Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 31, Tuesday February 8, 2005






Banking Tips

Nasreen Sattar Head of International Sales, Standard Chartered Bank

Q. What is a Promissory Note?
A. Promissory Note is a negotiable instrument. It is an unconditional promise from one person that is the maker of the instrument to pay a certain sum of money to another person on demand at sight or at a determinable fix time in future.

Q. What is the difference between a Gross Profit and a Net Profit?
A. Gross Profit is the total profit achieved by a concern before deduction of any taxes and expenses. Net Pronit is the Gross Profit after meeting all expenses listed in the debit side of profit and loss account.

Q. I live overseas, but maintain an account with your bank in Bangladesh. Can I use my email to send you instructions to make fund transfers from my account to other accounts.
A. We do not accept email instructions for any kind of fund transfers. This is bmcause this is not a 'secured channel'. Instructions have to be original with your signature, which will bm verified by the bank before any transaction is effected.

Q. Please advise me as to what is the foreign currency travel allowance for a Bangladeshi national travelling overseas? Has there been any change from 2004 ? What is the entitlement for a child?
A. No, there has been no change from 2004.
The travel allowance for a Bangladeshi national is as follows :
a) For SAARC countries the allowance is USD1000/ or equivalent per annum
b) For countries other than SAARC countries the allowance is USD 3000/ or equivalent per annum.
Please note you are entitled to take USD1500 (or equivalent) in cash and the balance in Travellers Cheques. Necessary documents such as passport with relevant visa, ticket etc. have to be submitted at the time of endorsement. A child (12 years or below) having his own passport is entitled to 50% of the allowance.

Agony Medic

Dr. Lutful Aziz, FCPS, PHD, Consultant "analgesia", Pain relief centre

How is the back put together?
Doctors often refer to the backbone as the spine, spinal column, or vertebral column. The backbone isn't one long bone, but actually 24 separate bones called vertebrae. These 24 vertebrae are stacked one on top of another like building blocks to form the backbone. The points where two vertebrae or bones fit together are called joints. They make it possible for the spine to move and turn in many different directions. The disc{ are rubbery pads located between each ~ertebra . These discs are made of cartilage, which is a soft, elastic material (your ear and tix of your nose is made of cartilage too). Discs act as cushions, or shock absorbers, much like the shock absorbers in your car. Their main job is to protect the joints from wearing out. Most joints contain a slippery substance insidm called synovial fluid that keeps them moving smoothly.

The spinal cord is vmry important because it transmi|s electrical signals between the brain and the nerves in your lmgs, arms, back, and other parts of your body. The spinal cord runs through a hole in each vertebra of the upper and middle parts of your backbone, much like a piece of string through a beaded necklace. The space it runs through is called the spinal canal. At times, a message might signal pain or discomfort. The pain signal is an important one, because pain tells you that some part of your body needs attention. A serious injury to the neck or upper back runs the risk of damaging the spinal cord, causing paralysis of the parts of the body below the injury. It should be noted that the spinal cord is not present in the lower part of your backbonm. Here the spinal canal contains a sack of nerves, the cauda equina.

Your backbone, with all its parts, cannot hold itself upright. It needs strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments for support. Muscles help you move or hold your position. Tendons fasten muscles to bones. And ligaments stretch from one bone to another to hold bones together.

Can arthritis cause back pain?
Yes. There are several main types of arthritis. One is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative disease. In people with osteoarthritis, the cartilage (soft, elastic material) that cushions the spinal joints and other join|s in the body wears out. Lowmr back pain can become more intense when osteoarthritis affects the hips or the knees. Osteoarthritis also can directly affect the spine, causing muscles, tendons, or ligaments to become strained, which can lead to back and/or neck pain.

Another type of arthritis causing back pain is Ankylosing Spondylitis. This form of arthritis causes the joints in the spine to become stiff and swollen. In time, stiff joints can fuse (grow together). The most common symptoms are piin and stiffness in the buttocks and lower back (particularly in the morning) that continue for more than three months.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is rheumatic disorder causes muscle pain, aching and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, lower back, thighs and hips. It can last a few months or many years. Most people experience severe stiffness in the morning.

Fortunately, Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the neck but almost never the joints in the lower back.

I moved a heavy object, but didn't hurt much until the next day. What is going on?
This is a very common scenario for people with acute back pain. Many back injuries are caused by an unexpected twist or sudden motion. This usually results in muscle strain. With either an injury or accident, severe muscle spasms usually last 48 to 72 hours. They generally are followed by days or weeks of less-severe pain. It usually takes two to four weeks to heal completely from a mild back injury. It could take from six to 12 weeks if there are strained ligaments or if the strain is more severe.

Can osteoporosis cause back pain?
Yes, indirectly. The back bones become brittle due to loss of calcium. This is like an old piece of wood that becomes brittle after termite at|ack. Because there is a great dmal of weight on each back bone, those bones can break more easily. This is most common in thin older women who don't get much sun, drink much milk, and never took estrogen supplements. A vertebral fracture often is seen as a "compression fracture". Falls, lifting heavy objects or moving the wrong way can result in a compression fracture.

