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Saturday 20th November 2010 8:00 AM
Native Dishes: Chicken Souse, Sheep Tongue Souse, Stew Conch, Boil Fish & Stew Fish American Dishes: Omelets, Egg Platters, Pancake Platters, Sandwiches, Breakfast Burritos & New York Strip with Eggs Free Wi-Fi
The concept of publishing has reached a very gray area in the digital age. At a time where a book can be both physical and electronic, literary journals and newspapers are transforming into online-only entities and individuals can share their thoughts on public blogs and social networks, formal publishing as we know it - by large, authoritative entities driven mostly by profit - faces complete revolution.
Bahamian writers, who have been somewhat excluded in the publishing world by these large authoritative publishers, are poised to take a major part in this new digital age that has essentially democratized publishing, points out Bahamian writer, anthropologist and cultural critic, Nicolette Bethel.
"The Internet has changed us. It changes the way we think, the way we look at and live in the world," she says. "Publishing is resisting because publishing is firmly anchored in the print world and the print world is passing away."
"It's hard to challenge the idea that print changed the world - the ability to free thought, to multiply it, to master it. It created revolutions," she continues. "But that's the age we're living in now because of the Internet - revolutions and shifts are happening. People who have the same thoughts and the same experiences can communicate with each other no matter where they are on the planet, at no cost; they don't have to know each other, and that's never been able to happen before."
Rather than feel threatened or confused by the digital age as a writer, Bethel has been taking advantage of what the Internet offers her - in 2007, she launched an online-only literary magazine "tongues of the ocean" and maintains several blogs, on one of which she shares her famous insights into Bahamian culture, "Essays on Life". She's also been known to live-Tweet important readings, critical conversations and gatherings shared by the cultural community at home so that interested Internet readers - many of them part of the Caribbean diaspora - can take part.
Bethel's latest venture is the release of "Lent/Elegies", a modest but powerful collection of poems, in a revolutionary way - through a 'nanopress' and available for all to see for free online.
The concept of a nanopress, explains Bethel, came about as an idea by another writer, Nic Sebastian. The two are online friends who admire and feed off of each others' written work and blog work. While Bethel started "tongues of the ocean", Sebastian through her own blogs explores how poetry can exist in the technological age beyond the written word as either a recorded reading or even as a series of images in a video.
Sebastian then came up with the idea of a nanopress when she explored self publishing her own work. As Bethel points out, self-publishing has always been a complex concept for writers, rife with stories of self-made success but with ten times as many failures and vanity projects.
"She didn't want to self-publish so she thought and researched and started some dialogues, and she found the big difference between self-publishing and publishing yourself is the role of the editor," explains Bethel. "And this where she came up with the idea of a nanopress. She wanted to publish a chapbook collection but she decided she needed an editor."
From this, she published her book "Forever Will End on Thursday" which exists in as many publishing formats that are available today - as a physical book ordered from Lulu.com, as an e-book ordered from Smashwords, as a PDF that can be downloaded from an online source, as a recording, and finally, as a blog. The blog exists only to be her formal book, not only redefining the role of a blog but making the book free to read by all.
The nanopress is the press name that is used once and once only by the manifestations of this book. Suggested by it's name ("nano", a prefix meaning "a billionth", comes from Greek for "dwarf") a nanopress is essentially a moment - it recognizes the ephemeral nature of modern publishing and stands in complete opposition to the giants of publishing that for so long held influence over the sensibilities of entire populations.
When Sebastian put out a call for writers who may want to publish their collection of work the same way, Bethel paired up with the same editor she had used before on her previous book, "Mama Lily and The Dead'", and applied to publish "Lent/Elegies" under the nanopress, A Place Without Dust Press.
