Monday, September 9, 2013

A cause for phobia?


A new phobia, related to Swiss Cheese is now on the '"market". It is called : trypophobia (in other words, a fear of objects that are pock-marked or clustered with holes).  A dear friend shared the above photo with me, and I'm thinking I may just have this phobia too. The pic is of a star nosed mole, which neither she or I knew existed, until her cats graciously adorned her step with this "gift"....soup anyone?
Geoff Cole, a vision and attention expert at the University of Essex, recently stumbled upon this fear which can cause nauseousness...ok, not a good ingredient for soup then.
My "beef" about all of this, not the mole but the study, is that perhaps money could be generated towards more serious research...say Alzheimers? We know that depth perception is a significant problem in Alzheimers, and environments such as "speckled" terrazzo concrete type flooring often used in nursing homes can make a person with Alzheimers very sea sick and anxious.  I know one woman who constantly thinks she is "floating" at sea and has an extreme fear of water.
Maybe I'm just a scrooge, maybe Cole's idea to go ahead and research  this more to see if the phobia has an "evolutionary basis" is a good idea?  I wonder if his research could be speeded up if his cat left him a "holey" star nosed mole?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tasering coming to you?

In the Toronto Star this morning I read this account:

Speaking Italian and alone on a Mississauga City Streets on August 28 th at 3 in the morning, while failing to “relinquish” a knife, police tasered a relative of Angela Pasquale….her 80 year old mother with dementia.  Angela’s mother has been waiting for long term care for the past 3 years…now she’s in the hospital as a result of the police confrontation.
Tasers can be used when a person is exhibiting “threatening or assaultive behaviour”. As of August 29th, all front-line officers in Ontario have the right to bear and employ tasers.
The number of people with dementia, Alzheimers and the like is growing rapidly and becoming a real concern.  We are learning more and more about how scary these illnesses are for the person’s suffering from life impacting confusion, and no cure is yet to be found.
At least Angela’s mom wasn’t shot. 
This reminds me of last year’s incident with mental health patient Michael Eligon who was shot to death by Toronto police after leaving a hospital psychiatric ward wearing a hospital gown, socks and a toque...and apparently carrying scissors.  Maybe we’ve learned from the confusion around the 2007 tasered-to-death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski on the floor of Vancouver's airport? He was so upset he picked up a paper stapler to defend himself from police.  And then there’s this summer’s killing of Sammy Yatim outside of a Toronto street car…shot nine times by police….and then tasered.
Compassion?  An attempt at understanding…perhaps speaking calmly and slowly to a person who is disoriented?  Calling in other supports?
Really, an 80 year old woman….out in the dark world, alone, confused and resorting to her mother tongue.   Tell me, was she “defending” herself with her kitchen paring knife to peel apples or something bigger to cut bread?   Who’s next?   

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Exercising laughter

It’s been a busy work day with a group of colleagues from around the province.  Near the end of the work day, which involved a lot of concentration, discussion and sitting, a co-worker quietly said to me that it was time for “brain gym”.  Thanks, Paula, for demonstrating an exercise and giving me a brief synopsis of what it involves, I had never heard of it before: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrainGym

There are 26 exercises/movements which have been developed, and the concept is that doing these increases your ability to learn and retain information.  Actually trying this out in the middle of our group discussion (about a work related topic) really wasn’t possible….. So I’ll have to explore this more and see if it might be a possible solution or an aid to my menopausal memory problems and if it’s good for my mind.
What I can say for certain what is good for my mental health is a good laugh.   At the end of this work day, I was blessed with the opportunity to better get to know a wonderful group of gals.  We shared stories, some of wonderful trips and adventures but mostly about everyday life:  leaky roofs, driving experiences, the challenges of new living arrangements, finding the perfect special occasion dress in a second hand shop window with matching shoes and handbag, playing tag with nieces and nephews, carnation milk with tea and laughing at a cat crossing a city street directly at an intersection. 
It reminded me that, while not all situations in life are funny, it’s my attitude that will make a difference…..I need to continue to exercise my smile, Thanks gals!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bob and James


Driving the highway on the way to work today, I was listening to CBC radio.  This story caught my interest about Bob and James changed each other’s lives.  Both were homeless, down and out and lifted each other up although physically, it is easier for James to get Bob on his shoulders as Bob is a cat.
Now take a look at Bob and James a couple of years earlier to see the dramatic change:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjjCmKpH6Yw&feature=player_embedded
If you need further evidence, here’s a quick link to  an example of some research: http://research.vet.upenn.edu/Portals/36/media/Animal%20Assited%20Interventions%20in%20Mental%20Health.pdf
If you want to find out more…James and Bob have two books.  “A Street Cat Named Bob” and ‘The World According to Bob”.  I  plan to read up! 
Just a hint, when looking for the books….you’ll need to refer to James Bowen as the author J  Happy reading!