Animal Therapy In Hospitals?

There are service animals, emotional support animals, and animals that are your best friends at home. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could have a little mixture of all of them and they could come visit with patients at the hospital, as well as give staff a little mid-shift morale boost? Granted, not all people like animals, but those who do, really, really do, and how great would it be to get them a few minutes with man’s best friend?

Che at home

There have been lots of articles about animals at Nursing Homes and long-term care facilities, but there isn’t a lot out there about animals brought to the in-patient setting. Animals are almost always allowed when they are working service animals, which are animals trained to perform a specific duty task for a person in need of assistance (like a seeing eye dog, seizure alert dogs, etc.) as part of maintaining Americans with Disabilities (ADA) requirements. However allowing therapy pets, is a little more controversial.

 

Read more here at AllNurses.com

Yours in Good Health!

Placenta Pills: Do they live up to the hype?

Mostly I tackle topics from my readers (and I promise that I am going to start on those ASAP!) but I had a little experiment I was running myself that I wanted to share with you all. Eight weeks ago I had my amazingly beautiful baby girl, and in preparing for her birth, our new life together, I wanted to make sure that I was as ready as I could be for the challenges I was about to face, both mentally and physically. One of my biggest fears was postpartum depression, I have no idea why because I was not really at risk, but I wanted to limit my risks and ensure that the three months of maternity leave with my baby girl were the best possible three months for all of us, so I looked into taking placenta pills. It sounds gross, but it was one of the best decisions I made for post birth planning.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression effects around 11-20% of women annually (its around 600,000 in the US alone). It’s normal to have some mild symptoms of feeling sad, anxious, and mood swings after giving birth because you have so many hormonal changes going on in your body once that baby comes out, and it should stabilize in a few days to week or so after birth. Postpartum depression lasts longer than two weeks and can have more extreme symptoms of: severe mood swings, severe anxiety (anxiety attacks), excessive crying, inability to bond with your baby, inability to sleep, lack of eating, irritability and anger, feelings of worthlessness, a lack of enjoyment in activities you used to like, and more severely thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or suicide. If you ever have any thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or others, please call your local emergency services immediately (911 in the US). These symptoms can last a few months, and even longer.

Can anything increase my risk?

Unfortunately, because of a lack of sleep during labor (possibly) and after having the baby, along with hormone changes, every woman has a risk of falling prey to postpartum depression. There are a few factors that may increase your risk of postpartum depression such as:

– Family/personal history of depression

– Previous postpartum depression

– Stressful events during pregnancy: illness, loss of job, change in relationship, or pregnancy complications

– Health problems with your newborn (including colic)

– Difficulty breastfeeding

– Lack of support from partner/friends/family postpartum

How can I prevent it?

Having a baby is not easy, and it is an amazing experience, but you need support of others to help support you, and if you don’t have that support to keep you and your baby healthy, you can easily fall into a depression. Being aware of the signs of depression, as well as having supporters that are also aware of your needs and the signs of postpartum depression is key. Sometimes you need to just get a few minutes to yourself or nap, and it can make you feel like a new person, so having someone who can help you to get you some time alone, when you know your baby is safe and being cared for, is key. But there is another thing you can try: placenta pills.

What are Placenta Pills?

Placenta pills (encapsulation) are a bit controversial in the medical world, but animals, tribeswomen, and now celebrities alike all eat their placenta in some form. The placenta is the organ that forms for your baby to live and grow inside of your uterus, and it is delivered after the baby. The placenta is filled with your own hormones, iron, and other nutrients, so ingesting it help to gently lower your oxytocin hormone levels, thus decreasing the risk of postpartum depression, mood swings, and insomnia related to abrupt hormone changes, and it can even release a hormone that helps to reduce stress. Placenta pills can also help to increase your energy levels and increase breast milk quantity by supplying optimal nutrients to support it, including replacing your iron lost through the birthing process. You can eat your placenta raw, cooked, or encapsulated in pill form; whichever makes you most comfortable.

What’s the science?

So, there really is no research to support placenta pills either as beneficial or detrimental to your health. As a practice throughout the animal kingdom and since the beginning of man, essentially, which is still practiced in rural tribes throughout the world, it truly cannot seem harmful and I felt that it could only be helpful.Placenta Pills

My experience: I worked with Kristin Lynch of Placenta Therapeutics to help encapsulate my placenta. We discussed various options for the encapsulation process (the placenta can be encapsulated raw or steamed) and the benefits of each process, and she helped to walk me through it, along with the dose of the pills. I had her make half raw and half steamed pills, so that I could slowly wean down my hormone levels to normal. Once I got over the fact that I was ingesting one of my own organs, the results were amazing: I had absolutely no signs of postpartum depression, my milk came in right away (and I have actually been an over producer of milk), I’ve had energy (much more than other postpartum women that I have seen), and my sleeping has been great (I admit it helps that my baby is a fabulous little sleeper and eater). I truly believe that the placenta pills helped to calm me and stabilize my hormones throughout this postpartum time; I normally react to my own hormonal changes (I get very crabby monthly) but I really had minimal, if any, changes/reactions after giving birth. Kristin was amazing and checked in on me to make sure I was feeling well and she was available to answer any questions I had, but there were no issues, the pills were a complete success.

I would highly recommend anyone to try the encapsulation, especially if you have had issues with postpartum depression previously, or if you are at risk, to try to prevent it. It cannot harm you, as long as you handle the placenta appropriately (if you have certain infections, or an abnormal placenta you might not be able to use it for encapsulation). If you are in the greater MA area, I highly suggest Kristin Lynch at Placenta Therapeutics (I was in no way given any goods/services for free, I just really think she is amazing), but look here for encapsulation services by reputable services (i.e. they follow blood-born pathogen protocols and ensure that your placenta isn’t exposed to anything infectious!)

Yours in good health

B

 

 

Nurses Unite: In Response to “The View”

Normally I stick to topics related to questions asked by my readers, and give scientific answers, but today I want to step on my soapbox and make my own response to support the #NursesUnite cause. I love reading all of the stories of the nurses in different roles explaining to Joy Behar why they need their stethoscopes…and they aren’t just a part of a costume and they are certainly not only for doctors, but there is another side of being a nurse too. Let me explain what I mean, by telling you MY story:

Currently, one of my stethoscopes is in my office, and it has been lonely for a while as I am on maternity leave from my ‘nursing’ position (ironically nursing my baby somewhat non-stop) but my other stethoscope is right at home with me. Why would I need a “special” nurses stethoscope (because it HAS to be different from a doctor one, right?) outside of the hospital? Well let me tell you, just because I have traded my “nurses costume” for some nursing tops covered in baby spit up for a couple of months doesn’t mean that I haven’t helped to treat friends, family members, and neighbors! Not a day goes by that I am not asked to “just look” at someone’s rash, help a neighbors or friends child with a bump/bruise/cut, give health and wellness advice, let them know the proper dosing of over the counter (OTC) medications, suggest OTC remedies for common ailments, or check someone’s blood pressure that thinks it might be high, but they aren’t sure. Do I mind? Nope. I love helping people, and it is a relief for my friends and family to know that they can count on me and I am there to help with medical needs and advice (which can be confusing and scary!) I will do anything in my power to help others, whenever I can because I am a nurse.

IMG_8843I am always a nurse, even outside of the hospital, and I will always be a nurse. Every single nurse is a nurse every day, with or without our “costume” and stethoscope. We care for people, we help people, and even when they quite literally shit on us, we support and assist them and let them know it is OK. We give all we have to help people at their lowest times and when we cheer them on at their highest. We don’t ask for praise; we do what we do because we love it, despite working long hours, holidays, weekends, and countless days/nights away from our families. Who chooses to work a job where you might get a full lunch break, time to empty your bladder in a 12 hour shift, covered in bodily fluids, or help to save a life/help a family as they lose a loved one all in one day? A nurse.

In short, thank you Miss Colorado for bringing our profession and hard work to light, and a big thank you to the ladies of ‘The View’ for your ridiculous comments and “apology” because we all heard you…we just choose to educate you on your ignorance and rise above.

Nurses Unite!

Yours in Good Health,

B

Happy New Year! What’s Your Resolution?

I love the excitement that surrounds the holiday season and culminates with New Years Eve! Granted, I am not a particular fan of going out on the town to celebrate New Years Eve because there tends to be a little too much excitement on some people’s behalves, prices are twice what they normally are, and it is either the most amazing night, or you set your expectations too high, and the night is ruined by something silly (or someone crying.) I’d rather wage my bets and be with loved ones and close friends, which may go hand in hand with my decision to not make resolutions for the New Year.new-years1

It’s not that I think I am someone who is above reflecting upon that last 12 months and finding ways to improve myself, or my life in some way, we can all find ways to make positive changes, but that is more of a process that I do a few times a year, on dates that are important to me (a few random dates that would mean nothing to anyone else annually and my birthday.) I think it is great when people feel the excitement that comes with ending one year and beginning another, and with that fervor comes the decisions to make some changes that are deemed resolutions that they will keep up all year…and usually fade away a couple of months later.

Some of the most common New Years resolutions that I hear year after year:

 “I will go to the gym every day.”

No, you won’t. It’s actually not healthy for you to train 7 days a week; you will actually over train, your body will need a break, and you will take that break, feel guilty about it, and by the end of February and beginning of March your resolution is caput. A lot of people tend to stay away from the gym when they feel guilty, instead of getting back on the horse and getting to the gym, stay away from the gym. Don’t be that person, set a more realistic resolution, like getting to the gym 3-4 times a week or try to get 20 minutes of exercise a day 5 days a week, which can include walking a couple of miles, doing yoga at home, walking stairs, really any type of exercise that you don’t have to go to a gym to do; you won’t always have the time to get to a gym, it’s a fact of life. Set a realistic goal that you actually know you can attain, and you will get in shape and feel better about yourself.

 

“I am going to only eat healthy foods. No more snacks and unhealthy food.”

This is a great resolution, but it is really tough to maintain. People start off awesome with this one: preparing healthy snacks and lunches for work, the night before, they feel good about being healthy and make time for it, then as there is a deadline or need to work late, or the winter blues get you down, you don’t have the energy at night one night to stay up and prep those meals, and there goes the healthy cycle. For women, there is that monthly draw to sweet or salty foods as part of our hormonal flux, which is unfortunate, but VERY real. And, it is OK to indulge in sweets every now and again. Because if you deprive yourself of those snacks that you crave, instead of just allowing a small indulgence every now and again, you end up craving more and more and you tend to over indulge. Eating healthy is an awesome goal, and I think that more people should make it a habit/goal, but set your sights to something realistic, which allows you small cheat meals every now and again. Even the people you see in Men’s/Women’s Health magazine allow themselves a cheat day, and sometimes you can trick yourself with fruits and veggies to curb your sweet tooth; just plan ahead and know that you will want a sweet or salty nosh at some point, so plan to make some baked sweet potato “fries” with some sea salt to satisfy your salt craving, or have fresh fruit already cut up to kill off your sweet tooth…and have some chocolate on hand just in case of emergencies! When you eat healthy, you tend to feel better about yourself, so while I fully support this resolution, don’t just say it, do it!

 

“I am going to get more organized.”

Some people are inherently organized, some people aren’t. This is something that a quick stop to the Container Store and $500 won’t fix. This is a true lifestyle change that takes time and effort. I applaud all of you who want to get organized: having an organized brain and home is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and it helps you stay on track with every other goal you set for yourself. Part of getting organized can be prepping healthy meals for you and your family, making a schedule to get to the gym, or de-cluttering your home. Setting a resolution with lots of opportunities gives you more opportunities to succeed!

Set yourself up to succeed in the New Year, don’t set yourself up to fail! If you hit your goals and keep going, you will only feel better and better about yourself and keep moving forward. So, Cheers to 2015 and the year of setting goals and creating resolutions that we can actually attain towards a healthy lifestyle!

Yours in Good Health

B

5 Ways to Eat Heart Healthy through the Holiday Season

It’s probably not at the forefront of your thoughts when cooking for the holidays, but whether you or a loved one has heart disease yourself, or it isn’t an issue in your family, it’s important to protect ourselves from the risks of unhealthy foods! Eating those decadent holiday foods, that are deceptively high in fat and cholesterol, can build up plaques in our arteries and increase our risk for stroke and heart attack. The good news is that foods high in antioxidants and fiber can help to prevent those plaques from forming and can actually protect your heart. And, a lot of those heart healthy foods are actually really yummy and easy to add on to any menu! What are the best heart healthy foods?

Read on over at Amerikanki.comhealthy foods

Yours in Good Health

Bridgid

 

AllNurses.com: Thank you, Florence Nightingale!

A Nurses Perspective. Around this time of year, I like think about the previous year: what has changed, what has stayed the same, and what I am truly thankful for. It is easy to have a negative day, or a positive day, and just focus on that, but it’s the big picture that is what is most important.

Read more on AllNurses.com

In Good Health

B

NurseB Hallway

Get Your Kids the Damn Flu shot….

Whether you ‘believe’ in flu vaccinations or not, as long as you are informed to the risks and benefits of using vaccines, as an adult, that is totally your choice to not get them. However, when it comes to your children, really learn the risks of not vaccinating your children…the flu is more serious than most people think, it can be devastating to a child, and you cannot keep them in a bubble of protection forever. You can do whatever you want for yourself, but arm your child with the protection their immune system needs to ward off the flu this season.

Check out the rest of Nurse Bridgid’s post on ScaryMommy.com

Yours in Good Health!

FluShot

Nurse Bridgid talks about Ebola on Amerikanki.com

Get some useful information about Ebola: transmission, what is your actual risk, and why you shouldn’t worry at Amerikanki.com straight from Nurse Bridgid!

credit: npr.org

Yours in Good Health

B

Seasonal Health: Fall Veggies for Better Health!

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For tips on how to improve your diet by eating seasonal vegetables, and improving your nutrition and helping you to stick with your diet! Learn more at: http://food.amerikanki.com/improving-diet-nutrition-fall-veggies/

Yours in Good Health,

B

The Scoop on Birth Control Options

Whether you are thinking about trying for the first time, or wanting to spread out when you have babies, you need to know your birth control options! Check out Nurse Bridgid discussing your options from Natural Family Planning to the Pill at ScaryMommy.com

Yours in Good Health

B