Friday, January 31, 2014

Prepare for your doctor visit

Preparing for your doctor’s visit will improve the quality of interaction with your doctor. 

1.      Take a list of your medicines, including over-the-counter medicine, vitamins and herbal medicines.  Another option is to take a sack with all current medicines with you when you see your doctor. 

2.      Write down what you want to talk to your doctor about.  List them in order of priorities so you get the most important ones talked about.  This list will jog your memory if you get nervous or distracted.  At one office visit, I noticed my doctor glance at my notes as he asked, “do you have any questions?”  It was the perfect opening. 

3.      If you have difficulty hearing, understanding, or remembering, a trusted family member or friend can accompany you and help with communication. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Are you partnering with your doctor to get the best care?

Health care in America is changing and few of us can tell what our future holds.  What can you do to partner with your doctor/primary care giver to get what you need?  My source for this information is Joint Commission Speak Up initiative, Tips for your Doctor’s visit at

I have medical people in my family.  Also, I work with an excellent group of doctors and these are my observations:  doctors are finding their lives more stressful with recent changes.  They often feel pressured to see more patients in the same amount of time.  They are being told to use computerized medical records which can be challenging to learn and master.  All these changes can cause them stress so if we the patients are organized, we can contribute to a more satisfying doctor visit.   
Whether the doctor appointment is with a new doctor or a visit with your doctor you have seen before, go early (before your appointment time) to fill out a health history which will include medical history, history of any surgeries and treatments, allergies, and all current medications. Your biologic family history will be included.  What did your parents deal with and if they are deceased, what was the cause?  What health issues do your siblings deal with?  Does heart disease cause problems with your family members?   More next time on how to partner with your doctor. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Grit and the spiritual aspect of our lives

Grit and spiritual

Those of you who know me, know I believe in God and Jesus Christ.  The UTHealth writer says it like this:  “spirituality connects us with something that is bigger than ourselves.  It insists that we take the time to step back and panoramically access our lives from every possible angle—where we are, where we’ve been and where we want to go.”    For more information about grit and succeeding, check out this article University of Texas Health Center at


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grit and the Psychological aspect of our lives

Grit and psychological

When I began writing and sending out query letters to publishers, I (as all writers do) got rejection letters and/or no response.  I told myself those rejection letters were proof that I was working at becoming a writer and filed them away.  

People show grit when they work with a mindset that is positive towards life, their goals and themselves.  These people accept problems as a temporary setback and an opportunity to learn and improve.  Learn more about grit at


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Grit and the physical aspect of our lives

Grit and physical

The UTHealth article says that being physically active and healthy gives our bodies the ability to take action (put grit to work).   They say when our physical bodies can function, we feel more confident and able to persevere emotionally and physically.  Next time I talk about the psychological portion of grit.  If you want to read the UT Health article, you can find it at


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grit and the social aspect of our lives

Grit and social
A group of people who support us in our goals help us build our grit-strength.  When we begin a new goal/job/career/passion, most likely we will have failures as well as successes.  Often as we begin, we fail several times and in several ways.  What will we do?  Go away and quietly suffer in silence.  That may be necessary for a short while, but don’t let those failures become a lifestyle.  Turn to your support group and get help.

My first support group is my family and close friends.  They listen when I need to vent about failures and frustrations.  They celebrate my successes   As I began to write, I found and joined Heartland Writers Group.  This group accepted me, taught me and two members became my mentors.  They taught me how to succeed as a writer.  Later I joined the Missouri Writers Guild and have friends who are a great resource:  they willingly share their knowledge as they encourage me and cheer me in successes.  I am currently members in both groups.  More information about grit can be found at
Next time I will talk about grit and the physical component.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Value of Grit

In my family we joke about our stubbornness as we recognize this quality called grit (stick-to-it, perseverance, stubbornness, willpower—whatever you want to call it) helps people succeed.  I recognize that when I began my writing career in 2002, I was determined to prove I could succeed as a writer.  I said, ‘I’m not the smartest person but I know how to work hard and I will keep on until I succeed.’  Eleven years later I have written 12 articles published in peer-reviewed nursing magazines and two books published by McFarland & Co., Inc).  My hard work and grit (stubbornness) has paid off.  

