Caring for your loved one
Depending on the condition, a person may be stuck in bed for most of the day with limited ability to engage in simple tasks, such as cooking, bathing and dressing. The first step of caretaking is making sure your partner’s basic physical needs are being met. You may need to rearrange your work schedule and other responsibilities so you can prepare meals, draw warm baths and help your loved one get dressed.
And remember, you don’t have to do it perfectly—and you don’t have to do it all yourself. Ordering takeout or hiring cleaning help is acceptable, as is asking friends and relatives to help. Avoid getting overwhelmed by the daily tasks. Consider designating one day a week for laundry and cooking meals that can be frozen and reheated later.
In addition, if your partner’s illness requires frequent trips to see a doctor or stays in the hospital, you may find yourself spending a lot of time in unfamiliar environments. Getting to know the staff at the medical facilities by being friendly and considerate may help make the experience more comfortable for everyone.
One dilemma you may face is whether to stay overnight at a hospital with your spouse for an extended time or to leave him or her and sleep at home. That’s a personal decision and one that includes considering your own ability to get the rest you need in that environment so you’ll have the energy to cope with your new responsibilities.
Besides being there for your loved one physically, you may have to figure out how to best communicate with him or her. There will likely be costly medical bills, as well as decisions regarding treatment and taking time off from work that need to be discussed. Your spouse may be reluctant to talk about such matters and may be unwilling or unable to deal with them on top of the health issues. This may leave a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders. If he or she is able, perhaps you can ask your spouse if there is a time you can set aside to discuss these practical matters, instead of bringing them up regularly.
When it comes to expressing your concerns, you can try writing them down in a journal instead of overwhelming your spouse with them all at once. Then, you can pick and choose which ones are worth talking about.
When speaking directly to an ill loved one, try to speak in a softer tone and use “I” statements. Also, don’t forget to inquire about how he or she feels. It’s important to treat your partner like an adult, even if the rest of your duties feel more like mothering.
Compromising may be much more efficient than trying to tell your partner what to do and will help them to rebuild some of the confidence they may have lost in recent days.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for outside help. Maybe there is another family member or a friend who is skilled at finances and can help with the paperwork. Or perhaps your best friend is an amazing cook—take her up on her offer for a homemade dinner.
Taking care of yourself
One of the scariest aspects of taking care of a sick spouse is not knowing how long it will be until things get back to normal or wondering if they ever will. Also, you’ll probably be coping with a flurry of mixed emotions, from worry to stress to guilt, making it easy to get overwhelmed.
With the patient not being able to work, it may be up to you to provide for the household. However, this may be difficult if you also need to be there for your significant other 24/7. Financial problems in addition to an ill partner can place a tremendous amount of stress on an individual.
This is why it’s crucial that you learn to take care of yourself and manage your mental well-being. It may feel like you have no time for yourself, but it’s important to consider what small things you can do to employ self-care. Perhaps it’s doing deep breathing in bed for 10 minutes in the morning or at night, finding time to take a short walk outdoors or watching your favorite TV show when you get home in the evening.]]>
2. Get Your Share of Protein.
I’m not a protein lover, but instead tend to gravitate toward foods that are high in carbs. Might be time to change that. Protein is important – especially now. Why? It helps your body to produce immune cells, which in turn help fight infection. Try to incorporate a little protein each time you sit down for a meal: good sources include fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, lentils, beans and tofu. An added bonus is that many of these foods also contain valuable infection-fighting zinc and magnesium.
3. Minimize Stress.
This is your body on stress: Certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released. Your heart rate accelerates like a racing engine. Your digestion slows. Major muscle groups get a burst of blood flow, giving them energy and strength (hence the fight-or-flight response). Whew. That’s a lot for a body to endure. Ideally, your system’s natural relaxation response will return your body back to normal once the perceived “threat” is gone. But chronic stress? That’s another story: It can impede this response, putting lots of wear and tear on many of your body’s systems. Your immune system, for one, is sadly compromised, making it tougher to fight off germs.
