Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore !!

If we have lived any time at all, we have experienced aches and pains at some point. Maybe it was after that workout at the gym or hauling stone for the flower bed. Most of the time we shrug it off, and usually the pain leaves the same way it arrived — on its own with a little rest and TLC. We know the cause of these pains – we over did it and are paying the cost !!!

But some pains are mysterious and sometimes lingering. We can’t pin point exactly what we could have done to cause them. And just like that strange click, whir or squeal that comes from our car or washer, they should not be ignored. That odd noise coming from your car/washer – like your bodies pain – tells us that something isn’t right !!!! Usually, doctors and mechanics alike wonder why we didn’t bring these problems to their attention sooner. While few people are excited about going to a doctor, few doctors are enthusiastic about treating a medical emergency that they could have detected or treated before the problem snowballed into a potentially life-or-death matter.

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So, what kind of warning signs should you never ignore? Keep reading and find out.

1.) Sudden Thunder Headache – A sudden, intense headache, like a clap of thunder, may be a serious medical emergency. Chances are any jack- hammering in your brain is just a migraine. But if it’s 27e13eb0cc3c2900d22e5e1c28900bbc not accompanied by other migraine symptoms, such as a visual aura, it can signal a brain aneurysm. brain aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain and happens in about 5% of the population. Most of the time they don’t cause any trouble unless this weak spot leaks or tears. If your headache causes nearly blinding pain, it could also be a sign of stroke. Other symptoms of a stroke may include dizziness, temporary visual problems or simply trouble holding a pen. But an aneurysm that bursts or a stroke can cause brain damage or death within minutes so call 911 immediately. 

2.)  Chest Pain –  This pain just might be a bad case of heartburn from eating too many hot peppers on your tacos but if it is accompanied by a tight squeezing sensation, like being laced in a corset you may be in trouble. Symptoms tend to be less severe 2013091621330011 in women so you may also have fatigue, jaw pain, or shortness of breath. In any case, call 911. If it is a heart attack, a delay could cause the heart muscle to be damaged. Better safe than sorry !!!!

3.) Pain in your side – if you feel as if you’re being skewered in your right side and you’re also nauseated and running a fever, you could have appendicitis. Don’t flirt with the possibility of a rupture. Gallbladder and pancreas problems, stomach ulcers, and intestinal blockages are some other possible causes of abdominal pain that need attention. This is not a-if I ignore it, it will go away pain. Seek medical attention.

4.) Calf Pain – a deep burning, feverous, and tender calf may be a sign of deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT, also known as a blood clot. Blood starts to pool in your lower body and forms a clot. When it gets big enough to act as a stopper in the vein or artery, the area around it will start to hurt and swell. Resist the urge to massage 6a00e54fc8012e8833011571619620970b-350wi the area or to walk it off. If the clot breaks free, it can travel through your veins up to your lungs and cut off your oxygen supply. Instead see your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this medical emergency.

5.) Back Pain – Pain in the lower back is one of the most common pains people encounter and, as such, ignore. Americans spend nearly $50 billion trying to take care of their own lower back pain. Now, If you’ve just pulled weeds in your acre garden, anti-­inflammatories should banish the pain. But if they don’t work after a few days, make an appointment with your doctor. Our backs contain most of our bodies’ infrastructure — muscles, tissues, nerve bundles, spines and vertebrae. Without these structures, our bodies would resemble nothing so much as a pile of unstructured flesh, like jellyfish. Back pain could be a ruptured disc or you could have a disc (one of the spongy rings that cushions the bones in your spine) pressing on the spinal lower-back-pain-lg-1009 nerve. Without proper attention, you risk permanent nerve damage. Back pain could also relate to the formation of a kidney stone, with its sharp shooting pain, often in the back area. Physical therapy or surgery may be needed for a disc injury and medication/surgery for the kidney stone but a doctor has to determine these diagnosis.