The University of Texas Health Science center recently wrote about grit as the “Secret of our Success.”    Let’s see what the experts at the UT Health Science center say about grit and success.  Grit “is strength in the midst of change and stressful life events…Grit is our willingness to work for it (whatever we want to learn or achieve).”  A person shows grit when he works toward his goal and overcomes problems and challenges to achieve his goal.  This person shows up and keeps working toward his goal, even when things don’t go right.  The good news about grit:  “We all have it and we can develop it day by day, ritual by ritual.  It is about action.”

Four components about grit which will help us succeed:  social, physical, psychological and spiritual.  We will look at these four components the next few times. 


Friday, January 17, 2014

#7 of Top 7 Blog Posts of 2013

In the News—Chocolate May Help Keep Brain Healthy (December 2013)

If you want an excuse to drink two cups of hot chocolate a day, check out this article at

These researchers had 60 people drink two cups of hot chocolate each day for 30 days.  At the beginning of the study 18% of the participants were found to have decreased blood flow to their brains, but none had been diagnosed with dementia.  Then the participants were tested for memory and thinking skills using both computer programs and ultrasound tests.  At the end of the test, the 18% who had decreased blood flow saw a 8.3% improvement.  Those participants who had normal flow continued to show a normal blood flow.

If you want to use this study as a rationalization for drinking two cups of hot chocolate, remember this warm, yummy comfort drink can add on the sugar and fat calories so fit it into your food lifestyle. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

#6 of Top 7 Blog posts of 2013

Be thankful for health (November 2013)

In November I spent a week talking about things to be thankful for:

We began with health.  I remember my mother saying you cannot buy health.  That statement is true.  We can spend a lot of money on health care, doctors’ visits, medicines, surgeries, etc, but we cannot buy good health.  If we have good health, we are blessed. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

#5 of Top 7 Blog posts of 2013

Immunizations—a history lesson (October 2013)
When did immunizations (vaccinations) come about?  Here’s a small history lesson for us.  According to The Little Book of Medical Breakthroughs, a chemist named Louis Pasteur gets credit for immunizations.  Pasteur recognized that something (he thought maybe germs) caused beer and wine to ferment.  In 1879 this was radical thinking.  He began to identify germs (microorganisms) and what illness different germs caused. 
Pasteur injected chickens with old, weakened cholera germs.  When the chickens survived, he injected the same chickens (and a second group of chickens which had not been vaccinated) with a new strong batch of cholera germs.  The vaccinated chickens did not get sick while the second group (not vaccinated) became ill.
Pasteur continued experimenting with vaccines and expanded his work to include anthrax and rabies.  The first rabies vaccine was used on people in 1885.  We have Louis Pasteur to thank for the concept of vaccines (immunizations). Immunizations save lives
Pasteur discovered how to weaken germs and make a safe vaccine over a century ago.  Since then, many lives have been saved because of the immunizations. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

In The News--9 flu deaths reported at a St Louis hospital this season

I am interrupting my top 7 blog posts of 2013 for this ‘In the News’ post. 

Did you see the news headline?  9 persons between their mid-20s to mid-60s have died at one St Louis hospital this season from the flu/pneumonia. 6700 confirmed cases of influenza have been reported in Missouri this season.  Note the age range of the nine persons who died; often influenza deaths occur in the very young and the very old, but these nine persons would be considered in their prime adult years. 

Have you gotten a flu shot this year?  If not, you might want to consider it.  It’s not too late; flu vaccine is still available.   More information about the flu vaccine can be found at

Thursday, January 9, 2014

#4 of Top 7 Blog Posts of 2013

Our family has grown (September 2013)
We attended a wedding recently; our daughter married a great guy.  We now get to be grandparents to two granddaughters.  We traveled to Texas to be a part of this happy, festive occasion.  A true Texas wedding, the colors were silver and royal blue (sound familiar to any Dallas Cowboy fans?)  And yes, the bride wore cowboy boots under her long wedding gown.   I’m happy to report that it was a beautiful wedding and we all enjoyed our time together.  I have great pictures; unfortunately I won’t be posting for everyone’s privacy.  However, “a good time was had by all”.