The collection of poetry grouped under to sections of "Lent" and "Elegies" explores grief in the wake of the loss of Bethel's mother, Dr. Keva Bethel. Through the loaded routines surrounding Lent and Easter, Bethel meditates on the passing of time in the wake of tragedy. Through the poetry form of the sevenling, Bethel constructs lists of fleeting moments in both the physical and emotional landscapes, juxtaposing memories of her mother in her final days with her present absence in order to once again find hope in the future.
Bethel explains that she was inspired to use the sevenling form from her online poetry group - another way that she as a writer took advantage of the Internet. As often the task of creation can seem stifling and within a vacuum in such a place as a small island in The Caribbean, Bethel found audience, inspiration and community in online poetry forums where writers around the world could exchange and comment on each other's work.
"My approach to poetry is that it is a craft. I came to poetry really in the beginning to master all the nuances of English for the purposes of writing prose, and then I stick with it," explains Bethel. "But it's always been about craft and it's been really challenging and exciting craft because you're using these constraints to express what it is you're trying to say.
"It's more than that though - there's alchemy that happens in poetry that doesn't always happen in prose, and it happens on all these different levels that if you study the human mind you find is really linked deep into the human psyche, the conscious and linear mind. To reach that relationship though, to reach that level, you really have to master the craft."
To her, these forums essentially changed the face of poetry by providing democratic forums in or to develop poetry. With involvement in the group Poetry Free For All - where she first met Nic Sebastian - Bethel began delving into poetry again, honing her voice and craft. In fact, the poems which appeared in "Lent/Elegies" were inspired by exercises by PFFA, including the assignment during National Poetry Writing Month (NAPOWRIMO) to write a poem a day for a month.
"The process was cathartic for me," says Bethel. "I decided I would use the mold of NAPOWRIMO just to write through this period. And when you're writing a poem every day, when you're looking for them, you see things you normally wouldn't; you surprise yourself."
"As a writer, my poems are about death. They all deal with that theme," she admits. "In these poems I had no thought about the audience - the audience is myself. If I got them to where I was while I was writing them, that's all they can be."
"Lent/Elegies" by Nicolette Bethel is available to view online at http://lentelegies.wordpress.com. E-book copies can be downloaded for free or a book purchased from lulu.com on the same webpage.
The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. [Psalm 104:12]
Dusk falls very quickly and I was washing the dishes and through the lace curtains I was enjoying the view of the trees. Beyond the wall is a woman's tongue tree. She has weathered many a storm and apart from being topped in one of them, she stands tall and majestic. Trees are so beautiful and sometimes if were an artist, the abstract would be beautiful and profound.
While I was enjoying the beauty of nature, my attention was suddenly drawn away by the sound of what seemed to be a flock of birds in a raucous situation. Chirping, squawking, wings fluttering and a harmonious sound as if one group was asking and answering and another group trying to get a word in. In the midst of all of this, I heard the dog bark and opened the door to see birds I had not seen for the year. Perhaps they had just arrived in town and were in and out of my breadfruit tree so happy to be out of the cold and so it's party time! Others were on the roof performing air shows and buzzing the dog's tail. When he turned around to snap at them, they attacked him from the front with others taking a corner shot. I had a good laugh while they played catch me if you can.
Today in our lesson the Psalmist David in this beautiful 104th Psalm is declaring that the almighty God, the creator of heaven and earth and all that dwell therein is able to make the birds sing again in our lives. He is able to water the dry streams and out of any darkness, bring light, joy, peace and reconciliation.
There is no situation that God is not aware of. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate so that the earth brings forth fruit. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. He makes springs pour water into the ravines, it flows between the mountains. They give water to all the beasts of the field donkeys quench their thirst. How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all, the earth is full of your creatures.
God provides for his creatures. When he withholds his breath they return to dust. Yet His Spirit can create new life. Every living thing and person is dependent on God for He is the author of life, so we should always be filled with gratitude for all the gifts of life, mind soul and body!
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the lord God makes them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings; He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.
o E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 19725 SS Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings.
