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Archive for July 2008

Is this the greatest Stroke Survivor?

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I recently came across this film clip – and recommend it to all – specially to recent stroke patients and their carers, friends and relatives.

To watch, follow the link.


Written by dw

July 31, 2008 at 6:18 pm

When The Carer Gets Ill

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All the articles that I have written for the Stroke Watch have been upbeat. Except this one. In this, I reveal some of the down side of an illness such as stroke. The strength and way in which your other half can be affected is – in its way – just as damaging as the stroke is.

Here, I talk of a few months during which my wife is ill. Having relied on her for all the domestic chores (and still relying if truth be told), I suddenly found myself forced into coping for us both. Have you noticed just how often people collapse several months after some tragic or major event? Well it was K.’s turn. We made a happy ending. But it needed a catalyst to shake us and provide the necessary jolt.

Read the article here.

Written by dw

July 31, 2008 at 10:39 am

Right Handed Biscuits

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This is a light hearted article written for the Stroke Watch (repeated here), and is about having fun with the routine of rehab after a stroke.

The main way of recovering is to repeat an exercise time and time again. If you can find one that is central to your everyday living, and is something that you like doing, then its no longer an exercise but a bit of fun – that you’ll be able to do better with just another ‘repeat’.

Have fun!

Written by dw

July 31, 2008 at 9:47 am

Posted in Health, stroke survivor

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Try Singing

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When I first started singing I realised at once just how much my body could not do, and therefore just how much the activity would deliver to my rehabiltation. I wrote an article for the Stroke Watch, and it is reproduced here.

You may think that singing in a choir is a slow leisurely pursuit. Not a bit of it!

This July, I sang with a choir at an early music festival here in Kent. On the day, I strapped on my heart monitor – and although my resting heart rate is around 62-65, it recorded 21 minutes at over 100 bpm – with a peak of 131.

Take a look at Try Singing shown under Stroke – Rehab for an early view of the benefits of singing for stroke survivors.

Written by dw

July 31, 2008 at 9:39 am

Can we control bad businesses?

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Can we find a way of controlling big business for the good of the general population? for the planet?

Over the years, governments have tried prohibition. But the moment a product or service is made unlawful, the customers must either abandon their consumption or trade with dealers who spring up ready and willing to supply, usually at inflated prices. This spurs the underworld into profiteering, into lucrative manufacture and supply. And because this trade is unlawful all points of the supply chain demand security against other traders the police etc. So grows the great illegal drugs industry, now worth billions and billions of pounds sterling, dollars, or any other currency you care to name. And the users are turned into thieves, liars, tricksters, and losers. Loosing their families, their health, respect, dignity, everything.

There are industries that manufacture and supply products that are manifestly against the interests of their consumers, yet governments in many countries are unable to find a means of controlling these businesses. Loathe to repeat the disastrous prohibition experiment of the USA , they seem left with the choice of banning advertising and restricting consumption. Both alcohol and tobacco are dealt with in these ways. Yet the men in the board rooms of these businesses remain untouched. Their bleat is “But I’m selling a legal product”, or “But it’s my duty to exploit sales”

Consider the board. It is their express duty to maximize the value of the equity in the business – on behalf of the business owners, the shareholders. That it is also the personal aim of the individual board members can be taken as given. People don’t take such jobs unless they buy into this basic ethic. But, the boards of tobacco companies are not accountable to the population, neither individually nor collectively. It is trivial for a large company to set up a splinter enterprise with – what is to you or I an eye watering budget, but which represents a very small percentage of the parent company’s costs – to tackle a “green” issue, or to promote “healthy consumption”. The board can then point to these activities as proof that they are “Truly responsible”.

Variable rates of taxes

Try this idea. We have three rates of corporate taxes: high; medium; and low. We assign a business into one of three categories according to the effects of their products, services or methods on the country, people, etc., and these categories are: bad effect; no effect; and good effect. The companies will be in the categories always or sometimes i.e. one might move from B to A and then back to B.

The profits of the companies designated “bad” will be taxed at twice the normal rate. They may be denied relief on VAT of their purchases, they might be required to fulfil more onerous Health & Safety conditions, or planning controls. The men and women who manage the business might also be forced to pay higher rates of personal tax, if not on their usual salary but at least on their bonuses.

Thus, all profit from tobacco (I am sure that there can be few serious objections to including this industry in the “bad” category) manufacturers would be taxed at the higher rate. Thought can be given to whether or not this is restricted to the manufacture only, or whether it should also include part or all of the distribution chain.

I expect that only a few industries would fit into the bad category, perhaps fewer than five. I’ve named one, but I have another candidate – the banks. We all know that they have been called to heel about their outrageous charges, but they have immediately taken other steps to recover their profits by equally bad means. They should be removed from “normal” to Bad for a year or two while they mend their ways. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against making a profit. But I object when businesses make two profits).

The vast majority, say 99%, will be in Normal, and again only a handful in Good. Can’t think of one offhand, but I’m sure there will be one or two.

Written by dw

July 30, 2008 at 10:33 am

Posted in Finance, money

Tagged with , , ,

Stroke Survivor or Victim?

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I had my stroke in March 2005, and within a few days started to fight the paralysis to regain control of my limbs. I have since joined a local group of survivors, and am now the editor of their newsletter – Stroke Watch published by East Kent Strokes.

However, I have fallen foul of the senior members by talking about stroke victims. “We’re not victims, we are survivors!”

At last I have seen in print support of my view, which is that when I lay in the hospital bed helpless bewildered and grieving for my loss, I was a victim. As soon as I started to force my leg into motion, I became a potential survivor. As time has passed and I have greater control over my right limbs, so too am I a survivor (deeper, or stronger, what adjective would you use).

The book that brought this blog on is The Diary of a Stroke by Martin Stephen published this year by Psychology News Press of London. The passage is:

“Medicine isn’t an exact science, my father always used to say. [The author’s father was a GP] He had also said to me, for some reason many years ago, that you always know those stroke victims who’re going to get better. They fight it, they don’t let it win.”

Well, that’s me and the others in our group. We’ll beat the bloody thing!

Written by dw

July 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm