March is Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, and this month women are being praised for their contributions. This is the first time I can actually remember this month long celebration, and the emphasis placed on it by the media. The week was first celebrated in 1978, and has since expanded.

Lewis (2020) stated that on February 28, 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as the first National Women’s History Week. President Carter’s proclamation read in part:

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this Nation. Too often, the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed” (Lewis, 2020).

That is an under statement, there are so many women who have contributed to our lives and society that have been over looked, due to sex and race. Black women did not receive the right to vote until 1965. Personally I want to show my appreciation to my own mother and first teacher Mary Odessa Turner. My mother was an educator and began her working career as most women in the 1950’s as an elementary school teacher.

Although my mother and I had a difficult relationship, I learned many things from her. She has passed on, but I can appreciate all the lessons she taught me, that include my love of education and the ability to take care of myself. These things were important to her, and she stressed it. Mary was also outspoken and would say things that gave you pause, thus I am my mothers child.

When we are young we do not always appreciate our parents, especially our mothers until we are older or have children of our own. This is when you know you are a full adult, because you may finally understand their concerns. My mother use to say “you made your bed now lay in it”. This refers to your choices and actions and it has always stuck with me.

The pandemic has affected all of our relationships, especially with older friends and family, and it has been stressful for many. As our country opens up after the pandemic, hopefully you will be more appreciative of all your elders especially the women in your circle who have much wisdom to share.

Just keeping you informed.

References

Lewis, 2020. Why We Celebrate Womens History Month. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/womens-history-month-3530805#:~:text=Women%E2%80%99s%20History%20Month%20is%20observed%20annually%20during%20March,1980%20as%20the%20first%20National%20Women%E2%80%99s%20History%20Week.

COVID-19 VACCINE, PART II

I got my second COVID-19 vaccine this week. As a result I experienced chills, fever, headache and pain at the injection site. Twenty-four hours later I felt fine. I still have pain at the injection site. These minor symptoms should not keep you from getting the vaccine. The virus could be much worse and the outcome could be deadly.

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This was also the day my dear friend was laid to rest. She passed away in February from complications of COVID-19. I was notified the same day I received the first vaccine. I was already stressed that day and had trepidations about the long term affects of the vaccine. I was not sure I was doing the right thing. When I found out my friend passed away I was devastated, and cried all day.

In the meantime Texas and Mississippi are planning to lift state mandates and rescind the mask order. Many businesses, schools and healthcare facilities will continue to follow CDC guidelines, but they may have difficulty enforcing the order, since it is no longer a state enforced mandate. The grocery store chain H-E-B indicated that it would no longer require customers to wear masks. As a consumer, I am very disappointed, because it is one of my favorite places to shop.

State data has revealed that less than 7% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds in Texas has declined steadily since late January. We pray there will not be another COVID-19 surge. Currently Texas is 36th in the country for the number of vaccinated individuals.

On another note the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, refused help from the federal government to give coronavirus testing to migrants before they are released from federal custody. He said it’s a federal responsibility to screen immigrants coming into Texas. How does that help Texans?

Mississippi is having an issue with water in the city of Jackson. Many individual homes have been out of running water for several weeks. Talk about an infection control nightmare. The state is currently ranked number 46th for the amount individuals being vaccinated.

Can we leave politics out this and take care of people? Contrary to what others believe we are all connected. Although many have no idea what the poor and oppressed are experiencing related to health and wellness. Have some empathy. Do your part to keep your neighbor, and other relatives safe.

Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands or use hand santizier if water is not available. We are all in this together.

Reference

Adams, K and M. Anderson. (2021). States ranked by percentages of COVID-19 vaccines administered: March 5. Retrieved from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/states-ranked-by-percentage-of-covid-19-vaccines-administered.html

Coronavirus in Texas: Latest updates | The Texas Tribune

Infection Control

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I am compelled to write about this topic because the public has no idea what this means. I watch individuals practicing their idea of infection control with interest. They wipe down items and wear gloves all day long to protect themselves.

Lets examine the issue of wearing gloves all day long. Gloves are meant to be used once and thrown away. Gloves are an extension of your hands. What ever you touch you are contaminating the gloves as well. You are passing those same germs to your cell phone, the grocery cart, your car door and others. Once you take the gloves off wash or gel your hands. I shared this video before but it worth showing again.

Wiping down items to put them away with dirty hands is not an effective method of infection control. To pick up cleaned items with dirty hands is defeating the purpose. In fact you are contaminating what you just cleaned. Gloves should be donned (put on) prior to cleaning. Once the item is cleaned the gloves should be removed, and hands washed or disinfected with gel and another set of gloves should applied prior to picking up the clean items to put them away. If you do not have gloves, gel or wash your hands prior to and after you clean the items to ensure you are not contaminating the object. If you are handling food I strongly suggest you wash your hands with soap and water (prior to and after) and follow the same procedure.