Freeport, Grand Bahama - The James Sarles Realty Santa Baby Christmas
Music video with special lyrics written by Marina Gottlieb Sarles was produced
by Dave Mackey of Mackeymedia and shot on location in Grand Bahama. The video
has become a Christmas tradition throughout the Bahamas since 2005 when it was
first released. Santa Baby is a 1953 Christmas song originally
performed by Eartha Kitt.
The song is a tongue in
cheek look at a Christmas list sung by a woman who wants the most extravagant
gifts like sables, yachts and decorations from Tiffany's. The special
Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty version of Santa Baby
tongue in cheek references to Real Estate in the Bahamas. The 60 second
video is being aired on CNN, Good Morning America, FOX News as well as Facebook,
The Bahamas Weekly and Taste of Grand Bahama blog...
Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus put a child in the midst and said, "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." -- Matthew 18:1,4.
Mostly when I am out of town, it is customary for me to call and find out how everything is going. I was on the phone with my sister, Bertha, when she got a call from my sister-in-law, Sharon, saying that Reuben was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). On asking which Reuben it was, I found out that it was my little seven-year-old nephew, the son of my brother, Pastor Reuben. I was standing, but my faith stabilized me.
That day on Thursday, February 16, I was already in a very reflective mood since it was my late mother's birthday, and precious memories were flowing. Reuben's death happened so suddenly and without notice. It seemed to be the flu, but it took him immediately to the ICU with a grave prognosis. In three short days, little Reuben went to be with the Lord. My sister, Carmella, told me that on his first day in ICU, he removed the mask from his face and said "Psalm 17" and please do read it.
As I look over my nephew's life, I cannot but conclude that angels are not for the long haul, but for the expressed purpose of a mission to be accomplished. He was highly intelligent, technologically savvy, musically endowed with the most crystal clear voice I have ever heard. I attended Marjorie Knowles' music recital at St. Matthew's during the Christmas and he performed "The First Noel" flawlessly. I was extra excited because my first music recital given by Meta Cumberbatch at age eight was held in St. Matthew's schoolroom.
Reuben was meek, gentle and well-spoken. He was as Christian as his faith was strong. His seven-year-old life could have been measured symbolically in the life of one who had fulfilled all the requirements needed for entrance to the pearly city. Now I know that the days of our life are three score years and 10, but it does not necessarily mean that it is out of God's will if one dies before 70, but any part or parcel of the 70 must be lived in the will of God.
It is amazing that the late Whitney Houston was not even buried, yet that the tongues of some of the religious order were criticizing Reverend Marvin Winans about his sermon. "He ain't do this and he shudda do that and he the next." These are the Christian preachers. Yet, on the other hand, high level media personalities were giving the entire service along with the sermon, high marks.
Such was the case in Jesus' day as recorded in our text. Rather than rescuing the perishing, caring for the dying and witnessing to lost men about the salvific gospel of Jesus Christ, they were trying to find out among them, who was numero uno in the kingdom of God. Who among us could preach the best, has the biggest church with the most members? Who is popular in every nook and cranny? Who is wearing the latest and longest suit and the most expensive shoes? Whose robe is the grandest of them all?
Jesus had just come down from the mountain where His Transfiguration took place in the presence of Peter, James and John, and the multitude were waiting for him. A certain man among them begged Jesus to heal his lunatic son, as the many attacks were beginning to take a toll on the health of both he and his wife. Jesus rebuked the demon and the child was restored to good health.
Thereafter the disciples came to Jesus to find out who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And who so shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
For me, through the death of little Reuben, the word of God has become more clear as to how we should live our lives and our daily behavior each to the other. Children are innocent, pure and chaste and never harbor jealousy or sow seeds of ill wind. They are just pure children who though spanked, will still share a smile. They do not support grudges and will speak the truth even though it may be to the detriment of others. While some may wait for the later years to train children, the wise ones know that from the moment a child comes into this world, serious training must begin. By the time a child reaches the age of seven, the life pattern of that child is already defined.
