Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Happy Birthday, Joe!


2020 didn’t start off so smoothly for me. My youngest stepped on my iphone which resulted in me not having access to my phone for a while. Nothing like experiencing what it is like to be without to realize how much I depend on this little device. Sad to say, I truly felt lost and disoriented. When a trip to the nearest Apple store that night could not fix the problem... (because it turns out it is not just the screen that cracked but whatever it is underneath)… my very capable husband ordered a part from Amazon and decided to attempt the fix himself.  Glad to say it worked. This here was his crazy work station!

So this post is dedicated as a “shout out” to my handyman husband! It is his birthday today. All last week, he was on a business trip. Whenever Joe is away (which unfortunately is a fair amount) …often the words out of my mouth are “wait for daddy to fix it”!

Now whether it is replacing an entire kitchen faucet because the old one was leaking and dripping… or helping our oldest fix her digital radio clock because the time was wrong (…and I didn’t have the skill or patience to figure it out) …my husband gets to use his mechanical engineering degree from MIT for these practical daily issues.

On top of it all...  aside from "fixing things" around the house, Joe uses his tinkering skills to transform broken lightsaber toys into wall lamps. Can you tell that he is an avid Star Wars fan?

So happy 2020, everyone!  Hope your year has started off better than mine.

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This past summer, our kids were reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies. They even took the test online and each fit a different house. Oldest got Ravenclaw (she's the brainy one)... our sneaky second child was Slytherin of course... then the third in Gryffindor and the youngest in Hufflepuff. We had a point system going on where points were taken away for arguing or whining... and points awarded for doing chores. Then they can redeem the points for either $ or some sort of treat like going on a one on one date with mom or dad and picking the game, movie, or restaurant for the family.

Here they are dressed up in their "house" robes for Halloween...
So we thought it'd be fun to surprise them with a trip to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal! We were planning to go right before school started at the end of August. However, Hurricane Dorian was due to hit Florida... thus we ended up postponing the trip... 

The morning of our flight, I left this pack of letters on the table for my oldest to find and hand out.
 
Basically... owl'd them each a letter from Hogwarts inviting them to visit...
It also happened to be our second child's birthday... making the day even more special...
Universal Studios did not disappoint... amazing the attention to details...

First we visited Diagon Alley...

The minute you walk in... it is as if you have been transported into the book. On top of Gringotts Wizarding Bank is a dragon that breathes out real fire! Scared my youngest to death... but the older kids loved it.
Ollivander's Wand Shop was as I imagined... S got chosen to be part of the demonstration. She went through the whole wand choosing ceremony and ended up with a wand made of vine...
and interestingly, the characterization portrayed actually depicts her quite well...
 
Actually we let all our kids select a wand and funny enough all the descriptions of the particular type of wood selected seemed to match their personalities. 

So after that, my kids pretty much walked around Potter world wielding their wand magic and posing for my pictures.
Now to get to Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) from Diagon Alley (Universal Studios), we took the Hogwarts Express of course!
This was amazing... probably my favorite part of the whole Harry Potter thing... they truly thought of everything... the whole experience was super entertaining and most impressive... check this out...

So when you are on the train, you look out a "fake" window but it really looks and feels as though you are in Potter world travelling from one destination to another. Theme music is playing throughout the ride. They even simulated Ron, Harry, and Hermione passing by our cabin and pausing only to move on because... "this one is already occupied". The scenery going and coming back is different so it is definitely worth riding the train both ways.

Now once at Hogsmeade... another adventure awaits... but more on rides in a different post. Here are some snapshots...

 Hogsmeade at night...
Will only mention a few other highlights here so the post doesn't get too long...

Calling the Ministry of Magic... you actually hear a recording from them.
(LOL ...my kids had no idea how to dial a telephone and it took literally 5 minutes to explain how. I think they had to start over like ten times. "ok put your finger on the number... now turn it turn it... no don't let go yet... start over... now go all the way till you can't go anymore... then let go... ok what's the next number...")


Talking to Dre Head on the Knight Bus... truly interactive and talks to you. "creepy" my kids thought.... 


And finally... of course have to mention the delicious butterbeer!
 So... more on all this later... but for Harry Potter fans... Universal has created a magnificient fantasy world!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Habits for Healthy Brains

My 9 year old did research last spring for one of her classes and her topic fascinated me so much that I started quoting it as part of my yearly well check questions with my pediatric patients.  This was based on a Time for Kids article that can be found here.

Bottom line is this.  A study showed that kids' brains are strengthened if they meet these 3 benchmarks for health.

  1. Sleep 9 to 11 hours at night
  2. Exercise at least 60 minutes a day
  3. Spend less than 2 hours of recreational screen time a day

This study was based on 4,500 children in the US between the ages of 8 and 11. So these kids were tested on attention, language skills, planning and mental processing. Kids who scored the highest met all 3 benchmarks. Interestingly, only 5% met all 3 benchmarks while nearly 30% met none!

Just out of curiosity, I had my kids chart their habits in these 3 areas for about a week this past summer. For the most part, they did pretty well but it took intentional effort.

Now especially as the school work and activities start piling up, we need to be very intentional about the sleep and exercise part. I don't think we have much time for the recreational screen time. That is much harder in the summer or on days off.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Fractures

September came and went.  Whew! It has been a whirlwind with lots of moving parts..  settling into new classrooms... attending Back to School Nights...  coordinating sport schedules with practices and games... but to throw a twist to it all... my youngest fractures his elbow!

So how did it happen?  His words... "I was goofing around on this climbing thing at the playground and by accident I let go of both hands."  First broken anything among our four kids and not surprised it would land on our youngest. Although his right arm is in a long cast, this boy is still hopping around and as mischievous as ever!



on broken bones...

Usual cause

  • fall or trauma 


Usual symptoms

  • pain, swelling, decreased mobility and/or weight bearing


Usual care

  • immobilizing with splint and taking anti-inflammatories (motrin, advil, ibuprofen, aleve) until casting
  • likely will need x-ray and referral to ortho
  • if displaced may need OR for setting
  • likely will need physical therapy after cast removal

==
It is always a good idea to get checked out sooner than later.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Back to School!

So this year is significant... my oldest is entering middle school and my youngest kindergarten! What's the difference between entering middle school vs kindergarten?  Here are a few of my observations...

Night before...

my kindergartener... 
excited, bouncy, little nervous... 
hugs n kisses to bed... 
wanted to know if he could bring his pokemon cards to school...
would he get lost and ride the wrong bus?

my middle schooler...
excited, bouncy, little nervous... 
hugs n kisses to bed...
wanted to know if all her "stuff" will fit in her locker...
would she get lost and be late for class?

At the bus stop...

my kindergartener...
excited, bouncy...
goofing around with his older brother...
giggling... all smiles...

my middle schooler...
excited, nervous...
casual conversations with other kids at stop...
reserved... thoughtful... hint of a smile...

Back from first day...

my kindergartner...
beaming, feeling excited and bouncy...
rattling off various aspects of his day...

my middleschooler...
beaming, feeling relieved and confident...
organizing her binders for the next day...

really not too different...
but o how time flies...
not too long ago my middleschooler was the kindergartner...
scary to think that soon she'll be off...

so trying to treasure these times...
to not get caught up in the busy...
not get hyper focused on the details...
but creating intentional moments 
to laugh, hug, kisss...
intentional efforts
to cherish, cultivate, love...





Thursday, August 8, 2019

Medical Adherence in the Elderly


So it's been one year since becoming a Tandigm Scholar and last week I had to present my research in front of a room full of doctors.  Despite being under the weather... I did it. Whew!  I've never been a fan of public speaking so this was looming over me for a while causing stress... I get performance anxiety... 

The topic I chose was on improving medical adherence in the elderly.  Few facts in case you are interested...

25% to 50% of patients do no take their medications as recommended

Poor adherence leads to...
  • Increased morbidity and mortality
  • Accounts for approx. 125,000 deaths and 10% hospitalizations in US annually
  • $100 billion annually spent on US health services due to poor adherence

 

Barriers include...

  • Reviewing full medication information is challenging and time consuming
  • Accurate knowledge of actual home medication is difficult to attain
  • Complex medication instructions
  • Polypharmacy
  • Duration of medication (temporary vs permanent) and withdrawing the medication
  • Adverse effects
  • Problems with keeping medication lists up to date
  • IT systems and poor communication within healthcare systems
  
My project identifies those patients who may benefit from having their medications delivered in a pill pack form...


Then seeks whether adherence is improved leading to positive clinical outcomes...

Having a project to do in addition to the daily ins and outs of patient care adds a layer of purpose and intellectual challenge... with the potential to improve healthcare on a broader scope. For these reasons I was intrigued and couldn't say no when this opportunity came up... I flushed out my thoughts last year in my blog... 

So two more years to go....



Click the following link for the full story:

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