Saturday, June 28, 2014

Over 100 bloggers!

As a writer, I am fortunate to know many other writers - and several of them have blog, sites, or projects of their own. So today, I wanted to share with you three that I like. I hope I'm not hurting any feelings by not writing about all the blogs I like, but there would be so many and I'd still accidentally leave some out.

Jennifer Fink, a nurse, health writer, and mom to four boys started a new venture last year, She has great stuff on the issues surrounding raising boys. In my opinion, it's worth reading even if you don't have a son or your sons are grown up. I know some of her posts have made me stop and think about certain issues.

Monica Bhide is a food writer and a great all around person. Her blog talks about food, writing about food, and life in general. She is the author of a few cookbooks, including Modern Spice and The Everything Indian Cookbook.

Moving over to writing and earning money writing, Kelly James Enger's blog is chock full of great advice. Called Dollars and Deadlines, Kelly's posts are helpful for both beginning and experienced writers. Being a professional writer, working for yourself means that you have to make all the decisions yourself too. Sometimes, you need someone like Kelly to tell you the obvious (at least I do) or to explain the more complicated.

And here is a list of bloggers who were participating in this year's blogathon - which is almost over!

  1. Nick DiUlio Twenty Pounds Of Headlines 
  2. Jennifer Allen Pierced Wonderings 
  3. David Allen David Allen in Catalonia 
  4. Lois Alter Mark Midlife at the Oasis 
  5. Karen Bannan Natural as Possible Mom 
  6. T.A. Barnhart Carpe Bucko 
  7. Pat Blumer patblumer 
  8. Sue Ann Bowling Homecomingbook 
  9. Deborah Brauser Travel Browsing with Deb 
  10. Beverly Burmeier Going on Adventures 
  11. Margarette Burnette Coupons and Kids 
  12. Susan Caba Resale Evangelista 
  13. Caren Chesler The Dancing Egg 
  14. Doug Glenn Clark Author with Guitar 
  15. Julie Cleveland Blue Morning Expressions Bluprint 
  16. Katie Coakley Katie on the Map 
  17. Tammy Petty Conrad tammyyoga 
  18. Damage Control Damage Control Radio 
  19. John Cooke CookeCapeMay 
  20. Brandee Crisp Never Pity The Past 
  21. Ruth Curran Cranium Crunches: The Quest to Find my Keys 
  22. Katie Dancause TLC: The Lactating Catholic 
  23. Mikaela D’Eigh La Belle Dame de Merci 
  24. Laura Depta Depta Being Depta 
  25. Jackie Dishner Phoenix Living on the Cheap 
  26. Kristen Fischer Every Last Breath 
  27. Kevin Flavin Carlisle Group 
  28. Barb Freda Babette Feasts 
  29. Laura French Words Into Action 
  30. David Geer David Geer Talks Tech, Take Two 
  31. Kristen Gillette Adult Ballerina Project 
  32. Jenna GlatzerHot Diggity! 
  33. Reyna Gobel Graduation Debt 
  34. Jennifer Goforth Gregory The Content Marketing Writer 
  35. Natasha Golinsky Next Level Nonprofits 
  36. Sandra Gordon 
  37. Debra Gordon Debra Gordon 
  38. Carol Graham Battered Hope 
  39. Yael Grauer Yael Writes 
  40. Rose Green Drop 50 Fast 
  41. Shihaam H Misplaced Indulgences 
  42. Holly Hammersmith Keeping a Healthy Home and Lifestyle 
  43. Elizabeth Hanes RN2Writer 
  44. Heather harris Heather Harris 
  45. Jennifer Harris Ponderings of an Elect Exile 
  46. Christina Hernandez Sherwood Christina Hernandez Sherwood 
  47. Megan hicks Life, the Universe, and Everything 
  48. Joan Hocky grace and dirt 
  49. Lisa Hubbell Landguppy Productions 
  50. Leah Ingram Suddenly Frugal 
  51. Kelly James-Enger Dollars and Deadlines 
  52. Gauri Kekre Mind Brew 
  53. Amanda Klenner Natural Living Mamma 
  54. Alice Knisley Matthias 
  55. Nancy Koerbel Settled Work 
  56. Megan Kopp Time. Travel. Trek. 
  57. Elizabeth Kricfalusi Tech for Luddites 
  58. Jody Kristina Wolfpack Lovin 
  59. Nicky LaMarco Freelance Writing 4 Beginners 
  60. Marla Lawrence bpnurse 
  61. Christina Le Beau Spoonfed: Raising kids to think about the food they eat 
  62. Annie Logue The Root of All 
  63. Sarah Ludwig Parenting by Trial and Error 
  64. Kirsten Madaus Farm Fresh Feasts 
  65. Katy Manck BooksYALove 
  66. Alana Mautone Ramblin’ with AM 
  67. Jen Miller Notes from a Hired Pen 
  68. Gwen Moran Biziversity 
  69. Billie Noakes The BillieGram 
  70. Anne Noble Mac’s Musings 
  71. Holly Ocasio Rizzo California Wildwoman 
  72. Holden Page Holden Page 
  73. Andrea Payan Mrs Payan Reads 
  74. Michele Phillips Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans 
  75. Jennie Phipps What Freelance Success Says 
  76. Jaya Powell Jaya Wrote This 
  77. Sreeja Praveen The Alter Ego 
  78. Shalini R Tale of Two Tomatoes 
  79. Michelle Rafter WordCount: Freelancing in the digital age 
  80. Kate Reilly Kathleen M. Reilly 
  81. Meredith Resnick Reflections on Narcissism: Surviving the Self-Involved 
  82. Meredith Resnick The Writer’s [Inner] Journey 
  83. Corinne Rodrigues From 7Eight 
  84. Pia savage courting destiny 
  85. Joyce Schmalz The Skinny Pear 
  86. Damita Shanklin Damita’s Life 
  87. Irene B. Smithi 
  88. Randy Southerland Southwrite 
  89. Vidya Sury Your Medical Guide 
  90. Darci Swisher He Eats What I Make 
  91. Jean Thilmany upanddownadoption 
  92. Vilissa Thompson The World Through the Eyes of Ms. V 
  93. Lori Tripoli Bashful Adventurer 
  94. Marcia Layton Turner Association of Ghostwriters 
  95. Paul Vachon Vachon’s Curiosity Shop 
  96. Paula Vergara Paula Vergara 
  97. Marijke Vroomen Durning Marijke: Nurse Turned Writer  (that's me!)
  98. Rebecca L. Weber Backstory 
  99. Susan Weiner Investment Writing 
  100. Melissa Willis Ever Growing Farm 
  101. Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski My Life with Riley 
  102. Lindsay Woolman Reasons to Live - 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Have I read anything you've written?

