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Saturday, August 02, 2003

A Prayer

Translated from Hebrew (mind you this is my translation so I might have gotten some of it wrong. sorry!!):

Bless and renew on us this month
Bless and renew on us this month
For Good, for good and bless us
For Good, for good and bless us
And give us blessed lives, and lives filled with peace
And give us blessed lives, and lives filled with good

"Veh Tiytenlanu Chaim shel Shalom"
No Politics for a while

I can't write about politics for a while. It's aggravating. Don't you feel like it just goes around in circles and that's why nothing changes?

Friday, August 01, 2003

The Local Synagogue

There is a Chabad Synagogue near my house. For those who don't know, Chabad is an orthodox synagogue. Due to this, the Jews that go there walk on Shabbat (Sabbath) to and from services. Many buy or rent homes very close to it so that their trek each week is a decent walk. I mean, who wants to walk three miles to and from synagogue? And there is the fact that you want to dress nicely when you pray to God and being sweaty doesn't help the cause. In anycase, why do I mention all this? Because there is also a park that is a short cut to the synagogue. For what seemed like a year they closed the park to relandscape and tear down old trees. So this caused problems for the Jews who relied on the short cut to get to services. So FINALLY they finished the park. The Jews now can walk freely through there and it even looks much better. Oh but wait! There is also a creek near this synagogue. And now they have to fix the part of the road that leads across this. So all those coming from that direction have to go all the way around to get there.

The religious Jews in my neighborhood are getting quite the workout lately.
Slow BMWs

I just want to know why people with BMWs drive like grandparents. I was driving down the highway and got stuck behind so many of them going like 60mph. So annoying. If you have a car with a powerful engine and you are already wasting the gas to drive it, then put the pedal to the metal!

Monday, July 28, 2003

Physical and Psychological Complications of Anorexia Nervosa

Aside from politics which can get really repetitive and aggravating, I am very interested in the health issues (note the link to Health Central a great resource). After seeing that girl yesterday at the gym, I have been very curious to know what exactly she is doing to herself. I have read up on the disorder many times before, and even read a published diary of a girl with the disorder. Psychologically, I think I understand what is going on, physically though...The amount of damage being caused to her body is probably past the point of repair. I am almost certain she is guaranteed osteo-porosis. Below is a list of all the great problems she has created for herself. I don't blame her, I just wish she'd realize that the act of starvation is causing PERMANENT damage to her body.

Are you ready for the scary reality this girl now faces?:

*Irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, death
* Kidney damage, death
* Liver damage (made worse by substance abuse), death
* Destruction of teeth, rupture of esophagus, loss of muscle mass
* Disruption of menstrual cycle, infertility (see below)
* Stunted growth due to undernutrition. Even after recovery and weight restoration, person may not catch up to expected normal height.
*  Weakened immune system
*  Icy hands and feet
* Swollen glands in neck; stones in salivary duct. "Chipmunk cheeks."
* Excess hair on face, arms, and body.
* Dry, blotchy skin that has an unhealthy gray or yellow cast
* Anemia, malnutrition. Disruption of body's fluid/mineral balance
* Fainting spells, seizures, sleep disruption, bad dreams, mental fuzziness
* Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), including shakiness, anxiety, restlessness, and a pervasive itchy sensation all over the body
* Permanent loss of bone mass, fractures and lifelong problems
* If binge eating disorder leads to obesity, add the following:
* Increased risk of cardiovascular disease 
* Increased risk of bowel, breast, and reproductive cancers
* Increased risk of diabetes
* Arthritic damage to joints




Sunday, July 27, 2003

Anorexia



I work out at a gym. Over the years, I have seen many girls who you could tell are very obviously starving themselves. You could watch them progress to nothingness over time. But none of the girls I have seen thus far are anywhere as horrific as what I saw today. A woman, probably 25 years of age, nothing but a sack of bones. I was on the elliptical trainer right behind her and was horrified when I saw her. She wore a long, oversized shirt and baggy pants (even though I think they were stretchy pants that are suppose to be tight). Her arms were so skinny, but what's more, you could see every bone and vein in them. I have never seen anything like that before in real life. I could have easily wrapped my thumb and middle finger around her upper arm and had room to spare. I thought I might be overreacting but when I went to get water and saw her from the front I almost threw up. Her face looked as though it was already decomposing. I could see her skull right through her skin, she was pale as hell, and her hair was very frail. I honestly thought there was some chance she would die right then and there. Poor girl. While I was there trying desperately to get the brownies and cookies I eat at Genentech off my ass, she was there running on empty. I don't know how she doesn't realize she is killing herself. The above image is about how this girl looked (I am not exaggerating). I am not a doctor, but from the way she looked I doubt she would live more than another two months unless someone intervenes.
First death experience

When I was a senior in highschool, I lost a friend to Cystic Fibrosis. From that experience I made another friend, a dear close friend, who has been there for me ever since. The following is a little story summarizing how an amazing friendship blossomed out of such tragedy:

I have known Laura since middle school but only became close friends with her at the beginning of Senior year of high school. Everyone was stressed out about AP classes and college applications, and I was no exception. Trying to figure out what schools to apply to, keeping up with many honor classes, and continuing outside of class activities is a lot to handle when you are only seventeen. I was taking AP Physics and AP Calculus and in one week had an exam in both in two consecutive days. I was stressed to say the least because I wanted very badly to ace them. I had my AP Physics exam first and of course after the exam I thought that I failed it. For comfort I called my mom who wasn't in the comforting mood. Why? She had just received word that the child of a family friend of ours had passed away from Cystic Fibrosis. He was only 19 years old. He had been on the waiting list for new lungs for a long time and unfortunately they didn't arrive in time. Immediately I felt like a brat for bothering my mother with such nonsense in the face of such tragedy.
That evening, instead of studying for my math exam which was the following day, I went with my family to visit the family who lost their son. In Jewish tradition, the mourning family must sit inside the house, on the floor for a period of a week and friends and family are to come visit and pay their condolances. This was the first time I ever had to do this. I was nervous to say the least. It was one of the toughest things I have had to do in my life. I went in there and saw many familiar faces. Many family friends were there crying and comforting eachother. My mother told me to go and comfort the deceased's mother. I had no idea what I was suppose to say or do. I went to her and gave her a hug. I can't remember if I said anything. I do remember her saying that she really appreciated that I was there. We spent some time there and of course I was an emotional wreck from the whole experience. When I got home, I didn't study. I went straight to bed because I was worn out.
I decided that I would go take the exam even though I was not in the mindset to take an exam. I couldn't even think straight as I sat there and looked at the questions. After the test was over I was certain I had failed it. Lunch followed the exam and I headed out to my car to go home because I couldn't handle being at school any longer for the day. Laura walked with me and for the first time I opened my heart to her. I told her about all that was going on and how I was really emotionally suffering. We sat in front of my car for the whole lunch period and when the bell rang she continued to sit and listen. She didn't care that she would be late for class because she knew I needed her to stay with me. Even though we weren't close yet, she didn't abandon me. I knew instantly after this that this was a quality friend and that we could quickly become close.
She has continued to be there no matter what. I can't think of one instance where if I needed her, she said "well I am kinda busy right now". In times of need she has consistently been there for me. I mention all this because as we grow older we realize that there are few people we can really rely on. I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with a few rare jewels, Laura being one of them.

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