Showing posts with label Illness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Illness. Show all posts

February 18, 2020

Growing Fears Of Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to infect more and more people, the fear is continuing to grow.

Today, Apple announced that the outbreak will imagine their sales

And I read yesterday that airlines, even Israeli El Al, is warning of the impact

But how you know that the people, as individuals, are getting seriously worried are by the level of precautions they are starting to take.

These include: canceling travel arrangements, wearing (antiviral) face masks and latex gloves, and ever more frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizers. 

The picture here shows a couple of ladies waiting on line for some gelato at the airport, and they have masks over their faces and this is in the Holy Land, and not even where the outbreak is in China!

I hear official figures of 70,000+ infected and 1,800 dead, but on the street people are saying these are grossly understated. 

Let us pray that this virus is brought speedily under control, that a cure is found, and that no more people are sickened or killed by it. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2020

Scary Model of Cancer

Saw this at a doctors office in one of the patient rooms. 

At first I wasn't even sure what it was. 

Looks like a stomach.

What are those globs?

Oy, they represent malignant tumors (from what I understood reading the fine print). 

Really makes it hit home when you see it in front of you on display like that. 

So much suffering from illnesses like cancer.

G-d should have mercy. 

We really need to find "the cure!"  

Imagine what a day that will be.  ;-)
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January 24, 2020

NJ Pollution--How Do You Ignore It?

This is the view along the New Jersey Turnpike. 

The pollution and stink coming out of these smokestacks running up and down the Turnpike is enough to make anyone sick. 

Personally, I had to cover my nose and mouth with my shirt just to try and filter this crap out. 

What do people tell themselves that live near these?
Oh, it's okay because the government regulators wouldn't let them be here otherwise!

For real???

If you can see it's nasty, and you can smell that it's nasty, and there is a lot of it, then you better wake up as to what you are breathing, drinking, and eating. 

How about these polluters put a cork in it once and for all! ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 22, 2020

How Are These Unlivable "Living Conditions" Allowed To Persist?

Continued to be appalled at the unlivable "living conditions" of the homeless in the Capital. 

Makeshift tents line up and down under the train tracks to Union Station. 

Spikes overhead make this an extra frightening looking arrangement. 

People walking by and to/from work--after a while, is there a mixture of acceptance and indifference?

It's freezing outside and this is NO WAY for any human being to have to live. 

Can we put partisan politics aside for any period of time to deal with the very harsh problems facing real people?  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2020

EMP Attack-->Danger, Danger, Danger

Saw the Movie E.M.P. over the weekend.  

Everyone needs to see this!

The explosion of a nuke(s) in the atmosphere over the country causes an electromagnetic pulse that fries all our electronics. 

Nothing would work!!!

Think cyberattack on steroids with everything out of commission and basically little to no chance of recovery. 

Prognosis is for mass riots, starvation, and illness that wipes out most of the population. 

Easy then for the enemy to swoop in and conquer the country with no resistance and the basic infrastructure still intact for them to build on. 

Just having mutually assured destruction is not enough!

We need to genuinely be able to counter these threats and not just say: "You'll die if we die." 

How stupid and immature is that thinking?

There are more than a share of radical nuts out there who don't care if they die as long as they take us down.

These are the threats we need to pay attention to before...before...before...it's too late. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 28, 2018

Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 

It's an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 

And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 

The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.

Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 

We are alive, but life can be hard. 

We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.

The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.

Breath, beat, live...good health is unbelievably precious.

Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 

Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2018

Beautiful Virus, Huh?

So this is an image of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

Yeah, I never heard of it either. 

It is a virus that attacks and destroys tobacco and other plants. 

Viruses are ugly and evil in that they hurt and kill other living things

Yet in looking at this molecular image, I seriously hate to say it, but it is also beautiful in a way. 

The shape, color, complexity--the design and wisdom embedded in it--what can I say, but even this too is a miracle. 

Sure, it would be better in a mortal sense if there were no viruses to make us suffer and literally eat away at us. 

