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Health briefs for June 1st-7th

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Beaufort Memorial MRI technician Mario Rodriguez performs an MRI using the Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). BMH is the first hospital in the Lowcountry to apply DTI to look at the path of white matter in the brain, which can show brain abnormalities. Photo provided.

Photo above: Beaufort Memorial MRI technician Mario Rodriguez performs an MRI using the Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). BMH is the first hospital in the Lowcountry to apply DTI to look at the path of white matter in the brain, which can show brain abnormalities. Photo provided.

Beaufort Memorial has new MRI technology

Beaufort Memorial has a new reason to celebrate Stroke Awareness Month this May. 

The nonprofit hospital recently invested in cutting-edge MRI technology that can help doctors assess the amount of damage a stroke has caused to a patient’s brain and determine the most effective treatment to reverse it. 

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) will allow neurologists to evaluate the location, orientation and magnitude of damage that occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures.   

“Our primary goal in treating stroke is to minimize disability,” said Beaufort Memorial board-certified neurologist Dr. Paul Mazzeo. “DTI will help us do that.”

BMH upgraded its MRI scanner with the DTI technology to participate in a clinical trial examining the effects of a new antiplatelet drug in people with weakness due to stroke. 

“As part of this research, we need the ability to measure stroke damage in a more refined way,” said Mazzeo, principal investigator for the study. “That is where DTI comes in.”

The human brain consists of gray matter (neurons/wiring) and white matter (myelin/insulation). MRI-DTI lets physicians see the white matter tracts of the brain much more clearly than standard MRI.

Like most hospitals, BMH uses a technique called Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) to detect an acute stroke. It is now the first hospital in the Lowcountry to apply DTI to look at the path of white matter in the brain, which can show brain abnormalities.

In addition to strokes, DTI can be used to evaluate a number of other conditions. In epilepsy, it can help physicians determine if a patient would benefit from curative surgery. It can reveal active disease in a patient with multiple sclerosis, even if a standard MRI is normal. It also can distinguish normal tissue from brain tumors.

For more information on Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s imaging services, visit www.bmhsc.org or call 843-522-5015.

Red Cross holding blood drives

Before busy summer schedules set in, the American Red Cross urges eligible donors to roll up a sleeve to help ensure a sufficient supply for patients in need.

Donors of all blood types are needed now to help accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving cancer treatment. 

An upcoming blood donation opportunity will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 1, at Carteret Street United Methodist Church at 408 Carteret St. in Beaufort.

To make an appointment, visit redcrossblood.org or calling 800-733-2767. 

Donors can then also visit redcrossblood.org/cedarfair to enter to win one of three grand prize packages for four to Knott’s Berry Farm in California or Cedar Point in Ohio.

Keep an eye on eye health in sports

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By Dr. Mark Siegel

Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear. 

The risk of eye injury can vary depending on the activity. Make sure the level of eye protection you or others in your family use is appropriate for the type of activity. Regular eyeglasses do not offer proper eye protection.

High-risk sports

For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports.

Boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries. There is no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries.

In baseball, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate (an especially strong, shatterproof, lightweight plastic) face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times.

Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. Choose eye protectors that have been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards or that pass the CSA racquet sports standard.

If you already have reduced vision in one eye, consider the risks of injuring the stronger eye before participating in contact or racquet sports, which pose a higher risk of eye injury. 

Check with your ophthalmologist to see if appropriate eye protection is available and whether or not participating in contact or racquet sports is advised.

Other risky activities

While sports account for a particularly high number of eye injuries, they are by no means the only hobby that poses a risk to your sight. According to physicians surveyed for the 2008 Eye Injury Snapshot conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, more than 40 percent of patients treated for eye injuries sustained at home were involved in home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. Use common sense and err on the side of caution, whatever the activity.

• Consider the risk of flying debris or other objects during activities and wear appropriate eye protection.

• Remember that eyeglasses aren’t sufficient protection.

• Be careful during activities or games involving projectiles and other sharp objects that could create injury if in contact with the eye. For example, the U.S. Eye Injury Registry indicates that fishing is the No. 1 cause of sports-related eye injuries.

• If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, pack a back-up form of vision correction during bike trips or other activities where you could lose or shatter a lens.

