Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ted Turner wisdom

I wouldn't say I'm a fan of Ted Turner, but I dated a guy in college who admired him greatly. That admiration had a lot to do with the fact that they both had ties to Atlanta. I wound up marrying this college sweetheart of mine (He later died.), and I've always noticed anything said or written about Ted Turner since. It's not anything I purposefully look for, but when he appears on TV or on a magazine cover, I can't help but notice. Perhaps it's simply because the guy reminds me of my late husband; they share the same hairline and color , color of eyes, and that dimple on the chin...

This morning, Ted Turner appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press"--I WAS a big fan of Tim Russert's!--and I watched. Discussing with Tom Brokaw a former rift with Rupert Murdock, Turner said about their reconciliation: "It hurts you when you don't like someone; it doesn't really hurt them."

It hurts you when you don't like someone; it doesn't really hurt them.

That's a line worth repeating. It made me stop and think. There are people in my life who I haven't really liked, and I've experienced my fair share of rifts. Turner's insightful words made me immediately think, Who cares? Who really cares? They don't.

So what's the point? He's basically saying, "Let it go."

Let it go.

Three more words worth repeating, again and again.

Can you think of a rift in your life that needs to be discarded? If you're being your Best self, you'll find a way to admit there probably is such a rift, and you'll figure out how you can let it go. Not for them, but for you. It means you recognize where you can make improvements in your life, and that you will take the steps to do that. It may take time--and the letting go part doesn't have to involve that other person directly--but you know you have the power of choice. You'll rely on your Inner strength to remove the shame or doubt that surfaces. You'll trust your Killer instincts to take the necessary action. And you'll use your Expressive voice to say what might need to be said or to simply reach out in whatever way will move you forward.

Here at BIKE WITH JACKIE, it's always about forward movement. That's our goal with this mental bike ride. Whatever's holding you back, whether or not it's a rift, together we look for ways to get beyond the struggles, which can come at us so unexpectedly. We know we're not in this alone. Thankfully, if we're open to improvement, we'll gain the insights or epiphanies needed--even if they come from a TV personality.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Shopping frenzy or farce

It's hard to believe what happened yesterday on "Black Friday." But I'm sure you heard about it: a Wal-Mart temp was trampled at the door while thousands of shoppers rushed inside for the sales!

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase.

If a man hadn't died, the scene might be called comical. But it's been billed by some people who were there an "accident." This was no accident. I'm not sure what you'd call it, but accident is not the word.

Can you imagine being a part of this frenzy, this over-sized crowd of shoppers, trying to get inside a Wal-Mart of all places? For what? Can anything you might ever wish to buy at a discount store--or anywhere else, for that matter--be worth the cost of a man's life?

How could anyone who participated in this chaos justify their behavior? I can't imagine how I'd feel if I'd gotten caught up in that. No apology could right this wrong.

I would say this is why I avoid shopping on Black Friday, as they call the busiest shopping day of the holiday season. But that wouldn't be true. For one thing, I've never heard anything like this happen before. And for another, I've gone shopping many times on the day after Thanksgiving. Just never seriously. I'm not the biggest fan of shopping. I can enjoy it. I can engage in it for many hours at a time. But I've never felt the need to buy a gift for anyone--no, not even my kids--that would require standing in lines overnight or anything that would even come close to putting me in a crowd such as the one that must have been standing outside the door of that Wal-Mart in Long Island yesterday.

Maybe those who were there will now think twice about the importance of owning a material item. It's just not that important. A man's life was taken. That's all that matters in this story. A man was knocked down and trampled on till he could no longer breathe life. And now he's gone. He and his family and friends were robbed of his life. That's all that matters.

An innocent man was killed.

And what about the people who killed him? The gifts they brought home...what meaning do they have left? How do you explain to your young son or your husband or your mother, "Oh, I waited in line all night to get this for you. I even knocked down a man to get this for you. He died so I could get this for you. I hope you appreciate it."

Merry Christmas?

I can't imagine.

When We Have Hope

When We Have Hope

Friday, 28 November 2008

After dinner transition

The turkey's put away. The dishes cleaned. The dining room back in order. Family's gone home or back to the hotel. Now what? That after dinner transition can be an unsettling time for some. Your mind has taken you to this high-energy place and kind of wants to stay there, where it's fun and exciting, but the next day--after that big dinner and all the company that comes with it for the Thanksgiving meal--can feel pretty, well, blah.

For some people, this can move into a slight depression, the post-holiday blues, I've heard it called.

To avoid this, what kinds of things do you do to keep the holiday moving forward and the momentum going through to the end of the year? With our economy in a flux, that may seem difficult to think about. Worries about bank accounts and jobs and relationships may be trying to move in on your inner peace. But you can take charge of how you perceive the holiday season. You can decide it will be stressful, or you can decide it won't. You can let the rush seem maddening, or you can simply slow things down. Even when life seems out of control, as it may today, you still have choices about how you interpret what's happening to you.

After my holiday meal yesterday, I overheard friends talking about getting together the next evening--today--for card games in the evening. They were making plans to extend the fun, so that it all didn't just end so abruptly. I kind of liked that idea. It was simple, inviting, and would involve an all-age crowd--no one had to be left out.

I'll be going to a football game myself.

Another friend and his family will attend Glendale Glitters--one city's special event that involves a tree lighting display.

So it seems, as with most things, planning things to do can be a real life saver. It can help you move your thoughts to more positive places.

To keep the momentum going--especially when, as in my case, I couldn't have all of my family together this year--I've decided to spend the rest of the weekend decorating, even though I won't likely see guests in my house this Christmas, either. It'll help remind me that the season is here, that celebrating is a choice. And maybe I'll create a few spontaneous get-togethers, which is always a fun thing to do.

