H20

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Water is an essential need for all living beings. Many communities are experiencing contaminate water due to lead pipes, or shortages due to drought. I was in Hawaii this summer, and the locals complained about a drought on the island. That was surprising, but the waterfalls and creeks were barely flowing.

World wide two thirds of the world are experiencing water shortages. The issues in the USA are two fold. Droughts in the west and self imposed issues in other areas where there may be lead, or some other contaminates have been found in the water.

I have lived in several places that imposed water restrictions on their citizens. Lack of water impacts all life in a variety of ways, from consumption, cooking, bathing, growing food and basic body metabolism for all species. Unclean water is a threat to all humanity.

We have to influence the elected officials to put money in state and local principalities to ensure we all stay healthy and well.

Get involved, your well being may depend on it. Just keeping you informed!

Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a technique to assist you to live in the present moment, rather than regretting what may have happened in the pass or worrying about future events. Being present or attentive during a conversation, and or an activity can enhance the beauty and joy of the moment without judgment.

Meditation, yoga, dance or just sitting still are just a few activities that can assist you to become more mindful to the present moment. The goal is to connect to your present surroundings and acknowledge your emotions and feelings without labeling them as good or bad.

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and you gave them your complete attention without engaging in another activity or thought during the conversation? We all have been programed to be ready with a response. It is very rare that we give our full attention to anything, even a short conversation.

It will take practice, but try to give your full attention to someone you are having a conversation with and notice how different it feels to be fully engaged and focused on the person you are listening to. This practice is not as easy as it seems.

There are structured mindfulness practices available to assist you in becoming more mindful. Check out the link below to listen to a few Mindful Moments, presented by Saybrook University to help you restore your well being during the day, and practice mindfulness.

References

Mindful Moments. https://www.saybrook.edu/mindfulness-moments/

Mindfulness, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/mindfulness

World Mental Health Day

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It was World Mental Health Day, on October 10, 2021. Personally, I think we need a whole month to reset. There is so much going on, and if you do not take time to unplug you may feel over whelmed and depressed.

There are a few things you can do to ensure you stay balanced, and well. Get enough sleep, without adequate sleep your body can not regenerate, and you are cranky.

Enjoy nature, and go for a walk, or ride your bike.

Interact with others, some of us have been isolated for so long that we need some physical interaction with other adults. Don’t forget to wear your mask, if you have not been vaccinated.

Find an activity or craft that you enjoy. I exercise, and it is a great way to increase your stamina and well being. I have a friend who builds bird houses, and another who loves to work in the garden.

Take a drive and enjoy the scenery. I have been taking short week-end trips to re-energize, it will change your outlook. Hint: leave your laptop at home.

If these things do not work, you may need to talk to a professional, especially if you have had suicidal thoughts, or feeling depressed for extended periods.

Therapist are now online. Here are a few links for your review. I can not validate the services but these links can help you get you started. https://www.betterhelp.com/get-started/

https://www.top10.com/online-therapy

Stay well and unplug, your mental health depends on it!

Redistricting

The Texas Chronicle (2021) stated, Texas has not redrawn the state political lines in 10 years to conform to the census. According to the latest national census, Texas has added almost 4 million people from, 2010-2020. The majority of new residents are people of color. Redistricting should represent the majority in the state.

The Texas Tribute, (2021) concluded the Texas House Republicans have not followed the demographic trends that reflect an increase in Black, Hispanic, and the Asian population. Hispanics represent a large majority of the new residents in Texas. The Texas GOP have added one majority white district to both the Texas US House of Representatives and the Texas State Senate, with no change in Hispanic or majority representation. The Texas GOP claim the redistricting was done completed blind.

The Houston Chronicle (2021) reports, that the civil rights groups in Texas are accusing the Texas Republicans of intentionally racial gerrymandering, which is a violation of the Voting Rights Act to stay in power. That is why federal law that protect voting rights are important. States have rights but apparently they can not trusted to ensure all citizens have equal representation if they are not part of the ruling class. Lets see what happens next.

Call your local representative and let your opinion be heard. Just keeping you informed.

References:

Harris, C and Goldenstein, T. (2021, Oct. 3) GOP redistricting p[ans give little consideration to voters of color. Houston Chronicle, 120. 355 pp. A1, A10.

Pollock, C., Astudillo, C., & Svitek, P. (2021, Sept. 30). Redistricting Texas. Texas Tribute. https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/30/texas-house-redistricting-map/

National Voter Registration Day!

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During the last week of September, was National Voter Registration day: https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/ The day called for those who are registered to vote, to check their voter registration status and for others that are not registered to vote to take time to register.

Hopefully you have become more aware of the political process, and want to be more engaged. Take some time to check your voter registration status, so you can participate in your civil duty and vote in both local and national elections. Monday, October 4, 2021 will be the last day to register to vote in Texas for the November, 2021 local state elections.

