Sunday, January 25, 2015

My article has been published

An article I wrote this past year has been published in OR Nurse 2015 (January issue). This article is written for OR Nurses who care for patients who are allergic to latex.  You can read the article at

As always, I am proud to have my work published.  This is my thirteenth article published in professional nursing magazines.  Two books I have written are published by McFarland & Co, Inc.  My books are A Caregiver’s Guide and Arthritis:  A Patient’s Guide.  If anyone wants to purchase a copy of my books, you can get them from or by contacting me on this blog.  Thanks. 



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do you want to learn a new language?

Hola.  Estoy aprendiendo espanol.  (I am learning Spanish.)

No you are not lost.  My husband and I are learning Spanish.  We bought the Rosetta Stone program and are learning Spanish.  We have been working on it recently; it’s definitely a challenge.  My husband has the vowel sounds figured out.  He can pronounce it well.  Me, I’m working on it.  I hope to be able to speak Spanish on our next vacation south. 

Why would we attempt to learn a new language?   David said he has wanted to learn Spanish since he was in the 3rd grade.  We are not getting younger so we better start working on it. I joined him in this challenge because it will be more fun together and it will be a good mental activity for this winter season.  According to Dr Oz and Dr Roizen, “learning a new language actually adds grey matter.  No matter what your calendar age, you can harness the power of language to develop and expand your brain—and that makes your Real AGE much younger.”, Benefits of learning a new language,


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top 7 Blog posts--birdwatching is healthy for us

Do you go “birding?”  Have you considered that birdwatching is a healthy activity?
Researchers reported that birding promotes several healthy behaviors, such as

·       Birding gets us moving.  Whether it’s going for a hike to identify new birds or feeding the birds you see in your backyard, you move more and use more energy.  If you have many hummingbird feeders, you may find yourself mixing lots of food to keep the little guys happy.

·       As you become more interested in birding, you will find yourself reaching for your bird book to identify new birds you see.  Experts at the Alzheimer’s Association believe that we can help keep our brains healthy by learning new things.  What new bird have you seen that you need to identify?  Pull out your resource book (or do a google search).

·       Birding can become a social activity if you join a group or find yourself meeting people who like to birdwatch.  Social times with friends help keep us healthy and engaged in life.

·       Spending time outdoors can be healthy and invigorating.  My husband enjoys sitting in the sun, watching birds and listening to them sing.  (Remember your sun screen and bug spray to ward off problems.)
More information about the healthy aspects of birding can be found at



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Top 7 Blog posts--Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (also called Willis Ekbom Disease) affects up to 10 percent of Americans.  Restless legs explains the symptoms: the urge that you must move your legs.  Some people feel discomfort or a creepy crawly sensation and tension in the legs which requires movement in an effort to make the feelings go away. People with restless legs suffer from sleep disturbances.  As they experience leg twitches or jerking movements every 10 to 40 seconds all night long, their sleep is disrupted, leaving them tired and feeling cranky.
Restless legs syndrome affect both men and women, but women twice as often.  The experts aren’t sure what causes this neurological syndrome.  People who deal with restless legs often have chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, neuropathy, tremors and multiple sclerosis.  Is this coincidence or do the chronic illnesses contribute to restless legs?  No one knows.  They believe there is an inherited tendency and have identified six genes which are risk factors.  Restless legs can begin at any age and may worsen as a person ages.  Iron deficiency anemia can be one treatable cause of restless legs syndrome. 

Diagnosis can be difficult; if a person is anemic (iron deficient), a blood test will show that result which can be treated.  There aren’t any specific tests to diagnose.  Blood tests to check for anemia and vitamin deficiencies may be done.  The doctor may include a physical exam, a neurological exam, a sleep study and review of a person’s medical and family history in an effort to diagnose restless legs syndrome. 
Treatment of RLS involves medicines. Four drugs have been FDA-approved for treatment of Restless legs syndrome. 

More information about Restless legs syndrome can be found at
Willis Ekbom Disease Foundation at
The John Hopkins Medicine website gives information at

Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 7 Blog posts of 2014--shingles

Last year a friend of mine had to deal with shingles.  She suffered a great deal of pain before she got past this illness.  What is shingles?  Shingles occurs when the varicella zoster (chicken pox) virus which has lived in our bodies inactive since we had chicken pox as kids becomes active. 

Symptoms of shingles include a painful, blistering rash which affects nerves on one side of the body (either side but rarely on both sides).  When shingles symptoms occur, the nerve affected may result in pain, burning, tingling or numbness.  Some people notice itching.  After the pain symptoms begin, a red rash and blisters may show up.  Other symptoms some people experience also include fever and chills, aches, headache and fatigue.  These symptoms may last two to four weeks and cause great discomfort. For some people, the pain of shingles continues for months and years.  This postherpetic neuralgia causes long-term pain and symptoms. 
Anyone dealing with shingles should see their doctor immediately for treatment.  Treatment includes antiviral medications as well as drugs to treat symptoms. 

