At The End Of The Day…

Cook, Potatoes, Cooking Pot, WaterIt’s becoming the “hot potato” and I don’t want to end up in hot water for discussing it in one of my posts. But I keep on seeing and hearing and reading about face masks and other PPE, so it is never far from my mind. Even last night on the BBC news there was a report discussing whether the UK government should make face masks mandatory (which has already happened in some other countries.)

09wduAt the end of a long day at work, I pass three supermarkets on my way home. Once or twice a week, I nip in and buy some groceries to walk home with. It’s normally quiet at the end of the day. I had a shock last night when I realized that the staff at Marks and Spencers have better PPE than we do at work! My mum always said that M&S were good employers.

Over the past few weeks, it has been a challenge for authorities and the media to strike the right tone when it comes to communications and directions regarding the …you know. Panic is not good. But recognising that we have a real challenge, and that there are measures we can all take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and everyone else, and to ease the enormous pressure on health services, has been repeated over and over again.

Concerts, Audience, Spectators, LightsRight from the start, this situation reminded me of my training when I worked as a steward at an indoor arena. Twice we had to evacuate thousands of people at full capacity events due to bomb scares. We had to communicate directions clearly without causing panic. People were wonderful. They obeyed the instructions. Everyone was safe.

At the end of the day, I think that the vast majority of people have realized that the …you know… is a serious challenge for us. I think the vast majority of people want to cooperate with directions because they love life and they love their families. Whichever country we live in, we will have seen that directions have changed from week to week, and will likely continue to do so. It is important we understand and trust that those directions are well motivated and that we cooperate with them.

Lapland, Face, It, Hood, Icy, FrozenI posted a little fictional story last night about a character named Mike who donned himself up in home-made PPE to risk venturing out to the supermarket.

Now…I meant to write a non-fiction waffling post about this very recent phenomenon of people donning PPE in order to go and obtain necessary food and medication. I am starting to wonder at what I am seeing.

I work for the NHS. At work, we have to wear PPE. We are in contact with lots of members of the public. As soon as I finish work, I can’t wait to get the face mask and gloves off. They are so yucky to wear all day. It has never crossed my mind to wear PPE outside of work.

Face Mask, Virus, Quarantine, PandemicNow, I don’t want to knock anyone choosing to wear PPE. It’s clear to me that those who are doing so feel safer for wearing it. That is fine. There is nothing wrong with wearing PPE, even if you are going out to the shops, so long as you use it properly. I deeply appreciate that people are doing everything they can think of to protect themselves and their loved ones (which additionally will take the pressure off the NHS).

I think that PPE in some cases (not all cases) has the potential of becoming a false friend. The prime example I have in mind is a patient who I think may be missing the point of all the instructions that have been repeated over and over for the past few weeks.

First of all this particular patient is almost eighty. (Here in the UK, anyone over seventy was advised to self-isolate, stay at home, and ask others to go shopping for them or to collect prescriptions.)

Dependent, Dementia, Woman, Old, AgeThis patient, has decided to leave their home and wander into a busy London high street in order to shop for groceries and has then decided to come to the medical practice where I work in order to ask for their repeat medication, which incidentally is not due for three weeks. That could have been done over the phone, via email, or by post. It could have been done by a representative.

But what made me most anxious is seeing what the patient did. The patient was wearing latex gloves and a face mask. But before my eyes, the patient coughed and spluttered into the gloved hands and then removed the face mask to wipe their mouth with a tissue. The patient then used the same tissue to wipe their eyes.

Now please believe me, I did everything I could to stop this occurring, save leaping over the desk and seizing the tissue. I was dramatically waving my hands and calling “No, don’t….!!!” It was traumatic to see what happened and I have been worried about that particular patient ever since.

Volunteer, Poster, Illustrator, DesignIt saddened me for so many reasons. There are many volunteer groups that have sprung up in this area. It is lovely to see people doing shopping and collecting prescriptions for those who have been told to self-isolate. I am perplexed that a few of our older patients don’t trust anyone to collect their medication on their behalf.

