Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Medical Tips for Long Flights

So we just got back from Maui. Vacation was a blast catching up with extended family... 

17 cousins all together ages range from 2 to 17!

However, the travel back and recovery has been brutal. We left at night so we flew red eye. The lack of proper sleep did not help but what really did it was the two 6 hour long flights back to back with a two hour layover.

two hour lay over spent snoozing at AA business lounge...

Since summer is the time of travel and after this most recent experience, I'm prompted to blog a bit on medical tips for long flights....

1.  Dry air  

- air is thin and dry on airplanes and on long flights it is easy to get dehydrated
- increased respiration rates due to the lower oxygen also increases water loss
- symptoms of dehydration include:
  • sore throat
  • dry skin and craked lips
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • irritability
What can you do?
every hour you fly you are supposed to drink 8oz water
- avoid coffee or soda which has caffeine and can dehydrate you more
- avoid sugary drinks which can also cause a "crash" after a "high"
- moisturizing lotion for skin, chapstick for lips and eyedrops for dry eyes

2.  Low oxygen pressure  
- the lower oxygen pressure in aircrafts is equivalent to 6,000 to 8,000 ft altitude
- although the barimetric pressure is adjusted in the aircraft to avoid true altitude sickness you can still experience symptoms such as:
  • headache
  • sleepiness
What can you do?
- drinking plenty of water should help this as well

3.  Long periods of sitting
-  sitting in tight quarters for hours can cause decrease blood flow in body
-  symptoms these may produce include:
  • ankle swelling
  • feet swelling
  • blood clots for folks with increased risks such as
    • serious medical conditions
    • postpartum
    • on birth control
    • over 40
    • being obese

What can you do?
-  rotating ankles, extending and flexing the foot may help circulation
-  high risk folks may need compression stockings and/or medications

4.  Shifts in cabin pressure

- body's gas can expand 25 percent
- gas expands during ascent causing tympanic membrane in ears to bulge
- symptoms include
  • ears to feel full and "pop"
  • increased flatulence
What can you do?
- chewing gum, yawning and swallowing will help ears
- avoid gas producing foods may help minimize abdominal discomfort
    • dairy products
    • beans and lentils
    • asparagus, brocooli, brussel sprouts, cabbage..etc
    • fructose
    • high fiber foods
So we should have been much more diligent in implementing the above... we may not be as beat as we are now.

Well... here are some photos of the gorgeous scenery to help us recover...

Friday, June 21, 2019

Busy End of School Year

May flew by and June is almost over. It has been super hectic for me. I felt like writing a rhyming poem to summarize it all!  Here it goes...

Busy month of May
With Mother’s Day
…Memorial Day
And then comes Father’s Day

For teachers, for coaches…
Presents and gift cards to buy
Their guidance and wisdom
Our kids really do rely

String… Band… Choir…
Concerts galore!
Moving on ceremonies
And so much more!

End of year parties
And final field trips...
Signing year books
Watching slide show clips

6th grade socials
And 6th grade clap out
Cherishing the memories
Is what it’s all about

Saying goodbye to teachers
Saying goodbye to a school
Now it’s time for summer
Let’s jump in the pool!

Happy first day of summer everyone!  Whoo-hoo! My kids are finally done with school...

Friday, May 24, 2019

Keeping Records

Mother's Day came and went this year... and although the thought crossed my mind several times to throw up a post on that day... I never got the chance. For some reason, I felt I should have since this in a sense is my "mommy blog"... but here is the truth....  life is full and being able to come here and jot down some thoughts is a luxury to me that is not feasible at times. Now, today I have the luxury because my husband and I are on our tradition of getting away from the kids when commemorating our anniversary. This year marks 17 years!

Yes... lots of ups and downs... but still counting...

I think one of the things I struggle with is tailoring my expectations when it comes to how difficult situations get resolved.  It seems that no matter how much I tell my brain that my approach to things may not be the best way and it's ok if there is another way... deep down my heart is not convinced and thinks I know best. When things go well, then it's fine... little issue arises.  However, when things do not go fine... contempt and or resentment can build up.  Even if I don't say it out loud my inner being is screaming, "I told you so! I should have taken control."  It is not very rational if I analyze it from a distance and again my brain can agree that that should not be. How many times have I been wrong and the other way was better?  However, it is strange how deep down in some secret compartment... all the times I've been right is stored up... and all the times I've been wrong just gets kinda tossed.

Now the flip happens too...

1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.   

We are not supposed to keep record of wrongs... the other person's wrongs that is. I get it.. but deep down in another secret compartment they must be storing up... honestly, I feel it gets there sometimes without passing through my brain... then I'm surprised when it comes to the surface and I realize, "O - I suppose I did keep a record of that!"

All this to say... love is hard... especially love the 1 Corinthians 13 way...
I don't think I can do it on my own.  It really does require divine intervention for me... but how can God divinely intervene in me if I've got my ipods on and I'm listening to a different tune?

I started writing this blog without a clear idea of what I wanted to blog about... but this must be something I've been throwing around in my head and heart.

Sigh... happy marriage to us and to all the married couples out there! Keep on keeping on...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Travel to Taiwan

We just returned from my kids' first trip to Taiwan and they had quite a blast! It was both a cultural experience as well as a chance to visit some extended family that they have never met. Although all the kids are older now and flying should be easier, we were still a little worried about how it would be managing four kids on such a long flight. At the end of the day... not too bad...

Here are a couple of things that stood out to me about the travel itself...

In flight entertainment is key
personal screens for movies, tv shows, and even video games...