Once a man and twice a child to me has nothing to do with the physical condition of an individual, but all the graces and virtues of what it is to be a child. Our lives must begin as virtue-packed as that of an innocent child, and in our adult years must possess and show all the love, peace and kindness as if we are still children at play in an open playground. Thank you Father for your word, and thank you God for little Reuben of seven - fit for heaven.
oE-mail email@example.com; write to P.O. Box SS 19725, Nassau, Bahamas with your prayer requests, concerns and comments. God's Blessings!
Measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria - Genea Barry ensured that her children had all of their required immunizations as infants, be she never thought about having her pre-teen daughters vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), the HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. And there are about 40 types of the virus that can infect the genital areas of men and women. The CDC site reports that most HPV types cause no symptoms and can go away on their own, but some types can cause cervical cancer in women, and other less common cancers - like cancers of the anus, penis, vagina and vulva (external genital area of the female) and oropharynx (back of throat, including base of tongue and tonsils). Other types of HPV can cause warts in the genital areas of men and women. Genital warts are not a life-threatening disease, but they can cause emotional stress and their treatment can be very uncomfortable.
Who will get HPV
Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. Annually in the United States, 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from the disease.
The CDC recommends that girls as young as 11 be vaccinated against the virus and that the vaccine can also be given to girls beginning at age nine years.
"I still don't know how I feel about my daughters being vaccinated against HPV. I mean they shouldn't be having sex in the first place which is how it is contracted, but from the information I am hearing now I see that having the vaccine should be a good precaution from developing cervical cancer. I take regular pap smears and I know checking myself out is good in order to prevent developing this cancer so I would be a hypocrite not to want my daughters to have the best opportunities as well," said Barry.
Any female who is sexually active is subject to acquiring HPV and should get an annual checkup from the time she becomes active, according to Dr. Mildred Hall-Watson, gynecologist and obstetrician at the Health Care Center for Women.
She said contracting HPV does not have to be life-threatening if women take precautions, and are diligent about their health. Once detected, the disease can be carefully monitored and successfully treated so that more serious illnesses like cervical cancer don't develop later on.
"HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, but due to research we have been able to define this illness a bit more. Within diagnosing HPV there are several sub types which vary from low to high association with cervical cancer. This means that not all types of HPV can develop into cancer if unchecked. In fact, some strains can be virtually harmless while others can cause venereal warts which can develop on the outer lips, inside the vagina or on the cervix itself. But once appropriately treated, there are usually no long term negative side affects," she said.
Reduce the risk
To reduce the risk of getting HPV, it is suggested that couples be monogamous in their sexual relationships and use condoms, especially if they aren't. Even if one is not sexually active it is still recommended that young ladies start their pap smears at the age of 21 since cervical cancer can still develop as a result of other factors.
The Princess Margaret Hospital opened its first HPV laboratory recently, and with the help of the PMH Foundation and Rotary Club International, the necessary equipment and reagents were able to be purchased to set up the lab.
"HPV screening is now much easier for local physicians due to the latest addition to the Princess Margaret Hospital, the HPV lab which was donated by many corporate, charity and individual sponsors in particular the Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas. This means that there will be more testing opportunities available. Prior to this time we didn't have certain equipment, space and reagents to properly prepare test slides, so while it's a really great step for HPV testing in our country, I do hope more people will be encouraged to get tested so that cervical cancer can be reduced and eventually not exist at all in our country," said the doctor.
Sixty-nine-year-old Sylvita Carey, said she wouldn't think twice about ensuring her granddaughters get vaccinated against such a preventable STD.
"As a parent I would want to think that my underage grandchildren are not out there sexually [but] I can't bury my head in the dirt and pretend, so I definitely would get my girls vaccinated," she said.
Dr. Hall-Watson said much like other cancers, cervical cancer can take years to develop, but with routine checkups and pap smears, changes in the cells of the cervix can be detected earlier and result in more effective treatment.
