familiar to relatives of Alzheimer’s victims. With courage and persistence, she keeps her mother’s emotional life as calm and stable as possible,  manages her finances, and  finds full-time care for her. And when the puzzle pieces shake loose, she  finds moments of humor and tenderness to remind her of the person her mother once was.

In one episode, Whouley finds an assisted living residence for her independent mother, who  is naturally furious with her daughter.  Her mother complains about the rudeness of  other residents and the facility’s lack of activities (despite her daughter’s evidence to the contrary).   She tells her daughter that the place has no other activities but bridge: “All they do is play bridge. And I don’t even play bridge.” She tells her this not just once, but over and over again.  Whouley at one point asks herself, half-jokingly, “Have I sent my mother to an elder prison with card-playing, anti-social inmates?”

Whouley kept her sense of humor but also kept perspective by choosing to live fully in the moment.  As a professional writer and a part-time musician, the author continued to pursue outlets that enriched her life.  But I was most impressed by the fact that she never let herself forget the “music”–the memories that  bind us to one another. Yes, Alzheimer’s is scary, feels  all-encompassing, and is progressive. Still,  there were days when, even years after her initial diagnosis,  my  mother could sit down at the  piano and play familiar melodies with her usual verve and skill. As with Whouley’s memories of her mother, my family was and is blessed to “remember the music.”

Ginny Leslie has been an Instructor and Research Specialist at Miller Branch in Ellicott City for the past 12 years. She works with community book clubs and facilitates the Ellicott City Senior Center book club. Look for Ginny at the brand new Miller, opening Saturday, December 17!

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by Jean Pfefferkorn

The holiday season is a time of stress for many, so a massage could be a great gift for someone or even for yourself. Getting a massage to bring relief to minor aches and pains or soothe jangled nerves is an ages-old folk tradition.

Sources as early as Esther in the Old Testament, Hippocrates, and the ancient Chinese Huang-di Neijing extolled the virtues of massage. More recently, alternative remedies for headaches or aching backs have included massage.

 Folk wisdom has often been proven therapeutic, using medical research techniques. Recent neuroscience research has found that massage causes a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and an increase in the hormone oxytocin, which is related to contentment. Recipients of a regular massage also self-report health effects such as improved sleep patterns, along with a decrease in depression and anxiety and in the symptoms caused by such negative mental patterns. 

Most massage recipients report a feeling of physical well-being, in addition to improved mood.

Massage therapist Mary K. Rose of Longmont, Colorado reports that, “. . . patterns of tension are released in overworked muscles, fascia is loosened in areas of strain, and lymph is encouraged in its circulation. …the complex of effects on the neurochemical system of the body, as touch receptors carry messages to the brain for interpretation, influence brain wave patterns and a myriad of hormonal responses.”

But don’t take their word for it….give it a try!

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.

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Howard County Health Screenings and EventsNow through January 1, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Drive Through the Symphony of Lights. Cars, vans and buses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages!

Now through December 31, Howard County Holiday Train DisplayFor the 14th year, firefighters have set up their train display at the Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department Station at 4150 Montgomery Road. Admission to the event is free, but donations are accepted.  The Department is also collecting new and unwrapped toys for needy children.  Hours are Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Hours on Christmas Eve are limited from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the display is closed on Christmas Day.  For more information call: 410 313-2036.

December 10, 10am-12pm. Home Sweet Home. Community Health Instructors Debbie and Art Ross come to the Glenwood Branch to teach safe and fun ways for children to stay home alone. Ages 9-12 (parents should attend). A Well & Wise class, in partnership with Howard County General Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

December 12, 10:15am & 11:15. Holiday Twist & Shout.
Let your kids learn moves, get active, and dance to some holiday tunes. Ages 2-5; 30 min.

December 12, 12:30-3pm. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library System.

December 13, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Tail Lights – Symphony of Lights.  Back by popular demand! Treat yourself and your dog to a walk through the 1.4 mile Symphony of Lights displays. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and to make this dog friendly walk your families new holiday tradition. Please register online.

December 13, 10:15 &11:15. Twist And Shout.
Music and movement with winter themes. Ages 3-5; 30 min. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

December 14,  5:30 – 9pm. Adult/Child/Infant CPR/AEDEarn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information call 410-740-7601.


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by Wendy Camassar

With the increase in holiday shopping this time of year, have you found yourself browsing at a cosmetics counter?  For some, this is like being a kid in a candy store; the temptation is to try everything that is on display.  But before you start dipping into the “tester” products, ask yourself this: “How many people before me have sampled this lipstick/eyeliner/ mascara?”  Having worked at many different cosmetic counters, I can honestly answer that question with a resounding “hundreds.” Not only are these tester products sampled by many, often they are sampled incorrectly, in a most unsanitary manner.  I have personally witnessed countless people “double dipping” lip glosses and lipsticks, and (brace yourself) use the mascara’s wand directly from the tube.  If that isn’t a recipe for a raging eye infection, I don’t know what is.