So what are you doing to keep the momentum going, to keep the spirit of the holidays alive? Are you going to church or other religious service? Are you listening to holiday music? Are you planning to map out the homes with holiday lights and visit them?

Are you PLANNING to enjoy the holidays?

Think about that, and if you if you have a few holiday ideas to share, I hope you'll post them here.



Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Monday, 24 November 2008

An addition to my Blogroll

I've never thought about doing this till today, but it makes sense to me for some reason (I can see clearly now?)...But I thought I'd announce from here on out when I add a new blog to my Blogroll, you know, to introduce you.

Today, I've added the Crystle Ball to the list. Owned by Chrystle Fiedler, author of the soon-to-be-released, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Natural Remedies, this blog will focus on mainstream and alternative health, as well as self-help topics. And since Chrystle writes about the mind-body connection, which we talk about a lot here, I thought she'd be a good fit. Plus, she's a colleague of mine from, which I refer to frequently as well, and you can't go wrong with these folks.

If you want to take a look at the other blogs on the list, they're on the left-hand side of the page, under the title, "Blogs that make you go ummmm."

Powerful Thoughts

Powerful Thoughts

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The bike route to freedom

Remember the Underground Railroad--that secret path that was once used by slaves to escape to freedom? This part of American history has been preserved by way of a bike path--a 2,028-mile bike path that takes the rider along the same route American slaves took before and during the Civil War.

The path follows secret routes and safe houses used by the "freedom seekers" who dared to risk their lives to escape slavery. The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, as it's called today, takes the rider past points of interest and historic sites between Alabama and Ontario, where the free slaves created a settlement in 1857.

If this isn't one of the better reasons to ride a bike--to learn and live this history, and see for yourself what it means to overcome--I don't know what is. Not only can the power behind the pedal lead to good physical and mental health, but it can teach you first-hand what it means to become free of your bondage--however that may be defined.

To me, this path is so symbolic of what our trials and tribulations in life can do to us. Yes, they can chain us down, but faith proves there's always a way out. With faith, you find a way. And this bike path testifies to the power behind that faith. It may take physical power, such as pedaling a bike for as long as it takes to reach your destination, but if you believe in yourself, faith says you'll get there.

I'd love to do this tour some day.

Recently, the groups that created this adventurous ride, Adventure Cycling and the Center for Minority Health, received an award at the National Trails Symposium. To that, I say congratulations!

Friday, 21 November 2008

A recent Associated Press report

This week from the AP wire:

"BIKE ON: More urban pedal-pushers are trading their cars for a more low-tech way to get around because of gas prices as well as health and environmental concerns. Bicycles were a $5.4 billion industry in the U.S. in 2007, including the retail value of bikes, related parts and accessories, according to research funded by the National Sporting Goods Association."

I like this. People are turning to bikes both for HEALTH and ENVIRONMENTAL reasons. It's all good.

How about you? Are you thinking about riding yet?

Take Time

Take Time

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Laser Spine Institute Helping Patients to "Stand Up and Be Free" from Debilitating Back Pain

Tampa, FL (PRWEB) November 12, 2008 -- People suffering from chronic back pain are reaching out to an innovative solution helping them to "Stand Up and Be Free" through minimally invasive endoscopic surgery. With facilities in Tampa and Scottsdale, the Laser Spine Institute is revolutionizing the landscape of spinal surgery using cutting-edge lasers and a 5-day process from surgery to recovery, drastically reducing the time it takes for patients to be pain-free and back to doing the activities they love, whether it's being active with their families or enjoying favorite sports. With just a tiny one-inch incision, expert surgeons can correct a variety of back and neck ailments from degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis to herniated discs and spinal arthritis.

A team of renowned surgeons led by Dr. James St. Louis, a two-time recipient of the Physician of the Year award, have performed more than 8,000 surgeries, perfecting minimally invasive techniques and allowing surgeons to perform multiple procedures in one 60 minute surgery, with less risk and less recovery time than traditional open back surgeries or fusions, and the added comfort of resort-style amenities at a state-of-the-art facility.

Dr. St. Louis explains, "We understand our patients want to dance with their spouses and play 18 holes of golf free from pain. Using laser-assisted techniques, we are able to preserve a full-range of motion for patients, whereas spinal fusion is a restrictive and not always successful fix. Patients desire and deserve an active lifestyle, and our procedures are able to give them back their lives, in as little as five days."

At LSI, patients receive all of their spinal health care needs in one location. From pre-operative imaging and diagnostic testing, to endoscopic laser surgery and post-operative physical therapy, patients receive the highest quality care combined with the most advanced treatments. In today's fast paced world, back pain sufferers don't have time for a six-week recovery from traditional back surgery.

By offering a streamlined 5-day process, LSI allows patients to recover from their minimally invasive endoscopic procedure while enjoying resort amenities at the institute. From massage chairs and catered meals to free internet and a concierge who keeps waiting families in touch with the OR, LSI provides a comforting environment for patients and caregivers.

Former patient and mother, Cheryl Harper found relief and a new outlook after her successful surgery. "The pain took over my life from morning to night. I have two little boys and I was always tired. After surgery, I feel like I've added 10 to 20 years onto my life. Now I'm active, and spending time with my family, especially my two little boys."

Debilitating back pain can affect patient lives socially, emotionally and financially. After receiving life changing surgery, LSI patients are able to return to do doing the things they love whether it's on the golf course, returning to work, or simply bending down to give kids and grandkids a hug.

