Friday, March 7

International Women's Day

March 8, 2008 is International Women's Day. It has been celebrated since the early days of the 20th century. At that time the industrialized world went through a time of great turbulence and expansion.

By 1908, women were beginning to fight inequality and oppression. They began to campaign for change, raised their voices in protest of oppression and became very vocal about the inequlity they were subjected to on a daily basis. This same year, the streets of New York City were filled with 15,000 women marching in protest. They demanded the right to vote, a shorter work week and better wages.

On February 28, 1909, the first Woman's Day was observed in the US. Women celebrated Woman's Day on the last Sunday in February. Since those early days, International Women's Day has come to be. Today women in countries all over the world recognize and celebrate the contributions of women.

This year, International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th. Be sure to attend an International Women's Day event if at all possible. If not, please take the time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of a women in your life. She may be a single mother, a senior citizen or a teen. She doesn't have to be famous or have any special qualifications. She just needs to be a woman who has accomplished something in her life.

I would like to recognize a fellow Canadian woman who is little known, but who accomplished great things as a pioneer in medicine and science. Her name is Marie Henrietta Ross and she was a Canadian pioneer.

It's hard to imagine what life was like for early settlers to Canada. Early pioneer, Marie Henriette Ross faced daily challenges. In addition, she blazed a trail in the world of science in Canada, inspiring future generations to follow their dreams.

Granny Ross, as she was eventually known by fellow Nova Scotians, served as a midwife and healer over sixty years. Her name has been passed down through generations. Though information on this woman is very difficult to find, I did find out that she gave birth to eleven children. This would have made each day a challenge, just keeping their clothes clean, preparing meals and other household duties. However, Marie always found time to help her fellow man.

Marie LeJeune was born in 1762 in Rochefort, France. Her parents, Joseph LeJeune and Martine LeRoy were Acadians who had been deported to France from what is now known as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. In 1771, they returned to Acadia. In 1778, they were once again deported to France. It was here, at the tender age of seventeen, that Marie married Joseph Comeau. He was thirty-seven years older than Marie.

Marie returned to Acadia with her husband in 1784. Later that year, Joseph drowned. At age twenty-two, Marie was a widow.

Shortly after Joseph's death, Marie followed her family to Little Bras d' Or, Nova Scotia. She married her first cousin, Bernard LeJeune dit Briard. Bernard drowned shortly after the wedding, leaving Marie a widow once more.

At the age of twenty-six, Marie met Protestant Scottish soldier, James Ross. The couple married and first settled in Little Bras d' Or. Later, they followed James' family to East Margaree River.

While living in Bras d' Or, Marie realized that she'd been blessed with the gifts of healing and midwifery. The legend of her life began there. During a small pox epidemic, she cared for friends and neighbours, both French and English. She was always ready to attend anyone in the community who needed her services. Since she had already had small pox, she was immune to the deadly disease. Marie saved many lives during the epidemic. The people she helped never forgot the dedication of this woman.

Over the years, Marie studied plants for their medicinal purposes. She spent many hours in the forest and became a knowledgeable herbalist. She traveled miles from her home to nurse the sick. She delivered hundreds of babies in her lifetime.

Marie's forest adventures and her knowledge of herbs became known far and wide. This is when the Granny Ross legend began to take shape. She dedicated her life to the study of plants, in the hope that her findings would save lives. As she advanced in age, she became blind. Still, her healing and midwifery services were much in demand.

Marie's life was one of inspiration and dedication. She thought only of others and never of herself. Her goal in life was to help mankind. Her dream was certainly realized. She died in 1860, at the age of ninety-eight.

Marie left behind a great legacy. This midwife, herbalist and healer devoted her entire life to the study of plants and the healing of those in her community of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Her name holds a place in the history of that province.

Thursday, March 6

Show and Tell Friday and Other News

It's time for Show and Tell Friday. If you would like to participate, drop over to Kelli's at There's No Place Like Home.

I missed Show and Tell Friday last week, but remembered it this week. I may actually get back on track here. Things were so hectic for a bit that I could barely remember my name, address and year of birth.
This week I'd like to show you my Scarlett O' Hara figurine. I picked her up at an auction sale and I have the certificate of authenticity. She was released by the Franklin Mint in 1987. I've owned her for about two years. Since Gone With the Wind is one of my favorite movies, I just couldn't resist her, especially when she went for only about half of the original price.

Scarlett is 12 inches tall and she is a beauty. I know that Avon had a small Scarlett figurine out, but this one is just the perfect size. She sits on a shelf in my computer room and keeps me company when I write and blog. She is beautiful and adds old country charm to the room, which is decorated in vintage items that I've picked up at auctions, garage sales and in thrift stores. Maybe next week I will show you my Peerless Gum tin sign that hangs on the wall near my computer.
Happy Birthday to my dear friend, Denise, at Samaritan Women. Denise, when I read on your blog that it was your birthday on Friday, I just had to find a special card for you. I hope you enjoy it.
Please drop by Denise's blog and wish her a Happy Birthday. She's been in a lot of pain with her back and could definitely use a little sunshine in her life.

