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Order Out of Chaos

Posted by Caleb Bartlett on Mar 2, 2015 1:00:00 PM

I recently reconnected with a friend from High School. No big surprise there really in this age of Facebook, LinkedIn and zillions of other social networking websites. Sometimes you roll your eyes and add them out ofCaleb_quote the desire to be polite, sometimes you try to remember who they are and then every once in while you smile and remember, then add them... excited to know they are well and living life to the fullest. Then there are the ones whose lives have been very difficult and you listen with empathy as they recount their suffering, remembering them young, healthy and filled with promise. Time waits for no man and this was one of those instances.

As I look back over my life with spinal cord injury and how sharing its experiences here has developed, I have seen a theme taking shape. How do we deal with hardship and suffering? The real suffering for anyone who has been injured, abused or exposed to trauma of any kind is not really the physical injury. It is the mental and emotional framework within which the trauma took place. Let's look at an example... let's say you walk into the kitchen in your home where a family member is standing at the counter preparing a cup of coffee. They do not see you coming, and as you walk right into them the boiling hot coffee splashes all over you, burning your skin. You rush to the sink and the relief of cold water as your loved one profusely apologies and feels responsible for hurting you. In a matter of days, maybe weeks, the burn is healed and in time you both forget the accident ever happened. Now revisit the scenario, and this is a true story, I know a woman who, at the age of six had prepared a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast when her alcoholic, abusive mother proceeded to snatch the drink from the table and angrily poor it into the screaming child's lap. The visual alone makes one shake with anger. Now imagine the scars on her body that remind her every day of that moment, of the terror, the hurt, the confusion and shock that someone she lovingly trusted could willingly hurt her in such a way. That is the framework, the matrix of suffering. The circumstances under which the pain occurred.

buddha_statuePeople hurt... plain and simple. Suffering is no respecter of persons. The rich, the poor, young and old. Everyone has something. If they haven't, they will. If you consider the Buddhist view of life even those with happy and fulfilled lives are suffering because their life of security and comfort is an illusion that will fade in death. Wow, Caleb... that's a bit dark! Is it? True freedom within our minds is the ability to recognize the transitory nature of life and knowing when to let go of the part of ourselves that desperately holds on to that matrix. For when we understand that the only real difference between the peaks and valleys in our lives is our own perspective we can build a new matrix through which both pleasure and pain become valuable, creative experiences that propel us forward to become better... higher... more caring, balanced and powerful human beings.

So as I listened to my friend I waited. I waited for the indicators that show how they view their suffering. Sometimes you have to listen through the tears and the words catching in their throat. Crying is not weakness, sorrow and anger are not the indicators of one's total acquiescence to defeat. They are living emotional moments of recognition and the acknowledgment that the challenge is real. This is a period of emotional chaos through which the human will rises to that challenge to establish a new order in the mind and heart. If you know what to listen and look for there is a subtle undercurrent of determination, the kind the separates the champions from the maddening mob. When you find it, when you hear that note it resonates deeply and inspires in amazing ways.

Last month I declared war on spinal cord injury and some people reading this may ask, "But Caleb, if we are to accept that suffering is a part if life should we not just let thing remain as they are and make the best of it?" No, no, no... a million times no. There is a difference between taking charge of your suffering and letting the suffering take charge of you. It is the same mentality that subjects itself to suffering as a slave that celebrates pleasure, comfort and success as a badge of personal evolutionary merit. We can ease suffering when we recognize it for what it is. We can live in comfort when we draw that comfort from our right action in the face of discomfort instead of the deceptive world of modern easy street.

If we do this, then we put ourselves in the position to relieve the suffering of others, and that is the greatest comfort of all.

Thanks for reading... and thanks to my good friend Catherine P. for inspiring this month's post. You have certainly risen to the challenge.

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You’re Being Discharged From the Hospital – Now What? (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Feb 2, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Welcome back! A few months ago we released a video blog titled "How to Pack for a Visit to the Hospital". Due to the response and comments we recieved, we have decided to do a follow up blog. In this episode, Wendy will walk you through 5 things you should do when being discharged from the hospital. What are you waiting for? Check it out below and don't forget to leave your questions and comments. See you next week!

 


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Topics: Video Blogs

OCCUPIED!

Posted by Sam Turner on Jan 29, 2015 12:30:00 PM

For a person on absorbents, this sign can cause panic:

On a one-hour flight from Tucson to San Diego, I am just a bit nervous. The thought of flying isn’t the problem. It’s the thought of having to walk down the aisle with a full absorbent, only to find that both restroom signs have flashed OCCUPIED!

toilet-occupied

PANIC!

There is no such thing as “holding it”. Using the restroom immediately before boarding is no insurance that all will be well. If our plane is on hold before takeoff; if I am unable to get an aisle seat close to the restroom; if we have to wait before landing…all of these events add pressure to “holding it”. Flights longer than an hour demand that I travel by a different carrier that provides “First Class”, where I have a better chance of getting an UN-occupied restroom. Not only do I have to pay for absorbents, but I have to upgrade my seating or even change preferred flights (at a higher cost!), to meet the needs of an inadequate diaper.

Even in a restaurant, there have been occasions when the only stall is OCCUPIED and waiting brings on the emergency. The longer I wait, the faster my “quality of life” scale drops (from 10 to 0). I’m certainly not in control.

