Butterfly Sparks Designs

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Bible: It Will Pump. You Up.

"A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones."  Proverbs 14:30

The Bible tells us to be "transformed by the renewing of our mind"- we do this by the reading of God's Word. 

Want another tool to help you have a "robust body?"  Another way to prevent bone erosion and runaway emotions?

Spend time in God's Word today.  It really is the best medicine for what ails you :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

10 Ways to Avoid the Emergency Room

Over the holidays, The Post in Tennessee ran an article one day entitled, "Top 10 ways to avoid emergency room visits."

As a nurse, I believe prevention is key, so I was excited to read the article.

After reading I thought I would share the article's tips with you.  Dr. Kevin Beier, the chairman of emergency medicine at Middle Tennessee Medical Clinic, shared these tips:

1. Use appropriate protective equipment with tools and use tools only for indicated and directed use.  (You can bet if this is the good doctor's numero uno tip, there's a reason.  You would not believe the things that come though an E.R. every day).  Dr. Beier said, "Especially important is use of eye protection with power equipment, hammering, and lawn equipment."  Aye, Aye, Cap'n- we only get one set of eyes in this life!

2.  Use seat belts while driving and especially with heavy equipment operation, such as bulldozers and tractors.  Yes!  The nurse agrees!  I've seen too many people banged up and with head injuries to not advocate the seat belt.  Put it on!

3.  Ladder and height-related injuries are one of the most common causes of serious limb and life-threatening injuries.  'Nough said.

4.  Use great care with pools and use child-protective equipment and close supervision of children and those with heart and neurological problems with pools to avoid drowning.  (That was a very long run-on-sentence, wasn't it?  Glad to see I'm not the only one who writes those now and again :)

5.  Mandate safety classes with firearm use, and don't take loaded firearms indoors.  Now Texas, I know around here carrying and owning your own handgun is like carrying your wallet every day, but this is critical.  Gun safety is just plain smart.

6.  Consult professionals for home repairs outside of your scope of expertise, especially electrical and roof-related repairs.  Yes, Tim the Toolman Taylor is fictional- remember that- he was the figment of a writer's imagination- don't go tryin' it at home if you aren't skilled. 

7.  Avoid high-risk activities such as 4-wheeler, all-terrain vehicle use, and recognize and avoid potentially catastrophic injuries, such as camping/hiking situations that expose one to bear attacks or hypothermia.  Not that y'all would go pitch a tent next to a bear in sub-zero temperatures, but it's a good reminder :)

8.  Be especially careful and aware of kids while mowing the lawn to avoid projectiles hitting kids or backing over kids.  (I know it is entirely not okay that this one made me laugh, but it did.  Nurses have horrible senses of humor sometimes, forgive me).  But do remove all projectiles and small children from your lawn before proceeding with your lawn-cutting duties, please.  :)

9.  Falling on stairs commonly causes head and extremity injuries.  Many of these can be avoided by holding on to the railing and turning on lights.  Yes!  I can't tell you how many hip and knee replacement patients I have at work on a weekly basis due to a fall on stairs.  Usually these are involving more the elderly population, due to those brittle bones I mentioned a few posts ago, so stay up on taking your vitamins, and turn those lights on!

10.  Don't use waders while duck hunting or fishing in boats.  I have absolutely nothing to say about this one, because I have no idea what waders even are.  I'm assuming they are some item of clothing one wears in outdoor pursuits, so just remember to take them off around the ducks or while on the boat.  Apparently, this is important.

--We often joke at the hospital that the reason silly warnings are placed on things is because someone actually did something warranting the warning.  If these are an E.R. doc's top 10 tips, then he has probably had many patients doing things that warrant these tips.  Therefore, we'd all be wise to take heed!

Happy Monday, everyone!

(--Taken from The Murfreesboro Post, January 3, 2010).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Viagra: And How I Almost Had a Heart Attack

This week I took one of my favorite little people, Henry, out for ice cream.

We landed at the local Dairy Queen and sat down in one of their old-fashioned booths.

I asked Henry about all manner of little people things, like soccer, school, toys- you know, the usual stuff.

Then we talked about buying his Mom some flowers on the way home.

Our local Dairy Queen has one of those large flat screen televisions on the wall, so while I was in mid-bite of my ice cream, Henry suddenly exclaimed, "Ms. Beth!  Look!"

