Dec 02 2010

Bernier Physical Therapy Associates: A PT Gem in Newburyport

Published by under medical,science

Visiting Dr. Richard Bernier at Bernier Physical Therapy Associates, located in a rehabbed old public school on Forrester Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts, was not my first PT choice after I sustained a shoulder injury back in August. But after dealing with two physical therapists before then, Bernier and his team is, without a doubt, my top choice.

I don’t typically sing the praises of medical practitioners, but the folks at Bernier Physical Therapy Associates made me feel right at home from my first rehabilitation visit. I went in for my shoulder injury, a shoulder impingement caused by diving into shallow water and smashing my hand into the sand while my driving my shoulder down and back. It wasn’t exactly a sports injury, but I am active. And yes, it is pretty pathetic that I messed up my shoulder diving into a 2 foot wave at Salisbury Beach—this certainly goes down as one of my not-so-great moments of athletic prowess.

Since starting my physical therapy and rehab, Richard Bernier and his associate, John Wile, have been instrumental in isolating and diagnosing the painful motions, and bringing me back to near-full strength and motion. (I’d like to add that as of this post, I’m not yet complete with physical therapy and a finalized diagnosis by my orthopedic doctor. I’ve moved from 50% range of motion and extreme pain to about 90%, with only slight discomfort at extended ranges of motion)

As a former collegiate and current competitive rower, and a Veteran, I’ve had my fair share of physical injuries and worked with many physical therapists, but I’ve never experienced a complete initial evaluation and diagnosis as was performed by Richard Bernier. After peppering me with a litany of questions about what happened, how I feel and my range of motion (which was sadly missing in many previous medical exams), Bernier then proceeded to move and test my arm and shoulder in at least 15 different motions to get a better sense of my shoulder’s physical condition for himself. Richard also used a ‘rotating double ruler’ (my layman’s term for it) to measure the range of motion. He then discussed a number of physical therapy options and fully explained all the PT treatments they could and would use to heal my shoulder.

At this point, I was totally impressed. Never in my life had I experienced such a thorough physical therapy diagnosis—or a medical one! Then Richard Bernier brought out the ultrasound machine. As he was moving the treatment handle around on my shoulder, he explained how it works and the short and long-term effects it had on tissue repair and long-term healing process.

I thought to myself, “Get out! A doctor is actually taking the time to explain and walk me through the treatment process as he goes?” Anyone who has been rushed through today’s streamlined ‘efficient’ medical visit brought on by the constraints of the medical insurance industry knows that this type of experience is rare indeed. And to top it off, Richard Bernier is a down-to-earth person who took the time to get to know me during the entire process. His demeanor was friendly and relaxed.

Bernier then walked me through a number of physical therapy exercises to strengthen my shoulder during the entire rehabilitation process. At least once per day at home, I need to perform six isometric exercises through the use of pressure of my fist on a doorframe to strengthen my shoulder muscles. He also gave me a green Thera-Band to use at least once daily for resistance exercises for strengthening and increasing my range of motion. On physical therapy days, I was instructed to start with a make-shift ‘lat pull-down’ tool that isolated my left shoulder, with the purpose of loosening the muscles, increase blood flow and lubricate the shoulder joint. At the end of session, after the ‘lat pull-down’ and isometric exercises, I would spend ten minutes on the shoulder ergometer to provide yet another range of motion exercise while aerobically conditioning and strengthening.

I was also impressed by the facilities at Bernier Physical Therapy Associates. This was full service to the max! The first room had an array of pedal and shoulder ergometers, some basic nautilus machines and strengthening tables. The second room, which was the main room, was like a triage in a top-notch hospital. On the right side there is a big alcove with some advanced range of motion equipment, and along the left wall there are about 8 diagnostic medical tables, each with a curtain run for privacy, just like a hospital. The room also had a number of racks with PT gear for muscle strengthening and motion exercises. There is also a small back room with some water tanks for hot water therapy. Richard Bernier also has a small desk area to keep records of the day’s patients, while he and John Wile work with their patients. Both are often seen jotting down notes and observations as patients are busy performing their PT exercises.

Richard, John and their support staff of Esta, Martha and June are also intimate with the mysterious inner-workings of today’s insurance maze. Bernier and Wile know the issues that patients have to deal with when it comes to finances and today’s medical insurance challenges, but Martha and Esta blew me away with their insight and knowledge of how to negotiate ‘the system,’ pitfalls and loopholes. Just ask. They’re quick to walk you through maximizing your insurance dollar. Bernier is also a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the New England Physical Therapy Network, and between him and John, they have more than 50 years of practical and clinical experience.

