Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Health Tip Tuesdays ~ Broken Bones, Dislocations and Sprains

I've let this column go because I got very few comments on it. Then again we rarely get any comments on anything! But a few people have said they actually learn something from these posts, so I'll give it another shot.

Today we're gonna talk about broken bones and joint dislocations. First let's clear up some terminology. I don't know why this happens, but alot of people say they have a "fracture" and not a broken bone. I guess that makes it sound worse than it actually is. But a fractured bone is a broken bone and a broken bone is a fractured bone. So whichever you want to call it, it's exactly the same.

If you or someone you know comes across someone who has injured themselves it's important to check for fractures and dislocations. Well, first you need to figure out of they're breathing or not!! Alot of the time you can actually see a fracture because there will probably be some deformity and swelling in that area. If you were there when the accident happened, it's possible you heard the bone break! That's kinda creepy! Sometimes you can see the bones(s) poking thru the skin, and in this case you can be pretty sure the bones are broken! This is called a compound fracture and it's not a pleasant sight. There will probably be alot of bleeding. You'll need to try to stop the bleeding if it doesn't stop on it's own.

If you suspect a fracture, you can ask the patient to move his/her fingers or toes or affected body part, but why?? It's HURTS to do that!! What you want to do with either a fracture, dislocation or sprain/strain (especially with the arm/hand/wrist or leg/ankle/foot or shoulder, check to see if the area is blue or grayish. If it is, that might mean the circulation is compromised and they need help quickly. You CAN gently tickle their finger tips or toes with your fingernails. If they say that feels normal that's a good sign. If not, it could mean there's nerve involvement and they need more help than you can probably give them.

Above are some pictures of dislocations. If there's a dislocation it's usually obvious but not always. Say it's a finger, that finger might be pointing in a direction different from all the other fingers. A dislocated shoulder looks larger than usual and deformed because it's been pulled out of the joint. You can't always be sure, but they just "look" different, but they still hurt ALOT and the patient can't move their arm, so please don't ask them to.

Also, if at all possible, don't ask them to walk if they've hurt their ankle/leg/foot. Not only does that hurt and can cause more damage, it's really ticks them off!! Be aware that a sprain can hurt as much, if not more than a fracture. So it gets a little tricky sometimes.

What can you do? Try to stablize the fracture. You can do this with a stick or board and some tape or strips of cloth. You can use a rolled up newspaper or a magazine folded into a gutter-type splint. This doesn't have to be fancy. Use whatever you have that is stiff and can be gently tied in place. Your goal here should be to immobilize the area and keep it from moving or bouncing around while you're on your way the the ER. The reason for this is, if the bones continue to move everytime the patient moves, it can cause alot of unnecessary internal tissue and vessel damage. Also, put some ice in a bag and place it over the area. Try to put a cloth between the ice and the skin tho. Don't use ice water - it's WAY too cold and can damage the skin.

Most importantly, you need to get them to a place where an x-ray can be taken to see what's going on. Fractures, dislocations and sprains need to be treated. If they're left to heal on their own, there will probably be some loss of function and deformity. You don't want that. Oh, and if your patient has a dislocation and needs a reduction (that means pulling the bone back in place) you might want to leave the room. That's unpleasant to watch!
See? All better! Well....sort of!

Smile ~ it's good for the heart!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Farwell to Ed

Saturday we had Ed's funeral at church. Everyone in his family had something to say, along with his "brothers." Ed was an only child, but he had many friends who he considered his brothers. The funeral was the funniest event I've ever been to. Jennifer gave his life sketch and she brought down the house talking about the "life lessons" they grew up with. One of his daughters and two grandchildren sang a beautiful song. The harmony was unlike any I've heard before. They did themselves proud.

There was a moment of spirituality when one of the members spoke about the church and the hereafter. He said some important, comforting things about the promises the Lord has made if we do our part. It was comforting to know we'll surely see Ed again.

Then the "brothers" spoke and the hilarity started again. It was nice to be able to laugh out loud at such a sad event. But that's the way Mormon funerals are. Not only are they family reunions, but they're pretty happy times for the most part. We shed a few tears but that's OK!

Ed's son, played a drum solo (bongo type) while they lowered the casket at the cemetery. I've never experienced something like that before, but it was really nice and very unusual.

Afterward the Relief Society provided one of their fabulous meals for about 60 people. That is such a nice thing our church does for people. It gives the family a chance to take a deep breath, get nourished and then go home and relax. I'm not sure Patti relaxed much as they were getting ready for a big party so all the "brothers" could sit around and reminisce about Ed. It was really a nice get-together.

Patti went to sleep while the party was still going on, but that was OK. Everyone understood and they stayed until who knows when! It was a sad but lovely day and Ed would have been thrilled at the tribute held in his honor.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Life Without Ed

We have some unhappy news to report. Early Tuesday morning, September 23, 2008, Ed passed away. As I posted earlier he had been sick with diabetes and an intestinal infection, but we didn't expect him to die. We knew he'd come out of it. But after some hospital time, followed by a few days at home where Patti took such good care of him and got him back on the right track, he got to the point where he could hardly walk, even with help from a walker, Patti and the workers. So Rocky suggested he go back into the hospital for more tests, and after a relatively peaceful night, his body just gave up.

