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Archive for August, 2011


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                                                      Mireille Chester

I remember the emotions I felt looking down at the pregnancy test and seeing those two little pink lines; excitement and dread.  Excitement; I was pregnant.  Dread; would this one carry to term?  After having had the misfortune of two miscarriages, I was terrified to get my hopes up once again.  My husband grinned when I told him the news.  Third time’s the charm, he told me and I prayed he was right.

From the moment he was conceived, Anthony was the boy who wasn’t supposed to.  If the pregnancy was any indication, he was the boy who wasn’t supposed to be born.  The pregnancy was horrible and I spent most of it on bed rest.  Bleeding, cramping, endless trips to the hospital to be monitored; it was eight months filled with pain and anxiety.  I would lay on my back at night, my hands on my belly, feeling his little kicks, praying nothing would go wrong.  At thirty-five and a half weeks, my water broke.  The delivery was quick and everything went well.  The nurse placed the tiny bundle in my arms and I cried.  There were no words to effectively describe the joy I felt at that time.  He was here and he was fine; or so we thought.

It didn’t take long to realize that everything wasn’t fine.  If he wasn’t sleeping, he was screaming.  There were endless nights walking circles in the bedroom, rocking in the chair, or simply lying on the couch with him in our arms.

By the time he was a year old, we had started to ask questions.  Was it normal that he could barely crawl?  Why had he just started to sit up?  Why didn’t he sleep?  Our family doctor would smile nicely and tell us it was because he was a boy.  He would catch up.

When he was eighteen months old, our little world shattered.  Anthony lay in his playpen, screaming his usual scream as he attempted to have a nap, while my husband and I had a cup of coffee with my in-laws.  Our little man’s screaming changed pitch and Kyle went in to check on him.  When he brought him out of the room, he was covered in vomit.  Kyle had cleaned him up and brought him to the table so we could take his temperature when, to our horror, his little green eyes rolled back into his head and his breathing stopped.  Kyle and I jumped into the car and rushed to the hospital which was a three minute drive from where we were.  I remember the look on the nurse’s face as Kyle handed him to her, the way everything seemed to go into slow motion as they ran to one of the rooms with him and closed the door so we couldn’t see what was happening.  One of the worst things I will ever hear is the sound of someone saying into the loudspeaker, ‘doctor to the ER, code blue, code blue’.  We were put in a little room and told to wait.  We prayed and cried and what seemed like an eternity later, we were told that he would live.  This was our introduction to seizures.

When Anthony was twenty three months old, he was diagnosed with epilepsy.  We’d changed family doctors (the original one still insisted there was nothing wrong after countless more seizues) and our new doctor had been quick to refer us to specialists ranging from physiotherapists to neurologists.  An EEG and an MRI later, we were told that there indeed was something wrong; Anthony was missing a small piece of his right frontal lobe.  The diagnosis of cerebral palsy was added to the list which now included asthma.  We were told he would probably never walk properly, would most likely never run, and the chances that he would talk were slim.  I sat in the passenger seat on the hour and a half drive home and cried.  Some of the tears were shed at fear for what the future held in store for him; the majority of them were tears of relief at finally knowing what was going on.

Since then, there have been hours upon hours of therapy; speech, occupational, physio.  There have been countless appointments and tests.

Anthony is now seven years old.  He is slightly paralyzed on his left side and right arm.  The boy who wasn’t supposed to run, does.  He plays lacrosse, bowling, and golf.  He also talks, though his speech is delayed.  He is behind in some cognitive aspects, but has managed to keep up to his class and is starting grade two this fall.  He knows some sign language and can always let you know what he wants even if he doesn’t know the sign for it.  It didn’t take long to realize that if someone had any kind of expectation of what Anthony could or could not do, he would blow everyone away.

Anthony is my little man.  He is a very protective big brother to his two siblings, five year old Emery and two year old Ashtynn.  He is a joker who is always looking for a laugh.  He is the boy who wasn’t supposed to be born, wasn’t supposed to run or talk.  He is my little miracle and I have no doubts that Anthony is the boy who is supposed to do great things.

