Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Effects of Epilepsy

I have been contacted by and asked if I would share the following information with my readers.  They had seen my post on Epilepy and thought that it would be a great resource for An Arkie's Musings readers.

You can read this article in it's original format here.

The article was written by Ann Pietrangelo and medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA


The Effects of Epilepsy on the Body

Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain that causes recurring seizures. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, almost three million Americans are living with epilepsy. Epilepsy can be triggered by illness or injury, but most of the time, there is no known cause. Because it is a disorder of the central nervous system, effects can be felt throughout the body. Due to the unpredictability of seizures, there can also be a great emotional toll.

Central Nervous System
The brain is the central hub for all voluntary and involuntary movements in your body. Electrical activity running through nerve cells help your brain tell your body what to do. When abnormal signals interrupt the brain’s normal functioning, you can have a seizure. There are several different types of seizures.

Focal/Partial Seizures
Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, are when abnormal electrical functions happen on only one side of the brain. Some people feel an aura, or a feeling of euphoria or doom, right before having a seizure. Other pre-seizure symptoms include changes to sight, hearing, or smell perception.

In a simple focal seizure, symptoms depend on which area of the brain is involved. The seizure may be accompanied by nausea or sweating. A complex focal seizure happens in the temporal lobe, which affects memory and emotion. This type of seizure usually involves loss of consciousness or lack of awareness of what’s happening. Symptoms may include screaming, crying, laughing, or lip smacking. There’s usually a feeling of sleepiness following a complex focal seizure.

Generalized Seizures
When both sides of the brain are involved, it’s called a generalized seizure, which may cause loss of consciousness. Absence seizures, or petit mal seizures, are short, usually lasting half a minute or less. A person having an absence seizure may appear to be staring and will have no awareness of what happened. There may be some facial twitching or rapid blinking. In atonic seizures, or drop attacks, there’s a sudden loss of muscle tone, causing you to fall without warning.

In a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, or grand mal seizure, the body and limbs contract and extend. This is followed by tremor, after which the muscles relax. Other symptoms include fatigue, severe headache, and body aches. Sometimes there are speech and vision disturbances. People who have numerous tonic-clonic seizures are at increased risk of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Myoclonic seizures involve sudden, jerky muscle movements. This type of seizure usually happens multiple times a day over several days.

Status epilepticus describes a seizure that lasts for an extended time – usually from 5 to 30 minutes. It can also mean you’re having multiple seizures without coming to consciousness in between. Status epilepticus increases the risk of permanent damage to the brain.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation Michigan, about 30 percent of people with epilepsy eventually develop clinical depression. Epileptic seizures can also make you more prone to falls and injuries. There’s a common misconception that you can swallow your tongue when you’re having a seizure, but that’s not possible.

Circulatory and Respiratory Systems
Epileptic seizures can interfere with your heart rhythm and breathing. Symptoms include shortness of breath and coughing. In rare cases, choking occurs. Over the long term, epilepsy increases risk of heart disease and stroke. Some cases of SUDEP are thought to be due to heart and breathing problems.

Muscular and Digestive Systems
During a seizure, misfires from the brain can tell your muscles to contract and relax. A seizure may cause muscles to jerk uncontrollably. In some cases, you can lose muscle tone so quickly that you fall down. When muscles surrounding your vocal cords seize up, it pushes out air. It sounds like a cry or a scream.

Epilepsy, and some of the drugs used to treat it, can cause digestive problems like heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. Constipation and diarrhea can also be problematic. In children, epileptic seizures can cause abdominal pain. During a seizure, or immediately following one, you may lose bowel or bladder control.

