Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Study Finds that Bullying Causes Overweight Kids to Exercise Less

Well, geeeeesh...
Why didn't they just ask me.

I've been overweight since I was 8 years old - you can see the changes in my school pictures. I remember being surrounded by taunting classmates: "Fatty, fatty, two by four..." was the un-popular song for us fat kids in the 1950's. I heard it too many times - directed at me.
So do ya think I wanted to run around and play at recess? Uh, like Nooooooo.
What about gym when I got to Junior High (what is now known as Middle School)? A bigger Nooooooooo.
Did I play a lot outside in the summers? Another Nooooooooo.

I recently went to a rheumatologist for my back pain. After reviewing my MRI results she asked me if I had been an athlete when I was younger, since my back looked like the problems of an athlete. "No. I was the fat kid sitting in the corner with her nose stuck in a book," I laughed.

I wish I had ignored the taunts and ran around more, played more, joined a sports team. I may not be overweight today.
But I think I did use those physically-idle hours wisely.

Still, it doesn't excuse the taunts I heard fifty years ago - or take away the pain that I still feel when I think about those times.

Years ago there was a movie starring Stockard Channing - about a women who had been taunted over her weight all through school. When she finally lost the weight and returned to her high school reunion, she returned with a Carrie-like vengence.

We didn't get the lesson with Columbine.
We still don't get the lesson.
Most of us who are bullied don't aim the guns at others - we just continue to take it out on the closet person - ourselves.

Monday, May 29, 2006

This man deserves an Emmy...

...and so do the writers of One Life to Live.

Trevor St. John, playing Todd Manning at his execution, gave one of the best performances I've ever seen - Oscar worthy. But, alas, it was on the red-headed stepchild of entertainment, a soap opera. So the best St. John can hope for is an Emmy - but he deserves it. He was remarkable.

I hope Todd "survives" - just so I can see more of St. John.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What most women want...

...but what many have.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ain't Happenin'

Not sure if this picture was posed. Maybe it's a real couple and maybe they're still together. But at 58, I'm very realistic about the big "R": Romance. Oh, sure I read and write "romance" but I also read and write horror. I have as much chance as being the woman in this picture as I do of seeing a vampire - maybe more of a chance with the vampire.

Anyway, I have a lot of things I want in the mate/companion department. It will be a difficult order to fill. So I'm not even shopping. Not even in the mall parking lot.

I have found that I'm very happy with my life - find myself smiling about it more times than not. Oh, I know - I rant about things over which I have little control - politics, my job, the nursing shortage. But those things I DO control - well, I'm doing just fine, thank you.

So I've decided that if it happens, fine. If it doesn't happen, just as fine.

Besides Barnes and Noble have a mug that says: "Book lovers never go to bed alone." Neither do cat owners.

Loving Words

"Not by harming life
Does one become noble.
One is termed noble
For being gentle
To all living things."
translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ugly Pictures that Could Save Your Life

People would think I'm crazy to publish these pictures - but, well - we all know I'm a bit off center.

These are pictures of the inside of me - at least the inside of my colon. Yep! I did it (not without some drama, of course - more on that later), but I had a colonoscopy.

And I have to thank my sister for that! Like the commercial of the husband with his wife literally hanging off his back to get him to go, Pattie bugged me for months. And, being a nurse, I've seen the results of not going for diagnostic procedures. In other words, I should have known better.

After I gave in to my baby sister, I heard the "scare" stories - most of which centered around the "prep." "The prep is worse than the procedure." Well, the prep wasn't as bad as the fall and the staples. Huh?? More on that in a minute.

The gallon of stuff you have to drink over four or five hours is not that great tasting - I used the lemon-lime flavor and pretended I was drinking margaritas (Hey! I'm a writer with a great imagination). I also stocked up on juices that I liked since I would have to stop eating "real" food at noon and move on to the ever popular clear liquids. I did have to cut off two phone conversations because I literally ran to the bathroom (thank Goddess I live in small one floor apartment). During one with my Seattle-based daughter I went so fast that I took the phone with me, putting it on the sink counter. She could hear me doing my duty and I could hear her laughter. I cursed her to having me live with her when I'm eighty.

Anyway - the prep wasn't all that bad. One of my beloved Regional Nurses, Miss Dina (who's been calling me Mrs. McCartney) told me just to weigh myself in the morning and I would feel much better about the prep. She was right - I lost five pounds overnight! The next morning I got up bright and early to get ready for my colon's debut. Pattie, the instigator of this, was taking a day off from work to drive me to and fro. Bless her - in many ways.