If an eye injury occurs, see an ophthalmologist or go to the emergency room immediately, even if the eye injury appears minor. Delaying medical attention can result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

Dr. Mark Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology at 111 High Tide Drive (off Midtown Drive near Low Country Medical Group). Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com.

Dental services put smiles on faces

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Photo above: The Smile Mobile dental program provided free dental care by volunteer dentists. Photos by Gary Markham.

By Bob Ellis 

Helping those less fortunate is an honorable pursuit. Easing their dental pain and discomfort is something special.

After two years of planning, refitting and fundraising with its partners, the Sea Island Rotary Club launched its Smile Mobile dental outreach program on April 1 at Penn Center on St. Helena. 

After her exam and treatment, Pearl Singleton — one of a dozen patients seen that day at the Smile Mobile’s grand opening —hugged Sea Island Rotary volunteers.

“I’ve been in pain from this tooth for three months and you took that pain away,” she said, adding that she had been unable to afford regular dental care and had nowhere to turn until she heard about the Smile Mobile.

The Smile Mobile program provides free dental care by volunteer dentists and dental assistants from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on the first Saturday of every month at various locations in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton communities.

With two dental chairs, the Smile Mobile is a clean unit with state-of-the-art sterilized equipment and is outfitted for basic dental surgery and restorative dentistry. It’s X ray-equipped and its pharmacy dispenses basic pain relievers and antibiotics. (No narcotics are available.)

The program’s mission is to treat the Lowcountry adults who live at least 200 percent below the federal poverty level with little or no access to dental care and whose deteriorating dental condition might keep them from work or school. 

Appointments for the Smile Mobile are scheduled through AccessHealth Lowcountry. 

According to AHL director Deborah Slazyk, potential patients should first seek a referral from Bluffton/Jasper Volunteers in Medicine (843-706-7090; bjvim.org), the Good Neighbor Free Medical Clinic of Beaufort (843-470-9088; gnfmcbeaufort.org) or an AHL case manager (843-522-5750; www.accesshealthlowcountry-org). 

The Sea Island Rotary Smile Mobile is run in conjunction with and supported by Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.

The program was made possible after Sea Island Rotary raised $16,000 — largely through its charity shrimp race held each October — and AccessHealth Lowcountry, Bluffton/Jasper VIM and Beaufort County Human Services Alliance each donated $5,000 toward the retrofitting of the Smile Mobile’s second dental operatory.

Dr. Chuck Ingle, who worked for two years with Dr. Ed Wise, Dr. Mike Gold and John Perrill on behalf of Sea Island Rotary to launch the Smile Mobile outreach, said:, “This is a much-needed dental program for our community. When you start peeling the layers of our society back, there are a lot of Lowcountry folks who miss school, work, and suffer poor health because of their bad teeth.”

Dentists and dental assistants interested in volunteering for the Smile Mobile can contact Ingle through the Sea Island Rotary at docingle@me.com.

Beaufort Memorial designated Screening Center of Excellence

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Beaufort Memorial Hospital has been named Screening Center of Excellence — one of only 10 medical centers in the state to receive the designation by the Lung Cancer Alliance — for providing safe, high-quality low dose CT screening for lung cancer.

Endorsed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and American College of Radiology for current and former heavy smokers, low dose CT lung cancer screening is the only proven method to detect lung cancer at an early and treatable stage. 

“We use the lowest possible dose of radiation to obtain an image that can pick up lung nodules,” said Beaufort Memorial Senior Director of Imaging Services Daniel Mock. “If you can catch lung cancer at an early stage, it can be the difference between life and death.”

To achieve the designation of Screening Center of Excellence, an imaging center must comply with comprehensive standards based on best practices for controlling screening quality, radiation dose and diagnostic procedures, and provide current information on who is a candidate for lung cancer screening. 

The criteria for designation also requires that an imaging center work with a multi-disciplinary clinical team able to carry out a coordinated continuum of care for screening, diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease.

“We were able to demonstrate we have a path designated for testing, evaluating the results and getting patients through the course of care,” said Matthew Hurtt, Beaufort Memorial’s advanced imaging manager. “Achieving the designation shows our commitment to providing the community with the highest quality of care.”

