Gratitude Pairs well with Apple Pie

I have come to know November as the month of gratitude. I, like most people I know, encounter many obstacles in my daily living. When I slow down and remember the things I’m grateful for, my mind is free and my day is a little lighter. 

First, I am grateful for my nursing profession, allowing me to help so many people and transform my passion into Anchor Healthcare Advocates. My science-based love of the human spirit and connection with my clients have helped shape the woman I am today.

Second, I am grateful for the veterans who were -- and are -- in my life. My dad served in World War II.  Many of these veterans came home left to deal with what they had seen and done in silence. I am thankful that today’s veterans are given coping methods for their post-traumatic stress. The Exalted Warrior Foundation continues to shape the lives of our veterans using adaptive yoga techniques. Having recently earned my yoga instructor license, I’m fully aware of the healing benefits of yoga and how important it is to keep our brain healthy.  

Third, and closest to my heart, I am grateful for my family. Without their unconditional love and support, I’d be lost at sea. They are my anchor!

In gratitude and peace,
Diane Eggert, BSN, RN
Owner & Principal Advocate
813-539-2526

 
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dedicated to my Dad Joe.

Dedicated to my Dad Joe.

This has been my go-to recipe since I was a teenager. I’d hand the list of ingredients to my dad to buy. I didn’t know it until much later, but baking has been a form of meditation for me. It stimulates all my senses: touching the ingredients, hearing the crispness of the apples while I peel them, and finally the smell. Oh, the sweet smell!
The tasting was my dad’s specialty.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.   

Pastry
(makes two 9-inch pie crusts)
2 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 100% stone-ground whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled
½ cup ice water
 
The good stuff
7-8 medium tart/juicy apples (I use granny smith)
1 tbsp flour
Dash of salt
2/3 – ¾ cup sugar, depending on tartness  
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
 
Sift flour on waxed paper. Add salt. Mix. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a wire pastry blender. Do this quickly so the shortening doesn’t become too warm. Particles range in size from rice grains to navy beans.

With one hand, sprinkle ice water into mixture while tossing the dampened particles with a fork in the other hand. Continue to add water until the particles are uniformly moistened and barely stick together.

Form the mixture into a ball. Let pastry stand 5-10 minutes. Chill in frig for 30 minutes (this gives you time to peel the apples). Cut ball into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other.

  While pastry is in the frig, cut apples in quarters, then cut quarters into 3-4 slices. Set aside. 
Take pastry out of the frig and place on floured pastry cloth or waxed paper. Use outward strokes with a rolling pin to form the bottom crust. Fold pastry over and move into pie pan (ungreased). 

Blend flour, salt, and sugar. Sprinkle about ¼ of mixture on bottom of pastry-lined pan. Mix the remainder with quartered apples. Set aside. 

Roll out remaining dough for top of pie (not too thin). Make decorative gashes in center to allow for air vents during cooking. Moisten rim of bottom crust, fill with fruit, then place top crust. Crimp with tines of fork or fingers.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F, then reduce to 325 for 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy within 24 hours of baking!

What I Learned About Caregiving

It was not until my husband had surgery that I thought of myself as a caregiver.  This might sound funny to you.  My image of a caregiver is someone without any medical background, learning everything from the healthcare staff or things they read on the internet.  Although my expertise as a nurse was invaluable to my husband’s hospital stay and now recovery, I am first and foremost his wife, friend and life explorer. 

Emerson Point Preserve, Manatee County

Emerson Point Preserve, Manatee County

My role as a wife and friend just expanded as caregiver to someone who went through a serious operation.  Reflecting now, my biggest fear was losing the man I married, my sailing buddy and the fun adventures we share today.  The other piece that became very clear was that as his companion, I know all his idiosyncrasies.  What makes him laugh, if he's angry or sad and the respect and love we have for each other.  Would these paid hospital healthcare providers know this?  The answer is no. 

Although we entrusted his life over to the scientific care of an expert surgeon, his team and amazing nurses, I am ultimately his advocate.  I am the person he trusts that will help him get through this event in his life.  If I had not had the experience as a critical care nurse, I would have consulted a nurse advocate.  When he was waking up from anesthesia, it was my nurses eyes that were "on" assessing all of his systems, the tubes and talking with the post-op nurse. 

When you hire Anchor Healthcare Advocates, you will get an experienced nurse with knowledge of your disease process and demonstrate communication with the healthcare providers to obtain accurate and timely answers to your questions.  They will take extra time to listen with family and the patient and be objective with their assessment of your loved one. 

Many people try and be their own healthcare advocate without the proper education and experience.  This is when confusion and havoc come into play.  It would be as if I insisted on joining the operating team and be a surgeon without a surgical residency or medical degree. Thankfully, I know my boundaries and limitations.  I stayed in the waiting room while the surgeon performed the operation.  With a well thought out and researched plan, we chose a remarkable specialized surgeon.  This is a perk you'll get with Anchor.  Finding a reputable, board certified surgeon in the respective field is vital to a strong wellness plan.   

As a caregiver, I also asked for help from family and friends.  My mother-in-law flew in for the week to be by my side and ultimately see her son through the major operation. I had nurses I worked with to talk with and friends who came by.  I had family texting and calling throughout the day of surgery sending their love and support.  I was able to get away each day to be home for just a couple of hours and de-stress. 

