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.
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
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 »
As a mom, I know that pregnancy is a time filled with plans and questions. The question, “Who will provide my pregnancy and delivery care?” is front and center for many moms-to-be. Many also wonder “Who will take care of me after I have my baby?” Mercy Medical Center has a full team of compassionate, skilled Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) who can fulfill all of those needs.
Care for all life’s stages
A CNM is an advanced practice nurse who specializes in the care of healthy women across the lifespan. They are RNs who have gone on to receive a master’s degree in nursing and are considered independent practitioners with the authority to write prescriptions. CNMs are required to have a collaborative agreement with a doctor to whom they can refer high-risk patients.
During pregnancy, CNMs offer the same pain management options as an OB-GYN, as well as continuous labor support and other natural pain relief options. Because they are less likely to be called away to surgery and emergencies, CNMs can often spend more time with individual patients to address any concerns you might have about your pregnancy or birth. Continue Reading »
I received a survey in the mail last week. You see, back in 2009 I enrolled in a cancer prevention study and have received lengthy surveys every few years or so. It is a very thorough survey that includes hundreds of questions and takes several days to fill out. The survey inquires about every aspect of health and lifestyle: information about immunizations; diet; hours spent sitting, sleeping or moving; medications taken; caffeine consumption and more.
Except for a few minor, non-life threatening ailments, I consider myself a pretty healthy person and my doctor gave me a clean bill of health during my annual wellness/preventive visit (don’t forget to schedule yours!). I was confident that my answers to the survey questions would be a no-brainer. Overall, boy, was I surprised, especially when it came to the diet section.
The survey listed every kind of fruit and vegetable and asked the respondent to indicate frequency of consumption. I thought I was a good fruit and vegetable eater, but there are some foods that I don’t eat that often for various reasons. So my consumption of kale, which I tend to eat frequently in the summer, but not as much in the winter, actually results in a low monthly average consumption overall. Likewise, cantaloupes and other melons are eaten only seasonally, so their consumption average was low. Continue Reading »