Patti went to see him at 6:30 in the morning on Tuesday on her way to work. She found him unresponsive and not breathing and she alerted the nurses. A team of doctors and nurses tried to resusitate him, but he didn't respond.

For the past few days we've been getting ready for his funeral. It's a surreal experience for sure.

Ed loved Patti and his family and adored his 13 grandchildren. He was a great source of funny stories and some good laughs. He was always in a good mood when we went to see him. We will miss him and are sad he's gone.

We'll see you again one day, Ed!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Memory Lane Mondays ~ The Great American Pastime

In the summer of 1966 I visited Patti and Mother in Minneapolis. Patti worked at Benson Optical and had entered some contest there and unfortunately won! I say unfortunately because the grand prize was 2 baseball tickets to see the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. Why is this unfortunate? Most red-blooded Americans would kill for these tickets, even today, but Patti and I REALLY don't like baseball. I can't think of anything I like less than baseball. Not sure why, but that's just the way it is.

Mother had to study, so Patti and I went to the game to give her some quiet time. We had no idea what we were in for. The worst part, besides actually going to the game, was we had to go by bus! All the people on the bus were so excited about the game. They were all elderly, as you can imagine. They were probably the age we are now, and we don't consider ourselves elderly, but they sure were! They sang songs and got all giddy about the game. We just stared out the window. We were sad.

We finally arrived at the stadium and as we were were getting off the bus, the bus driver handed us our baseball caps - made of lime green and white striped card stock, slotted for ventilation, and with big letters across the bill that screamed "I CAME BY BUS!" We were horrified and immediately dropped our caps on the ground, accidentally of course, but our fellow passengers rushed up behind us, happily picked up our hats and gave them back to us. Surely we had made some kind of mistake, they said! This happened several times until we finally gave up and as soon as our bus mates were out of sight, we threw the paper caps in the trash.

So there we were, with wonderful box seats between 3rd and 1st bases. The Twins were playing the Yankees. We saw Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantel, Harmon Killebrew, and Bernie Allen. According to baseball aficionados, it doesn't get much better than that, but we were hot and sticky, and it was baseball, and it was just awful.

We endured to the end, and were so happy to get to make the LONG walk back to our bus and GO HOME, only to be thwarted by not being able to get back on the bus because it was locked up tight! Maybe it was the wrong bus, so we kept looking and looking for the bus.....any bus that was open and would get us out of there! Finally after what seemed to be forever, a man asked if he could help and we said "We're ready to go home now!" like a couple of country girls. He looked at us a little strange but happily reported "Oh no! This game is a double header!" We almost burst into tears, but after losing a short but heated argument with the bus driver, we dutifully whirled around and marched back to the stadium. We recoiled when we looked at our seats because the sun was still beating mercilessly down on them, as it had on us for first 4 hours of our day. We were tired, unhappy, hot, unhappy, hungry, unhappy, sunburned, blistered and sad. Did I mention we were unhappy?

So, we looked around for empty seats in the shade. Being able to actually watch the game was not a requirement or a priority with us. We could have cared less. We found quite a few empty seats in a much cooler area of the ballpark and decided to sit there and ride out the misery of the day. We wondered why there were so many empty seats there and quickly discovered we were sitting right behind the chain gang! That's when things started looking up for us! Those guys were so much fun, and we had a good time with them. They were real cute and of course they were all innocent!

Another 4 hours passed and after a fond farewell to our new criminal friends, we were finally able to get on our bus and get outta dodge! What a horrible day. Patti and I always have so much fun together, but nothing was going to save that dreadful day.

Just one of the many reasons we don't like baseball!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Approved by Patti . . .

Ed has been pretty sick the past couple of weeks, to the point he had to be hospitalized. At least this time Patti recognized he really was sick and called EMS. Some years back Ed had chest pain, so Patti dropped him off at a "Doc-in-the-box" urgent care center and then took off to enjoy a lovely meal at McDonalds!!

So now Ed is home and still not feeling well. But last Friday morning Patti really had a scare when she woke up at 4 a.m. and went to check on him. She found Ed on the floor, with his head wedged up against the bed, and he was gasping for air. Patti thought he was dying, so she called EMS and when they came, they fixed him up and he was OK in just a short while.

When he was feeling good enough to talk, he told Patti he had been calling and calling for her. She never heard him for a couple of reasons: one is she's deaf, and the other is she sleeps as far away from the rest of the house as possible, with her door closed and the ceiling fan going full blast! So when Ed got tired of trying to get her attention by yelling, he decided to try a different approach. If only he could get to his gun, he could start blasting away inside the house and get maybe Patti's attention that way. Obviously he never made it, because this is how he ended up on the floor!!

