Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A STROKE of Luck

Friday.  June 22, 2012. 11:00 am.   My father was rushed to Mercy Hospital. He cannot move his left arm and leg.   Upon hearing the news, I immediately went to the hospital from the office.   When I arrived in the emergency room, my father looked ok and he was talking normally.  But he cannot still move the left part of his body and he said there is still numbness in his left arm, leg and face.  The doctor recommended a CT scan to check if his brain was not affected.

This is the very first time that something like this happened to my father.  And it is also his first time, in such a long time as far as he can remember (probably more than 30 years), to be admitted to the hospital.

We didn't know what my father's condition was until Saturday morning the following day when the doctor visited him.  The doctor said most of his test results were Ok except for the CT scan and his cholesterol level.  His bad cholesterol is a bit higher than the normal value.  And his CT scan displayed a blood clot in his brain.  The good news is, the blood clot was minimal so it can be treated with medications and no need for surgery.  Also, the bad cholesterol level can be reduced to normal by medication.  The doctor's only condition is that my father's blood pressure level should not anymore rise above normal.  Because of the recent blood clot, his blood pressure level must remain normal at all times to avoid the occurrence of another stroke. 

Today. June 27, 2012. 2:00pm.  My father was already discharged from the hospital.  He still has this tingling sensation in the left side of his body but he can already move his left arm and leg.  He can already sit down on his own.   When we were about to leave the hospital, my father was able to get inside the passenger vehicle from the wheelchair on his own.  As well as when we arrived home, he got off the vehicle and into the wheelchair on his own again.  We were there though watching him and being ready to catch him in case he would fall down.  His movements are still slow and shaky.   

I was really amazed at my father's will to get well as soon as he could.  Right after we wheeled him to his room last Friday, he already started teaching his left hand to move, starting with his fingers.  In just about 3 hours, he could already move his entire hand.  By Sunday, he could already touch his nose, with no fail.  This morning, he could already drink from a glass using his left hand. :-)

If only the physical therapist doctor visited him on Monday afternoon, he could have gone home yesterday, Tuesday.  But the doctor was able to visit him only yesterday, so he was discharged just today.  And what we found to be a bit funny was, the physical therapist doctor's advice as to what my father should do at home for him to recover fast, he was already doing since Friday (except for the sitting and standing as the other doctor won't let him yet).  Hence, his very fast recovery.   Just this afternoon, I asked him if he could already walk normally in two weeks.   And guess what his answer is?  He told me in a matter-of-fact way, "Less than two weeks".  I smiled.  That's the spirit.  :-D

With this new experience in my life, I have a few things to be thankful for.

1.  That, on the event last Friday, my sister decided not to go to the city center in the morning.  So, she and his boyfriend was at home when my father had the stroke.  If ever both of them were not around, I don't know how my mother could manage the situation.  She could not call for help as my father wouldn't let her leave his side and he is too heavy for her to carry outside the house.  They would both definitely be helpless.

2.  That the lavatory in the bathroom was still there.  For over a year already, I have been telling my mother to remove the damaged lavatory since it is already a bit unserviceable and is taking up space in the bathroom.   My father was taking a bath when the stroke happened.  When he sensed dizziness he leaned his hand on the wall but it slipped down into the lavatory.  When his hand gripped the lavatory which prevented him from falling down he then sat on the toilet bowl and that's when he realized he could no longer feel the lavatory he was holding. And he felt numbness all over his left body.

3.  That the emergency room of the Mercy Hospital was not busy.  My father was immediately taken cared of when he arrived at the emergency room.

4.  That our family already have new men members.  The presence of my two sisters' boyfriends and my husband, Pat, was really a great help. 

These are what I would call our four (4) STROKEs of Luck.  Though actually, it was meant to be. hehehe  :-D

And of course, I thank God for all his blessings as well as for the get-well-soon prayers said by friends and relatives.  

"There’s no quicker way for you to appreciate your life than when you come face to face with death. When you realize how thin the line that separates you from death, you will put more value on the things that matter — your family, your life purpose, your relationship to God."  
-Bo Sanchez's God Whispers

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Swish Breath Spray

Last June 5, 2012, I got a package from Unilab through my friend.  Me and some of my friends participated in a product review conducted by Unilab.  

The product I am going to try is the Swiss Breath Spray.  This is going to be my first time to use a breath spray.  Though I have at times used mouthwash.  However, I only get to use the mouthwash at home.  The container is too bulky for me to carry around even the small bottle available.  And at times I find using a mouthwash outside from home a little inconvenient because I need to use a cup or glass and I need a place to spit the liquid.  And it will also be my first time to try the Swiss brand as I am using a different brand for my mouthwash.

What attracted me to do a product review of Swish Breath Spray is that it is alcohol-free and sugar-free as compared to the other brands.   Plus the fact that it is small so it is handy to carry with me anywhere and definitely convenient to use. 

