Category Archives: more healthcare

Outsmarting Getting Old

Lately I have been experiencing a bad round of chronic pain that is not well controlled with my regular medications. It is frustrating to live with this. I have been to more doctors lately, but I leave their offices more depressed. Doctors give too many pills as the answer.

I have a goal with all my physical issues and it is to maintain my happiness despite my pain.  One other important aspect for me is to continually look  for current modalities in overcoming my discomfort.  The other option is finding a distraction  to get through the ongoing pain. Perhaps a distraction is being with your partner enjoying each other. This distraction can come from friends too.

The development in some circles in medicine is to ID more precise medicine treatments. This can be done by studying one’s individual genetics. This tool is the future. What do some of you think? I believe potential breakthroughs are around the corner.   Now that puts a smile on my face.

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Ticking Time Bomb

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I just got out of the hospital.  I am learning not to advertise much of my life on social media, but we all still need to reach out for help.  If any one knows me very good, they know I love watches.  Here is a bit of my collection.  I love swatches the most, but there is a Gucci in there somewhere.

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Autism And Its Challenges

luke at ATPLuke’s autism is a story I have chronicled so you could see the challenges we face. This disorder comes with a big price and it takes much determination to succeed. Along with Luke’s disability, he has significant cognitive delay. His mental age in my opinion (his mom) is about four years old. The question by some may be, “How does one live like this?” The answer is, “It depends.” For example, many people have their own commentary of quality of life. We all have “our truths” about that subject. So do we impose our idea of quality of life on the one that is actually suffering, yet he does not even know it? My perspective is pretty simple. Life matters. No matter at what stage or age you are in. Life matters. Why are others quick to pull away from their responsibilities? See what you think of my example below as I describe a week in the life of a mom and her son trying to find medical help. Sorry medical professionals–you seem to get picked on by me a lot.
We have had quite a week dealing with Luke’s need for dental surgery. I spent undo precious time trying to find a doctor willing to do the surgery for Luke without giving him General Anesthesia. Finally I found an oral surgeon willing to take the chance to do the procedure in his surgical suite under IV sedation. I am very grateful that Luke was taken care of there and the surgery was a success ( no general needed!).
The post op journey has not been easy though, but I believe we may have made it through the worst of it. We make a third trip to the dental surgeon this week, and I hope that will be it except for routine cleanings! I think Luke would agree. I wonder how many people could go through the agony of hearing from one doctor’s office after another not willing to care for Luke.
I say Luke will endure and maybe Mom will too! I am glad sometimes he does not understand the discrimination he gets. So many are still ignorant that Luke is human and made physically just like them. Anyway, this is just one example of how autism impacts families and brings undo burdens that should not be there.
There are dentists who actually say: ” I don’t take care of that kind of medical issue (even though they do) because there are “others” who will. I wonder which dentists are the “others?” For now our other was Dr. Sorenson. He was great as well as his competent staff and front office. In the photo –you will see Luke is still smiling!!! He always will.

Becoming A Nurse

Aunt Jeanette and Alesia

Today’s post is a letter I received from one of my aunts when she became a nurse. I wanted to share it in honor of her 86 birthday coming up very soon! As a nurse myself, I felt it was inspiring. I hope you do too. I have two retired aunts that were nurses in my family and including my career in nursing we have over 100 years between us of taking care of the public in their time of need:

The year was 1964. I am a high school graduate-the mother of five children ages one to seventeen. I am thirty-eight years old and we live in a farming community. My husband’s income is minimum wage. I am a good manager, but I can no longer make one small paycheck meet the needs of our growing family.

My inspiration is to find a job that will enable me to help meet those needs. I’d never in my life had any desire to be a nurse. My experiences with nurses was very limited and I liked it that way! I’d admire them from afar-and the farther the better.

In spring of 1964, a notice in the local newspaper said a nurses’ assistant class would be taught at the local hospital. It would last six weeks and those accepted in the program would receive seven dollars per day and a certificate of completion of the course of learning. I applied and was accepted.

I was on my way. I had two dollars each day for the babysitter, gas for the car, lunch, and one uniform that was starched and ironed everyday! I would describe myself as hopeful, prayerful, and squeamish, but determined.

