We are a whole not parts

It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.

The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.

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It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.

One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.

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We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.

New York abortion law?

(I hope in the following I will be able to talk about the new law as I have heard it. I have no intention of discussing opposing views on the topic. I am just trying to wrap my brain around what I have heard. It seems that politics has now invaded medical ethics.)

(There are moral side issues that influence the issue such as rape and mother/fetus problems. These are not the ones I am addressing.)

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A hot topic is in the news again (and again)…abortion. I am going to try to talk about this from my perspective as a nurse. If I understood how the law in New York is phrased an abortion may be performed up to and including labor. If this is correct then it seems we have totally gone off the rails.

There are many people opposed to abortion in its entirety. They see conception as the creation of a being and that happening the moment a sperm and a cell join.

Others feel that it is not a life until it is viable…usually after at least 12 weeks. My recollections of earlier abortion ideas are there would be no abortions after 12 weeks except for extreme reasons. If a fetus is not old enough to survive outside the uterus it could be aborted.

Those seem to be the two sides previously as far as I can tell.

Now it seems that abortions can be performed on those old enough to survive outside the womb. Even to the point that the “baby” is about to be born. I find this idea unbelievable. I cannot imagine why anyone who could want an abortion would want to carry until labor and then decide to end a life. Are we talking about a “full term” infant? As a nurse I could not stand by and see that life snuffed out. Why would you not just give the baby up for adoption?

Am I understanding this law correctly?

Am I in the twilight zone or does this sound the least bit rational?

No matter my stance on abortion in general (not for discussion on Word Press) taking the life of a child while mother is in labor with a baby considered full term surely must be murder. P.E.R.I.O.D/

Our emphasis  has for too long been on political views and some sane alternatives are not being addressed.

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We have to reach the understanding that attention must be placed on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Prevention is the key. Practically little money or interest is on the necessary methods of pregnancy prevention. Help must be easily accessible to everyone and free. Education must begin early and be offered freely.

It seems to me that this is the only way to begin to address the problem no matter your position on the topic.  This will not be easy or quick but we have to start now making this a priority.

 

Question: Do I understand this law correctly?

Core values and end of life

medical_business_partners_core_valuesThere are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?

How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?

In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.

It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)

These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.

What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide?  It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.

decisionIn my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.

If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.

If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.

Are we too clean?

It is interesting where our search for complete cleanliness has led us. We have gone too far. Doctors are now recommending that we stop using antibacterial soap except in places where it is really needed. We have created a society of people who are actually to clean.

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I grew up with a grandmother who was born in the 19th century. One of her adages was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Turns our she was on target. A recent article by a British physician who has studied childhood leukemia for the last 30 years has come to the conclusion that our immune system has to be kick started by, you guessed it, infection. He has found that lack of push to the immune system linked with several other factors is what is increasing the number of children diagnosed with this disease.

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This is no fly by night physician but a newly knighted doctor named Mel Greaves.  If you would like to read the article you can find it at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease?CMP=share_btn_link

It is an eye opener. I suppose that my great grandson, who is in day care and exposed to everything, may be safe from this dread childhood disease. At least I hope that there is some benefit from being exposed at an early age.

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God willing, this physician and those who work with him will continue to explore this lead and find a way to stop the increase in this disease.

 

The best day?

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Today seemed like it was not going to be the best day. We arose at 5 AM to travel to Mayo Clinic for my husband’s appointment. I HATE getting up in the dark! There was no problem with the drive but at the appointment we got the news that the physician wants to do another procedure for my husband to make sure he has the best possible outcome. (God bless the Mayo Clinic for caring so much!) This is not bad news except it requires another trip and additional two nights at the clinic. Unfortunately this has to be done as soon as they can schedule and it looks like Dec. 19th for tests, 20th for procedure and 21st for therapy. Yikes! This is the week before Christmas but it will be worth it.

I am the grandmother. I am not the mother of young children with an all out Christmas to plan. I have to remind myself of that. Everyone around me will deal with it and if Christmas is not as planned…Oh well. It will still come….and go.

good-friends-like-stars-you-260nw-619768490My friend has offered us her RV (not huge and easy to drive) so that we can save the expense of hotel and dog sitters. We hope to do that and take the dogs with us. I will rotate between keeping dogs and being with my husband. (He would rather me be with the dogs since they are more important than me! LOL!) God bless good friends!

So instead of feeling stressed about all of this I am feeling grateful. Grateful for caring physicians and good friends. Grateful for loving family who will be happy that we are still around. All in all, not a bad day but a blessed one.

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The ARANGELS

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The last few months have been filled with such stress that it has been hard to keep focused. It hasn’t been one thing but the combination of things. Friends sick, husbands sick, travel, whatever. It is time to get my focus back and to remember an event from last week.

Wednesday of last week i realized how sick I was and decided that I must go to my doctor. It was in the morning and while I was trying to make a logical decision the phone rang and it was my doctor’s office. They called to let me know that they had called in a refill for some routine medicine. This is not how their system works. They never call to let me know about that I just get a text from the pharmacy when it is ready. Their system has been skewed due to some doctors moving and the office being understaffed at the moment so this was not the usual person. While I had her on the phone I asked if I could see my physician that day and she managed an appointment for that afternoon. Absolutely amazing. That would never have happened at any other time!

