Ice, Ice, Baby!

FROM 2014 ARCHIVES

“The world seems to be ice-numb on ALS, until this year”

Sometimes our body just stops from working – this phenomenon is called death. But, what if, you’re still alive and your body starts to disintegrate. You’re trembling not because you are tensed but because you have something serious. You unconsciously move your hands and kick your feet but not because you’re possessed by a spirit. You can’t talk not because you are tongue-tied but because you just can’t… but why? Why can you not? The reason might be is because you experience ALS.

ALS, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, fatal disease of the motor neurons that control the skeletal muscles of the body. The disease characteristically produces a wasting away of the muscles that have lost their nerve supply, resulting in weakening and paralysis. There are also signs of spasticity, or stiffness, of the muscles and exaggerated reflexes. Eventually, ALS results in total paralysis and respiratory failure. The senses and intellect are not affected.

The onset, or first appearance, of ALS usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70, although it may affect people anywhere from 20 to 90 years of age. The onset and course of ALS varies from person to person. Common early symptoms include persistent weakness and fatigue, and muscular stiffness, twitching, and cramping. When the upper extremities are affected first, the person may drop things more frequently, and experience diminished hand and arm control. If the lower extremities are affected first, the person may trip and fall more frequently. Some people notice slurred speech, excessive saliva and drooling, or difficulty breathing. Periods of uncontrollable laughing or crying may occur.

There is no specific diagnostic test for ALS; physicians try to rule out other disorders that affect nerve and muscle function. For example, muscular dystrophy is another degenerative disease that results in wasting of muscle tissue. But in muscular dystrophy the muscles themselves are affected, while in ALS it is the nerve cells supplying the muscles that are affected. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells. In MS, the protective myelin sheath surrounding the nerve cells is progressively destroyed. Unlike ALS, the course of MS undergoes long periods of remission, during which people are free of symptoms, and the expected survival of people with MS is much longer than those with ALS.

To rule out other disorders, tests are conducted to measure nerve response. Diagnosis may also include magnetic resonance imaging of the spine, biopsy (surgical removal and microscopic examination of cells) of muscle and nerve tissue, and blood and urine tests. An accurate diagnosis is critical and the ALS Association recommends that a person diagnosed with ALS seek a second diagnosis from a physician who sees many ALS patients. Because ALS develops so gradually, the disease has often progressed 20% to 50% by the time a diagnosis is confirmed.

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Frailties of a Strongman

The Hunger Games is actually an allegory of a democratic age when at a sudden one man found his way to power. Clad with the seemingly Lawful demands, white as snow, behind is an autocratic despot.

President Snow, the Ozymandias of Panem left by his people along with his ashes and a desert of sand as far as the eye could see.

Only a crumbled statue can tell his glory. The statue was stern and powerful. It perfectly resembles the personality of the ruler. The ruler was wicked but he cared for his people.

Little did he know, he cared for himself. He poisoned his enemies as much as he blight his country. None that is sore enough than his tongue of blood but a mouth full of lies.

“Look at me, I am awesome!” the inscription says. Only him could tell how awesome he was but there is no evidence, just a land ridden by dust and despair. Poor, poor President Snow like Ozymandias he was in self-glorification. But now he lies in pity.

He built walls, cities, buildings, and The Hunger Games to make his citizen forget what brutality there is that lies below his fingers; whatever the fickle minded puppets could do to please their master. Nothing but grandiose above and sheer ferocity below.

Little did he anticipated, a district that he thought was weak is strong enough to unseat him. How could he? He lusted for dominion, the only thing that comforts him. And, in the end, the only thing that destroyed him – the Mockingjay.

Remember his name, Corolianus Snow.

Look what he is now…

Lifeless here and nothing more.

via Daily Prompt: Uneven

WHEN THE IRON TURNS GOLD

“The Iron Lady of Asia died fighting, in her sleep; she died unconscious.”

The entire Philippines was evidently shocked by the sudden demise of one of its treasured solon and perhaps the wisest among the senators who ever was and ever will be.