Who is most at risk for shingles?  According to the CDC, one in three people will deal with shingles during their lifetime.  As we age, our risk of developing shingles goes up.  In fact, almost half of all cases of shingles affect people age 60 and older. 
Can we protect ourselves from shingles?  The shingles vaccine has been recommended for people over age 60.  If you and your loved ones are age 60 or older, check with your doctor and insurance co as some will cover the cost of the shingles vaccine. 
For more information about shingles, check out the CDC Prevent Shingles at or Mayo Clinic

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Top 7 blog posts--6 survival tips for travel

We received several great tips which made our travel to Ireland/Scotland more pleasant and healthy.  I share these with you:

1.      Dress comfortably.  My girlfriend/travel buddy and I wore nice exercise/gym jogging pants, tennis shoes and layers of clothes.  The only thing restricting our movement was our seat belts.

2.     Wipe down your airplane dropdown tray with antiseptic wipes and use hand sanitizer before you eat.  I recently read an article saying the airplane dropdown tray and pocket on seat in front of you were probably NOT wiped down after the last person sat in your seat—probably did not happen.  If that person coughed and sneezed germs and/or viruses on the tray table, guess who gets exposed???

3.      Move around often.  Remember that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur when we sit still for long periods of time.  See my blog post from June 1, 2014 for more on this topic.

4.     Carry eye drops in your carryon and use them.  After our all-night flight to Glasgow, my eyes were dry and irritated.  A few eye drops and they felt so much better.

5.     Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste to freshen your mouth.  It will feel so much better—and your seatmates will thank you.

6.     Buy noise-cancelling headphones.  Several years ago I traveled by myself to AZ to visit family.  On the way home, I sat beside a woman and her small infant.  That child cried and fussed from AZ to St Louis.  My nerves were frazzled and I wanted to say, “do something for your child, woman!”  I kept my mouth shut, but barely.  I decided that noise cancelling headphones were a future purchase.  I know headphones aren’t cheap (we got ours for Christmas presents one year) but they are amazingly protective to my ears—and my nerves.  

Those are new suggestions for surviving travel.  Do you have some you want to share? 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Top 7 Blog Posts for 2014 --cataracts

As we age, people notice their vision changing. There are multiple reasons that our vision can change and I always recommend seeing an eye doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

What are cataracts?  As we age, our eyes age also.  The lens inside our eyes (compare it to a lens on your camera) becomes opaque (cloudy). Instead of the light going straight through the lens to the retina where our brain and retinas (one in each eye) give us sight, the light is distorted by the opaque areas of the lens.   This normal aging occurrence called Cataracts affects most people.

Symptoms of cataracts include hazy, blurry vision which may start as a small area of blurriness and worsens.  You may notice that lights (especially at night) glare and cause a halo of light around whatever you are looking at. You may notice colors aren’t as bright as they have been in the past.

What causes cataracts?  Cataracts are considered a normal part of aging.  However, researchers recognize these risk factors as contributing to cataract development:  UV lights, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, obesity, some drugs such as corticosteroids, statin medicines, and hormone replacement drugs, previous eye injury and surgery and a family history of cataracts. 

Can cataracts be prevented?  The experts aren’t sure but they suspect that protecting your eyes from UV light and eating a healthy diet which includes vitamin E, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent.

Treatment for cataracts ultimately involves surgery. You may be able to delay surgery for a while with a new pair of glasses.  Eventually surgery is the answer.  However, over the past 40 years the improvements in cataract surgery has been amazing to watch.  According to, cataract surgery is the surgery most often performed in the US.  With the improvements in surgery, a replacement plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens) will be implanted.  Most people get excellent results and their after surgery vision is within the 20/20 to 20/40 range. 

Information from the American Academy of Opthalmology about cataracts can be found at

For more Tips for Eye Health in People 40-60

Tips for Eye Health in People over 60

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 7 Blog Posts of 2014 --Family meals promote healthier eating

Life gets hectic, we work late and kids have activities (ballgames in the summer, after school activities during the school year).  This keeps the family in the car, driving from place to place.
We grab food at our favorite drive-thru.   We cope as best we can with a crazy busy schedule. 

 What’s a family meal time? It seems like a great idea but is it worth the effort?  Yes,
researchers find that making meal time a time for family gives great benefits.  According to research by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, family meals encourage healthier eating. 
More fruits and vegetables while less calories and fried foods.  Parents can be good role models for healthy eating.  Another huge benefit of family meals comes from the talking, listening and building relationships for family members.     

If you want to add family meals into your busy life, these suggestions may help you:
·       Begin slowly.  Add one more family meal than you currently have to your schedule.  Schedule this event like you would an appointment.  Let your family members know about the family meal.
·       Plan your menus as a group.  Let everyone make suggestions for the menu. 
·       Turn off distractions such as the TV, cell phones and other noise distractions. 
·       Talk.  One suggestion is to begin with positive topics such as, “what’s your favorite color?” or “what made you laugh today?”



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 7 Blog posts for 2014

I hope you had a great Christmas season.  We were blessed to spend five days in Dallas, TX area with daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters and two granddogs.  Lots of good times together, an abundance of yummy food and safe travels made this a memorable Christmas.  Since none of us knows what the future holds, we have to grab onto the blessings and good times that come our way. 
As we begin 2015, I will be sharing my top 7 blog posts of 2014 for the next two weeks.  Then I will be returning to my weekly blog schedule.  So I invite you to join me in my efforts to make healthy choices and enjoy life. 

The Value of Grit—social aspects
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

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

 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

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