4. Be Anti-Social.
While it’s true that being around friends can boost good health, now might be the time to steer clear of people – if they’re coughing or sneezing, that is. Staying three feet or more away will help keep you in the “safe zone,” away from the immediate spray of their germs. And if they want to shake your hand, try to politely circumvent the issue instead, with a slight bow, both hands pressed together in front. Who knows? You might start a whole new trend.
5. Carry Your Own Stash.
Cold and flu viruses are sneaky little critters. One way they make their way into your body is through hand-to-hand contact. Do you really know who last touched that pen at the bank, the magazine in the waiting room, that crisp new $10 bill the cashier is handing you? If you touch something that someone who is sick also touched, the bugs can be transmitted when you unknowingly touch your mouth, nose, eyes or elsewhere on your face.
Try not touching your face for a day – you’ll be surprised at how tough that can be. It’s estimated that most of us do so one to three times every five minutes, which translates to 200 to 600 times each day! It’s probably easier to carry your own pen and magazines or books, but if you do need to handle something from someone else, that’s a handy time for some hand sanitizer.
6. Get Enough Zzzz’s.
Getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can increase your susceptibility to germs. Sleep helps your body function at its optimal level, by producing protective substances that help you fight infections or inflammation.
Start by talking dirty
“Ask your partner if there was anything in Fifty Shades she’d like to try,” says Franklin Veaux of BDSM site xeromag.com. Or test the water by asking her to act passive during regular sex. If she is happy to submit, then you can experiment further.
Open the toy box
Rather than turn up with nipple clamps, encourage her to visit lovehoney.co.uk, says Magnanti. “Women prefer to start their foray into kink by shopping online because they can do so at their own pace.”
Set the scene
Play her the Fifty Shades soundtrack. “Part of the lead character’s allure in Fifty Shades is that he’s interested in the whole sensory experience of seduction,” says psychiatrist Dr Stephen Snyder.
Log on for inspiration
Watch porn together to explore BDSM. Don’t be afraid to ask: even Netmums.com found that 76% of its users log on with their partners. “The Journal of Sexual Research showed that women visualise themselves in the situation when they see porn,” says Magnanti. “Look for female-friendly porn like Pink & White productions, Kink.com and anything by the producer Anna Span.”
Test her limits
A Kinsey Institute study found that 55% of women want to be bitten during sex, so give her neck a light nip. “If she moans, tell her that she is ‘bad’ and gently tap her bum,” says Kerner. “Scientists at the Novosibirsk Institute of Medicine found this encourages more blood to flow to the genital area for a stronger orgasm.”
Establish safe words
This is critical before anyone’s wrists are tied. “The word should be something you wouldn’t normally say,” says dominatrix Mistress Absolute. Alternatively, use red, amber and green. It gives you the gradation required to take things up or down a notch, rather than simply halting proceedings.
The onus is on you: a study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that only 11% of women prefer to take control during sex games. “Hold her wrists and pin her down as you kiss,” says Kerner. “Then use your knee to part her legs. This is a very sexually dominant gesture that clearly shows her you are in charge.” It’s also the natural precursor to using restraints…
Learn the ropes
“Be careful what you tie her up with,” says Emily Dubberley, author of Friendly Fetish. “Tights seem like a good idea but the material tightens and thins. Instead, use fetish tape, velcro cuffs, ribbon ties or a tie.” Start by tying her hands above her head, so that she can see what you’re doing. Later, when you’re both more confident, tie her ankles together to restrain her entire lower body.
Master her mind
During sex, issue simple commands such as telling her how to lie. She wants to obey. “The submissive partner gives away their control in exchange for not having to worry about your pleasure,” says Mistress Absolute.
Change your name
“Create an emotional distance between sex and reality by using your last names (Mr Grey, Ms Steele, etc),” says Snyder. This lets you test the limits without affecting your relationship outside of role play situations.
To take things on a degree, issue demands outside the comfort of the bedroom, says Veaux. At first, try this in other rooms in your home. “A simple ‘go into the bedroom and wait for me’, said with confidence, is a lot sexier than the most elaborate scenario spoken with hesitation,” he says.