I looked up to the television where Henry was pointing only to discover a commercial for the medication, Viagra.  I'm sure my face turned beet red, as I slowly turned back around to face Henry and figure out why he was so excited about a Viagra commerical.  I tried quickly to figure out answers in my head to the questions I was sure were on the way.

I was already a little nervous driving around someone else's treasure of a child in my car about town, so this almost sent me over the edge.

I looked at Henry next with my eyes raised and slowly said, "What is it, buddy?"

"Flowers," he said with a smile.  "Like the ones we might buy Mommy."

The old man on the bicycle happily riding off into the sunset on the commercial, due to Viagra, was holding flowers- like the ones we were going to buy Henry's Mommy.


I may or may not have had a mild heart attack right there in Dairy Queen with my dipped cone.  I remember praying that I will never EVER, please, dear Jesus, one day have to explain to my children what Viagra is for and why all the old men seem so happy about it, as they ride off into the sunset.

The nurse decided this week maybe she's not ready for this thing called motherhood- so many near calamities could happen- in the name of eating some ice cream.

Have a great weekend, everyone :) 

See ya back next week with another patient story or two, some easy and healthy Smoothie recipes, and tips on how to avoid the Emergency Room.  Obviously, STAY AWAY from the television with small children if you want to avoid some mighty strong heart palpitations :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let My Circle Be Unbroken...

Last night seemed to be Marriage 101 at work.

Since I'm a single, I took notes.

I received a new admission patient first off, early in the afternoon.  After we'd gotten her settled into her new room, her husband came and sat with her for the afternoon.  He wore cowboy boots, a light blue suit jacket, navy blue suit pants, and a very large beige cowboy hat.  I kept having to look for his face under that hat :)

As I was assessing my new patient, Mrs. Phillips*, and asking her questions, Mr. Phillips, her husband, began to ask me some questions.  He finished up with, "Are you married?"

"Nope," I said.

"Well, sit down and let me tell you a few things."

He waited for me to actually sit down :)  (Nurses don't really sit, so I had to actually go outside and search for a chair).

"First things first," he said. "Your husband's got to be a Christian.  That's most important.  I don't know if you are a person of... faith, and don't be one of those girls who thinks she can make him into a Christian after the 'I do' at the altar.  If he ain't been a Christian all along, he won't 'poof' turn into one because of your wiley ways.  Got it?"

"Got it," I said.

"Okay, now look, if he's a  Christian, and he's REALLY a Christian, then good.  This here's my wife of 60 years.  60 years and she's still my wife; my queen; my lover; my friend; my best woman.  Now that hasn't changed, and in fact it's grown deeper.  You've got to have a Christian man."

I smiled.

He went on to talk to me about divorce, the challenges of blended families, and other things.

"Now, let's circle up and pray," he then said.

The Phillips' daughter was in the room, so the four of us, plus the family's Pastor who had somehow slipped into the room in the middle of all this- we joined hands and Mr. Phillips began to pray.

"Lord, thank you for my wife.  And thank you for a Christian nurse.  We pray for her RIGHT NOW, God, that you will send her a Godly husband.  That you will bless her home that one day she might say, 'Let the circle of my own family be unbroken.'  Bless her in all she does.  Amen."

Amen.  I received it!  I felt so blessed to be prayed for like that.  A little heaven dropped onto my earth last night, and it felt lovely :)

Later in the evening, I stopped by my patient's room to check on him, and his roommate motioned me over.  His roommate, Mr. Oneida,* and Mr. Oneida's wife were watching television together.

"Say, will you tell my nurse I need a sleeping pill?"

"Yes, sir, I will."  After helping him out with a few things, he said, "Say, are you married?"

I must have had a sign on my forehead last night or something.

"No, sir, I'm not."

"Well, we'll be married 60 years next month."

"What's the secret to 60 years?" I asked them.  I've learned to ask my sweet older patients this, because the answers are often humorous and heartwarming at the same time :)

"Love. One. Another.  That's it.  All these people who get divorced and say it can't work- well it can.  Give it a go- and Don't.  Give.  Up.  That's the key.  It's really simple and people make it all complicated.  Choose to love one another.  Sometimes it's a choice.  But the choice eventually leaks over into a feeling, just give it time.  It can work, and it is a blessing to remain together for years and years.  I'm proud of my wife, and I love her."