When people find out that I'm a health writer, one of the first questions I'm usually asked is "Do you write for magazines?" or "Have I read anything you've written?" The first question is easy - yes, I have. The second one, I'm never really sure what to answer. It's possible that you may have read something I wrote without knowing it.

Much of what I write isn't bylined. That means it doesn't say "By Marijke Vroomen Durning" under the title or at the end. There are several reasons for this. I may be hired to write content for a site, as I do for Sepsis Alliance. I may write brochures or newsletters for a client that are either online or in print. For one client, I summarize medical studies for physicians and while I did have my byline on those pieces, since I do several a week they were pretty well all you could find if you Googled my name. This isn't so helpful if I'm trying to market myself as a health writer for the general public. I still write them, but now as a "staff writer." And, occasionally I'll do some ghost writing for other clients, which means I write something for which someone else takes credit. That's my least favorite type of writing. I'm completely ok with not having my name on something I've written, but to see someone else's name on my work, that's different.

But back to things I've written that people may have read. I've written for a few magazines, including Costco Connection, Alive, Montreal Home, The Quilter, and Women of Influence. For a few months last year, I wrote for There, I wrote about several things, including the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector in your home, if e-cigarettes are safe, and if your sexual identity should be part of the demographic information in your medical records.

I've also written for a couple of health news services, where wrote about breaking study news, such as how amputations related to diabetes complications were going down in numbers, and obesity may raise the risk of migraines. I've also written for popular sites that want fast, punchy, friendly pieces, such as homework tips for children with ADHD, and why practicing fire drills at home is essential.