Potential candidates with back and neck pain can visit or call toll free 1-866-853-6191 for more information on outpatient, minimally invasive spine surgery and upcoming seminars in cities across the United States.

About Laser Spine Institute: Laser Spine Institute offers a successful alternative to traditional open back and neck surgeries. The orthopedic surgeons at LSI can correct painful ailments with endoscopic outpatient procedures. Chronic pain that stems from pinched nerves, herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, spinal arthritis, bone spurs, scar tissue and failed open back or neck surgery can be alleviated with Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive approach.

Researchers Tackle CLL, Diabetes and Trauma-Hemorrhage

Molecular Medicine, a bimonthly, biomedical journal published by The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, strives to understand normal body functioning and disease pathogenesis at the molecular level which may allow researchers and physician-scientists to use that knowledge in the design of specific molecular tools for disease diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and prevention. Featured in the November/December issue: “Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells Recognize Conserved Epitopes Associated with Apoptosis and Oxidation”, “Angiogenesis and Diabetes: Different Responses to Pro-Angiogenic Factors in the Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay”, and “Estradiol’s Salutary Effects on Keratinocytes following Trauma-Hemorrhage Are Mediated by Estrogen Receptor (ER)-± and ER-²”.

(Vocus) November 14, 2008 -- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a disease of the B lymphocytes of the immune system. Under normal conditions, B lymphocytes (or B cells) play an important role in battling infection. CLL is a disease manifested by uncontrolled growth of these B lymphocytes. In this month’s issue of Molecular Medicine, Rosa Catera and her colleagues found that CLL cells react with cells undergoing programmed cell death (apoptosis), and those with the worst outcomes have the most potent reactivity. CLL comes in several forms and has different outcomes for patients. Some can live for years or decades with few symptoms, while others progress quickly into advanced stages of disease and thus have a shorter life expectancy.

Catera and her colleagues have been trying to unravel a curious observation that many of the antibodies in CLL patients share a similar genetic sequence, no matter where in the world they live. The finding suggests that apoptosis generates substances that could stimulate CLL cell growth. In laboratory models, they have shown that this type of reactivity is seen in a small subset of B cells, suggesting that CLL might evolve from this type of normal B lymphocyte. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cells Recognize Conserved Epitopes Associated with Apoptosis and Oxidation. Rosa Catera and colleagues can be reached at rcatera @

In other major news in the journal, scientists at INSERM in France have evidence that hyperglycemia impedes therapeutic angiogenesis, which could be a problem when designing ways to test these new treatment. Angiogenesis and Diabetes: Different Responses to Pro-Angiogenic Factors in the Chorioallantoic Membrane Assay Giovana Di Marco, Etienne Larger and colleagues can be reached at Scientists at the University of Alabama report stunning findings of estrogen receptor involvement in trauma and hemorrhage. Estradiol’s Salutary Effects on Keratinocytes following Trauma-Hemorrhage Are Mediated by Estrogen Receptor (ER)-± and ER-². Fariba Moeinpour, Irshad H Chaudry and colleagues can be reached at Irshad.Chaudry @

To read the journal online and view this month’s popular podcast go to For more information contact Margot Puerta, managing editor of Molecular Medicine at 516-562-1129.

Substance in Red Grapes and Wine Key to Alzheimer’s Disease

Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have figured out why a substance in red grapes and red wine lowers amyloid beta levels that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Washington, DC (Vocus) November 16, 2008 -- Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have figured out why a substance in red grapes and red wine lowers amyloid beta levels that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Medicines targeting amyloid beta that make up the clumps in the hallmark plaques are now in many phases of experimental testing. The hope is that clearing out amyloid beta before it accumulates could stave off the disease and reduce symptoms. Scientists at the Feinstein hope to develop this natural substance, called resveratrol, or synthetic versions, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Valorie Vingtdeux, PhD and their colleagues have discovered that a specific kinase – AMPK – controls Abeta levels. AMPK is an interesting protein because it is a metabolic sensor in the cells and throughout the body. It senses levels of ATP, the body’s fuel source. When ATP levels drop, AMPK is activated to prepare the cells to adjust to the metabolic change in the body – when fuel is low. It’s like a driver moving along at 50 and slowing down when it realizes that there is trouble ahead.

Resveratrol activates AMPK and in turn this protein lowers Abeta levels. Dr. Vingtdeux presented these findings at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington, DC, this week. The work has been done so far in cell culture but Philippe Marambaud, PhD, who oversees the research, said there is every reason to believe that a similar process takes place in nature. “We hope that this result will translate into beneficial effects for Alzheimer’s patients someday,” said Dr. Marambaud. This is an important finding because the scientists identified a new potential molecular target – AMPK – to lower Abeta levels in Alzheimer’s. It also opens the door to considering more potent analogs of resveratrol. Feinstein scientists are now screening libraries of substances to see whether there are any compounds that could mimic the effects found in this substance. As it is, the amounts found in grapes and wine are small and it would not be feasible to ingest enough to have a benefit. The Feinstein chemists have identified several compounds that are now in different stages of testing.

Dt. Marambaud said that there are drugs available that are used for type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity that activate AMPK.

Quick Medical and Clarity Partner to Help Meet the Needs of the Hearing Impaired

Quick Medical Supply and Clarity, the leading provider of communication devices for the hearing impaired announced today an alliance to provide more products, services and education to the hearing impaired population.

Chattanooga, TN (PRWEB) November 17, 2008 -- Clarity®, a division of Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE: PLT) and the nation's leading supplier of amplified telephones and other communications devices for the hearing impaired, announced an alliance with Quick Medical a national supplier of medical supplies who will provide Clarity with distribution channels for the Clarity line of hearing assisted devices.