6.) Burning Pain in the Legs or Feet – Burning or pins-and-needle sensation in the legs or feet might be an indication of diabetes. Frequent urination, excessive thirst, and Increased hunger are also symptoms. Nearly a quarter of the 23 million Americans who have diabetes are undiagnosed. Diabetes untreated can lead to major organ damage. A simple blood test can be taken at your doctor to check for this insidious disease. See him if you have leg and feet pain !!

7.) Unexplained bleeding – rectal bleeding, vaginal bleeding or bloody vomit can all be signs of serious conditions. It can be hemorrhoids, bronchitis or something as serious as cancer. There can be a common reason as well for seeing blood where you don’t expect it, but it still needs to be checked out – and soon – by a doctor.

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8.) High or Persistent Fever – Fever is your body’s way of fighting infection. Fever of 103 degrees and higher warrants a trip to the doctor- immediately.  A persistent low-grade fever – for several weeks – with no obvious cause is characteristic of some infections and needs attention too. Because fever indicates infection all fevers need to be taken seriously. Keep your doctor in the loop on that fever.

9.) Skin Lesions – Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun – exposed skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the legs in women. But it does not always strike in exposed places. All skin types can develop skin nci_melanoma_diameter cancer even darker skin. Signs and symptoms may include a pearly or waxy bump, a flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion, a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface. Any skin changes should be checked out by a doctor. Not all skin changes are cancer but your doctor should investigate your skin changes to determine a cause.

10.) Unexplained Weight Loss – We all as women have tried to lose those extra 5 pounds (or more) we accumulated as we grew older but if you lose more than 5 percent of your body weight – without trying -over a period of six months you should check this out with your family doctor.  Endocrine disorders are a common cause of unintentional weight loss or it could be a sign of diabetes. Gastrointestinal thumbs_33205-how-often-.jpg.660x0_q80_crop-scale_upscale conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and Celiac disease cause weight loss as well – in addition to symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. So if you have an unexplained weight lose, be sure to check with your doctor. 

Usually pain or fever in your body signals that something needs attention. In fact, this is the how pain benefits us. This short list of symptoms is by no means all the things you need to pay attention to and make your doctor aware of but it is a start. You know your body and how it feels normally.

My dryer had a slight tick when the drum rotated for years but I had a service man tell me that one of the braces had a slight burr on it and when the drum turned it caught. This noise didn’t warrant my attention but when one day it began to overheat – this became a problem.

Now, what I’m trying to say is, you know if something is off and just doesn’t feel right. Persistent pain and fever should never be ignored. We only have this one body so let’s take extra good care of it so we can have a long, healthy, and joyful life !!!!!!  

Are there any more warning signs you can share?   

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Techno Mania – Good or Bad???

For years I resisted the cell phone scene !!! Our house didn’t have a computer until my daughter needed one for school. Our family wasn’t into TV, so the latest and best picture wasn’t important to us. I could tell stories about the party-line phone that my parents had when I was a teenager.

UNTIL……….I needed a cell phone when I traveled for work. I started out with the very basic of phones. A flip phone-remember those ??!!?? That computer that my daughter used for school was in the office and I began to explore. WOW-you can do that !!!!! 2,000 recipes for no bake cookies could appear
like magic.

I was hooked !!!!

In the Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Social Work Today Christina Reardon writes,

“Older adults are increasingly interested and involved in using technologies that allow them to stay more connected socially, with family, and with care giving resources. Technology is becoming more entrenched in American life and, contrary to popular perception, older adults are not immune to this phenomenon. Slightly more than one-half of American adults aged 65 and older use the Internet or e-mail, and 70% of older adults use the Internet on a daily basis, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.”

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Companies and Internet sites are trying to reach out to the older population with items of interest and relevance to them. Here are a few of the ones that you might find useful.

  • Keyboards with large keys and a raised keypad. My keyboard is back lighted and it really helps to be able to see the keys

Large keys Check out this link on Amazon.

  • Senior Centers often have classes on technology. My husband Tom has been teaching a class at our local Senior Center on “Smarter Than Your Smart Phone.”  It’s been well attended and I know the people attending the class have gone away with a better understanding of their phones. 
  • Kindles for reading come with 8 adjustable fonts for reading ease. They also have a matte screen that is easy on the eyes. Plus their battery time is up to one  month. WOW-This is a big plus !!
  • Large button home phones and cell phones are available too. We just switched to a new cell phone with a 5.2 inch screen. Makes viewing and texting much better.

