When Disease Creates A Need For Organ Transplants

wdcotHow does it feel to be so seriously ill that you can be saved only by an organ transplant? Surprisingly, life need not be constant pain, nor the prospect of death a constant companion. For sure, the wait for an organ, the surgery, and the recovery are tense times for patient and family alike. In the United States, more than 2,000 people are added to the national organ waiting list each month. Among them are children and teens who hope for a long and normal life. We spoke to a young man who was in this situation.

JERRY COUND was 12 years old and on the verge of starting competitive athletics. There was no question in his mind that he would go out for football, basketball, and track. His dad was a record-holding high school and collegiate athlete, and his older brother and sister were similarly involved. Jerry loved sports.

Jerry didn’t know it then, but his life was about to take a dramatic turn. Now, 13 years and two heart transplants later, he talks about what has happened since.

Before his seventh-grade year and junior high tryouts, his parents scheduled a checkup for him. When he was just a 2-week-old baby, a viral illness had left scar tissue on Jerry’s heart. He nevertheless had gone through childhood without problems, and was confident that the doctor would give him a clean bill of health.

“We had about three or four days of tests in the hospital, and at the end, the doctors said, ‘Your heart is working at about 25 percent of what it should be. When you get into situations where you’re working out or you’re playing really hard, your heart compensates. It gets larger and it works much harder for you.’ They said that just as a precautionary measure, they wanted to keep me out of junior high athletics. My reaction was, ‘You’re crazy. There’s nothing wrong with me at all!’ That day I had basketball practice at the YMCA, and I came out and played just that much harder to prove them wrong…

“About a month before the end of ninth grade, when I was 15, I got sick with pneumonia and went into the hospital. I was in for a week, out for a day, and went back in the very next day with pneumonia in both lungs, gastroenteritis, and hepatitis. Tests for lupus and Legionnaires’ disease were positive. What they didn’t realize was that the heart was causing all these other problems.

“By the end of the third week, I was starting to get really, really sick and miserable. The doctors said that at that point they’d have to send me to Houston to see about having a (heart) transplant. I was a scared kid. I didn’t know anything about the transplant process.

“In Houston, I was immediately hooked up to all kinds of IVs [intravenous tubes for giving a patient medication and nourishment]. By the end of the first week, I was so sick that I literally could not do anything for myself. I could not use the bathroom by myself; I couldn’t eat. I had lost about 20 pounds and was in very critical condition.

“They put me on a transplant list and basically said that with the transplant I’d have an 80 percent chance of living a normal life. Without one, I wouldn’t have a chance to live. So we said, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s try it.’

“At the end of that first week, I was told I had about 12 hours before my body would quit. Within those 12 hours or so, the hospital had four offers of a heart. The first three didn’t match and then the final offer came in. It was from a young man outside of Denver who had died in a car accident…

“After surgery, I was out of the hospital in two weeks. Through rehabilitation, I learned to walk again. I was able to come home at the end of summer, and since I was a pretty good student, I didn’t have to make up any of the homework I missed when I got sick…

“I think it’s important for kids to know what a person who’s had a transplant goes through. Here I was, 15 years old, a guy with average looks. Just a few months before, I’d been a really healthy-looking individual. But when you go through a transplant, you lose weight. You’re immediately put on medicines. That summer, I took 33 pills a day along with five different liquid medicines. That all causes a big psychological change in a kid’s life. You look funny. The medicine caused acne, even worse acne than a 15-year-old might normally have. Everybody else had spent the summer getting a good tan. I had spent the summer in a hospital. I had a big moon face, because medicine causes fluid retention. People weren’t looking at me and going, ‘Gosh, Jerry’s very ugly.’ It was just me feeling that way. It’s simply something a kid in that situation goes through…

“It took about six months to lose that weight in my face and build my muscles back up. I had a lot of support. I was just thankful I was alive, and things kind of got a little bit back to normal. After six months I was back playing basketball. I had a big 10-inch scar on my chest, and I had to take medicine every day, but other than that I was pretty normal…

“I finished high school and went to college. I was very active, playing a lot of sports and being involved in college intramurals. In February of 1991, during my sophomore year, my mother died. My mother was the angel of my life, and her death was really tough on me, a lot tougher in many ways than any kind of transplant. I got back to school and just didn’t do very well. My grades were OK, but I was really kind of depressed. I wasn’t feeling too good, and really just didn’t know what was going on.. .