Mireille Chester’s web site     http://mireillechester.com/

Mireille Chester’s blog          http://mireillechester.blogspot.com/

Mireille Chester’s Face Book Fan Page     http://www.facebook.com/pages/Quelondain-Books/159121744125183

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For the past year and a half, I have written this blog. For the past year and a half my readership has grown. It continues growing every week. I think now is the perfect time to add a twist. I thought I would introduce a guest blog day. It would give all of the readers an opportunity to meet other authors, and mix it up a bit. Keep the blog fresh. My guest bloggers will be published each Monday. That is if I can get enough people to contribute. Right now I have two committed guests.  The first will appear to you on August 29th. Her story is remarkable, and I know you will enjoy reading her words.

All of the guest blogs will be health related, as that is what I do. I felt the need to keep the guests in the same…genre, if you will.

In the past, there was no rhyme or reason for when a blog would get published. That is all changing too. The schedule will be:

Guest Blog Monday’s

My blog Thursday’s

I encourage all of you to tune in and subscribe to the blog. There are some very interesting stories on the horizon.  If you would like to write a guest blog, let me know. I will fill you in on the details. Participate too. Comment on them, and if you like, ask questions as well. I will answer all questions. I will do my best to get the guest blogger to answer  questions you may have for them.

Here is a teaser for you.  The guest blogger for next Monday is Mireille Chester. Find out more about Mireille on her web site. http://mireillechester.com/

For information about me and my book, along with links to everything, go to: http://www.brianhayden.com/

One important note!  The publisher of my book lowered the price. This is not a temporary thing. It is lowered. While the adjusted price may take a week or two to take effect at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, they are in effect direct from the publisher NOW! If you want to by my book, “Death:Living To Talk About It” direct from the publisher, click here.  http://www.publishamerica.net/product38963.html

Thanks for your support. Enjoy the read.

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Casually, as if asking me what I wanted to eat for dinner my wife Denise turns to me and asks, “would you like to go to the emergency room?”  Considering I am unable to breathe and deep into another COPD  exacerbation, I shake my head in affirmation. After all, breathing has become an important part of my life. I don’t know about you, but I have become quite fond of the practice. We get up off of the couch and head, once again to the emergency room. I really enjoy going to the desk to check in. For most people, checking in is followed by hours of waiting to be seen. Not for me though. No sir. When I go to check in, I simply tell the person at the desk that I can not breathe. That I have emphysema and I am in end stage heart failure.   Like a flash, a nurse grabs me and puts a pulse oxymeter on my finger tip. It measures the amount of oxygen getting to my peripheral body parts. The E.R. staff is testing me to see if I am telling the truth.  The meter reads 74%. Yes, I am telling the truth. That number should never drop below 90%.  They whisk me to the back, and go to work.

For more than twenty years, Denise and I have re-played that scenario over and over again.  Played it too many times to count.  Year after year my lungs kept getting worse,  until at last, the dreaded bi-lateral pulmonary nodules began showing up. That was in 2006. They kept coming too. So many in fact that the pulmonologist decided to do biopsies to rule out lung cancer. After two rounds of biopsies, the conclusion was : inconclusive. The course of action would be to have Cat-scans every six months. Just to keep an eye on them.

It wasn’t until August 2009 that I finally gave up smoking. Oh I tried many times over the years. I used a variety of pills, patches, gum, you name it. Then, when I was determined to quit, I went to a smoking cessation class, put on by my cardiologist. I would do whatever they said this time. No short cuts. Once in the class, they gave us an option of using the patches or this drug recently on the market, Chantx. NOTE: This is not an advertisement for Chantix. They did not ask me to say anything. I had used the patches before. I hesitate to say that I had limited success because when it was all said and done, I was still smoking. I decided to give Chantix a go. With the prescription came a website provided by the drug company. I signed up and did their work books. I availed myself of every thing. Guess what happened.  Before I even reached my quit date, I put down the cigarettes. I never touched them again. I am not sure if the Chantix worked, or that I was just so ready and willing to stop, that anything would have worked. I thank God for Chantix though. I have been smoke free for two years this month.

Soon after I stopped, I eagerly waited for the effects of being smoke free to kick in. One month passed. Nothing. One year passed and still I didn’t feel like I was getting the benefit of not smoking. I was still using portable oxygen. I still slept with the oxygen concentrator. I still couldn’t water my garden without getting out of breath, and having to come in and hook up to oxygen. I guess my lungs were too far gone to derive benefit from eliminating cigarettes from my life.