Can fibromyalgia (Muscle Disorder) cause back pain?
Yes, but fibromyalgia can be difficult to distinguish form other types of back pain. People with fibromyalgia feel pain and stiffness in muscles and tendons, especially in the neck and upper back. The pain can last for weeks, months or years. The symptoms may disappear by them-selves. This condition often is related to sleep problems, poor conditioning or an old injury. Fibromyalgia can be difficult to treat

What makes back pain worse?
Stress, poor posture, lack of exercise and being overweight all can contribute to the problem.

Why does stress make it worse?
Simply put, stress causes pain and pain causes stress. Internal stress can be manifested in external ways, such as causing Some may feel tired, sleep poorly, overeat or feel irritable. Some clench their jaw. Others tighten their neck and shoulders. Still others get a headache or an upset stomach when they are tense.

Many people tighten their back muscles when they are worried or tense. This can make existing back problems worse. Take a minute now to think about what happens in your own body when you worry or get tense. Do you think stress is affecting your back? If so, there are many things you can do to help yourself.

By The Way

Of delicious 'n frothy milk-shakes

Don't you just love that extra froth on your ice-cream shake? Simply add a few ice-cubes to the mix in the blender for a deliciously frothy home-made shake. Make healthy breakfast shakes by adding some slices of your favourite fruits, mixed with a little honey, and your skin will be glowing with health in no time.





Fever in a dorm room

I woke up with a fever today. Or rather the fever woke me up. The telephone was off the hook and after desperately beeping for hours it had finally gone dead. I lifted my head and looked straight at the pictures of my parents looking semi-irritated and semi-concerned on my bedside table. My parents' photograph, always waiting there with a surprise. It's been a long time since I saw the original _expression on that picture. Lately it's been the mirror of satisfaction or rather dissatisfaction. Their faces change with my actions from approval to disapproval, annoyance, anger…
the still faces show all that and more. I discover new folds in their faces every time I look, a hidden smile or a scolding left eye. Everyday, it's a new thing. Like right now I noticed the slight cringe on my Father's right eyebrow, a worry…I am sick.

I stand up, and immediately I feel light headed, so I sit back down. I don't own a thermometer and my extra-strength Tylenol have expired as of last month. I need to make it to the drug store or to the health center. I can call a friend to help, but I am never good at that--letting someone take care of me who is just a friend, it just feels strange. I know, I am weird.

So I stand up again and try to stretch out my body, look at myself in the mirror and decide to jump into the shower. With my shower robe and shower accessories I leave my favorite corner of the whole dorm, my own single dorm room, which by major luck I have gotten last year. It's hard to bag those being a sophomore. I am lucky to have one, no roommates, no trying to get along, fighting, credit card thefts and late night cab rides together. I am free to live the way I want without staring at someone else's face full of facials or make up or just plain old break-outs, or hearing one sided passionate conversations on the telephone wee hours of the night. Or listen to Reggae and rap like it's going out of style. None of that, I am liberated from bunk beds and forced bonding.

Under a warm shower I think of the classes I missed today, the chatter of students outside travel inside to steal a few ounces of privacy between me the plastic shower curtain and the forceful water. I don't feel good. I want to whine and cry and complain. I want some gelo bhat with singh macher jhol and some concerned close faces to surround me, the faces I knew since birth, but here I am left free with a fever in just another public shower in the girl's dormitory…the taste of independence…a bit bitter today.

I dress warmly, and put make-up on. My puffy eyes look dreamy. My face covered in mystic sadness, a perfect picture, I want to step out to see how many eyes will set their stare on my face at this moment. A few maybe…but then what? A date…a few…
or none. Just those meaningful meaningless stares which give me confidence…tell me the untold. I wanted that now, a warm stare, a warm bowl of soup and warm hands to hold me…except I didn't want it from a 20 year old stranger/ I wanted it from Mother's overworked hands my Father's anxious eye lids. I miss them…more than I will ever express.

I had gone out last night, wearing a cute outfit which covered me yet left out enough to bring me a fever. I had spoken to Ma right before he came to pick me up.
"Dress warm."
"Are you doing your homework?"
"When are your midterms?"
"Make sure your GPA is higher than last semester's."

I got frustrated as usual. Repetition of the same questions and advice over and over again, that's what they are good at/ I am grown up now, full 19 years of age, living alone far, far away from them. Why do they need to guide me now? I hung up on her. I had fun last night.

I am not sure when the fever came; I am not sure who I was trying to call last night and failed to reach before I had gone to sleep. I look at my puffy dry face for an answer now, I ask myself how I feel, wordless whispers, a mix of home sickness and freedom blurs out, I lie down and seek strength, trying to grow up and out of being the me I have been, wanting to be a me this fever will leave me with.

By Iffat Nawaz


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