Thursday, April 12, 2007
Do you have the complete picture?

By Anthony Policastro, M.D

One of the things that I learned early in my Air Force career is that there are two sides to every story. People do not tend to do things wrong on purpose. There are often very good reasons for their behavior. One example of this is from the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey. He tells the story of a subway ride that he took. A father got on the train with his three sons. They proceeded to run up and down the car. The father did nothing to stop them. Steven Covey decided to speak to the father about controlling his children. That father looked at him and apologized. He explained that he was not quite himself. They had just come from the hospital where his wife had just died. In addition, individuals' behavior is sometimes not perceived correctly by those around them. Another example one of my daughters scratched her eye one time. Her eye was painful and tearing. Her sister had to drive her to the hospital because she could not drive. This kind of injury is seen rather emergently in the emergency room. When she arrived there, the person at the front desk recognized the last name. She teasingly told him that if he did not take care of her she would tell her daddy. One of the patients in the waiting room overheard the conversation. When she was taken back to be seen before him, he filed a formal complaint about favoritism. He did not know the full story. He only thought he did. We sometimes act on incomplete information. We sometimes act on misperception. For those reasons we need to look at our actions. We need to know if we have the complete picture. That is true when we are dealing with our spouses. That is true when we are dealing with our children. That is true when we are dealing with those around us. If we act without the full story, it may result in the wrong action. It also may result in problems with our relationship with those individuals. An example of this took place when I was in South Carolina. One of the local police officers came to my house. He wanted to complain that one of my ambulances had refused to transport a patient. I decided to ask the ambulance attendant what had happened. He explained that the woman had been injured in an auto accident. She wanted her infant to be transported with her in the ambulance. The ambulance had no infant seat. So he refused to transport the infant without a car seat. The mother refused to go without her infant. So she and the infant went to the hospital in the police car.

Whether I would have made the same decision or not was not relevant. The decision was a logical one from the ambulance attendant's standpoint. If I had told him otherwise, he would not have understood. He would have been unhappy. It was not an incident that was ever likely to happen again. So it would not have made a difference in the long run. I explained that to the police officer. We each face situations like this on a regular basis. How we handle them is up to us. The best way to handle them is to make sure we understand the actions before we react to them. That will allow us to avoid making accusations that are not entirely accurate.

Relay for Life Friendraiser
The Western Sussex Relay for Life committee members are busy making preparations for this year's Relay for Life. This year's event will be held on May 18, at the Mears Campus in Seaford. The Relay for Life is an overnight event that helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. If you are interested in receiving information on how to register a team or for further information, contact Mary Catherine Hopkins at 875-7308.

Take steps to end Alzheimers
Congratulations to the teams and individual walkers who participated in Memory Walk Rehoboth 2006 raising almost $100,000! On April 16, 2007, the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Individual walkers and team captains are invited to attend and register for Memory Walk Rehoboth 2007 and tour our new office at 109 North Bedford Street in Georgetown. For more information, call 854-9788.

Family Caregiver Training
The Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter sponsors The Family Caregiver Education Series four times per year in each of Delaware's three counties. Easter Seals at 22317 N. DuPont Blvd. in Georgetown will host the training on April 26, 2007 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. This program includes a Medical Overview; Legal and Financial Issues, Communications, Behaviors and Activities of Daily Living and Community Resources. This training, for family caregivers, is free and lunch will be provided, but pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, call Jamie Magee, 854-9788.

Networking Groups
The Wellness Community-Delaware offers networking groups for people with cancer. Networking groups give participants, support people and their caregivers an opportunity to connect with others coping with the same type of cancer or similar issues. We offer a Breast Cancer group that meets on the second Thursday of each month at 6 pm. On the third Wednesday, we offer a Prostate group at 7 p.m. and on the fourth Thursday of each month we have a Head and Neck cancer group meeting at 6:30 p.m. On the third Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Nanticoke's Cancer Care Center we offer a General Cancer group. All of our facilitators are licensed mental health professionals. Our support groups are free of charge to those people affected by cancer and their loved ones. The Sussex facility is located in the Medical Arts Building, Suite 312 at the Beebe Health Campus on Rt. 24 in Rehoboth. Call Kaye or Lori at 645-9150 for information or to register