This was before Men’s Liberty. Now, with Men’s Liberty external catheter and a leg bag (if necessary), I remain in control. How did I learn about this marvelous invention? I saw an ad that opened with: “What Adult Diaper Companies Don’t Want Men To Know…” The first thing I noticed was that Men’s Liberty is covered by Medicare! I didn’t wait to email them. I called them immediately. I spoke with Tony in sales and he had the product in the mail within twenty-four hours. Four days later, I had my first units. I took my first step onto “Wendy’s, Conquering The Learning Curve (Video)"…My first step to regaining control over my urinary incontinence.

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Topics: incontinence, mens liberty

What Is Home Health?

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jan 22, 2015 1:00:00 PM

What is home health? This is a new topic for us and question we have been hearing a lot lately. What are you waiting for, give the video below a watch and find out. As always don't forget to leave your comments or questions. See you next week!

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Topics: Video Blogs

Caregiver Infographic (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jan 16, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Welcome back everyone. As some of you may remember we published an inforgraphic back in November in honor of National Family Caregivers Month. You can find that original infographic by clicking here. However, we are going to wrap up the week with this quick video blog discussing the infographic in detail. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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Topics: Video Blogs

Wee Answer Wednesday: Traveling with Urinary Incontinence (Video)

Posted by Mens Liberty on Jan 7, 2015 12:30:00 PM

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had a memorable holiday season and wish you a happy and healthy 2015. Now, let’s get started with the first video blog of the year. In this Wee Answer Wednesday, Wendy talks about traveling with incontinence and shares a few patient stories. Don’t miss out, check out the video below!

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Topics: Wee Answer Wednesdays

Why Aren't Adult Diapers Covered by Insurance? (Video)

Posted by Andrew Mimault on Dec 22, 2014 1:00:00 PM

Happy Monday! Christmas is almost here, so why not do one more video blog before Santa arrives. This video is a follow up from last week's blog, Understanding Your Insurance Coverage (Video). Wendy addresses one of the most commonly asked questions we receive from patients, why aren’t adult diapers covered by insurance? Well I'm going to give it away; you will have to watch the video to find out!

Also be sure to check out thhis video blog by Dr. Aaron Carroll - What is Health Insurance, and Why Do You Need It?: Health Care Triage #2


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Topics: Video Blogs

Understanding Your Insurance Coverage (Video)

Posted by Andrew Mimault on Dec 19, 2014 12:00:00 PM

Happy Monday everyone! Christmas is only a few days away, but another seasonal event is upon us, open insurance enrollment. Be sure to not miss out on this video, it contains a lot of valuable insurance information explained in plain English.

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Topics: Video Blogs

Hearing Aids and Male External Catheters

Posted by Sam Turner on Dec 18, 2014 12:00:58 PM

hearing-41429_1280What could possibly be a connection?  In 1999, my wife and I received our first set of hearing aids.  It didn’t matter how they looked as long as we could hear.  Then, an interesting thing happened:  We met people that were too embarrassed to be seen with them.  In one professional group, we set up tables close to the speaker with signs: RESERVED FOR HEARING IMPAIRED.  Some people refused to sit there because they didn’t want to be identified as hearing impaired.  They would sit in the back of the room and complain about the poor volume.

In 2007, I had a radical prostatectomy that left me incontinent.  My surgeon said I would probably need a diaper. What an understatement!   I bought male diaper/briefs and began four years of panic and embarrassment. I tried male guards with some degree of success.  But I had to carry a briefcase full of absorbents. The only problem was they weren’t all that absorbent and had a tendency to leak.

By 2010, I began exploring condom catheters.  I was never able to keep one on for a full day.  I even had a penile prosthesis which should have made attachment easier.  While in a hospital for gallbladder surgery, a nurse demonstrated a condom catheter that he said would not come off.  He placed it on in the morning and by the afternoon, it had slipped off.

I resigned myself to a briefcase full of absorbent guards and a loss of dignity because of the dripping or the odor from residue in pads. If I was aware of  the odor, I knew the person next to me would be, also.  Just like persons who stopped attending meetings because of lack of hearing, I reduced my activities because of un-dependable absorbents.  Attending movies were out of the question because I would have to leave several times during the program. (Thank goodness for Netflix.)  My incontinence determined my activities. What I needed was something that worked!

Men’s Liberty is the solution!  Wendy La Torre’s video blogs introduced me to “the learning curve.”  When all else fails, Sam, read the directions. Those first few weeks, I wasn’t applying the units correctly. Finally, I reviewed the video demonstration a few times and figured out just where to place the two additional tapes. With Tony’s help, Wendy’s videos, Sarah and Karen’s advice and my wife’s assistance, I’m moving up the curve. Today, I can regularly wear a Liberty for 48 hours and I’m getting back to the active person I want to be.

Watch the Application Video

My wife and I go to the gym together every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to keep up our fitness regimens which include balance, stretching and pelvic floor exercises. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends, we go for walks in the park or at the mall.

But why am I telling you all this? It’s simple – I believe in sharing what I learn with people it can help. So you’ll be seeing me here once a month – sharing stories, advice and my experiences

So if you have a question, a concern or a suggestion, let me know in the comments section

Thanks and happy holidays. I look forward to seeing you back here next year!

Topics: incontinence, bladder control, tips from Men's Liberty users, Patient Stories

Wendy LaTorre on Boomer Times WSBR 740AM with Anita Finlay! (Audio)

Posted by Andrew Mimault on Dec 11, 2014 12:30:00 PM

A few weeks ago, Wendy went live on the Boomer Times radio show to have a discussion with Anita Finlay about incontinence and the benefits of Men's Liberty. Take a few minutes to check out the audio of the interview below. Feel free to drop us a question or comment in the comments section. Have a great day!

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Topics: incontinence

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