Local elections matter, and your vote matters. If you believe your vote does not matter, why are some states putting in more barriers for voters than for gun control? Please, do your part to ensure your voice is heard!

A Chance Meeting…

I was on the plane recently and sat in the middle seat in the first row between to two young man. I do not like that seat, because I have to put my purse in the overhead. I don’t know what compelled me to sit there, but never the less that was my seat for the next couple of hours, and it was a full flight.

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Halfway through the trip one of the young men, stood up and started pacing back and forth. He said he was short of breathe and felt very anxious and didn’t know what was wrong. I identified myself as a nurse and tried to assist him, by talking to him in a low quiet voice. The stewardess made him several ice packs for his neck and chest, and offered fluids and snacks.

Before the end of the flight he was resting his head on my shoulder, with no mask.  The stewardess asked me if I knew him.  I said no, and suddenly I was mortified that he may not be vaccinated, and I contemplated my next move.

I had on my regular blue mask, and whispered to him quietly “have you been vaccinated?” He replied “I can’t lie to you, I haven’t”.   I though oh, what am I going to do now? I beckoned the stewardess to give me my purse, so I could get my N95. I told her he had not been vaccinated. She said she was wondering that as well. I thought that would be devastating to catch COVID after helping someone on the plane! I asked him to put on his mask, and I put on my N95.

I told him he should get vaccinated,  even if he doesn’t get COVID he can pass the virus to his mother or grandmother. I went on to tell him if they have a preexisting condition it can be deadly. As the plane started to descend, he stated he felt better and thanked me. We parted after the plane landed. That was the last time I saw him.

Nurses and others in healthcare assist perfect strangers all the time. At times we put ourselves at risk, but it is part of the job and we do it automatically. Sometimes people are appreciative and sometimes they are not. We all wonder about random encounters that occur in our lives and why they happen. What would you have done?

This is day five and I am feeling fine, but will go get tested this week. I am hoping for the best.

Be careful and stay well! After all, we are all in this together.

Update, I was tested for the COVID virus on day six, and remain negative. What a relief!

Navigating the Health Care System..

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Navigating the healthcare system can be frustrating and frightening if you do not understand the system.   I feel that way about the legal system.   No matter how well educated you are, the language and the process related to utilizing these systems can be over whelming.   No one wants to be a consumer of these systems unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Eventually all of us will use them.  Navigating the healthcare system is also a complex process. It is in your best interest to educate yourself about your illness and or condition, to ensure your health care needs are being met.  Some families have the luxury of having a healthcare professional in the family to help them navigate, if not it can be very stressful.  If you do not understand,  ask plenty of questions. 

Patients share pertinent information with nurses, and do not always share their concerns with their physician.   Many times patients will ask the nurse their opinion regarding information conveyed by their provider.  If it requires a simple explanation it is shared, but usually patients want an opinion about the necessity of the procedure.  I encourage them to get a second opinion if they have doubts.

Although physicians and nurses work as a team, it is imperative that  patients express their concerns to their doctor.   It is important to have robust discussions related to their care and treatment, because this promotes confidence for the patient and the family. 

Nurses are patient advocates and we consider this an essential role.  We want to ensure the healthcare team meets the needs and wishes of the patient, even if those goals do not align with the family wishes.   However if the patient is not fully awake and alert, family input is solicited and  essential.

Patients and families can always report their concerns to the nursing supervisor/manager and or the facility patient advocate.  They are there to help patient’s navigate through the system, and minimize their stress.

Make good choices, so you can stay healthy and well.  After all, once your health has failed it will be challenging to return to a normal state of wellness.

Just keeping you informed!  

Power of One Voice!

Women have tremendous power but WE have not utilized it to make effective changes in this world.  We depend on others. It took White women over 100 years to earn the right to vote in this country, and Black women did not gain that privilege until 1965. As a modern professional women I wonder why we cannot band together to implement changes that affect our health and the well-being of our families?  

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There are more women than men in this world, and we continue to let men control too many aspects of our lives.  This includes rights about health, abortion, equal wages, child support, gun control, police reform and professional growth.   This has got to stop!   

Traditionally men in this country have had all the power, and pushed their will on others to ensure they have the upper hand to control how we all live by creating laws that benefit themselves.   Society norms have dictated how boys and girls are socialized.  Men were seen as the providers and women where the caregivers.   This social norm has been obsolete for many years but this society still lives under this umbrella. 

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Ask yourself who is it serving?   Many women have forgotten how much power they have until much later in life.   With that said, little girls learn they have power, as they try to manipulate their fathers to get what they want, and they succeed.

If women can band together to get a governor or a senator to resign, why not band together to ensure all have equal rights as stated in the US constitution? Some women do not believe they have a voice to make these sweeping changes in society, because they are either afraid, do not care, or content with others making decisions for them because of their dependence.   Others are so busy trying to make a living and taking care of their children they do not have the time, but would greatly benefit from these sweeping changes.

Women can band together to make this happen, no matter your political party.

