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Saturday, October 13, 2012



What is the secret to weight loss? Many people spend a good deal of time and money in the quest to find it, and yet a large percentage report failure in their efforts.

Shawn Tyler Weeks, a 27-year-old currently in his 191st week of watching his weight (and seeing it steadily decline), didn't find the secret in the multi-billion dollar fad diet-and-exercise industry.

In his blog, 344pounds.com, in which he chronicles his journey losing some 130 pounds and continuing to maintain a healthy weight, he ob-serves: “You can lose weight doing anything temporarily.” However, he adds, this undertaking shouldn't be a “temporary gimmick or fad.”

“You have to lose weight in a way that you can stick with for the rest of your life,” Weeks explains.
He underlines a similar attitude to-ward exercise: burning calories “relies on you enjoying what you’re doing” so you will persevere in it.

“Losing weight is a lifetime journey,” says Weeks, who is currently awaiting the publication of a book about his own experiences in this regard.

He continues: “If you have a bad day/week and eat whatever you see in sight, who cares? It would be great if the bad day/week/decade didn't happen, but oh well, you’re not on a diet. As soon as you become aware that you've lost control -- take it back.”

Weeks admits that in his journey, he has had ups and downs. In general, he has been consistently losing weight, but there have also been moments when he has gained a few pounds.

“The second you realize you’re starting to overeat, stop,” Weeks encourages his readers. “Push the food away. Realize that yes, perhaps some ‘damage’ is already done, but those 400 calories you didn't intend on eating does not have to turn into 4,000.”

“As soon as you become aware that you've lost control -- take it back,” he advises. “You’re just living your life; you’re not on a diet. Just take back control and starting moving again and watching your daily calories.”
Weeks’ perseverance and consistency has brought him success not only in weight loss, but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If we apply his “secret” to the pursuit of other goals, not only those involving weight maintenance, we will find that perseverance can serve us well in many aspects of life.  In fact, perseverance is key in exercising all of the other virtues.

As we begin this tenth month of the year, we can look back on the other virtues we have focused on throughout 2012: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, compassion and justice.
This month, we remind ourselves that virtue is not accomplished in the short-term, but rather in the persevering, long-term maintenance. Now is the moment to take a look at those resolutions that we made months ago, to renew our resolve to pursue them, and to keep working.

Yes, we are now beginning the fourth quarter of the year, and perhaps some will say that it is too late to redeem those New Year’s resolutions that we made ages ago. But many legendary football games have been won in the fourth quarter, showing us that it is never too late to try again with renewed energy.
This is the moment to reflect on our own ups and downs, take inventory, and analyze where we are in order to head toward our goals.

If we've lost direction or slipped up, now is the moment to stop, take control, and begin moving forward again. If we have made mistakes, we admit them simply, set things right, and move on.

If, on the other hand, we find that we are so content that we have forgotten to work on virtue at all, or we fool ourselves into thinking that we are already “fine,” with no need for growth or change, now is also an important moment of self-analysis.

It is easy to become overly confident and think that we don’t need to work so hard at virtue after all, until we find that this “pride goes before the fall.” We need to humbly recognize that if we are not progressing, our tendency is to start regressing.

For example, in a friendship, if we start to think things are going fine, and we can lay aside the details of a phone call, a birthday card, a timely bouquet of flowers, etc., the relationship will grow cold. It is important to keep the relationship-building effort in place even when things seem to be going well.

In the same way, we always need to keep up our work to become better persons. This is the moment to save ourselves from the “fall” by renewing our efforts once again. Perseverance is precisely that virtue that helps us to “keep up the good work.”

Virtue is not accomplished overnight. It requires daily, persevering work as we continue to grow, change, and consistently become better persons.

We practice virtue in the present moment, taking it one day at a time, step by step as we walk our lifelong journey. And although some people might wish there was an easier, quicker secret to virtue, perseverance is the lasting, authentic strategy we need.

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action Items:
  • Go back and read a previous Peak Performance article that seemed most relevant to you. Renew your resolution to practice that particular virtue, and pick an action item to make it real. 
  • One day this week, wake up early, and take some time of reflection to do a self-analysis in regards to your growth in virtue. What type of person do you want to be? What do you need to do in order to move forward?
  • Practice perseverance today by completing every task, email, etc. you begin. Encourage your children to persevere through homework or chores. 


A grave injustice rocked our nation only weeks ago in Aurora, Colorado. The 13 victims killed in a shooting massacre were robbed of many years to love, learn, and make an impact on our world.