Now after being smoke free for two years, the most amazing thing occurred to me just this morning. As I was getting dressed, I noticed that there were still five big oxygen tanks and five small oxygen tanks remaining. It was August 19th and most of my tanks  sit there unused. Usually, on the last Monday of each month, the oxygen company brings me a re-supply of oxygen. I maintain six small bottles and six slightly larger bottles. For overnight, I have a concentrator that sounds like an air compressor. I hook up to it each night. In a normal month, I will use five or six of both size bottles. Could it be that while my back was turned, my lungs began to heal, if only a little? Finally, do I dare think that my damaged lungs which had turned against me in 2007 are finally returning to my side and are now my ally. Maybe I will, at last get to sample a breath of fresh air. The breath that I have denied myself for 57 years. I hope it is a sweet as I’ve heard.

for more information on my story, go to:  http://www.brianhayden.com/

for my  two-part smoking cessation speech that I give to groups, go to:  http://www.youtube.com/user/Brha99#p/a/u/2/vL1r0iVVxcw

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I don’t know about all of you, but I have noticed over the last ten years or so that nostalgia is a much sought after feeling for many people over 40 years old. The younger ones too, I suppose. I am not exempt from this feeling either. I belong to a face book page  whose name sake is my high school. FYI…I graduated high school in 1972. Formalities of reunions, the task of getting re-aquainted, and some new friendships sparked. It is all very nostalgic. It is, just what we were all looking for.

That is, until the list with all of the dearly departed showed up. Swelling inside of me is a wave of morbid curiosity to find out who is no longer with us. I am sure that my name was penciled in more than once.

These are my friends. Some of them were from my high school. Some, friends I made as I wandered and worked my way over the US and Europe. All of these people are my age, give or take a bit.  I mourned deeply the passing of each of them. I still consider them my friends. Friends that are no longer with us.  Richard P., Jim D., Don J., Charlie B., Steve H.,  Howard S. , Scott B.,  Mark W.,  Bob I.,  Mike P.  The others, including myself are not dead yet. Some are in and out of jail as a result of drugs  and alcohol. For others, our longevity is in serious jeopardy because of a life time of smoking and drinking.  Paul K., Dick M.,  Brian (me), Craig E., Bill P. There are others too. I just cannot remember their names.

Oh yes, the sixties were a blast.  “Sex, drugs, rock and roll”. A result of substance abuse, be it alcohol, drugs or cigarettes, these people succumbed to the 1960’s adage  “Live fast. Die young” .  We are.

In a CBS Health Watch segment on Feb 11, 2009:

“U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high — 77.6 years — and deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke continue to drop, the government reported Thursday.
Still, the march of medical progress has taken a worrisome turn: Half of Americans in the 55-to-64 age group — including the oldest of the baby boomers — have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese. That means they are in worse shape in some respects than Americans born a decade earlier were when they were that age.”

WebMD in an article June 17, 2010 

By
WebMD Health News
 “  Drug abuse among Americans aged 50 and older has risen sharply in recent years, with admissions for treatment nearly doubling between 1992 and 2008, new research indicates.

Although alcohol is still the leading substance abuse cause of hospital admissions for people in this age group, studies show older Americans are also turning to illicit drugs in large numbers.”

For a group, the baby boomers are living longer than ever.The real question not asked is this; how is the quality of life for all these baby boomers that seem to be living longer and longer? I am talking about the quality of life from a health perspective. It seems, although we are living longer, our health may not be sustaining the good grades that our IRA’s enjoy. Oh wait. Those things are faltering too. Dropping as fast as my friends. Holding on precariously to life, as I have for all these years. The fact is, more and more of us are developing chronic illnesses. We are becoming a group whose members are sick, disabled and addicts. It is no wonder politicians are concerned about Medicare. Baby boomers are poised to drain it dry.

Nostalgia. Who has time for Nostalgia. I would be spending all of my time trying to remember what I was easily able to forget. In years to come, when future generations look at the statistics and draw conclusions on the class of ’72 (1972), will they conclude that we were relics of the 60’s (1960’s)? Doomed to certain death and /or chronic illness  – a result of the mentality of our youth? Or, will they simply “drop trou”, raise their hands high in the air and scream “ROCK ON”!

 

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Hello everyone. From time to time, I feel compelled to reflect back on why I am writing this blog in the first place. Why do I spend hours every week, doing my best to keep your interest and to capture the interest of new readers. The answer is simple. I am here because of my book; “Death:Living To Talk About It”. The title of this blog is not coincidentally named  “Death:Living To Talk About it”.