Update on Michelle:
Things were going along good until Michelle's incision opened. A nurse is now coming in twice a day - morning and night - to irrigate it and pack the incision. One nurse neglected to clean it properly and the infection got worse. It was very sore yesterday, but today the nursing supervisor came to check things out and she has that nurse under investigation.
The supervisor did a thorough job of irrigating the wound. The other nurse had let the wound sit with the old dressing on for 20 hours. Of course that made things worse and then she said she wasn't coming back that day. I lost it. I phoned the nursing supervisor on Wednesday night and that is why she came out today. I'm glad she did, as she found out that the nurse in question was charting that Michelle's incision was dry when it has been nothing but far from dry. Michelle had put the dressings in a ziploc bag and kept them for the supervisor. So we shall see what happens.
The supervisor did say that particular nurse will not be coming back to do Michelle's dressing. Of that we are thankful.
I took the boys to school this morning, picked up some Polysporin for Michelle and then stayed while she showered. After that we talked for a few minutes and I came home. It was nice having a few quiet minutes with her. Usually she is working so the only time we get to talk is when the boys are there or on the phone.
That's about all the news for tonight. Sorry I've been a little sporadic in posting and visiting. I still have a very low energy level and hope to get some rest on the weekend.
Remember to do a kind deed for someone today. It could be a family member, a friend or a stranger. Whoever it is, a small kindness can make a big difference when someone is having a bad day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, March 4

This is a photo of a cougar that I took at a local zoo. This large cat is also known as mountain lion, puma and various other names. These animals are dangerous if cornered. When I was about 10, a cougar cried at night in the rural area where we lived. I would lay in bed and chills would run over my body as I huddled beneath the covers and listened to its cries. It was amazing how much it sounded like a human baby.

When I was in my 20s and Michelle was about 5, a cougar roamed the woods and fields near my parent's home once again. I was always careful to have Michelle in the house when darkness fell. Tracks had been sighted very near to the house. For years we didn't have another cougar sighting around here. Then, about five years ago, the city was clearing a small forest and brush in the north end to put in a highway. Apparently a cougar had been living in the area and when the workers destroyed its habitat, it began to roam near where Michelle and Barry lived with the boys.

In the last two weeks, a cougar has once again been spotted in this area. A police officer was sitting in his car near a busy street when the cougar walked right past his driver's window. He tried to follow it, but the cougar lost him. The following day, it was seen in an area where a father and his children were tobogganing. This is on the outskirts of the city, but not far from a residental neighborhood and a school. There hasn't been a sighting for several days now.

Cougars are not native to this part of Ontario. It may have traveled down from northern Ontario in search of food, or maybe it's an offspring of the cougar that lived there five years ago. Maybe it is the same cougar and it has just not been sighted. This has been a hard winter and the animal may be moving into the populated area because it is hungry. This makes me fear for the lives of small children and animals. Since no one has reported seeing it for a few days, I do hope that it has moved on. Though I love all animals and think that cougars are beautiful creatures, they have no place in the city or populated areas. They usually try to stay away from humans. I would hate to see the animal killed just because it wandered too close to town.
Update on Michelle:

Michelle is moving around nicely and a nurse is coming twice a day to irrigate the infected area with saline before packing it. This morning she saw her GYN and she said that this is normal. I have never heard that an incision opening is normal, but then I'm not a doctor. In hindsight I'm thinking that the large red, puffy area that appeared on Michelle's stomach after surgery was fluid build-up and that it drained into the surgical area. Whatever the case, it is being taken care of and watched carefully. The GYN told Michelle that she is to continue with normal activities and keep moving, which she's been doing. She isn't in pain but is having trouble sleeping. Barry stayed home again today to take care of her. Tomorrow he is going back to work and it will be her first day home alone - unless the boys are home since it is icing and we have about 2 inches of ice pellets on the ground. The roads are treacherous, so possibly there won't be any school.

Michelle knows that if she needs anything all she has to do is call. If I can't go, hubby will. He's very good about that and it only takes us seven minutes to get to her house. So, things are going nicely and I will keep everyone updated. As for me, I was up and about today and even went out to the drugstore. By the time I got back I was exhausted. Thanks again for your love, support and kindness while I've been ill and Michelle has been recovering.

Try to do a kind deed for someone in your travels today and make the world a little brighter. You never know when you can be someone's earthly angel. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, March 3

Brain Repair Institute of Canada - A Hoax?