I was busy taking my shower, when I turned a bit to fast in the tub, lost my footing and WAP!, fell through the shower curtain and cracked my head on the edge of the sink. The sink is just fine. I bled so much the cats were following me around thinking I was dying and they would never be fed again. I have a nice gash that required four STAPLES at Lehigh Valley Muhlenburg's ER (more on the hospital later) BEFORE I could even get admitted to the short procedure unit.

With scalp closed and colon cleansed, I was ready for my close-up, Dr, Mittal. What a nice guy. Well, I guess you gotta be nice when you have to deal with a--holes all day long. Ba-dump-dum! After the nurses did their duties of vital signs and IVs, he explained everything to me. Eventually I was wheeled into to diagnostic lab.

This place was also full of very nice nurses/techs - whoever. They were great and laughed with me. They had heard about the woman who had to have her scalp stapled before the procedure. I heard music, got some oxygen, was placed on the heart monitor, was asked to turn on my left side, told them they should have a second TV for me (one was for Dr. Mittal) and immediately went to la-la land.

The next think I knew I was being wheeled back into my little cubical in the waiting area. Vital signs checked. No cramps. No gas. Pattie came in to see me. Dr. Mittal came in to see me. I had one small polyp (you can tell whcih one it is by the mark on the picture) that was removed and biopsied (will find out next week).

With 30 minutes I had a ginger ale and was trying to recruit their nursing staff for PennMed. I was back in true-Mitzi form.

This was my first time with Lehigh Valley Hospital System - I was at the Muhlenberg Hospital in Bethlehem. They were the most efficient, caring, knowledgeable staff I've met on my health-travels. I told them that if I went back to acute care, I would want to work there - if I could stay in the soaringly beautiful lobby. The staff made what could have been an embarrassing procedure and a trip to the ER, almost...well...almost fun.

And, of course, it was "Lucy and Ethel go to the hospital" with Mitzi and Pattie.

So here are the pictures of me that could save my life.
I thought you should have a set. Especially if there's a history of colon cancer in your family and/or you're over 50. If not, I'll be on your back, just like Pattie was on mine. Hell! I need all the readers I can get.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In Cold Blood

Click on the post's title to read an MSN.com story about how our soldiers killed innocents, including children. This was in revenge for the death of one of their own - however, that soldier's death was not caused by the people killed.

We have lost touch with justice and compassion. We no longer view these people as "people" - not if our soldiers can kill children.

What have we done? We have caused so much grief - the picture of grief on this post is so true, so honest to be almost overwhelming.

More deaths. More grief. More mothers keening and grieving - across the world.

What have we done because of lies and misdirections?

Hey, Paulie! I'm available....

Dear Paul,

I am really sorry about your break-up with Heather Mills. I really, really am.
But, Paul, dear boy: A sixty-something man (even if you are Paul McCartney) and a thirty-something woman? I hear that even Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones are having their problems.

Maybe, just maybe, what you need is an older woman (at least older than Heather). Someone who has grown-up with you and who understands the world before 1975. Someone who is intelligent, outgoing, and has a good heart. Someone who loves animals and wouldn't mind mucking out stalls. Someone like...well...like me.

I'm not blonde, svelte, and I'm dead-on middle-aged chubby. But I would take care of you in our old age. Heck! If I was ready to take care of Mark Stoner, I would certainly be ready to take care of you.

Oh, well - it was a try.

Seriously, Paul - wishing you the best and hope you do find love and companionship.

You fan forever,

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"Nev-er Smile at a Croc-odile..."

Or All-i-gator either for that matter.
Three people have been killed in Florida this week by alligators. Three in one week.
Sure it's the alligators' busy season. They're very active, what with getting over Spring Break and mating and all. But three - in one week??? Come on! Isn't anybody out there, like a herpetologist (or whatever scientist studies 'gators) concerned?

I'm a firm believer in the Gaia Theory - the earth is itself an organism. When an organism is threatened, it does whatever it can to shake off the threat.

Humans are a threat to the natural environment - more so now than ever before. Now, I'm not saying that the alligators got some kind of psychic message from the polar bears who told them to start gang-murdering humans. At least, I don't think so. But can anyone look at the drastic changes in the weather:tornadoes everywhere lately, not to mention last year's hurricanes and deluges in the Northeast; the imminent demise of Arctic creatures, the "invasion" of coyotes and bears into the suburbs and not wonder if something is going on that is beyond human control.

Maybe a higher power is trying to tell us, "Enough is enough."
Maybe we should listen.
But in the mean time - stay away from cocs and 'gators.
They do NOT seem to be happy with us.