After spending the better part of November with Richard Bernier and John Wile, I can’t recommend Bernier Physical Therapy Associates enough. Though I came in with a shoulder injury, I witnessed Richard and John working on countless patients with lower back pain and lumbar problems, knee pain, neck pain, shoulder injuries, spinal issues, sciatica, as well as a number of occupational therapy cases. Every patient was comfortable, well taken care of and the atmosphere was so amiable that during many visits Bernier and I would shoot the breeze with numerous patients and the staff as everyone diligently worked through their PT regimens.

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Nov 19 2010

Random Friday Video: Owning a Pet AT-AT

Published by under internet,Pets

Hey, everybody needs a pet AT-AT.

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Jul 16 2010

Random Friday Video: US Naval Academy Performance Kings Firecracker

Published by under recreation

Check out these jump rope pros!

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Jul 15 2010

Unifying Your Digital Content and Marketing Properties

Published by under internet,Online marketing

Thinking about the myriad of Internet tools available to digital marketers, brand managers, content publishers and community professionals is enough to make many professionals want to hide under their desk and quiver in fear. I see weekly requests for advice and ‘what tools are out there for…” questions through my social and professional circles, and there’s no doubt that managing all these assets is a daunting task.

Thankfully, there is a strategy that digital professionals can use to wrangle all the madness: Unification.

With more than one audience to contend with it’s imperative that you go where your fans, followers and users are. There’s the corporate website, company blog (or blogs), Facbook and Linkedin pages, Twitter account, YouTube channel, Foursquare presence, the list goes on. The hazard is that it can also dilute your brand and overextend your resources. This is where unification comes in.

Associate Editor Jennifer Van Grove, from Mashable, has a great article on managing company brands on the Web and touches on unification as one of her five main tips. She points out a great use case, Director of Interactive Marketing for the Chicago Bulls, Jeremy Thum. Jeremy and the Chicago Bulls Interactive Marketing Department is redesigning Bulls.com and focusing on pulling all of its online initiatives together with BullsConnect to provide a consistent brand experience across all fronts.

BullsConnect creates

a singular login and commenting experience across their online properties. In the future, they’ll be incentivizing fan activity with a Chicago Bulls points-based loyalty system to draw attention to this unification initiative. Moving forward the team will also work to bring a “Lite” version of BullsTV to their Facebook Page, as well as use it to spruce up their “dormant YouTube channel.

Thum explains that they have and will continue to re-build or build digital marketing components that are unified while still allowing unique opportunities to engage fans on the Web.

David Churbuck, the VP of Global Marketing at Lenovo also has interesting thoughts on this topic, though he refers to it as “recentralization” and focuses on digital marketing.

He describes how, in 2005 and subsequent years, IDG merged customer databases with the creation of IDG Connect. This database and lead generation consolidation assisted with providing a unified customer experience.

I had the opportunity to work on part of the IDGConnect project through the redevelopment and launch of CXO Media’s (part of the IDG family) e-newsletter program. Two of the challenges we had to overcome were sharing and combining CXO’s subscriber database with the other business units and implementing an email service provider (ESP) solution that allowed subscribers from all IDG properties to have one account management experience. My team led the way by choosing and testing a powerful ESP (Lyris) that was customizable and easy enough to distribute and teach to the other units.

Churbuck also touches on the challenges of managing far-flung social networking assets. He aptly points out:

Brands are falling over themselves to establish a presence on the highest populated social networks and sharing services. First: you can’t be everywhere, second, this is where the real chaos is occurring.

This has presented a real challenge for content and marketing teams worldwide. Global brands especially face a tough road. As Churbuck shares, “digital brands don’t have national boundaries.”

Why try to unify? You can’t control what others do and where they do it, but you can at least work toward ensuring a consistent message and experience.

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Jun 25 2010

Random Friday Video: Animal vs. Danimal

Published by under internet

Find out what happened when the band OK Go encountered Animal from the Muppets at the Webby Awards. Honestly, nobody can stare down Animal.

 

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Jun 24 2010

Giving a Cat-Thrashed, Black-Capped Chickadee a Helping Hand

Published by under bird watching,nature

I haven’t been helping birds or wildlife in the Gulf region, but I did my small share for birds yesterday by saving a Black-capped Chickadee from the clutches of the nasty cat that lives across the street.