The truth is, tester products can harbor Staph, Strep, viral conjunctivitis, and even E.coli. (Meaning, the person sampling the tester before you, used the bathroom and didn’t wash their hands!) That’s what Dr. Elizabeth Brooks of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College found when she conducted an extensive study on public makeup testers. Her research revealed that for bacteria on makeup testers, especially on high-traffic mall days–like Saturdays, contamination was 100 percent.

So what should you do if you want to see how a cosmetic product will look without buying it first?  Here are some ways to follow safe makeup application:

1.    Use alcohol.  If you would like to try out a lip product, look to see if there is rubbing alcohol at the counter.  You can spray or dip the lipstick in the alcohol, and wipe off its outer layer.  However, I would not apply it to my mouth.  Instead, I recommend swiping the lipstick or lip gloss on the inside tip of your finger, the fleshy part that has a bit more color.  You can get a better idea of how a lip color will look rather than swiping it on the back of the hand.

2.    No double dipping.  Focus on sample products that come out of a squeeze tube rather than a pot or tub, like creams, moisturizers, and eye or lip products.  There should be ample supplies of disposable lip brushes and mascara wands at the counter.  Remember, dip once and then throw away!  Ask for additional disposable applicators if you don’t see any.  Often, they are kept behind the counter so customers don’t help themselves to too many.

3.    Scrape the outer surface.  If you really want to try a product has a smooth surface, say an eye shadow for example, then wipe or gently scrape the top layer.  This will reveal a clean layer of product to sample.  The same can be done with lipsticks and lip liners.  Ask for the counter’s eye/lip pencil sharpener and alcohol. Dip the pencil in the alcohol, and then sharpen it.  This will expose a sanitized “lead.”  Don’t be afraid to ask for alcohol.  Any makeup counter at a department store should have it available.

4.    Beware of the brushes.  If a makeup artist is going to apply products to your face using a brush, make sure they wipe the brush clean prior to use.  Again, on a busy Saturday, this step can often be over looked.  Professional brush cleaner can quickly sanitize the brush, but make sure it’s done thoroughly.  I would still ask them to use a disposable lip and mascara wand when applying those products. The eyes, lips, and nose are the portholes for bacteria!

5.    Keep your receipt.  If you decide to purchase a product but don’t feel comfortable trying it on your face, most stores will honor returns if you hold onto your receipt.  The old notion that you can’t return cosmetics once purchased or used is no longer valid.

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.

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Ancient Chinese Painting

by Mary Catherine Cochran

If you frequent our local parks you will often see a lone individual or a small group of individuals moving slowly and gracefully through a focused balletic routine called Qigong. I wondered, is this exercise, healing or meditation?

According to acupuncturist and Qigong instructor, Bridget Hughes, it is all of those. The 4000+ year old practice of Qigong (pronounced Chee-gong) is rooted in Chinese medicine, martial arts and philosophy.  The word Qi is generally translated as life force or energy flow and the word gong is often translated as work or practice.

Hughes believes that learning the ancient practice of Qigong enables us to experience improved vitality and well-being.  In addition, Qigong can be used to transform and heal the emotions. She says,  “In ancient Chinese medicine, there is the idea of a ‘Transformation of Virtue’ whereby the five primary emotional imbalances are transformed to virtues by internal cultivation. Through practice, fear is transformed to wisdom and empowerment, anger is transformed to creativity and constructiveness, impatience and anxiety are transformed to connection and joyousness, worry is transformed to centeredness and ecology, and grief and dissatisfaction are transformed to awe and inspiration.  These transformations provide us not only greater peace and greater emotional effectiveness, but also greater access to the energy that has become constrained from maintaining disharmonious emotions.”

Learning Qigong sounds like a great way to begin the New Year, but can anyone do this graceful routine?  Hughes says, “Absolutely. The movements of Qigong are simple to learn and can even be done while seated. Students of all ages and abilities can learn the practice.”

Perhaps it’s time to find out. Beginning January 3rd, Hughes is offering “Qigong for Transformation” This approach to Qigong is unique, Hughes explains, “This class focuses on gaining greater access to positive feeling states.  In the ancient Chinese texts, patients are instructed to ‘smile’ at each of their various organs in turn.”