"We are very excited about the partnership with Quick Medical and all of the opportunities it will bring to Clarity. We are particularly pleased to help Quick Medical reach their vast customer base. Quick Medical has a proven track record of excellent distribution channels and customer service; we are looking forward to the variety of tools and services that will now be available to both companies", said Steve Woods, National Sales Manger for Clarity. "We believe that by working with Quick Medical we can reduce cost and provide more products and services to our customers."

As a national distributor of medical supplies since 1993, Quick Medical has been experiencing strong sales growth; by adding the Clarity line of devices, Quick Medical will provide added value to their services, meet the ongoing customer requests for Clarity devices, increase Clarity distribution channels and help to reduce cost.

"Clarity is the leading provider of sound amplification devices. They provide customized solutions for individuals who otherwise could not communicate easily and effectively with the outside world," said Scott Hanna, President and CEO for Quick Medical." At Quick Medical we carry a complete line of home medical products, so we believe that by adding the Clarity devices we will help to reduce cost and help meet the special needs of the home care patients." Mr. Hanna went on to say, "older Americans value their ability to live independently and as a company, we must find ways to help our parents and grandparents live their latter years at home. We must make aging in place a national priority and a reality for older Americans."

About Quick Medical: Quick Medical is a Medical Supply Store offering a large selection of medical equipment and medical supplies. Established in 1993 we currently offer over fifteen thousand medical products. Quick Medical offers a large selection of home health supplies and fitness products; we are an authorized distributor for Tanita scales, seca, Detecto, and Health O Meter. We also provide the largest selection of medical scales available on the internet. If you're looking for medical equipment, we have a large selection of medical furniture, medical cabinets, medical casework, medical exam tables, medical lighting, x-ray equipment and physical therapy products.

About Clarity: Clarity(R), a Division of Plantronics Inc. (NYSE:PLT), is a leading supplier of amplified telephones, notification systems, assistive listening devices and other communications devices for the hearing loss and deaf markets. A leader in sound amplification, Clarity's patented technologies, Clarity(R) Power(TM) and Digital Clarity Power(TM), provide customized solutions for customers who otherwise could not communicate easily and effectively with the outside world. As more people begin to address their hearing needs, Clarity will continue to provide effective technologies that are simple and easy to use. The company began in 1969 as a telecommunications manufacturer, and was acquired in 1986 by Plantronics, Inc., a leading provider of headsets to business and individual consumers worldwide.

Healthcare Experts Weigh in on Financial Crisis: Hospitals Facing Tight Credit Must Seek Creative Expense Control

While much has been written about how the economic crisis is affecting hospitals, IMA Consulting provides real and achievable solutions for cost management. The experts recommend a new evaluation of discretionary spending and close monitoring of labor productivity.

Chadds Ford, PA (PRWEB) November 17, 2008 -- Hospitals, long used to slim margins and careful expense management, must seek new and creative ways to manage expenses in the wake of the nation's financial crisis, according to healthcare experts at IMA Consulting. In a recent customer briefing, experts from IMA Consulting clarified the financial challenges through the healthcare lens, and recommended that hospitals compensate by reducing discretionary and supply spending and closely monitoring labor productivity.

The Effect of the Crisis on Hospitals: "Hospitals already face limited access to and increased costs of capital, along with decreased returns on investments," said Mary Ann Holt, RN, a senior partner in IMA Consulting's operations improvement practice. "One hospital client has seen his interest rate on short-term demand notes quadruple, moving from below two percent to almost eight percent in fewer than three weeks."

This challenge to financing comes at a time when many hospitals have significant building and renovation projects in process. Modern Healthcare reports that acute care projects, including new hospitals, expansions, and renovations, exceeded $251 billion nationwide last year. The demand for new and updated facilities, with expanded diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, fuels the demand for healthcare financing.

"Health providers are also dealing with the same declines in investment income facing all of us, but given the 'trickle down' payment structure of healthcare, many are also bracing for payment delays from state-funded programs, and from insurers seeking to retain short term cash," said Holt.

"Providers are also concerned about patients delaying treatments due to high co-pays and therefore increasing the severity of their illness and cost of care," said Holt. "A recent hospital survey cited in the New York Times found that patient admissions were down nearly 3% versus 2007."

Suppliers are also passing on cost increases, and hospitals are bracing for reduction in charitable giving. But according to Holt, the biggest impact may stem from debt financing bonds, which require certain performance levels. Decreased revenues and increased costs may call debt covenant ratios into play and trigger potentially draconian measures by bondholders to assure financial viability.

Seek New Sources of Savings, With an Eye on Productivity: While one obvious solution is to reduce the financial burden holding off on major capital projects, IMA Consulting also recommends that hospitals take a new and creative look at expenses and productivity.

"Crisis can mean opportunity, and we are encouraging our clients to find savings through less traditional approaches," said Holt. "Labor costs often take top priority, but our analysis shows that discretionary spending, such as marketing, travel, and professional fees, presents new opportunities to save."

IMA Consulting's analysis of three years of expense data from recent client engagements shows that as salaries, benefits and supplies were decreasing or remaining steady, discretionary spending was creeping upwards. When each expense category is reviewed against the number of patient discharges, IMA's calculation of the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) puts the spotlight again on discretionary spending.

(The numbers below are the percent of spending in year one and year three. The last number is the compound annual growth rate)
Labor 51 % 47 % 3%
Supplies 25 % 25 % 6%
Discretionary24 % 28 % 8%

"Discretionary spending can be a black hole for hospitals, as data is limited on the exact nature of some expenses," said Holt. "Our clients who clarify program-specific costs by category are better equipped to determine the strategic importance of each program and the related costs."

