It’s Arrived !!!


     My new novel arrived from the publisher today.  I’m actually holding a printed copy of “The Benediction” in my hand!  It’s almost like holding your new baby in your arms for the first time.  The love and the pride springs up from inside. It’s beautiful! I created this!  What a wonderful feeling. It cannot be described.

     And now I get to send it out into the world.  It must stand on its own, but all the love and thought and creativity I put into it to make it what it is will still be there to share with everyone it comes in contact with.  It’s the same when you send a child off to school or into the outside world.  You have made it what it is up to now.  You have put into it all your love, your values, your time and your work. You have done your best and now you must let go. 

     It’s both exciting and a little frightening to send a child off into the world.  You’re proud, yet hesitant.  You’ve waited for this day to come and now that it’s here you want to hang onto her for a little longer.  It’s the same way with a book you’ve created.  It’s an entirely different entity now.  It holds all your values, your ideas, your beliefs, your compassion, your understanding, your laughter and your tears. You really are ready to share it with those it will enrich.

     Now it must relate to all those readers out there who take a chance on you and your words.  Something about the book, its cover, the description, or blurb on the back of the book, or your background, or maybe it is the first paragraph or first page that prompted them to take a second look and urged them to buy the book.

     Whatever the reason that prompts readers to buy and read “The Benediction”, I’m happy that you are taking a chance on me.  I know it will give you a few hours of pleasure, some laughter and some tears.  I will enjoy sharing the story with you and will take pleasure in sharing my ideas with you.  Happy reading!


Who’s Got The Flu?

   It’s that time of year again.  Flu season arrives at my house at the same time as the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Somebody arrives home with the sniffles or a runny nose, and someone else complains of fever, headache or muscle aches and pains.  What to do?

     Is it a cold or is it the flu?  How’s a mother supposed to know?  The symptoms seem too much alike and some last several days, others clear up in a few.  Health professionals say if the symptoms are a runny nose and stuffiness, it’s probably a cold and will clear up in a few days.

     If you have muscle aches and pains, a fever, headache or unusual tiredness then it iis likely the flu.  A cough can go with either one.  Should you call a doctor? 

     If symptoms get worse or last a long time, call your doctor.  If after feeling better for a few days the symptoms return, or you get sick to your stomach,vomiting, chills or chest pain, or if you develop a high fever, better call the doctor.  Hopefully you had a flu shot earlier in the season.  If so, your symptoms should be light.

     In the meantime, drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, eat nutrious foods and manage your stress.  This information comes from the Flu Center.  Have a healthy winter!

Will Your Prescription Be There When You Need It?

The number of prescription drugs that are in short suppy has jumped considerably in the past couple of years.  Pharmaceutical companies are finding that some of their medicines are no longer profitable and are discontinuing them.  If you have been on an effective prescription medication for a long time, you might want to ask your doctor if there is any danger of it being in short suppy this year.  In 2006 an estimated 70 drugs were considered in short supply compared to last year’s list of 211.  That’s more than three times the number of prescriptions in four year’s time.  Will your prescription be next?

Many of the shortages are in medications used in a hospital setting.  These might include types of anesthesia, electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and even cancer treatments.  Federal recalls and production problems, as well as financial causes also are blamed for the shortages.  Some doctors have been forced to go to alternative drugs for their patients.   Your pharmacy or doctor may be reserving such drugs for patients who are in the most need.  The University of Utah Drug Information Service, which keeps tract of shortages, says that nearly 200 drugs are now hard to find.

A growing number of prescription drugs have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration or voluntarily taken off the market by the manufacturer, the Information Service says.  New technologies have also made it easier to detect problems with drugs which adds to the shortage.   The pharmaceutical firm which created the original drug whose patent has expired will no longer find it profitable to continue to manufacture and distribute it.  The bottom line always wins in the end.

Ouch! My feet hurt!

I just returned from a vacation and my feet hurt. We pay so little attention to our feet even though they hold us up day in and day out and often well into the night. Happy feet are so important for our good health.
All this reminded me of an article I saw in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter sometime in June. It was called “If the Shoe Fits”. Here are some suggestions it made that we could all follow:

1. Select lace-up or strap-on shoes with a snug, but not tight fit.

2. Look for low-heeled shoes, no more than an inch high, with a wide-based sole.

3. Get a non-slip sole that’s moderately stiff.

4. Shop toward the end of the day when your feet are the largest.

5. Have both feet measured while standing and try on both shoes.

6. Select shoes based on how comfortably they fit, not the size on the box.

7. Get a shoe that fits, and ask about modifications – such as stretching – that can be made to reduce irritation of a painful area.

