Monday, February 27, 2012

Mental Roadblocks

February 17, 2012

     I made a New Year’s Resolution for the first time that I can remember – run a 5K. I scheduled myself for a St. Patrick’s Day run. I just finished week 5 of the Couch to 5K program, and I have one month left until I’m running in public.

     Last night was my first long run with no breaks – 20 minutes. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around even starting that run. Prior to last night, the longest run in the training program was 8 minutes. So this was a big step for me.

     I made it to 14 minutes before I had to slow down. I took about a 30 second break and then bumped the treadmill speed down. Even still, I could feel it getting harder. Usually when I run, I can fight through the last few minutes by telling myself how far I’ve already come. This was different though. I could feel my chest and the middle of my back tightening. I couldn’t get a good, deep breath in. At 19 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped the treadmill and sat down on the back of it. A staff member and my boyfriend (and training partner) both came over to check on me – apparently my face was purple and I was hyperventilating. I still couldn’t get a deep breath in.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yes, You Can Exercise on a Tight Schedule!

     We’re at the tail end of winter and there’s a good chance that indoor time has resulted in a few extra pounds. If you’re squeezing into your jeans, maybe it’s time to squeeze in some exercise. A study in The Lancet says that fifteen minutes of exercise each day can add an average of three years to a person’s life. So what does a fifteen-minute workout look like? Here are some ideas:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Advance healthcare directives- what are they, and do I need one?

     Advance healthcare directives are a subject that can be awkward or difficult to bring up. However, writing one is extremely important. It will ensure that your values and choices regarding the end of your life are put into effect and lessen the decision-making burden for your family and friends if an end-of-life situation occurs.

     Put simply, an advance directive is a document that will guide your family, friends, and doctors if you were ever unable to make your own medical decisions. They generally have two parts. The first part identifies someone who can make medical decisions for you. This person, sometimes referred to as the “healthcare agent,” can be anyone you choose. You can specify if your agent will be able to start making decisions right away or if he or she must wait until a doctor says that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. If you feel comfortable leaving all medical decisions up to your healthcare agent then you have just completed your advance directive and can skip part two.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Exercise and a healthy diet – it actually works.”

     At least, that’s what one cardiac rehab patient now believes. Jack Helferstay was weighing in at 364 pounds when he suffered a heart attack. After balloon angioplasty to open a blocked artery, Jack began cardiac rehabilitation, a three-day-a-week exercise and lifestyle modification program at Meritus Medical Center.

     A month later, while at a cardiac rehab session, he told Lisa Seifarth, RN, he “just didn’t feel right.” After checking his blood pressure and lungs, she found nothing wrong, but made an appointment with Jack’s cardiologist for later that day. Lisa told Jack to go home and take it easy. She also told him to call her if he felt any symptoms.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Uneasiness of an Unhealthy Relationship

     Have you ever been in a one-sided relationship? The kind of partnership where your “partner” is missing in action and you’re doing all the giving? When people find themselves in this situation, some see the signs and bail out. But others remain committed to their spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend and function in a codependent relationship.

     Codependency is relationship addiction, according to behavior experts. It means that you’re trying to make the relationship work when the other half doesn’t seem to care. And often, people in this type of dysfunctional arrangement can’t seem to acknowledge that the problem exists.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting into a Mammogram Mood

     If you’re a woman over the age of 40, you know the importance of an annual mammogram. The mammogram is part of your due diligence on wellness. But let’s be honest, getting a mammogram scheduled on your calendar means overcoming the fear of the unknown (do I have breast cancer?) and the anticipation of a slightly unpleasant appointment.

     Until scientists come up with a magical pill to prevent breast cancer, committing to a mammogram is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Here are a few tips to make your mammogram go as smoothly as possible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In Like a Lamb and Out Like a Lion?

     So the weather last month didn’t feel or look like January weather. We ended the month with a 65 degree day – not exactly ideal skiing conditions. But guess what? According to the National Weather Service, snow totals in the Mid-Atlantic often peak in February (remember the two feet of snow on February 11, 2010? Or the 28 inches of snow on February 21, 2003?). With or without the white stuff, we’re not done with the cold weather yet. If you’re wondering how to dress for temps that range from 32 to 62 degrees, here is a “dress for success” guide adaptable to any February day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Combating Domestic Violence

     According to the CDC, on average, 24 men and women are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s more than 12 million men and women directly affected every year.

     We see these victims first-hand in Meritus Medical Center. Too often, victims are scared or unwilling to share the true cause of their injuries, which is why it is so important for our staff in the emergency department to be on the lookout for signs of abuse and be ready to investigate with the right questions.

     We are proud to announce that Meritus Health has received $50,000 from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and $16,000 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to fund a hospital-based domestic violence prevention program. We are only the sixth hospital in the state of Maryland to start this program, and the first in Western Maryland.

     Joe Ross, president and CEO of Meritus Health, said, “The program will include the standardized use of a domestic violence screening process, staff training and education, and the development of an inter-disciplinary team to create the process for crisis response, evaluation, and safety planning.”

     On January 23, 2012, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown visited Meritus Medical Center to officially award the grant. Below is a video highlighting the press conference.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please call the 24-hour crisis hotline of Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) at 301.739.8975.

By Kayla Murphy