Nightmares After the I.C.U.

When Lygia Dunsworth was sedated, intubated and strapped down in the intensive care unit at a Fort Worth hospital, she was racked by paranoid hallucinations:

Outside her window, she saw helicopters evacuating patients from an impending tornado, leaving her behind. Nurses plotted to toss her into rough lake waters. She hallucinated an escape from the I.C.U. — she ducked into a food freezer, only to find herself surrounded by body parts.

Mrs. Dunsworth, who had been gravely ill from abdominal infections and surgeries, eventually recovered physically. But for several years, her stay in intensive care tormented her. She had short-term memory loss and difficulty sleeping. She would not go into the ocean or a lake. She was terrified to fly or even travel alone.

Nor would she talk about it. “Either people think you’re crazy or you scare them,” said Mrs. Dunsworth, 54, a registered nurse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. In fact, she was having symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. More.

Gay Marriage: Same, but Different

“One of the most notable findings was that by nearly every measure, same-sex couples reported higher levels of happiness in their relationships than straight couples. Gay couples reported far less conflict than heterosexual couples and higher levels of intimacy. Gay couples were more likely to feel that they could confide in their partners, experience high levels of affection and be happier with their sex lives,” reports the NY Times.

With nurses at risk of compassion fatigue, hospitals try to ease their stress

“Nurses are particularly at risk for becoming overwhelmed and depleted,” says Cynda Hylton Rushton, a professor in the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University. They “provide direct, 24/7 care, and they often must confront the limits of what medicine can do for people. Nurses can begin to feel helpless or have a sense that they are not actually helping. They can begin to question what they are doing and how they are benefiting others.” More @ The Washington Post.

Planning for the Next Flu Season – already

The flu season may be winding down, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about the next one — and what all of us must do differently if we are to avoid a repeat of the epidemic of the past few months.

Up to 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 200,000 are hospitalized, and on average, 36,000 die as a result. These victims are not just the chronically ill or elderly: About 100 children die from the infection annually, and 20,000 are hospitalized. Most of these youngsters were perfectly healthy before this unpredictable virus struck.” More @ NY Times.

Hospital pastoral care staff practicing spiritual healing

There is a different type of medicine helping to heal local patients, one that you might not expect to see within the walls of a hospital.

There is a pastoral care team that says its life calling is to minister to the sick and hurting in the hospital.

It is another prayerful start to the day for Father Bennie Wego and Reverend David DeWitt at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. A day on the job for these ministers can bring a range of emotions, stresses and people – looking for healing from a power much higher than a doctor.  “People can be a little bit down or a little bit low,” said Rev. DeWitt, “they ask, ‘Why me? What’s going on?  Why this, why now?'” MORE.

At the end of one’s endurance, a light in the darkness

Rabbi Dale Schreiber writes: ”

We all like happy endings.  Certainly as I lit the first light of the holiday with our children and their children, I felt what I always feel — a sense of the miraculous that we are still here creating and sharing light and digging deeply into the wisdom of Torah.  The happy ending for Joseph and in the Hanukkah story happened after a period of great suffering and adversity.  What is the wisdom that Judaism offers for the hardships, the struggle, the times we are enslaved to despair?

Torah actually has a lot to say about suffering. One brilliant truth from our prophetic works, the Book of Job, and midrash is that there is a limit to the darkness. Darkness and light dance through time. The S’fat Emet (Rabbi Yehuda Lieb Alter, 1847-1905) writes that Miketz instructs us to use the light-filled moments of our lives to sustain us during the darkest of times. This teaching reminds us to make a conscious choice to find the possible within the improbable. We can use the miraculous in our own lives to counter the steady diet of darkness we are fed. ” More.

Couple weds in hospital room after learning of groom’s cancer

Wedding days are memorable for all kinds of reasons, but for one couple, the trip to the altar was more of a race against time.

 

There have been bedside weddings before. In this one though, the bride is still a teenager and the groom a young man. And their future is lived day by day and hour by hour. But the point is they’re seizing every moment of happiness they can — that’s what real love does.

Lindsay and Ryan Miller tied the knot inside an MD Anderson hospital room. Miller is fighting a rare form of bone cancer. MORE.

Spiritual care providers minister to diverse population

Accommodating all types of religion — and no religion at all — is one of the goals of a new strategic plan for spiritual health care in Manitoba. Unveiled last month, the plan recognizes that spirituality is essential to wellness, explains the provincial spiritual health care co-ordinator.

“For the first time, in print, it spells out the full range of diversity and what that means,” explains Karen Toole.

“Spiritual health care is provided for people of all religions and no religious background. That means that all atheists, agnostics, humanists and people who don’t have a belief system can ask someone, ‘What does my life mean?’ ”

She says the 24-page document sets a common plan for all spiritual care providers in Manitoba as well as establishing that spiritual care is an essential component of health care.

See Spiritual care providers minister to diverse population

Winnipeg Free Press

El Camino Los Gatos Hospital Offers Free Mammograms to Uninsured & Under-Insured Women

El Camino Hospital today announced it will be offering free mammograms to women in the community who are either uninsured or under-insured. The program is made possible by generous donations made to the El Camino Hospital Foundation through fundraising from the Silicon Valley Duck Race, the Santa Clara Sporting Club soccer team, and the Los Altos Country Club 18-hole group.

“Many women today – either without insurance or insurance with high deductibles – are being forced to choose between the care they need and the care they can afford,” said Michele Van Zuiden, Executive Director, Women’s Hospital at El Camino Hospital. “We are so grateful for the generosity of all of these donors who are helping us help the women in our community take care of a critical health need.”

This free screening is being offered to women 40 and above that are uninsured or under-insured (have insurance with a high deductible or co-payment greater than $750), have no breast implants and have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months. If an additional diagnostic testing is required following the initial mammogram, the cost will also be covered through this program.

The program is available at both Los Gatos and Mountain View campuses and is available by registration only. Patients are encouraged to contact the El Camino Hospital Health Line at 800-216-5556 to register or visit the website at: www.elcaminohospital.org/FreeMammogram for more information.