Mrs. Oneida puffed up her chest at that :)

I believe God was giving me hope last night in the form of my patients.  It is easy to look out over this crazy world and wonder if your simple girl's hopes and dreams for love and marriage will become reality.  You look out at all the media, the lust, the ravages on family, and fear can easily set in.  You wonder sometimes if what you still want to reach for is possible.

My patients last night reminded me it is- in a very heartwarming way. 

I pray we Americans aren't losing the lessons our older generation would teach us if we would simply stop to listen.  That's one reason sharing with you what they teach me is so important- they have a wealth of wisdom to offer.  I'm blessed to sit among these elders each night I go into work.  Seems foolish sometimes, in comparsion to the ways of the world.  But God said He would use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Low Down On Bones

"If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins; If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places-- firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry." Isaiah 58 (The Message).

If you're like me, you've been hearing alot in the media about osteoporosis, calcium, and bone health.

Recently I was asked to work a community health expo as a stroke nurse to educate the public more about strokes.  While I was there, there was a booth for free bone density scanning.  That afternoon, the nurses at the bone booth had me come over and check my own bone density to ensure all was well.

Rather confidently, I went over and put my foot on the machine, expecting a stellar result.  I was one of those kids who drank milk like it was going out of style throughout my childhood.  I still drink a ton of milk and was sure my bone density levels would be stellar as a result. 

Imagine my surprise when the nurse looked over her little beady glasses at me and told me I was close to the "Danger Zone."  Yep, those are the exact words she used, thank you- the "Danger Zone" for being at risk for calcium deficiency and bone problems. 

I had a mini-freakout on the inside, me the lady who ingests milk like candy, and asked her what I needed to be doing so that I don't cross over into the "Danger Zone."  I wasn't sure what that meant, but it sounded scary.

"Just take an extra calcium + Vitamin D pill with your daily multivitamin," she said, "And you should be fine."

Alright, ladies (and gents, if any of you out there are reading), here's some lowdown on bone density health and why it matters.  I didn't know much about this, even though I'm a nurse, so I decided to get schooled since the yellow tape was flying around, saying, "Warning- near the danger zone!"  And the best prescription for good health, I believe, lies in the words above, taken from the book of Isaiah in the Bible.  Honoring God with our lives means everything is better- including our physical health.  Discipline begets discipline, I once heard a wise woman say.

---Why does it matter?  Good question.  Here are some statistics on why taking care of our bones matters: 
     According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, and 1 in 5 men will.  A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures, and similarly, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture.  58% of women aged 50 to 59 have low bone mass, and the percentage gets higher with age.  1.5 million fractures per year are caused by osteoporosis.

---What actually is Osteoporosis?  Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become increasingly brittle, porous, and likely to break/fracture.  This can result in decreased height, pain, and skeletal deformity.  It is more common in the elderly and those on long-term steroid medication therapy.

---Vitamin D is important because it helps your body absorb and retain the calcium you take in.

---What does "bone density" actually mean?  Well, it's like this: the higher the mineral content in your bones, the more dense they are.  The more dense your bones are, the stronger they are.  If they are stronger, they are less likely to break.  This is why a fall for an older person often results in a fracture- their bones simply aren't as strong to sustain the fall.

---How much calcium/vitamin D does one need per day?  In all my research, different people say different things.  I will say, I think a yearly checkup with your physician will provide the best answer to that question.  The need will depend on your age, your health history, and your diet.  I could go into numbers here, but everyone from the Harvard School of Public Health to the Mayo Clinic to the International Osteoporisis Foundation has a different idea on recommended levels.  If I post those here for you, it will only confuse you, as it did me.  I would say for most of you, if you're eating a balanced diet and taking a daily multivitamin, you should be well on your way to good bone health.  There are higher risk factors for osteoporosis including a family history, alcohol/tobacco use, chronic use of steroid or anti-seizure medications, and being a small, thin-framed individual.  Next time you see your physician, simply inquire about how much Vitamin D/Calcium he/she would recommend for you individually.
---What else can I do for bone health?  Exercise.  Bones get stronger with exercise, and strength-building or weight-building exercises like lifting weights, walking, or climbing stairs will all build good bone health.  Diet and exercise prevent almost every major illness affecting our country today.  Bone health included!