Plague Upon US

These are pictures from the distant past - or are they?
Click on the title of this post and read about the return of the plague.
Add the plague to mutated bacteria that can't be controlled by antibiotics, AIDS, the Avian Flu and a more virulent strain of TB and we've got more trouble than we need.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?

Click on the title of this blog and see the latest in this administration spy tactics. It seems that the feds may be able to determine investigative reporters' inside sources.

Maybe journalists who want to get at the truth, need to ditch their cell phones and find one of the above - a parking garage and another "Deep Throat."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A guy like Bob...

..or "Bo".

This post and the one before are just to let you know that I don't always think about or write about the nursing shortage and politics.

I love this picture of Bob Woods, the actor who plays Bo Buchanan on "One Life to Live" - my guilty pleasure. I love Bob - or maybe I love Bo. I know I love "them" so much that I've pattern my erstwhile fictional hero, Detective Dan Reno, on Bob..er Bo - well, on one of them. Detective Reno is the foil to my heroine, almost fifty widow, Elizabeth Peacock.

And Elizabeth is sitting on my shoulder right now complaining that she will get nowhere with Detective Reno if I don't "friggin' finish the damn book." Geesh, Elizabeth - you and Dan aren't getting together at the end of this book. Didn't I tell you? It's a series. Maybe I'll end it with your first kiss...and then, maybe not.

Anyway - Here's to Bob and Bo. Thanks for being my inspiration.
I love you guys.

Just Because...

I miss them.

A Person of Conviction

Not Secretary Rice! Steve Almond is a person of conviction. Read the article and see why he resigned his adjunct professor post at Boston College. Too bad there aren't more like Professor Almond and too bad he will no longer be teaching.


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


Read this article about the evangelical Christian right youth movement. It teaches that Jesus wants His followers to use violence against those who would "destroy" their rights. By "their rights" they mean their right to have everyone believe what they believe - Christianity and only THEIR take on Christianity.

Tell me how this is different from fanatical Islam?

I'm Wiccan (the picture on this site's banner is not really a joke - I am a witch).
A devout Catholic friend once told me that I was more "Christian" than most of the professed Christians she knew.

It's not hard to be "Christian" - I firmly believe that Jesus was a great teacher sent to earth by a supreme being.

But here's where evangelical Christians and I differ - drastically.

I believe in his teachings, all of them expressed in all of the world's religions. I can wear a cross with my pentacle and get comfort in both. I believe that the gods and goddesses of my religion are the many faces of one supreme being. I believe that animals have the purest souls. I believe that we must protect the earth. I light a candle at Padre Pio's shrine and then thank the Goddess for the beauty of the land around me. I have a St. Michael's rosary on my desk at work. I have the White Buffalo on my night stand and dedicated myself to White Buffalo Calf Women at Imbolc.

I believe there are many paths to one source. I believe that I can walk the path of my choice at the time I chose. That is my right and I will not relinquish that right.

Jesus taught that the Meek Will Inherit the Earth.
Jesus taught to turn the other cheek and to love your enemy.
Were those false teachings?
This evangelical Christian right youth group seems to think so.

As for me, I shall follow the Wiccan teaching:
"And as you harm none, do what you will."

I'm a good witch, a good Christian, a good shaman, a good woman.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"SPIES Among Us"

Click on the title and read the article from US News and World Report.

When people like me state that we want to see impeachment proceedings started, it's because of things like this. We must start speaking out or we will deserve losing our basic right.

Remember the FBI files on John Lennon. This is much worse. Look in the mirror - you could be next. Have you ever spoken out for the rights of others? Have you ever spoken out against this administration? Have you ever exercised your rights under the constitution? You could be a target.

We are headed down a dangerous path. We must stop this abuse of power.

Scroll down and read about Woodward and Bernstein.

Remember Watergate!
"We won't be fooled again...."
Yeah, right.

I'm sure somewhere in the bowels of the Department of Defense or Homeland Security or the FBI, CIA, NSA - somewhere there is someone cruising the internet for bloggers like me. Somewhere there may be a dossier all about me. Just like they had with John. I guess I'm in damn good company.

At least get my name right: Mary Catherine Tornese Flyte (Mitzi)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Back to the nursing shortage...

"Hello, I'll be your nurse today."

Don't laugh. This could happen. Remember: in a few years, the majority of nurses will be 50-69 years old.

Happy National Nurses Week.

I sure hope someone out there is listening.

And not to forget.....

Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post.

In an age when Tom Cruise and Brittney Spears get more column space than the real issues, we may have forgotten what real news reporting was. We may have forgotten that there was a time when reporters did not regurgitate the White House press briefings and feed that pap to the masses. There was a time when reporters questioned and dug for the truth. There was a time when editors encouraged that reporting. There was a time when newspapers printed it.

