You’ve Got To Take Care Of Yourself

A law enforcement officer just spoke on the radio about the San Bernardino shooting. Quoting him: “We’re not going to be there. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”

For the public, recent events are creating a new hyper vigilant awareness. As the events unfold, we may not have protection immediately. No wonder gun sales go up after these shootings by record amounts.

I experienced over the summer another similar situation. My home was in jeopardy because of a forest fire.  In a L.A. Times newspaper,  there was an article titled,  “A fire chief calls for help, but no one is there.”

I learned what it takes to fight fires. Many people last summer had no help and they took care of fighting the fires themselves.

We live in a world where taking care of ourselves means being asked by our officials to become a person who starts to observe who is around them at all times in movie theaters, elementary schools, churches or large gatherings of people.

This new awareness can be seen as a sixth sense that alerts us to possible dangers. In some ways that’s not a bad thing to have. For instance when I travel to other countries, I try to school myself about where it’s safe to visit.

In the United States I have never had to have my guard up all the time. My husband works in an elementary school and now I wonder if someone coming into his school could possible hurt him. That has never crossed my mind until now.

If any governmental official says, “We’re not going to be there. You’ve got to take care of yourself,” then I want to know what I should do. I want them to educate me in how to react in a violent situation such as a shooting or to help me know what to look for in someone who could be a possible danger to others.

An expert on NPR claimed that our government is asking people to report things that we see or hear, but there is no official hotline to call or department to listen to our leads.

I can understand why a woman would want to get a gun. If I was alone, I might buy a gun and learn how to shoot it. However Bustle magazine reported on Oct. 1, 2013:  “Studies show two thirds of female gun owners do buy their weapons for safety reasons. But females who live in a home with a gun are nearly three times as likely to be murdered than those without a gun in the home.” That makes me think that maybe I should not buy a gun.

Deep down inside, I believe the world is changing and we can’t be blind to the events and situations around us. Just the same, we need to not live in fear, not to be locked up in our homes, and scared of the people that are around us. We need to be informed, educated and aware for ourselves, for our kids and others. Let’s have a sixth sense of what is around us and be alert to know what to do.

Susan M. Carr is the Author of “The Ballad of Desiree”

Singers Need To Know When Something Is Not Getting Better

As a singer, when you start to feel sick and you have to sing, that’s a BIG problem. First, you can always sing with a cold. Even though you might not want to, singing can help heal your cold quicker. The vibrations that you produce in your sinuses and chest bone cavities stimulate warmth and bring the good cells to help fight the infection. Of course, gargling with salt water does amazing things. Take one cup of hot water (hot as you can stand it), put ¼ tsp of salt and gargle every hour for 48 hours. Also using a “Neti Pot” to flush out the infection is a must. Remember always use filtered or distilled water with 1/8 tsp of sea salt. There have been reported cases of people doing damage to their bodies when they used tap water and iodized salt.

Usually I give my body one week at the most to be sick. If you start to sing, check your break notes on these vowels: a, e, i, o, u. The vowel a, e, and o will be most affected when you are sick. If no sound comes out, then you must go to an E.N.T., an Ear, Throat, Nose, doctor who is a specialist that has seen many possible problems that could go wrong with a singer’s instrument. If I am sick for a week with fevers, I go to my E.N.T. doctor. They will give me the low down on what is the problem and what drugs I should take so I can get the infection over with and be able to sing. My doctor would always say get more sleep and eat hot soups as well.

Lately, more voice students are coming in sick and staying sick. Don’t wait a month without seeing an E.N.T. A regular doctor might not give you a correct diagnosis. Your instrument will be exhausted. Your speaking voice will be exhausted. Your entire system will be exhausted. You need to be smart and take care of the illness. An illness that lasts that long is a sign of something bigger. You could be contagious which means you could put other people at risk.

If you are traveling on a plane, take a Claritin three hours before and put a dab of Neosporin on your nostrils to help fight any bacteria in the plane.

The most important relationship that you have as a singer will be with the E.N.T. I listen to mine and if he says, “Try to see if you can get better naturally in a few days. If you don’t, then these are the drugs I recommend.” I will follow his advice. I always have a choice, but sometimes if I am teaching and performing, I will take the drugs to not have the illness linger longer.

“PTSD Triggers”

I recently had a traumatic event happen. After fighting a fire at my cabin. I realized that it triggered PTSD. I never would have thought to make this connection but now I can.

My upbringing as a young child was incredibly traumatic. There were already signs showing that I had PTSD. Memory problems, always being on guard for danger, trouble concentrating and being easily frightened or startled. Immediately, when my friend came running in and said, “You have to evacuate!” I went into a hyper vigilant mode. My heart pounded faster, my blood pressure rose, my senses became very sharp. A mental list of what I needed to bring to survive appeared in my mind. Sleeping bags, blow-up mattresses, pillows, sheets, blankets, clothes, food, camping equipment, tents, water, toiletries, flashlights. My mind was racing and my physical movements were quick. But as the stress kept compounding day after day, my concentration began to falter, my memory started to fail. I also had troubles with words when I spoke and the right words were slow to connect to.

Every time airplanes started to come down low above my cabin, that triggered it. Seeing the plumes of smoke or fire near my cabin triggered it too. It took awhile after I returned to Seattle to calm down, to feel safe again. When I would see a plane, I slowly started to not be in fear and wonder “Oh my God!”

It made me see that my childhood had led me to react to the fire as a traumatic stress situation. The times when my mother ran after me with a knife, the times when she would drive a sports car with me in it and drove us both into a telephone pole. Put me on constant alert as a child because I would never know what kind of battlefield would be behind the front door of my house when I came home.

Now I know why I am the way I am. I want to be able to balance myself when stress triggers me again. Even in a small way. I want to be able to concentrate. To be able to speak clearly and controlled. To be able to retain memory. To be not in a hyper vigilant mode of behavior. To be normal.