But not everything is about coping with or preventing illnesses. Sometimes I have a bit of fun or I reflect on things, like with this article/essay, Every Patient Has a Story. I've also written some funny pieces for some nursing sites that were a nice break from the heavier health and medical news.

So, have you read something I've written? It's entirely possible but we may never know.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Crafts are good for the brain

I love making things with my hands. Ever since I can remember, I've made things. I've knitted, sewed, done needle point, counted cross stitch, decorated cakes, painted, and more. Almost 25 years ago, I picked up quilting and I've never looked back. Occasionally I'll do another craft for a while, but I always come back to quilting. Over the years, I've made probably close to 200 hundred quilted pieces, from queen-sized quilts to small wall-hangings - mostly hand quilted.

Quilting relaxes me. When I get particularly anxious, it calms me down. When I get depressed, I seem to be even more creative than usual. It keeps my hands busy while I'm watching TV. If I'm in my sewing room, using my machine, I may be thinking about important issues, coming up with story ideas or sometimes, nothing at all other than the process of creating my next piece.

I also get a tremendous amount of pleasure giving my quilted items to people who I feel will enjoy them. Sometimes the recipient knows he or she is getting it, other times, it may arrive in the mail or be given during a visit. As much as they have told me they enjoyed receiving these gifts, I have enjoyed creating the pieces, with each one meant specifically for the person who received it. Maybe I get even more pleasure, come to think of it.

The cushion above was for someone who has that phrase in his email signature. It just struck me one day that I had to make it for him. The phrase pushed me to design it and I had great fun doing so. Other creations, like this birch tree wallhanging, were patterns specifically purchased for someone. In this case, for my best friend, who loves birches.

Other quilts are for special occasions (weddings, babies, etc) and some are just because I want to make them.

I've learned over the years that crafts are good for you in so many ways (other than the bank account, perhaps). For some people, having a dedicated craft adds to their social life. They get out and meet others who have similar interests. They talk about their crafts and their creations, sharing ideas, and learning new skills. The ideas you get when you think about your craft keep stimulating your mind. I know I get so many ideas just from looking around and seeing the different shapes and colors in my surroundings, from carpets to stained glass windows to gardens and bus stops.

I read an article the other day about knitting and how it was good for the brain (Why Crafting Is Great For Your Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains) so now I know this idea wasn't my imagination. I've also read articles where people who have PTSD often do better with a repetitive craft because of the repeating motion and the attention that you have to put into it to prevent errors. Although in quilting, errors can be referred to as design elements - in my world at least.

Here are a few other photos of some of my quilts. If you want to see more, you can visit my Pinterest page, where I've put a gallery of some quilts that I remembered to photograph before giving them away.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup games - highlighting the dangers of concussions?

Is the "beautiful game" causing too many concussions among its athletes, particularly the younger ones? If you're watching the World Cup, you would see how it's possible. Between heading the ball (hitting the ball with your head while it's in the air) and the players smacking heads against each other as they vie to head the ball, sometimes it's a wonder that more injuries don't happen. Head injuries can also occur if a player's head hits the ground or, less frequently, the goal post.

Obviously, head injuries are a concern. While heading the ball can be done safely if the players use the proper technique, not all who play are taught this. The CBC network ran a news piece about soccer concussions yesterday: Concussions in soccer: Neurologists raise red flag over heading hazards. The researchers say that a one-time header isn't likely to cause an obvious concussion, but there are worries about the frequency of the hits to the head.

Now, today, Canadian concussion experts have launched guidelines for concussion care in children. These guidelines are essential because of the increased risk that children have in sustaining a concussion over adults.

If your child plays soccer, it's important that you know if the coach is qualified to teach proper heading and if he or she is doing so. If not, your child should not be heading the ball. Incorrect heading can result in consequences not even noticed until several years later.

If you or someone you know has experienced a blow to the head, watch for the following symptoms. If any occur, a doctor's visit is advised:

· Headaches, nausea, or sleepiness that won't go away or get worse
· Changes in behavior, such as irritability or confusion
· Dilated pupils (pupils that are bigger than normal) or pupils of different sizes
· Trouble walking or speaking
· Vomiting
· Seizures
· Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
· Bloody or clear fluids draining from ears or nose

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Midwives save lives

Properly trained midwives can successfully lower the number of maternal deaths and injuries around the world, particularly in areas where medical help can be hard to obtain.

