• healthevisits

My NICU experience

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This is a guest blog post by Jenny McCollian, St. Elizabeth Hospital patient

My first child, my daughter Maya, was born 12 weeks premature, but my second pregnancy seemed just as normal as any other. Because Maya had been born early, I was getting regular checkups every two weeks or so to keep an eye on things. At a checkup a week before my son James was born, I found out that he was going to come early. He arrived at exactly 28 weeks, on September 16, 2014, and I’m so happy that we had a NICU available right in our hospital to take care of him.

I started having pains late at night on September 15 and knew something was up. We initially went to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Hospital, and when the staff on call realized that I was going into early labor, they went into action in seconds. Once the labor and delivery team came in, things were flawless, perfect. Even though my doctor, Dr. Darling, had just left to go home, he came right back to deliver James. The NICU nurses were all so sweet—truly friendly, caring and compassionate. I just loved them all.

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Surviving seasonal allergies

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For many, spring and summer means spending time outdoors among flourishing greenery and cleaning out their homes after a long winter cooped up inside. For others, spring means pollen, mold spores and dust mites—some of the most common allergy triggers.

When allergens enter the nose, the immune system interprets them as a foreign substance and begins releasing antibodies to fight them off. When the antibodies attack the allergens, a chemical called histamine is released into the blood and causes classic allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, coughing and itchy or watery eyes. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat seasonal allergies, with both medication and lifestyle options.

Over the counter medications
For mild seasonal allergies, nasal sprays and oral over the counter (OTC) antihistamines can be helpful. Antihistamines are exactly what they sound like: they reduce allergy symptoms by lowering the amount of histamine made when an allergen enters your body. Some antihistamines can cause drowsiness, so read the label carefully! Continue Reading »

Why do I have an appendix?

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The appendix is a mysterious part of the body. Located on the right side of the body near where the small and large intestine meet, this thin tube is about four inches long. Its purpose? We’re not sure! Some experts theorize that the appendix stores good bacteria that are capable of restoring the digestive system after diarrheal illnesses. Others say that the appendix has no purpose and is just a remnant from previous stages of evolution.

While we don’t know why the appendix exists, we do know that it sometimes causes pain, though, true to its mysterious nature, we don’t know why that happens. Appendicitis—when the appendix becomes inflamed, infected or ruptured—causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. If you’re experiencing constant, severe pain in your lower right abdomen that becomes worse when pressed or during movement, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to your clinician.

The most basic test for appendicitis is a simple physical exam. Your clinician may also request an ultrasound or a CT scan to show whether or not the appendix is swollen or has ruptured. If tests show that you have appendicitis, you’ll have your appendix surgically removed via an appendectomy. Depending on the method—a traditional large cut or a minimally invasive laparoscopy—recovery time varies, but it is not an uncommon procedure and the majority of patients recover within a few days to weeks with little to no complications.

While we don’t know why we have an appendix, we do know that we can get by without one; removing the appendix does not cause any direct health problems.

What is a midwife?

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The tradition of having a midwife for childbirth is a long one, but make no mistake that today’s certified nurse-midwives (CNM) are highly trained medical professionals.

A CNM is an advanced practice nurse with a master’s degree in nursing who specializes in the care of women across their lifespan. CNMs are considered independent practitioners, who have the authority to write prescriptions.

The main difference between a midwife and an OB-GYN is in the perspective of care for their patients. Midwives are trained as nurses first, in the health promotion model of care. This means that they are trained to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices while taking into account physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors of health. OB-GYNs are trained in the medical model, which focuses mostly on the physical aspect of care and treatment. They specialize in surgery and illness processes, and midwives specialize in education and management of normal pregnancy and birth.

Because they are not called out of the office as frequently for emergencies and surgeries, midwives often have the luxury of being able to spend a great deal of time with their patients. A midwife can typically offer a highly personalized, natural process of care for your pregnancy and birth, and will have a collaborative agreement with a physician, who can consult or assist if risks or issues emerge.

If you decide that a midwife is the best choice for you and your baby, Mercy Medical Center has an expert team of certified nurse-midwives, who are now accepting patients. For more information, visit http://www.affinityhealth.org/Affinity/Services/Obstetrics-and-Gynecology/Midwives.htm

 

 

Making mealtimes less stressful for your child

Making mealtimes less stressful for your child

Mealtimes can be a battlefield for many families, leading to stress and impaired relationships between a child and food. If your child is struggling with eating habits, seeing a specialist could help. To determine if intervention is needed, answer the following questions:

Does your child:

  • Have a history of failure to thrive or poor weight gain?
  • Have a limited diet or struggle to add new foods to his or her diet?
  • Refuse foods or food groups based on texture, color, temperature, smell or appearance?
  • Need constant reinforcements or rewards to participate in mealtimes?
  • Gag, cough or choke when eating?
  • Require longer than 30 minutes to complete a meal or snack?
  • Graze or snack all day?
  • Get most of his or her nutrition from milk or supplements?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your child might benefit from the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Feeding Group. The SOS group meets for one hour once a week for 12 consecutive weeks, and is designed to assess and treat all the factors involved with eating/feeding difficulties. This approach focuses on desensitization for increased food acceptance, which leads to increased food intake and improves oral motor skills to empower children to safely eat a variety of textures and foods. Continue Reading »

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