IMA also recommends that hospitals trend spending by account over time, determining which accounts have experienced the greatest increases and targeting the understanding of the decisions that drove those increases. In addition, IMA helps clients find comparative data from hospitals of similar size and complexity. This analysis then triggers discussions about the changes necessary to further reduce costs.

"While supply costs remained steady in our analyses, we still encourage clients to review this category to reduce both costs and environmental impact," said Holt. "We recently helped a client achieve $300,000 in savings by eliminating the one-time use disposable supplies. While savings was the goal, the reduced environmental impact was also appreciated by staff and patients."

In addition to expense management, IMA Consulting recommends increased attention to productivity. By monitoring the variable workload standard of each department on a bi-weekly basis, leadership can get a better grasp on demand.

"Department managers should be accountable for flexing staffing to meet the variable workload demand, and senior leadership should review any vacant position with an eye to eliminating or distributing the workload performed by that role."

To read the full report that appears in the November IMA Insights, go to

About IMA Consulting: Founded in 1996, IMA Consulting exclusively supports hospitals and health provider organizations, providing customer-focused, cost-effective solutions to the toughest problems in healthcare management. Service lines include operations improvement, financial services, revenue management, revenue recovery and related educational services. IMA Consulting currently provides services and solutions to over 600 healthcare organizations across the United States.

Zero MRSA or Patient Infections Reported After Two Years as D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center Sets New Standard for Specialty Hospitals

D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center, proudly announces its surgical center is "infection free" after an initial two years of operation where over 2,000 procedures have been performed, according to Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr., founding director and CEO. This outpatient specialty hospital has taken a variety of proactive measures to reduce the risk of infection along with instituting very stringent protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of the patients.

Marina del Rey, Calif. (Vocus) November 20, 2008 -- D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center proudly announces its surgical center remains "infection free" which includes the highly-virulent bacteria MRSA. This is after two years of operation with over 2,000 procedures performed and extremely proactive measures implemented to combat infection according to Dr. Robert S. Bray Jr., founding director and CEO. In a study released in 2007, the CDC estimated there were 4.5 hospital infections for every 100 patient admissions resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths. With the increased resistance to infection-fighting drugs, especially the potent MRSA bacteria, these figures are alarming.

"Our goal from day was to redefine how patient care was delivered and we are extremely proud of how our hard work has paid off by minimizing the risk of patient infections," Dr. Bray said. "This is a highly-significant accomplishment and we are extremely proud of our achievement. We have proven through a comprehensive and strategic plan that our procedures, protocols and technologies can have a dramatic impact in ensuring patient safety and saving lives."

The outpatient specialty hospital is a fully-integrated medical group featuring next generation diagnostics, conservative care and a state-of-art surgical center. With three digital ORs, D.I.S.C. specializes in minimally invasive outpatient spine procedures including fusion, motion preservation, lumbar reconstruction and microdiscectomy along with orthopedic procedures including joint replacement, cartilage preservation and reconstruction.

With the explicit goal of minimizing the risk of infection in the 7,200-square foot surgery center, Dr. Bray made a strategic decision to install a $750,000 environmental air conditioning system throughout the entire center. Special attention was given to the three ultra clean operating rooms installing individual true 99.71% efficient HEPA filters to further eliminate any comingling of bacteria. With 30 air exchanges/per hour this filter exceeds the industry standard.

As an added level of protection, D.I.S.C. installed UVC Emitters (ultraviolet) in all critical area air moving units to destroy incoming airborne germs, bacteria and microorganisms including the highly-lethal anthrax. This level of protection is unprecedented in a medical facility and is the same type of system used by the CDC in Atlanta.

Moreover, very stringent policies were developed to address the basic functioning and hygiene of the surgery center. These protocols encompass patient contact, hand washing, outside clothing regulations along with minimal use of catheters. D.I.S.C. has also begun pre-screening high-risk patients for MRSA.

"When I founded D.I.S.C., I made a commitment to our patients to provide a higher standard of care," Bray said. "We will continue to be vigilant, pro-active and do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our patients and staff in all situations."

About Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr.: Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr. is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent neurological spine surgeons. The first California neurosurgeon to specialize in minimally invasive procedures, he is at the forefront of the revolutionary innovations taking place in this highly skilled field. With numerous patents and inventions to his credit, he is committed to reducing surgical trauma to the patient, with better mobilization and faster, less painful recovery times. His illustrious career has spanned 27 years, with more than 9,000 micro procedures performed and 27 Fellows trained. A graduate of Baylor School of Medical School, he rose to the rank a major in the US Air Force and was the chief of neurosurgery at the David Grant Medical Center. In 2002, he became the founding director of the Institute for Spinal Disorders at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Under his leadership, it grew into the one of the premier spine centers in the U.S.

About D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center: Dr. Bray founded D.I.S.C. Sports and Spine Center in Marina del Rey, Calif., with the vision of developing a new model for delivering comprehensive health care for sports medicine, orthopedic and spine ailments. Offering both established and innovative solutions, D.I.S.C. is distinguished by a multi-disciplinary approach conveniently housed in one location, offering an unmatched continuity of care. With more than 20 board certified physicians, D.I.S.C. provides next generation diagnostics, preventative, conservative and rehabilitative care, along with one of the country’s most advanced surgical centers specializing in minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques, D.I.S.C. is the Official Medical Center of the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and USA Volleyball, For more information please contact D.I.S.C. at (310) 574-0400 or visit their website at:

Quadriplegic Man Defied the Odds, Continues to Inspire

In honor of National Disability Awareness Month, personal development coach and photographer, Laura Young, launches a line of products inspired by Michael Schwass. Schwass, the first quadriplegic to walk again without the aid of braces, will be the recipient of all proceeds.

