Sunday, February 24, 2008

A day in my life, racism, and good news....

I have not written on this blog in over 2 weeks, and perhaps that is because life has been rather hectic lately - between taking care of three little ones, possibly taking over as webmaster of the website, and my job - and I have been battling a persistent cold on top of all that. This past week was my week off from school and I found myself writing 10 psychological reports as well as a myriad of paperwork details for my job. Thankfully, it will be a good feeling to hit the ground running when I go back to school tomorrow because I completed so much, but it was time-consuming. I'm happy to report that finally my cold is starting to get better (without antibiotics) and so are my spirits. I am going to refrain from discussing treatment techniques in this post, but I have tried a number of different, new techniques of late, if you just hang on and keep reading this blog, I will discuss them; and they might be helpful for your situation.

Many of the readers of this blog probably don't know what a typical day in my life is like. So I want to share with you this past Thursday, a day I had off because of our school vacation, so you can know me better. After going to sleep around 10:30 or 11:00 on Wednesday evening, I woke up around 6:30 to write some psychological reports for my job. As mentioned, this past week was my week off from work. I worked on 2 psychological reports from 6:30 to 8:30. I drank a number of cups of water during this time to help thin the mucus in the back of my throat. The mucus has been feeling rather thick and irritating back there, particularly after a full night of sleep. I have been finding that I can cough up some of this phlegm after I wake up and become more active. Around 8:30, I knew I had to start getting ready because my wife was bringing my 2-month old son to the doctor's appointment at 9:15 while I was at home watching our two girls - ages 3 and 1. So I took a shower, shaved, put on some fresh clothes, did a nasal irrigation (both nose and throat), and then ate a quick muffin and then retrieved the vitamins I am taking. I am taking a number of vitamins including but not limited to Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Host Defense, Bee Propolis, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Echnicacea/Goldenseal, acidopholus (a probiotic), my allergy pill, and so forth. My girls were busy watching the Donut Man and Hide 'em in your heart by Steven Green, while also doing puzzles. We began to read a couple stories, just as long as I could keep my oldest daughter's interest. Yet I knew our house was a total disaster and made it my mission to clean it up before my wife returned. I told my little kiddos that mommy will be so proud if we help clean it up. And boy did we clean. We picked up all the toys, cards (go fish), animals, chalk, crayons, etc. that had been laying on the ground. Then I filled and took out the garbage that was overflowing. Then we cleaned the dirty dishes and cleaned and sorted in our front room as well. (I live in a small ranch home, about 1400 square feet, in a semi-rural area with half an acre.) After cleaning up all these areas, we vacuumed in the living room - where it needed it. Then we sorted all the DVD's and VHS tapes that were lying everywhere around the television - above, below it in the cabinet, and on the ground. Then I changed my littlest one's diaper and put on her clothes for the day. (Do keep in mind not all days I am this ambitious at cleaning, believe me). Then we sat and began to read again as my wife pulled the car into the garage. As my wife came home with our little one, she was so happy to see the house clean. It just made her day. She told me that my son's lungs were clear, although he still is coughing and uncomfortable at times, but he has been battling this cold and was put on a nebulizer by 4 weeks of age! It was heartbreaking, but I know he will get over it in time as he is being nursed, and we are health-conscious parents who will choose good foods for him as he gets older. By this time it was around noon and we had lunch - turkey sandwiches, yogurt, veggies, and water - and then soon after left for grocery shopping at the local Hannaford. This grocery shopping took about an hour, ran into some different people I knew at Hannaford's, and my little girl, Abigail, fell asleep while riding in the little yellow and red kiddie cart. We were not sure what to do after that, but we ultimately decided to go to the mall as my wife wanted to shop for clothes. We hit a number of stores at the mall, including the Disney store, Auntie Anne's, Mr. Smoothie, (sorry, I hope I'm not making you think less of our eating habits), as well as Sears and Northern Reflections. My children are often quite the busy bees in these stores, finding the endless array of clothes almost to be like a hide-and-seek maze, but they were quite well-behaved and we were proud of them for that. Our littlest one seemed a bit tired on the way out the mall, but generally they were very well-behaved. Upon returning home, we had leftover spaghetti and meatballs, as well as salad and water. The girls don't go for the salad, but I do! Our girls were in need of a bath, as well as our little boy who has been spitting up much after this cold, so they all got baths this evening. Of course, our 2-month old son gets a smaller bath for his little body than the girls who use the bathtub in the bathroom. After that, my family has devotion time where we read Christian stories together, sing, and pray, which is what we did this evening. Then we brush their teeth. After they were all asleep, I decided to complete another psychological report. I told myself I would only do 1 so I would not be too tired the next day and since I had to complete 2 more on the following morning. Before going to sleep, I do nasal irrigation, acupressure (time-permitting) and then pray. That is one day in my life. I hope I didn't bore you with all the details, but that is what a typical day (when not in school at my job) in my life is like. Here's a photo of acupressure taken from

The following story is off-topic from ENS but it is troubling to me. I encourage you to watch the video and reflect on how you can make a difference on behalf of people of a different race. A friend of mine, Mark Montgomery, is an African-American who I know well and have great respect for. He is a strong person who is well-respected and seems to know everyone. When I was applying for my first job as a school psychologist, he called up the director of special education at one school district and next thing you know I was being offered a job. He literally got one for me. I ultimately declined that job offer, but it just goes to show how great of a guy he is. While in college, he and I were tennis doubles' partners on the college tennis team and have enjoyed many tennis outings and very deep discussions on our jobs and the importance of education. In fact, I conducted a "meaning of difference" interview during which I probed into how being African American affects his life. It was an englightening conversation and I learned much including that Mark is part Irish and that he has incurred racism against him in his own life. I was surprised, thinking, how could anyone yell racial epithets against someone of such high standing. Mark was a counselor at Hamilton College (where B.F. Skinner trained, you psychologists out there) and he is currently a professor at Morrisville College where he has invited me to talk with his class about school psychology - that was a good experience, too...Anyway, to make a long story short, Mark sent me an email on the Monday of a couple weeks ago telling me to "check this out." It was a news clip from news channel 10 that discussed how a noose had been found outside of his door at the school where he works. Can you believe that?? This school is only a few schools away from where I work. I hope to get together with Mark soon and I was truly appaled that anyone would think of this as a prank; it may have been thought of as a prank, but truly it's a hate crime. I sent an email to all the staff at where I work encouraging them to watch the video and think about what it is they can do to make a difference on behalf of people of color. I encourage you to do the same. Here's the link:

Finally, I had the privilege of receiving an email from a reader of my book who remarked they were so happy that their doctor recommended my book, Having Nasal Surgery? to them. Dr. Ken Fletcher of Georgia recommended my book to this patient. I have never met Dr. Fletcher or am aware of how he knew about my book, but knowing that he recommended my book to this patient is terrific. I owe him one. A big thank you goes out to Dr. Fletcher!!

Until next time, I hope your sinus problems are under control....