"Many women are afraid to get a pap smear or avoid it entirely, but this should not be. Recent statistics in the country about the numbers of women doing their annual pap smear has decreased and in some islands there are no reports of women doing their annual cervical checkup at all. This is by no means a reflection of a lack of availability or resources as efforts and equipment have been provided to do these things. So it is more so a lack of interest or education on the importance of doing this exam that is a major component in these exams not being done in my view. So we are really pushing for more women to be aware that cervical cancer is very real and very painful and also very preventable," she said.
A pap smear (a procedure in which a physician swabs a woman's cervix during a routine gynecological checkup in order to collect samples of the cervical cells) can be uncomfortable but virtually painless. It takes less than a minute to conduct, and can cost between $30 to over a $100 depending on the type or specificity of the test required, according to Dr. Hall-Watson. But she said the small price to do this annual test is far less expensive and time consuming than avoiding it, and then possibly having to go through the stresses of developing cancer then having to do a surgery which is around $40,000 and undergoing the physical and emotional stresses of chemotherapy treatments. She said it can also eliminate potential familial strains that can often result from long term cancer treatment.
Due to technological advances in medicine there are several options when it comes to treatment. Some doctors will do an office-based procedure called the colposcopy where they look at the cervix through a microscope and determine where abnormal cells are and biopsy them. This will allow the doctor to see if things are as expected, better or worse than expected. Once there has been a determination, the actual treatment options include getting a cryosurgery which is basically the freezing of the affected part of the cervix in order to destroy the pre-cancerous tissue.
Another option is the loop excision, which uses a hot medical knife to cauterize pre-cancerous lesions. A cone biopsy, a procedure in which a cone-shaped area of the cervix is removed is another common option.
Hall-Watson said if a female is still in her child-bearing years the least invasive or damaging procedure is usually suggested.
There are two follow-up colposcopy centers for persons needing to keep on top of their health after getting positive results from their pap smears - the oncology center at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the other is located at the South Beach clinic.
Becoming a global leader may be Johanna Kleijn's aspirations for when she grows up but for now, her role as headgirl of the Lyford Cay International School is good enough for her. The 17-year-old overachiever who is passionate about languages and being helpful to others, says her latest endeavor as co-head of her student body has truly been a challenge, but one she is glad she took on.
Q. What challenges have you faced as headgirl and how are you tackling them?
A. I think the biggest challenge for me is balancing my responsibilities as headgirl and handling my twelfth-grade academic program. It's quite rigorous. There is lots of scheduling and taking time out for both. I try to be there for the other students but I also have to let my ambitions be important too. So really the biggest challenge is time management.
Q. When you found out that you would be headgirl what did you expect your role would entail?
A. On a personal level, I expected I would be a role model for other students. I would also be expected to connect with others and ensure they feel comfortable talking to me about issues that affect them. I also knew I would have to ensure everything is running smoothly, such as there being no uniform violations, and the campus environment is clean. It has lived up to that and so far being headgirl has been good.
Q. What is an important lesson you have learnt while being headgirl?
A. I have learnt that you can't expect everyone to agree with you. So it is important to look at everyone's opinions and put yourself in someone else's shoes. I think it's something you have to do if you are really trying to understand what is going on completely and you can create a good solution.
Q. What qualities do you think made you stand out enough to your peers and teachers to be elected as headgirl?
A. I think my well-roundedness and ability to relate to others assisted me in being elected. Academically I do well and I also think I am a good role model. I am also close to my teachers and I work well with the others since it's very important. I also speak well in other languages like Dutch, English, French and German. So I think it's about being well-versed in many areas that made me a good overall choice.
Q. Seeing as you speak four languages compared to the one or two most students are pushed to study, what value do you place on knowing so many tongues?