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) October 18, 2008 -- Michael Schwass was a star high school athlete with dreams of playing professional hockey when an injury during a championship series left him paralyzed. While his team went on to win the Illinois State Championship, Michael channeled his indomitable spirit into achieving the impossible. Befriended and encouraged by Chicago Blackhawks great, Keith Magnuson, Schwass overcame incredible odds, ultimately becoming the first quadriplegic to walk again without the aid of braces.

Thirty-three years later, Schwass continues to surpass expectations, surviving well past his anticipated lifespan. His autobiography, Don't Blame the Game outlines the principles he employs to maintain his motivation and focus. He has gone on to inspire disabled and able-bodied alike as a motivational speaker, therapist, and life coach.

In honor of National Disability Awareness Month, fellow life coach and photographer, Laura Young, has created a line of products inspired by Schwass.

"Michael is arguably the single most influential person in my life. His grace, dignity and strength of character are astounding. Through the example he has set while enduring great suffering, he has absolutely inspired me to become a better person. I owe him a debt of gratitude. I created my book, All Is Well, to honor him in recognition of the principles he has taught me to live by."

All profits from All Is Well and the All is Well Collection of photography prints and cards which accompany them have been designated by Young to benefit Schwass for his ongoing medical care.

"People don't realize what it takes just to get him out of the house every day," says Young. "Not only is Michael supporting himself and paying outrageous health care costs but he has a staff of seven working behind the scenes doing everything from helping him set up speaking engagements and managing his office to making sure he can get in to bed at night and dressed in the morning."

"He has done such a great service in challenging beliefs about what is possible with a spinal cord injury. It took him six years of fierce dedication to take that first step. I think it is important that we recognize and honor that contribution. I would love to see a show of support for his ongoing challenges especially this month as we try to raise awareness of the needs of disabled everywhere."

Further information on Michael Schwass is available at Learn more about Laura Young's coaching services and gallery offerings by visiting her site, No Safe Distance. (

No time to wait

I ran across this quote today:

“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." —Anne Frank

If you think about it for a second--for a single moment--Anne Frank's words make sense. Despite the fact that she and her family were hiding in a secret annex from the Nazi soldiers during WWII...despite the fact they had left their German homeland to escape the Jewish persecution...despite the fact they were then arrested and taken to the concentration camps, where Anne, her mother and sister were later killed...before her death, Anne Frank still sensed some control over her life. It's why she continued to write in her journal, the diary of her life, as short as it was. It's why her father, who survived the death camps, published her thoughts for the world to read.

The book, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl, was made into a stage play and then a movie.

Her words have, indeed, helped to improve the world. As she sat in the annex, she did not wait at all. She wrote and wrote and wrote. Perhaps she didn't know then the exact impact her words would have after her death, but I think she'd be pleased they continue to inspire.

What are you doing right now to help improve the world? What are you waiting for?

Treasure Every Moment You Have.

Treasure Every Moment You Have.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Ship Of Life

The Ship Of Life

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Definition Of Love

Definition Of Love

Monday, 17 November 2008

News and gloom

An economic downturn, layoffs, business closings...and now the California fires that have left 100's of families without homes.

This is not good news. Even the thought of a new president with charisma, charm and inspirational ideas about giving our country an economic facelift doesn't change that fact.

So what are you doing to overcome the challenges you're personally facing at home and at work?

A bike ride, alone, won't cut it.

I know that. I don't try to pretend here that it will. But it can help make a difference in how you perceive your personal challenges. If your bank account is running low, if your job is on the line, if you're having difficulty finding work, if your business is in need of customers, if you're worried about your financial future, my special brand of BIKE--This one's mental, not metal--is a tool you use to combat the fear, the anxiety, the stress. I use it daily. I also ride daily. And in those really tough times, where emotion takes over, and I forget, it's okay, because I know, just as my physical bike is parked in my garage, my mental bike is parked in my head; it'll be there the minute I choose to "ride."

Because, you see, I, too, still get stressed and worry and sometimes slip into negative-thinking mode. Sometimes, I do not operate at my optimum. And, like you, I am concerned about the economy. I am concerned when I read about yet another publishing company that's laying off employees or dumping a magazine altogether. These are sources of my income. It does send my thoughts to wonder where the next job will come from if the magazine I write for is shutting down. These are pretty normal concerns for me. And whatever your concerns are, I bet they're normal for you.

I can't imagine one person who is not affected by what's going on with Wall Street and beyond on some level. It's not good news out there, and there's not much to convince us it's going to get better any time soon. Even when I try to ignore it, I get a statement in the mail that I don't want to read. I know the numbers it lists are down. I'm not sure if want to really see how low or imagine how low they could still go. I don't know that it would be productive to look right now. But I do, and then I file the statement away. I do not control those numbers, so I just take charge of how I respond to them.

And I know we are never without hope. Things will turn around. That's a given. It's just a matter of time, and we don't have the ability to predict how long this cycle will last.

But you can stop spinning your wheels with my special brand of BIKE. At least, it's a start. It'll help you become more aware of who you are and what you're really made of inside. It's a good idea to know that during tumultuous times. The more you know about yourself, the better chance you have of overcoming the challenges that life drops in your lap when you least expect them. You won't act hastily. You'll take the time to think through the challenge--no matter what it is--consider your options, and respond in the best way that works for you. We just bring more trouble into our lives when we react to chaos, instead of respond to it. And that's how my BIKE can help. But you have to learn how to make it yours.