The names of 12 of them have already fizzled from the public’s memory as the media moves on to other stories. The name of one of them was never acknowledged after he died in the womb from his mother’s injuries. And those 58 others who were wounded by bullets in the movie theater are forever marked by this injustice.

How can we restore the harmony in this country that pledges “liberty and justice for all?” Will justice be served in the sentencing of the shooter, after he has been tried and convicted? And if his plea of mental insanity is accepted, and his sentence therefore mitigated, what then? Should the nation direct its outrage against his parents, education system, Hollywood, or just a general “them” in society?

How can we call upon the virtue of justice and persuade it to restore the peace? How can we reclaim the harmonious balance of lawfulness and fairness in our country? Where do we find justice in this tragedy?

Sometimes we think of justice personified as a Batman-like superhero, with unlimited courage and monetary resources, who will sweep in to bring the bad guys their well-deserved punishment. We shine a light into the sky, looking outside ourselves for this Justice to appear out of nowhere and save the day.
James Eagan Holmes, the suspect arrested for the shooting, was an avid Batman fan too, who reportedly dyed his hair and styled himself as the hero’s nemesis, “The Joker,” on the day of the massacre. His lawyers argue that he was mentally insane. Was he insane? Or was he somehow, in a twisted way, also calling for help, hoping that his imaginary hero would appear and save the day? Whatever the motive, the shooting sent out a cry for swift and purposeful justice.

We all clamor for justice. In the chaos of murder and lawlessness, justice gives us security, the firm footing of knowing that moral rightness has been restored.

Many people believe that perfect justice is not of this world, but rather of the next. They look to their God as the only one who can restore true justice. But many religions teach that we also have a personal responsibility to work for justice right now in this world, primarily by striving for moral rightness in our own lives and behavior. They teach that the first battle against evil takes place within our own selves as we fight our demons and struggle to conquer our vices.

In this light, we establish justice and harmony in our country when we ourselves live in a lawful and fair manner. We fight injustice not only by holding criminals accountable, but also by taking responsibility for our own behavior. As we call for punishment for the Aurora shooter, how many of us are willing to make amends for our own mistakes?

Last month we spoke about having com-passion for those we harmed in the past. Now, justice demands that we make amends for these errors, and repair the damage we have done.

This may come in the form of repaying debts, apologizing, writing a letter, or finding time to offer healing words. It may demand creativity and patience as we wait for the most prudent moment to rebuild a relationship.

It implies humbling ourselves and admit-ting our mistakes, without trying to justify our actions by accusing the other party. It means sowing goodness in the places where we have previously brought ruin.
It is never too late to amend our ways, to renovate and rebuild the damaged areas of our past. Even if we are not well-received by the person to whom we apologize, we gain serenity and joy by making the effort to restore the peace.

Even if they never make a movie about our fight against injustice, these actions we take are much greater than the antics of an imaginary superhero. Our exercise of this virtue establishes the reign of justice in reality, and brings peace not only to our-selves, but also to those around us, to the lives of real people.

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action Items:
  • Review the list you made last month with the names of people you have harmed in the past. Take a step to make amends to one of them.
  • Practice justice in the workplace by taking responsibility for your actions today. Don’t “pass the buck,” blame someone else, or make excuses. If you make a mistake, correct it and move on.
  • Take a moment to reflect on our nation’s pledge of allegiance. What does “liberty and justice for all” mean to you? 


Friday, August 3, 2012
There is nothing like a campfire under a starry night to gather people and inspire them to song. Throughout the centuries, the crackling flames have held a magical power to draw people together, offering warmth and the sharing of common life. And as people come together to partake in each other’s company, they inevitably share their voices, pouring out their hearts in an expression of the common human experience.  

What did their songs sound like 100, 1,000, and 10,000 years ago? Did they sing of themes similar to our own campfire favorites? Did they sit around in their robes and animal skins singing lighthearted, catchy tunes like “On Top of Spaghetti,” or “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain?” Did they tell their children ancient stories through songs like “Arky Arky?” Or did they have a song like “One Tin Soldier” to warn against the folly of greed-motivated war?

Of course, the repertoire varies according to the character of the group, but one classic that I often hear in camp sing-alongs is “Cat’s in the Cradle.” The tune is catchy, the lyrics easy to learn, and the message, though somewhat melancholic, is universally embraced. Perhaps our ancestors too, had a similar song that warned against parent-child estrangement and under-lined the need for building relationships now lest we find ourselves socially isolated in the future.

