Thursday, January 05, 2006
Take first step to avoid an escalating argument

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Medical director,
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital

Some things are predictable. That is very true about human behavior. When I teach behavior modification, I teach about that. When a child does something wrong, the parent reacts in a predictable way. The child will then have a predictable reaction to the parent. The parent in turn will have another predictable response. That continues until things are totally out of control. The main point I make to the parents is that you know where this is going from the very first step. Unless one of the two individuals decides to change their response, it will always end in the same disaster. When you deal with children, one point is very clear. The only one of the two that is going to change the response is the parent. Therefore, if the parent does not stop the escalation at some point, it will always end in the same place. To get a different outcome, a different set of reactions needs to occur. The same thing is true of adults. It is true of spouses more than any other pair of individuals. Spouses (and significant others) frequently will have spats. The arguments usually begin over something very insignificant. However, the predictable responses pile up. When all is said and done, things tend to be blown way out of proportion to the problem. The same rules hold true here. Someone has to recognize where the argument is heading. Someone needs to make a different response. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. Therefore, neither one makes the needed change. The result is that the arguments usually end up the same way. For example, one individual may decide to make an impulse purchase of something. It is likely that the cost is not that much. The spouse will notice that impulse buy and complain about it. The purchaser will give a return comment that it was not really an impulse buy. The spouse will indicate that is not true and that is what always happens. The purchaser will then complain about one of the spouse's faults. The spouse in turn will make another comment. And so it goes. Communication goes out the window. Each of us could probably sit down with our spouses and map out these kinds of situations. Once they are recognized, then both parties can agree to not go down that path when those topics come up. That way only one of the two individuals has to realize where it is heading. Since they have agreed ahead of time to not get pulled into it, that realization should be all that it takes to stop the conversation. Later a real discussion can be had without all the tempers flaring. Perhaps that will result in no need to even take the first step in the future. We can predict the fact that these kinds of disagreements can occur. We can predict the fact that they will follow a set pattern. We can predict the end point. What we really need to predict is who will notice what is happening in the middle of it. That is the only way to calling a truce and keeping things from getting out of hand.

Treatment of head and neck cancer to be topic of discussion
Registered nurse Linda K. Clarke will offer an overview of recent advances in the treatment of head and neck cancer Monday, Jan. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Nanticoke Memorial Cancer Care Center, second floor, Seaford..This presentation is sponsored by The Wellness Community-Delaware. Clarke will discuss surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy as treatment approaches and a question and answer period is included. Admission is free. To register, call 227-1155.

Free mammograms to be offered at Greenwood library
The Women's Mobile health Screening Van will visit the Greenwood Public Library Wednesday, Jan. 11. Women interested in receiving a free mammogram must call 888-672-9647 before Jan. 11 to schedule an appointment. No one will receive services without an appointment. The van is administered by the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Inc. The library is east of the railroad tracks, on the corner of Market and Mill streets.

State's prescription program rep to visit CHEER Center
A representative from the Delaware Prescription Assistance Program will be at the CHEER Community Center on Sand Hill Road, Georgetown, Jan. 10 and 24, to offer help to those needing assistance in understanding the new prescription drug program. The representative will be at the center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. For more information call 302-854-9500.

Breast cancer support group to meet monthly starting Jan. 12
A breast cancer networking support group will begin at The Wellness Community- Delaware, Sussex Facility, on Jan. 12. This monthly support group will be led by registered nurse Clare Wilson and will meet the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. The Sussex facility is located at 19633 Blue Bird Lane, Suite 5, Rehoboth. Century Plaza is directly behind the Crab Barn off Rt. 1. This group is free of charge to people affected by breast cancer. For more information or to register, call 227-1155.

Session designed to help those caring for Alzheimer's patients
The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter will hold all-day family caregiver training session in Seaford at LifeCare at Lofland Park, 715 King St., on Friday, Jan. 20, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Jamie Magee, Georgetown branch office coordinator for the Delaware Valley Chapter, the free, hands-on training for family members and friends of Alzheimer's patients helps in managing present and long-term care needs and provides an opportunity for caregivers to connect with each other. To pre-register by Jan. 17, contact the Alzheimer's Association's Georgetown branch office at 854-9788 or 1-800 272-3900. Lunch will be provided. Program topics will include a medical overview, legal and financial issues, communication and activities of daily living, and community resources.

CHEER Center will offer cholesterol screenings Jan. 24
The CHEER Community Center in Georgetown will have a free cholesterol screening on Wednesday, Jan. 24, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. The screenings will be provided by Beebe Medical Center's Community Health Department. This screening will be open to the public for those who want to know their cholesterol numbers. The test takes about 10 minutes and does not require fasting. Test results provide total cholesterol and HDL (good cholesterol) levels within five minutes. Being physically active and following a low-fat diet can help keep cholesterol levels within a good healthy range. Pre-registration is a must. Call 854-9500 to schedule a 10-minute appointment.