Friday, 21 August 2009

PANORAMA: Medisense

SINCE time immemorial, man has been battling with diseases. In days gone by, our forefathers depended solely on herbs and animal parts to make potions, poultices e.t.c to fight them.
The diseases they did not understand they resorted to ostracisation of the patients. With the modernity came orthodox medicine, which believes that diseases are caused by germs and must be combated with drugs, surgery e.t.c.. This idea is what the pharmaceutical industry is founded on. The herbal practitioners maintain that there is an herb for every disease. It gets to a point when one gets confused on what side to choose when one is in need of treatment. When I am down with fever, I am to decide between taking panadol and agbo iba. Before choosing, it is best to understand what drugs truly are. It can be traced back to Paraclesus, the father of toxicology who said that all substances are either medicines or toxins. Those that cure are medicines while the ones that are harmful ate toxins. The word ‘drug’ is a new word for an old thing. While herbs are natural, the orthodox drugs, which include tablets, injections, syrups, ointments are chemically processed. But the orthodox drugs most times derived from plant extracts, hormones and so on. They are just chemically synthesized and formulated. For example, chloroquine ad quinine tablets used for treating malaria was derived from the quinine tree, even the injections given to infertility patients are from animals. They both have their side effects (i.e. effects that occur later on while or after using a drug even if the disease is treated). The natural herb, if not prescribed by a trained herbal practitioner pose a problem because they do not have a particular dosage. Those who drink scent-leaf (effirin, nchaanwu) juice, beware because excess of it wipes off red blood cells! Pharmaceutical drugs especially when abused and lead to a host of problems too. CHOOSING between orthodox and herbal medicine, it is actually your choice. Nonetheless, understand that the body has an in-built mechanism to heal itself (check out when you cut yourself) and to protect yourself itself from the ever-present germs. When the germs overpower, it succumbs to the disease giving out symptoms caused by the poisons of these germs. But before you take any drug, except in severe cases, try to remember that most diseases have an underlying cause. Unfortunately, because of the mindset of taking something (thanks to adverts) once we feel pains, headache or weakness, we rush to buy over–the–counter drugs or agbo. These drugs whether orthodox or herbal are non living, so taking them without purpose would land you into other health problems. Most people are experts at manipulating and suppressing their body systems. CHECK your lifestyle and health habits: Do you eat well? Do you sleep well? Are you fit? Do you drink clean water? If you answer no to of these questions, then the body cannot be blamed for the SOS signals it sends for its unjust treatment. Even when you fall ill, take responsibility when you seek medical help. There are many options of treatment today, find out the root cause of the disease, read the directions of the drugs given, be free to ask questions. I remember a time when I was down with typhoid fever, the doctor prescribed the usual, antibiotics (ciporfloxacine) and iron(blood) tablets. But on reading the manual I found out that the particular brand of ciprofloxacine I bought warned that it should not be used with any iron tablet. Imagine! Finally, take time to rest and allow the body to repair itself. Nature does her work slowly but she does it well.