I grew up reading the Washington Post. At 12 I was reading it cover to cover. By 16 I wanted to be a reporter. I wanted to go to college, major in journalism and minor in political science. To this day I kid that, if I had followed that dream, I could have been Woodward and Bernstein.

Maybe I would rather have been Bradlee.

Remember these guys......?

I just finished watching (for the thrid or fourth time) All the President's Men. The similarities between what the Nixon White House was doing - covert operations against Democratic candidates - sounds like the Bush White House authorizing illegal wiretapings of American citizens without court-issed warrants. I repeat "American citizens" - not known or supsected terroritsts.

And our great newspapers of this century are...what? DOING ab-so-frigging-lutely NOTHING!!!!!

Wake up and smell the subpeonas, people. If this continues, if we allow one branch of the government to circumvent The Law, where will it end?

Will they be wiretapping all people who march against the war in Iraqi?
Will they be wiretapping people who want national health insurance, or are vegetarians, or drive a hybrid? Sounds ridiculous, right? Maybe not.

We careful out there. George is watching and listening.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Easton Hospital School of Nursing

This is about all that's left of the School of Nursing - and some old RNs - I am one.
I think the youngest Easton Hospital School of Nursing grads must be pushing 50. Well, at least they're right there in the median age for nurses.

Endangered Species

Take a good luck at this picture. This is what nurses looked like in 2006. Print it out and save it to show your grandchildren when they ask, "What was a nurse?"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Nursing Shortage

Click on this post's title and read the entire article.

American Nurses Associaton
Facts on the Nursing Shortage

Nursing Shortage Indicators
The nation is facing an impending shortage of nurses that is expected to peak by 2020; here are some of the prime indicators:

According to projections released in February 2004 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs top the list of the 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth in the years 2002-2012. Although RNs have listed among the top 10 growth occupations in the past, this is the first time in recent history that RNs have ranked first. These 10-year projections are widely used in career guidance, in planning education and training programs and in studying long-range employment trends. According to the BLS report, more than 2.9 million RNs will be employed in the year 2012, up 623,000 from the nearly 2.3 million RNs employed in 2002. However, the total job openings, which include both job growth and the net replacement of nurses, will be more than 1.1 million. This growth, coupled with current trends of nurses retiring or leaving the profession and fewer new nurses, could lead to a shortage of more than one million nurses by the end of this decade. (For details, see www.bls.gov/emp/#outlook.) A report released in July 2002 by the federal Bureau of Health Professions details the projected shortages of RNs over the next two decades. The study indicates that if the nursing shortage goes unchecked, the deficit of RNs is expected to will grow to 2.8 million by 2020 from two million in 2000.
(See www.bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/reports/rnproject/default.htm.)

According to a 2001 ANA Staffing Survey, 75 percent of nurses surveyed feel the quality of nursing care at the facility in which they work has declined over the past two years, while 56 percent of nurses surveyed believe that the time they have available for patient care has decreased. In addition, more than 40 percent of nurses surveyed said they would not feel comfortable having a family member or someone close to them cared for in the facility in which they work. And over 54 percent of nurse respondents would not recommend their profession to their children or their friends. (Source: ANA Staffing Survey, Feb. 6, 2001. See http://www.nursingworld.org/staffing/ for details.)

National Nurses Week

This is about how student nurses looked when I was in nursing school in the late 1960s. I graduated from Easton Hospital School of Nursing, Easton, PA in 1968.

A parking deck for the hospital now stands where my nursing residence was. Such is the fate of hospital-based schools of nursing and nursing, itself. The profession decided that in order to be "professional", it should require a college (four year or two year) degree. Diploma schools, once cheap labor for hospitals, became too costly to run as regulations on nursing education tightened and then were considered obsolete.

Women (for it is still a female profession) have found other careers that do not require long, erradict hours, and more on duty job satisfaction.

The median age of Registered Nurses is in the mid forties. I'm older than that.
Soon, the largest percentage of RNs will be between the ages of 50-69.

Am I the only one (still) to be concerned about this - as a healthcare consumer?
As a nurse? Sure, keep my numbers low - law of supply and demand: I will always have a job and the pay will be good.
As a patient...I've already had an elderly RN make a medication error when giving me my pills. I knew better than to take them; I protested; I was right.
I don't want her taking care of me.
At 65 I may not even want ME taking care of me.

Happy Nurses Week, patients.

A Message to The Administration

One must care about a world one will never see.

-Bertrand Russell