“That summer I went to (the Transplant Games in) Budapest, and I didn’t do too well there. I got back home and immediately got sick. The doctor near my college said I just had a little bug, not to worry about it. But about a week later, I passed out and quit breathing. My roommate got the ambulance. The very next morning I flew back to Houston. ..

“The diagnosis was heart failure again. The doctor said ‘We’re not going to give you another transplant unless we find the perfect heart for you.’ On September 23, 1991, the doctor walked into my room and said, ‘We have found the Cadillac of hearts, and we’re putting it in this afternoon!’

“This transplant was different because I was older and smarter. I knew what was going on. I was more prepared. I finally got out of the hospital after a month and was feeling really healthy. I moved into an apartment in Houston, but then I got sick and went into the hospital with rejection [of the heart by Jerry's body]. I was practically dead, but they performed an emergency procedure to stabilize me. When this happened, I was in the critical care unit and was really miserable. I was crying and thinking, ‘Just let me go. Let me die.’ I didn’t want to fight anymore. But then I fell asleep. And when I woke up I started feeling better…”

Jerry’s improvement continued. These days, he has finished college and works as fitness director at the Northside YMCA in Little Rock, Arkansas. He helps people get healthy and stay that way. He often speaks to groups: church groups, civic groups, and to people facing an organ transplant.

He used to be shy, he says, but in 1995 alone, Jerry addressed a total of nearly 10,000 people. And two years earlier, Jerry had a chance to tell his story to a fellow Arkansan. The National Rehabilitation Hospital of Washington, D.C., selected Jerry as a National Victory Award winner in a program honoring transplant recipients from around the country. During the visit to Washington, Jerry went for a run with president Bill Clinton.

Speaking to transplant patients is especially meaningful to Jerry: “Whenever I hear about anybody facing what I went through, I try to give them a call and give them some support. When their doctors explain the transplant process, they talk about it from a doctor’s view, not from a patient’s view. Usually when I talk with anyone having to deal with a transplant, we talk about the issues they’re going to have to face. I tell them all the positives and the negatives, because there are a lot of tough issues…

“I’ve been a miracle child. I’ve had a lot of success, whereas I’ve had a lot of friends who have died, and I’ve had a lot of friends who haven’t had the great success that I’ve had.”

Some Facts About Organ Donation

Every year, the lives of more and more people are being saved through organ transplants. Also increasing are the number so kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, and lung donations.

Still, one new person is added to the organ waiting list every 18 minutes, and eight to nine people die every day while waiting for this gift of life. This is happening even as success rates are improving steadily for all types of organ and tissue transplants. Improvements are constantly being made in transplant surgery, matching of organs, the preservation of donated organs, and medications used to prevent rejection.

Organization such as the National Kidney Foundation point out that essential human resources are lacking. Studies have estimated that about 10,000 to 14,000 deaths that could result in organ donation occur each year. But fewer than half of these result in actual donations.

It is not unusual to be uncomfortable with the idea of donating organs, but the National Kidney Foundation makes these points:

* Donor organs and tissues are removed by surgery. After removal, the donor’s boy is closed, as in any surgery. The body is not deformed.

* Organ and tissue donations are approved by most religious leaders worldwide, who consider donations to be “the ultimate charitable act.”

* Organ and tissue donations can occur at almost any of the nearly 7,000 hospitals in the United States.

Heroin: Beware. Be Very Aware

hbvaJeanne seemed to have everything: trendy clothing, expensive jewelry, and her own room, filled with everything she wanted. And at age 17, she had a boyfriend, Del.

Jeanne knew Del loved her. But he had a passion for something else–heroin. After a while, Jeanne became a user too.

She got hooked, or addicted, quickly. She needed more and more of the drug to get the same effect. To get money to buy the drug, she sold gifts her parents had given her. When that money source ran out, she stole from her parents’ home. Jeanne’s parents were angry, but Jeanne didn’t care about much except getting more heroin. Then Del died from a heroin overdose. That jolted Jeanne into entering a drug treatment program.

