Archive for the Sharing Category

The Danger of Being a Good Teacher

Posted in Ramblings, Sharing with tags , , , , , , , on 2015/02/25 by R L Burns

i just watched a show called “Obsession:  Dark Desires”.  The episode revolved around a special education teacher and one of her students.  She taught in a high school and one of her students, named Todd, became obsessed with her.  He did not want anyone else to teach him.  He refused to leave her classroom.  He yelled at her. He harassed her at home through phone calls and threats.  Ultimately he decided she needed to die because she was no longer his teacher.  In the end, he drove his truck through her house, nearly killing her daughter and her dog.  it was very scary.

Over the twenty-one years i have been a special educator, I have had many close relationships with students – some of them have spent time at my home or accompanied me to special events.  I grew up watching “Welcome Back, Kotter”  and decided then that if I was ever a teacher, I wanted my students to be that comfortable with me.  My students were always welcome to have my cell phone number in case they needed to reach me – and I have had two students who have called me when they ran away, enabling me to go pick them up and take them home.  I had one family that would call me and ask me if i could come over to get the daughter out of bed so she would come to school.  I’ve had a student slash my tires.  Another two or three have threatened to kill me.  Primarily, though, my students have loved me and felt comfortable with me.  And I have always been proud of that.  This show, however, made me wonder if perhaps these are not the best policies…

As a teacher, you walk a fine line.  Your students need to feel respected by you if you want respect to be returned.  But how close is too close?  I will really have to think about that now.

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pain

Posted in life story, Sharing with tags , , , , , on 2011/09/26 by R L Burns

When one of my many doctors looked me in the eye and said, “Well, given all your symptoms, history and my examination, I feel confident diagnosing you with Fibromyalgia”, I admit it, I laughed at him; loudly, and perhaps not a bit impolitely.

“Fibromyalgia?” I snorted, unable to stop myself.  “You’re kidding, right?”  I did my best Dr. Spock imitation, raising my left eyebrow and looking at him quizzically.

“Um, no, I am not kidding.  You see, Fibromyalgia –“he began, but I cut him off.

“Fibromyalgia.  Right.  Isn’t that what you tell people – especially women you consider to be hypochondriacs – when you can’t figure out what is really wrong with them?  Or when you don’t think there really IS anything wrong with them?  C’mon.  If you can’t figure out the true cause of my chronic pain, just admit it.  I won’t mind, won’t be angry.  In fact, I may even respect you all the more for being honest with me.  So what’s the real deal-io Doc?”

I’m sure you can guess by now that this particular doctor was not best pleased with this particular patient, and his patience (that’s a pun, get it?) was running thin – obviously not true since I am quite plump, actually.  Never mind, as usually happens when I tell a story, I digress.  Back to the now red-faced, displeased doctor.

“I don’t understand you, Ms. Cardew, not at all.  Fibromyalgia is not just something I say when I don’t know what is really wrong.  Nor do I consider any of my patients hypochondriacs.  I totally disagree with all you just said and am, I must admit, offended by it.  If you do not value my medical opinion I am sure I can refer you to another doctor.”

I was surprised at how hard he took my joking – and to be honest, I was waiting (praying, actually) that he would look at me and utter the line from Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest that was the only saving grace of having my name:  I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.  Although in fairness, my favorite mutation of that line is the one my mother and I always said when someone went beyond the pale:  This time, Miss Cardew, you have gone too far! Heavy British accent and lots of emphasis on the “too”, drawing it out.  (That made us split our sides with laughter – we are easily entertained, I am sure you must think…and you are correct.)  Sadly, he didn’t utter those magic words; sadder still, hardly anyone ever does anymore, what with the state of public education these days.  No one reads the classics anymore – and if they do, they don’t understand them.  C’est la vie.  Again, I am off track.

I smiled slightly at poor Dr. Ferris.  “I’m sorry, doctor.  Truly I am.  And please believe me, I in no way meant to impugn your…medical…standing or opinion.  I just thought it was funny, in an odd – I see now – way.  Um, you know, you see all those commercials on television, and all the symptoms are so vague.  And then the medicines they advertise cause worse side effects than the pain itself…I don’t know, Sir.  I think Fibromyalgia has somehow just come across to me as a “catch-all” when no one can figure out what else to say.  Sort of a palliative, I mean.  So that the person in pain actually feels like they are not crazy and there really is something wrong with them.  It’s television, Sir, not you.  I am just a victim of advertising.  I’m sorry.  Can you forgive my rudeness?”  Big smile now.

Puffed up again to look like a real doctor, Dr. Ferris smiled benignly at me and patted my hand.  “Dear, there is nothing to forgive.  I understand how confusing all the misinformation out there can be.”

Now that we were friends again, he began explaining Fibromyalgia to me in all earnestness.  I wish he hadn’t.

Fibromyalgia is a bitch.  No one knows what causes it, though some hypothesize that potential causes and/or triggers include a physical or emotional trauma, sleep disturbances (exacerbated by the disease), an abnormal pain response in the brain, or even an infection, although no particular infection has been identified as a definite correlation.

The symptoms (chronic body-wide pain, joint/muscle/tendon tenderness) are vague; they could be caused by any number of things.  What stands out, apparently, is that the pain goes on and on and on.  For some lucky Fibro Sisters, it is only a few months.  Most of us, however, suffer with it for years.  Accompanying the burning, aching, mind numbing, strength-zapping malaise, there are other possible prizes:  depression (you ache all the time, can’t imagine why you would be depressed, can you?); chronic fatigue (you can’t sleep the whole night through because of the pain); constant neck or back pain; an underactive thyroid; other sleep disorders.  You fall asleep in pain, go through the day in pain, and wake up in pain.  Yipee.  And oddly enough, even though it often feels like the pain is emanating from the joints (like Arthritis), it isn’t.  It’s actually in the soft tissues of the body.

