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!


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:

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...

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