From the Poppy Plant


Once a feared drug, heroin use has increased recently. Heroin accounts for 90 percent of the opiate abuse in the United States. Opiates, or narcotics, are a class of drugs that also includes opium, morphine, and codeine. It’s illegal for anyone to sell or possess narcotics for nonmedical use. Heroin has no accepted medical use and is therefore illegal in this country.

Opiates come from the thick, white sap of unripe seed pods of the opium poppy. The sap contains raw opium. Morphine and codeine are extracted from raw opium and have legal uses. Some prescription cough medicines contain codeine, and morphine is often prescribed for severe pain. Doctors monitor the use of these drugs to lessen side effects and head off abuse. However, opium, codeine, and morphine also are sold and used illegally in the United States.

Heroin is formed by heating morphine with chemicals. Pure heroin is white powder, although street heroin is often yellow or brown, depending on additives such as other drugs, sugar, chalk, cornstarch, brick dust, or laundry detergent.

Making a Comeback

Once thought of as a 1970s drug, heroin has resurfaced. Since 1991, the number of Americans who use heroin has skyrocketed to about 2 million. Substance abuse programs and college counselors report many more heroin addicts at their doors, and hospital treatment for heroin-related emergencies has jumped.

Why the increase? Experts point to several reasons: Heroin is inexpensive and easy to get; and some film, rock, and fashion stars have made the drug trendy. Compared to the heroin of the 1970s, today’s street heroin contains fewer impurities or additives, which means users can get high more readily from smoking or snorting it. Before such strong heroin was available, users injected the drug with needles, which were often shared and dirty. When the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) hit in the mid-1980s, heroin use dropped. HIV causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a fatal disease. HIV is spread by sharing dirty needles and having unprotected sex.

Another factor that explains heroin’s increased use is that users forget or ignore the fact that this drug is extremely addictive–and dangerous! Users who get addicted are often called junkies. Bob, who snorted heroin, said, “It never occurred to me that I was a junkie.”

When people don’t inject heroin, they feel safe from getting AIDS, explains Dr. David R. Gastfriend of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “So they generalize to thinking that heroin is safe.” But heroin is anything but safe.

Its Effect on the Body

Once heroin is injected, smoked, or sniffed, the body quickly changes it into other substances. These substances latch onto nerve cells in specific areas in the brain, where they then act like endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers.

Users feel an initial short rush of pleasure, followed by a longer period of feeling relaxed with no sense of pain. The skin sweats and flushes, or looks red. That’s because heroin acts as a powerful sedative and slows down the body. Body temperature and breathing drop, and the pupils contract until they are tiny. Users can become sleepy, dizzy, drowsy, confused, or nauseated. Many vomit.

Death from overdose, or taking too much heroin at one time, is a constant danger. Users seldom know what is mixed into street heroin, so they don’t know how much heroin they actually have taken. If someone overdoses, breathing and heart rate are slowed and blood pressure and body temperature fall rapidly. Muscles tighten, and breathing can stop. The person can die from lack of oxygen. Sometimes the person chokes to death on vomit. Overdosing also can cause convulsions and coma, then death.

 Long-Term Use

Powerful physical and psychological dependence, or addiction, can develop rapidly for users. Users soon develop a tolerance to heroin, so larger doses are needed each time to produce the same effect. Addicts like Jeanne focus their lives on getting and using the drug.

Heroin withdrawal usually begins within four to six hours after an addict last used the drug. Withdrawal is painful and can continue up to 10 days. Symptoms include violent yawning, bone and muscle pains, muscle spasms, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, chills, sweating, runny nose and eyes, and sleeping problems. Even after being off heroin for a long time, former users still can have sleeping and eating problems, feel uneasy and depressed, and often crave the drug.

Long-term use of heroin brings many problems such as constant constipation, impaired vision–particularly at night–sexual problems, nightmares and hallucinations (imaginary sounds, sights, and feelings), mood swings, instability, and much higher risk of lung, heart, and liver disease. Heroin use also reduces fertility in both men and women.

Although many users first snort or smoke heroin, some addicts like Bob soon turn to shooting up, or using a needle to inject the drug. Chronic needle use can lead to skin irritation, swelling, infections at the punctures, blood infections, and collapsed veins. Unclean needle use brings high risk of getting a serious disease, including tetanus, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and AIDS.