Claiming more than 156,000 lives in the U.S. each year, lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women. More people die of the disease than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined.  

“We are proud and honored to be working with Beaufort Memorial Hospital as a Lung Cancer Alliance Screening Center of Excellence,” said Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO Laurie Fenton Ambrose. “Their commitment to practice responsible lung cancer screening will lead to advancements in research and many lives saved.”

Health briefs for May 18th-24th

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Psychiatric nurse practitioner joins BMH Sea Island Psychiatry 

Margaret Thompson
Margaret Thompson

Margaret Thompson, a nurse practitioner with 25 years of experience in the mental health field, has joined Beaufort Memorial Sea Island Psychiatry. 

Most recently, Thompson worked in Savannah in the inpatient acute care units at Coastal Harbor Health System and Georgia Regional Hospital. Prior to moving to Savannah, she worked for six years at Piedmont Counseling Center in Danville, Va.

During her career in psychiatric care, Thompson also served on the staff of several counseling centers in both Savannah and Danville and was a nurse educator at Radford University in Virginia and a nursing faculty member at Danville Regional Medical Center School of Nursing.

A graduate of Averett University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Thompson began her career as a staff nurse at an inpatient psychiatric and addiction treatment center at Memorial Hospital in Danville.

She continued her education at the University of Virginia, earning her master’s in nursing with a specialty in adult mental health, and went on to complete her nurse practitioner degree in 2006.

At Sea Island Psychiatry, Thompson will be working with board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Wynn Hill and licensed clinical social workers Patricia Rickenbaker and Richard Archer. 

Sea Island Psychiatry is located at 989 Ribaut Road, Suite 330. To make an appointment with any of the mental health providers in the practice, call 843-522-5600.

Plastic surgeon offers free seminar on fat reduction procedure

Dr. Audrey Klenke
Dr. Audrey Klenke

Pinnacle Plastic Surgery and Pure Medical Spa will host a free seminar from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, to discuss non-surgical procedures to help you get in shape for the season.  

Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Audrey Klenke, and her team of professionals recently began offering a fat reduction procedure using the UltraShape Power technology, the first and only FDA-approved non-surgical procedure that uses focused ultrasound energy to target fat cells and eliminate them naturally. 

“There is finally an effective non-surgical procedure that destroys stubborn fat without the downtime,” said Klenke. “Other fat reduction procedures heat or freeze fat, which can damage the surrounding skin, nerves and blood vessels. This technology, on the other hand, erases fat naturally without the side effects.” 

Pinnacle’s Jennifer Burks, APRN, CNM, and PURE Medical Spa’s licensed esthetician, Sheree Tuttle, will also be on hand to share the science behind this ultrasound fat destroying technology and offer complimentary consultations.

The event, which will be held at the offices of Pinnacle Plastic Surgery and Pure Medical Spa in Sheridan Park, Bluffton, is free and open to the public, but space is limited. RSVP by calling 843-815-6699 or by visiting PureMedSpaMD.com.

Is there an art to truly letting go?

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By Denise Neal

I often hear people giving what they consider sage advice. “Just let it go, you’ll feel so much better.” 

Wise words that are much easier said than done. Words that give me pause, as I visualize a tiny hand holding tightly to the string attached to their precious balloon. One slip of the thumb, and off it goes up, up and away. If letting go were only quite that simple. 

How tightly we cling to our beliefs, judgments, angers and stressors. Holding on for dear life, as if these outdated feelings and statements will leave us wobbly and uncentered should we release them with one slip of our thumb. Some, frantically running after that balloon to catch it, only to bring it securely back against their bodies. 

Over the past few years, I have diligently been working on letting go of things that no longer have a place in my life. Letting go can sometimes leave us raw, feeling as if our heart has been sliced in two, causing us to feel as if we are handing over part of our soul, our identity, our thoughts, when in fact it is opening space for new joy, new beginnings and new experiences to come in. 

Life is going to unfold just exactly how it is supposed to. We can learn to trust and believe the process is happening just as it is, and let go of the need to control. 

It is not up to us as humans to control people, circumstances, life in general, and by letting go of this practiced trait, we open ourselves up to releasing ego and handing us faith in spirit to work the magic we are here to do. 