When I look at my husband, I don't see him as a patient.  I see the man I met years ago as my high school prom date and high school sweetheart,  now my husband of 9 years.  He is the light that gives me joy each day.  I often tell him, that my whole nursing education and career was for the purpose of being his nurse advocate.  What a gift I have today.

Let Anchor Healthcare Advocates be the gift you give your family and friends during times of illness to create their smooth journey toward wellness and recovery.   

 

 

Hot Days of Summer

My husband and I helped his mom and father-in-law move into their new home recently.  Their goals are many.  Their doctors are closer making it easier to get to appointments and they have benefits being closer to family support.  Living in-town also lends to local fresh markets and health food stores.  The down side was that the move-in date was post postponed to the hottest part of the summer. 

cayo costa state park sun rise by diane eggert

cayo costa state park sun rise by diane eggert

 

Believe it or not, heat exhaustion and worst case, heat stroke can be prevented by following a few simple suggestions.   The movers were done packing up the truck shortly after lunch.  We took a break and some of us went to lunch and others continued to the new place.  We were all dressed in loose comfy clothes and made sure we drank plenty of water, and had frequent rest times inside the air conditioned house.  There were moments when we were directly exposed to the sun .  If this happens, make sure to use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and apply every 2 hours to prevent sunburn.   Make sure the folks who were not as spry as the movers are given extra care.  Find out if they are taking medications that can affect their body’s ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.  Some of these are diuretics, beta blockers and oral hypoglycemic medications.

Early stages of mild dehydration include symptoms of dry mouth, tiredness, thirst, decreased urine output, lightheadedness and dizziness.  A handy home remedy by WebMD.  With older adults, those who have other health problems, infants and children, consulting your physician is best practice. 

The collective effort of my husband's sisters and their husbands eased the burden of this life changing event.  The best part of the weekend was that we gathered together as a family and helped each other.  We were all tired at the end of the weekend, but none of us exhibited signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion.  This might be because they have a nurse in the family.  

 

 

Sources:  mayoclinic.org; WebMD

Rockin' Like a Healthy Hurricane - Your Healthcare Advocate Prevention Care List

 

Living in Florida I have had many chances of preparing for a hurricane; however never experienced one firsthand.  June 1st began our Atlantic hurricane season.  A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone with a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics.  I visited Miami shortly after Hurricane Andrew and saw the aftermath of a category 5 hurricane.  The devastation of the beautiful lush Miami I grew up with was gone in less than 24 hours.  For hurricane check list:  Hurricane Preparedness Article

2003 Hurricane Isabel photographed from the International Space Station

2003 Hurricane Isabel photographed from the International Space Station

 

Similar to our health, a sudden and unexpected storm of events can occur and change the course of our life forever.   As your patient advocate focused with a preventive health philosophy, I have compiled a wellness preparedness checklist.  Unlike hurricane season during June 1 through November 20th, maintaining a healthy mind, body and spirit is a 365 day job. 

I have created a list to help you maintain and/or reach your wellness state.  Click here.

 

 

 

 

Summertime Water Safety for Children - Boys will be Boys

Having twin grandsons that celebrated their first birthday last week brings out my natural advocacy tendencies and my pediatric emergency nursing experience too.  The adage boys will be boys gives a new meaning to the toddler development stage!  During this rapid growth of motor and cognitive skills, the brain is exploding with 250,000 neurons added each minute.  https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/dev.html.  They are learning to crawl, reach, walk, talk and bang on toys!  Creating a safe environment and preventing accidents is a challenge even with years of experience. 

Cal and Everett in their new swim gear.  Mommy and Daddy watching constantly.

Cal and Everett in their new swim gear.  Mommy and Daddy watching constantly.

 

The definition of curiosity is a strong desire to know and learn everything.  As a Nana, it is fascinating to watch them soak up the world for the first time.  At the same time, we take for granted as adults the lake nearby, our baby boomer friends unfenced pool or how much water to put in the bubble bath.  The hard facts are that three children die every day as a result of drowning.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) drowning is the leading cause of death of children from age 1 to 4. 

I will never forget as a pediatric nurse early in my career the resuscitation efforts the emergency room staff took to try and save a 3 year old who was found in a pool.  One of the parents was a police officer.  It can happen to any of us. As parents, grandparents and those who we entrust with our children the following guidelines give us a way to prevent harm to our toddlers on summer water safety.

TOP FIVE SAFETY TIPS

1. Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation.  For a class go to: 

http://cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/Training/FamilyandFriendsCPR/UCM_473171_Family-and-Friends-CPR.jsp

2. Learn basics of swimming.  Search "swimming lessons for children" in your area, your local YMCA or pool community center. For swimming classes in the Tampa Bay area go to:

https://www.ymcasuncoast.org/swimming

3. Install a 4-sided fence around a backyard swimming pool.  Our "smart phone" doesn't make us very smart when we are constantly looking at social media updates and not our children. 

 

4. Have child life jackets readily available especially around lakes and the ocean.

5.  Designate a WATER WATCHER similar to a designated driver.  Parents need rest and relaxation and can take turns in social situations.  Have the WATER WATCHER put their smart phone away and drink a non-alcoholic beverage.  Keep eyes and ears on the children

Growing up in Florida I remember my swimming lessons at the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables and how much fun I had.  I hope you will teach your children to swim so they can enjoy the wonderful water sport activities, the beautiful aquatic life and respect of the dangers that water can bring.  Be a #waterwatcher today.

Sources: www.CDC.gov