Fast Lane to Misery

Jeanne and Bob were lucky. They didn’t die of a heroin overdose or get a disease from sharing needles. Instead, they got into a heroin treatment program. However, kicking a heroin addiction takes long, hard work. Heroin, no matter which way it’s taken–smoked, snorted, or injected–is a fast lane to health risks and the very real danger of addiction.

Signs of Heroin

Although the number of heroin users is up, sometimes people miss the signs of heroin use. Here’s what to look for:

* Drowsiness, sluggishness

* Slurred speech

* Constant pain

* Constantly being thirsty

* Dry and cracked lips

* Nausea

* Itching, especially the face, neck and arms

* Very small pupils that don’t react to changes in light

* Red, raw nostrils from inhaling heroin

* Scars on Inner arms or other parts of the body from needle injections

* Having heroin equipment such as syringes, bent spoons, bottle caps, eye droppers, rubber tubing, cotton, needles

* Using nicknames for heroin: Diesel, Dynamite, White Death, Nasty Boy, China White, H. Harry, Junk, Brown Sugar, Smack, Chasing the Dragon

Burn Prevention Is Absolutely Critical

bpiacBrianna St. Onge’s slumber party was in full swing. After singing songs around a campfire in the back yard, her friends went inside to watch a movie. Brianna stayed behind outside to relight the campfire. She pt some fresh wood in the pit and soaked the wood with fuel. That’s when Brianna experienced a big whoosh. She was on fire!

Before she could throw away the can, it had exploded into her stomach. She was covered with burning fuel. Her older brother Adam saw her and tackled her onto the ground. he tried to roll her around in the flames. Another brother turned on the hose and sprayed them with water. Neighbors grabbed some blankets, soaked them in their pool, and covered Brianna with them. They also called 911.

Brianna remembers the firefighters arriving and people standing around her saying, “Oh, my God!” Bt she doesn’t remember mch after that until she woke up several weeks later at the Shriners Burns Institute in Galveston, Texas.

Brianna’s heart had stopped twice, and she suffered third-degree burns all over her body. She was not expected to live, but she did. She has had many surgeries to cut away the burned skin and graft the open areas with skin taken from unburned parts of her body.

Brianna knows she was supposed to die, bt she lived. She thinks there must be a reason. It’s been almost three years since the accident. She wants you to know her story and learn from it.

Types of Burns

The National Safety Council reports that more than 4,200 people died from burns in 1994, a significant 5 percent increase over the year before. Burns can be caused by flames or hot liquids, contact with hot objects, chemicals, and electrical currents. A burn injures the skin and sometimes the underlying tissue.

A first-degree burn is the least harmful. These superficial burns affect only the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer. Symptoms include redness, tenderness, and pain.

Second-degree burns extend through the entire outer layer of skin and into the inner skin. Blisters, swelling, fluid loss, and severe pain are symptoms.

Third-degree burns penetrate all the skin layers and go into the fat and muscle. The skin looks charred, leathery, or gray. Pain may not exist because of damage to nerve endings.

Burn Care

If you or someone you’re with is the victim of a burn, first put out the flames or get away from the source. If the burn appears to be serious, call 911 van emergency medical service immediately. Then cool the burn with large amounts of cool water and cover it with dry, clean dressings.

The American Red Cross says to call an ambulance if a burn victim has breathing difficulty; has burns on more than one body part; or has burns to the head, neck, back, hands, feet, or genitals. Also call if the burns were caused by chemicals, electricity, an explosion, flames, or very hot liquids.

If the burn is caused by a chemical, the American Red Cross says to flush skin or eyes with large amounts of cool, running water until the ambulance arrives.

If it is caused by electricity, don’t go near the victum until you’re sure the power is turned off. Then check breathing and pulse if the person is unconscious. Call 911 if you haven’t already. Cover the burn with a clean, dry dressing.

Minor burns can be taken care of at home. Use large amounts of cool water to cool the burned area. Soaked cloths can be applied to body parts that cannot be immersed. Cover the area with a dry, sterile dressing or clean cloth. Do not use ice, as it causes body heat loss. If the burn develops blisters, it’s best to call or see a doctor for advice. Of course, any third degree or large burn must be seen by a doctor.