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Madeleine L’Engle says “a miracle is a coincidence where God prefers to remain anonymous.” People say miracles don’t happen and this was just nothing but it didn’t feel that way to me. I have a friend who says “the ARANGELS were at work” and I agree. For me this was a miracle and due to that visit I am now better.

Yes! the ARANGELS were at work!

Wholeness: mind + body = wellness

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Today has been up and down. I realize I ran myself into the ground planning, traveling, cleaning etc to get ready for my husband’s surgery at Mayo. My immune system was bottomed out. So, after getting a cold while at Mayo, I ended up with a sinus infection and on antibiotics. I am someone who seldom gets sick and to say it unsettles me is an understatement.

I am worse than the parents of the children I saw when I worked for a group of pediatricians. The child would be put on antibiotics and the parent would call later that day saying he/she isn’t well yet. (completely true) I have been given an excellent treatment and I want to be well yesterday!

Feeling down and sick is not fun. I am not sure which is at the top but I guess it doesn’t matter.

There are so many people suffering with physical illness and coping beyond amazing. There are so many with mental illness who are also suffering and coping. My oldest daughter worked at a children’s hospital in a unit called “Adolescent Med-Psych.” That unit cared for teens who were having mental problems because of their physical problems or the reverse. They handled teens with diabetes who didn’t care for themselves, and anorexics with who had created physical problems from their diet. Some patients had severe mental illness that had led to physical problems. I don’t know how she worked there. The anguish of both teen and family must have been horrible. She loved her work.

Many of us don’t take care of ourselves. We let our emotional problems cause physical symptoms. Conversely, we can’t cope with the physical problems and let them move over into emotional problems.

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I think the coping skills for the two things are similar. We are whole. We are not a separate thing. Our minds and our bodies and forever connected. To flourish we need to care for both. The things that we do for our mental health help out physical health. We know that meditation, mindfulness, and managing stress have a powerful affect on our bodies. Keeping up with needed physical exams is also critical.

We need to continue to learn and use coping skills that work for us. Not everyone is the same. Keep testing and trying different things until you find what works for you. It will pay off in big benefits in the long run.

A Challenging time

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It looks as if we are coming to the end of a long journey. My husband knew his knee needed help August a year ago. He saw an orthopedist who scheduled surgery for January…quite a wait. The road to this surgery was rocky. As a nurse I think the physician did not want to do this surgery since for the next four months he came up with one hurdle after another. Feeling this was not the right path we cancelled and made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. We had to wait until June for an appointment but since then things have gone smoothly and his surgery will be next Tuesday.

This has been a long journey for us both. The knee fix is complex and we are definitely at the right place. We have both had to endure stress, frustration and a worsening of my husband’s pain.

The year also posed some family crises and other stressful times. The good news is that, God willing, we are heading to some healing.

what will beThe other good news is that in spite of all the things this year put in front of me I got through it. There have been some times of anxiety and physical symptoms but each one was conquered and I was able to move on. Writing helped and I find that it is an outlet for the things that come up day to day.  It will continue to be my place for reflection and ideas. It is a joy to have others read and respond.

Now I will face the next week with the hope that all will go well. Then we can begin the process of picking up the pieces and moving forward.

 

We are all HOLY

Medicine is what we do to keep the patient amused whilst nature takes its course. Voltaire

not just a body I heard this today and thought how true it is. Medicine can do a great deal but it can’t fix everything. How someone responds to the help that medicine gives relies on so many things. If we have damage somewhere how do we feel about it? People have died just because of a belief that they would. People who were supposed to die have survived because they believed in something more.

We are not a bunch of single parts cobbled together. We are deeply integrated organisms composed of body, mind, soul and spirit. We cannot separate any part from the whole. One of the mistakes that medicine makes is to think that fixing the mechanics only can solve the problem. Our system has been based on this belief for too long. Some doctors and hospitals are beginning to come around to the idea of treating the whole person. When this happens the chance of complete healing increases exponentially.

We are such intricate beings. There is much more to us than is usually considered. Medicine that is beginning to function holistically is a positive change.

you-body-mind-soul-spirit-simple-mind-map-personal-growth-86576844It is so easy to forget that the words whole and holistic are all connected to the word holy. As a living being we are holy and should always be treated with love, respect and awe. When we reach the time when this is done we will be truly healing.

Are we ready for these decisions?

experimentToday we went to see the movie Jurassic World. If you have seen the other Jurassic movies you get the gist of the story. I have pondered since the first movie on the theme that runs through them…”what are we doing to our world?” As part of my nursing career I worked for a while in Neonatal Intensive Care. That was a long time ago and yet we were already struggling with many ethical issues. Were we saving babies whose quality of life would not make sense? When is enough…enough?

We are still struggling with consuming issues in medical ethics. In the films it is portrayed by creating animals long gone and what is the impact of this on our current world? This comes from our continuing research into the very basics of life…studies of DNA, cells and beyond. What do we see for the future? Will be creating people with specific characteristics? Will we be able to live forever? Is any of this a good idea?

The ramifications of where we are in biological studies is way beyond my ability to decipher. The scary part is that the decisions will work their way out of anyone’s ability to oversee them. We will try with laws but there are always those who don’t follow the law.

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The things we are learning can be wonderfully enlightening and heal many genetic illnesses. The cure for cancer may not be far away.

Unfortunately these things can be used for evil as well. We may yet create a master race.

I can add this to my list of things to worry about for my children, grandchildren and great grandchild. That’s just in case I have nothing to obsess about.

How do you foresee us handling the ethical issues facing us very soon?