I am seeing too many people out shopping who are in their seventies and eighties. I was grieved the other day when I was queuing to go into the supermarket and a lady who looked well into her eighties was sitting on the bench next to the queue smoking. It’s really hard to see. In fact I am finding myself becoming provoked by anyone I see smoking. I saw a chap near the tube station remove his face mask and then light up a cigarette. He kept his latex gloves on. I was baffled.

Cute, Dive, Fun, Goggles, Joy, MaskAnyway…I feel I should start taking my new little camera out with me (I bought it in the sale to take to Australia, which seems extremely unlikely now) I have seen the most bizarre PPE donned on shoppers during the past week or so.

One lady who was wandering around in short shorts and flip flops was wearing marigolds (washing up gloves) and a diving mask and snorkel.

A lot of people are using scarves as face masks. I must admit, I appreciate that. If people are wearing face-masks to go shopping and medical staff cannot obtain what they need for work…well, that would not be a good thing.

People, Man, Guy, Mask, Gas Mask, BlackI have seen others in what look more like gas masks. I remember painting with some horribly noxious external paint and having to wear these huge respirators to prevent us breathing in the horrible fumes. I have seen people walking around wearing those kind of respirators.

It makes me start to feel a bit self-conscious. So far in the UK, we have not been told to wear masks every time we leave the house. I can see that in some countries people are being told to do so. Of course I wear PPE at work. But before we all became aware of the …you know… I saw a lot more patients than is normal. We had a month of complete madness before any instructions came from the government on self-isolating, social distancing and of course – hand-washing and not touching your face.

Sniff, Flu, Cold, HandkerchiefDuring those few weeks I had patients coughing and spluttering all over me. I am almost convinced I must have been exposed to the …you know… during that time. I am also convinced that many of us with public roles, who may not have had any symptoms ourselves – doctors, nurses, receptionists, cashiers and sales assistants, transport operatives and many others – could easily have been vehicles for spreading the virus during the time before any restrictions came into place.

I am very very glad of the measures the government have put in place to protect all of us. I feel safer going shopping when numbers are restricted in supermarkets (although, to be honest, as I usually go shopping after work, the supermarkets are normally pretty quiet).

Surgical Mask, Coronavirus, VirusHmm…but we do not know what tomorrow, or next week, will bring. Maybe I will have to start wearing PPE outside of work. If the government asked us all to do that, then of course I would. At the end of the day, we have all been asked to make changes to our normal way of life.

I have mixed views on PPE outside of an obvious medical need. If there was an unlimited supply of PPE, it would not matter. But in my mind, it is important to make sure that the supply to the NHS and care workers is not impeded by public demand. I do understand why people might feel safer having PPE on. I would not criticise that. But please use it properly, otherwise it becomes a false friend. But it is very very important to remember the main ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones are:

  • HAND-WASHING
  • NOT TOUCHING YOUR FACE
  • SELF-ISOLATING IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS
  • SELF-ISOLATING IF YOU ARE OVER SEVENTY, PREGNANT OR HAVE UNDERLYING MEDICAL ISSUES/CONDITIONS THAT MAKE YOU VULNERABLE
  • SOCIAL-DISTANCING FOR EVERYONE ELSE – HERE IN THE UK, THAT MEANS ONLY LEAVING HOME TO COLLECT GROCERIES, MEDICATION OR ONCE A DAY FOR SOME FORM OF EXERCISE. It would take me a long time to compile a list of all the things we should not be doing, but I think there are only a small minority who are doing those things.

*Note – I think it is understood that self-isolating means ether using delivery services or asking others to fetch your groceries or prescription medication. So please, please do ask. There are lots and lots of people (even strangers) who care about you and do not want you to take risks – please trust them.

I need to add – smoking needs to stop – now – please.

Thank You, Thanks, Greeting, Card

I know that all of my other NHS colleagues are grateful to the vast majority of people who are showing they love life and are cooperating with the measures the government has put in place for the protection of all of us.

 

Obey The Direction, It’s For Your Protection

I am half work work work, and half trying to keep myself sane at the moment. I try to switch off at night otherwise I can’t stop thinking about our patients and the vulnerable members of my family.