If you're new to my blog, here are a few past posts that tell you more:

And since I am teaching my BIKE Lessons via the telephone now, post a message if you'd like to know more.

All my best,

Beautiful Life Quotations

Beautiful Life Quotations

Sunday, 16 November 2008

A bike study to watch

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is sponsoring and conducting a new exercise study at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, about cancer survivors that involves the use of a stationary bike.

Previous studies already show that cancer survivors after treatment may experience health risks, including psychological distress, decreased aerobic fitness, increase in body fat content, and other ailments affecting the physical body itself, according to a fact sheet on the study.

This exercise study will compare the benefits of Tai Chi versus stationary bike cycling (aerobic exercise) on cancer survivors who will participate in the 12-week study, aided by fitness experts and instructors.

Tai Chi Chuan (the formal name for this martial art form that derives from ancient Chinese medicine dating back to the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644) combines breathing exercises to create what the study refers to as "moving meditation." If you've heard of it, then you've probably read that it can improve a body's flexibility, muscle strength, balance, systolic blood pressure, cardio-respiratory fitness, and reduce psychological stress and symptoms of arthritis. Likewise, aerobic exercise, such as stationary cycling is known to improve cardiovascular fitness, decrease coronary risk, and lower cholesterol levels. Both exercises may benefit cancer survivors, but studies have never been conducted to compare the two.

It will be interesting to me and my own BIKE work to see the results of this study--not so much for the cancer survivor benefit but to see if the scientists see a mind-body connection in both exercises as I do. Since that's not what they're looking for, it could lead to yet another study.

If you have any thoughts about the mind-body connection or would like to share your own experience with this, please post a comment.

If you'd like to sign up for updates, you can do that at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for joining me today.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Slow day


I just completed the first chapter in my first book--a travel guide called Backroads & Byways of Arizona. It'll be published by Countryman Press in 2009. I'm waiting on edits so I can complete the remaining 11 chapters. It's going to be quite the feat to finish by February 1 (How's that for alliteration?), as it's not just the chapters I have to write, but I also have to compile all of the photos, find a map and highlight the routes, write the acknowledgements, the table of contents (after I organize the chapter), and a bunch of other details that the publishing company has written down in style guides. They e-mailed me three different ones. It'll be a lot of detail work when I get to that point. And I still have two or three more trips to take, and maybe a few short reminder weekend travel days to schedule in. I'm not sure yet.

But now that I met the deadline on this first chapter, I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed. I now have no immediate deadlines, no immediate assignments to work on, and no need to feel rushed. That's a weird feeling for me. Not to feel under the gun about a deadline? It's crazy. Yet nice.

I have a list of things to do, of course. There's always plenty to do, but no rush.

Ummmm. So this is what a slow day feels like? Nothing. Very strange. I'm even going to have time this weekend to go shopping with my daughter for a few presents for my son's new baby--due also in February.

Since she'll arrive about the same time as my book deadline, I'm thinking that's not good timing on her parents' part. At least it doesn't take into account my deadline. I won't be leaving this house in late January, I hope they know, until the book is turned in. So good thing this is my son. My daughter would kill me if I weren't there for the birth. She's already pretty much told me that. But I'm hoping I'll be there for my son, anyway. Still, the timing thing could be tricky. There are no delay allowances for a book project. Not this one, anyway.

And now that my days have slowed down a bit, these are the kinds of things I'm thinking about. I've now got time to think. I've also been doing a bit more marketing than I had been. I've been able to fit in about 10 pitches to several magazines in the past week. That's a good thing, to try to stay ahead.

When you have a slow day, or a down day, or whatever you call it, how do you stay busy?

If you care to weight in, post a comment. I'm curious to know how you are able to manage the down time when no one's on your back. Are you using your BIKE? If so, which parts?

Hardwork Helps

Hardwork Helps

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Monday, 10 November 2008

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The impression a sky makes

Today I woke up to a cool, crisp Sunday morning. Standing in front of a window, concentrating on work I have to do this afternoon, I nearly missed the view. Even though the shade was open at my Arcadia door upstairs in the loft, even though the sky was right there in front of me, I nearly missed it. I had to take a second look.

And there it was.

That open desert sky. The one with the purple, blue and yellow layers of color, cloud puffs off to the side, palm tree outlines in the forefront, mountain ridges in the distance. It's a lovely sight, and I nearly missed it. I had to take a second look. I'm glad I did. I'm glad I noticed. It's etched now in my brain, those colors, that vision. It took my breath away, just for a second. And I was reminded that you can't see beauty if you don't look.

"It's a beautiful day," I'm thinking now, remembering the words Bono sings..."don't let it get away."

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Make 'em earn your trust

Trust. It's an issue on my mind today as I think about a publication that I once wrote for fairly regularly and now have crossed it off my list. The reason being: lack of trust.

This is a highly regarded magazine. It regularly receives top honors. I thought these people who headed up the magazine were my friends. But the new editor is not a contributor's friend.

My words are my commodity. I sell words to make a living. When I enter into an agreement with an editor or a publisher, I sign a contract and expect both parties to abide by this agreement. For this particular publication, I've never had trouble with them before and never expected to have...until the last few years when they've experienced editorial changes in leadership. These new leaders, apparently, don't respect their contributors very much, as they seem to think what they've purchased to print in the magazine is theirs to use as they like. That's just not true. Copyright is a very delicate and important issue. It's importance becomes even more apparent when it's violated, as I'm learning now.