Yet, surely G-d has a plan even for these nasty virus molecules.  

Do they help us gain immunity to even worse diseases?

Do they help us to use ingenuity to discover, fight, and evolve to withstand their attacks and progress our society in larger ways?

Do they help us learn however horribly to turn to G-d, strengthen ourselves, and somehow try to cope with suffering and loss in life and death.

All sickness is unbelievably horrible and the suffering it causes is truly impossible to understand, and G-d should please, please have mercy on us. 

Yet, looking at this molecular image of even this virus, there is something comforting in the supreme intelligent design and creation of it all.  ;-)

(Source Andy's photo of image by Visual Molecular Dynamics)
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May 4, 2018

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 

It's all about:
Leadership With Heart

That means understanding that workers are human beings. 

Yes, they should act as professionals.

But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.

Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 

Life happens.

And it's not always pleasant. 

Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 

Therefore, good leaders, real leaders...lead with heart. 

They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 

Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 

Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 

Who do you want to follow into the future?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2018

They Really Think They Deserve It

Sometimes I come across people with enormous wealth and power. 

Many wield it like they own it and deserve it. 

I wonder sometimes with billions of other people in the world without adequate food, water, plumbing, medicine, or a solid roof over the heads, how the mighty can think they are above it all. 

Do they look around--do they see anyone else but themselves?

They seem drunk with themselves and what they have--and very overconfident.

Worshipping self and all the honor and materialistic success--they forget where it comes from and what they are supposed to be doing with it to help others. 

Yet, G-d and His angels can strike in but a split second. 

Those that are high and mighty can be brought low and those that are in the depths of despair can be uplifted. 

But at the will of G-d Almighty.

At the top, people may erroneously think and come to believe that they are smarter or more deserving--and so what's theirs is theirs for the taking and keeping. 

They think "To hell" with everyone else--they are the little people. 

Perhaps, they even come to enjoy squashing them underfoot.

They really believe and savor the power and even think it's forever. 

Yet the wheel of life turns and often abruptly--illness, accidents, misfortune...it comes seemingly from nowhere when G-d breaths justice. 

How silly of the powerful and wealthy to think they are the untouchable and the forever mighty. 

G-d sees the good and the bad in the people--and ultimately, there is no escape from the King of Kings. 

Wealth and power are earthly and fleeting, but the will of G-d is all that endures. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2018

Fulfilling Dying Children's Wishes



I am just so impressed with this charity...the Make A Wish Foundation

They grant the wishes of children diagnosed with terminal illness--and in the U.S. alone, they grant a wish every 34 minutes!

What nobler and giving act can there be, especially when it comes to an innocent child who never even had the chance to live their lives and try to make their dreams come true. 

Whether it's letting the child meet a famous world wrestler and actor, John Cena (featured in the video above)--who has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the foundation--to taking a child to a special travel destination or helping them be that incredible superhero for a day. 

Seeing the joy on the faces of these children--despite the pain of their illnesses and their dire situations--seems like one of the holiest and most incredible things that we can do. 

I really want to acknowledge the famous people, like Cena and others, who take the time and effort to really give back--and with a loving and caring heart to these kids. 

Again, there are truly good people out there--who don't just live for themselves--but who think about and give generously to others. 

Life is not just about "I" but about all the people we can reach and uplift.

Cena isn't just a champion wrestler, but he has a champion heart. 

And the Make A Wish Foundation is an incredible organization composed of thousands of incredible people doing righteous work that I believe makes G-d smile down at us from the Heavens above. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 27, 2017

Longevity...85 Is The New 65

So I was speaking to one of our very nice elderly neighbors.

Last week he lost his dear wife of 60 years!

I had visited him during Shiva (the Jewish period of mourning) to wish him our best and let him know we are there if there is anything he needs. 

He told me how the night before she passed, they had gone out to eat and to the theatre (she loved the theatre)...and everything was fine!

And then the next day, he went to work--he still teaches medicine at the local hospital 2 days a month.

At midday, he called his wife and asked how she was and if she needed anything from the store (to eat etc.)