Lightning and sunburn

Since lightning carries up to 50 million volts of electricity, it can burn clothes off a person and can even cause the heart to stop beating. Nearly 100 people are killed by lightning every year, and another 300 are injured. To avoid being a victim, go inside a building if you see lightning or hear thunder. Even if you can’t see any lightning, it could strike you.

Sunlight contains ultraviolet light, which causes sunburn. We used to think that a tan made us look appealing; but now we know the process of burning and tanning can cause skin cancer. To protect yourself from sunburn, avoid being out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear sunscreen or sun block with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher if you must be outside during these times. Also, wear a hat, protect your eyes with sunglasses, and limit the time you are in direct sunlight.

Try to prevent burn accidents by following safety rules. Most burns are a result of accidents that can be prevented. Brianna could have prevented hers by not lighting a fire with fuel. Campfires should only be started by a match, never with liquid fuel. Also, campfires should always be supervised by an adult.

Burn Reconstruction

Severe burn victims need special medical care. The person may need reconstructive plastic surgery, which takes several years to complete. There may be severe scarring, which also may interfere with movement of arms and legs. Scarring and deformity of the face is physically and emotionally challenging.

One reconstruction method is called “medical sculpting.” This involves creating artificial ears and noses to temporarily replace what has been lost to burns until surgical procedures can be performed. A waterproof of adhesive holds them in place on the person’s skin. Face masks can be designed to put pressure on facial burns to help reduce and soften scar tissue.

These masks and other pressure garments must be worn by the burn patient 24 hours a day for a year or more after the burn injury. In his picture, Roland Morales, a medical sculptor from Shriners Burns Institute, displays some of the face, ear, and nose molds he has created.

It is difficult for severely burned youths to return to school and their neighborhood because of facial disfigurement and other physical limitations. Nurses, social service representatives, and rehabilitation therapists work with the patients to help them return to school and continue with their life.

Burn Prevention Tips

The Shriners Burns Institutes suggest the following precautions:

1 Keep matches and cigarette lighters out of reach of young children. Wooden “strike anywhere” kitchen matches should never be kept in a home with young children.

2 Always read and follow directions when using any flammable substance.

3 Use extreme caution when cooking with hot liquids or oil, as the high temperature can cause severe burns.

4 Don’t heat baby formula in bottle with disposable plastic liners, since the liner may burst.

5 Be careful when removing foods from the microwave, especially popcorn. The very hot steam released can cause burns. Always open the package or container from the far side.

6 Never use gasoline for anything other than to fuel an engine. Do not pour gasoline over a carburetor to get a car to start.

7 Don’t store flammable products near an open flame, such as that on a gas heater.

The Benefits Of Anti Snoring Devices

bospHaving a sleeping partner who snores is definitely disturbing and if you are that kind of person, it is totally embarrassing. This is a good reason why anti snoring pillows are made and sold. The purpose of the pillow is to realign the neck properly so that the soft palate will not block the airway. Basically, snoring occurs when blockage in the airway occurs and it can also signal a health condition. With anti snoring pillows, the person who snores a lot can comfortably sleep as the anatomic position of his/her head is corrected and properly placed. Since it does not look like a regular pillow, sleeping it on the first few nights will totally be different. However, the user will get used to it over time.

Nevertheless, the snoring pillows are life changing sleeping accessories. They promote proper oxygenation to the brain and some parts of the body; that is why it keeps the cells healthy and rejuvenated. It has been found out also that using the Snoreless pillow will allow the individual to sleep properly. Thus, regardless of the price, these anti snoring pillows are a great way to alleviate snoring and promote proper health.

Getting A Stop Snoring Mouthpiece Online

It is not difficult to buy a stop snoring mouthpiece online because there are a number of websites selling these products. However, the only danger that can happen online is the scam. Several scammers are widespread in the World Wide Web and their intention is to get your money, steal your identity and use it for their advantage. These scammers are sometimes difficult to distinguish because they are also using a real name, an enticing website and a smooth sailing payment scheme. Once you fall in their trap, you will not get the desired product as well as the money you invested. That is why you have to be wary on these online scammers. When deciding to purchase a stop snoring mouthpiece, you have to double check the website and the seller.

Make sure that you go through the website’s credibility and the product’s quality. Take some time to read different online reviews or be involved in an online forum. This will let you know whether the website is reliable and the product is worth to buy. Ask also for snoring device and mouthpiece recommendations from the experts in the field. This process will definitely help you find the best stop snoring mouthpiece at a good price.