Stay well!

The Power of Prayer!

Many people believe in prayer and a higher power, but still try to change circumstance that they have no control over. This may include going to the physician for an illness. Many try to handle the issue themselves before they seek professional help.

I was faced with a situation recently a friend needed me to take her to the emergency room for another issue. I dressed, ate breakfast and prayed that the Lord would keep me well, as I always do every morning. She was in a hurry to get to the hospital, so she called another friend. A few hours later she revealed she tested positive for COVID-19. I would have been unknowingly exposed to the virus for at least 60 minutes. I am in and out of hospitals frequently and do everything possible to keep myself well. I was so grateful that I was not exposed.

It was unfortunate that this issue occurred in the first place. I thanked the Lord, for changing the circumstances of that visit, it could have turned out badly for me. I was afraid for my friend because she had a pre-existing condition. I was hoping she could weather this double storm, with God’s help. I prayed she would recover. In retrospect she should of called an ambulance, because the workers are dressed for the exposure of any possible infection. Now another person has been exposed.

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This story did not end well. My friend died as a result of COVID-19, within two weeks of the diagnosis. I was devastated. As a nurse we deal with the results of death frequently especially with others. It is especially hard when it is someone you personally know. At the beginning of this pandemic many people did not know anyone with the disease or any one who had died from COVID-19. They did not believe it was true. That definitely was not my issue, as I am work in a variety of hospital settings frequently.

Nurses are unique, as patient advocates, they provide and support patients 24/7 through their most vulnerable times, life, death and everything in between. As a result we have to be strong for others, and give them support through their tears and fears.

Who is there for the nurse and other professionals as they deal with the stress of providing care and assisting with those who are transitioning? Lately patient deaths have become a consistent event. We are not robots but the public expects us to be happy every time they walk through the door of the hospital or clinic. People forget we are human and have emotions as well.

Pray and dependence on each other within our profession is what gets us through the shift or the day. We appreciate the thanks but empathy and personal responsibility goes a long way when we are talking about personal health. These days many people do not want to take personal responsibility for anything, including health issues. They eat things that are contrary to their health and participate in risky behavior because it is their right. These same individuals look at the medical community to reverse the outcome.

Well, I am informing you that it is tiring. Without the dedicated members of the health profession some of you would be left to your own devices. After losing my dear friend I realized that as much as I advocate for others and their risky behavior, it has been confirmed once again that I have no control over what others do.

Please continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands, someones life may depend on what you do.

COVID-19 VACCINE

With trepidation and anxiety I had the first injection of the Modera COVID-19 vaccine this week. I did not want to take the vaccine right now and wanted to wait for the next roll out. I even prayed about this and thought I would proceed slowly. My spirit was unsettled and stressed about the whole ordeal.

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As I was driving to the facility to receive my injection, and praying for a good outcome, I received a call from a relative of a friend. My friend had been in the hospital for two weeks for complications of leukemia, and she also contracted COVID-19. Prior to her going to the hospital I had asked her if the people around her were wearing a mask, she replied sometimes. Her immune system was already compromised and she needed to be extremely careful.

I was so glad to hear from her because I had not heard from her for at least a week. In fact. I feared the worse, but when you actually hear bad news, it is like a bad dream. Her sister told me she died and I was overcome with grief. This is the first person I know personally that died due with COVID-19.

I know the family is probably devastated because they probably had no idea how serious it was to protect her immunity, regardless of the COVID-19 virus. She was high risk and I feel bad that I did not overemphasize the need for her to isolate. It is too late.

That tragedy was a reminder for me to continue to stay healthy and to encourage others to do the same, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. Remember it not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19 once you take the vaccine, especially since the virus has mutated. My next vaccine is in one month. My arm was extremely sore, after the first vaccine. I did push-ups and had to go to a virtual weight class to relieve the pain in my left arm. Please stay well…

Vaping

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With the pandemic at hand, This is a great time to quit smoking and or vaping. During this season of the flu and COVID-19, it is essential you stay in good health. The effects of vaping on the lungs can be devastating and if you be come ill with the virus your outcome may not be positive.

“The vapor or aerosol that comes out of an e-cigarette can contain substances that are addictive and can cause lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is very addictive and can harm the brain development of teenagers. If used during pregnancy, nicotine may also cause premature births and low birth weight babies” (CDC, 2019).

