Starting a journey to health

JoyfulTurtleStopGivingUpWell, it’s rather misleading to say I’m just starting this journey.  In fact I’ve started and failed many, many times.  This past April I had my annual physical and found that ohmywordimdying.  Well, that might be an overstatement.  But, my HgA1C was high (an indicator for diabetes/prediabetes), my cholesterol was way high, and my BMI seems to be creeping up a bit each year.  And all of this because I love both food and relaxing (read: not running).   Continue reading

Reason #453 that I love nursing

I meet the coolest people! Some of my patients in the last year have been:

  • An MLB hall of fame member.
  • A lady who grew up on the same street I lived on, 20 years before I was there.
  • A nationally-recognized rodeo champion.
  • A WWII infantry officer from a glider battalion who served at Battle of the Bulge and was in Berlin on VE Day. When I gave him some good news about his recovery progress he said, “That’s the best thing I’ve heard since WWII ended!”
  • The daughter of plantation slave, born and raised on a South Carolina plantation. She had some incredible stories to tell.

Everyone has their own story, and if you take time to listen they’re all fascinating. My only wish is that nursing could be more bedside-focused and less computer-intensive. I spend more time checking little boxes in automated forms than I do face to face with my patients. Nursing informatics needs a makeover, and hospitals need to revamp staffing to get nursing back to what it was meant to be – patient advocacy, caretaking, not robotic box-checking.

Mind. blown.

3? Really?

Yesterday this little treasure turned 3. Can you believe it? I can’t. Bruiser was just learning to walk yesterday! Or so it seems…

Today was a different story though. Today we took him and Little Man to the neurologist. Today we started Bruiser on anti-seizure meds.  The same anti-seizure meds that caused Little Man to stop talking, stop smiling, and stop laughing for more than 5 months. I’m looking forward to see what tomorrow brings. We have Bruiser scheduled for an EEG, and both boys are up for MRIs of the brain. Bruiser has no idea what’s coming, but Little Man listened carefully to the conversation with the neurologist and pumped me with questions on the way home. What’s an EEG? What’s an MRI? Why do we have to go the hospital? Will I get a shot? (I gracefully side-stepped that one, not wanting to burden his already anxious mind with images of the IV.) What’s a neurologist and why do I have to see him? Why doesn’t Bean have to see him?

Fun conversations, and just the tip of the iceberg today. Here’s Little Man, monkeying around to entertain everyone on Bruiser’s birthday:

Back on the roller coaster

Until last night, Bruiser had been seizure free (or nearly so) for a year and half. His seizures were so bad when we lived overseas that we had to move back to the US just to find him proper medical care. Funny that almost immediately after relocating state-side his seizures stopped.

In January he had 1 seizure-like episode that I brushed under the rug – it wasn’t severe enough for me to be convinced that he was having seizure activity again. But last night there were 2. The first was minor, but the second was intense. It ended before the critical 3-minute mark, so we didn’t need to call paramedics. But today we start again – trips to the pediatrician and neurologist, which will be followed with MRI and EEG, and then we’ll see…

There’s a temptation to fall into the ‘woe is me’ attitude. But I’m reminded that God is faithful. He’s been faithful to us before, and He’ll be faithful to us again.  While the return of the seizures may come as a shock to me, it doesn’t surprise God in the least. He is aware, He knew it was coming, and He relocated us to Atlanta – where our favorite pediatric neurologist is – just in time for this.

Couch to 5K – I’m in!

Last week I started the couch to 5K program – it’s designed to train you for a 5K in only 9 weeks. You can learn more about it at Cool Running’s website.

Just before I started the program I had tried running on the treadmill at the Y. I’m finding that I like Cool Running’s program much better – it eases you into running without burning you out. Did you hear that? Without burning you out. That means I don’t dread it and find any excuse to avoid it.

I’ve found a couple apps for the iPhone that are really helpful. So, on the off chance that you want to take up the challenge, here’s how I do it.

  • Podcasts. Some guy named Robert made these super helpful podcasts that coach you through each week and give you some good music to run to. I have to say though, I find it really irritating when he says things like, “you should be able to talk while running” or “you should feel the effect of your run now, but not be exhausted or out of breath.” Ahem.
  • iTreadmill. This is so cool. It turns your iPhone into a pedometer for only 99¢. It’s not the pedometer solution if you want to clip it to your belt and see how many steps you walk each day – it would run the heck out of your battery if you used it all day. BUT, for my purposes, it tracks my steps during my run run/walk, gives me the distance, pace, calories burned, number of steps, and spits it all out into a chart for me. Instant gratification.

So, that’s what works for me. Now, want to join me? I just finished week 1, so I start week 2 on Monday (love that I’m told to only run 3 times a week).

Fun giveaway!

