Damaged or Delighted?

Why broken bones can be a good thing for a kid.You know the world’s going to hell in a hand-basket when you can’t even sit at the park, trying to drown out the cacophony of your ennui by listening to your iPod in peace while your kid rides her bike.

One minute I’m feeling old while listening to the Arctic Monkeys, practically mouth-vomiting whilst cleaning my purse of the barley chaff that spilled out from the container of 2 dozen meal worms I bought to feed The Little Nutball’s pets (who are writhing in their clear plastic container, next to me on the bench), the next, I’m receiving hand gestures from a grandma in elastic waist khakis, indicating she wants me to help her run alongside our two kids, who are circling a track on their bikes. In the park. With helmets on. On training wheel bedecked bikes. WTF?

I turned away and sure enough my kid fell off hers, but who cares? It’s a park, right? She’s supposed to fall, occasionally. That’s how they pick up their, ah, mad skills, in climbing, running, fence-hopping, and cycling, no?

The delight kids take in their pratfalls came into relief when my partner got home. During yard duty that afternoon (he’s a teacher), he came across some boys he’d taught in grade 3, now in grade 7 or 8. One had a broken nose and looked like Roman Polanski in Chinatown, with a giant nose bandage, and the other looked like the personification of a punchline in a joke, hobbling over with, get this: two broken wrists and a broken pelvis! (Who knew you could walk with a broken pelvis. Well, you can!).

The boys were absolutely thrilled to be able to recount their tale, which involved stringing up a 10-foot-high Zipline in one’s backyard. Apparently a group of them were hanging out together and the Zipline collapsed when the overenthusiastic duo tried to go on at the same time. I think if I were a 12-year-old boy, getting injured in a collapsing Zipline incident of my own making would be a thrill beyond compare. (As opposed to say, getting injured due to faulty playground equipment or a careless driver, obviously.) Now they have a story they’ll love milking through high school and beyond.

Awesome, in a period of vacuum-sealed-for-protection childhoods, don’t you think?

And next time, when they’re zip-lining in their backyards, they’ll know what not to do. If there is a next time. From a litigious perspective, I shudder for the parents on whose property this happened.

You Are Capable of More than you Think

“Whenever I have a project that I need to have done, I give it to someone who is very busy already. I know this person has unique system of getting things accomplished. “   Hasan Al-Banna

One thing about the mind, once is gets used to offering up excuses it becomes difficult to stop. When you get into this pattern it’s like a ship that becomes difficult to turn around once it has set sail on a particular course.  I know people that offer up excuses, even before they listen completely to a proposal. These are the people that you will see trying to wiggle their way out of every Dawah project, team assignment at work or university, or work around the house. You see; once the mind gets addicted to making excuses it becomes harder to break the habit.  At the back of our mind we fear that something may be too hard for us to accomplish or maybe it will require too much time. In reality we are capable of accomplishing much more than we think. People who are addicted to offering excuses are in reality saying to themselves; “I am not mentally capable of accomplishing this, I love staying in my comfort zone so therefore I will shirk as much responsibility as I can. I will not take the lead on anything I am offered. ” The issue of excuse making can be resolved with a shift in attitude. At all times we must have an “ I CAN DO” attitude and trust that Allah will align everything in our favor.  At work today, I was just given a new opportunity. The opportunity would give me more responsibility and more exposure to showcase my talents. I did not receive any more compensation in pay. However there is bonus potential at the end of the year. I could have easily stayed in my comfort zone and shirked any additional responsibility. What the Vice President told me was that she really likes my attitude. According to her, I really have a “take charge, can do” mindset. Masha Allah I agree with her. This attitude has allowed me to accomplish much in a short period of time. This attitude helps me to get much more work done and in a faster time period.  Try carrying your “can do” attitude with you everywhere. Pounce on top of those projects with “attitude” and don’t even think about trying to make excuses.  When you get into the habit of taking on more projects with the right attitude, you are able to program your mind to knock out excuses when they start to rear their ugly heads.  Think about this; when you say the word I CAN, there is different energy or feeling that you feel in your body than when you say I CANT. The word CAN’T actually produces negative emotions and can actually depress your immune system. I remember reading that The Messenger of Allah (SAW) never said NO, in other words he always said YES. If you need to decline a project or doing someone a favor, you need to reword it. Here is an example; “ I cant do it at this time because of such and such, however if you give me a day or so to follow up with you I might have a resolution.” The resolution may be pointing that person in the direction of someone who may be able to help or giving the individual the resources they need to get what they want insha Allah.

Benefits of the “can do” attitude….

  • Less stress when undertaking projects
  • Get projects from zero to done in less time
  • Accolades and compliments from family, friends, and co-workers
  • Increased self-confidence
  • More Assertiveness
  • More enjoyment while doing tasks
  • Sense of accomplishment

Inflammation Causes Damage of the Airways and the Lungs

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is characterized by chronic and progressive airflow limitation. It affects more than 16 million Americans, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

COPD is caused by abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to cigarette smoking, air pollution, working for many years in a dusty environment, and frequent bacterial infections of the upper respiratory system. When the lungs are irritated by noxious particles or gases, they swell and produce a large amount of mucus. If inflammation persists for a long period, the protease enzymes released by inflammatory cells can damage the walls of the airways and cause airway obstruction.

COPD Involves Systemic Inflammation

A large number of studies suggest that COPD involves not only inflammatory response in the airway and the lungs, but also systemic inflammation. It has been established that stable COPD is associated with low-level systemic inflammation as demonstrated by an increase in CRP (inflammatory marker) and cytokines (small proteins that affect communications, growth and death of cells). The levels of inflammatory markers are inversely related to airflow limitation.

During acute exacerbations of COPD (worsening of COPD symptoms), the inflammatory response is further increased. Systemic inflammation induces oxidative stress, damages cellular proteins, membrane and DNA, and results in widespread effects.

Systemic Inflammation Increases Cardiovascular Injury in COPD

It is well established that cigarette smoke increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Smokers with COPD have a higher risk of CVD comparing those with no COPD. This risk increases with increased severity of COPD and is highest among people hospitalized for COPD.

In patients with established cardiovascular disease, COPD is associated with increased cardiovascular events, i.e., heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. Emerging evidence suggests that increased oxidative stress that occurs during exacerbations of COPD, together with the enhanced systemic inflammatory response, have direct harmful effects on cardiac muscles and arteries. It has been well established that increased inflammatory response destabilizes atherosclerotic plaques, promotes clot formation and triggers heart attack.

Systemic Inflammation Leads to Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction in COPD

COPD is a disease that is not confined to the airways and the lungs. It is considered a complex, systemic disease involving several organs and systems. Skeletal muscle dysfunction in COPD is apparent which is characterized by a reduction in muscle strength and loss of muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass is a complex process that involves changes in protein metabolism and muscle cell turnover. Impaired protein metabolism may result in muscle atrophy when protein degradation exceeds protein synthesis.

Abundant evidence indicates that increased inflammatory response contributes to muscle atrophy by increasing protein degradation and cell death, and reducing protein synthesis and cell regeneration. Other factors include poor nutrition, inactivity, heart failure, and reduced antioxidant defenses.

Control of Inflammation Offers a Whole Body Approach To COPD

There is no cure for COPD. Current treatments focus on relieving symptoms: bronchodilators relaxe the bronchial muscles so the airways are widened for easier to breathe; antibiotics reduce bacterial infection, and steroids help relax the airways and make breathe easier. These drugs usually are not prescribed for long-term use because of their side effects. Furthermore, they do not influence inflammatory response and have no positive impact on other organ dysfunctions.