Researching and understanding one’s own family medical history is a great way to learn more about our rich genetic heritage--and a great way to help prevent serious issues from arising in the future. Our genes play a vital role in our overall health, as there is a whole host of illnesses, disorders, and conditions that are hereditary, many of which are chronic and/or deadly to leave unchecked. Cancers, diabetes, blood conditions, cardiovascular diseases--all have some sort of connection to a patient’s particular genetic code.
In May of 2009, Sue Ward awoke to a great fear of every parent: her child was screaming for help. Searching the outside of her home in West Sussex, Ward found her teenage daughter Rachel, laying in some bushes. The young girl had put on a jumper and stepped out of her bedroom window, plummeting 25 ft to the ground below. The Wards were lucky--Rachel didn’t break a single bone. She also couldn’t remember how she had wound up leaving the bedroom in the first place. Rachel is the victim of a somewhat rare, somewhat serious, and somewhat ill-understood sleeping disorder known as somnambulism--also known as “sleepwalking.”
Football season is well underway here in the United States of America, with its proud tradition of team-building, competition, glory, and glorious fun. Millions of kids across the nation are taking to the field every week, showing their colors as they kick and run and tackle and catch to the roaring approval of friends, family, and schoolmates. And it’s not just football; there’s baseball to play, track and field, basketball, golf, and a dozen others I’m leaving off for the sake of space. In many places, sports activities dominate our schoolyards, and even where they do not, they often still dominate the minds of the youths participating.
One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is having to be the first in the line of medical defense for your children. There’s no getting around the issue--kids are going to get hurt from time to time. You simply can’t drop everything and rush to a doctor’s office every time there’s any sort of minor cut or scrape that arises on your child. That’s why it’s important to be well versed in some basic first aid steps (and to keep a first aid kit somewhere easily accessible).
My memory is a tricky beast. Perfectly designed for recalling inconsequential trivia, random nonsense, movie quotes, and song lyrics, it does not seem to hold on to some of the more salient details of life, such as former classmates names or exact dates.