My book was born from this blog. For those who are recently following along,  the blog began on April 4th, 2010. By the end of May 2010 I had written what I felt was a good outline for a book. After laying it out, I began to write. I filled in the blanks, added stories, transitions and edits, edits, edits… When October 2010 had arrived, so too did my book. And after months of searching, I found a publisher that would take my manuscript and turn it into a book.

The months writing this book saved me thousands of dollars in shrink appointments. Through this blog, and into my book are all of my innermost thoughts, memories and fears. Through this process of introspection, I’ve learned a great deal about me, and why I did the things I did.  One thing though. I never thought this book wold have such a profound affect on other people. My book is apparently inspirational to many who are battling chronic illness. It provides hope to those friends and family battling every day to care for us sick folk. And one more phenomena occurred. The book is entertaining to the non-sick, non-caretaker, regular every day person. It is heart warming, funny at times and a pleasure to read.

If you want to read excerpts from the book, click here.  http://www.brianhayden.com/2.html

If you want to buy the book, in paperback, Kindle or Nook, go here.  http://www.brianhayden.com/8.html

Read the 5 star reviews my book is getting.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1456060953/

If you wish to follow me on twitter, go here.  http://twitter.com/#!/brha99

For all the latest updates on what is going on, join my Face Book fan Page here.  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-M-Hayden-Fan-Page/195919590440171

For all other information on me and my book, go to my website.  http://www.brianhayden.com/index.html

If you are recently joining us at this blog, I encourage you to visit some of the first blogs in April and May of 2010. They are much shorter than the blogs I write nowadays, but they will give you an insight into why I am here, and a glimpse of what you may find in my book.  My sincere thanks to all the people who visited this site  3,721 times.

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We live in a wonderous time. Medical science is able to transplant a face!  A face! That is remarkable. The stuff medicine and science now have on the table for our health and well-being cannot be easily counted. Indeed, there is so much stuff out there that medical science and the large companies that produce said stuff may have inadvertently triggered a huge growth market.  In their zeal to become the first this, or the best that, they spawned a growth rate so phenomenal, that any other market would be riding cloud nine.

I am talking about rehab clinics . I am talking about drug addicts. Addicts that started off just filling a prescription. I am not talking about the use of street drugs – used for recreational use. Nor am I talking about stolen prescription medicines sold illegally on the street. I am talking about legally prescribed drugs. There are people out there…thousands of people who are hooked on prescription medicines. People whose lives are crashing down all around them as if they were street drug users.  And clinics are popping up in every major city in America.  Oh, how do I know this? For several years I was addicted to pain killers. Oxycontin, Morphine, Percocets, Vicodin, Demerol… lots of stuff. And it played an important role in nearly killing me in 2007.

I am providing you with some information that our government has on the web. Please review it. We’ll talk on the other side.

Prescription drug abuse means taking a prescription medication that is not prescribed for you, or taking it for reasons or in dosages other than as prescribed. Abuse of prescription drugs can produce serious health effects, including addiction. Commonly abused classes of prescription medications include opioids (for pain), central nervous system depressants (for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (for ADHD and narcolepsy). Opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), meperidine (Demerol®), and diphenoxylate (Lomotil®). Central nervous system depressants include barbiturates such as pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal®), and benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium®) and alprazolam (Xanax®). Stimulants include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®), methylphenidate (Ritalin® and Concerta®), and amphetamines (Adderall®). Info courtesy of:  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

I took the liberty of “bold printing” the drugs I either got from the emergency room, or had prescribed to me. There was one guy – my primary care doctor at the time who was so convinced that I was dying ( five years ago) that he gladly provided me with Oxycontin, Xanax and anything else I wanted. Please notice I did not say needed. The thing was, this doctor had a good reputation. He was a specialist in internal medicine. In all ways that meet the eye, my doctor gave the illusion of doing the right thing. So why the drug? Why was this doctor so irresponsible?

According to Sen. Chuck Schumer: Doctors over-prescribing addicting drugs.  6/26/11

A week after four people were shot dead during a robbery at a Long Island pharmacy, Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing for new legislation to increase penalties for pharmacy theft and mandates better training for doctors before they prescribe Oxycotin, Vicodin and other opiate-based drugs.

The over-prescription and addiction to the drugs leads to their illegal use and sale, Schumer said, adding that it’s “becoming reminiscent of the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s.” According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, pharmacy robberies jumped 81 percent between 2006 and 2010 across the country, he said.