Hold on to your hats, because when control is surrendered, the ride is incredible!

I wonder, how many out-dated beliefs do we hold on to? Beliefs that were taught to us by others through the years, ones we pass on to the next generation. 

Striving for perfection, at all costs, no matter how detrimental our behavior becomes as we trick ourselves into thinking we constantly have to do better, be better, look better, work harder. 

Perfection is an illusion, one that keeps us unhappy and unwilling to look at the positive and good actions we HAVE accomplished. It’s much more attractive to be approving and accepting of the gifts we’ve been given and understand that who we are is a gift of beauty and it is enough. 

Let old beliefs whisk away in the wind, and let us cut ourselves the break we deserve, while being who we are, doing things the way we love to do it. Let go and let our heart and soul soar into being exactly who we are meant to be.

Creating boundaries is a part of self-care. We have a right to set boundaries and insist on keeping them in place when others disrespect them by pushing and prodding us rinto doing things we do not wish to partake in, whether it be setting hours that are for work, or for our time alone, to setting boundaries for others expectations of you. 

If you do not have boundaries set in place that show to the world self-respect, self-love, and self-care, how can we expect to be treated that way? 

Boundaries are imperative, and at times it may be necessary to go within and ask ourselves who is actually crossing the line. Is it others, or is it our own ego pushing us to cross our boundaries to gain recognition, martyrdom, and feel needed? 

Take the time to let go of anything creating a conflict between ourselves and boundaries, and we will set ourselves free.

Those are just a few instances of letting go of ways to bring amazing new light into our lives. Learning to let go of the things that are resonating with you will free up energy and you will begin to reap the benefits of a grateful, happy life.

Letting go is a process, blended with us willing to do the work. How deeply we dig is totally up to us and can only be done by us alone. This is our path and nobody else’s. 

Repaint your canvas today, rewrite your story, reward yourself with true joy. 

Denise Neal a published author, a practicing self-care and mindset and manifestation coach, crystal and Reiki master, intuitive reader and a breath work and meditation teacher. She is also a licensed aesthetician, offering premium treatments such as microcurrent and LED light therapy for the skin. Visit www.deniseneal.com.

Three generations celebrate National Nurses Week at BMH

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Photo above: Beaufort Memorial Hospital has three generations of nurses in Karen Carroll, her daughter Lauren and her mother, Yvonne Manuel. Photo by Paul Nurnberg.

Staff reports 

Celebrating National Nurses Week, which is May 6-12, is a family affair for Beaufort Memorial Chief Nursing Officer Karen Carroll. Both her mother and daughter also are RNs. 

Moreover, the three generations of nurses all serve in some capacity at BMH.

Karen, now in her 37th year with the hospital, is vice president of Patient Care Services. Her youngest daughter, Lauren, worked in the Emergency Department for two years before becoming a traveling nurse in 2015. She continues to fill in as needed in between her out-of-town jobs. 

Karen’s mother, Yvonne Manuel, retired in 2014, but volunteers during flu season, administering influenza vaccinations. 

“Nursing was a good career for me,” Yvonne said. “I like to help people.”

 The matriarch of the nursing dynasty was 25 years old with two young daughters when she registered for a one-year practical nursing program in 1963.

“I had always wanted to be a nurse, but I got married young and had children at an early age,” she said. “My husband told me this was my chance and I needed to go.”

Her husband even offered to take care of their two girls when Yvonne was in class. A year later, she landed her first job in the surgical ward of West Virginia’s largest coal miners’ hospital. In 1973, the family moved to the Lowcountry and she went to work for Beaufort Memorial. During her 41 years at the hospital, she served in the Intensive Care Unit, Recovery Room and ER.

“Back then, you could move from one department to another and learn as you went along,” she says. “Now with all the new equipment, drugs and protocols, nursing has become very specialized.”

Yvonne passed on her passion for the profession to her daughter, whose first career choice was to become a flight attendant (or “stewardess,” as they were called then). Wanting to further her own education, she enrolled along with Karen in the associate degree program at Armstrong State College in Savannah. Both RNs went on to achieve BS degrees in nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Karen started her career at age 21 as a staff nurse at Beaufort Memorial and worked her way up from charge nurse to department director of the Critical Care Unit. She was serving in that position when Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989. Just four weeks after delivering Lauren and with her 4-year-old daughter, Stephanie, in tow, she was called into the hospital. 

