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Life after stroke

By Karim Waheed

As I watched my father trying to imitate -- with discomfort -- the physiotherapist, I remembered how in the wee hours, a few days ago, he was complaining that he couldn't move/feel his left arm and leg. My mother, brother and I rushed to the hospital with him and the mild stroke didn't turn into something more serious.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts the flow of blood to the brain. The difference between a mild stroke and a major one is timing. Getting emergency treatment within an hour of a stroke can prevent disability. The longer blood flow is cut off to the brain, the greater the damage.

The damage caused by a stroke can be reduced by engaging in post-stroke rehabilitation as soon as possible. Two big goals of stroke rehabilitation are to enhance muscle control and reduce spasticity (constant contraction of muscles that can lead to pain and other problems).

Stroke rehabilitation includes passive movements or exercises that are done with the help of a therapist and more active exercises with little or no assistance.

Stretching is especially important for reducing spasticity. The therapist will teach range-of-motion stretches. Some of these involve using the other arm to produce the forces needed to move the disabled arm. Called passive exercises, these can help prevent muscle shortening and joint stiffness.

Here are some general guidelines:
Move the [affected] arm through its full range of motion at least three times a day.

Gently stretch tighter muscles to a point of slight discomfort. Then hold the stretch for at least 60 seconds.

Repeatedly using the arm to complete tasks is effective for recovery after a stroke.

Research shows that repeated “forced use” of the hand and fingers can actually cause the brain to reorganise to help move the hand.

In the past, there has been some controversy about strength training for the arm and hand after a stroke. It was thought that strengthening spastic muscles might do more harm than good. Now research indicates that strengthening spastic muscles can even reduce spasticity.

For legs, hip flexion can be an effective exercise. This works the hip flexors that are responsible for lifting the leg when walking. This exercise can be done seated or standing. If seated, lift the knee up, hold for one to two seconds and slowly lower it back down. If standing, hold onto something for balance and lift the bent knee up. The movement should feel like you are marching. Repeat on both sides for one to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Knee extensions -- that work the quadriceps muscles responsible for straightening the legs -- are another great exercise. While seated, straighten the leg out so that the knee becomes extended. Hold this for one to two seconds and bend the knee back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise on both sides for one to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

Staying active, without exhausting the heart, is crucial during post-stroke rehabilitation. Most importantly, the near and dear ones of the stroke survivor must provide encouragement at all times.


Home remedies for skin problems

Processed products in tubes are not always what you need to care for your skin. A concoction of natural products available at home can give you better results as well.

Scrub half of a lemon on your face daily to lighten your skin tone. Lemon is an excellent bleaching agent, and it is very helpful in ironing out the blemishes of the face. Try these home remedies to get fair skin at home.

Mix lemon juice and honey in equal quantities and apply to the skin.

Take half a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of cinnamon and apply on your face

Application of coconut water is effective too with the additional advantage of helping in lightening the scar of chicken pox.

Clean your face with raw milk in which a pinch of saffron is added. Use this home remedy with cotton pads daily to get fairer and clearer skin at home daily.

Apply the juice of ripe pineapple to get fair skin naturally at home

Take 2 spoons of sugar with juice squeezed from a lemon to scrub your face. Scrub your face till sugar granules do not melt. Use it on your face, neck, elbows, legs to get fairer and softer skin.

Do not do this if you have pimples on your face as pimples will burst in the process of scrubbing. This home remedy is helpful in getting you fair and smooth skin.

By Ayesha Choudhury


Blast from the past

By kaniska chakraborty

The wife's birthday was on a weekday, which really meant that I could not exercise my passion for cooking. Eating out was it and the usual deliberation among five restaurants happened.

Then the wife came up with a gem. She wanted to go to Mocambo.

Over the last couple of years, with a few new eateries opening up, good old Mocambo kind of fell into a blind spot for us. There was a time during my expat days when every visit home had to be teamed with a visit to Mocambo. It was as important as visiting my uncles and aunts. Possibly a little more important than that.

And Fish a la Diana was the go-to dish. Fillet of bhetki stuffed with diced prawns baked in a faux cheese sauce. What's not to like?

So when the wife wanted to go there, I was more than happy to meet her highness Fish a la Diana once again.

Turns out, we did not get a chance to meet each other.

The whole family, the wife, the mother and yours truly trooped in through the hallowed doors of Mocambo fairly early. Miss Workaholic -- the wife -- actually could get out of work early.

After the initial euphoria of settling down to one of the green banquets and talking about how Mocambo featured in the blockbuster film Kahani, it was time for some serious business. Ordering.

Baked devilled crabs were the obvious starter for the two of us. Since Ma is not comfortable with crab, the classic prawn cocktail was her choice.

Crabs came, luscious and succulent neatly scooped out, baked with faux cheese and hot sauce and put back in their shells. Crisp fried parsley adorned the plate, along with a bright disc of lime. The crab shells sit on little lumps of mashed potato to make sure they do not slide around the plate.

Prawn cocktail came in a pewter bowl which nestled on crushed ice to keep the whole thing chilled. Juicy, steamed pink prawns and shredded cabbage got a slathering of mayonnaise turned crimson with hot sauce and what I suspect to be -- ketchup.

Both were sensory delights. Soft, smooth, tangy. One cheesy, the other mayonnaise-y. After we kind of recovered from the incredible first act, the main dish beckoned.

And I promptly ordered Yorkshire pork chops. Ma settled for fried prawn.

The wife wanted to be different and ordered from the left field. Angel on Horseback.