Testimony Time
I WAS ecstatic when I heard the name of the lone survivor of the Yemeni plane crash, Baya Bakari. The way Western media on-air personalities pronounced the name sounded like Bayo Bakare to me. That made her a Nigerian. It was not until I saw the name in print that I confirmed she is not one of us. But no matter, I was still over-joyed and happy for her and her father (mother perished in the crash with 151 others). What made me so happy with such a distant event was its sheer miraculous nature before the whole world. The 12-year old girl was, according to reports, found clinging to debris in the sea two hours after the crash. She was promptly rescued with minor injuries. According to her, an unseen hand or force held her to the debris of the plane and she heard voices around her on the sea but saw no one. Now what’s my drift? Lately I’ve been thinking about our testimony manners in churches. Testimony as part of worship service became fashionable with the Pentecostals. It has now pervaded conservative Christendom; which is good. But like most good things, it is also undergoing mutation of the pejorative type. Testimony used to be an opportunity to share news of something remarkable God did for the testifier. It may be miraculous or ordinary but the common denominator is that the testifier would be confessing his powerlessness and God’s grace. This is no longer always so. Now, some testifiers come out for the ego trip. Others testify tongue-in-cheek. They couch their testimony in so much indirect references that you begin to wonder whether they were forced out in the first place. You’ve come to share the story of what God did for you and you go: “I had something I was believing God for and bla…bla…bla…, He did it for me. Praise the Lord, alleluia!” You leave more questions than answers in the minds of the congregation members. THERE may be a place for discretion (I hit a jackpot of $5 million); or shame (got healed of an STD). But in such cases, one needn’t bother to go for public testimony. It is surely disrespectful of the congregation for one to couch one’s testimony in parables. Knowledgeable ministers of God advise that miracles in the making shouldn’t be testified about until they are fulfilled. By this they mean that the fear of church witches (!) is the beginning of wisdom. Those ones may hear the thing and move to abort the unfinished business. But who can say “No” when God has said “Yes”? The other terrible manners about testimonies concern the clergy. Most times testimony time is virtually the only church activity that makes the ministers time-conscious. And that is because it is the only time they are not behind the mic. The times they are behind the mic, it is usually “as the Spirit leads.” They make such restrictive rules for testimony (no singing; straight to the point; one minute each) that shy people prefer to stay out entirely. Who told ministers that the congregation is enamoured of everything they say from the pulpit or alter? And who said it is only testimony sessions that should be timed? Apart from the subtle insult it represents for the testifier and the congregation, we can hazard a guess as to how The One above views this impudence of Man. In Malachi 1:8 He challenges us to give to our governor what we dish to Him and see whether they’d be acceptable. Can the moderator of a town hall meet hush somebody praising the handwork of the governor in the governor’s presence? COMING back to the Bakari girl’s divine rescue, her father gave an exemplary testimony confessing to his daughter’s “timid” and “fragile” nature. This makes the divine intervention more understandable. But hear the French International Cooperation Minister, Alain Joyandet: “She is a courageous young girl. She really showed an absolutely incredible physical and moral strength.” Sounds like the Nigerian coach talking about the Damman Miracle of 1989.

Everybody is free to wear sunscreen
(Strictly for the young)
BY TOSYN BUCKNOR The first time I listened to Everybody Should Wear Sunscreen by Baz Luhrman, I thought to myself, “What sound advice this is!” I suppose anyone can sit down and give you nuggets of wisdom, but every line here seemed to make sense. And if only one could take it all in and apply it! Okay, it starts off funny, and straight away, you know this is not a song that sits on its own high horse! But each line, each phrase, each paragraph, comes with sound advice. For example, when he says, “Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth”,“You are not as fat as you imagine.” One of the reasons I try to do almost everything my spirit and soul lead me to do, is because I do not want to wake up when I am 50, and regret not doing something. A lot of times, we forget how powerful we are, what strength lies in being young. The mind stays active forever i believe, as long as you keep stimulating it; but the body will shut down. So while the mind and the body are active, why not give them something to talk about? Oh, and this is so right. When I look at pictures of myself in secondary school or university, I really have to ask myself, ‘Kini Big Deal?’. Because back then, I might have thought I was not looking great, but the pictures tell me I was fab. And no, you are never as fat as you imagine! “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Every. Single. Day. It is not that easy oh. Not just something you are uncomfortable with, but one thing, every day that totally scares you? Wow! I have tried to obey this instruction. It might be saying stuff that scares me, doing something that scares me, or going somewhere that scares me. But I broaden that; I do not focus on ‘fear’. Sometimes, I do one thing that I would normally not do, or react in some way I would usually not react. “Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours”. Never. Be. Reckless. With. Peoples. Hearts. And please o ye people, Do not allow other people be reckless with yours. For we allow people have control over us. We allow them hurt us, we allow them break our hearts, we allow them make us feel small, we allow them do anything. But if we do not give them that power, then they cannot take it! But remember, don’t go around hurting people either. “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” Jealousy just kills you, you know. It is like this black ball in your heart that won’t move. And when you let go, you realise that you don’t know why you took yourself through all that. And as for the race being only with yourself that is the ultimate truth my friends. I mean, why are you trying to be richer than... as opposed to rich? Prettier than... as opposed to Pretty? Why do you want to get the promotion before... Instead of just getting your promotion. Life might be a competition and a race, but it is with only yourself. And here is a quote I live by. If I live my life according to their pace, what’s my prize in life’s meaningless race? “Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.” When you do something right, enjoy it. Then move on. When you make a mistake, rue it, then move on. Stop hanging on to every victory and every setback. Since we can never be certain, any decision we make could have gone either way, and you do not know what lies further down right? So remember, there are no good or bad or perfect decisions; just choices that work. “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft”. Since I live in Nigeria, I will say this for I firmly believe it. Live in Lagos once, Live in Abuja once. I however fear that neither city lets you go once they get a hold of you! “Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old; and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders”. We always sit around and talk about how the kids growing up now aren’t going to enjoy certain things, and are more exposed than we were. We remember NEPA fondly, and think about when coke was N20. And then we listen to our parents talk about their time. Brother, let us just say, that conversation happens from generation to generation! Respect your elders. In some situations, it is not that easy, but respect your elders. Google the song, by Baz Luhrman. Or listen to me play it from time to time… I love it and it is almost an anthem. Sound advice, even when it is from a song always helps us have some form of compass! But do something today that scares you… right now!

