In Touch with You Blog
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April is World Autism Awareness Month, a global effort to raise awareness and attention on the issues affecting those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. and costs families $60,000 a year on average. Even though autism is widespread, awareness about the condition is not.
For years during Heart month we have talked about how we have the power to prevent heart disease and stroke by knowing the importance of eating well and exercising, managing blood pressure and cholesterol, and smoking cessation.
We also have the power to ACT in the event of an emergency.
This year, as we celebrate Heart month, we are drawing attention to our important partnership with the Emergency Department and Emergency Medical Service providers in our region and what you can do in the event of a cardiovascular emergency.
YOU play a significant role in an emergency…Be prepared!
Yesterday, at our Cancer Care Center’s Holiday Open-House the Ladies’ Plastic Golf Organization presented the Foundation with a check for $33,000 from this year’s golf tournament! This dedicated group of ladies has been donating to our Breast Health Fund for the past 13 years. In 1999, Dee Ketner reached out to the Cancer Care Center because her sister in Massachusetts was diagnosed with breast cancer and she wanted information and ways to give her support. Our breast health nurse, Martha Osborne, RN, met with her and gave her the information she needed and explained ways that Dee could support her sister even though she was 3,000 miles away.
The California State-wide disaster drill was held last week and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center participated in a big way! We activated the Hospital Incident Command (HIC) and implement a response for a major earthquake on the nearby San Andreas Fault.
Just stating the obvious – The death of a friend, especially a co-worker at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, is so tough. Even though this happened some five years ago I always think of this friend during October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. October is now behind us and the Hospital certainly did a lot to promote Breast Cancer Awareness, but did we do enough?
I was listening to a song in the car the other day about heroes and it got me thinking. Who is my hero? My mind traveled to historical figures, my grandparents, parents, mentors, family, co-workers and the medical personnel who have treated my husband, Ken and I. The word “hero” comes from Greek mythology meaning a mythological or legendary figure, often of divine ancestry, who is favored by the gods, endowed with great courage and strength, and celebrated for their bold exploits. Today we use the word for someone noted for courageous acts or nobility of purpose, especially one who risked or sacrificed his life. It can also be a person noted for a special achievement in a particular field. More simply, a hero is someone who has made a huge impact on your life or someone you admire greatly.
Last week the Hospital honored our Volunteers by hosting a great luncheon and program at the Candlelight Pavilion. I was honored to attend, as my husband has been a Volunteer (he drives the shuttle) for over a year now. I’ve always been lucky to have wonderful Volunteers help me out at events and for special projects – so I know how valuable they are!
I learned that over 900 Volunteers donated over 91,000 hours to the Hospital in 2011! Can you believe that??? Some other fun facts I learned: 20,000 newspapers were delivered to patients last year by Volunteers; our Junior Volunteers helped patients with 17,000 meal selection cards; and that same number of Volunteers have served over 25 years and have over 10,000 hours! What dedication is shown by these giving people on a daily basis!
It’s a time honored tradition to make resolutions as we begin another year. Usually taking better care of your health is high on the resolution list - eating better, losing weight, more exercise, we know the drill! The fact of the matter is that very few people actually manage to make a permanent change to a healthier lifestyle. There are those who don’t need to make changes, because they are already doing all the things the rest of us know we should be doing!
We are in the business of “health care” and we encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle. The reality is at any given time there are patients here who have not made healthy choices and are now battling to regain their health. Many of our Associates are very health conscious, but there are some who are so busy taking care of other people that they don’t take the time to care for themselves.
There are “awareness” months for cancer and other diseases, but November brings awareness to the caregivers – those who tend to the needs of their loved ones who are ill and unable to care for themselves.
Sometimes medical professionals are called caregivers, but I’m not referring to them in this post. Caregiver Awareness Month is dedicated to those loving people who do anything from running the occasional errand or cooking a meal to the 24/7 handling of a person in need of assistance. Caregivers put someone else’s needs before their own. It can be heart-warming to give to those you love, but it can also be an overwhelming responsibility.
I mention this because we all know someone who is going through or has gone through the struggle of having breast cancer. This awareness month reminds us of just how many people have coped with this disease that research is trying to understand in order to save more lives. Like my co-worker said: “Cancer is not for sissies.” Chemotherapy, although much improved in the last 15 years, is still a grueling process that knocks most people flat for a few days. By the time they begin to feel better, it is time for another dose of chemotherapy! It is not an easy thing to go through.
