Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Life Lessons from Rain Man

1. Just because you don't understand a person's behavior doesn't mean he's not "in there."

Raymond ("Rain Man") had problems with emotions and with having a typical relationship. But, he also showed great concern about his brother Charlie almost drowning as a child.

Raymond uses familiar habits to make himself comfortable. He writes things in his notebook. He's upset when he can't watch his TV shows. Raymond has a very hard time being touched. Do these things make him out of touch? We don't think so.

2. You can only be self-centered for so long before someone gets your attention.


Charlie, the younger brother, begins the film as a self-important, arrogant, money-hungry car dealer. When he realizes he has an older brother, even though they can't have a traditional relationship, Charlie allows Raymond into his heart and finds that he genuinely cares for him.

3. Do the right thing.

Charlie begins by bitterly insisting he ought to have half their father's estate. As he realizes that Raymond cannot possibly provide for himself, Charlie becomes protective and concerned, and realizes it's not as much about the money but about his brother's welfare.

4. Qantas is the world's safest airline.

5. K-mart sucks.

6. You should tell your father you don't like rose bushes if you don't want to inherit them.

Who knows why their father left only rose bushes to the younger son? Was it symbolic-roses and thorns? It seemed like a deliberate slight because Charlie had cut off a relationship with his father--or vice versa? Clearly this was much deeper than rose bushes, but because they did not have a relationship, there was no way Charlie was going to inherit much from his father.

7. Choose Your Battles.

...According to Raymond, the syrup should definitely be on the table first. And so...just put the syrup on the table first. Serve the cheese puffs with toothpicks. Have pizza on Mondays. What's the difference, in the grand scheme of life?

8. Even someone who seems like he barely functions 'normally'  has a heart. And feelings. And compassion.

This applies to both Raymond and Charlie. Charlie is so self-absorbed that he is almost not 'normal.'

9.  Taking a road trip can cause bonding you never really planned on.

Charlie more or less 'kidnaps' his brother to demand his share of the money. As they travel, though, Charlie decides he feels compassion for his brother and wants him to be cared for. His role becomes as a parent to Raymond.

10. There are different ways that people can touch your heart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why You Should Not Worry About Ebola: A Reality Check

The news is bombarding us with stories about the Ebola problem.....but let's take a deep breath and get real: The actual danger is infinitesimal to us.



Ebola has really only been prevalent in African countries, and concentrated in these: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and a few cases in Nigeria--four small countries on the eastern coast of the continent. There is no, or practically no, ebola in the entire rest of the continent.

A teacher in Kentucky resigned due to backlash after returning from visiting Kenya. Clearly, there was no danger of his having contracted Ebola.

And, sadly, the state of health care in these countries is pretty grim. Health care in the US and other developed countries is much, much, better.

Crowded hospital: notice people sleeping on the floor. How clean is it?
Is this your idea of a safe and sanitary medical facility?

Even in Africa, a person is more likely to die from Malaria, syphilis, Tuberculosis, diarrhea, or AIDS.

                 Lack of knowledge of basic hygiene, or an inability to maintain it, leads to much more disease than in a more developed country. Imagine living this way. It's a wonder anyone survives.

Since we know there is some risk, our hospital and airport personnel have received training to prevent the spread of the disease. Are these people flawless in their detection? No, but the chance of them missing it is fairly small.


It is easy to detect and to isolate those who have it.

The food you eat won't be affected; it spreads by sharing bodily fluids

There is a low death rate for Ebola when treated properly.

                 Doctors Without Borders try to help people, even when they need to be treated outdoors.

The disease is not airborne: You can't catch it if an infected person sneezes close to you, for example.

So, what do we do to be protected?
  • Remember that people entering the US from affected countries are all being checked before they are released into the country, and don't be too concerned about it

  • If someone has the symptoms of Ebola, especially if they have recently traveled to the affected countries, that person will be carefully monitored and admitted to a hospital if necessary.

  • Hospitals have specific measures they are or will be taking if they have need to: they know how to protect their workers and other patients. Don't be afraid to go to a hospital because of a fear of Ebola.

  • Simply washing hands will help to prevent the spread of Ebola--and other diseases, too.
I might add: Get a flu shot!! Many more people die or have serious illness with flu than will ever have with Ebola.

Here are some examples of ways you might die that are far more likely than from Ebola: Ebola kills one in about 309 Million people:

  • Spider bite
  • Earthquake
  • Bee sting
  • Boating accident
  • Falling out of bed
For a longer list, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/how-deadly-is-ebola/

It's fine to be aware of it, but don't let worrying about Ebola make you overly anxious.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Detection Dogs: A Nose For Trouble

Aside from being 'seeing eye' dogs for the blind, dogs have been trained to help detect all kinds of things:

Illegal drugs
Electronics (esp when stolen or being smuggled illegally)

As well as organic things:

Invasive mussels attached to boats and motors
Bumblebee nests (really!)
Crime and its causesf

*Did you know---Dogs have a sense of smell that is thousands of  times better than a human's. Dogs have about 220 million scent detectors, a human has only about 5 million. Dogs can detect the smell of the desired object even if it has been disguised using Vick's Vaporub, for one example.

But did you know there are dogs who work with people that have chronic diseases such as Diabetes, Epilepsy, mental disorders such as bipolar syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, PTSD, or anxiety?

The dogs receive training that causes them to alert the person to a dangerous situation. In the case of Diabetes, the dog is trained using sweat or breath vapors taken when the person is running dangerously low in blood glucose. When the person's glucose level is too low, he or she can lapse into coma or occasionally seizures. The dog alerts so the person corrects the low reading by taking in some form of glucose or carbs, such as juice, milk, or whatever works for that person.

Review the Triogenius blog about Diabetes to understand the disease better: November 1, 2012

Imagine the freedom having a helper dog by your side would give you. You could live much more independently and be able to move around and get out of the house whenever you wanted with your dog by your side.

Plus, your dog can carry supplies so you don't have to!

Here's an explanation of what medical helper dogs can do:

They can be trained to sense when someone is about to experience a seizure.

Check out this video that shows how the dogs are trained to sniff out cancer:


Here is an organization that trains Diabetic Alert Dogs in America:

Do you or does someone you know live in England? Here is a wonderful organization in England that trains these dogs and connects them to their owners: