Richard Russell is a family man. He counts spending time with his wife and his pets among his favorite things to do. He also enjoys shooting pool. A recent health issue put all of this in jeopardy.
In November of 2016, Thanksgiving week, John Mills suffered three strokes. Immediately, John’s doctor recommended he undergo double bypass surgery. Eight months later, in July 2017, he was scheduled for the operation.
“The whole administrative staff and the folks in the physical therapy area were wonderful,” John said. “I cannot say enough good things about them.”
Whether you are a patient preparing for an inpatient hospital stay, or someone who’s loved one unexpectedly finds themselves in a hospital, having the right things for a hospital stay is important. Packing the right items will help make your stay less stressful and allow you to focus on your recovery.
Below you’ll find a summary of suggested items to pack for a hospital stay.
- 5-6 outfits of loose fitting pants and tops
- Sweater or jacket
- Supportive pair of athletic shoes with non-skid soles
- Night clothes (gown, robe, pajamas)
- Soap, if you prefer a certain brand
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash & dentures
- Comb, brush, shaving supplies & cosmetics
- Deodorant, lotion, perfume, & aftershave
- Insurance cards & medical information
- Eyeglasses & hearing aids
- Incontinence pads (if needed)
- Pillow, blanket
- Family pictures
- Laundry basket or bag
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2017-2018 flu season was one of the worst. Understanding Influenza – how it’s spread, how to prevent it, and the symptoms of the flu – can help keep you, and your community healthy this winter. Below are five flu facts to know as we enter flu season.
Can a flu shot give me the flu?
The Influenza vaccine is safe and cannot give you the Flu. It takes 2 weeks to build up your immunity, so you can contract the flu before developing the antibodies.
How is the flu spread?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus that spreads when you are exposed to an infected person that coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching your nose, mouth or eyes after touching a surface with the virus on it.
How can I prevent the flu?
There are several things you can do to keep yourself flu-free! The most important step you can take is to get a flu vaccine each year. You can also help prevent getting the flu by frequently using hand sanitizer or washing your hands. Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. Avoid spreading the flu by covering your coughs/sneezes and by staying home if you are sick. Additionally, be sure to keep surfaces in your home clean.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
Symptoms usually start 1-4 days after exposure and usually come on suddenly. You are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after the illness starts. However, you can infect others before you are symptomatic and up to a week after becoming sick.
Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can include fever, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, sore throat, cough and chills. Seek medical care for any worsening symptoms.
What is the treatment for the flu?
Rest, pain relievers and extra fluids will help to lessen your symptoms. While antibiotics are not effective for the flu, there are prescription antiviral medications that can help to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration. But, they must be started within 48 hours after onset.
There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” – Rosalyn Carter
Caregivers often hide in plain sight. They make up a substantial portion of the United States population. In the US alone, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers for adults over the age of 65. We tend not to realize the strain put on an individual who cares for a loved one. Instead, we see only the selflessness with which they provide care. Unfortunately, there’s often more going on than we recognize.
Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming, particularly when providing care for a spouse. It’s important to understand and utilize the resources available to you as a caregiver. Here are some great resources for caregivers:
VA Caregiver Support
If you provide care for a veteran, the Veterans Administration has a number of resources available to you. Services offered include mentoring, diagnosis-specific tips and guidance. Additionally, help is available to care for your loved one so that you have time to care for yourself. Many of these services are provided at no cost.
Diagnosis-specific Support Networks
Many organizations offer online support networks for patients and caregivers, focused on specific diagnoses. These support networks typically have segments dedicated to the unique needs of caregivers. Some of the organizations offering these support networks include:
- American Heart Association | American Stroke Association
- Amputee Coalition
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
- Alzheimer’s Association
- National MS Society
Local Support Groups
Hospitals often host support groups on a variety of topics. Some are diagnosis-specific. Others focus directly on caregivers. It can be quite helpful to connect with individuals who have had similar experiences to yours. Contact your local hospital to find out what support groups they host and when they meet.
An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown
As a caregiver, it’s important not to neglect yourself. The resources above offer support so that you can care for yourself, too. Additionally, you may speak with your healthcare provider for more resources. Remember, taking good care of yourself is part of providing care to another!
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Every four minutes, someone dies.
Stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for about one out of every 20 deaths.
As many as 80% of strokes may be preventable. But if someone is suffering a stroke, one of the most important factors is time. Knowing the signs of stroke, and what to do in that situation, could save a person’s life.
All you need to remember is F-A-S-T.
F: Face Drooping
Look at the person’s face. Does one side droop? Do they feel numbness on one side of their face?
Action item: Ask the person to smile. Is their smile lopsided or uneven?
A: Arm Weakness
Does the person feel numbness or weakness in one arm?
Action item: Ask the person to raise both arms above their head. Are they able to lift both arms? Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech Difficulty
Is the person making sense when they speak? Are their words slurred?
Action item: Ask the person to say a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Can you understand what they say?
T: Time to Call 9-1-1
If any of these symptoms are present, call 9-1-1 immediately. Tell the operator you think someone is having a stroke. Do this even if these symptoms disappear. Time is critical, so it is important to get them to the hospital right away. Be sure to note the time when the symptoms appeared.
Action item: Call 9-1-1!