Reproductive System
Although epilepsy doesn’t affect the reproductive system directly, it can have an impact on pregnancy. Among women with epilepsy, about 25 to 40 percent experience a higher number of seizures during pregnancy, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Most women with epilepsy have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. However, there is a higher risk of hypertension, delivering an underweight baby, and stillbirth. Pregnant women with epilepsy should be closely monitored.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pay It Forward Weekend

I have pledged to participate in the Pay It Forward Weekend. During the weekend of Friday Jan. 16 through Sunday Jan. 18, we are encouraging everyone to "Pay It Forward". We are asking everyone to do at least one random act of kindness (more than one is even better). All you have to do is do something for someone or some organization without expecting anything in return. Pay for a strangers meal, send someone a card, volunteer some time. The ideas are endless. All it takes is a spark to get a fire going. By taking part, you can make a difference and who knows, maybe change someone's life. Get on board, and let's see if we can change someone's world this weekend. Who knows, it might be your life that gets changed. Remember, it doesn't take people doing a lot, just a lot of people doing a little. WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!

If you are on Facebook you can sign up for the event here.

My wife's cousin, Jerry Patton, spent 37 years as the second tenor of The King's Heralds Quartet, the oldest continuous gospel quartet in America.

One of my favorite songs that he sang was titled One Little Candle. The lyrics are great.

It's better to light just one little candle
Than to stumble in the dark
Better far that you light just one little candle
All you need's a tiny spark

If we'd all say a prayer that the world would be free
The wonderful dawn of the new day we'll see
And if everyone lit just one little candle
What a bright world this would be

Will you pledge to participate in the Pay It Forward Weekend with me? We can light a candle and make the world a better place. If you are on Facebook please consider going to the "Pay It Forward" Weekend.  Over 249,000 people already have!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 10 - 2014

2014 is now behind us.  Here is a list of the top ten most viewed posts of 2014 on An Arkies Musings.  It is always interesting to me to see what topics other people are interested in.

The most viewed post of the year is my post, Remembering Nick, from October 3rd 2014.  Nick was one of the boys that I had in my youth class at church a number of years ago.  He had been shot to death in Oklahoma City.  He was just 23 years old.  His death really shook me up and it also struck a chord with my readers.  You can read the post here.

With a little help from the Fab 4, my post, The Beatles - All You Need Is Love, was the second most popular post of the year.  It was posted on the fiftieth anniversary of The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964.  It was the first time that The Beatles appeared live on American television.  73 million people tuned in that evening making it one of the most memorable moments in television history.  You can read the post here.

How Much Are You Worth? - a post from June 6, 2014 - was the third most viewed post of the year.  It is a condensed version of a sermon that I gave at the Mena Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  How much are you and I truly worth? And what value should we place upon each other? You can read the post here.

One day I was sitting in the parking lot,while my wife shopped at Dress Barn.  I took a photo of the Dress Barn store and posted it to Facebook and said, I'm at my favorite place - The Dress Barn Parking Lot.  I received so many likes and comments that I would post anytime I was at Dress Barn.  My friends expected me to comment.  I now go out of my way to find a Dress Barn just to take a photo and make a comment. My February 3, 2014 post about my Dress Barn mania  made it to number 4 for the year.  You can read the post here.

This spring, a local aircraft painting business restored the Spirit of Freedom, a 1945 C-54 that was used in the Berlin airlift. I was invited to see it and tour the museum inside.  I wrote articles about the Spirit of Freedom for both of the local newspapers.  My May 2, 2014 blog post on the Spirit of Freedom was the fifth most popular of the year.  You can read the post here.

I didn't write post number 6.  When I attended the memorial service for Nick Scott in October, the eulogy that was given by Nick's cousin, Eric Scott, made such an impact in me that I asked If he would give me permission to share it on my blog.  You can read the eulogy here

The seventh most read post of this year is an article that was published in the May 15, 2014 issue of The Mena Star titled, Why Relay For Life Is Important To Me - Lawry's Testimony.  I have been involved in my local Relay For Life for a number of years.  You can read the post here.