Long-term Fibromyalgia party-bonuses can include heart palpitations (I have those in abundance), problems with concentrating and memory (is that why I can’t remember where I parked my car at the mall?), numbness in the hands and feet, and, best of all, migraine headaches.

Fibromyalgia:  the cornucopia of symptoms, the smorgasbord of disorders.  No cause.  No real cure.  Oddly enough, Dr. Ferris told me that what helps most is exercise and sleeping normally.  Ha!  But it hurts to move around too much and I can’t sleep because I have Fibromyalgia.  Hmm.  Kind of a conundrum, wouldn’t you say?  Your body hurts when you move, and you can’t sleep through the night, but if you want to get better, you have to exercise regularly and sleep through the night.  My head hurts just thinking about it.

Treatments include physical therapy and exercise (oh joy, more moving about!) and stress-relief techniques.  Oh, and let’s not forget our pharmaceutical cocktails…Anti-depressants, muscle relaxers, pills that change the way your brain interprets pain.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in “better living through chemistry”, even considered getting it tattooed on my shoulder, but it’s all just too much.

As much as I tried to joke about it, Dr. Ferris was right all those years ago.  I do have Fibromyalgia – at least all the classic symptoms.  Part of the physical exam for the disease is that you must have tenderness in at least eleven of eighteen areas, and it must have lasted for at least three months.  I had tenderness in sixteen of the eighteen, and when I saw Dr. Ferris, it had been going on for at least three years.  The pain travels, in a sense.  Sometimes it is in my elbows and knees, other times in my spine; still other times it is in my shoulders and my ribs.   There’s no predicting where it will hit next or how long it will last.  Six years after diagnosis, I am still fighting it.  And I am tired of it, with no end in sight.  I am, though, much luckier than others I know with this disease.  Wonderful, brilliant women whose pain is so debilitating that it keeps them from doing much at all.  I at least can still work and write.

I suppose the point of this was to say that Fibromyalgia really sucks.  If you do not suffer from it, thank the Lord or whichever Spiritual deity you choose, that you do not.  And next time you hear about it, it’s okay to laugh – a little.  But know that it is real, it hurts and it is never-ending.

So to those of you who are members of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pain, I salute you.  Keep up the good fight.  Somehow we will come out on top!

Dealing With Negative People…

Posted in Sharing with tags , , , on 2011/08/12 by R L Burns

My mom sent me this today and I thought it was sooo good that I needed to share.  Enjoy!

 

This is something to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade.  So remember this story the next time someone who knows nothing and cares less tries to make your life miserable…

A woman was at her hairdresser’s getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded: 

“Rome ? Why would anyone want to go there?  It’s crowded and dirty.. You’re crazy to go to Rome . So, how are you getting there?” 

“We’re taking BA,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”   

“BA?” exclaimed the hairdresser. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late. So, where are you staying in Rome ?” 

“We’ll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome’s Tiber River called Teste.”   

“Don’t go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks it’s gonna be something special and exclusive, but it’s really a dump.” 

“We’re going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope.”

“That’s rich,” laughed the hairdresser. “You and a million other people trying to see him.  He’ll look the size of an ant.  Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it…” 

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

“It was wonderful,” explained the woman, “not only were we on time in one of BA’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot.   

And the hotel was great! They’d just finished a £5 million remodelling job, and now it’s a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner’s suite at no extra charge!” 

“Well,” muttered the hairdresser, “that’s all well and good, but I bet you didn’t get to see the Pope.”   

“Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me.   

Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me” 

“Oh, really!  What’d he say ?”   

He said: “Who the Fuck did your hair?”

Lost Children

Posted in Ramblings, Sharing on 2011/01/24 by R L Burns

 

 

sometimes, in my dreams,

i see them and hear them –

the little lost children

i’ve known – and been

 

children with little chance

of ever truly

changing their circumstance

doomed to trudge on alone

 

their faces haunt me

their tears bring me

to my knees, sometimes –

in silent, but fervent,  prayer

 

that their lives will get better

that the Lord will hold them

in the palm of his hand – and

comfort them, protect them, forever

 

i hear them whimpering –

see them hiding, simpering,

arms across their faces

to deflect life’s cruel blows

 

how do i help them?

 

 

July Songs…Updated

Posted in Sharing with tags , , on 2010/07/10 by R L Burns

forgot a couple of tunes….

 

shinedown:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY0HCKOmrW0

the tuneweavers:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tlTeQg5YyY

barry manilow (yes, barry!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qoi25XRDeeo

the clash:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYK7bEo1Z4M

cheap trick:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOAl2TKBA0w

cheap trick 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWqxKqMV–w

muse:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgum6OT_VH8

kiss:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ugcwbJ1Ccw

styx:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR4if4ble1A

Hrothgar Speaks

Posted in Sharing with tags , , , on 2010/07/10 by R L Burns

From the movie, “Grendel”…

Beowulf speaks the truth:

To deny the truth is to continue to live in fear.

It is time to stop hiding behind our secret.

This may be our last chance.

 

— King Hrothgar to his Queen

 

Death Masks

Posted in Sharing with tags , , , on 2010/06/23 by R L Burns

I am watching History International and there is a truly excellent, interesting show currently airing:  Death Masks.  It has shown 3-D depictions of many powerful men:  George Washington, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Napoleon…They are getting ready to explain John Dillinger’s death mask as well — with the intriguing question:  will it prove that this man (photo of Dillinger, dead) was a victim of mistaken identity? 

If you get a chance, check this show out!  It’s pretty fascinating!

I’m out.