The song tells the story of a father who was so wrapped up in his business that he never had time for his growing child. As the son matured, he looked to his dad’s example, saying, “I’m gonna be like him.” And years later, when the retired father finally sought out quality family time, he found that his boy -- now grown with kids of his own -- was too busy for a relationship.


This song was an immediate success in its time, and its message continues to resonate with many people. It is popular because it touches on a common human experience.

We recognize that we too, live our lives largely unaware of the consequences of our actions on others. While pursuing our goals, we unwittingly cause rifts in relationships, and sometimes only discover many years down the road the damage we have done. Like the father in the song, many people find themselves alone at the end of their lives.

But even though the song ends on this sad note, we have the hope of using the time we have left to better our lives and relationships.  

This is where the virtue of compassion can be well employed. Compassion, which means “to suffer with another,” is empathy for the pain of others. It allows us to step into the shoes of those around us and moves us to try to alleviate their suffering.

We often think of practicing compassion for the sick, the poor, the hungry, or the home-less. We might think of being compassionate toward those elderly who are stricken with loneliness and isolation.  

Yet there is another area where we can practice this virtue in a more “up close and personal” way. It implies looking into our past, surveying the carnage we have left in our wake as we ploughed, stumbled, and raced through life, and making amends for our mistakes. Compassion moves us to empathize with those we have harmed, and to repair the relationships we have broken or damaged.

We must first become aware of those we have hurt, rejected or ignored -- even though we may not have known it at the time -- and try to take their perspective, to understand how they felt then and feel now. Recall their names and the circumstances (while making an effort to forgive if the others harmed us as well). Then think of ways in which we can make amends for our actions.

In this increasingly globalized world, we aren’t forced to face the victims of our actions every night around the tribal campfire. In fact, we could probably go through our entire lives trying to repress the memories of our self-centeredness and ignorance, and the ways it may have hurt those around us. It might seem easier to make a new friend and forget the old, or pretend like that familial conflict never happened.

But the reality is that these unrepaired rifts take a toll on our hearts and souls. They sap our energy in subtle ways, and give off toxic waste in the form of guilt, shame, pain, fear, depression, and resentment. These interior wounds drain our emotion-al and spiritual life, thereby affecting our physical health as well. Thus it is essential to our integral health to take steps to heal these wounds.

Taking these steps may be difficult, as is the exercise of any true virtue, but it is the path to serenity and solidarity with those around us. It gives us a secure net of social bonds to hold us up throughout our lives, and helps us live life to the fullest. If we practice compassion, we will find ourselves living in that elusive point the song refers to, when we’ll enjoy a richness of social relationships and “you know we’ll have a good time then.”
 

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology



Action items:

 Make a list of people you have harmed. Decide to make amends for your actions.  

 Take your family to visit a home for the elderly. Spend time with those who are lonely. 

 In your work day today, try to be aware of the consequences of your actions on others. Practice compassion by taking the perspective of your coworkers.

Kristy Baum RN, BSN, CDMS
Nurse Case Manager
Jurisdictions Covered: KY, OH

Kristy graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Her clinical nursing background includes Medical/Surgical and Home Health Care.  Kristy has been certified as a Certified Disability Management Specialist for more than 15 years and has worked as a Nurse Case Manager for more than 20 years.  Kristy works closely with the injured worker, the employer, and insurance carrier throughout the case management process.  She has experience handling simple sprains to catastrophic injuries.


"I had a 43 year old male who works as a technician.  He reported a low back injury on 2/25/12 after working in an awkward position for an extended period of time.  He sought emergent care and was taken off work pending follow up evaluation.


His injury occurred in Chicago therefore he was covered by Illinois work comp.  He lived in Ohio however and returned home for ongoing care.  The initial efforts of case management was to coordinate an evaluation in Ohio with a provider who would accept Illinois work comp.


It should also be noted that claimant had experienced similar symptoms several years earlier.  He was treated conservatively for that initial injury.


Once a provider was located that would accept Illinois work comp, an appointment was coordinated with this provider. An MRI was recommended.  Through case management efforts the MRI was scheduled at the same facility that performed the previous MRI (from prior injury) to facilitate comparison to address any worsening of his condition.


There was a small disc herniation but it was on the opposite side of the injury several years earlier.  A neurosurgical consult with coordinated to review the MRI findings.  In the interim, conservative management was coordinated including PT, activity  modification and NSAIDS.


The neurosurgical consult was reviewed and there was no surgical issues identified.  A series of lumbar epidurals was recommended.  In the interim, a release to modified duty was obtained.  The employer was able to accommodate and the claimant returned to modified duty on 4/16/12.