The rear approach
Build up to anything related to anal slowly. “Test the waters by gently rubbing the top of her bum cleavage,” says Dubberley. “If she’s ‘bucking’ her behind towards your finger, you can venture carefully downwards, starting with one finger. The golden rule: use a lot of lubricant.”
Seduce… the best friend
You’ve been close for ages and, although it’s certainly crossed your mind a few times, you’ve never felt the urge to break free from the friend zone. Until now…
Lay the groundwork First off, no fawning. “Treat her like your other mates: don’t text back straight away, don’t always be available, cut out the lingering hugs and don’t compliment her all the time,” advises Richard La Ruina, CEO of PUA Training. She wants a man, not a lapdog. Next, make a point of talking about and checking out other women while she’s around. “This shows you are a sexual being and encourages her to ask herself, ‘Why not me?’” says La Ruina. The perfect state of mind for that surprise date request.
Take her… Somewhere explicitly romantic. “Making the transition from friend to girlfriend is very hard, so you need something that’s game-changing,” says Ian Kerner, author of DSI: Date Scene Investigation. Think flowers. Think candlelit dinner. Think the most intimate table at the most prestigious local restaurant. You need to hammer home the fact that this is anything but two friends hanging out.
Seal the deal For a second date, go for the classic scary film – or even a theme park. “Adrenaline-packed dates can produce the same chemical reactions in the body as falling in love,” says dating coach James Preece. Flirt heavily and don’t be afraid to go in for the kiss. “If you don’t take the risk you’ll only ever be friends anyway,” adds Preece.
Seduce… the wallflower
You’ve noticed her around. You find her very attractive. If only she’d drag her eyes from the floor when speaking she’d be even more of a catch…
Lay the groundwork Slowly slowly getty girly. “The secret here is patience and time,” says La Ruina. Make a real effort to have long conversations in which you attempt to get to know and connect with her. Then, once you’ve built up a bond, give her a peck on the cheek in greeting, or put your arm around her when you cross the road. “She might not jump on you, but the fact that she is comfortable with you doing these things should be enough of a green light,” says La Ruina.
Take her… Somewhere the spotlight won’t be on her. “You want a place where you can stroll with lots of eye contact and talk about something other than yourselves,” says Kerner. A museum, art gallery, or even the zoo are all good bets, as there’s little chance of the conversation running dry.
Seal the deal She might take a few dates to open up, so be patient. Don’t stop smiling, since she’ll likely be nervous, and continue your assault of enquiry about every aspect of her life. “Take charge of the date and let her know you are genuinely interested in everything she has to say,” says Preece. Things proceeding nicely? “Can I kiss you?” is a clichéd but near unbeatable line – and never better deployed than with a lady who needs bringing out of her shell.]]>
2) Use less stuff. Do you really need those dryer sheets? Or the umpteenth “miracle” cream just taking up space in the medicine cabinet? Go back to basics by figuring out what you use need on a daily basis, and chuck the rest. Save your fancy makeup for the evening out. And whenever you can, pick fragrance free or go without the smelly stuff. (Most fragrances are loaded with phthalates. Mmmm.) Also, treat the plastic you own more carefully — never heat plastic in the dishwasher or microwave (pop food out of the container and handwash the sippy cups). I find that having to hand-wash stuff becomes its own reason not to buy more plastic!
3) Replace as you go. Instead of tossing everything out at once, replace items as they run out or wear out with safer ones. When that non-stick pan begins to show wear, replace it with an enameled or a cast-iron pan instead. When the coffee maker starts to sputter, think about replacing it with a French press to avoid heating plastics every time you brew a cup. And when all those plastic food containers show stains, substitute glass containers with BPA-free lids. Lastly, when you need a new vacuum, buy one with a HEPA filter to reduce both allergens and toxins in the dust.