A. I think it is very useful to know as many languages as you can. Many of the students at my school are from other countries and we embrace their diversity. Our curriculum also helps us to focus on the global market and making ourselves ready to face what is out there. I think it would do students a great deal of good to be more open-minded and the more culturally diverse they are, the more marketable they will be. With the way the economy is going it would be great to have an advantage in some way. So I would suggest students learn to speak more languages and visit other places because it expands you as an individual in more ways than one.
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday predicted that the Free National Movement (FNM) will pick up all five seats in Grand Bahama, and declared that the approaching general election will be about the quality of leadership that will move the country forward.
"The PLP was a massive failure during their single disastrous term from 2002 to 2007," said Ingraham at the launch of his party's campaign at Our Lucaya Resort. "And, Perry Christie is a failed leader.
"...Desperate to get back to the cookie jar, they're going to flood the TV and put up all kinds of posters offering you slogans. Well, that won't work because we're going to remind the Bahamian people that it is the FNM that puts you first every day and all the time. We have a record. They just have plenty talk."
The campaign launch was billed as the start of the FNM's "2012 march to victory" and was attended by hundreds of enthusiastic FNM supporters who were told by the FNM leader that better days are ahead for Grand Bahama.
The party formally unveiled its team, which Ingraham said is a team of 'talent and conviction, character and competence'.
With the new boundary cuts, there will be five seats in Grand Bahama, down from six. Currently, the PLP holds one seat in Grand Bahama.
Former Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce President Peter Turnquest is the FNM's candidate for East Grand Bahama, along with educator Norris Bain (Marco City), journalist Pakesia Parker Edgecombe (West Grand Bahama and Bimini), Kwasi Thompson (Pineridge) and Neko Grant (Central Grand Bahama).
Ingraham thanked outgoing High Rock MP Kenneth Russell for his dedicated service. Ingraham fired Russell from his Cabinet last month.
He also thanked outgoing Eight Mile Rock MP Verna Grant for her service. Grant said in the House previously that she wanted to run again on the party's ticket.
Speaking at yesterday's event, which was broadcast live on television and radio stations, Ingraham said, "We have a dynamic team which represents some of the best of the Bahamian imagination. We have a team that will advance the FNM's comprehensive vision of national development."
Grand Bahama's economy -- which was suffering serious challenges long before the global economic crisis struck in 2008 -- continued to limp along under the current administration's term.
Ingraham yesterday admitted that there were disappointments relative to the Grand Bahama economy since 2007, including the Ginn project going bust and Harcourt failing to redevelop Royal Oasis Hotel.
But he said Grand Bahama can not trust the PLP.
"If talking, dreaming and imagining created jobs, modernized laws and installed state-of-the-art infrastructure - then I suppose they could find something which they might have accomplished," Ingraham said of the past administration led by Christie.
"For too long the leader of the Opposition and his colleagues in the PLP have traded on having smooth tongues. You must tell them clearly and tell them loudly that smooth talking will not cut it. Ridiculously, strung together adjectives mean nothing."
Ingraham added, "Our party knows that your economy continues to limp. We are working daily to soften the impact for as many persons and families as possible.
"We are acting to ensure that we are in the best possible position to benefit from the economic recovery when it occurs."
Ingraham also told FNMs that the election is about the party that can deliver on its promises to build a better future for all Bahamians.
"The future requires leadership," he added. "It requires hard work and job performance over just performing for the crowds and the cameras. The FNM is the party of change and renewal. Color red is on the move."
He said, "The PLP, having paid some foreign agents to develop slick TV ads are setting about to try and trick people into believing that they are ready to govern. Do they do this by providing concrete examples of an action plan? Of course not. They are busy assigning posts."
He said whatever the PLP government thought it did for Grand Bahama has either 'vanished or floundered'.
Dismissing Christie's claim that he is a bridge to the future, Ingraham said Christie is a throwback to the past.
"They can't take anyone to the future, much less build an airport or a straw market or provide Bahamians with a prescription drug benefit or an unemployment insurance benefit," he said.