“My husband worked for the highway patrol and had to work during the storm, so I had no choice but to take the girls with me to the hospital,” she recalled. “I made a pallet for Lauren on the floor of my office. When I made rounds, I strapped her in a little carrier and took her with me.”

Despite her early introduction to the profession, Lauren wasn’t keen on becoming a nurse. Her sister had chosen to become a pharmacist and now works for Beaufort Memorial. 

“I wanted to help people and see the world,” Lauren said. 

It was her mother, who had been persuaded into the career herself, who sold her on the idea of going into nursing. 

“I told her it was meaningful work and that she would be making a difference,” Karen said. “And if she continued to learn, it would lead to more job opportunities.” 

It was a path that had proved successful for Karen, leading to her current position in senior management. In 1994, she earned her Master’s in Nursing at MUSC. Twenty years later, she achieved a doctorate in Nursing Practice at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

 “All three of us love being nurses,” she said. “It has been a perfect fit.”

Beaufort Memorial earns ‘A’ for patient safety

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BMH_exterior

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade — the most complete picture of patient safety in the U.S. — has awarded Beaufort Memorial an “A” in its spring 2017 report card. 

The nonprofit hospital was one of only six medical centers of the 20 in the region to earn the top grade.

“To achieve an  ‘A’ requires a hospital-wide commitment to safety, involving everyone from our housekeeping and food services staffs to the nurses, doctors and technicians on our medical team,” BMH President and CEO Russell Baxley said. “We continue to work hard every day to maintain our ’A’ grade and provide our patients with the highest standards of care.”

Developed under the guidance of an expert panel, Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 hospitals twice a year. 

Hospitals are graded based on how they scored in five major categories: infections, problems with surgery, practices to prevent errors, safety problems, and doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

In the category of infections, BMH scored as well as the best hospitals in the country in four of the five areas surveyed, including MRSA infections, infections in the blood and urinary tract during an ICU stay and surgical-site infections after colon surgery. It also received the top rating in five of the seven categories involving problems with surgery.

South Carolina came in at No. 17 among the 50 states, a ranking based on the number of hospitals that earned an “A” compared with the total number of hospitals that operate in the state. Of the 46 hospitals in South Carolina participating in the survey, 18 received the top grade.

More than 1,000 people a day are estimated to die from preventable hospital errors.  

“When we launched Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade in 2012, our goal was to alert consumers to the hazards involved in a hospital stay and help them choose the safest option,” said Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder. “We also hoped to galvanize hospitals to make safety the first priority day in and day out.”

To view individual hospital grades and state rankings, go to www.hospitalsafetygrade.org.

Two BMH nurses receive kudos from SC

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Shawna Doran_ Nancy Fu

Photo above: Nancy Fu and Shawna Doran

Two Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) nurses have received the Palmetto Gold Award, a designation bestowed by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation to honor the state’s 100 top registered nurses. 

The presentation was made at the 16th Annual Palmetto Gold Gala held April 22 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. 

Nancy Fu, nursing director of the hospital’s fifth floor medical/surgical unit, is being honored for her dedication and commitment to promoting a culture of patient safety. Her nursing unit has earned a number of citations, including the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Zero Harm Award for achieving 100 days with no acquired pressure wounds. 

The unit also received BMH’s Shining Star Award for best infection prevention and a certificate of achievement for being in the 80th percentile for patients’ overall rating of the hospital. 

Outside of her job at BMH, Fu works with her congregation’s women’s ministry on a number of outreach programs, including the Franciscan Center for migrant workers, Red Cross shelters and Family Promise for displaced families. Most recently, she hosted two Ugandan children in her home.

Shawna Doran, BMH corporate director of quality, also earned a Palmetto Gold Award for making huge strides in enhancing patient care. Her evidence-based quality improvement initiatives helped the hospital achieve an “A” rating from Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades and the only four-star score among area hospitals in Hospital Compare, a federal program offering information about the quality of care at more than 4,000 Medicare-certified hospitals across the country. 