Japanese airline has brilliant cup holder...
I wonder why all airlines have not adopted this.

Look... hardly any room to put the drinks... and so slippery it's no wonder we had so many spills!

compare to this... it's brilliant!

and even when the tray is closed, there is a place to put the drink... again... brilliant!

Japan's airport has a very mamma friendly play area and right next to it was this... 
 a place to make baby bottles...  a private room to nurse or pump... and a baby changing area!

Bidets with heated seats are standard
you can control the temperature of the water wash as well as the temp of the seat!

More on the actual trip later... 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

O Happy Day!

Today is a significant day. My oldest daughter, who is eleven years old, got baptized today. Since, I grew up in a Presbyterian Church and was baptized as an infant, I decided to get baptized as an adult with her today.

I was very emotional. I didn't know I was going to be this moved... but I suppose my heart was very full and the mix of sentiments just overflowed.
This is what I shared... 


So I grew up going to church. Childhood memories include saying the believers prayer with a VBS worker and receiving my first Bible, probably around five or six years old. I also have memories of my mom reading Bible stories from The Big Bible for Little Eyes to my sister and I before bed and praying together. We used to pray in Taiwanese …and for a while I thought God only understood Taiwanese. For as long as I can remember, I accepted that God is real. I believed that He made the universe and that He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. My understanding was that if I believed that Jesus died for me then I would go to heaven after I die. My prayers then went something like this, “Dear God, please help me not get too nervous when I have to get up and speak in front of people and I promise I’ll be good.” They also went something like this, “Dear God, sorry I yelled at my sister and was mean, but good thing You know everything and You know that I didn’t really mean it and good thing You are so loving and kind and will forgive me.” It wasn’t until I went to college that I realized that I was cheapening His grace and taking it for granted. This visual stuck with me. I am like a little girl playing outside in the mud and before entering God’s gigantic clean wonderful mansion, Jesus is at the front door with a towel, wiping away my mud and dirt so I can enter into His Father’s house. At first, I am super grateful, but with time, I start taking it for granted and it is as if I’m just wiping my feet on Jesus, the doorway mat, before entering.

It was in college that I realized that believing in Jesus is not just “hell insurance” as Pastor Tom likes to call it… but if I truly love God I would naturally want to please Him and do His will. But how would I know what God’s will is unless I read His Word, the Holy Bible? When I was trying to share my faith with my dorm mate I remember I could not answer a lot of his theological questions, yet I would not waiver in my faith. He accused me of having blind faith. So I was motivated to really dig in and know the Bible. My faith solidified and really grew those four years in college. At the time, I was going to a very mission-minded church, our pastor was Hudson James Taylor the IV, his great great grandfather was the famous Hudson James Taylor, first missionary to China. At Urbana ’96, I remember being so convicted about the great need for missionaries overseas that I stood when they called for us to stand before God and others to commit to the calling. I knew I was going into medicine and I imagined that I’d be a physician living in a remote underserved area, helping folks physically and sharing God’s Good News.

Well, life does not always go the way one plans, even though I really thought my plan was God’s plan. So due to a number of circumstances that I do not have time to go into detail, here I am… a physician, trying to help folks physically and share God’s Good News, here in Bucks County, wife, and mom of 4 kids. Now to be honest, it has not been easy. In fact, I tell folks that motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done my entire life!  It is harder than medical school and harder than residency. It is not just hard physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. Motherhood shines a bright light on my own ugly sins that I always knew was there… but didn’t know to this extent! Impatience… irritability… selfishness... rage. Countless times, I'm battling thoughts in my head… and like Jesus in the desert, the only way to counter these negatives is with His Truth from His Word. Even when I don’t feel like believing in the truths, I have to choose to believe that what He says is Truth so it must be true.

So when I hear, “You are a no good sinner!” I have to remember Romans 8:1-2
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

When I hear, “You will never change. You will always fall back to your same sins.”
I have to hold on to and believe Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

When I hear,  “You will lose this battle. Give up!” I have to believe Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Growing up in a Presbyterian Church I was baptized as an infant and before going off to college, confirmed as an adult. I stood in front of my home church congregation affirming my faith in Christ. When I got to college, and after that first year of tremendous growth I remember asking my pastor whether I should get baptized again and dunked. He said it was not necessary for salvation and it was up to me. I never did it because I didn’t think it was necessary. I figured I already went in front of a church congregation, so technically already testified. But something Pastor Tom said once in a sermon struck me. He said to get baptized because Jesus got baptized. I decided ok, this is something I want to do. Since salvation didn’t depend on it, I thought it would be more special and memorable if I did this together with one of our kids, whoever gets baptized first. So I’m very pleased to be doing this today with Sierra, my oldest.

You know, as I was preparing for this, I thought about all the different mental warfare I’ve had over these years… there are many, you heard some of them. One struggle that occasionally comes up has to do with the Parable of the Sower. Some seeds get snatched by a bird or choked by thorns or fall on rocks and have no root. How do I know that I’m the seed that falls on good soil? Boy, when that condemning voice gets loud, I can almost be convinced that I must not be good soil and therefore doubt my calling to missions... doubt my calling be counted in God’s family. I realize that on this symbolic day, this act of going under water and up again... from here on forward I can think back to this day and have a concrete physical reminder of God’s Truth... that I have made this decision to follow Jesus and I am forever His sheep.

Jesus says in John 10:27-29 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

So I’m reminded to persevere.  Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

And what about when I thought I was called to be a missionary somewhere remote?  Well… we’ll see… life isn't over yet. At the end of my life I want to be able to say like Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
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