Vaping, has increased in young adults and has the same risk as smoking. Vaping or using e-cigerettes should not used as a substitute to quit smoking. Please take care of yourself during COVID-19. Make good choices, wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. Even if you get the vaccine, its no guarantee that you will not get the virus.

Just Keeping You Informed!

Reference

American Cancer Society. (2019). https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/american-cancer-society-warns-about-risks-of-vaping-for-youth.html

CDC. (2019). https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/cdc-and-fda-investigate-lung-illnesses-linked-to-vaping.html

Smoothie Diet

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The smoothie fad is spreading. It is a great way to supplement your diet with fruits and vegetables. Many individuals drink smoothies to lose weight. I have utilized this approach and found it challenging but doable. Check out the smoothieplan on Instagram for some great ideas to kick start your diet or to develop a new lifestyle.

One of the issues with an all liquid diet is hunger and not having the feeling of satisfaction of having a meal. I would suggest you supplement with salads, fruit and vegetables and stay away from process food. If you do not control your hunger you will be off your original plan of losing weight by binge eating something that you should not.

This recipe is an Anti-Inflammatory Pineapple Ginger Smoothie courtesy of the smoothieplan on Instagram. The ingredients include the following: 2 cups ripe pineapple, 1 cup ripe mango, 1 piece of ginger (3 inches long), 1/2 cup of celery, 1 cup of coconut water, 1 tsp fresh vanilla. It sounds delicious.

Just keeping you informed..

Change

Change is inevitable in life, nothing stays the same. Some embrace change others resist and defy it. I have always welcome change no matter how difficult it may be. Although I can say it can be quite an adjustment if you do not accept the change it may cause you to be quite unhappy.

Change happens frequently in healthcare, assignments, patients, equipment personnel and protocols. It is just the way it is and we have to adapt to the every changing environment.

I was told once, that everything starts with a decision. To accept change, you must embrace it so you can live your life to the fullest, or not. I have experienced both realities and I am sure you have as well. On one occasion as unhappy as I was I could not generate a change in location no matter what I did, and how I prayed. It was not until I decided to embrace the change and settle into the life that was before me, that the change I sought finally manifested.

Once the change occurred and I was able to relocate, the happiness was short lived and I realized I should have sought out a different outcome. I prayed for the change and got what I thought I wanted and had to accept the results. I believe God has a great sense of humor, he may not give you what you want at the moment but when he does you better be ready to accept it good or bad.

Change is like a rubber band, and you must be able to adapt easily to remain energized in life. Do not become stiff and resistant embrace the new and become the change you want to see!

Ayurveda Medicine

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Ayurveda medicine is one of the oldest medical systems and originated in India (niccih.nih.gov, 2021). The practice is based on the natural and holistic approach to both physical and mental health utilizing diet, exercise, and lifestyle. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021).

Clinical trials have been done utilizing Ayurveda medicine for pain, osteoarthritis, diabetes and colitis in comparison with conventional treatments and or other herbs, with inconclusive results.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, illnesses may occur due to the imbalance that occur between the psychological and physiological body, causing the unbalance of your three life forces or energies (Dreier, 2021). Ayurvedic medicine suggests a consumption of “hot” foods and or drink such as ginger which is good for colds and congestion (Dreier, 2021).

As a proponent of holistic health, I find common sense with this practice and in conjunction with traditional medicine one can remain healthy and well.

Please do not use Ayurvedic medicine instead of seeking out your physician regarding your medical issues. This blog is for informational purposes only and to increase your knowledge about holistic health and wellness. For more information about Ayurveda medicine review the websites below.

References

WedMD, (2021). What is Ayurveda. Retrieved from What Is Ayurveda? Treatments, Massage, Diet, and More (webmd.com)

What is Ayurvedic Medicine. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurvedic-medicine-in-depth?nav=gov

Dreier, S. (2021). Using Ayurvedic Medicine to Fight the Common Cold and Flu. Retrieved from Using Ayurvedic Medicine to Fight the Common Cold and Flu – Soren Dreier

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

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I was asked why do I always address the elephant in the room.   I was taken back by that comment but embraced it, because it is true.   Before I go on I must explain “what is the elephant in the room” for those who are not familiar with the term.   We have all been in situations that were so uncomfortable or odd that no one wants to address and “open the can of worms”.  The heaviness in the room causes all to whisper about the situation but, no one will address the issue and elicit a discussion.  

We have all worked in environments where difficult situations were not discussed openly but acknowledged by someone in the group after the meeting.   Someone says “bless their heart”, the group snickers and continue with their activity, as they whisper among themselves.   I have always found this behavior odd, and always felt I was missing something.   I have been the person who will talk about the elephant, and put it on the table, so we can all move on, no matter how uncomfortable.