Then I met my first Florence Nightingale. She was Ms. Anderson, RN from Hopkins County, KY. She told us what. She showed us how. She told us why. She then watched until she knew we understood. She was the first of many I’d meet in the years to come.

My first job was as a surgical technician and emergency room nurse with on the job training and vocational classes at night. I graduated from that vocational school. I worked my first nursing job for 19 years in the hospital. I then worked in a nursing home for five years. I returned to the hospital part time for five more years. I retired at the age of 67 with a nursing career spanning 29 years. The hard work and opportunities I never expected to have with experiences that inspired far beyond my imagination and memories I have now to look back on. Memories that remind me of hopes that are fulfilled and prayers that are answered. I am thankful.

Central Pain Syndrome

This photo was taken not long after my first brain tumor surgery.

This photo was taken not long after my first brain tumor surgery.

Having a brain tumor was the last thing on my mind (no pun intended) as I dealt with many symptoms leading up to that diagnosis. Apparently it was for the doctors too as they never entertained the thought even after carefully describing my symptoms 3 years earlier than my diagnosis. At least the initial doctor confessed he had “missed” it. I hold no animosity as a doctor that can be apologetic is better than the one who is an ass hole. You all know the type if you have had much medical treatment.
Over two years have gone by since my brain tumor was removed. In fact it is time for my annual MRI soon. I will keep you posted on the results. One of my most lasting and chronic problems I seem to present with these days is called central pain syndrome. It is one of several issues I have going on, but this one is tricky. Treatment for this is difficult. In fact the treatment can be worse than the pain. There is no cure. I hope to share more with you all as I can. I have some tough days and my focus is limited when I do not feel good. I take each moment and am thankful when I am not hurting.
I wanted to share with my readers a very important thing about the brain. Our brain is a vascular organ. If you can imagine your brain as a river with many creeks running through with purposeful directions than you have an idea how important all the blood vessels are in our head. No one knows for sure the cause and effect of certain disease processes that coexist and what may have to happen first for another disorder to occur. Much of medicine is a discovery just waiting to happen. When I had my brain tumor removed, I had a procedure called an embolectomy first than my crainiotomy the next day. It was soon after the embolectomy and being sent to the ICU that I had symptoms like a stroke patient. All the doctors like to deny that the cause of the stroke may have happened on their dime. No one knows for sure, but being a relatively young person ( ok I was in my 40’s when this happened) the most common cause of strokes is disease of the arteries in the brain. We all have heard of problems too that all of us can try to tame. One last thing readers, please work hard on those things you can change with a good doctor helping you: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and physical inactivity.

10 Tips On Giving Advice

This is yor friendly blogger holding up a SEAHAWK FLAG I had signatured by the players several years ago when the IRAQ WAR first broke out.  We  sent it to the troops we were sponsoring to encourage them.  Helping others is always important!

This is yor friendly blogger holding up a SEAHAWK FLAG I had signatured by the players several years ago when the IRAQ WAR first broke out. We sent it to the troops we were sponsoring to encourage them. Helping others is always important!