She told him she was fine and she didn't need anything. 

But by the time he got home just one hour later...she had fallen, hit her head, and died. 

He tried to do CPR by it was no use, she was gone. 

Both he and his wife were 84-years old. 

He mentioned that would tease her that he was 3 months older than her, and so she had to listen to him!

I felt so bad for him...it was obvious how much he loved her and missed her already. 

When he told me how old she was, I tried to say reassuringly:
"That's a good old age...at least she lived a full life!"

But then he answered:
"84--that's nothing! 85 is the new 65!!!"  
And went on to tell me how many of their friends are already in the 90's. 

It's funny how no matter what age you are...there is always a will to live!

He said how she had passed quickly and so maybe he could consider that a blessing. 

And we talked about how it truly is especially when some other people really suffer prolonged periods with terrible debilitating and painful illnesses. 

It was also strange that around the same time, I ran into yet another elderly neighbor, and he had tears in his eyes...and I asked how he is. 

He told me how he just learned 3 weeks ago that his wife has lung cancer. 

Seeing his expression how bad things were, I inquired what stage it was at. 

He said, "stage 3 cancer," and I told him as well how sorry I was for his pain. 

All this made me realize again, how very tenuous life is...and we all hang by a thread that G-d decides at any moment when to shear and when to cut--we need to live every moment to the fullest and as if it's our last. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 16, 2017

The Horrible C Word

Cancer is such an awful killer disease.

After heart disease, it is the #2 cause of death in the United States taking almost 592,000 lives a year or 22.5% of all deaths!

Usually, we don't even like to say the word and even tempt fate.

Instead we just refer to it as the horrible "C word."  

Today my daughter forwarded to me this poem written by a teenager with terminal cancer, and I thought this was worth sharing with you all...

SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, 
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 
Cause you never had time 
To call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last..

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 8, 2017

@DC Design House For National Children's Hospital




















This wealthy couple built this amazing mansion in Potomac, Maryland.

But sadly before they could enjoy it, the wife developed a terminal illness. 

The husband allowed the house to showcased in a design talent competition with the various rooms decorated by all different interior designers.

...And the house to be shown for charity for National Children's Health System. 

Here are some photos from this wonderful fundraising event. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 26, 2017

Look Down To Feel Up

Listen, everyone has problems.

Whoever I talk to has something bad and fairly serious to complain about, and there seems to be new things coming all the time.

Just today, I heard from one person who went to the dentist with a tooth pain only to discover it had been silently infected for over a year, and was so serious that it literally could've killed him.

Another person told be about having a child with special needs and moving to an area with a school that could more effectively deal and help them. 

And a third person told me how they lost their husband many years ago at the age of just 39-years old and being left a widow. 

But people make the best of it!

They have to.

I remember my father saying when my mother got so sick with Parkinson's Disease:
"We are part of the survivors club."

It wasn't easy to see her endless suffering while he selflessly tried to help her day-in and -out and cope with the physical and emotional pain of it all. 

When I was younger my dad would teach me about not feeling bad whatever the situation, and to always be grateful for what you have, and he told the story:
"There was a poor man who had no shoes, and he felt very bad...that is, until he saw someone else who had no feet."

It doesn't take much for things to get really bad in life...sometimes it can seem like we're literally just holding on by a thin thread. 

But as G-d tests us and teaches us, we need to try to look on the bright side and be grateful that things aren't worse....and yes, they can even get better again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2017

Rhymes With Venus

So these were some funny stories recently...

First, I came across an information system with a comical name. 

Let just say that it rhymes with venus and starts with the letter P. 

Well not exactly that word, but it very, very close. 

When I heard it, I could not help but say, "That's an unfortunate [system] name."

That's the thing about names and acronyms...you really have to think about what they stand for and what they sound like or you can get yourself into some pretty ridiculous situations and problems. 

Second story is when I was talking to this lady and I asked how she was feeling after going through some surgery and then having various complications from it. 

She told me the pain and problems she was having, and the tests and doctors she is continuing to have to see ,and that physical therapy didn't help much. 