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It is time you use your power to make a difference in your life and the future of your children. Some of you are sitting on the side lines and aren’t even engaged in the political process. Its time! Get off the side lines and at least get informed.

We need you. You can not let others make decisions for you and your family. We have things to do!

Misinformation..

Misinformation is a cancer that is dangerous in every way and some continue to consume inaccurate information daily from others via the news and the internet.   No one wants to validate facts but just pass on the information they believe is credible.   I must admit I have done it myself but as a new PhD, scholar, I must validate all my facts or my credibility is nothing,

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I was in the airport listening to a women giving her granddaughter the 4-1-1 about wearing a mask.  She said the mask was bad to wear, it would affect her lungs and may make her ill. I am a registered nurse, I could not let that conversation continue, so I jumped in.  The conversation was triggering and really irritating to hear.

I told her nurses wear N95 mask all day long, how is the information she was telling her granddaughter correct?  Furthermore, children are taking the COVID variant home to their parents.  Her daughter stated “I wore a mask and caught COVID”. Nothing is 100% but the bottom line wear a mask, and wash your hands!!  Do your part and reduce transmission. 

Healthcare staff are tired and weary will not be there when you go to the hospital for other issues. Please validate your facts before you pass them on!

To stay well, continue to utilize preventative measures, that is all we have to mitigate this virus.

The Art of Cooking

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I was cleaning my kitchen yesterday and to my amazement I found at least 10 cookbooks. Cooking has never been my forte. I have an interest but never really mastered the art of good cooking, even though it was a task I did everyday.

Just recently I have taken an interest in cooking with spices and herbs to enhance the taste of food. Staying home and actually having to cook for myself during the pandemic has sparked this new interest. In fact, my children make fun of my cooking, but boldly state that I can make a great sandwich. They were not over weight children, and were feed nourishing and healthy meals.

I now realize cooking can be joyful and fun. You can modify ingredients to ensure your food is healthy and tantalizing. I admit I am not a great cook but I can appreciate one. Cooking and entertaining promotes family bonding and friendships, especially in the south where everything revolves around good food. I know we all miss picnics, Sunday dinners and bar-b-ques, as well as other family gatherings.

Appreciate the good cooks in your family and master a special recipe so when you meet again you have something to share.

Bon Appetit!

Poll Finds Most Americans Believe Nurses Are Underpaid…

What do you say?

Nurses are part of the healthcare system and remain nonpartisan when providing care for others, no matter what they believe.

Unlike other disciplines in healthcare, nurses do not create revenue for hospitals and clinics but they can not run these entities without them.

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Nurses are highly skilled but remain under appreciated. We work long hours, short staffed and are abused by both patients and others in healthcare. Many believe a nurses is nurse, but we have specialties just as physicians.

However, nurses can make more money than other women in female dominated professions, but it does depend on location and type of nursing that is practiced. In recent years nursing salaries have decreased, for whatever reason. In fact hospitals in recent years have mandated their entire nursing management workforce to reapply for their jobs to weed out high earners and those with longevity. As a result, nurses with less experience at a lower salary are hired as a replacement.

Currently nursing is experiencing a shortage. Many hospitals are reporting they do not have enough nursing staff to take care of the influx of COVID 19 patients. Others are traveling to other states to take advantage of the salary increases due the shortage.

The pandemic has left many nurses mentally and physically tired, and they have left the bedside and will not return regardless of what salary is offered. New graduates do not have the critical thinking or experience to manage these patients, but it will occur never the less.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act, and the public option are more likely than other Americans to say that nurses and health care aides are underpaid and insurance executives are overpaid (Terry, 2021).

What do you say? I would love to hear from you.

Stay well, wash your hands and wear your mask.. your life may depend on it.

Reference

Terry. (2021). Poll Finds Most Americans Believe Nurses Are Underpaid. https://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/news/20210811/americans-say-nurses-underpaid.

Healthy Snacks….

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities reported that children and adolescents in the US are consuming more processed food. It is not surprising that the childhood obesity rate has been steadily rising among US youths during the past two (2) decades as a result of excessive calorie consumption, and process food intake (Wang, Steele, Du, et al, 2021).

Everybody has a different opinion of what healthy foods should be.  Most nutritionist would agree, food that is low in salt (sodium), sugar (carbs) and high in fiber would meet the criteria of a healthy snack. It is true “you are what you eat” and the continual consumption of process food will determine your health status.

Although we all love the convenience and the taste, these foods are not good for regular consumption.  Process foods are high in carbs and sodium to ensure taste and shelf life.

It is your personal choice to maintain health and remain free of disease by the consumption of healthy foods and snacks.  It is cheaper and more filling to buy a happy meal than a head of lettuce, a tomato and a cucumber.

Choose wisely and eat well, and remember you are what you eat!!

Reference

Wang, Steele, Du, et al (2021). Trends in Consumption of Ultra-processed Foods Among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2782866?guestAccessKey

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