It’s great to come home from a long day at work and look at all the posts that have been published during the day. You are all like bright sparks cheering me up at the end of a stressful day.

I can tell that many peeps are perplexed. I understand why. For us at work adrenaline has kicked in and we are on full alert. There is a lot of stress around us. I am finding more than ever singing is helping me. I sing on my way to work. It lifts my heart. I would sing home but normally a friend or a relative is calling me as soon as I leave work so I tend to be chattering away on the walk home from work.

sadwasSinging does wonders for me. What do you do when stress is on the rise to lift your spirits instantly? I have been searching out things to cheer me up and fortify my thinking. I have ended up not only with things to make me laugh or smile, but wonderful wonderful heart warming things to infuse me with power.

I have been telling every one of our patients, stay calm, don’t panic, but listen and obey the direction, it is for your protection! I found a children’s song on line that I found very moving. I think it sums up what the NHS and government agencies are trying to say:

PLEASE LISTEN, PLEASE OBEY. THE DIRECTION IS FOR YOUR PROTECTION!

Hand washing and self-isolation for anyone with coronavirus symptoms, over seventies and other at risk groups. We are working very hard to make sure you have what you need! Please please helps us by taking the directions seriously. We want to limit the extent of loss of life and suffering. We are all in this in together! Please speak positively about handwashing and self-isolation. Don’t let people think this is an optional thing. Make sure they understand it will save lives!

 

If They Did It We Can

Virus, Corona, World, Coronavirus, AlertI keep hearing all sorts of weird and wonderful comments from people who are worried about …you know… and the possible scenarios that we may soon be faced with here in Britain. Some are cool headed, others are far from calm, whereas there are others who just seem plain childish.

Well…to zone out of what I hear around me, I decided to read a report about the steps both authorities and individuals took during a devastating outbreak of ebola in West Africa in recent years.

One key strategy was information about how this infectious disease was transmitted. Accurate information was vital in dispelling fears and helping people understand why certain changes were being asked of them.

peraasI was really moved by what I read. People did make the changes asked of them. Many self-isolated for 21 days if they had been in contact with a sufferer of ebola or attended the funeral of someone with ebola. Public greetings changed to avoid hand shaking and hugging. Infrared thermometers were used to check the temperatures of people. People were trained in how to wash their hands thoroughly with a bleach solution. If those millions in West Africa obeyed and cooperated, so can we.

Over 3,500 years ago an incredible set of laws was passed on to a people who were essentially camping in tents. They would have been very vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases. A significant part of that law code was about how to keep clean and how to deal with infectious diseases. It had detailed requirements on cleanliness and quarantining. It was an enormous protection to the people who obeyed it.

teas

Thousands of years later and the wisdom in that ancient law is still the biggest aid to dealing with the spread of the infectious virus we face today. The advice on cleanliness and quarantining is essential. It is vital to cooperate with these instructions when we are asked to do so. It is not just about protecting yourself, it is about protecting others who may be more vulnerable than you are. Just think – every time you wash your hands, you could be saving a life!

Do not take risks that could cost the lives of others!

Hands, Soap, Bubbles, Hygiene, WashThere are some strange attitudes I have heard. Someone said to me that karma will decide what happens. Someone else said that you cannot change destiny. I have heard others say that life on earth is just a test and we are prisoners here. I love the scriptures, but I can’t bear those who misuse the scriptures to claim this is divine punishment.

These attitudes do not help. Life is a precious gift. This planet is a beautiful home. Our habits and attitudes can improve or harm both our lives and those of others. Do not take obedience lightly. Listen and obey – it is important to do so. We are going to protect our volunteers, especially those of our volunteers who are most at risk. Why? Because we love them!

I cannot emphasise enough! The wisdom in that law is still the best protection we have against disease today:

  • Cleanliness

  • Quarantining

 Listen and obey. Please do so, for it will help save lives!!!

Your obedience is a reflection of your love and your appreciation for the value of life.

We love you all!

They Are Immensely Precious To Us

Virus, Viruses, CoronavirusAt times like this (you know the C-word is on everyone’s mind), I believe it is important for people to listen to the advice from authorities and be obedient to advice and instructions.