There are also many websites that will make life more fun and easier for you to stay in touch with friends and family. Check these out –

  • Skype – This free service allow you to send photos, videos, and files. You can send out the latest pictures of the grands in seconds !!!! That recipe for no bake cookies can go to Aunt Sally in Timbuktu. Plus you can do face to face time with up to 9 friends. Now you don’t have to miss those first steps of that cute grand baby !!!

grandma on Skype

  • Zoom This is a free cloud meeting company mainly for business groups but the neat factor here is that you can video chat with up to 100 people at one time. You could have a reunion of people spread all over the country!!
  • Have you ever worried about your rash or strange symptoms and wondered if a doctor trip was in your future ? Check out this web site at WebMD to see what your options are. While it certainly doesn’t take the place of a doctor, it can let you know if an office call is warranted. This site is not just for symptoms but it has a lot of wonderful ideas for improving your every day health. You also can check out drug and supplement interactions. Valuable information.
  •  One of my main concerns about getting older is the fact I would really like to keep my mind sharp. My dad lived to be 92 and his mind was “as sharp as a tack.” There are many good web sites for brain games that will let you exercise that gray matter.
  • Here are two I really like – Lumosity and AARP. Check them out to see if you can do push ups for your mind !!!!
  • Skillful Senior is a great site to teach computer skills. They have great tutorials on many subjects from basic to more advanced. All in easy to understand language. Great for us late in life computer geeks !!!!
  • The last site that I’m going to talk about today is a sensitive one. Driving is freedom. Remember the feeling of euphoria you got when you got your driver’s license back when you were a teen. That feeling of freedom continues into your senior years. When we had to make the decision to take my dad’s drivers license it was a tear jerker. It had to be done for his own safety but I think, to this day, it was the start of his decline. Check out this site at Senior Driving from AAA for senior driving tips to help you stay “on the road.”

The world today has gone techno but it doesn’t have to be manic. Explore, check out web sites, ask a teen but most of all don’t give up on all those gadgets. Technology can be rewarding !!!!!

 

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What experiences have you had with technology and what web sites have helped you maneuver this “old age” stuff ?

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Furry Friends !!!!!

Do you have a friend that sticks close through the ups and downs of life-who is always so glad to see you and shows that appreciation in many ways? A friend who doesn’t care if you have wealth, fame, a great job, the newest car or even if you have washed your face and brushed your teeth yet – or had your first cup of coffee !!!!

I’ve been blessed in my life to have several of these special friends. They have ranged from large to small and even been different types. But each one, of these special friends, have given me unconditional love in so many ways. They have been my walking buddies and my lap mates. They have met me at the door with a happy dance and a kiss (well maybe a lick).

There’s no disputing animals have always had a positive impact on their owner’s lives !!! For elderly pet owners, many who live alone, pets can reduce stress, increase social interaction and physical activity. The routine of caring for a pet helps the senior keep active. They make the senior feel safer in their own home. Pets can even help us stay sharp mentally. Sounds like a win/win situation !!!!

But it’s a sad irony that when seniors often need their pet and their unconditional love most they struggle with care and feeding of their 4 legged friends. Food, vet visits, shots, collars and pet beds are hard to purchase on a limited budget. Walking their pet or changing the litter box or birdcage may be beyond their physical capabilities. Grooming is hard for arthritic hands and bathing pets is challenging even for the young some times !!!!!

But there is good news!!! Thanks to a growing movement of people who understand that pets are family members and bring joy to seniors, keeping your pet in your home may not be as hard as it once was.

In doing research for this post I talked to many people and organizations that are passionate about striving to provide support to seniors without sacrificing quality of life for either human or animal. I’m not saying these groups are easy to find but with some effort you can find help !!!! So how do you find these groups in your area? It may not be simple but be persistent !!!!

