Thursday, October 24, 2013


Can Steubenville Teach Us How to Prevent Rape? 

By Mona Gable on January 14, 2013 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HOSPITALS - Why handwashing doesn't help? A Rant.

It's not about whether hospital staff washes hands, it's about WHERE.

We go into a bathroom after doing God knows what.
We use the toilet.
The hand we used to wipe turns on the faucet with a handle.
We wash it.
That hand turns off the water with the dirty faucet handle.
We use paper towel.
We open the bathroom door with the handle used by everyone who didn't wash after wiping themselves.
If we are a hospital staff member, we go back to the patient knowing we have washed our hands!

I'm going to bet that if we are going to eat we might take a paper towel to protect us from the door handle.  Then there is no wastebasket near the door, so we give up and open the door with probably our right hand,
and go back to the patient.  In the hospitals I was in last year, that hand may be the one that puts the liner back in the \patient's water pitcher by inserting all the fingers in the liner to push it in.

IN short, unless every basin is equipped with only a foot pedal, what do you think really happens?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BAD NEWS or scary - What helps

A few days ago, a delightful hospital staff member did something so kind for me; I was there because of a callback for additional mammograms.  She asked, "How are you?"  I hesitated, and she said:  "I know, you're called back for more."  And gave me an understanding smile.

Two hours later, a doctor told me the second films weren't enough--I'd have to have a biopsy.  He, too, was kind and showed that he realized the news and the description of the biopsy were not cheering.  I trusted him.  And I felt supported.  Not alone.

 And a week before that, layperson did the same thing--gave me understanding, listened, and put her number in my cell phone.

 All three acknowledged that the diagnosis process isn't likely to put me in a buoyant mood.  With their acknowledgements, I felt supported and almost cheerful.  Nobody insisted on a stiff upper lip.

This week, someone who once went through the diagnosis, and got the test results nobody wants, told me not to consider my feelings self-pity, that this process is real, and serious. She knew not to tell me to cheer up.

A priest I knew said once that the quickest way to make someone worry is to say:  Don't worry.  I will think twice before using those words.

Monday, October 14, 2013

BAD NEWS Part 3 - More on our reactions

Speaking of our blood pressures in possibly scary situations, Karen Gast sent me a story that gave me a lot to think about.  She gave permission to include it here:

  "I just wanted to relate a story I had about high bp in my doctor's office when she had Nurse Ratchett working for her.  Not a good experience.  
Years later
when I'd had enough acupuncture to quiet a lot of my anxiety I finally had the courage to go back
and lo, she had a new, pleasant, understanding nurse.  I explained that the big bp cuff gave me
high bp right off the bat and she retrieved a small wrist version and actually talked with me, said
it wasn't uncommon.  The nurses make the difference sometimes!"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Waiting for my primary doctor a week ago, I discovered that my blood pressure was much higher than I expected.  I had been feeling rather calm sitting there in the chair.  I don't know if my unconscious was giving me a clue that I didn't belong there.  Now I remember that I had the same problem at my first visit to that doctor.

At another doctor's office a week or two earlier, my pressure was good.

Several years ago, a back-office nurse had hinted that the electronic bp machines can be perhaps a bit haywire. Or is it me?

Anyway, back to the earlier blog post on reactions to bad news.  This time I want to talk about our responses, or at least mine.  Do I really shut down when I hear bad news?   When I don't expect to get the answers I need?  Why could I never ask my spine surgeon about the scary plastic visual aid with the big, shiny screws in it?  Why do I go home without asking the questions I need to ask?  Why can't I  even think what the questions are?

Looking for something unrelated this morning in Malcolm Gladwell's BLINK, I think I found the answers.  There, on page 225, in the chapter Seven Seconds in the Bronx, was a little sticky marker (mine.)  And lots of big underlining, with BIG exclamation points about what happens in people's heads and whole bodies when our blood pressure climbs past a certain point.  No wonder I leave some medical offices without asking for or getting answers!

Gladwell explained it better than I can.   I wonder if any of my doctors have read it.   Will you look it up and tell me what you think? 

Friday, October 4, 2013

SPINE FUSION - the most valuable things

I left post-surgery rehab with a bunch of things - they even found my long lost chocolate bar!

But back in my room, and all around the apartment, and in this new room in Texas, one thing is completely indispensable:  For dark corners, for stepping off the porch, for middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom, it has saved my buns and bones more than once.  There are many more things to trip over than the hospital PTs and OTs ever dreamed of.  I've needed this thing endless times.  I've carried it around for years and I'm always grateful . . .

It's my rechargeable flashlight.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

LUMBAR FUSION 12 Months plus: Exercise Equipment

There's a country song that says it all:  I'm too young to be so damn old.  Slowly I remember what I've already been taught (and may have mentioned here earlier) to keep me strong or make me stronger.

In rehab:  they showed me little girly two-pound dumbbells.  I bought some.  Pink. And bought three-pounders, metal.  I'm amazed at how heavy the three-pounders feel.   (This from a woman who used to use 12-pounders.)
And I feel a need to support my back when I work with these, so into my Posture chair  (It's just a cheap AGEN wicker chair from IKEA that lets me support almost my whole back.)   If only weights didn't interfere with reading my Robert B. Parker and other mysteries.

If you and your surgeon have a weekly squash date, you probably won't need to read the rest of this.  Probably.
 Now for the usual caution:  ask your Doctor first.  Always.  Really.

In home visits:  the visiting therapists showed me exercises I could do in bed.  There's a bed right here!  After months of just walking, I finally started doing those lying-down ones again:  Do ten and relax.
move one leg to the side and back (I keep the other knee bent.)  Change legs.  You can also do this one in a chair with an ottoman for your legs.  Or standing with straight back and your hands on the bathroom vanity.)

Press back of knee firmly into mattress, relax, do 10. Change legs.

Press both buns together 10 times. (The official physical therapist name for this is Butt Squeeze.)

Straighten one leg, then press heel into mattress as you move foot close to your body, straighten, repeat.  Ten for each leg.
This one helps a lot to relieve morning pain in my left leg.

The home therapists made me repeat the whole sequence again.

The doctor told me to stretch  when I get out of bed, so I just stand up and reach for the sky. 

More reprise on the cute dumbbells later.  And a bonus if I get into the swimming class.