Before going under the knife, Jackson McKie, 8, had one solemn request. The surgeon was about to operate on his brain to remove a cyst that was affecting his quality of life. He’d been diagnosed with it when he was just a baby, and it developed into a condition known as hydrocephalus. The serious diagnosis meant that Jackson had to spend much of his childhood in and out of hospitals and doctors offices, dealing with stress and fear no child should ever have to encounter.
But one thing helped him deal with all the turmoil. It was his stuffed animal. Because Jackson has required a lot of medical attention throughout his short life, he has worked closely with the same group of doctors many times. And they have come to love Jackson and care for him. That’s why the team of neurosurgeons was willing to make an exception and oblige Jackson’s last request before he went into his most recent surgery.
As Dr. Daniel McNeely was about to get started, Jackson spoke up and asked for something that went against the rules. And because Dr. McNeely listened to the eight-year-old boy instead of shutting his request out as “stupid” or “immature,” the world at large is praising the surgeon for his kindness and compassion.
Dr. McNeely has been along for the journey with Jackson. He was there when Jackson was diagnosed with hydrocephalus as an infant. And when Jackson came to the surgeon holding his teddy bear, Dr. McNeely noticed. But he didn’t expect Jackson to ask what he did.
Right before Jackson was about to go under anesthesia, he asked Dr. McNeely a simple request. Jackson asked Dr. McNeely if he would be willing to operate on his teddy bear as well as himself. The doctor did not hesitate and agreed to do it – and even documented the process on camera.
When the photos went online, they quickly drew a lot of attention, going viral. Dr. McNeely spoke to CTV News Atlantic about his compassionate act.
“I thought if there was something I could do to help make him feel better, it seemed like a simple gesture, and I was only too happy to oblige.”
Dr. McNeely worked with the nurses to prepare a sterile surgical table for the bear. And after he finished with Jackson’s surgery, he used leftover stitches and other unused equipment to perform the same surgeon on the teddy bear.
When Jackson’s dad, Rick McKie, learned about what the surgeon did, he couldn’t hide his tears.
“He’s one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met,” Rick said.
Jackson recovered from the surgery fine, and then he saw that his teddy bear had too. The bear was patched up just like Jackson was. It made the boy feel safe and not alone.
The bear, named Little Baby, was Dr. McNeely’s first brain surgery on a toy, so he shared the milestone on social media.
“Patient asks if I can also fix teddy bear just before being put off to sleep … how could I say no?”
What do you think about this generous doctor?
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What Is The Ick? Heres What To Do When Sparks (Donu2019t) Fly
Picture it: You’re on a romantic date with your S.O.—candlelit table, bouquet of roses, chocolate-covered strawberries. It should feel like the climax of your favorite rom-com, but it just feels…wrong. Suddenly, you cringe at your partner’s touch. Their sexual allure dissipates. The mere thought of romance existing between you? Ew. You hate the way they do, well, anything (they breathed? unforgivable), and their personality is a huge turn-off. Little quirks that never bothered you before, like how they slurp their drink, pick the raisins from their salad, or drone on about their record collection, are now intolerable. No doubt about it: You’ve got The Ick.
Phrase sound familiar? That’s probably because a Sex and the City episode titled “The Ick Factor” popularized it years ago. More recently, “The Ick” resurfaced on British Love Island season six when (spoiler alert!) Leanne out-of-the-blue dumped Mike. Interest is surging—which is why The Ick needs an unpacking, like, yesterday.
Okay, so… what exactly is ‘The Ick’?
“When you have a crush, your body and mind become excited and feed off each other,” says WH advisor Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York. “We call that a psychosomatic reaction.” The Ick sparks a similar response but results in the opposite symptoms. “It’s like a sense of repulsion. You’ll notice a sudden absence of arousal that you used to feel about someone,” she explains. When they kiss your neck, it feels like a grotesque slug sliming down to your clavicle. Their make-out technique hasn’t changed—your perception of it has.
You shouldn’t want to social distance from your S.O.