Beginning on September 3rd and going through October 2nd we will be at the LA County Fair at the “Our Body” exhibit. You will see actual bodies that have been preserved by using a special plastic solution allowing you the unique educational opportunity to see the inside of a body. Even if you have already seen this fantastic exhibit, plan to see it again! We are partnering with Inter Valley Health Plan and Western University of Health Sciences to bring a “Live Healthy” component to the exhibit this year. Even if you went last year plan on attending again, as the exhibit has new bodies and different organs/systems than were displayed last year.
There will be lots of “Did You Know” facts throughout the exhibit and on many of the days, physicians will be available to talk to you and further explain about the bodies and the individual sections/parts. Physicians and other health care professionals will be speaking on a variety of topics at different times. There will also be a video screen showing “MicroWorld” clips (why our bodies work they way they do) when a speaker isn’t available. There will be so many interesting things to see and a wealth of knowledge to be gained by visiting this exhibit.
I got good news last night when my niece phoned to say is pregnant for the first time. She is in her early 30s and in good health, so everything ought to be fine, right? The truth is, we never know. The importance pre-natal care cannot be under estimated. Finding a doctor that is compatible with you and your wishes and a hospital that offers superb medical care for you and your baby are among the first things she needs to think about. Of course vitamins, good nutrition and exercise are also very important for mom-to-be.
Women in the community are lucky that our Hospital offers so many services and programs for those who are pregnant. In addition to childbirth classes (a series or a one-day), cesarean birth preparation and maternity orientations there are special “Boot Camp” events for Dads and “Big Brother/Big Sister” classes. Since breastfeeding is the natural and most healthy way to feed a baby, we are committed to offering breastfeeding classes. Additionally lactation consultants are available if mom needs some extra help, and our Lactation Center is available for further help after they leave the hospital. And to make sure all the bases are covered, we offer Infant/Child CPR classes to empower new parents and a Safe Sitter class for 11- to 16-year-old boys and girls to teach safe babysitting techniques.
The week of August 1 – 7 has been designated world breastfeeding week so that people can learn and be reminded of the importance of breastfeeding! Many years ago, (1976) I breastfed my first son – wow things were different back then. The nurses didn’t encourage breastfeeding while I was in the hospital, in fact, I had to ask them NOT to give my baby glucose water. By the time my second son was born (1979) not much had changed…but I was more experienced and didn’t need the support that new mom’s should receive. The attitude about breastfeeding was beginning to change in 1982 when my third son was born, but it was still not where we are today in regards to acceptance and knowledge.
Breastfeeding has so many wonderful aspects. In addition to the bonding and loving that comes from breastfeeding a baby; it also may protect a mom against developing breast cancer later in life. It also makes ear infections, type 1 diabetes, diarrhea and certain types of rare childhood cancers less likely for babies. Breastfed babies are 20% less likely to die in the post neonatal period (after 28 days) and the longer a baby is breastfed, the lower the risk. The nutrients found in breast milk are responsible for the growth of a baby’s brain and nervous system. Another great benefit is mom’s who breastfeeding tend to lose more weight than mom’s who do not breastfeed.
I wanted to share a story about one of our nurses, Jody Kelly who works in Labor and Delivery. On Sunday May 8th, 2011(Mother’s Day) she saw a Bowers Ambulance crash into a pole on the San Bernardino Fwy. The accident happened at about 6:10 a.m. as she was on her way to work. The crash caused a 20 ft. piece of guard rail to fly onto the freeway as the demolished ambulance came to a stop.
I know it isn’t Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, but last week when a co-worker told me that she was called back
for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound to ”have a better look,” my
first response was “That happens frequently – it is probably
nothing.” When she told me she needed a biopsy I said,”Eighty percent of
biopsies come back negative for cancer.”
Food Collection for the Needy held during National Hospital Week -
Unless you are a youngster or don’t believe in taking vitamins, almost everyone takes medication or vitamin supplements. Could you tell someone what the name of your medication/supplement is?
I’m not surprised – my husband recently came into the ER by paramedics after I called 911. When I’d gotten home from work that day I found him weak and unable to talk. It was a Monday in the late afternoon, you wouldn’t think that it would be a busy time in the ER, but it was packed! They immediately assigned him a bed, and a team of people began assessing him and asking me questions. The smiling face of a Case Coordinator came and asked how I was doing and lent me a shoulder to express my worries. Back to the ER team! The doctor was extremely thorough, and after my husband was screened for a stroke they determined he was a “gold” alert. They explained that that alert was for sepsis (a bad infection).
This morning my best girlfriend and a co-worker here at the Hospital called to tell me her Mother died during the night.
4th Annual Power of Red Luncheon – Wear it! Feel it! Live it!