Choking Can Kill… Here’s How To Stop It


In November 1994, Christina Swick, 18, was on the school bus, headed home. As usual, the bus was filled with laughter and shouting. Then, someone in the back yelled out, “Hey, Charlie’s choking!”

At first, Christina and the other students from John S. Battle High School in Mendota, Virginia, didn’t react. Charlie Carroll often sounds like he’s choking, even when he isn’t. He has Wilson’s disease, a neurological impairment due to excessive copper in the liver and brain. He can’t talk or control his muscles.

But then the same person yelled, “Something’s really wrong with Charlie! He was eating a sucker and now it’s gone! He’s slumped over!”

Christina sprang into action. She knew from a nursing course she had taken at Washington County Technical School that she had to act fast. Christina pulled Charlie up and turned him around. Then she gave him the Heimlich maneuver–a quick press under the ribs. The pressing pushes air in the lungs up the trachea and forces the obstruction out. A lollipop popped out of Charlie’s mouth!

“I just did what anyone would have done,” says Christina. But Charlie would have choked to death because the lollipop had blocked his air supply. Christina received a Certificate of Merit from the American Red Cross, awards from her school and the town, and was interviewed by several newspapers in her area. She was a hero, especially to Charlie.

Choking Is Life-Threatening

Choking can occur while people are sitting together enjoying a meal or when they are eating alone. Three thousand people died from choking in 1994, according to the National Safety Council.

If someone appears to be choking, follow these steps:

* Don’t Slap on the Back Doctors used to think that a slap on the back would dislodge the object a,aerson was choking on. People still do back slaps, even though this has been found ineffective. In fact, slapping a choking person on the back can cause the object to slide farther down the throat and even into the lungs. So, NEVER slap a choking person on the back.

* Take Immediate Action. It’s most important for everyone to realize that choking is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate action. This is not the time to worry about etiquette. Don’t let the person in trouble leave the room embarrassment. Many people who die from choking made the mistake of going to the rest room to suffer in private.

Ask the victim if he or she is choking. If the person can’t answer, the obstruction is life-threatening. Call 911 or another emergency service.

* If the person is choking but also can cough or make sounds don’t intervene–yet. This indicates a partial obstruction. He or she can still breathe and will most likely be able to cough up the object. However, if the object does not come up in a minute, then call for emergency help.

* If the person can’t make a sound, this means the throat and airway are totally blocked. Without oxygen, brain damage occurs and the person can die in three to four minutes. Immediate first aid action must be taken. (See “The Heimlich Maneuver” at right.)

How to Prevent Choking

Choking can be prevented if you know what to do.

1. Practice safe eating habits: Take small bites; chew slowly and thoroughly. Swallow before taking another bite.

2. If something is too chewy or large to swallow, spit it out rather than attempting to swallow it. Be aware that meat and bagels are common causes of choking in adults.

3. Avoid laughing or talking when eating. Don’t inhale through the mouth while chewing.

4. Review the list of foods that cause choking in children. Never offer food to young children without parent’s permission. Always closely supervise young children when they are eating, and never let them run or play while eating.

5. Always sit down while eating ; never at Iying down.

The lifesaving Heimlich maneuver is now recognized by all medical and health organizations as the approved way to aid a choking victim. The life you save by doing the Heimlich maneuver could be that of a friend, loved one, or even your own.

For best results, take a first aid Cross given by the American Red Cross.

The Heimlich Maneuver

Stand behind the person. wrap your arms around his or her waist. Make a fist with: one hand and place thumb side against the abdomen above the navel but below the ribs. Grab your fist with he other hand and give quick, upward thrusts into the abdomen. Repeat until the object is expelled or the victim loses consciousness. lf it doesn’t come Out quickly, have someone call an ambulance.

You can even perform the maneuver on yourself if you are alone and choking. Place first, thumb side against your abdomen, just below your rib cage, and cover it with your other hand. Push up and in with a quick motion. or, you can lean over a chair back or railing and press your abdomen over it with a quick thrust. Don’t lean on anything that could hurt you.

This procedure can be used on young children but not on infants under 1 year of age. Abdominal injury could result if the thrusts are toe strong.