I believe it reduces friction, gets things out the open, reproduces rumors, and hopefully promotes truth.   However, I have found even though the issue is opened for discussion it may still be difficult to elicit conversation about the situation.  You may not get any answers, but you have to inquire.  

Questioning and inquiring have been my mode of operation at work and at home.  It doesn’t always end well but I inquire and on occasion people get upset and words are exchanged.  Is it better to work around the elephant in the room or upset others and attempt to address the elephant?   As I have gotten older, and my emotional intelligence has sharpened I have taken on a new attitude.  I am not as curious and inquisitive as I use to be.  I am sure this is probably due to age and life experience.  

In the past, I felt I had to speak up about things that were not equitable in the workplace.  What I found, others were not willing to support me because of their own self-interest or fears even though they may have felt the same.  It was unfortunate and a hard lesson to learn.  I found people do not always appreciate the truth and would rather hear something else, even if it is not in their self interest.

On another note, there was a insurrection by the President and his follower this week. If someone had addressed the elephant in the White House, I am sure the outcome would have been different.

As I have gotten older I have decided to remove myself from these situations.  This has not always proved to be advantageous for me, BECAUSE I can imagine the outcome, which is not always positive and I feel I should speak up.  I let others rant and rave about things and realize they do not have all the facts, but I listen, and sometimes respond.  This approach has caused me physical distress, and I used to boast I would not have ulcers because I did not internalize things that upset me, to spare others feelings.

Are their feelings more important than yours or mine and should you cause yourself harm to keep others happy by keeping quiet?  I think not, the goal in life is to remain healthy and free of disease so I believe you should speak up no matter how painful it is for you and others and do the right thing.  I do realize many do not have the resolve to speak up and are willing to go along to get along. Which is unfortunate. Sometimes YOU have to address the elephant in the room, Congress are you listening? 

As a nurse, this role is essential to ensure you are keeping patients safe and healthy, but others in the healthcare area including leadership do not always want to hear what you have to say either.   How do you handle the elephant in the room, especially when you know the outcome? 

Just keeping you informed!

Welcome to 2021

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

You can exhale now, 2020 is gone! We can move on with the expectation of the new year and what it will bring. We all would like to enjoy our families and friends once again post COVID.

Please remember to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. We are in a new year, but those infected by the virus and hospitalizations have increased, leaving health care workers tired and exhausted.

As a member of the human race, can you do your part to ensure you are not contributing to the spread of this deadly virus. It would be so nice to enjoy a wonderful spring, without mask and social distancing. A small sacrifice now will reap bountiful benefits later.

Think of others and remember we are all in this pandemic together. You may not die from the pandemic but there are long term effects of this virus. The virus can damage the lungs, heart, and brain and increase the risk of long-term health problems, including problems with the sexual dysfunction in males.

This issue requires full participation from all, not just a few. Please be a part of the solution. Just keeping you informed.

Reference

Mayo Clinic, COVID-19, Long Term Affects. Retrieved from fhttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

Maintaining your Health and Wellbeing

Christmas is over and if you are like me, you are looking forward to 2021 and what it will bring. I am really looking forward to a new year. Many individuals make New Year’s resolutions that include losing weight and exercising. In the past the gyms were full in January with individuals dedicated to improving their health and wellbeing. Typically the dedication is gone the first week in March, and people lose interest. The gyms are open in Texas, but the uncertainty of the pandemic will determine if individuals will be going back to the gym in mass in January. I have not been going the gym, but walking outside and enjoying nature.

Never the less, you can do a few things to ensure you are meeting your health goals in the New Year. Remember physical transformation always starts with food, be sure you are eating more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods and limit your alchol intake.

Some type of physical activity and or exercise are also essential elements to maintain your health, lose weight and increase stamina. It is imperative you chose the type of exercise you enjoy. This will promote more participation, and commitment.

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Adequate sleep is also an important component, and is necessary so the body can repair itself. To ensure you are getting enough sleep, reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake and the use of technology prior to going to sleep. Put yourself on a schedule and go to bed the same time every night to promote adequate sleep.

Lastly, a positive outlook will assist you to endure any challenges that may arise with your diet, exercise routine or sleep patterns. I encourage you to laugh everyday, find something to laugh about. The very act of laugher is good for your outlook and your soul. Children laugh all the time, but adults are too serious and get entangled in the trappings of life. We forget what is truly important. Move toward 2021 with a grateful heart and optimism to maintain your health and wellbeing so you can be the best you!

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Just keeping you informed!

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