When you are qualified to give advice is it prudent to do this outside of your work time? Today was a perfect example of someone asking me for help. As a retired Registered Nurse I have been asked numerous times from family members, neighbors, friends, or just someone in a store that saw me in a nursing uniform for instructions on a certain medical subject. The questions asked of me have been simple to really quite complicated.
This morning a friend called me after accidently sticking herself in the thumb with an epipen. An epipen is an emergency treatment injection for life threatening allergic conditions a person may be having. This medicine actually belonged to her husband for his medical problems. This particular drug if given is administered in the thigh not the thumb where she accidently gave it to herself. I offered her advice rather quickly because of the type of situation she was in, but the problem is that she lives close to 3000 miles away from me! You can feel flattered someone trusts you enough to call you, however, was it prudent to give advice to her? My answer to the question is quite simple- IT DEPENDS!
Here are my top 10 advise giving tips. This is in no particular order and it does not mean this is the only advice out there. Many folks know alot more about almost everything than I do, but after this incident, it occurred to me that giving advice is not what it is all cracked up to be. So again my disclaimer is that this is just some helpful advice on giving advice and not necessarily for only medical types as myself:
1. Be very sincere. It may have taken alot for someone to approach you. AKA-do not roll your eyes….like you are being bothered.
2. Make sure that you understand from them that they are indeed asking for your advice. Clarify with the person especially in nonemergency situations.
3. Do not get judgmental at all. No one needs a lecture. If you can offer a book on the subject then do that or a link from the internet.
4. Allow the person to explain their situation clearly if they can and what exactly their question is.
5. Make it clear that your “advice” is not the only answer especially if there are many different approaches to the question that is being asked of you.
6. Be kind to the person. Do not make fun of someone for asking your opinion.
7. Make sure the person understands your advice and that you ask them to explore in their mind if what you are saying coincides with what they are thinking.
8. Do not act like you are 100% correct unless you know you are 100% correct.
9. Remember most times folks know what is best to do in their situation and they just need you as a friend to confirm their suspicions for their circumstances.
10.Before you end your time with that person, make sure they have a plan of action in their mind.

I am sure many of you are wondering what happened to my friend that stuck herself with the epipen needle. Since I knew she was speaking easily, I made sure she was breathing all right and asked her how long ago she had done this to herself. I said she needed to go have her husband take her to urgent care for assistance especially since she was experiencing some increased heart rate and my friend does have high blood pressure and a history of breathing problems at times. I also mentioned that she should get a tetanus shot. Sticking yourself with a needle or any kind of cut means it is time to update your immunization if need be. My primary concern is to do no harm so encouraging her to seek medical attention was paramount in my mind.

Redefining Mental Illness

When I was growing up, mental illness was shunned.  We did not talk about it in my household.  The first time I really heard much about mentally ill people was from my two aunts. They were nurses in a mental hospital for chronic patients in Kentucky.  As a young girl of 16, I was immediately drawn into the strangeness of this new world.  I went up to visit my aunts when they were working and I was able to actually walk the halls with the patients.  I was not scared, but what impressed me most about these sick folks was how they mostly kept to themselves. They talked to themselves and did not seem to notice the world around them.  One man did come up to me saying some jibberish that had to do with eatting Ronald Reagan’s liver for lunch and I said, “I hope it tasted good.”  I did not know what to say and as many of you know I do have a strange sense of humor.

When I became a Registered Nurse, I left the crazy world my aunts loved to concentrate most of my nursing in critical care or post operative surgery.  I thought this kind of nursing was a much safer world for me.  I guess I was fooled. However, the world of Mental Health never left my personal life.  In 1993, I welcomed  a beautiful baby boy named Luke.  He would be diagnosed with PDD-NOS or Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.  Later this was just noted as Autism.  My world as I knew it was shaken to its core.

You see a panel of experts in 1994 had completed a new revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that would be used by the medical community to identify and diagnose children like mine with Autism.  They say 20% of the population has some form of mental illness.  I think it is higher, but what do I know.

This year a revised version of the DSM ( ONLY fifth revision since its creation in 1952) came out. Many folks in the medical community are up in arms about it.  Change is not easy.   My concern is more that we do not let the new DSM take away the much needed health care  for individuals who need it to function in everyday life.  Globally this book will be used to diagnose, but in America this book is hugely significant to the ordinary person because if a person is not diagnosed, one does not get the dollars from their health insurance.  This concerns me.  I think time will tell how all this plays out especially with Obamacare taking root in the next year or so. In general I applaud the mental health community for updating the book.  It needed to be done.

I also want to mention that I fear for the over diagnosing of individuals with mental illness.  A word of advice:  Do not take a pill for every whim and especially do not put a child on a pill to mask symptoms until you really understand what is going on.  Patience is needed .  Do not be in a rush.  Where the heck you going anyway?  It has taken many years of finding the right medication for Luke.  He is on two main meds right now and is functioning fairly well on them.  He is monitored very closely by doctors we have found in our community we trust in Seattle.

Luke and Linus enjoying some much needed rest time.

Luke and Linus enjoying some much needed rest time.