At about 6:30 a.m., I looked out my office window and noticed the neighbor’s black and white cat batting something around in the backyard. Thinking it had a House Sparrow, I wasn’t too concerned. (They are an invasive, non-native bird species and not federally protected) But on closer inspection from the kitchen door downstairs, I saw what looked like a gray bird with a black head.

The cat dashed when I opened the door and there on the ground was a pitiful looking Chickadee, missing some tail feathers, some of it’s belly skin showing and it was face down, breathing heavily. It was still alive! I gently scooped it up in my hands and noticed that its eyes were still open and alert. The poor little critter was pretty well mauled and traumatized.

Not knowing what to do with it at first, I put him in the seed tray on the bird feeder pole. Then I ran inside and got a small box and lined it with soft rags at the bottom. I also dropped in a handful of black oil sunflower seeds from the bird seed bucket and ran back outside to get the bird. The little critter was still laying on the tray and when I tried to lift it up again, it was clutching at the grate with its toenails. Gently, I pulled his toenails out, cupped it in my hand and lay it into the box.

 

 

The injured Black-capped Chickadee resting on soft rags after being saved from the neighbor's cat. (Photo by Randye Kerstein/Kerstein Creative)

 

I thought about bringing it in the house, but there at the screen door was our cat, Bouche, eye-balling the activity with much curiosity. (Bouche is an indoor cat and only watches birds for sport) Inside was definitely not an option. So, I placed the box on the back porch between our grill and the wall of the house, where it was protected from the misting rain.

A call to the local animal control was a no-go because they don’t take in injured wild animals. In fact, it’s illegal to do so. A call to the local Audubon Society also proved fruitless and I left a message. But a quick search online yielded that I was right on track: Box, soft towels or rags, some food and a quiet spot for the animal to recover.

Sure enough, within about 20 minutes, the little bird was munching on sunflower seeds and looked a little better. Fifteen minutes after that, it was fluttering its wings and preening. Randye got a good photo or two at that point. Ten minutes later, it was gone leaving sunflower seed shells and a poop.

 

 

The Chickadee starts to recover and munches on sunflower seeds. Note the seed in its mouth. (Photo by Randye Kerstein/Kerstein Creative)

 

Before I went to work, I checked outside one last time to make sure it wasn’t face down in the dirt beside our back deck and saw it sitting on the middle of the chain link fence on the side yard staring at me. As if to show me it was OK, the Chickadee fluttered up one chain rung, then another. Then it flew to the top of the fence, and subsequently to a high branch in our neighbor’s Japanese Maple tree.

The little Chickadee was saved and that was a great way to start the day.

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Jun 11 2010

Random Friday Video: BP Spills Coffee

When things get too awful and everything has gone to hell in a hand basket, all you can do is laugh.

When you watch this, note the reference to Kevin Costner, who will apparently test his water cleaning technology on the spill. It’s usually laughable when Hollywood gets political, but I sure do hope Kevin can pull it off.

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Jun 04 2010

Random Friday Video: Girl Takes Llama to the Dentist

Published by under Pets

All animals need good dental work, don’t you think?

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May 28 2010

Random Friday Video: Flash Mob Dances Do Re Mi

Published by under movies,music,recreation

I know people love to get together to dance. And flash mobs are a relatively new and interesting phenomenon. But this. Flash mob dancing? I love it!

A random flash mob does Do Re Mi (from The Sound of Music) in the Central Station of Antwerp, Belgium.

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May 26 2010

A House Finch Couple Becomes Regulars at Our Feeders

Published by under bird watching,nature

There’s a pleasant House Finch couple that have become regulars at our backyard feeders. They can be seen in the mornings and evenings eating sunflower seed.

 

 

A male and female House Finch. (Photo by Will Elder, NPS via nps.gov)

 

I started noticing the male finch about three weeks ago. Since then, he and his mate have been visiting almost daily.

Year-round residents, the House Finch is a small-bodied, convivial bird that flies in from high perches in surrounding trees to sit and eat seeds on our feeders. The House Finch is a Western United States and Mexican finch and not native, however, it is not invasive like House Sparrows or European Starlings. According to AllAboutBirds.org:

In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.

The House Finch is similar to the Purple Finch, which we also see from time to time. The key to telling them apart is that the House Finch is a brighter red, while the Purple Finch has a darker, richer purple/red coloration that covers more of the chest, belly, wings and back.

 

 

The Purple Finch. Note the darker red hues and that are prevalent on a larger portion of the bird's body. (Photo by Brandon Green via AllAboutBirds.com)

 

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