Pregnancy is not an illness, but it can result significant problems, including hemorrhaging, infections, and death for both mother and child. Finally a mainstream medical journal is saying that this care can be given by a midwife rather than a physician and that this care can contribute to a healthier pregnancy and delivery for many women.

According to a press release about the midwifery series, published in the Lancet,

"Approximately 90% of all maternal deaths and 99% of newborn deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where mothers and their babies receive little or no skilled care during their pregnancy or birth. But in the new series, experts estimate that if effective midwifery was offered to all women in these countries, 75% of infant and maternal deaths could be prevented over the next 15 years. They add that even if the coverage of midwifery services were increased by a quarter, the present rate of maternal deaths could be halved by 2030."

This isn't the first time the beneficial effects of midwives has been addressed in medical literature. Just last year, a published study found that women who were cared for by midwives were "less likely to give birth pre-term and need fewer obstetric interventions during childbirth."

Here is a Huffington Post piece written by Petra ten Hoope-Bender,Director of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, who is a midwife herself: Lancet Special Series On Midwifery: Women Should Be in the Heart of Decision-Making. It's an interesting piece. We now know what so many of us suspected (and knew) all along. But now we have to do something about it.

The World Health Organization has a good article on how midwifery, despite being a very old profession, is at the bottom of the hierarchy ladder - how this needs to be changed, and how midwives can help women in so many ways (More midwives needed to improve maternal and newborn survival).

Do you know any midwives? Did you have a midwife help you when you had children?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mobile clinic for marginalized Montrealers hits the streets

Making an appointment to see a doctor or a nurse can be difficult if you're not part of the system, even in Canada where medical care is supposed to be available to all Canadians. People fall through the cracks, particularly the homeless who may be unable to obtain a health insurance card. With no address, it seems like you don't exist and the resources available to you are few and far between.

Dedicated healthcare professionals have been trying to provide care to the homeless and in Montreal, the ability to offer care on the streets has just gone up a notch. Doctors of the World Canada has just launched its first free mobile clinic and they chose Montreal for this initiative. The organization already had nurses on the streets, but the nurses were limited to what they could carry in their backpack and they were literally giving care on the sidewalks. The new van has a consultation and a treatment room, allowing the nurses to provide care in privacy.

"Doctors of the World's mobile clinic will enable us to make healthcare more accessible since we'll be able to go where the needs are and reach out to the most marginalized Montrealers," explained Dr. Nicolas Bergeron, in a release. "In addition to providing basic care, the mobile clinic will make it easier to integrate excluded populations into the public health and social services network." Bergeron is president of Doctors of the World Canada. 

You can read more about the mobile clinic in their press release. This won't solve all the problems of those who are living on the streets, but it does give them an option for health care and perhaps the extra help they need to move forward.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Week 3 round-up of the 2014 blogathon

We're almost done - one more week in the blogathon. This past week brought a good variety of posts:

On Monday, I discussed cataracts, because June is Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are very common but there are some things you can do to protect your eyes that could slow down their development.

Tuesday brought a fun post for me as I introduced people to Dr. House of Cards - aka ZDoggMD - aka Dr. Zubin Damania. I posted on Twitter about this blog post and he followed me! He said there is a new episode coming up shortly.

On Wednesday, I chose to write about whooping cough because the number of people who are getting whooping cough (pertussis) is rising. And yes,  vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing whooping cough all the time, but they sure bring down the incidence and the potential for serious or fatal complications.

Thursday's post was about Dr. Oz and if you should listen to him. Well, it all depends on what he's talking about. If he's talking about one of his nonsensical magical weight loss programs, I think you should change the channel.

The next day, Friday, I addressed cyberchondria and Dr. Google. With the Internet, it's too easy to fear the worst when you are ill. The web is great for gathering information, but we need to be careful about what we find and what we believe.

And finally, on Saturday, I wrote about the economic cost of chronic pain. If you don't have chronic pain, it may be hard to understand why something like pain could be expensive, but it makes sense once you take all the different issues into account.

That was it for week three. I've gained quite a few new readers and thank you all for coming back and checking out my posts. I hope you're getting something out of them.