I hope this post today simply raises awareness.  So the next time you meet with your doctor, you can inquire about your own bone health and take steps to proactively ensure the best quality of life for yourself.  We all have to start somewhere, and if you feel behind- don't worry!  It's never too late to start making good choices for your health and your body.  That's one of the beautiful gifts God has given us- new mercies every morning.  I struggle too, daily, making myself go to the gym or take a jog.  I want to eat some chocolate-sweet-goodness as much as the next guy.  If we fall down, we simply get back up, and keep trying!

At the end of the day, it's about experiencing LIFE in all it's fullness- the good life Jesus affords us if we only lean in.  Let's reach for it together!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Eating Well, Living Well

I grew up in Tennessee as a true Southerner.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn were weekly diet staples at our house.

Heck, fried anything was a staple. Along with cooking any recipe with at least 2 whole sticks of butter. (I once observed my mother cooking the Thanksgiving dinner and vowed to never watch again. Lord, help us, all the butter).

Then God up and moved me to Texas, where I landed in a home with 1 native Californian and 1 native Coloradoan as my roommates.

To say our eating habits and meal choices were different is an understatement.

My cabinet was full of potato chips, candy, and starches galore.  Their cabinet had organic this-or-that, raw sugar, whole wheat flour, and odd words like flax seed and lentils.

I snubbed their healthiness until I got tired enough of staring out at sick people every day at the hospital in my work as nurse.  I was quickly developing a fear I might one day turn into one of them. Where I live in East Texas is considered the stroke belt of our nation; this is largely due to diet and lack of exercise.  Our Southern diets are killing us or disabling us too early and cheapening our quality of life.

So, I decided to humble thyself and learn this thing called: Eating Well.

My roommates schooled me, and my arteries are forever indebted to them :)

It's not so difficult. I feel a lot better eating well, and I have a proactive weapon against the fear of a declining quality of life in my golden years.  I'm still learning what it means to eat healthy foods, and here on the blog, we'll learn together. We'll explore some things like acai juice, juicing, flax seed, etc.

To kick off the Eating Well, Living Well section of this blog, here's a recipe I recently obtained from a friend.

I call it "Salmon Salad Goodness:"

-Romaine Lettuce
-Bag of Salmon (Chicken of the Sea has these bags in the tuna section of the grocery store, and they are very cost efficient)
-an avocado, cut up into cubed-sized pieces
-pine nuts (I found a bag of them at the store, and after making 5 of these salads, I still haven't used the whole bag.  Just throw as many onto the salad as you would like).

-Mix salt, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar to taste.

Put the above ingredients together and drizzle on the dressing.

It's easy-peasey. I don't often crave a salad, because I still feel hungry after eating them. But, probably due to the avocado, this one is very filling. I'm not a huge salmon fan, either, but I like this. It's also high in protein- great for you diabetics out there and anyone else who lives on a busy schedule.  Protein is nature's gift of an energy boost.

You'll want to multiply the ingredients based on how many you're feeding. I'll buy a smaller bag of salmon when I'm making it just for myself and use half an avocado for one serving. Go easy on the vinegar- I learned this the hard way :) It's a delicate balance, oil and vinegar. Doesn't take much salt, either. So, go easy, all you salt fanatics out there :)

Hope you enjoy this salad, and I'll post other heart-healthy, not-so-difficult recipes on here from time to time. 

And, the best recipe for good health:

"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track.  Don't assume that you know it all.  Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!"  Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hitting the Ground... Walking :)

This blog was ready to go in December.

However, as I soon figured out, I wasn't. To everything, there is a season :)

So I continued to post over at Journey. Thank you, readers and friends, for hitching along your wagon to the wonderful bloggy community with me. I can't see giving up that blog- it's been too much of a chronicle to let go of it just yet. I'll still post there from time to time, as well.

But alas, finally, it's time to turn over a new leaf.

Nurse's Nook is joining the blogosphere.

You'll find stories of what it's like to be an American nurse at the bedside in today's hospital world. And, sorry to disappoint you folks, but it ain't like Grey's Anatomy.

It's better.

Better, in a much more real and raw way. You won't find Dr. McDreamy here. But you might find his grandpa who will warm your heart and lighten your load.

So, stay tuned...

Some LIFE is coming here to these parts :)