How can you tell when you’ve caught The Ick?
Like the way you’re grossed out by the smell of rotten food, your body may be sending a message when you feel The Ick, says Carmichael. “It’s healthy to have a revulsion toward what’s not good for us.” Think of it as a defense mechanism, making you realize this person is toxic or, at least, signaling that something is off. (But it’s not the only Ick inducer—more on that later.) While the relationship may not be categorically harmful—you’re just fed up with your spouse’s chewing— it’s helpful to explore why your body is urging you to flee. Be honest with yourself to get clarity.
Should you stick it out or run for the hills?
A quick PSA: Just because you have The Ick doesn’t mean you have to jump ‘ship right away. (Get it?) Before hopping in the life raft, check out these expert-approved next steps.
First of all, ask yourself: Is it just the novelty fading? New couples often take part in what Carmichael calls “relationship bingeing.” Translation: You’re so excited about a new partner that you end up spending all your free time with them. But when you’re around someone 24/7 (no matter how long you’ve been married!), it’s only natural to want alone time, says Janet Brito, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in Honolulu. Do a solo activity to decompress, then reevaluate your icky feelings, she suggests.
Okay, but what if it’s more about you, not them? For real. Feeling ugh about getting intimate could signal unresolved emotions around your ability to give and receive love, Brito says. Affectionate, private moments are necessary to relationships, and if you can’t deal, you may have some internal work to do before jumping into dating or rekindling the spark in your long-term partnership. Working with a therapist or discussing issues with your S.O. can help.
Reignite real romance by forgoing fairy-tale ideals.
What do you do if it’s really not you, it’s them?
Sometimes there’s just no work-through-it fix that can adequately address the problem. If you repeatedly feel The Ick around someone more often than feelings of arousal, love, or joy (like, their perceived yuckiness is as much a part of your routine as your a.m. workout), it’s likely time to go in a different dating direction, says Brito. No need to reveal your repulsion; just (kindly) say your feelings have changed—period. Married, with little ones involved? Use these dire-straits vibes as final motivation to get help and truly explore what’s going on.
How to Ick-proof your relationship, like, right now:
Attraction has its normal ebbs and flows, but consider these must-dos your new Ick repellents. (Phew!)
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Jana Kramer says she was physically abused in past relationships
Jana Kramer and Jay Cutler had ‘awkward’ run-in with her ex Mike Caussin
Jana Kramer and Jay Cutler pictured together for first time
Jay Cutler takes Jana Kramer on date to make Kristin Cavallari ‘jealous’
Jana Kramer gets tattoo of her kids’ names amid Mike Caussin divorce
Jana Kramer wrote in a candid social media post that she was physically and emotionally abused in past relationships.
While promoting her new song, “Voices,” the “One Tree Hill” alum said she has been working on “healing” her struggling mental health.
“The voices in my head…I’ve been mentally physically and emotionally abused in past relationships,” Kramer wrote in a caption next to photos of herself on Instagram holding a sign that read, “I’m not broken, I AM enough.”
She continued, “I allowed certain behaviors to continue on because I actually believed the negative voices in my head that were spoken to me.”
Kramer did not name her alleged abusers but provided examples of the gaslighting she experienced.
“‘I barely pushed you, don’t be so dramatic’…’you bruise easily , I hardly touched you, you’re crazy,’” she recalled in her caption.
The country singer, who recently went on a date with Jay Cutler, said “all the words” and “abuse” convinced her she wasn’t “enough” and “not worthy of love.”
“For years I’ve repeated patterns, fallen into the trap of believing those voices, hurting myself and hurting others because of my desire to be chosen, to be enough,” Kramer continued. “And I’ve fallen for the same abuse in a relationship because it’s what I thought I deserved.
“My healing…your healing…our healing is to stop those negative voices. Now is the time to grow, learn, HEAL, and love ourselves. We are enough. You are enough. I am enough.”
Kramer’s message comes just a few months after she finalized her divorce from ex-husband Mike Caussin, with whom she shares two children, after she accused him of adultery in their marriage.