We, this publication and I, had to deal with this several months ago, when I discovered they'd violated my copyright by printing an article of mine (that they'd purchased for one-time online use) in a different publication altogether, that they had sold it to this publication, without my knowledge, without my agreement, without paying me for this additional use. And they weren't making any effort, that I was aware of, to let me know. I found out by accident.

When I found this out, I called them on it, and they subsequently paid me for their gaffe. But I did have to go into a lengthy explanation about the copyright they had originally purchased, and I had to listen as they tried to convince me they had a right to use the article has they had, which I knew, in fact, they did not. I spoke to one of the editors with the contract in my hand, going over it with him. To top it off, I was stunned to discover they didn't quite get it. But after several conversations, they seemed to understand. I was eventually asked what I'd charge for this second use. So I quoted what I thought was a fair price, and after several accounting issues, I was paid. That was that.

But no, that's not exactly the case.

The copyright issue has come up again, only this time, with different articles. I have recently discovered the magazine has gone digital, and my print stories are now online. In this case, the opposite has occured. These articles were sold to be used in print only, not in digital or online format. Ugh!!! I do understand that publications are, more and more, buying all-rights, and this is making it difficult for writers like me to be able to sell reprints, but at least we know what we're getting into when we sign these contracts. There's no secretiveness involved. But this particular publication, again, had not been doing that when I was writing for them regularly. It seems they're going that way now but forgetting that one minor detail--the contract.

At this point, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the editors on this magazine staff right now. They have proved they do not respect their contributors. They have proved they do not care one whit about rights. They have proved they only care to work at saving a publication that has been losing subscribers for several years now--by going digital, I guess they must think they'll attract more readers. But they're going to lose their writers and perhaps their photographers.

So here comes my BIKE to the rescue.

I am using my Best self to move forward on this issue. I'm also using my Inner strength to hold off from reacting, to work on my response, instead. I'm using my Killer instincts in realizing I have rights, and they once again violated them. And, finally, you can bet I'll be using my Expressive voice to let them know they will not get away with this.

I gave them my trust after our first controntation. I assumed they'd earned it at the time. I believed they had simply made a mistake, as they argued. I believed they should have known better, but I chose to believe their "excuse." The second time, not so much. I am inclined to believe they knew exactly what they were doing the first time and were only trying to get away with as much as they could. Same with this second instance. It's disgusting. They've trashed the reputation of a perfectly good magazine for me. I will no longer be able to see it in the same light. I will no longer subscribe. And I will no longer submit ideas to them. Not that it will matter to them one bit, which is too bad, but it should. And I'm sure I'm not the only writer to feel this way. In fact, I know I'm not. Again, our words are our commodity. It's how we earn our keep.

Bah! This is all so unfortunate.

So I ask you: Has there ever been a time when your personal integrity has been violated in this way, when the trust you too easily gave someone was broken? How did you respond?

Friday, 7 November 2008

Ten miles a day

Ten miles a day on my bike. That's my regular routine exercise these days. I go through phases, though, where I might pick riding. Or I might walk. Or I'll hike up a mountain. But I must do something physical.

I've learned to pay attention to what my body wants and needs. It wants and needs exercise. Without it, I lack the energy I need to get through the day.

That once made no sense to me whatsoever. I wondered, how can you gain energy by using it? Why wouldn't you just be more tired? But it's like this: The more you do something, the more you get used to it. And if it's good for you, all the better. I just didn't want to see it that way back then. I was stubborn.

But I exercise now because I know I must. It's no longer me who's stubborn, it's my body. My body requires it, demands it even. If I let my body down and try to skip a day or two or more, my body lets me know about it. THAT'S when I'm tired. THAT'S when I lack focus. THAT'S when I do less than what I can. "Hah!" My body says to me, "You can go without exercise, but if you do, I'll make you pay!"

And so it is. I follow orders.

I nearly proved my body wrong once, though. When I first started riding my bike in 2002, I was beat after a ride--and those were short rides. No more than two miles. They killed! But then they didn't. It didn't take long, maybe a month or two, before my body wore my mental toughness down, allowing me to actually enjoy and look forward to the rides. My body made me change my focus to a more positive one. It tricked me, really.

It tricked me to the point where I can now say that two miles would never do anything for me. That would be like me saying I'm going to enjoy a bag of jelly beans, but I only eat two jelly beans--Just two, out of one of bag, the same color, even. Hel-lo! Where's the enjoyment in that?! Two would not be enough. Not. At. All. And the same color?! Bah!

But ten jelly beans, now you're talking! I could actually enjoy 10. It wouldn't be too much. I could eat 10 different colors. I could make a pattern and eat two of five colors. I could even eat all 10, all at once. With 10, I'd have enough to get creative.

It's like that for me with 10 miles on the bike. With only two, I can only do so much. But with 10 miles, I can change things up. I can create something with that. And it gives me time to think, to relax, to create a pattern, to veg out, to get a good enough work out that I'm sweating. Ten miles isn't too difficult.

But it's still going to be a good enough ride. I've learned what works for me. Ten miles on the road gives me the oomph I need to muscle through a difficult assignment back in the office. It helps me get away from a bothersome contract or digest a challenging issue that I might need to address but would rather not. It gives me the time away, the freedom to let my mind wander and think through what I need to do. In two miles, I would not have time for that. I would be rushed.

These are good reasons to take up riding. These are good reasons to give yourself 10 miles a day. It's good for your mind, body and soul. It's a BIKE path worth taking.

What do you think?

Saturday, 1 November 2008