Friends

Friends

I’m blessed to live in the Portland, Oregon area and found many groups with a little digging on the internet. I called and talked to some of these people and got more leads. It seems as if most of these groups are supported by the local community.

Let me give you some places to start your search for help in keeping your beloved pets at home.

  • Meals on Wheels – Meals on Wheels in several of the counties around the Portland Metro area provide dog and cat food along with a nutritious meal for a senior. Find a Meals on Wheels in your area and call to check what they offer. You and you pet both may be able to feast. Check out the WALOP website. We All Love Our Pets is a national initiative that seeks to unite Meals on Wheels programs across the country in their efforts to keep seniors and their beloved pets well nourished.
  • Humane Society – again each location has different support from the community so find a location near you and call. Our Humane Society in Portland, Oregon had names of several local organizations that offer free or reduced vet visits, volunteers to walk your dog or clean litter boxes. Even locations where free food is available for your precious pet.
  • Food Banks There is a national registry for food banks but you can also locate one by checking with your local government offices for a referral to a food bank close to you. Many food banks now realize that pets are very much a part of the family and solicit gifts of pet food along with people food !!!!!! One of the wonderful dog food banks in our area has the motto “Making Pawsitive Changes, One Paw At A Time.” Now that is cool !!!
  • Senior Centers – Just half a block from my house is a wonderful Senior Center. They are a wealth of information on many programs and outreach available for seniors and their pets. Plus you can go and have a wonderful time with many, many activities, classes, trips and just enjoy the camaraderie !!
  • Check your local vets and vet clinics – many have free or reduced spay and neuter programs. Ask for help from your vet. To accommodate elderly clients your vet may consider making a house call. They also may opt for liquid medication for your ailing animal – this liquid medication is easier for a senior to administer.
  • Elder Helpers is a volunteer organization that pairs people willing to help seniors with elders needing help. Help can range from weeding your garden, running errands, raking the yard, walking your dog, or giving a bath to Fido.

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  • While researching this article I was so surprised to find a treasure right in my back yard !!!! But I shouldn’t have been surprised – we have found people in Portland, Oregon to be caring and real doers !!!! The treasure I found was a nonprofit organization that is truly amazing and making a big difference in the lives of seniors. I talked to Dianne McGill, executive director and CEO of Banfield Charitable Trust. Two Banfield initiatives are national in scope: Pet Peace of Mind and Meals on Wheels Pet Food Distribution. Pet Peace allows hospice patients to keep their pets at home in their last days. “Some people don’t go into hospice care because their pets have to leave,” Dianne McGill said. Pet Peace lets pets stay with their beloved owners right to the end. Think of the peace this gives both pet and owners to be together. Banfield also partners with Meals on Wheels Association of America to provide food and/or funding so seniors don’t have to share their meals with their pets.

Pets in my life have given me so much joy. The positive effects on my well-being have been long-lasting. Sometimes age and/or disabilities may seem insurmountable but help IS out there !!!! Surf the web, ask professionals for help and you too can keep that precious pet without sacrificing your quality of life.

I’d love for you to share stories of your pets and what they mean to you…………..

Post is dedicated to my precious dog - Patrick

                                                                                                  Post is dedicated to my precious dog – Patrick

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Stay Ahead of the Flu Bug !!!

I know it’s February and we are looking ahead to Spring but we aren’t out of the woods yet for the dreaded flu bug. Let’s see if we can ensure that you will make it to Spring without suffering that nasty flu !!

Many friends and family have suffered in the past few months with the flu. Tom and I both have fallen victum to that dreaded flu bug but because we took care of ourselves it didn’t last as long or become severe. But how do we stay ahead of that flu bug?? Keep reading and I hope to answer that question.

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Not only is it the late winter season but it is also the flu season !!! Flu season can last from October to May, and often peaks between December and February. It’s easy to get sick during the winter when cold weather forces us indoors, where we freely share the cold and flu season’s abundant germs. The fact that we are around so many more people due to our indoor activities only adds to the spreading of the flu bug.

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Dispose of your tissues in an appropriate place and wash your hands is always a good idea. Better yet cough or sneeze into your elbow. It seems like the manners our moms taught us really work.

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