There's nothing that will get this woman angry like someone who is taking advantage of people who are desperate for some hope in their lives. Tonight on "The National," a CBC investigative report program, I saw such a woman. She is old enough to be a grandmother and may or may not be one. How a woman who has lived this many years can do such a thing is beyond me - or maybe not.
The National reported that Claudie Gordon-Palmares is giving the parents of children with autism and cerebral palsy false hope of a cure. She is self-described neuroscientist who runs the Brain Repair Institute of Canada out of her home in Okotoks, Alberta. Not only does she lay claim to the fact that she can cure autism, but says she can help children with cerebral palsy learn to walk.

The Government of Alberta entered a contract with this woman and gave her hundreds of thousands of dollars (I believe the exact number was $200,000, but can't remember for sure) for research that was to be peer-reviewed. After two years, Alberta cancelled the contract because no peer-reviews were submitted. The National asked Gordon-Palmares to tell them where she obtained her credentials. She gave them the names of educational institutions in France and the USA. The National went to these schools and were told that Gordon-Palmares had attended courses there but had not earned any degrees. When questioned about this, Gordon Palmares said it was because she earned her degrees under a different name but would not give that information to the reporter.

Gordon-Palmares gives seminars across Alberta and the USA. She tells the parents of developmentally delayed and challenged children, "We are talking about fixing the brain, fixing the brain forever, removing the diagnosis." This woman claims she can do this by using scents and the senses to stimulate the brain to repair itself. The technique is called Monitored Multi-cortical Activities for Additional Pathways and Synapses, otherwise known as MAPS.

MAPS can involve rubbing the texture of strawberries on a child's skin or rubbing strawberry scent on their nose. Picture games are also used. For this knowledgeable procedure that any parent could do at home, Gordon-Palmares is charging $5,000 for the first six months of treatment and $3,000 for each additional six months of treatment. When The National asked the parents of the children that had been treated at Gordon-Palmares' Brain Repair Institute of Canada if there was any improvement in their child's condition during or after MAPS treatment, the answer was no.

Being the grandmother of a grandson who functions on the autistic spectrum, I can well understand that the parents of these children would want their brains to be repaired. However, how can one woman claim to cure children when no cure is known to medical science. The brain has been studied for decades and we all know that once it is damaged, there is little hope of complete repair. How devastated these parents must be when they find out they've paid this woman their life savings to cure their child and there has been little or no improvement?

The province of Alberta needs to change its laws. As of present, anyone can run an establishment such as Gordon-Palmares does without a degree of any kind. Not only that, but the government themselves fell into this woman's scheme. The people that have paid Gordon-Palmares for her treatments want her out of business, but she insists she is doing nothing wrong.

Links to this story:

The National - Watch a video of Gordon-Palmares

CBC News - To read the story, Selling Hope, follow the CBC News link.

Update on Michelle:

Michelle is having a nurse come in twice a day to drain and pack her incision. Barry stayed home yesterday and today because I'm still under the weather. He is taking her to the clinic to have the GYN look at it this morning. After that, we will known more. The nurse is scheduled to come again tonight and in the morning. They irrigate the infected area and pack it. I will update again tonight if possible.

About Me: LOL I am not a person who talks about me. However, just to update you, I'm feeling a bit better, but still have little energy. Not much else to tell. The fever and chills are gone. For that I am truly thankful. Maybe this is God's way of telling me to slow down a little.

Thanks to everyone for your well-wishes. You all made being ill a little easier.

Be sure and smile at a stranger as you go about your daily business. A smile brings ray of sunshine into the life of a discouraged person. It can give hope. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, March 2

A Bit of This and That...

Well, I'm a great-aunt for the second time in a year. Evan joined our family on February 28th and weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. Welcome to our family Evan, and congratulations to Mom, Sherry and Dad, Robert.

Update on Michelle:

This morning at 10:30, Brandon phoned and said, "Grandma, Mom is bleeding and fluid is coming out of her incision. Dad has to take her to the clinic. Can you come and stay with me?"

I told Brandon that no, I couldn't come and stay with him but to let me talk to Mom. I asked her which clinic she was going to and she told me. I had hubby meet them there and bring Brandon home to stay here.

The Gyn had to open Michelle's incision and drain the fluid off. On Thursday it was looking fine. Friday it had a little red spot again. By yesterday it was sore and today when she got out of the shower, it started draining really bad. The Gyn took care of it and put a dressing on. Tomorrow a nurse is coming in to change the dressing and Michelle sees her regular Gyn on Tuesday morning. Please keep her in your prayers.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm improved from yesterday when I had a fever, the chills and slept most of the day. From Friday night to this morning I didn't do much but sleep. I would get up for short intervals, but would have to rest again within an hour. So I'm greatly improved. Thanks for your prayers for me. All of your care and concern is appreciated more than you know.

I'm signing off for tonight. I will try to catch up on all your blogs as soon as possible. ~Blessings, Mary~