317) Blog Expansion News & Visit from Liz

January 17, 2009

Morning Blog Report: I have been spending some time recently adding my friends' websites, blogs, and home pages to my sidebar. Actually, over the holidays I was looking for ways to expand this blog and the expansions I was thinking of included finding more sophisticated ways to track who this blog's visitors are and to use this blog to network with the important people in my world in one way or another. I began by adding Feedjit at the bottom of my sidebar to track hits on this blog. Liz and I have had great fun using Feedjit to watch hits on this blog in real time... where folks are coming in from and especially the kinds of searches that bring them here.

Then at some later time I hallucinated that it would also be neat to list my friends who are represented on the web somehow and so I started a sidebar category called Friend's Links and have been adding them as I remember who they are. In a few situations I have asked their permission and everyone so far has agreed since being listed might get them a few new hits and in the cases they're businesses they can use some "free" advertising even tho it is on this little brainy & kidney blog. Speaking of "remembering who they are"... my hippocampus seems to work best without personal prodding and concentration. I sit and try to remember who my friends with websites, blogs, etc. are and the harder I concentrate the blanker my brain gets. Then, when I begin to think about something else, an intervening thought jumps in the back door and pops "Hans!" (the last one that popped in there). So, if you are my friend and I haven't popped your name in to my hippocampus as of yet, you can either email me or hope I don't remember you... whichever you wish. And, of course, if I have listed you and you want off the list, please let me know too.

El Milagro: I'm here about ten minutes late today. Jason the Tech does his usual cautious and procedurally correct job of sticking me and we talk about school starting and the effect on the freeways when the UT students are back. Jason sets me and machine all in synch and gives me the "thumbs up" before moving on to care for someone else. Jason is the Best Tech here!

My neighbor to the left is a woman about my age who is watching her TV without using earphones. At our dialysis center the TVs are hanging from the ceiling and each chair has a remote that is corded to the wall and has a little speaker with a volume control in it. There is also a plug for your earphones. The next chair woman's speaker is turned up so high that the noise breaks thru my earphone's intent to keep out the extemporaneous noise... so I have to turn up my speaker to a level that is LOUD and over my comfort zone in order to drown out her noise. I consider reporting her to the authorities and hallucintate them coming over and slapping her silly... but I look over and she has the speaker right up against her ear with that volume and I realize she must be close to deaf or something and I make do with the situation. It is true, according to the techs, that many of the patients do not like using earphones and prefer to place their remotes up by their ears instead. I actually end up turning mine down a bit and pretend that I can't hear her... and focus on my own sound... and pretty soon the external noise doesn't seem to bother me as much.

I am listening to Tom Pittman hosting Folkways and playing music about inuagurations and prohibition (87 years ago yesterday). He plays Odetta, who was supposed to sing at Obama's thing but died recently. Now he's playing Lenard Cohen's song about democratizing the USA... and Bob Dylan's Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, and then a great old song I'd never heard before about FDR by Willie Eason... a detailed account of FDR's death and the impact on Black America: Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Poor Man's Friend

I am also reading an interesting article in Science News about the recent research on placebos: basically that when folks take a placebo while believing that it will work, many times the brain functions as if the real medicine has been given, since they "...share circuits in the cerebral cortex -- the part of the brain that evaluates a situation and it's consequences ..." Therefore, it "...all boils down to expectation. If you expect pain to diminish (as in the case of a placebo pain relief med), the brain releases natural painkillers. ...Somehow, anticipation trips the same neural wires as actual treatment does."*

This is particularly interesting reading on the day after attending an all day workshop with Frank Kros from the Upside Down Institute** on ADHD and the workings of the adolescent brain. This work, including reading this article and hearing Frank speak a couple times, informs me of the importance of social workers who work with kids and especially adolescents, to know something about the new brain research and the evolution of the teen brain. Frank makes this knowledge easy to come by, understandable, and fun. I sat thru the workshop with my old friend, Little Kim, and side-whispered throughout about how our own kids paralleled the stories he was telling illustrating brain stuff with the antics of his kids. As usual, I attended to the tricks of the presenter as well as the content, since Frank is an excellent presenter and I always try to steal from the best. From him I got several little tidbits that I'll incorporate into my own work as soon as practical.

So, I'm reading about placebos and reviewing Kros data from yesterday and that completely short circuits my brain of brains after awhile so I must put the brain on hold and watch some TV... happily I surf and find the Color of Money, with good old Paul Newman and that takes me away for awhile until I doze off and come back to find Lizzie the Wife smiling down on me! WOW.

Liz comes to visit me and we talk and she tells me about her morning and she is hungry and I check my tummy and it agrees so she takes off to Texas French Bread for a sandwich for me and a salad for her and we eat in harmony during the last hour of my dialysis. I feel very special. The tech whose name I always forget comes to unhook me and Lizzie takes off and I hold my poke holes until I want out of there... and I split like a banana. So it goes on a Saturday at Dialysis.

* Eardmann, J. (2008) Imagination medicine. Science News 174(13), 26-30.
**Kros, F. (2009) Rethinking ADHD: What works, what doesn't, and why. Training Workshop, January 16, 2009 in Austin, Texas, sponsored by TNOYS, (available online at http://www.upsidedownorganization.org/Training/tabid/62/Default.aspx)
And: See new addition on Geri Whitley added to Post # 315.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jack! Well, I've been away for 5 or 6 months now (I think since Rachel moved to Houston). For some reason I have just had much less "computer time." Funny, you'd think I'd have MORE time since becoming an empty nester!! Go figure! Anyway, just wanted to say hi and to let you know I read your last 4 blogs. So, I feel caught up again! I think I'll be checking in a little more regularly now. Take care.
Your, Cheryl

Jack Nowicki said...

Welcome back Ms. Cheryl. I missed your comments here. Me thinks your nest isn't completely empty yet... based on my observation of little Ms. Rachel's mommy hugs at the X-mas eve shindig. The nest becomes emptier, I think, once the little birds build their own nests somewhere in another forest. And, maybe not even then for the little birds that like their parents. JN