In different lands, different advice and instructions are being issued. But wherever we live, we ought to cooperate with what authorities ask of us.

It may well be inconvenient. It may feel Draconian. However, there is an important reason behind the advice being issued: LIFE IS INCREDIBLY PRECIOUS.

I work with charities that regularly schedule projects and events which involve a lot of people of different ages. We have been told that all large projects and events are to be postponed. Why? Because the lives of our volunteers and those that benefit from our work are priceless.

Notebook, Mac, Imac, Macbook, DeskOver the past few years, we have made a number of changes that now seem very fortuitous. That means that we can continue with all of our training programmes. But now volunteers will not gather in an arena, they will watch the program either live or when it is convenient to them from the comfort of their homes as the training is broadcast to them. In addition to the training, there will be some very encouraging reports and a little entertainment included in the programmes to keep the spirits of our volunteers up while they are unable to work together face to face.

All of our older volunteers are very dear to us. But we will be making sure that they are not exposed to any risks. If any need support over the coming weeks or months, younger volunteers are to prioritise on caring for their needs – whether that be shopping or encouragement via a telephone call or online chat. We don’t want anyone to suffer due to loneliness or to feel forgotten.

Woman, Old, Senior, Female, ElderlyBut we will make sure that we do everything we can to care for those who have given of themselves, their time and resources for years, even decades. They have shown enormous love to us, and we are going to make sure we show them how we feel about them. We don’t want to lose a single soul.

Our charities are going to carry on as best they can, but they are going to follow the advice and authorities in every land they operate. They are going to operate within the same principles that govern everything we do – love. We love people. We are going to protect all those precious ones who are most at risk during this time.

Not For Love Nor Money

Now I understand the level of concern after the media reports on the alarming rate of infection of the coronavirus. I have seen the news reports and of course I’ve been emailing all of my friends who live over in China to check how they are.

mask

But we are struggling at work here in London. We have long queues at the surgery, and half of those waiting to see us just want to know where they can obtain surgical masks. The demand here in England is not usually very high. You don’t often see people wearing them. Suddenly, lots of people want them. They are anxious.

Woman, Blow, Blowing, Nose, Hand ChiefWe have tried to obtain surgical masks for the practice and we cannot. Not for love nor money can we get hold of any! We have been told that many of the large pharmacy chains cannot order them. Some of the independent pharmacies seem to have had the foresight to stock them, however the demand has been greater than anticipated, so they have depleted their stocks.

We were told to direct patients to Amazon. But we looked on Amazon and the Fortuna surgical masks that have been recommended were showing as only available at the end of February.

In the meantime our patients are anxious. Most of them are either planning to travel to South East Asia or wish to send masks over to family who live in lands with restrictions and cannot buy face masks in their area. We are discussing hand washing good hygiene with patients who are anxious, but we don’t know what to say with regards to facemasks.

 

We Are The Champions!

Is anyone thinking of making healthier changes to their lifestyle? If you live in the UK, did you know you can receive free support and recommendations from a source you may not have thought of?

Have you ever been sent on a course by your boss?  Did you share my sentiments which were along the lines of….”Oh well, they will provide a free lunch!”  “At least I am still going to get paid for sitting down and listening, rather than having to run around and deal with a mix of customers…when I say a mix, I mean a mix…in any medical related role you mix with the nice, the not so nice, the friendly, the scary, the happy, the crazy, the smelly, the funny, the ones that touch your heart and bring a tear to your eye and the ones that frankly…there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with them, but they just love coming to have a chatter.

I was sent on a course a while ago.  It was a one day course.  My manager didn’t tell me much about it before.  She just asked me to take notes because she wanted me to conduct a training session with the whole team afterwards. I passed the exam at the end of the training course and received my certificate…and as everyone else who has completed the training course successfully I am now a “Healthy Living Champion”.

I was impressed at the course content and surprised that there were parts of the day that brought tears to me eyes and sent me away full of conviction and motivation that I wanted to apply what I had learnt once I was back at work.  It taught me a very special lesson:

You can make a difference. 

If you can make a difference to just one person, it is worth the effort.