Rage: Don’t Let It Get The Best Of You

rdligtEmily is a pretty laid-back person, but yesterday she had a major tantrum over a minor happening,. At least her friend Evan thought it was minor. He was supposed to pick her up at 7 o’clock for a party, but didn’t get to her house until 7:20. By then she had peeled off her nail polish, changed her shirt twice, and laid several curses upon his head. When he finally came, she would not talk to him for almost an hour.

Evan didn’t realize he had hit a vulnerable spot that triggered Emily’s anger. But to Emily it was so obvious, it never occurred to her that it might need explaining. When Emily was a little girl, her mother had often kept her waiting while she finished dressing or searched for her keys or redid her lipstick. Her mother laughed at her own disorganization, and she scolded Emily for being upset. Emily interpreted her mother’s actions as purposeful rejection. By the time she was a teenager, she felt that anyone who kept her waiting was also rejecting her.

Not understanding what triggered her anger almost cost Emily and Evan a beautiful friendship. They discussed what had happened, though, and Emily realized that Evan was not trying to do her harm. Knowing her sensitivities helped her keep her feelings from getting out of control. It also made her aware of other people’s triggers: What sets off one person may not bother another person at all.

Are You Blameless?

What makes people react differently when they are angry? Temperament, self-esteem, and culture, to name a few.

Temperament: Babies are born with different tolerances to stress. It’s not a matter of being good or bad, so they shouldn’t be blamed for their reactions. Some babies are naturally tense and supersensitive to light, sound, pain, and hunger. They may cry a lot and are difficult to comfort. Other babies are calm, handle change without a whimper, and are easy to comfort. The difficult child’s anger may have a hair trigger. The easy child, on the other hand, may absorb a lot of insult before he or she becomes angry. Which are you?

Self-esteem: Being confident is a great defense against anger. Sam, for example, is very sure of himself as a baseball player. He’s fast, graceful, steady, accurate, and calm under fire. When his pitcher hollered at him for missing an easy fly ball, Sam shrugged his shoulders and apologized. “Sorry, my mistake,” he said. “No big deal,” the pitcher answered. “Forget it.” No fights. No hard feelings. No anger trigger.

But Sam was not at all confident about his mastery of English. Nouns and verbs are a mystery to him. So, when a classmate laughed at Sam when he said, “Me and Joe went to the concert Saturday,” he clenched his fists and told her, “Thanks, Miss Perfect. Too bad your mouth is getting as big as your hips.” She had triggered his anger, and he reacted with a remark that was sure to push her buttons, since her weight was a sensitive area to her. What’s a vulnerable area for you?

Culture: Sex, race, nationality, and other cultural factors influence what triggers a person’s anger. An American teacher, for example, may be insulted if a student does not look him in the eye; a Japanese teacher may be angered if he does. Which custom in your culture evokes approval or anger?

Know Thyself

There is nothing wrong with feeling angry. In fact, anger can be a helpful emotion. It may let you know that someone has done you a wrong and motivate you to right that wrong. Anger can be a problem if you don’t recognize it or if it always sends you into a rage.

The first step in getting control over your emotions is to become aware that you are feeling anger. It helps if you recognize your body’s reactions to anger, such as stomach pains, headaches, or shortness of breath. The next step is to learn to distinguish between those things that just annoy you and those things that make you absolutely furious. Finally, it’s healthy to figure out why some things trigger strong anger. For example, a friend who brags may make you feel stupid. A teacher who doesn’t call on you may make you feel unimportant. Other triggers may make you feel powerless, uninteresting, guilty, or out of control.

Here are some common triggers. To see how they affect you, number them from 1 (triggering a mild reaction) to 10 (bringing on a rage).

* Someone tells on you.

* Your friends do something without you.

* Someone borrows something of yours and breaks it.

* You do something nice, and no one comments on it.

* A friend criticizes your appearance.

* Your friend lies to you.

* Another student interrupts you in a class discussion.

* A classmate repeatedly asks you for the answers to homework questions.

* A student brags about her grades.

* Your parent hollers at you in front of your friends.

Anger is an emotion we all experience. Different things trigger this strong emotion in us, and sometimes it can get out of control. The trick is to know that we can be in control. It starts with recognizing what triggers our anger. An extra benefit is that we also learn what triggers our good feelings. Bullseye!