Sources told Page Six at the time that Kramer filed for divorce because the former NFL player had cheated on her again.
The “I Got the Boy” songstress was first married to Michael Gambino, who was convicted of attempted murder after he strangled Kramer into unconsciousness. He was released in 2010 and died by suicide two years later.
She then married “That Thing You Do” star Johnathon Schaech in 2010 but split after 12 days and finalized their divorce in 2011.
In April 2021, Schaech randomly posted a photo from their wedding day on Twitter and started to speak poorly of their time together.
“I ended up texting John because he started to continue commenting about how it was a horrible day and nothing was real about it,” she later said. “And I’m like, can you be nice and not say mean things about me on Twitter?”
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A colleague’s marriage problems are affecting his work. What can I do?
Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, supporting a colleague struggling with personal issues, being asked to undergo a 360-degree review, and dealing with being sacked from a contract role.
Illustration by Dionne Gain.Credit:
I think a guy I work with is having problems in his marriage and it is impacting his work. He seems to forget things, is late to meetings and just seems a bit down. He isn’t someone who likes to talk about his personal life, but he did say, just once, that things were not great at home. I would like to be able to support him but don’t know how. What can I do?
You are obviously an empathetic colleague to have noticed what is going on for him and I am sure he would be grateful to know you care. However, there is also a fine line between offering a coworker support and being a nosy parker.
I don’t know how close your relationship with your colleague is but if there is a high level of mutual trust and respect, you might just want to open the door by saying something like, “There is so much going on for everyone at the moment. I just wanted to check how you are travelling and is there anything I can do to support you?” That is a very open question without any judgement on what you have noticed. If he doesn’t offer much back or simply says all is fine, I think you need to respect that and be reassured that he knows you are there if he wants to reach out.
My boss wants me to do a 360-degree review (a process that involves getting feedback from managers, coworkers and direct reports) for my own development. But I’m really suspicious and think it is just something they want to do so they can move me out of the business. Do I have to agree to doing one? And if I agree, how can I be sure the results won’t cause me to lose my job?
Hear me out since there is a bit to deal with in your question. First up, a 360-degree review is a really valuable tool that will help you in your own professional development and will offer you a lot of insight into how others perceive you. I’m a real fan of these reviews and actually use them a lot in my executive coaching work.
But – and it is a massive “but” – they can only be used well when there is already a foundation of trust and a level of psychological safety in your organisation. The fact you have fears that your boss will use the results to have you exit the business tells me that the trust is not there and so the entire reason for doing a 360-degree review is undermined.
My advice is that before you tell your boss you don’t want to do it, try to talk with them (or someone at work you trust) about your broader concerns. I think you need to deal with that first and once you are reassured that the review is purely intended to help you develop, then you might want to think about whether you give it a go and learn from the insights it might bring.
An aged care facility recently sacked me after I gave eight years of loyal service. I’m a health professional, and I consulted on a contract basis. I recently increased my fees for only the second time ever and was notified shortly after that my service had been cancelled. I was fired over email. Despite numerous attempts to speak to management, no one has had the decency to return my calls or emails. I’m bitterly disappointed and I can’t shake it off. Should I let it go or keep trying to get an answer?
Let it go. You deserve so much better. What an appalling response from any employer, let alone from within an industry where we know there are chronic staff shortages. Contractors are entitled to increase their rates and should not be penalised for doing so. The fact that the organisation has not even had the decency to respond to your attempts to speak with them reflects only on them and their poor culture. I only hope that you are now able to find a role with a new employer who values you and what you bring to them. I would also plan on making sure that an annual review of your rates is built into any new contract you arrange so that this does not happen again.
Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to [email protected] Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.
Dr Kirstin Ferguson is an award-winning leader, author, executive coach and public speaker; she is the former deputy chair of the ABC. You can connect with Kirstin at kirstinferguson.com or on Twitter @kirstinferguson and LinkedIn @kirstinferguson.
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