A pain management consult was coordinated again with an Ohio provider.  At the time of this visit the claimant had reported improvement in his symptoms and the need for an epidural was deferred until symptoms recurred.


The claimant resumed his full duty activities.  Per the request of the adjuster a final evaluation is being planned to address release from care.

Through case management interventions timely care was coordinated in a different jurisdiction.  Treatment was coordinated timely and a modified duty return to work was coordinated to reduce TTD pending the completion of care.  A transition to full duty was coordinated and a final evaluation is scheduled for final documentation of release from care to allow claims adjuster to proceed with file closure." 

Why not let TRIUNE handle your next case from start to finish. 
Feel free to contact Kristy Baum at:

1-800-633-0884

Monday, July 16, 2012


We are so excited for Jonathan Rivet, our IT Programmer, who has generously pledged his vacation time to serve the poor in El Salvador, by digging a well for their village. He leaves Sunday– July 15th (early) and returns the next Saturday – July 21st (late).


May God bless your generosity Jonathan. Can’t wait to hear the stories about this missionary work.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Japanese Fruitcake with Citrus Sauce

Ingredients

CAKE

1 cup butter -room temperature              2 cups Sugar

4 Eggs                                                     3 cups Flour

1/2 tsp Salt                                              3 tsp Baking powder

1 cup Milk                                              Grated orange rind

1 tsp Vanilla essence                              1 tsp Ginger

1/2 cup Pecans,chopped                         1/2 cup Raisins            

1 1/2 c Grated Coconut
 
Fruit Glaze

2 tb Flour

1 Juice of 3 lemons

1 c Sugar

1 cn Pineapple (20 oz)

2 Egg yolks

1/2 c Pecans chopped

  

Method

· Preheat oven to 350'F. Grease and flour 3 9-inch layer cake pans. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until soft and fluffy. Beat eggs until light and add to butter-sugar mixture.

· Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together and add alternately to batter with milk. Stir in vanilla and orange rind; beat well. Spread 2/3 of the batter into 2 of the 3 pans.

· Add ginger to remaining batter. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over the raisins and nuts to coat, then add to batter and mix well. Spread spiced batter into remaining third pan.

· Bake layers for 30 minutes, or until sides shrink from pan. Invert on wire rack and allow to cool.

· For fruit Glaze: pineapple should be crushed & drained. Combine all ingredients in top half of a double boiler and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens. It should be quite thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool, stirring  occasionally.

· When completely cool, spread fruit glaze between layers of cake and thinly over the top and side of cake, using a flat-bladed knife to spread evenly. (Place the fruit/spice layer in the middle when stacking layers.) Cover top and side of cake with the coconut.
    


Chef Yoshihiro Kobayashi 

Serves 8 people
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Fresh Mango Mousse with Fruit

Ingredients

- 4 cups milk

- 1 cup sugar

- 4 soup spoons corn starch

- 1 cup Mango juice. A canned mango juice is fine, but use juice   from the fruit itself for a better flavor

- 1/2 cup water.

- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Method

1. Mix sugar with 3 cups milk. Heat until it boils.

2. Mix corn starch with 1 cup of milk. Then, add it slowly to

Sugar-milk mixture while stirring quickly until it boils. It is very, very important to stir quickly.

3. Add Mango juice to the mixture and stir quickly until it boils.

4. Turn heat down to low. Cook for 5 minutes.

5. Add water and vanilla to the mixture and stir for 3 minutes.

6. Take mixture off heat and wait until the temperature goes down a little.

7. You're almost done. Pour the mixture into round individual dessert dishes.

8. Mousse can be topped with white raisins, small pieces of dried fruit, mixed nuts, or small slices of fresh mango.

9. Refrigerate until cold.

10. Serve Mousse cold, you can either remove it from glass or keep it in. (It can be safer to keep it in so it doesn’t fall apart!).

Chef Akil Okasha

Monday, July 9, 2012
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the locals fondly nicknamed one type of tree: the “tourist tree.” Why? Because the tree’s bark appears to be always red and peeling. And truly, that is how the islanders see many of the tourists who visit their home for a week or longer. Determined to soak up as much sun as possible, many visitors underestimate the power of the Caribbean sun and end up with skin that is, well, red and peeling.

Contrary to those cases, there is in general a growing awareness of the danger posed by excessive exposure to the sun’s rays. People are increasingly taking the time to apply sunscreen in a humble recognition of our vulnerability in this area. It would be foolish to adopt an arrogant or proud stance faced to the sun. Those who try to deny their weakness faced to the sun’s power only end up burned and at risk of skin cancer.

In fact, the FDA is currently enforcing new rules to increase consumer knowledge about the effectiveness of sunscreens on the market. Next year, manufacturers will be prohibited from labeling their products as “sunblock,” “sweatproof,” or “waterproof,” because really, these claims express a little too much confidence. In conformity with the new rules, the most they can claim is water or sweat “resistance,” for a period of 40 or 80 minutes, depending on their performance in a standardized test.

The FDA is also emphasizing protection from both UVA and UVB radiation, since both are risk factors for skin cancer. Previously, most sunscreens focused on protection from UVB rays, which cause sunburn and heighten the risk of skin cancer. Now, a “broad spectrum” test identifies those products that also protect against UVA rays, which cause tanning, wrinkles, sunspots, premature skin aging, and also increase the risk of cancer.

The American Academy of Dermatology notes that some 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer yearly, but the majority of cases could be prevented with protection from the sun. Skin cancer is very treatable if caught early, it adds, and thus, be sure to report any skin changes, growths or unusual bleeding to a doctor.

The AAD underlines the need to apply about an ounce (a shot glass full) of sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors in order to give the skin time to absorb it. It emphasizes reapplication every two hours, and after swimming or sweating heavily.

In the area of sun protection, a healthy dose of humility (i.e. reality) can save you a lot of pain, and may even save your life.

On a spiritual level, the need for a humble recognition of our weakness may not be as evident, and the consequences of neglecting to apply this virtue may not be as immediate. Yet the use of humility as a means of protecting our inner selves is even more necessary than putting on sunscreen before walking outside.

Exercising humility implies living faced to reality, the truth of who we are. Humble people recognize and accept their weaknesses, but they also know their strengths and act accordingly.

As C.S. Lewis says, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”

As a virtue, it protects us from pride, conceit, arrogance, anxiety, depression, and many other enemies of our inner peace and joy. People who neglect humility are more easily manipulated and angered. Those who practice this virtue have a greater capacity for building loving relationships.

We most likely already practice a certain level of humility, even just on the physical level. Going back to our previous example, we practice humility when we put on sunscreen without going overboard and obsessing about keeping UV radiation. As with all virtues, the key to humility is balance, walking the middle ground between two extremes.

Another way we may already practice humility on this level is by seeking the advice and aid of a doctor or health coach. We may recognize that we have issues that we cannot deal with on our own, and in that humble acceptance we ask for help from others.

On a spiritual level, we may ask for God’s help to overcome our weaknesses and become better persons. Or we may petition God for things we know we are powerless to achieve or acquire ourselves.

When we humbly recognize the truth of who we are, the good and the bad, we also learn about our triggers, those situations or people that bring out the worst of us. Humility guards us by advising us to avoid these things that make us fall.

Humility is a great ally and protector in our journey to become better persons. And, as it enables us to be happier and more peaceful, it will also affect those around us in positive ways. What a difference it would make if we all applied an ounce of humility daily before we go out! 

Genevieve Pollock
M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action items:

· Think of yourself less today.
Every time you detect self-focused thinking, redirect your mind to thoughts of a loved one or a needy person.

· Say a prayer asking specifically for help in removing a particular shortcoming.

· Take a step to seek aid for your health: If it is time for a check-up, call the doctor’s office to schedule; If you need help with exercise, contact a personal trainer; etc.
 
Thursday, June 14, 2012



Al Weir has been the Track Meet Director for the Northwestern Illinois Special Olympics Track & Field Spring Games for the last 30 years.  This is the largest Special Olympics event in the State of Illinois with over 1100 competitors and over 600 volunteers. 

In Al’s words: “ I have full responsibility for all of them on the day of the big event.  I got involved in Special Olympics through my involvement with Alpine Kiwanis, a local service organization, and each year over 100 of my fellow Kiwanians turn out to volunteer and support me for the entire day.  We run every event that you would find in a High School or College Track & Field Meet and have added Wheelchair and Assisted Events for some of our more challenged athletes.  We also offer Soccer, Swimming, and Bocce Ball competitions on this day as well.”

The spirit of the Special Olympians is what makes this such a great event.  Each competitor has demonstrated the willingness to train for this event and the perseverance to overcome their disability as well as the courage to compete. Again, in Al’s words: “The simple awards medal or participation ribbon that each Special Olympian receives brings the biggest smiles to their faces and is all the reward that we ask for as Volunteers.  I believe that the Special Olympics Oath sums this up perfectly, “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

Al always lists TRIUNE Health Group as a sponsor of this event, because of the countless, selfless, volunteer hours that Al pours into this event on behalf of others. TRIUNE Health Group is sincerely grateful to Al and his family, and fellow Kiwanians.




“For Greater Glory” takes its cues from a bygone era of Technicolor Golden Age epics and delivers a sprawling political drama steeped in old-fashioned Hollywood romanticism.

During the 1920s, Mexico was thrust into civil war when President Plutarco Calles (Rubén Blades) outlawed Catholicism, banned religious activity, confiscated all church property and exiled clergy. Priests and nuns that protested were arrested or publicly executed and hung on display from roadside posts. Rebel factions formed by schoolboys to farmers to artisans rose up and thus started the Cristero War....keep reading at foxnews.com/entertainment
Monday, June 11, 2012
This month, thousands of beautiful brides will join hands with their dashing grooms and take perhaps the biggest step of their lives, crossing the magical threshold from single to married life. After months, even years, of preparation, planning, and working through fears and uncertainties, they arrive at their wedding day, entirely ready at last to make that big step together.

The initial proposal, in which two persons expressed their willingness to embark on the great adventure of married life, will finally reach its culmination. That initial desire to get married will give them the impulse they need to complete the transformation from singlehood to life as a couple.

How many other instances are there when a person so wholeheartedly embraces such a total life change? We would probably all admit that there are things we would like to change about our lives. We may want to change our weight, our physical appearance, our impulsiveness, our negative attitudes, bad habits or a number of other vices. But sometimes we lack the real desire to change.

It is easy to say: “I know I should lose a few pounds. I know I need to watch what I eat.” Yet when we examine our motivations and desires, we may find that we don’t really want to change our habits. Perhaps we truly enjoy food, and nothing tops our desire to be able to savor it when and how we please.

Oddly enough, we can be quite attached to our defects, even while we know that we shouldn’t be. Perhaps it is smoking or drinking that we don’t really want to let go of. Or maybe we get too much satisfaction from gossiping to stop it. Perhaps we know we shouldn’t be so offensive in our comments or language, but really, we like when people laugh at what we say.

There may be a defect that is so inter-twined with our self-image that we are afraid to lose it. Or we may not know how to get what we need in life without that flawed behavior.  Even though we may be aware of the ideal we should strive for, we are often more content keeping things the way they are. After all, keeping the status quo is always more comfortable.

It is important to be aware of the underlying desires and motivations that lurk deep within as we strive to better ourselves. We can waste energy, create internal stress, and fill ourselves with guilty feelings if we, on one hand, expect a certain ideal from ourselves, and on the other hand, aren’t really motivated to do what it takes to reach that goal.

A marriage proposal without this underlying willingness would be less than impressive. One could imagine the response if a man were to approach a woman with a ring and say, “I’ve decided that I should get married and even though I’m not sure I really want to, and I might back out in a few days, will you marry me?”

Compare this to the simple, perhaps less-than-romantic, yet concise marriage proposal given by the coachman, Barkis, in Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield.” He sent the simple message to his proposed that “Barkis is willin’.” And that fact was enough for Peggoty, who was able to see his sincere and total desire to give his life for her.

Willingness is usually not an issue for a man and a woman that are truly in love. The reason is that their thoughts are generally consumed with each other, and the love that fills them drives out the fear of change.

In a similar way, if we spend time thinking about the ideal, even “falling in love” with our goal, we will feel more of this desire and less of the fear.

Athletes are encouraged to use mental exercises to imagine themselves successfully completing a physical challenge, for example, dunking a basketball or making a soccer goal. Once they have the image of success imprinted in their minds, they find that it is easier to actually accomplish it.

In a similar way, when we imagine ourselves in terms of our goal, for example, looking great in that bathing suit we haven’t been able to squeeze into for years, we are more motivated to do what it takes to reach that ideal. We have to love our ideal if we really want to reach it. We must be entirely ready to change if we want to grow.

The best stories throughout history always seem to involve an element of change, in which the person went through some major character growth or development. The more dramatic transformations or conversions make for even better stories.

Our stories are being written now. How willing are we to face the fear of change and cross the threshold into a better existence?

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action items:

 Make a list of the things you would like to change in your professional and personal life. Underline the goals you are truly willing to work on.

 Is there a life goal that you feel divided about? Make a list of the benefits of achieving that ideal versus the costs of not reaching it. If you decide that it is still a worth-while pursuit, imagine yourself successfully accomplishing the goal.



Amanda Ortman recently closed the file of a 46 - year old Injured Worker (IW) who had been employed as a bindery worker.  She was referred for job placement services 4 years following a severe crush injury to her left foot and subsequent development of a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that was treated with the implantation of a Spinal Cord Stimulator and ongoing narcotic use.  The IW had been released to sedentary employment.  The IW resided in a rural community and was a high school graduate.

Initially, the IW was believed to be cooperative and engaged in the job search process.  Amanda had provided the IW with Job Seeking Skills Training, a resume and hours of counseling.  Entry-level RTW options were explored and appropriate job goals were established.  The IW had multiple interviews over the course of Amanda’s involvement with her, but was never offered a position.  There eventually were compliance issues in terms of the IW’s completing job placement activities, but the larger issue remained why with all of the interviews she was not being offered a position.  Eventually, with the occasional assistance of Deb Murphy in the TRIUNE Health Group Vocational Department, it became clear from discussions with potential employers that the IW was not sincere in her efforts to obtain a position and was in fact, sometimes subtly sabotaging the effort and other times much more obviously doing so.  The IW was confronted on several occasions in this regard, but eventually became quite belligerent and hostile.  At this point placement assistance was curtailed and the IW’s benefits were suspended.  The outcome of this case is not known at this point.

Persistence is often necessary to find the underlying cause of things and Amanda and the other staff in the Vocational Department at TRIUNE Health Group do what we need to do to resolve files while always trying to help the IW to “see the light” and actively participate in the process.  We would welcome the opportunity to assist you with a file.
Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mary Schmit, Vocational Consultant with TRIUNE Health Group, recently wrapped up work with an Injured Worker (IW) who had an Illinois W/C claim.  The IW was a 26-year-old recent immigrant who had been a professional soccer player in Europe.  After arriving in the US, the IW worked for several months in maintenance at a condominium complex.  He then obtained a CDL B license and went to work driving a garbage truck.  He was a member of the Teamsters Union.  The IW’s file was referred for job placement a year post a complicated left (dominant arm) shoulder injury that left the IW with restrictions prohibiting a RTW with the employer of record. 

Mary completed her assessment and had instructed the IW in appropriate Job Seeking Skills.  The IW was advised to network with friends, family, old employers, etc. about being back in the search for a job.  At the second meeting with the IW, the IW noted that he had returned to the condominium complex where he had worked previously and as he was suggested to do by Mary, and had been hired back as a doorman making $12.00 per hour. 

This file was open for approximately 6 weeks and the approximate cost on this file was just over $2000.00.

Sometimes, just directing people to do common-sense types of things results in a successful outcome.  If you need a common-sense approach to job placement or any vocational service, please contact Mary Schmit or TRIUNE Health Group to make a referral. 
800/633-0884.

Jill Dizack RN, CCM, a TRIUNE Health Group Nurse Case Manager with over twelve years of experience in Workers' Compensation, was requested to assist on a file with a claimant with a right shoulder injury. At the time of the referral, the claimant had already been scheduled for surgery. The Adjuster however, in meeting with Jill, verbalized concerns regarding pre-existing conditions.

Upon receipt and review of the claimant's medical records, Jill concurred with the Adjuster's concern regarding causation. Her first step was to obtain the treating surgeon's opinion regarding causation and his medical rationale for that opinion.  He documented his opinion that the injury was the result of an "acute on chronic" rotator cuff tear, and that the claimant's work likely caused completion of the tear.

Still questioning causation though, Jill noted that the claimant participated in several hobbies such as ATV riding, rifle target shooting multiple times a month, and working on automotive projects. As an experienced Nurse Case Manager, she also realized that the purported mode of injury was not consistent with the nature of the injury itself.

With the Adjuster's consent, Jill contacted a physician specializing in shoulder injuries for a Record Review. The physician's opinion was that Workers' Compensation benefits ought to be denied because he was able to confirm, after review of an MRI, that no acute joint effusions were actually present. In his opinion, the absence of an acute joint effusion proved that the tears were pre-existent to the date of injury.

The claim was denied and Jill closed her file. The entire process had been completed in less than two months! Thanks to Jill's diligence, expertise, and attention to details, the cost savings were significant as the pre-surgery physician visits, surgery itself, and the post-op physician and physical therapy visits were avoided.  

Thanks Jill for another job well done!

TRIUNE Health Group and Jill would welcome the opportunity to handle a case for you.

Why not let TRIUNE handle your next case from start to finish. We pride ourselves in providing the Good Beginnings and Resulting Endings that defines this industry.
 

Feel free to contact Jill Dizack at: 
1-800-633-0884
Monday, May 14, 2012
Bill Newman recently completed work on a case with an Injured Worker (IW) who presented with quite limited options post a serious left arm injury.  The IW was a 52-year-old union carpet installer.  He had worked in this capacity for 25 years.  He had a GED, but no additional education or training.  At the time of referral for placement, he had been "off work" for 4 years.  The IW was restricted to 10 pounds of lifting and had a "no driving" restriction as well. 

Bill actually placed the IW twice.  Initially the IW obtained a job as a parking lot attendant, but developed elbow pain, which was related back to the work injury.  He was taken back off work for an extended period for additional treatment and then when he reached MMI again, his file was re-opened.  Bill eventually placed the IW in a full-time host/cashier position for a large restaurant chain.  It was anticipated that this case would end up as an "Odd Lot Perm Total".  Total Vocational Rehabilitation costs were approximately $12,000.

Even with an economy that remains troubled, a poor labor market and significant and limiting restrictions, there are opportunities and with assistance from Professionals like Bill, the ability to find options and RTW.

To make a referral to Bill Newman or the Vocational Department at TRIUNE Health Group please call 800/633-0884.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Harry Kraemer, former CEO of the Deerfield-based, multibillion-dollar company, Baxter Healthcare, made a decision that resulted in the loss of $189 million – and his investors and employees loved him for it. 

In the summer of 2001, patients in Spain began to die, allegedly in conjunction with their use of dialysis filters produced by a factory recently acquired by Baxter. As the reports began to come in, some 51 deaths in six countries were suspected to be linked with the filters. Further research showed that the filters were indeed faulty.

Faced with the facts, there was only one option for Kraemer: to “do the right thing.” The company may have lost less money by trying to pass the blame, cover up the situation, or quietly pull the faulty filters from the shelves.  

Instead, Kraemer issued a public apology, closed the entire factory responsible for producing the filters, gave large sums of money to the families of victims, and suggested a 40% cut to his personal yearly bonus. He publicly admitted to the mistake and accepted responsibility on behalf of his company.

In response, the CEO was flooded with grateful phone calls and notes from many of the company’s 48,000 employees. Although Baxter’s stock dipped slightly after the news of the mistake, it quickly recovered as investors saw the company deal effectively with the problem.

Now, after completing 22 years at Baxter, Kraemer spends his time teaching others about values-based leadership. As a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, consultant, speaker, and author, he emphasizes the need for leaders with integrity, who will “do the right thing.”

In his recent book, “From Values to Action,” he encourages others to develop this type of leadership by growing in “true self-confidence,” based on self-acceptance of both strengths and weaknesses.

Accepting and admitting our weaknesses as well as our strengths often requires great virtue. Many of us would like to be people of integrity, but we struggle to own up to our faults, mistakes, and wrongs. We would rather pass the blame or cover it up.

It is much more tempting to behave like the executives in “The Insider,” a movie depicting the struggles of Jeffrey Wigand, who was harassed and threatened for trying to expose the harmful practices of the tobacco company he worked for. We too find it easier to vilify those who point out our wrongs.

On a theoretical level, practicing integrity should be easier for us. After all, we are not operating on the level of leading 48,000 people. We do not have to worry about investors losing trust because of our bad decisions. Our mistakes are generally not spectacular enough to make media headlines; they’re usually not even interesting enough for Facebook or Twitter. Yet, even with less at stake, we still find it very difficult to admit our wrongs.

In this sense, the practice of integrity requires true virtue. It challenges us to go against the grain and make a decision that is uncomfortable for our pride and vanity. We would much rather depict ourselves always in a favorable light. But choosing the short-term discomfort of an apology will result in more positive long-term feelings. Accepting responsibility for a mistake will often win us more admiration in the long run.

This may be easier to understand from a different perspective. For example, we know that no human being is perfect, and that our family members, loved ones, and best friends make mistakes, some of which will hurt us. Yet, when someone wrongs us, it is always easier to accept when that person apologizes, whereas if the instigator tries to deny a mistake, it only creates more negative feelings. Thus, integrity is integral in sustaining positive relations with others.

Integrity gives us an edge in both our personal and professional lives. And in an increasingly competitive economy, Kraemer argues, those who operate with such values will be more sought after, because they are the ones that deliver outstanding and lasting results.

Action items:

1.  Do you owe anyone an apology? Take the step to admit your mistake and try to repair the relationship. 

2.  Take a few moments to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. Decide to peacefully accept yourself for who you are, neither denying your flaws nor despairing over them.
Genevieve Pollock
M.S. Clinical Psychology