That's Ed....always thinkin'!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Memory Lane Mondays: The Bear that Went to Cloudcroft

When we were kids we made lots of family trips to Ruidoso and some to Cloudcroft. I've wonder why we named this game "The Bear that Went to Cloudcroft" instead of "The Bear that Went to Ruidoso." But that really doesn't matter and doesn't change the game. It's still lame, but we were little kids and we thought we were extraordinary. It was fun to play especially when you consider the alternative.

Daddy didn't tolerate any fighting, noise or fun! for that matter on these trips. So Patti and Rico and I would sit in the back seat and try to stay out of the way of that huge, hairy, muscular arm that was attached to our dad, that would swing over the front seat occasionally trying to make contact with one of us. We spent most of the trip diving for the floorboard in a frantic attempt to avoid "the arm." Rico was quicker than Patti and I, and he always made it to the safety zone before we could. We would try to make a game out of dodging the arm!

Sometimes it was just Rico and me in the back seat because Patti mostly got to ride in the front with Daddy and Mother because she got carsick all the time! It didn't matter to us that she really was carsick. She would throw up almost everytime we'd get in the car. So between dodging the arm and dodging Patti's stomach contents, the trips were always eventful.

Heaven forbid if we ever asked "Are we there yet?" That statement would activate the arm. So to pass the time, we would play "The Bear that Went to Cloudcroft." The rules of the game were simple. The bear would go to the grocery store to buy food for his trip to Cloudcroft, and each of us would take turns adding imaginary food to the bear's imaginary grocery basket. We had our usual additions. I think Patti always added broccoli, I added olives, and Rico would throw in ice cream. This would go on and on until we couldn't think of anything else to add. Looking back, it seems we only went a couple of rounds or so. I guess we weren't very creative.

We were about as creative as this post. I can't think of anything else to say, so I guess that means I've gone from a lame child to a lame adult and now you, dear reader, have to endure our sad, pathetic lives. Hey Patti, have you wondered lately why we have lost most of our readers? Wait a minute - what am I saying?? PATTI doesn't even read this blog!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Memory Lane Monday's ~ Regifting . . . Redefined!

It seems most of my Memory Lane Monday's involve something about my Dad. This one is no different. Daddy was SO HARD to buy something for - like a Christmas gift. We dreaded that day coming because it was absolute agony trying to find something he might like. To make it worse on us, he never liked anything we gave him, and he would make sure we knew that too! I can only think of one or two gifts I gave him that he actually used. One was a plaid shirt.

Daddy was a perfectionist and kept everything he owned, no matter what it was, spotless clean at all times. So I thought a CarVac would be a great idea for him, and so did everyone else. I bought it and wrapped it up really nice for him and put it under the tree. I was so excited thinking I had bought him something he might actually want, or at least not hate!

Christmas came and when he opened his gift, he was not the least bit pleased and proceeded to tell me he already had one. I apologized (although I don't know why) and thought that might be the end of it, as he left with the CarVac tucked safely away under his arm. But nooooo! The next day, he returned with the gift and asked if I had the receipt so he could return it! When I couldn't find the receipt, he asked if I would just buy it back from him. Yes, you heard right. He wanted me to give him the money I'd spent on the CarVac and he would just give it back to me. I agreed thinking I could probably use it around the house, so I gave him the $25.00 it cost me. But that wasn't good enough. He wanted to make sure I also paid him the sales tax!

So now I'm stuck with a CarVac that I paid for twice and only have one CarVac to show for it! I'm not good at math, but this just doesn't seem right!! But in Daddy's defense, he didn't want or like the stupid gift and I didn't either. So I guess it was a draw - other than being out another $25....plus tax!

Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Death of a Legend . . .

Today was a sad day. Our beloved Hall-of-Fame Basketball coach passed away. He had been sick for several years with cardiac problems, but the past three weeks were especially bad for him. Don Haskins was and always will be the biggest celebrity El Paso has ever known. We loved him and he loved El Paso! We were always so proud to have such a great man as part of our community.

Everyone called him "The Bear." When he was scowling, he looked like a bear, and he would prowl the sidelines during each and every basketball game, seemingly unapproachable. Despite how hard he was on his players, they all learned to love him....eventually.

He was INTOLERANT of what he thought were unfair calls by the refs, and trust me, there were many. He would get so angry he would occasionally go after a ref, shaking his rolled up program in the refs face, ending up with a technical. Once he had one technical, he'd almost always get two, then he'd get thrown out of the game! This served one purpose only - to get the crowd and players fired up enough that they'd play their hearts out and win! I don't remember a single game when Coach Haskins was thrown out that we didn't win. Great strategy.

The tributes that have come rolling in are quite impressive, from govenors, to a Who's Who of the sports world. They all talk about Coach Haskin's ground breaking 1966 NCAA Championship win over the University of Kentucky. What made it so historic was Coach started five black players. That was unheard of! But his bravery "changed the face of basketball" for ever. And he changed El Paso forever.

He will be greatly missed.

(As a side note, Coach Haskins laid in repose all day Tuesday, September 9th, at the Haskins Center. I noticed on TV the funeral spray on his casket was gorgeous, and made of red, yellow and green chile peppers and bell peppers. How appropriate is that?!)