Monday, January 28, 2013

Prayer Sticks

I like crafts but I seriously do not have the time to gather the materials and do them.  That is why I love it that we can do crafts from time to time at my MOPS group.  A while ago we made these prayer sticks that I love.  It has been a hit with the kids.  They love to shake it up and pick a stick before every meal.  Then they get really excited when they get to pray for someone they know whether it is another member of our family or a friend.  Every now and then they'll pick a stick that I'll have to explain to them a little and help them pray... like the president =)

I have a long list of missionaries and friends that I want to pray for but don't always find the time to do it.  This way, they are all written on sticks and every day before every meal I'm praying for one of those folks on my list.  Actually, since each member of the family get to pick a stick, we are praying for 4 or 5 folks on the list every meal.

Any other fun family traditions out there?  This toddler/preschooler age is such a fun time!  Exasperating at times... yes... but overall lots of fun.  I want to just freeze my kids and stop their aging!

Which reminds me of this crazy story about a twenty year old who stopped growing and has a two year old body!  You can read more about it here.  Kinda crazy..

Happy Monday, everybody!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Extended Families and Such

I’m back on the plane now flying back home. The big difference between travelling with kids versus travelling alone is I have the option to sit here and blog or sleep the entire way if I choose! I do miss my kids, though. When I found out that my flight was delayed and I’d be getting in past my little one’s bedtime, I was sad. I miss holding and hugging my children and I especially feel bad that I’m not there to help them feel better since two out of three got sick. The other was recovering and better by the time I left. Kudos to daddy who held down the fort while I was gone! 

Well, it has been a productive couple of days. Not only did I get a chance to help my grandmother get set up for a bunch of benefits that they had no idea she qualified for… but I also helped my youngest aunt move. I really thought I’d be getting a lot of rest and time to myself but instead I felt pulled in many directions trying to meet different needs and navigate through family dynamics. There is usually quite a lot of drama when it comes to interacting with this side of the family! 

Overall, I’m glad I was able to come out and spend time with my uncle, three aunts, and my grandmother who turned 96 today! Extra bonus… I also got to spend time with a cousin from the other side of the family (in case you cannot tell I have a huge extended family). 

Growing up with lots of uncles, aunts, and cousins, I’ve always thought how great and fun it is to have a large family. Having only one sister, I was determined to have more than two kids… so here I am with three. Now, we’re getting ready to have a pretty huge cousins reunion with all our kids this coming summer. That should be a lot of fun... and I think a lot less drama.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Elderly and Falls

I’m actually on the plane right now writing this.  I'm on my way to see my grandmother in Houston.  She is turning 96 years old this weekend!

Part of the reason for my visit is to spend time with her and celebrate her birthday, but the other part is to be there when the home health agency sends a nurse to evaluate her for home physical therapy.  My grandmother has had three falls in the past year and fortunately did not break a hip.   Falls in the elderly are very common and more times than not result in hip fractures which then leads to a fast decline in health.  The rate of deaths associated with hip fractures and falls in the elderly is extremely high.  Therefore, it is very important to try to prevent falls.
Here are a few things that can help prevent falls in the elderly:
  • Routine physician visit to screen for things that can affect balance such as:  
    • vision screening
    • hearing screening
    • going over medication list for interactions and medicines that impair mental function
    • taking vitamin D may help with prevention of fractures
  •  Maintenance of strength, agility, and balance
    • daily exercise is key
    • sometimes physical therapy is needed
  •  Making the home environment more safe:
    • remove rugs and other items that can trip patient – often home agencies can send nurse to evaluate the home and make suggestion
    • avoidance of stairs – best if can be on one level instead of having to go up and down stairs often throughout the day
    • adequately light walkways
  •  Using assistant devices
    • install hand rails
    • raise toilet seats with arm rests
    • grab bars for showers and tubs
    • plastic seat for shower and handheld shower head for washing
    • use of walkers and canes

Monday, January 7, 2013

To take antibiotics or not?

Happy New Year, folks!  

It has been a busy past few weeks with extended family visiting.  Plus, I've been sick with a nasty upper respiratory infection which started out like a regular cold with sore throat and congestion.  I actually thought I beat it after a few days and was getting better, but then I came down with a cough that worsened and kept me up all night.  Finally, after a week of symptoms that did not seem to be resolving, I took antiobiotics.  Even then my cough lingered and only two nights ago did I finally sleep through the night without waking from coughing!

I was pretty miserable and probably took so long to recover because my immune system is stressed from the hustle and bustle of this season. Since I've been with my kids all week 24/7 I really worry that I transmitted my germs to them.  It is probably inevitable and I'm dreading the sleepless nights ahead.

So how do you know if your sickness is viral or bacterial requiring an antibiotic?  This is a busy time of year for our practice and we get a lot of requests for antibiotics.  Unfortunately, most upper respiratory infections are viral and antibiotics would not help at all.  It may just be coincidence that someone starts to feel better after they start taking the antibiotics prescribed.

Usually antibiotics are prescribed if there is clinical evidence of an ear infection or strep throat.  It would be indicated for sinus infection if there is significant facial swelling/pain or has lasted for more than 10 days.  Otherwise, most sinus infections will resolve on its own with supportive care.  However, most people cannot wait that long and come to the office after only a day or two of symptoms.  Most claim they fear a worsening of symptoms if they do not "nip it at the butt".  Therefore, most doctor offices will give in and prescribe more antibiotics than really necessary.  This in turn can lead to resistance where antibiotics will become less effective.

My rule of thumb is to at least give it a good week to see if there is improvement.  If no improvement after one week or if symptoms are worsening, then perhaps antibiotics is warranted.

The most important rule of thumb is to wash hands frequently and adequately!