There are two refreshing variants of Swiss Breath Spray - the Arctic Chill and the Peppermint Fresh.  I started to use it last Wednesday.  First I tried Peppermint Fresh.  An hour after lunch, I sprayed 2 pumps.  I like the feel of the peppermint on the mouth as well as the smell.  About 30 minutes after, I ate a pancake.  But my breath stayed fresh.  Then at dinner, Pat and I ate fish tinola (fish stew).  And I really don't like the after taste of tinola on my mouth, as well as the smell of my breath after eating one.  So, a few minutes after I finished eating, I sprayed 1 pump of the peppermint fresh.  And it certainly helped in removing some of the after taste and my breathe smelled better.  Hmm... next time I'll try 2 pumps.  It would probably have a better result than just 1 pump.

Since I don't smoke and Pat sometimes does, I asked him to also try the breath spray.  He brought with him the Arctic Chill.  After office hours, about 20 minutes before we met, he puffed a little cigarette (1/3 of the stick) and then sprayed 3 pumps of the Arctic Chill.  When we met though, I could still smell a bit of cigarette from his breath.  I am not sure though if the Arctic Chill was not that effective or I am just sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke.  Actually, I am allergic to cigarette smoke, hehehe.   Anyway, so about 15 minutes later, I let him spray 1 pump while we waited for our dinner.  The cigarette smell on his breath was kind of overridden by the breath spray's smell. But only for about 10 minutes.

So the next day, I let him try the Peppermint Fresh.  Twenty minutes before going home, Pat puffed one cigarette then sprayed two pumps of the Peppermint Fresh variant.  When he got home, he let me smell his breath and oh, I can smell a little of the  cigarette.  Then  he sprayed again two pumps and I immediately smelled his breath.  Well, I could now smell the peppermint.  We waited for 5 minutes to check the smell.  Well, the cigarette smell returned.

Hmm.. maybe Pat could use the breath spray for emergency instant relief.  I prefer he use Peppermint Fresh.  I like its smell.  And for myself, I don't like the aftertaste of Arctic Chill.  So, I prefer to use the Peppermint Fresh.

Unilab also gave me 2 bottles of the Swiss mouthwash - 1 Peppermint Fresh and 1 Arctic Chill.    So, I got to try using the mouthwash.   Since I prefer the Peppermint Fresh variant, I tried it.  And yes, the alcohol-free was a big plus.  When I gargled the mouthwash, it didn't have much stingy sensation on the mouth as compared to the other brand.  So, I could gargle with it longer. 

In conclusion, I like the Peppermint Fresh better than the Arctic Chill.  For me, the peppermint fresh stays longer than the arctic chill.  But you may want to try it for yourself though.  Sometimes  the effect of these products depends from person to person. 

The Swiss Breath Spray is now available in supermarkets, drugstores and convenient stores nationwide.   Its suggested retail price is Php105.00.   The bottle is only 10 ml but could last for up to 100 pumps.  :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Am I In Charge?

Last May 31, 2012, I got my free book The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives that Make You Feel Alive by Brendon Burchard shipped to my house  straight from the USA. :-)

I was in the office when the book arrived and was received by my husband's niece at home.  She texted me that I have a package and it kind of looks like a book.  My first thought was, "yes! The Charge."  I was already eager to get home so I could check on the book.  Unfortunately, I arrived home late due to some appointments.  So, when I arrived home I checked the book and scanned through the pages.

The next day, I started reading the book.  From the Introduction including the message of Brendon "Out There".  Really.

I like how Brendon have written the book.  It is very simple.  Very straightforward.  Hits you where it needs to hit you.  :-)   Even for just the few pages that I have read.

Reading the Introduction page, I was like... yeah... yeah...yeah... And was like. Oh my God! It's like he knows me.  Like he can sense what I am feeling.  What I am thinking.  Well, because most of what he's talking about is what I have also experienced and some I am still experiencing. hehehe....

I am now halfway of Chapter 3.  And as what I have read so far, The Charge teaches you how to take charge of your life so you can be successful.  Living your life to the fullest.  Living your life the way you want it.

In Chapter 1, Brendon discussed about the 3 types of Life.  I never thought there is such a thing as 3 types of Life.  The 3 types of life are :

1. The Caged Life - a life when one lives either in the past or in the expectations of others.
2. The Comfortable Life -  when one is living a good life.  The house. The work. The family.  One is contented with the life he is living.  But then, when one thinks about it, something is missing.  Something is quite not right. 
3. The Charged Life - a life when one is in charge of his own life.  He takes action.  He makes meaning in his day to day activities.  His life is very colorful.  