The fate of prescription drug addicts is tenuous.  Many require rehab clinics.  For others, health deteriorates because of the misuse of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, thousands end up incredibly sick or dead.

Everyone has varying propensities becoming addicts. It does not matter what the substance. Some of us are more susceptible than others. Weak will, biological, who knows.  I am NOT making excuses for my behavior. I took drugs. Lots of them, and it nearly made the doctor right. I was lucky though. I had a wife who recognised the abuse and got the drugs back to the doctor. The types of pain I deal with from time to time include chest pain from pleurisy. That flares up now and again. Heart related chest pain as well. I also have that crushed right foot and ankle. That hurts most days. Sometimes it hurts a lot, though I won’t take pain killers for those types of problems any more. I will just suck it up.  (Over the counter pan relievers excluded).

In a society that offers such medical miracles as face transplants, my expectation for properly dispensing prescription medicines is high. Too high perhaps. In a world where dollars are the driving force for prescribing drugs, I suppose we should all lower our expectations. Or should we? Stay tuned. I will take on big pharmaceutical companies and share some of their practices with you. How do I know some of their practices?  Read my book. “Death:Living To Talk About It” .  http://www.brianhayden.com/  I ran hospitals of all sorts for many years. I know what happens behind closed doors. I’ll share that with you.

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I slowly peek around the corner…They are watching me. I think they have been watching for a very long time. I slide around the corner quickly, hoping to lose them. As I look over my shoulder I see I have not. I pause for a deliberate sigh… “SSIIGGHHH”. It appears I have to confront the mysterious followers. It seems as though I have no choice. “STOP”! I exclaim. “Why are you following me? Why are you constantly behind me, poised like a big cat, getting ready to strike. WHO ARE YOU?”  With a deep, soft, dis arming tone, the voice inside the shadows responded.  “You’ve neglected to set a follow-up appointment with the orthopedic doctors. You must follow-up with them Your foot is in peril and requires immediate attention”.

Oh, is that all. I am relieved. I thought the people following me were some sort of international spy ring. I always thought of myslf as this secret agent, skulking about shooting the bad guys.  I am sitting at the train station (Bonhof)  in Frankfurt Germany. I have a newspaper, fully opened and concealing my identity. Suddenly that person behind the shadows again appears to me.  “OK”! I shout. “I will make the appointment to see the orthopedic doctor”. Reality emerges like a slap on the face.

For many of you, I can see that confused look in your eyes. You are wondering what this heart failing, lung eroding dying guy is talking about. Well, here is the story. The mystery of “A” foot. You see, way back in 1974 I had a motorcycle accident. I won’t go into the details, except to say that my right foot and ankle were crushed. My two small toes were torn off and the instep of my foot dredged up and discarded. I spent the next 15 years getting reconstructive surgery. Bone graphs, skin graphs, more bone graphs, staples in, staples out, pins in, ect. You get the picture.  The doctors never really had any success fixing my foot, and in August 1989 I had a doctor who agreed that now was the time to remove it.  Yes. My foot. I will not engage in a debate on “quality of life vs foot” in this blog.  Anyway, on September 27, 1989 I had my heart attack. You must read my book, “Death:Living To Talk About It” to catch up. http://www.brianhayden.com/8.html

After the heart attack, all my energy was spent staying alive. The problems I had with my foot were put on the back burner. There to remain until 2011. Then, when I least expected or needed the problem, my foot trouble came back with a vengeance.  My regular followers know that earlier this year I was in cardiac rehabilitation. I am poorly condition. If I wanted to take a run at a heart transplant, I would  need to bring it up a couple of notches . I soon discovered, exercises that required the use of my right ankle were hard to do. It was painful. At first, the pain lasted during the exercise only. Then, as the days and weeks went by I noticed that the pain hung around for  longer periods after the exercise. Today, I have severe pain in my ankle all the time. 24 hours a day. My ankle is disintegrating before my eyes. On top of which, I must get in shape for the cardiac fight of my life. Seems like I cannot fix one problem, until I resolve the other problem.

So the identity of the shadowy figure is revealed. It is my conscience. My inner dialog screaming at the top of its sick little lungs. Guilting me with all its energy to pick up the phone and get some help. At last the mystery is solved. I saw my primary care doctor yesterday. Now, seeing an orthopedic doctor is at least on the list of things to do. I would say I am a step closer, but walking is painful. Let me just conclude by saying It looks like I will be de-feeted.

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