I'm nodding and empathizing and then after this went on for a while, all I could say in dismay for all what she had been through was "Ay, yai, yai." 

Then she asked me about how I was doing after my hip surgeries and I told her how grateful I was for the modern medical procedures and G-d's blessing that enabled me to walk again. 

But what was really funny is that she then starts going, "Ay, yai, yai."

And as the conversation wore down, we were both looking at each other and practically saying in harmony, "Ay, yai, yai."

Anyway...sometimes there's nothing left to say but just that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 28, 2017

People Literally Eating Garbage

So I saw another homeless person yesterday eating out of the garbage on the street. 

They had flipped open the top, reached in, pulled out a half-drunk cup of something awful looking, and in one shot, gulped it down. 

I was choking watching this--it was so upsetting that any human being has to live this way. 

Like so many of these poor folks living off the streets, their belly was sick and widely distended. 

And their pants were very worn, with holes, and wrapped ill-fittingly around their waist. 

They dragged a small suitcase behind them. 

When people say that things are bad in their life, perhaps we often don't stop to think about how bad things can really get (bli ayin hara).

G-d should have mercy on his children and bless us not to know any loss, sorrow, pain, suffering, sickness or hunger.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 24, 2017

Locked Inside Your Own Body

So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is...physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 

Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history--from chains, cages, and dungeons--the most vile despots have placed people's bodies in desperate restraints. 

But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 

My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson's Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering...only death itself.

In another instance, a colleague's spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it's course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 

In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul--no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 

Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?

There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes--it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 

Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d's ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2017

That's One Scary Shot

Wow, this is one scary photo. 

Imagine coming downstairs and seeing this kids body laying on the floor like that. 

Looks like he's dead!

Would you freak out totally?

Call 911.

Get the emergency responders on the scene. 

Try to save his life. 

Thoughts race through your mind. 

Is he sick?  Was it an accident?  A crime scene?  Terrorism?  Is there an active shooter? 

Is he going to make it? 

Where is his family?

OMG, what if they lose him?

Well, it turns out this kids was just acting out and scaring his parents--and everyone else passing by.

Life is so full of surprises. 

You never know if it's the real thing or not.

But you have to be prepared for anything, anytime. 

This is a crazy world we live in. 

Thank G-d when it's just a false alarm and everything is okay. 

Unfortunately not every time is it all well that ends well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2017

Smell The Roses

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 

These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, I can't believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 

We're part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 

Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world - illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 

Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 

While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life's many challenges. 

Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment--to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2017

A Little Wear and Tear

Despite a generally longer life expectancy...people still have lots of aches and pains already by midlife. 

Danielle Ofri in the New York Times points out:
"Our bodies evolved to live about 40 years and then be finished off by a mammoth or a microbe. [However,] thanks to a century of staggering medical progress, now now live past 80, but evolution hasn't caught up; the cartilage in our joints still wears down in our 40s and we are more obese and more sedentary that we used to be, which doesn't help."
I hear from so many people in their 40s that they are already getting knee and hip replacements; they have high blood pressure, diabetes, and are having heart attacks, and many even are seeing their first bouts of cancer.

So in many ways, the 40s really sucks!  

Many of us would be dead many times over already, if not for G-d's grace and the miracles of medical science and technology these days. 

So life is prolonged, and we even often get pain relief, while we are able to continue forward with our families, communities, and careers.

As we read in Psalms 39:4
"Show me, LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is."
Perhaps that's what illness is...G-d showing us that we are just mortal and that life is short and we need to make the most of every minute. 

When everything is going just swell, how easy it is to become arrogant and forget how mortal we really are. 

My father used to say:
"G-d doesn't let any tree grow into the heavens."
By our 40s, when most of us are growing our families, careers, wealth, and stature--unfortunately, maybe we sort of need that kick in the pants from Above. 

G-d is our maker and our teacher, and he guides us to the end of our days, and hopefully they are reached with wisdom, meaningful contributions, piety, and love. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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