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Doctor, when can I drive?

surgery

Your provider realizes that driving a car is a necessity of everyday life for many people. So when something happens—whether it’s a flat tire or a fractured leg—drivers want it fixed quickly so they can get back on the road again.

With this in mind, patients must realize that all injuries and procedures can alter one’s ability to drive. Braking and accelerating require coordinated activity at the hip, knee and ankle. Steering and shifting require use of the shoulder, elbow and wrist. Sitting upright and watching the road requires good spine function. As we see it, driving requires total body coordination.

Based on the available studies, patients who sustain major lower extremity fractures should delay driving the longest, but nearly every orthopedic procedure will have some impact on a patient’s ability to drive safely. The decision to resume driving should be individualized, as everyone’s body heals at different rates. Patients and their doctors need to talk early on about what impact the procedure may have on driving skills and, after the surgery, how the recovery is proceeding. For elective procedures, driving discussions should take place when the decision to schedule surgery is made.

Most studies have considered emergency braking to be the critical test that allows a patient to return to driving without posing a risk to others, but several other factors must be considered: Continue Reading »

Where to find affordable wigs, turbans and headscarves for chemo patients

wigs

You may have just been told the news that no one wants to hear—you have cancer. You may feel frightened and wonder what lies ahead for you. You will need the support of your family, friends and community as you make decisions about your care and treatment process. If it is recommended that you will need chemotherapy, chances are that you are going to experience hair loss. If you are going to lose your hair during treatment, there are plenty of resources available to you for head coverings.

Some health insurance companies cover the cost of a wig or other headwear for cancer treatment patients, but if yours does not there are other options. Calumet Medical Center provides free wigs, turbans and headscarves for our chemotherapy patients; you can stop by Calumet Medical Center from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to try them on. St. Elizabeth Hospital and Mercy Medical Center also have cancer navigators that are available to help in the search of wigs or anything else that you may need throughout your journey. These resources are just a phone call away, and the staff is both friendly and knowledgeable about the process.

There are several websites that offer help finding affordable head covers, such as The American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org, or Tender Loving Care at www.tlcdirect.org. If you choose a wig, many of the salons in the area will cut and style your wig at no cost.

If you enjoy the outdoors, wigs, hats, turbans or scarves are important for protecting your head from sun exposure, especially in these hot summer months. How you look is certainly not as important as how you feel, but everyone deserves to feel confident and dignified, no matter what their health status is.

Cancer is the toughest fight many of us will ever face, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Calumet Medical Center has a cancer support group called C.A.R.E.S—Cancer Awareness, Resources, Education and Support Group. We meet the fourth Tuesday of each month. Call (800) 450-4042 ext. 2406 for more information.

What you need to know about a stroke

stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States, with approximately 795,000 people suffering stroke each year. However, did you know that studies have shown that up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable?

A stroke occurs when a blood clot or broken blood vessel interrupts blood flow to the brain, causing brain cells to die. A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens when blood flow to the brain stops briefly and then resolves. While this generally does not cause permanent damage, a TIA can be a warning sign that a full stroke is coming. Other signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause. Continue Reading »

Colorful, healthy food options for Memorial Day

healthyfood
The sun is finally shining and the warm weather promises to put us all in a better mood—just in time for Memorial Day and the celebrations that typically accompany this holiday.

Many families will be celebrating Memorial Day with picnics, outdoor grilling and other gatherings with food. Below are a few tips on how to enjoy a day of food and fun while still sticking to a healthy diet with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. They’ll look almost as good as they taste!

  1.  Kabobs. You can pre-assemble kabobs that have cherry tomatoes and red, green, yellow or orange peppers. You can also use big chunks of celery, onions, mushrooms, squash and other vegetables. Spritz some olive oil on each kabob before grilling and enjoy the wonders of grilled vegetables. You can grill zucchini, eggplant and even fennel bulbs, too.
  1. Choose lean protein. You may choose to add some protein to your kabobs such as chicken, fish or extra firm tofu. Shrimp are a tasty addition to kabobs, but be aware that they will cook much faster than your veggies or other lean protein. Continue Reading »

The role of a nurse navigator for cancer care

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Cancer can affect many areas of a person’s life; one can be challenged physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and financially. Nurse navigators have an important role in helping patients meet those challenges during their journey through cancer treatment.

The goal of the nurse navigator is to provide support at any given time during treatment. This starts on the day of diagnosis and continues through a patient’s survivorship period. Affinity Health System values the role of a navigator and offers this as a free service.

A nurse navigator helps patients by:

  • Providing education on topics such as pathology, reviewing timelines for consults and treatment, pre- and post-surgery care, or reviewing information that was presented at consultations with providers.
  • Connecting patients to members of the cancer team that provide resources and support, which can include oncology social workers, financial advocates, genetic counselors, dietitians and American Cancer Society representatives, to name a few.
  • Educating patients and families on community resources that are available in their area. Continue Reading »

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.