So motivated was I,  that the training session I delivered to the rest of the team, was in a way that moved them to tears.  I don’t think they have ever quite seen me in the same light since that day.

I would like to invite you into our training meeting and let me know if you think we can make a difference.  Here goes:

____________________

What kind of weather do you like?  (I asked the team to call out what they like.) Do you like the glorious sunshine we are enjoying at the moment?  Or do you love it when it snows and we all get to go out and have snowball fights and build snowmen?  Or maybe you are secretly a puddle plodder…who likes nothing better than jumping in puddles when nobody is looking like Gene Kelly from “Singin’ In The Rain”?

I am no expert in the weather…but apparently a major factor in the type of weather we will experience is PRESSURE.

Well…right now there is a storm that is circling our globe.  It is a storm that is bringing with it devastating diseases and premature deaths.  It is wreaking havoc on the lives of individuals and families.  Unhealthy, harmful habits and unsafe practices are causing damage on an unprecedented scale.  And one of the major factors that is driving this storm is PEER PRESSURE.

It could be within families, communities, associates at work or within a person’s social circle that they are learning either healthy habits…or harmful ones which will lead to devastating consequences.

What can be done to combat the harm that is being done?

One strategy that the NHS is trying to promote to fight the effects of this storm is a huge team of Healthy Living Pharmacies.  They also hope as many of us as possible will train to become Healthy Living Champions.

What is a Healthy Living Pharmacy?  In essence, it is a Super-Pharmacy.

In a Healthy Living Pharmacy, every member of the team focuses on opportunities to promote healthy living choices with as many customers as possible.

Who are our customers?

I would like you to take a little look at these pictures (I know it looks a bit scrappy…I cut some pictures out of information leaflets I had a stash of and made it about half an hour before I was asked to start the training session).

Life is precious

Each member of the pharmacy team should be thinking about our customers.

We are encouraged to MECC: Make Every Contact Count.

To do what exactly?  We want to:

  • empower people to make informed choices about their lifestyle
  • signpost them to help and support to maintain healthy habits

What exactly are we supposed to talk about?  Well, any of these subjects.  Have a look at the main areas in which the NHS would like us to be prepared to encourage people to make wise decisions that will contribute to their own health and happiness both now and in the future.

Main Health Topics

The two subjects on a gold background were highlighted as the two biggest areas of concern in the UK now.

  • Smoking  is the biggest cause of preventable illness and disease
  • Dementia is now the biggest killer in the UK

Smoke rising from a cigarette in an ashtrayWe have a wealth of resources now so that we can help people who are trying to give up smoking and those who are effected by dementia.  This includes local services and support groups.

We have a signposting folder full of information and contact details to be able to help our customers in any area.

We also have the NHS Choices website through which we can access information on many local health services.  The information on the NHS Choices website is authoritative and reliable.  Every member of the pharmacy team should be familiar with navigating it and should use it liberally to help our customers.

In addition our local health authorities determine which are special areas of need in our local area.  They provide regular updates on what they would like us to focus on.

(At this point I had arranged for a student who we had with us for a few weeks to come wandering into the training session….he pretended to be a customer who was concerned about some of his symptoms.  I demonstrated how we could help him by using both information from our sign-posting folder and the NHS Choices website. He could have won an Oscar for his performance!)

Now you might be thinking…

“People are going to make their own decisions and we are not going to make any difference to them, what is the point in going to all this effort?  It is not going to make any difference whatever we say.”

Can you or I really make a difference?

Well…I would like you to imagine the following scene.  (You may have heard a version of this before.)  After a violent storm, tens of thousands of star-fish were washed up on to a beach, beyond the reach of the normal tide level.  Once the sun began to rise, the star-fish were at serious risk of dying.  A local man observing the devastation noticed a little girl bending over and picking up starfish one at a time and throwing them into the sea. He approached the girl and said “I know you mean well, but you do realize you are not really going to make any difference.  There are tens of thousands of star-fish stranded.” The girl little girl looked at him.  She thought about his words for a moment.  She then bent down and picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.  She said to the man, “I just made a difference to that one.”

Starfish

Remember I asked you to think about our customers.