FedEx showed up today and I ran to the door hoping it was the mysterious gift hubbs sent me for our anniversary – 7 wonderful years and counting! Alas, not my anniversary present, but instead the Merck Manual Home Health Handbook – almost as exciting. Not much can compare to a mystery gift, but this comes awfully close! I wanted to post a picture of the book, in its pretty package with orange shreds as packing filler, but it seems that some dwarf has run off with my camera. Wait – scratch that. It seems that my dad has reclaimed his camera.

If you’ve been following Mudlark Tales for long, you probably know what I checked out first. Yep! I looked up seizures and was pleasantly surprised. They talk about all the major issues, giving special attention to anti-seizure medications. Then I looked up all sorts of things – multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, vitamin D deficiency, ADHD, asthma (which has some really cool graphics for explanation), and vaccines, to name a few. Don’t be fooled by the mommy-blog take – this is not just for moms. The handbook covers birth to aging, including information on death and dying, DNR orders, and everything in between. It also has really helpful illustrations of the body, which I’m sure will come in handy as the kids get older and we talk about what the brain looks like or why ear tubes helped Little Man’s ear infections.

I can see how this would easily become my at-hand reference for everything health-related. Not only does it cover all the essential information about most any ailment, it also has good references for proper nutrition and even using nutrition to combat illness.

Let me forewarn you, it takes a purely scientific stance on autism and ADHD. Autism, it says, is not caused by vaccines. The rise in ADHD diagnoses could be due to a rise in occurrence or over-diagnosis. I happen to like people that stick to scientific studies, and stick to their guns without apology. Overall, it is very thorough, reader-friendly, and the helpful text boxes are a quick key-in to helpful information. Thanks to Merck for sending me a manual to giveaway to one of my fabulous readers – a $39.99 value!

So, here’s what you need to know. To enter, leave a comment about how you usually find information about health – do you google? call your RN sister? consult a magic 8 ball? actually ask your doctor? You can also enter by tweeting about the contest @kcozonac, or get an extra entry by reposting on your blog. Winner will be randomly chosen on Friday at noon, EST, by one of those randomizer thingys. And because I’m paying the shipping on this, I’m afraid I can only open it to residents of the US or Canada.

Mama has the crud

My mom read an article in the local paper this morning about infodemiology. Apparently ‘the powers that be’ are encouraging folks to use social media (like twitter, facebook, blogs, and more!) to announce to the world that they’re sick. I guess the reliability and accuracy of random people’s tweeting is good enough for epidemiologists. So here be me, as a public service, announcing that I have the crud.

Runny nose, cough, I think the fever is gone, but people sure did snicker at me when I walked into CVS in 96 degree heat with a double layer of wool sweaters on.

Over and out. While the boys sleep and the girl’s at kindergarten I’m off for a cozy nap. There ya go cyberbots, I’ve tapped in.

More drama

Did I mention that Bruiser had a major seizure about 2 weeks ago on his first birthday? In fact, I think I neglected to do my typical ‘kids’ birthday’ post, because I was too busy trying to figure out how to handle his massive seizure.

Well, yesterday there were 2 of them. One at nap time (this is a first for us – we’ve never dealt with a seizure except at night) and one after bed time. His first seizure lasted well over the 3 minute threshold. Had I not been so confused that it was broad daylight and this was happening, I would have given him the diazepam when I noticed the seizure signs. As it was, I was convinced it was just a nightmare or tummy ache. After all, my kids only have seizures at night. (Until now.)

His evening seizure was typical, but also lasted longer than we’re used to. By the time we got the diazepam out and ready the seizure was ending. Today hubbs is making all the necessary calls to get us in to see one of the top pediatric neurologists here. Hopefully we’ll have our appointment for tomorrow.

It looks like Bruiser may be headed for the same type of sedating anti-seizure meds Little Man was on for so long. I hate to medicate him with something like that, but we’ll do what we have to do to stop the seizures. Thankfully we have access to some of the best doctors here, and they’re dirt cheap.

Medical care

We’ve navigated the medical care system here quite a bit. All three kids had colds when we arrived, Owen had an ear infection, then a seizure… It’s been interesting. And while things like food and clothes are hugely expensive here, medical costs are low.

We took all 3 kids to be seen by a pediatrician the first week we were here. Three doctor visits, one including a blood test, all for an underwhelming $12. Then Owen developed his ear infection. We called the pediatrician back and told her the symptoms. She sent us to the pharmacy to get over the counter antibiotics – the same that our pediatrician in the states usually prescribed for ear infections. The cost for that? $3.50.

The pediatric neurologist would have been a $50 copay in the states. Here? Free. And we have no medical insurance. We’ll have to get into the obligatory state-supported health insurance. And that will probably cost us a yearly fee of about $7.50. And then as long as we go to our ‘local’ doctor all visits will be free. Going to someone else will cost. Somewhere in the range of $5. I love this country!

I’m not going to make a political statement about socialized healthcare, but I will say that here in Moldova, it works well. I’m loving our socialized health care.