Hmmm… wait a minute…   “Smile” at each of my organs?  Bridget laughs, “Well, perhaps something was lost in translation, but the essence is that while my physiology may or may not be particularly impacted if I ‘smile’ at my heart, if I tap in to a feeling state of deep unconditional love, or feeling heart-connected to God, I set into a motion a cascade of physiological changes that can influence health all the way to the DNA level.”   Hughes adds, “The health benefits of Qigong have been recognized for thousands of years and millions of Chinese practice the graceful movements every day. This class focuses on using movements recognized as particularly potent for transforming the emotions, coupled with specific meditations by which we rekindle our ability to experience joy, gratitude, inspiration, empowerment, and creativity”.

Well, I’m sold.  How about you?

Class Info: Patients will learn a simple series of graceful movements and a meditative practice to transform the emotions and revitalize energy. Tuesdays, January 3rd – February 28th 2012, noon-1:00 p.m. Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, Maryland 21044. Cost: $90. To Register: (410)964-9100.

 

 
Bridget Hughes is co-founder of Healing Point LLC in Severna Park, Maryland, and of Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Arts in Columbia. She was named a 2010 and 2011 “Favorite Doc” in Chesapeake Family Magazine. Bridget is a certified Qigong instructor and has been interested for over 20 years in the intersection of health, wellness, brain science, energy arts, quantum physics, psychology, and peak performance. She speaks on a wide range of health topics including: Using Imagery, Visualization, Meditation, and Feeling States to Groove New Neural Pathways, Transitioning to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit for Survivors, A Mind-Body Approach to Pain, and Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion. She considers time spent with patients to be a great blessing and takes a keen interest in each person and their unique situation and experience.

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By Brian Grim

I don’t eat right…not often enough anyway. As much as I try to be healthy and stay in shape, my diet is usually pretty awful. I feel that I understand proper nutrition pretty well for a layman, so I think I know how to eat healthy. And I like enough vegetables (except for horrible things like brussels sprouts) and other healthy foods so that I usually enjoy healthy meals. The problem is that unhealthy food is so delicious, and it’s just so easy and convenient and fast too. I’m addicted to eating out and to junk food. I don’t know why, but there are times when I’m certain that the Big Mac is the greatest culinary invention in history.

The bottom line is that I need to start cooking at home more and eating out less. So I decided to pick up The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook: Renowned Chefs, Delicious Dishes, and the Art of Fueling Up While Eating Well and try a few recipes. The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook is a compilation from a monthly column in Runner’s World magazine that profiles different chefs who are runners and provides some of their favorite recipes for fueling and recovering from their runs.  Each recipe also has nutritional information and a short summary explaining its possible fitness-related or disease-fighting benefits. For example, the omega-3 fatty acids in the Grilled Salmon with Vegetable Couscous and Artichoke Vinaigrette may reduce inflammation from joint pain as well as being good for the heart.

Although some of the profiles are interesting, I found myself skimming over most of them and just looking at the recipes themselves. There are five categories: Breakfast; Soups, Salads, and Sides; Main Courses; Beverages; and Deserts. The recipes are also marked “Training” (higher carbohydrates for fueling workouts) or “Recovery” (for replenishing nutrients and restoring muscles). Although generally healthy, they are not necessarily low-calorie or low-fat. For example, the Linguine with Genovese Pesto has 659 calories and 38 grams of fat per serving! It doesn’t say how much of that fat is saturated.

I figured I had to try at least some of the recipes from The Athlete’s Palate, so I made three of them: Naan Pizza with Canadian Bacon, Asparagus, and Fontina Cheese; Breakfast Couscous; and Chicken and Pumpkin Curry (using butternut squash instead of pumpkin). I’m neither a great chef nor a food writer, so all I can say is that I liked everything that I tried, especially the Chicken and Pumpkin Curry (even though I accidentally added cayenne at one point instead of curry!). Naan makes an excellent pizza crust, so I think I’ll steal that idea from now on when I make pizza at home. Breakfast Couscous is really just whole-wheat couscous with whatever combination of fresh or dried fruit and nuts you feel like putting in. Simple, but delicious. Honestly, it didn’t take me long to disregard the whole running angle of the book completely. I really only cared about whether the food tasted good or not. Still, as long I’m cooking for myself and staying away from fast food, I think almost anything I eat will be healthier.

Brian Grim is a Customer Service Specialist for the Glenwood Branch of Howard County Library System.

He started at the Savage Branch in 2006. Brian is a sporadic fitness enthusiast, an occasional cook, and a one-time musician.

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Howard County Health Screenings and Events

 

Now through January 1, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Drive Through the Symphony of Lights. Cars, vans and buses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages!