And what I read gave me a realization that my life now is a mixture of the 3 lives.  I think I have 15% Caged Life, 15% Charged Life and 70% Comfortable Life.  I am, I would say, in my comfort zone now.  There are so many things I want to do with my life but somehow, getting out of the comfort zone just makes me feel... uhm.. uncomfortable. hehehe...  I always fear the unknown.  The, what-if-it-won't-work-what-will-happen kind of thing.   Getting married was probably, by far, the biggest decision I've ever made that got me out of my comfort zone 8 years ago.  But now, 8 years into the married life, I again feel the comfort zone settling in my life.    I am not talking about the marriage though.  I have a great marriage and I love my husband and being with him always brings joy to me.  What I am talking about is the other aspect of my life.  My dreams.  My ambitions that I want accomplished. 

So, am I in charge of my life now?  Not yet so.  As much as I wanted to.  But, I'll be getting there. I'll finish reading the book and read it all over again.  And follow as religiously as I can the steps in activating the 10 human drives, which is what the The Charge is all about.

PS.  Hmmm... Following the book would be a journey in itself that would transform my life into how I'd want it to be.  I'll probably make a series posts for this topic.  The lessons I learn from every chapter of the book and my experiences as I apply the lessons will be the content of my blogposts.  :-D

Friday, June 1, 2012

My First Photography 101 Seminar

I have been using cameras and taking photos for many years now.  I even created a photoblog last year.  But on May 11, 2012 was  my very first time to attend a Photography 101 seminar.   The Iligan Bloggers Society, Inc. organized a Photography 101 Seminar in celebration of IBS' first year anniversary and Iligan Bloggers Month in May this year.  The resource person was Bobby Timonera, an Iliganon photojournalist.

The seminar was only about four hours.  But, boy, I learned so much!   Bobby first showed us some pictures he has taken.  Then he talked about the 3 basic camera controls :  Focusing, Aperture and Shutter Speed.  He also discussed on ISO, exposure, exposure compensation,flash,histogram, and types of lenses.  What they are for and how to use them.  With each topic, we have a little hands-on photo shooting to see for ourselves what he was talking about.  

I was not able to concentrate much with the lecture though. I have to take photos for IBS' documentation of the event.  But still I got some advice from Sir Bobby that I will have to remember always.  These are :

  1. When shooting at slow speeds, always use a tripod or other means of stable support to avoid blurry pictures.  I already have a tripod.  But at times I get lazy taking them with me on trips.  So when I am shooting and then needs the tripod, I don't have it, hehehe...
  2. Do not use full manual mode in all your shooting activities for you will miss the subject or the moments you need to capture.  I sometimes use the Smart Auto in my camera settings whenever I need to take pictures fast during events. 
  3. The key element in photography is good composition.  This is something I know I got.  Though I need to practice a lot to really develop it. 
  4. To make ordinary subjects into extraordinary photos, explore other angles.   I have been trying to experiment on this. 
  5. Learn the rules but don’t be afraid to break them when the situation calls for it.  I still have to really learn the rules, hehehe...
  6. To get good pictures, move in close to the subject, except for wildlife.   This is my problem with taking photos in events.  I am naturally a shy person.  So, I still have to practice getting up close with the subjects. 
  7. Capture “decisive moments”.  Yes, I like this so much.
  8. Capture emotion.   This is what I like with portraits.  When one gets to put into the photo the feelings of the subjects at that moment.
  9. Take lots and lots of pictures.  One of them is bound to be a perfect one. 
  10. “A technically perfect picture with a fuzzy visual concept won’t cut it.” – Adam Ansel
  11. A picture that tells a good story, even if technically flawed, is always better than a technically perfect but boring picture.   So true!
  12. Shoot the event’s highlights but shoot the sidelights too and don’t forget to look for interesting details.  Yes, this is what I usually do when I document events.  And I also like taking candid shots.   The pictures themselves would tell a story on what happened during the event.
  13. Experiment. Experiment.  There is no added cost in digital photography, just extra effort needed.
  14. Read photo books.  Both instructional and story books. 
 Below are some of the photos I have taken during the seminar :

Mr. Bobby Timonera, the Master :-)
Taking a picture of subject against the light
Xy-Za of, our instant model since she doesn't have a new camera yet. Typhoon Sendong took her old one away from her.   

Outdoor photo shoot
My photo of Xy-Za with the blue cloudy sky
Macro shot in manual setting   :-)

My ID, hehehe

I took this photo outside the Bishop's House, near the gate, while we were waiting for a ride.

Sir Bobby said we have to practice everyday using our camera with the different settings so that we would know our camera well and we could take good pictures like a pro.  Hmmm.. it has been almost a month now, but I have not yet started practicing with my camera. Tsk tsk tsk...  :-(

In taking good pictures, it is not about the camera.  It is about the photographer.  No matter how hi-tech and expensive your camera is, if you don't know how to use it and you don't have the eye for art, your pictures would remain ordinary and boring.  :-D

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