When I was in grade school I was very excited about the space program.  I still love reading about space and especially like looking at photos taken by the Hubble telescope.  On May 9, 2014 I wrote about those passions using the Moody Blue's song, Higher and Higher.  It became the eighth most read post of the year.  You can read it here.

Number nine for the year is a post from February 7, 2014 on the topic of religious liberty that I simply titled, Liberty.  If you do believe in religious liberty for all, you will not make disparaging or hateful remarks about anyone.  John Wesley said, “Condemn no man for not thinking as you think. You can read the post here.  

The final post in the top ten of 2014 is from August 8, 2014 and is Stranded.  It is the story of a young woman who was stranded in Mena, Arkansas when the bus she was riding on stopped for a bathroom break and left without her.  Her story reminded me of trip in which we were stranded three times.  You can read the post here.  

The post Opus 500 from June 9, 2014 was the 500th post on An Arkie's Musings.  It highlighted posts number 1, 100, 200, 300 and 400 plus what I feel is the most heartfelt post of the first 500.  You can read the post here

I can't wait to see what adventures and experiences 2015 will bring.  I wonder what the top ten posts of 2015 will be.

You can read the Top 10 posts of 2013 here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in the Rear View Mirror - Part 2

Here is a continuation of my look back through the memories of 2014.

We spent my wife's birthday in Branson, Missouri with my sister and her family.  My wife celebrated by riding the zip line.  We spent a lovely day on a party barge on Lake Taneycomo.  We went swimming even though the lake is a cold water lake and the water was very cold.

This year we were excited to find out that we had another grand baby on the way, my son's first.  They received these Beatles onsies at the baby shower held for them while they were visiting here in Mena.

My Mom's 80th birthday was January 10, 2014 and my parents 60th wedding anniversary was December 19, 2014.  We put the two together and had a dual purpose celebration in July.  All of our family was together and we had a lovely time.

We now have an original oil painting hanging on our living room wall. The artist is my wife's cousin, Jerry Patton.  He spent over 30 years traveling the world singing second tenor with The King's Heralds.  When he retired he started painting.  My wife grew up in Colorado and loves aspen trees.  She loves our new painting.

In August we had a lot of fun at community events.  The Polk County Fair is always something that we look forward to attending.

The Wilhelmina Rod Run brings lots of car enthusiasts to Mena.  It is one of the best attended events of the year.

The Relay For Life of Polk County held its third annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner on Friday, August 22 at the Mena Mountain Resort. Local celebrities waited tables for tips and Farrell Cole held a live auction of items that had been donated.  By the time the evening was over, more than 18,000 dollars had been raised for the American Cancer Society.  The committee that put on the event celebrated by jumping in the pool.

On September 24, my newest grand daughter Cecily was born.  My wife and I were there for the blessed event.  She has already found a special place in our hearts.

In early October, I received news that was a shock to me.  One of the boys that I had in my youth class at church a number of years ago had been shot to death in Oklahoma City.  He was just 23 years old. My wife and I along with my parents drove to Oklahoma City to attend Nick Scott's memorial service.  I was asked to read the obituary. I was honored to be able to do so. I first met Nick as an eight year old boy named Nicky. He was a quiet boy who couldn't sit still. Over the next few years I got to know him in my Sabbath School Class and in Pathfinders. By the time he was twelve he was almost as tall as I was. His death was very troubling to me and has changed the way I view people.

We couldn't wait to get back down to Texas to see our new grand daughter.  She was so happy to see Grandma and Papa.

While we were visiting  our grand daughter,  my son and I attended a concert at the Dosey Doe Music Cafe.  Smokey and the Mirror opened for The Steel Wheels.  I have tried to attend as many Smokey and the Mirror concerts as I can, traveling as far as Oklahoma City, Houston and Shreveport to see them.  This was the second time my son and I have seen The Steel Wheels.  The concert was awesome!