December 7, 7:00- 9:00 p.m. Pre-Diabetes: What Is It and What Can You Do about It? Understand what pre-diabetes is and learn how to prevent or delay actual diabetes. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. $15.00. For more information call 410-740-7601.

December 8, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Blinkin’ Binkies – Symphony of Lights. Families can celebrate the season with a leisurely 1.4 mile walk through the dazzling light displays. Children in strollers and wagons are welcome. Register online.

December 8, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Your Child’s Vision: What Parents Need to KnowLearn about normal visual development, how vision impacts learning, ocular safety and common vision complaints and what to do about them. Presented by Anya Trumler, M.D. Free. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information call 410-740-7601.

December 13, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Tail Lights – Symphony of Lights. Back by popular demand! Treat yourself and your dog to a walk through the 1.4 mile Symphony of Lights displays. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and to make this dog friendly walk your families new holiday tradition. Please register online.

December 14,  5:30 – 9pm. Adult/Child/Infant CPR/AEDEarn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Located at the HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, in Columbia. For more information call 410-740-7601.


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by Kim T. Ha

This month, I will continue to recommend children’s songs to get both you and your kids moving and dancing. I’ve come to realize that there are many songs for children about animals: reptiles, birds, insects, mammals…You name it and children will put valiant effort into morphing themselves into it. The songs below offer some suggestions as to how to move, as well as provide catchy beats to raise your child’s heart rate. So let’s get moving!

“Shake Your Dragon Tail” from Dragon Tunes from Dragon Tales


This simple, yet lively, song is one of my favorites for warming up at the beginning of Pajama Time at the Elkridge Branch. Children are asked to stand up tall and shake their dragon tails to music filled with joyous sounds of bells and shakers. Shaking their own tails may be challenging, so I often have the children shake “dragon tails” (colored handkerchiefs) as well. This song works very well for young ones, as wiggling and shaking are as complicated as the dance moves get.

“Do The Bird” by Jack Grunsky from Exercise Party

This quick and silly song has children imitating a variety of birds, including the pigeon, goose, chicken, sea gull, rooster, and duck. It may seem easy, but movements are layered until participants end up moving like a wild hybrid of all the aforementioned birds! This is a perfect challenge for those who think patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time can be done while sleeping. The biggest challenge to accomplishing this bird dance though is to do so without falling to the floor in a fit of giggles.

“Scratching Post” by Daniel Kirk from Cat Power

As a cat lover, I highly recommend Daniel Kirk’s Cat Power, a colorfully illustrated book of cat poems. These happy cats are depicted in a multitude of colors and doing a series of cat-like activities. The poems have titles such as “Litter Box,” “Hunter,” and “I Want to Go Out!” What’s more, the eighteen poems are all set to music that is on the included CD. One of my favorites is “Scratching Post.” Here kids get to move their arms up and down, mimicking a cat tearing up a scratching post. (Note how the cat is attacking a scratching post and not furniture!) Movements children can make include varying the length of their scratches, stretching against the imaginary post and pouncing on the post. The steady beat is the same throughout the song, so it is important to suggest additional movements to keep kids from tiring out their arms.



“Monkey See, Monkey Do” by Mr. Al from Mr. Al a carte


This song is a great alternative to “Simon Says” or “Follow the Leader.” Kids all have an opportunity to be the “leader monkey” and have the group mimic their movements. Twenty-five second segments of “Everybody follow” lyrics alternate with the “Monkey see, monkey do, the monkey does it just like you. Monkey do, monkey see, the monkey does it just like me” refrain. I usually ask kids to think of their particular movement before starting the song to maintain the flow and to avoid putting individuals on the spot. This is a great song to exercise creativity as well as the body.



“Swim Like a Fish” by the Wiggles from Wiggle Bay


The Wiggles ask kids to use their “fins” to “flip and flop around” and their “tails” to “splish and splosh” in this fast-paced, surf-rock song. The “swim like a fish” refrain is easy for kids to sing and move to, while the guitar jamming makes for a great party song.



“Bumblebee (Buzz Buzz)” by Laurie Berkner from Buzz Buzz

There is plenty of buzzing in this song as we start off with one bumblebee named Oscar and are then joined by bumblebees Jackson, Max, Kay, Ray, and Fay. I usually tell children to pretend that their fingertips are the bees, and they wriggle their fingers around as the bees are buzzing. There is a pronounced difference between the bouncy beat of the “buzz buzz” refrain and the rest of the song, which encourages participants to engage in different types of movements. While kids tend to move their fingers rapidly during the refrain, they have their “bees” swoop and flow more during the slower parts of the song.

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.

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