De-Clutter your Life
BY AGBOLADE OMOWOLE NATURE encourages clutter. When you work in an office for months, for instance, without making a conscious effort to keep your workplace clean, it will be cluttered. Clearing clutters in your environment saves you a lot of time, as you won’t bother yourself searching everywhere for an item. You can free up space quickly by shifting unwanted items. You can also remove clutters from your mind. Few decades ago, the great scientist, Albert Einstein dipped his hand into his pocket, and ransacked it, until he came up with a piece of paper where he wrote his telephone number. He doesn’t clutter his mind with information that he considered not very important. Do not forget that paper does not lose its memory. You can incorporate using a daily planner, or you can even use reminders on your mobile phone. Refresh your mind. Contemplate where you feel most relaxed — most at ease and consider why. Often it is a clear, open and airy environment with minimal distractions; somewhere you can really unwind. Most times, when you de-clutter your mind, new ideas will come. Dispose items that are not needed. Human capital development experts have discovered that there are many ways you can start de-cluttering. You can donate to charity or give unwanted stuff to other worthwhile causes; you can sell it or auction it, give it as presents (ask first!) it’s not really fair to off-load things to people who don’t really want them or perhaps are de-cluttering too! De-cluttering improves your health. De-cluttering can affect your health positively when you have less dust and more space to breathe. When your house is really clean, you can find things again and know where they are when you need them. Becoming organized can lessen unnecessary stress and allow you to feel calm rather than rushing around or getting flustered trying to locate something you have mislaid. You can be running 100 metres dash in your room when it is messed up. Save your time by de-cluttering. Furthermore, health problems can be caused by clutter. Take for instance, mosquitoes breed in swampy areas. Respiratory problems such as allergy induced asthma can be caused by clutter it makes breathing difficult. The term suffocating is quite appropriate to describe this! De-clutter your house. There may be some materials that you don’t really need. You may check your wardrobe for clothes that are worn out and shoes that you don’t wear again, and every other item that you are not using often. You can check every nook and cranny of your house for things you can’t get rid of that, because it is still in good shape, and dispose it. Ask yourself the right question. When you ask the right question, you will get the right answer. “What am I keeping this for?” Investigate the reason, and then ask yourself “Can I live without this item?” If you can live without it, what are you waiting for? Dispose it. Do you really need 20 shoes and 50 shirts, 15 televisions and seven diaries? Answered truthfully. Put your workplace in order. A business consultant once counseled that, “ dirty environment is the first sign of acute disorganisation. Routinely de-clutter your office, or you can pay someone to do it for you. At a seminar recently, I was told about a woman who earns a living from folding clothes for busy business executives. Clutters can lead to emotional problems. Have you ever felt confused on what to do when you have a hundred and one thought flowing through your mind? When you are thinking of too many things at the same time, you may begin to forget some other things. There are times that you can get confused because of clutters. You have to de-clutter your mind. There is an emotional burden and responsibility that comes with the ownership of too many things. Additionally the many decisions that need to be made to clear clutter may be weighing heavily on the person’s mind. You might have spent a lot of money to purchase an item, but if you don’t really need it, dispose it. Meditation helps to remove clutters from the mind. Here is a simple meditation exercise. Go to a serene environment and sit on your two legs or lie on your back. Then focus on a single thought. This may seem hard the first time you try it. Breathe in air through your mouth for about eight seconds. With your mouth closed, breathe out slowly through your nostrils. You can do this for 15 minutes before you sleep at night, or early in the morning. Removing clutter is easy. To de-clutter your life, do every thing orderly. Don’t forget that success has an order. There are some steps that people take that make them successful. Take for instance, Michael Joseph Jackson started singing at the age of five. His success recipe include: hardwork, persistence, giving and being passionate. More about that next week.

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