Life is precious

How much would you say their life is worth?  What price would you put on life?  If I asked someone how much they would pay to be with their loved ones they have lost again?  What would they say?

If you or I could a make a difference to just one person, or even one family, so they had a few more years of life together because of changing their lifestyle…would that be worthwhile?

_____________

Now…I have something else to tell you.  Yesterday, a customer walked in and wanted to see if anyone had time to take his blood pressure.  Now I don’t want to say too much as confidentiality is paramount…but it led to exactly what our training has asked us to be prepared for.  He and I had a discussion about making lifestyle changes.  He was so grateful for the information and goals I discussed with him.  He is going to come back and we are going to help him reach his goals.  I felt kind of emotional afterwards.  He really was a lovely man.  He has been thinking things over and he knows he needs to make changes…and he wants to.  He said it has been on his mind that he cannot take his health for granted any more and he dearly wants to make the most of every moment of life he can.  He thanked me so many times.

Isn’t it wonderful to realize that: You can make a difference.  If you can make a difference to just one person, it is worth the effort.

Notes from meeting

Do You Have Any Idea How Precious You Are?

I have been looking back over my posts and I have found only one post that was specifically devoted to the subject of heath:

Life is precious

After all, I am not a health blogger. But of course I am interested in health and enjoy reading the posts prepared by bloggers who publish helpful and fascinating posts. I have worked in various avenues of the health service – caring for those with terminal illness, dementia, limited mobility and also within pharmacy – for at least ten years, but I do not consider myself any kind of health guru!

However, I have been invited to take part in another “3.2.1 Quote Me!” challenge, by none other that Rory himself, the creator of A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip! and this time the theme is GOOD HEALTH!

321 Quote Me – Good Health

So, in response to Rory’s invitation, today (and only today) I am going to become a health guru!

Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector – thank you Rory!

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

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Smoke rising from a cigarette in an ashtrayI mentioned in the post I provided a link to above, that there are a host of preventable diseases causing heartbreak to many families. Smoking, abuse of drugs and alcohol – for anyone who respects life – they have to be a no. Yesterday, many millions remembered the loss of life during warfare – apparently around 40,000,000 lost their lives during the first world war.  Yet 6,000,000 lose their lives each year due to smoking – that is an average of one person every six seconds! Hold on let me get a calculator. Quitting this addictive habit may seem like a battle, but it is a war worth winning!

I can’t cope with extremes…you know extreme diets, extreme fitness regimes, extreme make-overs! Some might enjoy all that though…so good for them!

For me, the word I have always preferred when it came to health is BALANCE! The habits we have on a daily basis add up. If you get into the habit of coming home from work and crashing onto the sofa and being glued to it all evening and over-eating all those “wrong foods”… you know what will happen!

There are some sensible things that most of us can do on a daily basis including moderate food portions with lots of fruit and veggies, plenty of water, plenty of sleep and being on the move.

Moving – it’s up to you what you do – you may not be one of those “Insanity” advocates or a marathon runner, but you ought to find some kind of exercise format that you enjoy. There are some days when I don’t feel I can go for a run or a swim and I don’t have time for one of my long walks. So I find something fun to listen to and I have a dance – yup…a dance, shaking and shimmying in my hallway and trying to get my heart pumping and my blood rushing. Try it… whatever you do, make sure you spend time each day moving!

_________________

Realistically…even if you lead a balanced life, you cannot attain perfect health now. Sadly, as imperfect humans we become ill, even those who are conscientious and take good care of their health become ill.

I have had several friends who were healthy fall victim to one of the diseases that plague mankind, despite medical advances:

Currently, humankind groans under the effect of the diseases that take our loved ones away. From a very young age I wanted answers to why we get sick, grow old and die. My hunger for answers was insatiable! I think I would have gone crazy if I hadn’t found answers!

And that brings me to the next aspect of health I wanted to mention: mental and emotional health.

Different sources I have checked cite different figures, but at least one in four will be affected by some form of mental or emotional illness at some point – and that includes children, and teenagers of course. This is not due to any personal weakness or character flaw. People in all walks of life can be affected.