The FNM will next week formally launch its campaign in New Providence, then on other islands.
The prime minister yesterday urged Bahamians who have not yet done so to register to vote as he plans to 'ring the bell' soon.
In The Bahamas, heart disease is a major cause of death in people, as it is in animals. In humans it is because of lifestyle challenges (smoking, diet, etc). In animals, the cause is usually hereditary, heartworms, age-related or degenerative. Middle-aged and older small dogs are most often affected. A number of conditions can adversely affect the function of the heart. Heart failure results when a damaged heart muscle is no longer able to move blood throughout the body. Without treatment, the dog will die. Disease prevalence severely increases with age.
Signs of heart disease vary from type-to-type, but many times the affected dog suffers exercise intolerance (becomes exhausted quickly), may act weak or have a bluish tinge to the skin and tongue from the lack of oxygen. In most cases of chronic heart failure, the dog's body retains fluid (edema), due to the body trying to compensate for reduced heart efficiency. The result is a retention of sodium and fluids, increased blood volume, constriction of blood vessels and increased blood pressure.
Heart disease has a cascading effect on the whole body and can lead to damage of other internal organs like the kidney, liver and lungs. When the left side of the heart fails, fluid collects in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and results in a cough, labored breathing and panting. Obesity complicates heart disease and makes it more difficult to treat, but some dogs suffer weight loss and seem to waste away. Dogs sit with elbows spread and neck extended while straining to breathe. They may even try to sleep in this position to ease respiration.
When the right side of the heart fails, fluid collects and swells the abdomen, accumulates beneath the skin, and/or fills the chest cavity. This fluid accumulation results in congestive heart failure. Usually, dogs suffering from heart failure will have a heart murmur. Many times, right heart failure develops as a result of the strain from an existing left heart failure.
Congenital heart disease may or may not be inherited and is quite rare. Patent ductus arteriosus is the most common, and is seen in poodles and shepherds. Congenital pulmonic stenosis and aortic stenosis are also conditions that are seen. Acquired heart disease, unlike congenital, develops over time, and is commonly due to other conditions like cancer, parasites (heartworm) or infectious disease (periodontal disease). Acquired valvular heart disease is considered a disease of old age, with about one third of all dogs over the age of 12 affected. It is most common in smaller breeds. The heart valves simply begin to wear out and leak blood backwards instead of pumping it all forward. This puts extra strain on the heart. Dilated cardiomyopathy may also cause heart valve problems. This is a disease of the heart, rather than the valves. The heart loses the ability to adequately contract and pump blood out. The heart itself enlarges, but becomes flaccid, and the muscle walls become thin. This is usually a hereditary problem and is seen in boxers, cocker spaniels and Dobermans.
Diagnosis of heart disease is made using x-rays, ultrasounds and electrocardiograms (EKG) that pick up irregular heart rhythm. Dogs with heart disease due to heartworms can be cured if diagnosed and treated early. Dogs with valvular heart disease can often be helped with drugs that improve the heart performance and reduce flow accumulation. A diuretic drug like Lasix forces the kidney to eliminate excess salt and water. Vasodilation drugs like Enalapil help open the lungs and control congestion. Digoxin may help improve heart muscle performance in certain types of heart disease.
Bahamian poet, writer and publisher, Sonia Farmer can now add winner of the poetry component of the 2011 Small Axe Literary Competition to her list of achievements.
Small Axe is a Caribbean art and literature journal out of Columbia University in New York and the competition is held every year.
"It's a pretty big deal for Caribbean writers," said Farmer.
A humble poet and writer, Farmer is deeply entrenched in the Bahamian art and culture scene.
"So in April, Christian Campbell had his book launch at the College of The Bahamas and he asked me and Emile Hunt to open for him," Farmer said. "He said he wanted to give emerging writers a chance to share their work. It was really wonderful of him to support us."