While the name evokes imagery of a spring evening and a pretty girl lazily riding a horse, the dish could not be further from that imagery.

A very busy plate, with bacon wrapped chicken supreme sitting on a bed of very soggy, tomato-y “risotto” with sautéed onions, cocktail sausages and steamed veggies. The description of the dish brings you smack back from the idyllic spring setting to a solidly stodgy dish. I had a bite of that. Dry chicken which bacon wrap could not rescue but the overall taste was tomato-y, tangy.

My Yorkshire pork chops were par for the course though. Five medium sized chops, well cooked and with a lot of meat, was laced with brown sauce and had a sweet pineapple sauce served in a gravy boat. Chops were nicely grilled. Each bite was meaty, tangy.

Ma's fried prawns were a winner though. Large tiger prawns were simply fried in a light batter with some deep fried potato strings strewn on it. Light, airy, simplicity on display.

As we skipped dessert and decided to pick up the birthday cake on our way home instead, I could not but help think about the experience. Almost all the dishes resonated with one word. Tangy.

Has it finally happened? Has a great eatery finally turned one-dimensional? Will they have enough gumption in them to pick themselves up and create some newness?

Because if they don't, it will either turn into another run-of-the-mill biriyani and kebab place, or will become the place all Calcuttans living out of Calcutta will visit occasionally.

As for me, I will be weary to go there in the near future.


Groom's Doom: Thoughts beneath the pagri

Anything that can go wrong, will”. That is the gist of Murphy's Law and any experienced groom will testify to the truth behind that epigram. If you believe yourself to be one of the lucky few who can prove that to be wrong, then you are delusional. As the wedding season dawns upon us, we find this the most apt time to discuss what goes through a groom's mind.

Ladies, for the first time ever, we have something for you as well.

Thought #1: What the hell am I doing?
This is the first instance of the wedding-day jitters. No matter how much you love her, how many Hindi movies you have seen and how much you want to spend the rest of your life with her, this question will be asked. What are you doing, exactly? You are committing to spend the rest of your life with the girl you have found yourself helplessly in love with. What can possibly go wrong with that?

Well, for one, every time she goes crazy or irrational on you, you can't just hang up the phone. Oh no. She's going to be there, every time you wake up, sleep, come out of the toilet, go out with your friends or whatever it is that you do, she will be there, waiting.

And the plenty of fish in the sea? Not for you mate, you just fed your arms to the shark. Yes, every groom will eventually ask why he is where he finds himself to be. Deal with it.

Thought #2: I hope everyone behaves
The single most embarrassing thing in this world is family. Everyone knows that. No one can embarrass you more than your family can. Now, you can expect them to be all civil and chill, right? I mean, you gave them the whole pep-talk just last night, right? Here's news for you; they will go ballistic at the first chance.

The groom's family loves to make a scene and show who's boss, whether you like it or not. It doesn't even have to be someone real close to make a mess; it could be that long lost uncle you thought dead, it makes no difference to the bride's side.

It's your family and they will make a mess of things. Try as you may, there is nothing you can do to prevent to it, because you will be sitting up there, expected to behave no matter what happens. Suck it up.

Thought #3: Is everything alright?
You will suddenly remember one key detail you forgot, like that vegetarian aunt or that crazy nephew. You will constantly sweat over whether there is enough food or not. You will also keep wondering if everything is alright.

Grooms always sweat -- fact of life and they seem uncomfortable, right? There is a reason behind it. You will keep sweating the details and you will fail to enjoy the biggest day of your life. But don't worry, you can always relive that with the wedding videos you paid for. Provided the videographer didn't catch something incriminating. Oh yeah, that's a worry too. Just hope for the best and expect the worst; actually wait for the worst because you really don't have a prayer left.

Thought 4: Is this good enough?
If you paid for it, then you damn well prayed for it. You will constantly find yourself trying to understand whether people are impressed by your setting or not. You will look at your bride to see if she is happy or not, because if she isn't happy about something now, she will never forget it nor let you forget it. Let bygones be bygones? Hah! Don't make me laugh.

The groom will never live his mistake down and he knows it and thus will always be on the lookout for the slightest sign of discontent. In fact, be the first among your friends to get married -- don't let people have the armoury of running a train wreck on your dream day. They will eventually though. Your wedding will always lack something that someone else's wedding had and soon people will top you. Everything is a competition; go big or go home.

Thought #5: Can I afford this?
No. No, you can't afford this. You will be paying interest on this gala event for the rest of your life. Sending your children to school? That's hilarious. Buy gas for your car? Not. Every groom will eventually find himself doing calculations in his head and that explains why grooms don't talk much. They are busy spending money they haven't earned yet.

And if your parents pay for the whole deal, you best pray to God you keep your woman happy. Especially if it's a love marriage. Parents hate love marriages. But hey, you can always work double shifts and stop sleeping, right? You will stop sleeping anyway when the addition to the family is made. Best of luck, then.

Of course, marriage isn't all that bad. There must be some real good sides to it as well. But hey, if it's your big day, we wish you the best. And we laugh when you can't hear us.

By Osama Rahman


For you ladies

Rectangular dossier cases are quite popular in the market today, and to make things better, they come in highly efficient sizes for working women.

You can carry your tablet and make-up in this bag while looking sleek and sophisticated. Try out some generic colours such as bright red to begin with.


In keeping with our motto to continually reinvent ourselves, we have recently launched our very own Facebook page. Take the time to browse through our content, unseen pictures and much more. Be sure to leave your comments and suggestions.

We hope that our dear readers will not only be part of this change but lead us in new directions by expressing themselves and letting their views and preferences be known.
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