November 2009

December is World AIDS Month

If you’ve seen the South Park episode about Cartman getting AIDS, you might think that cancer is “all the rage” and that AIDS just isn’t a big deal anymore. It’s true that AIDS doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it used to, largely because it’s sometimes treatable these days; but the fact remains that it’s still an enormous threat to our society that needs to be talked about, understood, prevented, and most of all, cured.

33.4 million people are living with HIV today, 2.1 million of which are kids. In 2008 alone, 2.7 million more were infected—and 2 million died from the disease. AIDS is definitely a youth killer; about half of people who contract the disease do so before they turn 25, and die before turning 35. That said, it affects all ages—as well as all races, genders, and people all over the world.

Stay Home Because You're Well Day

Though today is Stay Home Because You’re Well Day, any day would be a good pick to just stay home and relax for your own mental well-being. It can be hard to do this with an economy where jobs are sparse and workers are in abundance, but if you do have a job in which doing so would be safe—by all means, do it.

Here are some ideas for your Home Because You’re Well Day retreat.

Do Something You Never Do

Visit a vineyard. Attend a cooking school at your local grocery store. See a craft demo and think about doing it on your own at home. Go ride some bumper cars, a go-kart, or play at an arcade.

Have a Date with Your Child

Take him or her out for a special treat—maybe a trip to the museum or out for an ice cream cone. Make it a special day just for the two of you.

Do Something You Miss Doing

Meth Awareness Day

Where I come from, there’s a joke about our area being the “meth capital” of the country. Really, it’s not that funny, considering that over 6% of high school students have reported using meth, almost twelve million Americans have used it, and it causes severe health problems and death.

Stimulants like meth cause 15,000 deaths every year in the United States. More than 150,000 people were seeking treatment in emergency departments from meth in 2004, making meth the cause behind 8% of drug-related hospital admissions.

Methamphetamine is also known as chalk, speed, crystal, ice, and glass. It can be in the form of crystals, powder, tablets, and rocks. A highly addictive stimulant, its effects last longer than amphetamine and it produces even more toxic effects on a person’s nervous system.

10 Ways to Help a Grieving Friend

After three weeks, my father’s stay in the hospital has sort of become routine for us. Everything has pretty much been put on hold so we can visit as often as possible—it’s a forty minute drive—and now that he’s doing so much better—being transferred, actually—we’re all breathing a relieved sigh.

Over the past month, time has been spent answering the question, “What can we do for you?” I’ve never really known a good answer; I always just shrug and mutter, “Nothing, we’re okay.” The thing is, I’ve been asking my mother the same thing over and over again as well, and have come to the conclusion that there are plenty of things you can do for a grieving relative or friend.

10. Comfort and Presence

Epilepsy Awareness Month

I remember back when we first brought our baby home and she started moving her head rapidly from side to side. I was terrified that she might have epilepsy and called the children’s hospital hotline immediately. They scheduled some testing for her—which terrified me even further—only to produce negative results. Thankfully, it turned out to be yet another sensory symptom of my daughter’s prematurity.