4) Enlist help. Tell friends and family that for the baby shower, holidays and birthdays you would like “green” gifts that help your family to detox your home. Help them pick suitable toys through a registry or just a note with a list of things you’d prefer they get for your child or home. They may even want your research so they can make their own positive changes! (Or they may grumble and say you’re nuts, but really, do you want all those loud, annoying plastic gizmos?) And make your friends and family leave their shoes near the door (or better yet, the garage), which really reduces tracked-in toxins and pesticides.
5) Scrounge a bit. Keep tabs on your local parents’ list serv or check out yard sales, book sales, and thrift stores for nicer items and used books. A little quick action in response to a post from a parent selling a premium toy can save a lot of money! (Our oh-so-fancy wooden Svan highchair came used off our neighborhood listserv for less than half the price of a new one.) Check ebay and Craigslist as well for deals on a particular item you covet.
6) Prioritize. Can’t afford to go all-organic? Just pick the dirty dozen (a list of the most pesticide-heavy fruits and vegetables), plus milk and peanut butter, and buy those organically. (Dairy, berries, apples, peanuts and potatoes are the worst.) Or start with cleaning supplies, which can be made simply with baking soda and vinegar or other homespun recipes. Skip convenience foods and more processed foods, which contain less nutrition, are far more likely to have harmful preservatives and additives, and are less likely to be organic. Buying food from the edges of the supermarket (vegetables, fruit, dairy, and breads) will save you money and keep you safer and healthier as well. Besides, cooking with children is great fun, and teaches measurements, flavors, and how to help mom.
7 Think ahead. When you go bargain hunting, think about what your child will need over the next few years, not just today. In thrift stores, I look for clothes that are like-new and good labels that are two, or even three, sizes ahead of where Maya is today. She’ll get there all too soon! And for toys, I invest in really nice toys if they will facilitate open-ended play that will enable them to grow with her – wooden blocks, imagination starters like animals, and cardboard puzzles that are images now and a puzzle later. Hand puppets and finger puppets are wonderful ways to learn about animals, and lead to fun. Dress-up clothes can come from thrift stores around Halloween, when the costumes are plentiful. And even baby rattles can be kept for the box of musical instruments, or you can buy shakers that double as gorgeous rattles for baby.
8) Air it out. It’s free and easy to roll down the window in your car for a minute or two whenever you start driving, to air out the VOCs (or volatile organic compounds, as in paints) emitted by all the plastics in cars, as well as the flame retardants in your kiddo’s car seats. It’s also a good idea to open your windows at home when you can to let the house breathe a little, and to run cold water from your kitchen tap for 10 seconds before using it for cooking. (Don’t use hot tap water directly from the tap for cooking, as it can contain heavy metals from the pipes.) And skip the vinyl cover for strollers — it’s better to get a little wet than to have the baby breathing flame retardants, PVC and nasty phthalates.]]>
Go further with Fartlek
“Fartlek involves jogging for 1min 30 seconds followed by running hard for 30 seconds, and decreasing the recovery jog by 15 seconds each time. Bud Baldaro, running coach with the Great Britain cross-country team explains that you don’t need a treadmill to reap the rewards of this Fartlek-style running. “Simply pick a landmark – for example a tree, lamp-post, or phone box – and run to it hard, then jog for a few seconds until you’ve recovered,” says Bud. “Then pick another landmark and so on.” This random approach tricks your metabolism into working harder, and actually burns more fat then just running at a continuous pace.
Put the kettle on
Have a cup of coffee after training when you don’t fancy water. “While water doesn’t directly help with weight loss, it doesn’t contribute to weight gain either,” says Dr David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Centre at Yale University School of Medicine. “Coffee however, without sugar, not only contains no calories but the caffeine adds a modest calorie-burning boost to your metabolism.”
Put rest to work
Aim to get 8.5 hours’ sleep every night to stop yourself from snacking. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that students restricted to just 5.5 hours of sleep ate significantly larger amounts of high-carb snacks during their waking hours than those sleeping for 8.5 hours a night. Basically, when it comes to weight, you snooze – you lose.