Our family has instituted a new holiday, ThanksChristmas. Because every other year we are all together for Thanksgiving and not able to be together for Christmas, a new holiday was born. We were all together to celebrate ThanksChristmas.  The house was full and overflowing with girls and dogs.  Baby Cecily was definitely the center attraction.

In December we traveled to Louisiana to visit my daughter and her family and to attend my grand daughters Christmas Play.  My daughter had her house, called Mulberry Manor, decorated for Christmas.  My parents also came down for the weekend.  They really enjoyed the Sunday morning walk that we took with the girls.

You have a big windshield on the front of your car, and you have a small rear view mirror. The reason the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what has happened in your past is not nearly as important as what's in your future. As enjoyable as it has been to delve through my memories of 2014, I am excitedly looking forward to 2015.

Go to 2014 in the Rear View Mirror - Part 1

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 in the Rear View Mirror - Part 1

You have a big windshield on the front of your car, and you have a small rear view mirror. The reason the windshield is so large and the rear view mirror is so small is because what has happened in your past is not nearly as important as what's in your future.  Although this is true, and I'm looking forward to what 2015 will bring,  it is traditional to look back over the year as we approach the new year.  

In January my wife and I were able to spend a few days on the Oregon Coast.  My wife's siblings all met for a reunion.  We had a great time and the weather was beautiful for January.  Family from Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Arkansas came to the coast and we had a great time together.  

In March we were able to spend some time with our grandkids.  We went to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  When we arrived at Crystal Bridges, Elisabeth said, "Papa that tree is made out of metal."

My grand daughter Rebekah loved the art, while the other two wanted to play outside.  I gave Rebekah my camera so she could take pictures. She said she would only take pictures of her favorite paintings. She took over 100 photos.

In April some friends of ours showed us Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge, an amazing natural area that I had never heard about before even though it is only about 50 miles from us.

The Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1994 and is located about 30 miles north of Texarkana, Arkansas and 10 miles southeast of De Queen, Arkansas. Pond Creek is made up of various oxbow lakes, sloughs, and bottomlands hardwood areas along the Little and Cossatot Rivers.

In April we also went to the Norton Art Gallery Gardens in Shreveport, Louisiana with our grand daughters.  The azaleas were at their peak.

We spent Easter weekend in Eureka Springs with my sister and brother-in-law.  The dogwoods and redbuds we as pretty as I have ever seen them.

This spring, a local aircraft painting business restored the Spirit of Freedom, a 1945 C-54 that was used in the Berlin airlift. I was invited to see it and tour the museum inside.  I wrote articles about the Spirit of Freedom for both of the local newspapers.

In May my grand daughter Rebekah graduated from kindergarten.  The first day of kindergarten the little boy sitting next to her in class complained about having to sit next to a girl. She said Yeah, and I'm here for the whole year.  She looked so cute in her cap and gown.

My wife and I have been involved with Relay For Life for for the last eight years. The 2014 Relay For Life of Polk County celebration was held May 30th. Because of rain we had to move Relay from our local park to the Christian Motorcycle Association Iron Mountain facilities. Our Relay team theme was Minions Working for a Cure. We dressed in Yellow Minion T-shirts and Minion goggles.

In June my wife traveled to Tacoma where she was on a Hero of Hope team at the Tacoma Relay For Life.  Tacoma was the birthplace of Relay For Life and their Relay is the largest.  I had to stay home but I attended in 2D form.

On Father's Day I was able to attend the Smokey & the Mirror Album Fundraiser Concert.  Smokey & the Mirror is the new musical project of Bryan and Bernice Hembree. They are my favorite musicians, and the concert was intimate and amazing.  My favorite song of the evening was a new song, the first song that Bernice has ever written 100% herself. It was also the first time I have heard her play the piano.

In June my grand daughter Rebekah spent a week with us.  While she was with us we made a trip to Conroe, Texas to visit my son and his wife.  We all had a great time.

Go to 2014 in the Rear View Mirror - Part 2