Last year, Doran represented the South Carolina American Heart Association on Capitol Hill, successfully advocating for $3 billion in funding for heart and stroke research at the National Institutes of Health. In addition, she lobbied senators and state representatives for nutritious lunches for South Carolina students.

Like Fu, she also is actively involved in the community. She has worked in the Washington Park soup kitchen, volunteers with the Annual Beaufort Water Festival and the Beaufort County Healthcare Community Outreach program.

Taking break from information can calm the soul

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By Chris Suddeth

In this timely, + Perspectives, I would like to explore the hot button issues that push our collective buttons. It hardly matters what “side of the aisle” you find yourself on, if we can just agree that our buttons have been mashed. 

It’s OK. It happens to the best of us, this button mashing. 

In these times, it’s never been easier to be heard given the social media engines at our collective fingertips. A big question that we need to start asking with social media is, “Just because we can add to the cacophony, should we?” 

Let’s assume that most of us have nothing but the best of intentions. 

I intend to make a fine, but important, point. However, before I do that, please know I’m not endorsing any sort of violence, immorality or –ism.

Previous paragraph said, let’s take a step back from the vitriol of hot button issues, not because you’re wrong about a certain issue, but careful consideration is needed as there are 1,500 newspapers, 1,100 magazines, 9,000 radio stations, 1,500 TV stations and 2,400 publishers owned by six corporations. 

SIX CORPORATIONS control, that’s right, control all those media outlets. The power rests in the hands of an elite few that likely weren’t elected to any office.

Do you really think that propaganda died on Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri? Of course not, it’s just gotten more sophisticated. 

Now, we invite propaganda as gospel, 24/7/365. 

Is it all garbage? No, but the best way to manipulate is to have at least a kernel of truth in what you’re propagating. 

I barely passed, or remember, my college course in statistics, but one thing that has always stuck with me is that statistics can be made to say almost anything. Ponder that as you lap up and vehemently spew stats at whoever you perceive to be in the wrong.

Good questions to ask are before any contact with others: “Is it helpful? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?” 

“Fine Sutty, I hear ya, but I have to do something. I have to vent. Movements start with one voice.” 

You’re right, of course, but that voice is heard more effectively with love, compassion and acceptance of our neighbors. 

For starters, pray and send good thoughts to a situation. Naïve, you say. Well, I disagree, but I submit that naïve is thinking the media doesn’t have an agenda that sells the masses on vaccines, for instance, or can’t get a president elected.

It only took the media playing Howard Dean’s yelp on a loop to derail his 2004 campaign. ‘Memba that? That’s where the “real” power lies. 

Regardless of what we feel about a question like gun control, let’s start asking questions like, “What monster is actually being fed when all the media at our fingertips rallies against guns and 2015 broke records for gun sales?” 

Even if you like guns, is putting the latest Sig Sauer .45 on a charge card fear-driven when you’ve got a dozen other firearms to protect against a home invasion? Or are you feeding into the media madness?

Do you fancy yourself a modern day Gore Vidal or William F. Buckley Jr.? In case you don’t know, they were pundits who tore each other apart on live television before it was fashionable. As a matter of fact, their displays during the 1968 presidential election year probably saved ABC from becoming a footnote in television history when referencing “The Flying Nun.” The insults in one particular exchange followed these distinguished gentlemen to their graves. 

Controversy sells. Why? Because we buy it and feed into it. We crave it. We have to make New Year’s resolutions to cut back on it, but alas, we want what we want.  

Does it have to be this way? No, it starts with one person deciding to starve the media machine of mayhem and fear that affects both sides of the aisle. A synonym of mayhem in this case could be division. It’s the old divide-and-conquer routine that works only as long as we allow it. We’re more alike and connected than the elite few would have us believe. 

All I ask is that you pay attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

This is the heart of meditation.

Chris “Sutty” Suddeth was born in Greenville in 1975 and has lived his whole life in various locales within the state of South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1998 with a minor in English literature. Writing began its siren song for him at the age of twelve while sitting on the rocks of Fripp Island, where he now lives with his wife and daughter. Sutty is a full-time Mr. Mom with his own holistic health business. He has been a practicing Reiki master for over six years and uses his passion and proficiency with energy work to inform his writing. Visit www.energynovelist.com.

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