So now we’ve taken a woman’s satisfaction out of the equation, let’s deal with your problem. “It’s a confidence issue,” says Emily Dubberley, author of Brief Encounters: a woman’s guide to casual sex (Vision). “Regardless of size, some men are simply more inclined to be happy with what they’ve got and these are the men who are usually more relaxed in bed and more fun. Guys who feel inadequate are self-conscious and that shows during sex.” How to up your confidence? Use these tips:
Lose the pad
That bit of extra flesh just above your pubic bone is hiding your penis under a fat-based cloak. When you’re overweight, fat is deposited at the base of the penis, making your penis look smaller and making it more difficult to penetrate your partner as deeply. Work off that unsightly flesh cloak with regular exercise and you could increase the length of your penis by up to an inch.
Trim your hair
Pubic hair is another cloak that hides your pride and joy. Trim the hair around the base of your penis and not only will you expose more of the shaft, you’ll make it more enjoyable for your good lady to provide you with oral pleasure.
Use Durex’s Play Vibrations
It’s a cock ring with a difference – a tiny little vibrator is attached, which you can position to stimulate her clitoris (i.e. so it’s on the top of your penis if you’re doing it missionary-style; on the bottom, near your testicles, if from behind). This works as a fantastic distraction – the sensation is so intense she wouldn’t notice if your penis was half the size it is
Play in the shallows
Only the first inch of a woman’s vagina has many nerve endings in it – most are housed in her vaginal lips and her clitoris. The further inside you go, the less localised sensation she has. “By focusing your efforts in the shallow part of her vaginal canal you’ll maximise stimulation to her nerve endings,” says Spurr. “This is the area that gives women most pleasure.”
The Colette Chuda Environmental Fund was initially established to bridge the gap between work being conducted in environmental health research and the pediatric oncological and hematological communities. Our focus was the causation of childhood cancers in relation to environmental exposures.
Prior to 1991, little was known about the causation of many childhood cancers. Many scientists concurred that genetic susceptibility played a major role. Today, we understand that most cancers result from the interactions of genetic susceptibilities and environmental exposures. Here’s an eye-opener: The vast majority of the 85,000 chemicals used in the U.S. have never been tested for toxicity to people.
This means we don’t know the safety of most of the chemicals in the products that surround us every day. We do know that early life exposures to harmful substances can affect children and even affect their health decades later.
Given the limited resources available today for new initiatives, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences under the direction of Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., is supporting research in every way possible to provide us with reliable information on the health effects of environmental exposures. Dr. Birnbaum states, “Because children are still developing, they can be more vulnerable than adults to the health effects of environmental contaminants. That’s why research on children’s health is a priority for NIEHS. We want to learn how to prevent diseases such as cancer, autism and obesity by changing our environment.”
Mary Gant who has served NIEHS as a liaison between the government agency and Congress for 25 years compares the rising incidence of childhood cancers and believes “the increase in the incidence of childhood cancer between 1999 and 2008 shows clearly that we need to increase our efforts in preventing cancer by understanding how environmental triggers coupled with genetic susceptibilities can initiate or promote cancer in our children.”
In my memoir I reveal the tremendous emotional impact that Colette’s diagnosis had on our family. “When children are stricken with cancer you fight for their lives. Your heart grows cold at the thought that they might die. The battle you wage is equal to all the world wars that have ever been fought. To see children clinging to their mother and father for life, to gaze into their eyes and see hope dwindling… to feel their confusion when words can no longer be uttered… to watch as trust, the very bond that glues them to our hips, slowly slips away. It is at these moments that you wish you had never been born, never to bear witness to such cruelty. As parents, we believed intuitively that something in the environment triggered our daughter’s cancer.”
Today, we have made tremendous progress thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences which in 1998 established eight Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers to explore ways to reduce children’s health risks from environmental factors.
Dr. Philip Landrigan, a longtime colleague and founding member of Healthy Child Healthy World, was one the investigators to receive a grant to establish one of these centers at Mt. Sinai Medical College in New York. Recently I had the opportunity to get his viewpoint on the progress being made towards prevention.