Lately, we were talking about her with my colleagues when a memory of the senator came to our curiosity that her public appearance seemed to be greatly diminished. One of them asked me, “Is she no longer a senator?” I regretfully replied to her, “No. Her term as a senator has ended and since she lost the last election she is once again a part of the private sector.”

I begin the recollection of my memory of her from the days when I was an inexperienced kid. I often see her in nighttime news reports often yelling, screaming, joking and scolding other officials that fit well in the vessel of a kleptocrat. As a result, my mother loudly extolled in the middle of the house that she voted for the lady and impersonates her finger-pointing libretto thus sounds the same intonations as the senator – this makes me laugh and feel anxious for my mother’s mental health because it’s silly; but I realized it’s just entirely for laughs in the end.

Anyhow, the impression the senator left to me is the sense of Justice. Her incessant “corruption-busting” campaign left a remarkable ink in my mind. Her words gave me the primitive fragments of my moral and political principles that will soon be developed throughout the years. In practice, I admit that when I overhear news that disgusts me concerning the way our politicians behave behind and in front of the closet, including their monkey businesses, there are times that I give furious comments regarding how should they treat the people and how should they do their jobs. When I do this, I oftentimes remember that there is one senator who knows what I am talking about and hear my voice. I was 10 years old at this and I know how dark the Philippine politicians are.

miriam-santiago

Image: Santiago’s Profile in the Hall of Awardees at Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Awards for Leadership

Compared to my former approvals, I am not the only one who rejoiced when she attacked one of the most reviled politicians who came from my home province of Cagayan. Just to give a clue, even his fellow Cagayanos did not approve to give him a continuation in controlling the better portion of Cagayan, industrializing the province for the foreigners, ecologically harming the environment by black-sand mining and concentrating political positions to his relatives and allies. No doubt, Cagayanos hate this man but the lady senator was out there reproaching the old man. I feel like the entire province’s voice was heard in minutes or her speech. Not to mention that she challenged him for a debate, that was an uppercut!

I also remember one of my classmates in High School who vocally declared her intense adoration to the Iron Lady. I recalled her saying that she wanted to be like the senator and we both dislike the people she comes to combat in the senate hall. We shared political views about the lady and habitually includes her in our deep conversations alongside scientific breakthrough, philosophical questions, psychological thoughts like the behaviour of our classmates and our own assessment to their attitudes and reasoning (we include the hypothetical influence of their synergy with their chums) and religious doctrines that often goes to the absurd tinkering with the concepts of each religion and cultural significance of that religion to the region. Yes, we could create a caboodle of thesis questions mounting from the senator’s recent statements and it ladders up at least not in the technical derivatives because we are just high school students.

This simply means that the senator might have influenced vast amount of the Filipino youths including me and my friends; and her persona fumes a lot of intellectual discussion with my friend alone. That is why her legacy has greatly defined the pillars of my political, philosophical and even moral beliefs. She is not just a senator or a woman; she changed my mind and almost certainly my life and future. I will never forget the teacher I never met.

Remembering the Iron Lady of Asia is pushing me to pursue a degree in Law. It ignites my inner sense of Justice, my belligerent and spirited side. I will jubilantly tell my children that she is one of the greatest people who influenced me and that they are fortunate to live in the day that she lived to tell her tale. Right now, one of my primary models to my moral, political and more like philosophical principles have peacefully passed away. The kind of Senator I will always elect, the epitome of Justice, the Woman we will never forget will never die for the Iron she wrought never rusts and eternally honed by her legacy to the Filipino youth, to the country and to the world.

The Iron Lady of Asia made her niches in our hearts, her memory resounds undying, and for the generations to come, lessons of principles, that is the time when the Iron turns Gold.

“In my view, leadership is the courage to take risks in defense of a position that is both legal and moral. The politician who tries to become a wise guy by becoming friends to everybody – corrupt or not – is not a leader.”
― Miriam Defensor Santiago, Stupid is Forever

Miriam Palma Defensor-Santiago (1945-2016)
Rest in Peace Madame The Great

#RIPMiriamSantiago #PaalamMiriam #MiriamShallReturn
(Black and White Image from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Awardees Profile Section)

via Daily Prompt: Shine