I know a full-time volunteer who has been helping others out in Africa for twenty years and she was at one stage overwhelmed with the diagnosis of bipolar she received. She bravely talked openly about it around ten years ago at a huge conference I was invited to. It was the first time I had heard someone be so honest about how dark their thoughts could become. She received a standing ovation from the ten thousand or so professionals in attendance. I am grateful to courageous people like her who have been honest and open about their emotional and mental health. I found her afterwards and told her I thought she was remarkable. I am so glad that there has been more focus on this key aspect of health these last few years.

A woman facing job burnoutThere are people you pass everyday who are carrying painful thoughts around inside – and you just never know how close to breaking point they might be. There are a million reasons to be kind to other people, but for many years I have felt I wanted to be the smile that lightened a weighed down heart. I want to be the “it’s great to see you” or the “thank you for all your hard work” or the “I am so glad to have you as my friend” and help those I cross paths with to keep going. There are some who go to bed wishing that they won’t wake up the next morning.

With all my heart I would love to wipe away the tears, to take away the pain, to ease the burdens many carry.

I think the prolonged stress I suffered due to the situation with my ex-flatmate Jack, was bringing me lower and lower. I did not realize it at the time. Ironically, it was after I was attacked that I became stronger and more resilient emotionally. I found it easier to identify harmful thoughts and push them out. Everyone is different – what is stressful to one person may not be to another. For me it was a form of bullying over a prolonged period that crushed me. The trauma of the attack fortified me to actively find wonderful things about life and creation to dwell on. I had a renewed determination that nobody was going to cloud my sunshine!

I read an article a few years ago that was very helpful to me indeed. It was based on words that will be familiar to many, as they have been around for three thousand years and have been translated into over a thousand languages: “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a crushed spirit saps one’s strength.”

joyful heart.jpg

I had been crushed by the relentless taunting and trolling I had endured. It had sapped all my strength emotionally. I needed to heal from that damage. I also remember a great friend of mine shared with me some vivid word pictures that helped me.

One of them was rather graphic. He showed me a note and asked me how much it was worth? I said £20. He crumpled the £20 note. He put it on the floor and stamped on it. He picked it up and asked me “how much is it worth now?” He told me that the way I had been treated does not in any way diminish my value. He asked me how much am I worth? Now when you are feeling low…that is a really hard question to answer without a sullen shrug of your shoulders! He told me that value is generally indicated by the price a person is willing to pay for something.

My friend shared with me the delightful story of Johnny Lingo and Sarita, his eight cow wife – I am sure some of you will know it. He asked me how much would my loved ones pay for me! One cow? two cows? eight cows? twenty cows? The price that my family and friends would pay for me is far more than I might estimate my own worth. What about someone who considered me, in my imperfect state, so precious they would give something of immense value, the most precious gift in their possession, in exchange for me?

brain universeAs for my physical health…well I am in fairly good health. Currently, my major concern health-wise is this silly brain of mine. I have read several times that astronomers and scientists say that the most spectacular thing in the entire universe is the human brain. However, almost three and a half years ago, a stranger inflicted injuries on me that have caused my brain to play up at times. The main concern is the communication blips it has at times, especially with my heart. My brain likes to give my family regular frights by causing me to be rushed into an accident and emergency unit. But I am determined to make the most of every precious day of life and have a very joyful heart. Nobody is going to cloud my sunshine!

smiler 1There are so many reasons for me to have joy, so many reasons to be assured I am loved, so many reasons for me to have hope that, if I want to wipe away tears, remove pain and take away the burdens of disease and death, someone with power and love vastly superior will have exactly that desire and will do so.

Good health is something that I hope for every human – I long for the day when we all know daily happiness and healthfulness and can honestly say from the bottom of our hearts: “You know what – I feel great!”

Here is to the day when the question “How are you?” will be completely redundant… because everybody will be in perfect health!

In the meantime…promise me dear reader, that you will take good care of yourself! For you are very very precious!

Now my nominees for the “3.2.1 Quote Me!” challenge on the theme of GOOD HEALTH are three bloggers who are much more qualified than I am to talk about this subject: