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Friday Roundup

October 17, 2008 - Betsy Bethel

A small study at University of Illinois has determined that singing the catchy pop song "Stayin' Alive" while giving chest compressions during CPR appears to help patients do just that.

The American Heart Association recommends administering chest compressions 100 times per minute. The beat of the retro Bee Gees song is 103 beats per minute.

I got an e-mail press release about this yesterday, but I was delete-button happy and didn't register what the subject line said until the message already was lost in cyberspace. I looked it up online today and found an Associated Press story. I laughed out loud as I read the last few paragraphs.

"Dr. Matthew Gilbert, a 28-year-old medical resident was among 15 participants in the University of Illinois study this past spring. Since then, he said, he has revived real patients by keeping the song in his head while doing CPR.

"Gilbert said he was surprised the song worked as well as it did.

"'I was a little worried because I've been told that I have a complete lack of rhythm,' he said. Also, Gilbert said he's not really a disco fan.

"He does happen to like a certain Queen song with a similar beat.

"'I heard a rumor that "Another One Bites the Dust" works also, but it didn't seem quite as appropriate,'" Gilbert said.


-- -- --


Facebook sent me on a mad search for my middle and high school yearbooks last weekend.

Names I haven't heard and faces I haven't seen in nearly two decades, sometimes longer, started coming out of the woodwork last week on my Facebook account. Every time I signed in, I was amazed at who I found smiling back at me on my screen. I feel like I've been to a two-week long reunion, which is weird for me because I've never actually been to any of my reunions.

Many of the names made me laugh out loud because I either felt joy -- "Oh my gosh, I have been wanting to get in touch with her!"; or incredulity -- "No way! I can't believe he added me as a friend! He used to make fun of me ALL the time! I still have the emotional scars!"; and sometimes out of pure embarrassment -- "Oh boy, my most vivid memory of THAT person is not something I ever thought I'd have to face again!"

But as more and more people asked me to be their "friend" or showed up in my "People You May Know" box, I began to wonder ... If you didn't know a former classmate that well -- maybe you weren't even friends -- do you invite them as a Facebook friend?

After scanning through the photos and sign-out messages in my yearbooks (I finally found them in the bottom of my husband's closet), I felt a flood of emotions, and a lot of my old insecurities bubbled up from a pit I thought I had sealed long ago.

Surely, other people on Facebook have experienced this phenomenon, so I posted the question on my profile: "If you weren't necessarily friends in high school, do you become friends on Facebook?" I only had three people respond, but the consensus was, "yeah, sure," and "why not"? As long as you at least REMEMBER them and they didn't commit any crimes against you. ... LOL!

But then I start to get paranoid. Have you seen "Grosse Point Blank" starring John Cusack? Brilliant, entertaining film about a guy who shows up at his 10-year reunion after skipping town on prom night and disappearing for a decade. He became a hit man and is trying to come to grips with his past and his career choice. When his old friends ask him what he's been doing, he tells them he's a professional killer. They, of course, think he's joking.

For all I know, the bass drum player from band ... or the theater class clown ... or the homecoming queen ... or the quiet guy from geometry class ... is a spy or a head case or -- gasp! -- a life insurance salesmen. I suppose, if I'm honest, someone also could be a wife beater, a murderer or a sexual predator.

I'm not laughing anymore.

-- -- --


We have a new family member. She's about 14 inches long, weighs about 2 pounds and has fleas.

I didn't want a cat. We had one for seven years, and he died of a lung tumor two years ago. I loved Frank, and I felt guilty for neglecting him in the first months after Emma was born. I was perfectly happy not to clean out a litter box ever again. I was fine with having only one vet bill, not two. I was satisfied -- and at my limit -- caring for a dog, a child, a husband and a house.

But then I saw how the child acted around this young cat that was dumped on a friend's property, and, more importantly, I saw how the cat acted with the child -- and my heart started to melt.

Now the extremely tolerant Lucy is Emma's baby. She wraps her in her blankie and puts her in bed. She soothes her ("It's OK, Baby. Mommy's here"). She plays with her ("You're a silly girl, Lucy!"). She scolds her ("You need to poopy in the litter box, Lucy, not on the carpet. No, no, no! I'm disappointed.") Too cute!

Have you ever noticed that parenthood provides many opportunities for us to stretch what we think are our limits? And it always seems our lives become richer when we do.


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