I also noted that the Mayo Clinic doctors urged caution for older adults considering a double rocker shoe because walking safely in them requires a level of balance that many older adults don’t have, which may increase the risk of falling.

Follow these few rules and you’ll have happy feet.

Fighting Infections With Duct Tape

Would you believe that hospitals are using duct tape to keep caregivers away from patients who are contagious? No, it’s not to protect the patients in any way; it’s to protect the caregivers!
Hospitals in the Quad Cities area in Illinois and Iowa are now marking off an area with red duct tape near the door to rooms where patients with infectious conditions are housed, and nurses and other caregivers are instructed not to venture further into the room. The explanation is that it takes the nurse too much time to don the protective gear of gown, mask, and gloves in order to answer a patient’s call bell. The area is a 3-foot by 3-foot floor space in front of the door into the patient’s room. It is from this space that the nurse must tend to the patient. If they venture beyond this box, they must put on the required gear.
It is estimated from a recent study done by Janet Nau Franck, a registered nurse and independent consultant at Trinty Medical Center, that the hospital would save more than 2,700 hours and $110,000 over the course of a year. No one has asked the patients how they like this arrangement. People in isolation already get fewer routine attention, like vital signs taken on a regular schedule, less cleaning service, and fewer doctors’ visits, as well as briefer notes from doctors. The fact that these patients already feel alone and isolated is not taken into consideration.
If you are planning a hospital stay, check to see if that hospital is adopting the red duct tape system. With many more drug-resistant infections around today, you could end up in just such an isolation room. A hospital is the most likely place to catch such an infection.

How Much of Your Prescription Drug Use is Private?

In a first step to retain some privacy of your records at your pharmacy, the Supreme Court struck down a Vermont state law that allowed your personal information to be available to drug makers. In my opinion they didn’t go far enough. In the past, pharmaceutical companies have been allowed to use a form of marketing called ‘detailing’. Detailing is using information received from pharmacies concerning which doctors prescribe the individual companies’ drugs. This allowed them to market to the doctors they now know as prescribers of their products. The new law allows drug companies to market their products in a more limited fashion without being privileged to the names of individual doctors.
Marketing to individual doctors by drug companies has been a point of contention with patients for a long time. You have seen (and perhaps waited for) the drug representatives in your own doctor’s office with their bags of goodies and free samples offered to the physician as incentives to prescribe their latest medications. You no doubt have also seen the numerous items displayed around the office with the signature of a pharmaceutical company or colorful pictures of their newest drugs. Recently, as I waited for my appointment, a pharmaceutical representation arrived with six boxes of pizza which would be lunch for the entire staff as soon as they rushed me and others who waited for our 10-minute visits with the doctor.
We all have to wonder how much influence these free items have when the doctor opens his or her prescription pad in choosing which drugs to send home with us.

Keep Both Eyes on Your Kids

Summer is here and it’s time to drag out that wading pool and set it up in the back yard. Can’t you just see the two and three year olds jumping for joy? But it is not all fun and games. It’s time for extra caution. An article in Pediatrics journal this week pointed out that a child dies every five days during the hot months of summer in such pools. We’re talking the tiny inflatable wading pools for the toddler set! You can turn your back for a second and a little one can slide into the water and turn over with the face in the water and not be able to get up. You can be watching one child while another unexplainably gets her face under a few inches of water.
The article gave statistics for 2001 to 2009 when 209 deaths and 35 near-drownings of children under 12 were reported. Most of these children were under 5 and 81 percent of the accidents happened during the summer months. The study, done by Nationwide Hospital and Independent Safety Consulting of Rockville, MD., focused on portable pools, from small wading pools less than 18 inches deep to inflatable pools and other soft-sided pools that can reach as much as 4 feet in depth.
Constant supervision is of course a must whenever water is involved no matter the age of the children, especially those in the toddler set. There are no regulations for these small wading pools. There is no way to fence them in. Ignore the cell phone, the doorbell and any other distraction while your child is in a pool no matter how shallow. The safety of your children depends on you.